Forbidden Fruit: Why does it lose its flavor after about 36 hours?

I kicked the Mountain Dew habit a few months ago, and then, in a time of duress (do you have to be under duress, or can you just experience duress?), I went on a two-week binge of all-caffeine-all-the-time. Marcy offered to send me caffeine-free from Utah in an attempt to save me from myself. (When Marcy recently abandoned her Six Months of No Sweets (except for all those exceptions), I so-thoughtfully reciprocated by offering to get her some sugar-free ice cream).

Now I am back on the wagon, and ready to share all the epiphanies I had. Speaking of epiphanies, has anyone been following the fascinating stuff about Mother Teresa’s faithful uncertainties? What I’ve read/heard so far is extremely intriguing. I don’t think it diminishes her at all to know that she wondered if God exists. That she lived so exemplarily while wondering is even better.

The first thing I realized in my own little self, after I drank four Mountain Dews in one day, the first, unchilled, begun in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, was that I didn’t like how it made me feel. I was strung out enough. And about 36 hours after the giddiness of that first ecstatic drink, it seemed profoundly mundane to open another. It was just another habit. Not special or exciting.

Made me think of affairs. Now, I can’t even imagine having to date again if something were to happen to my husband. I can’t imagine sharing the absurd intimacy and physical and emotional vulnerability of sex with anyone other than the only person I have shared that with in its entirety. But, I wondered if people who have lots of affairs experience this same awful apathy after embarking on each one. If so, how odd that one would continue. And if one did not continue because the fun wears off so quickly, how terrible to have broken vows over a day’s worth of pleasure.

I’ve now been caffeine-free again for about a week, and the headaches were much sharper for a couple days this time of weaning. An appropriate punishment, probably. Basically, and I’m sure anyone with an addictive personality or any sort of addiction will know this already, once you’ve been hooked, it’s much easier to get hooked again, and it’s as if all the good work of being not hooked has been erased. This time, I mean it: no more caffeine.

One forbidden fruit for me that only starts to dull after about a week of pretty steady consumption, and then only to slightly pale, is reading trashy novels. And then I think it only starts to not be exciting because the guilt over ignoring my kids, house, husband, etc, etc, starts to break through the glorious somnolent haze.

If only I could get addicted to some Mother Teresa-type activities.

Update on the hooligans

Most of the time I feel like not so much is going on in my life. Kids are getting older, oh-so-slowly (don’t tell me to treasure these days because they grow up so fast — I’m not gullible enough to believe THAT), husband is probably as good as it gets, Jane stops drinking Mountain Dew, then starts again, then stops again, blah, blah.

The past few weeks have made up for all the tranquillity of the past … so, actually only about five months of tranquillity. But even as where we live and what Dick does for a living change daily :), the kids keeping getting older, all three of them, every day. And I do want to remember that, someday, when I have time and space to think about it all.

Sally started first grade and lost her first tooth. Her bottom right tooth was hurting for a day, then loose, and I thought it might take a while to actually fall out (she’s only 6 1/2, and for some reason, losing that baby tooth seems a final step towards not being my baby anymore). At church on Sunday we realized that her grownup tooth had already broken through the surface behind the loose tooth. Don’t ask why we were examining her mouth more closely during the worship service than we had in the week previous — except, Dick was sitting with us for a welcome change, and maybe that was it. Her new tooth, besides being in a weird, too-far-back position, looks way too big for her mouth. Dick says it will probably all work out in the end.

Yesterday her baby tooth was bleeding a bit. I thought this was probably not such a good thing. I mean, bleeding is bad, right? But since the other tooth is already there, it’s obvious the baby tooth needs to come out sometime (I’m not a pediatric dentist or anything, but it makes sense). Sally said, “I realized it was bleeding because something tasted good in my mouth and I looked in the mirror, and it was blood. Tastes like roast beef.” Marcy thinks this means I don’t cook my beef long enough, but, really, I’m afraid I usually overcook meat just to be on the safe side.

So then, and I think this is a cliche, Sally ate an apple, and the tooth came out into the apple. We didn’t even have to tie floss around it and slam a door or anything. Which is good, because apparently I’m so squeamish I didn’t really want to touch the loose tooth.

Sally wanted to know if the Tooth Fairy is real, or if she’s really your parents, like Santa Claus. I (and I hope I don’t get in trouble with the let-them-believe-and-enjoy-childhood police for this) admitted that the Tooth Fairy is like Santa Claus and convinced her to leave the tooth under her pillow by promising to get the Tooth Fairy to tape the tooth into her baby book.

Susan is a class-A stinker. Even ever-positive Auntie Liz, who so wonderfully watched the kids for two days straight before we left Florida, admitted that Susan is the “difficult” child. But she is also incredibly honest. And she still has the “it’s my fault” fetish. In church, Dick told her to be quiet and she shouted, much more loudly than she’d been talking, “I don’t want to be quiet. I don’t have to be quiet.” Susan misses Sally while she’s at school, and she does complain, loudly, about just about every thing I suggest, but once she’s doing it or eating it, or taking a nap, she does so cheerfully and sweetly. We bought cute panties at Wal-Mart today and got Potty Prizes (taffies) from Grandma’s house, but Susan is saying, “I don’t want to go potty. I don’t have to go potty.”

Spot stood up on her own for the first time on Thursday, August 16th, and is now cruising all over and standing until she realizes it. We realized she can climb up stairs after she did so, fell back down, and cried for hours (just kidding, it was about 2 minutes). She cannot let cousin Zachy-Tacky (Zacher-Cracker) keep his binky in his mouth. Some OCD forces her to take it every 5 seconds, and she doesn’t understand the word “No” yet. Considering it (or an annoying phrase amounting to the same thing) is her sister’s absolute favorite, that might not be such a bad thing. I’ve been “weaning” Spot lately, which means she spends only 3.75 hours nursing a day rather than roughly 59 million.

Pictures and more posts to follow (look for exciting topics like: “Ode to Orchard Hills Elementary School: A School I would like to live at,” “Forbidden Fruit: Why does it lose its taste after a day or two?,” and “Oh where is my commissary? Oh where is my commissary? Oh where, oh where, oh where, oh where, oh whe—e—ere is my commissary?”).

Ahhh, Zion

We passed a big Welcome to Utah sign last night about 7 pm. Made a big deal, Sally and Dick cheered “Utah — Hooray” a few times. Five minutes later Sally (the other two angels were asleep for a long 10 minute nap at this point) said, “Are we still in Colorado?” That’s about how the entire trip went. But went it did. And now we’re here.

We’ve had a couple offers on our house and are now in the process of counter-offering because, hello!, they are for quite a bit less than we owe. When we kept praying to sell the house, I guess we should have specified that that scenario would work better without also plunging us into debt. You can never be too specific in your prayers.

Please bless us to drive safely to the boondocks today and find a clean, nice-enough looking 1200+  square foot house with 3 bedrooms to rent for a 6 month lease for under 800/month.

At least there won’t be any cockroaches, for sure.

On the Road

Written by Tara

The Johnsons are on the road! They finally pulled out of Tampa around 3 on Saturday afternoon. Everyone wish them luck on the journey to Utah, and continued luck finding housing, schools, stores, lives, etc. in their new town, wherever it may be. And pray their house in FL will sell. I don’t know how Jane’s been dealing with all the stress. She did tell me that 5 days of inactivity in the car are sounding really nice about now. They finally decided to come the I-10 route, but Mother Nature put a stop to that with all the rain and tropical storms, so they’re headed all the way up to I-80. I’m sure everyone will be thinking about them and wishing them well. Not sure they’ll have internet access (no laptop) but I will pass on any comments left here.

The Great Interstate Debate–UPDATED

To I-10 or to I-80: that is the question. And while it may not be as earth-shattering as some other debates (like the recent, significant lip product debate), it has weighed on my mind terribly in the last few days. Mapquest and Google Maps favor I-80, which is 70 units of some sort north of I-10, which is overwhelmingly favored by the two people (and their spouse and father, respectively) who have weighed in so far. Of course, one of the I-10 enthusiasts (Tara) said that it was great except for that bit of commuter traffic in Tennessee, so I’m not sure how seriously to take her recommendation, as Tenessee happens to lie about two states north of I-10.*

I-10 gets top marks for flatness of road, less weather worries (except if there’s a hurricane), and traveller services, at least according to this page. To see a map of all the Interstates, click here. Now, since, geographic difficulties notwithstanding, I value Tara and Liz (and their respective menfolk)’s opinions and since my highly scientic survey of Internet wisdom (besides the actual directions/maps sites) favored I-10, I am tempted to throw caution and Mapquest to the wind and drive the purported extra six hours along the southerly route. A couple things hold me back. As Dick said, how do these people know I-10 is better? Have they driven both? And I think the answer to that is “no.”

So, I ask you: has anyone driven more than one Interstate? Any other advice on roadtrips, etc? Thanks for all your comments and suggestions on packing yesterday. They were such a big help that I knew I could turn to you with this latest dilemma. Oh, and anyone want to ask Uncle Herb and Aunt Mary if we could crash in Houston with them if we drive I-10?

*See comments below that it was Jane who was mistaken here. (hard to believe, I know).

Meditation breathing here (except, wait, I never learned to meditate. That explains a lot about you Shannon: I mean your stress level and all)

Ok, so, yeah, we’re moving in six days. I was being psycopathically delusional overly optimistic in thinking that Makes-Me-Smile Monday would carry on as normal. Hello! Next monday I will be driving a minivan full of wretched demon recidivists children through Iowa, and unlike the winner of this weekend’s straw poll’s children, no one has recently accused my girls of being too wholesome. (my linking to an article about the Mormonator candidate is not an endorsement; I might still flip-flop (get it?) on my position on MR, but haven’t yet.)

Church was pretty emotional today. Not as bad as when we left Cairo. That was tough. And not as bad as when the Carpenters left us a year ago. But bad enough still. Things we love about Florida: Dick’s family, the beach, winter, Busch Gardens, green, Libit, Sis. Milbourne’s enthusiasm for the gospel, awesome visiting teachers (Tiffany and Danielle and families), the best visiting teach companion who became a great friend (hmmm, I’m sensing a pattern here) — Jill (and her twins), the Jones boys, and the cool moms (the blogging ones :)) in spmommies club.

It may get sparser before it gets less-sparser again. (the blogging I mean). And we’ll see on Makes-Me-Smile Monday. Maybe the 27th, if I haven’t gone to prison for urging Dick to exceed the maximum recommended speed for a UHaul truck towing a car. Which is 45 mph. Is that a joke? Because, really. Can you imagine travelling from Florida to Utah at 45 mph?

Oh, but if you have any moving advice (or advice about moving, even if it’s not emotionally affecting), please do share it now. Because that’s what we’re doing. Moving.

Emails sent to long-suffering soul-mate

I was laughing by the time I finished this last email, so I thought I’d preserve it for posterity (hey, regardless of what else happens, we already have three of those).

Dick: Do you want to hold a garage sale this Saturday to try to sell our furniture that way?

Jane: we’d get even less that way, that is if we could get people even to come to our neighborhood to buy stuff. you mean so we could do the shipping method after all? what?

Dick: Look at the timestamp of my original message – I sent this before we decided to cancel the auto-shipping.

Jane: oh, sorry

Dick: You’re impossible. 🙂

Jane: well, unfortunately, none of “moving,” “new job,” “relocating to boondocks, usa,” or “possibly foreclosing on our nice little house in the crime-infested ghetto of south saint pete” begins with A, so they’re not covered by Dr. Laura’s 3 A’s that justify divorce. So I guess you’re stuck with me.

Actually, considering the stress level, we’re pretty ding-dang (to steal a phrase from June Cutoff-Cash) civil. I don’t trust those smiley faces though: they can cover a multitude of covert nasty feelings.

Ding-dang (what would be the form of this for a regular expletive rather than an adjective?), I feel so much better now. Cheerful, almost. Could be the second Mountain Dew I am drinking (this one chilled) or the three Ibuprofens I guzzled with a gallon of water. Or maybe it is just the restorative properties of blogging.

Are we there yet?

No, not yet. About 9 more days before we even leave; seems like a lifetime, seems like 5 minutes. The packing is going, the cleaning is going, the wringing of hands (chapped, ripped, torn hands, I might add. Grampa says it’s worth it to learn to clean with gloves on; he might be right, but it’s too late now) is going. Now we (and when I say we, I mean Dick, because I thought we (as in I) had decided on the U-Haul method) are shipping our clothes, books, toys and plastic or otherwise non-breakable household goods via Amtrak. And the rest, well, stay posted if you are in the area and in need of random things that do not sell on Craigslist. We are going to have a plethora of random things that St. Vincent’s will receive if other homes cannot be found.

Makes you want to not ever buy anything ever again. At least not non-consumable items. Instead, we should go for easily consumed or expended gifts. Like a pass to a favorite amusement park, say. I’m feeling like a really bad mother as I sort Sally’s games and activity books. Is it bad that I haven’t touched most of the “fun” stuff in her closet for the past two years? It sure was organized in there pretty well, I tell you.

In other news, not to belabor the point or make my addictions seem as heart-wrenching as other, more serious ones, but I have been craving the Mountain Dew like you wouldn’t believe. Honestly (and I try to be honest, you know), I don’t know when I have ever felt so stressed out in my entire life — there’s the whole house-not-sold-yet-and-soon-to-be-uninsured-because-vacant thing too. So, I find myself thinking of all these reasons (excuses/justifications) why it would be okay for me to drink some Mountain Dew. And I wonder if they are the same types of things other addicts think of in regards to their blue ruin.

  • I just want a little bit
  • It’s only for a couple weeks
  • Just until my life gets back to normal
  • I just need a little pick-me-up/comfort
  • Who is it going to hurt, really?
  • It’s not that bad
  • If it makes me not kill the kids, really, isn’t this just the lesser of two evils?

And then I read this article. Really, it’s just about protecting my brain, after all.

Makes-Me-Smile Monday: Kiddie-isms

picasso-flower-bouquet-logo-copy2.jpgWelcome to the Kiddie-isms edition of Makes-Me-Smile Monday. I know I’ve come out against the bragging brigade, but here’s a great opportunity to showcase your kiddies’ above-average-ness. I can’t help being proud (in a good way, naturally) of my own children for the following qualities they’ve mastered recently:


Sally (6) and her cousin Olivia (5) are finally old enough to appreciate each other as kindred spirits. My sister and I appreciate how they disappear for hours on end playing pretend or Barbies when we stay at their house. There is occasional friction, though. One day Sally came upstairs complaining that she wanted to be a Lamb, but Olivia was insisting that she be a Princess. Get thee behind her, Machiavelli.

Sabbath Observance

A couple Sundays ago I asked Sally to unload the dishwasher. She objected that “we don’t work on Sunday.” Of course I, in hopes that she will be a candidate for sainthood sometime soon, told her to go rest on the couch and read her scriptures.

dscn0899.JPGAccepting Responsibility

When we were visiting Grandma last month, I told Sally to turn the pool heater on, and forgot to remind her to turn it off. The next morning the water was 101 degrees. Sally felt bad and said it was her fault. I told her not to worry; I’m the adult, it was my fault. Susan (2 1/2) heard us and insisted, “It’s my fault, it’s my fault.” I couldn’t dissuade her. Grandma, you’ll be glad to know that Susan will be saving her 50 cents-a-week allowance to pay the heating bill.

Caution and Closure

I think I like Dr. Phil, though I’m careful who I admit that to. And I think Susan has a future in the self-help-through-listening-to-gurus trade. She is obsessed with being safe (seatbelts in the car, the stroller, the high chair; she’d probably tie herself to the couch if she could) and with closing doors, cupboards, appliances, trash cans, etc. Unfortunately this obsession doesn’t translate into keeping clips in her hair or her clothes on. (But that may be a genetic thing).

Amazing Feats of Physical Endurance

Basically I don’t want Spot to look back on this post some day and wonder “Where was I?” Spot pulled up and started cruising for the first time this past week (at 9 months, 3 weeks and 4 days). She also has eight teeth. Not so good for the nursing. And we’re going to get that little cross-eyed problem looked at by a specialist this week. Don’t worry Spot, I think you’ll look great with one of those cute patches.

dscn0945.JPG dscn0734.JPG

I hope your kids are almost as fun and hilarious as mine! Tell us all about it — check out the Makes-Me-Smile Monday link above if you have any questions. Oh, and if you don’t have rugrats of your own, a) you’re welcome to have babysit mine anytime, and b) feel free to write about any -ism that tickles you.

Ever feel like a headless chicken? (and MMSM thoughts)

Or that you’re sure you could have at least three coherent, continuous thoughts if you could only, please God, have a (caffeinated) Mountain Dew? I miss blogging. More, I miss the drive to blog. Dick says you go through stages with a blog: 1) Excitement, 2) Look Ma, I’ve got comments, 3) Wow, the whole WWW can read my stuff, 4) Careful; less personal, broader appeal (perhaps), 4) Burnout.

I see this as kind of like the stages of infatuation. Of course, as an English major at heart, I am confident that my current slump will right itself just as the (extremely infrequent) dips in my nine-years-and-counting True Love Affair. And when I say “affair,” I mean that quite metaphorically, as in, “marriage.”paradise.jpg

In other, but equally self-centered news, we’re moving. To Utah. In two weeks. What, no, we haven’t yet sold our house here in the Florida ghetto (prospective buyers note: when I say “ghetto,” I mean “lush, verdant paradise close to beaches, I-275, shopping, and Orlando”).

So, am feeling a bit overwhelmed. Dick’s new job is a great opportunity, and we’ve been wanting to move to Zion for approximately the past 97 years. With the blogosphere, a big chunk of my social life (quiet though it has been recently) will move with me. Isn’t that nice? And if you’re a friend or friend-to-be in Utah or Idaho or Arizona (I’m flexible!), I can’t wait to see more of you.

picasso-flower-bouquet-logo-copy2.jpgMakes-Me-Smile Monday

I liked all the posts on 10 Things I Can’t Do Without — thanks for sharing. I’d be even more comatose and desperate for caffeine if it weren’t for your humor and insight. Here’s the schedule for the next few weeks (barring weird moving complications).

Aug 6 Kiddie-isms

Aug 13 Moving Tips (Seriously, I’m going to need some help about now)

Aug 20 My favorite Movie/Musical/Play (I guess you could even write about an opera, if it’s honestly your favorite)

Aug 27 Homemaking-ness, Including Recipes (Yep, will be setting up a new establishment about now, so tips will be appreciated.)