Friday, January 30, 2009

WalMart is taking over the world

On our second day here, we decided to venture out. We were in need of some essentials like milk and Swiffer Wet refills. So we start driving down our winding farm road, and what to our wondering eyes would appear? No shit, there is a WalMart Supercenter about 5 minutes away. You literally drive down a road past all of these horse and buggies that are all going to the same place I am. They have a parking stable.
In the store, which is just like every other WalMart you've ever been in, there are throngs of Amish, Mennonite, and born again Christians. It struck me as a completely bizarre juxtaposition of two very different cultures. But it doesn't stop there. Everywhere you look, there are examples of our modern culture infiltrating these tight-knit, conservative communities. The girls all wear long dresses and bonnets...with SKECHERS! The boys, who dress in all black constatntly send text messages.
So many people have asked me what it's like, and to be honest, I find it to be more Hale Bop than Olde Sturbridge Village. Maybe I'm so freaked out because I'm not that into religion. But, really The Godly Home Series CD set thanking Jesus for bathing us in his blood as a "Welcome to the Neighborhood" gift? I make sure I lock my doors, because I don't think fanatics of any kind are to be trusted.
Also, for your information, the women do not wear warm colors (red, orange, pink, etc.) as it is so obviously a sign of the devil. Note for next time: Do not pack red puffer jacket as your only winter coat when traveling through central PA. Another thing I've noticed; not too much makeup, eyebrow sculpting, or hair coloring going on down here. I've already done a full wax once and have purhcased my first box of hair dye. Yes, we were only here a few days before I broke out the home waxing kit, but when your 4 year old says, " have a mustache. Good I spy, huh?" you know it's time. The procedure was done just in time for me to still be pink and puffy when I first met my neighbors, Mabel and Titus Leid, proprietors of The Wildflower Goat Farm next door. Ask me if I tried the unpasteurized goat's milk...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Update from the Twilight Zone

I am in Pennsylvania, I'm alive, and I have internet access. I'll be updating the blog much more frequently. So much has happened since our family left MA. I vowed to keep notes so that I wouldn't forget the tiny details that would communicate the humor, sadness, and struggles we've had experienced since then, but of course life got in the way, time was far too scarce, and things will be forgotten.
I cried after we said goodbye to Jen and Marley and on the 495 on-ramp, but the trek down actually went quite well. Much better than I had ever dreamed. It was just over 9 hours, with 2 stops. The first stop, at a McDonald's in southern Connecticut clocked in at well over an hour long. The place was a mob scene, basically taken over by a group that I could only imagine was some sort of "Mother's Club" bullshit or something like that. For mothers, they were pretty rude and oblivious to our situation. Sitting there, all sprawled out AFTER they were finished eating while we're huddled around our tiny pedestal table meant for one or two with our 2 high chairs, 3 kids and 3 Happy Meals. All the while within earshot of these bitches complaining about how long they were in labor for. Seriously, I don't think I saw a kid under 4 there. Can you get over it already? At any rate, we were able to let our kids exhaust themselves at the germ infested play area before we continued on our journey.
It wasn't until after our second stop (Toys R Us on the NJ/PA border where, of course, Ben pooped his pants) about an hour from our destination when the shit hit the fan. Lots of tears, complaints, the whole cornucopia of bratty behavior. Everyone was tired, sick of being in the car, and I for one nearly had a panic attack. So, Brett, being the more calm one of us at that point let me drive for the remainder of the trip while he played "Smell My Feet". It's really incredible how funny kids think kicking you in the face while you dry heave is.
We finally got to our house, a 1950's era Cape set at the top of a huge hill. The house is nothing special, but the views of the farms and farmland are beautiful. However, Brett and I did realize pretty soon after arriving that we were going to need to do some pretty heavy duty cleaning. You can typically gague the level of a house's cleanliness based on what your socks look like after walking around for a while. Suffice to say, no amount of bleach will ever get those socks white again. We immediately set to work unpacking and cleaning the house Friday night and Saturday morning. Brett definitely did the lion's share of the cleaning. I am by no means a princess,but it's been over 7 years since we have lived without a cleaning lady. I feel like I don't even know how to clean anymore. While Brett was scrubbing away in the bathroom, Will found something very special in the tub, and even wrote a song about it, "A curly hair, a curly hair, I found a curly hair". I almost vomited and peed my pants laughing simultaneously. Cleaning your house is sucky work, cleaning someone else's dirty house is simply disgusting. But you know what? Our socks are now clean when we walk around.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Getting ready

So, we're about to set off for rural Pennsylvania in just a few days now. I'm emotional. I've had a few glasses of wine. Kate and Jen convinced me to blog about the experience, and here you have it.

I have so many conflicting thoughts and feelings about what we're about to do. I feel sad that I've disrupted Will's life, but I know he's about to have a great adventure. Will he make friends like Jamal, Adam, and Matthew? Will there be a temporary Marley?

I'm nervous about our return, but I know that we are resourceful, and I know that Brett is one of the hardest working people I've ever met. He takes care of his family. Did I mention that while I was busy making sure I remembered to pack my waxing kit he packed smoke and CO detectors? He knows just what to do to make me feel safe when I feel uneasy. Sometimes it's the little things.

I'm excited to meet new people and learn about a different culture, but I know I'll never make friends like the ones I have here, or love living in any place better. There's a reason why I've chosen to stay where I grew up. There's a reason why I cry when I think of how much I love my family.

I really think the car ride down will be quite awful, and there is no silver lining to that one. I've already plugged our route into and highlighted the restaurants with Playplaces along the way.

We've been preparing and packing and procrastinating, and now we need to do it. Jesus Christ, it's only temporary! Who knows? It may even trigger a depression that could segue into some drastic weight loss. I'll try to update the blog as much as possible. If you don't hear from me in a few days, send in the troops. I may have had some Kool-Aid and I don't want this to become a special episode of Dateline NBC.