Moving and Shaking at Christmas

This year, my husband and I spent the last few days and hours before Christmas moving from our home of the last three years to a new home less than a mile away. I know, I know. Moving at Christmastime isn’t the brightest thing we’ve ever done, especially since we were not planning on moving until May. But the home we have had our eye on came on the market over Thanksgiving and so we swooped in and grabbed it, even though it would mean we had to move over the Christmas holidays.

“How bad could it be?” we thought.

You’d think this would be a simple process, however, I can assure you IT WAS NOT.

We expected it would take the movers four to five hours to move us. Nope. It took almost nine hours. And they still didn’t get it all. When we realized after the five hours passed that we still had at least a third left in the house to move, and we were already wayyyyyy over our moving budget, we asked them to just start throwing boxes in the truck and then into our new basement. It started to look like a game of “Hot Potato” as they picked up the pace. So far, I haven’t found anything broken where they dropped the potato.

To top off the fun, the temperature was a chilly 37 degrees and since the doors had to stay open for the movers to get in and out of the house, we turned off the heat and I piled on the clothes. I looked like the kid from “Christmas Story.” For those of you who know me, I’m usually still wearing a light sweater in 80 degree weather. I was praying for a peri-menopause hot flash but just like when you take your car to the mechanic and it works perfectly, my body decided that I didn’t need a hot flash at that moment.

So I froze.

The movers eventually left and all I could think of was how bad I needed a nice warm shower. My muscles were achy, my core was frozen and my armpits smelled like I had never heard of deodorant.

But apparently that was not in the divine plan. In all of the moving craziness, we had not lit the pilot light in the gas water heater nor did we have any idea how to do it. Thankfully, Heaven sent us our angelic handyman to come by at 9 P.M. to light the water heater. (It could have been the pitiful phone call that I placed to him begging him to help us out. I might have also let out a small sob which could have been his deciding factor).

Regardless, three hours later I got my hot shower.

We unpacked for the next two days and finally got our Christmas tree up at 1 A.M. Christmas Eve since my step-kids were coming home mid-day on Christmas. photo(40)

And believe it or not, by the time my in-laws came over that evening for Christmas dinner, we had the house looking like we had been living in it for months instead of days.

The moral of the story is that with some determination, you can make something good out of difficult situations. (Having muscular men around to lift the heavy items doesn’t hurt.)

Now my days are being filled with changing out light fixtures, painting rooms, hanging pictures, putting away pots and pans, dishes and clothes. And the Angry Birds band-aids that I have on five of my fingers indicate my dedication to getting this house in order.

Maybe I’ll be completely finished unpacking by the Spring.

Because then it will be time to work in the yard and plant my garden!

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Careful How You Hang Those Christmas Lights

In the South, you can always tell that Christmas is getting closer simply by the noticing the amount of Christmas lights on people’s homes that are actually turned ON, not just the ones that are usually left hanging on the house year round.

My husband and I were taking the kids and my in-laws to Lake Lanier Islands to see the “Night of Lights”, where you drive in your car, turn your radio to a certain station to hear coordinated Christmas songs, and watch the amazing light display that Lake Lanier is famous for.

We were all in the car, laughing and talking about the upcoming holidays, when we drove by a few houses that had lights all over, and several of those blow up decorations including Yoda decked out in a Santa suit and elves riding on a see-saw. (It’s just not Christmas without seeing something like that.) Multi-colored lights were thrown up in the trees; the owners clearly hoping for a beautiful, artsy effect with minimal effort.

As we drove by another display, however, our SUV to come to a screeching halt.

My husband and I saw it first. We looked at each other, kind of in shock. I choked on my diet Coke. He screamed out “Oh My God did you see that???”

My in-laws thought we had run over a small animal. They asked what was wrong so we did a U-turn in the middle of the road, drove 100 feet back down the road and did another U-turn.

Then, this is the display we saw:

photo(4)

Okay, so I can reasonably imagine that you are having the same reaction that we did. (Thankfully, the kids just saw colorful Christmas lights through their virgin eyes and they just thought we were laughing at how pretty the lights were).

Was this a joke?

Nope.

This was simply a too-many-Budweisers-Christmas-light-throwing-in-the-tree blooper. To add to the visual enjoyment, the limbs were swaying in a light breeze giving it a nice life-like effect.

So people, please, if you are going to hang Christmas lights by randomly tossing them into the trees, do a quick drive by, so that people don’t think your home is a brothel.

But I must say that the entertainment value was priceless….and a year later, we are still laughing about it.

Why March Is A No Nookie Month

Nineteen years ago today, my life changed in a way I never could have imagined:

I became a mom.

It all started with the infamous “blizzard” of 1993 in Atlanta, GA. We actually got enough snow that year to cover the street, which, if you are familiar with living in the South, means that all normal ways of life come to an absolute stand-still.

It’s pretty simple. We don’t know how to drive in the snow. It is rare that we see more than an inch of it at a time. Even the mere mention of the word “snow,” people will flock to the grocery store to stock up on bread and milk even though the snow more than likely won’t last past 11 a.m. the next morning.

Such was the case in March, 1993. What started off as snow flurries quickly turned into what would be soon plastered across the news as a “blizzard”. Anyone living North of Tennessee would have considered it a light dusting, but people in Atlanta were in a panic. You would think us Southerners will begin to contemplate cannibalism if we can’t get enough bread and milk to last us a few days.

Then the power went out.

With no power and no backup generator, what was a young newlywed couple to do?

Five weeks later, I was in for quite a surprise.

I made an appointment with an OB and soon found out that my husband and I weren’t the only ones who lost power. A RECORD number of pregnancies were reported that year and they were all due in December.

Fast forward eight more months.

My son was actually due on my mother’s birthday, which is Christmas Day, but he had other plans.

For the first time in his life, he came early and showed up on my father’s birthday – December 9.

Now that would be a coincidence in itself, right? Due on my mother’s birthday but born on my father’s birthday?

December 9, 1993

December 9, 1993

What is really interesting is that my father has a brother and three sisters. Three out of five children were born on December 9. And when my sister was pregnant, her due date was also December 9 (but he broke tradition and arrived two days later.)

December 9, 2012

December 9, 2012

March, it appears, is a very fertile month in my family.

And as we celebrate the lives of two of the most wonderful men that I have in my life, I am also thankful that I have an equally wonderful and understanding husband. Because he knows that March is officially EXTRA SAFETY MONTH in the romantic department at the McIntyre house.

Just in case.

Why My Next Trip To Publix Could Land Me In Jail

I have been absolutely exhausted this week. I had forgotten how tiring packing for a move can be. Tips_MovingTruck_tip

It is a vicious cycle. I go to bed on time, only to lay awake thinking of all of the things that need to be done. How am I going to pack my fine china? What about my books? You can only pack so many in a box before you need someone with the strength of Hercules to pick it up. If some of my antique collectibles get broken I’m going to go all Southern girl craaazy on someone.

My blood pressure rises at the thought.

I get up to take my blood pressure medicine so hopefully I can relax enough to fall asleep. I drink a ton of water because in the middle of all of this I’m starting to go through peri-menopause and I’m parched all of the time. Good grief, could this get any worse?

I crawl back in bed. I finally drift off to sleep only to wake up an hour later because now I have to pee because I drank so much water. I sneak out of bed without waking up Dale and go do my business. I crawl back in bed but now my feet are freezing because the tile in the bathroom is so cold.

I cover myself up with my grandmother’s afghan only to wake up an hour later sweating to death. Is it because I’m under 80 pounds of yarn or is it that dang peri-menopause again?

I lay awake thinking about packing and then I begin thinking about peri-menopause. Getting older stinks. My blood pressure rises again. I don’t want to take more medicine but now I can’t fall asleep.

After what seems like an eternity, the alarm buzzes and I get up to wake my step-son and get him ready for school. I make breakfast and pack his lunch and then sit at my computer in the kitchen like a zombie. I may or may not be drooling. I am EXHAUSTED.

The carpool picks him up and I go back to bed. Why? One, because I’m getting old, and two, because I CAN.

I fall back asleep rather quickly considering my raging thoughts over the previous six hours have kept me awake.

I wake up and realize I better start packing if we are going to be out of this house in two weeks. I put on my old sweatpants and a t-shirt. I look in the mirror. Holy cow. I look awful. The way I look right now is the reason some men start having affairs.

I look down at my hands. My beautiful manicure I had over Thanksgiving? Well, it’s gone. It now looks like I have been on Survivor and I’ve been using my nails as primitive tools to open coconuts.

I pack a few more boxes before I realize it’s time to go pick up the kids from school. I’m driving like a little old lady (which I’m apparently getting close to being) because I know my reaction time would be equal to a little old lady.

I come home and pack a few more boxes. Where in the heck did all of this crap come from? It’s like our dishes turned into rabbits overnight. Out of ten dinner plates, we now have 20 salad and bread plates.

I want to take a nap but I realize I need to go to the grocery store to get items for dinner. I head into the store still wearing my sunglasses, praying that I don’t run into anyone I know. Too late. As soon as the double doors slide open, I see another hockey mom who looks all perfect in her designer jeans and perfectly coiffed hairdo. Great. I explain that we are moving and she gives me the “Oh-that’s-why-you-look-like-this” sympathetic head nod. I politely excuse myself telling her I am in a huge rush.

Not really. I just want to go home.

I go through the checkout line and walk my grocery cart to my car.

What the heck? Now my key fob isn’t working.

I open the car door. Wow. I’m so tired I didn’t even remember to lock my car.

I start putting items in the back seat when I look in the front seat and see papers that I don’t remember being there when I drove in the lot. I look around a little bit more. Why are there cheerios all over the floor? I don’t let the kids eat in my car.

That’s when I realized that this ISN’T MY CAR. I quickly grab my bags back out of the car and race off before the true owner calls the cops on me for breaking and entering.

I hit the key finder on my key fob and my car beeps from across the parking lot. I didn’t even park on this aisle. I’m parked three aisles over.

I get in my car and granny-drive home.

Maybe I’ll take a nap as soon as I get home or maybe I’ll open that bottle of wine I just purchased. In my peri-menopause-old-age state of mind, I decide that’s the way to go.

And I don’t know how I did it, but I somehow pulled into the right driveway. I only know this because my husband (and not my neighbor) came out to help unload the groceries.