Archive for December, 2007

A RegularBirthday.

Well, it’s my birthday today.

It’s shaping up to be a fabulous one, too. It’s not even 9:00 am here, and I’ve already received various illustrated homemade and store-bought greeting cards, a new copy of When Harry Met Sally on DVD¬†which is one of our All Time Favorite Movies, and a $150 gift card to our local Borders/Seattle Coffee, where I like to go at least once a week to get some alone time. I like to browse through the shelves, find some new books, and then read in the coffee shop with a decaf vanilla latte. I’ve been slowly blowing through our retirement funds doing this over the past year, but now I’ll be able to spend a few guilt-free hours buying books with my fabulous gift card. RegularDad truly rocks.

I’ve also received a Very Special Ballet Performance from my 4-year-old. She had planned to dance to one of the Nutcracker pieces, but we couldn’t find the CD anywhere, so we used our new soundtrack to Shrek the Third, and she danced to Smash Mouth’s All Star instead. Truly inspiring, let me tell you.

Then I talked to RegularDad on my cell phone while I ate my breakfast. RegularDad had to get over to the new house early this morning for an appliance delivery. He called over here to ask me to bring the vacuum cleaner and then started pretending that the call kept dropping out, like those funny commercials. Such as:

RegularDad: Okay, look, the real reason I’m calling is that we need to talk about something and it just can’t wait until you get here. It’s too important. The thing is—


— and that’s how I really feel about it.

He did a few variations on this, which got me laughing pretty hard. So I’ve already had one really great belly laugh on my birthday. And all this before snack time. ūüôā

Finally, the upcoming piece-de-resistance later this morning is the delivery of a BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW STAINLESS STEEL DISHWASHER over at the new house. I’ll post some pictures later, and you can well imagine that I’ll be wiping away tears of joy and relief as I snap those shots. Then I’ll come back here and post them and then I’ll put on the old rubber gloves and wash some dishes by hand, knowing it’s the last week I’ll be doing that for (hopefully) years to come.

So far, 39 rocks!


So awful, that you can’t even get away with the term “vintage”.


This is the light fixture in our new dining room/schoolroom.

Every time I see¬†it I think: if the Jetson’s ever bought a summer home, it would look just like this thing.

Needless to say, we’ll be replacing this thing right away.

A RegularChristmas.

RegularDad’s family is, like, HUGE.

Seriously. There’s just tons of aunts and uncles and cousins and significant others, and squeezing in holiday visits to all of them in such a way that no one is unhappy or offended¬†is something even Houdini couldn’t pull off.

Now, my family is small. There’s me, RegularSis, her husband and 2 babies, and our crazy mother. And that’s pretty much it. On RegularDad’s side, though, there’s at least 30 people. And they’re all crazy. In their own special ways.

This was the first time in 12 years that we were actually within driving distance of all of them at Christmas. And all I’m gonna say is that we managed to see just about all of them with only one crying session on my part, and only one instance of someone asking us: Now that you’ve bought a house here, will you be putting the kids in school?

The crying fit came as a result of my RegularDad’s mom insisting on wrapping the gifts I’d bought for people. For some reason, she just could not handle the fact that none of my gifts were wrapped by the time she arrived from Denver on the 22nd. She harped on it for two days. Every time I mentioned my plans to wrap gifts, she’d jump in and tell me that she would do it for me. At which point I would say, kindly: Oh no. You don’t have to do that. Which is my polite way of saying I would prefer to wrap my own gifts. That way I will know that everyone has the right gift and the tags will appear in my handwriting, ensuring that people will know that the gifts are from me and my family.

After two days of this, when I was finally ready to sit down and wrap, she immediately took over, taking my wrapping paper and bows and tags to the dining room table and proceeding to wrap everything. And all I’m sayin’ is: she’s a REALLY SLOPPY WRAPPER. And I am NOT a really sloppy wrapper. I actually take pride in how carefully and artfully I wrap gifts. It’s just one of my little quirks, okay? And there’s nothing wrong with being like that. And my MIL knows this about me. In fact, she comments on it every year around this time. And I smile and joke about it, saying things like: yeah, in my family, you had to pass Advanced Origami before you were allowed to wrap anything. But the truth is, I really like to make my gift wrappings as beautiful as possible.

But my MIL just doesn’t get that. And I suspect that she thinks I waste a lot of time over it. Because five minutes into the sudden TAKE OVER THE WRAPPING OF THE GIFTS EVENT she looked at me and said: Did you want me to wrap these nicely? and the tone of her voice indicated that I’d better not have wanted that at all. Because she was doing me a FAVOR, dammit, so I wasn’t allowed make comments about the shitty job she was doing.

At that point, the kids suddenly wanted to help, and before I knew what was happening, my 4-year-old had the scissors and was hacking up a tube of wrapping paper, and I yelled out: OKAY. THAT’S ENOUGH! YOU NEED TO STOP NOW.

And then my 7-year-old said: I’m gonna stay near Grandma because she’s nicer.

And that’s when I went into my bedroom and cried.

And then RegularDad stepped in and said: what the hell’s going on? And after we hashed through it all, he told his mother to leave me alone. And then she started crying and said she was sorry and that she had told herself to not take over but she did it anyway and it was all because she missed us so much, and blah blah blah, and then I felt bad because she was a guest and she was crying, and good hospitality indicates that One Should Not Make One’s Guest Cry During A Holiday Visit, so I brushed the whole thing off and we just moved on to dinner.

And then the next day she was scheduled to go spend a few days up at RegularDad’s brother’s house where she could content herself with taking over that household and driving them crazy. We were scheduled to go see RegularDad’s dad and stepmother and then¬†to go see RegularSis and the small (and, might I add, patient!) contingent of people that is MY family.

And so, after the girls opened their gifts from Santa, and we’d eaten our traditional cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and RegularDad and I had both showered and dressed, my MIL was still sitting on the couch in her pajamas, flipping through some books I’d gotten the girls. And finally RegularDad asked: Mom, are you going to shower before you leave? And she said: Oh, well, I’m not in any hurry. I’ll just wait until you all leave and then I’ll get ready.

Which was a HUGE RED FLAG for us. Because she obviously wanted to be alone in our house. Probably to clean it. And to pack up my study with all it’s clutter of books and scraps of half-finished poetry and forgotten tea cups with dried up dregs in them. And then, of course, there’s my underwear drawer to sort through and fold. And all that laundry just sitting around begging to be washed.

She’s done this kind of thing before — come into our house when we weren’t home and cleaned it. It’s not the nice gesture that you think it should be. After she’s done cleaning, it take me days to find everything¬†and put it all back in the right places again.¬†Once she somehow managed to throw out every sanitary napkin I had in the house, and being post-partum at the time, I really needed those things. It was humiliating. And infuriating.

But this time, we weren’t having any of it. RegularDad took me aside and told me not to worry. That we wouldn’t leave until she did. And then he asked her again to get ready because we needed to leave to visit other family. And again, she insisted that she was in no hurry and would wait until we had left to get herself ready. And then RegularDad told her that it would be better for us — better for the girls — if we all left at the same time.

She seemed offended. Oh, I would have thought it was the other way around, she said, eyeing the girls as they played on the floor with all their new loot.

No, RegularDad said. And I loved him for it.

So she showered and dressed and packed her suitcases and we all left the house at the same time. I made sure the doors were locked after she was out.¬†This time, she didn’t have a spare key. Thank God.

And so we headed out to see other family an hour and a half behind schedule.

I could tell you more stories like that from the 3-day whirlwind that was our Christmas With The Family, but I’ve gone on long enough. You get the idea.

It’s taken me a few days to recover from the ordeal, but I’ve finally gotten to the point where I could sit down at the computer and check my messages and write this whole thing out.

Now my days are filled with preparations for our move to the new house. Ironically, we will be moving into the house exactly one year after we got on a plane in Denver during a blinding snowstorm to move back east to be near the family.

This has been the longest move I’ve ever done.

Big plans for family night.

7-year-old: So, what snacks do you think we should have for Family Night this week?

4-year-old: I want popcorn!

Me: Mmmmm….popcorn sounds good.

7-year-old: Okay. We’ll put popcorn on the list. What do you want, Dad?

RegularDad: How about some broccoli?

Everyone else in unison: DA-AD!

RegularDad: All right. Well, then, how about some asparagus spears?

Everyone else: DA-AD!!!!

RegularDad: Okay! Okay! How ’bout some Britney Spears?

7-year-old: What are THOSE?

RegularDad: Those’re trailer treats.

Me: Tasty trailer treats.

Morning after the ice storm.


I was in a rush to get over to the new house that morning, but I managed to snap a few shots of the trees. In spite of my hurry, I got quite a few pictures that I liked, such as this one above.

This was the first round of ice in a two-day storm. Last night was round two. Lots of freezing rain and high winds. We’re losing lots of branches, but if I were a tree branch, I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful way to go out.

Happy Birthday, RegularSis!

Getting this in just under the wire.

¬†Today was RegularSis’s 40th birthday! Everyone say Happy Birthday RegularSis!

Now, when we were growing up together, way back when, everyone used to think we were twins. We looked a lot alike, for one thing. And for another thing, our mother had this irritating habit of dressing us the same all the time. Every freekin’ day. And that’s the sort of thing you do when you have twins. So, everywhere we went, people would say, “Oh what beautiful girls you have! Are they twins?” And then my mother would smile and say, “Oh, no. They’re a year apart.” And the people would look immediately confused, because she was dressing us alike, and that’s what you do when you actually have twins. Which she didn’t. So, nobody understood what the hell she was doing. Us least of all.

But, whatever. That’s not the point of this post.

The point of this post is that every time our mother said, “Oh, no. They’re a year apart,” and the people would get all confused, RegularSis would IMMEDIATELY pipe up and say: “Mom! We’re not a year apart! We’re A YEAR AND EIGHTEEN DAYS APART!”

Every time. Because RegularSis was older than me. And she was REALLY into that extra eighteen days. For eighteen days, every year, she was two years ahead of me instead of just the usual boring old one year ahead of me.

So, for the record, I’d just like to point out to everyone that for the next eighteen days, RegularSis will be 40 years old, while I will¬†be sitting back and enjoying¬†a mere¬†38.

Happy Birthday RegularSis. You know I love you.

PS: RegularDad says to tell you that he’s only 39.

Well, no. He didn’t really say that at all. I just thought it might be funny. But then again, I’m young and inexperienced in these matters, being only 38, so I could be totally wrong about that. I’ll check into it in about 19 days, and see if it’s still funny then. ūüôā

Our new front walk.


We closed on our new house today.

The closing was…interesting.

We got there a few minutes early. You know: with time enough to spare so that I could get the girls settled. They used the bathroom, found seats and stuff to draw with from the depths of my purse, and had themselves a healthy snack of cheese sticks and apples and roasted almonds to keep them occupied. You could tell that the adults were a bit concerned about the presence of children at the closing. But my girls are always so well behaved in public settings that I don’t need to be worried about them. We homeschool, after all. The kids are accustomed to navigating the world of Grownups And The Boring Shit They Do All Day.

The seller’s realtor was a nice enough man. He introduced himself and then told us quickly that the seller would be present at the closing and that she had “a bit of dementia” and not to be surprised if she cried a little during the closing. Then the seller arrived and she seemed a nice enough lady. Not a whiff of dementia that I could find. She smiled at our girls and asked their ages and told me about raising her three kids. I had to speak loudly, but that was it. Then her oldest son came in, along with their attorney, and that’s really when I caught that little whiff of dementia.

They spent most of the closing whispering into each other’s ear. At first I was concerned that something was wrong with the transfer of title, that they were trying to back out of the deal. But then, the whispering got loud enough that I was able to determine that what they were fussing about was how the money was going to be split between the three children. The son and the lawyer were clearly dissatisfied and wanted to make some changes. So they whispered and grinned at each other, all the while turned away from the woman who actually owned the property. And every time the woman’s realtor handed a sheet of paper to the old woman with a gentle¬†Now, Mary, you need to sign here, the lawyer would stand up all fussily and lean over and say, Yeah okay, now what’s THIS exactly? as if we were all attempting to bamboozle the old lady out of something. And then after she determined that the paper was okay to sign, she’d sit back down and resume the irritated whispery conversation with the son.

After about 15 minutes of that, the two of them stood up and said to the woman: Come on, we need to talk about something. And they escorted the little old lady out into the reception area where they embarked on an earnest conversation.

At that point I leaned in to RegularDad and asked, Does any of that have impact on us? He shook his head. And so we kept on signing.

But I gotta tell you, it left a bad taste in my mouth watching that whole thing happen.

Not long afterwards, the lawyer led the old woman back into the room and helped her back into her seat. Then our realtor came over and remarked on how wonderful and quiet and well-behaved my children were. 

“Oooooh!” said the lawyer, all gooey and condescending to my 7-year-old. “You’ll be going to [insert name of local public school here]! You’ll be able to walk there, I bet.” Then she looked at me, all smug and knowingly.

“Actually,” said the¬†realtor. “They homeschool. So, it’s a really short walk!”

The lawyer’s look changed from smug to extremely uncomfortable. But at least I didn’t have to talk to her anymore.

And the house is ours. At long last.

We’re almost done moving back to the east coast.

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