Monday, July 21, 2014

I'm SO Wrightsville, I can top your "I'm So Wrightsville."

I'm loving reading the "I'm so Wrightsville" posts. And while I really should be doing something productive, I'd rather be all nostalgic and post some of my own memories. Here are a few.

I'm SO Wrightsville....
 (Who can tell me where this floor is?)

1) I remember when J.B. Stoner and the KKK clashed against civil rights marchers on the courthouse square in 1980. Parents started pulling kids out of school early that day. I'm not sure if it was out of fear or to get better seats for the action. 

2) I got my ears pierced at Troup Drugs downtown, when it was on the corner of highways 15 and 319 and had the big orange and blue Rexall sign hanging above it. 

3) We ate Sunday lunch at Mrs. Marjorie Tanner's restaurant...every location.

4) I remember our classes sitting in the creaky old wooden, bolted down auditorium seats at the primary school, watching grainy black and white film strips on fire safety and personal hygiene.

5) I remember when the hardware store next to EMC was the Piggly Wiggly. 

6) Someone help me out with this one. I remember my granny and daddy taking me to lunch at a really narrow little buffet restaurant next to or near Sumner Pharmacy when I was about 5. What was that place called? Did I really happen or did I dream this? 

7) I remember trying not to inhale in Outlaw's Grocery.

8) and hearing the lumber yard's 12 o'clock whistle everyday.

9) I remember Miss Mary Ann's "House on the Corner."

10) My first (and only) dance teachers were Miss Lynn and Miss Beth.

11) And I took piano lessons from Miss Jackie Clements. 

12) I remember when the courthouse was pink.

13) and when the Frost House stood where the EMC/Source building is today.

14) when everyone I knew had gotten stitches at least once from Dr. Dodd,

15) and haircuts from Jerry Hood. 

16) Lots of you remember D Bush and Skin, but do you remember Squirrel, the painter? 

17) I remember the two long, skinny, red and white Allied signs that hung in front of the store. 

18) and smelling like grease after spending only five minutes at the Gas-n-Go. 

19) I remember getting free Cokes and chips from Charles at the Country Club because the snack machines always took my money. 

20) and Mr. Roush, the band teacher, who I always swore was one of Hitler's Gestapo men in a past life. 

21) I remember the super impressive graffiti painted all over Johnson's Bridge. Or was it Pullen's Bridge? Oh crap, I can't remember. You know the one on the dirt road between hwy 57 and hwy 15.

22) getting dizzy from staring too long at the psychidellic flowers painted on the halls of the primary school. 

23) sitting at the power lines with Trey East, taking my first ever shot of Jaegermeister, thinking it was pretty good and then downing a few more gulps like it was Koolaid. Later, I sort of remember throwing up. A lot. 

24) Sitting in Dr. Fason's waiting room, staring at the fake stone carpeting, scarred to death of the four fillings I was about to get.

25) and finally, I'll never forget being four years old, hiding in the circular clothes racks, waiting to jump out and scare shoppers at Hall Brothers Department Store.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Richmond Flying Squirrels=Great People Watching...and I think there's some kind of game going on too.

James, the boys, my stepdaughter, Sophia and I are at a Richmond Flying Squirrels game. I must've forgotten to take my Adderall because I keep forgetting there's a game going on and that others are actually interested in watching it. 

I like the fact that they painted the cheap seats gold and treat you special when you ask where the gold section is. Finally a place that rewards frugality. 
This is a 30-foot inflatable of Nutzy, the mascot. It reminds me of the huge blow up animals you see on the roofs of some car dealerships. Does that really attract buyers, giving them a sense of confidence and trust in the dealer? 

"Yes, Honey, a 10-year warranty and lifetime oil changes does sound great. And, yes, I did see that Hometown Ford and Fiat was awarded Business of the Year once again. But we agreed that the next car we bought would be from a dealership that has a huge blowup gorilla on the roof. It seems like you'd remember something that important!"
Nutzy is signing autographs a few rows below us. He looks like a villainous "bad guy" cartoon character. One that would hide lit sticks of dynamite in the other mascots' lockers. Look at that con artist smile. I bet he takes pride in scaring more little kids than any other minor league mascot. Keep your wallets close, people. 

So then I got bored and started taking selfies. I think I need Botox. 
Those guys behind me are Phil and Rusty. This is their first outing together since Rusty was paroled. He served five years in an upstate facility for arson. I could be watching the game, but it's more fun making up stories about Phil and Rusty. Maybe I'll turn it into a book series some day. 
I'm glad this sign says "Fire Exits" in big letters. Otherwise, it looks like an Egyptian guy is being chased out of his house by a giant, murderous feather. I wonder if the warning signs for giant, murderous feathers look like the person is being chased by fire. Sometimes it's hard to know what you're supposed to be afraid of.

This is my thumb and the damage I've caused by biting it. I'm one of those compulsive people who bites and picks at things. I should probably take some medication that would reduce those picking and biting urges. But with my luck, the medication would have three dozen side effects including chronic diarrhea and uncontrollable rage. Why does my thumb look jaundiced in this photo? I should have that seen about. 

And now, Andrew won't share his Dippin' Dots with me. I wonder who invented Dippin' Dots. And why? Were people getting bored with ice cream's predictable smoothness and starting to crave the sensation of biting into a frozen beanbag? What'll happen when people become bored with Dippin' Dots? Then will someone invent Dippin' Darts? Dippin' Shards-O-Glass? 

It's now the bottom of the tenth. They must be tied up or something. Every time I tell myself I'm really going to focus on the game, some unrelated distraction highjacks my attention. 

An inning ago, I was trying my hardest to pay attention. There were two outs and the bases were loaded. That's when I noticed Sophia's fuschia toenails, which made me think of my senior prom dress and getting the shoes dyed to match at Colleen's bridal store. And wasn't that the place that burned down a few years ago? And do high school girls still dye their shoes to match their prom dresses?

 I guess I was still staring at Sophia's big toe when someone (I'm assuming it was a player) hit a grand slam and then everyone started screaming and jumping up and down. This is the story of my life with ADD. 

"Hey, Angela! That was an amazing catch Andrew made."

ME: "When? 

"Just then!" 

ME: "oh THAT catch."

"You did see it, didn't you?"

ME: "I'm picturing it right now."

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Day Number Whatever: Gum Chewing, Greek Yogurt and the Witness Protection Program

I've stopped counting days since our move to Richmond (or Midlothian, which, mind you, is an area, not a town).* We're still "random strangers trying to meet people" as Jack said yesterday. But things are getting better. Here are some of the reasons. 

1) I think we may have found a church. Parkway Baptist was good. My only complaint was that the worship leader guy was wearing really dark denim jeans and white rubber flip flops, making him look as if his Sunday morning pedicure had run a little overtime and his toenails weren't dry yet. 

I had trouble focusing on the sermon because I was preoccupied with a woman across from us who was orally assaulting a pack-and-a-half of Hubba Bubba bubble gum. Otherwise, we loved the place.

Have you ever noticed how some people chew gum with their whole faces? Like, even their eyes seem to open and shut as their jaws move up and down like a steel car crusher. Makes my mouth hurt just watching them. 

I used to work with a hospice nurse who was the most violent gum chewer I've ever known. If there was a Tommy John surgery for gum chewers, I'm sure she'd have needed it by now. 

Her name was Nicole. I guess it still is, unless she's in the Witness Protection Program or something. (Suddenly I'm too lazy to change names.)

Speaking of the Witness Protection Program (now that's a conversation segue you almost never hear), since we're still painfully new to the area, I thought it would be fun to have t-shirts screen printed that said Witness Protection Program. We'd wear them to the pool, to walk the dogs and to school registration. If anyone asked, we'd tell them we couldn't discuss it. 

(I've lost my train of thought. Where was this post going? Oh well.)

I don't understand why people are so in love with Greek yogurt. It tastes like sour cream mixed with caulk.  I guess you're supposed to mix it with other, tastier stuff. But I think there are too many food items that taste bad until you mix something with them. Why not just eat the mix in? 

Just think of rice cakes. Whoever invented them had to be laughing at the gullibility of people willing to eat styrofoam packing material. 

(Fictional conversation)

"It tastes like styrofoam!"

"Yeah, that's why you put yogurt on top."

"Greek yogurt?"

"Yes, but only if it has strawberry jam mixed in."

"Why not just eat the jam?"

I mean, heck, why don't we start spreading jam on all these cardboard moving boxes lying around? I could cut our food bill in half. Forget couponing.

(Oh, right. I was naming things that make us feel less like strangers.)

2) I haven't gotten lost going to the grocery store in like two whole days. That's good, I think. 

Oh crap. Is that the garbage truck? I thought it came on Thursdays! Feeling new again. Gotta go make the curb run of shame.

* I finally figured out why Virginia does the weird thing with cities that aren't inside counties and counties that have areas that you'd think are towns, but they're not. According to James, it's vastly more efficient. No paying double taxes for city and county. And duplication of services like police and garbage are reduced. Now I wonder why every state doesn't do that and I'm a little resentful of paying Dublin city taxes and Laurens County taxes.

  That's Andrew at our neighborhood pool

We were going to visit Swift Creek Baptist Church, but it looks like a huge garlic or a meringue cookie, which wasn't on our list of things we needed in a church. 

ANDREW: "maybe they had termites really bad and it's one of those tarp things they use to kill them."

This was in the Target parking lot. Seriously? I hope it belongs to the Hanson kids' mom. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Weights Got a Wabbit (an orphaned, wild cottontail)

(This post is dedicated to Delaney Richter and all the other tender-hearted animal lovers out there who take the time to do the right thing.)

This is George, our newest pet....I guess. I don't ever recall thinking "gosh, I sure would like to adopt a bunny. An orphaned wild cottontail that can't eat or use the bathroom on its own would be ideal." Nope, that never occurred to me. 

Yet, here I sit, pinned to the couch by three ounces of adorable helplessness that I dare not disturb by trying to move. 

It's the same story you've heard a million times. 

Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy loses girl. 

Wait. Not that story. Let's try again. 

Gal is disgusted with herself for wasting too much time on Candy Crush. So she decides to take a walk. Her mom's severely overweight yellow lab tags along behind her, loping like an obese, blond rhinoceros. Several times, the gal has to wait for lagging, unintelligent rhino to catch up. Otherwise it will get hit by a car, thus totaling the vehicle. About a thousand feet into the walk, rhino appears from tall grass, carrying bite-sized furry morsel in her mouth. Gal examines morsel, discovering long ears, cotton tail and eyes that haven't opened yet. Gal wishes she'd never gotten off Candy Crush, that she'd left rhino in the house, that she could un-see furry morsel and go about her merry way, oblivious to stranded, helpless woodland creature. 
                obese, blond rhino
(See, haven't you heard this same scenario a million times? Maybe the characters are different and the bunny is a wombat or a mongoose. But the ending is always the same: a deceased animal, a thousand dollar vet bill and two broken hearted children who silently vow to never love a rabbit again.)

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "She took the rabbit away from its mom, interfered with nature. Blah, blah, blah." 

I looked for a nest of siblings. I DID! In fact, after reading a dozen articles on the matter, I took him back to the close vicinity and left him overnight. The next morning, George (named in honor of Looney Toons' abominable snowman's "own little bunny rabbit.") was still lying where I left him, with no signs of a mom or an aunt or even a third cousin. 

Everything I've read gives little George a less than ten percent chance of survival. Apparently orphaned bunnies are super fragile and much harder to keep alive than orphaned kittens, raccoons, squirrels and chupacabras. 

But, I guess no one shared those odds with George. It's now day three and he appears to be thriving, hopping around next to me as I type. I've been feeding him kitten formula with an eye dropper and stroking him with a warm cloth to simulate his mom bathing him. He wants to be held ALL THE TIME. So I oblige. 

In a few days, we'll return to Virginia. My dogs and cats will excitedly welcome us home, asking "what'd you bring us?" 

What will I do with George then? Do you have any suggestions? I'd love to hear them. 
              I think he likes baseball.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June's Funny Friday-I took some liberties here.

Okay, so on the last Friday of every month, a few other bloggers and I do this thing called Funny Friday. It's where one of us submits a photo and we all come up with five humorous captions or thoughts related to the pic. 

I'm especially loving this one from Black Sheep Mom. You'll see a link to her blog and others below. Be sure to check out as many as you can. They're some super funny gals. 

And now, onto the captions. 

1. Okay, I've got a good one.......So, Satan and the Statue of Liberty walk into a bar....

2.  "What do you mean the Ellis Island ferry isn't running? Oh, I am so screwed."

3. "I'm sorry, Satan, but I'm not at liberty to discuss this with you."

4. "No one knows the struggles I face raising a teenager on my own. I've had to get a part-time job as a cemetery monument just to make ends meet."
......on TLC's newest reality series Statue of Liberty/Single Mom

5.(the Statue of Liberty trains her vacation temp.)  "It's super easy. All you have to do is stand there and hold this torch in the air. And look welcoming....but not too welcoming. (I keep getting in trouble with Congress for that.)

I can't wait to see what everyone else has come up with. 

(After several frustrating, profanity-ridden minutes) 

Okay, I'm doing this post from my phone because we're staying at my mom's house and she doesn't have Wifi or running water or indoor plumbing. But I'm most upset about the Wifi. It seems that my Blogger phone app doesn't offer a way to insert links into a post. This means that I can't hyperlink the other bloggers' sites. Great! Now, they're all gonna be super mad at me and not invite me to their slumber parties or to go skating on Friday night. 

All kidding aside, I'm not happy about this. So, readers, if you don't mind, please visit their blogs. The addresses (that you'll have to type in (and click your heels together three times) are below. 

Baking in a Tornado

Someone Else's Genius

The Momisodes

Confessions of a Part-time Working Mom

Stacy Sews and Schools

Cluttered Genius

Black Sheep Mom

On the Alberta Montana Border

Monday, June 23, 2014

Day 7: Looking for a New Church

(The fonts are doing that weird bipolar thing again. I don't know why or how it happens. Don't hate me for it.)

One of the hardest parts of moving to a new place is doing the "church search." And we started it this past Sunday with a visit to #1 on our list, Odyssey Church, not The Osyssey Church. Just Odyssey Church, as if the word "the" might be too stifling and formal, thus repelling the target audience of twenty-somethings.

In an effort to rebrand Christianity from pipe organs and polyester, new breeds of churches have sprouted across the country. Some of them seem as if they're trying a little too hard to demonstrate that you can be a Christian and still be hip. Odyssey Church fell into this category. Not that there's anything wrong with "trying-too-hard-to-be-hip" churches. 

(I'm already getting paranoid, assuming that someone reading this is growing more irately offended by the second. Settle down, Nancy, I'm just making an observation. God loves and appreciates all churches that honor his Word and accept the saving grace of his son's work  on the cross.)

First, the name of said church can't be too, well...churchy. We're seeing fewer  "First Baptist Churches of Anytown while more houses of worship are popping up with names like Mercy House, Suffered Enough, Vinyard and Three Nails. Many of these names would also be appropriate for an addiction rehab facility.

In order to attract the "unchurched," sanctuaries across the country are taking on the ambiance of small night clubs. Black walls and folding chairs replace grainy wood alters and cushioned pews. 

At Odyssey Church, a small stage adorned with a single microphone offered a sort of Last Comic Standing appeal. 

The walls had Interesting stripes that looked like the deacons had wadded up yards of wax paper, flattened them back out and then stapled them to the crown molding. I contemplated reproducing the decor in my living room and then posting on Pinterest. 

Oh, and there was a coffee bar. There MUST be a coffee bar with shelves of books for sale, in a Barnes & Noble type setting. You can't not have a coffee bar if you're going to be a "hey, we're cool, hip, caffeinated AND Christian" sort of church.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the pastor's message while  sipping a double-skinny-tall-half-caff-whipped-salted-caramel-Venezuelan-fair trade-latte. 

Odyssey Church's website was written to sound like your best friend telling you about a great new club while craftily taking away all your excuses for not attending... like having nothing to wear.

"And there's NOTHING formal about us. Heck, Pastor Mick hasn't worn a suit since his last parole hearing. And the praise band goes shirtless every fourth Sunday. Unlike your grandma's church, we're more interested in what's on the inside than the outside." (Good point. I like the whole "don't focus on appearance" message.)

True to the website's word, Pastor Mick was dressed in the uniform of today's modern, hip clergy.
-worn out jeans
-flip flops
-untucked shirt with rolled-up sleeves
-two-day stubble
-longish goatee cut into rectangular box shape.
-spiky hair that could alternately be used in self defense.
-tattoo of an obscure, seldom referenced Hebrew symbol, peaking out from under rolled up sleeve.

The congregation followed suit (no pun intended) trying a little too hard to look as if they didn't care about appearance.

It's a fascinating testament to the nature of human lemmings that people seem to miss the point of "come as you are" in favor of "dresses are out, skinny jeans, vintage concert t-shirts, piercings, etc are in. Yes, there is still a dress code and we cool, hip, don't care Christians must get it right.

WIFE: "Honey, you shaved tonight? Why would you do such a thing? You know we have church tomorrow!!! And that shirt you have laid out...well, in my opinion, it's a little too ironed for Sunday services."

Sitting with my family at Odyssey Church's 11 am service, I had an acute insecure feeling of not fitting in. When I feel insecure, I bite my cuticles and subconsciously start to judge those around me in an effort to feel superior.

 I hadnt been homesick all week, but I longed for the familiarity of my home church, to hug one of my friends and not feel like a constant stranger in a new place. As tears began to stream down my face, the rest of my family was having a great time, jamming out to the over-amplified praise music.

James gave me a look that said "what's the matter with you NOW?"

By the time Pastor Mick took the mic, I'd probably made Odyssey Church's prayer list, not by name, but as the over-dressed, emotionally unstable mom on the back row.

For all of my mocking the "new, hip church" persona, I was blown away by Pastor Mick's message. Wow! That guy has a gift! And in God's perfect way, it was what I needed to hear...about looking for your similarities, rather than differences. Ya know, don't judge those who are different. God works in all of us, in his own way. 

I'm glad that Christian churches of all brands exist as long as they're true to the Word. In today's confusing, identity crisissed world, people need all the help they can get in connecting to God. 

In two weeks, we'll check out Parkway Baptist. I'll feel comfortable wearing heels there. This Sunday, however, I'll be back home at Dudley Baptist, feeling comfortable in my own skin. Maybe a newcomer will visit and poke fun at all of our stereotypes. They're more than welcome because every church has them. And we're still okay.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Day 4: We Haven't Killed Each Other

(I started this post yesterday morning. It's now Day 4. Time flies when you're, uh... What is it we're having?)

It's 9:30 am, Day Three of the big move and I haven't cursed yet. So maybe that's a good sign.

Having all your stuff packed away in "mystery boxes" can lead to some interesting improvisational experiences. 

ANDREW: (boiling water for mac and cheese) "mom, where are the spoons?"

ME: "we haven't found them yet."

ANDREW: "well, I gotta have something to stir the noodles."

ME: "here ya go."

ANDREW: "This is a hammer!"

ME: "Quit whining! We're all making sacrifices right now. If I can dry off with the drapes, then you can use a hammer to stir pasta. Plus, the claw part makes a great spork."

ANDREW: "you used the drapes? Then what do I use after my shower?"

JAMES: "yeah, thanks to your mother hogging the drapes, I had to use the Charmin."

JACK (calling from the bathroom): "we're out of toilet paper in here."

ME: "Andrew, go take the cat to your brother."

In our old home, there was enough storage to house the entire population of Laos (or at least Bangladesh.) 

This house is...uh...a different story. Seems like James and I were so blown away by the heated bathroom floor, we overlooked that minor detail of NO extra closet space. If we want to keep anything that isn't life sustaining, then the four of us are going to have to wear backpacks and fanny packs and cargo pants and safari vests at all times. 

ME: "Honey, where are the Christmas decorations?"

JACK: "they're in my locker at school."

Or maybe we could dig a storage bunker in the backyard. (An excellent way to give our neighbors confidence that we're nice average people. As if the giant metal rooster didn't already do that.)
   Our trusted moving staff posing with El Gallo. 

    Oh, the joys of moving. I found the hideous crystal bowl (that I've never used.) But I can't find my stupid blow dryer!!!