I’m uber-excited today. Mia allowed me to sleep for a reasonable amount of time last night and I am PUMPED!
  Today I am going to continue my search for the perfect Welcome mat. We only have a couple weeks until the visitations start: first, from my father-in-law, who is bringing us brand-new-hand-me-down couches and a kick-ass swingset for me, er, the girls. This man is so cool. He just took a motorcycle course so that Mia can go around calling her grandpa a Wild Hog. Seriously, though? I admire him for doing that. I hope that when I’m 60, I’ll still have the guts to get out and try new things, too.
  At the end of this month, or the beginning of next, my aunts and my dad’s mom (Oma, as we like to call her) are going to swing up for a day. I saw them at my sister Jenny’s wedding last October, but before that, it had been a while. I am really looking foward to it and have made it my life’s mission to make my house smell somewhat like a normal person’s house–you know, the kind of people who DON’T have 3 humongous, hairy slobbery dirty dogs running around inside all the time. Truth is, my house is pretty clean. It’s never immaculate and sparkling, but it’s sanitary and comfortable. And by comfortable, I mean not too terribly disgusting. But the smell. The smell. I’ve gotten used to it, but I know it’s there. And to non-dog people, it might be overwhelming. So I’m working on that. Any suggestions?
  My mother and my sister Jenny and possibly my dad are visiting at the end of April/beginning of May. This is the trip that I could just pee my pants with anticipation over. I’ve dreamed up a bajillion activities for us. I’ve written the grocery list already, and I’ve made mental notes on what wines to pick up…I want to put fresh flowers by their beds. I want to make them pancakes every morning. I picked up some extra-cool bath stuff for my mom to use in our sweet tub–and I want her to use only our best bath towels. Every time I drive through our town, I think, "So this is what they’ll be seeing on their drive in. Man I hope they clean that up. Will that road construction be done by May? Another CVS? That doesn’t say small town!"
I know it’s overkill. I’ll probably only wind up with one vase of fresh flowers in the dining room, and one pancake breakfast during their entire stay. Okay, maybe two. ( I really love pancakes.)
I’ve written before about my parents; since I’ve brought up the subject of my sister, Jenny, I’ll write about her real quick. (Don’t worry Katie–your day will come.)
Jenny is 2 years younger than me. We fought a lot when we were little kids (I can show you the scars) but we played together a lot, too. My dad was in the military so we moved around–whenever we got to a new place, all we’d have was each other. Jenny and I would gang up on our little sister, Katie. To this day I still feel bad about it. That said, I still remember the hand signals and secret gestures we’d give each other to annoy her.
Out of the 3 of us, Jenny has always been the calm one–the one who uses her brain in a crisis. She never seemed to get upset, and when she did, she’d cry where people wouldn’t see her. I’ve always thought of Jenny as being really strong.
She’s pretty. And when she laughs, you can’t help but laugh with her. Which usually makes her laugh harder, and the laugh-session almost always ends with Jenny on the floor in tears. I love it when she gets going. It’s one of the things I miss the most.
I think with most sets of sisters, being friends with each other is something that very slowly evolves. My mom always told me, over and over, to be nice to my sisters–one day we wouldn’t fight so much, we’d be best friends. And I can remember the very moment it first occured to me that Jenny and I had arrived there.
It was the day after my ex-husband asked for a divorce (lovely way to start out a story, isn’t it?). I was working at Dillards at the time and I couldn’t bear to sit in the breakroom, so I sat in my car and cried for my entire lunch hour. It was POURING down rain–a perfect day for the mood I was in. I hadn’t seen much of Jenny since I moved back home, because we were both so busy with school and work. All of a sudden, as I’m sitting there bawling, snot everywhere, someone BANGS on my car window. Jenny.
  "LET ME IN!" She yells. I hesitate, then unlock the door.
  "I thought you might be here," she says, in a happy-but-sympathetic voice (if that’s possible) and she hands me a candy bar. A 3-Musketeers–an okay candy-bar, but then I realized she remembered how I used to LOVE them when we were little, and that she must’ve figured out when I took my lunch break before tracking down my car in the mall parking lot.
  "Thanks," I said. We didn’t talk much…at all…but she did ask if I was okay and gave me a big hug before she left for work. And I honestly felt better afterwards. Much better.
  Jenny and I are now head-to-head in a race to get knocked up–the first one to the finish gets dibs on Mom coming to visit. We talk on the phone, we chit-chat about things like cool vacations and kids, rowdy dogs and troublesome lawns. We laugh at the goofy things our husbands do. And of course, we clown on our little sister–but afterwards, we say, "That goofball Katie. I miss her. I need to call her." I miss my sisters so much. And I count both of them as 2 of my best friends.

About Toni

Mom. Wife. Artist. I take care of the kids and pretend to clean sometimes. I can cook spagetti and I have never been arrested. View all posts by Toni

4 responses to “Jenny

  • Hilary

    I love the pictures of you and your sisters!  Sometimes, you meet a family where all of the kids are super good-looking!  Yours is totally that!  You have beautiful sisters and you are too!I love the idea of a week of pancakes.  I love pancakes too, especially chocolate chip pancakes.  Have fun with family!

  • Josh

    I’m interested to see what you find for the perfect placemat. That isn’t something most people give much thought to, myself included…but now that you mentioned it, I wouldn’t mind replacing my piece of rubbish run-of-the-mill green fake grass-type mat with something more interesting.

  • Lori

    I stop by every once in a while.  Tiffany has you listed on her blog and she’s a very good friend of my friend Sanne’s.  Anyhow, loved the sisters story.  I’m raising three daughter’s (no sisters of my own- think God answered my prayer for sisters by giving me three girls), and love to hear that there’s light at the end of the tunnel with the fighting.  I don’t know who I’m trying to convince harder- them or me- everytime I give them the "You need to be nice to each other… someday you’ll be best friends and you’ll always be there for each other when no one else will be."  Anyhow, the dog smell:  Have a couple of my own.  If you can handle it, use a mixture of 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water.  Spray it on your carpet, your furniture, drapes, wash your lineoleum with it.  It’s totally non-toxic for kids and pets and totally safe for all types of flooring and rugs.  Fabric on furniture… depends on the fabric.  Use your judgement.  HOWEVER, don’t do it all at once, the smell will kill you.  The smell disolves as it evaporates and takes the odors with it.  It’s also the best thing I’ve ever found INCLUDING any pet supply you can buy- and I’ve tried them all.  Wish my mother-in-law would’ve told me about it sooner.  Even works on cat pee odors, which as you probably know are the worst thing in the world. And it cleans the floors nice too. Best part, it’s totally cheap. Good luck and have fun with your family!

  • Sheryl-Ann

    That was very sweet.  I find that my sister and I have gotten closer now that we are far away from each other and we don’t see each other often.  I always thought she was Miss Goody-Too-Shoes because she never did anything wrong, while I was always doing the wrong things.  She would look at me like I was crazy……."why would you disobey mum?" she would say.  Whatever!  Now that we are older, I love the fact that she always did the right thing and bailed me out when I did the wrong things:)  Sisters are sweet and I love the pics of you and your sisters.

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