mandyholbert

A glimpse into our family – the good, the bad, and, of course, the funny

Boy Meets Girl October 10, 2012

How did Ronnie and I meet, you ask?  Well, it’s a long story.  Actually, you didn’t ask, and it’s a pretty short story, but I’m going to tell it anyway.

I was employed at a home improvement super store which was not Lowe’s while I was a college student.  Here’s some advice for all you eighteen-year-old girls out there: this is a great job if you don’t mind being propositioned, objectified, hit on, flirted with, asked out, and stared at by customers and employees, most of whom are at least twice your age, on a very regular basis. Anyway, I worked there, and I hated it.  I was offered money to give a father and son who came through my check-out line a private dance.  An employee asked me to stay with him while his wife and kids went out west to visit family.  And those were just the stand-outs.  I was literally asked out so often that I quit even looking at the person I was turning down.  You’d think a woman had never stepped foot in that store before.

So, one day I was working the register in the lumber end of the store.  I didn’t have men on my mind at all, but then a really attractive man came through my line with a cart full of materials to build a privacy fence.  I rang him up slowly and tried to catch his eye the whole time. He wouldn’t look at me.  I checked his finger for a ring.  Nothing.  He was driving me crazy by not looking up.  All those men who asked me out constantly, and the ONE TIME I wanted to be noticed, this guy wouldn’t give me the time of day!  Arg!

Finally, he had to look up as I gave him his total – somewhere around $300.  I smiled as I took his debit card from him, and he smiled back a little.  I was thinking he might actually talk to me, and then the dreaded thing happened – the end of any conversation we may have had – his debit card was declined.

Darn it.  Darn it.  Darn it.

I bashfully told him the news, and he fumbled around with his wallet and mumbled something about a paycheck not going in and running home to get the cash and being right back.  I knew it would be a miracle if Mr. Hottie ever came back.  I just knew he didn’t have the cash at home.  I pulled his cart over to the side, fully expecting to have to return all the lumber to its rightful place before my shift was over.

He came back.

I rang him up again, and we didn’t talk the whole time.  I had given up on even trying to be cute with him.  I gave him his total and he paid with cash.  He thanked me and started rolling that cart right out the door.

I sighed and watched him leave.  He sure was a good-looking one.  Strong.  Polite.  Ooo, and he builds fences, so he’s handy.  And those eyes!  Those big blue eyes…Oh, well.

The automatic doors opened as his cart passed through.  Instead of walking, though, he turned around and blurted out, “Do you want to go out sometime?”

I think it surprised both of us.

He recovered a little and walked back to my register, leaving his purchase in limbo.

“Umm…what’s your name?” I asked.  I couldn’t remember it off the debit card.  After all, it didn’t actually work.

“Ronnie.”

And then, from some deep-rooted, recently burned-by-an-idiot-who-said-he-loved-me place inside me, all these questions came pouring out like the rat-a-tat-tat of machine gun fire:

“Do you smoke?  Do you drink?  Do you party?  Do you go to church?  Do you still have your tonsils?  Do you or have you ever supported Ross Perot?  Coke or Pepsi?  Butter side up or butter side down?  Do you have any children?  Do you enjoy bonsai?  Do you speak Spanish?  Do you wish you spoke Spanish?  Are you divorced?  Do you use drugs?  Are you gay?  Do you have any skeletons in the old proverbial closet?  Do you brush your teeth with hot water?  Do you snore?  Are you a vegetarian?  Do you have a criminal record?”*

Whew!  I took a deep breath.  Ronnie was still alternating between nodding and shaking his head with a very confused look on his face.  When we both recovered, we stood there looking at each other for several moments.

I shrugged.  “Well, I don’t go out with people I don’t know, but here’s my number.”  I handed him a scrap of a yellow sales flyer with my name and number written on it.  He took it and put it in his pocket.  He walked back to his cart and pushed it on out the door.

I never thought he would call me.  Especially after the irrational interrogation I had just subjected him to.

But, he did.

We talked for an hour that first time.  We went out the next night.  And we’ve been together ever since.

Don’t ask me why he would have called me even after I went all crazy-girl on him.  But I’m sure glad he did.  We are perfect for each other.

Maybe he knew that.

* This was twelve, almost thirteen, years ago.  I can’t remember exactly what I asked him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this were pretty accurate.

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Max starts kindergarten August 28, 2012

Filed under: children,family,Kendra,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 8:29 pm
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Boy, it’s really been a while since I’ve written.  Seems I can only handle one hobby at a time, and lately I’ve been reading instead of writing.  I’ve read some really good books, though.

I couldn’t let today pass without writing about it since it was such an important day in Maxwell’s life.  That’s right: he started kindergarten.

We’ve been pumping him up for weeks, and we really kicked it up a notch when we realized that he was lucky enough to get the same teacher that Kendra had her first year of school.  She is truly one of the best teachers I’ve met, and to top it off, she has an outstanding assistant.

I was not really sure what to expect from Max today, especially after we explained the behavior system to him (green is good, yellow is warning, red is bad).  When I asked him what color he planned to be on every day, he shrugged and said, “green or yellow.”  I was very surprised and asked him why yellow.  He answered, very nonchalantly, “nothing happens at yellow, so it doesn’t matter if I’m on yellow.”  Ugh!

Ronnie was able to take the morning off work to take him to class with me this morning.  Max was practically bouncing into the school.  He was so happy and seemed very excited.  When we got to the room, his teacher showed him where to put his lunchbox, and then she told him to go see the teacher’s assistant to do some other things.

Ready for a great day!

The assistant greeted him by saying, “what’s up?”

Max looked at her then very politely answered, “the ceiling…and the sky…”

See?  He was totally himself…

Until it was time for Ronnie and me to leave.

When he realized we were really leaving, he became really uncertain.  I knew he was getting upset when he suddenly needed to use the restroom.  He was on the verge of tears, but he got himself together in the bathroom.  The look on his face absolutely broke my heart.  He put on such a brave front, but I could see right through it.  He was scared, and he didn’t want us to leave.  Even with other little kids crying in the room, he never did let himself cry.  He was so tough.

Of course I burst into tears as soon as we left him.  Like a big buffoon, I stood in the hallway and cried my eyes out over leaving my baby at school.  You would think I hadn’t done this before.

I was anxious all day wondering how he was doing.  I couldn’t wait to pick him up.  I knew as soon as I saw his face that I would know if he had a good day or not.

And he definitely had a good day.  When he and Kendra headed to the car arm in arm both with huge smiles on their faces, I knew he had a great day.  So great, in fact, that he stopped to hi-five the principal on his way to the car!

 

Sure enough, he was totally energized when he climbed in the car.  The first words out of his mouth were, “I have two new friends!”

He told us all about his day, which must have seemed like such an adventure to a little guy who has never been away from his family.

I asked him so many questions: what did you do? how was lunch? how was recess? did you have fun? do you like your teacher?  and he answered each one with enthusiasm.  Then he told me the great news, “Mom!  You will be so happy when you see my color for the day!  It’s the best color – the color of the grass!”

YES!  He was on green!

A “great job” sticker from his teacher for a great first day of school!

I asked him how he felt when Mommy and Daddy left him that morning.  He said, “I was so sad.  I was trying so hard to hold my tears back.  I feel like I’m going to cry now.”

And that’s what he did.  For the whole rest of the evening, in fact.  Well, I guess it was more of an alternation between extreme happiness and crying his eyes out.

The first day of kindergarten just took a lot out of him.  What a great little guy!

Just for fun, here’s a picture from Kendra’s first day of kindergarten.  It seems like so long ago.  She’s in third grade now – really growing up!

Here’s a little excerpt of what I wrote about her first day of school.  They sure handled it differently!

Anyway, we walked her to her classroom toting her bookbag (“Dad! This thing is WAY too heavy!”) and supplies and got her settled. We took a few pictures and gave her hugs and kisses. Then we left. I don’t know what I was expecting, you know, maybe a little twinge of sadness to be leaving mommy, but nope. She was cool with staying in a big unknown world with not a single person she knew in sight all by her little self. 
Well, my preconceived notions were further shattered when we picked her up that afternoon. I was so anxious and excited to see her that I was driving Ronnie crazy – chattering, babbling, goofing, and flubbering. When I saw her walking to the truck, I jumped out to hug her. 
She got in the truck and said, “I am SO thirsty.” 
I gave her some water. 
“Well, how was your day?” I burst out just itching to know every detail. 
“It was good. I learned a lot.” 
She sat back there not like the ecstatic little girl I thought she would be, but rather like an old pro, a jaded old kindergartener who had been there, done that, what’s the freakin’ big deal, mom’s acting like a buffoon again, oh brother. 
I finally managed to get her to tell the highlights of the day and learn that yes, she loves kindergarten, and yes, she loves her teacher, and yes, she’s excited to go back tomorrow. She hated quiet time, was amused that one girl actually slept, and she thought recess was too short. 
I’m proud of her. I knew she was ready. 
I guess I just didn’t realize how ready.

It’s going to be a great year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farewell, Restaurants. I will miss you. June 16, 2012

We’ve had some unexpected expenses come up lately.  Kendra needed braces at least three years earlier than I anticipated in our long-term budget.  Our air conditioner in our house went kaput and cost about a thousand dollars.  In spite of it all, we’re doing fine, but…

We want to put in a zip line off the tree house, build on to the kids’ bedrooms, finish the bathroom in the garage, put a roof on the tree house, take down some trees, go on vacation, and put in a pool (to name a few things…).

So, Ronnie and I decided to give up something we both love.  Something that keeps me sane after long days at work.  Something relaxing, enjoyable, and easy:  eating out.  We eat out a lot.  It’s so much easier after both of us work long days just to stop and grab something on the way home instead of planning, preparing, and (the worst part) cleaning up meals at home.

But, eating in restaurants is expensive.  And, trust me, we’ve tried to justify our spending in this category for a long time.  We’ve used all the normal excuses – if we drink water it’s not that bad; if we eat on kids’ nights, it’s pretty cheap; when we eat out, we don’t spend money on groceries, etc.  But the fact remains, eating out is throwing money away.  Money that we could use to accomplish the things we want to accomplish and to pay for some of the things we’ve already accomplished and haven’t quite paid for yet (but that’s a whole other post!).

I will now bid farewell to some of our favorite places.

1. To Blue Sky Cafe – You are one of our favorite places to eat as a family, which is why we eat with you every Tuesday night.  Tuesdays just won’t be the same without your eclectic menu and quirky setting.  I especially will miss your Hawaiian wrap with sweet potato fries – oh, and the lemon layer cake – don’t get me started on that!  We know your staff by name, and it’s so nice to be asked if we want “our regular” when we go in.  The occasional “hook-up” is great, too – there’s nothing like being sent fried ravioli compliments of our favorite cook in the kitchen.  Not to mention our favorite waitress in the entire world, one who hugs my children and walks us to our car when we leave, one who sits with us when she’s not busy and always makes us laugh – my beautiful baby sister Vanessa.

2. Papas & Beer – I’ve never really understood your name, but that’s okay.  The thought of missing out on our typical weekend meal of a fajita quesadilla makes me want to cry.  You just don’t understand how much we love sliding into one of your booths after a long, hard day of working outside on whatever project we had going on that day.  And you never judge!  We have eaten chips and bean dip in every state of disarray because we’ve worked too long and didn’t have time to shower and change and still make it in before you close.  Whatever marinade you use for that steak is perfect!  And who would have thought to add zucchini to a quesadilla?  Not me, and you know what?  It’s perfect.

3. Acropolis – You say tomato, I say to-mah-to.  You say Acropo-lis, I say Acropo-lee.  Who cares how we say it?  You’re wonderful.  All of your wait staff know us and put our order in before even asking: a basket of fries, Greek salad, and a large cheese pizza.  The waitresses even give the kids quarters to get prizes from the gumball machines.  Your atmosphere is relaxing, and we love your outdoor eating area in the nice mountain weather.

4. Hot Dog World – You are legendary in Hendersonville, NC.  Ronnie is partial to your foot-longs with mustard, chili, and onions; Kendra loves your tater tots; Max prefers a grilled cheese; but I love your Greek salad with chicken.  Who would have thought a hot dog joint would make one of the best Greek salads I’ve ever had?  It’s absolutely delicious.  And the fact that you are next door to Yogurt World only makes eating with you that much better.

5. Uncle Scott’s Pizza – Uncle Scott, I see you so much, I feel like you are actually my uncle.  Even though you recently added a seating area, what I love to do is call in an order on my way home and swing in and pick it up.  You are the closest eatery to our house, so even if your food weren’t delicious, we’d probably eat it anyway because of convenience.  But it is wonderful!  Our favorite is your meatball sliders – a garlic knot stuffed with a meatball, marinara, and cheese – heavenly!  And thanks again for giving me a second chance after I wrote you that check I had already used at the grocery store.  I’ve started writing VOID on those now after you had to hunt me down at work…

Goodbye to you all!  And to the others we eat at less frequently – Chick-fil-A of Hendersonville, Firehouse Subs, and French Fryz just to name a few, we’ll miss you, too.

Now it’s time for me to focus on creating a meal plan for the week and sticking to it.  I actually love cooking, and I’m pretty good at it, but I’m so used to not doing it that it will take me a while to get back in the groove.

To start the weekend, I think we’ll have a cook-out.  Burgers and all the fixings…

…at my parents’ house.  Thanks Mom and Dad.

Tomorrow, I’ll cook.  Unless someone else wants to invite us over…

 

Why I am a Bad Friend May 20, 2012

Filed under: Confessions,family,humor,parenting,Uncategorized — mandyholbert @ 10:08 pm
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I am a bad friend.  Here’s why:

1.  When I say I will attend your _____________, I probably won’t.  Time is more valuable to me than money, and while I don’t have much money, I have even less time.  If you want me to attend your event, plan to serve a meal and invite my whole family – then we will likely come.  Unless, of course, it’s one of those at-home shopping parties where you try to pressure me into buying things because I’m obligated as your friend.  That is very uncomfortable.  I’d rather just give you some cash and avoid the inevitable flipping through the catalog pages to find something I can almost afford.

2. I won’t (not can’t) remember your birthday, anniversary, your kids’ birthdays, or any other important day.  I can barely remember my own kids’ birthdays.  I don’t expect you to do anything for mine, and I’m not going to do anything for yours.  What did you expect?  This is about why I am a bad friend, remember?  Did you think I was going to promise to bake you a cake from scratch every year on your special day?  Sorry to disappoint.

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. I don’t talk on the phone.  If you have something to tell me, keep it short and sweet, otherwise you’ve lost me.  And even during that short conversation, I’m going to be cooking, cleaning, painting my toe nails, or something else productive because I don’t have time to sit and chat all night.

4. If you make me feel guilty about anything, I’m not going to talk to you any more.  Well, I’ll talk to you when I see you, but I won’t go out of my way.  I don’t like being manipulated.  Oh, and I also don’t like gossip.  Or husband bashing.  That kind of limits the conversation for many people.

5. If your kid is mean, I’m not going to hang out with you.

6. My family comes first.  That includes not only my little family, but also my parents and my sisters.  And the rest of my family.  Even the ones I don’t like.  Just kidding, but not really.  Ha-ha!

7. I probably won’t call you back.  And if I do, I will try to do so at a time when I think you are least likely to answer your phone.

8. I only get along with people who have very low expectations for a friend.  I work full-time, I am a mom and a wife, I have a household to run, I have bills to pay, I have animals and a yard to take care of, I have meals to cook, I have laundry to do, and I’m constantly behind on everything.  Please don’t expect much from me.  Just take me as I am.

So, if you can put up with all of this, I am the perfect friend for you.  Please, don’t all call at once.

Not that it matters, because I’m not likely to answer the phone anyway.