Alex, I'll take How to stay married 16 years for $200

Here's a couple of things from the last two weeks.....  since I've been missing in action.

Fireman Dave made the news again this morning..... saving people from floods like it's just no big deal.   

And yesterday he popped by the house on an official fire department grocery store trip... He walked in and asked, What's that smell?  There was no, Honey, you look lovely on this fine day.  He just told me something smelled like mold.  So I told him that it's actually the smell of my creativity on fire.  Or in other words, real fire.  You should recognize the smell of danger, Fireman Dave....

As it turns out, that mesh like fabric that's wrapped around your chair and couch cushions to make it easier to slip the actual upholstery on there?  It's flammable when you get a bunch of it stuck in your vacuum cleaner.  There is such truth to those tags on all upholstered items that say Flammable, do not remove by order of the something something.

And how I know this is that I am in the middle of another thrift store chair makeover.  I'm only at the beginning stage of ripping everything dirty off the chair, and boiling it at the highest temps possible in the washing machine.  Step two was a tad delicate.... I tried to run the vacuum over the bare cushion which made the vacuum start smoking.   

Rate the fire danger, Kristi,... you might be saying about now.  

So on a scale of 1 to 10, .... 1 being very little chance of flames leaping from the chair cushion; and 10 being a phone call to Fireman Dave saying we may need another new vacuum cleaner and/or for him to rush home asap   ... I would rate my situational fire danger as a 7.  Visible smoke in the area, and smells of imminent doom.  

But I happen to be a really quick thinker in times of emergency so I just unwound all the smoking polyfill from the vacuum beater bar and sprayed some air freshener.  

And I had no actual plans of telling husband about the mishap as I knew he would say something like,... How many new vacuum cleaners does this make in all our years?  Or maybe something like this...  I knew I should never let you stay home alone.   

Who knew he would make a surprise visit?  

Last Thursday I woke up at 2:30 AM with a migraine headache.  And hungry.  Which I couldn't decide which was worse in the middle of the night... But I was awake enough to consider it, so I ate a donut and took some migraine medicine and hoped that combination would cure both problems.   

But we all had to get up at 3am ish anyway to catch an early flight to visit family in North Carolina.  And though we arrived at DFW airport at 4:30 in the morning, we still missed the flight.  Because we totally underestimated the number of people who are awake in Dallas at that hour of the morning.  I had no idea.  

So we stood forever in the security line and then sat around in airport chairs for the next 5 hours.  We also ate yummily expensive airport foods and tried to occupy ourselves by people watching and continually charging our phones at the free, all you can charge battery stations.  And I may or may not have see Prince William waiting on a flight to Philadelphia, but Kate and the baby weren't with him so I didn't take any pictures.  I did, however, definitely see Oprah Winfrey's boyfriend Steadman riding on a cart with someone who may have been his elderly mother.  It wasn't Oprah, but it was still exciting in a celebrity spotting sort of way.   

And on both flights to NC that day - we got what we got, and were all subdivided all over the plane.  A kid here, a parent there.....  

I'm usually borderline terrified on planes, but mostly in the takeoff and flying portions.  Joy returns when the flight attendant starts gathering trash because I know we're about to land.  The smallest plane that we flew held about 50 people,... one of those little ones that still have propellers.  And it shook and rattled noisily, far more than I think it should've.  My window looked out over the right side propeller, which I imagined in great detail unscrewing itself looser and looser with every rotation and flying through the window and cutting my head off.  But here I am alive to tell about it.  And y'all, thank the good lord, I still have my head.  
But all turned out well because we got to North Carolina with only one newsworthy disturbance, that being Kid 1 and Kid 3 creating their own turbulence by fighting over a bracelet.  There were ugly words, tussling as much as seatbelts would allow, and ice throwing.  Oh, and the stink eye from the older gentleman one seat over who kept sending me creepy mind messages about how much he hates me for bringing these hooligans on the plane.  But they're my hooligans, mister, and I can't just toss them overboard.  So recline your seat-back and go along for the ride.  Oh, I forgot.... our little rattly plane didn't have reclining seats.  

Here's the note I held up to show Fireman Dave what he was missing while he sat way up there in front of us next to that pretty blonde lady.

So we arrived about 8 hours later than anticipated and that's okay because we arrived to family that totally spoiled us like nobody's business.  Enter my lovely/loving inlaws, Debby and Charley, who cooked enough food and entertained us so much that we seriously thought of never coming home.  We arrived to find the kitchen loaded with Halloween candy, two kinds of brownies, two varieties of snack mix, cases of cokes, and to my boys' delight,  ... zero vegetables for 5 days.  I do believe there was serious discussion between Favorite Aunt Debby and Kids 2 and 3 about the dangers of childhood obesity and diabetes.  Kid 1 didn't enter into that conversation because his mouth was full of brownies. 

And we had a beautiful visit.  There was a haunted hayride, two warm days to have play time in the ocean, and our 16th wedding anniversary that we celebrated with a walk down the island to the Dairy Queen.  Because husband and I are crazy romantic that way.   

Fast forward to the trip back to Big D.... 

On the way home, an hour down the road back to the airport, we conducted a just-in-case check for our car and house keys for when we got home.  And realized the keys were still vacationing in the top dresser drawer at the beach house.  

So Debby went the distance, fueled by love and most likely a good dose of all the sugary baked goods she kept flowing all weekend, and took off driving to meet us at the airport with the keys.  I call that LOVE.  

But she got lost on the way to the airport and I can only imagine she looked like this chasing down our plane as it taxied down the runway....  

But she sent us a message that she wasn't giving up and sent the keys on a flight of their own to meet us back in Dallas.  5 days later we've decided the keys took a sight seeing trip around the world.  So if you see a package containing keys, Kid 3's glasses and possibly a pair of men's pajama pants, send it our way please and thank you.  

So, you may wonder... how did we get into our car back at the airport?  

More LOVE.  Because we have friends that are heavenly made out of every ounce of goodness, kindness and thoughtfulness that ever was.  And they happen to have a spare key to our house.  So.... they hunted down our extra car keys, met us way the heck out at the airport, and even stocked my fridge with food for breakfast the next day knowing it was gonna be a crazy morning.  I think we're pretty lucky to know them. Thanks Rock and Debi !!!

And about that anniversary.  

Alex, I'll take How to stay married 16 years for $200.   

Marriage is totally a game show situation if ever there was one. So I have absolutely no advice for you.  Unless you want my ever growing list of things NOT to do if you want to stay married 16 years.  THAT, I can share.  

Y'all, I know a lot of people in my stage of life that have been married for way longer than I have.  But I come from a tribe of people where things are never okay, and it made me forget how to tell when things ARE okay.  Bless husband for waiting me out on that one.  And yes, there's definitely a bigger story to be told with that one.  

I really think it's all about not putting a number on it.  And not setting a giant goal for it.  I think the small goals are the best - and the ones that really make a difference in a family.  Just making an effort each day to be good for each other.   I try anyway.  You win some, you lose some.  

But one day you wake up and notice that 16 years of togetherness flew by.  And then you walk to the Dairy Queen with your kids and eat their leftover fries and call it a good day.  

post script...  I think the chair makeover was a bust this time.  Turned out to be a $50 lesson in how to burn up your vacuum cleaner.

Sometimes the right thing comes along when you need it most

Y'all.  I started writing this post exactly one week ago.  I find my time here alone and quiet to be infrequent, and that's being generous with the description.  And I totally CANNOT think, write or type while people are around me making noise.  So bear with me if all this is yesterday's news.  Because in fact, it IS yesterday's news.   

Ummm, apparently I'm doing this blog thing all wrong.  According to a couple of articles sent to me to improve my writing and increase my popularity among the nations.  Things I'm doing wrong, in no particular order.... I provide exactly ZERO useful tips for you to take away.  I should be telling you how to roast the perfect chicken or how to make votive candles from baby pumpkins.  I feel like a failure.  I'm also supposed to post regularly whether I have something of value to share or not.  Just so you don't forget about me and so that we can form a closer online relationship.  And thirdly, I should have one focus.  ONE.  And it should clearly be motivating and captivating, as well as make all our lives easier.  However.... I think I like it the way it is.  My ability to talk for hours without giving you a single thing to walk away with is a gift that I call my own.    

Word on the middle school street is that there's a pregnant 8th grader at the middle school.  Kid 3 thinks she's a 7th grader.  But saying she's an 8th grader puts her one year closer to adulthood and makes me gasp for air one year's worth less.  Life just creeps in no matter how hard I try to keep it out.


I took 6 boys to the high school homecoming game last Friday night and ended up sitting dateless and alone.  And the lady behind me kept yelling Hit him in his ass!  Really loud.  But I guess I had on my church lady face so she would then correct herself and say Abs, I meant abdominals.  Hit him in his abs!  I chose to ignore her and appeared altogether unfriendly and honestly, I was completely okay with that for the night.  I was busy keeping hope alive that my 6 little friends were roaming somewhere doing good for mankind, and that a school police officer wouldn't call my name over the loud speaker.

Anyway, I had a massive headache and my eyes were burning and red and I think I probably had the virus that Kid 1 had the week before because he keeps drinking from all my cups and then I get his germs.  I also toyed with the idea of my head exploding and going blind all during the game.  But we made it to the end and the last kid finally left my house at 11pm  - and I was a little mad about that because I was very ready for bed.  (I took a quiz once on how to tell if you're old and I passed for about 75.  Counting the minutes till you can go to bed was what pushed me into the high scoring range.) 

Kid 1 went to the Homecoming dance as an eligible bachelor.  He and a couple of other boys went to test the waters of their first high school dance and as far as I can tell it went okay.  One of the dads dropped the boys off at the dance and I heard that he literally dropped them off.  Just put them out on the sidewalk somewhere near the building and let them use their scouting skills to find the 48th floor of such and such building in the dark on a Saturday night.  

And one of the moms brought them all home.  And once again, my need for sleep overtook my strongest desire to stay awake and verify the safety of my child, and I woke up at 2am in a panic to see if he was in his bed.  I think I need a better multi-vitamin.  One with magical energy benefits. 

This handsome young man just turned 14.  Happy Birthday Kid 2.  I kinda love you.   

I came home from work one day this week and found husband dusting the boys' room and singing love songs.  Really loud love songs.  So I  tried to make some noise around the kitchen so he'd know I was here, but then I thought how fun it was with him not knowing that I was here, so I let him sing.  But he hit the chorus of  the 1970's tune, Love is the Answer, and I had to put a stop to it before it got embarrassing.  I thought about chiming in and us singing a duet, because I actually love that song, but with my aforementioned virus and all,... it wouldn't have been my best work.  So I just walked in and told him I hired him an agent and he'll soon be performing on America's Got Talent as the singing fireman.  And of course I laughed till he didn't think it was funny anymore.   Here's the song in case you want to sing along too.


I think Fireman Dave should get one of these hairdos.   

He did mention later that day that my hair looked really good.  I think he used the words, it looks more Hollywood than usual.  (I think he just wanted me to quit offering to buy him a leisure suit and gold chains.)  But nevertheless, he totally knows how to push the right Kristi buttons because he tapped into my deepest dreams with that statement.  I'm thinking I'll probably choose to be a movie star in my next life.  Or a burlesque dancer.  

In other Fireman Dave news... he made the news one day this week.  And I always think that's kinda fun.  Here's the clip..... but you have to click on the link because I have no idea how to make it show up otherwise. 

He's the one standing in the doorway as the other two guys climb the stairs.  He said the most dangerous thing about that particular fire was the lady of the house who was having a nervous breakdown.  

What else?  My eBay business is up and running again.  And by business I mean that I sell anything that isn't bolted to the floor.  Just for extra spending money and/or feeding my children.  Turns out kids are expensive.  But we've been saving lots of money by hiding the potato chips in a secret cabinet away from the boys.  That's like getting an extra pay check a month right there.   

But,..... we did get one of those pink slips in the mail today from the electric company that suggests we pay our bill soon.  Or else.  Fireman Dave would think it romantic to be in the dark, living only by candlelight and our wits.  I think I'd last all of half a day before I'd threaten to leave him for a man with electricity.  He said he's gonna pay that bill tonight.

We're currently dividing our kids and our time between three different schools.  And I decided a long time ago that there's only so much Kristi to go around.  Sometimes no just has to be the answer when endless volunteer opportunities come my way. 

That being said, we've been running to and from practices and lessons and games and this and that for the boys.  This morning before I left the house I put the jar of peanut butter on the trash can lid to weight it down.  Rita the dog has learned to open the lid with her nose and there was food in there calling her name.  I think she's lonely and turning to food as her source of comfort.  Much like a lonely housewife who takes up with the UPS delivery guy. 

In fact, here's a note I found from Rita the dog when I got home today....

Dear Mommy, 

I am very sad because you are gone all the time.  Do you still love me?  I've turned into a  trash eating street animal out of boredom and sadness.  I've lost all sense of pride and I've also taken to sleeping in that chair that you told me not to sleep in.  Can you please slow down and stay home with me today?  If not, that's okay.  I'll just soothe my lonely heart with those bacon grease soaked paper towels in the trash can.  


This dog note made me sad.  I never even knew she could write. 

Know what?  I actually hate using the word busy to describe myself or anyone else.  I think busy is a catch all phrase that can mean that maybe my priorities need to be re-considered.  I once heard a friend say that if my plate is too full, that I need a bigger plate.  I didn't agree then or now.  What I need is a well balanced plate.  Balanced with the things that matter the most.  And sometimes that's the hard part to figure out. 

And there was a whole lot more I could've been doing the other night when Kid 2 said he was going outside to look at the stars.  He had just sent his daddy a text saying he wished it was still his birthday, since it was so nice to have a day all about him.  So I stopped whatever I was doing ... and went to learn about some stars from Kid 2.  Then husband and Kid 3 got home from football and joined us.  And Kid 1 came out of the house realizing there were better things going on outside than in, and we had the together time my heart needed.  

Sometimes the right thing comes along when you need it most.  

Post script.... Y'all, this week I got a message from a friend about some disappointment that came her way.  And I told her that disappointment stinks no matter who, what, when or where - yet is the one universal language we can all understand.  But I actually think the most encouraging thing I can do for anyone is listen to what they want to tell me.  And after that?  Just keep quiet.  So I didn't pull out the scriptures promising a new door to open for her... and I didn't try to say how sorry I was for it all... but in my own, possibly awkward way, I hope I found the words to tell her that I think she's wonderful no matter what.   

Because I'm of the school that we preach the love of God so much better and far stronger when we train our eyes to see the good in others and humble ourselves to tell them all about it.  So I love sending notes about wonderful things I've observed, or qualities that I admire.  And I love having the chance to be a person that someone else looks to, not for an answer, because that would be scary for us both, but simply for a friend to say nothing other than, I love you anyway and always.

I think that's what God spends most of his days doing with me.

post post script.... no I didn't really find Husband an agent.  But he did such a grand job dusting the boys' room that I asked him to continue on as the singing housekeeper.  
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