Currently, the selfie edition

Annoyed: that I spent three days trying to write this and half of it disappeared so I have to start over.

Feeling: old. What else is new. A boy from the first family I babysat for got married a few months ago and his wife is pregnant. A few of the other children I watched during my time as mayor of Babysitterville are in college. The first group of preschoolers I volunteered with years ago are seniors high school. None of them would remember me but I remember them all and still have a few pictures they drew me. I very clearly recall the first family I babysat for because it was not a good experience. I was convinced they would be kidnapped or die on my watch so I was very uptight. I was unsure of what their mom allowed so I’m sure I seemed like a stick in the mud. Fast forward a couple years and I was a laid back party on wheels. They had a pug named Abby who I DID NOT LIKE ONE BIT. She smelled awful and constantly had accidents in the kitchen. She forever ruined pugs for me. Their mom was supposed to pay me $6 an hour, which seemed like a fortune at the time. She kept lowering the rate as the weeks went by and gave me whatever dollar bills she found crumpled in her purse. Once she gave me $5 for 5 hours. I had to talk to her about it which took at least three years off my life.

Buying: a pillbox and reading glasses. This purchase did nothing to help me feel better about my age. Actual footage of me right now.

Frustrated: with this town. The entire place operates in the same sloppy way. Christopher and I had lab work done at one doctor’s office that was supposed to send the blood to a lab then send the results to a second doctor’s office. There was mass confusion about which office the results were being sent to and neither office got any. No one knew what happened to our collective 24 vials of blood. I called both offices several times a week and we finally tracked it down at the lab. The lab knew my doctor’s name but had the fax number wrong so instead of calling them for clarification, they did nothing with the results. They then told us that they couldn’t do a specific test on Christopher’s blood but again, instead of letting us know, they let it sit on a shelf and “get too old” to reuse on a different test. All of this has taken several more years off my life.

I’ve been wandering in a hairdresser desert for a year and a half now. I needed to break up with my hairdresser, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it since she was also a friend. Instead of addressing this as Christopher would have (“Just tell her you found a new place. It will be fine.”) I chose the path of least resistance and stayed at her salon. My friend moved and I recently went to a new place someone recommended. The hairdresser was surprised to see me even though she had confirmed the appointment. My cut started 27 minutes late because she had to “run next store real quick and buy jeans before they close.” She came back with jeans, a few shirts and a pair of new earrings. Silly me was expecting it to be a professional operation but nope. She did a great job so now I have to decide if I want to budget an extra 40 minutes when I make an appointment in case Mary wants to go on another shopping spree.

Hearing: my friends say they’re getting off social media because it’s a time sucker.

Discovering: new filters when I should be weeding the garden. See also: time sucker. I sent Aaron these pictures to prove that I am capable of filling any and all roles as his future wedding planner.
Makeup artist

Bouncer to stop wedding crashers

Ready, willing and able to perform religious ceremonies

He has not taken me up on any offers yet but I will not give up. There are more filters and ignoring of housework where those came from.

Blaming: everything on the ship that was stuck in the Suez Canal. Every time I need something at the store that isn’t in stock I blame the ship. CVS is out of the one very specific dosage of Tylenol I need? Blame it on the ship. The dollar store has bare shelves and looks like a Russian grocery store from 1990? Blame it on the boat. I didn’t get all the laundry done? Blame it on the boat.

Listening: D-Day Darlings and Dadville. The former is a group that sings WW2 songs and the latter is, as the name hints, a podcast for dads. It’s such an entertaining podcast that I don’t even care that I’m not the target audience. I happen know several dads and this makes me feel like I might be able to understand them a little more. Their ads reel me in hook, line and sinker. I’ve come this close to purchasing a custom-made grass food formulated specifically for my zip code.

Not comprehending: how men, specifically Christopher, do not notice things. He generally notices when I get a haircut (mostly because I make a production of reminding him I’m getting a haircut) but beyond that, he is not the most observant man in the world. Not even the 5,598th most observant man, if we’re being honest. I replaced a shelf, styled it with new decor and he didn’t notice. There was a piece of paper on the floor in front of his sink for literally weeks and he didn’t move it. Let’s not forget the time he had fake eyelashes attached to his headlights for a week without noticing them. We were watching Captain America recently and he made a comment about what the artist in the movie was painting. I asked how he knew what was being painted since we didn’t see the actual painting and he said, “We saw that the paint on the artist’s pallet was the same color as the bad guy which tells us what he was painting a portrait of the bad guy.”

Annabelle’s optimism. At night after her first tball game, she prayed, “Thank you that the game was tied.” They lost 25-7.

Currently, the rainy February edition

Jealous: of everyone else in the US getting snow but us. I’m glad I have heat and running water, but I’d love to look out the window and see snow instead of the 10th day of rain in a row.

Sad: that Annabelle has forgotten to take her precious Memere blanket to bed several nights this year. She’s had Memere blankie since she was minutes old. It has gone everywhere with us. Now she might not notice if she doesn’t have it at bedtime and it gives me actual tears. Christopher said, “Well, she is getting older. She’s almost 7” WHICH IS THE WRONG THING TO SAY TO SOMEONE ON THE EMOTIONAL BRINK. The last time she forgot the blanket downstairs, I brought it up to her and woke her up so she’d know it was there.

She had Memere blankie on her very first walk around the block.

Buying: Bar Keepers Friend cleaner and new sponges. I also downloaded a podcast episode called Cleaning and Laundry Get Easier when You Understand This. I was more excited about it than one should be about cleaning products, but such is middle-age life.

Mourning: the passing of my 20s (which I’ve been doing for a few years now). AB interrupted me at supper last night to say that she “can see that you do have a lot of gray hair but they’re more silver than white so it’s ok.” I think she meant it as a compliment but I didn’t need someone pointing out my gray hair and Memere blankie being forgotten within the same 24 hours. I got an updated AARP membership card last month. I ripped it up and was about to throw it away when I saw that I qualified for a free, no purchase necessary, S&H included car trunk organizer. I love some good car organization which seems like yet another check in the “are you middle age?” quiz.

Reading: Who Thought this was a Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco, 500 Miles from You by Jenny Colgan and Sacred Tears by Lindsey Wheeler. I’m listening to Lovely War by Julie Berry. Michelle recommended it and I read anything she tells me to. I have Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella, Redeployment by Phil Klay and A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell to read next in the library basket. They’ve already been renewed twice so I’m not sure if I’ll get to them all before they’re due again.

Updating: Annabelle’s bedroom. I painted the nature mural on one wall but the other walls are in desperate need of some TLC. She will have the mural until she is in college then her children will enjoy it. It took too long to paint for me to throw some new paint over it. I was going to do white but AB asked if we could do a color. More specifically, she wanted orange to which I said “letmethinkaboutit NO.”
We settled on purple. I started taping this week but haven’t started the actual painting yet. I don’t mind painting, but I always forget how long it takes to move furniture and tape everything and collect the paintbrushes and is it time for a nap yet.

Thinking: about the appointment I had with the fertility doctor last month. He was very nice and I feel very comfortable with him. He instantly said he knew I wasn’t from Georgia because of my accent. I said I was from Massachusetts which started a conversation about politics and he made an incorrect assumption about my political views based on my birthplace. He started talking about red states and blue states and said something like “I’m sure you and I agree on issues because we’re from the same color state.” I got confused about which color my party is so I agreed that he and I are of the same political persuasion. We were deep into the conversation before I realized I had accidentally agreed that I am a democrat. I don’t care whether he’s right, left, middle, or Kayne West’s Birthday Party as long as he can do his job well. I never clarified which way I vote so now I feel like I have to keep up this political charade forever. The future of my uterus and the size of my family is in his hands and I don’t want to give him any ideas that I shouldn’t raise another child because I can’t keep two simple colors straight.

Mourning: the failure of the neck firming, anti-wrinkle, saggy neck tightener and double chin reducer anti-aging moisturizer I bought. I had such high hopes that it would tighten all my extra chins up but it did nothing. I was supposed to get a free second bottle, which I signed up for twice, but I never received it. I continue to use it because I paid for it and it is moisturizing, but it did not deliver the botox in a bottle I was hoping for. I cannot tell Christopher this because I can’t deal with my chins AND him saying ”I told you so.” I recently found a V-line face slimming lifting double chin removal massager that sounds promising. When God closes one chin repair window He opens another.

may perspective be 2020 and we not repeat these mistakes

Welcome to my yearly airing of grievances where I beg the world to cease and desist all behaviors I find annoying. It goes without saying that any and all viruses which shall not be named are no longer welcome in the new year.

+ Several years ago in my grievances I mentioned how I loath abbreviated words such as sammie, brekkie, and addy (instead of address). It makes me gag just writing those words. Sadly the world has not listened to me and I’m still hearing those words. I come to you this year with a new word we need to abolish from our vocabulary: K instead of ok. Do you not have time to type ONE more letter and make it a complete word? I’m not asking that people go above and beyond by spelling o-k-a-y. All I’m asking is for a complete word.

+ Political pamphlets. It was a veeery long political season and in Georgia, it still hasn’t wrapped up. We’ve been getting 2-5 pieces of mail from both political parties almost every day since October. We’ve known who we’re voting for in the runoff election for months so we learn nothing new from the pamphlets and they go straight into the trash. At this point, I think I should have kept count of which party sent the least mail and vote for them!

+ Groups of friends who get together for visit then spend the entire time on their phones and not interacting with one another. One time at church I was VERY ANNOYED WITH THE WORLD and I directed this annoyance at a group of teenage boys sitting in a row, each on their phones. I wanted to roll up a bulletin and throw it at them but Christopher said isn’t how we are to behave in church and it doesn’t need to bother me so much and who suddenly made him the reasonable one in this relationship?

+ One-way aisles in stores. This issue was brought up by the pandemic shandemic and much like the pandemic shandemic, it needs to be kicked to the curb. If the one-way arrows on the floor are meant to limit interpersonal contact, then tell me how it makes sense for me to see the box of crackers I need in empty aisle 13, but the arrow is saying I need to walk up crowded aisle 12 to get to the other end of 13 so that I’m not going the “wrong” way. I understand their reasoning, but it’s not well executed. I’ve said before how I’m a very conscientious rule follower, but this makes absolutely no sense. I tell my conscience it’s more of a suggestion/preference than law as I go into the empty aisle the wrong way. Our grocery store recently took down the arrow stickers because no one was following them. TJMaxx still has them but whoever put them on the floor didn’t pay attention to what they were doing because in one section the arrows make a square around the food and you could go ’round and ’round for hours. In another spot, the arrows meet in the middle of the aisles and are pointing in opposite directions. –> <–

+ Constant notifications for phone and computer updates. I will push ‘ask me later’ and ‘postpone’ 99 times so I don’t have to deal with the changes the updates will bring. I can only push postpone on my phone so many times before it does its own thing and updates itself but I will delay as long as possible.

+ Boomerangs. I don’t mind boomerangs that are someone diving off a cliff then going in reverse up to the top of the cliff. There are some very entertaining and well done boomerangs. The boomerangs I’m specifically speaking on are pointless. A girl did a boomerang of her hand taking a book on and off a shelf. Someone else posted a boomerang of stirring her coffee. You could literally do the same action without the boomerang part and it would look the same.

The first word I saw was mud. I was hoping for something along the lines of plenty of sleep or an unexpected windfall of cash is in your future. I hope this not a sign of things to come!

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?”

Currently, the politics edition

Laughing at: election memes. We hit a new high for good memes at the beginning of the pandemic but things hit a slump for a few months there. The election nearly killed my spirits but memes are slowly helping revive me.

Thankful: that I can vote. I took AB voting with me after school. I always try to take her since it’s a patriotic thing, but this year felt more special since it marks 100 years since white women were allowed to vote. If I couldn’t vote I’d be out on the streets like Mrs. Banks from Mary Poppins.

Not election related, but how accurate and depressing is this one?

Having unpopular opinions about: Kamala Harris. So many people are going crazy that she’s the first woman to be presumptive vice president. “I finally have someone for my daughter to look up to!” It is wonderful that we live in a country that offers such opportunities to men and women. We have come so far in that regard. I applaud what seems to be a dedicated work ethic and I have no doubt she has done good in certain areas, but I cannot hold her up as someone to emulate to my daughter. I can’t use someone who voted against the Born Alive Infants Protection Act as an example for my child. I will side with morals over gender. For the record, this does go both ways. I don’t agree with the disrespectful way Donald Trump often speaks to and about people. I don’t hold him up as a good example in that either.

Embarrassing myself: at the doctors. I had an internal ultrasound on Wednesday. I’ve had them so often this year I told Christopher we should buy our own ultrasound machine and save the time and money of going to the office all the time. The nurse said my uterus and follicles looked good and I said “Thank you. I’ve really been working on them.” Obviously I was kidding because I have no control over these things, but he nurse did NOT have a sense of humor. She looked at me like I was possessed and should not be allowed to raise any more children. I didn’t say much after that since I was in a very compromised physical position.

Watching: the neighborhood facebook page. This is not a good resource for someone who is trying very hard to be less nosy informed about local goings on. Cynthia’s decorative ceramic pineapples were stolen. Clay posts video footage of “reckless teens barely stopping at the stop sign at Southbridge and Morris. Parents, please control your youth!” “I stepped in dog poop in my front yard this morning. I do not have a dog. Please pick up after your pets or I will be forced to call the head of the HOA and animal control.” One person constantly threatens to call animal control so often I wondered if he’d call when he saw a child dressed up as a dog on Halloween.

Watching: cheesy Christmas movies and loving every second. I said to Christopher, “I assume you don’t mind if I watch Midnight at the Magnolia without you?” and he said, “I’d prefer you watch it without me.” Fine. Be the Scrooge of a person who doesn’t want to surprised and thrilled when two very beautiful people fall in love when they both want the same Christmas tree.

Chauffeuring: AB to swimming lessons. They finally started up a few weeks ago and Sesame has been thrilled. She doesn’t do well with sports that involve balls but she’s excelling at swimming. She takes lessons at the Y and their entire management system is truly a mess. It took more than one month of trying to contact Troy, the aquatics director, and a last ditch frustration visit to Samantha in the office to get the lessons set up. I wanted to threat that I’d leave and go to their competitor, but they’re literally the only place in town that has swim lessons. I should have gone to Samantha in the first place. Within 24 hours we had a teacher and time slot. Two weeks ago I tried to pay for her next round of lessons. The lady at the desk wouldn’t let me pay until Troy looked at the registration form even though AB has been an established student for almost two years. I was offering them $90 so you’d think they would have asked me to sign on the receipt asap. Her teacher told me yesterday that “Troy gave me the paper so you can pay now but I don’t know why he’s involved. All he does is look at it when he gives it to me. It seems like a waste of time.” Amen, sister.  Either way, my little fish is back in the water and loving it. She’s learning how to dive and it’s very similar to how I dive. To be specific, it’s a belly flop every time. I’d sign up for diving lessons myself but who knows how long it would take for the paper to get from the front desk to Troy’s office. I might be 37 by then.

Currently, The Eve of October Edition

Reading: I’ve been in a terrible reading rut. I got halfway through three books before giving up. For years I would make myself finish every book but not anymore. There are too many good books in the world to spend my reading time on subpar books. I borrowed a book from the library called The Swiss Courier on my old standby topic of WW1 and WW2. I forgot I had it until I found it stuck in the bottom of the library book basket. I started it on Monday and was really enjoying it, but had to return it on Tuesday because there were no renewals left. This is my latest batch of books.

The back of The Switch had me at the first sentence. “Eileen, newly single and about to turn eighty, would like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.” She and her twentysomething granddaughter in London swap homes for two months while they sort out their lives. If that’s not a Sarah book waiting to be read I don’t know what is.
With AB, I’ve been reading Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crocket, Giraffe Problems and several more.

Laughing at:

Impressed by/feeling bad about myself: I’ve been researching the new Supreme Court candidate. She is a mother of seven, one of whom is special needs, and somehow has her wits about her enough that she said yes to one of the biggest jobs in the entire country. She balances seven children and has a robust career while I cannot remember which shoe size my one child wears.

I listened to an interview with a man who is a father, an Army doctor, a fighter jet pilot and an astronaut who just spent ten months in space. I went to Sam’s Club yesterday and got lost finding the soda. Astronaut Drew can get himself to the moon but my flight pattern through the produce section of Sam’s looks like this.

Proud of: Annabelle at school. She told me she helped Nolan K find a book he wanted and congratulated Landon on reading well when he’s been struggling. It’s nice to know she’s being kind when I’m not there to remind her.

Helping: Sesame sweep the leaves in the backyard.

Making: I’ve taken a break from my old lady craft of cross stitch and have taken up another old lady craft of embroidery. I bought a new pattern that I planned on starting last night while I watched the presidential debate, but I had a headache so I haven’t started. If I hadn’t already had a headache, all the yelling and name-calling between Donald and Joe would have given me one.

Watching: Somebody Fed Phil. It is delightful. He is entertaining and SO kind to the people he eats with and his crew. He constantly reminds me of our old landlord who we loved.

Planning: our 10th anniversary trip. Every time Phil visits a new country I add it to my possible locations list. Hopefully, by April we’ll be able to move freely around the world. If not, we’ll be visiting Paris, Tennessee or Denmark, Maine.

Playing: trivia games via zoom. It is as full of technical problems as you’d expect. The other team had a question about which fast food restaurant has a chihuahua as a mascot. My team was asked “how many gallons of water can a baobob tree hold in its trunk? Too bad the questions weren’t about getting dizzy in Sam’s.