Monday, October 17, 2005

Life in Fast-Forward

I cannot believe that it is October already! This is my favorite time of year, and I wish things would slow down enough for me to take the time to enjoy it. School is still stressful, I am trying to work my Creative Memories business, and I am trying to get our fledgling sorority chapter to grow. I have tried to cut back on my commitments, but I always seem to overextend myself anyway. I can never say that I am bored! I just want to have the time to go to the Renaissance Festival, or enjoy an afternoon at the park with my family.

Next Friday is our ten-year anniversary. It is hard to believe that ten years ago today, I was getting ready to get married. We lived in Baton Rouge, but got married in Lafayette, an hour away. Much of the wedding planning fell on my mom, who was trying to take care of my grandmother. She had fallen and broke her hip, wrist, and another bone, and moved in with my parents. I was struggling in school, not sure what direction I wanted to go in. I knew that I wanted to go into the art field, but was unsatisfied with the graphic design program at LSU. They taught students how to draw, but nothing on the computer, which was what Darren was doing at the time. Darren was in grad school at LSU that semester; going to class two days per week, and commuting to New Orleans three days a week to work. It was a somber day, two weeks before our wedding, when Darren and I went and resigned from the university together. I was waiting tables at a new restaurant, On the Border, so there wasn't much income being contributed by me. I was tired of wedding details, and just wanted to forget about all of it.

Eventually, I settled down, and really enjoyed my wedding. Friends said it was the most fun wedding they had ever been to, but I don't remember a lot of the details. What I do remember is that I cried through the entire ceremony, and at the reception, Darren and I had a private waiter. Every time we'd take a picture, which was too often for me, our waiter would dispose of our drinks. Consequently, neither of us had much to eat or drink that night. Our two sixteen-year-old bridesmaids, on the other hand, had the time of their lives! My sister and her best friend drank numerous glasses of wine, danced, and leaned against columns for support. Beth went home first, when her dad found her dancing cosily with Darren's step-dad. Natalie was taken home by some neighbors later on, and they put her to bed. Darren and I went to Mom and Dad's house that night to tell her goodbye, and she was passed out cold.

The night of our wedding, Darren and I stayed in a bed and breakfast about a mile from my parents' house. We arrived long after everyone else had gone to bed, shook the birdseed off our bodies, and went to bed. The time changed that night, so we arrived an hour early for breakfast that morning. While waiting on breakfast, we read the local newspaper, which had a picture of the bed we had just slept in. Apparently the house was haunted. Thank God we didn't encounter any spirits that night! We were too tired to notice anything, anyway.

That morning, we went to Mom and Dad's, opened presents, and headed to Memphis. We spent a night there, then drove through Tennessee to Nashville. I think we spent the night there, visited Graceland, then drove through the mountains to Chattanooga. We stayed in an old train car at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, where I stayed with my parents at a much younger age. We toured Rock City and Lookout Mountain, then headed for the Gatlinburg area. We spent two nights in a cabin in the mountains near Sevierville, and had a wonderful time. The weather was perfect, the leaves were gorgeous, and we were in love. We then went to Atlanta, and took the Marta train to the World of Coca-Cola. We explored Underground Atlanta, and turned toward Baton Rouge the next morning. After 8 hours in the car, and an hour away from home, we were no longer speaking. I think it had something to do with Darren talking during a good song on the radio. I sure am used to that now; if Darren isn't talking, then Zach is. There isn't much silence around my house!

For our tenth anniversary, we are supposed to be spending next weekend in Austin. I haven't been there in eight years, and am looking forward to getting away for a few days. We have a long list of things to do; we go on vacation to do stuff, not relax. I hope that we have a wonderful time!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

What a Week (or Two) It's Been!

Just when I thought things were settling down for me, and looking forward to having a calmer month, October came along like a bulldozer. We recovered from Hurricane Rita, thinking, "Well, that wasn't bad at all. It was nice to have the extra days off!" On the Sunday after Rita, the 25th, the cable company lost power just before the season premiere of Desperate Housewives. We ended up having to listen to the show on my kitchen radio, which wasn't the same. That same night, my cool new kitchen light flickered and faded, and eventually turned off, not to be revived. We figured there was a loose wire in there, and we'd get to it when we could.

That Monday, the 26th, our dear power company began doing what they called "rolling blackouts", and assured us that we wouldn't be affected for more than an hour at a time. They were doing this to try to help turn on customers who had lost power during Rita. Their rolling blackouts turned into 4-5 hours at a time, and usually during the hottest part of the day, or just when I was about to cook dinner. They'd go off for an hour, come back on for an hour, then go back off for several hours. What fun that was! Thankfully, that only lasted for 3 or 4 days, and we are back to business as usual. The grocery stores and gas stations are restocked, and we finally cleaned up our backyard yesterday.

My parents came in that Thursday night from Louisiana, because Darren had surgery on Friday. He has had a lump on the side of his neck since the eighth grade, and finally decided to have it removed. The lump had grown steadily since it appeared, and was about the size of a chicken nugget. The doctor thought it was a benign cyst, and we weren't worried about the procedure. We left the house at the ungodly hour of 5am, then drove an hour to downtown Houston. Darren's surgery was at 8:00, they woke him up around 9:45, and kicked him out ten minutes later. It turns out that the lump was a giant ingrown hair; when his beard started to develop as a teenager, that hair grew in instead of out, wrapped around, and a cyst formed around it. Darren went back for a check-up on Friday, and the doctor told him that the hair was over a foot long. Gross! She took out his stitches, and the swelling is almost gone. It looks great!

Darren slept for most of the weekend after his surgery, so I took my parents and son shopping. My poor dad is stuck with Zach every time we are together. Poppa is Zach's favorite person, and I cease to exist when he is around. Lately, though, Zach is becoming more and more defiant to Poppa, and rude to my mom, so Poppa is losing patience with him. He needs to get back in his good graces; he hopefully won't be the only grandchild forever.

Darren did get up long enough to drive into Houston Saturday night. He took me to dinner for my birthday, a week late, at the Melting Pot. It's a cool fondue restaurant, and everyone has a private booth, and you eat until you feel sick. We ate every bite of our cheese course, salad, meat course, and chocolate course. I can't believe I didn't explode! It was fun, and we hadn't been there in a couple of years.

I knew I had a busy week ahead of me, and I was dreading it. I found out on Saturday that I had a Creative Memories meeting on Monday night. I knew that Darren had a huge project due Wednesday, and wouldn't be able to get home to watch Zach. I didn't want to go to the meeting, but I knew that I needed to. Zach had a wonderful time, and I had to drag him out of Laura's house! He loves being around kids so much, I know he'll make a great big brother someday.

Tuesday, I had an eye doctor appointment after work, my first in 14 years. They ended up dilating my eyes, and I barely made it home. It was 8:30 before it didn't hurt to keep my eyes open, and I decided to get a head start on my cooking for the sorority meeting/Creative Memories show that I was hosting on Wednesday. I started browning some chicken on the stove, and put some cookies in the oven to bake. I was feeling so well-prepared and domestic, and all proud of myself. Just then, the oven started to beep, and "FI" starting flashing on the control panel. I opened the oven and pulled the cookie sheet out, and the parchment paper looked like it had started to burn. Three cookies slid off the sheet, and onto the element. They immediately ignited, and I now had a small fire in my oven. I kept trying to turn the oven off, but the elements wouldn't switch off, and the temperature kept rising. Darren finally went and turned the breaker off, leaving Zach alone in the bathtub in the dark, but smoke kept billowing out. I decided to call the non-emergency number for the fire department, thinking they could tell me how to get the smoke out of our house. They decided to send a truck over, and I asked them not to turn on the sirens and lights. About 30 seconds later, I heard approaching sirens, so Zach and I went out to the driveway to wait for them. He was so excited to see the pretty lights! The firemen used a huge fan to blow the smoke out of the house, removed my charred Pampered Chef stoneware pieces from the oven where I store them, and checked the area around the stove for heat with a cool infrared camera thing. By the time they left, it was 10:00, and I stayed up until 1:00 cleaning the kitchen. We put in a call to the home warranty people that night to have the stove looked at.

Wednesday night, I had the sorority meeting at my house, and it was fun. I sold enough Creative Memories stuff to stay active until the end of January, so I don't have to worry about that right now. I just have to worry about the fact that I have an all-day event scheduled for next Saturday, and no one is registered to come. I don't want to waste all the pretty stickers and new products on me! I guess I'll sit and crop alone...

Well, 6:00 is going to come early, so I'll have to finish this later. It's taking way too much effort to look at the screen.