My Week in Arkansas, Part 3

**My ears are all plugged up and I’ve got that nasty, post nasal drip thing going on. Tomorrow is the Philadelphia Race for the Cure and my first time to walk since both my mom and myself were diagnosed with breast cancer. Which means it’s my first time to do the Survivor Parade down the Rocky Steps (the Philadelphia Art Museum). I’m telling you right now, if I end up missing it AGAIN because I’m sick I will cry. Not just a little boo-hoo, but body wracking sobs. The kind that makes your eyes-a-ruddin’ and gives you the hooty puckers. But I don’t think it will come to that. Well, actually it may come to that just from the sheer emotion of it all. But not ’cause I missed it. I’ll keep you posted.**

And now for the exciting conclusion to My Week In Arkansas. No doubt you’ve lost sleep from the anticipation.

Will our heroine finish the dining area? Will the living room be completed on time? Will the beautiful and sweet youngest sister fall prey to the scheming manipulations of her mean and jealous sisters? And if so, will anybody save her?

Not to worry, gentle readers. Today’s installment will answer all your questions.

Sunday, April 27:

We all went to church with the folks. The last time we were all in the same church at the same time was five years ago so it was nice to worship together. Katie’s second grade teacher goes to that church so I got to visit with her for a little bit. She finds it hard to believe Katie is in 7th grade and isn’t always sweet.

*You know how when your kids’ teachers tell you how sweet and well behaved they are and what a pleasure they are, yadda, yadda, yadda. Do you enjoy hearing it, but in the back of your head you’re thinking they’re only telling you that because they know you want to hear it and in reality your kid is a brat? No? It’s just me??*

After church we went for lunch at The Cracker Barrel. When I lived in Arkansas I used to regularly meet a good friend of mine there for breakfast. Most of those breakfasts with Wilma turned into lunches. She and her husband, Ray, are very special to our family and I think of her as my spiritual mentor. They’re about the same age as my folks and they all enjoy each others company so when I half-jokingly said the night before that I didn’t feel right about going to Cracker Barrel without Wilma Mom said to invite her and Ray. So they met us there and we had a great visit and the food wasn’t bad, either.

Finally it was time to get back to the house and pick up where we’d left off. We got about four hours or so of work done Sunday. And we had, of course, ice cream for dessert.

Note to Terri – Yes, we did comment on the lack of paint fumes, but that’s the way they work. They mess with your brain so you can’t smell them. Really.

Monday, April 28:

We pretty much jumped right into work on Monday. It was our last day to get everything finished so we didn’t waste any time. The dining area, the hall and the entryway were completely done which left the living room. Shelli and I worked in there while Terri did all the running around, straightening, hanging up stuff and those little things you don’t think about but take up a lot of time.

The painting finally got done, curtains were hanged, switch plates replaced, furniture moved back… And this is what we have to show for it:

The dining room:

The living room:

And Terri’s handiwork over the kitchen cabinets:

All our work paid off and everything looked fresher, cleaner and quite nice, if I do say so myself. Which I do. And my mom wanted me to say that she’s very glad we didn’t keep the wallpaper. She was pretty worried for a day or two when she saw what a mess I’d made of the walls, but it all turned out okay in the end.

After days of hard labor we decided to celebrate. So we had ice cream.

Tuesday, April 29:

I’m pretty sure Terri and Michele felt the same way I did Tuesday morning. Excited to be getting home and sad at having to leave. We had flights out of the Little Rock airport close to the same time so Mom and Dad dropped us off together. After we made it through security we went to Starbuck’s for breakfast while we waited for our planes. That was nice, too. Again, the last time it had just been the three of us together (except for when we drove to Baskin Robbins) was when I was having those scans almost three years earlier.

Neither Terri nor Michele abused me much, if at all. Or else I’m so used to it I didn’t notice. I think, however, it’s because there is power in the written word and they knew I’d tell on them for all the world to see. Or the five people who read this blog.

All joking aside, I was so happy we managed to coordinate our schedules and do this for Mom and Dad. Not even the painting so much, but just all of us being together. That doesn’t happen very often anymore because for one thing we’re fairly spread out. But more than that, Terri and Michele have grown children – also spread out and some with families of their own. So it’s a bit of a balancing act on their part – who are we going to go see this time. Even if we spent most of the week painting it was just great to be together.


  1. Becky on May 10, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Everything looks GREAT! Good job, y’all!Hope you’re feeling better and are able to go on that Race for the Cure!

  2. Cheryl Wray on May 10, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    I think it is all wonderful that you guys were able to be there for your parents. As we get older and spread apart, it’s hard sometimes to do that!The painting looks great.Have a great weekend!

  3. cubmommy on May 11, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  4. Rosie on May 12, 2008 at 1:27 am

    Hope you are feeling better. Been there done that with the sore throat stuff. It bites. I enjoyed the Arkansas updates. You done good for your parents. How great is it that you got to all be together. Seems pretty darn wonderful.

  5. Lynilu on May 12, 2008 at 4:52 am

    First of all, get well soon! Is it my imagination or are you having a lot of illness recently? Take care of YOU!The house looks nice. I love a newly painted home. After the initial fumes fade, it smells so fresh. It is really neat that you had that time with your sibs. As we age, there is never enough time to keep the connections strong. It sounds as if you had fun amidst the toil and travails. (OK, that was put there in response to your level of drama. Did it work???)Last …. and a day late …. Happy Mother’s Day, Jen. 🙂

  6. You made me hungry for Cracker Barrel…..wink Heather

  7. Casdok on May 12, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Belated happy Mothers day! And do hope you feel better soon!

  8. Barrie on May 12, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Looks great!

  9. radioactive girl on May 12, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Sounds wonderful! I hope you had a wonderful mother’s day too! I hope you feel better fast!

  10. Gretchen on May 12, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    Looks awesome, Jenster. You’re right–it’s always a gift to get together with loved ones, even if it’s to paint. And what a blessing for your folks. Hey…my house could use a coat of paint on the inside…Just sayin.xxxooogretchen

  11. Sing4joy on May 14, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    insert my same comments from part 2

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