Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Part 4 Life Lessons from a Double Wide: Exuse me...what was that?!?!

It was a year after we had been married. A year of living in trailer bliss. A year before they started showing up.

It wasn't very noticeable at first. We would see a few droppings here, a few droppings there. Nothing major. Then all of the sudden we had a full blown, mouse infestation.

That's right people. I said MOUSE INFESTATION.

We would lay awake at night and you could hear the little beaded eyed monsters scurrying across the floor. I would lay awake at night because obviously I couldn't sleep out of fear that they would crawl up into the bed with me. Jamie, on the other hand had no problems sleeping. "It's just a little mouse" he would say. Just a little mouse my tale.

Now, I was raised in the country. A little known place called Cunningham. I lived in a log cabin, my high school was on a pond and had an Ag class that would ride out on a trailer pulled by a tractor to check on the schools cows. So I was accustomed to the small nuisances that would occasionally creep into our home. We would set a trap and that would be that. We wouldn't have to worry about it until the next one arrived.

So needless to say, I was quit shocked when we had to set 12 traps. We literally set 12 traps. We turned off all of the lights. Within minutes we heard....pat, swap, ca pow. 12 times to be exact. Each trap had gone off with in a five minute time span. One trap even caught two mice. I was MORTIFIED.

The mice got into our closet. This was a sad day on the Autry frontier. Numerous amounts of my clothes ruined again. Not only did I have to worry about our iron water ruining my clothes, now I had to worry about the mouse pee. Seriously. I didn't sign up for this. Just wait, it gets better.

Our big mice must have discovered a little place to make mousy love because the day came when we had baby mice. They would run out in front of us while we were watching TV at night. I have to admit that initially I thought the baby mice were sort of, in their own way, cute. But that at no way changed my opinion that we needed to get rid of them.

Did I mention that my husband is an animal FA REAK. He loves animals. See part 3 about all the dogs....all HIS idea. When Jamie saw these baby mice his initial reaction..."Let's catch them in a shoe box and put them outside." So that's what he did. Not thinking that they would make their way back in to the warm house. I was of no help because I was permanently lodged on top of the sofa. Cautiously avoiding my feet from touching the ground and screaming every time one ran out.

One day I was getting ready to go to work and I heard something in our bath tub. I looked over in it and saw this little baby mouse trying to get out. It was so tiny and cute. I was not going to touch it or try to maneuver it in any way, but I had to be at work. I didn't want that baby mouse to be in there all day without any food, so I had a brilliant idea to put a few pieces of dog food in the tub with the baby mouse. That's correct. I fed the mouse. What was Jamie doing to me? How had I turned into a person who would feed a mouse. A MOUSE.

We eventually had to put our foot down (Jamie had to put his foot down, I was still afraid to walk on the floor out of fear that one would scurry across my feet). Jamie made the trip to the CO OP to get some poison. He did ask the men at the store if they carried any sort of product that would get rid of the mice without actually killing them. Oh if I could have seen the looks on those big farmer guy's faces. They of course did not.

I think I failed to mention that it was summer during the over taking. A very HOT summer. So someone looking down on us must have thought that the mice infestation wasn't enough. Our air conditioning went out. In July. In Tennessee. In the middle of being over thrown by mice.

Now I don't know if you've ever experienced a truly foul smell before. But I will be the first to tell you that if this situation ever happens to you. Please smile, nod your head and take off running in the other direction. Mouse pee and poop in a trailer with no air conditioning in the middle of summer is something that can only be described as horrendous.

I remember thinking, "What have I done?". I was working as a camp counselor, so I was outside all day in the hot sun and I would come home in the evening to a hot house smelling of mice. It took THREE WEEKS to get our air fixed.

During that time Jamie and I tried to make the best of the situation. His parents had a little camper they put up on the land and it had air conditioning (and no mice). So we moved into that little thing for several nights. We hooked up the Nintendo and played Super Mario Brothers. What any other adult married couple would do.

Looking back now, I laugh at all the things we experienced in that trailer.

We did eventually get our water fixed two and a half years after we lived there. The poison worked on the mice. We tragically lost our dog Lady, which put us down to just two dogs. We got the tree removed from the back bedroom, but we never finished it before we moved! We built a house this past year. I can't say that I miss the trailer or that I'm sad that we moved. But I will say that it was an experience that I will never forget.

I really do believe that the whole trailer experience made me a much better person. I know it may sound silly, but I think God knew exactly what he was doing to break me of my shallow and high maintenance self. Jamie, bless his heart, was such a trooper and did his absolute best to always accommodate and make me happy. And who knew that he was right. The trailer was a good investment, we ended up making double of what we paid for it. I should learn to trust his judgment more often, even if its buying a double wide with a tree lodged in the back room!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

adoption madness

I started this blog to keep everyone posted on our adoption process. Here is the latest info on the Autry front.

We got a call from our adoption agency on Tuesday. She had received our application and was calling to schedule a meeting. We have a meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 6:00 (phone call chalked up to success.)

I'm sure I'll have lots to post after the meeting, because as of now I am still uncertain about how all of this works. So I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, I have a girl name picked out, we are still discussing boy names. I lean a little towards names that are, shall we say, out there. I was bound and determined if it was a boy we should name him Israel. Jamie had to put his foot down. Needless to say, it is still up in the air. I feel that it is imperative to pick names out early. We do want lots of items embroidered. This is obviously of the utmost importance.

I have the color schemes picked out for each gender. I have already decided where each piece of furniture will go in the nursery. I am what you would call, a tee itty bit, EXCITED.

I have to run. I have to research parenting methods online. We might not have much time here people.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Land of the Lost Socks

Dear Lost Sock in my Dryer-

Where have you gone? I was certain that you were with your twin when you entered the wash cycle. I know that I placed you into the dryer. Why did you not come out? We miss you.

Please write and tell us of the adventures that happen in the Land of the Lost Socks. I bet it is super fun there. It has to be, because numerous amounts of my sock halves make that trip. And they sadly, never return.

Do you have commitment issues? Is it too hard to stay with the same sock forever?

I don't expect an answer. But I will keep holding onto the hope that we will find you. Until then, I will keep your other half tucked away in my sock drawer, hoping that one day you will be joined again.

Part 3 Life Lessons from a Double Wide: It's a Doggy Dog World

We adopted a puppy from the Humane Society before we got married. She was tiny. A sweet, furry ball of puppy delight. She fit snugly in the palms of my hands. My thoughts... "she is going to make the best little inside dog EVER".


The tiny puppy delight ended up growing into a 35 pound dog. She's cute. She's sweet. We love her, but I thought I was getting a lap dog. Let me rephrase that, I thought I was getting a lap dog that would actually fit in my lap.

I was satisfied with one dog. That's all I ever wanted. She would stay inside the trailer with us during the evening and during the day she could stay outside. It was a puppy's heaven. Land for miles and miles. She never had to worry about messing up the neighbors yard. His name is after all Greasy, and you could just imagine what his yard looked like. It was tastefully adorned with rusty old cars, an old fishing boat filled with aluminum cans, and three trailers (only one of which he lived in.) She was set. And so was I.

After we got moved in, we noticed two dogs who were always around. A big german shepherd and a big gray spotted dog. We realized that these were our other neighbors dogs. Well, ok, Menne would have some dogs to play with during the day. That would surely be fun. Little did we know these animals would make our front lawn their home.

Then there were three.

We had noticed a little brown dog who stayed around our house also. She was a skinny little thing and she only walked on three legs. Who wouldn't feel sorry for this sweet dog? She was very shy and didn't like coming to close to us. So what do we do? We start to feed her (that should make her go away). She would come a little closer each day. Finally she got to where we could pet her. She even started coming inside at night. She became known as "Lady".

We are up to four.

Unbeknownst to us, sweet little "Lady" was pregnant.

The big gray dog from next door was responsible for this small, shall I say, inconvenience.

Two months after we moved into our little piece of redneckville, Lady had 8 puppies. Your adding is correct.

That would be 12.

We were becoming like the little old Lady who lived in the shoe, except we lived in a trailer and instead of children, we had four legged canines (well... one only had three legs).

The puppies were an adventure. Lady would move them out of their doggy home each time before it stormed. We would come home and find them and move them all back. I must admit, I actually did enjoy taking care of the little puppies. We named each of them. There was: Wilbur, Rosco, Elvis, Wynonna, Sandy, Joe, Daisy, and Santa Clause. They became my after school play toys. I would come home each day and spend hours taking care of them. Well, I didn't really take care of them, Jamie did. I just played.

We ended up giving all of them away except for Wilbur and Rosco. We decided to keep them because we thought four dogs just wasn't enough for us.

That makes six.

I'm not sure if dogs can be mentally challenged. But in my experience, and I feel like I am highly qualified to speak on the matter, I would say Wilbur was what you would call...a little touched. Bless his heart, he had seizures as a puppy. He just was never right after that. That and the fact that our neighbor shot him in the head. That is a whole other story. But he survived it. One day we came home and he was just gone. We don't know what happened to ol Wilbur. But I like to think that he is on a farm somewhere making some little boy very happy. I'll keep on thinking that.

Back down to five.

That is the number that we stayed at for a long time. We had Menne, Lady, and Rosco who belonged to us. Then there was Max and Rebel who were the neighbors dogs but thought they really lived at our house.

It is a little known fact that people like to drop puppies off in the country. "The Grove" seemed to beckon people to do this. I am still convinced that we had a huge flashing sign shining over our house that read, "Stray puppies will be fed here if you drop them off". Because that is what happened. I can't even count the number of dogs that got dropped off at our house. But I have a sweet husband who always took them in, fed them, and found them homes.

Life Lesson #3: Animals need homes too.

All animals ,that is, except for mice.

Monday, February 19, 2007

French Fries are sent straight from Heaven

I think that french fries should be in the running for the 8th Wonder of the World. They are so delicious. When you haven't had one for a while and you feel like splurging, nothing can quit compare to that first crunchy taste of salty goodness.

Have you ever noticed how someone else's fries always taste better than your own. Not that your own aren't a wonder to beheld, but when someone else has them, they just lure you in. You can't help but reach your hand over and grab one. But then it is so hard. Because you can't stop at just one. Your friend, or in my case...my husband, just looks at you as you have your mouth stuffed with five. All you can do is shrug your shoulders and say sorry. But in reality, your not sorry. You enjoyed every single salty minute of his fries.

I have never met a person that did not like french fries. This is one of the reasons I think they qualify for the 8th wonder. And if they say they don't like them, they are lying or are on a diet and have convinced themselves that "well maybe they're not that good." Just wait until the diet fails or they have a cheat day. I bet the first thing they go for is some hot, crunchy fries.

Now, one may argue over which restaurant has the best fries. I say...it doesn't really matter because I believe that they really are sent straight from Heaven. Anytime I am having a bad day or things aren't going my way...I remember that God did send us french fries and that is reason enough for me to smile.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Beginning: Life Lessons from a Double Wide Part 2

* see "The Beginning: Live Lessons from a Double Wide Part 1"

It was moving day.

Not the kind of moving where we pack up all our belongings and move in. It was the day that we moved the trailer. They actually picked it up from it's perch in trailer park heaven and drove it 20 miles to our little slice of land in, what came to be known as, The Grove.

A little background information on "The Grove". Jamie's parents had some land that they were going to let us "set" the trailer on. It was in the Grove. This is a special place. Far, far away from any form of normal functioning society. The man who lived in the house across the street was named Greasy. I promise you, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. There are no stop lights. One gas station/grocery store owned by someone who only goes by his initials. There is a post office and a pool hall/restaurant/church/hair salon (all in one building). We were going to fit right in with our double wide beauty.

We got the trailer moved successfully. It really is true what they say, "It ain't home 'till you take the wheels off." This now was our home. Help me Jesus.

The next several months were spent working as hard as we could to get it fixed up. And Lord did it need a lot of fixin. The first order of business was removing the LARGE TREE from the bedroom. My darling husband assured me that it was going to be great. We would make the back bedroom into a screened in porch. We would build a big deck off the back of the house. We would have lots of people over and grill out in the spring and summer. It truly was going to be spectacular. He had a way of putting things that made me somehow forget that it still was indeed a DOUBLE WIDE.

We did so much work to the inside. We painted, we put all new floors in, we scrubbed and cleaned until it almost looked like a real house.

We also had a wedding during all of this.

I know, I know...you're surprised that I still married him after he bought us a trailer. But I have to admit, I do think he is the sweetest man to walk the face of the planet. Even if he did have a temporary lapse in judgment.

Two months after the wedding, we finally got to move in. Everything seemed to be going smoothly until I washed the first load of whites in my new washing machine. They came out adorning brown and orange streaks. How was that possible? I followed the instructions that my mom had given me. I did everything that I was supposed to do. What had happened?

My clothes were RUINED.

I was mortified. I had just embraced the fact that I was going to be doing all of my own laundry (high maintenance...remember). Now, somehow my washing machine was turning my clothes colors. My precious, expensive clothes (I was still wearing the clothes my mother had purchased for me...therefore they were expensive, the wardrobe changed dramatically when I started buying my own clothes.) Well what had happened you may ask? I tell you what happened. Not only did my clothes turn colors from the water....

but.....sigh.....my hair also turned red.

RED. Red like Chuck Norris in Walker Texas Ranger.

Yes it did.

It didn't happen all at once. But ever so slowly the blond started fading away and I had a full head of rusty red hair. The funny part is, Jamie's hair was the exact same color. It's like we were living in an episode of the Beverly Hillbillies, but we had struck RUST instead of oil.

I had the water tested.

Iron and I know you're not going to believe it.....Sulfur. That's right. We had sulfur water. And I had been blaming that smell on Jamie.

In the next few months we did all that we could to fix the problem. But I failed to mention that when we got married, we had $500 to our names. We spent that on the honeymoon. We were broke, living in a double wide, had rusty hair, and everything our water touched turned dingy. So needless to say there wasn't much we could do to fix the problem. We did get the Sulfur part taken care of. But the iron was there to stay. And this was the element that was causing all of the color mishaps.

Life Lesson Number 1:
Learn to see humor in every situation. Even if you can't control the color of your hair, you live in a double wide, are broke, and you can't replace your rusty clothes with new ones.

Life Lesson Number 2:
Husbands make BIG mistakes. We must forgive them.

I was seeing the humor, was ever so slowly letting go of my obsessions with my looks, was getting used to the fact this was our life. I had forgiven Jamie and we were actually starting to enjoy our little mobile home.

Then....the dogs started showing up.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Beginning: Life Lessons From a Double Wide Part 1

I must admit something to you.

I used to be considered....well....what you would call "High Maintenance". It's true. I used to clap when I got excited, shriek when something scared me,I loved attending to my hair, buying and wearing make up, I even....I must admit....giggled. I loved to go shopping, dressing up was an event that I greatly looked forward to. Growing up, my Barbie collection was envied by many a nine year old girl. I took dance lessons and I LOVED tutu's (ok...so some things might not have changed that much.) I was a cheerleader and I enjoyed painting my nails. I have even been known to say the word "like" several times in any given sentence. So...what has changed you may ask. I contribute the change to life lived in a double wide.

It all started after Jamie popped the big question. Not the question you may be thinking. That came before this dreadful event. The question was..... "I bought us a house! Is that ok?". Now imagine my excitement when my finance called and said he bought us a house. I was thrilled. I shrieked. I clapped my hands and giggled. I even jumped up and down. It truly was a glorious occasion. But my small shallow mind could not fathom what the next words out of his mouth would be.

"It's a double wide".


I do believe that in that very moment my entire world stopped. I was breathing but the people around me were frozen. The wind quit blowing. The birds quit chirping. My mouth stood agape. My phone slipped ever so slowly from my hand. My mind was screaming "HE BOUGHT US WHAT?!?!?!".

Jamie went on to say that is was a good investment. He had gotten a good deal on it because a tree had fallen in on one of the bedrooms.


Yes that's right ladies. A tree. In one short conversation my dreams, my world had suddenly fallen apart. Gone was my white house with a white picket fence. Gone was the comfort of not running to a storm shelter when a storm came. Gone were all the images I had imagined that my first years of marriage might hold. How could I possibly pick out linens to go in a DOUBLE WIDE? How could I possibly entertain in a trailer? How could I possibly....gasp.....tell my friends about my new house? (I use the word house loosely here.)

The day came when Jamie decided he wanted to take me to the trailer park where the double wide was currently sitting. Yes, I said TRAILER PARK. We pulled up, and on first glance, I must admit that it wasn't as bad as the images I had conjured up in my head. THEN we walked inside. The walls were adorned with a light blue and navy blue custom printed sheet rock. It is my understanding that this is only available in trailers. Lucky us. The curtains that were hung also shared the same blue color. They were akin to what you might see hanging in an Arizona roadside gas station restaurant. I can't even begin to describe the mirrors that were hanging over the garden tub in the master bathroom. All I will say is that they were imprinted with a, shall we say, southwestern design. Something else that is made specifically for trailers. Who knew that trailers were so special that there were companies who actually made custom designed sheet rock, mirrors, and glorious chair rails (I can't even begin to describe this one). All I knew is that whoever got paid to design these things needed to seriously consider another profession.

I stood there. Glancing around. Taking everything in. This was our house. OH MY GOODNESS. THIS WAS OUR HOUSE. shriek,. Shriek. SHRIEK.

After I had wiped away all of my tears. I decided that we could make this work. We would have to , of course, redo every single thing inside the double wide. Not to mention the enormous tree that was lodged in the back bedroom. But with a lot of hard work. I thought. That maybe it could be possible. That it could be done. Realistically, I knew that it would take nothing short of God sending his most glorious miracle for me to ever be comfortable or happy about living in a double wide.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Top 10 Reasons I'm ok with Not getting pregnant!

10. Stretch marks
9. morning sickness (or all day sickness!)
8. I've seen how big 12 centimeters is. Ouch.
7. Mood swings (I have enough of these as is)
6. uncontrollable bladder
5. Epidural (although I think I could like that part)
4. Episiotomy... need I say more
3. Seriously I don't think my boobs need to get any bigger.
2. Jamie had an abnormally large head as an infant....I don't have to explain my reasoning here

and the number one reason I'm ok with not getting pregnant.....

1. The fear of pooping while giving birth. I don't have to lay awake at night worrying about this anymore!

Monday, February 12, 2007

If you want me to

The pathway is broken
And the signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why you brought me here
But just because you love me the way that you do
I'm gonna walk through the valley
If you want me to

Cuz I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise you're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will go through the fire
If you want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my home
But you never said it would be easy
You only said I'll never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear you answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering your love put you through
And I will go through the valley
If you want me to

These are lyrics from a Ginny Owens song. It really puts into words the emotions, feelings, experiences I've had over the last several months. I just wanted to share this beautiful song.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Lessons from the Infertile, Some questions are NOT ok to ask

The other day we were at Wal-Mart (which is a horrifying experience in and of itself) and Jamie saw someone he knew from high-school. He proceeded to go to her and speak. I, on the other hand, was lucky enough to be picking out eggs. I wanted to avoid the awkward conversation and silence that falls after the initial catching up. You know that silence after each party has caught the other one up and you just don't know how to end it? You know that you really don't care to see the person again or make any future plans , but you don't want to be rude and just walk away. So you smile and say, "Well it was nice seeing you...take care" or something to that effect.
So I was at the eggs (ironic...considering the questions the "old friend" would ask), and Jamie was speaking. I looked over in the general direction and smiled a few times trying to take as much time as I possibly could to avoid the conversation.
Jamie comes back to me and we start down one of the aisles. Jamie was sort of laughing and I asked him the basics..."Who was that?" "How do you know her?" "What did she say?" (Jamie gets quit annoyed with me because I ask him these series of questions after every single conversation he has, whether in person or on the phone,) So he begins to tell me the questions that she asked him. One of them being a question that we are often asked, "So, do you have any children?"
Now, this seems like a perfectly normal question to ask the non-infertile. To the PregNOT though, it can be rather, shall I say.....annoying. Our normal response to this question is always cordial. Something like...."Not yet" or "We are hoping to one day". But I tell you, sometimes I have to fight the urge to look the interrogator in the face and say "My husband doesn't have a lot of sperm, we've been trying for two years, I've tried everything from standing on my head to doing cartwheels and holding my breath on Sundays, and it is a very painful experience. But thanks for asking." I really would love to see the expression on the persons face! Now, I know that this might sound mean, but one thing I have realized throughout my infertility journey is to be very selective in what you ask people.
The girl at Wal-Mart went on to say, "Well what are ya'll waiting for! We're not getting any younger!". Jamie, being the sweet polite person he is just smiled and said, "Maybe one day." I just wonder what her face would have looked like if his response would have been "We were actually waiting on running into you, now we can go home and try! We are sure to conceive this very night!" and "Yes, I know that we are not getting any younger, but we are actually wanting to win the award for the oldest parents to ever naturally conceive a child . We are so competitive and all".

Other things are remedies and stories of "You know my sisters, neighbors, friends, nephew in law had a low count and they took some pills, well I can't remember the name of them, but they got pregnant the very next month."
WOW....who knew that anyone can now be a qualified infertility specialist. If only I had known that it was so simple....

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The adventure has begun

The Autry family has taken the first step in our adoption process. We have filled out our initial application and it is going into the mail today. WhooHoo. We are both excited and scared. We know this is going to be a long and very involved process. We are praying for God's strength and guidance.
I have created this blog to keep everyone updated on our status. You can check in here to find out the latest news on our quest to parenthood.
I hope you stop by often to see how this great adventure is unfolding
Love to you all