Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A 14-hour day has just flown by.

And now I need to fold the laundry, pick up the house, and make tomorrow's list.

I promise a big update, with pictures, on Sunday. But for now... I am working flat-out (as is K) and it looks like there's a good chance it'll come together.

Keep your fingers crossed.

p.s. The Piranha chicks met 25 gruesome ends. They are all dead. And there is blood staining our chicken house door. Raisin' critters ain't for sissies.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Nothing at all to do with this picture

This morning, I was on the phone with the office supply company, painfully going over every item for the 900th time, when Caspian woke up from his nap. Put him on my hip, filled my palm with raisins; continued talking. Then a red truck pulled into the driveway-- a beer salesman, who for some reason CANNOT ACCEPT PURCHASE ORDERS VIA EMAIL because it's easier to come to my house?-- and the dogs went crazy, like they do. Opened the door, refilled my palm with raisins, motioned to the salesman to hang on (he already knows Shadow doesn't bite), and kept talking. Then an unfamiliar truck pulled into the driveway and a bleached blond got out.

At this point I told the saleslady that no, I didn't need to see the area rep, he could just bring my items by and i would cut him a check, no introductions needed. I hung up the phone. The bleached blond asked me for a job. I smiled and told her all 2 positions were filled. I shifted Caspian to the other hip, called the dogs, led the way back into the house.

We sat down and started talking beer -- Caspian in high chair, with more raisins-- when there was a screech. The bleached blond was spinning out in my driveway.

He had to go help her back out.

I smiled at my son who grinned back at me.

Eventually the salesman came back and I bought some beer.

It's been a strange few days lately.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

In The Meantime...

Nonni came to visit. Annaliese was lit up like a Christmast tree. These two have a mutual adoration. We took the whole family on our first tri-generational graveyard wander, and it was really fun! Welcome to the family, kids!

I cleaned the living room (and other rooms) only to find the children like so, Cheerio bag upended around them while watching Aladdin (we'd been outside for over an hour, playing in the garden, don't judge me!). These two. The dogs are so sick of Cheerios they won't even eat them now. Which makes me say things about dogs in India.

Don't think for one minute this is a candid. Of Caspian, maybe. K and Annaliese share the same ability to look absolutely charming for the camera. But adorable, c'est vrai?

8+ hours of sleep + watching a new episode of Castle with Sweetie over there + 6 child-free Wednesday hours means I'm back to feeling like myself.

Happy Thursday.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010


K. ordered 25 chicks in the mail after I complained that we were out of frozen chicken. They are the industry-standard meat birds, Cornish crosses, and absolutely terrifying. You have to take their food away during the night or they will eat themselves into cardiac arrest.

Two died two days ago, I'm pretty sure from exploding butt. (Don't ask). So now K wipes every chick's bum with a wet washcloth to prevent further deaths.

I am pretty much in charge of the feed/water thing, and between the chicks and my backyard's devastation, feeding the chickens has gone from a pleasant chore to something i have to steel myself for. These chicks are CRAZY. They act completely voracious, all the time, and fly at me with starving indignation the minute I open the door, even though they get topped off twice a day.

My children have been reminding me of the chicks these last few days. Maybe it's because I'm tired, because K is still not up to snuff and it worries me, because the store is opening in ten days and my anxiety level is several notches higher than usual. Whatever the reason, it's been harder to even attempt the Zen Mama mode I usually aim for, and while I think I'm still holding it together for/in front of them, there's a fairly unpleasant running commentary in my head along the lines of "ahh! hush! I would sell my pinkies for an hour where NO BODY SPOKE/screamed/wailed/whined/repeated the same phrase over and over and over until I repeat it back!"

In that light, I paged through the New Yorker this morning while eating breakfast alone with the kids (because somehow K sleeps in six out of seven days? There are prices to pay for having a handy husband who fulfills dreams) and a study on happiness said that most American mothers rank napping and jogging as more happiness-making than caring for their children. Washing the dishes was only slightly lower.

Damn, I get that. (Note-- CARING for children, not HAVING children. Vastly different, happiness-wise.)

So. The kids are great. K's ok. I wish he would feel better, and I know he does too. I wish we had a day to chill out at home-- alone-- and mow the lawn and take a nap. I wish I could get over being Ms Queen Crankypants. Because I'm lucky, and blessed, and I know that.

I just get grumpy anyhow.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Inflammatory Statement Number 6: I Think Weight-Watchers Is A Crock

Yesterday, K and I were puttering in the building, Wednesdays being a sans-kids-day, and a friend/neighbor saw the back doors open and popped his head in.

He told us how excited he was about the grocery. So I asked, as I ask everyone, what he wanted that he couldn't currently get in town.

"That high-fiber bread," he said, and named a brand.

Well, all of our bread is going to be freshly baked, said I. And she has whole wheat.

"Nope," he said. "We get that brand. It's approved by Weight-Watchers." And then he rattled off a list of other products that no person who actually likes food-- skim milk of a certain brand, frozen food, pre-packaged salads-- that he and his wife buy.

America has such a f-ed up relationship with food. It's political (fair-trade, organic versus local versus Monsanto). It's marketing (shelf-space sold to companies, Dora the Explorer on tiny expensive overly sweet yogurts). And for so many people, it's what it isn't-- milk that doesn't taste like milk! Eggs with extra vitamins and omegas in them! Diet drinks and a can to take the place of a meal!

I have never participated in Weight-Watchers. I think the idea of points is a fine one-- although it seems kind of obsessive, it works for a lot of people. But the leap from allotting points to food to only "allowing" certain brands is pretty problematic.

Fresh tomatoes are glorious. Real cheese is glorious. Fermented and brined and pickled and preserved products of all kinds are glorious. But what bears little resemblance to glory is an anemic, packaged product of nothing, and though the B.T.C. will have to cater to its customers, we won't be looking up brands approved by Weight-Watchers. We're in the business of selling food, not... propaganda? Mush?

How my sweet neighbor can think he's better off eating packaged and preserved "high-fiber" bread rather than freshly baked whole wheat, I don't know. I don't care which bread has more fiber. Which one will nourish his soul?

That's what real food does.

And that's what we'll be selling.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Just hired my manager (Norma! Great name for an old-fashioned grocery), painted our salvaged shelving candy-apple red, and stained the raw wood of our counter. K's working on his Blackberry/attaching castors to the bottoms of the beat-up and totally funky sweet potato crates.


Now, 5 minutes to pick up the children and morph into Mommy... though we've got "Miss Margaret" coming tonight in the evening, we're going to dinner and a movie! Yay Tina Fay and Date Night!!

An Inflammatory Statement coming soon.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


(and yes, those are Caspian's pajamas. Annaliese wanted to be "Baby Brother!")
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The last week

Tuesday, K looked like that. Sad and pathetic, I know. He's better now.

The kids are a handful but mostly great. Caspian can crawl! Which makes Annaliese want to too cos we get so excited!

And we beat the birds to two strawberries. Which every member of our family found delicious.


What with my mate down and out, I've had a lot of time to think in the past five days. About marriage, parenting, birth control, gardening, landscaping, gutters, hoop cheese, the odds of my grocery actually paying the bills, how to display flowers, the color to repaint the shelves, whether or not we should make sandwiches, what our parents should do, why I love getting my miserable family into pretty clothes for pictures, and the inevitability of death.

(No. Not really the last one. But it sounded good.)

I'm not sure any of these thoughts are worth expanding on. Although hoop cheese, it turns out, is the one currently intriguing me the most.
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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

But really, everything's alright, because K didn't die.

I think the fact that I am running around and not accopmlishing much has something to do with both children cutting molars at once. (!!!) Caspian had a few bad nights but now, with the aid of Motrin, is sleeping well once more. Annaliese, my little Princess with a Pea... not so much. She's got 1 2-year-old molar through and 3(stab myself in eye) to go.

I am very tired.

Also, the City is tearing up my backyard. wIth a backhoe. About ten feet from my bedroom window, between me and my chickens, in my SANcTURAY of peace and privacy. SThere are sewer line problems, apparently, and their presence is without a forseeable end-point. There is talk of digging up the whole driveway. There is no room to park my car. The trailer with all the things that need to be pressure-washed has been hauled up the hill, away from where i need to pressure-wash it. There are men in blue uniforms in my backyard all day long, doing things with trucks and saws and that damn backhoe, and Although yes, thank you City, for having sewer lines and (sort of) maintaining them.

pLUS K's in bed and out of commission with his sinus surgery recovery, pollen is COATING my house, and this morning, Annaliese had one of those number 2 explosions that necessitated bathing. In the bath I'd just cleaned. And then K called from the bathroom that Caspian's diaper was full too.

I am going to make myself a bracing cup of tea, go give the heating and cooling man 5 thousand dollars (!!!!), and then go pick the children up. We're going to the garden. Backhoe be damned.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Store (Easter pictures are a post down)

So, the main sign is done. The eight transoms are each going to have words in them (think soda pop-cheese-fresh bread-country eggs-local produce-candy-deli meats-beer in old-style script) but that'll come at the end of the month. The "Opening May 1st" poster boards go up this week, though.

Inside, my counter:

Which will have copper on the top and finished wood eventually.

Across the way is the kids' area, fence under construction. This will have gates and thick colorful mats and a bunch of toddler-geared toys-- a playhouse, a kidde pool full of balls, etc. Sweet potato crates are to the right, awaiting K's ministrations. These will go down the middle of the store and be stacked with fresh/colorful/beautiful produce, heaped with fresh loaves of bread, FESTOONED with Ritter Sport and Toblerone bars.

The big metal part is my storeroom, enterable through the double doors down yonder. The floor is DONE, because K's amazing, and it looks amazing. We will be using the rear entrance in the back, which would look much friendlier once the windows are in. So that way people can come via the front or the back.

What you don't see: the open deli cases getting delivered this week, the 100 feet of shelving K and I spent all Saturday hauling out of a closed grocery store in Cleveland, MS, the kiddie mats and the egg cartons and the meat slicer and the cash register.

But we're getting there. Or at least, K. is. He says he would have had to do this alle ventually -- to rent the building out-- but he really is doing the parts I can't imagine how I would get done otherwise.

Will post store pics again in the middle of the month.

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