the bush men are next on my meet and greet list

We had a rather unusual weekend. We went to a peanut festival.

Over the many years, we’ve spent our weekends at baseball games, our nations capital, museums, musical events, the occasional Octoberfest. We’ve spent several, several weekends at home. Never once have we gone to a peanut festival, but when in Rome! 

I knew there would be a parade so when I was getting AB dressed I suggested a dress I thought was festive. She said the dress was “too much like another country flag. Kind of like an Africa flag. This is an America parade.” She settled on her disco dress.

The parade had the usual Shiners in their little cars, an Army band, and several pageant queens. I’ve not been around the pageant scene much so I didn’t know that the US National Forestry and Turpentine Pageants are apparently a Big Thing. The parade had all manner of Miss, Ms, Teen, Little Junior Miss, Tiny Miss, Teeny Miss and Baby Miss ladies. Would I sign my children up for pageants? No. Did their gorgeous crowns make me want to change my mind? Yes, they did.

I did a full face of makeup because I had heard that Jimmy Carter might be at the festival. As a former peanut farmer, he still supports the industry and is the main attraction when he shows up. I seldom wear eyeshadow these days as it’s too hot, but I wanted to make a good impression in case I bumped into Jimmy at the general store. It’s been a lifelong goal to meet a president and I wanted to make a good impression. I have a deep, deep fascination with the White House, presidents, and their families. It’s no secret that I’ve been running an eight-year-old campaign for Christopher to be president so I can be First Lady. I may not be a democrat but I am an equal opportunity citizen when it comes to meeting presidents so I purchased a ticket for his book signing. I was afraid to let this moment pass by because all the old presidents are aging rapidly and I was afraid JC might die before I met him.

The calendar may have said it was the first day of Fall, but the thermometer read over 100*.  I was sweating from every part of my body as I waited in line. My foundation was melting. Mascara was in little drips under my eyes. I had put sunscreen on my face but not my feet and they were burning as I waited. I had an ice cream stain on my shirt. My once tidy hair was in a messy bun. I truly thought I was going to pass out. The lady two groups behind me was a know-it-all who wouldn’t stop talking. For almost an hour she shared her “knowledge” on every topic someone brought up. I am not my best self in the heat and I almost snapped. The only reason I didn’t was the lady directly behind me made the incorrect statement that everyone in line was a democrat. Since I am not, I didn’t want to give her stories for her next dinner party about the conservative girl who hit the woman in the head with a
Jimmy Carter book about faith.

Eventually, I got to the front of the line and saw the man of the hour. It was a very quick in and out meeting. The man behind Jimmy’s right shoulder gave enough glares to get the point across that it wasn’t social hour. Keep moving, people! Get your signature and go back out into the heat! 

It would have been nice if after my near experience with heat stroke I could have pulled up a chair to discuss the best rooms in the White House, but I can save that for next time. Now that I know where to find him I’ll be swinging by his house every weekend.

short on words because I have no words left

Setting: the airport and Massachusetts
Cast: the usual suspects

We walked 40 minutes across the airport only to have a windowless seat. 
Our childhood home is being sold so this visit we’re trying to do all the lasts. I wanted to be sure Annabelle got to sleep in my old bedroom so we’ve been staying in there instead of the guest room. I told her all about the sleepovers and fun memories we have in this room.

We went strawberry picking this morning.
 The oldest and youngest in our group walk at the same pace so they stick together. I love that Sesame is old enough to remember these special times with Grandma.

Annabelle- water bottle, pajamas, blanket. Living the relaxed life.
Elizabeth- doing all the hard work

snakes and bugs and more

 We started the week as we always do by going to church. I dropped Annabelle off in her classroom and asked if she needed to use the potty before I left. She said no. The nice lady in charge of the children’s programs told Annabelle she could tell her if she needed the potty and she’d be happy to take her. AB nodded her head and said ok. Out of nowhere, a second lady in the room turned to Annabelle and demanded, “Say ‘yes, ma’am.'” I stared at her so hard I’m surprised I didn’t burn a hole through her. I’m fine with friends and family correcting Annabelle if need be, but  I don’t know that woman. Annabelle didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not like she hit someone! That would have been a reasonable reason to correct my child. I told Christopher about it and he did not share in my huffiness.

Later that evening, Christopher went out back to talk to the neighbor. Said neighbor told him that if the grass isn’t kept short enough, we’ll be dealing with rattlesnakes and cooper heads in the warmer weather. POISONOUS SNAKES IN MY YARD. Mike Peedro the ex-convict neighbor told me about the rattlesnakes when we moved in but he doesn’t always tell the truth. A reliable neighbor passed on the information this time, so I believe him and have vowed to never walk in my yard again. Our grass is almost a foot long so there’s probably a hold herd (flock? group? huddle?) of snakes out there. Christopher did share my negative views about this situation. 

As if snakes in the yard and frogs in/on my house isn’t enough, on Monday the landlord and her father came over to inspect a hole by the house. Richard stared at the hole for .6 seconds and announced, “Well. Looks like you have an armadillo under there.” 

At this point I shouldn’t be surprised by anything. If someone tells me a lion lives across the street I’ll just smile and nod. Richard said to put a board over the hole. Seems to me that will present a new problem. What if the armadillo gets trapped and dies under there? What then, Richard? I hope you have a plan for that scenario.
No sooner had Richard left then Nine Fingered Larry showed up. The bathroom floor has water seeping through it which obviously is a problem. Larry came over a few weeks ago to fix an electrical problem. When he came that time he said he wasn’t an electrician but he knew a few things about electricity. I know a few things too. For example, if not handled properly bad things can happen. Maybe that’s why he’s missing a finger. He didn’t fix anything that time so I didn’t expect it to be any different when he was in my home this week. He said he wasn’t a plumber but he was going to look at the bathroom anyway. I showed him to the bathroom where he gave me a brief lesson in pipe location and other things I didn’t fully understand thanks to his accent. He talks so slow and makes comments I don’t understand. He finally diagnosed the problem. The toilet paper holder had fallen off the wall because of drywall issues. Christopher patched the hole but had yet to reattach the holder. According to Larry, when Christopher screwed the holder back in he hit a pipe which lead to leaking in the floor. Except Christopher had not screwed anything into the wall, which I pointed out to Nine Fingered Larry. That really took the wind out of his sails. He sauntered out, promising that the real plumbers would be by soon.
The plumbers did indeed come by and leave this lovely souvenir in our wall.
It really fits the aesthetic I’m going for in this house. Between that, the snake repellant and the peppermint oil/water mixure I use on the frogs it’s becoming a real Southern Living home around here.

small town USA

Do come along on a tour of our new town. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

Did you catch it? There’s a gas station to the left of the brick building and a police station to the right of the blue awning, but that’s it. City hall, a lawyer, police station and gun shop. I wonder how much overlap there is between them.

I’ve always been fascinated by names and there is no shortage of unique names here. So far I’ve met a Sharetta, Shamonica, and a Nostalgia. When we were at Walmart, I saw a poster with photos and names. I thought it was a missing person board. I was reading the names and the name January stood out. I wouldn’t name my child January, but people use the months May and June as names. The last name was Winner which seemed like a confidence-boosting name. “I’m Miss Winner and I’m here to stay.” Anyway. As I read more names I saw February Winner. That’s when I realized it was an employee reward chart, not a board of missing people. I should not be taking myself out in public.

Me, about myself, 700 times a week.

The first few weeks we were here we attended a mega church. We’re not mega-church people so while the people were nice enough (they’ve sent two separate groups to our house to visit), we moved on to greener pastures, or in this case, a smaller church. The church we’ve been to the last three weeks is much more our preferred size and style. I filled out a visitor card the first week and within three days, five people emailed me and welcomed us to the church. They have a very enthusiastic welcoming committee.

The following card was in the back of the pew in front of us on our first visit. Adolf Zitler, Berlin, Germany. I wonder if he also visited the mega church. 

For reasons I don’t understand, many of the men in the church refer to their wives as their brides. Technically, a wife is a bride, but I don’t think the term needs to be used 15 years after the wedding when “wife” works just fine. The pastor was talking to us and said to Christopher, “Does your bride work?” I was standing right there and the first thing that popped into my head was, “Who’s Christopher’s bride?” I AM. HE WAS TALKING ABOUT ME. 

I should not be responsible for raising a child.

travel season has begun

In what is becoming a yearly tradition, Annabelle and I started our annual travel circuit this weekend. Much like birds traveling south for the winter, we travel to Massachusetts in the spring. 

I’m pleased to report we did not have to turn around once. I saw a Massachusetts license plate and stupidly thought “I should follow that person since we’re both going to the same place.” Because that makes sense. There are 50,000 places they could be going and I guarantee you not one is where I wanted to end up. It’s remarkable I’m allowed on the road. 

While AB listened to Frog and Toad, I rotated through my arsenal of audiobooks and podcasts. I was looking for a particular podcast when I found a random one hosted by Patience and Mel. They had strong accents and I spent considerable time figuring it 1) where they were from and 2) who they were. I correctly guessed they were Australian for which I patted myself on the back. Christopher is always saying I’m bad at accents so it was a personal victory. They were talking about their trip to an event called Splenda where they both used “bum bags.” It eventually became clear that Splenda was not a celebration of fake sugar, but an Australian music festival called Splendour on the Grass. I found the term “bum bags” disturbing. Who boasts about something like using a bum bag? Turns out it was a fanny pack, which I guess is also an odd name when you think about it.

The ride was going quite smoothly with Patience and Mel when I had to veer off the road to avoid running over a dead BEAR CUB on the road. The only time I’ve seen a bear is at a zoo and all the sudden there was a dead one in front of me. Things are weird out on the road.

I do a lot of veering on these lengthy trips. One of these days I’ll be pulled over for suspected drunk driving and I’ll have to convince the policeman that I’d not drunk and/or high, just trying to give my daughter her Frozen graham crackers or turn off the darn musical turtle. It was juuust out of reach and for two hours I heard it singing on repeat.
“My friends are traveling on my back,
I’m taking them for a ride.
They like to spin ’round and ’round
as we go along.” 

Maybe Splendour on the Grass is looking for an addition to their 2018 lineup. I know a musical turtle who is going to be kicked out of my car soon. 

this post has no real point

I’m glad I didn’t broadcast my intentions to blog more this year because the month is halfway done I’m only dusting off the old keyboard for the second time.

(We’re already off to a bad start. I dropped my memory card and had to go searching for it under the couch. Someone tell the maid to vacuum under there!)

Before we left Massachusetts we celebrated Grandma’s birthday. We all brought a food Grandma likes and I made a batch of her beloved liverwurst sandwiches. I’d be happy to share the detailed recipe. 

This photo is currently being submitted to the Horrible Food Photography of America magazine.
Annabelle was front and center during the gift opening. I kept telling her the gifts were for Memere but she held onto the hope she might get something. 
You’re not truly dressed for a party unless you’re wearing a spool necklace.

Grandma’s birthday party really kicked off Sesame’s excitement about her upcoming birthday. She chose a Frozen theme (raise your hand if you’re not surprised) and talks about it every single day. “You make an ice cream cake for my Frozen party? You have baa-yoons at my Frozen party? I wanna caterpillar at my Frozen party. Is Grammy be at my Frozen party? Can Mr. Lion come to Frozen birthday party?” If I got a quarter for every comment she makes about her Frozen party between now and March I could afford the tropical vacation Olaf the snowman sings about.

One of our Christmas traditions is to sleep in the living room by the lit Christmas tree. We didn’t get to do it before Christmas this year so we did it last week. We laid seven blankets out on the floor and attempted to go to sleep. Less than an hour later, Christopher announced that he was going to sleep in our bed because the floor was making his hips hurt. I made a bunch of old people jokes in my head but the joke was on me because you know what happened two hours later? I moved to the couch because the floor was hurting my back. Then I moved to the guest bed because the couch wasn’t comfortable enough. I’m only a few steps away from having to use a stairlift.

Yesterday we tried the Sunday school at the church we’ve been attending. The teacher made us go around the room and say something we obsess over. I HATE any scenario when I’m asked to speak in public. It makes me feel sick and like I might pass out. 

To make matters worse, I couldn’t think of anything good to say. I didn’t want to say “I’m obsessed with expanding my nail polish collection” even though that’s very true. I could never say something so worldly when the man across the aisle said he’s obsessed with reading the Bible from front to back. Too bad AB wasn’t in the class. She’s been talking about her obsession for weeks.