Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I love cars.

I really do. And I enjoy shopping for cars. And driving them. Particularly if they're on the small side, have a manual transmission, and feel zippy.

But Bob and I were pretty committed to our current cars until their respective deaths, so no car shopping for me. Until Bob's accident a week and a half ago. A guy (in a full-size truck) pulled out in front of Bob (in a Toyota Corolla), and Bob hit him. Hard. He said if he hadn't been wearing his seatbelt, he would have ended up in the hospital. I'm glad he was wearing his seatbelt.

So he's fine! Which is wonderful! And they thought they could fix the car until they started the "light tear-down" (I think that's what they called it) and discovered frame damage, etc.

We're now in the position of deciding what to do with the insurance proceeds: fix the car? get a different car? go down to one car? (that one's probably not going to happen)...

But I've spent a bit of time online today, looking at cars, and I'm reminded of something: I love shopping for cars!

Here are the criteria: relatively cheap, high mpg, not too old, not too high mileage, manual transmission, MUST HAVE FOUR DOORS ('cause we'll have three kids, and all...), and the color can't offend my husband.

What car would you buy right now if you were in the market for one?

We're leaning toward a Ford Focus.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pink or Blue?

The ultrasound tech had a heck of a time figuring out the sex of the baby; its legs were crossed, and the umbilical cord was in the way. She kept encouraging it, saying, "Come on baby, are you a pink baby or a blue baby? Let us see!" And finally, she got a couple of shots that were good enough. Had I been the only one "interpreting" the ultrasound, I would still have had no clue. But she was totally completely convinced that it's a boy. So, a boy it is!

I immediately ran to Target to buy some sheets I'd seen a couple weeks ago (they were adorable, and I'd told Bob that if the baby was a boy, I was going to go right away and buy those sheets!). Too bad they didn't seem to have them any more. They're available online, and I suppose I'll probably decide it's worth it to me to pay the shipping and buy them online.

Last night we fell asleep discussing boys' names. Bob's definitely got a favorite, but it's not even close to decided yet. And not to be a tease, but we will keep the name a secret until he arrives...

Whoa. I can't believe it's a boy!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Suspense...

is killing me.

In an hour and a half, give or take, we'll find out if the baby's a boy or a girl. I've been fine for about fifteen weeks, and now I HAVE TO KNOW. Even this morning, I was feeling totally patient. Not any more.

I need to get moving, and be productive, or I'll go crazy.

So I'm going to go wash some dishes and straighten up the living room.

I'm meeting Bob at the doctor's office in an hour and a half. I'm sure I can come up with an hour and a half's worth of work...

Maybe I'll go check the status of the chimney rebuild, or water in (again) my newly transplanted peonies. Or drive myself crazy online by looking up girls' and boys' names, and girls' and boys' bed sheets, etc.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Yep. That's right. I studied French for four years, so I can throw out a word like denouement ... after double-checking Dictionary.com to make sure it means what I think it does!

Anyway, the resolution I'm talking about is the whole mirror saga. Turns out I don't like it after all. Whew! That makes it easy. So now we get to talk about other fun or creative things to do with the vast space above our mantel. It may still end up housing a mirror, or maybe it'll be the home for a funky red modern/grandfather clock Bob and I fell in love with at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Who knows. Do you want to see the mirror?

Ok. Here it is. I appreciate all the detail, but I was expecting something simpler, with elaborate molding, but no carving.

And I'm going to post pictures from the farm, for the heck of it.

This is looking at the house and garage from the northeast, from the driveway as you pull in. I have always thought the garage was sweet. And there's a teeny tiny apartment above it where my Uncle Dick lived for a while.

Here's the view from the front. You can see that the part to the left was added on; that was my grandparents' bedroom, and I will never forget sneaking in and out of there, with my sister and my cousin John, while my grandfather was taking a nap, trying not to pee our pants laughing because he snored SO loud.

Ah. the kitchen windows. You can bet that the ivy would not have made it that far with my grandmother around. The little curtains are a small strawberry print, and my grandmother loved them, so though my mom didn't, for the year that they lived there, she didn't have the heart to change them. There was a kitchen table in front of those windows, and we could pack in a lot of grandkids back then.

Here's the cabin. I'm not sure I know why they built the cabin; it's right across the driveway from the house. But I think it has something to do with Grandpa wanting to host fish fries (is that the right pluralization for a fish fry?) for the Lions Club, of which he was a long-time member. At one point in my childhood, my family lived in the cabin for, I don't know, maybe a month or a couple of months, when Dad was trying to figure out whether to take a job there in Murfreesboro, or do mission work in Appalachia. He opted for Appalachia. But this cabin? One room. A wood stove, but no central heat. The bathroom (which I think was added on?) is accessed by going out the side door, into the screen porch, and then opening a door to the bathroom. It shared a wall with the cabin, but was definitely not part of the cabin. I remember it as full of spiders then, and I don't think you could pay me to go in it now.

And here's the lane. My grandmother used to walk this lane, lap after lap, for her daily exercise. Then my mom did it. I have really fun memories of arriving at the farm, after driving for a couple hours to get there, and Dad would stop the car and tell us to get out and run down to the house. In retrospect, what a good way to get two little kids to burn off some steam before bombarding their grandparents...

It's still weird to me that this lane empties onto a six-lane road, across from a huge State Farm complex. It's more than an office, but I'm not sure that it's their national headquarters. I have a funny story about that which I'll share sometime.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Farm

Let me apologize upfront for the lack of pictures in this post. I should have taken pictures today ... but I didn't. I also apologize for the length of the post. I'm pregnant and emotional and overly reminiscent tonight.

Today, Mom, Caroline, Lucy & I went out to The Farm. The Farm is what we've taken to calling my grandparents' house here in Tennessee (the girls and I are visiting this week). My grandfather died in 2005, at age 96. A couple years ago, my parents moved here from Florida, and lived at The Farm for a year. It was really fun to bring Caroline back to my grandparents' house, which was then her grandparents' home.

So, as I said, they lived there for a year, until I found for them the perfect house in town. (Grandpa's farm is on the outskirts of town, with 20 acres.) They love old houses, cabins, bungalows. I found a log bungalow, right downtown. I guilt-tripped my mom for months before they FINALLY went to look at it ... and promptly fell in love. Once they moved, though, I never went back to The Farm. It's been over two years, I've been to Tennessee probably six times per year, and I've never been back. I think it seemed too sad.

Well, today, I went back. Mom needed to go over there, and so we went with her. Caroline and I looked around the cabin that's there on the property (where various family members, including my parents, are storing furniture and miscellany that they may or may not want in the future), and then we decided to go through the house. I love that house. It's a brick cape cod that is just FULL of memories. Though there aren't a whole lot of things I like about it (on the inside) aesthetically, I love that house.

It was heart-breaking to go inside. No one is living there, but the house hasn't been cleaned out. Some of my parents' stuff is still in there, plus there's a lot of stuff upstairs that's been there since my grandmother died in 1988 (or was it 1987?). There's ivy growing over the kitchen windows, so what used to be a bright room is now shady, with weirdly-filtered light. There are dead ladybugs everywhere, and cobwebs, and imprints in the carpet where furniture used to be. A pipe burst in what was my grandmother's sewing room but later became a laundry room, so the hardwood floors are a bit ripply/buckled.

I found my wedding dress in a closet upstairs, along with discarded clothing. That dress has been missing for years, and once, when my parents came to visit, they brought me "my dress"; except that when I unzipped the garment bag, it wasn't my dress, but was instead some of my dad's vestments (he's an Anglican priest). I just happened to find it today in a closet up there.

The lane leading back to the house is, I don't know, long. Let's say 1/3 of a mile. It used to be lined with trees, and honeysuckle grew on the fences. Now it's all overgrown, trees have fallen and lie where they fell, the grass is unmowed, nothing's been pruned. The fences are in disrepair and hang heavy with vines (mostly blackberries, but wildly unpruned ones). It seems to me that whipping that place back into shape would be a full-time job, and then some.

I was feeling positively glum about all of this, how such a happy, joyful home could become so forgotten and uncared for. It was good to have Caroline with me, exclaiming over all the positives. When we came back through the kitchen as we were leaving, she announced, "Nice kitchen, Momma!" I don't know what she saw in the green linoleum, ancient & dirty appliances, ragged curtains, etc., but I'm hoping she saw the beauty my grandmother saw in the room she loved so much, so long ago.

I want someone to live in that house and love it and take care of it and restore it to how it was. My grandmother was a good housekeeper, and the house used to just shine. The "grounds" were well cared-for. There was a pool, and fruit trees. I guess I want somebody to love it like we all loved it. But nobody wants to take it on. It belongs to the four kids (my dad, and his three siblings), and none of them need a house with twenty acres. And none of the grandchildren (I assume) can afford it.

I'm trying hard to not cry like a baby about it.

The Saga of the Mirror

I've really built up a desire for this mirror. I liked the shape of it (based on the paint outline on the wall) the first time I went through the house. "Matt" emailed me last night to say he was going to upload a picture of it, so I've been dying to see what it actually looks like. If he's uploaded it, I haven't found it yet. All of this communication is through Facebook, and I wonder if he added the picture as a wall photo or something ... and I haven't asked him to be my "friend", so I can't see his pictures.

But here's the bummer. I figured he would ask more money than I want to pay. I was expecting three figures. Turns out he paid (apparently) four figures. He's asking less than that, but more than four times what Bob had said he might be willing to pay. There's no way we'd pay what they're asking.

The mirror is made of oak, and (according to their description) complements all the woodwork in the house. It's five and a half feet high (taller than I am!), and weighs over 150 lbs (more than I weigh!). Part of me's thinking we should just go back to my original plan, which was to have Bob build something just like that mirror. Maybe we should. Or -- how much lower do you suppose they'd go? I do NOT want to offend them. But that's a buttload of money for a mirror.

Bob's never particularly cared, so after hearing the price, he is just pleased that it's out of the question. Me, I can't quite let it go yet.