My nose is a wee bit sunburned

By Mir
July 9, 2007

Things I need to stop doing:

1) Thinking it would be a good idea to bake bread in the middle of the day when it’s a zillion degrees outside.
2) Trying to reach a human at my bank.
3) Shouting “WE LOVE YOU, POOL MAN!”

Hey, guess what! The pool’s fixed.

The. Pool. Is. Fixed. For once, it wasn’t the worst case scenario. We were totally primed for “the liner’s cracked, the pool was built on top of a fault line, fire ants are eating the plumbing, there are corpses clogging the filter.” Something like that. The pump is going to require some repair, but it’s working for the short term, at least, and the rest can be dealt with later.

So there was much rejoicing and then lots of splashing and cavorting this afternoon. Several of the guest children were struck blind by the glare off of my pasty thighs, but that’s a small price to pay for a nice cool pool romp on a hot Georgia day, I tell you what. (That was my attempt to talk like the locals. Did I fool you? Did you hear me as being totally southern?)

We met some more neighbors today, and I continue to struggle with the rules ’round here. Everyone has been very, very kind to us. We’ve not yet “met” the Crazy Lady Whose House Might Not Be For Sale but we’ve heard some REALLY interesting stories about her from other neighbors. Really interesting. Like, crawling around drunk on the lawn sort of interesting. Welcome to the neighborhood! Have some baked goods! By the way, your neighbor is insane and also a lush! Bless her heart!

One very sweet neighbor has totally allowed my kids to run rampant with hers and then upon meeting a different neighbor I was issued a dire and low-voiced warning about that family and the “wild” children therein. Having a couple of wild children, myself, I wasn’t too worried, but it did give me pause. When I asked what was meant I was told “Oh, I shouldn’t have said anything.”

But, see, that’s the thing. Everyone is nice and sweet and then has a story to tell about SOMEONE ELSE. And as soon as we walk away? I suspect that WE become SOMEONE ELSE. Otto and I sat around giggling tonight about what the neighbors might be all telling each other about US.

“They’ve been there for a week and a half and they still aren’t unpacked!”

“They’re out there grilling nearly every night… don’t they know how to cook at the stove?”

“I hear the little one runs around NAKED!”

“I don’t trust them… they talk awful FAST.”

I was having a completely casual conversation with someone today and was told that I need to speak more slowly. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that if I’m stressed out or excited I do tend to speak very quickly; but today I was just… talking. At what I would consider a completely normal cadence.

(Hey, maybe my talking too fast will distract them from the fact that I say all the wrong things, too.)

But! We have a functioning pool. And a pool smooths over a multitude of sins. Or something like that. It’s quite lovely, is what I’m saying. Today I looked around at all the kids splashing around and Otto picking up children and throwing them into the deep end and despite the work I wasn’t getting done and the piles of boxes yet to be unpacked, I felt a deep sense of peace and happiness.

Or maybe that was just giddy relief at no longer being up on the deck, sweltering and burning my bare feet on the boards. Hard to know.


  1. Amy-Go

    I vote for peace and happiness. And plenty more pool time. And Pie…more neighbors who bring Pie. That should do it. ;)

  2. becky

    mir, y’all need a little work on the south-speak, but you’ll get there. using “bless her heart” before saying something that could be construed as just a lil bit not-so-nice is a good start. you learn fast. now, just start throwing “ain’t” in yer sentences and they might even start understanding you, you fast talkin’ northerner. ;)

  3. Krisco

    Yea! Pool for the summer!

    Things are falling into place. That is awesome!

    (And I hear ya on the Southern thing, having in-laws from there and all….)

  4. Barb Cooper

    I once apologized to a neighbor for something and she looked straight at me and said, “Not to worry, we’re going to be friends forever. YOU HAVE A POOL.”

    Thanks for some good news. We’re experiencing Post Vacation Let Down here at the Cooper Clubhouse and good news has been hard to find. It’s there and all, but we’re trying to avoid anything good because we’re all so crabby.


  5. Tinker

    Yay for the pool man!

    Behind all that drawl and friendliness, southern women thrive on gossip and the compliment that is not really a complement. I’ve lived her 14 years and it still amazes me.

  6. jenn

    Yippee!!! We just got out of our pool and I’m telling ya, three years later and it’s totally worth the small hassles.

  7. Tinker

    HOW can a person type a word twice in the same sentence and spell it differently? GAH!

  8. Sara

    Did you move to Wisteria Lane?
    Oh, and YIPEE a pool!!!

  9. Melissa

    Don’t worry. When they walk away, they’re just telling each other how they’ve overheard you yelling that you love the pool man, and should one of them should tell Otto? But Otto already knows. So you’re covered. At least for now.

  10. Patricia

    Photos lady? — seriously — you married a photographer and we can’t get just one shot of the pool, the casino, and perhaps the kitchen??? (I know, I know — I’m not good at this waiting for you to be unpacked thing.)

  11. Nancy R


  12. Chris

    Oh the joy of a Happy Summer with neighbors and a kid who runs naked. Loved it!

  13. Catherine

    Whip out a “might could” and a “fixin” and you’ll totally fit in.

    While in Atlanta I talked about my family being from AL. Everyone assumed I meant *my*, not my in-laws since I spoke like I belonged. That and I slipped into a good southern accent (being from the accent-less midwest has its perks).

    I might could take a look at what’s new at I’ve been fixin to do some shoe shopping.

  14. Sheryl

    There are corpses clogging the filter?! You do worst scenario like nobody’s business.

    Dare you to do something to cement your reputation as the neighborhood crazy.

  15. Chuck

    Cadence does vary greatly depending upon what part of the country you’re raised in. In the aviation industry (which I work in) I know the FAA used to go so far as to assign controllers to a particular facility based on what part of the country they were from. If you were from New England, you got assigned somewhere in the Northeast, if you from Georgia, you got assigned somewhere Southeast, etc. I guess New England pilots aren’t patient with someone that doesn’t speak as fast as them. I don’t know if the FAA still assigns people this way or not, controller training has changed monumentally in the last 15 years.

  16. tuney

    It’s PAH, people, not PIE. Gyah. Y’all nee tuh learn the language. :D

  17. JustEnjoyHim/Judy

    Hey, at least you didn’t ask the pool man to marry you, which is probably what I would have done, forget being a newlywed and all. Then the neighbors would have really talked, especially as The Pool Man made a fast exit off of the property before I could at least slather him with a few dozen kisses.

    What’s wrong with trying to be a little friendly? :D

  18. MomCat

    Tell…you…whut….y’all will fit in real soon down theah….bless your heart. Ah’m glad y’all’s poo-ul is ready. I was fixin’ to dah when I heard about it.

    And do go tellin’ me that damn yankees don’t talk about their neighbors behind their backs….they just do it real quiet like, eh?

  19. Kimmie

    Yay, pool!!!!!!!!

    Yay, bread baking!!! At least I’m not the only one who turned the oven on while it was a bazzillion degrees outside. I made a meatloaf and I think the a/c about stroked out on me.

  20. Juliness

    Yeay, a functioning POOL!

  21. Christina

    I miss baking bread, I tend to take the month of July off to give the A/C a break, but do I miss it :( Yay pool! We’ll be there by Thursday if we jump in the van now LOL

  22. Brigitte

    A/C? I just made a cherry pie WITHOUT a/c!

    I could never live down south, due to the sweat factor alone. I’m a freak with 90% of my sweat glands on my FACE, and that is definitely NOT “glowing”! And forget make-up.

    And the gossip, and compliments that are really NOT thing? Would be too much like being back in high school. Oog. My gut is knotting up at the mere thought.

  23. momof3angels

    Welcome to the South! I have read your blogs for a long time. Having transplanted from Connecticut to Atlanta a few years ago, I feel your pain. “Bless her Heart” is just a southern euphemism for “what a loser/idiot”.

    For example, “She can’t find her way out of the subdivision, she is so lost… Bless her heart”. Passive Aggressiveness also seems to reign supreme. :)

    Hope you start to feel settled in soon. My opinion is the “fish out of water” feeling will take 6 months to ease up and then by a year it will start to feel like home. By two years you will love it here and never consider living elsewhere.

  24. Jennifer Morgan

    For our entire misbegotten year in Alabama, I felt like every time I had a conversation with someone, they spent the whole time trying to figure out how to get me to slow down. They always had this bewildered, deer-in-the-headlights look as I went on blabbing a mile a minute. And phone calls — good grief. That was even worse! I don’t know if I would have slowed down my chatting speed had we spent any more time there, but I do have to say I love a good “y’all.”

  25. liz

    Bless your heart, hon, I don’t think you talk too fast.
    Hey! Did I ever tell you that Jake is actually my cousin as well as my husband? We were so happy Jackson escaped being born with a third arm like some of his cousins. (just kidding. about the whole cousin thing. I still don’t think you talk too fast.)

  26. LadyBug Crossing

    LOL!! They say I talk fast, too!
    Welcome to the South!!

  27. Taylor

    Let me tell you, I was born and raised in Alabama with VERY southern parents and I get told CONSTANTLY that I need to “slow it down a bit” when I talk. Even real live southerners get that sometimes. It’s crazy.

  28. Aimee

    Yay for a working pool!

  29. Cassie

    Oh man, the south is SO different from up north. I adore the phrase “bless her heart” because it completely abolishes anything said before. “She’s such a horrible excuse for living. Bless her heart.” See?! And, yeah, your speech will probably slow down naturally. Then, when you go visit friends up north, they’ll say you talk to slow, while the southerners are still saying you talk too fast. Welcome to my endless hell. :)

    Hip Hip HOORAY for a working pool!!

  30. paige

    Don’t worry about your talking speed. They’ll adjust. What’s more important is to learn to never approach a subject directly in conversation. Lead up to it, circle around it, make suggestions…it’s rare that cutting to the chase is considered polite in Southern conversations…unless you’re talking to your own family.

    As a born and bred Southerner, the conversations I’ve had that have gone off the rails in the worst way have been when one of the participants has jumped too quickly to the crux of the problem, instead of building up to it. The more serious the problem, the more delicate the approach.

    And, Southerners are great at getting and giving hints, so that we don’t have to really talk about whatever it is directly. As a consequence, sometimes we read subtext into things where there is none.

    We are an exhausting people, conversationally, but very charming.

  31. Karen@FamilyBriefs

    I’m so glad the pool is functioning and you’re making full use of it.

    I see you’ve learned another southern rule – you can say anything ugly about anyone else as long as you follow it up with a “Bless her heart” :)

    Honey, it’s not the heat – it’s the humidity! Go splash in the pool – we’re headed to the waterpark (where I’m sure others will look at me and my four little ones in tow and say “Bless Her Heart.”)

  32. Sherry

    Like we say in Oklahoma, if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, come sit by me.

  33. Jenny

    I’ve lived here all my life and I still get “So where are you from, originally?” And I’m like, “Uh…. Here?” So we don’t *all* talk like Boss Hogg.

    BUT — we just had some new neighbors move in on one side of us a couple weeks ago and, embarrassingly enough, here is our conversation with the neighbors on the *other* side out in our yard last weekend:

    US: Anyway, we think one of their kids is in college and the other two are younger. We understand they’re putting a pool in.

    THEM: Oh, a POOL.

    US: Yeah.

    (All parties stare contemplatively in the direction of the innocent new folks’ house.)

    THEM: I see they haven’t cut the grass yet.

    (All parties stare darkly in the direction of the innocent new folks’ house.)

    Of course, then we went inside and gossiped to each other about the neighbors we’d just been talking to… (“So, was that her husband?” “I think that’s her boyfriend.”) Fortunately, we live out in the boonies and not in a real subdivision or I can’t imagine how much more we’d be all up in each others’ business.

  34. The Other Leanne

    Dang, y’all are a-scarin’ me with this talkin’ like yas on the Andy Griffith show or sumthin. It only took 9 weeks in basic training with all them Southern girls for me to slip right into it and even after all these years I still cain’t get rid of the *y’all*.
    My 90 year-old neighbor lady has been saying “Bless your heart” to me for years, and now I’m wondering what she was really thinking–thanks.

  35. Cele

    A corpse clogging the filter? Wouldn’t that be a Joss-ism?

    I do understand why there are no pictures yet, the camera is in a box as yet unfound. Please unpack we are picture depraved…I mean deprived

  36. Jenni-nifr

    I’m in Texas and I’ve got customers from around the country and when I’m on the phone with someone from the north-east I catch myself listening and then running it all through my head again before there is a long gaping pause that causes them to wonder if I can do my job at all! It’s a toss up, they’ll either think I’m an idiot when I don’t answer as soon as they stop talking, ot then think I’m an idiot when I ask them to repeat the last half of what they just said.

    I’ll admit that Houston isn’t as bad as other places in the south but you don’t have to go too far to be looked at in awe and wonderment what with being from the big city and all!

  37. Jenni-nifr

    ^or, not ot. jeez…

  38. ScottsdaleGirl

    If I had a pool and a casino at my house I would give a fig WHAT the neighbors said or thought.

  39. Heidi

    My friend moved from the NW to Louisiana years ago. When her born-in-the-south kids learned to talk, she was so surprised that they talked with southern accents.

    And in Louisiana, it’s pronounced “poo”.

  40. Dean

    Welcome to the South. You’ll find that grilling out every night is acceptable in the South (you can even grill even in the winter) and that the exhaustive heat will eventually slow you down, including your speech. (And yes, a pool cures all… just make sure it doesn’t turn green.)

  41. Colleen

    We had the same thing happen when we moved to our current neighborhood. We were warned about the neighbors on the right by the neighbors on the left and vice versa and then one of them came over after painting his house and drinking beer all day to tell my husband as we were grilling on the back deck with some friends about how he’d had sex in one of our bathrooms.

    Oh, and my husband IS the pool man, though he doesn’t have any pools in your area. So, must be a different pool man you’re referring to. Everyone loves their pool man in Georgia. I think he’s pretty much the most popular guy around from April until September.

  42. erin

    yeah, southern women are very skilled in the backhanded compliment and the “accidental” gossip. “oh honey, you should try this on, that a-line really slims the hiiiips.” “i heard those new neighbors swim nekkid in their pool…oh, i shouldn’t have said anything about that. anyways, ya’ll pick a church yet?”

  43. Daisy

    We used to tease my aunt from Kentucky because the words “pull” and “pool” sounded exactly the same when she said them.

  44. kerrianne

    I for one don’t think you ever need to stop shouting “WE LOVE YOU POOL MAN!” Because that is just too much fun. In fact, I think we should all yell that we love people a lot more often. Bonus points for yelling love to complete strangers.

  45. Jen

    Now for us Brits “bless her heart” is used when someone does something nice or endearing…. Actually, the latest version is just “aw, bless!”. And we think of the “U.S.” as one big country that’s the same from north to south, west to east, and now you’re telling me moving from up north to Atlanta is like me moving to another European country? I had no idea!!!

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