Monthly Archives: May 2015

What are Amish youth really thinking?

This afternoon as I was driving to my parents’ place—thank goodness for family help because it does take a village to raise a child (or three!)—I got stuck behind a line of slowing cars. I assumed it was a horse and buggy, as they usually travel the main road off of which my parents’ house is located. 

When I got close enough, I did see the cause of the traffic buildup was a rather old Amishman, but not one riding in a buggy. Instead, he was driving an electric scooter. What?! 

I mean, push scooters and Amish go hand in hand around here. But an electric scooter? How does that work?Aren’t they supposed to shun electricity?  Does he get a special pass from the community for some health reason? Does one get to use an electric scooter if one’s buggy breaks down? Or is he just breaking the rules? I think, if you’re going to go electric, why not just go one step further and drive a freaking car?!?

That got me to thinking about what today’s Amish youth really think about their elders, their own way of life, and the way of life of us outsiders—the English, as we are known to them. 

They all have cell phones, or it seems most of them do. Again, how they get around this, without having electricity to charge them, I’m not quite sure. I’ve heard they use generators to power them up? But in this age of technology and information overload, surely Amish teens and young adults have access and exposure to more than ever before. So, given that they are likely not as sheltered as we imagine them to be, what do they really think?

For instance, do they enjoy driving buggies and holding onto a horse’s reins? Or, do they feel it’s old-fashioned? Would they rather be driving cars instead? 

Do they look forward to their packed Igloo cooler lunches, day in and day out, filled with homemade custards and baked goods, drinking whole fat cream fresh from the cows? Or, do they ever daydream about ordering takeout, having pizza delivered, or dining at some farm-to-table restaurant where their crops are served up as part of some featured dish?

And what about having to marry within so small a circle of friends and neighbors. Is everybody cool with this? Or is it a big drag that weighs heavily on the youngsters, but they just have to accept it?

I’ve taken several long walks this spring around the back roads near the farms surrounding my parents’ house. In hot weather I’ve worn little more than a tank top and running shorts. Several times I’ve passed a field where an Amish softball game was taking place. 

Each time, the setting was the same: all the boys and young men played in the field, while the bonneted girls and young women sat in the shade barefoot, talking and giggling, watching the boys.

As I passed by I felt extremely aware of how little clothing I had on. Especially now that I’m breastfeeding and slightly more endowed than normal. I wonder, did the boys look at me and secretly think: Wow! There goes a hot piece of ass! Wish our ladies could dress like that!

Or did they blush red and hang their heads, turning away from the ‘sins of the flesh.’

Did the young girls secretly wish they could be out and about, dressed for the weather as I was instead of in their long skirts and long sleeves? Do they even suffer from heat? Perhaps they are genetically adapted to withstand wearing that kind of clothing in hot temperatures.

Or did they think: You heathen! You hussy! Stop tempting our menfolk!

Or did they all simply smile and sigh: Look. There’s our neighbor. Let’s love her as we love ourselves.

I don’t know. It’s hard to say. I only know that I felt uncomfortable walking past them and tried to hurry through that part of the walk so I could avoid their eyes and all that I imagined they might be thinking.

My husband works with the Amish through his job every day. Maybe I should make it my mission to befriend someone through his connections in order to investigate the answers to these questions. I mean no disrespect; I’m just very curious about and fascinated by these people.

Maybe I should try to find an Amish blogger. I bet there’s one (or more) out there, secretly burning the midnight oil—literally!—and typing away on a smart phone-powered-by-generator, posting amazing pie recipes and plans for DIY build-a-barns, or even beautiful patterns for heirloom quilts. 

As soon as I finish typing this sentence, I think I am going to try and find one. 😉

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How my four-year-old will wake up tomorrow morning with a radiant smile and hug me, just like every morning, is beyond me, a complete miraculous mystery. Why? Because I have been a horrible mother today. The worst.

To say this afternoon-into-evening was rough is a total understatement. It was AWFUL. One for the books.

The day began well enough (apart from the headache that started brewing soon after I woke up). I managed to get a brisk walk in before Liam left for work. We got the oldest off to school and then the two youngers and I enjoyed a relaxing trip through the local market.

After that, we headed back home where I decided to pack a picnic lunch so I could take all three kids for a quick visit to my elementary school after we picked up Nora from her school. There aren’t too many days left in the school year, and I wanted my students from this past year to be able to meet and see the new baby.

That all went fine too. And everyone fell asleep on the ride home. Score! I was hopeful then I might be able to nap too, or at least close my eyes to relieve the worsening headache pain I was experiencing.

When I pulled into the driveway, though, things began to go awry. The baby woke up once the car stopped and started screaming. I took him and his seat from the car and moved him to a shady part in the driveway, where he continued to scream. 

I grabbed Frances next and carried her into bed, no problem. I came back outside, briefly picked up and air-rocked the baby’s car seat, hoping to calm him down. It didn’t work.

So, I put him back down, grabbed the sleeping Nora and carried her inside. Of course, she woke up. She doesn’t really nap much anymore, so this wasn’t too surprising. I was still holding out hope, though, that she might. After guzzling down some water she asked for, she got into bed next to her younger sister and appeared to be attempting to fall asleep.

I hustled back out to the driveway to close and lock up the car, and to collect the screaming child, hoping none of the neighbors called CYA on me for being neglectful. 

I came back inside, plopped on the couch with the baby and a huge glass of water. I proceeded to try and nurse him to sleep when Nora came out of the bedroom and into the living room to announce she was skipping nap. I ordered her kindly back to the bedroom to at least try to take a rest. 

Twice more she emerged, once wearing a baby doll around her waist, attached to a Mardi Gras type beaded necklace around her neck, complete with a blanket-as-a-skirt around her lower body. The second time she was wearing no less than three headbands in her hair and twice as many barrettes. Her nap was so not happening.

I moved with the baby to the empty bedroom to lie down. He had fallen asleep. I told Nora I didn’t care what she did or played, but that she must leave me to rest so that I could try and get rid of my headache (I suffer occasionally from migraines and this one felt like it could turn into one if I didn’t try to get rid of it).

Now, yesterday, Nora skipped nap and played by herself for over two hours. She did some make-believe with her dollhouse. She drew some pictures. She played blocks. And, she dressed and undressed her baby dolls. Most days she does keep herself occupied pretty well and does not appear to be tired at all.

Today, however, she just didn’t know what to do with herself. So, she bothered me. She kept climbing up into bed, threatening to wake the baby with her insistent hugging and squeezing and kissing of his body, and in the process, completely pissing me off.

“Nora!” I whisper-screamed. “Either get under the covers and rest your head on the pillow, or get out of here and play something quietly.”

She left for a spell to do something in another room, only to return over and over again. My heart just about broke when she came in for the last time and said, “I’m tired of playing by myself mommy.”

She woke the baby when she said this, so then all three of us were grouchy. Ummm…make that four. Frances woke up soon after, and that kid is always a whiny mess after a nap. 

From 4:30 until 5:30, I attempted to cook dinner. I was interrupted nearly 437 times. Most of these interruptions had to deal with the girls screaming at each other over something ridiculous. Frances told Nora she was not allowed to sing. Nora pushed Frances. Frances threw chalk all over Nora’s drawing. All of this stuff was alleged, since I witnessed none of it. 

Essentially, since Nora hadn’t napped, she decided she was going to bug the shit out of her younger sister and push all of her buttons. And, younger sister decided she was just going to holler ‘No, Nora, no!’ over and over again at the top of her lungs. Meanwhile, I was going absolutely crazy having to listen to it all while trying to cook a meal and move the baby from swing to mat to shoulder to keep him from adding to the ruckus.

After I made a complete disatrous mess of the kitchen, we four sat down to eat together, the baby sprawled, belly down, across my lap (Liam’s been working late all week, making it home between 7:30 and 8, so I knew he wouldn’t be joining us for dinner). 

The girls took one look at their plates and decided they weren’t going to eat the meal I prepared.

“Me no like it,” Frances whined.

At that point, I could’ve cared less. I gave them both a bowlful of fruit while I enjoyed the baked tilapia and sundried tomato pasta salad with asparagus and spinach.

Nora continued to misbehave at and away from the table before I blurted out that she was being completely unhelpful and made me feel like I wanted to leave.

Well, those lovely words caused her to burst into tears and ask, “You mean, like move to another house?”

“No.” I reassured her, feeling full of shame and guilt. “I’m your mommy and I would never leave you, no matter how angry or frustrated I got. I only feel like leaving.”

“Mommy. You shouldn’t say that. I thought you were going to leave and that hurt my feelings. I would be sad and miss you.”

I apologized and told her she was right, that I shouldn’t have said it. That people sometimes say hurtful things when they get upset.

And then I put her and her sister into the bathtub because I was at my wit’s end. I tried to sneak in a quick nursing rest break in bed with the baby, but five minutes into the tubby, the girls were at it again. 

After a few lengthy screaming sessions, I yanked them both out, did teeth and pjs, and attempted to get Nora to sleep. At the early hour of 7:00. 

Somehow, laying next to me, with the baby crawling all over my chest, and her sister acting a silly fool, speaking gibberish and climbing all about the bed, Nora fell asleep. Hard. She was out in under ten minutes. Gifriend sure needed that nap today. Her mama should have had one too.

After that, I kept things together just long enough until I burst into tears the moment Liam walked in the door. 

“I’m just out of coping skills!” I told him. “It’s all too much! I hate that I keep yelling at the kids, Nora in particular, when all she wants is just a little attention from me.”

We tried to problem solve ways to make life easier. Like maybe not feeling the need to cook baked tilapia and sundried tomato pasta salad with asparagus and spinach. Maybe we should hire a nanny. Or win the lottery. Or have Liam just quit his job.

Today at school a lot of my colleague-friends asked how we are all doing. “How’s life with three?” they said.

I said, “It’s really freaking hard. I wish I could say it’s all beautiful and amazing. There are those moments, for sure, when things are completely wonderful. But mostly, it’s just hard.”

I know that lack of sleep, lack of ‘me time’, lack of husband from dinner through bath and bed, plus headache, and three needy kids is a recipe for madness, but I feel like I should be better at this somehow. Like I’m totally failing as a mom right now.

I don’t want my kids to remember their early childhood with a stern, bitchy, asshole dictator for a mother. I want them to recall times of peace, joy, and fun. I remember my mom being patient and kind nearly always, although she assures me this was not the case. I’m grateful my kids seem to easily forget the bad days and bad moments. 

Which is why I’ll be thanking God tomorrow for second chances and do-overs, and for the love from a little girl, who will have forgotten just how awful her mother was the day before. 

My plan to supplement my maternity leave income through the selling of the shit that we no longer want or need.

In about four more weeks our neighborhood will be having its annual yard sale. If you follow the blog, you may recall that four posts or so ago, I shared my thoughts and feelings about yard sales. Needless to say, they are not overwhelmingly positive. 

In the six summers we’ve lived here in this house, we’ve managed to be on vacation for five of the neighborhood yard sales. The one time we were around, we had guests visiting us, so, naturally, we declined to have a sale at our house.

I love recalling how leading up to that year’s sale, we had a very friendly woman come to our door a few days before the big weekend to ask us if we minded her setting up an egg roll stand in our yard. I politely told her I did mind, despite her offer to give us free egg rolls for hosting. Apparently, our yard had one of the only big shade trees in the neighborhood? I don’t know. I thought it was a bit strange, especially given that we were going to have company. “Oh welcome to our house. This is our crazy neighborhood yard sale, and our dear new friend selling egg rolls on our lawn. But don’t mind her. Let’s just hang out.”

A few women I work with are huge fans of yard-saling. When I mentioned the egg roll thing one day during lunch this fall, one colleague-friend said, “Oh yeah, I know her. She sets up shop at all the big sales. I have her phone number stored in my phone from last year. I used to text her to see where all the big sales were going to be. And, I would occasionally get in touch with her to request some egg rolls to be made for my family.” Seriously?! Egg roll lady on speed-dial?

So, apparently, this egg-rolling at yard sales is a thing.

We did end up heading out into the neighborhood streets that Saturday our guests were in town. And, we did end up seeing the egg roll lady on someone else’s lawn. I felt a little guilty about not being more hospitable to her. But then we bought some egg rolls from her to make up for being so unaccommodating. They were super delicious. If she comes around again asking in the next couple of weeks, I will gladly say yes this time to her setting up her biz on our lawn in exchange for some free rolls.

Anyway, I have been debating for months about whether or not to participate in this year’s sale. We aren’t going away anyplace (at least not as of yet). And, we aren’t expecting anyone either. And, we actually have a ton of stuff gathering cobwebs right now in our basement that we desperately need to get rid of. Our house is just too small to be stumbling over all this needless crap.

Generally, I’d say I lack the patience necessary to hang onto any of our unwanted things long enough to accumulate much for a good yard sale. I might consign some of it, or give some away to friends or others in need. 

More often than not, though, I typically bag up old clothes, household items, and toys that we no longer like or have use for, and call the local charity collectors. I schedule an appointment online for them to bring their trucks ’round to pick up our stuff at the curb in front of our house. How easy is that? For someone who hates clutter, and likes to think of giving to charity as a worthy service, I just can’t do much better than that.

I will say though, that with each curbside giveaway, I’ve thought to myself that we could probably make some money off of the selling of our throwaways. People more thrifty than me have probably done so with their unwanted belongings. 

In addition to yard sales, there’s also advertising on Craigslist as well as through Facebook groups. These two options are great if one takes the time to take photos of things and post them online. I’d just rather get the clutter the hell out of our house as fast as humanly possible. Thus, curbside giveaway it is.

But this year is a little different. We are living on limited income throughout the rest of my maternity leave and into the summer, until the middle of August, when my paycheck will resume again as usual. 

I’ve been trying to think creatively about ways I can make some additional money until then. But, I’ve come up with essentially nothing because these days my postpartum brain is incapable of doing much good thinking. It’s just keeping us all alive at this point.

And yet, it has contemplated participating in this year’s yard sale as a means to make a little spare change. I keep telling myself that if I can get an iced coffee stash going as a result of selling our cast-offs, or even pay for a week’s worth of groceries, it will all be worth it.

The questions that remain are: Will I be able to hang onto all those garbage bags full of our things for another four weeks or so? Or will I cave and call the charity collectors because the clutter has just become too overwhelming?

We shall see.

My husband asked me if I could make a strawberry rhubarb pie today while he was at work, and other ridiculous requests.

Just last week my daughter was in the car talking about how much she missed her Grandpa Jim (Liam’s dad, who lives in Connecticut). I told her that we couldn’t make a trip to visit him because daddy didn’t have time off from work. She suggested that I take her and her siblings, without her father, as if this were the obvious and easy choice. And, she suggested that we leave immediately.

I told her we would not be leaving immediately, but that I would consider making the trip without Liam. And so, this past Sunday, I rallied the troops, packed a small boatload full of stuff, and hit the road. It should be noted that my husband, as he was seeing us out of the driveway, was simultaneously loading his golf clubs into the trunk of his car and donning his golf rain jacket, hoping to make a scheduled tee time at 10:00. He sure wasted no time starting his bachelor weekend events. 

The ride north went somewhat smoothly. We stopped for the first time about an hour and a half into the trip, still in Pennsylvania, at a fireworks store. After I peed behind a tree near the parking lot, I pulled Nora’s old potty chair from her potty training days (an absolute necessity for long road trips with small children!) and plunked it down onto the asphalt in the lot. After she did her business, I nursed both little children while sitting on the floor of the car in front of and in between the two captain’s chairs, and changed their diapers. The new minivan is proving to be an excellent investment! Lots of room for road-tripping shenanigans inside her. Because there was no way this mom was trying to drag three little ones into a rest-stop restroom! Firstly, it would have added too much extra time on an already long trip. And secondly, I have nightmares imagining the four of us crammed into a crowded bathroom stall, while I have to negotiate peeing as well as holding a baby and making sure two little ones don’t put their hands all over every stall surface and then put their fingers in their mouths.

The middle part of the trip was a little stressful. The baby screamed off and on for awhile. Frances napped, but older sister Nora refused. Instead, she whined a lot, asked 326 times how much longer until we got there, and twirled knots in her hair like a nervous wreck, something I’ve never seen her do before. I think it was a mixture of being exhausted, excited, and stressed out; the baby crying was rough on us all.

I think I was finally able to relax and drive comfortably with shoulders not hunched up around my ears after our second pit-stop, just inside Connecticut, once the baby fell asleep. Unfortunately, our second stop was in a less private place than the first. Nora did her business on the potty seat inside the car. And, I may have too. Yes, I’m sure you’re visualization of a grown-ass woman squatting down, pants around her ankles, inside a cramped minivan to use a child’s potty seat is spot on. Especially when I add in the details that the girls were giggling like crazy and screaming, “I can see your booty!” the entire time. So humiliating. Thank goodness for shaded car windows!

I made the oldest promise never to tell anyone what she had seen.Yet, here I am revealing it all. Oh well. It was either use the potty seat, or drag the kids inside someplace, which I’ve already mentioned I was reluctant to do. After I confessed the above to my husband, and listened to him laughing for a few minutes, he admitted it was a brilliant idea, really, and that we should probably invent an adult seat to be used on road trips for just these kinds of situations. I’m sure there is already one out there somewhere. I will have to look into purchasing it for our next journey.

We made the four-and-a-half-hour trip in about six hours, stopping twice for about a half hour each time. Not too shabby. And, I only had to use my 130-decibel-level voice a couple of times to ask everyone to shut the hell up, but in slightly more polite terms than that.

The afternoon we arrived proved to be the nicest in terms of weather, and the only real beach day of the four we stayed. So, even though the water temps were in the high 50s, the kids put on their suits and headed down to the water to splash about in the surf and dig around in the sand.

Some other highlights over the next few days included spending time with grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins, eating lots and lots of desserts (always a fan favorite at Grandpa Jim’s), playing on a playground at the beach (I just can’t get over how cool it was that the kids could slide down the slides and land in the sand), and having a seafood dinner with Grandmère (Liam’s mom) while trains rolled past on one side, and boats rocked calmly on the other. I also enjoyred a quick visit with my college roommate. Although, between the chasing after and minding of children, we really just got to see what the other looked like these days, exchange a few smiles and laughs, and document the whole blur with a bunch of photographs.

And now, for the lowlights. Mostly, these happened during the night. I knew they would. Co-sleeping works great for us at home, but not so much when we travel. At least, not when we are limited on space.

Our sleeping arrangement was an air mattress on the floor next to a twin bed. I told Nora to expect that she wouldn’t be able to sleep next to me. She accepted this, at first. And then, in the middle of the night, she fell out of the twin bed and onto the air mattress at my feet. She then refused to climb back up into the bed, and so, slept in a small crack of open floor between the mattress and dresser instead. This seemed to work out well. Frances also managed to roll off the air mattress a couple of times and got banged up by the piano pedals on the floor. Only my kids.

And so, nearly every bedtime was a complete disaster. At home, Liam and I usually take turns putting kids to bed, one or sometimes two at a time. Never all three. However, each night in Connecticut, I managed to have all three awake at 9:00 p.m. or later. Not a good scene. I just didn’t have enough body parts or bed space to nurse, hold, and comfort all three at the same time. This was a time when I certainly wished we had the kind of kids we could just tell to go to sleep and they would, while I sat out in the living room nursing a beer and enjoying some alone time.

As it is, over the past six days, I have enjoyed only an hour-and-a-half of alone time, a world record for me. The thirty-minute car ride home from my parents’ place on the tail end of our trip home from Connecticut (it went about as smoothly as the ride up, except I used the potty seat twice, as I’m an old pro at it now), when I insisted Liam meet us there and then drive the kids home in the minivan, while I drove home in his car in SILENCE. The thirty-minute bath I enjoyed two nights ago, even though the middle girl yelled, “I watch you, mommy!” nearly the entire time from outside the locked door.

And the past fifteen or more minutes that I’ve been writing this post, which I began many hours ago, and have only just neared the end, after I put the baby to sleep. Other than this time, I have been holding a baby in my arms, or had a baby strapped to me in a carrier, or, I’ve been in the presence of one or more of my children, within a five-foot radius or less, for the past 144 hours. I’m in need of a vacation from my vacation.

Which is why, when my husband asked me this morning, before he left for work, if I had time, could I make a strawberry rhubarb pie, I gave him a look that said: You’ve got to be effing kidding me, right?

I don’t think he was kidding, but I think he read me loud and clear, that there would be no pie making happening. At all. Likely ever again. Perhaps he should have scheduled his baking plans in between rounds of golf and dining out, while I was in Connecticut visiting his family.

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Eating fried seafood with her uncle. Incidentally, she looks more like him than her own two parents. Funny how that happens. Love this photo.


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Testing out the frigid waters on a frigid day. Crazy girl.


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The kids and their Grandpa.


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Cousins waiting on ice cream!


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Girlfriend time at the beach.

I freaking LOVE lists.

A good friend recently shared a Huffington Post article to her Facebook Timeline: “11 Things Every ‘Type A’ Person Wants You to Know.” It was a very entertaining read. And satisfying too, since it summed up so well characteristics and personality traits I share with others who proudlyor regretfully, I suppose—belong to the group Type A.

Number three on the post: We live by to-do lists.

It’s true. To-do lists, grocery lists, lists for projects, packing lists, lists of spices in the spice rack, lists of bills to pay each month, lists of emergency contact info on the refrigerator for whoever may need it, master shopping list of all the things you might buy in your house and from which stores lists. Even lists of lists. Because, why not?

I love them all. I get extreme satisfaction from creating lists. And being able to cross off items from lists. It should be noted that ALL list items rarely ever get crossed out, but still. It should also be noted that I prefer paper lists to lists electronic.

I have tried apps on my phone for project, grocery, and to-do lists, yet I find pen and paper to be more efficient for me to process. Even back when I had to use a Palm Pilot for work—remember those—I still ended up using pen and paper more often than not.

I think this post is rather timely, as I’ve decided, somewhat spur of the moment—either bravely, or stupidly, I’ll let you know—to drive with the three kids, sans husband (he will be working), to Connecticut to visit the in-laws for a few days.

Just this morning, I grabbed my trusty, edited many times, packing list from last summer’s trips to both Connecticut and Lake George. (I kept the worn-out, inked-up list in a drawer in my nightstand table—knowing it was a good one—so it could be used again and again).

I should admit, though, that while my list-making skills are excellent, my packing skills are not. I often go above and beyond the list, at least in the clothing department, and end up overpacking much more than I need to. This has to do with decision-making difficulty and needing to feel prepared for every kind of possible weather event.

Thankfully, I had my husband on hand to help tonight. He vetoed about half of what I wanted to pack, reminding me that I could do laundry at his dad’s house if I need to. I probably will still throw some extra things in the bags tomorrow, when he’s not looking, just in case.

Guess I should go make a list for that.

Heard around the house.

Nora: “Did God have swim lessons when he was little, like me?”

Me: “No.”

Nora: “Why not?”

Me: “Because God was little a long, long time ago.”

Nora: “Like how long ago?”

Me: “Billions and billions of years.”

Nora: “Oh. And they didn’t have swim lessons then?”

Me: “No.”

                          —————

Me: “I spy, with my little eye, something orange.”

Frances: “The trees?”

Me: “Nope.”

Frances: “The grass?”

Me: “No.”

Frances: “The bushes?”

Me: “No, Frances. Those things are all green. Guess again.”

                          —————

Me: “Frances. I like your new purse.”

Frances: “Pizza in dere.”

Me: “What? Your pizza’s in there?!”

Frances: (holds purse open so I can look inside) “Pizza in dere.”

Me: (horrified) “No, Frances, honey! Get that out of there. We don’t put pizza in purses!”

Only, apparently, we do.

                          —————

Me: (extremely frustrated and cantankerous; at 2:30 a.m. at the start of breastfeeding session with Rowan, who was bumbling around like an animal trying unsuccessfully to latch) “What in the world? It’s not fucking rocket science! You’ve been doing this since the day you were born! Fucking eat!”

I asked my husband the following morning if he had overheard me cussing out our five-week-old in the middle of the night. He had. So ashamed.

Even though we have our moments, I sure do love the hell out of that little cuddle ball. Even when he forgets how to nurse and I’m dropping F-bombs on him left and right. I like to think of it as dropping F-bombs on the air, though. Not my boy. It’s just my way of venting. A necessity if I’m not going to lose my mind.

There’s nothing that’ll get my blood boiling hotter than the hood of a car on a long road trip like idiot pedestrians and/or drivers at a good old fashioned, full-on, over-the-top neighborhood yard sale.

Yard-sale-ing season is upon us, friends. Yes indeedy, it is.

Whether you call it a yard sale, a tag sale or garage sale, every weekend around these parts you can be sure to see cars lined up irresponsibly on the side of some road, parked in front of—or very near—a house with a sale, sticking out into the street just far enough so that it makes it impossible for two cars to pass one another in the opposite direction. Essentially, the street becomes a one-lane road. Now imagine adding horse and buggies to the mix—a common sight at these sales—and you can see how events might get a lot more interesting. And by interesting, of course, I mean they become a HUGE pain in the arse.

This past Saturday I had an appointment to get my hair cut at 9:00 in the morning. Looking back, this was probably not the best time to schedule something like this. At least not when the commute to my parents’ house—our trusty babysitters—is thirty minutes long, as was the drive from my parents’ place to the salon. Something to consider for next time. Perhaps noon would be better. Or simply a day when the hubs is not working.

Also, I will make sure to coordinate with the fine folks who determine the date of my parents’ annual development yard sale, ahead of time, and make sure to NOT schedule anything having to do with the neighborhood at that time.

Lastly, knowing I am prone to frequent bouts of road rage, I should always, always make it a point to be early for everything, thus eliminating the likelihood that I will scream obscenities out the window and blow my horn at the decent folks who are just looking to add trinkety-treasures on the cheap, to the already colossal collections in their homes. No judgment.

So, this past Saturday. I actually set my alarm for the first time since the baby was born and I was working full-time. Knowing it takes us almost an hour to pack up and go any place, I didn’t want to risk being late for my appointment. We made it out the door leaving us an hour—just enough time for me to make it on time if nothing out of the ordinary happened.

The first half of the drive went OK, minus the fact the baby screamed his little guts out the whole time (always stressful for me—I can’t tune that stuff out). However, once we got on the main road to my parents’ house, the real craziness began.

I got stuck behind several drivers who thought it was perfectly reasonable to drive 15 MPH in a 40 MPH zone, all the while putting on the brakes to casually and carefully peruse the lawn and driveway contents of many of the houses displaying their wares, paying no mind to the line of cars stacking up behind them.

I tried to be patient, but it just wasn’t happening. I was going to be late, and these guys, unintentionally, were being complete assholes. So, I let out a string of curse words and laid on the horn. This had the desired effect as the cars pulled over to the side of the road to figure their shit out. I felt a little guilty, but I like to think the cars behind me were grateful for my effort.

Of course, my oldest girl asked what all the commotion was about. I told her that we were following some bad drivers. I tell her all the time about the bad drivers on the road. She asks me from time to time, when I haven’t commented on the state of the world’s bad drivers, whether the cars are being naughty or driving safely. Lord help us, she’s going to be just as neurotic as I am.

When we finally made it to the entrance of my parents’ development—only then did the baby decide to quiet down—we had to wait, off to the side of the road, for a horse and buggy, three Amish girls on scooter-bikes with trailers full of flowers and other random shite, a pickup truck, an SUV, and several hot dog-eating families (yes, at 8:30 a.m.) to pass us by, before we were permitted access to drive through the tiniest margin of road. These people take their sale-ing seriously. 

I made it to my parents’ place, dropped the kids off in the driveway, and then drove like a complete reckless asshole myself out of the neighborhood, narrowly missing wagon-toting, stroller-pushing, and all kinds of box-holding folks.

I made it to the appointment with a minute to spare. Once there, I got to decompress a little and enjoy some adult conversation (always welcome these days), and a hot cup of coffee. Not to mention a shorter, new ‘do.

On the ride back, I came across only two idiots. On a back road, a lovely looking middle-aged couple had decided to stop at a yard sale. Instead of pulling into the driveway, or onto the property, they pulled to the side of the road, opposite the house, more than halfway into the driving lane. Also, they were at the bottom of a hill. Since the road was 40 MPH, I came upon the hill approximately 5 MPH faster than that. Then, upon seeing the car in my lane, I had to put on the brakes.

I couldn’t pass by, because their car was in my way, of course, but also because there were cars coming from the opposite direction. As I was sitting there seething, waiting for my moment to make my move, I saw the lovely couple, getting ready to cross the street, back to their car. They looked a little foolish, a little ass-holish, perhaps, as they realized the inconvenience their shitty choice had made for all of the other cars on the road.

Also, it looked as though it was going to be a long time before they made it back to their car, since by that point, there were cars moving rather speedily, trying to yield and pass in both directions, in the one-lane road they had created. 

I quickly sped past and found myself secretly wishing they’d be stuck there on the side of the road with their purchases in hand, for a good twenty minutes or so before they were able to make it back to their car. Serve them right.

As I write this days later I am fully aware of all the anger and feelings of contempt I had this past Saturday morning. It’s all a bit ridiculous, I know. I should be a better person. A more patient, less cranky person.

But, I’m not. Turns out yard sales bring out the worst in me. Buyers and sellers, beware.