Dear sister of mine,

I thought you loved me! Why, oh why, did you leave that opened bag of potato chips here?

I can’t give it to the children…it is much too unhealthy for them.

And Bill doesn’t like barbecue flavor.

It is entirely up to me to eat them. All of them. Before morning. Because that no-yummy-food program was working really well until you showed up and lead me into temptation, and I’m going straight back to it. Tomorrow. When these chips are gone.

Have a safe flight to Alaska, and be sure to call me crying about housing like you always do. And get me your address as soon as you can, so I can mail you five dozen of my Crinkled Molasses Cookies. Your hips won’t mind a bit.

Peace. Out.

God, do you mind if I hit the snooze button?

The little old lady called again this morning. I’m telling myself that she has an appointment at a dialysis center. Since my grandmother had to do that, it’s making me much more charitable to the early wake up call. I now know the number of the local cab company by heart.

We watched Evan Almighty yesterday. Funny movie. I recommend it, especially since it is family-friendly. Evan’s alarm clock keeps going off at 6:14 am, even though he sets it for 7. Turns out, it’s God getting him up and giving him a message.

Maybe my little old lady is on the Divine payroll…

A night on the town (for old, married folk)

My sister leaves tomorrow. But we’re not going to think about it.

Yesterday was a busy, but very nice, day. In the evening, my sister, her husband (Bill), my Bill and I went out. Mary came, too, but all the other kids stayed home with pizza, several movies, and a babysitter. I don’t think the four of us have ever been out like that.

We took them to an Irish-style restaurant, and afterward went next door to the Irish-style pub. The atmosphere was great, the music (before the live band began) was not too loud, and the water refreshing and cold (guess who was designated driver on the icy streets?).

It has been a long time since my clothes reeked of cigarette smoke, and I think Mary is my first child to smell like that. But despite the bad mommy guilt complex, I’m trying to convince myself that the air wasn’t that smoky (and, compared to a bar in Europe where everyone smokes heavily, it wasn’t), and that going there regularly won’t be too unhealthy for her. We enjoyed it that much.

Thank you, world

The little old lady wanted a cab. She called about 15 minutes before my husband’s alarm was scheduled to go off. People only seem to need cabs after 9 pm and before 6 am. We frequently get calls intended for the local cab company. Our numbers are similar, but the two digits that are different aren’t near each other on the dial. I couldn’t figure out why so many people would make the mistake.

“I’m sorry, ma’am, you have the wrong number,” my husband said when she called.

“Ma’am, we’re not a cab company,” he said the second time she called.

“Ma’am, this is a residence,” he stressed the third time, still managing to be polite though barely awake.

The phone book was downstairs. I started fumbling for my robe and slippers. I took her fourth call upstairs, but when I said it was a wrong number, she quickly hung up. By her next call, I was within reach of the phone book and asked her to stay on the line while I got her the right number. When I recited it to her, she repeated back to me my own number which sounds similar. At least now I understand where the error is: not in dialing, but in hearing the correct numbers, likely from an automated information line.

She said thank you, but it was rather curt. I understand. She was frustrated. She was trying to get a cab and was calling the number given and was failing. There is no other cab company, so if she couldn’t get through, she couldn’t get a cab. Finally, she gets another number and she’s off to see if she has better luck with it.

I would have liked to have heard profuse gratitude for my efforts of getting out of bed to get the correct number. I would have liked to have heard sincere apologies for disturbing us at such an early hour. But I realize that my “good deed” was hardly altruistic. I just wanted the phone to stop ringing before the other half of my household was awakened.

For today, at least, let me try to see, appreciate and express my thanks to everyone who helps me. Like my sister, Barb, who has baked all my Christmas cookies, done my laundry, cooked, cleaned, scolded children, held the baby, and done countless other tasks on her “vacation” at my home.

7 Things

Kristina wants to know 7 things about me…things not generally known.

That’s tough. I’ll blab about everything. I’ve been blabbing here for quite some time too. But I’ll try.

1. My middle name is Anna-Marie. Not Anne-Marie. Not Anna-Maria. And not Anna Marie. DO NOT forget that hyphen.

2. I do not prefer apricots or peaches. Not to eat. Not as a lotion scent or a body fragrance.

3. I have hitchhiker’s thumbs.

4. I drink my coffee with quite a bit of milk, but no sugar.

5. My favorite “for-pay” job I ever had was as a cook for migrant farm workers one summer. It was a cherry farm. I didn’t make much money, but I got to cook lunch and dinner for 20 or 30 men.

6. I have a fear of drowning. I have an even bigger fear of my children drowning.

7. I do not like biology.

I must go to bed, so I won’t do any tagging. Play along if you have the time!

My houseguests

My sister is in the middle of moving to Alaska. She and my nephew and niece have come to visit for the week. Her husband and two dogs will get here on Saturday, and then they’ll all leave on Monday.

We’ve been fortunate for the last half dozen years in that we’ve managed to spend big chunks of time under the same roof. There was the time in 2001, I think, where she and the kids lived with me for a few months (an Army wife war story). Then there was the month she came out in 2003 when Jenny was born (yet another Army wife war story). In between and since, one of us would visit the other and stay for at least a week. Not a year has gone by where we haven’t done this, and we very happy our children have had these opportunities to be together. Often, the quarters have been so crowded that in the end we are all sick to death of each other and the kids act like squabbling siblings more than fun, yet rarely seen, cousins.

And that’s the way we like it. Only people who know you really well can get under your skin so much. The “sibling rivalry” among non-siblings is a sign that we’ve accomplished our goal of tight-knit family togetherness.

But Alaska is very far away. I’m not confident that we’ll be able to see each other annually, and three years is a long time for little children. So her visit here is somewhat sad. I rejoice at having yet another opportunity to be together, but I worry it will have to sustain us for some time.