Saturday, September 23, 2017

The 20 Best Things About Fall (in Florida. Where "Fall" Is Some Mythological Entity)

So apparently it's fall. The only way I know this is because my calendar says so. Fall used to be my favorite season - the scent of leaves in the crisp air, sitting around a campfire making s'mores, sipping a hot pumpkin spice latte while watching a football game, and cuddling under a blanket to watch movies. Now that I live in Florida, the land that has only 2 seasons - hotter than the devil's attic, and hotter than the surface of the sun, fall means nothing. NOTHING, I tell ya!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Baby Shower (AKA The One Where I Don't Play Nice With Other Kids)

Check out how my cake kind of
matches the invitations
Remember back when you were in school and your teacher assigned a group project? I hated those. Hated them! I didn't work well with my fellow students. My attitude was - I'll do it! Get out of my face and don't bug me. I've got it! And I'll do it the right way! If I couldn't take over the entire project, then my attitude was one of - Do whatever you want, but leave me out of it. Do not put my name on this thing. I want nothing to do with this ridiculous mess. Which is actually kind of strange because I don't think of myself as a leader. I'm generally more content to follow someone else. Unless that someone else isn't doing things my way. Yeah, okay, so maybe I have a problem.

And apparently some things never change.

I had a part in throwing a baby shower for Codi & Austin. Let me preface this by saying that the shower turned out nicely, it all came together in the end, and I think everyone had a good time.

But getting to that point was um, challenging. Because apparently I have control issues. (I personally don't think this is entirely true. I mostly just like things to be done the right way. And as we discussed earlier, the right way is my way.) I found it difficult letting other people handle invitations and decorations, and obtaining the venue at which to hold the shower. I found myself vacillating between wanting to do everything and not wanting to have anything to do with it at all. I will spare you the details because I don't want to upset or insult anyone who had a hand in it (especially since any problems were mostly borne of my own issues.)

I did finally put on my big girl panties, stepped back from the planning, and simply asked, "What do you want me to do?" Then I let it all go. And let me tell ya, it was not easy! So I guess I need to work on playing nice with other kids, give-and-take, and giving up a little control. Lexi, Clayton, and Brooklyn was awesome helpers. They dipped 2 huge trays of strawberries, they made nearly 150 sandwiches, and they ran around to stores with me while gathering items for games, decorations, and ingredients. I couldn't have done it without them!

Originally the shower was planned for Saturday, September 9th, however Hurricane Irma had other plans so we had to cancel the shower and reschedule it for this Saturday. Unfortunately, many guests couldn't make it this Saturday. Savannah was one of them; she couldn't get the day off work with only a week's notice. The turn-out was pretty poor with less than half the guests showing up.

I have a photo album on Flickr if anyone would like to see the pictures. And for those of you who asked about sending them a baby gift, that's very sweet of you! They have most everything they need, but mentioned they could use some clothes (pajamas/sleepers specifically.) They are registered at Babies R Us and Amazon as well. I think if you order from their Amazon registry, it automatically gets sent to them. Otherwise, message me if you'd like to send something and I'll give you an address you can use.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The REAL Danger Of A Hurricane

When Hurricane Irma struck, I was prepared. I was informed of the dangers involved, and I took the recommended precautions. I was well aware that we could suffer damage to our home and our vehicle from high winds. I knew that flooding was a possibility. I was prepared to go without electricity for a week or longer. I even knew that we may not having running water for a time period. I had plenty of non-perishable food. My kids and I had mostly eaten everything out of the fridge and freezer in the week leading up to landfall. I had a bathtub filled with water for flushing toilets, and plenty of bottles and jugs of water for drinking. I had gotten completely caught up on laundry before we experienced so much as a drop of rain.

But no one warned me of the things that happen after a hurricane.

Namely, the force that takes over your brain after sitting around at home, off work, with the kids out of school, and everyone bored out of their minds. In what I can only imagine is heat exhaustion induced brain damage, you start to think of things to do. Now not every idea you concoct is bad.

I should clean out all the kitchen cabinets.

I should write a blog post.

I should go through email and pay bills.

But then you run out of constructive things to do and you start thinking it would be a really great idea to make Harry Potter wands out of chopsticks and hot glue because - Harry Potter wands.

I'll just play 50,000 rounds of Jelly Splash on my phone because I have no service and nothing else is working on my phone.

I can eat Oreos for breakfast because we just had a hurricane so it doesn't count.

I'll make a hundred chocolate roses to decorate the cake for Codi's baby shower (since her shower that was supposed to be last weekend was cancelled and rescheduled for this weekend.)

I need to paint my toenails with some Pinterest-y polish ideas.

I really should watch every old movie on Netflix - The Great Gatsby, The African Queen, Desk Set, Three Coins in a Fountain, How to Steal a Million, Sunset Boulevard . . .

But the worst one of all -

I decided I needed to color my hair. I went to the store and did eeny meeny miney moe to pick a shade. Yeah. Because that's what sane people do - they close their eyes and pick an arbitrary color off a shelf.

Then, because that wasn't diabolical enough, I decided I needed a haircut. Right now. Immediately. And not just a trim either. Oh noooo. I needed to have it ALL cut off! No need to wait for my sister to answer the text I just sent her.

No need to call my hairdresser and make an appointment for next week to give me some time to regain my sanity. (I'm sorry, Lauren! I have hurricane-induced brain damage.) 

Nope, I need to walk in to some random hair cut place and ask some random person to hack it all off. Now. Because I am stupid the aftermath of a hurricane induces crazy thinking.

When the random haircut person asked me what I wanted, I told her, "I want it short in the back and longer in the front. Oh wait, that's a mullet! No, it's the opposite of a mullet. I don't want a mullet! Oh my gosh, what am I doing???"



I admit it turned out sort of cute. It certainly could have been worse. Still, I know I'm going to be crying over it by the time I go to bed.

All I can say is - Thank God I go back to work on Monday! Let's hope I don't get any more hare-brained ideas before then!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The One In Which We Survive A Hurricane (And Being Trapped In A Bathroom With Clayton)

On Monday, while shopping at Target with Savannah for a few items, I pushed my cart down the drink aisle. There were several people standing there, looks of confusion, desperation, and ultimately disappointment on their faces while staring at the empty shelves that ordinarily house cases of water. An employee stood in the aisle having unloaded the last of his stock from the flatbed.

"Big sale on water?" I joked.

"I told you I heard there was going to be a big category 6 hurricane that wipes out all of Florida!" Savannah reminded me that she'd informed me of this the day before. My reply at the time was, "I'm pretty sure 5 is as high as it goes, and there aren't any hurricanes near us. Was it a drunk, homeless, crazy man on the street who told you this?"

Now just a day later, there was a run on water in the stores. I, along with the entire population of the state of Florida spent that entire week running from store to store after work, trying to get water, non-perishable food, propane, and batteries, all while freaking out about the fact that gasoline was hard to come by, and when you were lucky enough to find it, you had to wait in a long line to pump it.

On Friday, the day before the hurricane was supposed to hit us, my kids and I headed over to a local middle school that had been set up as a back-up shelter in case the high schools filled to capacity. At the time we were there, they weren't taking people, but directing them to the high schools instead. Still, people from FEMA and the National Guard were there in preparation of the hurricane, and in case the need for more shelters arose. My kids along with some my friend's kids got to run around and play in the gym which was awesome since we were anticipating a few days stuck inside without electricity. The National Guard guys and girl challenged the kids to a game of dodgeball. (The kids won!)

Saturday we stayed home while it rained on and off all afternoon. Around 9:00pm I was alerted to the fact that Irma had shifted yet again and was now heading toward central Florida, or more specifically, the Orange/Lake County lines. In other words, exactly where I live. Because of this new forecast, and the nonstop tornado warnings for our area, I decided it would be in our best interest to hang out in our bathroom away from windows and exterior walls. You might recall, while replacing siding last year, the workers knocked holes in my apartment walls. I could see outside from the holes in my apartment! And this happened while simply doing some work on the siding. Needless to say, I didn't have a lot of faith in the construction of this place.

Around this time I started freaking out. Like full-blown panic attack freaking out. That's not like me. I'm more of a roll-with-the-punches sort of person. But the unknown can be debilitatingly scary. My friend Gladys texted me and admitted that she'd had a bit of a panic/crying attack before grabbing her Jesus Calling devotional. As she reread through the entries for September, her fears were calmed and things were put into perspective. As soon as I finished the game of Scrabble the kids and I were playing, I grabbed my copy and reread through September myself. Sometimes we need those reminders that we are not in control, and we need to depend on God.

As I was reading, Clay and Brooklyn removed all the couch cushions and gathered up every pillow and blanket they could find and piled them in the bathroom. They also grabbed a bunch of Oreos and Reese's peanut butter cups healthy, nutritious food to sustain us while we were in there. Around 11:00pm, we piled into the bathroom. Once in, we couldn't open the door what with all the couch cushions on the floor. By 11:30, the power went out. The hard-wired smoke alarm started chirping and Clay asked if he could punch it.

"Um no. First off, you can't even get out of the bathroom. Secondly, punching it won't stop it. And lastly, if you don't stop farting and chomping on ice, you are going to be under mandatory evacuation."

We nodded off here and there, but being crammed in a small bathroom with no AC (4 people can sure heat up a little space quickly!) and listening to the smoke alarm wasn't really conducive to rest.

At some point, the smoke alarm stopped chirping and started a steady squealing that didn't stop.

"Okay Clay, you can punch it now."

We pushed the cushions away from the door enough that we were able to squeeze out. Clay literally tried to punch the alarm. 

"Noooo, don't punch it!"

"You said I could punch it."

"I know. I'm sorry. I didn't really mean punch it. I meant disable it!"

We managed to get the alarm unplugged all while hearing the wind absolutely howling outside. Scary noises filled the air as I took a quick look out the window into complete darkness. As uncomfortable as being smashed into the bathroom was, I have to admit, it really buffered those scary sounds coming from outside. When the alarm was unhooked and everyone had taken turns going to the bathroom, we all filed back inside for a couple more hours.

A little after 3:00am, when the worst had passed us, we staggered outside the bathroom into the relative coolness of the apartment and tried to sleep in our own beds. It was honestly a toss-up between the discomfort of the bathroom and the terrifying sound of the wind from outside.

What I learned from this experience:

1. Try to keep flashlights and batteries on hand before hurricanes approach.
2.  If you have kids, for some reason this is impossible to do.
3.  Hurricanes are scary.
4.  Being trapped in a bathroom with 3 kids for hours on end is scary.
5.  Driving through town when half the traffic lights are out is the scariest of all.
6.  There are still 2 1/2 more months in hurricane season.
7.  The next names for this season are Lee and Maria.
8.  Remembering to depend on God imparts a great sense of peace.
9.  It's possible to gain 3 pounds during a hurricane.
10.  My kids are huge smart-alecks. (Actually, I already knew this; it was just reinforced this week.)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Getting Ready For A Hurricane

As my family prepares for record-breaking Hurricane Irma which has already left widespread destruction and devastation in its path, my kids, as usual, have to lighten the mood. These are the texts they've been sending me all day.

On a serious note, be safe to all those in Irma's path. I'm praying for everyone who has been/will be affected by all these hurricanes.

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