Friday, September 25, 2015

The days that make the memories

It’s Monday and we are sitting in our corner suite of the Kappa house. The music is quiet and the window is open. Sometime in the days prior, the heat of summer finally broke and it is starting to look like fall. We are sitting on the two beds laughing. 

Laughing.

The buzzer buzzes for supper and we kill the music on her computer before hustling downstairs to sing our blessing and eat with our housemates.

Thursday with a football game at home in two quick days; I borrow her black pencil skirt strapless dress and she flips through my closet for a green silk camisole and black pants. She tells me to wear my hair down. I pull it back. She grabs the pins out of my hair and throws them. Running down the stairs, we have boys picking us up for a date night. 

It’s Monday night and we have chapter. I want to skip. She agrees and we sneak out the back door and head to Flannigans where we run into half of the Chi Phis who decided that this day was too beautiful to sit in a room discussing the business of Greek Life.

Saturday and we are donned in red sweaters, having been shopping that morning for the unexpected cold snap. There is a chili cook-off at a house in five points, The Mansion. The guy who knew he would win made the biggest batch. She was on the panel of judges. He came in last place. I can't remember who we were playing, but oh... Was it so cold.

Friday and her father has driven up I-26 and I-20 to highway 78 and booked a hotel room for the weekend with club level season tickets. He and her youngest brother are waiting for us at the restaurant. I am running late. She is sitting there with her brother- at least ten years her junior and the love she has for him is palatable. She is the oldest of her siblings. Dinner, hugs, and a thanks for the meal, we round the corner and head to our watering hole and make our way to the back of the bar where we shoot pool and laugh at the evening. The bar is filling up with young college students from both schools playing the next day, Tennessee… maybe?

Tuesday and we are at the fraternity house of friends. They are playing flag football on the front yard. We are sitting on a couch they moved outside, watching. It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon and I am reminded of some song that escapes me in the moment. The chorus is about all the 3 o’clocks we experience in our lives. It is in the moment that I realize that these are the days. The days that I will forget, but the moments I will remember.

Friday again- football season is over. We were winners of some and losers of others. It’s December now. We are in my little red convertible traveling to a college in another state. There are dresses tucked in the trunk with high heels and hair dryers. We have jackets on, the heater fully cranked, and the wind ripping through our hair. The music is too loud to hear the wind. I drop it into fifth gear and the two lane highway makes short time of a big goal— the weekend. 

Another Monday and her mom calls from a state away. I answer- and thank her for the stamps and goodies she sent us. Her mom was always sending her packages letting her know how loved she is. We are.

Sunday and our hair is a wreck. We need to brush our teeth. Donning matching uniforms of a sorority social t-shirt and pair of loose shorts, she crawls into bed with me and we hide under the covers and pillows until we can fight the hunger no more. I find flip flops; she finds keys. Two pair of sunglasses. A few phone calls and we are crawling out the door for breakfast at 11:15. The Mayflower is open. We are in the back booth and Lucy is our waitress. She orders something with egg whites and Lucy raises her eyebrows at her. I go for my old favorite of a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.

It’s Wednesday and she needs a ride to class. My car is getting the oil changed. In her Explorer, I drive to the English Dept building on the corner of North Campus. We high five each other and she is off to class. Back in the our corner suite, I am watching a Lifetime movie when she gets back to finish her homework before the night begins.

Springtime and the rain has set in. We are back in her Explorer and headed to Thomson for a fox hunt. The car is loaded down with clothes, picked over from each other’s closet, makeup, and CDs. The backseat is full with more girls and we are in a large caravan coming from Athens- careful of the speed limit as the State Patrol has their headquarters on our route. 

Some Tuesday and Digital Underground is playing at a music venue as the guest of a fraternity. It seems like something that might be fun. We go. The lights are dimmed and we realize that we know not one song that they sing. It was not the place we were that made the night, but the people in that night. Sometime around 4am- we found our way back to our sorority house.

We were always going. We always wanted to be where the fun was. I look back now and realize she brought the fun with her. She was the fun.

I met her during rush. She was a grade younger than me and two years my junior. We were so very different. She was outgoing and I was quiet- but she made me outgoing. She was so much smarter than I was and I cannot look at a Vonnegut book without thinking of her. 

Our lives took very different paths after we moved out of 440 South Milledge Ave. They continued down different paths. I don’t remember the last time I saw her. We lost touch and track. A few weeks ago, I found a handful of college pictures and there she was.

Young.
Beautiful.
Blue eyes.
Red hair.
Freckles.
Laughing.

Caroline.


She has not crossed my mind in many, many years- but she died on Wednesday night and I miss her as if she still slept in the bed right next to mine. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pickling Okra

When boiling water gets in your eye... it hurts.
Like a sonofabitch

Ummmmm
I bet.
Are you ok?

I would rather be pickling my liver instead of okra.
Yeah, I'm ok...  but dude.

Bahahaha
Not laughing at your pain

And then half my jars just cracked.
Eff pioneering.
Eff homesteading.

Whoa. You are HACKED.

Don't eff with me when it comes to homemade.
Have you ever canned?

I can tell how mad you are by the use of "EFF" instead of another word. 
Yes, I have canned fig preserves. That's it.

Canning [is not cool] (yeah, because that's what I said)
Let me be crystal clear:
It [is not cool]
big
green
porpoise
parts

Porpoise parts? Wow, that really [is not cool].

[insert an image of me... here]

Dockers.
Another jar just blew.
I quit.

DONE!
You know what I'm over? Diapers leaking out the front with TT

Yeah, I'm over that, too.

.... a five minute pause....

I just burnt myself.
Boiling water running down my arm.
This. Is. A. Joke.

Abort the kitchen. NOW!

I can't. I have okra to deal with.

Friend saved an audio message you sent at 11:25am


I'm keeping that... because that's hilarious.


If you can't tell, I am finding humor in my pain.
I am a little worried about these okra I am re-canning...
Think the glass will be a problem?
It was a clean cut on the jar.

Hmmmmmm
Rinse them.

Too late.
Thought about after the fact.
We will rinse before we use?

Good idea.

Better than rinsing before canning.
Because clearly I am an expert.

Clearly.

... A brief interlude...

So... I need a kid.
Lid.

[insert picture of a lid]
like this?

Just the ring
found one
robbed another hat
jar

...a brief pause...

Have you ever wanted to print out our text messages and read them?
They could be divided into chapter.
This would be called the canning chapter.


ooooooo. Love the pic! 
And don't worry. 
The Smithsonian will print all these out for is.
U.S.
us

Or the U.S.

That too

Monday, September 14, 2015

Les Poisson

Husband is a member of an Exchange club here in Hometown. Annually, they have a lobster sale to raise funds for the children. What children? I don't know. What for the children? I don't know. How much do they raise and where are the children? I don't know.

It's lobster, people.

I texted a friend, because who calls anymore, and asked her if she liked lobster. Apparently, she and her husband love lobster-- and would love to eat lobster with us... pending they weren't yachting. 


After checking with her social secretary, it was confirmed that they were, in fact, not yachting this past Sunday and could make an addition to her social calendar.

Another couple could join us and a date was set. 

Lobsters on the veranda at The Manor. 


Four adults showed up, with a total of seven children. The day... perfect. This was the first fall day I remember feeling since we relocated back to the land of two seasons: Summers and Ice Storms. We scrolled open all six sets of doors and the children ran in and out of them as we chatted, sipped, sat, and pretended that lobsters on a Sunday was a totally normal thing and something we had been doing our whole lives--

except for when we are out... yachting.



The kids were thrilled to see each other. I did a lively rendition of Les Poisson from The Little Mermaid (not shown here... you're welcome). The Little Eyes (Eye Doctor's kids) danced to Rock Lobster and ... well, maybe the kids weren't the only ones who were ready to celebrate fall.

Celebrate by eating lobster.

I iced the beer down in our YETI cooler-- because people who yacht and eat lobsters at a place dubbed The Manor have YETI coolers. 

Duh.

After everyone showed up and bottles of wine came out... I realized that our wine opener had broken the day (week) before. I did not think much about this as a problem for the past seven days as I have been drinking wine from a box.


Because people who have YETI coolers and yacht and live in places dubbed The Manor don't need refined palettes for expensive wine. They can drink it from a box like the rest of the world. Except a friend brought a nice bottle of Chardonnay... and I had no wine opener. 

Husband was unexcited that I requested his assistance with his crazy-mad doctor abilities. By doctor, of course I mean "handiness" ....


Our poor third child really has to fend for himself. Let's not pass judgement on his parents. They eat lobster.



I got to cooking hotdogs for the kids. Just because the parents eat lobster on the veranda at The Manor does not mean we can afford for six kids to chow down on the same. Hotdogs, fruit, and punch that resembled a bodily fluid (no picture shown) in disposable cups labeled with each child's name-- so as not to be wasteful.



Oh, right... and corn. Nothing goes with a hotdog like corn. And Barbie.


The gentlemen had the heavy work of boiling water....


 Poor Fuzzy was in his room and saw the guys outside. He crawled to the door, thinking he could get out and kept running into crying. I knocked on the window and pointed down to my feet where he was. Husband looked up to see his son wanting to be with him. He dropped what he was doing and scooped him up.

Fuzzy's godfather held him as his dad went to work putting the lobsters where they belonged... in the water. On the veranda. Of The Manor. That we do so often on a Sunday-- when we aren't.... yachting.


Can pictures get much worse? Yes, of course they can- but this is me of recent.




When it came time to eat, Husband asked if we should inside or out... OUT! I screamed... I mean, "Out," I so delicately put it. Outside it was- with the drawn butter....


the wine...


and the lobster...




Now would probably be a good time to mention a few things...

(1) About three minutes before our friends showed up, I looked at my husband who had been on call all weekend and asked... calm as rain... asked, "Hey- do you even know how to boil lobster?"

To answer my question-- he did know how to boil lobster.

(2) After the lobster were dropped, it ... ahem... dawned on the hostess with the most-est that I don't have any lobster chompers. You know those things that you use to get into the lobster? We might eat lobster on Sundays when we aren't out yachting, but, well... I did not have the tools to get into the lobster.

Because, typically, we have people who do that for us.

Yeah, that's why.

I pulled out garden shears and they worked just fine. Because nothing coordinates better with David Yurman and lobster on the veranda at The Manor than .... garden shears.




I made grits with lime zest.


And we sat around and talked... and talked... and talked...


and the kids played...


And we ate more slaw-- which is #1 on the Pinterest Recipe list. For good reason.


The children snuck some bites of corn.


And got into dance costumes to ride bikes after they discovered Styrofoam and what a mess it could make. One of the moms mentioned that they were getting into it. I shrugged and said, "Meh- they're happy. And quiet. No worries."

Husband mentioned the styrofoam and tried to take it away. I stopped him.

Another dad mentioned the same thing.

Y'all, I have a roomba now. This was not going to be a problem.


The godfather bent a fork... and said he would kill me if I posted this picture:


I was happy to have the bent fork because that meant we had had a gathering... on the veranda... of The Manor... with friends... and we had a good time. So, he can kill me... because the fork was worth it.


It was one of those lovely nights that make you feel like you are home-- home is so often an adjective in my world. It is much more powerful as an adjective then when it is simply a noun. It has taken Husband and Wife over two years back in Hometown, but I think we are, very slowly, starting to find our people and make our place our Home.

It appears, that when it takes time, when you seek out the best- the best come and we are lucky for that.

I looked around towards the end of the night- a night filled with laughter and the cool breeze of a welcomed fall and someone said, "Hey-- really? You really want to sell this house?"

It's not the settings that make the moments, but the people in the moments.



After they left, I set the Roomba to work on the styrofoam balls and went to bed.


The next morning? All that remained from the evening? A canister of formula and a few lobster claws.

And six slight headaches….