Archive | December, 2008

>I’m Homesick…and Now It’s Complicated…

28 Dec

>I was so worried about what Christmas would be like, not being with any other family. And it was wonderful. We had so much fun and the kids just loved it. But now…we’re in the post-Christmas slump and I can’t help but think about how much I wish we were in Utah.

But now we have a problem. When I was homesick before and daydreamed about moving back, we had no strings attached–Louisiana could just be a blip on our radar. Now, almost a year later, things are complicated–we have little roots here, friends, people we would miss; I love our pediatrician and our family practice doctor. Winter here is kind of ugly (think perpetual soggy spring), but the climate itself is awesome.

This is what I want: Louisiana winters, Logan summers, and spring and fall in Provo. I want Provo in the spring and summer when the hordes of students go home. I want to live within driving distance of Disneyworld and Houston. I want to live within driving distance of my parents and my in-laws. I want Southern hospitality and I want the consistency of church in Utah. I want good Mexican food, fast Chinese food, and red beans and rice and Boudin. I want lizards, tree frogs, and dragonflies, but I don’t want fire ants, mosquitoes, or cockroaches. Utah can keep the Hobo spiders, Louisiana can keep the humidity. I want Louisiana thunderstorms and Utah blizzards.

It’s funny, because in the time I’ve spent here, it’s made me love and appreciate my family even more; I guess absence truly does make the heart grow fonder. I suppose it’s a sad truth that we can’t always have what we want, and when we do, we don’t appreciate what we have; we can’t know happiness until we know sorrow. And that sucks.

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>Merry Christmas!!

22 Dec

>So I had excellent intentions of sending out Christmas cards this year; I haven’t actually gotten around to doing it since 2005! In 2006, I was so sick with my pregnancy with Meredith and feeling quite Grinch-like, last year was, well, quite possibly the most stressful year of my life. This year I just don’t even have an excuse, but hey, we’re in a recession, so let’s just say I’m being frugal instead of lazy! Here’s our Annual Report for 2008:

Dear Friends and Family,

What a year it’s been for the J__________ family! It didn’t have nearly the highs and lows of 2007, but it’s definitely been a year full of change!

In January, Clark turned 3 just a few days before we packed up our house and moved waaaaaaaay down South to Louisiana where Sam had accepted a job as a Process Engineer Manager with [insert company’s name here]. While we were terribly sad to leave our friends, family, and cute little cottage behind, we were excited for all the adventures that we were about to embark upon. These included being temporarily homeless and belongingless while we stayed in an extended stay hotel and waited for our stuff to arrive. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. And once you’ve tried it, you’ll know that it probably should be knocked and to never to try it again.

We found a little house to rent and got settled in at which point, the kids promptly contracted the flu and strep throat and spread them back and forth to each other. We began to settle in and make friends, mostly at church, and I was called to be the Enrichment Leader while Sam was called to be the Executive Secretary. We went to a dinner where squirrel was on the menu and I ate it. Sam did not. We took a three-day weekend trip to Houston where, it turns out, Ikea is a little nuts on Memorial Day weekend. And it’s not like we’re Ikea virgins or anything–we should’ve known better. But alas, we love and miss Ikea.

June brought hordes of horrible insects, heat, and humidity as well as Sweet Baby Meredith’s first birthday. We watched a lot of So You Think You Can Dance and racked up an enormous electric bill. Summer was unbearable; honestly, I think it was more depressing to me than winter in Utah. In August, I escaped to Utah with the kids for 9 days and told anyone who would listen how horrible Louisiana was.

Two weeks after I returned from Utah, Hurrican Gustav blew through, leaving us without power for nearly a week. It did not help with my feelings of ill-will for the Pelican State. However, Clark started going to preschool 3 times a week, the weather started cooling down, and over time, I came to realize that while I’m not sure the South is rising again, it’s not THAT bad.

This year, we’ve been sad to be away from family and friends whom we love, but we’ve been blessed with many new ones, people who have become like family to us when we’re away from those we’re closest to. We’re so very thankful for Sam’s job and that he’s manufacturing laundry detergent rather than working in the rapid prototyping industry because, well, he wouldn’t be rapidly prototyping anything right now if he’d stayed with his internship company. We have our eyes on a house that we love; if it were a better market, we’d probably buy it, but I’ll tell y’all that nothing scares me more than a liability that huge with the economy the way it is right now in a place where I wouldn’t want to live if Sam didn’t have a great job here. However, the owners are willing to rent it to us and it’s something we’re really considering as we head into 2009.
We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and hope that you’ll feel the warmth and love of our Savior this holiday season.

Love,

Kate, Sam, Clark, and Meredith

P.S. Are you wondering why my children aren’t photographed together? Yeah, every time I tried to make them sit next to each other, Meredith started screaming as if her brother was going to attack her. And not without reason. They spend about 95% percent of their waking time together finding ways to torment one another.

>Early to Bed, Early to Rise, Something Like That…

17 Dec

>Hi, I’m Kate and I intentionally don’t get enough sleep. [Hi, Kate.]

Why, you ask, would someone intentionally not get enough sleep?

Let me tell you. Yesterday was slightly hellish. Both kids have been sick going on a week and-a-half, Meredith’s tranquilizing cough syrup is not nearly as tranquilizing as I would like and she took no naps yesterday. Clark, on the other hand, fell asleep in the car (doesn’t happen a lot, but it does occasionally) and then slept for another 2 1/2 hours in my bed (unheard of. Never ever ever). Which you’d think would be awesome, right? Not right. He woke up even grumpier than before.

I swear my kids exist solely to torture one another. I think my favorite moment yesterday was when they were in the tub, Clark took Meredith’s Superman, Meredith started screaming, so Clark started screaming, and then they tried to see who could out-scream the other one. Which descended into who could cry the loudest. Intermixed with screaming. Meredith clung to me the entire day, which largely explains the massive pile of laundry growing in my hallway and the fact that I had leftovers, Sam had a ham sandwich, and the kids had finger food for dinner last night. And that I have no treats to give Clark’s preschool friends today at school because I couldn’t make them during the day and I was just beat at night.

So it would make sense for me to hit the sheets as soon as Vile Vicky lost The Biggest Loser last night, right? Yeah, you’d think, especially since I was slightly catatonic on the couch. But I knew…I knew as soon as I went to bed that today would be here and my few precious, peaceful hours of childlessness would soon be over. So I stayed awake way too late playing Super Mario Brothers 2 on my Gameboy. Yes, I’m a twelve-year-old boy.

And now here I am, at 6:50 am, and I’ve been awake for an hour. Doing nothing. I originally got up to start the dishwasher and take a shower, but I’ve been messing with the food blog, reading the “paper,” yada yada yada. Because it’s more time that I can be awake without my children.

I know how bad that sounds. So bad. And I love them so much and last night Clark and I had a little talk where he broke down and told me he was being so naughty because he didn’t want to grow up and which point I broke down because I don’t want him to grow up, either. But those few, precious hours where I can reclaim some semblance of myself? Yeah…those I give up sleep for.

>This is What I’m Up Against…

15 Dec

>Today while waiting in line at the Kroger pharmacy for Meredith’s ear infection antibiotic (yay!) and controlled-substance cough syrup (double yay!), her My Little Pony fell out of the shopping cart. A nice lady in line behind us asked if the pony belonged to us and I thanked her, picked it up, and said, “Oh, I must’ve dropped it.” At which point, Clark sighed and said, “Why am I NOT surprised?” Funny now…we’ll see how I feel about it in another ten years.

On a completely unrelated note, I have a huge favor to ask all of you who have us listed on your blogs or websites. We live in a scary, scary world and I worry about striking that right balance of putting myself out there and maintaining our privacy. If any of you have us listed with our last name on your blogs, could you please remove it? Thanks a bunch!

>A Little Pick-Me-Up

11 Dec

>A few days ago, my sister sent me this truly and hilariously awful music video from the ’70s:

Which reminded me of my a video my funny, favorite friend Lisa sent me about a year ago…

Yeah, this is pretty much 8 minutes of your life that you’re never going to get back, but they will be 8 HILARIOUS minutes…

>Amazing Race Spoiler!

9 Dec

>

I mean, it’s been a good day since The Amazing Race finale aired, so hopefully I’m not spoiling it for too many people…but…

When Nick and Starr crossed the finish line in first place and started hugging, did anyone else half expect them to start making out? Don’t get me wrong, I was rooting for them to win and they COMPLETELY deserved it, but…they were awfully affectionate for being brother and sister. Sorry, Dan, if we were to ever run The Amazing Race together, I’m not snuggling with you in the cab and I probably wouldn’t hold your hand, either. Not that that would make a whole lot of sense, seeing as how you’re a good foot taller than I am.

>The Devil Dog Saga Continues…

8 Dec

>Um, yeah…Devil Dog has procreated. Not that I’m terribly shocked–if her owners can’t be responsible enough to, say, tag it and keep it on their property, of course they’re not going to neuter it. So now there are a bunch of Mini Devil Dogs wandering the neighborhood, little tagless puppies. At least they were on Saturday. Currently, they are locked in the neighbors’ backyard, crying. I’ve been listening to crying, yipping puppies all day.

Honestly, I’m tempted to call somebody; their dogs (there are actually a few mean fully-grown dogs), especially the yellow lab, didn’t become nasty, mean animals on their own, so who knows how those puppies are being treated. The lovely thing is that the puppies look older than you see them being sold, so they’re probably here for keeps. Get. Me. Out. Of. This. Neighborhood.

>Happy Birthday to ME!

4 Dec

>I promise, I’m not so dorky or desperate to wish myself a happy birthday. I just have to relate the events that made it one of the most awesome birthdays ever!!

–On Monday, I suddenly got a sore throat. Tuesday was spent in our pajamas watching Enchanted and eating popcorn because I had a massive sinus headache. Yesterday the sinus…flow started. I haven’t had a sinus infection since I had my tonsils out 5 years ago, so naturally, I’d get one just in time for my birthday.

–Remember the cell phone drama from a few months ago? Well, yesterday morning, my new cell phone decided to stop working. Thinking, “Walmart [where I got my free phone] is a reasonable place, I have all my documentation, they should be able to help me!”

Not true.

Kate: Hi, I renewed my contract here at the beginning of September and got my phone from you guys. It’s stopped working and I was wondering if there was anything you could do to help me.

Lady: When’d you buy that thing?

Kate: September 5th.

Lady: Where’s your receipt?

Kate: It was a free upgrade; I didn’t get one.

Lady: You did so because it was ME! It’s stapled to your contract.

Kate: [holding up contract WITHOUT a receipt stapled to it]: This contract?

Lady: Where’s that receipt?

Kate: I never got one. There isn’t even a staple mark.

Lady: It doesn’t matter. You had 30 days. You should’ve bought insurance.

I should’ve bought insurance so I could pay $5 bucks a month and then pay another $150 deductible when my phone dies? No, thanks, I’ll just get an unlocked phone on E-bay until I’m eligible for an upgrade.

–After returning home from Walmart, I called AT&T. They were significantly more helfpul yesterday than they were during the whole “8 button not working” fiasco of September. They are sending me a replacement phone and I’m just hoping to high heaven they don’t find anything wrong with my phone. However, I’m optimistic considering when I googled “Palm Centro dead,” I found many, many people with the exact same problem I had. On the other hand, I’m pessimistic that I’ll be receiving another Palm Centro; I can’t wait for it to die again in another couple of months, especially when it’s no longer under warranty.

–When Sam came home (super-stressed) from work, we decided to grab something to eat. Unless you’re a huge fan of regional cuisine, there isn’t much to eat here and we decided to pick up a pizza. However, we needed to pick up some diapers first (seriously, could the day get any more exciting?!) and when we got there, Clark had fallen asleep. Which never happens. We got the diapers, we got the pizza, we almost got home when Clark started crying and saying, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” I turned around and he had puked all over his carseat. Sam does not handle vomit well, so I ended up cleaning his carseat. As a birthday present to myself, I threw out the towels I used to clean up instead of washing them.

Aren’t birthdays as adults awesome??

Lest you think my 28th birthday was all doom and gloom, we had an awesome weekend together and Sam bought me a pair of sapphire earrings to match the sapphire pendant he got me for our anniversary.

>Random December

1 Dec

>So I’ve had a lot of things rattling around in my brain lately, which usually means it’s time for another random post! Here’s what’s been keeping me up at night…

–I’ve officially broken up with Grey’s Anatomy. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time and really, when the episodes sit on my DVR for weeks on end without me watching them and then feeling GUILTY about not watching a GUILTY PLEASURE, well, that should’ve been the sure sign of the beast. Denny back from the dead was just too much for my cynical brain.

–On one of the local Kentucky Fried Chickens, the marquee reads, “Potpies” and on the next line “Livers.” I honestly didn’t know people went to a fast food restaurant for livers. I have no idea how they’re served. You may want further details, I don’t really want to know a whole lot more, so I’m afraid I’m a dead end.

–This is going to sound a little crazy…but sometimes I wonder if all my friends and family who don’t live here actually believe that I live in Louisiana. Like maybe it’s some kind of elaborate ruse–maybe I have an address in Louisiana that’s forwarded to my other address in, say, Toledo. And that’s why I haven’t changed my cell phone number. Or our Utah license plates. Maybe I’m actually the one who’s in denial about living here…

–We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our wonderful Louisiana (Toledo?) friends. I got drunk on turkey for the first time ever. Oh, and as we were sitting at dinner, two people had left the table and Clark, very concerned, looked around and then said, “Hey! We’re missing two customers!”

–Devil dog is back. I had a slight out-of-body experience the other night when I stood on the porch, shook my fist (I’m not kidding), and yelled, “SHUT UP!” in my shrillest voice. Don’t think it didn’t cross my mind to lace the turkey carcass with some rat poison and leave it in my garbage can because that damn dog has dug through my garbage for a whole lot less. My only hesitation was the realization that the Devil Dog’s owner (Satan?) might show up on my porch with a shotgun.

–Along those lines, I’m about 90% convinced that if I don’t drive to the liking of the dude in the truck next to me, he’s likely to whip out his hunting rifle. I’m slightly terrified of the redneck types here.

–Speaking of the redneck types, Sam, in an attempt to go home teaching a few weeks ago, found himself being interrogated by a group of the Twin Bridges Trailer Park’s finest. Think along the lines of My Name is Earl. Turns out one of the questioners was one of his home teachees. Nice. He said he’s never going back at night again and possibly not during the day, either.

–EDITED TO ADD: Sam just hit and killed a skunk. He couldn’t have run over a squirrel or an armadillo or a devil dog, no–it has to be the stinkiest animal on earth which, in exchange for its sudden death, sprayed our car with skunk stink.

–EDITED *AGAIN* TO ADD: I discovered that the TV channel that plays Chistmas music nonstop (“Sounds of the Season: Holiday Music” to be exact) is exactly one channel away from the Playboy channel and within spitting distance of the remaining dirty channels (like if I’m on the menu that shows me what’s on each channel, I can see ALL the forthcoming quality programming). While we don’t have these channels, I did, for the sake of my blog, skim through some of the titles. I have to say that porno titles are inifinitely more clever on TV shows and movies. Seriously, some of them sounded more like anatomy lessons than “Buffay the Vampire Layer.”

I think that’s it! Don’t worry, if there’s anything I’ve forgotten, I’ll be sure and update my list. I know you’re all anxiously waiting…