Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

I’m alive


Life has been beyond hectic this week – hence the lack of posting action on my end of things. I am still running a bit of a fever (yes sitting here in Nashville in sweats, a sweatshirt, and wrapped in a blanket in late June like a freak) and have a killer headache but otherwise am feeling better. We weren’t able to fit everything in our truck last weekend so we are headed back to Pittsburgh this weekend to pack up the last few things and clean up the house so it can go on the market (it is actually officially listed now but no showings until next week).

Several of you asked for photos of the new place. Here is our dining room:


And here is Sabrina’s nursery:


Heh. I’ll post some real photos once more of the boxes disappear.

Steve had his first new dad gross out moment. He bought me a belated mother’s day cake from Baskin Robbins – jamoca almond fudge ice cream and chocolate cake. (Yes he got some weird looks when he ordered it.)


I brought him a piece because he was holding Sabrina. He put her down to eat it. He noticed what he thought was ice cream on his thumb (see where I am going with this?) and started to put it up to his mouth to lick it off. At the last moment, he realized it didn’t look like ice cream. Yep, it was poop. After we both shuddered, he ran off to wash his hands.

Sabrina and Angus aren’t ignoring each other quite as much these days. Angus occasionally licks Sabrina’s face and Sabrina reaches out and grabs a handful of hair now and then.


Sorry, Steve made it so I can post photos again but for some reason the resolution is really crappy. Guess I’ll have to have him work on it a bit more. No posts this weekend – we’ll be on the road for most of it.

posted under nashville | 1 Comment »



I haven’t forgotten about you all. I’m sick – I was up all night throwing up. Lovely, eh? I also can’t post photos right now and Steve hasn’t fixed that yet. I will post some photos and a real post soon.

Beating Certain Death


Since my blog is still down, and Michelle already shared her thoughts on the move, I figured I’d share my experience of driving the truck here.

It’s not for the weak of heart. It’s not even for the strong of heart. I’d not recommend doing what I did to my worst enemy, and I’m surprised that U-Haul doesn’t require some quick training before handing over those enormous trucks to unsuspecting customers.

The truck was so top-heavy and back-heavy that even the smallest imperfection in the road caused the cab to bounce up and down at least 3″ to 6″. On several occassions – our dog was asleep next to me – the bouncing was so bad it actually lifted him off the seat into the air causing one panicked dog. Because I was back-heavy, the front wheels weren’t exactly hitting the pavement heavily which made steering a constant battle of preventing the truck from drifting off the side of the road. A few times when bad road conditions caused me to bounce, I was certain I was done for because, for a few moments of pure terror, I couldn’t stop the truck from drifting.

However, even when I was able to gain control again, the fun wasn’t over because I then had to jerk the truck back onto the road, and, because I was so top-heavy, it made the truck lean very precariously and seemed like it would tip over. Luckily, I was so far behind Michelle, she never saw any of this happen.

The one time when I truly thought I was going to find out what happens when we die was when I hit Tennessee. One stretch of highway is being paved over with asphalt, but the road crews only have one lane paved. But not the whole lane, perhaps about 3/4 of it, and then the asphalt stops causing this seemingly innocuous 4″ ridge in the road. Never had a problem with my truck, but this monster had a trick up its sleeve.

The rear wheels are double on each side with an inch or two gap in between them. Well, my right rear wheels split this asphalt ridge perfectly which caused the entire truck to violently veer uncontrollably into the right lane of traffic. I’d say I swerved about 6′ to the right before I was able to stop it and get it going left again so that I didn’t slam into other vehicles. Well, this happened three times before people to my right realized that their lives were in imminent danger as well and backed off allowing me to get into the right lane.

From that moment on (about 25 miles to the new apartment), I didn’t go over 50 mph. My adrenaline was pumping overtime, and I came to the decision that I’d rather arrive 30-40 minutes late than experience the interesting, but frightening event watching the truck drive into a cliff wall, into a ditch or into another vehicle.

posted under family, travel | 1 Comment »

How do you spell move? F-I-A-S-C-O


Holy Crap! I just want to forget the past 3 days ever happened. Moving 600 miles away? I don’t recommend it. At all.


First, I need to give kudos to the one piece of the move that went well. We rented a big U-Haul truck (that isn’t the part that went well) and hired movers through emove to pack the truck in Pittsburgh and unpack it in Nashville. They were fabulous and I highly recommend trying them if you have to move and you don’t have a family full of big burly men chomping at the bit to heave your couch around. They were very respectful of our furniture and were very fast (unlike traditional movers who tend to move at the speed of smell in my experience). It was also very affordable – 4 guys for 4 hours on a Sunday morning for $400. (I got quotes from moving companies…they wanted $5K for the whole move and didn’t want to take a check post-dated for 2009. Picky, picky, picky.)

Everything else went horribly wrong. First, the U-Haul people were supposed to call and tell us when and where to pick up the truck on Saturday. They never called despite my pestering them. We finally tracked down our truck at 5:30 Saturday evening. It was at a store 45 minutes from our house that had already closed and wasn’t open on Sundays. Nice. Thankfully the man who owns the store agreed to come in on Sunday morning at 7am so we could get the truck. We got lost trying to find the truck on Sunday and arrived late. Again, the nice man stayed and waited for us. He even made coffee for us. I drove like a maniac to get home because the movers were due at the house at 8am. I was late again. They were hanging out on our porch waiting for us. They packed up the truck and left. Steve and I said our good-byes.

Sabrina and I were just getting on the highway when my phone rang. Steve was calling to say he couldn’t get the truck out of the driveway so I turned around and went home. Our driveway slopes down and the road slopes up – there wasn’t enough clearance to back the truck on to the road – the hitch kept digging into the asphalt. We called my father in law for assistance. They came up with an idea but when they tried to implement it, the truck got stuck. Yes, my friends, we got a U-Haul stuck 1/2 in our driveway and 1/2 in the road. On a blind curve. All of the neighborhood men came out to consult and scratch their chins. No one could figure out how to get the truck unstuck. It wasn’t budging. So we called 1-800-Big-Ass-Tow-Truck to get it unstuck. We left 4 hours later than we planned. Because we left so late, we had to stop 1/2 way and spend the night – we were too tired to drive until 2am. Steve got stuck behind an accident on a bridge for 2 hours about 4 miles from the hotel.

The movers called at 8am wanting to know if they could arrive at 9am to unpack the truck (my only complaint was that the movers on the Nashville end had never confirmed a time so we had no idea when they wanted to come). We were in Louisville, KY so we told them we wouldn’t hit town until 1pm. The U-Haul is not a fast moving vehicle so I called them later to make it 1:45. I arrived at 1:45, Steve didn’t make it until 2:15 but the movers hung out and waited. It hasn’t rained in Nashville in 3 weeks. As soon as Steve drove up, torrential downpour. So we moved in the rain. Good times.

But we are all in the same time zone, living under the same roof, safe and sound. So all is well that ends well.

posted under errata, nashville, Uncategorized | Comments Off on How do you spell move? F-I-A-S-C-O

Technical Jargon


I don’t want to go into a long, boring technical post about why Michelle’s history is AWOL, so I’ll just leave it at this. I forgot to grab her post data before I shut down the servers on Sunday, so when we bring those down to Nashville next weekend, I’ll transfer that old data to the new server and everything will be happy again.

Hubby done screwed up.

– The Man Behind the Curtain

posted under blog, guatemala | 1 Comment »

Back – sort of


Howdy. Sorry my blog was down for a few days. It is back up without my archives or blogroll…those things will be restored in a week or two.

posted under Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Gravity Defying


How do babies poop UP?  Sabrina was on my lap and I knew she was going to the bathroom (she isn’t very lady like about it so it is pretty obvious) but I had no idea the proportions of what she was doing.  Suddenly my lap was warm.  I picked her up and my shirt and shorts were wet and warm.  She actually managed to poop so far up her back that it was in her hair.  How did she do that while sitting up on my lap?!?  That takes some talent.

Snot, snot everywhere


Poor Sabrina has a cold.  I didn’t know a cute little nose could produce that much snot.  Her nose is so stuffed up she has trouble drinking her bottles.  Besides being a little whiney and clingy, I have to say she is much more pleasant when she is sick than I am.  She is also just moments away from figuring out how to crawl which strikes fear in the heart of mommy.  Her non-mobility is the only reason I’ve gotten any packing done.

We visited my old office today and Sabrina charmed all of my ex-co-workers.  No photos of that visit but here are a couple from the last couple of days.





posted under Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Bloggers Unite!


I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with both Cheri and Erin while in Antigua.  Both are wonderful women that I would hang out with at home, outside of this process.  I, like many others in the international adoption world, have been heart broken over the brick wall they have been running into with their adoptions.  They have both been living in Antigua for months with no end in sight.  Recent bad news has been an incredible blow to their morale.

I’ve wished there was something, anything, that I could do to help.  Yet nothing came to mind.  Two nights ago, several of us got an email from Art-Sweet saying let’s do something.  I thought great!  But still nothing came to mind.  Then Tricia, our resident event planner and all around wonderful woman, was brought into the loop.  She has started a wonderful campaign to help defray some expenses for our friends.

Please, go and give some love.  Click here to make a donation to the cause – even $10 would help if we can all pitch in.  You will also be entered to win some fabulous prizes if you make a donation of any size.

Thank you Tricia for taking this and running with it – so many of us were wishing there was something we could do to help and you’ve made it possible.  Thank you Art-Sweet for getting the ball rolling.  And for Cheri and Erin – prayers and good wishes are definitely being sent your way.

posted under Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Meeting and Greeting


Sabrina and I travelled to Ohio today to see a few of my friends and family.  For some reason, I didn’t take many photos – I am already kicking myself for not getting a photo of Sabrina with Grandma Freida or my best friend Deanna.  I was just enjoying myself so much that I didn’t think to pick up the camera much.

We had a lovely day – hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill (yum) and home made mac and cheese (double yum) and good company.  I got a chance to just hang out and chat while everyone fussed over Sabrina.

Sabrina and Aunt Rusty


Sabrina and my dear friend Amy


Sabrina and Uncle Mike who kept promising her all sorts of treats


Sabrina and Great great Aunt Helen


Sabrina charmed everyone, of course.  She got some awesome toys from Amy and some clothes from everyone.  She will be well dressed this summer!  And all of the women declared that they almost wanted another baby after spending the afternoon with her.

posted under Uncategorized | 3 Comments »
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