Alice’s school went to Tate Farms today, and ran around in the pumpkin patch, corn cribs, hay maze, and mini-barn. Alice had a blast. So did I. It was fun to spend time with her this way, and get to see her personality shine through amongst other kids her age.

Alice Jumps

Life in the Fast Lane

Now we head into almost 2 weeks solid of rehearsal. I have breaks this coming Tuesday night, and Thursday night. But that’s it until October 5. The play is going reasonably well… A little behind schedule for my comfort level as a director, but as no one else seems particularly bothered by this I’m not stressing about it. I know that I’ll learn the dances JUST in time as I always do, and it will go fine. My characters are fun, and the music is great, and the other actors are very strong. I don’t think there’s a weak one among us, and that makes me happy.

Pray for Jerry for patience and stamina with the girls as he’s the Solo Daddy during all of these rehearsals, and pray for the girls that they will be angels for him. Alice is regressing in her potty-training efforts because I’m gone so much; she is SUCH a mama’s girl. When I’m home, I make her wear Pull-ups because I’m tired of all of the laundry. She doesn’t like it. But my life is easier because of it. We’ll figure it out again later. I’m trying not to be angry about it, because I know it’s just a stress response — she was doing fine until all of the rehearsals started.

I picked up more tutoring students this week, which meant that I was able to afford the Ultimate Indulgence: Merry Maids came yesterday and made our home livable, and they’ll come again on closing day of the show. I LOVED the ladies that came yesterday. Totally the kind of women I’d like to go out for a beer with sometime. When I said that to them, they both said, “AMENNNN, SISTERRRRR!” There was lots of laughing and joy in this house yesterday. They will come every other week for a while, unless we can’t keep up with that and then they’ll come every week. It’ll take about a month or so for our house to be “party ready” but now at least I won’t be mortified if someone drops by. That’s a huge blessing.

When the show is over, I’ll decompress for a few days and then drive to Virginia with the girls for Fall Break (October 8-12) so that we can visit my grandmother (Nana, for whom Helen is partially named), since I haven’t seen her since Alice was an infant and Nana is 94 years old now. I’m looking forward to the trip, which will be a stop-and-smell-the-roses trip. We’ll go to the Knoxville Zoo on the way up, and hopefully visit with some ScrapShare friends as well. We have to be back in Huntsville on the 13th, because Helen sings in church with the Cherub Choir on the 14th and the girls have tickets to a play on that Sunday evening.

Then it’s a race to the finish to complete 2 more quilts for the quilt show the weekend of the 19th… They’re both a long way from being done, but I’m going to see how much progress I can make… If I can get them both to the handwork stage, then I’ll be able to take them to Virginia and work on them after the girls go to bed at night. Any embellishments I get completed will be a bonus; my main thing is to get them worthy of hanging at the show. They’re not TOO far from that, so it’s all good. I don’t expect to win anything anyway, since this is the first year I’m having to enter in the “Professional” category since I’ve sold several purses and a commissioned quilt now. I just want the quilts finished. The Halloween quilt in particular, since I’d love to be able to hang it in our dining room this year. It’s such a silly quilt. I did some cool quilting on it last night — it glows in the dark! Yay!

After the quilt show, I have about 10 days off in which to prepare to go to ScrapShare Texas IV, from November 1-5. This means streamlining my scrapbook necessities so that they’ll reasonably fit in a manageable suitcase, with space (and available weight) for more acquisitions while I’m down there. I don’t have an easy time packing lightly, so this was an interesting challenge last year. I plan to do even better this year, and I’m confident that I can do it.

Then my life should finally return to a normal pace after the first week of November. But the next 7 weeks or so will be quite intense around here.

Thank God for Merry Maids.

What can YOU do in 5 minutes?

I have been planning this scrapbook page for months, collecting Alice stories in a file on my computer. Not all of them made it to the page, because I ran out of room. And I left out all of the really embarrassing ones that she’d hate me for if I showed this to her prom date one day.

What can YOU do in 5 minutes?

(for the record: I know that my verb tenses don’t match; by the time I noticed it was too much of a pain to go back and correct them all, so I just let them not match. Oh, well. The message still gets across, no?)

Currently I’m at a scrapbooking retreat, getting lots of pages done. I have come to realize that there’s a completely unacceptable number of (good) swimming pictures from this summer.

A Lesson in Humility:

A few weeks ago I decided to use some of my tutoring income this year towards a weekly housekeeper (since I’m not paying for Helen to go to Montessori anymore — she’s in public kindergarten and thriving). This summer both girls have been home, and our house has been under construction and Jerry and I were trading workspaces. So the house has gotten seriously out of control because I don’t want to spend every second cleaning it. Or even every other second. Or every tenth second. I hate housework more than I hate my annual gynecological exam.

So I called my friend and got the number of her housekeeper. Her housekeeper just started working full-time at a local university as a Dorm Advisor, so she doesn’t have time for another housekeeping job, but she came over to meet me anyway and figure out which one of her friends might be a good fit for me.

Several days later I got a call from Valerie, one of her friends. Valerie said she’d love to come over and meet me and see the house, and she did. During the course of our conversation it came out that she’s terrified of dogs, and rather afraid of cats, too. I agreed that I’d put the dogs out of her way when she came over (and if she took the job, they’d be shut in Jerry’s office while she was here). The cat’s won’t bother her as long as she doesn’t sit down — at which point the two downstairs cats would be trying to get some love… Tango is a Lap Fungus.

So. She came over and was really jumpy because of all of the animals, and kept saying, “Oh, my” about how “lived in” our house is. It’s mostly cluttery, but there’s a LOT of dog hair (which is why I keep destroying vacuums) and the kitchen floor needs to be mopped rather badly.

She named her price, I accepted it, and she said she’d come back the next Wednesday morning at 8:15. “It won’t be perfect the first week; it’s going to take a bit of time to get it where I’d like to see it.” No problem, since it didn’t GET this way in one day, either.

Tuesday afternoon there was a message on my answering machine: Valerie had done a lot of thinking about it and decided that this job was more than she “wanted to take on at this time.”

I was turned down by a housekeeper.

So. I’ll try again, once I’ve recovered from the humiliation.

You’d think this would inspire me to get busy cleaning up the house, but it just doesn’t. I can’t clean it as fast as the girls wreck it, so they have to be asleep or out of the house for me to clean it. And if they’re asleep or out of the house, I am NOT ABOUT TO CLEAN. So it’s a Catch-22 and it just keeps getting worse.


I guess I’ll call a housekeeping *company* tomorrow, since they’ll send a team of people and not be quite so overwhelming as it would be for one person…

My mother had a housekeeper that came on Tuesdays, and Vera vacuumed the areas she could reach, dusted, wiped down countertops, did the bathroom, and changed the linens. That’s what I want — I don’t want someone scrubbing behind the toilet with a toothbrush or anything… I just want the basics done so that I can attack the clutter. My mother wasn’t superhuman, and neither am I. I’ll never be remembered for my clean house, and that’s totally OK with me — if that’s what people talk about when standing around after my funeral, then I will have failed in my lifetime.

That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway.