Mommy Soup

How soup for 7 really works.

People of Lynchburg

I’ve talked before about a few cultural things I’ve encountered since moving to the South in another post.  Those were the things I had observed after a short time in town.  I’ve lived here for 8 months now and I’ve been trying to get to know people and make friends.  You know, so that I’m not that sad, lonely lady with cats and kids who never leaves her house.  Don’t want that to happen.

Any way, Lynchburg is a pretty conservative place.  It’s home to the largest Christian college in the country.  There are more churches than…well, than anything.  As I’ve been told over and over again, it’s the buckle of the Bible belt.  After I introduce myself to people, the 2nd thing they ask is what church I go to.  The first is more of a statement; “You’re not from around here, are you?”  When I tell them that I don’t go to church, they all start suggesting churches.

Hunting and weapons are also a big thing here. There are excusable absences built into the public schools during hunting season and students can have loaded weapon racks in their cars (parked on campus) so long as their guns are locked into the rack. My husband got his first bb gun at 4 and 10 when he got a black powder gun (or has he playfully calls it, “a modern musket”). My brother in law, J, (you remember him) hunts, though he is the type of hunter who uses every piece of what he kills.

Now, let me say that there is nothing wrong with being conservative or a Christian.  I also don’t have anything personally against those who own guns or who hunt.  That’s totally cool with me.  Everyone has to make choices in how they’ll live their lives and I don’t care what you do as long as it doesn’t have a direct impact on me.  I hate when people are all judgy about me, so I do my best not to be all judgy to other people.  Got that?  Cool.  Disclaimer over.

This is where I start to get into trouble with the people of Lynchburg.  In case you couldn’t tell by my previous posts, I’m pretty liberal.  It’s damn near impossible to be the proud daughter of a hippie growing up in the Bay Area and be conservative.  With pretty much every social issue, I have a distinctly left lean to my stance.  I’m also not a Christian.  Not because I “don’t know any better,” but because I decided I didn’t agree with it.  My personal views are based on years of research and personal searching.  I’m very comfortable with my beliefs and views.  Oh, and I don’t hunt.  Like ever.  I don’t own a gun and never will.  I’m anti-NRA, which to a southerner is like saying I’m anti oxygen.  I was born a vegetarian, though I have since expanded to eat seafood, chicken, and turkey.  I know how to shot a bow and arrow, but I’d never turn that on an animal.

Moving to a new town is hard.  Making new friends in a new place can be really scary.  Discovering that the fundamental beliefs of the people around you in your new hometown are the exact opposite of yours is…well, disheartening.  In 8 months here, I haven’t really gotten to know many people.  The facebook groups devoted to Lynchburg moms are all populated by very loud and proud conservative Christians.  Makes for a lot of topics that I’m clearly not wanted in.  Every time a new person joins the group, everyone makes church suggestions.  That’s the social center of Lynchburg: church.  I clearly don’t go to church and my kids are homeschooled, so I don’t meet anyone those ways.  I asked if any of the many church goers in the group would be offended by me going to Bible study just to socialize.  Basically, I was told that I was welcome, but that they would be trying to convert me the whole time.  When I said I don’t need conversion, they started telling me that they would pray that I would find Jesus.  Sigh.  I then got private messages from 10 of the women in the group.  They all started off with helpful suggestions about other places I could go to find social groups and questions about where I was from and why I’d moved to Lynchburg.  From here, a few of them got a little mean.  My husband grew up here and I was told that “he should have known you wouldn’t fit in here.”  I even got a few suggestions that I move to a different town.  Yeah, that’s exactly what someone wants to hear when they’ve just put themselves out there to try and find some friends.

I did go on a “Mom’s Night Out” with a few women who seem pretty nice.  I’m still the weird one among them, but they don’t make me feel like crap for it.  We’ll see where that goes.  I also met a really nice woman at a babywearing meet up who reminds me of my dear friend, Robyn, over at Holding to the Ground.  She seems pretty awesome so far.  So the quest for new friends here continues.

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Life in Motion

Yet another month between blog posts.  I swear, I’m going to get better at making the time to do these.  My goal is to get at least 1 new post per week and maybe work up to more, but we’ll see.  Quick update to my last post: I did finally tweeze my eyebrows.  🙂

I’ve come to the conclusion that I should stop trying to get rid of the “extras” in my house.  Back in September and October of last year, I got on this quick of watching episodes of Hoarders.  It inspired me to start clearing out stuff in my home.  I got boxes out and started dividing up what we really needed and what we didn’t.  It felt great…until my husband came home early from work and told me he had been laid off.  Suddenly, all those boxes labeled “keep” had to be relabeled “move” as we struggled to figure out what we were doing and where we were going.

Fast forward to March of this year.  I’m starting to feel secure in where we are (though not with the community yet, but that’s a whole different post) and comfortable enough to start going through the boxes I didn’t have time to go through in our hast to move.  So returns the episodes of Hoarders.  And then, on a super snowy day, my husband comes home from work early.  I assume it’s because of the incoming blizzard, but it’s not.  He’s been laid off.  Again.  I start to panic and worry that we’ll have to move again.  Luckily, his unemployment is based on what he made in California and not what he was making here in Virginia.  I relax a little.  Going through our stuff takes a backseat, though, to me trying to expand my business to keep us afloat until he finds a new job.

Last month, I started to feel a little better about what’s going on.  My husband still hasn’t found a new job, but he’s trying.  My shop is doing well and I’m starting to get to know a few people around town.  I even find the time to post a blog!  So…I started watching Hoarders again.  This time, I throw in some documentaries on tiny living.  I don’t really need to live tiny, but it fascinates me (a future blog post about all that…) and offers great ideas about figuring out what you really need to keep when you have no storage.  I start going through our stuff again.  My husband even gets in on it, rearranging our kitchen and helping me guide the kids in what they can get rid of.  It becomes fun!

Then our landlady asks my husband how the job search is going.  You see, she wants us to buy this house.  We decided to rent it for a year to a) decide if we like it and the area and b) give us time to build up a year of residency and work experience in the state so we can qualify for a home loan.  We’ve been here for 8 months and my husband has now been unemployed for 4 months.  It’s now clear to her that we won’t be able to qualify for a home loan in the time frame we originally discussed.  I don’t want to buy this house anyway, but now she knows we can’t.  Plus, she some how thinks she’s going to get $100,000 more for this house than any other house selling in the area.  Anyway, she still wants to sell the house before the end of the year.  Actually, she wants to sell it as soon as possible.  So…we have to move.  Again.

We’ve been stretching out in our 3200 sq. ft. house and now it’s time to look for a new place.  Fast.  This time, I’m not going to panic and throw everything into boxes.  We’re still watching Hoarders.  I’m finding more documentaries on tiny houses.  And, as a family, we’re going through everything in this house and really deciding what we need and what we can do without.  I’m getting rid of all the clothes smaller than 2T (unless I made them or wore them as a child) because my dream of having more children will probably never happen now.  I’m forcing myself to get my genetic book hoarding under control.  I have 5 full size bookcases crammed with books, along with boxes of books that I haven’t unpacked.  We won’t have a moving company to do the work for us (since my husband no longer works for the moving company that moved us in our previous 6 moves), so having as little as possible will help.

And now, time to get back to work mothering, sewing, and paring down our stuff.

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