Our First Snowstorm

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Storm would be an exaggeration. It did screw up traffic this morning and caused SeaTac to cancel 20 some odd flights. A light snow/rain mixture can wreak havoc in a state unprepared to deal with snow. Darn black ice is the biggest culprit.

School was not canceled or even delayed, much to Gwen’s dismay. She wanted to stay home and throw snowballs and, of course, build a life-sized snowman! Parker was jealous of Heath and me. He said we were lucky enough to not have to go anywhere. We could stay home sitting in front of the fire watching the snow fall while the kids had to go to school all day long, walking to and from the bus stop in the snow, uphill both ways. I know. Life is so hard when you’re 11.

We did not relax in front of a roaring fire (that requires one to actually stand up, cross the room, and flip a switch to ignite! Wow our lives are hard!). Heath pointed out to Parker that it’s not all fun and games when the kids go to school. He does have to work for a living. I had a full day myself. The good news is I finished the last pair of pajama shorts. I quickly wrapped them up with the t-shirts I bought and put the shiny package under the tree. Phew! One more present finished.

snow

The snow actually began yesterday morning. Heath and I were working on something I needed to print for church. Suddenly we could hear the rain pounding down as if the outside world stepped into a shower. We opened the blinds and saw happy sunshine with long lines of gray rain falling as if it was a scene from an old scratched up movie. A few seconds later it turned to pellet sized hail bouncing off any surface it hit. We ran downstairs to let the kids know it was hailing. They were beside themselves with excitement. The hail didn’t last long before it became sleety snow.

Realize the last time they really experienced snow was at Thanksgiving time in Utah at Grandma’s house when they were 6, 4, and 2 years old. Gwen cried. She “warmed up” to the idea of snow the next day when she was bundled up and could play in it. Seeing snow fall on a Sunday morning was bliss. Precipitation vacillated between sleet, misty rain, and fat snowflakes every few minutes.

Pockets of white accumulated in corners of the tarp in our backyard and on the east side of the rooftops. Most snowflakes immediately melted on contact. The ground was wet and that was it.

This morning started out dry. At least the sky wasn’t leaking. The ground was wet. About the time the boys left for school they said it was raining. That fine Seattle mist we have grown accustomed to. I told them to put their hoods up on their new winter coats. Parker took a couple steps and then pulled his hood off announcing it was actually snowing. The rain/snow mix continued all day.

Gwen was thrilled to walk to the bus stop with snow gently falling like glittery wishes at the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique. She had her ski coat on with knit gloves, a fuzzy hat, and matching scarf. She skipped out the door still under the impression she could find enough snow to scrape together into a snowball.

Heath and I enjoyed watching the snow fall without any of the consequences. Nothing accumulated on the ground but it sure did look pretty falling against a green forest background. We went out to the grocery store and had to laugh at ourselves for how cold we were. Apparently we lived in Northern California too long. We have become soft. I maintain there is a difference between a humid cold and a dry cold. Utah can have highs in the 20’s and it feels nothing like 40 degrees in California. The problem with California is it’s cold in the morning but you know the sun will come out and thaw everything out.

This week the highs are in the 30’s and there is no sun. It’s frickin freezing outside! Although the next two days are forecasted to be in the low 30’s with full sun but humidity levels are above 90% so it is bone chilling cold. At least I have that cozy fireplace I can switch on at will.

Like Riding a Bike

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One down, four more to go. I would have sewed the second pair of shorts as well but my day was such that once I was ready to pin and cut out the pattern, I was afraid the boys would walk in the door any minute! It’s a problem that I can’t remember when Fridays end.

I knew the first sewing project would take the longest while I remembered how to do everything. Being in a new house adds time because I have to figure out where to set up. I have to say that I love love love my kitchen island. It’s just as big as the tiled entryway or the big craft table I used to cut out patterns. B-u-u-u-u-t, the island is ever so much more comfortable. My back isn’t sore and my legs aren’t asleep. I have done a good job of keeping the kitchen island and table mostly free of unnecessary piles of stuff. Our last kitchen had no hope. The counter always had something permanently stored on it.

The other nice part of this house is that I can fit a table for the sewing machine and the ironing board in the same room. Heath was able to continue working without being crowded. I wasn’t crammed in some corner. I had enough space to comfortably work. We kept the door shut and told all the kids that I was working on Christmas so they couldn’t come in. I have cleaned up the “evidence” of what I was sewing and left everything else out. The shorts came together so nicely I would like to pound out the other pair soon and then get going on Gwen’s stuff. I may just get it all done before Christmas!

I have learned that sewing is like riding a bike. It doesn’t matter how long it has been, I still remember how to do it. I think I did a great job too.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

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The Christmas cards have been completed and delivered. It’s only been years since we have sent Christmas cards. Oh and our family will be impressed that we included school pictures. We buy the picture packets every year and every year we forget to send pictures. Usually because we don’t send cards because we’re lame like that.

Cards don’t happen unless they are a top priority. Otherwise the season passes. Over time we don’t receive as many cards because people give up on us. This year we thought it might be nice for people to at least know where we moved to. Some people probably didn’t even know we moved. Surprise! The decision to move happened quickly so no one should feel bad if they weren’t in the loop. Sending off a big, heavy stack of Christmas cards felt fantastic. And on December 1st no less!

Yesterday I went Christmas shopping with Dawn. Let me back up. As a family we went out last Saturday and split up to buy gifts. I had a mini meltdown in JoAnn’s and could not buy anything I needed. I was overwhelmed by fabric choices and people. So I called for reinforcements. Dawn, aka the Quintessential Crafting Queen, agreed to hold my hand through the process. I have enough fabric to make two dresses and one skirt for Gwen and two pairs of pajama shorts for Gavin.

Christmas is going to come super fast this year because I’m up to my eyeballs in sewing projects. All I did today was wash and dry the fabric. I did make dinner which I wasn’t sure was going to happen. Heath and I went to the post office and then found some lunch nearby.

trees

This was the view from our table. I love trees! Can you imagine what this place would look like in the spring or summer?

After lunch Heath decided to pop into a bookstore. Dangerous idea. We bought more Christmas presents for our kids, not on the list (the books not the kids!), and I got Olive the Other Reindeer. The other day I read Christmas books to Gwen and Parker while Heath and Gavin were at Scouts. I had a kid on either side of me and we read like ten books in a row. It warmed my heart. Theirs too, I think. Christmas books are so fun to read over and over again.

Meanwhile, Heath and I still needed to go grocery shopping for dinner tonight. We made quick work of the grocery store before our bladders exploded and now dinner is simmering in the crock pot. I wrapped the new gifts and folded the fabric before hiding it. Sewing will have to happen tomorrow somehow. That should be a trick since the kids get out early on Fridays.

Then I have to take the boys to the store to find them real winter coats since we may get snow sbig-fat-coatoon. Next week highs should be in the 30’s. Sweatshirts and lightweight rain jackets won’t keep the boys warm. They will be dry but not warm. Gwen will have to wear her big, fat ski coat. What was I thinking when I let her choose that coat in California? At least she has it now when it will be useful.

Gwen is hoping against hope for snow. Not because school will most likely be canceled. Not being able to go to school to see her friends would kill her! No, she wants to play in the snow. She has grand plans for sledding and building Gwenny sized snowmen up and down the street with the other neighborhood kids. In her mind, Northwest snow is dropped from the sky by the foot. Won’t she be surprised when there is barely enough to make a footprint!

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There is just so much excitement in the air. I love Christmas, the whole Christmas season! You know what sounds so good right now? Hot chocolate and caramel apple cider from Starbucks while we drive around looking at Christmas lights listening to Christmas CD’s. Ooh, or a sleigh ride! Driving around sipping hot holiday beverages from Starbucks is more likely. There’s a Starbucks just up the street. Santa and his sleigh are a little less local.

Freebies Should be Free

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Free of extra coordination, free of abnormally long waits, and free of crossed communication. Oh Lovesac, you are still not winning my respect.

Lovesac’s makeup call for the fiasco we went through trying to get a sactional was to give us a free drink holder and a free table. First we were asked which we preferred. I looked at the items online and decided I wasn’t interested in either. The drink holder is a block of wood that slips over the side of the couch with a hole in the center to keep your cup from spilling. Not on the top of my list of must haves. The table is a slab of wood that slips over a cushion. You can use it as a laptop desk or a breakfast in bed table. I think I said we would take the cup holder only because it’s small.

Then we got an email saying that both the cup holder and the table would ship together. Wow, thanks! The more I thought about the table the more I could see its advantages. The kids could use it as a desk for homework or to draw or whatever. It was free so I didn’t care if they distressed it. Unfortunately the items were going to take so long to ship I wondered how it was supposed to make up for the crappy experience we had already had with Lovesac. Oh well, I thought, we would pleasantly surprised when they came I guess.

Over a week ago I got a phone call out of the blue. It was a California number and it was ringing my home number. Before I could think that was strange I picked up. It was a Lovesac representative telling me that my freebies were delayed and it would take an additional 6-8 weeks before delivery. What would I like to do? Somehow I refrained from telling her where she could shove her freebies. As I hummed and hawed she said I could get them sooner if I chose another color.

Oh good heavens! It already took an email to the CEO for Lovesac to even offer free items I didn’t want. Now I was being given an ultimatum. I was this close to canceling the whole stupid “order.” Again, I’m not sure where this self restraint came from but I didn’t yell at her. I did have a displeased sound to my voice as I said that if I was to receive free items, I wanted them in the color I had chosen. I said something about them being free so why not wait some more. The lady tried to agree with me, like I had made the right choice. I hung up pretty well irritated. Heath was out of town so all I could do was vent my frustrations via angry text. Which he didn’t have time to reply to for a few hours. Grumble grumble.

I just could not believe that the 6-8 weeks we were told to wait for our freebies was extended another 6-8 weeks. Maybe we would be surprised with Lovesac extras for Christmas. That is unless they were delayed again. It just seems like companies shouldn’t offer things for free that they don’t even have in their inventory!

Of all the crazy twists to this already twisted story, Heath got an email last week saying that the shipment would arrive on Tuesday (today). We joked that the rep couldn’t read and really the order would be shipped in 6-8 days not 6-8 weeks!

Two very large boxes were dropped off on our front porch this afternoon. A neighbor had a package stolen from her front porch immediately after it was delivered. This happened a couple weeks ago. She warned the neighborhood with a post to our Facebook page. Another neighbor said she was going to ask that the delivery drivers actually ring the bell because they don’t.

Apparently some guy was in the neighborhood today acting very suspiciously. Another neighbor noticed and actually got his license plate number just in case. She texted me that I had a delivery on my front porch. That was so sweet of her except I had fallen asleep in front of a really dull Christmas movie and missed the text! Heath got an email saying the package was delivered so he brought it in. I woke up from my nap to see him struggling to get to the items safely stored in the middle of many cardboard boxes packaged together like Russian nesting dolls.

lovesac-boxes

Now we have to find a place for all this extra cardboard until next week when the recycling will be picked up. I find it very strange that recycling is picked up every other week. Way to encourage people to recycle. You know, by not picking up their recycling as often as the garbage.

lovesac-freebies

The table and cup holder are quite nice. I’m glad we finally got them. I’m glad they were free too because if we had to pay for this kind of run around I would be very put out!

My friend asked me this morning if I could recommend a place to buy new couches. I was very honest. I told her that we bought most of our furniture from La Z Boy in California and we were very happy with it. I told her that we bought one couch here from Lovesac. Then I told her about our obnoxious experience with the overpromising and lack of communication throughout the process, including the unnecessarily long wait times for delivery. I wasn’t necessarily trying to sway her … but I don’t think she will be giving Lovesac her business.

We Won Thanksgiving!

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You didn’t realize Thanksgiving was a contest? Apparently it is and we won!

thanksgiving-sous-vide

Preparations began days in advance. Heath’s new culinary device of choice is his sous vide. Someone asked if we were going to sous vide the turkey and the next thing I knew, Heath was researching how. He ordered a fresh turkey and asked for it to be parted out. He did not ask for the butcher to debone it so Heath cut out the ribs while I went into another room to keep from dry heaving. *shudder*

He brined and sous vide half the turkey – a breast and leg, and sous vide the other half. The first of the turkey took its hot water bath on Tuesday. The rest bathed on Wednesday. I think he vacuum sealed all the turkey on Monday which meant that was the last day he had to deal with raw meat. That was very cool.

We taste tested on Thursday and determined two things.

  1. The brined turkey had more flavor.
  2. While sous viding made the most tender and moist turkey ever (according to Kirk), it added so many extra steps that we may never do it again. Brining then roasting is just as delicious.

thanksgiving-dining-table

Setting the tables began early as well. I did the first bit of cleaning on Tuesday and finished cleaning on Wednesday followed by setting the dining room table. We had to buy extra plates for this occasion since we only have eleven plates. One plate must have died a very painful shattering death on the tile floor of our last house. With that in mind we bought nine square plates, just in case.

On Wednesday night we were taking a much needed break by watching some Macy’s Day Parade special. At about a quarter to 9:00 we heard the doorbell ring. Heath thought it might be the missionaries since we hadn’t invited anyone over. He was right. The sister missionaries have moved on to another ward and our ward gets elders again. It’s hard enough for me to have the sister missionaries drop by unannounced. Having the elders show up to introduce themselves was embarrassing.

We were all in our pajamas. I was in my Diet Coke pajama pants and my chest was unsupported. I hope they didn’t mind that I never stood up to shake their hands or even offer that they sit down and stay a while. Heath said they were so wet from the rain he didn’t want them on the carpet anyway! We chatted for a minute or two while I kept my arms firmly crossed in front of me. Good times! *sigh*

thanksgiving-square-table

Once the kids had eaten their breakfast in the morning, I set up this table. I could have done it sooner since all the kids stood at the counter to eat. They know what a perfectionist I can be and were just trying to help.

thanksgiving-table

We can easily accommodate twelve people for dinner. One extra person made us get creative. We set the square table for three and put up a folding table for two. Parker and I chose to sit at this table. There was good conversation between the three tables and two rooms. To the point that Heath didn’t turn the Sonos speaker back on until after dinner.

Dinner components were delegated out. Everyone showed up with their assigned dishes. We managed to warm up several things in the oven at once thanks to the convection baking feature. Dayleen’s mom was impressed. She said our kitchen was amazing. It really is! The center island was filled to nearly overflowing with yummy holiday fare. The most amazing part of the whole dinner was the fact that we started on time. Parker was telling me how hungry he was. I told him we would eat soon. When I looked at the clock I told him we still had five minutes before we said we would eat. At 1:00 on the dot dinner was ready and Melina was asked to offer the prayer. It does not get any more perfect than that!

thanksgiving-crafts

After dinner we had impromptu stations all over the house. The dining room was the crafting station where soap dispensers were turned into snowmen with the tag “We WASH you a merry Christmas!”

thanksgiving-games

Games were played at the kitchen table. Grandma said she was impressed with Gwen for how well she plays games that can be difficult to understand. Gwen loves her uncle Kirk and her cousins (that she used to call her sisters when she was 2). As long as they are involved Gwen will be there. Gavin did convince Kirk to toss the football around outside during a break in the rainstorm.

thanksgiving-grandpa

In the bonus room we took turns doing hot laps.

thanksgiving-breena

Breena was the most entertaining to watch. She is 12 years old and we are glad she won’t be driving a real car anytime soon! She wanted so badly to race as fast as she could that she didn’t want to be bothered with driving technique. She did everything full throttle. At one point she rolled her car twice. Amazingly enough her car wasn’t too damaged. Gwen rolled her car too but the windshield immediately cracked everywhere.

Grandpa took out lots of cones, Grandma seemed to enjoy hitting the tires, and Breena sped up for the tire tower which was really funny! Heath won with the fastest lap time. I think Kirk was in second place. Grandma was about 20 seconds faster than me. My mother in law can drive faster than me! Gwen was the slowest. Breena crashed into the wall so often she got really good at reversing.

It was a great Thanksgiving. I had big plans to set up the Christmas decorations after everyone went home. I was too tired so we watched Mr. Popper’s Penguins instead. The Christmas decorations are all up now. Just the trees need to be decorated. I don’t mind blank trees for a while. The kids are enjoying the blank tree in the front room because it’s the only way I will allow the colorful lights. Once the decorations go on the tree will only be on the white light setting, thank you very much!

We get our food like we get our math

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Gwen: This must be my third because 9 x 2 is 7.
Me: 9 x 2 is not 7!
Gwen: I mean 9 minus 2 is 7! I have multiplication on the brain.

Many more random numbers were thrown about with absolutely no rhyme or reason. It was entertaining but I’m with Heath. “Good thing it’s a free education! If I had to pay for that I would be mad.”

We had gone out to Burger King for dinner in order to keep the mess of food prep and cleanup as someone else’s responsibility. After all, we are not feeding 15 people tomorrow – on quadruple count it’s actually 13. For some reason Heath and I were under the assumption that we were hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 15. We didn’t realize our mistake until we tried to lay out the tables. Maybe you had to be there. We laughed. Maybe it’s not a public education problem as much as an unfortunate family trait. We can’t count!

Burger King was Parker’s idea and I lobbied hard for him to get his way. I thought it sounded really good compared to the alternative of going to a fancy restaurant for fancy overpriced burgers. I just wanted my go to comfort food.

Not that many years ago I would tell Heath to bring home dinner on the really stressful days. Something about the burgers and fries calmed me. The massive trough of Diet Coke I put my straw in may have had something to do with the calming effects too. I used to crave Burger King after Parker was born. The fries were fried in some sort of addictive chemical. They were soooo good!

Lately it’s been disappointing when we go out to cheap fast food places. Have my tastes really matured that much? I don’t know. All I know is that the produce here is limp, sad, and soggy. I’m ready to start asking for no tomatoes along with the rest of the picky members of my family because the tomatoes taste like they were fished from the dumpster out back.

Gavin had chosen not to join us for dinner. He had been playing Madden football for hours and couldn’t possibly step away from the hundredth game he was on. I thought Heath gave up on him too soon. I like that two of our kids are old enough to be left home alone to fend for themselves. I just don’t like that they choose to stay home when they don’t like what the rest of us want for dinner.

Heath was all love and logic about it. Parker and Gwen kept saying it was his loss. As I munched on lukewarm fries definitely not fried with any sort of addictive chemical, I couldn’t help but think he wasn’t missing much. My Diet Coke tasted weak and my tomato was described earlier. As soon as we were done, Heath got up and said he didn’t ever want to stay long anyway. I kind of agree. I have noticed that fast food joints tend to attract the kind of people you run into at government run establishments like the DMV. It didn’t use to be that way. Now I always feel oddly dressed up and out of place eating my lamp warmed meal.

Maybe it’s a Diet Coke thing. It used to be a special treat. Now we seem to buy it as often as we buy milk. And we buy a lot of milk. Gavin texted a request on his way home from school today.

Bring home three cans of diet soda
please

Since I had left my phone at home while Heath and I ran some errands I saw the please last and felt a little bad. Good thing nothing crazy had happened. I guess he needs the cans for his technology class. They are building boats or something and the teacher said that diet soda is less sticky than regular soda. Heath and I quickly drank a can each of Diet Coke. One more can to empty for our son’s education. I think we can handle it.

It’s possible I have become so accustomed to good Diet Coke, by drinking it canned and bottled, that I no longer like the weak stuff sold at fast food franchises. They put too much ice in it anyway.

On the way home tonight Gwen asked, “How does Bartell Drugs make enough money? They sell cheap stuff!” It’s hard to say what her definition of cheap is. Monetarily or quality wise? I know their Diet Coke bottles are good. If you are struggling with gift ideas for me, I would take a 6 pack of Diet Coke bottles under the tree. Maybe three, because 9 x 2 is 7.

Eager for the Season

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“Christmas shopping already?” The Albertson’s cashier was surprised we would do anything of the sort before Thanksgiving. I guess it is a little strange. I don’t normally go out of my way to shop so early. I can’t decide if I’m just excited or if there is another reason for this haste. For now, we’re going with I’m just that excited.

We just got back from tithing settlement with the Bishop. It is an annual event where members declare whether or not they are full tithe payers. There was another family waiting before us. When we went in the Bishop said we were the second family he has seen and he appreciated our willingness to come in early. Heath was just thrilled to no longer be in charge of the appointments. He figured the least we could do for the current executive secretary was to sign up and sign up early.

Last Sunday was the Primary program. There are no words to express the feeling of complete relief from having absolutely nothing to do with it! I don’t have to prep binders for the new year or put together countless lists of the same information in as many different ways as there were people asking for it. I get to actually enjoy December for the first time in years!

So yeah, that enthusiasm has come with early Christmas shopping. I was practically skipping through the grocery store afterwards because I realized we were about 80% of the way done. Before Thanksgiving!

I loved going on a date with Heath. We hang out together all the time. I used to feel like we were on dates when we would go out to lunch every time he worked from home. Now he works from home full time and we still go out every day. Even if we go to Safeway for the salad bar more often than not. There was just something special about going out after the game on Saturday.

We put Gavin in charge of making dinner so we could go out for dinner. That was probably my favorite part. We taught him how to warm up pizza in the oven so we could have Café Rio! It was awesome. I texted him to see how things were going. He replied that everything was fine but he wasn’t hungry because he had eaten so much pizza for lunch. They were finishing up their leftovers when we got home nearly four hours later. That was the other best part. We left our kids home for hours while we shopped for them. I love not having to pay for babysitters anymore.

I’m so excited about the stuff we got for the kids. Their little heads are going to explode. All that’s left is a few more online orders. We’ve got Christmas in the bag! We bought another Lego train. The kids were surprised about that since we already have one. At least we know where it is this year and should we lose it again, we have a spare! No, I think it will be cool to have two trains choo chooing around the tree. Heath imagined the kids causing many head on collisions. I don’t know how I feel about that but I can see them having fun with the double trains.

The whole Christmas season lies before us with endless possibilities. Stories will be read, cookies will be baked, lights will be enjoyed. Who knows, there may even be a family ice skating moment. The family that bruises together stays together right? All I know is I am so excited to soak in Christmas this year. All Grinches can take a long walk off a short pier. You ain’t ruining my Christmas this year! I’m going to have fun with my family and no one can stop me.

A Fortnight with the Bogeyman

The days have been long and silent. My companions are the voices in my head and the return of The Bogeyman.

Last week was the hard week, or at least it should have been. Heath left on Monday morning and came home Friday evening. That is a long time to do the whole parent thing alone, cooking dinner every night and worrying constantly. Somehow it wasn’t too bad. It was a long week, don’t get me wrong, but everything was fine. Yay me – I did it!

Heath was home long enough to have a busy weekend and a Monday in his office at the end of the hall. Tuesday morning he woke up at 4:00 am and was out the door 45 minutes later.

I had spent Monday night crying. Everything hurt. My worrier was sore. The week loomed ahead like an unsurmountable task. Why did I think the second week would be easier? Why hadn’t I anticipated the flood of emotion? And why oh why couldn’t the grocery store ever have Diet Coke bottles in stock?

Even Heath didn’t want to go. He hadn’t fully recovered from the jetlag of his last trip. His boss was the one who had set up this quick jaunt to San Francisco to meet with the rest of the team … and then she canceled. Heath wished he had canceled too.

Rain pounded outside. According to Wally Weatherman, there had been over half an inch of rain since midnight. By some miracle, Heath made it to the airport quickly despite all the puddles and accidents on the freeway.

The Bogeyman has not bothered me in years. He has been lurking around the edges of my mind lately. It started last week when the boys were at Scouts. I heard so much popping and cracking I swore someone was walking around upstairs. Gwen and I were downstairs talking with the sister missionaries who had dropped by. No one said anything about the unaccounted for footsteps upstairs. I decided it was just me.

A full week later I was home alone again. Heath had left me that morning and the kids were at school. I decided to soak in the tub while watching a movie and sipping a Diet Coke. Heath never could find a six pack of bottles so he bought me cans. As a pleasant surprise he bought me three 20 0z bottles, one for every day he would be gone this week. I was enjoying the first bottle.

Even though the TV was loud, I heard a sound that made my blood run cold. Who was unlocking the front door at 10 am? With my heart in my throat I paused my movie. I was well aware that my phone was sitting on the bed nowhere near me. There was no way to call for help. I was going to die. Naked in my bathtub, feet away from all the jewelry we had replaced after last December’s burglary. Awesome.

I heard the sound again. It was coming from outside. I listened harder. It was a bird. I never did hear Safety Sal announce that the front door had opened. No squealing alarm was triggered. The house was silent. With shaking hands I turned the movie back on and took a long swig of Diet Coke. I laughed at myself for my own jumpiness. Point for The Bogeyman.

Yesterday The Bogeyman returned for real. He didn’t do weird things I could easily pass off as my own overactive imagination. I set the alarm after sending Gwen out the door for school. I did my workout and showered. This time I did have my phone with me in the bathroom. My friend canceled my babysitting gig. Her kids were sick. Unfortunately I still needed to go to the grocery store. Heath is always sweet enough to buy me all the food I need to cook while he’s gone. He will fill my gas tank. He will do everything for me so I never have to leave the house. Now that the kids take the bus to school I literally do not have to drive anywhere.

Wednesday was the exception. It was a busy day full of inevitable driving. The grocery store was added to the list when Gwen announced she had earned lunch with her teacher and could she have a lunchable? Also Gavin said he needed a folder for one of his classes. Off to the store with me. I wasn’t nervous until I walked downstairs.

What I saw made my heart stop. I felt numb like I did last December when I walked into the house and realized something wasn’t right. Before I was even all the way downstairs I saw the absence of light on Safety Sal. The light is green when the alarm is not set and red when it is. If there is no light it means something is open. A door or a window.

I had set the alarm. I always do when I’m home alone. And nothing should be open. It’s freezing outside! I stared at that missing light for several seconds. Finally I touched it which pulled up the home screen. According to the home screen my house was armed and secure. There was no added announcement that anything was open. But why the missing light? I pulled up the videos and only saw the kids leaving for school. The only light I saw was the emergency contact button. I was tempted to touch it to call for help.

I didn’t figure it was necessary to call the police from the screen but maybe I could figure out how to call Vivint and ask why the hey howdy hey my alarm system seemed to be acting up. I could just imagine their response. “Everything is fine ma’am. We can’t tell why the light isn’t on.” Not exactly the words I want to hear when I’m home alone doing the temporary single parent thing.

The store still needed to happen and I wanted to get there before the kids came home from school. It took all my willpower to talk myself into going. All I could think of was how I had gone shopping one day thinking nothing of it and when I came home I walked into my worst nightmare. I remembered in vivid detail the eerily moving blinds and the shattered glass. I remembered that hellacious day.

Against my better judgment, I set the alarm. I didn’t do the silent setting either. I let it beep beep beep loudly while I forced my legs to walk to the garage and get into the van. Somehow I managed to keep my shaking to a manageable tremor and get the shopping done. I walked past the chilled 20 oz. bottles of Diet Coke and the tempting cookies near the bakery. They weren’t on the list. I bought only what was on the list and I hightailed it out of there.

I have been checking the lights on Safety Sal ever since. There has never been another instance (that I have seen) of the light not being on. It’s either green or red as expected. When I got home I popped a bag of popcorn, pulled out my bottle for the day, and put on another movie. It’s hard to want to be productive when you’re about to have a stroke from irrational fears.

I was jumpy all day and even admitted to the boys what happened. They agreed that was weird. Parker started talking about the Crazy Clown Craze from October. I guess he thought one scary story deserved another. Gavin didn’t tell me I was insane. I am but he’s nice enough not to say it. He did say that he is never afraid when he’s alone because he prays.

My evening meeting went from a 90 minute deal to a one on one 30 minute chat. It was nice to talk to the Relief Society president that way. I just felt bad that I had made plans for a friend to take Gwen to and from Activity Days. I could have taken Gwen to the church no problem and I could have even picked her up too. I got home from my meeting way before Gwen did. I was extremely grateful that I was home though. I did not want to leave my kids alone too long being as jumpy as I was.

The Bogeyman must have been satisfied with two days of scaring the pants off of me. Nothing happened today. The last day is the longest but also tends to be the easiest. I know Heath is in the air on his way home. He should land late enough he will miss traffic. I can’t wait to see him. I am seriously exhausted. It has been a long two weeks. Good news is I get to do it again in a couple of months!

The Mom of the Day Award Goes to …

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The house is clean, the cookies have not been made. At least Heath is finally home. It has been a long week while he’s been in Austin for a conference. At the same time, it has been a short week too. I have watched a lot of cheesy Christmas movies with wild abandon. I had to stop today and at least give off the impression that I’m a responsible adult. I wouldn’t want the kids to know that yesterday I popped a bag of popcorn for lunch to enjoy with my Diet Coke in front of a cheesy Christmas flick. Nutrition shmutrition!

I do feel like a cool mom today though. I had all these plans of fun things to do with the kids knowing they had the day off from school. We all slept in as planned. I let them watch the longest Disney short compilation on Netflix. It was funny because they kept saying there were only two more shorts and then it was over. They said it a good ten times before the show actually was over.

They all cleaned their rooms and cleaned their bathrooms. I wasn’t quite finished with my cleaning frenzy yet when the doorbell rang. I asked Parker, “If I disarm the alarm will you open the door?” I was still in my workout clothes with my sweaty hair splaying out in every direction. I was not fit for public viewing.

Lexie was at the door asking if Gwen could play. So much for having Parker answer the door. He looked at me for answers. Of course she could play but I just wasn’t ready yet. I said not right then, maybe after lunch. It was noon after all. Gwen finished her chores and Parker helped her make a hot pocket for lunch. She took off. I reheated our taco soup leftovers for the boys and told them to see if Lexie’s brothers could come over and hang out. I was going to shower.

Tucker and Grant came over to play video games. I did laundry and cleaned some more – because I have cleaning OCD. My kids were having the time of their lives. This is all I have ever wanted for them. I have always wanted to live in a neighborhood where playdates don’t require prior notification by way of engraved save the date invitations.

At some point the doorbell rang again. A couple little girls were asking if Gwen could come out and play. The same thing happened yesterday with two other little girls. I told them I thought Gwen was at Lexie’s house. So sad I didn’t know for sure. But Gwen and Lexie could have been at the park mixing it up with other kids. At 5:00 I sent Gavin out to find Gwen and tell her it was time to come home. She had spent the entire afternoon at Lexie’s house. That works.

Parker did get to watch Holes when Grant went home. I made dinner five nights in a row but I did not make cookies. I was exhausted. Heath was grateful he was able to get home in time to eat dinner with us. He said he didn’t care about the cookies. Do I have the best husband or what? I did pour him a Diet Coke as an after dinner treat.

So the kids had a great day off. Heath had to travel on his day off. The good news is he can take a floating holiday later. Wahoo! And he practically aced his test at the conference. If it was school he would have been given an A. *sigh* I’m just happy to have him home finally!