Things I Learned Whilst Trying to Buy a Tablecloth

One sunny afternoon this past week, the children and I headed out toward the church, to set up a dinner table for our church’s annual WIC Welcome Back Meeting and Dinner. I just had one “quick” errand to run first: return a pair of shoes I’d bought for Abigail. As I was in Marshalls returning the shoes, I had an idea: why not quickly stop by the linens section in back and pick up a pretty tablecloth to go with my china setting for the above-mentioned table? I actually have no fullsized tablecloths of my own which will work with my simple cream china though my MIL has kindly lent me the use of several of hers along with their nice oak dining table which we are “babysitting” for them. But all her cloths are solidly colored (with good reason: her lovely china is patterned with many colors in it) and I was hoping to find something with a bit more of a design to it.

It was a fun idea, but back in the linens section I came up empty. The patterns I liked were all the wrong sizes and the right sizes came in patterns I could do without. No big deal. While I was out, why not just check the other Marshalls just 10 minutes away? The advantages (or disadvantages depending on how you look at it!) of living in a large metroplex!!

Three hours and 7 discount stores later, including that second Marshalls, a Tuesday Morning, Steinmart, Nordstrom’s Rack, and others, I had no more reached my goal of a tablecloth than when I started. The kids, who each nap everyday and by this point were well beyond when those naps should’ve started, were wondering why I was torturing them by dragging them all over North Dallas and through countless stores. Meanwhile, my WIC table was still not begun. But by this time I was determined (read “obsessed”). There had to be a perfect tablecloth somewhere for a good price that I would absolutely love and which would beautify my table for the Ladies’ Dinner.
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Missing My Pa

When you lose a person you love there are so many memories and sweet things that just cannot be captured and communicated through writing. At least not through my writing. What follows is my weak attempt to write a small remembrance of someone whom I loved dearly and who had a profound impact on my life.

Two weeks ago today my maternal grandfather, Augustus Frederick Frick died. I miss him terribly, for even though we have rarely lived in the same state let alone the same town, we were close. We managed to see each other frequently and we wrote and talked often with each other. He and my grandmother, even though in their eighties, have travelled down to Texas several times since Jay and I were married to visit with the grand and greatgrandkids. And, despite an 83+ year distance in their ages and an 1800 mile distance between their residences my children, especially my oldest, Abigail got the opportunity to know and love him in these last years of his life.
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Martha Would Frown

As I was making preparations for this evening’s supper (we were having company) it dawned upon me that while I had thought through providing a balanced meal in the sense of many food groups, types, etc, I had not taken much time to consider the colors involved. Imagine my mortification when I realized everything I was planning to serve was either yellow or orange!


Martha would be horrified. Thankfully, our guests, Miss Randa and Mr. Garrett (or Mr. Carrot as Jonathan calls him!) were not quite as critical! Thanks, guys!! But just so you can picture it, here is what we had:

Chicken Enchiladas
Sweet Potatoes
Corn Chips/Salsa
(I know Mom, there’s no green vegetable, but I couldn’t think of one which went nicely with Mexican…and my kids won’t eat salad, but they love sweet potatoes and cantaloupe!!)

At any rate, can you envision this amalgamation of yellow-orange screaming with brightness all over our dining table? Which incidently happens to be covered by a yellow cloth and decorated with — oh no!! — DAISIES!!! Horrors!!


So who knew painting could be so dangerous?? It seemed a simple enough task. There I was, diligently finishing up the last part of my little project, pleased that I would be done just before Jay arrived home, so he could witness the fruits of my labor. ladder_fall.jpgAfter debating about it for several months, I had finally removed several hangers for curtains that we left attached above our window frames in the living areas of the house when we moved in. Just in case we decided to use the rods: they were already paid for and installed, so moving them seemed silly if indeed we were going to just put curtains on them sometime “soon”. Well, after a year and a half with no curtains to speak of, I decided they must come down. And, besides, I’m hostessing a baby shower tomorrow at the house so this was a great incentive to get going on my little project.

But, as I was saying, I was close to finished: I’d unscrewed the curtain hardware, which was tricky (to me) because I had to learn about an “Allen wrench” (thank you Steph for the brief lesson, thank you Jay for having a well-stocked tool bench!); spackled neatly over all the little holes the screws left and was painting over the spackle above my last set of windows in our living room. These windows are the tallest I had to work on, so I was straddled atop our six foot ladder (which I’d been using throughout this project without any trouble), balancing my little paint can and brush. As I went to apply the paint, I suddenly felt the ladder just “go away” from underneath me. All 130 pounds of me plus my very open, very full paint can went flying through the air. In that instant as I fell all I could think was, “Hold the paint can steady, Trish, or you will make a terrible mess all over the rug!” (And that just wouldn’t do with 35-40 guests due to show up in less than 24 hours!!)

As I crashed to the floor, it occurred to me that I was in a fair amount of pain. There was a large bleeding gash on my right thigh, a welt forming on the back of my left leg, another bruised lump on my right shin, and my right big toe was throbbing, the result of gouging a hole at the base of it. Besides these quite visible injuries, I had additionally “sat down” rather hard on the ladder when I fell…ouch. However, I had successfully held the paint can steady!! Except for a teeny dribble along the side of the can, I’d kept the liquid contained.

When Jay arrived home, accompanied by our friend David as they had picked up folding chairs from the church in prep for tomorrow’s festivities, I did not get to show them quite the completed job I’d hoped for. However, they were properly sympathetic toward my wounds and duly impressed with my heroic saving of the paint. Thanks, Guys!

After inspecting the fallen ladder, we can only surmise that for whatever reason, the ladder, a six foot metal one with hinged middle and sides so as to allow it to double as a “platform”, buckled at the hinge on one of its sides, thereby causing the entire structure to essentially fold up and fall over with me on top. Though it was rather low on my list of things I wanted to do tonight, I managed to get up the courage to climb the ladder to finish painting my last few patches of spackle. Thankfully, I got to also climb back down this time instead of being dropped! I assure you that I shall hereafter maintain a greater sense of respect for all ladders!!

The Bliss of Organization

Those of you who know me very well can attest to the fact that I am what might be referred to in politically-correct terms, “highly organizationally challenged”. Don’t get me wrong: I like organization alot. I just never really learned to do it well, and once done, I’ve never worked hard enough at maintaining what was begun. This makes life difficult in some respects, but especially more so as we acquire greater numbers of children, and with them, a plethora of toys, clothing, and books, etc of many sizes and shapes.

Perhaps I have come down with some sort of spring cleaning bug, but for whatever reason, the general clutter of things has gotten to me more of late. So, over the past week I have made some serious efforts at organizing certain areas of the house which are highly used and could benefit from some attention to detail. And I must say, the sense of accomplishment from this work has been monumental.

On Friday after I took apart and redid the pantry I proudly showed the results of my work to Jay (he, by the way, is in general a very well-organized person, thank you Lord,for this grace in my life!). He was immensely pleased, to say the least. And so was I. Subsequently, I redid my system for all of our tupperware and tackled a huge project: the kids’ craft cabinet. Sadly, this storage space had become so bad that things would often come flying out at you when you opened it to get the crayons, for instance. This area took the most time and thought but tonight I am happy to report that games, crayons, stickers, playdough, etc, are neatly stowed in lovely plastic containers of various sizes and shapes. And I feel like a new person!!

There are a few basics I have come away with as I worked on these little projects. For those of you who are highly organized, this will be elementary. For others like me perhaps they will shed new light on the whole concept of becoming organized. I will note that I didn’t take these points from a book or anything; they were the fruit of thinking and working through the process, so take them with a grain of salt, if you are even interested.
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Red Truck Recap

The summer of 2001, we moved into a new home, leaving behind some rather cherished work done on a couple of rooms of our previous house. So we went to work in the new house, starting in the nursery. Now, lest one get the wrong impression, us going “to work” is a pleasant euphemism for a process that often stretches into the months. Perhaps this will change when the children are older, but we have a rather deliberate pace these days. Thus, for instance, the curtain rod I made about 6 months ago is still not installed in my daughter’s room (though I did install and finish the chair rail in a more timely fashion).

trucks_mural_small.jpgBut I digress. In October of 2001, we discovered to our surprise that we (as in, Tricia) were pregnant again. The nursery didn’t get finished out until shortly after the new year (of 2002), and Tricia was rather appalled that Jonathan was going to immediately have to move into an unfinished room. So she went to work around her 5th month of pregnancy on drawing, painting, redrawing, repainting, etc. Jonathan’s big boy room. She was trying for a design that matched the quilt he will use on his big boy bed one day (that red truck design from Pottery Barn, for those of you who know it… have I mentioned Tricia had also discovered around this time that one’s dollar could go a lot farther on eBay than actually in the store?).

She completed the room about a month before Nicolas arrived on the scene this past summer. At the time, I was still blogging on Cogito Ergo Blog, which didn’t have quite as much family related material, so I never made mention of her accomplishment. Well, I’ve decided it is high time I rectify this injustice. I have stitched together photos of the two main walls for your viewing pleasure: wall one and wall two.

Like the photo included with this entry, you’ll see some odd artifacts from the stitching process… this was my first time gluing multiple photos together. But hopefully it doesn’t detract too much from the fantastic job Tricia did with the painting. I suppose I should have included a picture with the quilt, but you’ll just have to take my word for it that the walls match exceedingly well.

Gag Me with a Turkey

I am so nongraceful. A few moments ago as I was preparing to roast the turkey for supper, I (as is my usual practice with raw meat) lifted the bird up toward my nose to do a smell test and see if everything seemed fresh and AOK. Well, I seem to have misjudged the distance and ended up rubbing raw turkey all over my mouth and nose. YUCK!!! It’s amazing we end up with anything edible around here given my apparent clumsiness in the kitchen! I have sanitized my face and the turkey is cooking nicely. Let this be a warning to you to be on your guard next time you have an enounter with a raw turkey.

Tricia versus the spider

IMG_0252-2.jpgThere I was in a meeting with a couple VPs and several directors when Tricia called me on my mobile. I took the call and was about to whisper that I couldn’t talk when I notice she was hyperventilating. Turns out she was getting laundry out of the nursery when she came across a rather large version of the little brown spiders we get all the time. And instead of scampering away, apparently it was ready and willing to tangle with her (Tricia has asked that I clarify by stating that the spider reared up and waved its front two legs at her).

In the end, Tricia pulled back from the brink of panic and vanquished her worthy foe. With Raid. From a distance. When I got home, however, I discovered she was ready for most any contingency. Scattered around the room were a broom, a shoe, a flashlight, and several other plowshares serving as swords…

Anyone know what kind it is? Here is my best guess, though this is a better photo.