Thursday, February 19, 2009

Last night for Girls Night we:

....pushed a Mitsubishi Montero up my sloped driveway into the garage.

Not what you were expecting, eh?

Yesterday morning, a sweet old man came to my front door, wearing a jacket that said, "City of St.George". He asked if he could talk to me, so I stepped outside, wondering what this could possibly be about, but not really worried, as I believe I live quite peaceably and cleanly.

He was very, very kind. I could tell that he hated to have to say anything at all to me, but he said: "This truck you have out here? It's not registered, and that's kind of strike's not licensed--which is [and he's trying so hard to be gentle and kind to me, so I smile and nod, fighting a surge of panic] strike two.....and it's been here longer than 48 hours? [My answer: "Oh goodness, yes. Much, much longer."] So....that's....strike three. It's not terribly urgent, but you do need to move it as soon as possible."

At this point, I was really trying not to cry--I didn't want to appear to manipulate or inadvertently manipulate by crying. He was so kind, very understanding, and I do tend to be a law-abiding citizen! But I couldn't help it. That dreaded lump grew in my throat and tears spilled over and I said with a warbly voice, ", my husband will be home on the 6th of March." And then realized that it was neither here nor there. The city official (or whatever they're called?) said it of course needed to be moved sooner than that--OF COURSE!--and I thanked him sincerely and walked into the house, trying not to cry anymore.

For a moment I just quietly panicked. And had silly visions of myself trying to push this Montero--which will not even start, not even turn over--up my driveway. I decided to call my home teachers--banking on the call-me-if-you-need-anything promise--and told them my plight. They said they might be able to be there that night to help me move it.

I knew that was the best I could hope for, and just prayed that it would happen sooner, rather than later.....not after a fine or citation. I made myself calm down. I took the 8 loads of laundry from my pantry and finally folded them and put them away. I cleaned the kitchen table and counters. I vacuumed meticulously. I cleaned the master bedroom, the master bathroom, and did four more loads of laundry. I dropped Reed off at school, I picked Reed up from school, we had a neighbor over, I vacuumed corners some more.

I filled up my day, so that there would be no room to worry about that big fat truck parked outside, apparently offending the city. (Now that they are trying to sell the house next door.)

After the kids were in bed, I had two friends over, with whom I chatted until my home teacher called and said he would indeed be there that night. Hallelujah!

For some reason, I didn't put shoes on when we went out to push this beast up the driveway. I had socks on. When we first started pushing it from the street to the driveway, I thought, "Well, the level road makes this easy....but holy cow, my driveway." [For the record, I am glad I didn't have to push it up my neighbor Sarah's driveway. I would be a pancake. Hers is infinitely more sloped.] So we get to the driveway and we are pushing, and it is much, much harder. In planting my feet on the ground for traction and using my legs for pushing, I begin to slide out of my socks. My socks stayed there, and my feet went backwards. So I abandoned the socks, and pushed barefoot. (I think if I had put my running shoes on, the tread is so worn-down that I would have slid right down the driveway anyway.)

At some point while we were pushing, it seemed near-improbable that we would actually make it. We were almost halfway up when my horribly over-active imagination conjured an image of all four of us in back giving out, falling to the side, perhaps being run over by the Montero as it zoomed back down the driveway, across the street, smashing into Sarah's side yard and through her house. (Over-active imagination is an understatement, isn't it?) My moment of panic seemed to give me some strength, as my friend Kelly was saying next to me, "Push! Push! Push!", calling childbirth to mind. Somehow (as in: Me, two girlfriends, and two men) we got it into the garage without dying or wrecking Sarah's house. And I can still pull my van in next to it. It's a tricky fit, but at least now people will buy the house next door, because they're happy to live in a neighborhood where cars aren't parked on the street.

Heaven forbid.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"As you wish......"

(A Valentine's Ode to Phill)

When Phill and I first started dating, we watched The Princess Bride about six times before we did anything terribly original for a date. That was fine with us!

But Phill is quite brilliant and creative--and romantic--when it comes to dates. And surprises. And I happen to love surprises, and I love the anticipation that goes along with a good secret gift. So Phill is good about driving me crazy with wondering before he finally presents the gift--which is always something well-thought-out and personal.

Our first official date, my 18th birthday, was definitely memorable. In the military, you are given orders (kind of an itinerary) for various training exercises or classes or moving or deploying. So he gave my dad orders for our date--complete with these phrases: "Please DO NOT let the innocent child-like charms of Rachel get these plans from you, as it might compromise the rest of the agents I have in the field. Just tell her to be ready to go by 4:00p.m., nothing further...Feel free to tell Rachel that you know the exact plans of today, then tell her nothing, as to frustrate her. (She says you're good at frustrating her, so do your best.) "

Are you smiling as hugely as I am? Well, listen to the actual Agenda: "The date will start at 4:00p.m. when I come to get Rachel. Then rules and guidelines from parents will be received. Next, 4:30, we will depart to our destination (Forsyth Park, Savannah, or alternate location stated by parents). Depending on destination, arrive at 5:45; have a little picnic dinner prepared by Phill DeVault. Not responsible for sickness from food. Also some attempted serenading (stressing attempting). Picnic will last one hour. 7:00p.m. After picnic we will walk along River Street and look at shops and take goofy pictures that will be laughed at, at a later date. This may take up to 2 and 1/2 hours, or not--maybe 45 minutes, who knows? The rest of the remaining time will be spent trying to remember where we parked, and getting home by 11:00p.m. or earlier."

I do have a picture that you can laugh at, but my scanner is being stubborn at the moment. point is that I love the way Phill treats me. Most of all, I love the way he treats me each day, not just the surprises and dates here and there.

Living with Phill is romance in itself. There is romance to being taken care of, romance in a man who will do dishes and change diapers and cook dinner and tell me to sleep some more when a child wakes in the middle of the night. I think it's romantic that I can tell Phill anything, share anything with him, and expect to be valued and loved in return--every time. There is romance in laughter, romance in respect, and romance in safety.

As you wish, Phill.

Monday, February 9, 2009


I have a bit of a compulsive nature when it comes to cleaning the house.

We all know that I'm mighty good at procrastinating. I am selective about what I put off, though. Sometimes I can't do anything until my house is clean! I put off exercise, meal-planning or simple cooking, and even sometimes answering the phone (sorry, Abby-Jenn-Cara-Phill-Kelly) until I have finally vacuumed the last crumb. OR I go on the opposite side, still in the vein of all-or-nothing, but with a different approach: When the house is a mess and I just don't want to clean it, I'll find something else to do that's also important (but almost never equally important) so that I feel justified in putting it off.

Let me elaborate.

On Saturday, we got our new computer. (Hallelujah!!) I requested to keep the box it came in so that I could put the old computer inside. Except....I didn't put the old computer stuff in there right away. Instead, I reveled in working-computer glory while the children de-constructed the box. I told myself I was fine with it, even when I heard Savvy doing something suspicious behind the couch, something that made ripping noises. (No, not filling her diaper.)

Besides this intentional oversight (as I like to call it when I allow my kids to wreak havoc on the house because I am too tired to do battle), I had been purposefully lazy that day. How do you be lazy with a purpose? Well, it's simple. You sit on the couch with the express purpose to do nothing but cuddle your kids and read a book. It's very straightforward.

So there were a number of diapers on the floor--both bundled-dirty ones and Savvy-distributed clean ones. (She has a flair for decorating with clean diapers.) Add to that the kids' toys, shoes, a smattering of clothes, bits of nothing, and ripped-up computer box pieces, and it was an absolute tornado.

And the dinner table had Oreos crusted on them. And a few other disgusting food details, which I will simply not elaborate. So last night, after I got the kids in bed, (which really is an exhausting ordeal for me, start to finish: shower/bath, scriptures, prayers, teeth-brushing, stories, water and milk and blanket rearrangement for all three.....I'm probably just wimpy, but it WIPES. ME. OUT.) I sat down and looked around at the tornado I allowed to blow through my home.

And I decided to take evasive action.

I cleaned out two closets and my pantry, omitting unnecessary junk (filled up half my outside trash can), moving things to more sensible locations, condensing and straightening. As a result, my coat closet, hall closet, and pantry are sparkling and lovely.

And the living room is
still a semi-disaster area....and the kitchen table has not had its mystery crusties removed....and my laundry is a mountain that simple mind power will not move. (Why? Why not?) you may imagine, I am off to clean the disastrous result of intentional oversights. Even though there are a million other detail-oriented projects begging my attention.
And I maybe should do something else important first, like....take packages to the post office! Or buy some groceries! Or make Valentine's Day cards or paint picture frames or order some photo prints or go to the store.....

Alas....I have to attend to the immediate drudgery. Because as far as functioning goes, I really do need to clean this mess up before anything else can happen.

I am now compulsive and compelled.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

An exception to the rule:

I can be on the computer with more leeway on Saturdays. Must state that exception to the rule! But I'm also trying to exercise moderation. I've only been on for an hour! (I know. You're rolling your eyes, perhaps, and only pretending to be impressed.)

I just really hate Saturdays. Endless stretch of nothing.....but our tax return arrived and Phill called this morning to say: At 4:30 the computer man will come and install our new computer and transfer all necessary stuff from old to new. All will be taken care of.

He fixes things even from far away! Or, well, just buys things and sets appointments from far away. But I'm still impressed, nonetheless.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fixed and Flourishing

If you love me as much as I on-my-good-days assume, then you may have wondered where I have been the last, oh, two weeks.

Or you might have said, "Oh, she's probably cranky. Rae gets quiet and snappy when she's cranky."

OR if you have a tiny window into my life, you might have said:

"Maybe her computer finally died."

Which would be halfway true.

It is a law of life here in the DeVault home: When Phill leaves, things break. Our hearts (okay, they just fracture a little bit, and then sew right back up when he's home again), our patience, and of course: something in the house.

The day after he left, I noted that the computer was not on. This was a little strange, because it's usually on, but not that strange, because we have a 20-month-old in the house.

So I turned it on. First, "COMPAQ" came on the screen, and I thought, hm, that's not what usually happens when I turn this on. Then a message in white letters appeared on a black screen, a message that laughed and mocked me: Keyboard error something-something-something. OR: Your computer is dying and your husband isn't home to fix it. Ha...ha....HA. (insert evil robotic laughter)

So I said to the computer's face: I don't care. Fine. You just be that way! I'll show you! I'll show you I don't need you! Go ahead. Be that way. Jerk.

And I only tried six more times that day to get it to turn on and do something more than tell me that an error was happening. After the first week, I was really starting to believe I could be okay without a computer. By the middle of the second week, I was shooting glances in its direction, thinking mean thoughts at it and then running over to apologize and try to start it up. Once, it actually booted up properly, stayed on for an hour, and then froze.

By today, I was sick to death of my computer's temper tantrum, and I resolutely told it that I am the boss and I am going to fix it. After calling The Smartest Computer Guy in the World (it's a good thing we're best friends with him and his family, because I think he's given us $5,000 worth of free computer help), it booted up--with no sign of the internet. None whatsoever.

Heh....I exhaust myself: Long story short: After my obliging friends let me use their internet to download a pesky necessity called a driver, and after setting it up, turning things off, fiddling, turning things on, and repeating said process again, all while on the phone with that marvelous computer friend of ours, hallelujah. I'm back! (for now!)

Our motherboard is seven years old and our computer is five years old, and it's always been cantankerous. A new one is definitely in order. Thank goodness it's tax return time. *sigh*

As for my reading and commenting on your blogs, oh, be patient with me, please. I know you're not waiting on pins and needles--but I am. Google Reader said 255 when I at last opened it up today, and in an hour I only culled it back to 154.

In the realization that being without a computer for the first three weeks of Phill's absence forced me to be more present here at home, and provided me with a good solid start to these six weeks he's in San Antonio, I have made a prayer-clad vow to not be on the computer unless A)I have to google something, B)someone calls me to tell me to check something, C) Reed is at school & Savvy is napping & Jax is happy or D)the kids are in bed.

If you've wondered how I have handled the last couple of weeks, know this: We are being blessed! Our ward has risen up to help and I am feeling able, happy, and comfortable. The kids are happy and active and dealing very well with daily everything. Sometimes I even feel like I might be getting good at this stuff. I sure hope so. But oh, I miss my Phill. I just want to sit on the couch next to him doing nothing. Just sitting and being.