Friday, July 30, 2010

You think you know a place

Last Saturday our church, The Harbor, held a rummage sale to raise money for our pre-school program. It went really well. We had a crazy amount of stuff given to us to sell, and we were busy with shoppers all day. One good reason for the crowd is that we are in a great location. We're right off of the freeway, and everyone going to either Cracker Barrel or Hobby Lobby go right through our parking lot.

To make sure people knew we were doing a sale, we put some signs up--not billboards or anything, just those little signs that stake into the ground. We put several up, including one that went right where you turned off of the road into the parking lot between us and Cracker Barrel.


Around noon, some people came in to shop the sale and told us that they had seen a Cracker Barrel employee walk out to our sign, pull it up, and take it back into the Cracker Barrel with them. What?! Cracker Barrel stole our sign?? So our pastor, Chad, went over. He asked for the manager, introduced himself, and politely asked for our sign back. The manager was likely embarrassed that he had been caught. He gave Chad the sign, but justified taking it by saying "I'm trying to sell stuff too." I don't even want to take the time to talk about how ridiculous it is that he would think our rummage sale goods would be competing with Cracker Barrel. Whatever.

After Chad returned and relayed the story, most of us got pretty worked up about it. The main things we couldn't get over were: If he didn't want the sign there, why didn't he just tell us so? Does he even have a right to ask us to remove the sign? Who steals a rummage sale sign? Put up by a church?

Next we moved on to what action we should take next. We came up with several options: painting the words "Cracker Barrel steals from churches" on our windows, making a giant rummage sale sign, putting it in the back of a truck, and parking it right in front of Cracker Barrel, moving the bake sale that Abby and her friends were conducting outside to more directly compete with Cracker Barrel's cobbler sales. Chad reminded us, though, that churches shouldn't really partake in revenge, and we reluctantly agreed that he was probably right.

I debated whether or not to blog about it but I finally decided that the public has a right to know about what happened. We have no way of knowing whether the manager was acting out of independent outrage or following orders from the top of the Cracker Barrel chain (incidentally, do you know where the headquarters for the Cracker Barrel corporation are located? Tennessee? Alabama? Nope. New York City. Yeah, super authentic.) Regardless, I think I would want to know about this before I ordered my next stack of pancakes or slab of hamburger steak.

So there you go. The story of the church that was victimized by Cracker Barrel. Now that I've shared, I feel much better. Perhaps I'll even send a note to the manager, telling him there are no hard feelings and that I sincerely hope we didn't permanently destroy the market for country goods in Northwest Arkansas.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Always blame the laundry

Geez, it's been almost an entire month since I last blogged. That's terrible! When people call me out on it, I tell them, "I think about doing it every day, but something always comes up and I never get around to it." I can tell they think it's a cop out. Usually beacuse they something to the effect of, "That's a cop out!" But it's true! My days seem to be passing at warp speed. I don't expect you to take my word for it, though, so I am going to give you a rundown of what a typical day is like around here for me. I know better than to hope for any sympathy (and really, I'm not exactly worthy of any) but at least you'll know that I'm not just neglecting the blog to, you know, paint my nails or something.

7:00 Wake up to feed and change Aaron.

7:30 Put Aaron down to get Ethan breakfast (Abby's still asleep).

7:35 Sit down at computer.

7:36 Aaron starts fussing; pick him up.

7:45 Put Aaron down to get Abby breakfast .

7:50 Pick Aaron up again and get him to sleep.

8:15 Lay Aaron down; load dishwasher.

8:30 Sit down at computer.

8:31 Separate Ethan and Abby, who are wrestling in the living room floor for control of the remote.

8:35 Remember the laundry in the washer and dryer that I never finished the day before. Re-run both machines.

8:45 Get ready to take a shower.

8:47 Aaron starts crying; abandon shower.

9:00 Put Aaron in swing. Fold laundry from dryer.

9:05 Interrupt folding to get Ethan the first of the 12 snacks he will request.

9:15 Clean up milk that Ethan has spilled on the carpet.

9:20 Play a game of Uno with Abby.

9:30 Play a game of Candy Land with Ethan and Abby; referee argument over whether Abby cheated to get the Princess Frostine ice cream card.

9:45 Remember that there are no clean bottles; rush to clean them before Aaron wakes up.

10:00 Feed and change Aaron.

10:30 Prepare to lay Aaron down; abandon plan when Abby's friend from down the street rings the doorbell, sending the dog into a barking frenzy and scaring Aaron half to death.

10:50 Lay Aaron down; sit down at the computer.

10:52 Tell Abby and her friend that they can have a snack when they ask.

10:53 Listen to Ethan explain why Mario could beat Bowser at bowling.

10:55 Remember that I never switched the laundry in the washer to the dryer. Do so.

11:00 Sit down at the computer.

11:01 Tell Abby and her friend that they cannot play with makeup as they are requesting, becuase the last time they did they used 3 of our bath towels to get it off. Ponder how children with 2 million toys each can justify claiming boredom.

11:02 Let Ethan lead me to his room "without peeking" to show me the block tower he has built.

11:05 Sit down at the computer.

11:07 Surrender the computer to Ethan after he hangs on my arm whining about wanting to play games on Nick Jr.'s website.

11:30 Make sandwiches for lunch.

11:40 Spend 10 minutes getting Ethan, Abby and Abby's friend to all agree on a movie to watch while they eat lunch.

11:50 Sit down to eat lunch.

11:52 Aaron starts crying; pick him up and finish lunch with one hand.

12:15 Lay Aaron down; clean up from lunch; remind Abby that her friend has a house that can be played in, too.

12:30 Take world's fastest shower; put on the only clothes that aren't dirty or still in the dryer.

1:00 Tuck Ethan in for nap; threaten his life if he gets up.

1:10 Feed and change Aaron.

1:30 Jump out of my skin when Ethan materializes beside me claiming to have finished his nap. March him back to bed.

1:50 Lay Aaron down; sit at the computer.

1:55 Abby and her friend come back from the other house and--surprise surprise--ask for a snack.

2:00 Remember that there is laundry to be folded; start the dryer again to get the wrinkles out.

2:05 Pour myself a glass of Diet Dr. Pepper. It's not the first of the day, and it will likely not be the last.

2:06 Answer the knock at the door while kicking the dog to keep her from barking. Tell Abby's friend her brother is here to fetch her.

2:10 Play 4 games of Skipbo with Abby to keep her from dying of boredom, poor thing.

2:45 Abby's friend is back. Skipbo is abandoned.

2;46 Remember to return 2 phone calls from the morning--my friends and family are fortunately used to me calling them "right back" about 4 hours after they call.

3:05 Ethan wakes up and requests a snack 47 times in 30 seconds.

3:15 Watch the dance routine that Abby and her friend have created.

3:30 Sit down at the computer.

3:34 Tackle Ethan to keep him from climbing the entertainment center.

3:40 Hear my cell phone ring. Spend 10 minutes hunting for it.

3:50 Feed and change Aaron.

4:30 Dang-the laundry! Start the dryer. Again.

4:40 Closely supervise the kids playing with Aaron to ensure his survival.

5:00 Sit down at the computer.

5:05 Realize I should be figuring out something for dinner.

5:06 Figure out McDonald's.

5:07 Tell Ethan that I enjoy listening to him play Mary Had a LIttle Lamb on the piano, but it loses a bit of its magic after the 23rd time.

5:10 Sit down on the couch to play with Aaron myself.

5:30 Matt comes home. He sees me lounging with a smiling baby, Ethan watching Phineas and Ferb on tv, and Abby channeling Hannah Montana with her pal. He knows better than to be fooled by the tranquility.

Evenings are a wild mix of soccer practice, church, dinner, 7 more snacks, more feeding and changing Aaron, reading books and tucking kids in. Then it's time to collapse myself and prepare to do it all over again.

Hopefully you can see how this is an environment that is not always condusive to blogging. For example, I have been writing this blog post 2 minutes at a time for the last 7 hours. Soon, though, the older two return to school and Aaron's schedule will be more predictable. I figure by September, I'll be settled into the school year groove and be able to blog all the time.

Let's be honest, though. That laundry will probably still be in the dryer.