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June 2007
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August 2007

Lightly toasted, whine on the side

    Hubby decided to map out a little family fun time this weekend, so we headed to the air show at the military base on Lake St. Clair.  Now, normally this would be a good thing, wouldn't you think?  Planes, people in uniform, really expensive hot dogs - sounds like a perfect recipe for a good time with your kids.  But no!  Apparently what we have here are not normal kids.  We're raising a bunch of octogenarians in adolescent bodies.  It's too hot, too loud, too crowded, too booooooooooring, etc. etc.!  (I have the only teenagers in the world who won't even want to sneak out to a rock concert)
Hubby overruled, however, and off we went.
    Once we got there (and youngest son decided he was not, in fact, going to die on the spot as a result of our unbelievable cruelty), it was actually pretty neat.  Some of those military planes are HUGE!!  We walked through one that was so big, you could actually load six (6) Greyhound busses on it - and it would still carry 75 troops, plus the flight crew.  Pretty amazing.  There were fighter jets and helicopters as well as aerobatic planes and crop dusters.  Lots to looks at!



    But the thing that absolutely made my hubby's day?  The thing he chortled and snickered and hooted about the rest of the day?  This.

Go figure.

My love is blue

    There's a new love in my life.  I found it when I wasn't looking, as is usually the case with these things.  I'd almost given up on finding a love like this, but lo and behold, sitting in the parking lot of the Saturn dealership in all its indigo glory was my new love. A 2002 Oldsmobile Silhouette.  I'm completely smitten.
    You have to understand that there was a time when I scoffed at the notion of me in a minivan.  I scorned their immense grocery-bag capacities and ignored the many benefits of  separated seating.   Then I became pregnant with child #3  - a month before child #2  had her first birthday.  Suddenly my beloved Cavalier was too small.  Three carseats just wouldn't fit, no matter how hard I tried.  I was forced to bow to the inevitable: a minivan. 
    Now, all these years later, I am a changed woman.  The past year of vanlessness (is that a word?) almost drove me crazy.  Cramming three not-so-little kids into the backseat of a not-so-big car for repeated long-distance driving is a guaranteed ticket to the funny farm, huggy coat included.  And believe me, I don't need any extra help going down that road!  So imagine, if you will, my happiness - my relief - nay, my absolute bliss at finding my all-time favorite van model, in our price range, and - be still my heart - it's blue.  Everyone knows that blue vehicles are just plain better (ask my husband).  I am altogether overjoyed with my new-old van.  Funny, I never knew getting the blues could feel so good!


I wants my privacy, I does!

    As you know, we are staying in a furnished apartment until we close on our new house at the end of the month.  This was fine until another family moved in upstairs.  In fact, it was fine until - oh - about 7:30 this morning, when the mom and dad began yelling at each other up and down the steps and all along the sidewalk to the garage.  Let me note that the sidewalk runs directly outside of all our bedrooms.  I heard several words this morning that I don't care to use or hear myself, which was not a pleasant way to start the day.   Just now they repeated the process, punctuated by accusations such as "You're an idiot!  You're the biggest idiot in the world!" and "Oh yeah?  Now who's the idiot?  They were in your purse!"  Etc., etc., ad nauseum. 
    Now, I fully realize that this is an apartment building.   This means that, no matter how thoughtful a person is, people in the adjoining units will undoubtedly be able to hear you at least sometimes.  Footsteps, opening and closing doors, running water - those are all normal sounds, and after a bit you pretty much tune them out.  But I'm having a little problem with people who feel the need to broadcast their current disagreement to the entire neighborhood.  I mean, jeez, if you really think your spouse is an idiot, okay, but the rest of us don't need to hear about it.  If your marriage is that troubled, ask for help, but not at the top of your lungs outside someone else's bedroom window first thing in the morning!  (Unless there's  abuse involved, in which case, yell as long and as loud as necessary to get help.)  A little consideration goes a long way - with neighbors and with marriages.  And in the absence of consideration - well, I'll take my nice, quiet, private new house.  Thank you.

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head...

    ...and I'm okay with that, because it has been SSOOOOO dry here lately it's unreal.  Last night we heard some promising rumbles as we were getting into bed, and today it's an honest-to-goodness rain.  Nothing dramatic, just a nice, steady wetting.  I swear the grass looks happier already.  My Mom's poor yard was actually crunchy this weekend, it's been so dry.  I think I'm glad I am not a tree.
    On the other hand, my nice, steady rain means my nice, fidgety kids are stuck inside.  This is not nice.  This leads to grouchy mom and whiny kids and general unhappiness in the land.  Of course, I know they won't melt if they go out in the rain, but I am not emotionally prepared for the glares from the other parents whose offspring were kept conscientiously indoors during inclement weather.  I'm a wimp.  So I'm sacrificing my own mommy mental health to keep my little darlings safe and dry inside.  Sounds good when you say it fast, right?  Sigh.  Maybe a trip to the mall is in order.  Granted I'll have to say the word "NO" approximately 2, 743 times, but I've gotten pretty good at that.  Sometimes it's even fun, although I suppose I shouldn't admit that.  Oh well, Mommy of the Year is pretty much not in my future anyway, so off we go.  I think I'll practice a little., I'm good! 

In which I fall. Hard.

    Last week got a little squirrelly about Wednesday, when the cable internet connection here at the apartment went suddenly and inexplicably AWOL.  I do not deal well with being denied internet access (yes, I'm a junky) and so I was a little crabby towards the end of the week.  This crabbiness was compounded by the fact that I was trying to get us all ready for a road trip to Ohio.  Jon's parents were up from Florida and we wanted to have a family get-together. So, after much griping and grumbling at the worthless cable connection, and some decidedly lackadaisical packing, we took off Friday afternoon.
    Our trip was pleasantly uneventful, and we arrived at my Mom's around 8 p.m. Friday evening.  We spent some time chatting and then turned in, with plans to hit some garage sales Saturday morning.  Which we did with great success!  I was completely thrilled - I got some jeans, a fleece top/jacket, and a wool coat that looks brand new, plus a few smaller items, all at killer prices.  Mom and Melinda scored similar bargains, so we all left happy. 
    After getting back to Mom's and showing off my finds, Jon and I loaded up the kids and headed to his sister's house for our family shindig.  There was lots of food, talking, and fun -  so much, in fact, that we didn't leave until almost 10 p.m.!  Since it's just over an hour from there to my Mom's, we got home really late, but it was worth it to have such a great visit. 
    Now comes the part where I fell.  See, since we're getting the house in a couple weeks, we've been talking about getting a dog.  One of Mom's neighbors has Golden Retrievers, and she had told me in June that one of them was going to have puppies.  Sooooooooooooo, we just casually strolled across the road to see if the pups were there yet, and....well......
Seth_and_new_pup I fell.  Or more accurately, we all fell.  The puppies are only three weeks, so we can't bring her home yet, but one of the little females is going to be part of our family ASAP.  Isn't she cute?  Isn't Seth cute?  Aren't Jon and I the biggest suckers ever?  (Don't answer that one...)  So our little family trip resulted in an addition to our family, and you know, when I look at that little face, I don't mind falling. 

But I'm innocent, I tell you!

    I can already tell that living in Michigan is going to be an adventure.  Well, living anywhere seems to be an adventure for us, but this is going to be a different adventure.  Not bad, just different.
    Today started out pretty much like every other day....get up, make coffee, feed the offspring, blah blah know, the usual.  My friend Phebe came over for coffee and after she left, we had lunch and then went to the store for a few items.  Once we got home, we decided to go to the pool for a while.  I was in my room getting changed when I heard one of the kids open the front door (I thought).  When I walked out to see what was going on, they informed me that "some strange woman just walked in the door and then said she had a wrong number and walked back out!"  Perplexed, I opened the front door to see a very confused-looking woman and a couple kids standing outside.  She looked at me and said "I think I have the wrong number, I'm sorry".  I told her it was okay and closed the door, still perplexed.  Wrong number?  It's a door, not a phone!  After a little thought, though, I realized that she was a new tenant trying to find the door to her apartment, something that isn't as easy as you'd think here.    
    With that settled, the kids and I took off for the pool and met our friends.  We spent a happy hour or so splashing around and then came back to our apartment.  About an hour later, as Phebe and I were sitting chatting and the kids were playing, the doorbell rang.  Phebe's daughter answered the door and - oh my gosh - a policeman was standing there.  Two official-type people, actually, although the man was in police uniform and the woman was in some other sort of official garb.  Once again perplexed, I asked what I could do for them.  The officer told me that they were looking for a certain man and asked if I knew him.  I had no idea and told him so, but he still asked to see my I.D.  After a few more questions, and my careful explanation of just who I was and what I was doing here (!!!), he thanked me politely and left.  Now I was not just perplexed but freaked out and slightly scared.  Who is this guy they're looking for?  WHY are they looking for him?  Am I going to have an axe murderer showing up on my doorstep some night?   Is it safe to let my kids go to the playground now, or should I be buying mace to walk to the mailbox?  Eeeeek! 
   ....okay, deep breath...the officer didn't indicate that this person is dangerous or that we had anything to be concerned about, so I'm going to assume that everything is fine.  But you have to admit, it's weird.  Some adventures I could do without.  I think I'm going to go knit some sock and think "normal" thoughts for a while.  Yeah, normal.  Whatever that is.


    This morning my friend Phebe and I hopped in the car and took off to spend some time with an American tradition: the garage sale, also known as a tag sale, yard sale, moving sale, or "getting rid of stuff" sale.  Gotta tell you, it was big fun! 
    Now, you have to realize that we had no intentions of spending any significant amount of money.  Nor did we have any specific goals for our quest.  See, the spirit of garage shopping is best served by going with an open mind and no expectations.  If you set out looking for an antique sideboard with four drawers and Queen Anne feet for under $13, you will surely be disappointed.  But go with an attitude of "Hey, I'm just having fun, who knows what I might find?", and the blessings - and bargains - will flow.  It's amazing what people put out at these things.
    I have been a garage-sale afficionado for lo, these many years, and I've seen some really incredible things.  There have been sales with only three or four items; sales with clothing that had clearly not been washed in a very long time; sales held by people who didn't know what all the items were, even though they had owned them; even - in one case - a sale that was never dismantled.  An elderly couple who lived near us in Indiana literally kept their garage sale set up year-round in their garage.  Nothing ever changed; no new items were ever added; and as far as I know, they never sold a thing.  It was a joke in the area.  "Going to some garage sales?"  "Yeah, thought I'd hit that place on Wolf Lake, somebody said it looked like they'd moved the toothpaste."  Fun stuff, eh?
    Today I scored a set of Martha Stewart sheets that were still in the original package - yay! - and some purple curtains for daughter's new bedroom.  Phebe picked up some fun fuzzy pillows for her little girl, jeans, books, even a crystal-growing set for her son.  And it was all CHEAP!!  Why wouldn't you buy a pair of jeans for $.50 and toss them in the wash, versus going to the store and paying $20?  I love it!  Besides, when you garage sale, you're really recycling, so I'm being a good little budgeter AND saving the environment.  Saving the green all the way around!  Yeah!

A temporary resting place

    Well, we're in Michigan now - ALL of us! - and getting settled into our temporary apartment.  After a long and grouchy day of driving, it was a nice surprise to walk into this place.  It's much larger than I expected, clean, fully furnished - the management even stocked the kitchen with some basic needs so we wouldn't have to run to the store right away.  There's yard space outside and a playground and pool in the complex, so the kids have something to do.  And best of all, my husband and I are together again.  After three months (I know, I know, could've been worse) we don't have to make an international call to tell each other good night anymore.  It is sooooo nice!      
    Now we're going through all the paperwork, inspections, etc. that are necessary to buy the house.  Mercy, there's a lot of red tape!  But hey, it'll all be worth it when we have our own space again - and the kids all have their own bedrooms!  Just a teaser....
Pond_view_first_choice This will be my view off the deck.  Guess where I'll be drinking my morning coffee?  Serenity at last.  Life is good.

Northward ho!

    It's official!  This is our last night as Buckeyes.  Tomorrow morning the kids and I leave for Michigan.  In 24 hours we will all be together again, as a family, for good.  Isn't that wonderful?  It's been a long three months with my hubby on one side of the Atlantic and me on the other, that's for sure.  No more of this long-distance baloney for us! 
    We plan to close on our new house July 30th, and until then we have a furnished apartment fairly close to Jon's workplace.  I am so grateful the company provided that - finding a rental place for a month is almost impossible, especially furnished, and I so did not want to move all our stuff an extra time.  Another little blessing is that our friends Drew and Phebe are staying in the same complex (they were also expats - 5 years!), so we'll be able to reconnect with them right away.  I'm really tickled. 
    We're supposed to have internet access at the apartment, so I hope that in a couple days I'll be back online.  Hope everyone has a great 4th of July!  God  bless America!