Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Touch of Melancholy: My Baby Turns 10

Never before have I started crying in the baking aisle of Market Basket, I think, filling my arms with different colored writing icings and birthday candles and regular icing (because people, let’s face it, Ms. DIY is not going to have time to whip up several colors of icing in the morning to decorate the giant birthday cookie, and no one will care if the few dollops of fancy decoration don’t taste homemade, right?). Tomorrow my firstborn turns 10, and for the very first birthday of his ever, I will not be with him to start his day.

Yeah, thankfully I will get to pick him up from school and have dinner with him and go to his orchestra concert, so there’s that.

But we’re both morning people, and tomorrow morning, he’ll be without me.

I know his dad will get up and they’ll do something fun, go biking in the woods or go out to breakfast or something. He’ll be very happy. But I won’t see my baby, age 10, first thing.

I was feeling pretty OK about M’s birthday tomorrow. We were all cheerful when I dropped them off at school this morning. I don’t know why I got sad tonight; probably because I won’t see him until tomorrow afternoon, and it seems like such a special day. And yes, to get sappy, ten years ago tonight I was refusing to accept the fact that I was in labor, because although I’d been pregnant for more than nine months and my baby was well overdue and my water had broken hours earlier, I was still not entirely ready to accept the massive life change that was about to happen to me and sort of thought that as long as I didn’t give birth, I could maintain the status quo.

Or something.

My scrawny little overdue scrap of a newborn has become…well, he’s still pretty lean, but tall (thanks, grandfathers on both sides!) and smart and kind and has a pretty spectacular sense of humor and can’t stop reading, and it’s so great to see him run on the soccer field and you should see him ski glades, and I love how he shows affection to me and his brother in a way that doesn’t openly show affection but is pretty damn clear.

He’s low-key. He keeps his feelings close. He feels things deeply. He’s kind, and responsible, and caring, and he’s happy to join me in making up silly songs for and about the kitties.

And so ultimately this is a birthday letter to my beloved firstborn. M., child, I love you more than you could ever know. Happy birthday, kid. Tomorrow’s gonna be great, and your party on Sunday is gonna be great, and you know what? YOU’RE great, and you are much loved.

Keep being you. And let’s keep singing to the kitties. They love it.

Big Apple Circus Review

It’s here, it’s here! The circus is here!

We have long been fans of the Big Apple Circus and were excited when it came back to Boston. Well, Somerville now. This year it is at Assembly Row, so not only is there plenty of parking, but it is also T-accessible. It was cold and sleety the day we went (you know, mid-April in New England). Our seats were fairly close to the ring.

The ringmaster, Ty McFarlan, was sparkly and commanding, and the clown schtick seemed to have a bigger role this year. My kids really get a kick out of the clown routines.

Elayne Kramer’s contortions were stunning.

 

The trapeze artists were a little nerve-wracking to watch. I thought they were going to hit the tent ceiling or the platform. In fact, one catch was not made, if you will, and the flyer fell gracefully to the net. It was exciting, but we wished the trapeze act had gone on longer.

There were amazing feats of balance and juggling, and the Anastasini Brothers did not fail to entertain in their icarian act, as always.

The Wallendas came out on the high wire, Nik cycling across as his wife hung below by her teeth (I kid you not). They successfully performed their 7-person pyramid, no easy feat, which required a massive amount of intricate coordination and communication to set up, get across the wire, and dismount.

In all, it’s a great two hours of daring feats and entertainment.

Details: 

The Big Apple Circus is performing at Assembly Row, Somerville, through May 13. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

It’s Big Apple Circus Time Again! #giveaway

It’s been a few years since we have seen the Big Apple Circus, and my kids have been asking (for most of that time) when we can go see it again.

Well, kids, the circus is coming to town! The Big Apple Circus returns to the Boston area, playing under the Big Top at Assembly Row in Somerville, April 7 – May 6.

Here’s a video of some of the exciting things you can see the performers do (click the link to see the video).

And one of my lucky readers has a chance to win 4 tickets to the Sunday, April 8 at 4:00 pm. show. 

About this year’s season:

The 40th anniversary season program features the famous seven-person pyramid on the high wire with Nik Wallenda and TheFabulous Wallendas and the daring quadruple somersault attempted on the trapeze by The Flying Tunizianis – the first time in circus history that both legendary feats are performed under the same big topThe record-setting acts are joined by Dandino & Luciana, a dynamic duo who combine speed, acrobatics and daredevil grace on rollerskates; award-winning contortionist Elayne Kramer; master juggler Gamal GarciaJan Damm on the Rola Bola; acclaimed Risley acrobats The Anastasini Brothers (who broke the World Record for Most Flips on November 9, 2017); Ringmaster Ty McFarlan; and circus trainer & presenter Jenny Vidbel, who performs in the ring with 16 horses and ponies, as well as six rescue dogs.

These people have MUCH better balance than I do.

Why else is the Big Apple Circus so wonderful? From their press release:

Outside of the ring, BIG APPLE CIRCUS continues to honor the essential and iconic characteristics that have set it apart for the past four decades, with multiple community outreach programs and a vital no-wild-animals policy.  Circus of the Senses, which will take place on Wednesday, April 11 at 11:00 am, offers specially enhanced experiences for audiences who are deaf, blind, deaf/blind, visually impaired, or have cognitive or developmental challenges. The special performances include ASL interpretation, live audio description, pre- and post-show touch experiences, and a Braille program book. On Sunday, April 8 at 12:00 pmBig Apple Circus Embraces Autism, a sensory-friendly performance for autistic audience members, will feature lowered light and sound levels, a descriptive social story, and a professionally staffed “calming center” that can be accessed at any point during the show.

What’s not to love?

Giveaway: 

    • It’s easy to enter. Winner will be selected and notified by 10 a.m. EST on April 2, 2018. Winner has 24 hours to respond to the notification; if winner does not confirm within 24 hours, another winner will be selected. Tickets can be picked up at the performance.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Discount Codes: Save 25% on all Opening Week Performances,  April 7th through April 13th.

  • If you don’t win this giveaway, or you want to see the show a different day or time, I have discount codes for you!
  • Use Offer Code FAMILY25 when purchasing at Ticketmaster; go to www.BigAppleCircus.com and click Buy Tickets.
  • Tickets are now on sale at Ticketmaster or at www.BigAppleCircus.com for all Boston performances.

Key Details for the BIG APPLE CIRCUS at Assembly Row, Somerville, MA:

  • Performances run Saturday, April 7 through Sunday, May 6, 2018.
  • Playing under the Big Top at Assembly Row, off Grand Union Blvd., Somerville, MA
  • Free Parking for 3 Hours is available on-site at Assembly Row.
  • Assembly Row is accessible via the Orange Line – Assembly stop.
  • For tickets, visit BigAppleCircus.com, Ticketmaster.com or call tel: (800) 745-3000.
  • Ticket prices begin at $25; early bird pricing is available through March 12th.
  • For Groups of 10 or More: (212) 257-2330 or groupsales@bigapplecircus.com

It’s Not About My Body

So recently I wrote about how I felt really fat and gross and out of shape and seeing a picture of myself ruined my night.

Well. The night before that, I’d gotten very little sleep, and everything was so off. After I wrote that post, I got a decent amount of sleep and felt normal the next day, and I liked myself again.

Yeah, it’s that fragile. Sleep is the culprit. Not the scale or my jeans or a bad pic. It’s about sleep, and while I rarely get enough, the night before that post I’d gotten almost none, somehow.

It really is not good for my head.

It felt great to be on firm footing again, after some sleep, and to realize I’m totally OK with my body. And I ended up not cutting carbs (because I don’t believe in cutting an entire macronutrient), and I ended up not using a calorie-counting app a running friend recommended, because I had an eating disorder as a teen and if I started counting calories again I could potentially spiral right into a hole.

Eating disorder as a teen. Shocking, right? Maybe in some ways it never leaves you. I eat what I want now, and many days I don’t exercise, and–unless I don’t get enough sleep such that it kicks off a bit of body dysmorphia–I’m OK with the condition my body is in right now. I can’t train hard these days. I can’t run a lot right now. I’m privileged enough to eat well and exercise sometimes, but I have to take care of my children, do well at my job, and pay my bills. Those are MUCH bigger priorities.

I have watched my thighs grow bigger and squishier without flinching, until I lost a night of sleep (and wore ill-fitting jeans), and that totally wrecked my perspective.

My body is fine. It looks great. I look good. I am definitely not as fast and can’t run as long as I used to, of course. That’s a little hard to accept, but it’s OK.

Chicken Dreams

the 2018 Chicken Flyer from the feed store

Do you see what I see? Decision day approaches fast. I want Rhode Island Reds, because that’s the breed we had when I was a kid, and they seem fairly smart and friendly (as far as chickens go).

But this will be our first summer in this house, and I have so much to learn about all the stuff already planted here (former owners were wise and inspired gardeners, creating a beautiful space where things bloom as late as December and as early as this week), and we’re putting in raised beds for a vegetable garden, my first.

That will keep us busy.

Chickens were planned for 2019. As in, I know we want chickens, and I know where I can put the coop, but I didn’t want to take them on just yet. First I’d have to clear out the brush pile that came with the property (next to the two compost bins that were also here, fortunately). And build or buy a coop. I found a decent one I can buy from Tractor Supply (yep, really) that fits my budget. My chicken budget.

People, I don’t have a chicken budget.

Anyway, thanks to a neighbor’s information-seeking Facebook post about backyard chickens, I have so many links to check out, and I’ve been reading up on it and looking at coops and breed hardiness. Three or four chickens wouldn’t be that hard to manage, right? Plus then we’d have a nice supply of fertilizer for the garden, and fresh eggs, and the hens could roam in the yard (supervised, of course) eating bugs.

OK. I have until April 19 to either make it happen or decide to let it go until next year.

Should I go for it? Is this year the year we should get chickens?

Turning the Tide

Here’s what’s up: Despite what I’d thought, the last two years took a toll on me. And last August, for sure, when the kids’ dad and I moved (separately) half an hour west of where we used to live, but to different towns, so the kids had to change schools and move to two new towns and join a new soccer team and everything, it fully kicked our asses.

Anyway, we’re all settling out. The kids are doing well, making friends and having playdates and activities.

And I’m starting to relax a little, turning my attention to an actually more mindful assessment of how I’m doing (and why) instead of being in crisis mode about how the kids are doing.

I still don’t have enough time to really train for a solid race or anything. But I’m trying to fight back against the feeling of inherent defeat (based on schedule), and I thought I was beginning to work hard again, fitness-wise. Goodbye, squishiness.

I have low expectations of myself this year, in terms of races. I had higher expectations of myself in the past, which made sense, when I could run a lot. I can’t now, and frankly, making a wage that keeps us afloat is more of a priority. I might have to take an evening/every-other-weekend gig (do such things exist?).

Plus I’m trying to keep my house clean. And I am dipping my toe into online dating, which is generally a horrorshow.

But people, I have porked out. I knew I was getting bigger, but my workout clothes still fit, and I’ve been working out when I can (mostly strength training/Tabata stuff, because I’m feeling time-stressed lately, like I cannot take the time for a good relaxed run).

I went out last night (to an axe-throwing event, to which I was invited for social-media-influencer reasons). It was hard to get dressed for. My jeans don’t really fit anymore. I’d like to think it’s because I’ve been doing so many squats and lunges that my quads and glutes are just too big, but I don’t think that’s quite it. So I squeezed myself into my “loose” jeans, which are now my “only jeans I can still squeeze into” jeans.

I added a belt (hey, when did that belt get so short?), black t-shirt, and necklace, plus my favorite boots.

I was uncomfortable all evening, like my clothes didn’t fit right. Then my friend took a video of me throwing axes and I looked at it and felt like shit. I looked so chubby and awful and porky.

Ugh.

I feel gross. So much self-loathing was churned up by this.

So I’ve decided to do something about it. Not just work out more, but cut out the wine, cut carbs, whatever. Plus I joined a DietBet, which I have done before. Basically, you pay $20 (or whatever amount) and everyone in the “game” puts in that amount, and you have four weeks to lose 4% of your weight, then you split the pot with whoever else also lost that amount. So it’s a good motivation to lose it.

When I’ve done this in the past (maybe six years ago), I didn’t take the healthiest approach. I think nothing much changed about me until I had a week left, then I googled a Cosmo article about losing weight fast, then I basically lived on water for three days or something, then fasted completely (no water, even) for 12 hours, then did my final (successful) weigh-in without passing out somehow.

This will not be my approach this time. I just need to be more mindful about food and exercise.

Also, this is weird, but after all that self-loathing last night, I did the mandatory full-body photo (has to be submitted to DietBet, plus a photo of the scale with my weight and the word they send me for proof) and guess what? 

I don’t think I look terrible here! I don’t think I look like a pudgy chick squeezed into jeans. I think I look like a strong person (in a bathroom crammed with litter boxes and a hamster cage, sure).

So maybe my jeans are the actual problem, not my body.

In any case, it’s time to drop some of my adjusting-to-our-new-life weight and feel like I am at one with my body again.

Wish me luck. Wish me luck in getting fit, and wish me luck in learning to love myself, which is actually the real problem here.

Thanks for reading (*blows dust off mike* does anyone still read this thing?).

Sick Days

I get up, because there’s not much else to do.

On one side of me is my older son, hot with fever; on my other side is my younger son, coughing up a storm. At my head is the alpha cat, so alpha–“I will lie here, where I want to, and you will rest your head on me and I will lick your chin and you will pet me, but not too much.” Yes, sir. Whatever you say, 9-pound kitten. He’s still a kitten, but so big that when he clumps down the stairs we sometimes can’t tell if it’s him or my younger boy.

It’s 2:30 a.m. I’d been hoping it was later. I’d like a good night’s sleep. Both kids are sick. The younger one is technically well enough to send to school tomorrow, assuming the school doesn’t mind him coughing all over the place, and the older boy is going to his dad’s.

Today, Wednesday, the plan was to finally get in a full day’s work (and make up for yesterday and Tuesday, when I was caring for sick children and needed a nap myself yesterday to make up for a terrible night of sleep). I have a full-time job but am paid hourly. I get some vacation pay but no sick days or PTO.

Alpha Cat has diarrhea. I don’t know if I should take him to the vet or change his diet to grain-free for a week first. Between my own illness (norovirus? food poisoning?), divorce prep, divorce court, and sick kids, I haven’t put in a full week of work in weeks. Can I take the time to take the cat to the vet?

A full day’s work, finally, plus a hill workout because I am training for a hell of a trail race in early May and am behind in training, then maybe going out to meet a friend.

But it’s 2:30 a.m. and I am wide-awake. I could work, but I don’t feel like it. I crack open a beer my friend stashed in my bag after our amazingly icy ski day on Sunday and read an essay about late-term abortion. I wish women didn’t have to write these things to explain why abortion laws need to change. Not everyone can fly to that one clinic in Colorado when they learn at 20+ weeks that their baby will have a short, horrible, painful life, IF it survives birth. Abortion can be compassionate, you know.

(Here, read this: http://www.elle.com/culture/a15911671/late-abortion-senate-vote-2018/ or this: http://therumpus.net/2018/01/rivers-of-babylon-the-story-of-a-third-trimester-abortion/.)

The younger child comes down, crouches on the kitchen floor. “Why are you down here?” he asks. It’s now 3:20 a.m.

I offer him honey, tea, ginger ale, water, lemon-honey tea. He wants none of it. He finally agrees to cold water out of my second-favorite coffee mug. I explain I can’t sleep and will be upstairs soon. I lead him back to bed.

As if I can sleep in the middle, between a feverish furnace and someone with a hacking cough, the usual knees and elbows, plus Alpha Kitty on my head. As if I’d rather be anywhere else or sleep alone.

I rub backs, give water from cups with bendy straws, reassure everyone I’ll be up soon.

It is 3:34 a.m. and the coughing has stopped. I can’t hear the moaning from the fevered boy.

Tomorrow Coughy will return to school, because he is technically well enough (hasn’t had a fever all day, hasn’t vomited). I will bring the older boy to his dad’s house. This sounds heartless, yes? Monday was my custody day but the younger child was too sick to go anywhere, so I returned home, got my laptop, and returned to my ex-husband’s house to work there and tend our younger child, because I can work from home and my ex cannot, so I worked from his house so he could go into the office.

I told him I’d bring my own food and coffee and wouldn’t touch his stuff. He offered to make me a pot of coffee, anyway.

By Monday afternoon I told the sick child that I’d carry him to the car wrapped in a fuzzy blanket, we’d get his brother from school, and go back to my house, a 20- to 25-minute drive. This time, he didn’t protest.

I think this is pretty functional co-parenting, right?

It is nearly 4 a.m. now. Alpha Kitty is watching me. I don’t want to climb back into my hot germy bed with all the knees and elbows and people moaning and coughing on me. I don’t know where to sleep. I need to sleep. I don’t want to sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

Pro tip: Easy Bedtime for School-Aged Children (Happy Halloween!)

Pro tip for managing the easiest, most fuss-free, no-yell-or-threats bedtime for your school-aged children:

  1. Plan a fast, crappy dinner, such as boxed mac-and-cheese plus/or hot dogs plus steamed broccoli.
  2. Insist everyone put on costumes, including yourself.
  3. Shout that they put the kitties down and get shoes on.
  4. Put a bin of candy on your porch with a sign saying “Please take just one.”
  5. At dusk/just after dinner, go outside.
  6. Wander around the neighborhood having your kids ring doorbells for almost two hours, with strangers giving them candy for their efforts.
  7. Allow the children to each eat exactly two things while walking around.
  8. Stop at your new friend’s house and accept a beer before realizing your children ONLY want to be walking around, getting candy from strangers. Accept to-go cup from extremely gracious new friend.
  9. Make your way home, still with your kids ringing/knocking/gathering candy.
  10. Arrive home at the time your children are usually bathed/brushed/homework done/lunches packed/in bed.
  11. Let them spread candy all over the living room floor and sort it into piles. Help with sorting.
  12. Agree to let them each choose two things to eat tonight, plus one to put into lunchbox for tomorrow.
  13. Agree that three things tonight is ok. They can each have three candy-things tonight.
  14. When someone asks if they can watch a show–at this point 17 unbrushed minutes past bedtime–agree to it, shocking them.
  15. When show ends, insists on the usual floss/brush/fluoride rinse.
  16. Read for only 10 minutes instead of the usual 20 or 25.
  17. Snuggle each kid for only 1:30 each instead of of big battles about it.
  18. Go downstairs and hear nothing from either kid for the rest of the night.

 

Saturday: Or, Friday Night’s Flapper

I bought a house and moved into it three weeks ago. The first week, I was dealing with a tough personal situation while trying to work and get the rest of my stuff out of my old place. Then I went away for almost two weeks, with the kids, to visit my parents.

I’m finally home. I have spent some time unpacking. My lawn looked like hell, because the maple tree out back has black tar fungus and it’s dropping leaves. I couldn’t mow the lawn until I raked up and disposed of all the leaves. I didn’t have time this week until today. So, here’s my first real Saturday as a homeowner:

6 a.m.: Woke up on couch (oops). Went upstairs to my bed until 8:30, when I finally considered that I had a very full to-do list and had better get started.

8:30: Drank a cup of coffee. Raked back yard.

9:30: Went for a run. Stopped at town farmer’s market. Learned about local organizations, volunteer opportunities, the cultural council, fitness options. Bought bread, ran home. Drank more coffee.

10: Biked to hardware store in next town. Bought new supplies to fix my toilet, as the “universal flapper” I bought last night conflicted with my float, leading to a sub-optimal flushing situation. Also bought black Rustoleum, gloves (a 5-pack for $5! What a deal!), and black bags for the leaves. Biked home.

Lost track of time. Bagged leaves. Raked front lawn. Mowed lawn. Weeded flowerbeds. Ate some leftovers.

Made kidney beans in the pressure cooker.

Laid out about 1/3 of the rusty wrought iron metal fence thingies for my front lawn and painted them.

Moved a lot of furniture and finally put down a rug and set up the spare room as a playroom as well as set up my home office (which is in the dining room).

Returned to hardware store to return Friday night’s flapper (hey, that will be the name of my band if I ever start one) and buy more paint and a bigger dropcloth.

Stopped by local humane society, fell in love with two kittens and a dog, and filled out an application.

Ran other errands.

Cleared out most of the brush pile (that’s where the chicken coop will eventually go!).

Made chicken in the pressure cooker. Ate it standing up while prepping soup.

Cleaned hamster cages.

Currently: Am making French onion soup in the pressure cooker.

Next up: Dry and set up hamster cages, shower.

After that: Collapse on couch w/ French onion soup and a remote.

Tomorrow’s agenda: NOTHING. Ideally mountain biking and kayaking. Who knows?

Moving to Friendlytown, USA

We’ve moved!

We just moved yesterday. I’m still dazed. It was about a 13-hour moving day, from the moment I got out of bed at dawn to move my car in front of the house to save the spot for the moving truck (otherwise a commuter would park there for the day) to the moment I walked in the door of the new house with my kids and said, “Here’s our new house!”

It’s been a dizzying week. Fortunately my children were with their father for 9 days straight (vacation), which gave me plenty of time in the evenings to pack, sort, discard, organize. Stay up far too late. Get up too early. Do it again the next day, before and after work (and, since I work from home, perhaps I packed a box or two over lunch, or had someone stop by during the day to buy an outgrown bike or pick up something I no longer needed).

One of my older brothers offered to come up and help with the move. At first I refused. After all, this year I’d hired actual movers! Actual professional movers who came recommended. But then I reconsidered, and for many reasons agreed to it.*

He was amazing. He refused to let me leave the little piles of crap “for next week, I can deal with them then.” No, he wanted the apartment EMPTY. He bagged stuff. He brought a load to the new house himself, came back, and loaded my plants (including container-garden tomatoes and rhubarb, not just houseplants!) into his minivan while I followed the movers to the new place.

He’d hoped to return home (a different state) before traffic got too heavy, but when I couldn’t connect my new Internet service, he helped troubleshoot it. I was on the phone with tech support while he put together my kids’ beds and rolled out their rug. Then he jerryrigged something in the basement (missing coax and splitter) and got things up and running, and moved and set up the TV so that my kids could have their usual Friday movie night in the new place (keeping things normal for them…and the TV is an old street find, and I really truly don’t know what connects to what or how to make things work…but I do know how to use the Roku remote at this point, if everything is properly connected, and he made sure it was).

He hit the road, I picked up my children in our old town, and together we walked into the new house, furnished but of course with boxes everywhere. We ordered pizza delivery based on our new next-door neighbor’s recommendation. The lovely neighbor herself showed up soon after our arrival with homemade frosted cupcakes, chocolate for one child and vanilla for the other (she’d asked me their preferences a few days earlier).

We checked out the new neighborhood while the pizza cooled on the coffee table. (By “checked out the new neighborhood,” I mean that the children ran outside shirtless, and one jumped on the baby-toy inchworm-on-wheels while the other pushed him down the hill in the middle of the (no traffic at that time) street (yes I was by their side), lots of shouting and mayhem and observing some of our neighbor’s amazing front-yard fruit trees and joy, until I made them put shirts on and eventually made them come home for dinner and a movie.

I was so tired, I didn’t read to them, kept bedtime short, and crawled right into bed after saying goodnight to them.

AND THEN I COULDN’T SLEEP. WHAT IN THE HELL. I couldn’t find my regular blanket. I think that was part of it. It’s weighty but not hot. I like that. I had a lightweight blanket on me. And the window AC’s (which I’m not used to) seemed loud.

I fell asleep, finally. And then I woke up. Like, fully woke up. It was midnight.

Great.

I gave in, came downstairs, and made lists. Grocery lists (I mean, my kids were gone for 9 days, I ran out of everything, and I just moved. We need groceries; they’re not going to eat raw scallions, stale pita bread, and miso). Meal plans (ha!! As if I can find any pots or anything yet!). An IKEA/Target/hardware store list.

When I ran out of lists, I was ready to go back to bed. It was close to 4 a.m.

I slept.

Children piled in with me/next to me/everywhere (there are so many of them, sometimes, even though really there are only two) and I didn’t want to wake up, then they remembered they had to finish the movie from last night, so they scampered downstairs and I half-slept on for a bit until I realized if I didn’t throw food at them soon we’d all be sorry.

I had bought mini chocolate croissants the day before from the bakery, so I offered those and juice (yes! all the sugar! Sometimes I make exceptions to all my usual rules). We had no milk, anyway, and the coffee tasted like crap so I wasn’t about to offer that (kidding! about offering them coffee–but it did taste like crap).

For some reason the kids were gung-ho to go out and get what we needed: a water filter pitcher (because we agreed our tap water doesn’t taste good), a longer extension cord for the lawn mower, gardening gloves, groceries. These children normally hate running errands or going ANYWHERE on a Saturday morning, but they wanted to get stuff done. We stopped for breakfast, thankfully, because we were all running out of steam.

And let’s fast-forward the long sleepy day, we ended up at Walden Pond in a hard rainstorm that soon cleared and it was gorgeous and fun and refreshing, then we grilled dinner while playing in the yard.

Anyway, let me sum up. So an hour after we move in, the neighbor shows up with TWO PLATES OF CUPCAKES, each kid’s favorite flavor. Then tonight someone parked in front of my house (it’s a little neighborhood where everyone has driveways) and she ASKED ME IF IT BOTHERED ME THAT SHE PARKED THERE. My heavens. I said no, that I’m new here and don’t know the parking rules, but it doesn’t bother me, and thanks for asking.

Then TWO HOURS LATER some people knock on my door. They notice the car’s lights are on and want to know if it’s mine because they don’t want me to have a dead battery in the morning. We all introduce ourselves and I say that the parker of the car was going to visit “Leslie or Leah or something like that in the yellow house, but not the yellow house next door because the people who live there are named _______ and ______,” and the people knocking at my door, who live just down the street, said, “Oh, LEAH, right!” and say they will to go her house to tell her visitor about her car lights.

FOR REAL.

 

*And let me here give massive thanks to one of my other older brothers who showed up for the inspection and offered his advice, and to my parents, massively. Thanks, family, for all your incredible support and belief in me.