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Home Sweet Home

Or is it? I mean, is it sweet when the door rots? The pool leaks? The ac unit screams because your vaulted ceilings are killing it? How about when the ants band together on rainy days and head indoors for a spell? The roof shingles split because there’s no shade and the Florida sun is brutal?

you can almost here them...

I think I’m ready for a condo. Some place on the water would be nice, second floor, so I don’t have to worry about floods. Keep it roomy but not too roomy–less space means less cleaning. Pest control, lawn maintenance, building repairs are all taken care of by someone with patience and a smile. (Love them.) The dues can be hazardous but shoot, by the time you consider your maintenance and repair expenses, the headaches and stress, I think condo living might come out ahead!

I could write and relax. I’d pull into my driveway without my husband noticing all the things that need to be done. It would be like living on constant vacation! The family could relax on the weekends with no grass to cut, chlorine to adjust, weeds to pull…

Oh, right. The weeds. I wouldn’t have my garden. There’d be no space. I could join a community garden but then I’d have to drive. (Ugh, the traffic.) With no compost pile to support, my sense of “green living” would dull. I’d feel guilty wasting all those kitchen scraps. Think of the naturally-fertilized dirt I’d lose!

lettuce for lunch

Hmph. (Can you tell I’ve had a rough weekend?)

Glancing around, I fight the urge to run. Perhaps I should reconsider. Responsibility isn’t all bad. Annoying, but at least I have room to roam when I feel like running. Space to spread out, plant some veggies, a welcome mat for the dog…

Maybe obligations aren’t so bad. I’m whining, I know. I mean, I do so enjoy strolling to the garden for a pluck of fresh leaves for lunch. Sitting on the back patio, taking in the kids and their friends swimming and laughing. My husband does look good on a tractor. 😉

Take a deep breath, Dianne. Everything’s okay. How about you? What do you do when your weekend is lost to chores?

The weather is fabulous, wish you were here

The other day, a friend and I were complaining about the unusually wet weather in Atlanta, and she asked me where the sun went.

“Holland,” I told her, and it’s true. It’s like Mother Nature decided to switch things up this year, whisking our sun across the ocean to dry out Northern Europe and sending their low, leaden skies to dump torrential rains all over Georgia. Vampires get more sun than I’ve seen this past month, and I found myself wishing I were there instead of here, homesick for a place that’s no longer my home.

Strand-014-500x375There are so many things I miss about the Netherlands, especially when the weather is balmy like it is now. Lazy days on North Sea beaches. Biking through fields of flowers. Amsterdam and cafes and canals and french fries with mayonnaise. Friends and family.

Before I moved to Holland all those years ago, I never really gave much thought to the fact that I’m an American. My nationality was as much a part of me as my curls and hazel eyes. And then suddenly there I was, in a country where I knew exactly one person. I was a foreigner, an outsider, an expat. Ugh! It didn’t take me long to detest the word expat. Am I less of an American patriot just because I moved to a foreign country? I daresay anyone who has  ever been in an expat’s shoes will tell you the experience only heightens their feelings of nationalism.

But after more than a decade in the Netherlands, I’m part Dutch, too. Some of my favorite places on earth are in the Netherlands. Some of my favorite memories happened there. Some of my favorite people still live there. It took a long time and an enormous effort to put down roots, but then suddenly, without my even noticing, they took hold and became firmly entrenched. There to stay, even if I’m not.

Even though at this very moment, I wish I were.

My Date

No, this isn’t about my first date with a young boy when I was a teenager.  This is about the first date my husband and I had yesterday in months and months.  Frankly, I don’t remember when we last took off in the middle of the week to spend time with each other.  We celebrated our 20th anniversary last October and we rarely spend time alone together since we have two kids.

Well, that doesn’t really explain the entire story.  Our son is a senior in high school and is 17 and our daughter is in 8th grade and is 13-years old.  They don’t exactly like each other that much, at times I suspect they hate each other’s guts.  I haven’t felt comfortable leaving my son home alone taking care of her when we are too far away to jump in the car and head home to run interference, if you know what I mean.

It’s not like I would think he’d hurt her.  He’d just tease her and make fun of her in his usual relentless fashion, thus forcing her to cry and slam her bedroom door and stay there for six hours until we got back.  So, we decided to go an hour and a half away from home, mid-week, when they were both in school, and we’d be back before they even walked in the door at 4 p.m. later that afternoon.

So at 9:30 a.m. we got in the truck and headed for Capitola, a small city of around 55,000 people just north of Santa Cruz.  The weather was a nice 55 degrees and if you were in a sheltered area it got to be about 65 in the afternoon.  We took our bikes and rode about two miles down to the harbor and then back up the hilly area to our car that we parked by the beach.  The ocean was almost perfectly flat and there were very few tourists there at this time of year.  Then we had lunch at Margaritaville out on the deck overlooking the beach.

And, believe it or not, we actually put our arms around each other’s waists and walked down the street like we used to when we were young and in love!  It was an enjoyable day spent without kids listening to our every word and the silence at times was lovely as well.

I don’t know if our experience is typical of couples with or without kids, no matter the age, but we surely don’t take enough time to just enjoy being by ourselves any longer.  And this was kind of a spontaneous gesture on my husband’s part that turned out to be an enjoyable experience.

What about any of you out there with a husband and no kids or a husband and kids?  Do you date?

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