Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Laura and Amanda go home today.  They are my eldest's two best friends from New Jersey, and they've spent the last week with us.  Yes, sleeping on the floor or in crowded beds in our small apartment, driving around with us to run errands and take kids to and from school, listening to my griping about last minute moving details.  That's how good of friends they are.

We did the sightseeing stuff with them -- took them to the River Walk, the Alamo, the Japanese Tea Garden and the Botanical Gardens, the very cool outdoor La Cantera Mall -- and last night we ate at Texas Pride BBQ, a place we saw featured on a Food Network show right after they got here.

They also spent a lot of time at the apartment pool.  And they watched "High School Musical 3", kind of for old time's sake (even while they complained about how unrealistic it is . . . didn't bother them five years ago!).

They joked all day yesterday about the waiter at the fondue place telling them when they left to "have a good strip . . . uh, sorry . . . I was thinking 'have a good stay' and 'have a good trip' . . . um, yeah." Silly boy.

But mostly, they talked, as only teenage girls can.  They've been friends since our family started homeschooling and joined a co-op -- my eldest's second grade year (she's a senior now, remember).  They've kept in touch through texting and Skype for the five years we lived in Iowa.  Last spring, Amanda chose a trip to visit Leslie in lieu of a graduation party . . . and Laura begged her parents to let her come along.

That's how good of friends they are.

And today, they go back.  I felt bad that we weren't more settled here so we could give them a richer San Antonio experience.  But really, they weren't here to see Texas.  They were here to see my daughter.  (Although they liked Texas, too.)

All the hashtags Laura's been putting on her FB pictures kind of sum up the trip:  #wearealltogetheragain 


Monday, August 26, 2013

No, It's Not an Addiction, But Still . . .

Every once in a while, an event happens in your life that is all too revealing of your true self.

On one of our trips down to SA to visit before the move, my daughter introduced me to Candy Crush Saga, just as something to pass the time in the airport.  And it served that purpose quite well.  Mindless activity that could be interrupted at anytime yet made the minutes tick by a bit quicker. 

I'd heard a lot about my friends who were addicted to the game, but I didn't expect myself to get too hooked.  You only get five "lives" at a time, and you have to wait 30 minutes for another "life" when you've used them up.  Unless I decided to pay for more lives (which I had no intention of doing), there was a built-in monitor to keep me from going on too long.

I still have never paid for more lives . . . although, when I got stuck on level 65 for a few weeks, I did pay for one of the extra help things to try to move the game along (see?  I don't even know what they are called -- I can't be addicted).  The extra help didn't help me; now I know not to waste my money again.

Last week, I was stuck completing a "quest" to move on to a higher level (if you play, you know what I mean; if you don't, it doesn't matter).  It was a level I'd completed earlier, so it really annoyed me that I was not able to clear all this stupid jelly again.  Finally, in one glorious round filled with striped candies and sprinkled chocolates, the jelly was all eliminated and I rejoiced to move forward.

Except it didn't let me move forward.  It said I failed to complete the level.  Apparently, there was a point goal in addition to the blast-all-the-jelly goal, and I didn't get enough points.  (Never had that happen before . . . I didn't know it could happen . . . )

Here's the thing, folks:  I almost cried.  To have that moment of exultation and then suddenly crash down to the pit of failure again just about brought me to tears.

And that little voice inside of me said to my despairing self, Really? This is who you are now?  You've let a stupid, monotonous game on your phone that has no connection with or consequence on reality drag you into a pit of despair?

Now, I do realize that my emotions are a little more on edge these days just because of the general stress level in my life, so I don't blame the game entirely.  But it was definitely a wake up call.  Games are supposed to relax you . . . and this game is not relaxing me.

So, I've put myself in rehab.  I'm not allowing myself to play Candy Crush at home any more.  I'm limiting that game to times when I'm out and about and have a few minutes I have to wait for something and little else to do with my time.  At least until the rest of my life has calmed down and my emotions are more settled.

Now, Sudoku . . . no restrictions there.  I can control that habit.  Yes, I can.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Being Needy

A couple days ago, my eldest's English teacher sent home an email with an attachment for a release form we needed to print out, sign, and send back to school for her.  I had to write her back and tell her that we are in temporary housing at the moment with no access to a printer . . . could she give my daughter a hard copy to bring home to me?

A minor incident, I know, but it seems like there are a hundred little moments like this every day.  And this particular moment sent me over the mental edge finally:  I'm tired of being needy

A few friends may balk at what might seem like a casual hyperbolic use of the word "needy".  But a wonderful book recommended by a friend after my recent posts about how rich and poor think (A Framework for Understanding Poverty) defined "poverty" as "the extent to which an individual does without resources."  And there are many necessary resources in life beyond financial resources:

- emotional
- mental
- spiritual
- physical
- support systems
- relationship/role models
- knowledge (such as of hidden rules)

These are the types of resources I have felt sorely lacking in . . . particularly for the last couple months, but also for a couple years now, since the unemployment saga started. 

Oftentimes, the resources are there.  I mean, I had plenty of support systems and relationships to turn to in Sioux City when needs arose. And I had no qualms about asking for help -- we all have difficult times in our lives, and God intends for us to depend on each other.  We are created a social people.   But there comes a point, after a while, when you are tired of asking for help.  Tired of leaning on others. 

We've been able to use the "new to town" excuse for a couple months now here in San Antonio, and I expect we'll have a legitimate claim on that for quite some time.  But it's already getting old.  Sorry, we're new to town and I don't know where this is . . . Sorry, we're new to town and I'm not sure where I can get that . . . Sorry, I didn't know what the traffic would be like . . . Sorry, I didn't know this was the case . . . I don't know how that's done . . . Sorry . . . I'm sorry . . .

Two benefits coming out of this extended stint of neediness.  One, I have all the more empathy for those whose similar neediness is not temporary.  How exhausting and humbling to never quite have all the resources available to you that "society" expects folks to have.

And two, although I'm longing to get back to a feeling of being on top of things and in control of my life and comfortable . . . I have a feeling God doesn't want me there at all.  I have a feeling God would be quite happy if this unsettledness became my new norm so I learn how to lean on Him daily -- hourly -- and not on my own resources.

Not sure I'm happy about that, but I'll get there.  One step at a time.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Yes, I'm a day late getting a blog posted. Life is ju-u-ust a bit crazy right now. In what sense, you ask? Well . . .
  • My eldest started school yesterday. Senior year at a new school = a big deal. Her day seemed to go well, but she doesn't have any homework yet (other than the assignment the other AP English kids were given to do over the summer that she was given an extra month to complete).
  • Although my youngest doesn't start school until Thursday, I had to attend a teacher training session at her school yesterday and will be there again today. As I described in an earlier post about her school, she does two days' worth of school at home, so we are given extensive instruction on how the school does things so we're all working together well.
  • I'm figuring out the transportation thing: that is, how to get two kids to two different schools in different parts of town on time – and picked up, as well. In a couple weeks, another eighth grade mom will be able to do some carpooling with us that will help that situation, but for right now, it's all me, and I'll be spending a lot of time in my Honda Odyssey learning the ropes of the San Antonio road system.
  • My husband is out of town all week at some training of his own in New York City. A lot of bummer things about that.
  • At about lunchtime today, my eldest's two best friends from New Jersey are coming for an eight-day visit. They planned this trip back in May, before we knew that the girls' school would already be in session and we'd still be in our two-bedroom apartment. Ah, well. We are all excited about them coming – they're good friends, and it has been a long time!
  • The youngest is trying to work up her endurance for cross country by running in the heat of the afternoon every day . . . which means when mom is home, she gets to join her running in the heat of the afternoon every day. Ugh.
  • Did I mention that we're still in the two-bedroom apartment?
Even this post, I'm typing at my meeting location for the day because for some reason, out of nowhere, my computer can't get internet access at the apartment and I don't have time to call someone to get it figure out.  !!!! 

But you know what?  I turn 45 today.  Before I go to bed tonight, I'm going to indulge myself in a big bowl of Sweet CiCi's frozen yogurt loaded up with candy goodies and say happy birthday to me!  :) 

"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."

Friday, August 16, 2013

School for the Young 'Un

I don't believe I've written yet about the school my youngest will be attending.

It's called Summit Christian Academy, and it is a University Model School.  This model is kind of a hybrid between homeschool and private school.  At the elementary level, students are at the school two days a week and home being taught by their parents the other three days.  Once middle school hits, that increases to three days a week in school.

There's a lot I like about this model.  I've talked to many parents over the years who really liked the idea of homeschooling but were terrified to actually be solely responsible for their child's education.  A lot of the parents I've spoken to from this school seemed to be in that camp.  This can give them the best of both worlds, in a way.

I also found that they use a lot of the same curriculum I did (or curriculum I would have chosen if I were going to spend the money on curriculum) and a similar approach to subjects that I have.  For example, for the last few years, I've combined history, literature, and writing into one big "subject" I've labeled Humanities.  They seemed to overlap so much, separating them out into individual subjects almost seemed artificial.  SCA does the same thing.

So, there's a lot about this school that I'm really excited about.  But I do have some concerns . . . or at least things that I'm anxious to see if they will work well for my kid.  The primary one: class size.  This is a relatively new school.  They started with early elementary grades and added on a grade level as the kids enrolled grew into them.  My youngest's class -- the eighth grade class -- is the new class this year.  And if she continues there, she will ultimately be in their first graduating class in 2018.  Kind of cool in a way, but it also means that she and her classmates are the guinea pigs that they're figuring everything out on. 

And it also means that her class is small.  In fact, with her, there are three.  The seventh grade class has three also (including the principal's daughter), and the two classes seem to do a lot together.  Considering that for the last three years, she's been a class of one at home, this is not as dramatic a change as you would think.  But if it turns out that she doesn't get along well with these other 2-5 kids, that could make for a miserable year.

It will also be interesting to see what her work load is like on her two days at home.  One eighth grade mom told me her daughter is done with her SCA work by noon and that she supplements with other work.  A seventh grade mom told me her son works until 4:30.  That's one of the advantages of homeschooling -- being able to adapt things to fit your kid.  I suspect my girl will need some supplementing . . . particularly in the literature area.  They do seem to be much lighter on literature than I have been, and it's important to me that my kids are well-read.

The other disadvantage of a small school: less "extras".  They're starting their first athletic program fall.  Cross country.  My daughter is participating, although after the first two practices this week, she's regretting that decision (she's not in great physical shape for this yet).  My oldest daughter's school offers a full music program, drama, yearbook, plus some media classes which my youngest would really get into -- and an athletic program that she would not.  I'm wondering if, by the end of the year, I will want my youngest to have access to all of that, too.

I'm also wondering how I will take to giving up so much control over my kids' education.  Yes, I still have more control than I would have if she were in a regular school.  I'm just spoiled now.  But who knows?  Maybe I'll get used to the burden being removed and end up liking it.

In any case, it will be an interesting year with SCA.  Classes start next Thursday. I'll fill you in as we go.  :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

And We Have a New House!

And it's been a long time coming.  After much difficult finagling with some interesting homeowners, we have a contract on a new home here in San Antonio!

Here's our front "yard".  This is actually a little walled in courtyard at the front of the house.  Yes, tons of plants.  And yes, we've already discussed my black thumb.  We may have to hire someone to teach me how to keep this stuff alive -- or to just keep it alive for me.  Or maybe hubby will be better at that than I am.

The master bedroom is to the right in that photo -- with a door coming out to the courtyard.  Very much looking forward to that.

The kitchen is in that lit up window just about in the center.  Family room to the left of that. The laundry room is off of the family room and goes straight into the garage if you keep moving left.  A dining room is to the right of the kitchen, as are stairs.

The upstairs patio comes from the upstairs "living area" directly behind it and there's another door to it from a bedroom to the right.  Two more bedrooms upstairs (but only one bathroom -- that's one of the minuses of the place).

No basement.  No basements anywhere that we found in San Antonio.  Apparently the ground is too rocky to make it feasible to dig basements.  That's why almost every house we looked at had the upstairs living area.


Here's that family room I said was to the left.  With the previous homeowners' furniture, of course.  All of these photos were taken on my phone, so excuse the poor quality. (And my inability to maneuver the spacing here to be more aesthetically pleasing.)

And here's the kitchen.  Yes, those blue blocks let in sunlight.

And here's the view from the front door to that dining area I said was to the right of the kitchen (stairs to the right of this).  And again, this is still the current homeowners' furniture.

I won't bore you with more photos.  You get the idea.  :)

We're hoping to be moved in by Labor Day.  Hubby is going back to Sioux City at the end of this week to be there while the movers back up our stuff.  We are SO anxious to be back in a real house with all of our possessions available to us again.  (Although we will have to get rid of a lot of stuff -- this house is much smaller.)

And this means, by October or so, we will be ready for visitors!  Lots of stuff to do in San Antonio, friends.  SeaWorld, Six Flags, the Alamo . . .

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Mega-Church Experience

The church search -- one of my least favorite things about moving.

Yesterday, we visited Cornerstone Church, the 20,000-member mega-church here in San Antonio pastored by John Hagee.  Now, I don't know a lot about Hagee, other than he's a well-known conservative pastor with a television ministry that reaches world-wide and who stirs up a lot of controversy on occasion.  I googled him Saturday night and, of course, found a lot of criticism of his lifestyle and teaching and so forth, but I really tried to go with an open mind.  After all, my eldest daughter is going this fall to Cornerstone Christian School, founded by Hagee, so I probably should know something about the man and his church.

So, some observations:

- The music was pretty fabulous.  I mean, just look at the picture of this choir!  It was like an old-fashioned southern revival.  Not all of it was the style of music I'd prefer -- a couple numbers were like the caricature of a cheesy TV preacher's worship service.  But much of it was big and bold and great.  And the congregation sang with enthusiasm, also.

- But then, this congregation would be enthusiastic no matter what, I imagine.  It was a rather charismatic group -- lots of hands in the air, amen-ing and hallelujah-ing.  A new experience for my daughters.

- And I will say, this was perhaps the most racially integrated congregation I've ever been in.  And THAT was an awesome thing.

- I didn't notice this until Hagee started preaching, but there were two men standing on the floor on either side of him facing the congregation the whole time.  Security guards.  Wow.  So, has Hagee said stuff that makes him worry for his personal safety when he's up in public like this?  Have they just had issues with that big of a crowd and they learned they need people there prepared to handle the unexpected?  I'd love to hear the story behind that.

- I couldn't argue against much of anything Hagee said during the service (although he toed awfully close to the Prosperity Gospel line at one point).  In fact, his sermon was an amen-worthy flat-out gospel presentation, for the most part.  But his manner . . . I couldn't help but think that I should have had my two actors who played the character of Evangelist in my productions of "Pilgrim's Progress" watch videos of him for inspiration.  The epitome of over-the-top cheesy TV evangelist style.  Content: fine.  Delivery: not for me.

- He had an invitation at the end (of course) and about a hundred people came forward.  And this is where I got troubled, strangely enough.  Everyone else in the building was amen-ing and hallelujah-ing over the crowd gathered at the front.  I was praying, Lord, please let these decisions all be sincere.  I'm so conscious anymore of how people can be emotionally manipulated into saying the right words, raising their hand, getting dunked in the baptismal tank (they have a baptismal service there every Sunday night and these people were being invited to come back for that) . . . and in the end, it was all just lip-service.  These people think they just signed on for some fire insurance to save them from hell and now they can go back to their lives as usual.  I pray to God that wasn't what was happening in this crowd.  Unfortunately, I'm pessimistic about this stuff anymore.

All in all, an experience I'm glad we had.  But I don't anticipate making this my church family.

However, when their Christmas pageant rolls around in December, I am there.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lord Over Even that One Thing

My non-Christian friends may be annoyed by this post. Heck, my Christian friends may be annoyed, too. That's okay. I write what's on my heart. And in the words of a passionate Baptist pastor we heard a couple Sundays ago, “Brothers and sisters, I jus' may preach this morning!!!”

Actually, I'm going to let David Platt do the preaching. I was powerfully moved by one of his Secret Church video teachings yesterday and felt like I had to share.  Here's the link (forward to the end, about 65:00), but  I'm also going to give you his words, right here, with my commentary. (All emphases are mine.)
Believe in the historical resurrection of Jesus, but don’t stop there; that’s not salvation. Mere intellectual belief in the resurrection of Jesus is not salvation. The demons believe in the resurrection.

[Did you catch that friends? The demons know Jesus rose from the dead. Know it for a fact! They were there!  Satan was, too!]
If the devil himself were here tonight and I were to ask him, “Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God?” he would say, “Yes.”
If I were to ask him, “Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?” he’d say, “Yes.”
If I were to ask him, “Do you believe He died on the cross and rose again?” he’d say, “Yes.”
If I were to ask him, “Do you believe He is the only way to be saved?” he’d say, “Yes.”
If I were to ask him, “Will you commit to live a moral life and come to church and get involved in leadership?” he’d say, “Yes.” Because you can believe and do every single one of those things and not be saved.
[Christian friends, do we really understand this???]
But do you know what the key question is, the question that would change everything in that conversation? If I were to look at the devil and say, “Do you repent of your sin and surrender your life to Jesus as Lord?” and he would say, “Absolutely not.”
[That magic word: “Lord”. Master. The one whom I intentionally submit to and allow to run my life. We Americans are so hung up on our “freedom” . . . ]
This is why this is so important, because this is exactly what we’ve done today. [We, the church.] We’ve said, “Believe in Jesus, pray a prayer, get involved in church, maybe even lead in the church, live a good life, and you will be saved.” That is a lie. It’s a lie. Scores of professing Christians have believed half of Romans 10:9, and they think they are saved from their sins when they are not. They’re headed to everlasting suffering...some of you...and you think you’re safe. No, believe in the resurrection of Jesus, and surrender to the lordship of Jesus with your life. This is what it means to be saved.
[Surrender to his Lordship. Don't “make him” Lord. He's already Lord – of everything. Surrender to his Lordship and stop fighting.
I'm convicted today that I and so many of us have things in our lives that we KNOW we are not willing to surrender to his Lordship. And I think it's very important that we consider deeply whether we can truly say we are saved if we are quite clearly refusing to give him control of something that he very obviously has the right to control and wants to change.]  
There are scores of people -- scores of people here tonight -- giving lip service to Jesus whose lives are not surrendered to him as the absolute authority, the one who reigns supremely over you and rightfully determines and directs everything in your life, and I want to call you, urge you, to surrender your life to him and confess him as LORD.

Is He my Lord, or isn't He?  There's no doing this part-way and getting by, I'm afraid, friends.  It's an all-or-nothing thing.  Here's praying that every one of us identifies that thing (start with one thing) that we're refusing to give Him control of and starts to believe that God can be trusted about that, too.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fixing a Hot Mess

At the end of my time in New Jersey and during the first part of our stint in Iowa, I lost about 15 pounds.  During this last stressful year of unemployment, I gained it all back.  Unfortunately, carbs are a long time friend to me in times of trial.

I also lost a contact toward the end of May (while on the treadmill, if I get any brownie points for that) and have been wearing my old glasses full-time for a couple months.  And Texas humidity seems to be doing a number on my hair -- I can't quite make it look right most days.  And I don't know if it's the lighting in the apartment bathroom or the cheap foundation I bought while on a strict budget, but my skin is yeechy.  And I'm already tired of the limited wardrobe I brought with me for this temporary time in the apartment.

All to say, I'm less than pleased when I behold myself in the mirror these days.  My husband, God bless his soul, still tells me I look beautiful, but what's he supposed to say?  "Ew, baby!  You're a hot mess!"  He has the wisdom of 24 years of marriage to know better than to make a comment like that.

But I've been chipping away at the hot mess.  I replaced my contacts as soon as I could get to an eye doctor here in San Antonio.  Been making use of the exercise room here and cutting down on sweets and portion sizes.  And yesterday, I got my hair done.  Whew!  It's amazing what a difference that can make.

The lady who did my hair was a friendly lady -- we had a conversation about Candy Crash and the frustration of getting stuck on certain levels.  (She said she had a customer who was on level 300-something.  Seriously??  Somebody doesn't have a life . . . )  I wasn't sure how she could do Candy Crush at all, however, with her fingernails.

These were serious nails -- wicked nails -- long, thick, colorful, bejeweled nails.  When I first saw them, I couldn't imagine how she was going to be able to do anything on my hair with those nails.  But she did.  They didn't even fall off when she scrubbing my hair and massaging my scalp under the water. 

But I had the passing thought:  is this what other people do when they're less than pleased when they behold themselves in the mirror?  Jewel-covered nails?  Blond streaky highlights on thick black hair?  Nose rings?  Tattoos?  Do those decisions come out of the same experience of being tired of your image?

I don't think I'll ever get THAT tired of what I look like.  And even if I did, I would start with a bright new lipstick or something first.  Lipstick's cheap . . . and it wipes off.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Gospel According to Les Mis

When I saw this book (The Gospel According to Les Miserables by Selena Sams) come up on the website for reviews, I immediately thought of my friends, the Jacobs . . . who are serious Le Mis fans, if not downright fanatics.  And I was quite interested in the book, but I knew with the move happening, I wouldn't have time to get it read and reviewed in the required timeframe.  So I offered it to my friends, which they graciously accepted.  And here is Kim's review!

Written from a conservative, evangelical Christian perspective, the 30 devotional readings in The Gospel According to Les Miserables will challenge readers to learn biblical lessons from favorite characters like Valjean, Javert, Marius, Fantine, and many others.
This simple devotional book contains thirty two-page lessons pertaining to the Christian life as compared to characters in Les Miserables. Each reading begins with an applicable Scripture verse to set the tone of the lesson. The author's purpose is stated in the title of the book, which is to inspire the Christian's faith in his/her walk through life by connecting that faith to themes in the book.
The author knows the story very well, and I enjoyed her synopsis of a particular part of the book and a little French history which began each reading. The Bible verse which began each lesson was carried well throughout the two-page reading. However, the lessons were too repetitive, with the same character and concept stated in too many lessons. Finally at Reading 9, the lessons became more varied and interesting, but by then I had given up the book for my daily devotions as I disliked the repetitiveness. 
I then read the entire book in one sitting and was left feeling uninspired and unchallenged. The readings as a whole were shallow; I need more substance and faith challenges. Coming from a Lutheran background, I disagreed with the emphasis on what the believer "must do", "should do", and "need to do" stressed in each reading. I was left feeling guilty because I can't do all the author pointed out; I'm a miserable sinner. Where is the Grace of God? God's grace was finally mentioned in the last sentence of the book. And hardly any mention of His Holy Spirit, who works in me through Christ to be able to do all these works.  
The whole book could have been written as an article or paper exploring the Christian concepts in Les Miserables. Written as a 30 day devotional seemed to be difficult to find material to fill that space. Although the book was grammatically well-written, there were several punctuation errors, paragraph mistakes, and even the back cover summary contains a couple mistakes that distracted me, like "Javier" instead of "Javert".
I would give this book 2 out of 5 stars.
So, there you have it!  If you're interested in taking a look for yourself, you can find the book at this link.  Thanks, Kim!
Disclosure:  I received this book free from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Apartment Living

There are advantages and disadvantages to a family of four living in a two-bedroom furnished apartment.

ADVANTAGE:  When you misplace something, there just aren't too many places for the thing to be.

DISADVANTAGE: When you want some time alone, there just aren't too many places for you to be.

ADVANTAGE: No lawn care or yard work.

DISADVANTAGE:  No garage -- and the Texas sun can make your car darn hot.

ADVANTAGE:  The laundry room is just a few steps away from both bedrooms, both bathrooms, and the kitchen.

DISADVANTAGE: Four people sharing two double beds.  (They may be queens -- hubby and I haven't figured that out yet.  We're so spoiled with our king, anything else makes for a rough night.  Our daughters have started taking turns sleeping on the sofa.)

ADVANTAGE:  An air-conditioned workout room and two pools all just a two-minute walk away.

DISADVANTAGE: A flight of stairs to climb to get back into the apartment -- especially odious after a half-hour in the workout room.

ADVANTAGE:  The mental challenge of figuring out how to operate new appliances.  (Our toaster has a "cancel" button on it.  Hmph.)

DISADVANTAGE:  The aggravation of learning how to operate new appliances.  (It took me all day the first day of doing laundry to figure out which setting on the dryer would actually dry my clothes.)

ADVANTAGE:  Someone to call immediately when an appliance is messed up. (Like when I come home after three hours and the dishwasher is still running and the dial hasn't moved.)

DISADVANTAGE:  Missing cooking supplies.  (I bought a blueberry muffin mix at the store . . . only to remember when I got home that we don't have a muffin tin.)

ADVANTAGE:  The creative new meal options resulting from having to make do.  (Blueberry muffin-bread, anyone?)

DISADVANTAGE: Phone calls and mail for previous owners.  (We haven't given out the apartment phone number to anyone -- I don't even know what it is -- so when the phone rings, we just let it ring.  We know it's not for us.  And it rings and rings and rings.  AND apparently there have been at least two different counselor/psychologists in our apartment before us.  I'm enjoying skimming their professional journals and magazines, but I wonder if they're missing them.)

ADVANTAGE: Setting the thermostat wherever we want because we don't pay that bill.  (Although hubby likes it much colder than we do, as does everyone in San Antonio, it seems.  I take a hoodie along to wear when I go into buildings because the air conditioner is set so low.  They do love their extremes here.)

DISADVANTAGE:  The overabundance of togetherness.

ADVANTAGE:  The overabundance of togetherness.

The girls are griping now, but I expect in several years, they'll look back with some fond memories of these couple of months.  Or at least their moments of misery here will seem amusing.  :)