Tuesday, September 20, 2016

So, Once.

So, once there was a boy.

He was tall (REALLY tall) and he had brown eyes that crinkled at the corners when he looked at me. He was funny. He thought I was funny. He smelled, really good, so good that I kept finding myself drawing closer and closer to him. He said things I didn't expect, and liked things like I do, and just, sort of, got me. Meeting K. was like meeting someone who spoke my language for the very first time.

Oh, and life goals? Kids, yes. Farm, yes. Happiness. Double-check. And life-long matrimony. Yep, matrimony as a goal.

So, all of twenty-two, I married him. I married him like falling off a cliff, the way young people do, but I was smart enough to make sure there was a net at the bottom. And so, two kids and businesses and life changes later (we've surprised ourselves and each other quite a bit with what we've done and are doing :) ), we are still rock-solid. I love being married. I don't say it aloud much, because it seems like tempting fate, but it's two days past our eleventh anniversary, and maybe once a decade or so, I should get to brag. I love, love, love being married to K. It's my favorite thing in the world.

He doesn't make me happy all the time. I'm not happy all the time. I don't float around our admittedly idyllic life in a state of bliss... I'm myself, and so that means I'm sometimes grumpy, often tired, and always easily irritated by sundry small quirks of living with K (pants? Pants? How many places can one man PUT pairs of pants that they don't belong? And why are his enormous clodhopper shoes everywhere I ever go?). But here's the magical part: I get to be myself, and I STILL get to be happily married to this man. He's okay with me being batshit crazy a quarter of the time and super happy about an eight of the time and really kind of over domestic mayhem 90 percent of the time and who knows what I'm like the rest? He doesn't care. He's happy to be married to me, whatever I'm like, about 99 percent of the time. And me? Well, I take him for granted and I count on him.

But then, periodically I look up at this still super-tall, still eye-crinkling man whom I spend my life with and he still, to this day, takes my breath away.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Labor Day Weekend

So Friday, K and I left our kids with a friend who likes our kids, frankly, more than she likes us. We usually have a regular babysitter, but the usual girl was out of town for the long weekend with her family. And it was Dixie's rehearsal dinner, not child-friendly, with a menu that involved octopus, so I literally looked across the counter at friend D. and said, "what are you doing tomorrow night? Want to watch my kids?" She said yes :) And spoiled the pants off them Friday night with meatballs as big as their heads and a cookie baking marathon.

So K and I made it to Dixie's rehearsal dinner. We felt an awful lot like family as we entertained relatives and chowed down on exotic Portuguese food. It was something!

Saturday, I prepped for the wedding by doing the flowers out at the peaceful Mississippi school house in the morning. Annaliese and Caspian accompanied and spent most of their time collecting seeds from the tall roadside grasses. It was a nice way to spend the morning, on a beautiful day. Then I went to work for the lunch shift accompanied by Caspian, got off and went to check on the flowers one last time, went home for some lazy pre-wedding time, and then got a text that we were expected an hour before I though for pictures. So we THREW nice clothes on and headed out for the third time that day.

This time, the sleepy little school house was packed with folks. The flowers were stunning :) and the vibe was sweet as could be as the two ladies said their classic vows surrounded by family and friends. I love weddings. I hope they're happy for ever.

Rainbow cake, fried chicken, and Soul train classics ensued. We stayed til the very end-- this was a homespun wedding, and they needed help getting the school house put back to rights before the night was over.

Sunday we woke up to a whole day of nothing. It was glorious. We read on the porches and napped and made it to the pool in the late afternoon.

And Monday! Monday, Labor Day, is the only bank holiday (other than the true holidays) that the store closes. Bad for business but good for the soul. We had another lazy morning and then hopped in the car and sped our way up to Pickwick Lake, determined to swim in a lake at least one time this summer. They don't make it easy, in the South... the culture seems to see lakes as accessories for power boats, and not so much for lounging and swimming, but we managed to find a beautiful secluded cove with big rocks and deep water right off them. We swam and sunned and picnicked and whiled the afternoon away, saying goodbye to summer for real.

As always, things are percolating, I wish business was better, I'm working on getting things ironed out, I'm behind in the garden, but when I step back and look at the big picture... things are good. I like my life. I love my family. I wake up in the morning and I feel like what I'm doing matters. I have a hundred thousand small doubts but no big ones. Hard to ask for more.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Nope. Not Even an Apology.

Life! A little town, a little shop, a little farm, a small family, and it all adds up to A Whole Lot.

Sitting in the window lunch counter at the BTC right now, listening to a transplant from New Hampshire show her niece around and some ladies eat cake and drink sweet tea behind me while the new girl busts her bottom to keep the store the way it should be. She's not a naturally gifted shop girl but she makes up for it with heart.

I've got twenty minutes before I pick up Annaliese and Caspian from after-school chess. Today's mishap? My tire is flat, stone-cold empty. Good thing I can leave it downtown indefinitely until it can get dealt with. Yesterday's tragedy? Water pouring through the ceiling from a broken pipe in the upstairs restroom of K's coding academy. Who knows what will happen tomorrow. A decade into life here and I've stopped trying to anticipate the ups and downs. All I know is they will keep coming.

Tonight? I have to figure out what to feed my family for supper. I skipped my dawn exercise routine so I'd feel better if I did it before bed. We spent three hours at the local soccer fields last night for the kids' first fall games so it'll be sweet to spend the evening at home.

Soccer. Lord have mercy. Caspian tore the field up, was everywhere all at once, yet managed not to score. He played very well, though, despite the sudden onset of cockiness. Apparently this is a second-grade thing? A normal subdued buddy was beating his chest like an angry gorilla in the goal last night. Hubris is catching :)

Annaliese, on the other hand, did not tear the field up as much as smell it up. For a naturally athletic kid who effortlessly reaches the ball first, she sure doesn't do much when she gets there. She pleaded to play goalie the last quarter, then lost her team the game by letting four goals in. Hands on her hips. Mind clearly elsewhere. Talk about phoning it in.

Good thing I love her anyway.

Twelve minutes. Better go transfer the things I carry around in the station wagon for the school garden into the truck. The school planters need watering, and I've got to get the squash bugs under control.

Happy life!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Is Coming

My kids are the perfect age for Christmas. There, I said it! Old enough to help, young enough to listen wide-eyed to tales of Santa Claus. I love this time of year.

Things, in no particular order, to remember this year....

Annaliese especially has been capital-P Possessed by the CHristmas spirit. One Saturday (when I was at work) K texted me a pic of Annaliese's face. She had a red nose and little antlers on her forehead. She painted herself like Rudolph, turned the radio to Christmas music, and spent a solid hour begging her brother to be Santa.

She also strung most of the Christmas tree lights, hung the stockings, and made the cats a Christmas present, wrapped and underneath the tree.

About a week later, she appeared on the porch when the rest of us were out feeding animals. "Y'all!" She hollered. "Come up to the house! The cats are getting their present!"

We promised to be up soon, but daylight was fading, and were mid-chore. "I'll do it myself!" She called cheerfully.

When we came into the house, she said, "The cats didn't care about their present," and held up her hand-drawn picture of a mouse.

And now for a Caspian update... he's getting quirkier as he gets older. He's definitely my child. Massive anger at injustice; a deep dislike of loud crowded places; losing objects wherever he goes. He's also entirely himself: I don't know many small boys with such an ability of focus on one thing and do it, well, to the exclusion of all other activities, for over an hour at a time.

His Nonni sent both children $10 in the mail awhile back for good grades with the injunction to spend it, not save it. We'd made plans that the children would go to the local drugstore and Fred's after school one day. Caspian emerged from the bus without his sweater, and as it was a chilly day, I wouldn't let him go out without a coat. Annaliese had both a coat and sweater, so we told him to wear Annaliese's (blue and green and entirely gender-neutral) coat. He couldn't do it. He wanted to go, but for whatever reason, he could not put on that coat. He sat in a booth at the store, weeping, stuck in a corner, and K. and I tried to reason him out of it. When Caspian is stuck in one of these corners, reason doesn't work. At all.

Twenty minutes passed. The weeping continued. Then I told him he could wear my sweater, a loose gray cardigan. The tears stopped and the shine came back in his eyes because, sure, that would work! We tied it behind his back kimono-style and he went off shopping looking much stranger than if he'd just worn his sister's coat, but happy as a clam.

So. Six, and almost eight, and it's almost Christmas.

The tree is up, the lights are on, I have another week of work, and then I'm taking some time off to be at home with my family. I can't wait.

Monday, November 16, 2015

When Life Gives You Lemons

I have so many things that have happened since August. Eliza is engaged! Annaliese is a read-aholic! Caspian is super charming! K. finished bathrooms and built a fish pool! 

But as always, my vision extends about one foot ahead of me, which means that today, I am horribly sad. K. went to help his sister in VT, who had an incredibly handsome, thick-haired, beautiful baby boy a few weeks ago. It was my idea, and a good one, so he went up for a week to take night shifts and clean house and make food and be of service.

Which means that I have been flying solo since 4am last Wednesday, and it turns out, I kind of suck at it.

Not that practicalities. The kids are fed, the house is clean, the animals are tended. We've even had fun-- my kids are awesome, and I like hanging out with them.

But my emotional equilibrium is all the way off and I feel like a lemon that someone sucked the juice out of. Bitter and dry. 

Charming, huh?

I need my sweetie to come home already.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

And Life Resumes

We are tanner, rested, and renewed, which is a good spot to be in for fall.

Yep. It may be August and pretty much 100 degrees, but mentally, it's fall. We are just waiting for the weather to catch up.

So, with that in mind...

I took a  few days off from work and stenciled/re-organized the kids' rooms.

K. built an amazing heart-pine genius solution to cover some ugly water pipes/water heater that nonetheless need to be accessible. The whole thing slides to the right if necessary. Otherwise, it just hangs there looking gorgeous.

K. also has decided to become a gardener and has spent great deal of time on a tractor lately, making a flat-tish spot. This involved a family evening of moving limbs onto the burn pile.

Surfaces have been cleared off, dishes and meals are on target, and it's so good to be home, chugging full steam ahead into what always feels like a new year, technicalities aside. As much fun as it was to work with the kids this summer... and it really was.... K and I are both so glad to watch them trundle into school five days a week.


Annaliese had to write four things about herself for a homework assignment. Number 1: "I am bossy." No. Not her :)

We've been talking about the world lately and picking countries to discuss. Caspian picked Iran, "because it's next to the Caspian Sea, and I've been hearing about it in the news lately. And I-RAN." Cue chortles.

The kids both landed experienced and long-time teachers. Let's hope this year goes more smoothly than the last.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Vacation Pics Round One

I've been pondering lately the impact of children. 

One is that the desire to give them a summer full of family, cool water, and adventure compelled K. and I to work our tails off, spend a significant amount of money, and move folks into our places in our town to enable us to take nearly three weeks off as a family. In the middle of produce season, tourist season, tomato season.

The kids left Mississippi a week before us with their Nonni and spent their time in Virginia going to museums, hanging with Auntie Eliza, and heading to camp. Then we joined them. K. and I went to Monticello, ate a lot of ice cream, and did our best to dry Nonni's tears that we did, after all, need to move on. 

My personal highlight was the museum an hour-plus south that I've visited many times throughout my life. It depicts working farmsteads from Germany, Ireland, England, and more. The kids loved it and I did too. Plus we hit up Roy's and Cooter's and other classics within driving distance of Nonni's farm. The wildflower meadow is calling my name...

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Rainy Spring Update

Hectic week or so. It's rained at least every other day here for ever now. Which makes gardening difficult , but the trees--and the pair of ducks, who now live in the chicken house-- are happy. 

The farm is overrun with new creatures. Sarah had her calf, and there are a dozen new chicks in the kitchen under a heat lamp. Not to mention my monkeys leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. I try to keep up, best I can.

K. is mostly a man of leisure these days. Caspian asked him what his job was now that he's done actively constructing the new project, and k. said he's a full time daddy who makes money. Which, knock in wood, is true. His project is doing wonderfully and has surpassed both our fiscal expectations.

I crave more time at home but I'm working a normal amount. Pretty much keeping school hours. Probably can't do much better than that.

No plans for new big projects on the horizon. Which feels right. There's plenty-- from gardens to the school board and local politics to animals and home improvement and the upcoming summer-- to keep us busy.