Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall and Winter Fondness

From the very first chilly fall breeze in September, that's when I start to come alive. The second half of the year has always been my favorite. Sure, I enjoy a hot summer day, lying in the sun, like anyone else. But nothing truly beats a hot mug of apple cider, on a cold day, while watching the leaves fall.
 And for me, every passing week it gets better and better.
I think it's because some of my best memories are from events that happened during this time of year. The first that comes to mind is the first Thanksgiving I spent in New York, watching the parade. My family woke up extra early to start the turkey and most of the trimmings, then we bundled up and took the train into NY for the day. It was gorgeous that day! Perfect blue sky, warm sun on your face, but that slight sting was in the air and you could see your breath when you spoke. Walking in the crowds was dizzying and fun, shopping in the boutiques and snacking on street vendor food was absolutely my 'new york minute'.  We enjoyed the parade and then came home to a hot meal and a long nap.
Another memory that springs to mind is simplicity of just waiting for the bus.
Waking up on a cold Massachusetts morning, half motivated to go to school, feeling barely alive, until the front door opened and you were pushed out into the blast of cold air. That'll wake you up anytime. Making that walk to the bus stop, backpack slung over one shoulder, the concrete sidewalks littered with wet fallen leaves and that clean, cool smell that filled your lungs with every breath. The sky an ominous grey, made even darker by the unrisen sun. Hands shivering, face exposed to the elements, because once again I forgot gloves and a scarf. I think that's really why I took up smoking in my teens, I needed something to occupy my cold hands at the bus stop.
It's funny to me now to enjoy a similar morning from a different perspective. Instead of the child heading off to school, I'm the adult making the coffee, checking the news and weather report, starting on the days chores. The perspective has definitely changed, but that 'get up and start the day' attitude hasn't.
 October is always fun for me. Watching my neighbors drag out their fall decorations, seeing the lumpy piles of pumpkins heaped in the storefronts, noticing the ever eye-catching orange and black decorations in windows and front yards. Who doesn't enjoy walking down the seasonal aisle of the grocery store this time of year, every shelf packed with giant, trick or treat sized bags of  Almond Joys, Reeses' Peanut Butter Cups, M&M's, Candy Corn...the list goes on.
Then there's November...
The feeling of 'almost' is carried around with me those few short weeks. It's almost time to pick out a tree, almost time to start playing my christmas music, almost time to write out the holiday cards and make sugar cookies. Even now as an adult, this time of year has not lost its magic for me. In fact, I think it means more to me now than ever before, because now I have the honor and privledge of passing on that magic to someone else.
It starts for me on the night of Thanksgiving. Once the leftovers are packed into the fridge and the dishes are done, it's time for my pre-holiday-season tradtion of watching It's a Wonderful Life. Every year without fail I watch this movie and cry at the end when Harry proposes the toast: "To my big brother George, the richest man in town." And even though I have the DVD version of the movie which does allow me to watch it in color, I prefer to watch it in black and white. It's better that way.
Of course, if that didn't do it for me then the following day, Black Friday, would definitely remind me that the holiday season is here. I partook in the lunacy that is Black Friday for the first time last year. Let's just say I never feel the need to do that again...ever.
From here on out it's the holiday season for me! I play my James Taylor Christmas Album, watch A Christmas Carol, write out the christmas cards, enjoy finding and hiding presents for my husband and anticipate any falling snow we may get. That's the bummer of not living in Massachusetts this time of year, you're not guaranteed snow on Christmas.
What's more exciting about this coming holiday season is that not only do I get to share it with my husband, but we'll both be introducing it and our traditions to our little boy, Noah.
I'm so excited to instill the love of magic and imagination in him.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The eternal question: What's Best for My Family?

Having a blog is beneficial in so many ways. You can share your thoughts with others, meet other writers, discover different styles of writing, vent your frustrations, share your opinions and all done in the pretty font you like with the background of your choice.
Most of you know that my lack of posts lately has to do with my upcoming due date. I'm cleaning house, setting up the nursery, packing and re-packing my hospital bag, making weekly trips to my OB, dealing with last trimester queasiness, stocking my pantry and freezer and trying to squeeze in some last minute 'childless' activities with my husband and friends.
Of course, throughout all the hubbub and excitement there are also some very annoying and/or frustrating elements that have corrupted my day-to-day life, leaving me somewhat discouraged and helpless at the end of the day.
But today I remember that THIS is why I started blogging again. So I would have a place, all my own, to vent about these building frustrations.

The first and biggest problem weighing on my mind heavily is my house.
James and I are renting a country home on five acres, just outside of Clarksville. It's peaceful, quiet and far away from Fort Campbell and all its predictable military drama.

Four months ago, when we were first visiting the property, I fell in love. I loved the quaint little country house. I loved the space, the beautiful backyard, the element of true privacy, the sunny kitchen and the 'lived-in' appeal of an older home.
Four months later I have come to despise this house and all the qualities I once thought were charming.
The space and privacy have turned into isolation. The backyard has become more matinence then I realized it would. And the lived-in, older home appeal is gone. Leaving in its wake the presence of any and every living creepy crawly imaginable, finding its way into my kitchen, bathroom, bedroom etc.
There are wood roaches that never seem to die living in my kitchen. There are mice pooping in every drawer and carrying fleas. And there are wasps finding their way inside through the nooks and crannies in the windows.
We have used sprays, traps, bombs, foggers and called in terminators. The fuckers keep getting in!
I don't even like being home anymore. Even at the slightest hint of having to run an errand, I get excited and grab my purse. I would gladly run OTHER people's errands if they asked me to.
I feel itchy all the time, psychologically or for real, and I HATE going into my kitchen. It seems everytime I do I end up having to kill something with my shoe.
The real problem weighing on me is WHEN to move. It's almost November, the holiday season is upon us. Should we risk moving someplace cleaner during this time of year or wait until January or February?
Then again, do I really want to bring little Noah into a house full of unsanitary mice and fleas?
It's not like there aren't places we could move to. Our town is full of great rentals in nice neighborhoods, at affordable rental rates. It really just comes down to the question of WHEN?
The holidays mean a lot to me, especially since I'll have a little family of my own in just a matter of weeks. I want it to be a time that's special and memorable. Of course I want the Kodak picture! Pictures of new-Daddy & Mommy holding Noah in front of the Christmas tree, snuggling in at night to read The Story of Santa Claus, playing holiday music and enjoying Walker's Shortbread.
But would it be better to make those memories in a home that didn't strike a chord of disgust in my heart?
James and I have moved so much in the three years we've been married, that we consider ourselves professionals. We know how to pack, how to organize, how to get the best deals on moving trucks, where to find the sturdiest packing boxes for next to nothing and how to do it all in one week if necessary.
 But here I am, 38 weeks pregnant, already dilating, excited for the birth of my son, nervous about the inevitable contractions, labor and pushing. I don't need another stressor right now.
Here comes another, 'But..'
I'm already stressed about bringing Noah home to this house! It freaks me out to think of fleas or any other kind of creepy crawly finding its way onto my precious newborn baby. I actually shiver at the thought.
And honestly, whenever I start to become anxious about his arrival and I just 'want him to be born already' I deliberately remind myself of this problem. It brings me back to reality and I find myself thinking, "What's a few more weeks, really?"
It might sound spoiled or pathetic or the worries of a first-time mother, but I can honestly say that even if I wasn't about to give birth, I would feel grossed out by living in this house and would want out just as badly.
I just don't know what I should do. Ideas, suggestions, advice...all are very welcome at this point.