Saturday, May 29, 2010

Never Say Never

In 2000, Mike and I sold our “starter” home. We had lived there for fifteen years. Both our children were born while we lived there. They celebrated their first Christmases, first birthdays, first days of school, first broken bones chicken pox, and all the other firsts that occur in the early years of a child’s life while living there. In 2000, we decided that it was time to move to a bigger home. We designed and built a house out in the country. At the point we moved in, I vowed that I would never move again. As the child of a Navy officer I had moved enough times in my life and this new house, in my mind, was my dream house. I couldn’t think of any reason that another move would ever be necessary. What I have learned since making that pronouncement is to never say never.

Much has changed in my life in the ten years since we moved to the country. Both girls finished their last days of high school. I have packed both of their last school lunches. One has left for college and the other is leaving in a few months. Mike and I have divorced and Weber and I are about to be married. Right now we are all living together still in the house we built. For many good reasons, that too is about to change.

Mike is working primarily out of the country. Offspring No. 1 is in Chicago. Offspring No. 2 is about to leave for Tennessee, and Weber and I don’t need all this space for only the two us, or do we have the time to care for it. We weighed all of our options, which were many, and decided that the reasonable thing for us to do was to move back into his house in Dallas.

Living out here in the country, we spend between two and three hours every day commuting back and forth to school. Once we move, I can literally walk to school and his “commute” is six miles. We will be ten minutes rather than an hour from church. And as we have built our own circle of friends, we have come to realize that most of them live in Dallas. In an effort to be good stewards of our time and the environment as well as to be fiscally responsible, we have made the right decision for us at this time. As we prepare for this move, which I am quite excited about, I will not say that I will never move again. Though if I do, I hope it is no time soon!

Before we can move, we have to complete some major renovation and remodeling.. I feel the same level of excitement about this process as I did when Mike and I built our house. Though literally Weber and I are not starting from scratch, for all practical purposes we are. He has lived in this house since he was six years old. Its walls witnessed many first and lasts for him, both from childhood and adulthood. The process in which we find ourselves right now involves a fine balance of preserving those memories as well as creating something new to serve as a container for the memories that we will create together. So far it has been a fantastic journey.

We are having fun choosing appliances, countertops, flooring, paint colors, doors, windows, sinks, faucets, and the list goes on. Someone said to me the other day that going through this remodeling together may be the best form of marriage counseling there is. In their opinion, if we can survive this, we can survive anything. As of yet, we have had no major disagreements on anything. We both agree that the answer to most questions is “blue.” Well okay. I must confess that there has been one thing that we have not seen exactly eye to eye on. I said, and am unwilling to compromise, that the glow in the dark stars on the ceiling in the master bedroom had to go. They have, but I am not convinced that our contractor doesn’t have them tucked away safely somewhere just waiting for the right place for them to reappear! Maybe in the garage would be okay.

Weber has been documenting the whole demolition, renovation, remodeling, and rebuilding process on his website. I will try to get him to share his thoughts and his website chronicling what happens when am old house becomes a new home.

For now I am off to consider whether I would prefer the garbage disposal in the left sink or the right and do I need/want convection baking in both ovens.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Words With Friends

I have an iPhone. I am not necessarily proud of having partaken of that indulgence, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I am grateful to have it. My iPhone keeps me in constant contact with family, friends, and students. The text messages that pop up with “I love you!” at random times of the day and the “How’s it going”, even the “What’s for dinner?” let me know that someone is thinking about me in the midst of his or her busy day. Having access to my email at any point in the day is also a much appreciated luxury. I know which students will not be in class, what time rehearsal is, what’s on sale at Staples, and often there are just kind words from friends. Occasionally I even get a phone call. Having this technology is often a diversion, but I would hate to live without it after having become, admittedly, so dependent on it.

A month or two ago, while I was in the midst of my horrendously busy semester, a friend sent me a message inviting me to join in something called “Words With Friends”, an online game like Scrabble. At that point I declined the invitation because I just didn't have time for any distractions in my life. The semester ended Friday giving me some time to take a deep breath, relax a little, and engage in a little distraction before redirecting my undivided attention to all the events of this summer. On Tuesday my friend, knowing my school schedule or lack thereof, again invited me to play. I accepted. Big mistake!

She and I began a game on Tuesday. Though I knew the basic premise of the game, it took me a few moves to figure out the mechanics of the phone version. It also took me only a few moves to realize the addictive power of this game. Wednesday morning I talked Weber, who is not much of a game player, into playing with me. And then, Offspring No. 2 joined me in a third game. Despite the initial reluctance that both Weber and I had to playing Words With Friends, we are both hooked now.

Throughout the day yesterday I continually received messages saying that one of the three different people that I am playing with had made a play and that it was my turn. It was entertaining and it was fun. In fact, last night during an absolutely miserable rehearsal, playing these games was the only thing that kept me from either saying something that would have not been nice at all or running away screaming. During our rehearsal break, someone who sits behind me stopped me and said, “You are just killing me down there playing Words With Friends!” To which I replied, “Sorry. I was so doing my best not to kill anyone!” With a chuckle, we both headed to the water fountain and back to the misery that was rehearsal.

Weber and I finally got home last night at nearly eleven after leaving the house at 6 am. We accomplished the obligatory end-of-day chores – dishes, swapping laundry, tending the cat box, and making the next day’s lunches – and headed downstairs to get ready for bed, both with phones showing a low battery message. Offspring No. 2 turned off the TV and also headed to her room for the night. As Weber and I took turns in the bathroom, we also took turns making “one last play.” Fifteen minutes later we found ourselves, teeth brushed and in our PJs, lying side by side on the bed making game moves as if we were amidst a great volley in ping-pong rather than a sedentary game of Words With Friends. We were playing against the clock in many ways – the diminishing power levels on our phones, the alarm clock that read midnight, and our own “power levels”, which, in my case, was lower than my phone’s at that point. (Somewhere in this lurks a New Yorker cartoon!) Addiction being what it is, we finished the game before turning out the lights. I lost but had great fun in the process!

As Weber set the alarm clock, I got the last word in, or so I thought; I started a new game for today. Little did I know that my precious daughter was still awake and as I plugged in my nearly dead phone, it chimed with the message alert letting me know that she had played and again it was my turn. A quick glance revealed that she had played the word “mated.” With that, we went to bed. . .

. . .and continued this morning.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Despite the often quite vocal pleas for independence, here is proof that teenagers still want to be our babies.

No matter how old or how big they get, we will always remember them as being our babies.

Happy Mother's Day to all!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Prom Night

Tonight is prom night. Tuxes have been rented, hair and make-up have been done. Dinner reservations have been made. A boutonniere was ordered - but Erin forgot to pick it up. Oh well, the night will go on. And, pictures have been taken . . .

. . . and they have headed off for their big night.
I expect them, and several others, back at the house sometime after midnight to continue the adventure of prom night. I'm glad that they want to be at home. They may not get any sleep, but I will because I won't have to worry about them! That is a great Mother's Day gift.
My dad had one piece of advice when I told him about the gathering of teenagers here - lock up the pantry!
While the kids were dancing the night away, Weber and I went to the grocery store. There should be enough food to keep them full from the midnight munchies time through to brunch tomorrow morning.