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Preview: Musings from Carpool

Musings from Carpool

Tales of part-time motherhood from the school carpool lane.

Updated: 2018-03-06T08:20:27.077-05:00


Breathe a little


School is out. The awards ceremony is done, the teacher gifts were made and given, the celebratory lunch was had. I have no more 30 minutes a day in carpool line to read, knit or chat on the phone.

I have, however, developed summer-brain already, in that I've lost a day this week, scheduled a play date right through ballet lessons, lost the camera, hosted an impromptu cookout with 4 extra impromptu guests, and completely missed a conference call.

Sounds like the perfect carpool summer. Craft & kid pictures tomorrow assuming I can find the camera.

...Where she finally admits it's ok.


So it has been a whole year, and I barely even noticed. Do you remember the weeping and wailing and constant whining? The incessant pleading with people to just make this all stop? To find the monogrammed flip flops I needed to fit in? The head shaking and disbelief?

Ok, the whining and head shaking haven't exactly stopped, but I can honestly say that things are a whole lot better over here. To the point where on some days, I run out of blog material because it's so blissfully normal. (Well, Mayberry normal, which might not be normal to anyone else, if you know what I'm sayin'. But normal enough.)

So now what?

Well, I think it's time I pursue some things that give me a little joy, if you know what I mean. This whining gig is funny and all, but I'm finding the more I wrap myself up in it, the more whiny I become. And a whiny mother breeds whining children, which may just lead to a call from the funny farm. And I'm sure that's frowned upon here.

So hang with me. I promise not to loose all of the snark - there's just too much opportunity around here to poke fun. But there might just be some other topics of conversation, like the small town game of telephone, or why I can't ever, EVER, find my car at Wal-Mart. (No really, not ever.) Or even what happens when she finally admits that this move might be the best thing that ever happened.

The Final Countdown


May is almost over. Baseball, dance, quarter exams and my sister's wedding are over. Even the cool weather is over, and with it the ability to not use the air conditioning. We are down to the last 6 days of school - the final countdown has started.

So why, then, are the 5th grade teachers making me deal with "Colonial Day" tomorrow? Did they not get the memo that I am also done? And not even remotely interested in making sure that my daughter is in full colonial costume tomorrow? A colonial costume, I might add, that I learned about on Saturday night? (Talk about ruining your beach buzz, let me tell you.)

Field Day on Memorial Day? I can handle that, although it feels altogether wrong to be the only school I've ever seen not have the day off. Half days for a week instead of just being done, already? Fine, whatever y'all want. I'll milk my quiet time while I can get it.

But seriously, colonial day? I'm pretty sure the colonists would have added it to their list of reasons to revolt.



You know you're having a bit of a week (and a raging body-image issue) when your highlight of the week is this:

At the doctor's office, get on the scale, moaning inwardly at the number you expect.

Watch the nurse put the start point a full 50 pounds less than you know to be true.

Gush with outward gratitude that she thought you were 50 pounds lighter.

Don't even lose that contact high when she says "Well, I am a very bad guesser."

Note this as the best moment in a packed week, barely eclipsing your daughter's first dance recital.

I'm thinking this should not be a "Wow, I'm such a great parent/person" moment. Not even in the top 10. I'm just saying, is all.

Cross it off the list.



Birthday presents? Done.


Non-birthday gifts I actually wanted to make? Done.

Baseball? Done.

Cub Scouts? Done.

Dance Recital is tonight, class parties are next week, quarter tests have started... we're almost there.

Surprises Abound


Mother's Day is one of those days where I have low expectations. If I get to sleep in and don't have to cook dinner, I'm thrilled. (Presents are optional, although much appreciated.) With my husband out of town this year, my expectations were minimal - just please let me get to 8am and have one hour of peace. That's all I was hoping for.

Imagine my surprise, then, when my kids brought me a bowl of seriously soggy cereal and a big glass of apple juice at 8am. On my favorite Christmas tray, complete with a hand-drawn book and some beaded bracelets. I was speechless and incredibly proud. After all of the grousing the day before about the squabbling and infighting, my children worked together to surprise me, and couldn't have been any prouder of themselves. They beamed ear to ear, all talking over each other as they explained the surprise planning, the questions for Dad about where to find things, and how they knew my favorite cereal.

As I carried the dishes down the stairs, trying hard to hide the full bowl of soggy cereal, it hit me. While I cherish my children's independence, this was the first year that they pulled off a surprise without any major help from an adult. Which means, unfortunately, they're getting older. And as much as I like their ability to make their own breakfast & tie their own shoes, I think I miss those days of blinding adoration and easy decisions. When your only choices are Wiggles or Elmo, doesn't the world seem a simpler place?

I never thought I would relish those difficult days, but with middle school around the corner, I'll take 3 children under 5 arguing over the DVD of choice any day of the week.

From the Office of the Travelling Secretary



With a slogan like this, how can you vote for anyone else? Primaries are in, Miss Carpool is in a run-off this morning against, egads, a boy.

Updated to add the results, which aren't in our favor - apparently boys rule, and the girls got shut out. Bummer. But she did have the cutest shirt, and I guess that counts for something.

Chaos Reigns


I know, it's May already, and just as I'm starting to think about sitting down for a little while, the world around me is sprinting to the end of school. I had this really great post started about the influx of a new creative project and promptly threw it aside while I dealt with the May Day Dance, student council elections, a malfunctioning smoke detector, and children who have lost every last one of their senses. Every.Last.One. And we will not even discuss the lack of Mother's Day presents, wedding gifts, or a birthday present that all have to be done, ahem, now.

I have completely lost control.

I have laundry everywhere, 200 pounds of panicky dogs, plaster issues from wrestling the smoke detector down to change the batteries (and going through 3 of them to find the one that was malfunctioned), children who are wandery and unfocused, and a husband who is so worried about work that he's not sleeping. And I think we all know what that means.

I am a complete freakshow right now fueled only by inertia and diet coke.

Healthy habits be damned, I'm in survival mode until May 28th. I know that I should pare back my to-do list, but to be honest? I can't even find the list. Oh I'm sure it's buried in here somewhere, but I can't even think about where until I find the missing school shirt required to be worn on the end of the year field trip. So I'm going to handle this the way all good crises should be managed.

I'm going to go lay down.

Jiggety Jig


So I'm back, and you have never seen a more relieved husband than mine. It's an odd thing, really - he is perfectly composed dealing with CEOs and angry citizens, but leave him in charge of our household schedule for 4 days and the man completely loses his cool. Fortunately for all of us, the weekend report from K is that he wasn't "too yelly" aside from one lost religion book. (And at that point, all parties concede that the yelling was warranted, mainly because we are all fairly terrified of the religion teacher and she was not going to be pleased.)

Business travel can be such a luxury, although it completely wipes me out - the pressure to actually do my job in a timely manner and without panic makes me incredibly tired. It's such a facade for me, and one I'd much prefer leave behind. On the other hand, talking to someone I'm not related to during the day is a treat - and since I'm the only one that lives out of a major metro area, my Mayberry stories are a total novelty act.

Here in Mayberry, there's no novelty - just the 3 ring circus that defines our lives. Drop offs, pick ups, the cross country run that is motherhood. I did create a bit of havoc today by refusing grocery bags at our local store - I used my tote, and you would have thought I grew a 3rd head while in line. (Ah, the price of being green.)

But I'm home. And it feels great to think of Mayberry that way.

Bloom where you're planted


I'm getting ready to head out on business again this week, my annual trip back north. This should be no big deal, it's to an office I've been in before, I know the area pretty well, and I used to travel all the time, so I feel like I'm a pro at this.

So why am I completely freaked out?

Here's the thing. I have completely slowed my life down. Like a back to the 50s slowdown. No traffic, no schedule to speak of... I now get miffed when the dry cleaners changes their counter help and I actually have to explain my starch needs and that there are two families in Mayberry with the same last name. I don't think the ice age moves any faster than I do these days.

And while I love my job, I truly do, I love it best when I'm doing it at home in my PJs and I can freak out in private if something goes horribly wrong. Not, say, in a conference room with my boss and his minions with People Who Matter recording the day's events. (And rest assured, no matter how much planning I've done, something will go horribly wrong. It is the way of this project, and success is based on the amount of wrongness, not the lack of it.)

But I am going. I have booked flights, sifted through 42 pages of train schedules, and issued project plans. Part of me is looking forward to it. A few days of quiet, a few days of letting my husband worry about packed lunches and color cards and homework.

A little more of me, though, is realizing that I like it here. And that maybe, just maybe, I've put down some roots.

It ain't easy being green


Learning is such a funny process for me. For instance, Sweet Husband is on a renewal resource / environmentally friendly tear. Not that we all shouldn't be, but still, it is a bit surprising to find my yuppy consumer husband now insisting we use as little of any given resource as possible. But I digress.

So as part of the environmental forced march we're currently on, it was strongly suggested to me that we switch to fully recycled content paper products. Great. Easy enough, I've seen them around, surely they will be easy to get my hands on.

Oh, wait. I live in Mayberry, land of the single source. No recycled paper goods here, those were 45 minutes away in the Land Of Plenty. So... do I drive 50 minutes in my incredibly wasteful SUV, have them shipped by UPS from another source, or waste trees by using plain old paper towels? Which is the best choice? Is there one?

I am overwhelmed by my confusion. If I have to "waste" resources to get them by driving or shipping, does that fully negate my recycled paper towels? And I know I should switch to cloth napkins - but then I'll be doing even more laundry then usual. Which puts me back in the increased energy & water usage category.

And don't even get me started on other product warnings of late. Do I no longer use plastic water bottles because of the Bisphenol A (BPA) warnings? What about the face creams I use - do I get rid of them if they contain anything scary? And then what do I choose? Does just buying organic cover it? Or do I need to try and buy locally, too?

I'm usually pretty good at making a decision, but in this case, I have no clue what I'm doing. With everyone embracing the green movement, it's hard to tell the hype from fact. I know I can make a big difference with the small things like light bulbs and recycling, but what happens when you want to take the next step? I realize I may be overthinking it here, but still - how do you make any kind of decision?

Is anyone else overwhelmed with the information overload on this one?

Take Me Out to the Ballgame


Mayberry is a baseball town, they keep telling us. Nice fields, lots of former collegiate players and one very special Major League MVP. And I love baseball. I have no actual skill, but there is almost nothing that beats warm summer nights spent on bleachers with popcorn & some friends.

But in spite of all of this "we're a baseball town" nonsense, we've noticed a few things. Namely, they have no idea how to actually teach a team of children how to play baseball. We accepted the fact that no one understood soccer and the finer points of coaching, because, well, we're pretty sure that no one except my Yankee husband has ever actually played it. But Baseball? Mayberry's pride and joy? These awesome players must have been in some other league, because the baseball system as it stands right now stinks for little kids.

And although I have sworn time and time again that I would never ever become "that parent," here I sit. Cranky that there are 17 children on a single team, that there are 400 bored 7 year olds in the outfield, and that no coach is positioning a child's bat correctly. (And let me remind you? I have no skill. So if I notice the poor form? That poor kid might as well just share my popcorn, because he isn't hitting a beach ball, much less that thing they're throwing at him.) We are becoming the whiny parents. And I do mean whiny with a capital W.

I must digress here, and state that we're not becoming those parents who yell, or throw things at the coach, or anything like that. (That seems to be primarily reserved for hockey or soccer - baseball is much too lazy a sport for violence, I think.) We're just... disgruntled. Sweet husband has stepped into practice, worked the field during games, corrected batting form, and started to get more involved so that we're not just Whiners. We try, we say, yet no one wants to embrace the change.

But every game, we're gritting our teeth. Next year, we state, we will take over. Our child will have better instruction than this. And more fun, and less time to count daisies. And while we're at it, no U. South Carolina colored items. We (and the other parents sitting with us) know better, so we shall do better.

And our child? Does he feel the angst and the pain of large teams, boring outfield duty, and the poor color choice of socks? Does he too, wish and hope and pray fervently for rainouts?

Heck no. Our child happily throws his bag over his shoulder, runs onto the field, and has the time of his life.

Looks like we'll need to sit still, bite our tongue, and take a few for the team.

Lost in Mayberry


I probably should feel guilt, I suppose, what with skipping out on the family park outing tonight - it's an 80 degree day here in Mayberry, with clear evening skies, aside from the green pollen haze that's engulfed us. Next week we're back in chilly (for here) weather again, so I should be enjoying it, but... I didn't quite hear what my husband said as I wandered up the stairs. No, really.

I was wandering to do yet more laundry when I realized that once again, we have been overtaken by the 3/4 phenomenon. What, you don't know it?

We only have 3 of 4 shoes. Ever. Like forever, ever.

Like the socks that randomly get eaten by the dryer, we are perpetually missing the 4th shoe. For convenience, I buy two exact pairs of shoes for the boys to wear. I don't care who wears which ones, as long as they each manage a pair out of the larger set. I know, the shoe people are ready to shoot me, yes, I've read all the "bad foot formation" articles. If you've seen Finn's feet, there's no room for worse formation, so I think we can safely be exempt.

Anyhoo, we cannot seem to hang on to that 4th shoe. I know who doesn't put his shoes in the closet, that much I've determined. But where the 4th shoe is, I've nary a clue. And this is the 2nd set this has happened to - you would have thought I could just buy a 3rd pair, but their feet grew, so we're back in the same place. Again.

Do you think "Lost Croc" posters around the 'hood will bring them home, or just attract gator hunters?

Updated to add - I now have 4 crocs (sorry, Mindy, no Mickey Mouse) but only 3 sneakers. Maybe it's the 7/8 rule?

One Smart Dude


I wish I had something profound to say, but I think this is a better use of a post. His brother proclaimed that he looked like "one smart dude," which made him giggle a good bit - I think he's more interested in if he can still bat those long lashes and attract the ladies...

Random Wanderings


Ok, I promised I wouldn't abandon my blog (and y'all) for months on end, but I did not promise I would be coherent the entire time I was here. So bear with me.

Things here are a little crazy, compounded by the fact that my in-laws called last night at 9:30p to announce that they were coming. Today. There should be a ban on all short-notice visits.

And the cutie who carries laundry? It's a wonder the child could find the stacks at all (although they are graciously large) because his vision? Dreadful. And apparently color-compromised as well. Our newest party trick, since it's really noticeable in one eye, is to play "Which of these is really green?" while alternately covering one eye then the other. We seem to be fine with red, but if you've ever taken those dot tests where you strain to find the numbers in the circle painted in red & green? He failed in spectacular fashion. No flight training for him, which will be a relief for the general public.

And mentioning the washer, it has gone kaput. As much as I love feeling all smug & green for using a front-loader, this is the second one in two years that has dislocated something, leaving me washerless while I wait for a repair. If I have to get a new one, I'm thinking old and mechanical, just what the repairman ordered. I may be forced to head to the laundromat if they can't fix it tomorrow, which while not only lowering my social standing, is a bit like appearing on stage with Jerry Springer. Yikes.

Back to the grindstone - more interesting fodder next week, like how we've become parents who actually care about how baseball practice is structured. Oh yes, I'm turning into that mom.

Swoon A While


I've been spending a little too much time with Jane Austen of late, and I think I would really, really, really welcome a good swoon right about now. But in my running shoes & sweats, it just doesn't have the same effect. (And wouldn't you know it, I run straight into the gossip queen at the grocery store on my way out - this is so not going to get me into supper club, let me tell you.)

But back to the swoon - my dearest sweetest boy just walked in, asked for another stack of laundry, and told me "I like taking the laundry, Momma."

Swoon-worthy, I assure you. Wagers as to where he's actually taking it?

Let the Good Times Roll


So, it's still Spring Break, officially, but since we are now down to just a weekend before my life resumes, I'm calling it off. The Break, I mean. Because aside from the sleeping until 8:30 thing at my parents, it hasn't been much of a break.

Let's review.

Monday - Mom works from home, taking conference calls amidst cries of "He's telling on me" and "I will never EVER clean my room." Flee to my parents in hope of a sanity break.

Tuesday & Wednesday - Play with sweet baby niece, sleep moderately late, allow my parents to deal with the "complete unfairness" of 3 children with new computer games, one of which "like totally stinks." Return home at the bequest of dear husband who proclaims that the house is too quiet without us.

Thursday - Spend some time with our friends at Urgent Care so that I can get antibiotics for the pink eye I've acquired from the sweet baby. More cruelty to children inflicted as I pronounce Thursday "no electronics" day, and force them to play outside. In 75 degree sunshine, I might add, lest you think I was sending them out to the tundra for a game of Ring the Reindeer.

Friday - Cave to demands of Happy Meals as well as video game time. Compromise is made that games can be played on the screened in porch to allow fresh air to actually see my children. Spend afternoon making a countdown chart for school to resume. Decide that summer-long sleepaway camp might be worth the third mortgage.

In two days, 18 hours, and 7 minutes. But who's counting?

We were on a break.


Spring used to be the two most magical words in my life. No classes, no pesky undergrad students, no stress. Go home, let Mom do the laundry and cooking, sleep 'til noon every single day.

And then, suddenly, I am Mom, and I hate those words. No schedule, no school, pesky elementary school kids, no sleeping in.

So what do I do? Go home, let Mom do the cooking, and sleep until the now heavenly hour of 8:30. Every. Single. Day.

Back soon, I'm on Spring Break.

Wish Granted.


So I was in a bit of a funk the other day. You see, moms around me were talking about Spring Break plans, supper club, and shopping trips, and I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. I wallowed, a little too long, frankly, and in my panic scramble yesterday to clean my house, find the right color shirts for Grandfriend's Day, and gather enough rations for breakfast, I realized that one of my big complaints in our old life was that I didn't have enough quiet time.


It would appear that although I am not capable of receiving everything I want in the way of say, lottery tickets and thinner thighs, I have been granted this one wish, and in spades.

So I got what I asked for. Be warned, apparently the universe (in whatever form you believe in) does hear these things, and grants them. And sometimes, just at the time you want them the least.

But today? Today I am thrilled for the silence, my parents have just pulled out, I had the right shirts, a public lunch with my children did not require me to issue "the look" more than twice, and it is finally, officially, Spring.

And as people around here will tell you, there is nothing better at all to wish for than a Southern Spring breeze. Here's to clearing out the cobwebs, y'all.

Table for one, again.


So if there should be a universal sign for "give me some darn space already" (courtesy of Mindy), is there a sign for "please, don't make me eat lunch alone again"?

I am not very good at asking for things. Honestly, it would less painful for me to ask you for a kidney as it would be for you to eat lunch. And lest you think I'm not moving ever so carefully out of my comfort zone, I have actually invited people to lunch. Or dinner, even.

Based on my call back rate, it would seem that I'm not a good second date.

We have always been the callers, my husband and I, and very rarely the recipient - do we just own our role, and suck it up, or wait? Or do I let my paranoia overcome me, and wonder if I smell funny?

Oh, the joys of living in a new place.

And they are 7.


Yesterday, for once in my life, every last thing I did worked out. On schedule, worked well, I was on my best game. Deliveries arrived when scheduled, conference calls ended in record time - it was like the planets aligned, and I was a rock star.

And then, of course, I had to actually pick my children up from school. And what did they do? Walk past my car, and around the other side of campus, forcing me to park and chase them until they finally realized that the crazy lady waving their arms and yelling at them was in fact their mother. (It is fortunate to note here that I was only picking up the boys - if I had been picking up Kate, she would have looked, grimaced, and kept going. Embarrassing the family name and all that.)

Once I actually collected the birthday children, I tried to recover my rock star vibe - the car was loaded with birthday gear, my husband arrived on schedule to help with the festivities, and plenty of kiddos arrived to celebrate. I hadn't asked any one parent to stay, specifically, since I felt certain that some lonely 1st grader would require Momma to hang for the 2 hours.

Not a single parent stayed. For 2 hours, I had sole custody of 38 children.

And no alcohol.

Needless to say, the fact that I had to come home afterwards and deal with dinner, 43 un-iced cupcakes, healthy standardized testing snacks, gymnastics "watch night" and set of unassembled patio furniture killed my rock star buzz. But that was all fine, I had sort of planned it, minus the patio furniture.

But here's where the crow comes in. I think I've confessed my love for cute stationary, so the hand printed favor tags causes no alarm. But the cupcakes? I may have griped about the overachiever mom that uses fancy icing tips. And a pastry bag.

I have caved.
And bought the icing tip & the bag.
And I lurve them.
And iced 43 cupcakes last night with fancy swirls.
And Will said that they looked "perfecto, man."

But I did not wear makeup this morning dropping them off. Or anything monogrammed.

Crow at my house, high noon. Bring a screwdriver for the patio furniture.

Just when I needed that extra hour...


So I felt like I was on a bit of a roll there, and then Daylight Savings Time struck. I hate DST with all of my being for the first week, and then, once I'm no longer dragging children out of bed by their ankles, it grows on me. Particularly when I can gain a quiet house by throwing the children outside. For. Hours. On. End.

Needless to say, we haven't made it through the week yet, so no one in our house is getting up very easily. And since I am not a morning person to begin with, you can only imagine the chaos. It's also standardized testing week this week, on top of Kate's first try at Quarter Exams, birthday parties for the boys, and a round of my favorite houseguests, and you'll agree that maybe we've taken on too much.

The mothers here still astound me with their Martha-like overachievement. Birthday cupcakes are frosted with bags & fancy tips, snacks are brought in coolers so that the drinks are cold, and their makeup is impeccable. I, on the other hand, am thinking that 48 birthday cupcakes will be fortunate to actually get to class, much less wasting my time with a fancy schmancy icing. And the makeup? Not a chance.

Yet I persevere, and spent my time today printing "thank you" tags for party favors. Perhaps these will make up for the fact that I'm only wearing tinted sunscreen?

The Space Between


I am beginning to think that Nature had a decent plan, trying to convince me into having that second child so that they are 18 months apart. Things are getting manageable, you'd have a decent night's sleep once a month or so, and you're feeling like you could just do with a little more sweetness. All decent reasons, if you ask me. But the reason I didn't hear advertised?

You don't want the view so far ahead.

You see, we didn't fall for the siren song of 18 months apart, we waited a bit longer for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that we weren't sure we could handle pregnancy again. (For the record, I'll announce that while I am a champion at getting pregnant, I am not good at making it into the 3rd trimester. I hear it's overrated, the 3rd trimester, but it sends my dear husband into convulsions at the mere mention of baby envy. Ahem.) So we waited, and our children are 3 1/2 years apart. And this, I'm thinking, is not such a good thing.

For starters, our oldest was a pretty easy child, once we got her here. No behavior problems to speak of, good student, easy going. Our boys, on the other hand, are famous for pine-cone throwing, being "active", etc. We were not prepared, and had become complacent "older" parents. Been there, done that does not win you favors in the Principal's Office, let me assure you. It's more like "You've already done this, why are you having so much trouble?"

But the real kicker? The preview of what will happen later with the troublesome younger children. As my oldest gets ready for Quarter Exams, boy-girl parties, and the icky May Day forced march dance around the may pole, I can only watch these older boys and moan. That is what I am raising? Those goofball 11 year olds? You mean they never quite change?

The view far ahead is not pretty. I am beginning to understand the UK system of boarding school at 8, so that you don't get to watch. Or spend quality time with the Principal, explaining why you still can't quite get it right the second and third time around.

New Year's Resolutions, Strikes 1, 2 & 3


So I took a little unplanned break. I'd tell you that my keyboard was frozen solid, or that I was trapped underneath a snowbank, but since I've revealed my southerly location, I doubt you'd buy it.

In all honesty? I haven't been able to think of a second sentence. I have lots of first sentences floating around, begging for my attention, but when I sit down to write them? The second sentence runs for the hills. (Yes, I'll note here that I've now written like 6 sentences, but let me assure you that none of these sentences were the ones I had planned on my list.)

So let's recap my failed resolutions - Write More? clearly, no. Photos? not exactly. Less Caffeine? Oh, please. The only reason I'm actually sitting upright after last night's storm bands is 3 Diet Cokes. But I've been great about exercise, and I've even managed to send a few craft projects out the door without reworking them 58 times. So I've made some progress.

Back on the wagon, I suppose. Send me some 2nd sentences and some film?

Karma, Redux


When we bought this house, we joked often that Bob Vila would have to move in next door, with Norm on the other corner because we were the absolute last two people that you would expect to own a "vintage property." And oh, do I mean it's vintage - so far, the building date is listed at 1896, and the family who sold us the house caveats that with "so far."

But we fell in love with wavy glass, rolling floors, and 5 different electrical panels and we bought it, for better or worse. And as we got settled, we bragged that "there were no projects - the house is done!"

We were so flipping wrong, I can't even tell you.

For those who aren't sure, I moved pretty far south. Far enough south that I promised my children that there would be no down coats this year. No mittens, no icy windshields, none of that nonsense. Again, I was wrong. In a true freak of nature, we had 3 days of weather below freezing, and this house? Was not prepared. It was cold enough that no matter what we set the thermostat on, the temperature in the house never rose above 63 degrees. And one morning? It was 58.

Apparently, insulation never quite got crossed off the list, and now, we have a project. Note to self - while a new house doesn't have soul, old houses will put you right back in your (very, very cold) place.