10/28 Coffee Date

coffee

 

Happy Saturday to you! This mid-afternoon coffee date comes to you from rainy Knoxville at the end of an insane week! Today, I’m drinking again from my French press (pictured above) and I added a little Frosted Sugar Cookie creamer. Novella and I were going to venture to Sam’s and Target today, but it’s rainy and cold and we are recovering from being sick, so I opted to use Instacart grocery delivery. In a little while, we are going to whip up some chili, homemade macaroni and cheese, and brownies. I’m quite excited for this because we’re going to wear our matching aprons my mom made us!

 

Novella apron
She insisted on wearing this all around the mall. I don’t blame her; it’s gorgeous!

 

 

B is out of town in Clarksville today for the second time this week which leads me to my first topic: we are selling our Clarksville home. It’s just time. We held onto it for a multitude of reasons, but we always said we would know when it’s the right time to let it go and that time is definitely now. I am hoping to make some changes to our life in the near future, and one of my stipulations is that we get that house sold. Just as I was starting to doubt myself and plans, our tenants messaged and asked if they could get out of their lease a little early. It felt like divine intervention (although I actually believe every little thing is just that). So, he’s there today making a list of all the necessary repairs, including the roof. Eeek.

I’d be lying if I said I’m not a little nervous about the whole process. I’ve never sold a house before, and we haven’t lived in this house for over four years. I have little to no emotional attachment to it, but I know it’s going to be expensive on the front end, and we’ve already sunk quite a bit of money into our current home.

Butttttt…our renovations are almost done. There of course are some cosmetic things that need to be done. I swear when it’s all done, I will outline the whole process. But, let me say this: if there were no drama in this reno stuff, HGTV shows would be like 5 minutes long. Tops.I’d say the biggest hiccup for us is that it has taken so.much.longer than I thought it would. To be fair to us, dude said it would be a week. Well, we are embarking on our second weekend without anything to sit on but our beds (and kitchen table) and although I’m an extremely patient person, I’ve lost it a few times.

 

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Mostly because we all got really sick this week. I guess it was a virus. I hate that word because there’s nothing you can do about it. I went down first. Then B. Then Novella at 1 am. It was especially disastrous because what could we really do to relax? We had workers in our home (and they were working in our room that day) and nowhere to lay our heads. I had to stay at my sister’s house for two days! I’m so thankful to have family here. Otherwise, we would’ve had to stay in a hotel during the day, and I would hate to fork over that money because, ya know, opportunity costs! That’s two new faucets!

Speaking of…

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Since people have been in the house and I want to keep her away from the actual construction site that is our home, I’ve been taking Novella out in the afternoons either walking or shopping, or sometimes both. Well, the other day we went to a salvage place and I was in awe of some of the prices, so I started snapping some pictures. As I took a picture of the sink, I turned around to find my little darling bare-bottomed and attempting to use one of these potties.

 

This really has been such an adventurous week! I am not a big change-monger, yet here I am! For me, starting is the difficult part. I’ve learned a lot about myself and our little family over this last week. Maybe it’s something I’ve always known, but we are so much better when we’re working together- when we have clear visions and goals, but must adapt and change along the way. I named this blog “C is for curveball” because it’s the one thing I know to be sure about this life- it will always throw you curveballs.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween weekend!

 

 

halloween
One of my shelves, before we started demo. Ha!

 

Coffee Date, 10/15

Are we really mid-October?

I’m a day late on this coffee date.

Last night, I sat down to type a few things out, but as I did my middle school BFF, honorary sister, and one the keepers of my heart texted me and I just love talking to her.

The older we get, the more we need the people we knew when we were young.

Danielle has been my family for, no lie, 25 years. I cannot believe I am old enough to say that I have kept a treasure of my heart for that long, but here we are. I met her in the weirdest of ways- when my family moved to Clarksville, Tennessee in 1992, we moved into her old house. We were in fourth grade. It’s a long story, obviously a lot of twists and turns that go into navigating elementary, middle (!), high, college, early adulthood, actual adulthood…I just cannot imagine a world in which we don’t have each other.

But the point is, we hadn’t talked in two weeks, and sometimes nothing happens in two weeks, and sometimes everything happens in two weeks.

Sometimes that everything is nothing to most people, like when your kids get sick. Sometimes it just means that someone like Tom Petty died.

Tom Petty was so much to Danielle and me.

And so we texted about our sick kids, and all the frustration and humor that goes along with that, when she said, “I have been meaning to ask you, you know about Tom Petty, right? You and I used to wear him out!”

You know, last year my parents moved away to their hometown, on land previously inhabited by my dad’s family. It’s amazing to dwell in your own history; Danielle and I… we feel our history slipping away daily. We don’t know who lives in that house on Dewitt Drive. I know that I could flip to “Just As I Am” on page 307 of the Baptist Hymnal, but our beloved church is gone. Our high school is hardly recognizable.

Tom Petty was home for us. He was a zip tie to our parents in those cliche teenage years.

Danielle’s sweet Mama died 15 years ago.

Here is a list, non-comprehensive, of our Tom Petty songs. There are some that extend beyond our friendship, but this is what Tom Petty meant to us:

“Last Dance With Mary Jane” OK, so…I remember very vividly when this album came out, and I played this album on repeat for at least a decade afterward, but I have to tell a (now) funny story about this song. We were maybe in 8th grade when this album dropped (of course no one said “dropped” back then, ha!) My sweet mom won tickets from the radio station to this show. As I said, Tom Petty was life to my family. But we were all very active in our church; our church was also life to us back then. In hindsight, it makes my heart so smile to think about my parents indulging in a night out in Nashville, listening to Tom Petty sans kids, and having fun. Wellllll, it was apparently the scandal of the century at our church. Who knows how anyone even knew they “attended” this concert, but since this was the flagship song of this (*AMAZING*) album, my parents caught so much heat for this concert.

“I Won’t Back Down” (Note: this is Jason Aldean’s performance on SNL after the Las Vegas tragedy; he was the performer when those 59 lives were lost; I can’t imagine a more fitting tribute to turmoil). Don’t let that previous anecdote fool you. If there was a song that could ever represent one person, this song would represent my dad. As a teen, of course, I did not always love this. But the minute I eased into adulthood and took notice its dynamic nature, I truly appreciate anyone that can stick to their beliefs, no matter how unpopular they are.

“Free Fallin'” Did you know this song is exactly the same four chords over and over? I once played guitar and can play all the Tom Petty hits and “Someone Like You” by Rod Stewart, ha! This song is the anthem of our youth, but I have a distinct memory of listening to this song with Danielle’s mom (Mama J, as I called her partly as a joke that just…stuck) driving down Memorial Drive in that Ford Ranger. It was a rough day at Richview Middle…but we played some air drums, air guitar, and vocals. All was well for roughly three minutes. (WHY DO WE NOT MAKE VIDEOS LIKE THIS ANYMORE?!?)

“Into the Great Wide Open” This whole album was quintessential for our middle school years, but what I remember most is that our friend Kylie’s brother Heath thought this song said “A pebble without a tune.” !!!! I will never forget this!!!! (side note: hearing Tom Petty’s voice on this chills me.) ((Side, side note: oh heeey Johnny Depp!!!))

“Time to Move On” Oh My Gah. Talk about history. When we were seniors in high school, I made the hardest decision of my life and decided not to go to college with the rest of our core group. There were so many factors: my (then) 11-year-old brother was battling leukemia. I had decided to get married, a decision that catapulted me into adulthood in a way I couldn’t quite grasp then, and truthfully don’t always grasp even 16 years later. This was before you could burn CDs or make playlists on all the platforms we can now…I will never forget the sadness of sending my friends off from Danielle’s driveway, and we made a pact to listen to this song and “Silver Springs” by Fleetwood Mac all day that day. I listened to “Time To Move On” probably 100 times that day.

Broken skyline

which way to love land

which way to something better

which way to forgiveness

which way do I go?

It’s amazing that roughly seventeen years later, when everything is different, everything feels the same.

 

Coffee Date, 10/08

We haven’t had a coffee date in a month! I’m very much on a French press kick right now. I am 35 and honestly had no idea what it was or how to use it until this very month. It’s life-changing. Like, if there’s a coffee shop in Heaven (*crosses fingers) this is what it would taste like. I’m in love.

So, lately things in my life have gotten very interesting. I can’t say much about much, but I am looking to really broaden my horizons, especially in exercising creativity. Our renovations have reached a lull, but Novella is going to my parents next week for fall break, so we’re hoping to pick up some momentum. I really envy people that have the forethought to take pictures of these types of things. I would make a terrible home blogger. I’m already a terrible just-because blogger. Ha!

OK, so if we were having coffee, I’d insist that you try my new boo, the French Press at my scattered home. I’m trying to give off a hygge vibe, so you can imagine…it will look and smell like I robbed a Bath and Body Works. And in the background, we’ll be listening to Tom Petty because that’s what I’ve been listening to nonstop. Here’s what I’d probably talk to you about:

I know it’s silly to be this sad about a celebrity dying. I know it. But I am. Monday was rough. I had like a fever dream and woke up early to notifications on my phone about the Las Vegas shooting. It felt very much like a bad dream. I tried to go back to sleep, but my stomach kept churning and I got physically ill. The whole day felt incredibly off. It’s also just impossible to teach seventh graders empathy in these situations; they are desensitized to these things. I don’t remember being that way. The Oklahoma City bombing happened when I was also in seventh grade, and I distinctly remember a lingering sadness. (Maybe in great part to the musical montages they would play on the radio.) But, Tom Petty dying is something exclusive from Vegas, yet it feels like I have to explain why I am so impacted by this loss. Tom Petty wrote the soundtrack to my life. Growing up, he was the one thing my entire family could agree on. Never once did we all collectively moan, “Nooooo, Dad…not Tom Petty again.” Instead, we wanted to hear him over and over and over again. On rewind, no less.

I am having a rough school year. There’s no way we’d have coffee and that wouldn’t come up. It’s not impossible to pinpoint the root of the problem, but today I swear I turned a corner. No small feat on the Friday before a weeklong break, but I am at peace for the first time in nine weeks. It’s not because of the break; it’s because I finally see the results of some serious blood, sweat, and a whole whole lot of tears. At one point, I considered ducking into the large closet in my room and crying. Luckily, I’ve never lost my sense of humor or vivid imagination. And so, I started fancying the idea of residing in said closet and acting like the Wizardess of C. Middle with exclusive and impossible accessibility.

This is in no way bragging or self-congratulatory, but it needs to be said: teachers, don’t underestimate your value and impact. I’ve went back and forth on whether or not to mention this, but transparency always wins in my book. I’ve always prided myself in the connections I have with my kids. I had a lull a few years ago, but other than that, I can honestly say the relationships I develop with my kids are far more relevant to me than any test scores. I think I may have already said this, but I have been straight up grieving the loss of the day-to-day relationships with my “last year’s kids.”

Well, I guess I kind of forgot that those relationships didn’t happen overnight. So, I had my “this year’s” students do a quick write to let me know how this school year is going, and the responses floored me. You just cannot imagine what you mean as a teacher to kids. Their responses are personal, and I won’t share them, but they will propel me through May. It won’t always be easy, but I can do it.

It’s really hard to be a working mom. And that’s been a huge culprit in my current state. I simply cannot be the mom I want to be and the teacher that I want to be. I’ve been really wrestling with this lately, and I know something will always suffer in some form or fashion. These conversations are always jarring. I straddle the fence as a teacher because I am home a lot. For me (and this is just me!), life is easier when I’m home. For everyone. This article drove home what I’ve been articulating to my closest friends. I am the keeper at home, and then I’m the keeper for the 90 students I see daily, and (often times) their parents too.

I’ve also been thinking about this gem as well. Again, I want to exercise my creative muscles far more than I have, oh since the invention of the internet? I am always, always, longing for simpler times in my soul, and for me, it begins with creativity.

I guess that’s a lot for me to talk about, and it would take hours for me to go through this whole dialogue! I am excited for this Fall Break! What would you talk to me about on our coffee date? What are you drinking?