I have a weekly Wednesday date with a friend to chat via Gmail while we work on writing projects.
All this to say – I should be writing something inspirational, when really I just want to stew about a name change.
You think it would be something simple like a trip to some friendly government branch. There’s a grandmother behind the counter with glasses and a national flag hanging behind her. You exchange pleasantries, recipes for peach pie, perhaps… sign your name and that’s it.
Instead, for the last 8 months I’ve been playing the adult version of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. One thing effects another, which effects another, until I finally realize that for the next two years – the only thing that acknowledges me a Howell will be my library card.
And so tomorrow I head to the Social Security office for my fourth visit (not counting the times they weren’t open) and perhaps after that, a little jaunt to the DMV.
Until then, perhaps I’ll simply write my name as it suits my fancy. Mind your own business government offices!
Olivia Grace Flewelling Howell Pearl Natalia McDonnelly III
- When you’re writing a card and a word doesn’t look right, it’s OK to scratch it out and fix it. Don’t rip up the whole card.
- Don’t worry if the music makes you homesick. It will be the most pleasant kind of sadness there is.
- Never wait until you’re thirsty to drink water.
- Never wait until you’re bored to read a book.
- Muscadines are the sweetest, best, plumiest grapes that I’ve ever tasted. They also make my lips tingle and burn.
- Keep more stamps around than you think you need.
- If you turn your back on a plant, it will be do much better than lots of careful attention.
- Changing sheets is the quickest path to getting your act together.
9. A company makes personal essential oil diffusers. Oh my. Oh dear.
At our house, we’re not so much health conscious…as wanting to be health conscious.
I mean, we take our vitamins and eat chickpeas and then get donuts after going to the drive-in movies and eat them in the kitchen at midnight.
After admitting I’d never even tried tofu, Wesley obliged by… frying it in bacon grease and serving with rice.
And there was that time that I made kale brownies with so many ingredient substitutes that I realized later they were vegan.
People get rabid about health and I guess it kind of makes sense. We only have one body in a sea of corn syrup and knee degeneration.
So maybe we’ll get better and maybe someday I’ll make my own crackers, but for now I go for walks when I can and avoid workout videos on Youtube.
It’s about balance I’ve been told and being thankful for strength to get up each morning.
So cheers to that!
Sometimes there are moments so insignificant and wonderful that I take a picture.
Hoping to catch that feeling of bathwater running late in the evening and the smell of lavender and no lights on but here.
That Sunday afternoon lethargy with his head on my lap, ear buds in, reading while it rains outside and washes the failures of another week.
The time I wanted ice cream and he was hungry for Mexican food, but he pulled into exactly the right store and got me a waffle cone.
Trying to explain what ‘dabbing‘ is and why he should never do it in public and please stop dancing around like that because I can’t stop laughing.
So instead, the pictures are in my head. Blurry and ridiculous and they’re getting fuzzier all the time. But I won’t stop trying to pause and appreciate the moment for just exactly how precious it is.
Today marks six months since Wesley and I promised to have and to hold until we kicked the bucket. I thought to mark the occasion I would offer my list of ten helpful survival tips for road trips, errands, or pretty much anytime we get in the car on a weekend.
- Make sure your phone is charged. One car charger is all very well, but if you set off somewhere on foot, you’ll want healthy battery life in case of
posting on Instagram emergency.
- In a similar vein, take the camera. That way you can fight over who gets to take the pictures and get video footage of anything that moves.
- Follow the GPS. Even if it appears to be taking you the wrong way, it actually knows what it is talking about 99.99% of the time. Wagnon Mountain Rd. might sound innocent enough, but after dark? (Click to 6:02)
- Bring a book. Always, always, always. In fact, I often bring two. A book and a blanket can make the car a private little library retreat when you’re waiting in the Auto-zone parking lot.
- Nothing will make everyone crankier than being hungry. Correction. Nothing will make me crankier than being hungry. For everyone’s safety, bring snacks. (So many snacks.)
- And for the husband, bring an entire thermos or two of water. This is not a joke. It will all get gulped down and eliminates the small bottles kicking around underfoot.
- Since this is Alabama, I’ve also learned to bring an extra coat, sweater, shorts, hat, rubber boots and honestly, a bathing suit would also be wise. You may never know what will become weather appropriate before the day is done.
- Add two extra hours onto the GPS estimated time of arrival. This machine generated guess does not include stopping at friend’s houses to look at lawn machinery, long conversations with various old men, or retracing your steps to take a picture.
- Pandora. Playlists are life when you’re stuck in the car. This also provides an appropriate context in which to disagree on the musical tastes of your spouse. Fight fair though and take turns in choosing the artist.
- Buckle up and be prepared to commentate on anything, everyone and everywhere you pass, explore, walk under, or listen to. Sharing new things is one of the sweetest perks of marrying your friend. In these first months together we’ve started our own repertoire of family stories and as the future unrolls we already find ourselves saying, do you remember when?
It’s been a wild ride so far, Wesley. Here’s to 6 months times 120 more!