It’s the end of the caulk as I know it

By Mir
January 1, 2007

The nice thing about having earnest, Christian contractors come do work for you the week before Christmas is that they will cut you an unbelievable deal on the work, saving you many many dollars. The sucky thing about having earnest, Christian contractors come do work for you the week before Christmas is that they will behold your strong, capable fiancé doing other home repairs and immediately assume that if they fall behind schedule, NO PROBLEM, because surely your Godly Nearly-Spouse Man will take care of any finish work they neglect to do.

I could tell you how many tubes of caulking we’ve gone through in the last two weeks, but then I’d have to kill you. Assuming, of course, that I could extract myself from the weeping fetal position I’m currently holding in order to get close enough to hurt you. The odds are in your favor.

And so here we are; overall, we’ve gotten a tremendous amount done around the house on this trip. There are several uncompleted items, yet, which I will either muddle through on my own or hire someone to do or just decide don’t actually need to be done, because, feh, who really wants wires INSIDE the walls, anyway? Let’s not get crazy, here.

Our luck held until this evening, when Otto went to install the VERY LAST new faucet, and the 40-year-old shut-off valves decided that you know, actually, it’s been a good run and all, but they’re sort of all done with the entire controlling flow of water thing. Otto will be headed back home tomorrow, and I will be calling a plumber. Or maybe just calling back the contractor. (“Mercy me, but my BIG STRONG MAN has left and these pipes won’t stop leaking. Seeing as how I spent TWO STRAIGHT WEEKS caulking the mess you left behind, maybe you’d like to come on over and FIX THIS? I mean, with the GRACE OF GOD, of course.”)

I had my typical we’re-being-separated-again breakdown earlier this morning, which was sort of nice because it got it out of the way, and then I was able to be fairly productive for the rest of the day. I think that when Otto and I dated years ago, he found it vaguely unsettling and mostly just annoying that I had such a hard time not even with saying goodbye, but ANTICIPATING saying goodbye.

Otto is a man of action. When it’s time to go, he goes. He does not sit around thinking about his tender little feelings and getting all worked up ahead of time. My penchant for sobbing about things that haven’t happened yet is puzzling to him.

This time around, there are dual forces helping us out on this: On the one hand, I think I tend to be slightly less hysterical each time we part, because we have A Plan and I tend to do better with A Plan. On the other hand, given the kindnesses of time and maturity and the much healthier relationship we have this time, I think Otto understands that my trouble saying goodbye really just means that I love him a lot, not that I’m losing my mind and/or trying to entrap him in some way. So it’s a much more tolerable situation all around.

So earlier I had my obligatory meltdown and we talked about how we’re halfway through; we’ve been back together, long-distance, for about six months. In another six months, I will be wrapping up life here and finally—nearly 18 years after we first met—setting up OUR household and merging our lives.

There have been a lot of scary talks this trip about the kids and what it means to be a stepfamily and how we prioritize and quite a lot of me saying reasonable-sounding things when really what I have wanted to say is “Look, I think these kids are pretty swell, but I’m no fool, and I know they can be incredibly annoying, and if you could just sign in blood right here or something that you are not going to decide that this gig is more than you can handle once you get into the reality of life with children, that’d be GREAT, THANKS.”

And then tonight at dinner we had our first family meeting of sorts; I asked the kids if they understood why Otto is taking our Christmas stuff back down to Georgia with him. Chickadee knew already, of course. Give that kid a hint and she’ll have the entire plot figured out in about five minutes; she not only declared that we are moving but was more interested in knowing if she could have a pink room and if she could write to her friends here (maybe, and of course) than much else.

Monkey had a harder time. He insisted that he does NOT want to move, and as we talked about what will change and what will stay the same and how long we have to prepare and what we know now and what remains to be seen, he perked up considerably. They asked me questions and they asked Otto a few questions. (Most of those were just about how much it snows in the south; Monkey immediately figured out that if we brought our snowblower with us, we could dig out the surrounding county each time it snows, lo that once every three years.)

We talked about how when we go visit Otto over the next school break, we’ll go look at houses, and if we can’t find the right one then, Otto will send us lots of pictures of houses we might like.

By the time the kids went up to get ready for bed, the foundation was laid and I felt like it had gone alright. “Hey,” said Otto, as we got up from the table, “you handled that really well. You’re pretty good at this parenting thing, has anyone ever told you that?” I’m sure someone HAS told me that before, but it never meant as much to me as it did coming from him, right then.

So tomorrow morning I will send this man a thousand miles away, with all of my Christmas decorations, with my family’s heirloom silver, with little bits of caulk on the hem of his shirt, probably, and a sore back from squeezing under my sinks and reaching up to paint my ceiling, and I will go back to missing him and doing chores on my own and spending my evenings after the kids are in bed marveling at how quiet it is and—hopefully—not caulking anything.

For a little while, anyway.


  1. shannon

    and you are one day closer to your new life. congratulations.

  2. veronica

    What a lovely post. And so appropriate to the New Year. I hope all goes well for you.

  3. Krisco

    Nice post and nice work Mir. I hope it feels like it is coming together….I meant the house, but I think that could apply to the whole big picture… :)

  4. wordgirl

    Funny and thoughtful post. Nice Christian carpenters, roughly translated into Texan, sometimes means “guys who hope you’ll think they’re extra good and extra honest if they put a cross or two on their sign but who really don’t know crap about carpentry.” I’m just saying.

  5. carson

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a snowblower in my whole life. The stuff melts by noon anyway. (But if it refreezes on the roads, you get a whole new flavor of fun–black ice. I love hearing all the damnyankees talk about Southerners not being able to drive in the snow. Because those who talk the loudest are always the ones who need bubba & the truck to get them out of the ditch. Cain’t drive on ice.) (Sorry, the preceding was a flashback to a Really Loud Boss.)

    Best of luck next winter, when you try to explain to Monkey what a Brown Christmas is.

  6. Fold My Laundry Please

    Sending happy wishes and many blessings your way for 2007! It’ll be great, you’ll see!

    By the way, I agree with Otto on the great parent thing! :)

  7. Amy-Go

    Happy New Year, sweetums. Sounds like you’re starting off 2007 beautifully. :)

  8. Amy

    Whoa. Feb break is in 7 weeks (I also live in a take-a-vacation-for-presidents-day state), which is really soon, and you’ll be house-hunting. What an exciting, fun time for you!

  9. Brigitte

    I couldn’t help picturing the scene: Mir, slowly and peacefully waking up in her King-sized bed . . feeling a bump on the other side of the bed . . pulling back the covers to reveal . . . A CAULKING GUN!! Aaaagh!!


  10. dcrmom

    Wow, how exciting! I’ve been following your blog off and on for months now. I’m so happy for you!

  11. Judy

    Mir, the summer (and all that entails) will be here before you know it. Right now it’s going to feel like it’s dragging, but I have no doubt that you will look back and marvel how you managed to get everything done so quickly! And, tell Chickadee that, with the Internet and IM and email, it’s almost like being there. Or do you let Chickadee have Internet access?

  12. Juliness

    You can do it, just keep breathing and taking baby steps. I have no doubt that you will guide your children through this move with as much grace as ever…and as a bonus, you now have a wonderful partner to walk alongside you.

    And just so you know I haven’t completely transitioned to a touch-feely, emoting mush pot – I LMAO at reading your future call to the holy contractors. By the grace of God indeed.

  13. Kellie

    From reading your posts, I’d agree with Otto and say you are good at this parenting thing!!

  14. chris

    Happy New Year!

  15. Meritt

    It’s been 2 1/2 years since the last time Dh and I had to live apart while moving to a new state/city.

    I wait patiently every single day for the opportunity to do it again… with a little bit of guilt because my kids love it here. I don’t.


  16. Jenn

    Oh my God, the “sending them away” never got any easier for me and my husband. Which is why we lasted all of 4 months after we met before he decided to move down here. To this day, I can’t be in an airport without feeling a little depressed, but then I remember that this time, he’s leaving WITH ME.

    Happpy New Year!

  17. Sara

    Stellar post, Mir. Happy New Year!

  18. Stephanie

    Here’s something else that might get the kids excited about moving. The Cartoon Network store at the CNN center in Atlanta. My husband and I just spent the weekend at the Omni, and I thought seriously about buying you some Foster’s stuff, like a squishy pillow Blue, or a Blue T-shirt with big eyes that glow in the dark, but I wouldn’t have known where to send it. Centennial Park across the street is awesome, too. It was still all lit up for Christmas, and they had an outdoor ice-skating rink. In the south. Ha ha. Hee hee. Oh, and horse and carriage rides. And you have to go to the Georgia Aquarium. The Fernbank Museum has dinosaur skeletons, and they currently have a Roman Empire exhibit. And the High Museum of Art currently has an exhibit of art from the Louvre. So when you get all that moving crap done, there will be plenty of fun stuff to do.

  19. Aimee

    Happy New Year! One day at a time, and each day will bring you closer…

  20. Jenn2

    We’d been dating for about six months, and were hosting Drama Queens 7th birthday. I was exhausted and clearing the detritus, when Mr. Clairol looked at me and said, “I wish you had been my mom.”

    It was so sweet (and a little weird, but he didn;t mean it that way.) that I teared up. When someone you love and respect honors your parenting it is a beautiful thing. He’s absolutely right!

    Happy New Year and happier house hunting.

  21. Jenn2

    Oh god, I JUST caught the REM reference. I am an idiot.

  22. Muirnait

    Happy New Year, Mir! (am all rhyme-y.) Good luck with the house hunting and the kids and the stuff, all of which you will do very well with, I am sure! :-D

  23. Heather

    My comments are always sent to spam, apparently, so I’m trying my actual name w/out my website to see if this one gets through…..anyhoo, what a sweet post. It’s starting to come together now. It’ll get so exciting when you start packing and all of that! EEEE!

  24. Cele

    Happy New Years, Mir! I knew you could juggle, now I see how well you balance too. Good parenting. :)

  25. Jenny

    Happy New Year, beautiful Mir! With all the crazy and hectic stuff that has happened, the fact that True Love is in your life is wonderful.

  26. meno

    I was talking to someone years ago about some fear or other i had. She told me “You are really good at anticipatory grief.” So i get it.

  27. Katherine

    Long distance relationships surely do bite. Hope the time flies by!

  28. Daisy

    Yes, you ARE good at this parenting thing. Keep that in mind as you live through the upcoming (potential roller coaster of a) year. You are good at this, and everything will work out well.

  29. Susan

    Oh I just like you so much.

    That is all.

  30. Sophie

    I second what Stephanie says. Your GA readers could give you a list of fun things to do down here with your kids. We were just at Fernbank on Sunday; I think Monkey will love it. Can you tell we are all rootin’ for a smooth transition, as least as smooth as reasonably possible? However, I’m sorry that I don’t have a connection for the snow.

    Congrats on a big milestone.

  31. Gina

    Lotsa New Year’s changes! I know how you feel being separated from your guy. Hubby was traveling every week for this past year and while it was nice (SO NICE) being alone at times, I missed him!!!!

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