wherein I admit to being a sports loving crazy woman

So. I did something this weekend that I’ve been wanting to do ALL of my life. I finally went to a Patriots game!! You guys. It was freaking awesome. We had seat ONE row from the very top of the stadium. It was insane how high up we were. The climb up the stairs was dizzying!

I loved every second of that game. I admit though, it was some pretty exciting football in general, so it might not have been as much fun if we had lost. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I yelled, and screamed, and cheered, and clapped so much that afterward I could barely speak, my head was pounding, and my hands were raw. See? Awesome.

I told Damon we need to get on the Patriots season ticket wait list. I was only half kidding. The wait is only about 20 years long. By then we might be able to afford it!

You probably all know by now that I grew up in Maine, which to the outside world might not seem like it’s deep in Patriot territory, but oh, it is. It’s just in the air up there. We love our Pats, our Red Sox, our Bruins, and well, the Celtics too. The only time we don’t love Massachusetts teams is when we’re talking college ball! (Go UMaine!)

The problem with growing up a New England fan in Maine is that’s it just too freaking far to ever go to a game. So I just never did. We always had sports on TV though, (did I mention I have 4 brothers??) and there is really nothing like sitting in the sunshine on a hot summer day listening to the voice ofย  the Red Sox on a little transistor radio. That. Was. Childhood. Bliss.

I didn’t go to a Red Sox game until I was 26. My second was a couple of weeks ago, when we took Josh to Fenway for the first time. I only just went to my first Celtics game three years ago. But now I’ve been to a Pats game. And next month? We go to the Bruins! I know!!

I might be getting a little bit spoiled living here. Oh wait. This IS why we moved here. Instead of buying stuff, we’re having experiences. This. This.


Make the Bed

I’m spending quite a lot of time this week keeping the house perfect for the showings we’ve had. I’m getting really good at fluffing throw pillows and hiding things!

I’m starting to believe there are really just two kinds of people; make-your-bed-everyday-faithfully-people and don’t-make-your-bed-ever-unless-you-have-company-coming-over-people. Really, I think that about sums everyone’s personalities.

I’ve always been firmly in the latter camp. Making the bed seemed so pointless. I’m only going to mess it up again anyway! I’veย  just kept a pretty coverlet handy just in case I needed to throw it over my whole mess nest in a hurry. Does that horrify you?

I am also the type that doesn’t fold laundry before I put it away. I hang shirts as often as possible, and sometimes I pair up socks, but most of the time clothes just get stuffed into the appropriate drawer. You’re judging me now aren’t you?

I’m lucky I have the kind of kitchen floor that looks clean when it’s dirty (and unfortunately also dirty when it’s clean) and the last time I vacuumed inside the couch was probably the last time I wrote about it. In 2008. There are constant piles of stuff on my kitchen table and counter – newspapers, mail, receipts, school papers, things that never have a home. I always usually clean up after the cat when he pukes but the fluffy bits of fur he sheds often stay around for awhile. Okay, even I think I’m getting gross.

I am, admittedly, one of the worst housekeepers on the planet. BUT…

I can’t be that right now. My house has to be perfect ALL the time. I fluff the many, many, many throw pillows around the house. I vacuum when it needs it instead of a week later. I dust, I mop, I find a home for every. single. little. thing. And the first thing I do every day is make my bed.

Today we don’t have a showing and I’m home by myself — and I still made the bed. I fluffed pillows. I put away the dishes. I picked a speck of cat fur off the carpet. I made the house perfect.

Is it possible to become the other kind of person?? Because I’m starting to like this.

Do you make your bed everyday?

Next time: organizing closets, and who wants to come do mine? Heh. ๐Ÿ˜‰

on the market

After weeks and weeks of slaving over this house, it’s finally on the market today!

We put in new carpets, painted almost every room, cleaned every inch, (okay well, I hired someone to clean every inch) got rid of almost everything we own, and staged the heck out of the place. Not to mention all the the yard work we’ve done to add a little curb appeal. My fingernails are still black from planting tons of flowers. (It goes really well with the white on my elbows from painting trim!)

Did I mention my realtor also stages the house as part of her normal routine? Love it! She’s the only realtor I interviewed that does that. But people! There are fake plants in. my. house! Let’s just say they’re growing on me… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Really, the whole thing came out gorgeous, if I do say so myself, and yes, I still want to move!

George thinks I made things nice just for him:

I am so ridiculously tired. Can I have a nap now too??

Tomorrow I clean the laundry room. Oy. Anyone want to come organize my pantry or clean the inside of my refrigerator? ~sigh~

ps. If you want to see the actual listing leave a comment and I’ll email it to you. ๐Ÿ™‚

no more stuff

My last couple of weeks have been filled with frantic get-it-on-the-market-quick house prep. It’s utterly exhausting. I have emptied every closet, cupboard, drawer, and nook, and sorted out what’s to keep, to giveaway, to recycle and what’s just plain trash! It’s amazing how much trash a house can hold.

We’re painting, packing, changing out flooring, deep cleaning, and basically finishing up every little project we’ve been putting off for years. I go to bed at night with muscles aching, and get up the next morning and do it all again.

Remember last summer when I had my yard sale? Well, we suspected at the time that a move like this might happen and we wanted to get a head start on decluttering. So we got rid of all of the stuff in our basement storage area. It’s a good thing we did. I don’t know if I could deal with all of that too!

When we first started this process we thought we’d get rid of about 50% of everything we own. In reality it might end up being about two thirds. 2/3s! Can you imagine that? Look around your house and tell me, could you give up more than 1/2 of it? A year ago I would have said no way, and yet here I am doing it.

I’m trying not to be sentimental about “stuff” anymore – I know that the stuff doesn’t hold the memories and really it’s just holding me back. I also no longer save everything that might be useful someday. It never will. It’s a lie I’ve telling myself so I didn’t have to part with it all.

I’m tired of having a big house so I have extra room store these things. I’m tired of dusting tchotchkes because they’re there. I’m tired of constantly shifting things around but never really using them. I just don’t want them anymore. I want smaller, fewer, cleaner, better organized. I want to live to do things, not to have things.

I hope you all don’t mind going through the journey with me. ๐Ÿ™‚

down with dst

I am not a morning person. I never have been. Getting up early every day is hard on me, and you would think it would be particularly difficult in the winter when anyone would rather snuggle back under the covers. Not necessarily. Not when you factor in DST.

My body clock always wants to be a night owl; to stay up until midnight or 1 am and sleep until 8 or 9. If I get the right 8 hours, I’m great all day, the wrong 8 hours (or more) and I can’t stand it. Of course, I’ve had to fight that all of my life, for school, for work, for my kid.

So yeah, all winter when my alarm goes off at 6:30, that’s hard. But not anywhere near as hard as mid-March every. single. year. when stupid, antiquated Daylight Savings Time goes into effect.

Yeah, I know everyone hates losing that hour of sleep when we spring forward. That’s not really what I mean. It takes me weeks to even semi-adjust to the new time. You can fool my computer, and my phone, and my clocks, but you can’t fool my brain into thinking that 6:30 wake-up call isn’t really 5:30. It knows, and it suffers.

I’m sleepy and lethargic all day, so tired that no amount of coffee will touch it. I can’t be the only one who’s noticed this. Isn’t spring supposed to be energizing? When the sunlight rejuvenates us? Don’t mistake me, this isn’t blues or sadness or depression. This is my internal clock saying “WTF? Go back to bed already crankypants.”

So I say, down with DST! There isn’t any good reason for it anymore. Can anyone tell me any benefit from it other than a few farmers who might still care? It creates more problems than it solves, costs companies money, and generally pisses people off. Why can’t we just stop? Just say this is the last year and be done with it. Agree or disagree?

the night I fell down the stairs

I was at my parent’s house, wearing (as I now know) the slipperiest socks on the planet, and because I was hurrying, I slid on the top step fell as hard as I possibly could. Landing, of course, on my ass. (If you know me you know this is not a first.)

It wasn’t really funny for that split second it was happening, you know that moment when your life flashes before your eyes and you’re sure you’re going to die? In this case when it was the ceiling flashing before my eyes, and the certainty that I was going to break something. Or yes quite possibly die. Or both. Obviously I’m writing this so I wasnโ€™t actually dead. Once the shock passed and I knew I was still alive, well, then it was funny.

One minute I was walking and the next I was sitting on a step with my butt on fire and the breath knocked out of me. I heard my mother freaking out. She was in the next room on the phone with one of my brothers, and probably freaked him out too. I think they both thought I was dead. You know, since lack of oxygen = no talking = must be dead. I couldn’t talk so I started laughing hysterically.

Unlike my mother, my dear husband and darling son, who know I am the klutziest person on the planet, didn’t show the slightest bit of surprise.

I reassured my mom I was fine and just needed to sit there for a moment. That moment came and went, and the fire in my butt became an inferno and I couldn’t sit any longer. I couldn’t stand so crawled up the freaking stairs, creeped like a snake into the living room, and lay down on the floor. Laughing. Hysterically. Because really sometimes you have to laugh at yourself. Or you’ll cry.

I begged my husband togo get me an ice pack, and stick it in the back pocket of my jeans. That right pocket was exactly where I had landed. Two inches more towards the butt crack and I would have been in the hospital with a broken tailbone that night, probably in the room next to my father.

Let me tell you right now, I have never had a bruise as big as that one was. Two inches tall and about 8 inches across. It was a perfect painting of the edge of edge of that step, in vivid purple and yellow. Oh, and the lump? Was like a double butt. One that I couldn’t sit on for almost a week.

This was on Saturday night, two days after Thanksgiving.

***********************

You may or may not have noticed that I didn’t write about Thanksgiving this year. I didn’t because, well, we didn’t really have one, and frankly, I wasn’t feeling particularly thankful. In fact, every time I saw a cheerful blog post, or holidayish tweet, or sappy Facebook message, or really anything remotely happy, I just wanted to smash something. I did all of my holiday shopping, what little there was, online so I wouldn’t have to talk to chipper freaking salespeople.

We found out in October that my father’s lymphoma had spread to his bone marrow and his lungs. He spent most of the Fall trying a different chemo in hopes that it would knock it back, again. It was a last resort and although we weren’t sure yet, it didn’t seem to be working. Talking about it, much less writing about it, or anything, was the last thing I wanted to do.

I’d been trying for weeks to get to Maine to see him, but my kid and I had both been sick since before Halloween with one cold after another. Visiting someone with a compromised immune system when you have a sniffle, cough, or anything other sign of illness is out of the question. We made do with lots of phone calls, until finally we were well and able to go on the day after Thanksgiving to spend the weekend.

We drove up on that snowy Friday morning, to find that Pop was at the hospital for the day having yet more blood transfusions and platelets. Since my mother was heading back after lunch there I grabbed my crocheting and went with her. I sat and chatted with him for hours, hours I’d hoped to have with him at home, but that was not to be.

Later that afternoon he had a bad reaction to the transfusions, just minutes after we had gotten him back to the house. We didn’t know it, but his lungs were filling with fluid.

***********************

I spent most of the next day at the hospital again. In the morning I sat in his room, chatting with my mother, and with Pop when he was awake. He dozed some but was talking more than I expected, and we even had a few chuckles over some joke about ice cream. I can’t even remember what it was, I was just happy to have a laugh with him. All too soon he needed a real rest so while he slept I quietly wandered the deserted halls of the hospital. If you’ve ever been in a hospital on aย  holiday weekend you know that few but the sickest are there.

In the early afternoon, one of my sisters arrived and we stayed in the waiting room together, both of our crochet hooks flashing. When it was clear he would sleep the rest of the day, I went back to my parent’s house. I was tired, the kind of tired that gets into your brain and shuts you down. Mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted; and yet not as exhausted as he was, not even close.

That was the last day I had a conversation with my father. It was the last time I heard him laugh, and the last time he looked at me. But I didn’t know it then. How do you know something is the last until it’s already over?

That was the night I fell down the stairs.

Taps

This morning I listened to the most beautiful rendition of Taps I have ever heard.

I was at my father’s funeral.

*****************

I wish I could put into words how I feel right now. I have such mixed emotions I wouldn’t even know where to start. All of the events of the last week have left me utterly exhausted, weary down to my bones.

I’ve cried, I’ve accepted, I’ve made my peace, I’ve gotten angry, but I did have my moment to say goodbye, and I’m grateful for that. Listening to that short sweet bit of music today summed up everything for me, it was an amazing moment and I will never forget how that felt.

On a side note, I have to thank my family and friends for their love and support. Those who came to see me, called me, send me texts, emails, and facebook messages, they got me through this weekend. Then there were those who came to the wake yesterday and the funeral today, and those who sent flowers when they couldn’t, well, I just wouldn’t have made it through the day without them. I am truly blessed to have so many dear people in my life, really, I have the best friends in the world.

xoxo Annette

the sweater

The color made you think of walnuts, not too dark, not too light. It had big round buttons, like milk chocolates in a sea of cocoa powder. The neck was high and the pockets were deep. There were patches of fuzzy suede, and the yarn was just ever so slightly scratchy.

When I was a teenager I had a habit of swiping my father’s clothes. It was the 80s and both baggy clothes and menswear were in. Pop’s sweater smelled of Old Spice, was roomy and comfortable, and it matched my camouflage pants perfectly. (Hey, like I said, it was the 80s!) Of course I wore it to school so often there’s even a photo of me in it in my senior yearbook.

I was fourteen, fifteen, an age where you don’t hug your parents as much as you used to, when you’re trying to gain a little independence and become your own person. But that sweater, it was like wearing a hug. So was his gray plaid bathrobe I stole before I went off to college and wore until all the seams ripped out.

When I was eighteen and went out on my own I left some old tee shirts behind, the ones that I thought I was too old to wear. I came home on break once to find Pop wearing one – with a silly Garfield cartoon on it! We laughed so much that for years he wore it every time they were expecting me. When I think about that now I wonder if maybe to him that tee shirt was like a hug from me?

It didn’t take me too long into my 20s to realize that hugging your parents isn’t just for little kids and I started up again. Since then I’ve hugged and kissed them everytime I’ve seen them, which isn’t often enough. I sure wish I still had Pop’s sweater. I could really use a hug right now. I love you Pop. xoxo

Author’s note: My father passed away on December 4th, 2010, ten days after I wrote this. He never had a chance to read it. My mother, however, read it on December 5th and promptly found the Garfield shirt in my father’s closet and gave it back to me. My sister believes she swiped the sweater from me when we lived together in college and she wore it into rags.

questions

If you have a good answer to any or all of these, please tell me in as much detail as possible! ๐Ÿ™‚

Bonus points if you can guess MY answers to those questions.

vacation all I ever wanted

It killed me for most of the summer to not talk about our vacation here! Now that it’s over I finally can! I didn’t ever mention it because I felt weird about too many people knowing I was leaving the house for 10 days. We’ve had a lot of break-ins in our town and I didn’t want us being away to be too obvious.

Sooooo, we went to Florida, on the hottest week of the year. Yep.

I really don’t like heat, but I got over myself and had 10 days of fabulous! We tried to do fun things every morning and spend the afternoons in the pool, (at least, Josh and I did, while Damon worked.) Only one day out of the whole trip was too thunderstormy to swim. As long as I can get in the water I’m happy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We went because Damon has a new job, where he will mostly be working from home, but one week a month he will be in the office in, you guessed it, Florida. Josh and I got a chance to tag along to St. Petersburg this time since we had a free place to stay and school hasn’t started here yet.

Okay, I’ve bored you enough with the words, here is our trip in pictures! (For all three of you that actually want to see them!)

Man, those pelicans stunk!

The beach!!

St. Pete Beach was absolutely gorgeous. Next time we go, we’re spending more time there.

We don’t have trees like this in New Hampshire!

An armadillo made out of junk car parts? This is one of Josh’s favorite pics!

We should have seen an alligator right here, but it was even too hot for them. Ugh, the sweat.

After Damon’s work week was over we left St. Pete and spent a few days in Orlando.

The Lego store…need I say more?

Damon had some issues taking pics with his iphone. And he used to be a photographer??! Hee. Okay, it was just a liiiittle bit sunny out, and he couldn’t see what he was shooting. Also, the only day I didn’t wear black. Ahem. Did I mention the sweat?

The best part of the day at Magic Kingdom. Seriously. Minnie air kissed me on the cheek. So ridiculously cute.

Kennedy Space Center was my favorite day. There was lots of air conditioning…

We can’t pass up an opportunity for a Vulcan hand sign. Ever.

And really, what is a vacation without one of these?

ps. I have to give a shout out to my MIL and her husband for staying in the house part of the time and doing tons of chores for us! And another to my friend’s daughter “C” for checking in on my cat the rest of the time! Thank you!

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