Date Night

During our 25 years of marriage, my husband and I have tried to have a weekly date night. We don’t go out every week, but we do what we can. When the kids were little, it was especially tough. We aren’t good at planning dates in advance, so it was usually Friday night when we were desperately trying to find a babysitter. Any parent knows your chances are slim to none at that late date.

When my husband became a police officer, we had to start being more flexible to keep up date night. His days off have changed periodically over the past 15 years. Sometimes he worked in the evening and date night turned into date day while the kids were in school. When he worked weekends, we discovered the magic of Tuesday nights. A small popcorn was only $2.oo on that night at the uncrowded movie theatre, and there was never a wait at a restaurant.

Three years ago, I started working outside the home. Since my husband works Friday and Saturday while I work a regular work week our schedules have become even more of a challenge. I’m raring to go out on the weekend while he sits in a tired stupor on the couch. I have a hard time transitioning from ‘work to play’ mode during my work week. But we don’t give up.

We’ve had lunch dates on his day off where he picks me up from work and we try out restaurants in the area or take an hour to peruse an antique store. Sometimes we get to the weekend and discover that both kids still at home have made plans to sleep over at their friends houses, so we have the place to ourselves. That’s always fun!

Last weekend I realized that we hadn’t been out for a few weeks. I put my foot down and insisted we go to a movie. We drove to the theatre with plenty of time available to grab a quick chicken sandwich from the nearby fast food joint since I hadn’t eaten dinner yet. My husband paid. When we got to the theatre, I selected Olympus Has Fallen. After telling us the cost of our movie, the young man at the ticket counter had to wait while my husband and I stared at each other – each expecting the other person to whip out a debit card.

Me: Aren’t you going to pay?

Him: But you asked me out.

Me: Yes, but if I didn’t ask you out, you’d never take me.

Him: ‘sigh of resignation’

Now that we’ve solved that little problem, I look back at the theatre employee while my husband digs in his wallet. The young man is smiling as he watches our little display. At least he’s not looking at my husband with pity.

My husband and I love going to the movies and always chat after. We both agreed how stupid it was, and pointed out the especially unbelievable parts with derision and feeling. I ended the discussion with, “That movie was so bad. I’m glad I didn’t waste my money on it!” And then I cackled with laughter for a long time while he just shook his head.

I think this means that I’m paying for the next date.

 

 

 

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Cowboy Boots

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My youngest daughter and I were dressing for a church activity on a beautiful, spring-like day last week. She found a skirt, but realized she didn’t have any spring shoes to go with her skirt. After endless outfit changes, she became resigned to the fact that she was going to have to make do with what she had. Since her new boots were wet from filling her horse’s water trough that morning, she dug out her outgrown, brown cowboy boots.They were too tight and her toes got a little numb on the drive to church, but I thought she looked darling. It was only when we walked from the parking lot to the church that she pointed out the slapping sound her boot was making. The sole of her right boot under her toes was detached from the boot itself. I assured her that no one would notice.

The next morning as I was getting ready for work, I was surprised to see her rummaging in my craft closet. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: Uh….what are you doing?

Her: I’m looking for the glue gun so I can glue my boot back together. (Perfectly logical explanation, right?)

Me: I thought you said they hurt your feet.

Her: Well, that doesn’t mean I can’t wear them.

At this point in the conversation my husband chimed in.

Him: Spoken like a true woman.

And that is when I started laughing!

Doesn’t Every Woman Keep a Cheese in Her Purse?

I was settling in for a church meeting last night. There was the failed attempt to get comfortable on my hard, folding chair then the rummage through my bag to find my phone and turn the ringer off. Typically, I sit in front of the TV on Sunday evenings, dump out the contents of my purse, and proceed to sort the contents into piles – garbage, save (but not in my purse) and regular purse inhabitants (wallet, glasses, phone, etc.). I could tell that I hadn’t done the Sunday Sort in a few weeks.

It’s easier to find things in my purse by pretending I’m blind. I just shove my hand into its depths and grope around till I feel what I’m searching for – pointy keys, soft eyeglass pouch, cumbersome wallet. This time, though, all I felt was light and crumply paper. Weeks of gas receipts, gum wrappers, church programs, and pay stubs rustled softly in my bag. I dug deeper and was rewarded by with the heavy feel of my iPhone. Victorious, I yanked it from my bag! It took me a second to realize I had just pulled a tightly wrapped wedge of Parmesan cheese from the dark confines. I nearly burst out laughing.

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I’d forgotten that when I sent my daughter into the store for a Pepperidge Farm Milano cookie run late Friday night that she had also come back with the above pictured cheese. Why? She was simply looking for something else, saw the cheese, remembered a dinner conversation when I mentioned we were out of cheese and bought it. I proceeded to stuff it into my purse so I would bring it into the house then promptly forgot about it.

My son and husband have been know to shake their heads in wonder at the things I keep in my purse, but I’m telling you. If they would suddenly have needed a salad topping, I would have been ready! I’m more prepared than a Boy Scout.

 

Fitting In Exercise

Even though my last job was a bust, some good did come of it – I think I lost a couple of pounds. I never weighed myself so I can’t be sure, but my clothes seemed a touch looser. The first question I asked myself was, “How?” I didn’t start exercising or anything. I can hardly believe that a couple of tiny changes in my daily routine could make a difference, but it’s the only possible answer. So here’s what changed:

1.  I had to walk from the parking garage a few blocks to the office, then I walked a couple of blocks to get lunch, then there was the walk back to the parking garage.

2.  The office kitchen was down the hall from my desk so it was a purposeful trip to go look for goodies.

3.  I didn’t snack at my desk as often as I used to because the other employees didn’t either. I didn’t want to look like the snarfing, eating machine that I really am.

But here’s the rub. I’m back at my old job where I walk 15 paces from the parking lot to the front door; my office is right next to the kitchen and treat cupboard; and my very thin coworker always keep candy on her desk that she never eats, but it calls to me no matter where I am in the building. (It’s a small building.)

So what’s a sedentary accountant to do?

Today I tried to recreate the old job routine: little walks in the morning, noon, and after work. I got the morning walk and noon walk in today. I’ll keep working on the evening walk.

Morning Walk

I wanted something quick and easy, but during Christmas break, I lent my athletic shoes to my college-age daughter to wear while she worked at the butcher shop. Now I just call them the “meat shoes”. I refuse to wear shoes with meat drippings on them so that wasn’t an option. I considered strapping on my velcro walking sandals to use with the treadmill in the garage, but it was folded up and a pile of bicycles was in the way. (Plus I thought the sound might freak out the new baby chicks.) Can you believe that I haven’t given up by now? Next best thing was just some muddy boots and a sweatshirt of my son’s I found on a box. I even took a picture for you.

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(By the way, it’s rather difficult to take a full body picture of yourself when the camera can only get an arms-length away. And yes, I’ve been married so long that my idea of sexy is cutoff pink pj’s and a green, checked flannel shirt.)

I took some pictures of our property while I roamed around, too.

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The picture to the left is looking at our neighbor’s barn. The picture on the right is looking at the back of our barn and house. The goats are keeping the grass down nicely which is good because our riding lawn mower is a piece of junk.

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What a muddy horse!

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This is Miss Bianca.

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Mia definitely has her eye on something, but I don’t know what it is.

Hope everyone’s morning was as nice as mine!

Jennifer

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Hobby

One of my favorite ways to kill time when I’m supposed to be doing something productive is to look at furniture painting blogs. I enjoy painting (rooms, not art) and have been wanting to try this popular hobby. My first project was an armoire that I painted red. I’ll search for pictures and post them later. I used regular latex paint for that, but I’ve really been wanting to try chalk paint. I found an antique store across the border in Washington that sells Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and paid a ridiculous amount of money for it. (Brace yourself….$38.50 for a quart. I know, I know. I just wanted to be like all the other crafty, painting girls.)

 

So here we go:  Today’s project is a buffet I picked up at the above mentioned antique store.

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The only prep was sanding down a couple of  spots on the top to smooth the transition from the raw wood to the finished area.

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I chose Old White. It’s pretty thick so I thought I should thin it down a bit with water. Notice that I’m using a pencil for a stir stick? I grabbed the first thing I could find.

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I forget how long my daughter helped before she decided that the fun had become work.

It’s funny the imperfections you see once there’s a coat of paint on. I noticed that there was a piece of tape on the front. I peeled it off, but then the dresser needed a second coat for sure.

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When I was finished, I could tell there was a problem. Chalk paint is supposed to cover in one coat. I probably shouldn’t have thinned it. Too much of the wood was showing through. I ended up painting another, unthinned coat, but the top of the buffet still didn’t look right. I could tell the difference between the wood that was raw and the wood with the finish on it. I lightly sanded the paint, vacuumed the dresser, and proceeded to the step that you’re not supposed to have to do:

Primer.  I dug through the garage then painted a coat of sandable primer on the top. Another light sanding, vacuuming, and wiping down with an old t-shirt. One last coat of ASCP on the top and things were looking good!

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I used a fine sanding sponge to distress the edges. I sanded extra around the holes where I still need to add knobs and pulls. That’s what’s so great about chalk paint. It’s super easy to distress. The paint comes off in a fine, chalky powder.

After vacuuming and wiping the dresser down again, I rubbed Annie Sloan Clear Wax over everything. I did an extra coat on the top. I think when I rubbed the wax in that it took some of the paint off. It actually helped give the buffet some  depth and dimension.

Here she is. She just needs to accessorize with some hardware.
Here she is. She just needs to accessorize with some hardware.

 

While doing this project I realized how much my husband loves me. The dresser stood in the middle of the living room with the drawers spread around on a drop cloth over the entire weekend. Not one complaint.  A few days into the next week, my husband helped me drag it into the kitchen because the lighting was better. I then proceeded to fill the kitchen with dust and fumes as I sanded and waxed.

In the end it was all worth it because my family thinks my little buffet is cute. Aaaw!

 

 

 

 

Keeping It Real

I’m going to blog about my day today so you can see why I chose ‘Keepin’ It Real’ as my blog tagline.

At work, I sat at my desk reconciling bank statements and making journal entries while plugged into You Tube so I could listen to Fun. You know. The music group. My daughter introduced me. I jammed out silently to ‘Carry On’ and ‘Some Nights’.

I carried the good mood all the way home where I was met by my son and….a chicken. It took me awhile to notice there was a chicken wrapped in towels resting quietly on the kitchen floor. Not what I expected. My daughter informed me that her leg is hurt. I don’t know what the blankets are going to do, but she’s now relaxing in the cat carrier.

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My son decided to take a stand and refuse to go his church activity. He’s pretty strong, but I was able to inch his chair away from the computer where my husband took over. Since my husband was heading to the church anyway, he stuck out his lower lip and made a sad face that his ‘buddy’ wouldn’t be going with him. Guilt won out. I proceeded to yell for my youngest to get ready, too. She informed us that she was going to starve to death since a hotdog is not enough of a dinner. I suggested my husband just throw her over his shoulder since she’s tiny. She kept her dignity and walked out the front door with the guys.

I’m blogging, listening to more music, and alternately dancing and eating chocolate chip cookies for dinner. ‘Cause I can. ‘Cause I’m just so darn happy to be happy again!

Hope all my blogging friends are having a good day too.

-Jennifer

Life Is Too Short to Be Unhappy

Quick recap of the last 3 months: Start new job, keep telling myself it will get better,  get super stressed out and depressed, quit new job, go back to old job, discover happiness again.

Ok, that was the Reader’s Digest version, but thankfully it leaves out all the gory details. (Well, maybe not gory. I’m an accountant after all, not a cop like my husband.) So what did I learn? Sometimes it takes getting what I want to realize that I don’t really want it. I didn’t know until this experience that I value happiness over almost everything else.

My family learned that what they want is a happy mom and wife. It’s been two weeks since I went back to my old job. (Can I say how thankful I am that my position hadn’t been filled?) A couple of days ago after talking about my day, my son asked, “Are you happy now, Mom?” When I gave him a big, genuine YES, he replied, “I’m glad.”