Mullets and overalls

Well I cannot thank y’all enough for all the oven advice. I haven’t actually done anything about my oven yet, but I feel like I will approach the matter with confidence when I decide the time is right. Your guess is as good as mine as to when that time will be because I have a tendency to feel like something is very urgent and then forget all about it. It’s a gift really.

However, yesterday morning I decided the time was right to clean out Caroline’s closet. It was a dreary, rainy day, P was home from work and asked Caroline if she wanted to go to Bass Pro Shops with him. Naturally she didn’t turn down that offer because she knows there’s a good chance they’ll come home with some new fishing lures and an industrial size bag of Circus Peanuts.

So they left on their mission to wander aimlessly around Rednecks ‘R Us and I got started on the closet. Five hours, three trashbags, and a huge pile of things to donate later, I was finished. And I only stopped and cried as I held all the baby clothes about four or six times. Of course there was one unfortunate ugly cry incident when I discovered the mobile that used to hang above her crib, but I got past it.

And in the end it looked like this.

I didn’t take any before pics so you just have to trust me when I say it looks so much better. Plus, we finally have a good place to store our case of bourbon.

I’m kidding. We’d never store bourbon in our child’s closet. She might drink it all.

Actually, that box is from my Nanny’s house and it’s full of my dolls from other countries.

I also cleaned up the book shelves and am willing to bet it will look this neat and organized for upwards of five minutes.

As I went through boxes I found a few pictures that brought me too much joy and horror to not share with you.

This is P and his mullet. I think the plaid tie and navy blazer add a nice touch. It’s like prep school meets Nascar.

Of course, in all fairness, here’s a picture of me with my dad from my senior year in high school.

I don’t really know what concerns me more, the size of those sleeves or the thickness of my eyebrows. Or maybe it’s the bangs en masse on my forehead. Clearly, those who lived in late 80’s glass houses should not throw stones at their spouse who sported a mullet.

And finally, look at these two skinny kids in love sans mullet and eyebrows that look like caterpillars.

That picture was taken fourteen years ago on the Fourth of July. I don’t know why I’m wearing overalls but they seem to be a common theme in pictures taken of me during this mid-1990’s time period. That’s unfortunate. Especially considering that I weighed about 98 pounds.

Anyway, the closet is now clean and I have a deep sense of accomplishment coupled with shame over my eyebrows. And the overalls.

Y’all have a good Friday.

It’s about hurricanes, closets, fish and ovens

I feel like I need to warn you in advance that I have no idea where this post is going. Frankly, I’m not sure how that’s different from any other day, but I just wanted to let you know that the thoughts in my head? They are scattered.

A few of y’all have emailed to ask about the hurricane. All I know is that we were originally in something the local weathermen like to call the “cone of uncertainty”. This is apparently a term they learn in meteorology school that roughly translates to “heck if I know”. We waited for the rain all day long yesterday and it finally showed up in the form of about ten drops around 5:00 p.m. So the cone of my certainty believes we will get somewhere between zero and ten inches of rain at some point in the next forty-eight hours. Or maybe just some time before the end of 2010.

Yesterday morning I woke up with big plans and dreams of cleaning out Caroline’s closet. It’s something I’ve desperately needed to do for a while now, but every time I look in there I get completely overwhelmed because I see things looming from the top shelf like her pink boppy pillow and the johnny jump-up and I know that the process of cleaning all that stuff out will open some kind of emotional Pandora’s box that I won’t be able to close for the rest of the day. It will end with me holding a bunch of baby gowns clutched to my heart while I rock back and forth on the floor of the closet singing Sunrise, Sunset. In other words, it will be ugly.

However, I took one look in the closet and decided it could wait one more day. I am totally going to Scarlett O’Hara that bad boy and think about it tomorrow. Or the next day.

Later on we stopped by Gulley’s house to hang out for a little while. The kids decided they wanted to watch a movie and I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that they still all pile into one chair.

On the way home, Caroline asked, “Mama, is Shelly dead?”

I turned down the radio, while racking my brain trying to figure out who the heck is Shelly, and bought myself some time by replying, “What?”

“Is Shelly dead? I haven’t seen her swimming around lately.”

Oh girl. Shelly has been dead since February.

Right after Christmas this year Caroline talked me into buying her a small aquarium and a pair of guppies to go in it. She named them Silver and Shelly and was super excited about them for about four minutes. Ever since then, they have essentially become my fish. Sure, they live in her room on top of my grandmother’s antique dresser but I’m the one who throws in the fish flakes that keep them alive. Or at least one of them alive.

I noticed Shelly had passed one morning back in February, but decided to save myself from the drama that would ensue if I told Caroline and decided to buy myself some time until she noticed for herself that she was down a fish. It was a decision that totally paid off because it took her FOUR MONTHS to realize Shelly might no longer be with us.

Anyway, I answered by questioning the last time she saw Shelly and she couldn’t remember. I’m pretty sure it’s because the last time was December 27th around 2:00 p.m. The best part is Caroline completely forgot about the entire conversation by the time we got home. At this rate we may not properly mourn Shelly until the one year anniversary of her death and hopefully Silver will join her in the sweet hereafter by then and I can officially ditch the aquarium I never wanted.

In other news that has nothing to do with fish mortality, I made pizza for dinner tonight. Actually I made two pizzas for dinner because LEFTOVERS. And as my oven heated up to 475 degrees, it began to smell like something was burning. Mainly because something was burning.

Specifically, it was various pieces of cheese and maybe a smidge of an overzealous blackberry cobbler that bubbled out its dish along with remnants of a pecan pie tragedy from Christmas of 2008. What I’m saying is I need to clean my ovens. They have the self-cleaning feature but I’m a little frightened by it because I’ve heard stories about the horrendous smell and the heat. I realize I could just read the directions that came with the ovens, but that would require me to find them at the bottom of some pile and it’s so much easier to ask you instead. What’s the best way to clean my oven? Should I buy some Easy-Off or does the self-cleaning thing really work? Do I need to leave the house to do it? Please don’t mock me. I genuinely have no idea what to do and am also in a very fragile state over Shelly’s death.

The lazy days of summer

On Monday morning I felt like we officially slipped into summer mode. Caroline had only been out of school two days when we left for our vacation to Florida, then we started Vacation Bible School the next week, and followed that up with a week of soccer camp. We have been very busy having all the fun, but at some point last week I realized that we needed to slow it down a notch or there was a good chance I’d end the summer either A) Flat Broke B) Checked in to some kind of mental institution or C) Both of the above.

We do not have one single commitment over the next two weeks unless you count eating a lot of hot dogs to celebrate the Fourth of July. But I don’t really consider that a commitment as much as our obligation to perpetuate the American Dream, assuming that dream is potential health problems from eating too much processed meat cooked over carcinogenics washed down with a slice of apple pie.

The point is we ate dinner with some friends on Sunday night and stayed out late because we could. (I’m sad that my definition of late is 10:30, but I need to own my lameness.) And then, GLORY HALLELUJAH, Caroline slept in until 9:55 a.m. on Monday morning. When she finally woke up I hugged her to me and whispered, “I have never loved you more than I do right now.” because 9:55 a.m.? It surpassed all my hopes and expectations for Summer 2010.

Then yesterday morning she slept in again. Granted, it was merely 9:00 a.m. but it was enough to make me wish I could travel back in time to visit myself circa August 2003 and let me know there was hope for the future.

Anyway, after we woke up I called my friend Julie and told her we were ready for her to drop S off at our house. Julie is in the process of moving to a new house (and hopefully getting a DVR) and Gulley offered to take her boys for the day and I’d told her we could keep her daughter, S, who is one of Caroline’s best friends.

Gulley and I decided it would be a brilliant idea to just take all the kids to the pool because how hard could it be for the two of us to watch six kids? As it turns out, on the scale of difficulty it ranks somewhere between reasoning with an inebriated goat and fitting into your skinny jeans during a certain time of the month.

Oh I kid.

They were delightful. Look at the sweet angels sent straight from heaven.

(Whose kid is the camera hog in the polka dot swimsuit?)

I took that picture right after we finally got them all sunscreened up and ready to swim, only to have the lifeguards blow their whistle announcing ten minutes of Adult Swim. So they all sat there patiently and only asked “How much longer?” sixteen or eighty-four times until the whistle finally blew again to signal Adult Swim was over.

And about five minutes later the sky opened up, the whistle blew again and we ran for cover as the rain began to pour. Well, Gulley and I ran for cover. The rest of our group embraced the rain and stayed out in it the whole time.

After a few rain dances and a round of ice cream, the rain stopped and we all swam for the next few hours. The original plan was to eat dinner at the pool, but S and Caroline voted to go back to my house and order Papa John’s Pizza instead. So we did.

And then I spent the next few hours giving multiple pedicures the same sets of fingers and toes because “Oh, I wanted polka dot toes!” and “Oh! I didn’t know we had PURPLE POLISH! I want the PURPLE POLISH!” and “Oh man! I just messed mine all up. Can you redo them?”

All I know is that all this summer relaxation is about to wear me out.

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