Chris Goes Shopping

Here is the drama that occured in my house this week…my husband went grocery shopping.  Now, I get that this is a really nice gesture.  It’s been a long week, and I’ve put in long hours at work, and I didn’t even have time to place a Shipt order…because, when on earth was anyone actually going to be home to accept the delivery??  So…Chris went shopping.

And he did so much right.  He bought everything that we always buy…

  • 2 packs of bagels (gone in 3 days)
  • 2 packs of Snapple (gone in 3 days)
  • A family pack of Nutty Bars (gone in 3 days)
  • Perrier…because they were out of LaCroix (I’m still quite suspicious that they were actually out of LaCroix…all LaCroix?  Even the melon flavor that no one buys?  Is it *possible* he was looking in the wrong aisle? Just a thought).
  • No milk (for obvious reasons…and if this doesn’t make sense, you may want to start watching my Instagram stories). 

And he even bought laundry detergent…and I’m going to stop right there…because as excited as I am that he went grocery shopping…I just need to point out that for 10 years.  10 YEARS. I have used the exact same laundry detergent.  I have not deviated once from the Tide with Febreze for sport…NOT ONCE.  

I know this beyond a shadow of a doubt because I literally remember the very first day I tried it.  We were living in Fort Lauderdale, and like every good steward I always skimped on the laundry detergent and bought whatever was on sale…Cheer, Gain, Arm & Hammer, the weird powdery-one that they sell at the Dollar Store…until one day Tide with Febreze for sport was on sale and this is what happened…

Me: Folding clothes in the living room

Kaitlyn: *Holding clean clothes up to her nose* Is this what clean clothes actually smell like?

Me: …

I never bought another type of laundry detergent again. NEVER.

So Chris…in his super loving gesture went grocery shopping this week.  And he bought laundry detergent…and he even bought Tide with Febreze…but that is where the similarity ended.  And I have to tell you…I am currently sitting here writing, and all I can smell is Spring Renewal because THAT IS WHAT HE BOUGHT.  SPRING RENEWAL.  And I’m trying to be thankful.  But I CANNOT.  BECAUSE I SMELL LIKE A FLOWER STORE.

I apologize for the capital letters…but it only seems appropriate that in this case, I say how I actually feel…and I (in capital letters) am devastated about my clothes smelling different than they have for the last 10 years.  Not to mention that I do not like floral smells…or fruit smells for that matter (in the event that you are planning to buy me a candle for Christmas).  I like the smell of Vanilla…and fresh air…and FEBREZE FOR SPORT.

Guys…they DO NOT EVEN LOOK ALIKE.  10 YEARS.

Guys…Chris is so sweet.  He literally said to me: “Don’t worry, I bought the same detergent that you always get…you can even check.” And then I went into the basement and looked at the PURPLE CAP.   PURPLE.  I have never in my life bought laundry detergent with a purple cap. And I almost cried. Because…purple cap.

And in the end, here’s the thing.  I’m grateful for my husband.  And I’m grateful that during really busy weeks he is willing to go grocery shopping.  But truth be told…I am also glad to have already placed my Shipt order this week with an order for TIDE WITH FEBREZE FOR SPORT.  Because…there are just some things that should just not be messed with…like laundry detergent…and garbage bags…

He also bought the wrong garbage bags…

But that’s a story for a different day.

With much love from a smelling like SPRING RENEWAL Small Town Girl

Small Town Birthdays

I don’t know about anyone else, but it used to be that the phrase “middle-aged” referred to that select group of adults who wore reading glasses and cardigans, used their free-time to knit sweaters, and basically used some sort of Clairol product to give themselves home perms and a nice “Auburn Dream” hair color to cover their grays…basically it was my grandma…who I am just realizing is not actually middle-aged…because if she was, SHE WOULD BE MY AGE.

Seriously…when did I become middle-aged?  I don’t actually remember it happening.  First I was a teenager, then a young mom, and then MIDDLE AGED.  I don’t get it…there’s like no slow slide into this phase of life.  One day you’re the cool mom who has done everything in the world to avoid wearing mom jeans and cutting off your hair…and the next minute you wake up realizing that you’re definitely not as cool as you thought you were, and you’re about to buy a box of Auburn Dream.

And there is no exciting welcome into this party either…like why aren’t we a culture that allows its women to sit outside in a tent for their 40th year, being slathered in essential oils and plied with jewelry as they enter into this new stage?  Although to be honest, I’d probably balk at the whole tent thing because I’m partial to indoor plumbing…but you get the point.

Instead, people ask us our age and practically cringe when we tell them the truth… “Oh, you’re 40?  I didn’t realize you were that old, you look great for your age.” 

FOR YOUR AGE? What the heck does that mean?

I’ll admit that 42 has hit me harder than the birthdays that have come before it.  Maybe it’s the fact that 40 didn’t really seem like “mid-life” given the fact that 80 is the new 60, but now that I’m halfway to 84…42 seems like much more in the middle.  I mean, I’ve maybe got a good 84 years in me…but after that…I just don’t know that I’ll have the energy to keep it going.

And speaking of energy…that is one of the biggest side-effects of growing old.  I am just too tired to do anything that doesn’t fall into my daily routine. And…on the off chance that I would actually attend an event that starts at any time after 7:00pm, there is a 100 PERCENT CHANCE that I will be in bed as soon as I get home and be cranky the next day.  100 PERCENT.

My friend Beth just recently mentioned that she’d love to go out dancing sometime soon…but upon further review…we collectively realized that we would need to be able to go out from 6:00pm to 9:00pm with water and snack stations spread throughout the club (think Chicago Marathon style). Yoga pants and comfy shoes would have to pass as acceptable clubbing clothing, and no one would be allowed to hit on us unless they were:

  1. Buying us free drinks with no expectations
  2. Offering to babysit our children
  3. Hoping to rub our feet between dances, without any sort of creepy foot fetish.

In the end, it seems like Netflix and a bottle of wine is a much better option.

Mid-life is not just about being too exhausted to keep up a social life, but mid-life has also brought with it the realization that I have become too exhausted to worry about what other people think of me anymore.  And this is actually the upside of middle-age.

See, for about 40 years I worried about what other people thought about me…but now, I just don’t care.  Because the truth is,  even if I’m not someone’s cup of tea…I don’t have the energy to change who I am. I have used up all of my energy trying to raise my children, and build a career, and keep my marriage together…and now I don’t have any energy left to try to change who I am.  And the beauty of it is that after 41 years, I have finally become the most authentic version of myself that I’ve ever been. And that’s pretty spectacular.

See, I think gold hoops and lipstick are daily essentials, and I know that my politics will never match many of those around me.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that I didn’t breast-feed my children and I’ve worked outside of the home for their whole lives, and that most of the time when I sit at baseball games I am actually reading a book or scrolling through social media. I hate nature (but love the environment…like, we should save it, and everything) and exercise, and dogs (I am so sorry).  I like Latin dance music and hip hop…and I occasionally swear like a sailor…but only when it’s really important…and I’m finally at the place where I’m ok with who I am…and if you’re not…I am ok with that too.  I mean, not everyone likes God, either, and if he can’t please everyone…then I certainly have no chance.

So that’s the thing about my birthday this year.  I’m hitting the age where I should be wearing cardigans and reading glasses and cutting my hair into a fluffy poodle bob and slowing down and going to sleep at 7:00.  But instead, middle age has brought with it a freedom – the freedom from others’ opinions and from the pressure to be someone that others think I should be.  It’s the the freedom to finally live my most authentic life.  And as a middle aged woman who is just trying to find a club that allows yoga pants and keep up the stamina to go to a 9:00pm movie, really…that’s the best 42nd birthday gift that I could ever get…I mean, except for a new car…but it’s a close second, and on this middle-aged birthday…I’ll take it.

With much love from a 42-year-old, living-her-most-authentic-life-ever Small Town Girl

New Adventures

For the past two years my husband has been working on his Master’s Degree.  And for the two years before that, I was working on mine.  On top of that, we both work full-time, coach sports, work side jobs, and raise kids.  And while this is the life that we’ve chosen, over the past two years, our schedules have looked something like this:

7am-3pm: Work at job #1
3:30-6pm: Coach or work at job #2
7pm-9pm: Do homework…or watch a kid play some sort of sport…or pick up dinner from the D&W deli…or fall asleep early.
9pm-10pm: Watch TV, take a shower, and check emails from a professor
10pm-6am: Sleep
7am – 3pm: Do it all over again.

For the most part, our lives have been a general movement from one event to the other while giving high fives as we pass each other on the way in or out of the house.  Our evenings have consisted of one of us typing up 10 page papers while the other one is out coaching some sort of sport or making a grocery order on Shipt, or shuffling our kids from place-to-place.  But this week, something strange happened…Chris finished his classes, neither of us are coaching anything, we are each only working one job, and only one of our kids is currently involved in athletics…and she’s 2 hours away…and doesn’t need us to drive her to practices (Yes, and Amen!)  We realized that were home together for an extended period of time for the first time in FOREVER…and we looked at each other and asked the question, “so, what do normal people do?”

You laugh.  But seriously, this is the question that Chris asked…and I wasn’t sure how to answer.

Chris: “Do they sit and eat dinner together?”
Me: “I think so.”
Chris: “Should we do that?”
Me: *Awkward shrug*

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about the extra time that we have to spend with each other, I’m just saying that we probably need a hobby.  Because as nice as it is to relax together, I’m just saying that Chris and I function best when we’re busy.  Honestly, there was a moment when he was literally wandering around the house in circles, and I had to remind him that it was ok to sit down and relax…and then I pulled out my laptop and began answering work emails.

So, because neither of us has any aspiration in the least to get our Ph.D, our best bet is to find a useful way to spend our time together so that we don’t wear a path in the floor from pacing around and around.  We’ve already tried to find a Netflix series to watch together, but since Chris’s favorite series are The Sopranos and Ozark, and mine are Hart of Dixie and The Gilmore Girls, we’ve realized that this probably isn’t going to work…so here are our current options:

1. Cooking classes: The Artisan Cooking School is right around the corner from our house, and the head chef is our neighbor, who keeps inviting us to try it out.  Now that Carson has forced us to buy a new pair of (amazing) knives and I’ve invested in a giant skillet from Love, Inc. (the rest of my pots and pans are from my wedding…so, this is truly the best option that I currently have), I’m sure we could be successful in the kitchen…probably.  I mean, right now, our best dinners consist of whipping together pre-packaged items into something that includes the word “salad” or “casserole” or “bowl” but I’m sure that The Artisan will turn us both into Chefs de Cuisine and we will be throwing dinner parties all over the place. You’re invited.

2. Home Improvement Projects: The problem with having time at home is that all of a sudden you are staring at the walls and noticing all of the things that are wrong with your space.  This week Chris has already cleaned out the gutters, (and can I just say that we have a wonky ladder and I fully imagined a Clark Griswald experience over and over in my mind while it was happening.) he’s considering building a deck, and he’s mentioned installing recessed lighting in the living room.  I realize that not everyone knows my husband, but I want to begin by letting you know about the time that he had to hang a picture on the wall and ended up practically knocking it down (the wall, not the picture) and taught everyone in the house a stream of new vocabulary.  I’m not saying the deck and the lighting are not good ideas…I’m just saying that this should remain low on our list.

3. Golf: No.

3. Gaming: So no, we’re not going to join Carson in his Fortnite efforts (which you can read about here), but we’ve discovered that we’re pretty damn good at Wheel of Fortune…and now that we have extra time at night, this seems to be our go-to event. We literally watched this the entire week with the intensity of two people who had their lives on the line.  At one point we were standing up and yelling “HIDDEN COVE. HIDDEN COVE” at the top of our lungs as if Pat and Vanna could hear us.  We’ve actually entered the Wheel Watcher’s club, and while I totally understand that I’m now part of the same club that my grandparent’s are a part of, I don’t want to miss out on any possible prizes (an all-expense paid trip to The Bahamas, for example) or lose the opportunity to become a contestant on T.V…in fact, I’ve added “being a contestant on Wheel of Fortune” to my bucket list.  It goes without saying that we are in desperate need of hobbies…and friends.

Look, this new period of life is transitional and probably temporary…and we are definitely going to take advantage of it.  We’re going to watch more Wheel of Fortune and add Jeopardy to the evening routine.  We’ll learn to cook, and fix the lights, and build a deck, and maybe even play Fortnite with Carson.  We’ll chill out and just take some well-needed down time to remember what it’s like to just hang out and enjoy each other’s company.  Because truthfully, I know this won’t last.  Next week I start working at the store again in the evenings (which I love…seriously, come visit me at Blended Furniture Market!) and, soon enough, Chris will have baseball workouts and board meetings…and we’ll be shuffling our kid from school events to church events and everywhere in-between.  But for a moment…just for this small window of time, we’ll rest…and possibly win that all-expense paid vacation…and that will be enough of a new adventure for now.

Lots of love from a ready-to-be-adventurous Small Town Girl