How FaceTime and wall to wall carpeting are saving my life (at least today)

It’s cold here.

Like, really cold.

I thought it got cold where we live, but Northwest Washington has us beat by a whole 22F (at this exact moment; I just checked to compare the two cities).  It might even snow this week.  GULP!  I know there are other places in the world that are much, much colder, but it’s our current reality and we are adjusting to learn how to live with the chill.  At least for a few more days until my husband returns from overseas we head back to the surf and sun of the Northern Baja peninsula.  Where it’s still cold…but not that cold.

Couple the cold with the late sunrises (7:33 AM) and early sunsets (5:18 PM) and it can seem like shadows and wind chill rule our waking hours.  There are a few key things that are helping save my life these days and adding a sunny, silver lining to all those clouds .  They might seem a bit commonplace to deserve an entire blog post unto themselves, but when it’s making that much of a difference they are definitely worth mentioning.

Wall to Wall Carpet

Yes.  I just named a synthetic fiber ground covering as the number one thing that is saving my life right now.  As heads are scratched around the interwebs, allow me to explain.  Our house does not have carpet.  Nay, it doesn’t have any floor covering to speak of except cold, white tiles.  Which are f r e e z i n g  cold in winter, even in our moderately temperate climate.  Our walls are concrete block which are covered by the thinnest coat of plaster (no sheetrock here!) and a hastily applied paint job.  It is impossible to properly and thoroughly heat a house that is made of solid rock.  Trust us, we’ve tried.  We’ve bought space heaters.  We have hot water bottles and heating pads.  I leave the oven door open after baking to let the dissipating heat radiate through the downstairs.  We have a portable propane gas heater that takes the chill off if it’s run for an hour or so, but leaving an open flame in our main living space (or to run all night in a bedroom God forbid) doesn’t mix well with three kids ages six and under.  It stays cold, period.

Now, put us on a few airplanes and fly us a thousand miles north and what do we have?  Colder weather, of course, but we also discover carpet.  This lovely, soft, cushioned, heat-retaining substance that caresses our feet and covers our floors and softens our falls.  Carpet has been a game changer for us on this trip, so much so that I don’t dread getting out of bed in the morning and haven’t worn my ‘house slippers’ (which I brought with me on this trip) when I walk around inside.  It’s the most mundane of items to most people, but it’s number one on my list today.

 

FaceTime

With my husband overseas and 15 hours in the future, we’ve been relying on technology to keep us in touch.  The kids ask to “FaceTime Daddy!” every day but we’ve only been able to connect twice.  It has been precious to see the kids’ faces light up when they see Daddy appear on the screen.  Of course they fight and scramble over who holds the phone and then tears ensue, which slightly ruins the whole purpose of the video call.  Regardless of sibling squabbles, I’ve come to appreciate the gift of technology and the instant boost it gives to a relationship during our time apart these past few days.

 

All the Other Things

Here are a few other life-lines that are floating around me these days:

Wood-burning fireplaces.  My parent’s house has one and I might have single-handedly contributed to the deforestation of the planet this week.  Worth it.

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Cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents.  When we live far away from family, time together is special and cherished.

Utility services that work, and work fast.  The power went out the other night.  I was prepared for the world to end.  And then, it came back on.  Just like that.  I basically witnessed a miracle.

A day to indulge.  Yes, yes I did.  I had dreamed of it for weeks, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

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This bakery is a local legend and absolutely lives up to it’s reputation.  Also, mine was the brownie in the corner.  That’s it.  Promise.

Books.  No further explanation needed.

Cold water from the tap.  The freezing temperatures mean ice-cold water straight out of the sink.  We are used to drinking room temperature water from a filtered, purchased water jug.  It’s been a treat.

Sisters who fly across the country just to help.  My younger sis made the trip south for less than 24 hours just to help us make the trip north to my parent’s house.  It made all the difference.

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It may be cold, dark, and wet most days, but my life is full of light.  These little things add up to make a big difference.  Especially to my sensitive little toes every morning.


Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy

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Ten Years

January 20, 2007.  The day our lives, together, began.

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All at once it seems like the blink of an eye and an infinite stretch of time.  A moment and a lifetime.  A wonderful ten years.  A challenging ten years.  The best ten years.

We usually keep it low key for our anniversaries (kids often help with that).  Scott had plans to travel all week leading up to the big day and we hadn’t talked much about what, if anything, we wanted to do to celebrate.  Then one night I had a stroke of insight – if he was gone all week, I could potentially pull off a huge surprise for us and he would have no idea.  A few quick texts, arranged childcare with some solid friends who said they would help, and we were set – a night away to celebrate our 10 year anniversary was in motion!

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The big day came and with it came a massive wind and rain storm (at least for our area of the world).  I had plans to surprise Scott in San Diego where he was in meetings all day, which meant a drive across the border in pouring rain, flooded streets, accidents, and re-routed traffic.  I barely missed a collision with a city bus and car that happened a few feet in front of me, causing all the traffic to back up on the freeway, drive up an exit ramp, and snake our way through massively flooded side roads.img_9596

Thankfully I made it through the border with plenty of time to spare.  I texted one of my friends who was ‘in on it’ and also at the same meeting with Scott, letting him know I was nearby and would hang out until he gave me the go ahead to get into position (I was going to be waiting on the sidewalk out front when he walked outside after the meeting).  Imagine my surprise when he texted back, “Oh, you know the meeting location was changed, right?”  WHAT??!!  Turns out they were meeting 20 minutes away from where I thought they were!  All that extra time suddenly turned into barely enough margin to weave my way through surface streets (the freeways were jammed with after-work and weather-related traffic), avoid fallen trees that were literally in the road (at least four of them), and try not to lose it as I hit every single red light along the way (okay, maybe I got one green light but it was pretty ridiculous).

My friends were stalling to keep Scott from leaving the meeting and I pulled up just as he was at the end of his rope with their shenanigans (I found all this out later).  I turned the car off, pulled the emergency brake, and frantically texted my friend to let him know I was there.  And….NO SERVICE.  My phone had no service!  I couldn’t believe it!!!  I had to laugh at this point – it was all too much.  I ended up ringing the doorbell and then dashing to hide behind the cars parked in the driveway.  It turned our perfectly as Scott was at the door ready to leave so he walked out (with a bunch of other people at the meeting), saw me, and looked thoroughly confused, surprised, and baffled.  He walked out and gave me a big hug.  I said, “Happy anniversary!” and he started laughing.  He quickly put two and two together and asked, “When do we have to be back?”, thinking we had a night out to ourselves.  It felt so amazing to tell him, “TOMORROW NIGHT!”  His face just about exploded.  He was so happy and so surprised!  He had no idea.  He loves surprises so I was thrilled to make this one happen, in spite of all the ridiculous roadblocks (literally) that were thrown in the way.  I thanked all our friends that worked so hard to keep it a secret and make it a success, and we were on our way.

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We used the Hotel Tonight app to find a great deal at Embassy Suites in downtown San Diego.  Even with the rainy weather, the views were stunning.

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Delicious steaks for dinner…no, delicious doesn’t even begin to describe it.  Heavenly.  Luscious.  Mind-blowing.  Think of the best food you’ve ever eaten and then stop thinking because these steaks were AMAZING.

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We were both exhausted from the week (him traveling, me holding down the fort and planning the big surprise) so we fell into bed at a ridiculously early hour…only to be topped by me sleeping in until 8:30 AM the next morning.  It felt so good!  We hit the free breakfast in the lobby and then settled in for a few hours of peace and quiet to ourselves.  We are both introverts so we joke about spending time together-alone.  I curled up with a blanket, cup of tea, and a good book, while he watched NCAA basketball and SportsCenter.  A perfect encapsulation of our relationship, if I should say so myself. 🙂

After checking out at noon, we made our way to Liberty Station for lunch.  It was so much fun.  The food!  The details!  The food!  The marketplace feel!  The food!  Okay, so maybe I was overly excited about the food but it all looked (and smelled) so delicious.  And then Scott found a wall of beer on tap and he pretty much died and went to heaven.  It was perfect.

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I wanted to eat every single thing from every single food stall, but I finally decided on green Thai curry.  My belly was singing a happy song for the rest of the day.  Scott had a lobster roll and fries to go with a beer from the Wall of Happiness.

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A few quick stops to run some errands (we were adults with no kids in tow…it makes errands a treat!) and we were home by early evening to hug our kiddos and say a huge thank you to our friends who had cared for them while we were away.  Our night away was the perfect way to celebrate the last ten years of our marriage and look forward to many, many more years together.