52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with the Pumpkins (You’ve Already Seen)

The Boys with Their Pumpkins

We never get a Saturday in October to ourselves. Or a day in October to ourselves. The whole month is full of plans and places to be and things to do and go go go. But then Moses parted the sea and we ended up with a Saturday to ourselves.

After I finished my run for the day, we informed the boys that we would be hitting the pumpkin patch.

Now mind you, the weather outside was being very October-y. On either side of my run, it hailed. One minute, the sun would shine. The next minute, the sky would let loose. We showed the hail to the boys at one point, and they marveled. So when we told them we’d be heading to the pumpkin patch, they looked out the window with concerned faces. Or more like they looked back at the fact that they had a Saturday to play all the video games they wanted and their stupid mom was interrupting their technology weekend time with stupid family time. If they had been just three years older, the tween attitude would have been thick.

“Like, the real pumpkin patch or are we just going to Walmart like last year?”

Thanks for bringing it up, oldest son of mine. I didn’t feel guilty about it last year and I sure don’t feel like crap that you remember my short-comings as your mother. No, that feels great! Spectacular! Awesome!

“We’re going to the real pumpkin patch!”

They shrugged and slowly put on shoes, put on their rain jackets. They moseyed out to the car as if going to a real pumpkin patch was a life sentence and delaying that by walking as slowly as possible was their only way at keeping freedom for as long as they possibly could. But dang it, we were having family time and we were going to the real pumpkin patch and I didn’t care that it started raining on our way there, because plans.

“Do you know where you’re going?” The backseat drivers questioned every turn my husband made, and really, we didn’t know where we were going because we were going to a different place than two years ago. We turned out a back road and then down another and then ended up on an unpaved road. I think that’s one of the things that my city friends just can’t totally grasp about living where we live. That you can be driving on a totally paved road and then the pavement stops and it’s not a driveway. It’s a real live road that people live on and have to get out of when the snow and ice come in the winter. But this was an exceptional unpaved road in that it really wasn’t wide enough for two cars. It was barely wider than the running trail. It was epically rural.

On this epically rural road, the rain sputtered and started and stopped and sputtered some more. BigBrother kept talking about the miraculous pumpkins at Walmart, and LittleBrother agreed that they were mighty nice pumpkins. And I just sighed, because apparently that will be their Halloween memory, the one that they tell their children on the way to the pumpkin patch. “One year, mom and dad forgot to take us to get pumpkins at a patch so we ended up at Walmart and she took our picture and everything!” Yeah, fantastic.

Then we rounded a bend and the pumpkin patch came into sight.

They forgot to talk about Walmart. They bounded out of the car and started touching all of the pumpkins.

“Look at this one!”
“Look at that one!”

They ran around, with me instructing them to attempt to avoid the mud, but they weren’t listening. They indulged me briefly for a picture in the corn teepee, and then off they went to find their pumpkins. They helped each other and pointed to and fro, and I just smiled.

Maybe they’ll remember the year that it was hailing out and mom made them go pick out pumpkins instead.



Yes, you already saw this photo. It’s okay. It’s my space; I can pick which photos to use. I promise.

Tiny Prints Cyber Monday

Not Ready

Dad called last night to discuss Pittsburgh Dad’s new commercial and the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory. I expect his call after every new episode, but I didn’t know to expect the gut punch that followed.

“Grandma’s house is listed.”

As I choked on air, he proceeded to tell me all about the listing and the three showings that happened on the first day the listing went live. Having sold a house in the current market, I know that three listings on the first day ranks as miraculous. But I’m not looking for a miracle in this case. I want that house and the nine acres of our farm that it sits on to sell as much as I’d like a lobotomy.

Meaning: Nope. Not interested.

Grandma's Flower Garden

I grew up in that house. I spent after school hours with my Grandma, watching The Little Mermaid. One day, I colored on her with magic markers when she took a nap. I sat at the table, which is now sitting in my dining room, and ate macaroni and cheese and pork chops, which I now make for my family. I ran out the back door and up the hill, and later after they built them, the steps to the top of the backyard and picked grapes from the grapevine, slurping the slippery insides out of the purple skin. I’d run down the steps, down which I fell a few times, and greet Grandpa when he got home from work. I learned to sew in the basement; I sewed the bottom of a skirt together, thus making a giant pillow case. I remember our old collie, German shepherd mix herding my baby brother as he tried to escape into the tall grass of the Back 40; she knocked him over. He cried; I laughed.

My tree is on that piece of The Farm’s property. My Grandpa planted it for me. They took pictures of tiny little me standing next to it that first year, and then the following year when it already towered over me. Now it’s one of the tallest trees on The Farm, beautiful and strong. I look at it every time we pull in the driveway on my parents’ side of The Farm, down past the old barn foundation and the creek, just up a small hill. My tree.

And now it’s going to be someone else’s tree? Even though I’ll see it every time I arrive on the nine-less-acres-of The Farm?

My Dad rambled on as only my Dad can, and then he threw my soul under the bus.

“Are you sure you don’t want to buy it?” His tone suggested that he was joking, but the sound of truth rang loud and clear. “Don’t you want to live next to us? It would be fun! We’d yell and get mad at each other and all those things, but we’d have a blast.”

Because I need more heartbreak in this process of letting go. Because letting go of Grandma wasn’t hard enough. Because not ever wanting to have two mortgages ever again on top of the fact that my husband can’t work as a professional firefighter in Pennsylvania as they don’t accept Ohio’s fire license means the question is an absolute impossibility.

Because when it all shakes out, I’d love nothing more. But it can’t happen; it won’t happen.

This is not what any of us imagined. We knew that someday Grandma and Grandpa would pass, but we didn’t know that Chesapeake Energy had run a scam on them, preying on the financial problems that so many aging people face. We didn’t know we would be losing part of the family Farm, adding insult to injury.

I’ve felt helpless, over here, while my family over there dealt with the cleaning up and out of the house, the incessant back and forth with a company who doesn’t even know what the land looks like, let alone what it means to us. I feel helpless as I don’t know how to say goodbye to something that is an inanimate object—just land and a house, right? But so much more. That land, that house, they are my childhood come to life in the leaves of the trees, in the sliding of the back door, in the wave of the tall grass.

In everything.


Training for the Columbus Half Marathon: Praise Taper, Hallelujah!

The Columbus Marathon is in 13 days. OMG THIRTEEN DAYS. I have ONLY THIRTEEN DAYS left to train for the Columbus Half Marathon, having just finished my 14th week of training.

Training for the Columbus Half Marathon

Oh hey, taper. I love you.

I mean, I don’t know why I would love running some lower mileage after running 100 miles in September.

100 Miles in September!

I mentioned the secret thing I was working on last week, and this was it. Coming into the last few days of September, I realized my training runs would leave me just shy of 100 for the month. I wanted 100 for the month, because obviously, so I ran a two-a-day with an extra mile, and then an extra 1.4 miles at the end of a five miler. And voila! 100 miles!

Then I didn’t run for three days. I’m not sorry.

During those four days, of course, I signed up for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I stretched and rested, because running 13 miles plus one that evening and then four and then nearly six-and-a-half all in a row left me feeling rather depleted. Proud, but tired. Resting was in my best interest, so I rested. Then I ran a healthy, happy eight miler with happy, healthy, and ready legs. Thank you, taper.

Eight Miles of AWESOME

Some people get caught up in the OMGICANTNOTRUN of the taper. I understand the feeling and have felt it before, but that’s totally not where I am this time around. I’m ready for this rest, for the lead up to race day. I could probably cut back on the comfort food I consumed this weekend (and the leftovers today), but honestly, I know I’m ready. I know I’m in shape. I know I can run this race. In fact, I’d really rather run the race this weekend, but race weekend won’t be here for two more weekends.

Speaking of race weekend, let’s look at the initial weather reports, shall we? Today’s Accuweather says:

Race Day Weather Forecast

October 19th will be a low of 35, a high of 54, and “partial sunshine.” Yesterday, it called for rain, so we’ve already left the rain behind. That’s exciting. Partial sunshine is worrisome though, as it leaves me unsure as to what I should wear.

It Was Still Hot Early Last Week

Monday, run 50: 4.01 miles, 40:39, 10:08/pace
Tuesday, run 51: 6.44 miles, 1:06:30, 10:20/pace
Wednesday: Rest Day
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: 8.00 miles, 1:19:52, 9:59/pace
Sunday: Rest Day

I only have two four milers and a five miler this week. I’m planning on spacing them out and taking them easy (though I’d like tomorrow’s run to be my fastest on that route this training season…). I’ve started thinking ahead to after the EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler and what I’ll do during the “break” that exists between the end of fall season and the beginning of my spring training season. While I’ll RunStreak again, I want to look into some other workouts. I’ve been researching both home and local options, but so far don’t know what to do just yet.

Favorite. Shirt. Ever.

I’ll be finalizing my marathon outfit this week. I’ll share it with you next week along with how to follow me on race day. (And how to follow my husband, if you’re so inclined. We’ll be running together, so it’s kind of a package deal!) I really need to decide on capris vs shorts, and tank vs sleeves. The cooler temps are cooler, but during my eight miler on Saturday, it took me less than a mile to warm up; once the sun came out, I was too hot. So weird.

Here’s to week 15!


Sunday Links: October, 5, 2014

Oh Hey

You guys wrote all the amazing things this week.

No, I’m Not Pregnant; I’m Just Gaining Weight from the Pills: Originally posted on her blog and then featured on BlogHer, this post by Carrie is a must read about mental health, the way we speak to women about their bodies, and all things in between.

Sometimes I Get Angry: Uh, I sure hope my therapist doesn’t read this post, because she’ll take Glennon’s words and be all, “DID YOU READ THAT? DID YOU INTERNALIZE IT?” I’m bad at anger; I’ve internalized the message that women aren’t supposed to be angry. Maybe I should internalise this instead: “Maybe anger is like compassion, in that it can point us directly toward the place in the world we were born to help heal.” Maybe.

Mommy, Is It True Introverts Are Rude and Mean?: I loved this, especially as I’ve been told more than once that people assumed I was rude or snobby upon first meeting me. Nope, that was just me wanting to crawl under a rock rather than introduce myself. Of course, I’ll be super rude if you’re a jagoff, so just a heads up.

When It’s Divine to Mourn: Fall isn’t my mourning time, but I felt this piece deep in my bones. Yep. Maybe it’s fall for you, or winter like me, or spring or summer. Whenever it is, you are not alone, and it’s okay to be where you are when you need to be there.

Outrunning Fire: This broke my heart in a thousand pieces. We’re all carrying something with us, trying to outrun something, aren’t we?

Dodging Skittles and Other Fears: Wow. I haven’t read anything written as well as this in quite some time. I related to so much, too much. All the feelings.

Feminists Wear Pink: Yep. All of this. Times twelve.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go: My cousin Hannah is heading out on a travel section of her semester abroad; I’m so excited for her!

It’s Like They Know Us: OH MY LOLZ. After reading some of the heavier stuff above, click on this and laugh all the laughs. I subscribed.

Did you read or write something amazing this week? I’d love to read it!