Wedding Memories

My third son is getting married this weekend and it is stirring up a lot of memories, particularly of Himself and my marriage 28 years ago.

#3 is feeling the stress. The DJ backed out, so #2 is working up a playlist. Thank goodness for brothers who know stuff. Things are getting forgotten to ask others, and feelings are being hurt and it’s all a bunch of nonsense and poor fella doesn’t need that right now. He calls a couple of times a day and either whines or vents and I just let him.

I can’t really say I know what he is experiencing. Our wedding was decidedly low-key, low-budget, low-everything. The strongest memory I have (and honestly I still resent it) is of my father complaining loudly and to everyone about how the damn thing cost $500 and he’da preferred if we’da just eloped and been done with it. I would have liked a fancier wedding, but everyone who came said the one we had suited us to a T. Also, a certain person who had a $150K wedding (mind you, in 1985, too) with 2000 guests was kind of impressed with ours, that it was so intimate and interesting that we actually KNEW all the guests.

Another memory I have was of a friend (who had never been to a wedding before) offering to bring a couple of bags of chips and a crock pot of hot dip for the reception. It was sweet of him…and I explained the concept of a catered affair. Granted, it wasn’t a FANCY catered affair, just a cake, punch, and some nibbles, but nonetheless, not a chips-and-dip sort of thing either.

We had very little stress leading up to it. Maybe some nerves about the whole “living with another person who sleeps in the same bed”, but I was looking forward to that part, really. As for the actual ceremony and stuff…it was all pretty casual. No bridemaids/personalities to contend with, or prissy wedding planner, or prima-donna florist. When Mom and i went looking for a florist, the first one didn’t give us the time of day, just threw down a book and said ‘pick one of these’, so we went elsewhere, to an old business downtown. The man there was sweet and wonderful. I said “I want daisies” and he said “I can do that!”

The music was provided by 2 friends who were accomplished guitarists. I said “play something classical sounding” and they did, and that was that. No Pachebel, no Bach, no insert-baroque-composer. Just John and Ed, 2 electric guitars and their amplifiers, making beautiful music from scratch.

The reception was just people standing around, having cake and punch, and Himself and me twitching and ready to leave for the honeymoon of a week at the lake, in a borrowed lake house. Which turned out to be an unairconditioned geodesic dome with an outdoor shower. It was…special. Un airconditioned is fine in…say…November. This, however, was late July and the honeymoon was cut short by several days so we could get to our cool apartment with the indoor plumbing.

#3’s wedding is a bit more involved, and that’s ok! What they’re planning is very THEM, with hay bales and animals and country music and a bonfire later in the night. There are bridesmaids (she has more friends than I did) and groomsmen (he has several brothers as well as friends), and a father-of-the-bride who has a strong give-the-bride-what-she-wants sort of ethic.  Himself would be all about that too, if he had a daughter. Since he doesn’t, that gets thrown onto me. What a hardship.

However, #3 is feeling more stress than I did. He wants to make sure he gets it right, does what he is supposed to, and it all turns out the way his sweetheart wants it to. I am doing my very level best to keep from adding to any of his stress, when he calls to vent or whine or unload whatever he is needing to unload. We never mention money. I don’t want him thinking of that. I certainly don’t want to repeat what I went through, feeling guilty over $500…I still resent that. You would think I’d be over that, 28 years later, but it still rankles.

Anyway. I leave tomorrow morning, to head over to that part of the country. Her dress needs a last final fitting, in case her weight has fluctuated, and I want to allow enough time to do that. He wants cobblers instead of cake for his Groom’s Cake, to be served at the rehearsal dinner, so those need to be made. Peach, Blueberry, and Blackberry…summer fruits. Mom is letting me use their house for a Sunday brunch for the out-of-towners, and the stuff needs to be made for that- breakfast casserole, cheese grits, muffins and fruit salad.  Groomsmen’s outfits need to be ironed (stonewashed jeans, white oxford cloth shirts, navy vests), boots need to be bought for #4…all the groomsmen are to wear boots…initially there was a bit of a balk at buying all these boots but I said phooey on that…we’re getting them boots because I want her wedding to be precisely the way she visioned it, and if boots are in the picture, then boots it will be.

The hard part is fitting all that stuff in my car. Some of it will have to come with Himself and his truck on Friday. Mainly 10 old quilts, to cover the haybales people will be sitting on. Can you picture that? Rows of haybales, covered with many soft quilts, each one different from the rest. So colorful!  I am packing a teeny camera and will take pictures to show…

And you know, I am completely ok with him getting married. They suit each other. There will be times when they don’t get along, aren’t there always? But I think they both have it in them to work it out and be stronger for it. I know he is excited about starting his own family, his own place to live that’s Real, and not some bachelor pad temporary kind of thing. He talks about looking forward to waking up with someone, having breakfast together, doing their thing, dinner in the evening, all that. I know what he means. I looked forward to that as well, when I was getting married.

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I can’t pretend to be a teenager anymore

So…my third son is getting married next Saturday. It will also be his 23rd birthday, which means there will never be a decent excuse for him to forget it! It is also Himself’s and my 28th wedding anniversary, which means I will never have an excuse to forget theirs!

I think #3 is feeling some nerves, as he calls nearly every day. I used to have to call him to make sure he wasn’t decomposing in a ditch somewhere, only identifiable by dental records, or sold into slavery to a pimp in Thailand (he is a small and very cute person, especially when he was younger, and I worried about that). No issues with that now, as I get calls for all sorts of reasons. I am not complaining, it is nice to be needed by one’s almost-23 year old son.

Anyway, I think we’re ready. They requested quilts to cover the bales of hay people will use for seating, and I am making a stack. I think it is a precious idea and will be very colorful, as well as fitting for their country wedding with mason jars of flowers and groomsmen’s boutinneirs bootineers flower things they wear made of blue shotgun shells holding the flowers. How cute is that idea?

Philosophically I’m getting there. Himself and i have long said that #3 would be the first one to get married. He’s been agitating about getting married since he was 20, and gave up The Wild Ways Of His Youth. Funny how that happened, like someone flipped a switch and he set all that aside and got smart. But he has always been like that, making a decision and acting on it right away, no looking back.

The idea that we will have a married child is kind of like stepping into another Phase Of Life. As long as the kids are all single, it is easy to pretend I am young. With a married kid, you can’t pretend that anymore. Now you’re solidly middle aged leaning toward AARP membership. Himself turned 50 last January, so he is already getting offers for membership. That’s really funny when you’re on the south side of it, but I am sure once I get offers, and start having hot flashes and inexplicable mood swings (no comments from the peanut gallery, please. I said INEXPLICABLE) it will no longer be amusing. Gray hair becomes gray hair and not interesting highlight. That swimsuit with the skirt is…age appropriate.

There’s another euphemism….Age appropriate. Usually applied to older women with less-than-perfect bodies (cellulite, sun damage, spider veins, et al), who shop at age appropriate places like The Women’s Department in Belk or maybe Talbot’s (if they’re thin enough). Well, my swimsuit has graduated from Modest to Age Appropriate. It’s the same suit it has always been,just applied differently.

Anyway, next up: grandkids. I am more ready for that than the AARP membership invitation. They seem more fun and my friends who have them are always ranting about how fabulous it is to be able to hand a kid back when they get tedious, which according to the friends, the kids never do because you’re not in charge of discipline. Oh, to be able to play with kids and feed them fun crap then hand them back. I can’t wait! And to make impractical clothes like a John Deere tractor shirt with a camo tutu sewn to the bottom! I’ve been thinking about this for a while, can you tell?

Anyway, I leave for Alabama and wedding preparations in a couple of days. There will be one last fitting for the dress, in case nerves have affected her size, a rehearsal dinner at an Italian place, folks coming from out of town, and all sorts of good stuff. Wish us luck!

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Youth is wasted on the young.

I remember being young. Do you? Sometimes I still think I am. i mean, I FEEL young. The mind works well (most of the time), the digestive system doesn’t complain too much about overindulgence (thanks to pharmaceuticals), the heart beats, the arms and legs do what they are meant to do. Seems pretty good, most of the time.

Then, I try to do something I did ALL THE TIME when I was younger, like 20’s and 30’s. I try to dig  hole. You would think digging a hole would be nothing, in our sandy loamy soil. Theoretically it’s a breeze. Nothing is easier to dig than sandy loam. Remember digging in a sandbox? It’s like that. Swoosh goes the shovel and 3 minutes later you have this great big hole suitable for nearly everything that wants planting.

Only, remember those pine trees? Pine trees have roots, and even after the tree is gone and the stump is ground, the roots are still there. And they are fairly shallow roots, a network all over the ground about 6-8 inches deep. big ones, too, as big around as a broom handle and about as hard as well.

No big deal, I thought. I will have the loppers handy and will cut them as they appear.

Ha.

If only.

It took a solid hour. Yes. An  HOUR. To dig a hole half the size of what was needed, and it required the use of a small trowel to dig around the roots enough to get to the point where they could be cut. It still is too small, that hole. Also, the one part of my body not mentioned above is my back.

Several years ago my left hip was replaced with a shiny fancy titanium and stainless steel one, much improved over the original misshapen and cartilage-free model. Which was great, less pain, more mobility, all that. But it also straightened out my pelvis which for the previous 40 years was cocked at an angle, but that meant my spine grew accustomed to the angle and now that it is straight the spine part is a bit wack. The point of this is to say that my back resents digging.

after digging 2 small holes and attempting one large on and only getting half of it done, my old, old, far-older-than-the-rest-of-my-body lower back did more than just complain a bit. I was prepared for some complaints, but not this.

Nausea, tears in my eyes from frustration, and deep, deep resentment for perceived infirmity is kind of overwhelming at the moment.

I have looked into all sorts of treatments for the wack back, and physical therapists and orthopedists have said that yes, it can be fixed, with about 5 years of intense physical therapy and a whole lot of pain. Since my insurance only covers 20 PT sessions, that is pretty much out of the question.

There will also be gentle recriminations from Himself about exceeding my limitations, admonitions to allow someone else to do it, stuff like that.

I resent and despise limitations. I grew up in a family that didn’t allow them. Pain was meant to be plowed through until it was conquered. Giving up due to it was a character weakness. And yet, if that hole is returned to, it will result in an inability to function for days afterward, in any capacity. So. The hole will have to wait until stronger backs can dig it.

It is hard, being that person who needs help.  Oh sure, there is someone I can pay to dig holes, and am happy to do it, but…I want the holes NOW, not whenever he can get here to do it!  It feels like I am that Southern Woman who calls herself a gardener because she knows where to point. Gardeners are supposed to have dirt under their nails and thorn scratches and sweat. I want to be able to say I DID THIS. Granted with the garden pictured below, someone was paid to build those beds, but by golly I put the plants in the ground, spread the mulch, watered, fertilized, picked off bugs, and all that. But with digging holes? I want to dig  the hole. and I can’t, anymore.

The good news is, the garden is finished. The picket fence is up. The hole is meant for a rose (wrong time to transplant, but I have done it in the Summer before and while it means a bit of extra work, isn’t impossible) on the fence, along with a whole bunch of other lovely flowers, to fulfill that White Picket Fence With Flowers dream.

Outside

Outside

DSC_0557

 

Wouldn’t it be great, though, to have the energy of the 20 year old with the wisdom of now? I was a fool back then, a time-wasting not-very-bright-about-life fool.  But y’know, if someone my age tried to tell me when I was 20 ANYTHING at all, I would not have listened. Just about the only thing I did right at 20 was meet Himself.

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More boring stuff about the house renovations

Well, the house is mostly done, except for the gutters. Those guys are supposed to be out sometime maybe today or tomorrow. They were here yesterday with Mark (the contractor) assessing the situation and figuring things out.

I still can’t really comprehend how these repair/fixit/etc guys do things. They always seem to be working on Some Other Job. Will I ever be That Other Job? I hear them complaining about the lack of work these days, and I think “I’m offering work, why aren’t you here?” When I get a job, sewing or whatever, I tell the person if there’s a waiting list, where they are on it, and give them a date when their order will be done. I don’t say “Sure! I’ll do it!” then think “someday, when I get to it”

To his credit, Mark has been here nearly every day, checking things out, cleaning up, and letting me know the time situation with the next project.

Also, after watching home improvement shows, and seeing things like “six months later” I don’t feel horrible about it. It is a month later, and they’re nearly done.

Up next: landscaping.  Once the gutters are in, drain pipes will need to be installed, running underground from the gutters to the ditch across the front of the yard. When it rains here, it is serious about it, and there will be significant runoff. Unless I want a yard that is intermittently soggy and dry (which i don’t) drain pipes are necessary. It means scaling back a bit on the landscaping, but that’s ok. It is a compromise I am willing to make.

The front of the house will get the pretty bushes and flowers, and the stuff for the rest of the yard can be added in a bit at a time later on.  We have this area between the walkway from the driveway and the house that is about 15 feet wide and 60 feet long. I have imagined a perennial bed with lots and lots of lovely flowers…for years. We have been here 9 years and all that time I have imagined a big flower bed there. Now I am getting one.  The fun part has been picking out the flowers. The trees are all gone so it is sunny enough there to have the stuff I covet- purple coneflower, irises, bee balm, catmint, guara, liatris, all sorts of varied colors and shapes and sizes, all blooming at different times so there will be flowers from early Spring until frost (late November, around here) Oh, and “early Spring” is February. Jonquils bloom in January, so there’s that as well.

This whole project has been 9 years in the making. 7 years ago I started thinking we wouldn’t be here much longer, so time and money wasn’t much spent on the yard and garden. 3 months ago I started thinking maybe we would be here long enough to have some fun with the yard, and so it has been.

David is just about done with the vegetable garden. The beds are all built and filled, and all but 2 of them are planted. There are peppers and eggplant, squashes (pattypan for as soon as possible…I love tiny pattypan squashes skewered and grilled, and acorn for the Fall), 2 kinds of green beans, cilantro, garlic (I know….it’s a Fall plant thing, but it was sprouting in the fridge so why not), watermelons and cantaloupe. All so very optimistic. Everything is nicely mulched with well rotted oak leans and pine straw (raked up from the yard), and made lovely and colorful with big pots of portulaca and begonias, stolen from the patio (which is also getting a small makeover in the form of a good deep cleaning and rearranging). I feel so very….Mother Earth News…only it’s more like a Father God Blessing. I’m not much of an Earth Mother type, in spite of the mulch. plus I use Round-Up, which revokes the Earth Mother card faster than you can say “granola”. Now I have to keep an eye out for squash borers and bean beetles. Oh, also cucumbers,. I planted cucumbers. Forgot about those…While the garden is quite late getting in, relatively speaking, the growing season is happily long so there might be some largesse anyway.  Park Seed Co sent out an email hawking their line of Fall and Winter seeds, and that has the garden juices fizzing a bit as well.

Because I don’t yet have before-and-after pictures ready to show, here’s one of Himself and #4, driving a tank.

Himself, in the process of mashing a Volvo

Himself, in the process of mashing a Volvo

#4, finishing the job

#4, finishing the job

 

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My son (#2) and I are working on building a vegetable garden. Right now, he is doing the backbreaking stuff- stacking cinderblocks for the beds, filling them with layers of wheat straw, dirt, other fine things. He is being paid, yes, because it is hard work, callouses-on-the-hands type and all. I am, in turn, feeding him while he’s here, and giving him a productive way to get in a good workout. now and then he will come inside and flex his muscles to show what a fine specimen of manhood he is becoming. There is something more interesting and attractive about fitness acquired through hard work, than that found at a gym.  Himself had that same sort of fitness from working construction when we met.  #2 has complained about only getting sun on his back tho, and I suggested that he do everything backwards. He opined that working like that would be less efficient. As an engineering student, efficiency is paramount.

The good news is that I am going to, finally, have the vegetable garden of my dreams. I wrote about it recently so I will try to not repeat myself. However, here are some pictures,  including the previously published “before” shot.

Where I want to put a bunch of raised beds, a white picket fence, and a greenhouse

Where I want to put a bunch of raised beds, a white picket fence, and a greenhouse

 

Here are some current pictures:

 

 

Some finished, more to fill, several more to construct.

Some finished, more to fill, several more to construct.

Wheat straw, peatmoss, cow manure

Wheat straw, peatmoss, cow manure

24 cubic yards of topsoil, and a bunch of cinderblocks

24 cubic yards of topsoil, and a bunch of cinderblocks

Another view

Another view

 

Have you ever noticed that there is no one more optimistic than a gardener? You stick a seed in the ground, with visions of a bountiful harvest of all sorts of delicious fresh vegetables. I am imagining tiny summer squash, skewered and grilled with a mop of olive oil and chopped herbs. Yard-long beans, snapped and steamed with a pat of butter melted over and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. Bowls of fresh salad greens, roasted brussels sprouts tossed in balsamic vinegar, and next Spring, snow peas in a stir fry, English peas shelled and mixed in risotto,  arugula on a roast beef sandwich, sliced cucumbers pickled in white wine vinegar with a red onion, maybe even potatoes. I’ve never grown potatoes before, but love those tiny creamer potatoes from L&D Market.  Himself has requested sweet ‘taters, and #4 wants watermelons and cantaloupes. There will be many and varied peppers, from mild and pretty bells in many colors, to tiny and firey Thai things. I like to cook with peppers, make pepper sauce, dry them for addition to chili and all.

A greenhouse is in the works. a whole bunch of old windows was hijacked from Dad, but then he liberated them from a heap 18 years ago. The painter who was here instructed me on how to de- and re-glaze them, which would be the best way to clean up the metalwork, etc.  I am going to try to build the greenhouse for as little scratch as possible…..and still make it look pretty. Now that the painters are all done, I can set up under the portico (where it’s shady) and get to work. Sometime soon. heh.  #4 is always wanting to learn new things, maybe he can help!

One of the really nice things about all this work is getting outside. It is hot here. And humid. And hot. Right now the weather widget declares it’s 93F and sunny, so it feels like 98F. The humidity is “typical for June” which means it will either be raining by 4:00, or if it isn’t, the water will fall out of the sky, which is like rain only different.  I can’t explain how, but it is. Those who live in these conditions understand the difference.  So you are wondering “what’s so nice about getting out in that heat, anyway? Are you nuts or something?”  Well, it feels good. Really. On chronically achy persons, the heat just feels good. Oh sure, there is the unladylike sweating and subsequent aroma, but that’s why there’s soap. Also, have you ever noticed how much better the air conditioning feels when you’re hot from being outside? I know, that’s like hitting yourself with a hammer so it will feel good when you stop, except that this is more productive because eventually there will be food!

I remember many, many years ago, maybe 27 or so…it was not long after we married and Himself had graduated and got a Real Job. We lived out in the country, renting this failure of a house which had the sole bright spot of having a big sunny yard, and I put in a small garden. We had tomatoes, squash, eggplants, and peppers. It was nice having food like that, because we needed it. Himself’s job didn’t pay much at all, and I was pregnant and needed nutritious food. Somehow, God smiled on that garden and for the price of a few packs of seeds we had all the vegetables we could eat for many months. The garden now is more for fun that food, except that (hopefully) the food will be crazy fresh and delicious.

I remember the first time I had a fresh green pea from a garden…like moments fresh. I grew up on green peas, frozen ones that were cooked in a pot, and later in a microwave. I hated them, and developed the useful skill of swallowing an entire forkful without chewing. It is useful because now I take a big handful of pills every night, and can swallow them all at once without issues. Anyway, the fresh pea from the garden was a revelation. It was sweet, and green tasting, and aromatic in a gentle and unassuming way. I didn’t want to ruin them by over cooking or over seasoning, and wanted them to be happy. So, the first batch of English peas from the garden went into a creamy risotto, right at the end of cooking so they were warm without being cooked into some kind of flavor purgatory. It is still my favorite thing to do with fresh English peas. I will not freeze them, and only plant enough to have a cup or two, a couple of times a week, like a beautiful herb only little balls…you know what I mean. They go into things, rather than trying to stand on their own. Risottos, or tabbouleh, or some kind of cobbled together quinoa thing. Green peas are delicious with a grain, and some herbs, and maybe a bit of parmesan cheese or a drizzle of a grassy olive oil. Alone, they’re like…HI, I’M A PEA, REMEMBER ME? But in other stuff, they’re a rose tucked into a bouquet, or a pretty pillow on a fresh made bed, or blue toenail polish.

I am looking forward to next March, when there will be peas. Also, this November, for greens and brussells sprouts (another bane of my childhood, until I had them fresh and roasted with balsamic vinegar) and sweet potatoes and acorn squashes baked with butter and brown sugar and cinnamon.

Also, I am looking forward to sharing this stuff, either in recipes or with my kids. Because that’s what a garden is for!

 

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Summer

 

Summer Vacation has started. Yesterday was the last day of school…sort of. Really, Thursday was because yesterday was Honors Chapel and Clean Out The Locker and Wander Around Aimlessly While Grinning Because It Was The Last Day day. Plus it was a half day. Thursday after picking #4 up from school at 3, we went to Vandy’s (the local BBQ joint) for tea and fried pickles (just so you know, if you aren’t from around here, when one says “tea” they mean iced tea, especially this time of year. If you want hot tea you have to specify ‘hot tea’ and then sometimes explain to the wait-person that no, iced tea heated in a mug is not the same. However, this day it was most definitely iced tea, as it was about 90F. Also, in South Georgia, ‘tea’ automatically means ‘sweet tea’, which is very sweet indeed. I generally order “half and half tea”  which is half sweet, half unsweet, except at Vandy’s where I get ‘unsweet with a splash of sweet’ because their sweet tea could sub as pancake syrup.)

At 4, I took #4 to the theater, to see Godzilla. There we met 3 other boys from his school, and I offered to sit a couple of rows up, so as to minimize parental embarrassment, but they were all “Hi Mrs. #4’s Mom!” and seemed ok with it. Even #4 was “Oh Mom, you can sit with us” but I think that was so I could go refill the cokes and popcorn without them missing any of the movie, which was fine because I’d already seen it. now, probably I could have just dropped him off with the others, but one of them was a bit younger and his mom was happier knowing I was there. It would have been fine because about 10 others from the school showed up in a different group, all responsible people and they’d have kept the youngling safe…but, this way I got so play waitress and refill the bucket and cokes many times. Since I’d seen the movie already, no big deal. Plus it made me feel like the Cool Mom since they didn’t seem horrified by my presence.

Today, I got to sleep late. Until a luxurious and self indulgent 7am. I remember when Summer meant sleeping until 10 or 11. Now 7 seems REALLY late. But then, school year means getting up at 4:30 or 5, so  I guess 7 is pretty late.

Last night around 9, when it was just getting good and dark, I stepped outside on the back patio. The bricks were still warm from the day, and the humid air was as well, but not with the scorching heat of sunlight, just that ambient Southern heat, held in place by the humidity. Memories of Summers from my childhood came on….evenings spent playing flashlight tag, or hunting lightning bugs. Running into the house asking if it was OK to spend the night with the girl down the street…I always enjoyed that because her mother would make real pancakes with white flour and Aunt Jemima syrup. We didn’t use white flour at out house, or anything with sugar in it. Sometimes her mother would put chocolate chips in the pancakes, another thing that was forbidden. Sometimes she didn’t make pancakes and we had some kind of ridiculous cereal like Cocoa Puffs of Froot Loops…We didn’t even go down the cereal aisle in the store, let alone have stuff like that.

The warm patio bricks, and the music of peepers on the pond, the scent of honeysuckle and the funk from the swamp across the street, the screech of the kids 2 doors up, made me close my eyes and breath in deep. I remember starting my first “real” job 2 days after graduating from high school. I was working in the kitchen and dining room of an assisted living facility. It hit me about a week later that I would probably never again have Summer Vacation. No more of those long, lazy days spent by the pool (there was a neighborhood one), evenings with flashlights, and sleepovers ending with sugar overload.  For a long time I mourned the loss of that, but now, I guess it’s kind of back. Sure, there is more responsibility. Dinner still has to be cooked, laundry done, and for some reason I am actually excited about making more work for myself with this garden, but there is also a relaxation of time schedules.  No alarm clocks unless I want it. Breakfast is ‘whatever you fix for yourself”.

In about 2 weeks #4 will be leaving for camp, to learn shotgun skills and engineering skills and some other thing he signed up for and we don’t remember what it was, also whitewater rafting and zip-lining and swimming in a lake filled with leeches. When he comes home after that, a couple of days later (once the mud has been washed out of his ears and clothes) he will go to spend 6 weeks with Mom and Dad, honing his shotgun and riflery skills, learning blacksmithing and metalworking with his brother, and Dad, and probably doing some horseback riding. This also means it will just be Himself and myself in the house. The food bill will drop precipitously. Water consumption will as well. And probably electricity, as the gene for turning lights off seems to be missing from the Y chromosome.  It will be very quiet.

I will sit on the patio after dark (when the skeeters die down) with a cold libation, and listen to the frogs, cicadas, all those things that make a mockery of the “quiet of country life”, and dream about the future, the one where there’s grandchildren who sleep until 10 or 11 am, spend the day by the pool, and look forward to doing the same thing the next day. I will remember how, when I was 12, Summer Vacation was Forever, endlessly long and lovely.

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My house is Heidi Montag Part 2

Ok, so the guy came yesterday and gave us a bid on the work on the house, all nicely broken down into a long list of “needs doing”. There is a LOT of ‘needs doing’. Pretty much all of it needs doing, from replacing rotten wood, to scraping and painting and pressure washing (before the painting) even all those tedious paned windows. Yes. He is going to scrap and recaulk all the windows and squirt in foam here and there, and redo the fireplace chimbley (that what he called it but hey, he’s the one up there so I am not judging)where it’s trying to separate from the roof, including getting a sweep in there and capping it so the swifts will quit coming in, also putting on a new metal roof (more expensive than a normal shingled roof but warranted for 40 years), gutters, and sealing the bricks. I was thinking “ok this is going to take a couple of months” when he said “now, it’s going to take a while, maybe as long as 3 weeks” and I said “That long? well ok, I know it’s a lot of work.” When he handed me the estimate I thought “ok, maybe we will put off doing the patio for a couple of years.” But that’s ok. The house needs doing. The good news is that Sherwin Williams is having a 30% off sale on house paint, and we haven’t had much rain so the ground is nice and dry and will hold scaffolding ok.

David (#2 son) is working hard every day on prepping the back for the raised beds. The prep work is the hardest part, really, certainly the most tedious and least satisfying. Once that is done, though, the beds will go right in. Last post I said something about 6 cubic yards of dirt. Let me rephrase that. 24 cubic yards of topsoil are in 2 piles in the back yard. As well as a pile about half that of wood chips from the stump grinding, which will be used on the walkways between the beds. Today, some 450 cinderblocks for building the beds will be delivered. Saturday, 15 bales of wheatstraw will be picked up from TBM, 12 bales of peatmoss from Lowe’s, and I am doing a search for chicken and horse poo. Barn sweepings will work, because dadgum that black cow manure in bags is kinda pricey! I am going to make those layered types of beds, straw on the bottom, then dirt, then peat, then compost. Depending on what’s being planted, more straw on top. It helps keep the dirt from drying out and keeps tender plants a bit cooler.

I am in a holding pattern on the front yard. It needs doing, but it is difficult to think about right now. I don’t know a whole lot about planting shrubs, other than some need to go in in the Spring, and some in the Fall or Winter. It would be nice to have perrenial perineal  pereniel  darn it…you know…those flowers that come back every year like day lilies and rubeckia and such…in there as well,and right now is the time to plant them, but they don’t need to go in until after the shrubs so no…not yet there either. A plan needs to be drawn up as well. I bought a fancy pants landscaping program that keeps locking up, so that was a waste. Back to graph paper it is. However, between all the vegetable garden excitement and the house facelift/tummy tuck/boob job/botox/lip plumping/toenail scrape and the wedding in July…i can’t even. I just can’t. it is on the back burner. I don’t even care that whoever drives by can’t see the pretty things happening in the back while the front remains a bare muddy wasteland.  Priorities, don’t you know. And since I am not a make-up wearing dresses-nice-and-gets-weekly-pedicures type of person, the front yard does not bother me.

I guess a pedicure and hair cut should be scheduled before the wedding, as I will be wearing sandals…only, people won’t be looking at my feet…so maybe not.  Whatever.

Once the house is pretty on the outside, I am going to whip everyone into action, and get all the shi…er…cr…i mean…stuff put away and tidy and not piled around because we are all too lazy busy to put it back where it belongs when we are done with it. I say WE because I am just as bad about it. I might even do something Pinteresty and make clever bins from old pallets and paint them with chevrons and decorate with burlap bows to keep the rustic flea-market find (LOOK WHAT I FOUND! i should be featured on Hometalk!) tools in. Or not.

Really, all I want is to have a pretty house that isn’t mildewed and peeling. With a garden growing vegetables I can swap for eggs, or leave on the neighbors front porches. And flowers to pick.

 

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