coming to you live from a(nother) new state


It’s been a while.

Last time we spoke I was in Massachusetts, feeling very much like a gypsy without a home. My New York home had been packed up by strangers and I wasn’t sure where any of my belongings were. I so badly wanted to sleep in my own bed but had no idea which state it was in. I couldn’t remember much about the new home I saw for all of 15 minutes almost a month ago. It was a tumultuous time for me. 

We left for Georgia last Monday with a car packed like a can of sardines. I almost had to leave my child behind to fit everything. Annabelle fell asleep, woke up an hour later and instantly asked for a muffin. Half an hour later she moaned, “My tummy hurts.” I whipped out a bag and stuck it under her chin faster than you can say ”car sick.” This is not my first rodeo. I have been down this road too many times before. That’s how I ended up cleaning vomit out of the car seat in a McDonald’s parking lot. I went into the bathroom to wipe down her shirt and as I opened the room I hear a man singing, “Sarah! Saaaarah!” I stopped in my tracks and looked around. When I opened the stall door he sang my name again. It took me a minute to realize the man singing my name was on the radio. After I got over the surprise it made me laugh so hard.

We drove for ten hours the first day and longer the second day. We stumbled into our new home at nearly 11pm. Annabelle had fallen asleep in the car and upon waking she was so excited to be here she ran around like the Energizer bunny until 11:30. I was anxious to get here but immediately got overwhelmed by the number of boxes to unpack and things to put away. I almost turned around and went back to Massachusetts.

We raised the population of our new town to 3,009. Clearly, this is a budding metropolis. Despite its small size, much has happened since last Tuesday. Within the first week of being here the water has stopped working twice, the washing machine leaked, we’ve heard multiple racist comments, the neighbor across the street lost control of the brush he was burning and nearly caused a forest fire (it’s still smoking four days later), we visited urgent care and AB was diagnosed with an ear infection. Her allergies started acting up the day after we arrived. When I asked the urgent care doctor when allergy season starts he said, “Every season is allergy season here. It’s more like allergy year. There’s even pollen in the ice.” So that’s great. I’ll need to buy a Sam’s Club bulk pack of Claritin. 

We met some of our neighbors. In one house are the parents, five daughters, an uncle, a chihuahua, a beagle and two American pit bulls. We haven’t met them all yet but we share a driveway and their house is behind ours so it’s only a matter of time. The uncle came by to introduce himself and it was a very awkward encounter.  He said his name is Mike but everyone calls him Pedro (he pronounced it Peed-row). Mike Peedrow stood around for an uncomfortable length of time and I kept trying to wrap the conversation up without being rude. He slooowly talked about the weather, the size of the salamanders in the wall-less shed that is the centerpiece of our backyard, the demographics of the town and the land across the street. He said it used to be an evergreen grove but it was attacked by beetles so they cut the trees down. Now it’s known as Rattlesnake Ridge and his brother in law killed a snake that made its way across the street. Obviously, we have to move now because I can’t be living near snakes large or small. He might have been pulling our legs by why risk it?  

Subpar photo of our driveway with Rattlesnake Ridge in the background.

this is what happens when I wish for something interesting to blog about

I finally have everything in our house the way I want it which can only mean one thing- we’re moving again.

We weren’t supposed to move for three more years but last week Christopher’s company said JUST KIDDING! You have to move next month! Say so long to your plans of a fun Christmas season and get packing! Hurry up, there’s no time to spare!

Let me tell you how I feel about this recent development.

I am not a fan.

It took almost a year and a half to feel like this was home. For a long time it just felt like a place I lived. In the last six months I’ve put a lot more effort into getting established here. I signed us up for events in the community. I started volunteering in the nursery at church. I went to the church ladies retreat. I started inviting people for playdates instead of waiting for them to invite me. It was a lot of work for my introvert self but it helped it feel more like home here. I finally got to that spot only to be told it’s time to pick up and go again. I have seven thousand and twelve reasons I don’t want to go. I have pregnant friends whose babies I need to meet. I already planned my garden for next year. We got our patio at the end of the summer and barely got to use it. I love my house and don’t want to leave it. It’s small and creaky but cozy and perfect. Annabelle’s room is everything I wanted my little girl’s room to be. I’m almost insulted that someone else will be living here. They won’t know not to lock the bathroom door because you might get stuck in there. They won’t know that the dining room and master bedroom don’t hold heat well but the upstairs bathroom is always warm and a good place to hang out when you’re cold.

We’re going to miss our landlords so much. They are the sweetest people. Annabelle’s face lights up when Big Mr. Jim comes over. They do the yardwork and take great pride in things being pristine so in the spring and summer they’re over often. We always go out to chat and catch up. Mrs. Jim has babysat for me a few times. Their grandchildren are grown and they really treat AB like she’s part of their family. They treat all of us like family. When we told Little Jim the bad news he went and told his mom. She called me and said, “Jimmy told me the news and I just can’t believe it. I was so upset last night I couldn’t sleep and had to take a sleeping pill.” A few months ago Little Mr. Jim had trees cut down in the Hundred Acre Woods. Tigger’s tree stump house somehow got mixed up with the branches that were hauled away. The Jims know how much Annabelle loves Tigger’s house so they went through the dumpster with the wood and rescued it. We were visiting with Mrs. Jim tonight and she said Little Mr. Jim planted bulbs around Tigger’s house as a springtime surprise. I almost can’t think about it without crying.

I’ve cried several times since last week. I went from planning our Christmas time activities to being told overnight that we have to leave. Sometimes it occurs to me that maybe I’m being overly dramatic about this but so be it. I’ve never been one to like change, especially when I haven’t had any say in it. We’re moving to Georgia where it’s approximately 156 degrees with close to zero percent chance of a good snow. It’s snowing now and it’s like a little gift from God that we get to play in it before we move.

On the bright side, I do enjoy decorating new homes. We might end up with a kitchen that seats more that three people and maybe I’ll have a spot for flowers. We’re flying down tomorrow (weather permitting) to go house hunting. If it goes well we’ll end up with a lovely new home. If it doesn’t I’ll use the packing boxes and make us a box home.

Sesame’s Suite, 2.0

Almost 4 years ago I posted about our elephant/rabbit nursery. I thought it was time to do an updated tour of Sesame’s room. It’s generally not as clean as shown here. On any given day there are stuffed animals covering the chair and bed, lonely socks being used as bandaids for said animals and several books strewn about.  

When we moved in the walls were a gross green. It had previously been pink but Mr. Jim thought prospective tenants wouldn’t want a pink room so he painted over it. He had no idea I was coming his way with everything pink and girly. 
We still sit in the same rocking chair each night. It’s getting creaky and the cushions are getting flat but we’ve had some good cuddles in it.

I haven’t changed out the elephant and bunny watercolor prints she had in her first nursery. I’m planning a bird theme room for her next room and will leave the elephants up until then. I’ll never get rid of them. They’ll probably go to college with us when we share a dorm. 

This is one of my favorite views in the house. This picture doesn’t do it justice but it makes me so happy. I love all the necklaces, bows and seeing the tiny dress she wore home from the hospital through the closet door. 

Mr. Lion’s cardboard box and fabric scrap bed was not in the original design plan. He migrated there after being evicted from the crib. Also on the shelf are the turtle bank we painted when I was pregnant, a silver cup Christopher’s unit gave as a baby gift and our four tiaras and crowns.
I painted this bench on our last summer in Clarksville. It took several months longer than it should have but I’m pleased with the outcome. 
Sesame has recently started adding her own decor to the room. We got these three candles in Massachusetts and she said they were “perfect” for her shelf. A is for Annabelle was a gift from Aunt Stephanie and it’s so sweet.
The green drawers house diapers (I don’t want to talk about that), books, books and more books. 
We’re going through a bow drought. Any help in the form of new designs and/or colors would be greatly appreciated.
Aunt Michelle made this sign for us. I told AB that her friend Gracie’s mom gave it to her and she said, “Do I like her?” I don’t know if she was talking about Michelle or Gracie but either way that question means we definitely need to visit them again!

high and low lights of our week

* Wednesday was seven years since Christopher and I met. We’ve been married a little over 6 years so if you do the math we pretty much got married three minutes after meeting. I had a physical in the afternoon so we commemorated the day by high-fiving as we met in the OBGYN waiting room to do a child hand over. 

I am not a fan of my annual physical. I don’t like wearing the paper gown. I don’t like being surrounded by posters of the female reproductive system. I don’t like being reminded that my extra pounds can’t really be called “baby weight” anymore. I hate the required exam of the neither regions. I tell myself she’s seen hundreds of people and for a while it helped, then I realized the problem with that logic is I don’t show hundreds of people. I just lay there and hope for the best. The doctor is friendly but it’s weird when she’s telling me about how her 13yo twins almost burned down her house while going about her business. Does it have to be social hour? 

I ran into Tuesday Morning after my appointment to congratulate myself for making it through another appointment. I had to cut my shopping short because Christopher called and said he had to go back into work. He more than made up for my canceled shopping trip with the following texts.
I’ll keep him around for a few more years.

* Just when our yard had finally recovered from the patio fiasco, Mr Jim decided to have a new roof put on. They come at 7:30am and cause a ruckus until 6:30pm. The pounding never stops. The dishes shake in the cupboard. My poor garden has almost been squashed beyond repair.

Our kitchen is little and there’s no practical place for the trash can so we have it in the garage. I opened the door between the kitchen and the garage to throw something away and shingles came crashing down in front of my face. I looked up and saw the sky through what used to be the garage roof. The floor was covered in shingles, dirt and screws. I’m so shy I didn’t want to face the 8 guys about it but I didn’t want to clean up the mess myself. Then I saw our fake Christmas tree getting covered in dirt. That was too much. A line was crossed. I told myself they’re providing a service and I’m the customer they need to keep happy. They don’t need to know Mr. Jim signed the check and not me. I finally got the attention of Jorge (not his actual name) and apologized for bothering him, but if it wasn’t too much…I mean, if he get a chance…would he mind finding a tarp for the garage? All our stuff is getting dirty. Again, I’M SO SORRY TO BOTHER YOU. Jorge looked momentarily startled (English might not be his first language) but he paused the whole roof production to look for a tarp. Between you and I, I think they were hoping I wouldn’t notice the mess. As if I wouldn’t notice a Christmas tree in danger!  

 I’m so sorry. I just told you the most boring, anti climactic story in the history of the internet.

* I took Sesame to the playground to escape the banging. Someone tell me where my baby went! Who’s this kid with long legs?

* I don’t mean to brag (or maybe I do), but for 45 minutes every single piece of laundry in my house was either on us or clean and put away. ALL OF IT. This morning I deep cleaned the refrigerator so feel free to call me Martha Stewart and mail me a Wife of the Year award. Or reward me with French fries.

yellow caution tape will not be part of my final patio decor

For months our landlord Little Jim has been saying we were going to get a patio in the backyard. I was very excited about this new addition to our backyard. We have a lovely yard and the only thing missing was a good place to put our chairs and AB’s sandbox/pool/picnic table/wheel barrel/endless number of plastic yard toys. I had big plans of making it, as the Pottery Barn catalog calls it, “an outdoor oasis.” From the way Jim talked it sounded like the patio would be up and ready by May but that didn’t happen. Thanks to the steady stream of rain we’ve had for literal weeks on end, the patio men never showed up and I began to lose hope. 

Last week was sunny and patio day finally arrived. The Jims (Little Jim and his father Big Jim) decided to have the walkway in the front replaced at the same time. Annabelle was enthralled and kept calling out directions and asking questions. “You need to move a yittle to the right. No, the left. Why is he moving our sidewalk? What’s that man’s name? What’s he doing with the path? Move to the left!” It was three days of free babysitting.

The whole operation caused a lot of excitement among the female members of our house. We spent a significant amount of time watching the proceedings and critiquing the workers. I’m not a concrete expert but that didn’t stop me from evaluating their work. The Jims are obsessed with keeping the yard in pristine condition. The quality of care they give the grass is similar to the level expected at the White House. After the embarrassing condition of the lawn at our Fort Campbell home everyone is glad we aren’t responsible for the yard work around here. I knew The Jims wouldn’t be happy with the pile of dirt and rocks thrown onto the grass. 

I would have talked to the workers about it but I tried to avoid eye contact with them. One of them showed up unexpectedly a while ago to give an estimate. It was early in the morning and I saw him when I opened the blinds. He looked at me and I looked at him. Then he rang the doorbell and I ran upstairs to hide because I was in my pajamas with no bra on and I refuse to answer the door like that. 

Unfortunately the workers hit a snag. More specifically, they hit a sewer pipe and discovered a leak. Big Jim came over to assess and call the plumber. Neighbors Hippie Bob and Don met in our front yard to discuss the goings on.
The plumber came with his digger and dug a huge, 8 feet deep hole on the side of our driveway.
I cannot emphasis enough how bad it smelled. We had a gigantic pile of poop dirt in our driveway which is every bit as awful as it sounds. 
Please notice the classy yellow warning tape by the door. A third of the back yard was dug up, the entire front yard was covered with chunks of concrete and the pile of dirt was front and center to everyone who drove on our very busy street. None of it was an outdoor oasis. Thankfully The Jims have been by every day to fill the holes and plant new grass. I don’t know what they’d do without Annabelle there to tell them about her potty training and popsicle eating while they worked. 
In the midst of the hullabaloo, Hippie Bob decided to try out his new lawn mower in our yard. He has his own yard but I guess ours was more appealing. He did one strip down the middle then left.
Needless to say he will not be added to The Jims lawn crew.