This is Halloween

This year for Halloween, we were happy to be able to trick or treat outdoors again, after moving to Georgia this summer.

(For the past three years we’ve lived in North Pole, Alaska, in case you didn’t know. Our first year there we attempted outdoor trick-or-treating, braving the snowdrifts and making it around one block before the kids were too cold to care about candy anymore. Which is pretty darn cold! After that we went to indoor Halloween events.)

Also I was happy that I’d gotten by with minimal financial investment in costumes for the twins, who are ten.

Little Girl wanted to make her own costume, and Little Boy wanted to wear last year’s costume again. I thought they looked quite nice, and posted their picture on facebook.

Of course, my brother had to make a snarky comment about the reusing of the Poop Emoji costume.

I suppose some heckling is to be expected from a younger brother.

He’s just jealous….

Helping With Homework

Every day after school I have to force the twins to do their homework.

It’s like a punishment. FOR ME.

You’d think that we’d have this down by now, as the twins are in fifth grade, but we’ve been having quite a bit of trouble with the homework routine this year.

For one thing, the homework is naturally harder in fifth grade, of course. For another thing, the school in Alaska had a no-homework policy for the last couple of years.

I know, right? What?!?!

They sent home a note that said studies had proven homework wasn’t necessary for academic success, and therefore the teachers had decided on instituting a no-homework policy for my kids’ grade.

What were these studies? Is this actually true? Would my kids be totally fine academically without doing homework? I DIDN’T CARE. The school had granted me a reprieve, and I wasn’t going to knock it!

Can I get an Amen here?

But this year, I am paying the price. Homework is back. WITH A VENGEANCE.

Now I am required to spend over an hour every afternoon SEPARATELY with EACH twin supervising homework time.

Because trying to have them do it at the same time was like refereeing a cage fighting match… with pencils. So, separately it is!

But that does double the amount of (already too much) time spent here.

And I’m not saying that their teachers are assigning an excessive amount or anything. It’s not the teachers’ fault. If my kids would stop dragging everything out then the daily torture would end much more quickly.

Here’s the illustrated version:

There. Now do you see?

Homework may or may not be beneficial to kids’ academic success. I haven’t researched the studies on that.

But it is definitely NOT beneficial for Mommy.

It finally got a little cold in Georgia

I just put on the heat for the first time this year yesterday.

When I did I smelled that weird burned smell that it makes when you first turn on the heater after it has been off all summer.

Do you know that smell? I recognized it immediately, actually. I don’t know if it’s only in the South that it happens, but I remember it from my childhood on.

But yesterday was the first time in about ten years I have smelled that, I realized.

The last time I smelled it was in Maryland in fall of 2008; after that we spent six years in Hawaii (where we never turned the heat on) and three years in Alaska (where we never turned the heat off.)

You know… military life can be really weird.

I’m trying to look pretty

I kept seeing these ads on Facebook for headbands that look like they are made out of your real hair. Have you guys seen this?

There was a video of this pretty girl doing her hair and I was fascinated by it.

I’m a real sucker for those videos where they speed up boring stuff like cooking or primping and then show you the fabulous results of their fast-forwarded work. Here’s one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-mEsogGodM

Anyways, I watched the video like three times and then talked myself into buying the thing.

When it came in the mail I tried it on and I thought it looked pretty good.

I went and asked my husband what he thought.

He scrutinized my head carefully. “You mean, does it look like your real hair?” he said, finally.

I frowned. This was not the reaction I’d wanted.

“Sure,” he decided.

So…. I’ve got a new headband that can PROBABLY pass as my real hair.

I guess.

What do you think?

What’s your (un)favorite animal?

Image result for dog person vs cat person
https://laughingsquid.com/dog-person-vs-cat-person/

I like animals.

Or, more accurately, I like the IDEA of animals.

I don’t really like the trouble of taking care of, or the mess of cleaning up after, actual, real animals.

Particularly dogs.

I’m not what you might call a “dog person.”

And NO, that does not make me EVIL.

I don’t understand why it’s perfectly acceptable for people to say, “I hate cats,” but if you say you don’t like dogs, you’re suddenly a serial killer.

I like cats. I have a cat. He has dignity. He’s clean. He allows me to feed him, and to pet him if he’s in the mood to be petted, but he doesn’t slavishly follow me about. He doesn’t meet me at the door when I come home; he calmly waits for me to enter the room where he is, and then lifts his head in offhand greeting. “Oh, it’s you again,” he seems to say.  “Perhaps if I feel like it you can pet me later.”

Now, I realize some people prefer a dog who will run to meet them with abject joy, seeming to say, “Oh hooray! It’s you! I’ve waited all day to see you! Oh please please please please PLEASE pet me now!” Well, I just don’t care for that sort of an indecent display in my home.

But I wouldn’t say dogs are my LEAST favorite animal. Dogs are okay, in their own way.

I really hate llamas. They are just rude animals. I had one spit in my face when I was feeding him a carrot once. REALLY. Just rude.

My oldest daughter (a true animal lover, unlike her mother) recently bought this picture for her college apartment:

I told her I could not believe she had gotten a picture of my arch-enemy animal to hang on her wall. She KNOWS I hate llamas.

But, she explained, it was an ALPACA.

I said, that’s the same thing as a llama.

But, my daughter is a biology major. She’s planning to go to veterinary college. She knows the difference.

She kindly sent me a helpful chart to distinguish between the two animals.

Now, if that isn’t scientific, I don’t know what is!

How about you? What animals do you (not) love?

Moving to Georgia–Still a Hot Mess

After unpacking all those boxes, I thought I’d finished with moving troubles. We took a little trip to visit the family in the car.

(I emphasize the mode of transport because for nine years we have lived in places where we could not visit anyone without an arduous overnight plane voyage. {Click here for more on that if you’re interested.} A road trip to see relatives is a cause for celebration for us!)

We came back to the new house after our visit and discovered that a power line had been knocked down in the driveway.

I called the power company, but they said it wasn’t actually a power line. It was some other kind of cable, they said, and it was my problem, not theirs.

So I had to figure out how to get that thing off the driveway myself, since my husband was still in Alaska.

I tried to take care of lifting the cable up and making it stay up. There was a difficult scene that involved a rickety stepladder and some twisty-ties.

If you know me, then you know I am not a thin woman. I was terrified that the stepladder would not hold me. Its wavering and wobbling did not inspire confidence either.

I stepped carefully up, telling myself, “You can do it. You can do it.” I felt like The Very Large Engine That Could Maybe Do This. I wished fervently that my husband were there to take care of this problem.

I finally got up there and twisty-tied the cable as best I could, lifting it from the driveway enough so that at least my car could get in.

Slowly I began to step down off the ladder. As I did, I heard my phone ding; there was a text message from my husband.

“Wow,” I thought. “It’s like we are psychically connected! He knew I was thinking of him. He probably wishes he were here too.”

Then I looked at the message.

I’d forgotten he had one of his friends visiting and they were busily doing FUN STUFF together while I was stuck dealing with all this unpacking and repairing junk.

So much for our psychic connection….

Moving Mess

Well, the kids and I have relocated to Georgia, but my husband had to stay behind in Alaska and finish up with his job for a couple of months. This means that I dealt alone with all the things related to moving into the new house.

And there were plenty of things to deal with!

(Many times I looked around for the adult who was going to deal with this fresh bunch of trouble, and realized I AM THE ADULT. Ugh.)

First of all, we moved into the house  with it completely empty, without any of our furniture, and lived in it that way for weeks. This was because the moving company didn’t seem to be sure where exactly our furniture was

Not that they admitted it was lost. I just inferred that it might be from the amount of time I spent on the phone listening to their hold music while they periodically popped back on to ask, “What was the name again?” and “Do you have a shipping number?” and “Where was your shipment coming from?” and “Who is your carrier again?”

Finally the shipment was located in a rail yard somewhere in Atlanta, but it still took them over two weeks to get it moved less than a hundred miles east to the local warehouse so it could be delivered to our house.

In the meantime, I outfitted the house with air mattresses and a card table with folding chairs. We painted some walls. Things were going pretty well.

Then the toilet exploded.

I was washing out a paint roller in the kitchen sink (which, as you might guess, required a lot of running water) when all of the water began to come back up OUT OF THE GUEST TOILET! I didn’t notice it was happening until Little Girl said, “What’s that smell?” By that time, the whole bathroom was flooded with painted toilet water.

I had to call for help.

Fortunately, a very nice plumber called Larry arrived soon. (Unfortunately, however, he did not look like the hunk in the picture.) Also fortunately, the problem was NOT the septic tank, as Larry first feared. It took several hours, but the clog was cleared. Success!!

My next task was registering the kids for school, which was fraught with difficulty. Maybe I’ll blog about that later.

When our furniture shipment finally arrived at the house, it was a typical July day in Georgia, just right for lugging heavy things about outdoors.

Image result for 100 humidity meme

(gif from https://giphy.com/explore/humid)

I really shouldn’t complain, because all I had to do was stand outside and check things off a list while the poor moving guys did all the hard work of carrying everything.

But it was REALLY TERRIBLE standing there with that clipboard all day.

Plus the twins kept opening boxes and spreading things all over their floors so that the moving guys had to keep telling me, “Ma’am, I can’t put this here dresser in the little boy’s bedroom. There ain’t no room in there.”

Then I’d go in there and move everything off the floor and yell at them to keep the area clear for their furniture.

Five minutes later, a different guy would come up and say, “Ma’am, I can’t put this here desk in the little girl’s bedroom. There ain’t no room in there.” And I’d have to do the same thing again.

They were only able to put together one of the four beds in the house because of missing pieces, and the unloading and unwrapping lasted well past six p.m., but it finally got done.

THIS is the pile of packing trash accumulated JUST THAT DAY, which the moving company fortunately hauled away.

After that, I was still left with about a million boxes to unpack. Fortunately, my mother came to my rescue.

She spent four days hard at work with me, and we emptied EVERY BOX and set it out to be hauled off.

Finally! The moving mess was over! I could just relax until my husband returned. There would be no more problems!

Or would there be?…..

Goodbye Alaska

We are packing up and moving out of our Alaska house.

No, we have not sold it yet, but I am hopeful that we WILL.

(Is anyone in the market for a house in North Pole? Anyone?! It’s nice!!)

Sigh. It really IS nice. I’ll miss this house.

In any case, it’s time to go. The place doesn’t look so nice anymore anyways….

All of our things are being packed up and loaded into a shipping container. We’ll see them on the other side.

We hope…