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My normally greenish thumb has turned black in the state of Georgia. I’ve planted a garden each year since we lived here and have gotten less than five red tomatoes. The cucumbers didn’t grow. The green beans gave up when they reached three inches. The blueberry bushes didn’t even try. This year I’ve lowered my expectations/garden dreams then lowered them a little more. I planted three tomato plants, a pepper plant, basil, and a small number of flowers. The tomatoes look like they might make it but I say that in a whisper so they don’t hear and shrivel up. The dahlia patch I planted out front is somehow thriving. Every single day I go out to admire and photograph them.

* Sesame’s teeth are dropping out like flies. The tooth fairy forgot to come on Friday night but Ses told me, “The tooth fairy takes weekends off” which is good to know. When AB’s friend lost her second tooth, her tooth fairy (her grandfather) gave her twenty dollars. Annabelle still doesn’t have a great grasp on money and she happily told her friend that the tooth fairy had given her thirty cents. I’m sure the fairy gave at least two quarters. Surely she wasn’t scrambling for money at the last minute.
* I almost don’t know what makes me happier- AB reading to herself or that we can finally be in the library without a mask.

* Our favorite Willie got married a few weeks ago. We’ve known him since he was born and he’s like a fourth brother to us. He was one of the groomsmen in our wedding. The original groomsman wasn’t able to get leave so we asked Willie. He doesn’t know he was a second-pick groomsman and I will go to my grave with that secret. The stupid ‘rona meant we couldn’t go to Willie’s wedding. I would have traveled to deepest Peru for his wedding. Instead, we had to watch it from our living room. The dude operating the livestream never pushed the unmute button so we heard nothing. A man’s head filled up a third of the screen for much of the ceremony. I do not recommend zoom weddings. Too many technical issues and not enough appetizers.

* Last but most certainly in one way least, BABY OLIVER IS HERE. HE IS SO CUTE I CANNOT HANDLE IT. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A CUTER BABY NO YOU HAVE NOT. The fuzzy hair! The arm rolls! The little dimple in his chin! The look of longing for his favorite Auntie Sarah to cuddle him. Erika will never get him away from me. She doesn’t love newborns and I adore them so it works out well. I look at this picture seven times a day and have sent it to multiple people. I’ve all but ordered wallpaper with his face on it. I repeatedly offer to show it to Christopher and Annabelle in case they forgot how precious he is since the last time I made them look.

this involved a lot of tile and error

Every time I have a miscarriage or am in a waiting period, I do a house project. I swear this house is never as clean as when I’m frantically cleaning while waiting for results.

Last October I put all my energies into tiling the laundry room wall. The laundry room is between the back door and the kitchen so we, and guests, walk through it several times a day. I painted the cabinets during a previous miscarriage recovery time and it helped brighten up the room (or “the space” as hgtv says) but I wanted to liven it up more. I decided the best way to do this was to tile the wall behind the machines. Keep in mind that I had never tiled anything before. This did not stop me from researching, ordering various tiles and mats and watching tutorials on youtube. There was a small detour on Buzzfeed to find out which brand of pizza sauce I am but all work and no play makes Sarah a bored person.

This is the closest thing I have to a before picture. This was the first possible tile that was vetoed because it reminded me of a Florida pool house. I went through several samples and trips to Home Depot before deciding on black and white tiles.

We had some minor setbacks. I electrocuted my finger, ruined two spatulas forever because I needed them to spread grout and we experienced a bit of flooding. We thought the water hose was connected properly but alas, it was not.
But once the water was cleaned up and my hand stopped zapping, I am so pleased with how it turned out.
I organized inside the cabinets and gave the family a tour of where everything went. There’s a place for everything and everything has its place. Neither of them were taking notes as evidenced by the number of times they ask me “where’s the ________?” and the answer is always “above the washing machine and dryer.”


My Downton Abbey bells hangs on the side.

Sadly the bell did not come with a laundry woman or butler. If it did, I imagine I wouldn’t have some version of this pile on the dryer at any given time.

 

the swing set of giants

The family we bought our house from left their little swing set and it’s given AB hours of entertainment. She was the right size for it when we moved in but she’s growing like a weed and her energetic swinging would rock the entire structure off the ground. Not to mention that I can barely squeeze my hips between the chains onto the tiny seats and it’s not good for my self esteem or public image when I have to unwedge myself from the blue plastic jail.

Last week Christopher built a new swing set. I knew it would be bigger than the old one but I didn’t know how big until we set it up. I like to think I’m strong because I’m the youngest person in zumba which somehow translates to strength in my mind, but my strength was not enough to help Christopher get it off the ground. We had to go next door and ask our neighbor to help us. He’s a firefighter and his arm muscles are literally bigger than their little dog. I’m confident he could have pushed the structure up with one hand but he let us think we were doing some of the hard work.

It’s the swing set made for giants. It cracks me up when I look at the difference between the two swing sets. The average length chains that came with the swings are two feet off the ground. They’re so high that we had to bring out the stepstool so AB could get on them. We could throw a tarp over the top and host a wedding underneath.
Annabelle could not be more thrilled.
“Hi, Mama. What are you doing? Can I help you know what to write? You can say that Christopher and Annabelle built a new swing set for Annabelle. Um. I’m thinking. Annabelle uses this climbing rope as a swing. The Sky People are people who live in the sky that Annabelle made up. *the narrator abruptly leaves the couch and goes to the floor to wrap herself in a blanket* I’m in a shell, Mama! Can you put that on your blog?”

“Bought some graffiti proof paint. It’s unremarkable.”

Happy Friday! I spent an embarrassing amount of time untangling my headphones and trying to find the right earpiece only to remember it was in my ear the whole time. I blame the paint fumes.

It may be the months of pandemic speaking, but we’re redoing our kitchen. The world is full of germs, riots, and chaos right now so why not add a project that has the potential to last several weeks and bring added stress? We don’t have anywhere to be and we aren’t participating in protests so carpe diem and all that. I have several months where we’re at a standstill with fertility treatments which means months guaranteed to be free of nausea, so I had no real reason to not start. We started with the cabinets.


It’s the middle part of projects that I don’t like. I hate the clutter of everything being out of place, the cats sneaking down the stairs after AB accidentally opened the upstairs door and the floor getting so messy. I HATE a messy kitchen floor. As long as the floor is clean I feel like I have some small part of my life in order. The painting supplies are bleeding over into the dining room. 

My entire life I heard how cabinets are so hard to paint because of sanding and stripping and wanting to give up partway through, but I could only take the brown cabinets with the brown floor for so long. I found a cabinet refinishing kit at our coronavirus home away from home, Home Depot, and it had good reviews so we decided to try it. We’re 54 6 days in and so far so good. 

Several times I said, ”This better work because if not we’ll be stuck with them” but now that we’ve seen the improvement, I’m so happy with how it looks. It’s so much brighter and more cheerful.

Once all the cabinets are done we’ll paint the walls. I have to get it all done at once before I sniff too many paint fumes and lose all momentum. 

it’s all fun and games until you don’t know how to dial the phone

This about sums up 2020 so far, wouldn’t you say?

For all the horrible things that happened last week, I present two bright spots- Americans went into space for the first time in nearly a decade and I doubled my previous Tetris score. They are both of equal importance and value to society. As many people want to interview me for my accomplishments as want to interview the astronauts. I’ll happily offer my advanced gaming critical thinking and block organizing skilz to Bob and Doug.

Thursdays aren’t the most exciting day of the week to have a birthday but Christopher and Annabelle made it festive for me. Annabelle drew me this picture with the following note which translates (I’ve been told) to “Happy birthday! Yum yum we’re making strawberry shortcake! Snuggle contest!”

Normally I go to the florist and pick out my own birthday bouquet, but this year I sent Christopher a list of flowers I wanted to be included or left out along with the number to the florist and he got them for me. Linus has since eaten half a rose and several hydrangea flowers.

 
Rumor has it that yesterday was the last Sunday before we can go back to church like normal. “Like normal” is a generous term as we’ll be meeting in cars or chairs in the parking lot like we’re attending a little league game but at least we’ll be with others. If you had asked me when this pandemic started what I thought I’d miss, not going to church wouldn’t have been the top of the list but after 13 weeks away I’ll be so glad to be back. 
That being said, I’ve kind of enjoyed the Sunday morning routine we got into these last months. Christopher sleeps late while AB and I play. At 11 we gather at Gray Couch Church and watch the service. I usually cross stitch and Annabelle either colors or does sewing. We have logged in late a few times which is pathetic considering we have to travel exactly zero miles to be at church.
 

It’s only Monday but this has not been a great week for homeownership. One of the lights and fan in the kitchen went out several weeks ago and we haven’t gotten it fixed. The dishwasher is on its last legs and when I went to unload it, most of the dishes were still dirty so I unloaded it and washed everything by hand. Annabelle washed her hands in the bathroom and says she only touched the light fixture (“I promise I didn’t swing on it!”), but the bathroom light, the remaining kitchen light, washing machine and dryer, as well as the dishwasher all stopped working. I didn’t know the dishwasher had stopped working until I loaded it all with the supper dishes. I had to unload and handwash all the dishes I had just put in. The circuit panel was installed upside down and it’s unclear whether the paper labeling which switches goes with which room is also upside down. The handle on the door to the backyard that we use dozens of times a day fell off in my hand. It wouldn’t open from the inside but would from the outside so it became a oneway door. Christopher got the handle to go back on but it’s hanging on by the metal equivalent of a thread. 

Actual footage of money leaving our bank account to pay for these repairs.
The electrician and I played phone tag all day. I called both their numbers this morning and left two messages but heard nothing back. I went to call them an hour ago and saw that earlier I had dialed the area code wrong and called someone in Ontario. Bob and Doug will not be asking me to head up their communications department. 

Sesame’s Suite 4.0

Subtitled: It is Never this Neat

I never got AB’s room at our last house finished before we moved to this house. I had the same bedroom for 21 years and she’s on bedroom number four in six years. She had no zero input on the first two rooms and a moderate amount in her yellow bird room in the last house, but she had opinions about this room. She requested it be “history and nature themed.” There is no such category on Pinterest. It’s not completely done but it’s coming together.

This is what I see when I walk in the doorway. I got Florance Flamingo from Tarjay Boutique.
Her door is decorated with hearts from last Valentine’s heart attack. 

SHE HAS A CHANDELIER IN HER ROOM. I wanted a chandelier in her nursery and Christopher said no. I’ve asked about putting a chandelier in every room since with no luck. When we were looking at this house I saw the light and almost signed the check on the spot. 

I haven’t decided what to put on the wall to the right of her bed. I also want to get a blue or jute rug but I haven’t found one yet. I’m terrible at buying the right size rugs and curtains. I needed a rug for the upstairs hallway and found this one on clearance. It seemed long enough in the package but I was mistaken by about 6 feet.
Long gone are the days of carefully placed knickknacks and sentimental items of my choosing. Part of me wishes I could do the whole room in my way but it is fun to see what’s special and important to here right now. On her vanity from Oma she has two figurines she painted, a postcard we sent ourselves from St. Thomas, a letter from the Tooth Fairy, an ornate pen box with a piece of foam in it, and a little baby Jesus from a random nativity.
I put the bulletin board up recently because she taped Frozen pictures on the wall like a girl with boy band posters. She still sleeps with Memere blanket and anywhere between zero and seventeen stuffed animals. I got the leopard blanket on sale at Ikea when we went to visit Katie. AB has since decided she prefers tossing the blanket on the floor when she goes to bed which is annoying. It takes a long time to get the duvet insert in the duvet cover and she could at least pretend to use it. She hoards so much under her bed and between the bed and the wall. She loves turning tissues and toilet paper into things for her stuffed animal friends. She puts “very special to me” rocks and sticks under the bed and always has pipe cleaners on the floor. 
The pièce de résistance is the accent wall that covers the nature theme she requested. In the beginning, I envisioned a field with a few deer and trees. Elizabeth was here when we did it and as things generally go with her, we went off the straight and narrow path down into the jungle on the side of the path and ended up with a mountain scene. They’re hard to see, but I hung little birds from the ceiling in front of the painting, We will now look at the same wall from three different angles. 
Elizabeth free-handed the squirrel. I traced a rabbit on the wall by the door and have been too scared of messing it up that I still haven’t painted the mouth on it yet. 
She hasn’t mentioned wanting more history in the room so I haven’t brought it up. I’ll never repaint over the accent wall so in 7 years the wall will be old news and we can check the history box.