Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Coffee talk

The hunt for a new church continues. It's been a long and arduous process with very little success. I'm tempted to start Mattress Springs Baptist at home and not leave the bed on Sunday morning but we press on. We were invited to a friends church and have attended the last three weeks. Somewhere along the line, they got our contact information so Bev from the welcome committee showed up on our front step today. I wasn't going to answer the door but she saw me look at her through the window so I had no choice. We had just gotten home from swimming and running errands in the 100* weather and I was in no shape to be entertaining. No doubt Bev thought this when she saw me.
Bev acknowledged that they like to "show up unannounced." I guess she hasn't read the Sarah Version of the Bible that reads, "And do not catch people unaware and in a hairstyle they do not wish to be seen in, but alert them before you show up midafternoon on a Wednesday." But she brought us a Dunkin Donuts gift card so I guess that answers the question of which church we'll be joining. 

Speaking of coffee, last week I went to the fancy coffee shop on the other side of town. Their website says they're "Springville's premier coffee shop" which isn't a difficult accomplishment given that they're Springville's ONLY coffee shop. I rolled up to the order window and stared stupidly at the girl when she asked what I'd like. I completely forgot where I was and what I was there for. I looked at her and she looked at me. It was as if I had never used a drive through before.

Speaking of drive-throughs, I've had to give Sesame many a lesson on drive-through etiquette lately. It's a known fact that the driver gets the orders of all passengers before approaching the order box and said passengers need to be quiet while the driver orders. AB knows this. She's been to many a drive-through in her short life, but for some reason she's decided I haven't done a sufficiant job ordering and she'll call out her order from the backseat as I'm speaking. I know if we go to Chickfila she'll want a kids meal with 6 nuggets, fries and a small lemonade. She gets the same thing every time. I'll be in the middle of ordering and she'll yell out, "DON'T FORGET MY KIDS TOY! DON'T FORGET MY YEMONADE!" At Dunkin Donuts she'll call out, "Can I have hashfries? Can I have milk? Do they have doughnuts today?" as I place my medium iced coffee, regular sugar extra cream order. The worker can't hear so I have to repeat but AB thinks she needs to repeat. It's chaos. If she thinks she's so great to ordering she can start paying too. I'll be over in the corner watching the whole thing while I drink my free coffee courtesy of Bev.  

Sunday, September 8, 2019

currently, the short edition

Listening to: stories from AB’s swimming teacher. She's had a very interesting life and each week she shares such odd stories I sometimes wonder if she’s stretching the truth a little. I asked how she met her current (third) husband and she said at the mailbox. I asked if he was a mailman and she said he was not. He was going out to the mailbox to mail his divorce papers at the same time she was getting her mail while walking her dog. He said, “I like your dog.” She said, “I like your truck.” They've been together 43 years. And just like that, Brad Paisley has the outline for a new country song.

Waiting for: Annabelle to finish ballet class. It’s her first ballet lesson of the year and we barely rolled in on time because we got stuck behind a school bus. I accidentally got black sharpie on her pink tights while writing her initials on her shoes.  She had an applesauce pouch on the way and spilled half of it on her leotard. I do not like dirty clothes. I don’t have any problem with her playing hard and having fun, but I very seldom bring her out in public with dirty clothes or a dirty face. She had Cheez-It crumbs on her face, applesauce stains on her leotard and sharpie on her legs. She’s a walking billboard in support of Shout and laundry detergent companies everywhere. It's a humbling moment for me.

Considering: retiring from my night job. It’s been going along fine for several months now but this past Saturday was a real doozy. I like my boss, but I don’t like when she stays during the class. If I’m going to mess up it’s guaranteed that I’ll mess up when she walks by. First off, we were offering free mimosas. I didn’t know that we were mixing the juice and champagne separately so I handed out several cups of plain juice with not a drop of champagne. It’s been so humid we’d started using modgepodge to help hold the stencil on the wood. Modgepodge and white paint look exactly alike. I knew we had both in little cups on the table, so I smelled both and told the three closest people which cup was which. What do you think I gave the lady at my table to glue her stencil down? Not modgepodge. She started dabbing with the white paint in a place she didn’t want white paint. OF COURSE, the boss happened to be at the end of my table and saw the whole interaction. I don’t know what happened. Maybe all my sniffing of paint and glue messed up my brain cells. A lady asked if I'd help her paint an ombre sunset on the background of her sign. What I should have said was no. What I did say was sure! I'd be happy to! We ended up repainting the whole background because it looked so bad. 

Laughing at: Annabelle. She's been listening to hours upon hours of the kids podcast, Circle Round. Every episode is a folk tale from a different country and includes little sayings and tidbits of wisdom she likes to throw into daily conversation. We were having a picnic lunch at her playhouse and as she climbed through the window she said, "Every time a door closes, go through a window." long pause "But it's important to make sure that window isn't locked before you try to go through it." She has gotten so funny and really understands jokes and puns. 

Pondering: how to discuss death with AB. We're very open about discussing most topics in a child-appropriate way, so when our fish died I assumed she'd have questions since she hasn't had much experience with death. We talked about why the fish died (most likely cause of death was heart attack thanks to being tortured by the cats) and that was about it. She'd stop every so often to look at him floating in the tank but didn't say much. When I was sending him down the porcelain express she furrowed her brow and said, "What was that fish's name, again?" Needless to say she isn't going to lose much sleep over Martin VanBluey. 

Friday, August 30, 2019

may the next generation be better at spelling

Earlier this week I purchased a jean skirt. I was on the fence about it because I was worried it would be too modest and I don't want to head down that path. I wore long jean skirts and dresses many a time in my past and they weren't really outfits I'd like to repeat. Recently I've seen many a fashion bloggers very fashionably wearing a knee-length skirt so I bit the bullet and bought one. Everyone knows an outfit seen on a slim and trim instagram model will look exactly the same on a 30-year-old mom who forgot to go to zumba two times this week. 

ALL THAT TO SAY, the purchase lined up with the start of my homeschool mom career. Christopher has gotten a lot of milage to jokes about homeschool moms in jean jumpers with their fourteen children in matching clothes trailing behind. I almost canceled my purchase. (To be honest, I did buy it from a boutique owned by a Christian homeschooling family but that was just a coincidence.)

As a homeschooled child, I heard all the stereotypes and misconceptions. I heard surprise that I knew how to socialize and had friends who weren't homeschooled. Random people would quiz me about presidents and math facts. No one dares do the same to public schooled children! I was told how to raise my hand if I had something to say, as if I didn't know. I was asked if I, or someone I knew, was in spelling or geography bees. I wasnt bcauz Im bad at spelin, but I knew a boy who went to the finals of the National Spelling Bee. I can't count the number of times I heard, "I knew someone who was homeschooled and he was rude/a failure/could never get a real job." That can be said about students from every educational background. People asked if I spent the day doing whatever I wanted or if homeschooled kids were allowed into college. Everyone thought they were so clever to ask, "if you don't get all your schoolwork done, do you have homework?"

As a second-generation homeschooler, AB wants to set the record straight from the beginning. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


* I'm not up on local news, so I was confused when I got to work on Friday night and the boss said for us to keep the door locked at all times and leave as soon as the class was done. We weren't to take time to clean up. She said maybe we should park our cars right in front of the studio so we wouldn't have to walk across the parking lot in the dark. I asked what on earth was happening and she said: "There's supposed to be a big gang shoot-out tonight so we have to take extra precautions." 

That is not what I expected her to say.

A handful of people downtown had been shot in recent days and rumor had it that a family member of one gang was killed and the other gang was blamed for it. Whether or not that's true, that was the story in our part of town and the police were on high alert. I'm no seasoned gang member, but it seems to me that a shoot-out wouldn't be a scheduled event. I highly doubt that one gang delivers an elegantly scripted invitation on decorative paper, but what do I know? 

This isn't my first go-round being near gun violence since my marriage. Several years ago I made a midnight escape to Jenn's house when someone was shot in our apartment complex and the shooter spent several days on the loose. It was during that time I learned the Clarksville 911 had business hours and wasn't a 24/7 operation. I need to stop living in crime areas. When I got home from the lock downed studio, all the doors to my house were unlocked, all the blinds were open, the lights were on and Christopher and AB were both asleep. They might as well have left an "open house, free for all" sign on the front door.

* When Elizabeth was visiting, we went to the Y for a zumba class. They changed the class times without updating the schedule, so when we got there we walked into a strength training class instead of zumba. We decided to stay because it seemed like a waste of workout clothes if we didn't. Who am I kidding. I wear workout clothes without working out 75% of the time. I have no upper body strength and I think that was obvious to everyone in the class. A few ladies helped us get the correct equipment and told Elizabeth which heavier weights she should start with. One of the ladies looked at my arms, up at my face and said, "You'd better stick with the lightest weights." Thank you, Brenda! What a confidence booster! She wasn't wrong, but nobody likes to be told their arms are too flabby to do much. The weight on both ends of my bar equaled a grand total of 5.5lbs. Try not to be too impressed. After 45 minutes, I had done 
more squats and half pushups than in the entirety of my life up to that point. My legs were jello and my arms weren't much better. I couldn't pick up my water bottle without shaking. For one exercise we had to go from laying on the bench to standing up and back to laying down while staying as straight as possible.  I got stuck while trying to stand up and my legs were waving in the air like a turtle stuck on it's back. Just call me Grace.

* For the last two years I attended a Bible study on and off. The leader disbanded the group this year and sent us all letters thanking us for being in the group. She said a few nice things about me then wrote, "...seeing glimpses of your occasional wit." OCCASIONAL wit? Frankly, I'm slightly offended. It's evident she hasn't read my Pulitzer winning, rarely updated, broken record blog chronicling potty training and trips to Walgreens.

* In the latest installment of Sarah's Rocky Relationship with Superhero Movies, we're watching the 558th Marvel DC Comics Star Trek Ghost Busters Avengers movie.

Me: What's happening? What's he doing?
Christopher: They predicted this would happen in the fifth movie.
Me: When did that come out?
Christopher: 2012.

Me: How am I supposed to remember what happened in a movie seven years ago? Who's that weird person? Why haven't we seen her before?
Christopher: We saw her in the Dr. Strange movie.
Me: I never saw that one.
Christopher: Yes you did.
Me: Why is Black Widow showing up again!? I still don't understand why she's in these movies.
Christopher: She's not a bad character so you don't have to dislike her so much.

Me: It's just a movie so it doesn't really matter. I don't really care what happens. Well for Pete's sake, why are they doing that? It would be a lot easier if they dealt with that guy two hours ago when they had the chance!
Christopher: They're going back in time to resurrect the stone.
Me: How do you know?
Christopher: Contextual clues and they hinted at this in the last Avengers movie.
Me: I didn't see any contextual clues. Why can't they put subtitles explaining what's happening? Disney has enough money for that.
Christopher: Disney doesn't make these movies. Did you read the link I sent you explaining all the storylines and characters?

It's always relaxing watching these movies. 

I hope if I stick to the strength class I'll be able to give Thor a run for his money. Here's hoping that hammer doesn't weigh more than 5.5lbs.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

brief update from Moving Central

You may be surprised to learn that normal life does not stop just because you're moving and unpacking. Who knew? The family still needs to be fed and the child still needs to be entertained. These people are so high maintenance! Society looks down on AB fending for herself for several hours while I unpack glasses and my 14 boxes of stationery, so things haven't moved along quite as quickly as I wish, but we're getting there. 

Besides house things, we've been busy with swimming lessons, grocery shopping, picking up spilled beads, cleaning the fish tank because she who will remain nameless gave Martin VanBluey half a container of fish food, several trips to Home Depot and losing our minds. The day after we closed on the house we went to the library for a moon landing anniversary party. We made paper bag space helmets to wear while we soared around the North American Nebula.

AB had her first day at homeschool group. She's doing two and I forgot to sign her up for one so my career as homeschool mom is off to a great start! She's doing sign language, music, and math. 
Today we were playing bank and had the following conversation:
Me: If there are 100 pennies in one dollar, how many pennies are in two dollars?
AB: Um. Do you want a nickel?
Me: 1 plus 1 equals what?
AB: 2!
Me: So 100 plus 100 equals what?
AB: Hmm. How 'bout...….2? 2! I need more quarters.  (She's finally allowed to play with money after the Quarter Swallowing Incident of 2018. I watch like a hawk the entire time.)

Good luck to Kelley the math teacher!

The sellers left their hot tub. It's been in three states and Cuba so it's a very well-traveled hot tub. Annabelle will jump in the deep end of the pool without a lifejacket but she insists on wearing a lifejacket in the hot tub. She likes to pretend she's a baby sea turtle or baby lobster and I'm the mom so it's a real stretch of the imagination for me. 
Not to be left out of the goings-on, L&L insist on showing up every time there's an open can of paint. 

No matter how many times I remove them from the room they always manage to sneak their way back in. If I had a quarter for every time I've said, "Linus George, you leave that alone! Lucille Barbara, I told you not to stick your nose there!" I could pay for a professional painter. I've been so worried about them tracking paint but I'm the one who made the worst paint stain. I had a quarter-sized circle on dark green paint on a paint chip while I painted grass on the mural in Sesame's room. I put it on a shelf while I got AB a snack and when I came back, the fan had blown it onto the floor with the paint side down. Naturally, she has a light rug in her room. I've used 5 products but cannot get it off. All I did was make the stain MUCH worse. An area rug wasn't in my original decor plans but it is now! 

Yesterday Annabelle said, "Mama is the most important thing to me." She requires a lot of attention and is always needing a listening ear to discuss tsumtsums or her latest idea for pillow forts, but I think I'll keep her around for a while longer.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

first report from the red brick house

tap tap 

Is this thing on?

In case you're wondering how few brain cells I have left, I told Christopher we needed to put up the "hag flanger." I was trying to say we needed to put the flag up and make our house more patriotic. 

This move has been A LOT. I expected it to go smoothly given the number of times we've moved, the fact that we were doing an in-town move, and the two-week overlap between getting in the new house but still having the old house. Oh, how the overly confident movers fall. The house wasn't 100% set in stone until the week before the move so we hadn't packed everything. The landlord decided moving week was the time to send workers over to do work we requested done in October. Linus got out when the roofers came by to give an estimate immediately after I said they were welcome to come in, but the cats couldn't get out. Linus bolted for freedom the minute the door opened and the guys stood there watching me chase him down and never offered to help. AB was well behaved for the most part, but it's not realistic to expect her to take endless drives back and forth between the houses day after day when most of her entertainment was packed up. Most of my mom friends work so I had very few options for childcare. It was so hard to do all the packing, keep two houses semi-organized and be a mom. We had to repaint rooms since the landlords suddenly decided they cared about how the house looked. We have so much more stuff than I expected. I thought I had gotten rid of a good amount, but there's nothing like seeing all your belongings strewn about and piled in boxes to make you consider becoming a minimalist. 

On the day of the closing, we did a final walkthrough of the house. The sellers were here which was both nice and very awkward. It was so weird to be in their current home/our future home at the same time. They were so nice and the lady kept talking about how much she loved the house. She kept tearing up and I all but apologized for taking it away from her. She had tears when she gave me the keys and I offered to let her keep one as a keepsake. I told her I understood how she felt because I ADORED our New York home and was offended anyone else was living there. I kept saying we'll take good care of her house. By the time we got to the office to sign the papers, she was full out crying. It was sweet knowing we were moving into a home that had so many wonderful memories for another family.
I am in love with the living room windows.

We hired a moving company to move the refrigerator and large furniture. The move got off to a slow start because boss Jazzy's car died. All five men gathered around the hood of the car to diagnose the problem. I moved my car so they could jump it and said I'd leave the keys in the ignition so they could turn the car on or off as needed. One of the guys looked at me like a professor sharing great knowledge and said, "We need your car on to jump his car." You don't say. I didn't go to automotive school but I do know that much. The last thing they put in the moving truck was AB's playhouse. They were all gathered in one corner so I asked what the problem was, thinking maybe a nail was sticking out. Nope. It was an unidentifiable bug and they didn't want to go near it. I marched myself over there and swatted the bug off. Once again, a woman saved the day. No little black bug should be holding up production. When we got to the new house after lunch, it was over 100 degrees. I cannot tell you the number of times I apologized to the movers for having to move our stuff in the heat. Did they want a drink? Did they want me to set up a fan? I'm so sorry the sun is so hot. If I could, I'd take the humidity away for all our sakes. I should have stopped apologizing and started remembering that we were paying them good money.

Come to find out, the heat wasn't all the fault of the sun. The air conditioner had stopped working. It's a high tech Nest thermostat situation and it kept flashing E73. My brief research said to check the drip pan (didn't know where that was), restart the HVAC fuse (didn't know where that was) and check the breaker box (didn't know where that was). The website said several times that "the thermostats tend to overheat and fail in the summer." WHY WOULD AN AC DEVICE TEND TO OVERHEAT? They have literally one job and they can't do it without overheating? I was not happy. Jazzy's guys helped me find the various breakers and we got it working for a few hours. It stopped again later than night and we called the HVAC man who charged out the wazoo because it was after hours. We couldn't get it repaired for two more days. Welcome to homeownership!
I'm so glad Annabelle offered to help me unpack instead of lounging on the new couch and watching a show.

After nearly two weeks juggling both houses, we did the final walkthrough at the old house. I told Christopher he needed to do it alone so I didn't say something snarky or unkind to the landlord. She's a nice person, but a terrible landlord. This town is small enough I knew I might run into her at any point and I don't want negative words on my conscience. Turns out she goes to the same church as us so now I'm very glad I didn't go. I saw her daughters on Sunday. The walkthrough was on a Wednesday and painters were going in the next day to paint over the mold on several ceilings so she could show it on Friday. I could have said A LOT about that. I wanted to leave a hidden letter for future owners telling them to run for their lives. 

Things are still in a state of upheaval here, but from the very first night, it has felt so much more like home than the old house ever did. There's a beautiful fenced in yard for Sesame to play in. The neighbors brought us muffins (I was sure they'd see our semi-hoarder status garage and ignore us forever) and we have a fireplace and mantle to decorate. The ac is back on so I think this place will work out just fine.