Friday, June 13, 2014

Dirt, Wind, & Why I Don't Grocery Shop

My post titles are really going downhill.

June 30th is creeping closer and closer, and I have NOTHING WRITTEN. It turns out that re-doing your backyard is about as counterproductive to writing a novel as you can get. I mean, yes, it's the contractors who are installing the patio and the pool, but we're on our own when it comes to building a fence that will actually pass inspection, and figuring out some sort of landscaping (lest we have a big watery hole in the middle of dirt, which could be fun, but not quite what we're going for). So this entire week, which I had pictured as me chilling out at Starbucks with my laptop, has instead been me elbow deep in dirt. Soooo much dirt. It's in my ears and in my hair and up my nose just about every orifice that grains of sand can wiggle their way into. Who knew that digging a few holes and planting a few rose bushes and building a few trenches would be so...dirty?

It's the desert. Oh my gosh you guys there is SO MUCH DIRT. 

And do you have any idea what it's like trying to hang up panels for a fence when the wind is slamming into you like a semi-truck? WHY IS IT SO DAMN WINDY? 

So now that I've talked y'all into purchasing real estate in the High Desert....

But seriously, for all the complaining I'm doing, Clint has been doing ten times the amount of work as me. The dude is a working machine. He has been living/breathing/sleeping/eating backyard fence right now. 

Well, minus the eating.

But I am happy to say that things are progressing nicely. Which is good, because we scheduled our "Pool Warming Party" for the 21st. This one's for family only, since our backyard won't be finished and the pool and spa will be freezing (we can't run the heaters for three weeks because the plaster needs to cure--though water is just fine). Here's the little invite I made using PowerPoint:

It includes "a dash of Lucas's birthday" because my little nephew Lucas is turning five, and he so badly wanted to have a birthday pool party at our house. We originally told Moo (my sister in-law) that we wouldn't be able to, because the pool wouldn't be ready in time. So she made plans to have a small birthday gathering for him at an ice-cream parlor down the hill instead. Well lo and behold we discovered the pool would be ready in time (though barely), so now Lucas is celebrating his birthday twice. The ice-cream party will be for presents and sweets, but our house will be for splashing around and all-around fun. Moo ordered these cupcakes for our pool party:

Cute cupcakes makes up for frigid water and an incomplete backyard, right? (Say "right").

On the writing frontier, I met up with my good friend, Brandon, for a critique session. I've been friends with his family for years (eight to be exact), especially his dad who actually appears in past blog posts as Mr. A.  But Brandon and I bonded with each other at the beginning of this school year when he started subbing regularly at the Ranch. He just started writing a SciFi book, so over summer we decided to meet up once a week to critique each other's work.  Our first meeting was on Thursday, but we went ahead and swapped chapters the day before so we would be prepared. Overall, considering we're making this up as we go, our first CP session was pretty awesome.  Who knows? Maybe we'll be able to find one or two other writers in our area to join us in the future. Though I wouldn't want more than four, I think. I love how much you can get done with a smaller group. 

By the way, Brandon texted me a few days before our meeting with "The real question is do we meet noonish for beer or in the morning for coffee? You know my vote." So of course we did beer. Which is totally breaking Ernest Hemingway's profound advice, "Write drunk, edit sober." But I think CPing over beer is brilliant. Looser tongues and more accepting of critique.

Oh, I almost forgot to say that today is my and Clint's anniversary. Sixteen years. And it happens to fall on Friday the 13th, AND a full moon. I really, really wish we liked scary movies so we could have commemorated this probably-never-to-happen-again-in-our-lifetime event with a horror-flick marathon (what better way to celebrate your marriage than with blood and gore?). Sadly, we both hate those kinds of movies, so that wasn't going to happen. Ultimately Clint had to work today, but we were able to go to dinner tonight at our favorite sushi restaurant. He gave me perfume, a sapphire necklace, and an orange rose (inside story). We never do anniversary gifts, so now I look like a complete chump. But I did love the gifts. It was a pretty sweet surprise considering I wasn't expecting anything.

I went grocery shopping today. This is only noteworthy because I don't go grocery shopping--unless Clint's out of town for three months and we will literally starve if I don't. Anyway, Elijah kept trying to sneak a watermelon in the basket, which was funny because of all the tiny treats you can try to sneak into a cart, he chooses a watermelon. Still, I have to say I was impressed. Even though I made him put the watermelon back (which he had named "Melon-ie") a thousand times, every time I turned around for a fraction of a second, that damn watermelon was back in the basket. I couldn't figure out how he was doing it. Like, does he have some sort of large-fruit transportation device hidden away in his pockets? Later, when we were unloading our groceries--sans Melonie--somehow a giant jar of pickles dropped and exploded on the ground. By the time the kids and I got into the house, we were all bleeding from various spots (flip-flops don't provide much armor against projectile glass). At this point Trin says, "You know Mom, when we go grocery shopping with Dad, we don't usually end up bleeding."

See, this is why I don't grocery shop.


  1. Next time you might want to get the watermelon instead...easier on the toes.


    1. True Steve, at least watermelons don't draw blood. Though I might have needed a couple new toes.

  2. Good lord, one thing I don't miss about the desert is the dirt! We have dirt, too, but it's mostly covered up by things that grow in dirt. So, not as much of a problem and when we have wind, there's not usually dirt blowing around. Who knows what it'll be like wherever we land.

    I like your pool party invite, very cute and the cupcakes are awesome. Your sister in law is sweet, considering you're plotting to freeze your entire family by dunking them in your icy pool water! ;)

    I literally laughed out loud at your grocery shopping story. I would NEVER let Matt do the shopping alone. I do almost all of it, because I do the menu planning (sometimes) and cooking (most of the time). Matt would come home with thirteen bags of Cheetos, two tubs of pimento cheese, and a tub of macaroni salad. That would be it, and he would have somehow spent $500!! Also, I'm a major control freak who couldn't bear to allow anyone else to do it, because clearly I'm the only one who can do it correctly (oh, neurosis... *eyeroll*).

    Finally, Happy Anniversary!! I can't believe it's been so many years already!!

    1. Be grateful you're not living here, Kristyn. The winds have been RELENTLESS for nearly two weeks. Now I see why the Santa Ana's drive people to commit crimes.

      Okay, I actually laughed out loud at your line "Your sister in law is sweet, considering you're plotting to freeze your entire family by dunking them in your icy pool water!" I'm going to have to share that one with her.

      Clint suffers from the same grocery store neurosis that you do. Yesterday was a major grocery shopping trip, and I could tell he was trying not to be critical about my purchases when he got home from work, but still, little things slipped out (like "Oh, I usually get unsalted butter"). Whereas me, I'm more like Matt. Just give me some food to stuff down my gullet and I'm good to go. So we're both pretty content to let Clint do the shopping.

      DYING laughing at the image of Matt coming home with thirteen bags of Cheetos and a bunch of cheese!

  3. Jeremy does the grocery shopping too because I'm terrible at it! When I go shopping, I usually end up with Spaghetti-ohs, several cartons of ice cream, and cherry coke.

    I think you should have let Elijah have the damn watermelon just because he gave it such a clever name. :-) We have a coconut here that Shelby named "Coconut Bob." That really isn't a clever name, so I'm not even sure why I mentioned it.

    1. I will admit that I had about eight cans of spaghetti-os, and two gallons of ice-cream. But I had good stuff in there too, like pickles (that ended up committing suicide in my driveway).

      I'll let Elijah have his watermelon next weekend at the pool party. ;)

      Coconut Bob is an AWESOME name!

  4. Happy Anniversary! ^_^
    The pool cupcakes are cool! Sounds like it'll be a fun day.

    That's so cute about the watermelon. ^_^ And that's funny what they said afterward. Lol! Grocery shopping with kids always an adventure, at least it was when I was a kid.

    How awesome is it that you have a mini critique group!!! I'm so jealous! I have a coffee buddy that I was supposed to talk about writing with and it ends up being an hour or two of yakking about everything but, and then five minutes of writing. *cries*

    1. Awww Krystal, at least you get to have some awesome conversations with your coffee buddy! I will admit that me and my writing buddy derailed several times. I would say it was about 50/50 idle chatter vs. writing convo.

      Yes, grocery shopping is always an adventure! Hopefully next time there will be less injuries. LOL

      Thank you for the anniversary wishes!


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