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>Mardi Gras!

19 Feb

>You may be saying, “Hey, Kate, aren’t you closing on a house in 4 days? Shouldn’t you be packing and not updating the blog that’s lucky to get two updates a month TWICE in one night?” Yes, I should. At the prospect of packing, I have suddenly been bitten by the blogging bug. Go figure.

On Saturday, we went to the local Mardi Gras parade. It was really cold, I won’t lie, and as we were standing there, waiting for the parade to start, Sam informed me that I would be repaying everyone for the rest of the day. Luckily, we ALL ended up having a great time, even Captain Party Pooper.

Afterwards, we went to our new house where a friend from church who’s a contractor came and checked out a few things for us (since 2 electricians and 2 roofers didn’t show up last week). Then we came home and watched E.T. (because Clark’s preschool teacher, who was on a float, threw Meredith a stuffed E.T. and we had to show her that he wasn’t terrifying). We didn’t think she was paying attention, but in the final moments, as E.T.’s ship was flying out of the sky, Meredith burst into hysterical, inconsolable tears.

It was cold. Clark was not super keen on being at the parade at all.

Also not super keen about touching his sister in a way that didn’t involve hitting, poking, or otherwise provoking.

Meredith was loving it.

Clark was not.
“Wave at me? I’ll wave back!” I think she thought the parade was for her. In exchange for her cuteness and enthusiasm, we got LOTS of good stuff this year and no one had to expose their breasts.

Not the Burger King. But I see the resemblance.

This float was surprisingly withholding. We did get a black plastic cup from them, though.

This float, on the other hand, threw us more than we knew what to do with. Dancing alligators must inspire good will or something, but we got, like, three stuffed animals and a whole bunch of Moon Pies. Too bad we all discovered we don’t like Moon Pies. It did not stop us from yelling for them. “Banana Moon Pie!!! Over here!!!”

After the Twinkie float came through, Sam said we could go. I also don’t like Twinkies, but we got some…

We’re just packing. Cleaning. De-junking. It’s therapeutic and exhausting and I wish Monday would just be here and all my boxes would be packed.

>House Hunters

19 Jan

>

So around Christmas, I got this bee in my bonnet that we needed to buy a house. To say that I’ve been scared of buying a house up until this point would be the understatement of the century–the very thought of it literally made me panicky. But one day, it’s like a light bulb switched on and we were just ready (although it didn’t hurt that Sam found out we’re going to be here for at least another 3 years). So we started house hunting. And obsessing. I swear we saw everything in our price range. We fell in love with a house only to discover the second time around that it needed a LOT more work than we were willing to put into it (and the fact that when you tell someone to turn right at the Dominoes Pizza, 2nd house past the old apartment complex, that you could probably be living in a nicer neighborhood). Knowing we couldn’t make it work in spite of the fact that the outside of the house was awesome, we very sadly and frustratedly moved on.
We found another two houses that we really liked. I made my pro-con list. Sam did not agree with my methods and made his own pro-con list. There was some yelling about whose pro-con list was better. But what it all came down to was this. How could you say no to this master bedroom??

One of our contingencies is that the ducks stay. And yes, that is a camo comforter with pink John Deere throw blanket.

Justkiddingjustkiddingjustkidding (said like Kristen Wiig). We actually did really like that house, but we liked this house better. And made an offer on it today.

It’s way bigger than it looks from the outside and I love the neighborhood, PLUS it’s super close to the Expressway which, for those of you not from here, is GOLDEN because probably my #1 gripe about this place and finding a place to live is that everything is SO spread out and unless you’re near one of the few main roads, it can be a major pain to get anywhere. The kitchen sold us–it’s huge and ALMOST has more custom cabinets than I know what to do with. Also, I’d have 2, count ’em, 2 ovens AND fridges. Be. Still. My. Heart. Pretty much the whole house has to be painted, the bathrooms HAVE to be gutted, and the backyard needs some (a lot of) work, too, but it’s all good old-fashioned elbow greasy fun, not ripping down walls and rearranging rooms, you know?

Anyway, our offer was on the low side, and I’m sure they’ll counter, but our fingers are crossed that it’ll all go through! Here’s hoping! 🙂

>Halloween and More!

10 Nov

>So I just had the following conversation with someone from the Louisiana Department of Health:

Interviewer: Do you currently live at the address that is served by this phone number?
Kate: Yes.
Interviewer: And are you male or female? [because I’m always being accused of having an androgynous-sounding voice]
Kate: Female.
Interviewer: And how many people over the age of 18 live at this address?
Kate: Two.
Interviewer: And how many of them are male?
Kate: One.
Interviewer: And how many of them are female?
Kate: Uh, one.
Okay, is it just me, or are there some math and/or deductive reasoning skills seriously missing here?

In other news, this month has been crazy. I’m not exactly sure where October went, but somehow, we just kind of went from September to November! After the hell that was Halloween, I decided to scale WAAAAAY back on the rest of the holidays, or at least as much as we can, because by the end, no one was having fun at all the “fun” stuff we were doing because I was NOT being nice! However, they looked pretty darn cute in their costumes:

Also, I recently bought a gallon of milk at Sam’s club that was expired by a week and a half. Then today, I came home with a loaf of bread from Walmart, thought it felt a little stale, started spreading peanut butter on it, noticed some mold, checked, the expiration date, and it expired on October 15. It is November 10! I mean, REALLY? I always say I’m going to quit Walmart, but I just can’t do it.
OH! And a few weeks ago, I was at Walmart and had this conversation with the lady in the fabric section:
Kate: I’d like 6 inches of this fabric.
Walmart Lady: [Not cutting, but looking at me accusingly] What do you need it for?
Kate: A Halloween costume.
Walmart Lady: [Still not cutting] What are you making?
Kate: Cat ears.
Walmart Lady: For who?
Kate: My daughter.
Walmart Lady: How old is she?
Kate: Two.
Walmart Lady: Is it just the ears, or is it for a tail, too?
Kate: Just the ears, although if I have time, I might make a tail, too. She’s going to be Hello Kitty.
Walmart Lady: Hellooooooo, Kitty! Me-OW!
So if that wasn’t weird enough, I was looking for a replacement needle for my sewing machine a few minutes later and heard her having this conversation with a boy who was about 12:
Boy: I need some string.
Walmart Lady: [Accusingly] Why?
Boy: I need it to tie something up?
Walmart Lady: What?
Boy: I dunno…just something..
Walmart Lady: [Still very accusingly, especially when discussing string with a pre-pubescent boy in a Catholic school uniform]: What are you going to tie up? A package? A hand? A CHICKEN??
I then had to leave so I could write down their conversation and post it on the blog before I forgot what they said…

>Lady, From the Moment I Saw You…

21 Aug

>So the kids and I went to Sam’s Club to get milk and cheese today and the Inner Blogging Voice was just screaming at me the whole time! I’m very pleased to announce that our Sam’s Club is being remodeled and now, sometimes I actually think I’m at Costco. In fact, the other day, Sam asked if we should get gas at Costco (he meant Sam’s Club) or Safeway (Kroger). There’s not a Costco or a Safeway here in Louisiana. I’m not sure if this was a good or bad indicator of his current state of mind… 🙂

Anyway, we were checking out and our cashier was a lovely woman named Ms. Cherelle. How did I know this? Because “Ms. Cherelle” was tattooed across her chest. I really, really would have loved to have taken a picture, but there’s just no good way to ask the sassy black lady if I can take a picture of her ample bosoms.

After we checked out, Meredith announced she had to go potty, so we went and waited in line for the family bathroom which has a cute little Meredith-sized toilet. We waited and waited. The person in there flushed and flushed. There was a Sam’s Club employee waiting in line ahead of us and Clark was charming her (as he always does) and she said, “Oh, you’re cute!” He paused for a second and then said, “I AM cute, huh?”

After waiting for a long time, we just opted for the regular bathroom. Meredith sat on the potty for about 2 seconds and then said, “I’m done!” I was not super happy about that. She then requested to have another look at the “Sleepy Doodie” dress-up kit.

My unhappiness at Meredith’s unsuccessful potty trip was mitigated by seeing a man in a red long-sleeved Henley (bear in mind that this is one of the muggiest days I’ve EVER experienced in Louisiana!), suspenders, wire-rimmed glasses, and the CRAZIEST white hair and long, bushy beard I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Both Clark and Meredith were freaking out–they really thought Santa was at Sam’s Club.

Now…for all you Scrubs fans. Remember Janitor and his girlfriend Lady?

Well, it’s a popular thing here for the schools to provide parents with window decals that have the school, symbol, and student’s name on them. These decals are placed in the rear windows of the parents’ vehicles.
Well, I got to my car and this car was parked next to mine:

Yes. You’re seeing that right. Someone named their baby girl “Lady” and now she goes to the hardest, most competitive public elementary school in the area. Go get ’em, Lady.

And finally…the pièce de résistance. This isn’t my picture–I actually stole it from the Facebook page of one of our former missionaries. But it’s too good not to share.

>Wild Kingdom

4 Aug

>For Family Home Evening last night, we went to Sears to get a water filter for our fridge water dispenser. Totally spiritual and uplifting, right? So anyway, apparently a few families of mosquitoes have decided our van makes a nice home and we were seriously eaten alive on our way there and back.

We survived the mosquitoes and were watching TV before we went to bed when we heard a scratching noise in the doorbell box. Yeah, apparently a giant cockroach found his way in there and couldn’t get back out again. It’s little antennaes were poking out of the holes. I wanted to kill myself.

And THEN Devil Dog has had puppies (again). And while they may be spawn of Satan, they’re very cute spawn of Satan and, in true Devil Dog fasion, they’re allowed to freely roam the neighborhood. Well, after being ravaged by mosquitoes and tormented by the trapped cockroach, I was reading before I went to sleep. I heard a little puppy yelping outside my window like it was in pain, so I threw on a pair of pajama pants and some flip flops so I could go rescue the puppy from the mutant armadillo or whatever was attacking it. By the time I got out there, the puppy was gone, but a SNAKE slithered across the walkway, seriously RIGHT in front of my feet, and into the grass. Shudder.

>Overheard in Hastings

23 May

>Last night after Sam came home from work, we went to dinner and then went to Hastings and Target (this is what we do for fun). I took the kids to the children’s section and there were two women chatting it up quite loudly (I really wasn’t planning on eavesdropping on their conversation, I promise!) The entire conversation was highly entertaining, but these gems were my favorite:

Documentaries

Woman #1: Do you ever watch documentaries?

Woman #2: Oh, I LOVE documentaries! My favorite is Ghost Hunters International, but Paranormal State is really good, too!


Family-Favorite Meat

Woman #1: My family lives on deer and chicken. If squirrels were fatter, we’d eat more of them because they’re so good, but my kids think they’re too much work. I have a whole bag of skinned squirrels with the heads still on them in the freezer right now!

Even after a year of living here, I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around the squirrel-eating…and I’ve eaten it!

>One of THOSE Moms

7 Mar

>Yes, it’s officially happened. You know how before you have kids, you see things people are doing with their kids and you tsk-tsked and thought, “I will never do that.”

Yeah, I ate my words yesterday.

I’ve determined that the DMV is the great equalizer; everyone has to go, so you always seem to have a very interesting mix of people there. I would dare say that being in Louisiana makes that mix even more interesting.

Recently, we had a massive pollen dump over our lovely area–like literally, our cars are yellow. My kids, especially Meredith, have not tolerated it well and there is a never-ending flow of nasal secretions at our house. So one would think, “SURELY Kate would have enough foresight to carry a box of tissues with her at all times.” Those of you who think that greatly misunderstand my ability to plan ahead for emergency trips to the DMV.

Anyway, yesterday morning was a gorgeous (albeit pollen-y) day. Sam was going to go to his morning meeting and then head to the DMV to register our Nissan in Louisiana, I was going to take a leisurely trip to Target after I dropped off Clark from school. As I was pulling into the Target parking lot, Sam called and told me he couln’t register the car until he had a Louisiana driver’s license and he couldn’t do that without his birth certificate. So his first round of waiting was all for naught and he was heading home for his certificate. I found new Sunday shoes for Meredith and the cutest little white sundress in the world (for her…not me…) for $11.99 and am heading home when Sam called again, telling me that because I’m the title holder on the Nissan, I have to be there, too. However, I also needed my birth certificate so I could get a Louisiana license so I could register the Nissan. This presented something of a problem because we determined last Friday, when Clark had to go get his 4-year immunizations, we couldn’t find the immunization records or birth certificates of myself and the children. We knew they were together, we just didn’t know where.

So Sam and I spent a LOVELY 45 minutes together ripping apart the office, trying to figure out where the birth certificates could be. It was a little tense and most likely my fault. Then he remembered that he had a box of stuff on his computer and it might be in there. DING DING DING! There they were. Out the door and back to the DMV, only to arrive JUST in time to leave again and pick up Clark from preschool. Sam took Meredith and I waited. While I waited, I listened to the following conversation:

Man 1: I hate the DMV.

Man 2: Yeah, me, too. I just got out of prison, so I have to renew all this stuff before it expires.

Man 1: Oh, yeah? I got out in 2005.

Man 2: Yeah, I just got out last month. What were you in for?

Man 1: Assault and battery. You?

Man 2: Attempted murder.

They then shared some very nice prison stories. I hope I never go there.

Sam returned with Clark and Meredith. Clark was not pleased and asked every 5 seconds if we could go home. Literally. “Can we go home? Can we go home? Can we go home?” Meredith, who was wearing one too-small black patent leather Sunday shoe (which I had brought as a size comparison on our shoe-shopping trip) and one white sandal that was a little too big, wanted to go through the door where they actually help you at the DMV. She was not pleased that this was not an option. We decided in order to placate the children, we would buy a bottle of Sprite from the pop machine and have them share it. Things I’d never do? 1) Let my kids wear 2 different shoes. 2) Let my kids drink soda. 3) Let my kids share drinks.

Meredith’s nose was now leaking an unbelievable amount of snot. I realized I had no tissues and that this was becoming a rather disgusting situation with the pop-sharing, so what did I do? I wiped her nose on her dress. I can’t even believe I just wrote that. Other things I would never do? 4) Let my kids have runny noses. 5) Let snot be wiped onto clothing.

Our number was finally called, I got my new license. The picture is just lovely; my eyes are half-closed, which gives my picture a nice Earl Hickey effect. Turns out we didn’t actually have the title, my dad, who originally bought the car, is currently in Alabama visiting my sister but not visiting me (and I doubt he has it or knows where it is, anyway), and so we still were not able to register the frakking car. We have to request a copy of the title from the State of Utah, and all we have to do is fill out a little form, but the little form is quite confusing and, naturally, the phone menu at the Utah DMV is completely automated with NO option of asking an actual human being a question. So we sent off the duplicate title request with a check for $6 and are hoping they can figure it out. Because there also wasn’t a place for your phone number where they could call you if, say, you filled out the form wrong.

As I was telling this tale to a member of our Bishopbric last night (who is also not from here), I was laughing that everyone else in the DMV must’ve been horrified by my mothering skills and he said, “Oh, no, I’m betting that you just fit right in!” Which is probably right…

>From the Newspaper…

10 Feb

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>Just in Case You Ever Wondered…

22 Jan

>This series of two back-to-back commercials perfectly illustrates the Louisiana experience…

Bear in mind this was airing in the 5:00 hour on ABC. Also, any commentary comes from the TV and not from me–I don’t say words like that. With all that in mind, you may want to wait until the kiddos are out of the room before you watch; it’s slightly risque…

http://www.dropshots.com/dropshots.swf?p=1&u=http://media8.dropshots.com/photos/401801/20090122/173231.flv&l=http://www.dropshots.com/pixiekate#date/2009-01-22/17:32:31&d=1
Photo SharingVideo SharingPhoto Printing

>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.