Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Guest Blogger Stops By

Lest you all think I just make up my troubles with the church, something happened to my friend that I wanted her to share. So for today I am turning my blog over to her so she can tell the story in her words. I will add a few explanations in blue for those of you who are not religious.


Hello, I am the one called Assassin (MW's hubby gave me the nickname, don't ask) and I will be your guest blogger for the evening. First some important background info--I am a member at MW's church and also her good friend. I started attending there during their hiatus and have been there about eight and a half years. My son, nickname "Mario", turns five this month. He is in a two person Sunday school class. The other person in the class is E. The class is taught by MW. Get the picture? Not a real active children's program.

I grew up in a church with a very large and active Sunday School and youth program and I feel strongly that Mario should have the same foundation. The lack of children at our church is not a new development, and I probably would have looked for something more for Mario earlier, but I stayed because of my relationships with MW and hubby. Oh, and I shouldn't say lack of children, because there are a few more children, but apparently our church is pretty famous for parents not being able to get their children ready in time for Sunday School at the ungodly hour of 10 am. Also, I hold a position within the church, am active along with MW in several areas and was heavily involved in the efforts to "save" the church. That was all the background, now here's the story MW wanted me to share with you.

I have made no secret that when MW and her husband leave, I also am leaving to find a church that can offer my son a Sunday School class and other children his age. I mean, I don't have a t-shirt printed or anything, but I have told a few people and I tell people when they ask. When the poop hit the proverbial fan (the announcement of our departure), I was called by a certain powerful long-time member because she was sure I had foreknowledge of the event (which I did not). I told her I was leaving and I told her my reasons (not that I need them, really).

So weeks go by, people have settled, accepted, everything seems good. Until last Sunday. She, certain powerful long-time member, cornered me. And she's one of those low-talkers, who's voice is always so sweet and sugary and soft, even when she's chastising you. So she corners me about having said, months ago, that I was leaving. She wants me to just see them (the church)through the transition. I'm a committee chair, I owe them that, she said. I, once again, point out that once MW leaves there will no longer be a Sunday School class for my son. "Oh, there will be a teacher." she says. That doesn't change the fact that my son will be the ONLY STUDENT. I asked who, she didn't know. I said, where was that person before? MW only took it on because nobody else would, and because the only way for me to participate in the adult study was if someone was willing to watch Mario.

Since I could tell the conversation was going nowhere, I pull out the promises made at Baptism thing (the baptismal vows involve a parent stating he or she will raise the child with a Christian education). I said I had made the promise to bring him up in the church and educate him and I didn't feel I was living up to those vows. She tells me that Christian education is not just the responsibility of the church. Well, not solely, but they all said the same vows at his baptism (During the baptism, the church is asked to vow to help provide access to and raise the child in a Christian education. )

So then I repeat my stance and add that I have been praying about this for a long time, and I have been. The church has been in trouble for a while, and we all knew that this was a possibility. Plus, in our conference pastors don't stay around for very long, especially at our church--I'm on my third pastor in eight years. She keeps the guilt going a little longer and then says "You need to pray about this." I said "I have been." Then she said, "Well maybe you need to listen then."

And that's my story.--------------------

Friday, May 29, 2009

Always Invite the Ghost

When I was a senior, I attended a performance arts high school located on an old Civil War fort. There was an outbuilding there, the General's Quarters, where some administrative functions were held and social gatherings took place. It was a really neat old house with sloping floors and antique wall paper. It was also still home to the General's Wife, even though she had been dead since the early turn of the century.

My class was planning on having a graduation dinner at the house so my teacher gave me the key (a skeleton key, believe it or not) to the house and asked me to go and check to see if there was enough silverware and plates. I happily went over to the house and unlocked the door. I only planned on being there for a few minutes, so I left the door open.

I had to walk through the sleeping porch, which had been closed in, to come to another door. This door was supposed to be unlocked, but it wasn't, so I unlocked it and went into the kitchen, which led to the dining room. Another door. Another locked door. I finally made it into the dining room, leaving doors open in my wake to check the silverware. As I was going through an old curio, the door that I had just left ajar creaked shut. I lived in an old house at the time and thought nothing of it, the floors sloped, after all, it probably made the door close all the time.

Well, with my mission accomplished, I headed out to leave. I came to the door and it was locked! How weird, I thought. But I unlocked it and walked through the kitchen to find myself at another locked door! I was beginning to feel a little sense of fear. This school was in the heart of downtown and vagrants were frequent. I was a young woman alone in this building. No one would hear me if I screamed.

I unlocked the door as quickly as I could and came to the final door, hoping to exit as quickly as possible. This door, too, was locked, only no matter how hard I tried, I could not unlock the door. They key would stick in the keyhole and not budge. I was starting to panic. Who was in the building with me? Who was playing tricks on me? But then I stood and tried to calm myself. What had I heard about the building? I had heard rumors of the wife moving things, closing doors and locking them. Was that it?

Deciding since I was alone and had nothing to lose, I tried to think of what a woman from that era would want from me. And then it struck me. Feeling really silly I spoke into the air. I said, "We're only planning on having dinner here tonight, nothing else. You're more than welcome to join us if you want." And when I tried the lock again, this time it slid easily and the door opened.

Later that night, as I was telling my classmates what had happened to me, one boy in particular took it upon himself to laugh and ridicule me. His name was Jim and he just couldn't believe I let myself get caught up in all the ghost who-do. After we finished our meal, he went outside to have a cigarette. He was gone for almost 15 minutes because when he tried to come back in, the door was locked. Only all of the rest of us had not left the dining room. We had stayed to dance to music. When we finally let him back in, he still wouldn't believe none of us had locked him out. But we all knew the truth. I guess the ghost had my back after all.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Must Resist




PLEASE TELL ME NO!!!





We promised E we would get a new dog after we moved....repeat, AFTER.. But look at this face. Oh, help me, Hubby will kill me if I get this little dog. But isn't he cute?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fluff

Once Wanda came out of the closet, she got a lot more respect from me. And she's right, I have been kind of dreary lately. But I also got to thinking, maybe I spend too much time talking about what's happening TO me and not enough what makes me who I am. You all might understand me better (and my sarcasm) if I share some silly things about myself.

SO...number 1. I am addicted to white potatoes. I am so addicted that I can't allow myself to eat them or I will crave them for weeks. Seriously! I like white potatoes boiled, fried, hashed, stuffed, smothered, seared, roasted, toasted and baked. And I can't stop eating them when I am full. I have to eat every single potato morsel in front of me, even if it is on someone else's plate. Needless to say, I don't eat potatoes very often.

Number 2. I am a sucker for real people in need. I can tell the fakes from the non-fakes but I can't stand to see someone in need. It physically hurts me. A news report came out recently talking about the extraordinarily large amount of kids under 5 who are not getting enough to eat. Now I have it in my head that when we move, I am going to raise chickens so I can give fresh eggs to the local food bank.

Number 3. I feel ghosts. I have only actually seen one ghost. It was a lady in a mirror at an old movie theater in Bexley, OH. But probably the best example of how I feel them was at the Castillo in St. Augustine. Hubby and I were walking around and came to a little room in the very back of a larger room. It was dark and very creepy. I whispered to Hubby that I could feel a prisoner sitting in shackles and rags in the back corner. I couldn't see it, but I just knew. Right after that Hubby read a plaque that stated no one really knew what the room was for, but some believe it might have held prisoners. Um, you think? As a matter of fact, I am trying to get the confidence up to write about my grand-daddy ghost experience of all, but I am afraid I will really appear like I need to be locked up.

Number 4. I am madly, passionately in love with my husband. But you knew that, didn't you? Why else would I stay for all of the church stuff? I believe good marriages either involve two people who are one half of a whole and both need each other desperately or two complete independent wholes who agree to live together and don't need each other at all, but want to be with that person. You can't successfully mix the two. Hubby and I are two halves.

Number 5. One of my solidly consistent goals in life is to one day own an RV and travel around to natural disasters to sit and have coffee or tea with the victims. I have been through a lot of hurricanes, so I know how important it is to have human contact after tragedy.

Number 6. Contrary to popular opinion (ANDIE) I do not have great hair. I have horribly big, coarse, out of control crone hair that defies any styling gel, mousse or cut. It's got a mind of its own. I leave it long, because if I cut it short, it flies into orbit and drives me insane.

Number 7. I have a tattoo that I got when I was 31 because I needed to buck the assumptions about a pastor's wife. Whenever I get into a conversation I would rather not be having and I have to behave, I imagine it glowing and taunting the person I am talking to. (Okay, that makes me sound weird, but that's okay)

Number 8. I am terrified of wasps but not bees, tornadoes but not lightning, and snakes but not lizards.

Number 9. I once had to break up a fight in which one of the offenders was Frank Capra Jr. And a late 70's sitcom star who shall rename nameless (think waitress) once threw a martini at me because I actually put a touch of vermouth in it. Okay, maybe that's not about me...but I wanted to put it here.

AND lastly, but not least, I am addicted to Legend of the Seeker. It's cheesy, fantasy drivel and I plan on watching each episode on Hulu, probably twice!

So, Green, I do plan on going back and trying to explain the inner sanctum of churches, and Wanda, I am sorry I called you an idiot. You made sense to me when you responded, so if you stay, feel free to comment. But for today, ya'll get FLUFF!

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Visit Home

Hubby and I decided we needed some time alone this weekend before we moved, so we left E with the grandparents and went to a B&B about 90 minutes up the road in a really small town. We had a great time even though we had nothing to do since it was Sunday. That didn't matter, we were just happy to be together. We decided on our way home to just meander through the backwoods of our state. We wandered hither and yon and ended up in Pop 259. Our old house wasn't being kept up very well and that made me sad. But we passed a building that triggered a memory that I can't believe I haven't written about. I think I wrote about it on my former blog, but this is one you just won't believe.

Pop 259 is an old railroad town that actually had a small heyday. The downtown is now run-down and mostly empty, but the old high school is still used, albeit by a business and not as a school. The school is so old that it has one of those freestanding gyms with the big giant fans to circulate the air and bleachers that are built-ins and immovable. The building is about 90 years old and still used by the local kids.

One day while I was living there, a few people I knew wanted to get together and jam and see if we might form a band. I knew the mayor fairly well and she let us use the gym as a place to practice since no one's house could really sustain two guitarists, a drummer and singer. We hauled all of our gear into the old gym, prayed the electrical outlets could sustain the modern equipment and started playing. I was singing away, having a great time. I still remember what we were practicing, it was Under the Boardwalk. As I was singing, I just happened to look up into the rafters and noticed something dangling on a beam. It was quite long, about 4 1/2 feet. It looked like an old rope that had been left up there by high schoolers. I remember thinking to myself that those fans must be really powerful to make that rope wiggle so wildly that high up. Only it wasn't a rope.

As I watched in horror, the rope fell out of the rafters and dropped at my feet. Did I mention it wasn't a rope? There I stood, screaming into the microphone trying to get the band's attention, hoping they would rescue me from the giant snake that was now sharing too much of my personal body space. The snake and I looked at each other and then it slithered away. The band finally stopped playing and couldn't understand why I was making such a big deal out of a chicken snake. I'm not a country girl and for all I knew, it was a friggin' anaconda. But no one but me was freaked out that snakes were falling from the sky, so we continued. But to this day whenever I go into a really old building, I look up, just in case.

And as for the person who thinks I should rename my blog and that I do nothing but bitch and whine, you have the option to not read my blog. It's as simple as that. I don't put stuff in my blog so people will feel sorry for me. Most of the time I want people to laugh at all the crap with me. I have read other pastor's wives blogs and very few of us are actually saying it how it is. They are afraid of reprisal or being found out. But I have had enough comments from other wives to know they need this blog. For whatever reason, they have no outlet and need to know someone else is going through what they are going through. So I am not going to change. I am going to bitch and rant and tell you the terrible things that happen to me. You can laugh or cry or shake your head at me. You can even be pissed off at me and think I am the worst person in the world. That's your right, but it's my right to say what I want on my blog. Oh, and by the way, comment moderation will remain open for the time being. It seems idiots can hide behind AIM accounts so there's really no reason to close comments.

I am Living in Muddy Waters!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lest We Not Forget

G. Woodcock-Marine-German POW
J. Simpson-Army-Japanese POW
V. Martin-RAF-WW2
I have removed comment moderation. Please feel free to add your names in the comment section so they all may be remembered. May we never forget.
Then goodnight, peaceful night;
Till the light of the dawn shineth bright.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Email Barrier That Saved Me

There's a story that goes around our denomination about a pastor's wife who made a big mistake. It was moving day for her and her husband. Moving day is extremely stressful for the pastor's family. You're moving to a church that you don't know, surrounded by people you have never met who suddenly show up to unload your moving truck and then start pulling apart your boxes and going through your stuff. You have to remain pleasant and wifely, but you really just want to scream and ask everyone to leave so you can put your stuff where you want it, not where you are just going to have to move it again 3 or 4 days later. Then you have to worry about your confidential things, which certain church members of every church delight in finding and "sorting" through. It's a trial for even the best of us.

But this one poor wife will never be forgotten. She was in the process of unloading her truck. She and her husband had been in their house for just a few hours. She hadn't even seen the church yet. Congregants were swarming all over her and she was just trying to get through it. She hadn't even unpacked her kitchen stuff when the head of the women's group came up to her and told her about the bake sale the church was having the next day. Moving day occurs in summer and traditionally churches are very busy then. Church doesn't stop just because a new pastor is coming in. But this woman approached the pastor's wife and said, "Of course, we can expect 3 dozen cookies from you tomorrow for the bake sale?"

The pastor's wife didn't even think. She was tired, hot and sweaty and fed up with all of these people going through her stuff. She just reacted. She said, "I'm not making any DAMN cookies!" And with that her fate was sealed. There was an audible gasp and she was never able to overcome that one moment. The story still makes the rounds everytime moving day comes around as a warning to the wives to be careful what they say.

And no, I am not that wife. But I could be. Our soon-to-be new church is really pushing my buttons. Now, they have a pastor who is retiring and has been fighting cancer for several years. He has not done anything but preach for a long time and the church has been sustaining itself without his help. So needless to say, the church is overly excited about getting us, getting a real pastor who will actually do things.

It all started with Facebook. Once the announcement came that we were the new pastoral family, people I didn't know started friending me. I don't use FB as a clique kind of thing. I use it to stay in contact with old friends. But these people have never met me and I can't tell them in person yet because... THEY DON'T KNOW ME! Hubby asked me to go ahead and friend them because it would be really awkward if I didn't. So I did. But now they're sending me all this crap AND they took my personal email address and started forwarding me those "God" memes that I hate. Don't forward snivel to me, PLEASE!!!

But I am trying to be patient and see it from their side. They just want to incorporate me into their family as soon as possible and want me to feel at home there. But I am just feeling like screaming "I DO NOT GET PAID BY THE CHURCH!!! YOU ARE NOT MY JOB! LEAVE ME ALONE!"

And then last night Hubby got an email from the soon-to-be church's VBS coordinator. They are holding off until after E gets there so she can take part. We're going to have been there one week. ONE!! I need to find a job, paint the rooms, get E settled. I very specifically told them at our initial meeting not to expect to see me on anything but Sunday for about 6 weeks while we got settled. I really did. I know I don't normally speak up for myself, but I made that very clear! But the email said, "We have set VBS and, blah, blah,blah. By the way, we hope MW will help with the meals."

"I'm not going to cook the DAMN meals!" I screamed at Hubby. Enough! I can see that I am going to be really disliked for a while at this church because I am going to have to set some firm boundaries. I always take part in my husband's ministry. That's not a ridiculous thing to assume by the church. BUT....I need some time to settle. I need some breathing room. I need the stupid memes to leave me alone.

I really don't want to be the damn cookie wife, but I will if I have to.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Be Careful Who You Laugh At

So this past week I've been reading Wide Lawns adventures with an amorous peacock. Her description of this bird pecking away at her car just cracked me up as I shook my head and thought that only WL could have that happen. I mean, no one gets attacked by birds. No one but her....or so I thought.

I was driving to E's school today when I saw two seagulls fighting over something red in the middle of an intersection I was fast approaching. I got closer and closer to the birds, running at them at a fairly rapid pace when they took flight, each with a red, floppy thing dangling from their mouths. I was watching them, wondering what the hell they had when I just happened to drive under them.

So, do you know what they had in their mouths? TOMATOES! Do you know how I know this? Because they both dropped the damn tomatoes at the same time right onto my windshield as I was driving 50 miles an hour. Have you ever had tomatoes hit your windshield at high speed? It's disgusting. There is a bloody red smear that slides up the window and you're trying to look at oncoming traffic through seeds and goo. And what do you do? Do you turn on your windshield and risk spreading the mayhem? Or do you leave it and try to get to a safe place to stop and clean it off without injuring yourself or others?

Luckily I was very close to a gas station and could pull over and clean the windshield. But in all my years in theater, I never actually thought I would get pelted with tomatoes, much less from birds.

So Wide Lawns, I see your peacock and raise you two seagulls with good aim!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What's Opera Doc?

Okay, I am sick and tired of having this conversation with my Hubby. He has a master's from the top seminary in the world for crying out loud. 15 years we have been together and we keep having this conversation in one form or another over and over. As I was hugging my daughter goodnight...

ME: I will hug you and squeeze you and call you George.

E: What does that mean, Mommy?"

HUBBY: It comes from an old cartoon....

ME: IT DOES NOT COME FROM AN OLD CARTOON!!! The cartoon took it from Of Mice and Men! I keep telling you that!

E: What is that, Mommy?

HUBBY: It's from a play...

E: NO NO NO!!! It's a book...

HUBBY: That's right, by George Bernard Shaw.

ME (With my eyes popping out of my head): NO NO NO... by John Steinbeck! It was made into a play and then the cartoon. ARGHH!

I think he does this to me on purpose. So now I am humming in my head "Killed a husband, killed a husband"

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Treading Water

This has been a rough week with my boss. The school finally made the announcement that I was leaving and for some reason that coincided with my boss giving me the silent treatment for 4 solid days. It's really hard to do my job as her assistant with her not speaking to me. But, I have been trying really hard to just accept that I have 5 more weeks and then I am moving on and this will just be a memory.

I have been really thinking hard about what I want out of life when we move. Right now I live in a city of about 130,000 people that swells to 250,000 in the summer from tourists. Traffic is so bad that we cannot walk or ride our bikes anywhere safely and our church is 8 miles away from our house. When we move, E's school will be two blocks away and the church will be .9 miles from the parsonage and the downtown area and NO busy roads. Our lifestyle is going to drastically change because of this, but also because Hubby is not getting a huge raise and money will be tight if I can't find a job. Realistically I only need to make $8,000 a year to live the same way we are now and still put a few hundred dollars a month away, so I am hoping I can find a part-time job that allows me to change the way my life has been. I'm looking forward to living simply.

So here is what I want out of my new life:

  • I want time to attend water aerobic or yoga classes at least 3 times a week.
  • I want time to learn to play my guitar.
  • I want time to really try to sell my children's stories. I sent them out to several publishers and actually got a personal ding letter giving me a few suggestions. (I know it was a ding, but the personal part gave me hope.)
  • I want to volunteer in E's school once a week.
  • I want a garden and to cook from scratch more.

All of these things don't seem like much to you, I am sure. But I am the woman who puts everyone else's needs before mine. Even when I don't want to, I do. It's a sickness. I have this disease called "Overly-Responsible-Enabilitis." It was driven home to me on Sunday when I was at church. The person who was supposed to take over church nursery duties for me (I watch nursery during Sunday School) never showed up. I kept telling people that I could not stay in the nursery because the choir needed me to sing, that someone else had to do it. Plus, I didn't want to do it because the church needs to stop relying on me to fill the gaps because in a few short weeks, all of those gaps are going to become damaging cracks. But no one would help out. And I ended up in nursery for the service because if I didn't do it, the person who was going to do children's church (which E attends) wouldn't have been able to do it because she would have taken her son hom. And the choir had to change songs 5 minutes before the service because they didn't have me. It was hell for someone with ORE.

Plus, part of me wonders why I should be allowed to have this life when so many other people don't. What makes me special? Damned low self-esteem. But then I circle back to "am I really asking for all that much?"

Does anyone know of a cure for ORE?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Answering Green's Question

"I would like to know what you or your husband would say to people who are not sure there is a god at all, and would like to come to a conclusion about it."

Green, Hubby may guest post on this one and answer it completely differently than I will. He's finishing his Sunday sermon today, but he'll answer it. But as for my answer:

I am not the person to answer this question for someone who is desperately trying to believe. Stop reading here if you are. But if you are just someone who needs to know more, than I will proceed. I myself constantly struggle with questions of faith. I do not call myself a Christian because I have not "accepted Jesus Christ as my savior." I believe there was a Jesus, I believe he was crucified and I'll even try to accept the immaculate conception. But I cannot fathom how someone dying takes away the sins of the world. I just don't get it. And please, do not try to make me understand. Some of the world's best theologians who get paid big bucks to teach this stuff have tried. It's just something my mind resists.

And I am someone who has been taught a little about a lot of religions. I am not ignorant to other cultures and beliefs, but I tend to lean towards Native American beliefs. I believe that there is an inherent power that flows through the world and that there is definitely good and evil. But I am also the daughter of a scientist. For a long time I needed empirical proof. How can there be a God if I can neither see or speak to him, her or it? How can God let bad things happen if he, she or it is all powerful? According to our religion, I can not go to heaven because I am not a Christian. How can that be if I have led a good and charitable life? All of these questions block our ability to believe in God.

So over the years, this is what has worked for me. I believe in a higher power because I choose to believe in a higher power. Since the beginning of times, humanity has made up gods and goddesses, creation stories and told tales of a power greater then ourselves. I believe that our inherent need to believe in something that controls our natural order (even before humans could write) speaks to the possibility that there is a god. I have seen my daughter pray for snow in the south in late April and get it. I have seen my daughter pray to see dolphins only to have them instantly appear. I have seen how my husband can be fearless when I am weak because his faith is so strong, he doesn't worry about things that he has given over to a higher power. And his faith carries him over the rough times and through things that would topple a lesser person. In fact, if you could meet my hubby, just his sheer faith can allow you to believe. I'm not kidding. He's not one of those pastors who screams about hell and brimstone, or makes you feel bad if you have a "past." He just has this deep faith that calls to others and in a way I think that in itself is proof of a god. Of course, Manson had a way to call people, too....

All of these things can be attributed to coincidence or chance or a person's character. But I, as a thinking, intelligent person, have decided that I choose to take comfort in thinking there is something greater than me that I can call on in times of need. Now, I may not be calling on the Christian ideal of "God" but that's not what you asked. "What would I say to people who are not sure there is a god at all, and would like to come to a conclusion about it." I would say look at your life. Would a belief in a higher power give you comfort? Would it give you strength? Would it harm you in any way? If you answered yes, yes and no, then I would say just try choosing to believe for a year. Just accept it and try. See what happens. Millions of people claim to live better lives because they have faith. I would also say there are so many things that happen in this world that there is no other explanation BUT a higher power.

I know that doesn't fully answer your question or give you a reason to believe, which is probably what you were looking for. But I don't believe anybody can be made to believe. I don't think everybody is supposed to believe. Without some conflict and dissension there is no reason to believe. Then we would just be mindless robots ready for the Matrix. But that is my story and I am sticking to it.

Another Tale from the Parsonage and...

Let's talk about furniture...

Part of the salary package for a lot of pastors is a partially furnished house. By partially I mean usually there should be dresser drawers for each bedroom, a full guest bed and a living room set. The house should also have a fully functioning dish washer, washing machine, dryer and refrigerator. This is done because pastor's move around a lot and can't afford to buy furniture to match each new house. Plus we only get limited funds to move and those funds don't cover moving an entire houseful of furniture.

But here's the fun part, for some reason a lot of parsonages are filled with hand-me down or donated furniture And I don't mean the good, gently used stuff, I mean the worst of the worst stuff that should only be found in a trash dump. I kid you not, the parsonage we live in now has a 30 year old mattress. I try not to think about it when we have company visit because it is what we have been given. We have had dotted swiss furniture that was supposed to be white but had become completely stained and disgusting over the years. We have been given broken recliners, tables with a bent leg, and the world's most disgusting smelling couch. We've also had things donated to the parsonage only to be taken back several months later because the people changed their mind.

But all of these things are nothing compared to a 50-year old stove. And I say stove because at our former parsonage that is exactly how old our stove was when we moved in. Have you ever seen a 50 year old stove? Have you ever tried to COOK on a 50 year old stove? I had one working burner and had to guess at what temperament the stove might be in when I tried to cook. Sometimes it would cook hot, sometimes it would get to 250 degrees and cry Uncle. I just never knew.

It was so bad that I would walk across our backyard to the church fellowship hall and use the oven over there, which was stupid on my part, because when I asked the church to furnish a new stove...well, they said I should just keep on walking. I finally got a new stove when I brought something to a fellowship dinner that I had tried to cook in our oven and then proclaimed loudly to visitors that it was the best I could do with what I had. I'm not sure they enjoyed the raw chicken and I really embarassed the committee.

One more thing, Hubby always changes the locks when we move into a new house. You never know who has a key to your house, so many church people feel they are entitled to a key. There's a famous story that goes around my Hubby's pastor friends. One of the pastors was living in a parsonage next to a church member. He always felt that when he came home after being gone that someone had been in his house, but he could never prove it. He could never prove it, that is, until he exited completely naked from a shower to find his next door congregant going through the drawers in his bedroom. The woman handed over her key right then and walked out without saying a word. True story.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Old Man's Cave

Christen, I will continue with Tales from the Parsonage in a day or two because they are more in-depth and I don't have a lot of time to write right now, but I have a really spooky story that is fairly short for Wide Lawns.

ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY TRUE STORY!!!

Back when Hubby and I were dating, we were a wild and passionate couple. We couldn't get enough of each other's company and it was almost like living in a movie. Hubby was temporarily living in Ohio while he did an audit of the Columbus business location he worked for. He was only supposed to be in my life for 6 weeks before he went back to New Orleans. I wanted to share with him my favorite place in Ohio before he left. It has beautiful places to hike, and even though it was March and snowy, I wanted to share that place with him before he was gone forever. Unfortunately, my favorite place is also the most haunted place in Ohio. Look it up, I'll wait. It's called "Old Man's Cave". (The Ohio Pen was the first most haunted place, but it was torn down, although I have snuck into there as well.)

Anywho, I was acting with a theater company at the time and didn't get a lot of days off. So when I came up with 2 days off, Hubby and I headed out to a motel in Old Man's Cave after my last rehearsal. We got there fairly late at night, checked in to the motel, had some wine...After we had finally fallen asleep we were both woken up by a sound. My sleep-muddled mind thought it was the ice shifting in the ice bucket, only it was freezing cold in the room. It shouldn't have been cold since we had left the heater on before we fell asleep. Hubby and I, now both awake, felt something in the room with us. I tried to speak but there was a sudden whooshing sensation as all of the air was sucked out of the room and the door to the parking lot slammed shut. For just a moment, we were left in a vacuum, unable to think. We were both scared out of our mind. Poor religious Hubby, who had never had any experience with the supernatural, was up in arms and amazed. Even I, with all my weird experiences, had never felt anything so evil.

I'm still not sure what it was. I never saw anything, only felt something. It felt animalistic, almost wolf-like. If you research Old Man's Caves, you'll find mention of people being haunted by spirit dogs, so I assume that is what it was. The thing I never figured out, though, was what it wanted....

Celebrate

In honor of my 10,000th hit to my blog, I would like to ask you if you have any questions for me? Do you have any stories you would like to hear or questions you would like me to answer? More ghost stories? More Tales from the Parsonage? Quirky congregants? Mundane things? My celebrity run-ins. (Sorry Wide Lawns, no sexual encounters with any, although Kirk Herbstreit once hit on me!)

I can't promise I can answer every question because of my anonymity, but if there's something you're interested in hearing, let me know. I need some fodder.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Anti-Mother Post

On the day I turned 30, I suffered from my first miscarriage. It was sad and painful, but I was okay with it because I had been warned from the time I was 18 that maintaining a pregnancy might be difficult for me. I figured one was allowable. That's what I told myself. But Mother's Day came just 2 short weeks later and the cards and Hallmark commercials and people taking their moms out to dinner was just more than I could bear. I realized just how sad Mother's Day made me.

I became pregnant again that August and lost that baby in the end of October. This time there was no 2 week feeling of it being okay. The pain and sorrow was instantaneous. It was especially painful when we went home to Hubby's family for Thanksgiving and someone innocently asked "So, when do you plan on having kids?" Ouch!

And then, the day I came home from my grandmother's funeral, returning from a long 5 days in England, Hubby and I got pregnant on Feb. 25th. It was accidental, completely impossible if you believed my cycle and terrifying. I was in tears when I took the test in April because Hubby was visiting his family and I was all alone when the test made it official. Being pregnant again so soon and being all alone, just knowing I would lose this one as well...well, I was heartbroken. Mother's Day just seemed a day to rub it in that I was only going to be a mother until the 10 week mark and then I would lose this one, too. Only I didn't lose this one. This one survived my mean and nasty womb. Survived her irregular heart, survived my post-partum depression and thrived. This one became E.

But I never forgot just how painful those two Mother's Days were. And I know that there are other women out there right now who have given up their biological children, lost children to miscarriage or abortion, lost children to illness or accident or just been unable to become pregnant. And I know how they feel.

So, I will not give those women trite phrases designed to make them feel better or brush off their pain. But if you are one of those women reading this right now, you are not forgotten. You are in my heart and I am thinking of you.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

259-Wood!

Pop. 259 has made the big time. There is a movie being filmed there and I am so excited. I almost peed my pants when they said the main character's house was an old white clapboard house right in downtown. I used to live in one of the 3 white clapboard houses in downtown. But alas, then they mentioned a hallway and there was no hallway in my lovely old homestead. But still, thar be famous actors out yar in my town!

AND..one of the actors is a really big name who a long time ago (80's) used to be very sexy. Sadly, he is not now, but he was! All I can think is those actors must think they are really in the middle of nowhere. The town has no restaurants, no grocery store and the people, well, the people are good, God-fearing, flag-waving homegrown town folks who are all related to each other and HAVE been related to each other since before the Civil War. Seriously, the town used to be an old plantation town with a railroad stop. When the war ended, the former slaves stayed around and kept their former owner's last names. It really is a living history lesson to visit that town.

I just wish I had time to run out and watch. Pop. 259 will never be the same again.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Joy

I've been feeling really down and lost lately. Our current church is revving up their woe-is-me angst at our leaving, our soon-to-be-new church is contacting us almost everyday trying to share their excitement but really just pushing boundaries, E's lovely teacher, and my school situation which is unbearable. The Head of School still won't let me make the announcement that I am leaving, but the preschool director has obviously told a few people out of turn, forcing me into a position of lying by omission. I hate lying, even if it is just semantics. And my boss....don't even ask.

Plus, I am not picking up the guitar as quickly as I had hoped. I am learning notes right now, but can only manage E, G and F. I try to play B,C and D and my fingers feel like sausages trying to walk a tight rope. So, needless to say, I have felt very discouraged and depressed and my lovely low self-esteem is punching me in the gut going "See, I told you you can't do anything right."

But today, my 4 year old student who coined the term "Fratterday" and asked another student if he wanted to "enjoy him" wrote me a note. The note said "I love when Muddy sings, it makes my ears happy." It was just what I needed to get me through a very rough day. Thanks Universe.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Why?

I had a whole piece planned out in my head about what I wanted to write today. I was about to regale you with two of the greatest hurricane stories you had ever read (well, maybe not the greatest, but definitely weirdest) and then Hubby went and ruined it all by telling me this:

Hubby was at his gym working out and went to take a shower. When he came out of the shower there was a VERY old and wrinkly naked man standing next to a sink using a hair dryer provided by the gym. Only, he wasn't using it on his head. He was standing there....using the community hair dryer...TO DRY HIS VERY OLD AND WRINKLY TWIGS AND BERRIES! And when they were dry, he turned the hair dryer onto his, well, you know.

I wouldn't want to see Hugh Jackman do that, much less an old Yoda-like man.

And you're welcome for that lovely image I have now left in your head.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Everybody Sing

What do you do with a drunken neighbor? Remember that old song, except substitute sailor for neighbor? In all the drama that is my life I have failed to notice what has been happening in the backyard directly next to mine. When we first moved in, DN took a chain saw and cut down every single tree in his backyard. Just clear cut the whole thing. He came over to our house and tried to convince us to let him cut all of our trees down, but we kinda like shade, oxygen, nature. etc...

Then he took gravel and completely covered the entire backyard. We're talking a 1/2 acre of rocks. No more grass, or garden or flowers. It was bare and ugly. But nature always finds a way and after a year or two, the grass has filled back in in some patches. It was about this time that two small portable office buildings appeared, then disappeared, sort of. He took the siding off and left the shell. Then he somehow combined them into a single building. Which looked great next to his big ass boat. Things stayed like that for a while. Until now.

I just looked outside and saw a lop-sided trampoline, a large chain-link cage (about 10x10x12), another HALF of a boat, the plastic base of a pool AND a giant truck with a tow-behind thing. Yee haw, it's a redneck spa. I don't even know how he fits all that stuff in the yard! Oh well, as long as he stays on his side of the fence, he can put in an outhouse for all I care.

And as for the conference...the teacher swears she never asked E to apologize, claimed that the reading group was "heterogenous" and switched out every few weeks and the E was ahead of the class in her math skills. I grilled E about the apology and her story has not wavered. I told her that she was going to have to meet with the principal (her worst fear) to discuss this with him and she still held firm that she was telling the truth. I asked her how long she has been a part of this reading group and she said it was the group she has been with since January. So, knowing the teacher has lied to me several times, whom do you think I believe?

Oh, and as for the teasing..the teacher's response was that the boys used inappropriate tones of voice, but "that's just life." I bought E the American Girl book that is used in conjunction with the Chrissa story and we are going to go through it a little bit each night and discuss all of these things. Oh...and while Hubby was meeting with the teacher, they "discovered" they were missing a book report for E and she now has homework for the weekend. We've never missed an assignment yet, so that was just amazing to hear. Can someone say "subtle punishment"?

Don't worry, I am not going to let this continue. I'm taking the weekend to plan my next move, but it's time to fight.