Thursday, September 30, 2010

Money-Free Weekend #8

I have not posted here in a month. We have been continuing to save money and live our weekends to the fullest we can, but I’ve become too distracted living life to write about it. September has been beautiful in South Carolina. The humidity vanished and the sunshine remained. The sky burned bright with that blue that September seems to have some kind of special monopoly on. Every evening when I got home from work, the wood floors and pear colored walls in our house glowed comfortably in the lazy sun beginning to slip into evening. We loaded up on Asian pears, and I’ve made buttery pear cakes that we ate with hot coffee. We’ roasted asparagus, caramelized cauliflower and boiled new potatoes and then dressed them in olive oil and yogurt. I don’t want to place too much emphasis on my feelings or risk taking myself too seriously, but I think I have manage to shake of this bout of restlessness and discontent.

This past Saturday we woke up in Atlanta. We had gone down Friday night to help my accomplished sister Rebekah celebrate the successful completion of her CPA exam. Daddy paid (read moochers), and Matt and I stood nearby to let some of the fruit of her labor rain down on us as well. I always enjoy staying at my sister’s Atlanta townhouse. It’s like staying in a boutique bed and breakfast where you are the only guest, and you are related to the proprietor. She has the poufy guest bed with soft sheets and a fluffy duvet that is perfect for burrowing when you don’t want to face the sun. The room also has a unique alarm clock in the way of her birds who will sing you into wakefulness if you continue to ignore the sun. Her shower has thundering water pressure and her towels are like big velvety blankets. Then of course, there is her wardrobe which I like to scavenge through and her array of makeup that makes Sephora’s sample tables look stingy. Rebekah brews us lattes and makes us food. It is truly lovely.

We didn’t leave as early as we had planned (see above description of blankets, makeup and lattes for explanation), but were able to tear ourselves away in order to be home not too late after lunch time. I immediately jumped into organizing mode. Atlanta is not only home to the largest aquarium in the world and Coke; it is also home to The Container Store. I have been eyeing Rebekah’s nifty containers for quite some time and gradually made my way to their website, but this was the first time I was coming home with Containers of my own. When I was in junior high/high school, my mother’s nickname among their friends was “the Tub Lady.” It seems I am not impervious to the inevitable fate of turning into my mother. Matt had given me a budget and I was seventy cents under! That takes skills. Loaded up with my bins, I organized all the bathroom drawers and under the sinks of both bathrooms. Inspired by my own organizing prowess, I also cleaned all the surfaces and mopped the floors. I stopped short at vacuuming, because I consider it the most unromantic of all common household chores. How can you escape into the world of Jane Eyre on your headphones or pretend that you are Marie Antoinette in prison if you have to maneuver a huge plastic sucking motor around your carpets? Matt is not, however, hindered with these sensibilities and stuck his head around the corner to ask, “Are you going to vacuum?” Translation: Please vacuum; the carpets are dingy, darling. I decided that vacuuming for Matt is almost romantic, and obliged.

Saturday night we left our clean house behind and made our way over to our friends’ house for supper. Matt and Eric went to school together from first grade through college. I find this fascinating. The only people remotely close to me in age that I’ve known since first grade are related to me. Matt has a whole posse of childhood friends that have become life-long friends. Eric is married to Aimee and they have a son Sam. They have recently built their own house on an enviable five acres. I regret to say that I used to take acreage for granted growing up surrounded by it in my carefree youth. Now that we live on a small yard that is not even large enough to be considered .1 acre, I join Matt in gazing longingly at Land. As we pulled around their gravel drive, their pig ran the length of its fence alongside our car. We now want a guard pig of our very own.

The Miller’s house is beautiful! I have been resisting Matt’s idea of building, but their gorgeous, comfortable home persuaded me to reconsider. Their house was home and it was them. It was warm and welcoming, and it had baby chicks in the basement. I love our house; it is where we’ve had the first three years of our life together, but it’s temporary and we both know it. We don’t plant anything extravagant, because it can’t go with us when we leave. When we consider paint colors, we have always in the back of our mind that someone else will paint over it one day. I think we’re both ready for something more permanent (or as permanent as this life gets).

Eric took Matt out for a tour of the farm, and I sat inside the kitchen and visited with Aimee and Sam; mostly Aimee because Sam is very small and can’t yet communicate verbally. In the course of catching up, Aimee told me how much she has enjoyed my blog. She has enjoyed it so much, in fact, that she told a co-worker about it. I have readers! I am not above a little flattery, and have decided to write again with renewed gusto. Thank you, Aimee!

Eric and Aimee had made us hamburgers and homemade hamburger buns. I brought molasses cookies (thrown together between organizing and vacuuming). The evening was cool with the whisper of fall. Perfect weather for homemade bread and molasses cookies. We had a great evening of conversation, animal observations, and delicious food. We are so grateful for their hospitality.

Sunday morning was the usually flurry of Sunday school, church, and lunch with the Collins. The word “usual” might be misleading. There is never anything usual about teaching five year olds. I’m not entirely sure they are learning anything, but I have been learning a great day this quarter. We studied Cain and Able this week, and I tried to convey the fact that even though Cain made a sacrifice, it was not the sacrifice that God had mandated. Submitting to God’s will and making the sacrifice He demands of us is something I need to be reminded of daily.

Sunday afternoon, we collected Beth, and drove up the mountain to the Wilds where someone was holding a milk snake for Matt. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer drive. The trees in North Carolina are already beginning to turn red and gold and the mountains were misty and cool. When we got back down, we got some dinner with a friend, then went to his house to make (more) cookies and watch a 1980’s horror flick. Which, regardless of being corny and fake still managed to give me nightmares.

It is good to be back writing. Thank you to all of you who read. And thank you to Laurie and Aimee for encouraging me to begin again!

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