Monday, February 25, 2013

February Surprises

Two Saturdays ago we got the first snow that our little big town has seen in over two years---whoohoooo!  But instead of watching out the window and witnessing the first speck of a flake, the kids and I were sitting in a movie theater oblivious.   We had already received a mix of sleet and rain that morning, the "mild precipitation" that our esteemed meteorologists had told us about.  By the time I packed up our stir-crazy kids at 4:30 p.m. so that hubs could get some writing done, the sun was poking through the clouds as we made our way to the theater. 

We went to a small cinema that shows second-runs for $2 per ticket.  Wreck-It-Ralph?  Sold out.  We decided on Rise of the Guardians,  got settled in with our popcorn and Skittles, and about 20 minutes later my phone loudly jangled from my purse.  I was mortified--how could I have forgotten to turn it off?  Then i was miffed.  How could hubs call me when he KNOWS we're at a movie and I can't answer?  Then I was afraid.  It must be an emergency.  Fire?  Sick relative?  Sick dog?  OMG the kids!  No, wait- - they're right here. 

Yeah, it's a PICNIC here in my head.

 I finally hit "ignore" to stop the jangling and the nasty glances from other movie-goers, and whispered to the kids that I was headed to the hallway to see what Dad needed.   He answered immediately.  "Have you looked outside?"
"Uh, no."   I am in a THEATER after all.  Sheesh. 
I finally walked out into the lobby and . . .surprise! Every car in the parking lot was completely white and there was a virtual blizzard outside. 
That's North Carolina for ya, people.  If you don't like the weather, wait about five minutes, right?

After hanging up with hubs I crept back into the theater, whispered an apology to the kids and we left.  They were only mildly disappointed, considering the Skittles were already gone.  They were elated when they saw the reason we were leaving early.
We inched home, with my nose practically on the windshield.  We stopped for a few seconds to pick up a pizza I'd ordered.  They spent the last two hours of daylight wearing themselves out on our little plastic sled.  We made snow ice cream with the one can of condensed milk in the cupboard--I figured we'd better squeeze all the snow fun out of the day, lest it didn't snow for another two years!

That was one of the bigger surprises.  Another more personal, equally pleasant one came the previous night.  Hubs was hosting Room in the Inn at our church with our pastor and some other volunteers.  It's a program in which the church takes in about 12 men from the city shelter on Friday nights during the winter.   Nate loves to help serve the evening meal on these nights, and Friday night when Liv and I went to pick him up, we had to wait while he finished a heated foosball game with one of the guests.  I'm guessing that these men don't get to spend much time with kids, and watching how at ease my kid was with all of them warmed my heart to no end. 

Surprise number three came just a few minutes ago as I was walking through my office parking lot after returning from lunch.   Our morning started earlier than usual because the kids had to be at school at 6:30 for a field trip to our state capital.  Which meant that mom was fumbling around in the dark while getting dressed before bolting out the door.  Let's just say that those of us who don't, um, have it "together" at 5:20 a.m. should not store their black shoes and brown shoes right next to eachother on the closet floor.  So when I was traipsing back to my desk after having spent a full morning at work, I happened to look down. 

Yup.  Brown flat with tweedy accents on right foot, black Mary Jane on the left.  Sigh.  I pulled aside a couple of co-workers and interrogated them on whether I should go home and change.  They both admitted to doing the same thing before, which is why they're friends as well as co-workers.  And no, they said I shouldn't bother going home. 

Surprise number four is simply that, after a couple of years of quietly praying that my daughter wouldn't take an interest in Girl Scouts, she did join a local troop and I actually enjoy helping with it and watching her participate.  Nothing against Girl Scouts, it's just that she was already in danger of becoming the cliche'd overscheduled kid with all her other interests and I just didn't see squeezing it in.  But the cookie sales, little badge projects- - all of it, have been surprisingly fun for both of us.  And I quietly promised not to complain about shlepping myself and daughter to the meetings, at least not out loud.  Scout's honor.

Monday, January 7, 2013

January Junk

I love January.  Normally.  This month has thrown the Pellin clan another curveball on the health front.  My sweet MIL took a tumble and fractured her pelvic bone, and although it's challenging and certainly sucks, she's luckily one of the strongest people I know so we know she'll get through it OK. 

On the homefront I'm trying to resist the urge to de-clutter everything in sight the way all the January magazines are screaming at me to do.  The kitchen drawers alone could eat up all of 2013.  You see, not to brag, but I'm kind of an overachiever when it comes to kitchen junk drawers.  I have three of them. 

Drawer Number One was designated a junk drawer from the beginning, so it has one of those plastic organizer tray thingies in it, each compartment overflowing with Post-Its, dried-up Sharpie pens, Sharpie pens that actually write, nail files, picture hanger brackets, batteries, old photos from the refrigerator, fridge magnets with no magnetic strip (so are they still, in fact, magnets?), business cards from people we will never call, and a few ancient Hershey's kisses that even the kids won't eat.  In other words, essentials.

Drawer Number Two started out as a place to store small cutting boards and bulky kitchen utensils like the ice cream scoop and such.  They're still there, buried under piles of appliance manuals, tax receipts, receipts from my dad's old medical bills, and about five of those 20%-off coupons from Bed Bath and Beyond, some of which haven't actually expired.

Number Three was merely a dish towel drawer until about a year ago when I apparently decided it wasn't living up to its capacity potential, so I started tossing in gift-wrap ribbon, bread-tie twisties, ceramic stovetop cleaner, Scotch tape, masking tape, the grill lighter, Olivia's Girl Scout cookie forms, and Nate's pocket knife.  Now, whenever I need a dish towel it becomes a precarious exercise in which I use my left hand to hold back an avalanche of these items while slipping out a towel with my right.  I've gotten used to it, but when hubs or one of the kids goes to reach for a towel I have to scream "Nooooo!" because they don't know the system.

I also should mention my purse.  It's a problem.  Back in the spring I was diagnosed with "frozen shoulder" when I inexplicably couldn't raise my arms above my head or reach behind me without totally locking up.  It wasn't so much painful as baffling.  After an MRI and a series of muscle relaxers and PT appointments, it gradually improved.  But one of the ongoing changes my doc prescribed was scaling down my huge, overstuffed purse, which at the time was about a third of my body weight.  And friends, that is not light.

I compromised on a medium-size crossbody number that I can wear hands-free, but it's turning out to be entirely too small.  I can barely zip it up what with my wallet, four lip balms, two lip glosses, pennies, napkins, concealer, more pennies, four tea bags (you know in case I want to brew a pot while sitting in traffic or waiting for an oil change), five Splenda packets (for all the tea, apparently), an empty checkbook with shopping lists written on the back, a checkbook that holds actual checks, and a mysterious white powder, probably complements of one of the Splenda packets.

I'm exhausted just thinking about it.  I'll just have a cup of tea instead.