Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hard on a Mother's Heart

My son's closet had become stacked and stuffed with boxes and bags of baby toys and clothes too small for him. It was time. Oh, how I hate this task. But we have a garage sale in two weeks, friends who are about to have a baby boy, and a consignment sale at my son's school in six weeks or so. It had to be done.

So I started a stack of baby clothes for the garage sale, a stack for our friends, and a stack for the consignment sale. Oh yes, and I also started a stack of things which I will continue to horde, because I could not part with them. Some of these latter-stack items included the wildly expensive Strasburg Children outfits he has worn to church and such. So gorgeous, and so John-John. These were the kinds of things I used to fantasize about dressing a child in before I had a child. But some of this stack also included, to my surprise, some not-so-fine items with which I just could not part. There were some pajamas which immediately flooded my brain with images of my tiny son wearing them, smiling and laughing. It was almost as if I were trying to put part of him, part of my little boy's childhood, on a stack of things to be sold for $1 each in my yard. Perfect strangers would carry them away, unaware of the memories they held in their hands.

My eyes became moist. I started sniffing. Then I just full-out cried. Tears streaming, mouth open, like Nancy Kerrigan grabbing her knee and yelling, "Why?! Why?!" In my head, I would say things like, This is what he had on when he took his first steps. or This was a hand-me-down from my cousin and he wore it all last summer. or I remember when he used to wear this sweater to Mother's Morning Out. And the craziest one - This is what he wore the night we went to the emergency room. I certainly don't want to memorialize that, but it's part of our story, as a family. To give away his clothes makes me feel like I'm giving away part of our story. No one who picks them up for a $1 in my front yard could ever know that they hold a piece of Conrad history in their hands.

I wanted to put it ALL back in the closet. But I took a deep breath, said a prayer for strength and wisdom, and managed to clean out more than I kept. Oh, it's hard. And even I don't understand why I kept some of the random things I did. Even now, I'm tempted to go back into my garage sale bags and just make sure there's nothing else I need to keep . . .

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Anger Management

Last December, my family and I moved into a brand new, beautiful house. Kudos to my husband for providing us with such a lovely house in a great neighborhood. We had an empty field next to us on one side at the time, which I knew would eventually become filled with other houses. That time has come. It just so happens that the lot directly adjacent to us is one of the last to be finished. They are still framing the house next door, hammering as I type this. I am truly not bothered by the construction, as it is temporary, and means we will have new neighbors in a few months. What fun! I do love to take baked goods to new neighbors and pleasantly confuse them with old-school Southern hospitality. No one expects it in this day and age. My son actually enjoys the construction, what with power tools, cement mixers, cranes and other fun equipment that he can watch in use from the kitchen window.

But on Friday, some of the workers (Brazilian, I believe) decided it would be okay to store bathtubs in our side yard. There was plenty of room on the lot where they are building, but they decided our nice, green grass was a better place to put the bathtubs. I didn't like their decision. But I decided to wait and see what they did about it on Saturday. I spent the morning doing volunteer work in a vegetable garden being cultivated to feed needy folks with an outfit called Fields to Families. Very dirty, sweaty and rewarding work. Had a blast.

Now, it must be a cultural difference, which is why I mention the nationality of these workers, but apparently they believe there is nothing wrong with trespassing. When I returned from my volunteer work, someone had delivered enormous roof-shaped trusses to MY front lawn. "Well, if we run out of room here, we'll just put it on the neighbor's lawn." is what they must have thought. This is beyond me. They continued to walk back and forth in my yard, even using a powersaw and nailgun right next to the corner of my house. And, to make matters worse, one of the tubs had been propped against the side of my house. In a fit of rage while the workers were away at lunch, I stormed into my side yard and yanked the tub down onto the ground. I got a fiberglass splinter in my thumb, which I suppose serves me right.

Unfortunately, no amount of phone calling or indignation could move these items until Monday morning. My husband speaks Spanish, which is similar enough to Portugese, and managed to communicate a simple message to them early Monday morning. I believe it went something like, "This is my property. I want all this stuff off of it." It was all moved by mid-morning. It's a good thing my husband handled it, and not me. And it's a good thing I don't know how to cuss in Portugese.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hodge Podge Home Decor

I recently called on my innermost female instincts. I embarked upon a task so daunting, that few women will attempt it anymore. But it's in our blood, in our very chromosomes.

I made drapes for my bedroom. We moved into our brand new house about 8 or 9 months ago, and decorating has been painfully slow, what with chasing a 2 year old around, starting a new business (, joining Junior League, being sick multiple times, you name it. I made some headway about 2 weeks ago, though, when I took my carefully selected, beautiful bolt of fabric out of the closet and said, "Today is the day." Well, ended up being more like 3 or 4 days, but that's beside the point. The point is, I DID IT! I got on my mother's sewing machine, and with some instruction from her, I made drapes for our three bedroom windows. They even hang from the rod with tabs and all . . . and that took me an extra half a day, at least. But deep down within, I felt useful. I felt resourceful. I felt that I was joining a club of sorts, and doing something that trillions of women have done before me (not to say that men can't sew, too, but . . . ). I really felt like a WOMAN! HEAR ME ROAR! I MADE CURTAINS! And then, I even hung them up myself, using Hubby's drill to put up the rods. Hubby was duly impressed, particularly after I told him how many hundreds of dollars I saved us by sewing them myself.

Now what shall I tackle next? It's hard to say. But what's really bothering me right now is the river of tin foil cascading from the bunny ears in the living room. Yes, we are dinosaurs with no cable. Neither Hubby nor I had cable when we got married, still don't want it, still don't have it. Now that we live in the country, this means extra hoop-jumping just to get the regular channels. We still simply don't get ABC, which means no "Dancing with the Stars." So our tv, which was a lovely housewarming gift from brothers in law and sisters in law, hangs on the wall with wires a-dangling beneath and connected to rabbit ears, which sit atop a stereo speaker on the adjacent bookshelf. That's where the tin foil comes in, cascading from said bunny ears halfway down the shelves. Yeah, you might be a redneck if . . .