Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Baby Steps

"You know, if you really want to learn Spanish, I will help you."

"I know you will, and I want to. I think it is important."

"Okay, repeat after me 'que es esso.'"

"Kay s ESso."

"Think about your pronunciation, and say it softly. You know Spanish is a very romantic language."

"Was sprechst du?"

"Okay, that's German, not a very romantic language."

"It slips out sometimes. Okay, I'll be serious. Que es esso."

"Better, but you are not thinking about your pronunciation."

"Honey, if I think about the pronunciation my southern comes out. Ka-ay ESS ESSS-Oh."

"That's terrible."

"Are you making fun of me?"

"Never, just try saying it without thinking about it. Que es esso."

"Now you smooshed it all together so it sounds like queso. You can't go switching on me like that. I thought you were teaching me, "What is this?' and now you are talking about cheese?"


Monday, June 26, 2006


Many of you have been asking about the state of our home improvement. I am happy to share that the living room, for the most part, is done. I am on my way to have some prints framed. We are notorious for picking out printed art on vacation, with the good intention of having it as a framed reminder of our trips, but we just never get around to taking it to the framer. Today is the day for two prints to finally get put behind glass, or plexi, or whatever they are using these days.

The kitchen is still a disaster, and I suppress shudders and convulsions whenever I walk through it. I'll keep you posted if any member of this household or a guest electrocutes themselves from a light switch that lacks a face plate.

I need to give The Rev. his props for finishing off the living room. I have been going non-stop at work since my vacation, and I have the dirty laundry and the messy house to prove it. He has devoted his spare time to running errands, putting up the new curtains and the new curtain hardware, sanding, painting trim, and the like. He even bought a new night light for our bedroom because ours got eaten by the moving gnomes when we moved in to our house nearly 18 months ago.

I noticed this night light when I made my way to bed last night. Given the fact that it has been HOT here and we don't run our air, we keep as many lights off as possible to keep the house cool. It was dark when I made my way to bed, but I noticed the new nightlight and it was a beacon that made sure I didn't stub my toe on the way to the bed. I thought," Hmm, that night light has an interesting light pattern. Very modern. I'll have to ask him about it in the morning."

Morning came and I got myself out of bed to feed the cats and then I noticed IT. The unusual light pattern was coming from a nightlight in the shape of an AIRPLANE. Actually, HALF of an airplane so it looks like it is coming out of the wall. Yeah, that's realistic. The warm, fuzzy glow of light, guiding me to a sound night's rest was coming out of the cockpit and the propellers. For your information, the light coming out of the propellers is red.

The Rev. fessed up that he bought it because he though it was cool. I though about making him repeat, "I was a victiming of marketing." over and over, but I used my better judgement and just let it go. I also thought about reminding him of a milestone birthday that is coming up, but I used my better judgement and just let it go. Given that the front of the house reflects such a mature side of him, I might just let him keep that stupid nightlight. He offered to put it in the guest bedroom when my parents came, with the thought that my dad my appreciate it, but I assured him my mother wouldn't. Maybe I'll just get a Barbie nightlight to accompany the plane.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Not going to be fluent anytime soon

"What does feliz compleanos mean?"

"Happy Birthday."

"Oh. So what does verdes compleanos mean?"

"Green Birthday. Why do you ask?"

"Because I had a dream that you were telling me that verdes compleanos were the green condiments you put on your tostadas."

"You were having in dreams in Spanish?"

"Yeah, and isn't that a sign of fluency?"

"Um, you are not fluent."

"I know that, but the Spanish television you have on while I am trying to sleep is having a definite influence on me."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Getting back to work

Nate, Steph, and godchild left today. The Rev. and I both go back to work today. Vacation is officially over, but we still have work to do on the house. All that is left to do in the living room is caulk and touch up the trim, put down the baseboards and seal the grout. I won't dare say these will be one hour projects, because all of our projects turn into 6 day projects involving multiple trips to Home Depot and invoking the "No Scolding Rule." At least the floor is done, and I knew I was near my limit when a trowel broke and I used a kitchen spatula to spread the mortar on the backs of the tiles before handing them off to the Nate and The Rev. I considered it my contribution to shaving some money off of the remodeling budget. Of course, there is a law and it is called Murphy's, and The Rev. did have to make another trip to Home Depot this morning because he and Nate ran out of grout for the tile. I am glad I was not present.

When I really think about it, I must say a tremendous amount of work was done in 7 days. Wallpaper scraping, ceiling scraping, ceiling retexturing, trim, paint, carpet removal, and tile installation, not to mention the clean up that goes with every task. The living room looks great, and I have the pictures to prove it. Of course, I could post them, but that would be too easy. I want everyone to come out here and personally witness the stunning beauty that is my living room. Just not any time soon, because the kitchen is not finished and I need to save up some vacation days.

Friday, June 16, 2006

How I spent my summer vacation

I am on vacation this week, and instead of heading to some tropical locale south of the border and drinking some fruity drink with an umbrella embellishment, The Rev. and I (with much help) have finished demolishing the first two rooms of our house. The kitchen cabinets are still attached to the walls, but I keep whispering to him "Home Depot, 12 months, same as cash." in an attempt to shorten the amount of time that I will be sticking to my kitchen floor and washing dishes in the bathroom sink. He's not biting.

The Rev. knows that if it was just the two of us working on this project it would turn into a vacation that can be likened to one that stars Chevy Chase and is titled with the two words "National Lampoon's." I would also most likely have checked myself into a rest home after the 35th trip to Home Depot. A trip to Home Depot at our house is not like running to the store to pick up a gallon of milk. That would be way to easy. It's more like taking a shopping cart and going up and down every single aisle touching every single item and mumbling about the pros and cons of each object. And that doesn't even include a trip through the garden department.

The impetus for this project is because our two dearest friends in the world offered to take THEIR vacation and fly to San Diego to help us, with their daugther (our godchild) in tow. I once wrote that if you wanted to test a friendship, ask a friend to keep your cats for over a year. I have another one to add to that litmus, ask your friends to help you demolish your house and then put it back to together again. In less than 24 hours, we had the living room emptied, the popcorn scraped off of the ceiling, the carpet removed, and every stitch of trim ripped from the walls. We also scraped our vomitous floral wall paper off of the kitchen walls. You want an example of attention to detail? The previous owner wallpapered EVERYTHING, down to the air vents and the light switches. And she did it so that the wallpaper pattern was seamless across the entire wall. You want gross? Try scraping wallpaper from behind the stove. I'm surprised it didn't come off in one greasy sheet. However, there is something very emotionally satisfying about taking a shop-vac and sucking up every speck of detritus that crosses your path after you have reduced the room to a hollow shell.

Now, the living is empty and ready for paint. However, our sofa and chairs are in the dining room and every book, movie, cd, framed picture, knick-knack, and tchotcke are scattered in random piles across our house. I only clawed my neck in frustration once, and that was last night at 9:15 at Home Depot. We also have more company coming tomorrow, and we still have to paint the outside of the house and tile the living room floor.

I am very grateful for the company of Nate and Steph, because we all work together really well. Especially since there is a four month old infant in the picture. We take turns holding, feeding, burping, and getting puked on, which adds an interesting twist to scraping wallpaper. We also invoke the "No Scolding Rule" when we are together, which means no picking on your spouse, even if they talk to themselves at Home Depot. We also make sure there is a nice meal at the end of the day, a glass of wine, lots of laughther, and a bowl of ice cream while sitting in the hot tub.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am off to paint.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Contrary to popular belief, he does read my posts

I usually let The Rev. read all of my posts before I post them, and once he reads them he usually never comments on them again. Yesterday afternoon we were driving home from a graduation party and out of the blue The Rev. says, "You know, I was just thinking about your last post. I think we have made some pretty good memories with family and friends at our half a house just off the Interstate."

"Isn't life about progress?"


"So which is better, a whole house on the interstate or a half a house just off the interstate?"

What do you think?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Where do I even begin?

The Rev. and I celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary today. Marriage. Holy Matrimony. Wedded Bliss.

I cannot believe it has been seven years. Seven years ago The Rev., wearing black cowboy boots, gently took my proffered arm from my father and guided me to the altar where I proceeded to interrupt his father during the exchange of our vows, much to the bemusement of the congregation. We keep the wedding video fast forwarded to that very moment and then we skip to the reception where my brother congratulates me on bringing the humor to the ceremony. Priceless, I know.

It would be so easy to look back on the past seven years and focus on the petty arguments:

"You don't listen to me."


Or the discussions about potential moves in the ministry:

"I have a call to serve a congregation in Wisconsin."

"I'm not moving to Wisconsin."

"What if I said the Holy Spirit wants us in Wisconsin?"

"I hate it when you do that."

Or I could write buckets about the trials and challenges of being a pastor's wife, like when The Rev. left at 6:00 in the evening to make a visit and still wasn't home at 9:00 and wouldn't answer his cell phone and at midnight I called the police because I was CERTAIN he was dead in a ditch somewhere. And then, the policeman comes to the house and The Rev. arrives shortly after and I am SO MAD that the officer offers to stay so he won't get called back on a domestic disturbance call and then Rev. LAUGHS at me when I start to cry because I am so happy he is ALIVE and NOT dead in a ditch and he says, "I didn't know you cared that much." Um, HELLO? Why did I marry you in the first place?

No, it would be much too easy to focus on all the negatives. I think seven years is worth celebrating, especially in this day and age, when most of the weddings I have attended have ended in divorce and a friend once called and asked me if everything was okay in my marriage because the year Rev. and I got married she was in five other weddings and the couples were all in the middle of divorce proceedings. A scary percentage, indeed.

I can say a prayer of thanksgiving that the good has far outweighed the bad these past seven years, and that the Dear Lord has blessed us both in spite of pet sins that we all too often rub the other's face in. No, these past seven years have been good years:

--The Rev., after microsurgery on his vocal chords and six weeks of strict voice rest, delivered a beautiful sermon for his father's installation at a new church.
--Traveling together overseas, but also within the United States and realizing that we have so much more to see and we want to see all of it with each other.
--The numerous family meals that took place in the little parsonage on the interstate and even though both sides of our family were crammed in like sardines, we still enjoyed each other's fellowship, and the fried turkey.
--Bringing home our beagle puppy the day after Thanksgiving the first year we were married. She is still with us and is so closely interwoven in the fabric of our everyday existence we would be lost without her howl.

There is so much more for which I can be thankful, but most of all, I am thankful that I am married to a beautiful Christian man who takes to heart leading by serving. He makes me want to be a better person (although there are days I am sure he is confused) and I am so thankful that I can spend the rest of my life with him.

Happy Anniversary.

Friday, June 09, 2006

What was that expression about cats and women?

"I have a name picked out for my new kitten."

"Kitten? What new kitten?"

"The one I'm getting from Sharon's daughter in a few weeks."

"I give up. What are you going to name her?



"Yeah, as in Emmylou Harris."

"In three days she will be renamed Lulu."


"Yeah, EmmyLOU will be shortened to Lulu, as in 'Lulu kitty.'"

"Oh yeah, you're right. You know me so well."

"No, I don't think I will ever figure you out."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tito of my imagination

I have been receiving many questions about the status of negotiations with The Rev. concerning the procural of a chihuaha named Tito. Negotiations are at a standstill because most of the people we have talked have discouraged us from getting a chihuaha. Many of them are former chihuaha owners, perhaps due to our close proximity to a foreign country where said dogs originate, and a few are current chihuaha owners and have told us, "Don't do it." A chihuaha is a tempermental dog and given that I am a tempermental human being, given to barking and nipping, there is only enough room in our house for one barker and nipper, me. Back to the drawing board we go and we will let you know when an adoption takes place. For now, The Rev. is breathing a sigh of relief and probably rubbing his hands in glee because he has a great example to use in his sermon about how God really does answers prayers.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

35 Years

My parents wedding anniversary is today. Thirty five years ago a 21 year old girl in a homemade wedding dress said yes to a 21 year old boy in a ridiculous tuxedo. I have seen the pictures, and I am not sure I could have exchanged vows with The Rev. if I saw him in ruffles and baby blue at the altar. My mother is a much bigger person than I am.

Most of my friends have come from homes broken by divorce. My brother has friends numbered in there also. Our house was the sanctuary, the place where everyone wanted to be, and I know it was because of my parents. I have many friends who live on the opposite side of the country, and our conversations, once we have forged past what is going in my life and theirs, invariably turns to how my parents are doing. They want to know and I share with them. I know as the years progress conversations will turn more towards my parent's health and my need to go and visit them, rather than their traveling and enjoying the years of the empty nest. But for right now I want to think about them as they are right now, enjoying their anniversary meal at a nice restaurant and toasting each other for 35 years of love, companionship, comfort.

Considering that there is much hoopla about a certain movie about the spawn of Satan opening today, I don't think many people will be thinking about congratulating a couple for making it through 35 years of childrearing, umemployment, cross country moves, and financial chaos. Most people get divorced over one of these entrees in the buffet of life, but the parents, being the people they are, have lived to tell the tale. They have the battle scars to prove it, but I am not suggesting you ask them about any of the aforementioned. If you do, make sure it is after a few margaritas and then pour some scotch. Their marriage, although not perfect, has been an example to me of Christian love and forgiveness. It's a lesson I remind myself of on a daily basis.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Redneck Sushi

I believe you can learn much about a person's personality, history, and preferences by what they choose to eat. That stated, I guess you could say I am having a bit of an identity crisis because I think that Popeye's Famous Fried Chicken would be right at home on a serving tray with a fresh Greek salad and some steamed asparagus with creme brulee for dessert. Homemade creme brulee, made extra special delicious from the dozen egg yolks and the heavy whipping cream, not a jello pudding cup spooned into a buttered ramekin with a sugared top crisped from a kitchen torch. I saw that on a cooking show once. The "cook" LICKED the aluminum foil lid before he spooned the mayo look alike into his serving cup of choice. SACRILEGE. And I know Julia Child was spinning in her grave at that one. I don't make creme brulee often, but I do recall a dinner when a certain Vicar from the SOUTH came to dinner at our house and I served him creme brulee for dessert. And I torched it in front of him. As far as I know, he still talks about the time I set his food on fire. I can also recall a time when my brother brought home a girlfriend who liked "the pudding." I could have served her the JELLO pudding cup and she would not have known the difference. Know your audience, people, know your audience.

Today, a church member dropped off some fresh yellowtail tuna he caught this weekend. He gave us a long strip of the belly for sashimi and four steaks. We didn't bother with rice or vegetables, instead, we just wrapped pieces of the tuna in bits of seaweed, dipped it into soy sauce and shoveled it in. You don't want that stuff sitting out at room temperature too long. I added a little avocado to mine, but The Rev. was happy to eat the fish straight off of the cutting board. One of our cats went absolutely nuts from the smell (which, because it was fresh, I couldn't smell, but you know animals...), and he was treated to a few scraps. He kept licking his chops and coming back for more. I offered a bit to the other cat, but he refused. He only eats junk food cat treats, and in keeping with a certain munchie stereotype, only after he has eaten catnip and has rolled around outside for a bit.

So tonight I quelled my inner food snob and didn't worry about not having wasabi or having the right tea brewed to accompany the tuna. I stood in my half demolished kitchen, ate standing up (but not over the sink), and shared a meal with my family. I did use chopsticks. Some things just don't change.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Talks, both spiritual and not

Last night was 8th grade graduation. It made me think of my 8th grade year and the memories caused me to say my prayers of thanksgiving. That year of bad skin, bad perm, and poor clothing choices are way behind me. I also said a prayer for the graduates. I watch television. I see what is walking around the mall. I listen to what is on the radio. They have four hard years ahead of them, and I pray they stay on a path paved with godly and parental guidance. They are going to need it.

I also got to visit with THE VICAR FROM THE NORTH, who came down and preached the graduation sermonette. Right after church he asked me if I thought it had been short enought. The mere fact that it was called a sermonette in the bulletin would infer that it was going to be a short one, but I assured him that I was not timing him and that he preached a good message. Law? Check. Gospel? Check. Words of encouragement and a charge to lead by example? Check and check. Need to keep my mouth shut about giving The Rev. grief for preaching three part sermons? Check.

After the service The Vic asked me about my plans to get a chihuaha named Tito. I had forgotten than The Vicar's Wife (hi!) reads this blog and so a long discussion ensued about my grief for Minnie Pearl and how I wanted to get a small dog to replace her. I explained to The Vic. that our two cats were really all-purpose, utilitarian cats, good for hunting and gathering, and that our dog was really Aaron's. I needed something cuddly, and a small dog or another kitten would fit the bill. The Vic. agreed and The Rev. immediately protested by acting like it was the betrayal of some brotherhood. It probably was, but like I said before, The Rev.'s response of "We are not getting another animal." is only the opening lines to negotiations.

By the time we got home, he had relented and we even looked at pictures of dogs and cats at the humane society. I want a small dog; he wants a big one. I want a small cat; he thinks all kittens look like bug-eyed space aliens. The Vic., I am sure, was enjoying all of this, but I also know The Vic.'s wife, and I am sure the conversation we had over dinner sounded eerily familiar to him. He protested about not wanting a dog and the one they got is absolutely adorable. I referred both The. Rev. and The. Vic. to a line I just read in a magazine about a man who offers to train women. "You can train women to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants." They both had to agree.