Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Viewing

Our granddaughter came this weekend for a visit. Naturally we were excited. Even though she is only 4 weeks old, we wanted to make sure everything was just right. The porta crib my daughter had so thoughtfully sent us weeks earlier had to be put up. My DH undertook that duty. It did not take him long to question the term "porta" (aka portable) but never the less it was ready for her arrival.

My sister-in-law's 50th birthday party was Saturday evening so that was a perfect time for little Lou's first "viewing" - a somewhat humorous term our family laughingly refers to the first time a new baby member of the family is brought to a social occasion. (Or if there is no "event", the first time the baby is in town and family is invited for a "showing".) This should be filmed, not for the sentimental memories but for the simple amusement.

During the "viewing" little Lou was passed from arm to arm. While everyone was oohing and aahing over her, silently she was being examined head to toe. Her fingers were attributed to her paternal great grandmother. Her nose came from her maternal grandmother's side. She has hair the color of her mother's when she was born. Weights were compared to all the children born in the past year or two. Her clothes were noted, and approved. She acted very well and passed muster.

Of course this was only her mother's father (my DH's) side of the family. My family is not large enough to have such pageantry and I can not speak for the other side.

So now that that mile stone is behind us we can move on. We are now marking the days until she walks and talks - not that anyone is counting. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Copious Moves and Empty Nests

My Mama never told me that raising children would require a copious amount of packing and relocation. Now I was expecting to pack them up for summer camp and the ultimate - off to college (ie achieving Empty Nest hood). However, Mama never bothered to let me know about the "other" ancillary moves that could possibly occur.

Besides summer camp and college, I had my move to Atlanta for my first job. Since most of our extra furniture was on High Acres, the family mountain farm in North Carolina, my new household was packed there. To handle that move, my father tasked Stanbury his old mountaineer farm overseer. Stanbury loaded the furniture I wanted onto to his old blue pickup truck that looked as if it had had its better days. By the time all my worldly goods were piled on the back, all we needed was Granny and we could have headed west for Beverly Hills.  

We had the rocking chair tied to the back of the truck (like I said, all we were missing was Granny.) Much to my dismay I was to learn later that Stanbury had his jar of sweet mash whiskey in one of my English riding boots that he had secured in that rocking chair. I cannot even start to describe the first impression I made when we drove into the parking lot of my apartment complex in Atlanta - Stanbury, his truck, my riding boots, and his whiskey. Thank God no one remembers me. But I digress.

Besides the summer camps and the initial moves into college dorms, I started thinking about how many times we have "packed and moved" our girls. This came to mind because for the 4th time, I think we may be actually finally be empty nesters.

When our girls moved into houses in Charleston (5 on the peninsula alone) I kept reminding them if there was a carriage tour coming by the house it was in a neighborhood we could not afford. I always wanted to live on the peninsula in Charleston. Since I left college there, I have yet to full fill that dream. However I have paid rent for five years there - I guess I have lived vicariously - at best. Other than these moves there have been houses on the river overlooking harbor (it's a hard life but someone has to live it.) And one down a long dirt road located in a large lovely area of old oaks and ponds.

One carriage house was still being built the day my daughter moved in. Only two were ground floor. More likely than not there were stairs involved, at least one story if not two. There was the house on Society street with the front staircase so tightly curved no table or sofa could be negotiated up. A block and tackle had to be rigged up to the back porch to bring up the granite top kitchen table. One move was around the corner, we could look out the back door and see the front door of the next address. However, due to the size and amount of furniture we still needed a truck to move. 

Somehow moving day was always on August 1 when it seemed that humidity was 150% and temps in the mid 90's. And, the same day all the students were moving in and out throughout the peninsula. The one way streets blocked by U-Haul trucks, SUV's, and pickups.

And today's move involved three levels, two large staircases, 95% humidity, and 85 degrees.  I am happy to say we are empty nesters.  Well, let me rephrase that we are empty nesters again - for the fourth time. Yes, they are always welcome back.

Monday, September 8, 2014

I'll be Back

I shall be on the road this week. I may or may not be able write, but rest assured I will be back no later than Monday, September 15.  Have no fear my insane life continues.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Old Navy, New Navy

When I was just a child, navy blue was a color that was very popular. I can remember having a navy blue and white sailor dress. Navy hose were a color I always had in my selection of pantie hose among nude, beige, nearly there, and off black.  Everyone I knew had a pair or two of navy colored shoes.

Several years ago, I decided it would be nice to have some navy colored slacks (for you youngsters - that is a nice pair of ladies pants). I could not find one any where, or a navy skirt for that matter. When I asked, the sales lady looked at me, "Oh, navy is so out. No one wears navy any more."  How do you just deem a color, a basic color passe, obsolete, demode just like that? So my so soft and comfortable navy blue Brooks Brothers flats (that I got on a major sale) were put out to pasture - or rather up on the top shelf of my closet.

Then, just as quickly as the color was deemed DOA, it was back. Suddenly navy was the new thing. It was as if the color had just been discovered, some designer found it hidden on a color pallet, right there stuck behind black just to the side of deep purple. Who knew? It was everywhere. I was happy to see it and immediately went to purchase some pieces before someone discovered that in fact it was not new, just that old navy blue that was dismissed as passe for years.

Then there was another problem. I had several nice sweaters and tops with designs in them including navy among colors. When I  brought my new navy slacks and skirts home I was met with a new surprise.  Who knew there were so many navy blues? I found that my lovely blue, green, and white paisley top clashed with my navy slacks - I had purchased the "wrong" navy. Seriously? It was too light. My brown, black, and blue sweater did not go with the skirt I purchased - too dark. Really? 

So now when I go shopping I cannot simply look for navy, I need to shop for the correct navy, the light navy or the black navy or the bluer navy. I may need garanimals to match my navy suits. God forbid I go out in public with a black navy skirt and a blue navy paisley top. Maybe there was a reason navy fell out of style, it did itself in with its multiple personalities. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A New Name I Need to Live up to

Even before my granddaughter was born I was often asked, "What is she going to call you?" I found this to be an odd question if you think about it. First she had yet to meet me. And, even though I knew she would be the brightest child ever, I doubted she would be able to talk - at least until she was six months old (and that was in English - I felt sure she would be fluent in several more languages by the time she was two, but I digress).

My father's maternal Scottish grandmother's name was Mary Currie. She lived with my grandmother, my father, and his sister after the death of their father. My father called her "Grancurrie". When I was born he named me "Ann Currie" after his grandmother and my mother, but I always thought the name reminded him of his dear Grancurrie. All that said my daughter always said that I would be called "Grandcurrie" when I became a grandmother. Thinking of myself as being eternally young, I just filed that thought away.

So now I am a grandmother. And I need to have some dear moniker to be referred to as. My daughter just ran with "Grancurrie" and inside I just assumed that would be it. However, when she looked at little Lou, handed her to me, and said, "Here's Grancurrie, I know she wants to hold you." Suddenly all I could see in my mind were the pictures my Daddy had showed me of his dear Grancurrie. The ones of her in her 80's - the black and white ones from the 1930's that showed this loving dower widow, with her gray hair in a bun, and wrinkled worn face.

While I am joyously enjoying my first grandchild I fear looking in the mirror for I am sure what I see will be that loving dower lady with gray hair in a bun, and a wrinkled worn face. Does just the name morph me into the persona I remembered being told about? Obviously not, what I should be thinking of is that I am taking on the title of much beloved and nurturing woman who patiently helped rear my father during the depression. She was the lady he so dearly loved that he named his daughter after her.

So instead of fearing the visage in the mirror, perhaps I should question whether or not I can live up to her reputation. Meanwhile, I'll just enjoy this lovely little girl. Who knows, she may have an independent mind and decide that Grandcurrie doesn't fit and come up with something completely different. Then I may be upset that she doesn't call me that treasured name.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My BRSH Issue

For years now I have been in therapy dealing with my failure to accept the reality of living in a brick ranch style home. I thought I was progressing along fairly well. Of course there always are those set backs one has in recovery. But all in all I have been very proud of myself. 

Just this afternoon I was on my way home from the grocery store. Due to some construction I took a rather circuitous route. As I drove through a neighborhood I was unfamiliar with I took note of the homes. The yards were nice, well nice enough. The lawns were well manicured. There were no cars up on blocks in the front yards. The fences were well kept and nicely painted. No vicious pit bulls roamed the streets, in fact well dressed mothers walked along with their children. The driveways were filled with late model SUVs, wagons, and the occasional sports car. 

When I got home, my DH asked why I was late, I explained the detour. I went on to describe the neighborhood I had just been through. He was familiar with it and named several people he knew who lived there. "We could have bought something there if a house had been for sale when we were looking for one," he said.

"Why would we want to live there?"

"It's a nice neighborhood. In fact it is rather upscale, didn't you notice? The houses are a bit pricey."

"Those houses are more expensive than those in our neighborhood?"

I went about my business putting up the groceries and preparing supper. I couldn't help but think about that neighborhood. As we ate, I asked my DH, "Do you think those folks realize they live in brick ranch houses?"

He just looked at me. "Like we don't?"

Well, I thought to myself, that was different. Riding through that neighborhood and seeing all those brick ranch houses seemed like another world. To me, I can never imagine myself there in middle suburbia living in a neighborhood with the houses built in the 60's. Perhaps my therapy is not working as well I think or maybe I have settled into a state of blissful denial. But there may be hope for me.

"Hi, my name is Ann and I live in a brick ranch house. It has been five days since I denied it."