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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.

Monday Mishmash

* A family from church lives down the street from us. They have two children who age-wise are on either side of AB and they all get along well. AB and their daughter like to play in the mud and ”make potions” together which works well for me as I don’t like playing in the mud. Their dad is a Jack of all trades. He knows about agriculture. He knows about which Mexican restaurant in town has a salsa bar. He can build anything. He seems to have every tool known to man and if he doesn’t have it he knows someone who does. He’s become a catchphrase in our house. Anytime we need a powerwasher/saw/truck/trailer/advice on how to change the heating element in the dryer I say, “You know who has that. Matt.” He has it all. They’re in the middle of building a garage which we’re keeping tabs on when we drive by. I dropped off his daughter after a playdate and since I had nothing else to discuss with him, I complimented his garage progress and asked how he got a particular part of the roof up. Did the men he hired for the foundation do it? Did they use a crane? Does he have one of those hanging around too? He said he and his wife did it. He described a whole process of them carrying it into the building upside down then flipping it up. He knows I know nothing about this topic and he was smiling the whole time so I couldn’t make heads or tails of whether or not he was telling the truth. He could have told me he had cows hoist it up and I might have believed him. I haven’t talked to him since so I still haven’t figured out if he was fooling with me or not.

 

* “This practice is going toooooo slooooooowly, Mom.” Two minutes later. “Whoa, Mama! I hit a HOME RUN!” The ball barely got past the pitchers mound but I appreciate the optimism.

 

* Last week was spring break. I had high hopes of play dates with friends we don’t see often and fun activities during the day. We had one playdate. Annabelle’s allergies were horrible. I didn’t feel well. Lucy Cat gave us a run for our money all week. She was throwing up and not eating or drinking for days on end. She had accidents all over my white comforter, may it rest in peace. She dragged her little body around the house and lay lethargically in the corner. At one point, when I checked on her she had her chin on the side of the water bowl with half her face in the water. Things got very desperate. The vet said she was constipated which I didn’t know happens to cats. I seldom think about the bathroom habits of others in my house since everyone is potty or litter box trained. He gave us an appetite stimulant to give and asked if I could give it to her by putting it in her water bowl. No, I cannot. She hadn’t drunk for three days which was why I had contacted him.  I had to squirt the medicine in her mouth which neither of us liked. I wrapped her in towels and made her little beds. I sat next to her and tried convincing her to drink. I offered her a dish of tuna fish while she lay on the floor of the craft room which I would never do for a human in my house. I even wiped her rear end and paws because she was too tired to clean herself. We’ve always been firmly in the “animals are animals” camp and decided long ago that we won’t pay hundreds or thousands for our pets. We love them but we have people medical bills to pay. Suddenly Lucy was so sick and pitiful and I really thought she was going to die. The cats have brought a lot of joy to our lives and I hate to see them suffer so we made another vet appointment. If nothing else, we need Linus and his constant whining all week to stop. It has been out of control. He’s never been away from her and it shows by how loudly he meows at all hours of the day. All that blabbing on to say we were at the vet four times this week and our bank account is smaller.

The constipation lead to severe dehydration and as we speak, she’s on day 3 of IV’s at the Vet Hotel and Med Spa. On Saturday, the vet told us they were hand-feeding her. She’s going to return home spoiled and expecting to be fed off a golden spoon while she lounges in a Chanel cat bed.

I am bad at dealing with regular doctors so you can imagine how awkward I was when dealing with an animal doctor. The first time I called, the receptionist asked what my baby’s name was and I started to say Annabelle. I said, “Annablucy.”They continued to call her my baby with every interaction. Again, I love her but she’s my cat. Say cat, pet or use her full name of Lucille Barbara. I also dislike when people who aren’t my child call me ‘mom.’ The Tball coach does it sometimes. “Mom, can you go pick up the bats?” Come back next week when I unpack this pet peeve a little further! The ladies in the waiting room could not have had a more different parenting philosophy when it comes to throwing money at the vet. They’d give the shirts off their backs for their pet family. The lady who owned Mr. Kibbles, a huge cat the size of a cockerspaniel who had just been groomed, had a conversation with the lady in the jean skirt about how much Mr. Kibbles enjoys water play. The other lady with Gracie the cat had a lot to say about long hair vs short hair vs Persian cats. The family on the dog side of the office was waiting to pick up their three dogs to bring home to their other three dogs. One lady was picking up her four puppies but she needed the girls to be separated from the boys because they don’t get along. Another lady was picking up Mona Whittacker’s anxiety and depression pills. I’m sure they all have a collection of golden spoons their pets eat off.

 

* I made returns at two different stores last week and both times the cashier put gloves on before taking the clothes from me. Why is that necessary? Just because the clothes were at my house doesn’t mean they’re suddenly more likely to be covered in covid than a shirt that I took right off the rack that was touched by dozens of people. The kids can play tball together and stand on the same base but not high five at the end of the game. Common sense has left the building.

 

* Annabelle knows some of the things I’m self-conscious about and she really tries to make me feel better them. She knows my gray hair feels like a lighthouse flashing over my head so she’ll tell me they’re ‘glitter hairs” or “rainbow hair because white is the mixing of all colors so really you have a lot of rainbows on your head.” Last night she told me, “If you’re embarrassed about your chins, you’ll just have to move to a different city and change your name to Sue!” She has a future career as a motivational speaker.

 

* We were driving home from school when Annabelle saw a sign that said “CBD sold here” and asked what CBD is. I was not planning on having that conversation for 10 more years. I gave an unnecessarily long but age-appropriate speech about prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, drug drugs (just say no!) and threw is a reminder about not smoking (just say no again!). I will not be taking follow-up questions at this time!! Let’s listen to music! I told Christopher about it later and he said, “All you needed to say was CBD is sometimes an ingredient in lotion.” Good point. I’ve been overexplaining since 1989 and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon.

see me for all your Whitepages needs

For several years I’ve wished AB’s doctor and my therapist were our neighbors. Just think how convenient it would be to see the pediatrician getting into his car and be able to run out and yell him a question from our driveway. He would love it! My therapist would be thrilled when I show up at her door on a random Wednesday afternoon because I’m having a small to catastrophic crisis. It would add so much to their lives if I was constantly reminding them why they went into the medical field. Sure, it would only last a short time until they both put their houses on the market and didn’t tell me where they moved, but until then it would be great. They’d probably make sure their new addresses weren’t on Whitepages so I couldn’t track them down.

Rabbit trail- I love phone books and Whitepages.com. I am constantly looking people up on whitepages then seeing what their houses look like. Christopher is very uncomfortable reading this right now. He thinks it’s weird and I don’t want “stalking” as a skeleton in my closet. It’s not stalking. It’s being well informed. I haven’t subscribed to their premium service so this is a free hobby and he needs to relax. One time they asked me to fill out a survey about why I was using their site. For some reason, they don’t list “self appointed president of the neighborhood watch” as an option.

ANYWAY.

We met another family at our small neighborhood playground a few months. We got to talking and discovered that they live four houses down from us in the house with the gorgeous blue door. I have often said I was going to ring their doorbell and ask the name of the paint color because we need to repaint our front door and whitepages doesn’t give me that kind of information. Suddenly we were becoming friends and exchanging phone numbers with the owners. The Lord continues to shine upon us. The mom, also named Sarah, and I have taken the kids to the other playground several times since we met. She’s nice, funny and lets me snuggle her baby which are all qualities I look for in a friendship. Best of all, she’s a pediatrician so all my dreams of having a doctor neighbor have come true! All the knowledge of a doctor without any of the copays! I texted her today because AB has a stomach bug and I needed advice. Honestly, I’m proud of myself for waiting a few months into our friendship before taking advantage of her knowledge.

Scott the exterminator came by today and offered his opinion on the stomach bug. “She needs to be eating a BRATS diet and drinking Powerade. Don’t let her lay down. She has to move around and get everything going.” This was said after he looked at her laying down on the couch, covered head to toe by a quilt and a trash can next to her on the floor. If Doctor Neighbor doesn’t work out, Scott the Exterminator will be my next call.

Scott is a very interesting character. He always sits down at my kitchen table to discuss politics, his past careers (“I told you I was in the cable business for 30 years”), conspiracy theories (“You can’t believe what the government tells you. You have to read the books they don’t want you to read before they’re banned”) and writes down book recommendations for me. Today he told me where I can go for a jazz festival with beer (no whiskey), fried fish and music. His exact words were, “You take the first exit into Tallahassee then a left at the light near Target. You go down that road until you see the old farm on the left then turn and drive down the dirt road until the woods clear and you see the building. It’s really great. I bought some headlamps because last night when I was at my girlfriend’s house I got drunk. No. I mean…I had a few beers. Her yard got destroyed in the tornado so it’s a mess and I tripped in a hole so I bought the headlamp so it won’t happen again. Last night we made a big fire, like, this high. I didn’t want to trip into that.” I would think not. I would also think the light wouldn’t be necessary when he’s walking towards a giant fire but what do I know?

Footage of me listening to him talk.

 

Annabelle lost a tooth last week. I could not have been more tranquil and unemotional about this completely normal childhood development. NOT. First off, I had to pull the tooth which GROSS. I hate loose teeth. I hate seeing them wiggle. I hate pulling them out. I have stress dreams where dozens of loose teeth are falling out of my mouth. She’s lost three other teeth but this was the first tooth that left a gap and I was undone. Christopher kept mouthing to me over her head that I needed to stay calm and not get emotional. How could I not get emotional?! She was born yesterday, losing teeth today, and graduating college tomorrow. The tooth fairy forgot to leave AB money, something she didn’t realize until the owner of the tooth told her.  She had to dig around in her wallet for two quarters and put it under the pillow when she “run upstairs for a sweatshirt’’ before we left for school. Sesame has 20 more teeth to lose so the tooth fairy really needs to get her act together. Maybe Scott the exterminator has some tooth fairy tips he can pass along.

(This picture was taken the day after she lost the tooth. It was backwards day at school but it could have been any day ending in Y. Wearing her clothes backwards is par for the course with her.)

maybe don’t ask us for medical or religious advice

I had yet another internal ultrasound yesterday because it’s what I do on days ending in Y. I’ve seen the inside of my uterus more times in the last year than I saw some family members. I considered asking for a printed photo to include in my Christmas card this year. “Here’s Annabelle learning to rollerblade. Here are Linus and Lucy being lazy bums. Here’s Sarah’s uterus. If you look closely, you might see an ovary.” Everyone would hang it on their refrigerator. I also had 12 tubes of blood drawn for the fertility doctor. I thought for sure I’d need a blood transfusion by the time she was done.

We’ve made it the entire week so far without going to Annabelle’s doctor. Sure, it’s only Tuesday but last week we were there twice in 72 hours because evidently we love copays. She was diagnosed with swollen glands again. We cannot get a handle on those glands of hers. I asked the doctor to show me how to check the glands myself and he did, but I can’t tell a thing. Isn’t the ability to check glands and throats for infection something they should hand out at the hospital when the baby is born? They sent us out with a blanket and mesh underwear but I would have appreciated an honorary medical degree as well.

AB has many talents but she’s struggling with spelling and phonics. It’s an uphill battle. This has not stopped her from writing out sheets and sheets of notes and letters. She wrote this essay last week.

We must worship God every day. Every fifth day we must prepare a pot of water and dance on it.

Her religious practices are questionable but her heart is in the right place.

car talk

I have exactly twelve minutes to type this out before I need to do the following: pack AB’s swim bag, try on my new bathing suit, switch over the laundry, find my library book, pack snacks and zip out of the driveway for school pickup. I do mean zip because this is my new set of wheels.

Christopher’s car is at the mechanic so we got a rental car. Christopher told them he wanted the most basic model at the lowest price point and this is what they gave him. I have never gotten so much pizzazz for such a small amount of cash. I did buy a pair of large (fake) pearl earrings for $2 but this car might beat that purchase. Christopher has no desire to drive it ‘because “it’s too bold and obvious” but I said HAND OVER THE KEYS. I am the most wallflower of all wallflowers but I will be happy to cruise around town in a sports car. To be honest, I can’t find the inside door handle but once I did it was smooth sailing. On the way to school this morning, Annabelle said “Do you think people are looking at us because we’re cool?” Absolutely. I didn’t look cool when I get out with crumbs on my leggings because I had to eat toast in the car on the way to school, but from the outside things look great. It does have an odd smell thanks to the severe lack of cleaning over at Enterprise but AB waved her arms around wildly in an effort to spread the smell so…

Narrator: “She did not finish her sentence before the alarm rang and she had to leave, nor did she remember what she was saying about AB and the smell.”

The new bathing suit didn’t look good and I couldn’t find the library book so I was unsuccessful on two fronts, but I did remember the snacks. But back to the car, it’s been a true delight. It’s been in our possession for 24 hours and there are already cracker crumbs in the back seat because we can’t have nice things, but us girls feel like hot stuff zooming around town.

At swimming lessons today, Tim, the on-duty lifeguard, and Maddie, the lifeguard not on duty but there to flirt with Tim (did you follow that? Do you need a chart?) were having a whispered conversation. Neither of them has announced in my presence that they like each other, but it’s very obvious. Why else would they want to hang out at arguably the country’s most boring YMCA every Tuesday after her shift at Olive Garden? Tim jumped off his chair, pumped his fist in the air and loudly said, “I bet lions taste good. Any animal that can eat humans must taste good.” Really? Is that sound logic? I think not. If only he put half that energy into watching my child in the pool. A few months ago a different lifeguard was teaching water aerobics from the pool deck. He was standing on a yoga mat and had dragged over a portable fan. The entire cord of said fan was going right through a puddle. I took Annabelle and exited the building as quickly as possible. I don’t want to meet my maker because of a dude who doesn’t follow simple rules about not using electricity in water.

I don’t know why this blog has become a documentation of our local Y. When it goes up in flames I will be called as a witness close to the scene.

On Sunday Annabelle had a splinter in her foot that we couldn’t get out. She is VERY dramatic about splinters. She will cry and jerk away when the tweezers are a foot away. I brought her to the doctor on Monday morning and let the doctor be on the receiving end of the howls. He got it out in less than 12 seconds which proves once again why he’s the one who gets the big bucks. He said it was a sliver of pinecone (?) and jokingly asked Annabelle if she wanted to keep it. He does not know her like I do. I truly thought she would say yes and I’d have to either A. find it a home or b. accidentally on purpose lose it. This is footage of me signaling the doctor to take back his offer.

There isn’t much else to report around here. The dryer stopped working properly so I’ve turned into Ma Ingalls and have put up a clothesline. Sure, one end of the rope is tied around a satellite dish pole which isn’t very prairie-like and I’m hanging up my daughter’s pants, but other than that it’s identical to the Ingalls. We both wash our husband’s shirts. We both hand scrub stubborn stains. My fancee car has Billy Joel radio but other than that we’re practically twins.

Tuesday Tidbits

1. Annabelle had an eye doctor appointment last week. She was very nervous leading up to the appointment and the number of questions she asked while in the chair showed that she was still nervous. She did well at her eye appointment last year but this year I let her bring in her stuffed turtle, Sonny, for moral support. I don’t remember what she asked, but as the doctor checked her out he said, “You’re pretty smart.” She sat back in the seat, shocked. “You can tell I’m smart by looking into my eyes?! You can look in someone’s eyes to know if they’re smart?!”

2. I had my eye appointment yesterday. Historically I don’t perform well at the eye doctor. The perfectionist in me comes out hardcore and I spend an unnecessary amount of time trying to determine if I’m looking at a D, and O or a Q. Then the considerate part of me pipes up and tells me I’m wasting the doctor’s time and I need to wrap it up. Then the perfectionist side and the considerate side start to battle it out and no one wins. The doctor was doing the whole “Do you like 1, 2 or 3? This is 1. This is 2. This is 3. Which is better? Let’s go over them again.” but they were all foggy. I know I have horrible, terrible eyesight but it hadn’t gotten that bad in a year. Then I realized that my mask was fogging up the little circles I was looking through. I had to hold my breath while reading off the letters. Eventually, I said that the mask would need to go. I would not get the wrong glasses because a mask was messing up my life in yet another area. Then we had to restart the whole test. I told him about an issue I’m having seeing my cross stitch and he said I don’t need bifocals yet, but I should pick up reading glasses. Reading glasses! He said near vision gets worse in the 40s and 50s sometimes it starts a little early. I already feel like I’m 108 years old when I do cross-stitch. No need to add insult to injury by suggesting readers.

3. A friend invited me to another friend’s small 40th birthday dinner. I don’t know the birthday girl well so I strongly considered canceling last minute but I went and I’m glad I did. I do this to myself every time. My introverted self doesn’t want to go and thinks of twelve reasons I should stay home. I make myself go and 9 times out of 10 I’m glad I did. I forgot how fun it is to see and laugh with other people. We covered a wide range of topics including, but not limited to, the ‘rona (does anyone talk about anything else these days?), politics, potty training, children learning about body parts, Publix offering Kelly $700 so she wouldn’t sue them after she fell in front of their ice cream section, and companies rebranding. We talked in particular about Aunt Jemima and the lady on the Land ‘O Lakes butter box. You know who would be THRILLED TO PIECES to have her face on a box of butter? Me. I love butter with all my heart and soul. If Land ‘O Lakes is looking for a new face to slap on the box, look no further than yours truly.

The only picture I could find of myself where I wasn’t holding AB I’m holding a doll. I don’t know why.

4. Related to the above, I have decided on one of my lowkey goals for this year: I am going to sample and rate every brand of butter I can find in our town. I’m keeping my few goals very achievable and I feel good about this one.
4a. My other goal is to lose weight and it’s possible that my butter goals might hinder that. Nevertheless, I press on in the name of science.

5. Grandma turned 93 on Friday. She’s as spry and entertaining as she ever was. I love that she’s wearing a bow of some sort. My love of hair accessories is in my blood.

I have her wedding portrait hanging in my hallway and I thought it would be sweet to send her the same flowers she had in her wedding bouquet. They happened to be delivered while I was on a video call with Mom and Elizabeth who were at her house so I got to see her reaction. I guarantee you she wouldn’t have recognized them as her wedding flowers had I not told her, but she loved it once she knew. It was white lilies, white poms and white crysanthamums.

6. We took our Christmas decor down over the weekend. We don’t put it up early so I like to enjoy it longer on the back end. Generally this makes the house feel cozy for weeks but it isn’t the same feeling when it’s 60* and sunny out. I asked Christopher and AB to take down the fake tree in the living room while I was at the eye doctor. This morning I walked into the dining room and the real tree was gone. I was shocked. I thought the Grinch took the tree and stuffed it up the chimney. I completely forgot we had that tree when I said the tree needed to be taken down. I only intended for the fake tree to be taken down. We paid good money for the real tree and I intended on leaving it up until the last needle fell off. How I didn’t notice the tree was gone yesterday is beyond me. I might need to put down my cross stitch, polish off those readers and look in the yellow pages for a brain doctor.