Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Being Southern, Coping mechanisms, Home and hearth, In the Southland, Oh for pete's sake, responsible adult, Spouse
I woke up at 4 this morning. No particular reason but something said “get up” even as laying back down seemed like it should be inviting, but wasn’t. Fresh coffee is extra special at 4 am, especially when there’s a small curly dog snuggled next to you, and a cat who is pretty sure you exist to provide her with a lap.
Last night, Himself gave me a glare and said “May 1st, the air conditioner is coming on.” He was very stern and as I opened my mouth to protest he cut me off and said ‘MAY FIRST”. Am I the only one (barring Canadians and those nearby) who think May 1st is kind of ridiculous? I know, he’s hot. I see the sweat, hear the grumblings, and was on the receiving end of a lecture from #4 about Pride and Inflexibility Concerning Air Conditioning. I am accustomed to these arguments ’round about May 20, due to an ingrained belief that A/C before June 1 is Self Indulgent and Ridiculous.
O for an old house with high ceilings and an attic fan. O to live out in the country where there’s pecan trees shading the roof and breezes. O for a family who understands my inflexibility on such matters. O for some consideration for my husband, who earns the income and deserves to be comfortable in his own house. Sigh.
So ok fine. I will close the windows,
cutting off the honeysuckle scented morning breeze, blocking out the evening song of peepers and martins, cloaking us all in the artificiality of climate control, and be considerate of Himself, who earns the income and deserves to be comfortable in his own home. He spends all day in the confines of a hot textile mill, or walking around in the South Georgia humidity outside. I will do it. yes I will. But I won’t be very happy about it.
And I will be happy that I am doing what I can to make my husband comfortable in his own home. Because I love him and he bends over backward to make me happy. I can do this one thing that will make him very happy. And I will be happy about it.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Being Southern, cats, Coping mechanisms, Home and hearth, In the Southland, NASCAR, perspective, responsible adult
The past few days have been those incredible Southern Spring days that us folks in the Wiregrass Region like to fall back on during the scorching, gnat infested Summer months. It’s what we get smug about to our friends in Northern climes like North Dakota, because they’re in Mud Season and we don’t really have a Mud Season. They, however, don’t have 115 degrees with 80% humidity and
tiny demons from hell gnats and no-see-ums. It’s a trade-off, I reckon.
This past week has been…idyllic. Scary so, in fact. The boys are all behaving. I’ve made no calls to a bail bondsperson nor had any calls or visits from a Sheriff’s deputy. #4 is passing all his classes and is, in fact, doing VERY well in a couple of them. AND is actually working on 2 projects due May 17, ACTUALLY WORKING ON THEM…instead of waiting until May 16 to remember he has them and bashing out something in a panic at 9 pm. I love the kid, but 13 yr old boys…well, my experience with the 4 of them is that forethought isn’t a characteristic that I’d credit them with having.
This idyllic Southern Spring, tho…it’s spilling over into everything and that has me worried. Because, according to the preacher’s wife, I have a disconcerting lack of faith when it comes to accepting the good as well as the bad. The bad, I can take it on the chin every time. I can handle calls from Sheriffs and trips to emergency rooms and dead cats in the road and midlife crises. I expect them, and am generally prepared for most anything.
Spring, tho, is so hopeful. It’s walking out on the patio and seeing a rose bush covered in buds, or having the 13 yr old greet me at school with a huge bag full of Spring onions he grew in the school garden, or seeing an older son make plans for the future- real plans.
It’s also taking a Friday,with the windows open and a movie from Netflix, and eating almost an entire bag of Doritoes and drinking fresh iced tea and doing absolutely nothing productive, because I do productive things all week long, but something about the breeze through the window and that weird noise the cat makes when the mockingbird is…you know….MOCKING her through the window. I honestly think that bird stuck it’s tongue out at the cat.
However tonight, because it’s Friday and we can, will involve adult beverages and a tasty sandwich that simply looks too good to pass up. because I am going to soak up this good feeling like a dog in a sunbeam, and take it as it comes, and not worry about what might happen in the future. Or try not to anyway.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Home and hearth, In the Southland, Oh for pete's sake, responsible adult
Our front yard is starting to look like a wildflower meadow. Oxalis with it’s pink 5 petaled flowers, Florida Betony (hissss) with it’s mint-like stalks of lavender blossoms, grassy stuff, etc. It really needs to be mowed. Really. Only…
Due to the rain and the geology that means the drainage from the 10th hole of the golf course winds up in our front yard, we have a big soggy spot. Also, thanks to an unnamed member of the household who did something unorthodox with the riding lawnmower last Fall, it has a bent shaft and a broken blade. Also the other (push) lawnmower’s engine wasn’t drained so the fuel system is clogged somewhere Oh, and the first lawnmower was also left in the start position all Winter so the battery is deader than a bag of bricks. Now, I COULD probably hire someone to just cut the bit in the front, but it’s so soggy in one spot and I don’t want tire tracks in the yard. And he/she might lose a boot in the much.
So I am waiting for 2 weeks of dry weather to allow the soggy spot to dry up. Only, we wont see 2 straight weeks of dry weather until October, and the lawn probably should be mowed before then. I have also been looking at ideas for simply planting the soggy spot with stuff that will grow in soggy spots. You know, roll with it. that sort of thing.
In the mean time, the oxalis spread and the betony takes over and every couple of days some guy with a Yard Care sign on his truck stops and gives up a free bid. I have 5 business cards now.
Maybe if I start wearing bandanas, quit shaving my legs, and change my name to Raindrop they’ll start thinking of us as Quirky Free Spirits. Really I am just waiting for a weekend day where Terry can fix the mower.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Oh for pete's sake, responsible adult, Who does that
Was is Charles Barkley who said “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”?…no. I looked it up. Mohammed Ali said that. But it’s true. So I’m not bragging when I say that I can buy groceries. I buy them very, very well. I am organized, efficient, and I use those cloth tote bags. In fact, I am so good at it I should teach lessons. Not that I’m smug about it or anything.
No, I don’t do coupons. Maybe I should, but I’ve watched that Extreme Couponing show a couple of times and while I am impressed at someone buying 1250 bottles of iced tea and paying nothing for them, I do not want that much iced tea and besides, I make my own thankyouverymuch. No, coupons don’t happen here because you never see coupons for fresh meat, vegetables, and dried beans or rice. It’s all premade stuff and premade isn’t done much here. I also lean heavily toward brand loyalty because knowing exactly what to get means getting in and out of there in an hour, rather than perusing through each aisle to find whatever’s cheapest. Time is money, ya’ll, and worth more than the 10 cents I’d save by spending time clogging up the aisles (another pet peeve…inconveniencing someone else makes me uncomfortable).
I have a system, and in the interest of educating people, here it is. Yes, it takes a little bit of time, but can be spread over several days for the sake of convenience.
1. Make menus. I used to make them once a month, since that was how often Terry was paid. Now they are biweekly, because that’s how much will fit comfortably in a buggy (or grocery cart, to those of you living above the Mason-Dixon line or west of the Mississippi) (River). I love to look for recipes and have about a million bookmarked, neatly in folders labeled “Beef, chicken, salad, (etc). I sift through them when making out the menus. I have a friend who makes menus as well. She makes out one week’s worth and repeats the week throughout the month so she only has to do it once, for 7 days, and grocery buying is a snap. I remember being (very) briefly horrified by that, but she also speaks conversational Latin so I got over it. Plus it works for her and I also got over thinking that just because someone does it differently doesn’t mean they’re wrong, or that they think I am. It works for her so cheers to that!
2. Simultaneous with making the menus, make the grocery list, adding ingredients as per the menu. When making the grocery list, break it down in to categories on the paper, by the way the grocery store is laid out, so you have several mini-lists within the big one, and you don’t have peanut butter next to the bleach then have to go back to the aisle to get something you missed. This streamlines the picking up of stuff. It is also intensely satisfying to mark through each item in an orderly manner instead of willy-nilly all over the place. Like an organized sock drawer or filing you music CDs alphabetically by genre. or having your bedsheets folded and stored in chromatic order. Wow…I sound OCD. I’m not…really. much.
3. Over a period of about 3 months, we gradually accumulated a bunch of those tote bags everyone is selling, so now there’s a nice pile (neatly folded and stored all in one bag, easy to grab when heading out the door! Aaaand…now I sound like some chipper young thing with only one child (who has never had a cold or a whiny day), who’s all full of sanctimonious advice for the Less Organized Unfortunate Woman…who if she’d just get her act together for once would actually be able to function properly. Anyway, those bags are great. I highly recommend them and not just because of some starry-eyed Save The Planet thing, but because you can put 4 times as much in them and they don’t spill in your trunk. Eventually,if you frequent one grocery store, you’ll figure out which clerk shares your sense of order and packs the bags Properly. I will wait in line to get the right clerk, and avoid this one lady who seems pissed off with my bags and hurls stuff into them, even if there’s no wait in her line.
4. When unloading the buggy onto the conveyor belt in the store, put stuff neatly on it, with each like item together, with a small gap between each group of items. Throwing them up there willy-nilly signals the clerk that it is fine to put cans on top of bananas, it also makes the food pretty. I like to group the boxed stuff chromatically, and put the cans on large-to-small. The clerks appreciate that, even the ones that make comments like “I bet you have your sheets arranged by color and your DVDs are alphabetical.” Not quite…they are by genre THEN alphabetical. That way Evil Roy Slade isn’t next to Emma because that would be weird and uncomfortable. Even though John Astin is a hoot.
Did you know I can fit an entire buggy full of groceries in the trunk of my 2008 Beetle? I can. It takes precision and a little time and occasionally there’s an audience of old men who are pretty sure I can’t do it, but with the exception of the jumbo pack of toilet paper, that 2 weeks worth of food fits right in there. It is disappointing when they won’t, and kind of weird and uncomfortable to have groceries in the backseat, but I am flexible enough to allow it once in a while, as long as those are the ones that get put away first.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: a weekend away, Being Southern, Coping mechanisms, In the Southland, Oh for pete's sake, perspective, Talladega, Who does that
I will admit it. Living in a small town in South Georgia isn’t the most stimulating thing in the world. But that’s ok. It’s enough for me. Reading the headlines about bombs in Boston and limbs flying around and how hard it is to treat the types of wounds caused by that, it makes me thankful that the most exciting thing to happen here in YEARS was a while back,when someone strapped some bottle rockets to his chest and yelled from the verandah of the local courthouse. Then there was the time when George W. Bush drove through, we don’t know which vehicle he was in, but it was one of several big black Suburbans. I remember that because Will tells of sitting on his second-story front porch and making socialist comments as the motorcade went by. He got a dirty look from the Secret Service, and that made his week extra special.
My form of excitement involves things like pine limbs falling on a neighbor’s roof, and the fervent hope that no one in the house was harmed. Once I find out that everyone’s ok and the only casualty is a 35 year old La-Z-Boy that she was wanting to replace anyway, I can cluck like a hen about how pinetrees are the cockroaches of the plant world and should be limited to non-residential areas.
Now that my children (with the exception of one) are grown and have developed some sense of self-preservation, what little excitement I had in the past has calmed down to the point where finding out about “Spanish pesto” makes me giddy, and I can see things like Boston bombings from a distance. My reaction is more in the form of clucks and mutterings about how sometimes, humanity sucks.
It doesn’t take much to get excited around here. I don’t know if it’s the deficit of exciting things, or that, as a person who doesn’t respond well to sudden change, I have put myself in a living situation that could be considered incredibly dull. I like dull. I like predictability. I like getting worked up over 20 rows of ruffles and have absolutely no desire to hurl myself out of airplanes or surf in Maui or drive Formula 1 racecars.
NASCAR…that is another matter. That is rapidly becoming a once-a-year dose of adrenalin, shared with the family that might just lead to a 50th birthday personal gift of a driving lesson, Stock car style. I know. I am more the Library Book Club W/ Cookies type of person, than the Race W/ Beer And Tank Top type, but one needs excitement in a relatively safe environment where someone else is in control of most of it and there’s a sweet fellow with few teeth who will hand a beer over your shoulder when he sees your cooler is empty. True story. Where did this come from? Our tickets came yesterday. Talladega Aarons 499 both Saturday (Nationwide series) and Sunday (Sprint Cup) AND (drum roll please…) PIT PASSES! That’s Right. Ms Calvinist Librarian w/Thick Glasses And Family (well, 3 of them, anyway) are going to be in Talladega for a weekend and even get to be up close and personal with some race cars!
And that will be enough excitement to last us well into 2014.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: fashion and sewing, Oh for pete's sake, responsible adult
I mentioned before that I’ve bartered sewing services for desserts. This week’s offering: 2 coconut cream pies. You know, the kind of tall ones with the toasted coconut on top? Yeah, those. 2 of them. I have in my possession 2 coconut cream pies. One for me and one to share. You think I’m kidding? I am not.
Now, I know coconut isn’t everyone’s thing. It is, however, definitely my thing. Fry stuff in coconut oil? Oh HECK Yeah. Unsweetened coconut flakes on the baked plantains or in the Thai curry? Well, YEAH! Mmm…coconut.
See, the sewing project keeps getting more elaborate. I’m fixing to add some 20 more rows of ruffles, and a waistband, and a fancy shoulder flower thing with sparkle stuff (which is quite a coup because the One Who Will Wear The Dress is apparently allergic to All Things Glitter and yet, there we are!) not to mention this whole project is crazy fun and on top of all that…PIE!
So now there’s a pie on the table and I am wondering how soon is too soon to eat a piece. It’s 10 am. I do like a sweet and a cup of coffee around 1. Do I show Presbyterian Restraint and wait until then? Or do I…y’know…give the pie a Test Drive…to make sure it’s really good and doesn’t just LOOK good. It would be a public service, and I am all about servanthood. Or something.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Coping mechanisms, Oversharing, solving personal problems, Spouse
Men and dogs share this one characteristic. They can fall asleep like flipping a light switch. Yesterday, Terry and I drove 4 hours (one way) to spend some time with CJ and help get his trailer set up. On the way there, (I was driving) Terry said “I’m going to take a quick nap” and within moments…like 30 seconds…there was a soft snoring coming from the seat. It lasted about 15 minutes, then he woke up. Same thing on the way home.
This morning, I got up, let the dogs out, poured a cup of coffee, and got in the recliner. Rusty jumped up next to my legs, flopped his head on my ankle and within moments was snoring softly. He’s still there. Snoring softly and smelling like old cheese (hm…).
Fortunately Terry never smells like old cheese.
Anyway, how do they DO that? I can’t fall asleep like that. I have to go through a process, a long and involved one. Dinner will have to have been something light like a bowl of cereal or a salad. After 27 years of being an adult and responsible for the meals, I finally figured that one out.First, a cup of warm (not hot! Not cold for that makes me cough, it has to be about 120 degrees) herbal tea heavy on the chamomile. Then, a large handful of all the prescription stuff. Then, quiet reading for however long it takes to get sleepy. No action stuff, no really good books that make me wonder what happens next or requires thinking. It has to be some kind of formulaic fluff where you know that Protagonist A will end up with Protagonist B and the antagonist is something like the weather or a mean horse. Dim light, pillows in the proper position for optimal spinal support and comfort (Terry calls it my nest), ambient temperature has to be somewhere between 67 and 70 degrees (in the winter) or 78 and 80 degrees (in the Summer). After laying on my right side, and cracking all the joints there are, I will finally be ready to start the real process of attempting to go to sleep. Earplugs-check. Water bottle that blocks the glare of light from the large-number clock-check. Fluff the pillows again. Try laying on my left side for variety’s sake. Decide that doesn’t work and return to right side. Legs straight. No, bent. No, straight. Right leg straight and left one bent. Ok. Left foot reaching over to see if Terry’s there. Ok he is. ahhh…finally falling asleeWHAT WAS THAT NOISE?! *sigh*
and all the while, Terry is softly snoring next to me, having fallen asleep 30 seconds after he turned out his bedside light.
I envy that. I am happy for him, really I am.
Do you remember as a child, when you didn’t have to go through this ridiculous 2 hour ritual in order to sleep? I remember the only ritual I had for getting into bed was making a sprint down the hallway so I could leap from the bedroom doorway (and hit the light switch at the same time) and land on the bed without ever touching the floor, so as to avoid the potential of being dragged under the bed and reduced to a pile of dry bones by whatever it was that lived there. I was pretty sure there wasn’t anything there but being a cautious sort of child, I wasn’t taking any chances. Mom always made me clean out from under the bed because I never could convince her that if the under-the-bed was crowded with stuff there was no room for whatever otherwise would have lived under there. Anyway, after the grand leap (and admonitions from downstairs to STOP RUNNING!) I would land on the bed and fall asleep, comfortable in the safety of sleeping right in the middle of it so nothing could reach, also protected by the Quilt Of Invincibility Which No Monster Could Cross.
What happens as an adult that that ability to fall asleep so easily evaporates? It started happening right about when puberty hit. I began reading in bed, listening to soft music (Oh y’all…Mike Kellogg- Best. Night. Music. Ever.), then drinking the tea…etc. I noticed upon getting married that Terry could fall asleep so easily, and later also sleep the sleep of the innocent even while a baby was screaming 3 feet away from his ear. That one earned him a middle of the night punch when I was 3 weeks into motherhood and thought it was grossly unfair.
Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy that he (and other men, I have since found out) can fall asleep so easily. Our boys do it too. I wonder if their wives will be able to do it as well, or, like me, have to develop a 2 hour ritual with a contingency plan.