Author Archives: Kim Peterson

Love Means Never Having to Play Sorry!®

“Grandma, will you play Sorry!® with us?”

Does that request conjure Norman Rockwell scenes of bright-eyed children and a sweet old lady playing that ultimate in generational togetherness, the board game?

Years later, I know better. If you’re dealing with COVID, you do, too.

But I was naïve then. Questions like, “Grandma, will you play kick-the-grenade with us?” wouldn’t have lulled me into false security. But this rosy prospect of quality time with seven-year-old Ava, five-year-old Josh, and three-year-old Jamie dulled self-preservation instincts. I asked my son-in-law for their Sorry!® game.

His eyes widened. “Sorry!®’s toxic! We hid it on a top shelf beside the roach killer.”

You’re totally overreacting. “Because you care about your children?”

“Because we wanted to survive. Play Candy Land®,” he urged. “Candy makes everybody happy. But Sorry!®? Sign a living will first.”

To reassure him, I did. Then, in my best grandma style, I gathered the children to play Sorry!®.

Game pieces debates ensued before we opened the box.

I intervened. “Ava, use blue pawns, since it’s your favorite color. Josh goes first, since he’s taking yellow.”

Was I good, or what?

Jamie objected. “My pieces.” His dimpled hands grabbed them all. Clever Grandma, however, had bought M&M’s® for such emergencies. “I’ll give you blue candies for blue pawns.” Eventually, Jamie returned all but the green pieces.

World War III, however, raged until the others received corresponding M&M’s®.

Players must draw one or two to exit the start area. Josh drew two, and Ava, one. Jamie drew 12, celebrating with a loud “Ya-a-y!” because he got both numbers. We didn’t contradict him.

I drew eight. With luck, I’d come in last. Of course, some people — specifically, grandpas — insist on winning. They cannot appreciate the skill that goes into playing badly. But children do. That’s why they’d rather play with Grandma.

Jamie decided he’d accept only 12s. Other numbers precipitated a Kewpie-doll pout and, “I can’t want that card.”

I tried to convince Josh to send my pieces back to start, but he targeted Ava’s. She swatted his off the table. The dog and cat, convinced they were big yellow M&M’s®, fought for possession.

Jamie, having drawn two 11s in a row, sent the newly arranged game board flying like a square Frisbee®.

This family afternoon had digressed from Norman Rockwell to Jerry Springer.

Proclaiming them all winners, I distributed the whole bag of M&M’s®, suggesting they improve their minds by watching SpongeBob. The Sorry!® game went back beside roach killer. I ate an extra bag of M&M’s® reserved to treat post-board-game trauma.

Would those kids talk Grandma into such “recreation” again?

Sorry!

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What game wreaks havoc at your house?

Once Upon a Blizzard

This post first appeared on January 13, 2016.

We Midwesterners share a rich heritage of blizzard stories. Deprived tropics dwellers can’t appreciate our anticipation when The Weather Channel threatens wild winds, arctic cold and snow up the wazoo. Nor do they understand the joy of swapping lies — er, stories — of bravery amid Snowmageddon. A lifetime Hoosier, I have plenty to share.

A preschooler during my first blizzard, I recall my mother’s positive thinking. Despite three days in a two-room apartment with three little ones, she described the trees as “chocolate with white icing.” The Frosty we built resembled a malnourished alien, but we waved at him from our window. It seemed a friendly blizzard.

The second blizzard wasn’t. Winds howled like wolves, savaging electricity for several days. Cupboards emptied. Fortunately, shivering neighbors brought groceries when they came to enjoy our gas heat. Thirteen shared our three-bedroom, one-bathroom house. Survivor had nothing on us.

But we nine kids — playing infinite games of Monopoly, Candy Land, and the unofficial but essential Freak the Grown-ups — considered it fun. Our parents, with extended therapy and medication, finally recovered.

A young married couple when the Big One hit in 1978, our car refused to navigate three-foot drifts. My medical student husband hiked to a police station, catching a ride to a hospital. For three days, he, another student, and a young resident physician — aided by stranded visitors — cared for little patients on a pediatric wing.

Meanwhile, I baked bread. A nearby fellow medical student wife, whose husband also was missing in action, helped eat it. Walking home, I foundered in a sea of snow-covered landmarks. Only a faint traffic signal in ghostly darkness sent me the right direction. Then a tall shadow blocked my way.

Gulp. The only rapist crazy enough to be out in this?

“How’s it goin’?” he rasped.

“F-f-fine.” I squeaked.

He passed by. I slogged home. When the snow finally stopped, my husband appeared, fell over like a tree and slept.

Not content with that harrowing weather, we moved north near South Bend, Indiana, where blizzard stories abound even more than blizzards. Babies and emergencies ignored storm warnings, expecting my doctor husband to show up. How rude.

School snow days brought hungry hoards incapable of studying algebra, but well able to conduct snow wars outside our house. Once, I was trapped with snow-dueling middle schoolers, teens armed with boom boxes, and soon-to-be-separated college sweethearts — along with remodelers who braved the storm to sledgehammer walls.

Blizzard days two decades later prove far less traumatic, but can stop our lives cold. Yet even if I must search for leftover Christmas candles to light my longhand efforts, I’ll do my usual January thing: tell blizzard stories.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite Snowmageddon tale?

Breakfast with My Brother

Me at 16 with my brothers, circa 1969.

I measure the distance between extended family in states rather than miles. The lone exception, my brother Ned, lives in another part of Indiana.

A year apart, we played together like twins until I started school, where he acknowledged my existence only by a raised eyebrow.

Fortunately, he no longer regards sisters as threats to his manhood. We phone occasionally, but not often enough. I recall several years ago when we met halfway between our homes for breakfast.

We chose a mom-and-pop establishment, where we could indulge in illegal eggs over easy, crispy bacon and infinite cups of curl-your-hair coffee. Or the mortal sin of biscuits with gravy.

Entering, I saw no sign of Ned. As I walked toward a vinyl booth, I expected — and received — the who-are-you-stranger? once-over.

Homeland Security should catch onto this resource, one that could revolutionize national safety procedures. We don’t need metal detectors or X-rays. If the government would pay a tableful of these locals to drink coffee at security points, no terrorist in his right mind would try to get past their scrutiny.

Born and raised in rural Indiana, I knew I’d broken the rules. No woman eats breakfast alone in a strange town. As a sweet-faced waitress brought me blessed coffee, I pulled out my Bible and read while I waited. Eye-lasers clicked off one by one. Their owners swiveled back to their breakfasts. They gave Congress and the weather their morning cussing and analyzed high school basketball with an expertise that would put ESPN out of business.

Until my brother walked in. Immediately, the force field returned. As Ned headed toward my booth, question marks formed in the air, visible as if smokers had blown them.

“Good to see ya, Sis!” Ned trumpeted. He knew the rules, too.

The diners returned to their vivisection of basketball referees, as the waitress took our order. She brought us waffles, eggs and ham. Biscuits and gravy.

With bowed heads, we asked God to bless the cholesterol. Our words filled and warmed us as much as the steaming, delicious food. We solved our kids’ problems (if they would just listen!). We cheered the utter perfection of our grandchildren.

All too soon, our separate worlds called to us. We promised to connect sooner next time.

Before we separated, I demanded a hug, just to give the town conversation material for the next few weeks.

Ned’s eyebrow went up. But the hug happened.

It can’t happen today, in 2020.

But after this blasted COVID crisis ends, I’ll collect every one of those hugs that have piled up in the meantime.

Even if he raises the other eyebrow.

Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Whom do you want to hug post-COVID?

Easy Christmas Shopping? Ho, Ho, Ho!

We veteran Christmas shoppers have seen it all.

We’ve fought kamikaze traffic and circled malls 250 times, searching for parking in the same zip code. We’ve donned body armor to survive elbowing crowds. Defied Klingon clerks who wanted to beam us to Kronos.

During one holiday shopping trip, two scary grandmas in my line battled about who was ahead. Would they take out everyone else, too?

Enter online shopping, the answer to desperate prayers. Especially in 2020.

Image by Alexas Fotos from Pixabay.

No traffic. No higher-than-Santa’s-sleigh gasoline costs. No sore feet — unless we type with toes.

I generate Christmas atmosphere for online shopping by concocting a Christmas playlist, donning my loudest holiday sweater and drinking hot chocolate from my favorite Christmas mug. Christmas candles smell like pine … or Pine-Sol®?

Regardless, I pull out credit cards. My password list. Ready. Set. Shop!

My laptop’s crankier than a teen at 8 a.m. on Saturday. When I threaten it with a pitcher of cold water, the laptop finally cooperates. Sort of.

It sends me to the Malwart website, rather than Walmart. (Nothing to do with my spelling, you understand.) A pop-up offers the Garfield beach towel my grandson covets for only $471. When I purchase a puppy-kitty storybook instead, the website informs me other customers who bought this book also purchased “The Preschool Guide to Overthrowing the Government.”

Weary of children’s gifts, I peruse flannel shirts for my son. Surely, with 83,259,441,701 advertised online, I can find one. But 83,259,441,700 are size XXXXX Large.

My son could fit in a sleeve.

Wait. I see it!

The solitary size large, un-girly plaid shirt is in stock! But it can be sent only to Madagascar by Christmas. If sent to Indianapolis, it will arrive on February 29, 2024. If I pay extra.

My laptop emits a distinct chuckle.

Grrr. But if I use the pitcher of water, I’ll have to beg use of Hubby’s laptop. He’s busy ordering camping equipment — my Christmas gifts to him?

I may wait until Valentine’s Day.

Desperate, I return to pricing Garfield beach towels. Three others cost $500 apiece, so I grab the bargain at $471. Using the promotion code BANKRUPT, I owe only $470.12. Surely, this gift qualifies for free shipping. But no, I must spend only $203.77 more. So, I buy a bag of flour.

Image by Daniela Mackova from Pixabay.

I miss pre-Internet shop owners, humanoids who said, “May I help you?” and did.

So, I join other masked shoppers in real stores. Remembering those two scary grandmas, I imagine they’re not Internet shopping. They’re still pushing and shoving to be first.

Other shoppers and I will watch — from a distance.

Maybe we should bring along pitchers of ice water?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do you prefer online or traditional shopping?

Don We Now Our Ugly Apparel?

Time to break out the Christmas carols. The Christmas cookies.

Time for us Christmas sweater fans to strut our stuff.

Image by RitaE from Pixabay.

I have worn them since the 1980s. No decent woman then would have appeared in public during December without one. For years, I wore a sweater featuring stripes of geometric snowmen, hearts and Christmas trees, bought during after-Christmas sales. It proved great bargaining material, as my children would do anything to keep it in the closet.

My current numero uno, purchased (of course) during after-Christmas sales, features satin poinsettias, cardinals and gold snowflakes on black background. Tasteful. Perfect with pre- or post-Christmas black pants/skirt.

Yet I doubt it’s Hubby’s favorite.

Perhaps because, when I asked him to drop it off at the cleaners, he admitted to dropping it off a bridge.

I fished it out.

Obviously, he doesn’t realize Christmas sweaters are “in.” Thanks to visionaries, including three Indiana State University students, customers scour stores and the Internet for unique finds. The ISU students, strapped for Christmas cash, invested their pooled $60 in thrift store finds, featuring them on a website. By Christmas, they’d sold a thousand, quadrupling sales the following year.

Justin Bieber shattered the Christmas sweater generation barrier by wearing a red and white snowflake number — costing $1,700 — while performing on Today. Teen girls who would have been boiled in eggnog rather than wear Christmas sweaters soon boasted similar attire, blinged with glitter, ribbons and jingle bells.

This outpouring of support seems a dream come true for Christmas sweater devotees. However, one word disturbs me: ugly.

Ugly?

Every advertiser describes these as “ugly.”

I researched this serious threat to the wear-a-Christmas-sweater movement for 5,000 straight hours.

Sadly, resulting data established that ugly Christmas sweaters do exist. Some display slogans such as “Get your fat pants ready,” “Fruitcake,” “Regift,” and “Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal.” (The last, featuring a reindeer, slandered poor Rudolph.) Sweaters that include Darth Vader and Grateful Dead teddy bears also deserve askance. One featuring a fireplace lit by a flaming-log video is downright cozy. But a similar device in which Santa’s beady eyes squint back and forth under the caption, “He sees you when you’re sleeping,” could warrant years of therapy.

Still, evidence indicates most Christmas sweaters called “ugly” are, in fact, adorable. What’s not to like about candy canes and Christmas trees? Puppies, kitties, cardinals and penguins? I wouldn’t wear flamingos, feathers and palm trees with neon lights to Christmas Eve service. But you might see me wearing it to a party. …

Especially if I find two similar ones at after-Christmas sales. After all, Hubby dear, matching couples’ sweaters are doubly in.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Is your favorite Christmas sweater ugly?

Christmas Tree Chronicles

Do you remember that first Christmas tree you, as an adult, hauled home?

Maybe you and your beloved cut a fragrant evergreen at a Christmas tree farm amid silvery snowfall.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay.

Or you procured a Charlie Brown escapee. Maybe spent a precious dollar on a Salvation Army find.

I wish we, as newlyweds, had considered those alternatives. We had saved $50 for Christmas. Total. We possessed no lights or ornaments. We spent our bankroll on family gifts instead.

However, learning of our treeless holiday, neighbors offered bottom branches removed from theirs. Humming “Deck the Halls,” I accented the pine-scented boughs with little red balls.

Voilà! Christmas!

The next year, I vowed to have a tree, though possibly decorated with popcorn strings and spray-painted macaroni — and the red balls.

My sister-in-law to the rescue: “Why didn’t you tell us you needed Christmas stuff? Mom gave us bunches.”

How I celebrated that tree in our government-subsidized apartment! We’d never go without one again — though some Decembers proved more adventurous than others.

Later, when Hubby was training day and night at a hospital, I stuffed our Christmas tree into our only car’s trunk.

Whew! Now to drag it downstairs to our basement apartment. Except, where were my keys?

With the tree. In the trunk.

Did I mention I was pregnant?

After a grand tour per city bus, I finally arrived at Hubby’s hospital. They paged him: “Dr. Phillips. Dr. Phillips. Your wife locked her keys in the car. Please report to the front desk.”

He displayed zero Christmas spirit, but he handed me his keys. After another city tour, I drove myself and the tree home.

Little did I know what Christmas tree tribulations awaited me as a parent.

The following year, Hubby and I set up the tree in our daughter’s playpen.

Why didn’t we corral her instead?

Child-raising theories then advocated free-range offspring. No dastardly playpen for our baby.

As our family expanded, Christmas ideals shrank to survival for us, the kids, and the tree. Trying to hide it from rampaging toddlers, we moved the tree to different locations each year. All in vain. Our son’s destructo gene zeroed in. I covered the tree’s lower branches with harmless ornaments, hoping he would eat those.

He climbed it.

To this day, I don’t know if our son consumed broken ornaments. He is 30-plus now, so I guess the destructo gene was linked to another granting him an iron stomach.

This year, our empty-nest tree mostly fears my smacking it with the vacuum. With no inkling of its predecessors’ sufferings, it basks in gentle serenity, glowing with lights, tinsel and memories.

Unnoticed, little red balls, polished by 45 Christmases, still shine.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What Christmas-tree tale can you tell?

Weird Things for Which I Am Thankful 2020

Anyone here like Christmas better than Thanksgiving?

With God’s incredible gift of His Son, family celebrations, music, decorations and food, it doesn’t get any better than that.

But families also express gratitude for each other at Thanksgiving, for freedom, health and — last, but not least — hope through Christ. Along with the food, it doesn’t get any better than that.

I’m forced to enjoy a draw, nixing healthy eating until a January Judgment Day.

I also want to express gratitude for little blessings — even weird ones — that seldom receive a nod or notice:

Fuzzy bathroom rugs. These don’t rank up there with world peace or an Indianapolis Colts victory, but on chilly mornings, they mean everything to wet, freezing toes.

Combines blocking the road. Already late, I forget these are a blessing. Other drivers’ gestures indicate they forget, too. But these bulky, balky monsters and hardworking farmers ensure food on our tables.

Bananas. With this nutritious, easy-open, eco-friendly fruit — no refrigeration necessary — our children thrived. True, bananas’ squishability, the babies’ sticky reaches and my long hair proved problematic. Still, they blessed lunch boxes and trips. When emergencies interrupted my skinny physician husband’s meals, I sent bananas with him to eat on the way.

Today, neither of us worry about weight loss. Still, we’re glad bananas will be around for our future, with or without teeth.

The color purple. What would we do without purple violets and irises, plums and eggplants? Without royal velvets and wild purple storm clouds — and essentials like Grape Slushies and Super Bubble Gum?

My 2010 car. New models map routes, parallel park and warm butts. Some drivers, though, given a Starship Enterprise dashboard, threaten the universe. Even driving my old Ford, I’ve occasionally popped the hood when I meant to open the trunk. If I tried to warm my posterior while driving 70 miles per hour, I’d hit the parallel parking mechanism.

I’m thankful for my simple, old car. You should be, too.

Ranch dressing, available only since the 1980s. How did we as a civilization survive without it?

Free parking lots. Metropolitan drivers spend hundreds to park in scary garages. I revel in nearly unlimited free parking, saving my neck, my bucks and my sanity.

Bankers without firearms. I’ve entered Honduran banks where guards accessorized with ammunition belts and machine guns. I’m thankful my bankers are armed only with smiles.

Gardeners who plant prairie grass. They validate those of us who grow it unintentionally.

Finally, I’m thankful I never played the turkey in a school production.

Still debating whether you like Thanksgiving or Christmas most? It’s a draw, right?

A draw for the turkey, too.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Can you list weird things for which you’re thankful?

Hurray for Bossy Big Sisters!

Bossy Big Sisters often receive bad press, so I am setting the world straight.

My siblings and me in the 1960s.

You think I’ve got attitude? If you’d just listen occasionally, you’d find Bossy Big Sisters can prove very inspirational.

We even find them in the Bible. Few remember Moses’ big sister Miriam got stuck babysitting as Moses floated among the bulrushes. The Nile crocodiles probably weren’t as friendly as those on Animal Planet. Without Miriam’s help, Moses wouldn’t have survived in one piece to receive the Ten Commandments. But when he became a big shot in Pharaoh’s palace, do you think he remembered Miriam gave up Saturdays with her friends to save his hide? No-o-o.

In the New Testament, Martha (last name Stewart?) got carried away, fixing a fancy dinner party for Jesus. Her sister Mary didn’t show sufficient concern about presentation. Jesus had to remind Martha that God really didn’t care about matching napkin rings. On the other hand, if Mary had been in charge, Jesus and his hungry disciples might still be waiting for hamburgers.

Inspired by these Bossy Big Sisters, I shared important medical facts with my younger siblings. My sister would not have known she was born with a brick in her stomach if I had not informed her. Nor would she have realized the dangers of swallowing watermelon seeds. First, I said, green vines would curl out of our eyes and ears. Left unchecked, these seeds might even produce big watermelons in our bellies — either melons or babies, I wasn’t sure. I spat all watermelon seeds off the porch and advised my sister to take similar precautions.

Fortunately, I passed the Bossy Big Sister gene down to both my daughters. The elder educated the younger about shooting stars hovering over a nearby playground. The evidence? Brown rocks, the remains of flaming asteroids, had landed under swings and slides. Little Sis sifted patiently through tons of gravel, spending whole afternoons looking for “shooting stars” while her sister played with friends in peace.

Apparently, Big Sis’s fine teaching qualities rubbed off on Little Sis. She later set up a school for her younger brother, complete with chalkboard, assignments and recess, when she forced him to play outside, whether he wanted to or not. But when Little Bro started kindergarten, he knew how to multiply.

Our children circa 1988.

Big Sis and her husband later supplied our family with an outstanding Bossy Big Sister, who has fulfilled her moral duty in educating her younger brothers. She’s saved them from crocodiles, conducted divine dinner parties with matching napkin rings, warned them regarding watermelon seeds, and locked them outside for recess.

With her fortitude, her little brothers will go far.

They’d better.

Our grandchildren circa 2010.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Does your family include a Bossy Big Sister?

Our House, a Museum?

When my family visited Grandma and Grandpa, no staged historical setup could rival their living museum.

Neither learned to drive. When they left their tiny town — a rarity — they took a Greyhound bus.

Grandpa plowed with a horse named John. Grandma wore sunbonnets while gardening and bringing cows home. The animals obligingly produced creamy milk my grandparents churned, plunging the dasher up-down, up-down. I could barely raise it, but Grandma helped me shape butter in a wooden mold etched with flowers.

They drew water from a well. Its iciness felt good on steamy days when we bathed in washtubs.

Image by HomeMaker from Pixabay.

Grandma and Grandpa didn’t own a television. We grandkids barely survived a week without “Gilligan’s Island,” almost forgetting the words to the theme song (gasp)!

To our dismay, our grandparents’ diet centered on their garden’s produce — collards, okra, and black-eyed peas. At night, smothered in featherbeds on sweaty, 90-degree nights, we wondered if we’d live to see the light of day.

I decided I would never grow that old. My house would never become a museum.

Fast-forward several decades. Our grandson stares at our phone. “You have a landline?”

His tone implies, do you also wear a bustle?

“Yes,” I said, “but we own smartphones, too.”

When I demonstrate I can turn mine on, he looks relieved. Still — “What’s that curly thing on your landline?”

“A cord. All phones used to have them.” I chuckle. “Does look like a Slinky.”

“What’s a Slinky?”

While Hubby and I possess reasonably current laptops and tablet, our grandchildren, accustomed to über-fast technology, consider them fossils, incapable of supporting all-important video games. One child even asks where we dug them up.

We attempt board games instead, playing our own Trivial Pursuit. The teens didn’t know a thing about Betty Ford, leisure suits or other crucial 1970s facts.

Even our children consider us relics. Why? Just because we drive a 10-year-old sedan. Because I play a piano powered up only by my fingers. That not only stacks of CDs and DVDs clutter our home, but cassette tapes I rewind with a pencil point because boom boxes’ features have died. We even own a turntable and vinyl records.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay.

Our kids try to update us. Now proud owners of a Keurig® coffee maker, Hubby and I claim to be cool.

In return, we attempt to give them perspective: “Hey, we possess items older than we are.”

Grandma and Grandpa Oglesbee, my dad’s parents.

When they stare in disbelief, we point to Great-grandma Norris’s china and silverware. Great-grandma Phillips’s wedding chest. Great-uncle Clarence’s World War II flag with 48 stars.

They are visiting a museum for free, too.

That’s what grandparents are for, right?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What relics resided in your grandparents’ home — besides them?

At Home with the Temporary

Hubby and I labeled our new home’s difficulties as “temporary.”

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines that word as “lasting for a limited time.” As in, “This sparkly 1970s wallpaper is temporary.” Or, “This white carpet where kids held pop-spitting parties is temporary.”

In remodeling timelines, “temporary” resembles a blank, signed check.

We should have known better, having delayed remodeling our former house until we’d lived there 23 years. Then spent big bucks making it irresistible … so we could sell it.

Now, 11 years later, “temporary” has caught up with us again.

We’ve made some improvements: new siding, roof, and landscaping. Hubby painted the ugly, “temporary” black front door.

He says it’s orange.

I say it’s terra cotta.

Which illustrates two reasons we procrastinate in updating our home:

  1. Hubby is male.
  2. I am female.

This complicates the simplest project, yet we’ve made progress. After only 45 years of marriage, we not only like our terra cotta/orange door, we arrange decorative pillows on our bed without debate. Hubby keeps the plain one on his side. The fancy one goes on mine.

Surely, we can now agree whether to paint kitchen cabinets Blue Sand or Eggshell Ecstasy.

Hubby’s eyes narrow. “Have you ever seen blue sand? Anywhere?”

Image by Alexas Fotos from Pixabay.

I haven’t experienced ecstasy boiling eggs, either. However, I don’t want to extend a discussion about color misrepresentation to blank-check proportions. Then the cabinets will go unpainted another decade.

But a decade is temporary. Not forever.

It just seems like it.

Hubby, a reasonably skilled handyman, could shorten makeover timespans if he were married to a better assistant.

We attempted wallpapering together. Once.

Everything I touched turned to trapezoids.

No matter how carefully I measured. No matter how many tutorial videos I watched.

I should create one for homeowners like myself. I would condense “Seven Simple Steps to Your House’s Total Makeover” to “Two Simple Steps”:

  1. Light a match.
  2. Burn the place down.

But then, I’d have to move again, probably to jail. Even wallpapering with Hubby seems preferable. Though he might feel differently …

I suggest another option, in which we could forego painting the kitchen and cabinets and installing new counters and —

“New counters?” Hubby’s eyes narrow again. “Since when?”

Surely, I say, if we paint the kitchen, we should replace ancient, discolored counters. The flooring’s nicked, too.

“If remodeling seems overwhelming,” I say brightly, “we can move to a different house.”

After we sink a ton of money and work into our present home to sell it.

Before moving to another house with temporary sparkly wallpaper. Temporary stained kitchen counters. And temporary carpet somebody showered with Blue Sand …

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are you at home with the temporary?