We are back.
We are back from Sunny Florida.
We are back from Room Service, Hot tubs, and King Size Beds.
We are back from days spent deciding between the beach and the heated pools.
We are back from high-heeled sparkly flip-flops and island prints.
We left cousins and Grandpa and Grandma.
We left warm sand between the toes and the lull of the crashing surf.
We brought home 2 million new freckles, great memories, two bags of Florida oranges, 2 cups of sand in pockets, and 24 loads of laundry.
Now some people say, “There is no place like Home,” but I would say, “There is no place like a great resort with family.”
I always struggle coming home from Florida in January, so this year I prepared for the anticlimax. We spent the week before we left getting the entire house organized (i.e. getting rid of stuff) and cleaning. It has been a long time since every room in the house was both cleaned and organized. In fact, we left a day early on our trip just because the house was entirely cleaned and organized, and I knew that a day of “nothing to do” would destroy the Rare Edition Cleaned and Organized House.
I was really going to battle this January Let-Down. So, I stock piled Vitamin D pills, and had our schooling all organized. This was going to be the year that I beat the Winter Blahs. I thought I was prepared to settle back into our routine of schooling in a small house. I even had visions of beginning to start exercising again. This would be the year I triumphed. “We shall overcome!!!”
But then we arrived at 2:00 a.m. Still I was optimistic, get the Kiddos transferred to their beds, turn up the heat, turn the water back on, and The Hunni and I could still get a decent sleep. Sure is was in the 20’s and snowing. Sure our house is small and boring, but after a good night’s sleep and a cheery breakfast of eggs and Panera bagels, I would start the New Year with renewed energy, a spirit of thankfulness, and somehow, this January, I would OVERCOME.
The first load I brought in was a sleeping, warm, bundle of a cozy one-year-old. I deposited him in his crib, and tucked blankies all around him, then cranked up the heat. The next load I brought in was the 1/2 gallon of milk and the dozen eggs we had bought for our breakfast tomorrow, and from here my optimistic world of OVERCOMING collapsed. I opened the frig and noticed that the light didn’t come on. Then the atomic stink bomb hit me.
I can’t even type the details without my stomach flopping. If there can be a “worst part” of the whole slimy, fuzzy, dripping atomic stick bomb, it is that I had 5 pizza dough balls that rose, fell, and rose again. Each time they rose, they entered another vent or opening. Imagine beer made from putrid meat. The yeast smell was overwhelming. I told The Hunni, “I think I will go on a Gluten-Free diet. I will never again enjoy the smell of yeast.” Then I had to deal with the left-over ham and turkey. I said to the Hunni, “I just became a Vegetarian.” Then I lifted out the previously frozen green beans. They are also on my Not-Edible-Anytime-Soon-List. Here’s a photo.
O Best Beloved, I would never show you a before picture. I would never treat my Dear Readers to such a Horror Show.
The good news is that it was in the 20’s outside, and everything I took outside died a second death. I also had plenty of garbage bags handy. The only thing I saved out of both frig and freezer was my Corning Ware Dish that I use daily. I considered throwing it out, but my Grandmother was Dutch and I received a little of her Dutch common sense.
We went to bed after 3:00 a.m. and the job was not yet done.
The next morning I stayed hunkered in bed when Little Man woke us up at 7:00 a.m. The Hunni got up, and at 8:00 he called me for breakfast. I yelled from underneath my feather duvet. “I am cold, and I never am going to eat again, and I am cold, and I hate being cold.” and then I wailed, “I MISS FLORIDA!!!!!!!”
Now this is a tribute to the man I married. He could have lectured me, after all, he had less sleep than I. He could have told me to get my lazy bones up. We could have had a fight about how much I struggle with Michigan winters. He could have quoted some Bible verse at me about thankfulness. BUT instead, he brought me a cup of coffee. He handed it to me in bed. I grumbled, “All the milk is rotten, and I threw all the coffee from the freezer out.” He said, “I stored the newly bought milk in the clean downstairs frig, and I found an unopened bag of Starbucks coffee on the pantry shelf.” “There are Panera Bagels toasting in the toaster, and a new jar of strawberry freezer jam from the clean downstairs freezer.” “Won’t you come and join us for breakfast?”
I joined The Gentleman and his children for breakfast.
After breakfast, I put on some ugly cleaning clothes, some to-the-elbow-rubber-gloves, and got out the bleach, spray disinfectant, and started boiling up some water. The Kiddos unpacked their suitcases, and The Gentleman Hunni tried to figure out our electrical problems. After an hour it was clear that our refrigerator, washing machine, and dishwasher had not all died. It turns out that the coffee grinder had popped a fuse the morning we left. (The last thing we did was make ourselves a cup of Joe for the road.) The refrigerator and freezer had had 3 weeks to ferment and rot and decompose.
I cleaned with bleach, then rinsed. I realized I would have to dismantle some of the freezer in order to clean out some vents. I sprayed disinfectant, then rinsed. I wiped everything down with boiling water, then wiped everything down with a bottle of Hand Sanitizer, then rinsed. Then I lit a candle and put it in the refrigerator to help refresh the air.
The Kiddos were getting hungry as it was after noon, but we had no food, and I WAS NOT IN THE MOOD TO EVER LOOK AT FOOD AGAIN!!!! A miracle happened. A friend of mine sent me a package with M&M’s for the Kiddos, and a brownie mix for me. Somehow chocolate didn’t sound awful. I borrowed two eggs from the neighbor and made up a brownie mix. Once that started cooking and filling the kitchen with the smell of melting chocolate, I decided I might be able to cook a lunch after all. I found some frozen soup in the Clean Freezer and heated it up. Two neighbor boys joined us for lunch, and their bouncy company was what we needed.
Before supper, this Whit’s End Family all headed to Kroger’s. We re-bought all our groceries to stock our refrigerator. Here is a photo of our grocery bill.
Actually, I would not do that to you. It would fall under the category of Horror Photos. OUCH!!! We blew two months of grocery budget money on the second day of the new year.
This morning, The Gentleman Hunni once again made breakfast. As he handed me my cup of Joe, he said. “Bad news. The microwave exploded and died. It might still be under warranty if you can get me the papers.” I replied, ” We bought if off the Scratch and Dent Aisle. I don’t know if warranties apply.”
Really. I think it is cheaper to vacation than live at home.
And I am all for heading back down to Florida.
And room service.
And Hot Tubs and King size beds.
And days spent deciding between the beach and the heated pools.
And my sparkly high-heeled flip-flops paired with a flippy island print skirt.
And cousins and Grandpa and Grandma.
And warm sand between-the toes.
“There’s no place like a great resort.”