coffee cup image

Archive for December, 2010

Dec 30 2010

Delayed Sort

Posted by Mugs @ 3:50 pm in Family

For the last 20 years, Dale and I have moved often. The shortest stay at any location was 3 months; the longest stay was 3 1/2 years. It did not matter if we wanted to move or if we were ready to move, the Army would declare our time at a specific location finished  and give us PCS (Permanent Change of Station) orders and a date on which the movers would arrive.

Once we had the mover’s date, the clock would start ticking for me. Before the movers arrival, I was determined to look at every item in our home and get rid of most of it. I knew it was likely that our next living accommodation would be smaller than our current one, that the storage would be lacking, and that I’d be irritated if I opened a box upon arrival at the new location and thought, “Why do I still have this stuff?”

My children can attest that, over the years, I have been ruthless in this sorting out. They still remember most horrifyingly the 100+ stuffed animals being laid end to end and the painful process of choosing.

The Army has issued us orders that take effect in two days, but for once, they do not involve a move. Dale, in his suit and beard, must drive to another location for work, but I can stay put. I don’t have to move.

Strangely, the clock is still ticking.

I have ignored it for quite awhile.

“You’ve got to go through the house! You’ve got to get rid of stuff!” echoes through my brain.

The habit is relentless and does not wish to be done away with.

The busyness of every day life pushed it to the side. There is always laundry, meals, cleaning, shopping, bills, children, pets. Then, everything stopped at 3am Christmas morning, and I stopped with it. I was done doing things for others. For the next several days, I read two books, I worked a puzzle, I watched football.

The kids and Dale picked up and straightened. When they came to ask me where this or that went, I got irritated. “Can’t you just put things in a pile for me to look at later?” I growled. I did not want to start the sort. Once I start, I am a bit nuts until I finish.

(At this point, while reading this, Dale thinks to himself, “Isn’t she always a bit nuts?”)

Yesterday, my stuff started to attack me. I keep my sweaters in a precarious pile at the top of my closet. I cannot reach up there, so I fold my sweaters and toss them up. It would be much more functional to keep my sweaters in my dresser. Unfortunately, my dresser is full of clothes that don’t fit and I don’t wear. (Here start’s my hazardous mobius strip.) As I attempted to grab a sweater, the whole pile came down upon my head. “I will not start the sort,” I thought, and hurriedly piled them on top of another pile on my dresser.

Next, I went to clean the bathroom. (A friend of Gabe’s was coming to play.) I opened the door under the sink, reached in for the cleaner and everything fell out. (I know I am not supposed to have cleaner under the sink, but the secure cabinet above the stove is so piled with stuff that the cleaner won’t fit.)

I wanted once again to proclaim, “I will not start the sort!” Instead, fearing the third assault by my stuff might involve gardening tools or cutlery, I declared war.

The sort would start now.

It will always remain a mystery to me how one family can collect 30+ partially used bottles of hair product, soap, powder, lotion, and cream in 3 1/2 years. I am convinced my stuff multiplies in the dark and then becomes arrogant enough to launch an assault.

Unfortunately for my stuff, it does not realize the wisdom of remaining quiet. In 3 1/2 years, it has forgotten what a heartless enemy it fights.

Dec 23 2010

Flute Recital

Posted by Dale @ 9:55 pm in Family,Music

Abby and the other students of Mrs Lynne Fournier held a flute recital last Saturday. At the end of the recital, all of the students formed a flute choir to perform a medley of songs. Abby is in the front row, second from left.

Dec 21 2010

Loony Eclipse

Posted by Mugs @ 3:10 pm in Family,Nature

Last night, I stayed awake with Gabe and Josiah to watch the total lunar eclipse. Gabe, being Gabe, termed it the Loony Eclipse. Dale heartily agreed with this new name, for he believes anyone who stays up until 3am to watch the moon go dark must be loony.

Zeke attempted to stay awake as well by watching old Christmas cartoons that we had recorded. He made it past midnight, and decided that since it was now the 21st of December, he could eat the piece of chocolate from his Christmas calendar. After his midnight snack of chocolate, he stayed awake watching “Frosty the Snowman”, but faded out sometime during “Twas the Night before Christmas.” (The cartoon with the clock and the mice.)

Gabe went outside every 15 minutes starting at 12:30 am to check the moon. At approximately, 1:30 am the earth started to eclipse the moon and by 2:30 am the moon was totally eclipsed. The moon stayed eclipsed for an hour.

An interesting fact we learned is that the moon stays partially visible throughout the total eclipse because of atmospheric refraction of the sun’s light rays to the earth. The moon is usually tinted red because of the refraction of the red color in the light spectrum.

At times, it would appear that a shadow covered the moon and momentarily it would disappear from view. Than, we would see the color change slightly and the outline would reappear.

Gabe stood outside watching the moon for an hour in shorts and a jacket despite the fact that it was 25 degrees fahrenheit. I walked in and out, periodically warming up by the pellet stove. Josiah stood outside in full snow gear having a bit of sense for once.

It is true that strange and unexpected things happen on the night of a loony eclipse (Josiah having a bit of sense for example). I could have sworn last night that I actually saw the Chicago Bears win the NFC North division and guarantee themselves a spot in the playoffs.

Dec 16 2010

Attack of the Snow Angels

Posted by Mugs @ 5:54 pm in Family,school

In Minnesota, it takes a foot of snow and the collapse of the Metrodome roof to close anything down. In Virginia, we just need 3 inches.

Today was the first Snow Day of the school year, and Josiah was much relieved. He was due to take his midterm exam for Spanish class, and he was not quite prepared for it. Last night at 10 pm, he asked me how much longer he should study. I told him it depended on whether or not he had the luck.

My alarm woke me at 5:45am this morning, and I checked the school website to see if they listed a cancellation. Regretfully, there was nothing listed. “Oh well,” I thought. “Josiah’s out of luck.” Just then, the phone rang with the automated alert that school had been canceled.

His luck hadn’t run out after all.

After listening to the alert, I promptly went back to bed. When I finally got up, we had pancakes for brunch. Later all the kids went outside to shovel. Dale had purchased enough shovels at the beginning of the month to accommodate all the available Manry shovelers. Gabe proved surprisingly efficient on clearing the snow down to the black top. He must have inherited the trait from his Grandpa.

When the work was finished, we played out in the snow. We packed down the sledding runs, and Abby made snow angels. For that, Blaze decided she needed a little help.

Dale arrived home at the end of the fun, having gotten out of a training class early. He appreciated his small bit of the Snow Day.

Unfortunately, Blaze wasn’t too happy about Dale’s Snow Day participation.

The most entertaining part of the day for me was watching Abby attempt to sled.

Dec 14 2010

No More Santa

Posted by Dale @ 9:01 pm in Family