on this most patriotic of days, I made myself see stars

I love the 4th of July. The festivities, fireworks, music, chips and dips. The chance to bust out my red, white and blue paper straws. I love the whole thing. Back home I’d count down the hours until The Boston Pops came on tv. It was one of my favorite shows of the year. There are no Boston Pops or parades in this land we lovingly (?) refer to as ”the butt sweat of America,” so we have to make other plans. The last few years have felt decidedly un-fourth of Julyish, but this year we turned it around.

Sunday night we went to a patriotic concert at church. During one song, they played a slideshow of family members who were in the military. Many were in the World Wars or Korea and let me tell you, it once again confirmed that I love a man in uniform no matter the decade. Had I been alive back then, I would have accepted a marriage proposal from just about any man who put on that cap with the little visor. I repeatedly poked AB and said, “He fought in one of the world wars and is related to someone in our church. Isn’t that so cool! Don’t you think he looks so handsome?” Every time she’d shrug and say, “I don’t know. I guess he looks fine.” As Lorelai says in Gilmore Girls, “You look like me yet my ways are lost on you.”

She perked up significantly the next day when we went to the festivities at the newly renamed Fort Benning. She was so young when Christopher got out of the Army that while she’s been told a lot, she doesn’t remember much of what he did or any of the Army activities I took her took wearing a themed smocked outfit and appropriately matching bow. This time she had 452 questions and observations.
We’re a proud 10th Mountain family so she instantly saw the patch on this guy and took a picture. 

I thought the whole thing was great. The more Pomp and Circumstance with a capital P and C the better. I didn’t bother asking AB if she thought anyone looked good in uniform because she doesn’t give the feedback I’m looking for. Christopher told her about the schools he attended and the countries he went to. I told her about the balls I attended and the many high-ups I met. Guess whose stories impressed her less. Hint: my stories. I did demonstrate for my family and the couple hundred people in the close vicinity what it sounds like when you walk into the back of a parked Black Hawk. I was responding to my friend’s text about makeup colors while walking and BAM. I went smack into the stabilizer. See Exhibit A for the exact details on the scene of the crime.

Exhibit A

When you live with the people I live with, if you accidentally call it a propeller instead of a stabilizer you will be corrected. If you’re Elizabeth and call it a plane instead of a helicopter, you will be corrected. The details are not important here. The fact is I walked into it, they must have heard the smack in Utah, I was mortified and now I have a sore lump on my forehead. I will be contacting the VA to request compensation for my injury. Instead of saying I was injured while doubling checking an eyeshadow name, I’m going to say I was injured while corresponding with a fellow American. Like I said, details are not important here.

anytime the unpacking fairies want to arrive is fine with me

Welcome to my new home! Pull up a box and make yourself comfortable.

It’s nothing short of a peaceful oasis around here. It could even be compared to a tropical beach vacation.

Last time I appeared on this corner of the webosphere I was comfortably situated between 318 boxes full of my worldly possessions and a disassembled kitchen table. The view hasn’t changed much, just the state.

Since then we’ve driven more than 800 miles with our cars looking like modern day Beverly Hillbillys. We’ve stayed in hotels across three different states and one who shall remain unnamed unrolled the toilet paper in them all.

I was so proud of this girl. She once cried ONCE the entire drive. 

Christopher made me the leader of our two vehicle caravan. As the kids these days say, LOL. I get lost in my own front yard. I kid you not, I got on the wrong highway less than three minutes after we left our Tennessee house.

Last family picture at our old house.
 The bright and shining highlight of our trek north was visiting Michelle and darling family. My car was broken into when we visited her last time so I was preparing myself for disaster to strike again. A car part flew off the car in front of me and left a dent the size of a basketball in my bumper but compared to a broken window it was nothing. Perspective is a funny thing. I had been talking to Annabelle about Michelle’s baby Gracie for weeks. Every time I’d see a picture of Gracie I’d show Annabelle who would squeal and say, “Baby Gaycee! Baby Gaycee! Call Gaycee?” I was not disappointed when they finally met in person. They’ll be BFF’s forever. They have no choice.

 In case you’re wondering where Gracie gets good hair genes, look no farther than her father.

 Sesame takes advantage of any opportunity to practice her princess wave.

As someone who likes to be fully prepared for everything in life, not knowing what our new house would be like caused me not a little worry and gray hair. We got here Tuesday but couldn’t get into the house until Thursday. We drove over to see the outside and I’m not going to lie. I panicked. My first impression was we were about to live in a house the size of two postage stamps. I envisioned having to leave 3/4 of my furniture out on the front lawn.  It was such a relief to see the inside and discover that my beloved hutch wouldn’t be banished to a dark corner of the garage after all. It’s not big by any means, but we’ll make it work. The kitchen doesn’t have a space for a real table so we have to turn the downstairs bedroom into a dining room. The stairs and upstairs hallway creak like the bones of a 102 year old man and are guaranteed to wake a sleeping baby. Annabelle’s room is itty bitty but she’s itty bitty so it works out. We have 104 boxes left to unpack and we’re waiting for the movers to bring us the rest. We’ll be fully unpacked by 2017.
I should be unpacking but I think I’ll go sit in the back yard instead. It’s so much prettier than cardboard boxes.

we’ve got our moving shose on

Last night was the last we time we rocked Annabelle in the bedroom we brought her home to. No one, least of all me, was at all emotional.


We spend most of yesterday after church packing the house. We moved all the stuff that we’re driving to the new house into the bathroom and the coat closet. The bathroom door can barely be opened and I practically have to climb on the counter to get to the toilet. The tub is full of stuff. I can only open the coat closet door part way or the drawers on Christopher’s file box slide open. My home is the sanctuary of peace and tranquility I always hoped it would be.

The packers came this morning to start boxing everything up and I could not have been more unenthusiastic about it. I woke up with a splitting headache and jaw pain thanks to stress and my still partially dislocated jaw. I felt like a million tiny little needles were jabbing into my ears. I wanted to curl up and cry and never leave the bed. Annabelle felt fine as a fiddle and started talking up a storm before she even got out of bed. We had piles through out the house and pictures leaning against all the walls. Her toys were separated into pack and do not pack piles. We had a stack of folded boxes just perfect for throwing around the floor. She bounced from pile to pile touching and moving everything. You would have thought she was at Disney World. I bounced from the ibuprofen bottle to the sudaphed bottle. Fun was had by all.

By the time they arrived (late) at 8:36, I was done. I wanted to go back to bed. The movers are very nice and extremely efficient. It would take me days and days to get this house packed, even if I didn’t have the small one. They’re going through boxes and wrapping paper like they’re going out of style. I appreciate a good wrapping job. I’ve been known to use paper, bubble wrap and newspaper one plate. Can’t be too careful. I don’t appreciate their labeling techniques or the way they combine items. For example, I saw them combine the following into one box labeled ”pillows”:
toys, fake greenery, a small metal star, two couch cushion, my cardboard letters that spell EAT, and part of a lamp.

I almost burst a blood vessel. I would never put the greenery that adorns my cupboards with Annabelle’s musical school bus.

Then I found this jewel.

Clothes and shose.

The day didn’t go off completely without a hitch but it did stay interesting. One guy was packing the kitchen and the light fell off the ceiling and crashed to the floor right by his feet. How does a light just fall off the ceiling? Another guy saw my bowl of muffins on the counter and asked if he could have one. I said he could have as many as he wanted. He asked if they were blueberry muffins. They were banana. Is my cooking that bad?

A few minutes later I heard the following conversation.
Mover 1: Is bowls spelled with e-l at the end or just l?
Mover 2: It doesn’t matter.

Um. YES IT DOES MATTER. I ASSURE you that the bowels belonging to people in this house are not going in any boxes. They won’t be walking around in any shose either.

thanks for tuning it to this season of Keep It or Kick It

We’re T-minus three weeks out from moving to our next home.

Normally at this point, I’d be packing and have boxes stacked up around this house. This time the Army is moving us so all I have to pack is what we’ll need between leaving here and arriving at the new house and various special things we want to pack ourselves. I very much feel like I’m in a state of limbo.

Speaking of the new house, finding one has been An Ordeal. It’s been the dramatic second season of the hit HGTV show Keep It or Kick It.

A few weeks ago Christopher flew up to our new state for an exploratory/house hunting trip. Normally I’d accompany him but the flights were so expensive it didn’t make sense. I supplied him with a detailed list of what I’d like in a house:
* a yard
* good spots for Christmas trees
* close to Dunkin Donuts

* a front porch and/or back deck

I believe that covers all the essentials. It didn’t occur to me to add bathroom with shower or no houses with coin-operated laundry machine to the list. You wouldn’t think in 2015 we’d have to specify that we want a house with a shower but Christopher looked at a house that didn’t have one. Obviously, we’re moving to a place that values cleanliness.

Long story short, he looked at over 20 houses and finally settled on a house with not one, but two showers. It had a Buddhist shrine in the office and was painted colors straight out of Bollywood but it was nothing a few coats of paint and 15 pinterest boards couldn’t fix. A week later that home fell through and we were back to square one. We didn’t have time to go back up to look at homes again so we had to decide between moving without a home or picking one site unseen. We went with the latter option which doesn’t make me one bit nervous. ON OPPOSITE DAY. If it’s terrible I’ll be sure to snag a few of the best packing boxes from the movers and whip us up a cute cardboard box house to live in on the side of the road.


it’s all fancy and formal until your bobby pins start popping out

A few weeks ago we were discussing the location of Christopher’s battalion ball. He said, “I think it’s at Bruce Jenner Hall.” Excuse me? I told him I HIGHLY doubted any hall in our area was named after Bruce Jenner. Turns out he didn’t have any idea who said individual is and I’m ashamed to admit that I was able to give him a detailed Kardashian/Jenner family tree. Between watching the Bachelorette and knowing about the Kardashian family I’m almost can’t look at myself in the mirror. (This was before the recent developments concerning Bruce Jenner that I can’t discuss without feeling the need to gag.)
The ball was this past Friday night. Everybody knows I love a good ball. Some people (not to name names but Christopher) go half-heartedly but I’m all SIGN ME UP for any event to wear a fancy dress and see people with all manner of paraphernalia on their uniform.

Quick stroll down memory lane. Look how young and thin we were at our first ball.
Not a gray hair in sight.

Normally I have my hairdresser do my hair but this time I decided to attempt it myself. I’m not stupid. I’m terrible at any semi-difficult hairstyle so I knew there was a chance it was probably an awful idea but I tried anyway. Unfortunately all the tutorials said to “tease the hair” and this is what I look like with teased hair.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I did my hair for more than an hour and a half (two Friends episodes!) only to end up with it straightened and in a ponytail. My hair is in a ponytail every single day of my life so it hardly screamed SPECIAL OCCASION HAIR.  I was so frustrated I almost threw in the towel and changed my mind about going. I was this close to giving the babysitter my ticket and spending the evening writing negative reviews on all the “easy 5 minute updo” videos. Short story unnecessarily long, I ended up with my hair in a bun. Not that you can even tell.

Part of the enjoyment I get from balls comes in the form of giving a running commentary on the appropriateness, or lack there of, of dresses I see. It’s not annoying at all. Clearly I ride a very high I’ve been to four balls so I’m an expert horse.
In other news, I sat next to a sweet woman I met last October. She loves Annabelle so I frequently text her pictures and we’ve made plans to get together multiple times. She’s a tiny Chinese lady who has a thick accent and speaks about as loud as an ant so conversation is difficult. That explains why I don’t know her first name. I didn’t understand it the two times she told me the day we met and now we’re nine months into our friendship and I refuse to as. I was hoping her husband mention it but no such luck. Mrs. No First Name Thompson she shall remain. 
At least I can rest secure in the knowledge that I’m her best friend if she ever needs her hair teased. 

needless to say she didn’t have any hazmat suits to hand out

I took Annabelle to the doctors this morning to be weighed. The receptionist asked if I had traveled to or been in contact with anyone visiting an African country within the last 21 days. I said no and she replied, “Oh good. They didn’t tell me what to do if you said yes.” 

Rest assured that in some toy store there is a Barbie doll more prepared to deal with an ebola patient than the employee at a government medical center.