Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This Time Last Year

This time last year
There were boxes
At the Center
of every room
Being filled with
Fifteen years of life.

On every street and
At every corner
A flurry of hellos
And Goodbyes
Flew into the air
Hungry magpies of the inevitable.

The days marched along
As good soldiers
Delivering us to a New Life
600 miles South.

For months everything was
in its

Nearly twelve months gone by
The newness has faded like
Chintz left in the sun.
But slowly becoming invisible
And in this way
The Past reappears
In stark and devastating relief.

An impossible mirage.
And Unattainable.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A little of this and that...

It's the week before Thanksgiving and all of the Shiny Red Pets are shedding. I don't know why they feel that this is the time to rid themselves of all of their fur, but they have. There are clumps of fur which roll by gently with any disturbance or movement of air in the house. I feel compelled to sweep them or pick them up, but I can assure you that I am the only one here who feels that way.

Now that fall is solidly here I am reminded that I love cool crisp weather. The temperature drops and I feel energized and lively. I take longer walks in the woods with the dogs and come home to a crackling fire in the living room.

I am hosting Thanksgiving for the first time in at least a decade. I'm trying to remember what I cooked the last time. A turkey surely, but what else must be on the table? Do my readers have tried and true recipes that they love and would like to share? I'd love to be the beneficiary of your wisdom.

Usually in the fall I like to read the very beginning of Moby Dick, as well as The Headless Horsemen. I didn't seem to get to it this year. Rebecca and I are reading Tom Sawyer. I don't think that I appreciated the humor of this story as a child when I read it last. Now I am so much more aware of the adult narrator and the amused and gentle kindness of his portrayal of Tom.

Finally, I will share a private victory of adulthood with you. When I was in my teens and at the dentist for a check-up, the dentist remarked that I had been doing a fantastic job flossing. My teeth looked great- no plague and cavity free.

Reader, I had never flossed in my life. After that comment I decided that flossing was for fools with nothing better to do than thread bits of waxy string through their teeth. This was a strategy that worked for a number of years, but over the last decade or so I have been getting nagged by dentists and hygienists to floss.

I finally found a new dentist down here in The South. The hygienist looked at my teeth and informed me that the plaque was so bad that it would take two treatments to clean them. One that day and another in four weeks.

I was horrified by the sight of my poor sore gums and so I vowed to floss. And I have. Every day, even when I am tired. When I went back last week for part two the hygienist was appropriately impressed. I got an A+ in flossing and in adulthood as well.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Selected Shorts...

About a million years ago when I was fifteen I had a job in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey.

I worked at the sort of shop that still existed back then. It was a sort of clothing shop and sports shop all rolled into one. The floors creaked a bit and it smelled like new shoes, but it was a wonderful store. It was owned by the Wecht family and was in fact, family run. The brothers were managers and their father ran the place. I was a cashier, a job I was ill-suited for due to my natural fear of numbers, but I managed. I would have been better in sales I think, though I don't suppose grown-up ladies would be particularly moved by the fashion advice of a fifteen year old girl in braces and a new wave hair cut.

This was my job though, and I worked several afternoons a week and the weekends. When I look back at that time, getting up before five every morning to get ready for school, working on the weekends I am not surprised that I was so often sick. I think I was exhausted for four years straight and I had the mono to prove it.

Anyway, the story I want to tell you isn't about being sick all the time and my horribly awkward adolescence. The story I want to tell is about my dad. My dad often drove me to school and drove me home from work. He'd listen to NPR which seemed an endless stream of boring talk about the news and traffic. I hated it. I hated almost everything back then. I would plug my Walkman into my ears and listen to whatever music was getting me through the misery of being young.  There were mornings that I am sure I never spoke a word to my father. I was sullen most of those mornings and now that I know how it is to be on the other end of a child's sullenness, I regret it.

Sunday afternoons were different. NPR played Selected Shorts and the confident voice of Isaiah Sheffer would introduce a story read aloud by famous actors. My father would put on the radio and together we would be quiet in each others company listening to stories. I am sure that I first heard the work of John Updike and Raymond Carver in that car because when I later read their books I thought for sure that I already knew these stories, though I knew I had not read them. On those trips home I came to love a different kind of radio, so different from the commercial radio of screeching ballads. Of all the gifts I ever received from my father, I think that introducing me to NPR and Selected Shorts may be the one for which I am most grateful and the one which I use every day.

When I heard that Isaiah Sheffer had died this week I thought about those afternoons in the car. I remember each curve of the long twisting roads to our house in rural New Jersey. I can see the dry leaves skittering across the road and the long shadows pulling against the distant mountains and I can still hear the stories being told while my father and I listened together, quietly, unexpectedly and carefully to each word of the tale.

Rest In Peace Mr. Sheffer.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's been a long time since I had a junkie housie post...

Now that fall has arrived in the South I have been very busy putting out my decorative gourds and making the house all seasonal. There is nothing like the relief of fall. The air is cool and dry, all the other children are back in school so that my children and I can enjoy crowd-free museums, and the bugs start to die off. Sweet, sweet fall.

I am enjoying decorating this house. It is so very different from my old house, and yet I find that many of my old pieces still work really well.

I also made my way to the junk store yesterday and found some little lovelies who needed new homes.

This bread box has all of my favorite things. Vintage font, great color, and it was 3.99.

It is possible that I audibly yelped when I spotted this beauty for 1.99. Jadite sugar bowl? Be still my heart!

I try to avoid baskets because they tend to breed in my basement and suddenly I am overrun with them. I made an exception for this groovy shaped picnic basket though.

What are you doing to get ready for fall?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Time it was and what a time it was, it was...

Suddenly it is September and all I can do is wait for fall. I keep checking the weather channel, anxiously waiting for the temperatures here in Maryland to dip, for the leaves to flame and dry, and for my nose to turn cold in the air.

This summer felt like the crossing of a border of some sort. This was the summer we got to properly know our neighbors, when we all made friends, and stopped feeling so new and raw all the time. We spent a long time on the road this summer. We visited our old home town where the kids went to camp at their old dance studio and saw their old friends. We slipped right into our former life and yet it felt a little unreal. I would drive down the road meaning to head to Amy's house, only to find myself on the path to our old home.

Mostly though, the summer was wonderful. We saw nearly everyone we love and it was impossible not to feel grateful for these people, near and far who welcome us into their lives and homes.

You are probably wondering if the ants are gone. When we arrived back home in mid-August I discovered that the ants had infested the cupboard where I keep my coffee mugs and wine glasses and this violation was one which I could not stand. An exterminator was called and he brought with him an arsenal of poison which the little vermin gobbled up, only to die. I enjoyed watching them suffer, and felt only satisfaction when I swept their desiccated little bodies into the trash.

We started school last week and I have only had to threaten Lily once. We've all been waking up early, early enough in fact for Lily to want to walk the dogs with me. We head to the woods, minding the dogs, and watching for birds. She's become very curious about the birds we see and so we've been doing some bird research. I will be an old woman some day and I will look back on those days where Lily and I studied the birds and know that I never wanted for joy or love.

While Lily and I have been studying birds, Rebecca has been transitioning into a barn kid. She takes riding lessons, and has begun working in the barn for extra horse time. She works hard and long and when she comes home she stinks of labor and equine exertions. I have never seen her so satisfied with anything in her life.

We are all ready I think, for the next season, for the structure that the school year imposes, for the shortening of the day, for the end of the beginning.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sigh. The Ants Came Back...

You guys? I don't understand.

I gave up my Keurig to the ants. They won. They made me and my Keurig their bitch. No more fancy coffee maker for me. In fact, I have been so traumatized by my Keurig ant farm that most mornings I use a Starbucks Via.


Last night as I was secretly getting ice cream tidying the kitchen I noticed an ant. Then I blacked out. When I came to I realized that I was not looking at one little ant, but rather at least twenty.

I may have freaked out. Freaking out may have included swearing and unleashing the unholy powers of Raid on the kitchen. I figured that wiping everything down, removing the tasty stink big carcasses from the window sill, and spraying Raid everywhere would be enough, and yet this morning there were ants.

Mocking ants. Douche bag ants. The worst ants on the planet.

I removed everything from the counter and sprayed and sprayed and sprayed until my finger ached from the chemical devastation.

So far there have been no more ants, but I know their tactics. They like to lure me into a false sense of security and then BLAMMO- the ants have taken over a major appliance.

Not this time people. This time I am waging full scale war. I will spray every ant which comes near my house. I will take no prisoners and as god is my witness, I will never drink ant coffee again.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

On turning 40...

For many months I have known that turning forty would be rough. It's a silly thing, age, and yet forty has always seemed like the beginning of the end, an age when even venturing into the juniors department would become off limits, when I could no longer pretend to be a young woman.  I think that turning forty, in combination with the stress of our move and with having to start a new life felt very big indeed.

Amy's arrival brought comfort, but I still felt shaky. We got our toes done and went to the pool, but I could not ignore the feeling of being overexcited and a little too keyed up, of the day feeling too big- too important. At dinner I could not eat, though I thoroughly enjoyed opening my mother's birthday gift to me- a box filled with forty surprises, one for each year of my life. Some were silly, like the musical "birthday hat" and others were just perfect, like the turquoise Fiestaware salt and pepper shakers.

By the time the day ended I was exhausted, but I did not sleep well and by the morning I could no longer deny that I was a complete wreck. Amy and I had planned a day of junking and nachos, but instead I spent the morning with a half a Valium and some rest. In the afternoon we made it out to a junk store, but I felt sick and exhausted.

"What if I never feel better? What if I never feel hungry again?" I asked Amy.

"You'll be okay." She reassured me.

Last night we ordered in some chicken and watched 30 Rock in bed and slowly I started to relax. By the time I went to bed, this time with a full Valium, I could feel my appetite coming back which was a relief. I slept well, though I dreamed of sharks, but woke up feeling hungry and measurably better.

For breakfast I cut a slice of thick crusty whole wheat bread. I put the pieces of bread into the toaster and waited. The edges browned and the slices steamed and toasted. I took them out and spread them with butter. The butter melted into the bread, and when I finally bit into them I knew I would be okay.  The toast was perfect, crisp, and buttery. My birthday was over and I was eating toast.

Today Amy and I went to a different junk store, ate some nachos, and then we all went out to dinner and I can say that I have recovered and for that I am very grateful. I am most especially grateful for Amy who flew here expecting fun and mostly spent the time talking me out of a very brief 24 hour mid life crisis. How wonderful is Amy? This is the gift she made me for my birthday.

I think forty is going to be okay.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Beer and Cheezits- Friend Bait

As some of you may know tomorrow is my 40th birthday.

I've been feeling kind of sad about this, mostly because I have been missing Amy so much. We've spent the past bunch of birthday's together and when David told me earlier in the week that she couldn't come visit I didn't want to believe him.

I kept hoping that it was all a ruse and that she would in fact be coming. As today went on I searched for clues as to what David might have planned, and as nothing seemed to be happening I got very very depressed.

All week I have been secretly preparing for Amy. I bought beer and cheezits, put fresh pillowcases on the guest bed, and quietly hoped that come Thursday Amy would arrive. It got to be so that I could picture her walking into the house and in every imagining I burst into tears at the sight of her.

By this afternoon I gave up hope. It seemed like the cheezits were not going to be enough to make Amy magically appear and I became despondent. I would turn forty without nachos, without junking, and without my best friend.

This may be why when David suggested that I go junking tomorrow by myself I began to weep and he was forced to perform a noble act of mercy and ruin the surprise that my dear sweet Amy is coming tomorrow.

Thank fucking god, because man, it was looking bad over here.

Watch out Potomac- we'll be getting our freak on!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When the Glass Broke

When the call came
That the shelf broke
And that the jars
Of buttons
Crashed to the floor

No one panicked.

You called to let me know
That the buttons
Were scattered
And mixed with the glass
A jumbled and dangerous field
Of color
Round and Sharp.

When you both offered
To separate the glass from the prize
And told me gently
And sadly
That my favorite pitcher
Was shattered
It was as much
An act of love
And maturity
As any kiss or word

Monday, July 16, 2012

Lame, boring housewife nonsense...

I think that I may have mentioned once or five times that one of the top five reasons that I like to homeschool is because I do not have to wake up early to do it. Waking up early just feels, well, unnatural. Unpleasant. Just plain old wrong. Left to our own devices the children go to bed at about 11pm and I fall asleep around 1:30am. Then we all sleep until about 9:30 and honestly, it just feels so damn good.

This week however Rebecca and I are living like normal Americans and getting up early so that I can have her at horseback riding camp at 9am. Look, I know that it's not actually that early, but it is to us so you can just shut up.

Anyway, I woke up at 7:30 this morning so that I could get Rebecca to camp on time. This meant that I took the dogs along with me to camp where they had the thrill of barking at horses, growling at bicyclists, and shedding all over the car. I am just grateful that they are no longer covered in dead deer. After I dropped Rebecca off at camp I headed straight for the dog walk where, strangely enough, the deer bits were gone.

Where did they go? Where they eaten by a bigger dog? Hauled off by a psychopath?

I may never know.

The point of this is that by 10am I had finished the dog walk and had nothing but time and housewife chores to occupy my day.

Isn't this the most fascinating post you have ever read? Can you believe I don't have a book deal by now?

I did laundry, swept, and most importantly, cleaned out Rebecca's room which was, well, a horror.

Now it is 7:45 and I am properly exhausted. I still have some very important scrabble games to deal with and maybe I'll clean out the dryer filter.

Let's just all hope that something legitimately exciting happens tomorrow or I may have to resort to posting my grocery list.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A letter to the dogs...

Dear Dogs,

I understand that death is a mysterious and exhilarating event for you. It provides an olfactory playground second only to the smell of a particularly fragrant and gaseous canine anus.  I am not unsympathetic to your desire to inspect and sniff that which is deceased. I will even be so generous as to allow for some discreet nibbling.

However, when you roll, repeatedly onto the decaying bones of what I strongly suspect had formerly been one odocoileus virginianus, I become upset. As I bellow for all of Potomac to hear that you must not roll in carrion, you ignore me, and this too upsets me.

It upsets me to put your putrid bodies into my car and it upsets me that you attempt to sit on my lap while covered in what is most surely scrub typhus or even, dare I say it, the black death.

You see, you have sinned twice. You have sinned by being a filthy beast and you have sinned by ignoring me and as such you must be punished, for both of our sakes. If you roll in death, then you must be made clean.

Once the sink is being filled with warm sudsy water, it is simply too late too seek a pardon. The simple fact is that you smell rank. Your mournful eyes will only make me scrub harder, for I know that this is an event which will repeat itself again and again and again.

It is our fate. Yours is to be disgusting and mine is to be disgusted and we will continue on this way until our deaths, which will most assuredly be caused by something you rolled in.

Your Owner

Friday, July 13, 2012

I learn a hard truth about the French...

I had fully intended to continue my blog streak and write yesterday and in fact had gotten as far as starting a post when my computer choked on itself and I lost what I had written. What I had written was not very interesting as I spent most of Friday laying in bed, contemplating life, and reading a detective novel.

Basically, I was living the housewife cliche, sans bon bons which I was out of. Sure, I washed the floors and did the laundry, but that paled in comparison to the sloth in which I indulged. I wish I had spent time with an actual sloth, but that is a story for another time.

Last night we attended both Happy Hour at the pool and later a going away party for some neighbors who I had met once and David had never met at all. This is what happens when you are married to an extrovert- you get invited to farewell parties for strangers.

It was at this party that I learned something very interesting about the French. When we first moved here I met a lovely couple. He is French and she is German. They are beautiful and fun and Mr. Frenchman was very tolerant when I pulled out my wee (not oui) bit of french on him.

We were standing by the pool when it began to rain. Excitedly, I turned to him and said, "Mr. Frenchman! Il pleu!" He agreed and then complimented me on my accent which I can assure you no one has ever done in my entire life. I was tickled.

"David!" I called, "Mr. Frenchman approved of my accent!"

"Mr. Frenchman is being kind." He said.

We had an unpleasant conversation about this and agreed to disagree.

Last night at the party I met another frenchman. He was young and handsome and so naturally I needed to show off my french.

"C'est dommage! Pauvre chou!" I trilled.

Reader, he said in a gorgeous french accent, "Your accent is quite good."

And that was when I knew that the french lie.

I went back to Mr. Frenchman and asked for the truth. "Well," he said, "vee are taught zat ven ahn american attampts to speek ze language, vee compliment zem for trying."

The truth was not as bitter to swallow as it might have been. As a parent I know a thing or two about humoring children, and it is often an act of kindness. If the french wish to lie to me about my accent, I will accept it with grace, wine, and a very loud, "Oui! Oui!".

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Today the children and I left the house to go to a homeschool meet-up at a park, but it was hot and the kids didn't really click so we left kind of early. On the way home we needed to make a stop at that most wonderful of all suburban middle class places- Target.

It's July, so as far as the retail world is concerned summer is over and "back to school" is right around the corner. This used to aggravate the hell out of me because Target and Staples would be selling markers for .57 in July, but inevitably we would not have a list of school supplies until the second week of September when the Halloween things were being put on clearance to make room for Christmas decorations.

Now that I homeschool I can buy my supplies whenever the hell I want and laugh in the faces of people who will have to fight over the picked over sub-prime notebooks come fall. When your child comes home with a supply list which demands that the notebooks be in the colors  mauve, chartreuse, and peach because those are the only colors that Mrs. Mifflebottom will accept, well, at the moment I will enjoy my victory. That's right, people. I am with my kids 100% of the time, but I get first pick of school supplies and sometimes that's got to be enough.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Six Months...

On July 7th, we arrived at the six month anniversary of our move to Maryland, or as I like to call it, The South. People like to correct me all the time that Maryland is not The South, but since I most definitely used to live in The North, I will continue to say it. Plus, it amuses me.

Now that we have been here for six months I thought it might be a good idea to write a post move status report on Chez Shiny.

Professional Lives of the Adults:
David's job is great, though he eats out at so many swanky restaurants he has become a food snob. I continue to have a revenue stream of exactly zero, though I have devised a plan for making money someday when the children are off leaving their dirty clothes on their own floors and not mine.

The Children:
The children seem to be very happy.

Lily is always wandering the neighborhood like a young thug with her best pal A. They coordinate their outfits for maximum effect and scheme of ways to get ice cream money from me at the pool. (They have figured it out. They wait till I am enjoying myself and nag me until I throw money at them just to get them to go away.)

Rebecca also seems to be enjoying her new life. She gets to ride horses and work in the barn which fulfills many of her dreams all at once. She's made a good friend, enjoys the neighborhood kids, and delights in the autonomy of being a 13 year old with the overdeveloped sense of responsibility one usually finds in a 65 year old pensioner.

The Dogs:
Reliably idiotic. Less eating of feces from Sophie (Good). More peeing on Lily's bed from Pugsley (Bad).

The House:
We have now lived here long enough that I know exactly what should be done to it, but it is not my house so I stick to rearranging furniture and puttering about with my things. The owners did give me permission to paint the kitchen, but I am desperately trying to resist the urge.

The Junk:
The junk is a freaking dream come true. I could junk everyday here. It's abundant and cheap and glorious.

Home School:
After a rough start to the year I feel like we are really figuring it out. I've been teaching Lily by using The Phantom Tollbooth as a cornerstone and I can honestly say that it has changed everything. Similarly, I am using my AP English Poetry book with Rebecca and we are both loving it. This year we'll add some French and an online science curriculum.

Beasts, Vermin, and Carrion:
The ants in the Keurig incident of 2012 will always be remembered as the moment which reminded me why it's a good idea to always have wine in the house. There have been no other incidents in the house, for which I am grateful. In the neighborhood we have seen deer, woodpeckers, bunnies, groundhogs, and an egret- all alive. There was a mouse which insisted upon entering its death throws in the garage so that I could drive over it, but David disposed of it before any actual decomposition occurred. I was not so lucky with the deer carcass on the dog walk which smelled so foul and was so bloated, that I, an aspiring private detective could only gag, retch and hold my breath as I went past.

Speeding and Parking Tickets:
Some things are best left unsaid.

Medical Maladies:
Two cases of vertigo
One ear infection
Three sinus infections
One pulled hamstring
One wrenched neck
Many bug bites

Overall very nice, with the exception of the Derecho, which was an unmitigated bully.
No one has any tattoos and almost everyone is a lawyer. I'm not sure how I feel about this.

Maryland is a great place which is mostly living up to its potential. Improvements would include friends and family moving here, fewer traffic cameras, and a corner bacon shop. A few tattoos would be okay too.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Playing with Matches or The Week I was a Baptist...

When I was about ten years old I attended Vacation Bible School at a local Baptist church with my friend Heather. Vacation Bible School was nothing at all like Catholic school. For one thing, the Baptists seemed really happy. For another, they let us play with matches.

Yes, the Baptists gave us matches.

The year must have been around 1982, and perhaps the Baptist's belief that God would protect us from harm put their mind at ease as they explained the week's art project. They handed each of us a box of 500 matches, instructed us to light each one, blow it out, and then glue it to a cardboard cross.

No one had ever let me use matches before. They were strictly the purview of smokers, sinners, and psychopaths. I had no idea they were also the tools of Baptists!

I bet that right now you are thinking to yourself, "Hey! I would like to make a match cross for Jesus too!". All you need to do is get some instruments of Satan matches, some glue and follow the directions on this site.  You'll notice that the author emphasizes that this is not a craft for children. She is clearly not a Baptist.

Anyway, all week I lit matches and blew them out, thrilled with the feeling of responsibility which was never bestowed upon me by the nuns, whose idea of fun learning was a film strip about lepers. I glued them into place and still found the time to memorize all of the books of the Bible so that I could win a Snickers Bar. The nuns never ever gave me a Snickers bar, just a boat load of guilt and self loathing.

Matches and candy. A lesson for us all.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Riding the pharmaceutical rollercoaster ...

When the doctor prescribed a heavy dose of steroids for David's neck injury, I was concerned.

Deeply concerned.

I have been a witness to my husband on steroids before. There was the Great Poison Ivy Infection of 2006 and the even Greater Poison Oak infection of 2011. Both of the ailments were cured with steroids which brought out an aspect of my husbands personality that can best be described as


The doctor assured me that the equally heavy dose of Valium would keep him in lower case letters and I was comforted, though not convinced. For the most part it's been okay. David has generally been nice and mellow, and his neck muscles are definitely relaxing.

He's all like, "You are so pretty. Do you know how pretty you are?"

It's all great until the moment when the steroids have kicked in and but Valium has not. 

Suddenly we are back to, "OHMYGODWHYDOYOUHATEME?????"

It's given me some perspective into what it is like to live with someone with acute PMS, but that is another story entirely. The point of this story is that there have been several times over the course of the day when my sweet husband went all crazy town capital letters on me and I just stepped away from the nuttiness.

Tonight I found refuge while sitting outside with the neighbors drinking wine. In turns out that wine is the perfect antidote to your spouses roid rage. It may also be the antidote to PMS. I'll have to do some experimenting to be sure, but hey, someone has to do it.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A complete list of maladies...

People who know me, and who know my husband know that he is the kind of guy who gives 110% all the time. He doesn't do anything half-assed which explains how he so often finds himself injured.

A few days before Derecho 2012, David played in the company soft ball game. Please allow those words to sink in "company soft ball game". Not major league baseball, not even the minors. When he told me he would be playing I begged him, "Please, please, please, do not hurt yourself."

It's not that I doubt his athleticism. It's exactly the opposite. David spent his entire childhood and a chunk of his adult life both playing competitive sports and dancing and his body is more than a little injury prone as a result. This is the daily battle of his life- wanting to push his body to its limits and his body refusing to play along.

About halfway into David's game I got a call. "Sara, I popped my hamstring. I think I can drive home, but you may have to come get me." Somehow he got himself home and once there he heated, iced and cursed his hamstring. It's not important how the injury happened (sprinted to catch a fly ball), what's important in this story is that he was already injured when he went body surfing at the Jersey Shore.

The Jersey Shore is a fantastic place filled with tattoos, Yankees fans, and funnel cake. It is also the place of David's youth which is probably why he could not resist revisiting his formative years in Jersey's warm waters. It started out great. I sat on the beach while David and the girls rode the waves into the shore. After the previous few days of heat, blackouts, and general chaos I was happy for a chance to relax and ignore my family, which is exactly what I was doing when I heard David yell.

He had just ridden a wave into shore and experienced a serious collision between the planet and his head. He sat up, shook his head a bit and then headed over to me to check for a blood. "Just enough to attract sharks." I assured him and he was back into the water.

The real pain did not come until the next day when in spite of the popped hamstring and having slammed his head into the sand, he decided to swim some laps at the pool, and that my friends is what lead to him waking me up on Saturday morning asking me to take him to the doctor. The laps seemed to have been the final straw, the indignity which caused David's body to completely revolt. His neck muscles went into a complete and unholy spasm.

The doctor examined David and pronounced the neck unbroken (yay!), but the muscles seriously strained. David was prescribed steroids, valium, and vicodin.

"Will the steroids give him roid rage?" I asked.

"Oh no" said the doctor, "the valium will smooth that right out."

And it pretty much has. Now David has to be still and let his muscles heal and make peace with a body which demands more gentle treatment. And valium, lots of valium.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Derecho Part Two...

By the time we got home from the mall on Saturday the news from Pepco was grim. The estimated power restoration would be a week. A week without power in May would have been inconvenient, but not impossible. A power outage coupled with 100 degree July days is another story entirely. We began to formulate a plan to get out of town until the power came back on.

We are very fortunate to have three sets of parents who all in their own ways have come to our rescue over the years. Our saviors this time were my dear in-laws who welcomed us into their house in NJ. They weren't in town, but they made arrangements for us to get into their home where we could wait out the black out in air conditioned comfort.

As we made preparations to leave we realized that we had to deal with the rapidly defrosting freezer. It was stocked up with steaks, chicken, hot dogs, pork chops, and spare ribs. The wine and beer in the fridge was still cold so we did the only thing which could be done. We invited the neighbors over for an "All the Meat You Can Eat Party".

It was difficult to say this and not feel like I was making a dirty joke. Okay, maybe I made some dirty jokes on purpose.

It turned into a super fun party. We ate outside on the deck by candlelight. David grilled meat for about an hour and nearly everything was eaten. After everyone left we dragged the mattresses downstairs in an attempt to find some relief from the heat. The children were exhausted from sleeping poorly the night before, the day at the mall, and our meat party in the darkness, so into sweaty heaps they collapsed and slept. David and I slept a few hours, waking frequently from the heat and quiet.

When morning came we emptied the contents of the freezer and refrigerator in bags and got them on the curb for the trash. We tidied up as best we could, packed up some things and hit the road towards a salvation manifested in the most unlikely of forms- New Jersey.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Say it with me, "Derecho"...

Last Friday night began like every other Friday night here in the fair shire of Potomac, which is to say it began with wine at the pool at 6pm. It was lovely. The children splashed about happily while the adults mused about the meaning of life while eating chips and sipping wine. After the pool we came home and sat on the lawn with the neighbors watching the fireflies flicker across the lawn and the kids scooter along in the dark.

In was in this near bliss that Brian, Lily's friend A's dad said, "Hey! There's a storm coming in! 70 mile an hour winds!" We could see the lightning in the distance. It was beautiful. The lights flashed, too far away to be a danger, but close enough to portend something big.

We chatted for a few more minutes, but as the storm drew closer we went inside. As I was putting batteries into the flashlight the power went out. And stayed out.

The storm hit. The rain fell sideways, though fell is not really accurate. It threw itself against the house while the wind tore down trees and the sky, no longer beautiful, appeared to be on fire. Being liberal arts majors with almost no good sense, we watched from the windows as the world ended outside.

Finally, the storm quieted but the power did not come back on. The temperature in the house was cool from the air conditioning which was a blessing, but with each hour that the power was out I could feel the temperature rising. We all slept badly that night. I slept with Lily in her room because she was scared and David had to sleep without his sleep apnea mask.

In the morning Lily and Rebecca decided that if the American Girl store in Virginia was open we should go there and I was too tired and bewildered by the storm to come up with a better plan. We piled into the car, charging our electronics as we went. The mall was opened and blissfully cool. We were not the only ones who thought to seek refuge at the mall. By the afternoon the mall was packed with storm refuges staking out outlets to charge phones, standing on long lines for food, and generally trying to make plans to get through something for which no one was prepared.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A junk post!

Today Lily's best friend A got back into town for a week so I decided that instead of arguing with her about getting work done we'd take the week off from school.

This put me in a very, very, good mood.

I decided to celebrate by doing a little junking. Lately I've been going on the weekends, but it's always too crowded to properly relax and browse. Today the shop was perfect and I took my time working my way up and down the aisles.

 When I saw this beautiful little table for 14.99 I knew it could be awesome.

I also grabbed the pyrex casserole dish for 4.99 because they come in so handy.

Did I mention that I also had a 25% off coupon?

The weather was 76 degrees and dry. You know what that means, right?

Perfect spray paint weather!

Look at how beautifully this table came out!

I used a high gloss paint to give it a rich coat. Once it's completely dried I'll find a spot for it. Since I already had the paint out I thought I'd give my dress form a makeover.

At the old house it's previous apple green color was perfect, but here a glossy coat of black will make it really pop in the living room.

Know what's great about spray paint? It dries super fast!

Not too shabby, eh?

Meanwhile my dress form is making herself comfy in the living room. She needs a hat though and maybe some jewels. Will be sure to find her something fabulous!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How to Make New Friends...

Yesterday morning Lily managed to have her act together early enough to go on the dog walk with me. It is possible that by early I mean 10:30, but I digress. We took the dogs down to a gorgeous trail along a creek where we delight in seeing all manners of flora and fauna.

As we were walking along the trail I noticed a middle aged man walking towards us. He was without dogs or children, was not running, nor was he carrying any props which might explain his presence and reassure an unarmed woman with her child.  Having been schooled in Law and Order I know a few things about what a perp looks like and am always on the lookout for the criminal element.

As we approached him he addressed us in a very friendly way.

"Hi! I'm Bob! Are you new? Where do you live? When did you move here?" (Bob is not his real name.)

He then addressed Lily directly by correctly guessing her age. We chatted for a minute and then moved on.

Once Lily and I were out of ear shot I said to her, "That guy was so weird!"

"Yes!" she agreed, "Why was he walking all by himself? Most guys walking are a least with a dog or a kid or something."

We then spent the next twenty minutes discussing the weird guy, discussing other weird guys, personal safety, listening to ones gut feelings about weird situations and so forth. We made our way back to the beginning of the trail determined not to make eye contact with Bob who was now sitting on a bench talking on his phone. Lily and I hurried past, avoiding him completely.

Later in the day Lily and I went to the pool. I settled myself on a chaise and took out my book when standing in front of me was Bob! We said hello and I cut to the chase, asking a question which would reveal whether he was a pervert stalker or not. "Are you here with your kids?"

Reader, he was there with his kids. I saw the children with my own eyes. It turned out that he is a very nice and friendly man, a retired Army physician in fact, who used to hunt down disease outbreaks in Asia and now researches traumatic brain injury treatments. His main crime is not understanding the inherent wariness with which women experience men in situations like the one we were in that morning. We chatted pleasantly for over an hour. At one point Lily came over asking for snack bar money.

"Hey Lily!" I said, "Remember the creepy weird guy from the woods? He's actually okay!"

Bob meekly waved.

And that my friends is how you make new friends when you move.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Random and disjointed, but something nonetheless...

Here in the south it's been summer for about two months. Back in Boston two months of summer is followed by fall and so I have found myself thinking about fall a lot. Whenever I mention this to David he reminds me that there are still months of summer, and yet I can feel the pull of fall in the future.

This week I found a dying mouse in my garage. He was sitting there with labored breath and did not scurry away when I came by.  I scooped him up in a dust bin and moved him to the flower bed and felt that I had done a good deed. At least he could die shaded by flowers and not surrounded by car exhaust and the detritus of the children.

Satisfied with myself I drove away, dropping the children off at their art and gymnastics classes. When I returned home I drove into the garage. Upon getting out of the car and opening the trunk I discovered that the mouse had not been content to die among the flowers, but felt the need to make a political statement and had planted himself once more in the garage where he was run over by my car.

Coping with entrails are not a part of adult life which I particularly relish so I delegated the mouse corpse removal to David, who having missed so many rotted animal opportunities in the past most surely had it coming.

Happily I have found no life at all in the basement, which is a place I have been spending a lot of time as of late. I went through the boxes labeled "Christmas" and was rewarded with beach towels, sun screen, and the final piece of the slipcover to the couch.

Lately I have been indulging in one of my favorite summer past times. I have been reading British chick lit- more specifically the kind where the woman has a cottage and a garden and wears wellies. One of my favorites of this genre is "Hen's Dancing"by Raffaella Barker. I need some recommendations of more of this sort of book. Please let me know if you know some!

In the meantime I will be trying to educate the children and keep the squalor at bay, though honestly, it's awfully tricky to do both of these at once.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Just another day in paradise and by paradise I mean the basement

Today was another day of homeschool excitement. I spent about an hour arguing with Lily about doing her math.

"Lily, stop petting the dog."

"Lily, stop talking to the dog."

"Lily, get off the floor with the dogs and do your math!"

Finally, she got that done and we moved on to Spelling and History (all about Crete!) and Grammar and then we had some tornado warnings and called it a day.

Oh yes, we had some tornado warnings which adds a little something special to the day. Interestingly, David is personally responsible for tornadoes since they only appear when I am home alone with the children and he is off traveling. In fact, it was right around this time last year when we were living in Boston and several tornadoes devastated parts of Massachusetts. Luckily, today's tornadoes didn't seem to really live up to their much hyped potential, and really, who doesn't have that problem?

Once the tornado warnings ended I went into the basement to finish the last bit of the unpacking. By finish, I do not mean to imply that all the boxes are empty. More specifically my boxes of treasure crap has been unpacked. David's half of the basement is full of boxes, but I am happy to report, they are not my problem.

Since David's company hired packers for us, I did not worry too much about sorting and purging before the move. The house was so tiny and the move happened so quickly that there really wasn't the space nor time to properly consider everything. When we move again next year I determined to approach it with utter efficiency and since I like to fret about things as far in advance as possible, I have been sorting like mad. Box after box has found its way to goodwill, followed by bag after bag to the curb.

It's been interesting to find things in boxes as I unpack. Today's highlights included a bag of dirty laundry, salt and pepper grinders, the drill which I replaced in January, and a piece of petrified cat poop.

Yes, they packed the poop. And then I unpacked it. Honestly, I had no idea that my life would go like this.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The view from the porch...

The last few days Rebecca has been in bed with a terrible cold, so Lily and I have been working hard on finishing up some schoolwork. She's almost done with spelling, reading, and grammar, but we are woefully behind on math, history, and science. We'll continue working on those subjects throughout the summer so that we are ready for fresh material in the fall.

After completing a big chunk of her work I gave Lily the sort of project she loves. I brought out our big dollhouse and put it on the porch. Lily's job today is to put the furniture and people in it. Back home Lily would spend hours sitting on the stairs, humming little songs, and narrating the lives of the dollhouse people. It is so lovely to see her doing it here, too.

I like this room a lot. It has a real summer feel to it and stays nice and cool.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Today is our last day of our Spring Post Bat Mitzvah vacation. The weeks leading up to May 12th were a flurry of preparations. Rebecca chanted Hebrew late into the night as I filled boxes with the supplies we would need for the ceremony and party in Boston. We arrived in Boston a few days before the big event which gave us time to go see Toni for haircuts. I'd been thinking a lot about cutting my hair short again and there is only one person I would go to for such a drastic change. She did not disappoint and with no fanfare at all she began cutting away until there were piles of seven inch long hair all over the floor.

Once the business of haircuts was over (Lily had a trim and Rebecca had just a whisper of her ends removed) we were able to head over to Amy's for dinner where she fed us enough fried chicken to feed a horse. Or a pug. Or a cow. Insert hungry animal of your choice. Being at Amy's house is like being with family. The children tease and play like cousins, always assured that they are loved.

The weekend was a whirlwind of joy. The service was beyond my expectations. Rebecca, my girl who worries, led the congregation in prayer as if she had been doing it her whole life. When she was just a toddler we would bring her to Tot Shabbat and so in many ways her entire Jewish identity was formed in that room and so it was fitting that she should become a Jewish adult in that room as well. Rabbi Rim and the Cantor Beth, gave Rebecca a beautiful gift with their love and teaching. She is a stronger person for having experienced this journey with them and I will be forever grateful.

Saturday night we had a party. It was very do-it-yourself, so Amy and I were there several hours before the party setting up. It was an easier party than our going away party. It was held in the same room with many of the same people, but there was less of a sense of ending with this party. By now we have been gone four months and have learned that unlike the old saying, you really can go home again. Our friends continue to exist in A-town, ready to welcome us back into their arms. There is no better feeling, I swear it!

On Mother's Day Amy and I went to the junk store and ate nachos. It was our third year of sharing this wonderful tradition and I hope we can do it for a forth.

Since Monday the girls and I have been on the cape with my folks, decompressing from a thrilling and exhausting weekend. Rebecca and I nursed colds and we even made it to the beach a few times. It's been the perfect elixir to our fatigue and so when we get into the car tomorrow for our long drive back we will be fortified with rest and snacks.

As I write this Lily is singing a song about how she misses her friends and dogs back home. This must be the place.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Yoga is hard.

This week the ladies in my neighborhood had a "yoga night". Yoga has always been one of those disciplines which I dismissed as being too much of a cliche for me to do. The ladies in my old town love yoga. They walk around with their yoga mats while breathing from their cores and sipping organic chai lattes made from the milk of free range sloths. It all seemed too precious for me.

I also thought it was easy. In fact, I may have even uttered the phrase, "How hard can it be?"

Now, knowing that yoga night would probably be a bunch of ladies sitting around and breathing into their chakras was not super appealing, but since the first idea had been zumba night I figured I was getting off easy. I would participate in it all in the name of trying to make friends, because honestly, there is no better way to make friends than to mock their silly exercise practices.

I arrived promptly at 7pm in my yoga pants. Yoga pants are the only part of yoga which I never ever dismissed. Those pants are for real.

I knew one person who was going to yoga night. My pal V, who insisted that I come though she would not actually be doing any yoga herself. What kind of friend is this you may ask? This is a friend who knows a thing or two about yoga. While I made my way downstairs with all of the stranger ladies, she stayed upstairs and drank wine.

I was loaned a mat and the instructor began by teaching us how to breathe. Guess what? I rock at breathing! I've been doing it my whole life in fact! As I did my breathing I smugly thought to myself, "This is exactly the sort of nonsense I always thought about yoga. I am right! I love being right!" It went like that for about thirty more seconds and then it all went very wrong.

Suddenly I was being instructed to balance on a hand and a leg while my ass was perched in the air  while doing the magic breathing, which was suddenly not so easy. You know what I learned from downward dog?

I learned that I hate yoga.

We were ten minutes into the class and I knew that I needed to formulate an escape. My arms were trembling. My leg was wobbling. I was in serious danger of a public fall in front of ladies I barely even know. I had an out of body experience as I saw myself the way the person behind me was seeing me- a woman on the brink of falling and becoming injured as the result of yoga! Yoga! Something which was supposed to provide some sort of bullshit relaxation and spiritual renewal was going to cripple me.

It was at that very moment that I heard someone's iphone beep with a text message. Reader, I knew that it was not my phone, but I saw as opportunity and grabbed it. I stood up and looked at my blank screen and then hurried up the stairs as if I had an important call to make. There I found V sitting with a large glass of wine, undisturbed by the cruel rigors of yoga.

She fetched me some wine and told me about the medicinal properties of ants. "They're clean because of their piss you know."

I always find the weird ones.

I drank my wine and the ladies emerged from the yoga den. I told people the story about my coffee ants and V told me all about ant soup. Then I went home, comforted by the knowledge that I will never have to eat ant soup and will never have to do yoga again. Sometimes that's got to be enough.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I had some dreams, they were ants in my coffee...

Hello there everyone! I must confess, I have been cheating on this blog. Like a cheap slattern I have been telling all of my best stories on Facebook where I can distill the drama into the shortest possible form.

Mostly you missed out on whines about laundry, grocery shopping, bat mitvah planning, homesickness, and squalor.

The most important news you missed was that a hoard of ants infested my Keurig coffeemaker turning it into their very own whorehouse. It was unspeakable, and yet I will speak of it anyway so that you too can share the sinking horror one feels when one realizes that one has been drinking ant coffee. It began with a few ants hanging out under the coffeemaker. I cleaned them up thinking nothing of it. Then I pulled out the tray which at first I thought was full of wet glistening coffee grounds, only to discover that it was in fact full of writhing copulating ants.

Naturally I screamed. Honestly, what more can a person be expected to do?

At first I allowed myself to hope that perhaps the ants were only in the bottom tray. Since I am a lover of science I tested that hypothesis by pouring vinegar into the unit. As creationists already know, science can be a bitch. My vinegar cleanse released a tsunami of ants and eggs which caused my psyche to shatter into a million pieces. I screamed some more and demanded that David remove the Keurig and set it on fire. He refused to set it on fire, but he did remove it from the house. Then I showered about a hundred times and still imagined that I could feel the sinister tickle of ant legs upon my ankle.

Upon doing a little research I learned that this is apparently a "thing". These little jerk ants decide that the Keurig is the perfect spot to set up a home, thereby ruining the lives of coffee drinkers everywhere. After the ant farm debacle I decided to stick with a $15 Mr. Coffee and some Starbucks Via Instant Coffee. Hear that Starbucks? I like your instant coffee and ditched my ant infested Keurig! Now would be the time to send me some free coffee!

I should also update you on the appliances which have broken since we moved in. As of this week the washer, dryer, disposal, air conditioner, and coffee maker have all either needed to be replaced, repaired, or set on fire.

Lastly, just so you get a real sense of the flavor of my life, I was cleaning out the classroom today and discovered some petrified dog poop on the floor.

Consider yourself up to date.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The bedroom, Mr. Bates, and the ants...

I am too tired for a proper post, but I must update you a bit.

First, Amy was here last week and it was wonderful! We, like every other good housewife in America have become completed obsessed with Downton Abbey. My blog friend Francis recommended it last year, but I never got to it until this month when I watched a few episodes and fell completely in love with Mr. Bates, or Mistah Baytes as the beautiful Anna would say.

We junked and ate nachos and tried on these Downton worthy hats. Quite lovely, I dare say!

I have also discovered Pinterest because it is what all the ladies are doing. It has enabled me to fully indulge in an obsession for bedding which looks like burlap. It all started at Homegoods where I spotted a pillow which led to a vision for my bed which simply had to be fulfilled.

This was the general look I was hoping for.

Notice the cup of tea placed next to the bed. I now keep a teacup on the floor at all times.

I love the neutral colors and nubbly textures. Of course the linen duvets I kept finding were all in the neighborhood of $500 which is an insane price for what is essentially gigantic sheets sewn together.

I had remembered seeing a duvet which might do at Target a while back, but last time I saw it it was marked down on the clearance rack so I had no hope of it still being there. Of course that did not stop me from heading over there where I found much of the old Shabby Chic line discontinued and long gone. I sadly wandered the aisles and finally, giving up, went off in search of ant traps. It was then that I made an amazing discovery! I found a clearance aisle far away from the bedding, and there it was! The very duvet I was looking for marked down to 29.97! It was as if the gods of Target shone a light upon me. I took it home and got to work.

This is the bird pillow which started the whole thing.

I found the blue quilt at TJMaxx and the dustruffle at Bed Bath and Beyond.

You'll no doubt be fascinated to know that the dust ruffle was originally white, but I used tea to dye it a pretty, well, tea-ish color. That way when the teacup gets knocked over it won't stain.

Did you notice that little bit I mentioned up there about ants? The weather has warmed and some small ants have made their way into the kitchen under the windowsill. If Mr. Bates were here I am quite sure that he would take care of it, but since he is not, I have resorted to ant traps which the ants are most assuredly unimpressed by. They must be English ants. More later, I must crawl into bed and dream of tea and butlers, ants and war.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day and other nonsense...

It's been a dramatic day here at Shiny Red Houses. It began too early because today is horseback riding day for the children. When we were trying to buy their happiness discussing the move one of the numerous bribes promises we made to the children is that they could finally realize their dream of riding lessons. Their lessons began last week and there has been much rejoicing. So much rejoicing in fact that the children demand that we arrive early so that they can play pretty pretty pony groom the horses. This is a good wholesome endeavor to be sure, and yet I would prefer not getting up so early.

This Valentine's Day was not meant to be about my preferences however, and so to the stable we went. While they rode I went to a nearby junk store and browsed, which was lovely. After the junking I got a coffee and while I was feeling tired, I was not feeling despondent.

Before I tell you about the next part of the day I must first share some eccentricities about Maryland. Firstly, the traffic lights are really, really long. So long in fact that I can both check my email and facebook with plenty of time left over to tweet something pithy over at twitter. It's maddening, actually. The other thing which is odd is how very seriously the people of Maryland take speeding. They have traffic cameras hidden along every road just waiting to catch you picking your nose or speeding. Not being a nose picker, it's the speeding which has been a problem. In Massachusetts people tend to drive with a sense of urgency. The suggested speed limits are often about right, but rarely enforced. In Maryland, every speed limit is 30. When I obey the speed limit I feel like an eighty year old woman wearing a hat, moving about at a crawl as if I had no where to go save the free blood pressure check at the senior center.

You see where this is going don't you?

I have received three speeding tickets from the fascists big brother traffic cameras. Today on the way home from horse back riding I was perhaps overeager to get home and be freed of the smell of horse which had permeated every nook of my car. As soon as I passed the cop I knew I had been nailed. He pulled out. I hit the brakes and slowed to a crawl. He hit his lights. I pulled over.

This is where I employed the lessons I learned from a cop pal. Open the windows on both sides. Turn off the car. Put the keys on the dash where the cop can see them and keep both hands on the wheel. It's me saying, "Hey cop, we are buddies. I have no guns so let's be pals." When he approached the window he informed me that I was doing 57 in a 40 to which I miserably said, "I know."

Then he asked, "Are you still living in Mass?"

"No, we moved here about a month ago." I replied.

"Where are you living?" he asked.

When I told him that we are living in Potomac he laughed and said, "Ah! The Wellesley of Maryland!" It turns out that his parents live in Wellesley and we had a nice chat about Massachusetts. He gave me a warning and the numbers of the local police stations, just in case I ever needed them.

He is my new favorite cop.

Once home we opened Valentine's from the grandparents and homeschool friends. I started looking expectantly at the door waiting for a delivery of some sort from my out of town husband and yet there was nothing. The children had also neglected to make me cards and so I decided to employ some self pity which kept me busy for most of the afternoon.

By the time I left the house to bring the children to their clay class there were still no deliveries of any kind. I considered posting, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers Anymore" to David on facebook, but I did not want to overplay my hand.

After the children's class we went to the diner for dinner where we were entertained by Chuckles the psycho clown, a magician, and a very cute baby. By the time we left we were all feeling pretty happy until in the car Lily declared that when she dies she wants her teddy bear cremated with her, which got Rebecca crying. Lily, not to be outdone began sobbing her apologies for not making me a card.

Finally we arrived home and there on the stoop were roses and balloons from David. The day was saved, sanity was restored, and the day finally ended.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

More news...

We've now been residents of the fine state of Maryland for eighteen days and I am happy to report that it is starting to get easier. One of the first things I had to do was align myself with a new grocery store. I spent the last few years braving the nightmare that is the Market Basket. The Market Basket is like a bad boyfriend. The crowds and weird set-up made me cringe and yet the prices were just so good. I dated visited different grocery stores in the area and they all sucked for one reason or another so I decided to go with the Rockville Giant. Want to know something crazy about the Giant? It is the Stop and Shop! The same logo, layout, and scanning guns! It's more expensive than my dear old Market Basket, but at least I can use the scanning gun and avoid the "fill the cart, empty the cart, refill the cart" madness at check out.

Now, that I have properly bored you with the tale of my grocery shopping I will get to the important news. I have found junk heaven. No, seriously. I thought my old junk stores were good. Ha! I was a fool! I have visited four junk shops within ten minutes of my home and they were all top notch. On Monday I went to a shop called Unique Thrift and found a great desk for Lily. It was originally 39.99, but since Monday is Customer Appreciation Day it was another 25% off! While there I found a beautiful deep red velvet Pottery Barn quilt for a song. I tell you, walking into that shop was like coming home.

Some of you may be wanting an update on that asshole cat Stan. I am happy to report that Stanley made a full recovery after the move. After a few days he emerged from the new basement and began his usual swagger around the house. The bad news is that he decided that 4am is the perfect time to walk around the house and howl. For two weeks I endured his miserable song and then I got smart and banished him nightly to the heated porch where he sulks and contemplates the state of politics and considers whether today's pop music is better or worse than the pop music of the past.

I would be remiss if I did not tell you that our family made a foray into Bob's Discount Furniture. You've probably seen the horrible commercials with Bob in his bright yellow shirt yelling excitedly about the great bargains to be had at Bob's. It was those commercials which kept me out of the store- I didn't want to encourage him. However, the time had come to pay a piper of sorts in the form of the bunkbeds which were promised to Lily once we moved.

"I know we are taking you away from the only home you've ever known and all of your dear friends, but we'll buy you a bed!"

Lily and I did a lot of bed research and naturally the bed she wanted was the super duper crazy expensive bed with stairs and a built in desk and maid service. It became my job to talk her out of it help her explore other options. We found our other option at Bob's. We found an inferior bunkbed, but one which she has been given permission to pimp out with black and hot pink zebra striped bedding, so maybe she did get the last laugh on this one. We also ordered a cheap couch, a cheap chair, and a cheap mattress. All of the furniture we ordered cost less than that one bed that Lily wanted. Once again, Lily's taste exceeds our budget.

All in all, we are doing better. Lily is generally cheerful. Rebecca has not cried at all today- no small feat! We made some new friends today thanks to the power of Facebook. (If you are not on Facebook yet, please go on it. It's fun and I'll friend you.) Everyday is better than the last and I have much to be grateful for. And am.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

House updates and other nonsense...

I have now been a resident of Potomac for about a week.  I have not made any new friends, and as such have resorted to excessively chatting up the cashier ladies at shops. I compliment their hair and fashion choices. I make informed commentary about the weather. It's practice for when I meet a live one a neighbor who might like to befriend me.

Luckily, unpacking and working on the house has been a distraction from my abject loneliness friendlessness pathetic wanderings lack of adult social interaction. This week the children and I went to Ikea which it should be noted, is not a place improved by the presence of children. I love the children. I love Ikea. The two together make me grind my teeth and say uncharitable things to the children. "Stop talking! Mommy needs quiet in her head!"

Little wretches.

We were there to get Rebecca a new bed and not just any bed mind you, a four poster canopy bed. It's the sort of bed where Juliet would pine away for Romeo in. Dreamy isn't it?

Today I also worked on the guest room, or as I like to think of it, Amy's room. I find it very amusing that all three cats have decided that Amy's bed is the place to sleep.

Speaking of cats, as some of you know I have another little blog I started a few weeks ago. I like to think of it as a lighthearted blog full of good humor and fun. It's also pretty snarky. Give it a read if you are so inclined and if by some freaky coincidence you happy to live in Potomac please stop by with some coffee cake. It's a little lonely over here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Classroom or The Room That Made Me Cry...

Unpacking has been going pretty well. Basically my philosophy is to get the stuff out of boxes and in the general area where it belongs. For example, all of my clothes are unpacked and in the closet. The closet is however very disorganized. Once all the boxes have been unpacked in a meta way, I will go back and organize things in a micro way.

This strategy has made the house livable in record time which is nice.

I must confess that I did save the worst boxes for last. As of this morning the classroom was full of boxes of books. I love books. The kids love books. Books, books, books! After the seventeen box of books I was ready to burn them all and buy everyone Kindles. Can you imagine? All of those boxes replaced with a single device? Now I know many of you will be all, "Books are teh awesome! You are very, very wrong!"

Whatever. You come unpack the books and you'll change your tune.

I spent about two hours drowning in the books when I decided that I had had enough. This is how I left it.

At around 9pm Lily announced that she simply had to find the sixth book in the series she is reading and she began opening boxes and dumping more books onto the floor. In the very last box she found the book she was looking for.  Tomorrow I'll get back in there. I've got to get the room set up for school by Monday or my children will never be educated and my only accomplishments in this life will have been an unusual predilection for frequenting junk stores and an addiction to chocolate, and while I am not ashamed of these things, they are not quite the same as having children who can do math.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Some thoughts on moving...

It was with many tears and fond farewells that the intrepid residents of Shiny Red Houses made their way south and to their new home. The journey was quite easy for me, as I only had dogs and children to wrangle. David, on the other hand, was responsible for gathering up the cats to his bosom, or at the very least to their cat carriers so that they too could join us on our adventure. Foolishly, we had underestimated the difficulty of collecting three cats bent on not having an adventure. It took 24 hours, many scratches and bites, a net, an air mattress, borrowed underwear, and the brave and only partially conscripted service of Amy and Bethany, but the cats were finally caged, sedated, and transported. The timeline of "Catscapes 2012" can be best enjoyed over at Facebook where David and Amy provided real time updates, including the realization that one of the cats Amy tried to rescue was not in fact our cat.

The movers delivered all of our worldly possessions on Saturday and since then we have been in a frenzy of unpacking. You know by now that I am a woman of action and as such, the house is largely unpacked. This house is very different from my last. For one thing, it's much larger and so the cozy cottage feel that worked so well in my Arlington house would look silly here. I've decided to take a more minimalist approach to my decorating with this house. This may be related to my aversion to unpacking.

There are several things to consider about this house. Firstly, it's a rental. Since we are brand new to the area we decided to rent for a while and get a sense of where we might want to settle down. Because it's a rental I won't be painting anything which I am not ashamed to tell you is a complete effing relief. It doesn't hurt that the house is painted in lovely inoffensive Pottery Barn colors. What is interesting to see is how easily the furniture I used in my last Shiny Red House fits into Grown-Up Lady House.

Remember those pieces from my colorful dining room? Same furniture, completely different look. (All the window treatments in the house belong to the owners.)

The bedroom is hardly different at all.

Happily this house has a family room where the television and wii can go (no photos yet) and a separate living room which I have decided is Mommy's room of sanctuary. I love this living room. I want to marry it and have beautiful living room babies with it.

All of the pieces in this room were in my living room in Arlington, except for the couch which if you remember I trash picked and then put in David's office.

Tomorrow the girls and I are tackling the last room- the classroom. I am so excited to have a dedicated classroom where we can set up our maps and projects without having to take them down every night.

Before I go to bed, I thought I would let you know that the people of Maryland so far seem very nice. I was only warned once that I would go to hell for not accepting Jesus as my personal savior, but it was via a flier tucked under my windshield and as such is probably not the final word on salvation.