Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Life in a small(ish) town

We live in a small town. It's so small, in fact, that any real grocery shopping or doctorin' (as my Mamaw calls it) has to be done 7 miles to the west, in the nearest not-quite-so-small town. That town has multiple grocery stores, two whole pediatrics offices, and the a library that makes my heart go pitter patter. See ... I love our little local tiny town library. But the shelves are limited, which means that browsing is generally limited to a five minute skim of the new releases and a quick run up and down the four aisles of combined fiction and non-fiction offers. The staff, however, is topnotch. And the service ... impeccable.

But for sheer bibliojoy, one can not go wrong by making a drive to the bigger town and killing an hour in the non-fiction section alone, pondering the twenty options on the topic of raising sheep. (This is a passion and dream of Mr. Blandings. I'm a chicken girl myself.) The two oldest children wander at will; you'll remember that Logan is my personal escort thanks to his lack of detail orientation. We all meet back up over in the picture book section, where Oliver likes to throw/work the nifty wood puzzles. It's a great way to spend an afternoon.

Which is probably why it was the first thing that popped into my head when a realtor called and asked to show my house today. It was still early enough in the day that I could do an intense cleaning, pull off naps for the littles and still manage a nice library trip. Unfortunately, I got a little carried away with the cleaning and decided, for no reason at all, that things like the drip pans on the stove needed to be scoured. They were clean already. I do not know what I was thinking. It's not like me to be so deep-clean frenzy, but hey ... I guess everyone goes a little nuts when their house is on the market.

By the time I looked up from my white glove test work, the clock was fast approaching the set arrival time. Fighting back a sense of panic, I rounded up the kids (who had all been working as intently as I was) and shooed them to the truck. We closed the door behind us, buckled in and set off.

I think it was somewhere near the McDonld's drive-thru, where I was picking up some congratulatory milkshakes, that I realized that we all looked like, well ... like we'd been cleaning our house all day.

I was wearing a natty, long denim skirt that is nowhere near as "absent minded professor" as it sounds. On my feet were my usually-cute, but really clashing rain boots. I had thrown my long brown sweater coat over my hot pink shirt and by the way ... did I mention that I hadn't actually done my hair after my shower? Yup. Frizzy curls everywhere.

The kids were not looking much better. Jo was lucky enough to have left a hooded sweatshirt in the truck, which she quickly used to cover her stained VBS 2007 t-shirt. Manolin had no socks under his robeez. Logan's shirt was one that I am certain I've tossed in the rag pile at least twice. Oliver was wearing a pair of not-too-complimentary sweats. And let's not get started on Atticus, whose hair was afro-quality and jeans were barely holding together in the butt.

It was a fine sight, I tell you. A fine sight indeed.

To my horror, as we pulled in to the library lot, I remembered that it was Spring Break week. The lot was especially full, and I recognized several cars from our church. As we wrangled our massive book box out of the back of the truck, I spotted two families that I know, walking in with their preschoolers. It was then that it occurred to me: not only was it Spring Break ... it was preschool story time, too.

Double whammy.

Naturally, we ran into a dozen different families that we know once we were inside the library proper. At least one woman seemed a little shocked at how clearly disarrayed we all were. And with good reason: I looked like a bag lady with a baby on her hip, herding a bunch of ragamuffins through the library. No one said anything about our attire or obvious state of dishevelment, but I know exactly what a few of them were thinking:

Boy, they are in over their heads. Five kids. Homeschooling. I hear she's picked up her writing lately, too. Those poor children!


Not exactly our best face forward. But hey, that's life in a small town. People are gonna talk. I guess today, they're just talking about us.


Anonymous said...

LOL! Not as big, but I went out today with a HUGE stain of blood on my pant leg... and I knew it was there and kept forgetting to change my pants.

Selling a house has such stress-ors!

rjb said...

I live in a small town, too, and have had days where I could have written this post... Thankfully, my small town is also Neo-Hippie-Ville, USA, so if we hit the right places on those days, we look almost cool! :-P

The Small Scribbler said...

I have days like this too when we're out somewhere and suddenly I realize that my son grew six inches and looks like Abraham Lincoln in his sweats or nobody thought to use a hairbrush. And once we arrived at church to discover the four year old had forgotten shoes so sock footed she went off to Sunday school.


~ Angi :) said...

:SNORT: and :guffaw:

Oh my, what a teriffic visual you have painted for my eyes!

It *so* makes me want to scoop up the latest $49 to ***,WA!! Just so I can revel in your *normalness*!!!

Love it! :D

Melissa said...

Small town here too. I always see somebody I know at the library. I wrote about a similar trip to the library for my family last year.

The Hayes Zoo said...

I just want to know WHY it is that this stuff always happens when we're at our worst (looking that is...)?

Hope you 'enjoy' your day in the limelight and that someday you'll be famous for more than your attire.

A.J. said...

Boy have I been there...a few times. I've repeatedly been thankful for sweatshirts (wrinkled and all) left in the truck for days like that.

At least you have good reason. And maybe the people who know you know that you have to leave the house quickly some days to show it to potential buyers? Hopefully?!