Tuesday, April 30, 2019

come to me with all your marriage conundrums

Yesterday was our 8th anniversary.

In years past, I prepared posts and facebook statuses days in advance and scheduled them for the 29th. I made sure everything was done on time. This year I meant to write something on Sunday afternoon but I took a nap instead. "Nap" is a generous way to put it. It was more like an experiment where AB tried to beat her personal record of how many times she can ask for a snack in 30 minutes. 

Our friends watched AB so we could go out to eat on Sunday. The restaurant we wanted to visit was closed so we enjoyed a calm and quiet dinner at a second restaurant. Yesterday, our anniversary, I cashed in a facial and massage gift certificate at the spa in the morning and got a haircut in the afternoon. It was a tough day of pampering and someone had to do it so I took one for the team. The lady doing the facial was sweet but she promoted their new procedure for the removal of extra-fine facial hair a little too much. She turned the spotlight directly on my face and said, "Yeah, I think you'd really like that procedure. You're a great candidate." Just's the sort of self-esteem building comment I was hoping to hear!

In honor of our 8 years together, I'd like to share some spiritual lessons marriage tips and tricks. I encourage you to file these notes away for your time of need.

1. Nag, nag, nag. As I said last week if I nag suggest Christopher start a new hobby for long enough he just might do it. I've tried this leaky faucet method in other areas without success, but I'll keep at it.

2. Find a way to live in (somewhat) peace and harmony when your hobby is your spouse's fear. Christopher has a sewing needle/pin phobia. He HATES them. This presents a problem since I use pins and needles frequently. I like to do cross stitch when we watch a show at night or in the car and he is truly horrified when I drop a needle and can't find it. I am much more laid back it. I always usually find the needle and if I don't, we don't have a toddler in the house who will find and eat it. It's not like it stands straight up by itself, waiting for an unfortunate soul to step on it and die. When Mom and Elizabeth were here, one of them was doing some mending and a stray needle was on the floor. I made sure he knew it WAS NOT MY FAULT. I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. DO NOT BLAME ME FOR THE STRAY NEEDLE.

3. Make purchases "for him" that you enjoy. If you, like me, are married to someone who hates confetti, I can point you in the direction of a company that makes a confetti bomb card. I can't guarantee that it will explode like you hoped and dreamed but please order one for yourself and let me know how it goes. I got him the Father's Day confetti card box bomb and stalked the mailbox until it came. I don't think there's ever been a card I was happier to see. It was a flop but the anticipation of an exploding box of confetti brought me so much joy I might order another for this Father's Day. Again, let's be clear that while the card was for him, the entire purchase of said card was for my entertainment. 

4. Find common ground in education. Christopher is obsessed deeply invested in BBC news. He's constantly checking their app and listen to their radio station. I listen to the less globally enlightening but BY FAR more entertaining BigBoo Cast. When I want to tell him something I heard on the podcast, I add little more credibility to what I'm about to share with him by saying, "Today on the BBC I heard..." He doesn't know which BBC I'm talking about but in case it's his version of the BBC, he pays a little more attention. 

5. Try to fill in gaps in each other's knowledge. Closely related to number 4, any conversation along the lines of "Did you read the article on ozone layering and how it is affecting the planetary protection of the earth?" usually end with me replying in the negative. But he never knows when Joann's is having their special 70% off holiday clearance sale so it evens out.

6. They say "Don't let the sun go down on your anger." but that's not always possible. Sometimes you're angry when the sun comes up because your husband has set alarms to go off every 10-15 from 5 o'clock in the morning to 6:30. I wish I was exaggerating but I looked at his alarms last night and I am not. Use the time before you fall asleep to plan how hard you'll whack him with pillows when he doesn't hear the alarms, or remind him that there's a guest bed right down the hall and a couch in the living room if he insists on so many alarms at such an ungodly hour.

I hope a few of these tips work for you. My 2,921 days of marriage make me qualified to speak on the topic. Christopher is still my favorite husband I've ever had so it's worked out well for me.

I finally made a cross stitch portrait for us. Only three needles were dropped in the making of this project and all three were retrieved. 

Friday, April 26, 2019

end of the week updates

Update 1- My life of high crime is quickly escalating. When we were at Jimmy Carter's boyhood home last weekend, I picked a few weeds and made a little bouquet. Christopher showed us how to get nectar from a honeysuckle plant. It was all very innocent until Kevin the tour guide rode over in his motorized scooter to say picking flowers on national historic sites is a federal violation. I dropped my bouquet behind my back so he wouldn't see how much I picked and fine me per weed.

This morning I went to Fred's Super Dollar store to return an air pump. As an aside, Fred's Super Dollar is not an accurate name. If I see "dollar store" on a sign I expect everything in the store to be a dollar. Don't be throwing "dollar store" around when you're selling a pack of socks for $7.50. That's false advertising and technically every store is a dollar store. I told the cashier the pump wasn't inflating our new pool and gave her the receipt. I didn't know the receipt was from a different trip to the fake dollar store and didn't have the pump on it. She said I could return it without the receipt for store credit. She kept trying to beep the box but the register wasn't accepting it. Low and behold I was trying to return the air pump I got at Walmart and not the one from Fred's. She gave me a look that said she was on to me with my wrong receipt and product from a different store. I slunk out like someone tangled up in a money laundering deal gone awry.

Update 2- The mouse situation. Last week Rick the exterminator came by to spray the house for cockroaches. His boss, Don, came by on Wednesday to inspect the house. I told him about the mouse in my bed and he said, "Oh, it was probably a little ol' field mouse. They're smaller than regular mice and you'll see them all around. It wasn't a regular mouse." I DON'T CARE WHAT TYPE OF MOUSE IT WAS. Just give me all the traps and get them out of my house. I asked if he has a spray for frogs.
 I've been asking that same question for 15 months now and never gotten a good answer but I'll keep trying. He said, "Little tree frogs don't do any damage. They're really great 'cause they keep the bugs away." They don't do that great a job since we had to hire Don to get the bugs out.
I have made it a goal to create a frog repellent before we leave the state of Georgia. It will be the legacy I leave behind. If doctors can perform face transplants I don't understand why no one can keep frogs out of my house. 

Update 3- Apparently I've become invested in superhero movies. I didn't think I was a superhero person. I watched Spider Man growing up but never cared about the Hulk or Batman or anyone else. 
Since getting married I've seen several superhero movies. I've rolled my eyes through many a scene and explanation of Marvel vs. DC Comics blahblahblah. I don't understand their different worlds or languages and the need for 20 minute long scenes of a city being destroyed. It happens in every movie and I think it's time they simmer down with the throwing of cars.


Along the way, I've become a fan of Captain America. (I also enjoy Thor but he makes me feel bad about my hair.) Christopher got me a Captain America shirt and I really like it, but every time I wear it I feel like I'm two steps away from buying tickets to ComicCon. Annabelle had a matching shirt and it made me so happy.
I wore it to the doctor when AB had her one-year appointment and the male nurse looked at it and said, "That's the best superhero right there." I replied, "Thank you." THANK YOU? What kind of answer was that? Did I think I was the creator of Captain America?  

I blame it on my new white hairs and sanity going out the window, but I now have lots of opinions on several superheroes. I gave a lengthy speech of Dad and Christopher about my dislike of Black Widow and how I think she doesn't deserve to be in a superhero movie. As far as I'm concerned, the only things super about her is she's super annoying. The new Avengers movie is coming out and I heard a rumor that one of the characters dies. I'm very concerned it might be Captain America or Thor. I've barely recovered from Matthew dying in Downton Abbey and I might not be able to handle another death of a fictitious character. 

If someone creates Frog Slayer, you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be his biggest fan.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

it was one of THOSE days

I had perfectly timed out plans yesterday afternoon. We would go to the dentist at 3:15, come home an hour later and I'd do my blog before supper.

The best laid plans crumble into the dust.

We didn't see the dentist until after we had waited for over an hour. When I finally got to the room I sat in the chair waiting for another 45 minutes. Christopher and AB got their cleanings but the dentist said I "wasn't on the right schedule" for cleaning. I'm not sure how telling the receptionist ''I'd like to schedule a cleaning" was translated to "let's put her down for the dentist will look at her teeth for 60 seconds" but it did. The exam room had a tv so I learned that wine and vegetables are the new wine and cheese and that Zac Efron has a fitness app so it wasn't all a waste. (Kidding. It was a waste of time.) I got home almost 4 hours after I left and never a blog post was written.

Speaking of plans crumbling to the dust, Easter was NOT successful. Someone should have sent me this message when I got out of bed.
It's wasn't that I got out on the wrong side of the bed. It was more like the wrong side of the world. Let's go with wrong side of the universe. It was beyond world.

First of all, the dress I was wearing and feeling pretty good about made AB say, "I can't tell if you're wearing pajamas or not." There's a reason she isn't in charge of her wardrobe. I went to get the milk out of the refrigerator and a can of coke burst open on the floor. The cats could not believe their good fortune and licked it up like nobody's business.

I wore the pajama dress to church because I didn't have anything else ironed. I didn't realize I had forgotten to put my little shorts underneath until Annabelle stuck her arm all the way up to my underwear in front of a crowd. Obviously we need to find a new church but we don't love this one anyway so it's not too much of a hardship.
Less than 5 minutes into the service I started crying and had to go sit in the car. Christopher went back in to get Dad and Annabelle so we could leave. I hated that they had to miss church because I couldn't hold myself together. 

We were having company for dinner so I decided to make bread. I've made this recipe several times before with no issues. I put it in the oven right on time but soon smelled burning plastic. I had accidentally used parchment paper that can't get hotter than 400*. The oven was at 450*. The parchment paper melted to the bottom and sides of the bread and the kitchen smelled like plastic. Shortly after that a towel got stuck under a pan on the stove and started to burn. The lightbulb in the bathroom went out. The air conditioning wasn't working. Linus escaped the house three times. I've blocked the other bad things from my mind. Literally everything I touched burnt, broke or stopped working.

We had a nice dinner and games with our friends. For a few hours things went well. It was our first meal at the farmhouse table Christopher made us. I love it so much. I started campaigning for him to take up woodworking seven years ago so I could have a new table and he finally got around to it. Dreams do come true if you bug your spouse long enough! We still had the old table and chairs in the kitchen along with the new so we could have sat a small army of 18 guests.

I thought I was past the worst the day could offer but oh no! Once again I was mistaken. As I was moving blankets to get in bed, I saw a mouse. A MOUSE IN MY BED. It was a baby but still. A MOUSE IN MY BED. I seldom get truly mad, but I was mad. I marched out to the living room holding the blanket with the mouse and demanded that we move. I've had frogs in the bathroom, lizards under my beloved hutch, giant cockroaches in every room and now a mouse in my bedroom. It was too much. A BRIDGE TOO FAR. I seriously considered leaving my family at home and getting a hotel room but with my luck all the hotels would have been full.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. May your Reeses cups been sweet and your house free of rodents.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

I hope the next ticket I get won't be from the police

When we last spoke, I was patting myself on the back for having nary a blemish upon my criminal records. 

Pride goeth before a fall because the very next day I accidentally stole a bottle of rosehip oil from TJMaxx. 

I had looked at multiple bottles and couldn't find the particular one I had decided on. After buying things I didn't need, I got into the car, reached into my purse for gum and saw the bottle of oil I had been looking for. I wasn't going to drive away with it, but I wasn't sure how to sneak back in the store without looking suspicious. It was one of the few times I've wished I had Annabelle with me during a leisurely shopping trip because it would have been easier to say she carried out. Yes, I wanted to blame my child! It would have been so much easier than the current situation I found myself in which was I had put the bottle in my open purse instead of the cart. I've been shopping on my own for decades but suddenly I don't know the proper place for unbought items? Who would buy that story? I slunk in like the criminal I was and pretended to be looking for my keys while I stuck the bottle back on the shelf. I'm sure it was all caught on security camera and it will follow me around for the rest of my life along with my spot on the Walmart watch list. 

Yesterday morning we went to a Native American festival/powwow. We went with our friends and she suggested we go Friday while the school kids were in school. What we failed to consider was the school kids being in school meant the school kids would be at the same park, going to the same powwow as us. We didn't realize this until it took us 30 minutes to get through the front gate when it normally takes 4 minutes. 

I hadn't been to an indian festival in several years and learned quite a bit. I learned that, according to one man knowledgable on the topic, the terms indian and native American can be used interchangeably without offending the people of that culture. Annabelle enjoyed seeing how the indians made something useful from each part of the animal they had hunted. Every time someone walked by dressed in traditional garb, she'd grab my hand and loudly say, "THOSE INDIANS ARE SO SCARY." That's not the kind of thing you want to be broadcasted when more than half the people there were indians. 

The ballet recital season is really ramping up. We have extra rehearsals and are constantly being asked to spend money on photos, ads, etc. Today was the first day to buy tickets. Ticket sales started at 9:45 and when we showed up for the 10:05 rehearsal, parents had already been in line for more than 30 minutes. A lady walked around, assigning numbers for purchasing tickets. Everyone was comparing numbers to see would get their tickets soonest. Some people waited over an hour for tickets to a kids recital. You would have thought it was Black Friday. The seasoned moms studied the seating chart like it was a textbook. All us new moms looked at each other and said it was ridiculous. At this point, we're more invested in keeping our girls from getting runs in their tights than getting seats A1-12. It's not a big theater and no matter where you sit you can see the stage. I want a good seat but not at the expense of being trampled by over-dedicated dance moms. 

I'm pleased to report that I paid good American cash money for the tickets. None were accidentally stolen. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

needless to say, I would not do well in prison

I just returned from a trip downtown where I almost died. 

That's a little dramatic but welcome to my life!
I got lost getting there because I took what I thought would be a shortcut. It was not. Instead, it was a lengthy trip through the shadiest parts of town. A homeless and overly enthusiastic man came up to the car as soon as I parked and kept knocking on my window. I don't mind giving to the homeless, but I don't appreciate when they're knocking on my window asking for money and I have to pretend that I can't roll down the window because it's broken. I mimed that the window was broken and I didn't have extra cash for several long minutes until he went to bother someone else on the other side of my car. I watched like a hawk until he moved then grabbed my child and my purse and dashed into the building. I made sure my favorite lipgloss was in my purse so I'd still have it in case my car was stolen while we were in the office. I need my lips to look good when answering police questions!

I was downtown filing paperwork because I am now a working woman. I say working in the loosest definition of the word. I got a VERY parttime job working at a make-your-own wooden sign studio. It fills the creative void in my life and usually I work when Annabelle is at school so I don't miss out on much time with her. It's only a few hours a month, about 15, but I feel extremely professional. I haven't made money in so long I feel like a millionaire. 

Actual footage of me leaving the studio.
The studio sells wine and beer during the night classes so I had to get an alcohol distribution license. Practically overnight I've become a working woman and a bartender which is not something I could have predicted at the beginning of the year.

The city had to do a background check and the results came back within three weeks. The foster care people also needed to do a background check and even though we submitted it in January, we've heard nothing but crickets. They're doing a very thorough check. I have a squeaky clean record so I'm pretty sure they won't find anything, but who knows what might pop up. Maybe they found out about the ONE time I accidentally walked in the out door at the grocery store. I'm such a rule follower I had to go back out the door and walk in the correct door. Maybe they found out that I'm almost on the Walmart watch list. I was told by a sale associate at Walmart that I can only return one more item without a receipt before I'm put on their watch list. I asked what that was and she said they'll watch me closely and not let me return anything. She could have been kidding but she was VERY serious and frankly, I don't want to find out the hard way that she was being serious. I felt like a criminal and I didn't even do anything wrong! If I go to prison I'll find a way to keep blogging about life on the inside.

The other big news around here is that for 48 hours we had a very small pet turtle. I found him while walking around the pond while Annabelle was at school. I walked by it at first because I thought it was a plastic toy turtle, but when I picked it up it wiggled its feet in protest. Back in the day, I would have thrown the turtle back into the pond, but I knew AB would like it so I brought it home. Motherhood makes you do weird things. Had there been a sign saying not to bring turtles home I would have left it but since I wasn't breaking any rules, off I drove with the turtle in a plastic container. I used some of my precious alone time making a suitable habitat for the turtle. I don't know much about turtles beyond what I picked up from the turtles in Finding Nemo, which means I know little to nothing. But I gave him some water, rocks and twigs and in short, created nothing less than a turtle heaven. 

I was so excited to Annabelle to see him when she got home. I didn't have time to give a "treat him with gentleness" speech before she picked him up and waved him around. I don't doubt that he got seasick. As they sing in The Band Perry song, he was the centerpiece of her obsession for the next couple of days. She changed the water numerous times, let him wander a few inches from his home and tried to feed him fish food. We tried a few names but nothing stuck until the name Gluten Free. She said, "It's shell looks kind of like pizza, the way it goes up on the edges. But not a regular pizza crust. Like, a gluten free crust." 
I didn't want to keep Gluten Free as the cats and Martin VanBuren the fish keep me plenty busy (not to mention the various diseases he might be carrying), but he was fun for a few days. We were going to bring him back to his pond but he wandered off into the yard, never to be seen again.
I hope "lost poor, innocent baby turtle" doesn't end up on my permanent record. That and the Walmart watch list would really push me over the edge into criminal activity.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

let's celebrate Sesame

Our month of celebrating Annabelle's birthday is finally wrapping up.
Christopher's birthday job every year is getting the balloons and he never disappoints. She couldn't believe how many he got. Go big or go home is his motto when it comes to buying things. 
Mom and Elizabeth were here for the last week and we did our final birthday celebration on AB's actual birthday. The birthday person always picks whatever fancy plate they want and she chose a Christmas plate. Given that she's on the 18th consecutive month of listening to Christmas music at night it was a choice I should have predicted. Our sweet little friend Lana came over for a special birthday supper. It's fun to give her bigger parties but it was really nice to have a quiet day to visit and play together.
Special birthday pedicure
The next day we went to a plantation an hour and a half away to take birthday pictures. It did not go as planned. The shoes we brought hurt Annabelle's feet. Neither pack of special balloons I bought had strings. When I did get a confetti balloon blown up, it burst and flung confetti all over the pristine garden. Elizabeth swung her arm and accidentally gave Annabelle a bloody lip. We were not off to a good start. 
I feel you, sister.
A few of the 210 pictures I took turned out well. Look how grown up she is. When did this happen?
Three days ago she looked like this and now she looks like she's about to a teenager. 

I always have a month week of mourning before Annabelle's birthdays. This year she joined me in crying. ''But I don't wanna turn five, Mama! I wanna stay 4 years old!" I had to really talk up how great being five will be. I don't love how fast she's growing but I love her and plan on keeping her around for the next 105 years.