Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dinner At Drew's Apartment

Last night we hopped in the van with all the makings for a pizza party and headed to Richmond. It was me, Alex, Hannah, and Shauna. Luke had to work and we invited Gramma, but she had to work at 5:30 am both Saturday and Sunday, so she couldn't join us. Mikey had stayed in DC to help a friend move, so he drove down and met us at Drew's place.


Drew and Julian cleaned the kitchen before I got there, which I appreciated, since pizza making takes up a lot of room! I pre-made the crusts and mixed the sauce at home, but even the assembly/cooking process uses a lot of space. They had some fresh pineapple, which was so good on the pineapple/bacon pizza. I normally like canned pineapple better, but in this case, fresh was so much better.
Drew in his clean kitchen

I was very impressed by Drew's room and bathroom. They were neat and clean! What??? Is this the same kid whose room had to be cleaned by me and my now infamous snow shovel??? When he moved out of his bedroom (or was forced out by me!), it was a room worthy of any Hoarders television show. He isn't a hoarder because he has no problem parting with things, he was just too lazy to actually get rid of them. Anyway, his room was spotless. I checked the closet since I thought he might have shoved everything in there, but it was perfect. Clothes were hanging neatly there was a cat carrier on the floor and a couple of things on the shelf. It was probably the neatest closet I've ever seen! I asked one of his roommates, Julian, if he cleaned for days before we came and he said no, Drew always keeps his room like that! Julian is well acquainted with Drew's old room, so he is just as surprised as we were. I talked to Drew about it and he said he just never let it get messy. Just like his mom! (Shut up, Denise!)

Hannah, Shauna, and Alex, enjoying Drew's front porch

Anyway, the weather was absolutely perfect and we enjoyed our pizza and conversation out on their front deck. The kids, especially Alex, were very impressed with the active and interesting area that they live in. It is called The Fan district of Richmond and they are right on a main road, so people are constantly walking/jogging/skateboarding/roller blading by. It is a prime people watching spot. I still can't get over how gorgeous it was, between the perfect weather and the beauty of the area. The street is all large, old houses and the median is lined with crape myrtles, which are in full bloom. It was very relaxing and we had lots of fun conversation. Besides Julian and Drew, their other roommate, Mario, stopped by for a little while. We hadn't met him, yet, so it was nice to finally put a face to the name. Hannah thought he was cute, speaking of his face! One of their neighbors, Ryan, joined us, also, as well as two of Mario's longtime friends. Everyone enjoyed the pizza and Julian gave me the ultimate compliment when he told me this was the first time he has actually felt full in longer than he can remember. It was so good to meet everyone and spend time with Drew and Julian. Julian was a regular at our house for many, many years before they moved to Richmond. Have I ever blogged about the time Julian scared the crap out of my by climbing up to the second story porch and coming in that way?

Me and the sign that used to hang in the cafe at the rink

Living Room wall and cool neon artwork. That door leads to the front porch.

Alex had been having trouble falling asleep Friday night, so he baked a cake at 4:00 am! Shauna was his partner, although it sounds like she mainly cleaned up his mess! The cake was awesome. Since he didn't have access to my frosting recipes (they are on my computer, which is password protected), he looked a recipe up on his ipod. It was really delicious and he had decorated it to look like the beach. He used graham cracker crumbs mixed with cinnamon (which I thought was going to taste horrible on a cake, but it was so good!) for the sand. Then he used medium blue sprinkles for the ocean and light blue for the sky. It really looked like the beach, it was amazing. He tinted the frosting the perfect blue. I was impressed.

At the end of the night, we had to part with Mike, as it didn't make sense for him to come all the way home for a little over 12 hours. He headed back up north and we headed to Drew's Walgreens to pick up a DVD of my 2nd birthday party. We got to see the wild cats that live there, that Drew has been telling me about. We saw 5 or 6, including one with no tail. The clerk at Walgreens was super sweet and so excited about meeting "Drew's Mommy", as she called me. I'm working on uploading the video to You Tube, but Jack has to reformat it for me, so I had to send it to him. Hopefully, I will be able to get it up by tomorrow. I have to say that Jack was very patient with me, giving me detailed instructions on how to decrypt the birthday DVD and send him the information he needs to make it You Tube ready for me. His phone was acting up so he couldn't call me and mine kept going into roaming and was taking forever to send and receive texts. He didn't even yell at me once! I think it took almost an hour start to finish.

Speaking of my infamous snow shovel, keep an eye out for a rebuttal post to the above highlighted link from Denise! The Hotel Cinderella posts are in the works, as well. I just need some more time and energy in the day to get it all done.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Got In Trouble! Hotel Cinderella Apology!

On Friday, Mike and I went out to lunch, since we had been apart (other than the few hours at Drew's last weekend) for almost two weeks. On the way, he told me that my blog post about Denise and Hotel Cinderella was MEAN. He thought it sounded terrible and he thinks that Denise is probably mad and not speaking to me. Wow! He might be right, since I haven't heard from her since I posted that, but I know what she is going through right now and thought nothing of it.

I apologize if anyone took this in a way it was not meant. I am not a snotty, bi*ch who complains about everything (shut up, Mike!) . That post was meant to poke fun at our time together and was in no way meant to offend or be mean or disrespectful to Denise. I think Denise will agree that we had a wonderful time together. We laughed our way through the week.
Okay, please read this very carefully!

1. Everything that I said in that post actually happened.

2. Everything I did at the Hotel C. was done out of love and caring. NOT because Denise was "demanding" it!

3. Denise said everything I said she did. However, everything she said was said in jest. She didn't force me to do anything.

4. Denise and I have a back-and-forth joking, kidding, silly relationship.

Here is an example of what I mean. I did spend forever and day, chopping veggies and making the stir fry. Denise did complain (jokingly) about the fork, as well as other things. She did lecture me about the fork. All in a joking manner!!! I did not mind making the stir fry, nor was I forced to. Get it????

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hotel Cinderella 2011, Chapter One-Arrival

**Edited** Please read this post before you read this.

I awoke to my blaring alarm at 5:00 am. I had to get the rest of the car loaded and get ready for work. Alex helped me load the car and I made it to work on time, at 8:30. I was already tired!

I got off at 1:30 and Luke brought the kids to my office so we could jump on the interstate from there. It was 2:00 before we got everyone situated in the van and got on the road. We made great time, even stopping for dinner at Steak 'N' Shake and stopping for gas. I had told Denise that we would be there at 9:00 pm, at the earliest. We arrived at exactly 9:00! I don't remember if we knocked, probably not because the Hotel Cinderella just isn't a formal, knocking kind of place. We walked in and were greeted by...wait for it...no one! Yup, after 7 long hours on the road, no one was there. We called out a couple of times and then finally heard an angry voice from upstairs, complaining that we had arrived early and our room was not ready. Are you kidding me???? Good thing I am so attached to the staff at this hotel or I would have skipped check in and driven straight back to Williamsburg.

The kids and Denise eventually made their way downstairs, along with a therapist. After some hugging, Denise informed me that she was planning to have a stir fry for dinner, but her friend, Chris, was supposed to make it, but wasn't able to. I volunteered to make it, even though I've only made a stir fry once and had no idea what I was doing. I sort of had to make it, anyway, because the stir fry ingredients were taking up a ton of room in the fridge and I needed to put things in there. The package of spinach was so huge it almost took an entire shelf! (I think this was when I found some moldy, black bananas in the fridge, but I didn't keep any notes about it, so I can't be sure.) Denise told me to cook anything that was green, so I did. First I had to cut it all, though. So...after what seemed like at least two hours, I had everything cut and in the wok. Had I known that I was going to be going into a sweat lodge so quickly after arrival, I would have worn my bathing suit. It was really, really hot and humid with that wok going! Remember, I've only made a stir fry once and I don't even remember much about it. I kept asking Denise when it was done and she kept saying, "maybe another minute". There were a lot of "minutes" involved. I don't think I did a very good job because she didn't finish it all and didn't eat the leftovers! She said it was good and although she doesn't spare my feelings often, she did this time.

So, I serve the Queen her stir fry and she says, "Oh no, this isn't the fork I like. I can't use this one." She then proceeds to show me which forks (among the million and ten in the drawer) she can and cannot use. By this time I was pretty much wrung out, but I do remember something about flat ends and forks that had been through the garbage disposal. I just can't remember if she likes flat ends or doesn't like them. Then a few seconds after the fork lecture, I hear her say to Alex, "I don't want to be a bother." Are you kidding me????

Lest anyone get the wrong idea, Denise is not that ungrateful! After I was done cooking and she was sort of eating it, she said, "Thanks for making this. You really didn't have to." Oh, I almost forgot this part, when I finally finish cooking and am wiping the sweat from my brow, she says, "I'm so tired." Are you kidding me???? I was thinking, "I've only been here 1 hour and 37 minutes and I'm ready to go home!"

J, Alex, Hannah, Shauna, GracieGirl, and E
July 2, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My Rebuttal Blog

This is what Denise blogged about, just before my visit. She has most of these things correct, but there are a couple of items that I need to correct or clarify. :) Here is a link to her actual post, in case you want to follow any of her links.Denise's words will appear in blue and mine will be green.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Michelle's Upcoming Visit

Michelle is coming for a visit. She sweetly posted on her blog, wondering why she was looking forward to this visit, when I am officially the world's worst host. So, I'm going to explain why.

I met Michelle online around 12 years ago, on her transracial adoption group. She and I first met in person 10 years ago. We were vacationing in Virginia with my parents, celebrating J's first birthday. We'd agreed to meet, but she kept telling us how "busy" she was. We finally went to her house, literally after we'd checked out of our timeshare and were leaving to go home.

I might have been hurt by that, but I learned that she's as socially awkward as I am. Besides, her husband convinced her that I was an axe murderer. Okay, this is true, I did put her off until the last day. I'm not sure if I've even told Denise the whole truth about this, so she may be surprised, but here it is. Mike did think they might be axe murderers and that it wasn't safe to meet anyone in person, after meeting them on the internet. I felt that I knew Denise pretty well, though, and most people don't adopt different race kids just to be able to get involved in an internet group so they could meet people to murder! I am very socially awkward and was very nervous about meeting them. However, and here is the part I don't think I've told Denise or Nick, I was terrified that they would be annoying weirdos and if I met with them at the beginning of their trip, they would bug me the entire time they were in Williamsburg! As it turned out, we got along great and I would have loved to spend more time with them.

Here's an account of our first visit, and here are some pictures of my kids from that trip (E insists that the top pic is him!). When I saw that picture, I thought it looked like E, too!

Since then, she's come to visit here several times, and we've gone to visit her. She named our house the Hotel Cinderella, implying that it's an awful place to stay. It is, but at least we let her stay in our hotel. Every time we go to Virginia, she makes us stay in a timeshare! And when we visit, she doesn't let us go upstairs or into her bedroom because she says that they're a mess. One time, she let me venture upstairs to the kids' bedrooms. Um yeah, she wasn't exaggerating. And there really were snow shovels propped against the walls for cleaning! The Hotel Cinderella is the best awful place I've ever stayed! However, I do not make them stay in a timeshare. They are always welcome to stay with us and we would prefer that, but they have allergies and we have 8 cats and a dog. Oh, and when my kids were little, we were a lot overwhelmed by issues, issues, and more issues. Their rooms were horrible! Keeping them even semi-clean was not a priority as we struggled minute by minute just to get through each day. Surprisingly, they have grown out of that and now keep very neat and clean rooms. No snow shovels necessary for quite a while now! The game room has been the exception, but they are even keeping that cleaner now. This last statement does not include Luke. You will probably see him on a future Hoarder's show.

We've also vacationed together in Ohio, Lancaster County, Orlando, the beach, and in the worst timeshare on the planet in Basye, Virginia. There are probably more places, but my memory cells have been destroyed. Michelle, on the other hand, can undoubtedly tell you where we went, when we went, how long we stayed, and how much the price of gas was then. That's where she and I differ. LOL! I do remember things that Denise does not, but she also refreshes my memory on a lot of things, so we work together perfectly.

I let Michelle stay at our luxury hotel because I can be myself with her. No matter how much of a mess I am, I can just be a mess; I don't have to pretend that I've got it all (or any of it) under control. My house is trashed, and that's just the way it is. The rugs are stained, the furniture torn, there are holes in the walls, and I can't walk through the yard without humming the theme to Sanford & Son (yes, I'm that old). True, I never judge people on housekeeping or what they own or don't own.

This is from a person who still attempts to alphabetize her spices, who used to have her clothes arranged by color and length in the closet, who never had a single weed in her garden, and who once was shocked when she visited a friend and saw dust on a table! There will be a mention of the spice alphabetization in one of my upcoming Hotel Cinderella blogs.

Yes, I've been humbled.

I never, ever thought I'd live like this, but there's no use fighting it. I'm learning lots of lessons in acceptance. This is my life right now. The destruction is inevitable, I physically can't fix it, and Nick only has time to focus on the major issues. The cosmetic stuff just has to wait. AMEN!

I digress.

Even though I am stressing just a bit because Michelle recently posted a really clean picture of her house and said that she turned over a new leaf, I'm still letting her see things as they are here. If she really has found the secret to keeping a clean house with destructive kids, I'm hoping she'll show up with her snow shovel and a dumpster and fill me in! This is where Denise outed me. I have been a closet snow shovel cleaner for many years and, apparently, I failed to tell her that it was a secret!

Anyway, I'm so excited that she's coming up, and I can't wait to laugh (even if it is at my expense!). And then we can go to the mall, and get our nails done, and get into all of the latest celebrity gossip...Oh, wait! She doesn't do any of that. No wonder we get along so well! LOL! We did laugh, a ton! While much of the laughter was at Denise's expense, much was also at mine. Do wooden spoons ring any bells, Denise? No mall, although I visited Giant and Home Depot, sans Denise.

I could go on and on, but E just dumped a cup of water on me because he thought I wanted to take a shower.

Give me strength.

I guess my computer time is over.

Oh, and Michelle, my pizza cutter broke, so could you please bring yours? I still have your pizza pan from last time!


P.S. Nick informed me that the ice maker isn't broken. How's that for enticement? Maybe you'll even show up early! I forgot that you said this! As will be evidenced in future blog posts, I showed up on time and got in trouble!