Thursday, July 30, 2009

Music to the Rescue

The idea I'm working on next is so completely different than my first. I can barely think of anything else. Except waiting for critiques of Homer because I am still in love with Homer the pony! Afterall, he was my first.

I enjoy this part of the writing process because the possibilities are endless. I like the setup. The creating of characters, choosing a name that fits, figuring out where they will live and what makes them tick. And, of course, their conflict. I haven't done this in about two years when I started Homer and Rosie. .

My character, I think she'll be Claire, will be living in about 1959. This is one of my favorite time periods. My folks were just kids. So, I'm doing research; finding out what movies and music they were enjoying. Specific songs and t.v. shows.

And, I'm doing what helps me "get in the mood". I listen to the characters' music. While I was in the middle of creating Homer and all the barn animals, I listened to country because after all, that is what a pony from Virginia listenes to in the barn. The burro liked opera so I had to listen to some of that too.

I haven't downloaded actual 1959 music, yet. But, I have been listening to bluegrass and other music like Simon and Garfunkel, even though they came a little later. I put on the soundtrack to "Oh, Brother Where Art Thou" the other day in the car and my daughter said, "Mom what isss thiss?" Then I put on Vampire Weekend, which reminds me of a current day S&G, and she perked up.

What part of the process do ya'll like? Is it the setup? And, are there things you like to do to get the feel of your characters?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Publishing Bandaid

I haven't sent my first book, Homer and Rosie, to even one publisher. I haven't tried to contact any agents. I've researched and made lists but I just can't seem to jump into it. I'm gearing up to start my next book to be called, The Companion, unless I change it, which is likely. I'm really excited about it. It's completely different than my first. But, still, I can't seem to begin the process of trying, begging to be published. Sure, I sent out some stories to magazines when I was taking the children's writing course through The Institute for Children's Literature. But, to date, my only publications were in my local paper. And, for now, that's off limits since they can't afford to pay anyone. Although, I've considered sending them stuff as gifts just for the thrill of seeing my writing published.

I keep telling myself, after my highschool English teacher reads Homer, I'll either continue to revise, trash it or I'll rip that bandaid off and begin to beg for publication.

And, which should you do? Publisher or Agent? Where do you start? I've seen advice that goes both ways. I was thinking agent. I feel like that way, I have an advocate before I start checking off publishers who have crossed Homer off their lists.

What have you guys done or plan to do?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Turtle Alice

A little fun, albeit badly written, poetry for your hot Tuesday. And, I changed the color of the blog background. I needed a change and thought it easier than painting my living room.

We had a turtle
come into our lives.
We named her Alice.
indeed she was wise

Oh no, Alice thought
what have I done
I've gotten myself caught
I can't even run.

we released her to
the wetlands behind
our house today
don't you think this was kind?

She is now receiving
more attention than Crys.
Chrystalena Tulip,
our guinea pig

has suffered a lack
of love and touch
when she proved to us
her preference for not much

Now Alice is lost.
She took my advice.
To flee the hands of young children
And run like mice!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Reading List at Last!

Gaze your groovy eyes to the right. Isn't there a song that says, "to the left, to the left"? hip hop, I believe. Anyway, I'm a little punchy this morning, being Monday and all. I've finally started a reading list. This is not to say that I haven't been reading ALL summer and in fact ALL the time since I've started my blog several weeks ago. But, I hadn't started the list.

Part of my problem was when I began this blog thing, I was reading very popular literature. The kind that requires little thinking and is perfect for summer. I prefer this kind mainly in the summer and it has to be southern writers with a plot set in the south. Sometimes, I will stray and consider a yankee book but if I do, it's still set on the water and reminds me of the Kennedys.

Here's a little bit about 3 of the books on that list so far:

Keeper of the Doves by Betsy Byars: a middle grade book set at the end of the 19th century. It's a lovely story about a little girl who loves words. Ms. Byars is a writer from South Carolina and I shall be reading her other works.

Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl by Susan McCorkindale: My fellow Fauquierian is hilarious. She moved to a big farm from New Jersey and chronicles that change. She has a real knack for hyperbole and a great wit.

TumTum and Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall by Emily Beam: This was a great story. I should say stories but we only got to the first of three because I was reading a chapter a night to my kids and had to return the sucker. It was a new one at the library which didn't allow for a renew. But, my kids and I really enjoyed the adventures of two mice living in an odd little house.

I'm still working on that list. It's a little crude at the moment but wanted to get it up. I'm not sure which book to choose next. A kid's book, a good summer read or something more serious. Hmm?

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Carpenter Who Doesn't Do Carpentry

My carpenter is a scoundrel. He is refusing to repair something I thought he had agreed to do. When he, one of my painter's crew and I walked around the house weeks ago to discuss the many rotting boards needing repair, a windowsill and another spot were on that list.

My husband was not with us as he was hard at work at The Nature Conservancy saving precious land from development (well, he was actually dealing with stock gifts but that money goes to save land). So, my better half was not privvy to the conversations. As well, he had been told by the main painter that another very big and really important board had to be replaced that was not discussed at the carpenter "meeting".

The carpenter was paid.

He did not make those repairs.

I talked to him last night to try and get a price for the very big and really important board and to remind him of the windowsill. This was after my painter called him and told him for the 2nd time that day to call me. Huh. Doesn't sound very dependable, does he? Well, no. I negotiated for twenty minutes with this froot loop. At 9:30 at night when I'm usually in bed reading a good children's book. Later on that.

When I got off, my husband looked at me with pride. Not because I had won the argument. I hadn't. The guy refused to replace that small windowsill for no charge. No charge! You wouldn't believe what he charged us! That guy makes a bundle per hour. I told him we didn't want him to come back and that I wouldn't be recommending him to anyone. And, my painter won't be either. I have started the family phone tree. My mom knows about this goof so everyone else within a 50 mile radius will too. Thanks, Mom.

I actually enjoyed the conversation with the carpenter. Well, not the losing money part. It was similar to the time I helped a girlfriend negotiate her lease for space to accommodate her new business. It came easy and reminded me of those days when I worked in D.C. as a commercial leasing agent.

After I hung up the phone, my husband looked at me with pride. He said, "Jenn, you are a good negotiator. You really need to get back into commercial real estate and make us some money." Aw, man, I wish he had said the same thing while he was reading my middle grader.

That carpenter has screwed me again!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Toast to Unplug Week

Novice blogger that I am, I have just heard it is Unplug Week. I plugged in to check a few of my favorite sites and read Susan Mills' blog A Walk in My Shoes. Thank you Susan for letting me know. Apparently, this is the time to stop blogging, twittering and posting on facebook and write. If you are a writer I guess.

So, I will see all of you in a week. By then, I hope I have found a name for my first novel (I don't understand why I'm having such difficulty since the story line is finished) and accomplished more research for my 2nd novel!

I keep hearing Tom Petty's song, "Free Falling". And, I'm feeling it!

Here's to hoping all of you having a productive writing week!

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Fairy and the Transformer

Last summer, I hosted a Fairy Tea Party for fiveteen 6 year olds. Our dining room was draped with english ivy and toile. Lace and pink flowered miniature tea cups graced the table. Small silver and gold picture frames designated where my daughter chose each of her guests to sit. I drew a fairy holding a butterfly in icing on the cake. Classical music permeated the dining room from the adjacent sunporch. It was all very, well, girly.

Today, I will visit our local Walmart. I will purchase a Transformer table cloth, plates, cups, napkins, and pinata. We're only having family. I can get away with this for one more year anyway. But, we will decorate. We will all hit the Transformer which I will fill with dark chocolate. Well, maybe some other kind of "funner" candy as my little man would say. He will run around the house yelling, "Transformer, more than meets the eye" while punching the air with his little fists.

Two very different tales. Two very different kids. And, yet, my son sat at that fairy table. He drank tea and ate pimento cheese sandwiches. He giggled with the girls and yelled to my daughter from the other end.

My daughter will hit that pinata and probably be the one to bring it down. She will finish his chorus, "Transformers, robots in disquise". She will be thrilled for him when he receives his Darth Vadar light saber (after all, she has an Anikan one!). In her dress, she will have a duel Lucas would be proud to see.

I had a sister. One I wouldn't trade for the world. We tend to do things exactly alike. I mean even down to the colors in our house. Our kitchens and bathrooms are exactly the same paint color and we didn't even realize it for the longest time. It's nice and we get a lot of laughs. But, isn't it nice to have a brother? Someone who can teach you to appreciate the testosterone of life? I told my husband last night that our daughter is better prepared to receive friends in the shape of boys than I ever was. She already knows what is important to them. Heck, it's important to her too!

Oh, but one thing that concerns me. My son wants Megatron and Optimus Prime to have a battle on his cake. How am I supposed to draw that one? I can't even tell them apart!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Smell of Summer without the Car

Yesterday, I had one of those days where I refused to get in the car. I watered the garden with coffee in hand while the kids played in the yard still in their pajamas. Several white butterflies kept us company.

During my summer breaks when I was a kid, my sister and I would play outside in our p.j.s. We would climb onto the trampoline we got as a hammydown from our older cousins. Our blankets wrapped securely around us, we would jump together, often in synch. Bounce, bounce, bounce, fall. Sometimes, there was a new world waiting for us when we hit a certain height. A world full of fantasy wizards and witches or unicorns. This was the 70's after all.

After my kids got dressed and had some breakfast, we decided to take a walk. My daughter, although 7, is still light enough to push in the double jogger so I take it along for the end of the ride when they are pooped. But, initially, they have to walk. Kids just don't get the exercise they used to. As we walked up a hill and around a bend of one of our favorite streets here in Old Town Warrenton called High Street, a smell blessed my nostrils. I couldn't place it.

I stopped and asked the kids to stop. I sniffed all the border flowers but none gave off the aroma that had pulled a million childhood memories from my tired brain. Walks through the woods beside my parents' home to the Skyline Drive and a "secret bridge". Playing outside at dusk while my the t.v. filtered through the open windows. "I Dream of Jeanie". (again, this was the 70's). My parents on the porch swing while my sister and I watched a plane overhead. Sitting on the porch roof to see the town fireworks on the 4th of July. That smell was like peace, serenity, security.

The owner of the house was outside. I asked her what it might be. Honeysuckle is growing behind me she said. That had been the only part I had recognized. What was the other? I needed to know so I could duplicate it but she didn't know.

Then I settled. I knew I wouldn't find out. I'm a gardener but a fairly novice one. I had a feeling, I wouldn't soon forget that moment. Smelling that smell of my childhood while my kids walked and giggled about something I couldn't seem to figure out. How fortunate I was to experience this day. A beautiful day spent without getting in the car.

We walked home and had our usual picnic lunch on the porch.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bubble Wrap for the Butt

This past Saturday my mom and cousin, Jeff, unwrapped their birthday gifts in front of all the family, some 20 or so of us, in the very large living room of my cousin's house. He sat at one end with my mom at the other like two pillars of the room. Our heads rocked from left to right as we watched them unwrap and joke. Stand up comics, if you will.

One very large package had sheets of very large bubble wrap. Now my son, always the ham, is on fire. Partly because he hadn't had a nap, or a break all day and partly because he had eaten cake and lemonade for 8 hours straight. He had attended my sister's baby shower earlier that day. I arranged for my dad, aka PaPa, to watch him during the shower. But since Papa was working in the field just beyond the house, my son could see the party and preferred to sit inside a cool house and eat cake versus helping Papa with fixing the horse feeder in the sun. And, since I was running around doing stuff, the kid helped himself to numerous glasses of the yellow stuff and numerous mini cupcakes loaded with Red Dye #40 (us grownups had a more dignified dessert of course).

Back to the birthday party. My son was trying to help Jeff unwrap his gifts. Jeff wrapped him in the big bubblewrap. He explained to the little tot that if ever he was about to receive a spanking, he could just put on the bubble wrap. Everyone laughed. So, my son took that to mean, he needed to ham it up at which point he began to work the room. He stood in front of each person and stuck out his bubble wrapped butt for each to give it a swat. Everytime, he laughed with such delight.

It made me think of characters in books like Judy Bloom and the Pain, Junie B. Jones and Ramona. It sounded like something any of those kids might do. Bubble wrap their butts to avoid punishment. Of course this depends on your view of spanking. I'm not a fan of it although that doesn't mean I haven't tried it when all else is lost. But, bubble wrap could be used for so many things. Rolling down a hill, rolling your younger sibling down a hill. Rolling the cat down a hill, sleigh riding bubble style. The ideas are endless.

I'm saving that one for a future character!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Mercedes Cake

I know, I know, I need to write about inspirations for us children's writers. But, too much has been happening. Listen to this!

This past Christmas, my mom got really really sick. She is (or was) the healthiest person i knew. Onry and sassy. But, she picked up what seemed like a typical cold over this past Christmas. By mid January she was so sick she almost passed out in Target. By March, she was diagnosed as having a very sick liver and needing a transplant. My dad, sister Lori and I were all in the emergency room with her when her doctor told us. How does this happen? When you get the worst news of your life, the family just happens to have seen the signs before hand and gathers?

You could have hit us all with a brick and we wouldn't have noticed. My mom has always been the rock of our family keeping us together and taking care of us. I happened to be in the room with my dad when the doctor dropped this load. I went to fetch my sister (there were only 2 visitors at a time allowed) and we managed to get an exemption on the 2 visitor rule. With the news only minutes old, we started cutting up. Teasing mom about what she was going to put us through. We decided I would write a Lifetime Movie all about her liver transplant.

Now Mom has always had a thing for finding what actress everyone in her life, or strangers at the grocery store, resemble. Diane Lane would play her because she wants to look like her. She decided Dad would be Richard Gere (she's always had a thing) although he really looks like George Clooney, seriously. And, my sister, Lori and I would be played by Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Aniston, respectively, since Mom has told everyone in our town that we look like them. It's very embarassing to be compared constantly to someone who is very attractive when you don't really look like them. I still haven't written that movie.

In April, right before Easter, Mom got her transplant. She was top on the list at UVA. Scary because she was sick enough to get a liver within weeks of being diagnosed.

Mom has never thought she was all that attractive. She is though. But, she does know she has great hair. As she says, "It's my best quality". So, when she got the "call" to be at UVA as soon as she could, she made sure her hair looked great. Before the team of doctors wheeled her into the operating room, she sat up in her bed and tossed her hair to give it body. Then the doctor put one of those institutional hospital caps over it. She had a fit. "Don't smash the hair, please." She was only joking a little. The female doctor told her she'd try. "Well, it's my only good quality and I want to look good when I come out of surgery." The team laughed.

When they wheeled her from the elevator to intensive care, my family was there. It was 3:00 in the morning. Mom was in a drug induced sleep of course but we caught the doctors still laughing about her fussing over her hair.

My dad never left her. When Lori and I went back down to UVA to stay for a bit after taking a break to see our husbands and my kids, we realized my dad looked like he needed a good meal and a haircut. That he got. We tried to make Mom laugh but she was usually so hopped up on pain meds, something she has oddly never enjoyed, not to mention laughing hurt. And, her normally slender legs were literally the size of tree trunks making it hard for her to do anything. She didn't fuss too much about her hair. Unusual!

It was a strange few months. We all took care of her. Something she never before allowed us to do. Now, she's doing great. Still a worry wart and onry. More onry than before. Nothing has changed there.

Her birthday happened to be on the day of Lori's baby shower. So, I made her a cake. I had planned on putting a Mercedes sign in icing on it because Mom's scar resembles it. But, after the initial icing had been spread, the top layer of the stupid thing split. It split in the shape of a Mercedes sign!

We all joked that it was my grandmom either giving Mom a sign or helping me out. Since I was really busy with Lori's baby shower, Grandmom may have thought I could use a break. Grandmom is no longer with us. Atleast not in the typical living way.

I mused that we should sell it on ebay. Or maybe I should include this as the ending to the Lifetime Movie. We could call it, "Betty Crocker and the Liver Transplant"!

That night at my cousin's house for a family birthday dinner (it was his as well), he made a speech about how happy he was she was there to celebrate. He is her nephew and they have always been really close. He presented her with a picture of Robert Duvall, a local and certainly national celebrity. It had been signed to my mom. Mr. Duvall has been one of her very favotires. Mom has always thought the actor looked like her dad. Yet another movie star look a like. Maybe I should just title that Lifetime movie,"The Liver and the Movie Stars".

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Welcome Aboard the Baby Vessel

I haven't posted in a while. Been very busy planning my little (and only) sister's baby shower. It's today and I really hope it goes well. I usually think baby shower games are really cheesy but believe I have some good ones planned. Should be fun especially if most of the guests have a little wine before hand (which I've no doubt they will!).
I have to say, even though it is way too early to be up and I didn't sleep that well worrying, I'd much rather be on this side of things. I really disliked having showers thrown for me. I don't do well as the center of attention. I'd rather be one of the crowd that others look at and say, "hey, she's got great shoes on". It's so much better than when you're the "it" girl. And, the unwrapping presents part!! Ugh! Everyone staring at you and waiting for your response. How many times can you say, "Oh, how cute. I just love it!". Not that I didn't appreciate everything I got at all three showers. I did. But, at the co-ed shower my girlfriends threw for us, I opened the gifts as soon as my guests brought them in. That was the condition my husband made for agreeing in the first place to a co-ed baby shower. Can you blame him? What guy wants to sit and watch you unwrap ten different types of burp cloths?

As each couple arrived, I shooed the husband/boyfriends out back to where the Heineken keg was (for the guests, not me of course) and the girl and I opened the gift she no doubt picked out by herself. Then, I displayed them in my daughter's nursery for anyone who really wanted to see all that loot.

But, Lori loves to be the "it" girl. She enjoys having her picture taken as often and as much as possible. And, you'd think she was conceited. But, no way. She just likes to look great and have her pic taken. And, she's good at it. I, however, take a terrible photo. So, today, I will be taking all the shots of her.

When I threw my daughter's 5th birthday party (mermaid theme of course), I wore a sarong and sandels to be one of the crew. My sister came to help wearing, wait for it, a sarong and sandles. Now, Lori and her husband used to live at the beach. He grew up in N.C. Her baby room and, in fact her house, is decorated very beachy. So, she wanted a nautical feel to her party. We chose turqoise and blues.

This time, we've talked about what we planned to wear. She, because it's all about her for this one day. Me, because I better have it planned and ironed so I don't stress about something else. Lori is wearing white slacks and a navy top with printed sailboats on her head sarong (what is that thing anyway? Cooler than a headband but not really a scarf?). Guess what I laid out? White skirt and a navy top. Yesterday, I told her we were going to be like cruise directors on The Love Boat. We laughed and then discussed how we have done this all our lives. Woken up for school planning to wear the same sweater. Think I will be able to blend in dressed like Julie and asking everyone as they arrive if I can take their purse?

I ramble. Probably because it's not quite 5:00 a.m. so I better sail out.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Devil and the Diet

I was reading an article from a writer here in Fauquier County, Susan McCorkindale. She has found out that it is Cankle Awareness Month. Check it out. Check her out. She's hilarious. Susan McCorkindale

It sparked a memory:

I have dreaded heading to the doctor for my daughter's checkup each year since she turned one. She is consistently in the 3rd to 5th percentile. Meaning, of all the kids in the states, her weight consists of only 3% of the population. Basically, it means she's petite and thin. But, the doctors have still put us through quite a lot to prove she is okay even though they look us directly in the eye and say "we know she is fine". When it first started, she had no fear of having her blood withdrawn. Now, she cries before she sees a needle.

My directive is to put butter on everything. Up the calories in any way I can. I actually went through a phase where I perused the grocery isles looking for the fatiest foods. A very odd thing for a girl who has been taught to control her weight. I've often thought this was a farce. Especially since this country has so many obese children. And, are these children being compared to mine? I don't know but my daughter's weight has always been an issue.

So, you can understand how concerned I was when she belts out at the age of six, "Mom, I want to be on a diet!". I immediately went into hyper mode. Where was she getting this? We don't talk about weight. In fact, I'm pretty happy with myself but I also try to make sure she never hears the "f" word even if I'm just having a moment.

I knew I had to have the conversation. No, not that one but the food conversation. The one my mom had with me when I went off to college.

"Your body is an engine, Jenn. It needs fuel to run. If you don't give it fuel then it will shut down and nothing will work properly. And, then when you decide to refuel, it won't be able to process it properly and will store it as fat." Scary? Yes. So, I gained the freshman 15 instead.

I told my daughter food is a wonderful thing. Enjoy it. Everything in moderation is the way to go. Yes, you can have donuts (her favorite food) but just not too many or too often. You have to fill your body with good fuel. etc. etc. etc.

On this went. Every few days, she would reeiterate the need for a diet. Her dad and I were concerned but didn't want to make a big issue out of it.

And then. It all became clear. She and I sat on the family room floor playing a game with the t.v. on. Food Network. For someone who loves having the t.v. for background noise, I considered this channel to be a safe one for the kids. A nutrisystem commercial came on. My daughter's head turned to watch it. I watched her watch it. Then she looked at me and said, "See Mom, if you go on the diet, you get free desserts!"

Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you. She's just a normal 6 year old! But, it did remind me of something important. The obsessive marketing of our society. Diet commercials on a food channel? Turn the t.v. off. Now we listen to hip hop instead. My husband says its narcissistic. Man, it's always something!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Shenandoah National Park to Get $30 Million Bucks

Since I grew up within walking distance of the Skyline Drive, I am thrilled that our new administration selected it to receive much needed funds. Below is the article published in the Rappahannock News. Thank you President Obama!

By Stephen Dareing Special to the Rappahannock News
Source: Rappahannock News

For years, Shenandoah National Park, a part of which is in Rappahannock County and a scant two-hour drive from the national capital, has languished in a lack of attention from previous administrations and visitors alike. But both are now showing renewed interest in the only national park that is a day’s drive away for the 50 million people living and working in the East Coast megalopolis.

On Monday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar met with volunteers and youth groups working in the park for the summer, clearing non-native plants that have invaded the park. The event was part of a national kickoff of United We Serve, a nationwide volunteer service program which President Barack Obama announced on June 17. Accompanying Salazar on the visit was Anne Holton, wife of Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (and daughter of former Virginia Governor A. Linwood Holton, Jr.).

“When President Obama called us to this day of service,” Salazar said, “he asked Americans . . . to embrace the spirit of service . . . and help lay a new foundation for America, one community at a time.”

Salazar and Holton toured the area near the Big Meadows ranger station after participating with volunteers in removing invasive plants around the Big Meadows Swamp nature trail.

Speaking to the Rappahannock News after brief remarks to the national press, Salazar said $30 million had been set aside for Shenandoah National Park as part of the Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. Asked how this initiative would benefit Rappahannock's economy and economies of other communities surrounding the park, he said: “This $30 million going into the park will mean new roads, rock walls and restoration and improvement” of park facilities.

“This will create immediate jobs beginning this summer and fall,” he said, adding that tourism is “extremely important” to the economy, especially for counties like Rappahannock, and that initiatives and volunteerism to restore national parks can only benefit local, struggling communities.

“It’s important that the story of Shenandoah be told,” he said, and that of other parks across the nation that have been neglected in the recent past.

While Salazar was touring the new visitors center at Big Meadows, rangers Matt Richardson and Joe Sargeant were keen to point out that they’ve seen a remarkable increase this year in the number of “through hikers” — those who walk the entire Appalachian Trail (which passes through the park) from Georgia to Maine – a sign that life, the human kind, is returning to the park.

Volunteer groups working in the park this summer — and who got a chance to meet and speak with the interior secretary — include members of the Shenandoah National Park Association, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, Student Conservation Corps and Volunteers-in-Parks.

Salazar noted that “in some ways the students here today are following in the footsteps of the 10,000 young people who worked in Shenandoah during the 1930s as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps.”

Here’s hoping that what created Shenandoah National Park — an economic recovery initiative — will also help restore it.

Money, Money, Moneee

How do kids view money? Mine view it as a means to get a toy or an an overly processed food. Or sometimes a nice homemade lemonade at the farmer's market. Now, that's nice. But, basically, my daughter and son only think about money when I tell them I don't have any. The conversation usually goes like this:

"Mom, can we stop at Chix-Fil-A?"
"But why can't we?" (daughter w/ a whine)
"Because you can't eat at fast food places very often."
"But why?" (this would be from my son. His favorite question)
"Because it's a treat and it's not good for you."
"But we never go to Chix-Fil-A!" (the daughter)
"Well, we just went there while you were still in school."
"No Fair!" (guess who that was)
"Maybe we'll go back soon."
"Mom, are you broke?"
"Why are you always broke? Are we poor."
(I so want to say yes, we're so poor we can't buy anything fun ever again so they will stop asking me these questions and let me hear the new Dave Matthews CD!)
"No, we are not poor. Broke is different. Broke means I don't want to spend the money. Poor means we don't have any."
"Well, my friend "so and so" gets to go to Chix-Fil-A all the time!"
"Well, your friend so and so may not have a college fund acruing, so hush and let me hear the music."

Well, you know how that goes. The son (not yet 4) will start asking what college fund means and then he'll have to talk about UVA's football. Go wahoos. Then it will be on to when is it Redskins season?? And, well, I've had the Dave cd for a month now and still haven't listened to it!

The other day, as I posted, we started painting our house. My daughter asked how much it cost. I told her $6,000 (which for a 3,000 sf clapboard house w/ rickrack and 5 colors is a steal!). My daughter started wooping and hollaring, "We're rich, we're rich! I'm going to be a movie star. Can we go to Chix-Fil-A?"

"But, we're rich?!"
"We WERE rich."

(not that 6 grand makes you anything, but she'll never understand that!)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Adventure of Painting the House

Yesterday, we began painting our 120 year old clapboard house. When I drove up around lunchtime after running the kids to swimming lessons, I was horrified and thrilled to see the work our painter had done. There was very little paint left on each of the boards. The house looked like one in a picture during the Great Depression.

Because the porch was such a mess of water and paint chips, the kids and I ate our lunch inside at the kitchen counter. Facing the kitchen window, it was strangely dark because the outside shutters had been closed to allow the painter to strip the paint behind them. We could hardly hear each other from the noise of the power washer.

When my daughter and I took my son to his room for his nap, the shutters in his room were closed as well. Both the kids thought it was "so cool". It made his room even homier than normal. "Ultimate cozy" is the word we use. We piled on the bottom bunk and read a story. i could barely see to read. Cozy alright, but the kids loved it. I was excited to see something so small could still thrill them. Maybe they aren't completely spoiled yet after all.

When I put the kids to bed last night, I had to close my daughters shutters as well. I left her sitting in her bed, reading a book with her bedside light on enjoying the new effect to her room.

Then I took the recycling to the curb. On the way back inside, I noticed a bubble of paint that would no doubt be scraped soon. I couldn't help myself. I peeled the piece, then another and another until my husband came out to ask if I would be sleeping outside.

Funny how a simple paint job to the old house gave us all a little something different. Well, my husbands thrill was spending a load of money. Something he doesn't enjoy unless it's on a new big t.v. When I emailed him yesterday to tell him the house looked like something from the 1930's, he reminded me that the painting would make us poorer and the economy was in a state close to the Great Depression. Oh, he's such a downer.