It’s Masters Week and as Augustans we all know what that means: hearing from people you haven’t spoken to in YEARS who are asking for tickets, wanting to know if they can stay with you, hoping you can hook them up with Masters merchandise… you know just a typical Monday. There really is a different vibe to this week in Augusta (not that I even knew that until last year…but hey, now I’m an expert.) Just little things like your neighborhood being filled with strangers who’ve rented houses and only appear to leave at dawn and return well after dark, massive traffic on Washington Road with cars from every state in the nation, not a snowballs chance of getting in any restaurant within a twenty-five mile radius… good time people, good times. But all this chaos and confusion really is fun to be a part of. Seriously, when else is every person in a town excited to be there and checking off one of the biggest items on their bucket list? No matter where you go, the conversations you get into with people (and yes, Tim is home so he starts conversations with EVERY PERSON HE SEES!) are really interesting. They all want to tell you where they are from and how they can’t believe they are in Augusta for the Masters. After all my years of working out there, I get it because it really is one of the most beautifully pristine places on the earth and one of the last places where there is a pervasive attitude of respect and awe that you just don’t run across anywhere else in the world. The crowds are big but everyone is patient, waits their turn and is respectful (except for the idiot who yells, “GET IN THE HOLE!!” somebody be his friend and tell him to stop it because the golf ball is not listening, K??) So those of you who are here, welcome! We hope you have a great week, love our town, leave it like you found it and come back again. To those of you not here… keep trying because it really is an amazing event to see in person. And if you come to town, call me- not for tickets because I really can’t get you any but I would love to meet you for dinner!
Those of you that have never lived in Augusta Georgia, have no idea what we mean when we talk about things like “Masters week”, getting our house “Masters ready”, and what we’re doing for “Masters”. When I first moved here, I noticed people didn’t talk about spring break, instead everyone talked about Masters Week. Masters Week?? What in the world was that? It didn’t take very long to realize that this entire area revolves around the Master Golf Tournament beginning many, many, many weeks before it. I mean all those people that come to the tournament have to stay somewhere, eat somewhere, and shop somewhere. Not to mention all the people that are employed for that one week by all the shops, restaurants, hotels, TV, news stations, newspapers, hospitality companies, etc. In our own self-involved minds, we in the Augusta area just assume everyone understands what goes on here that week. Until we say something about Masters and someone says, “what in the world are you talking about?” Then I begin to explain such things as people renting their houses out for up to ten days to companies, players, or individuals and having to stock the house with all manner of things, plus extra bedding and towels for each room, scheduling maid service and unfortunately, hiding all Masters goods they aren’t willing to part with (because for some reason they tend to leave with the Masters guests at the end of the week… oh yes, that’s fun for everyone.) There are two types of people who live in Augusta: the group that heads out of town for the week to avoid the chaos or the group that stays and finds a way to be smack dab in the middle of the craziness. I’m lucky to have been part of both groups and can truly say… I love the craziness!! If you’ve never been, I highly recommend you find a way… it really is a tradition unlike any other, a true world class event and should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list. Just don’t ask me to get you tickets!
Yes it’s here… that time of year when I am REALLY tired of winter but spring is still a long way away. I find myself not only looking at the spring fashions wishing it were warm enough to at least wear a short sleeve shirt but longing for Masters week. In this part of the world, we begin the countdown to Masters pretty early for several reasons. First, it is the official beginning of spring to all of us in the Augusta area. Second, tons of people rent their house out so they have to get it Masters ready. Meaning the house looks like it is going to be photographed for a magazine (reason #4,563 why we don’t rent!!) And third, it is spring break.
Yes, you will NEVER EVER hear of a spring break in the Augusta area occurring any time other than Masters week. Now to those of you not steeped in Masters tradition, that means our spring break always starts on Monday following the first Sunday in April because Masters ALWAYS ends on the second Sunday in April (more than you ever cared to know? You’re welcome!) The good news about this is that you can plan your spring break years in advance resting in the knowledge that it WILL be that particular week. The bad news? It is so hard to wait that long for spring break. Especially when your college kids are enjoying an early March spring break.
For years we stayed in town for Masters week because, uh, I worked there and taking vacation that week was really frowned upon by the establishment. WHAT?!?! This past year, Tim and I had tournament badges so I REALLY wanted to get to go as just a normal person (I admit, it’s a stretch for me to be normal but I gave it my best shot.) So hubby and I have been torn this year, should we stay or should we head out of town??? Naturally, there are tons of fun things to do in town Masters week but there are also about a million extra people. That’s the rub, stay and play with a million of my closest friends or get out of town and enjoy peace and quiet… hmmmm… it really is a harder decision than you can imagine. And when we decide, I’ll be sure and let you know.
I’m not real sure what is going on in your world, but here in Augusta we have experienced snow, sleet, ice, an earthquake and 40 mph winds all in the span of four days… what?!?!? Now y’all I can put up with a lot. Let’s be real, I have three sons and have seen (and cleaned up) more than I ever thought possible. So I’m well equipped to live without power for 55 hours. But there was one thing I REALLY missed.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit that what I missed the most was not a hot meal or lights or even being able to keep up with the news and weather. No, between our gas fireplace, candles and halogen flashlights I was pretty good. We even had hot water so we could shower everyday… but what I couldn’t do was dry… my… hair. I KNOW!! It’s crazy how badly I missed my hair dryer. People, I don’t enjoy walking around with a wet head and I am quite certain that my husband was looking at me by Valentine’s Day and questioning what he ever saw in me. We haven’t made it twenty-five years for nothing but I am pretty darn sure that had he seen me like this in 1989, there would have been no wedding. It… was… bad!!
Good news is that I was able to read without feeling guilty. Cause, what else was there to do?? Couldn’t cook, clean or do laundry. For some strange reason we had zero cell phone service even when we were in the cars charging them. And let’s be real here, Tim had our yard cleaned up before the last branch had been on the ground five minutes, so there was really nothing to do. BUT READ!!! Just between you and me, I may have actually enjoyed being without power… well, other than the whole Frankenstein’s Bride hairdo I was rocking.
Man this global warming is really getting bad. We’re expecting our second winter storm in less than three weeks here in the Deep South. Last time it didn’t quite go as planned and blasted an un-expecting Atlanta area while it barely hit here in Augusta. Frankly it was disappointing! If they’re going to cancel school, I’m at least hoping for beautiful white yard… lasting longer than 10:00am.
Anyway, this time looks real and they’re saying ICE! So I did what any good southern wife does… I immediately made a to-do list for my husband. (What?!?! You thought I went to the grocery store? No, I already have Funyuns, cheese dip, guacamole, tortilla chips and ice cream… we’re set there.) You see I learn from mistakes. They closed the schools last time FOR TWO WHOLE DAYS and with hubby being an administrator in our local high school, naturally he was home… with NOTHING to do. Remember this is the guy who has wheels on his butt. He has to have something to do. I on the other hand am perfectly content to sit down and read… for hours… and hours… and hours. Tim can’t even sit down and just watch TV. If he is watching TV he is also answering email, surfing the web and who knows what else! So to say these two days were a strain on our marriage is putting it, ummmm…. mildly.
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. So this time I’m prepared. I’ve put together an extensive list of all the closets that need organizing, knives that need sharpening and things that need deep cleaning. I’ve even thought of a few things I’d like built… just in case. Yep, this girl does one thing well, she learn from her mistakes. I dearly love my husband and I want nothing more than for him to be happy….so another big bad winter storm? Bring it on… this time my list is ready!!
So I was on a girl trip recently and realized something about myself. I feel so much more current and fashionable around these gals. We go in stores like Lucky, Anthropology, Free People and I convince myself that I look really good in these clothes, not like I’m wearing a costume at all. So I make a purchase or ten and cannot wait to get home and wear these things because I am going to look so fab… But for some reason, when I put them on in my neck of the woods I feel like such a poser! How is it that something that looked so amazing in the store in Atlanta looks so ridiculous in my full length mirror in Augusta? Maybe it’s because my best friends are not there to say “Oh that looks GREAT on you!”; maybe the lighting in my house is horrific; or maybe it’s simply because I am in all actuality forty-five years old.
You see when I am with my besties, I feel like I am sixteen and the world is mine for the taking. The minute we get together, regardless of where we are, I go back to when we were in high school together- young and totally unencumbered. Now you could analyze it until the cows come home, but the truth of the matter is, these girls just get me. They have known me over thirty years and surprisingly they still like me! For just a bit there is absolutely nothing required of me other than to enjoy myself. We shop, eat well, laugh, talk and we may or may not sit in a really big chair in the middle of Phipps Plaza at 10:30pm that was roped off and clearly marked “Do Not Sit In Chair”.
We don’t always get together, but when we do… it is amazing!! Now excuse me while I google “how to return clothes that looked fab in the store but at home make you look ridiculous”…
What a difference a day makes… Monday they claimed the storm of the century was on its way and would hit Augusta hard early Tuesday. Well it didn’t…. hit early that is! It finally got to Augusta close to 10:00pm. Now the other side of the state is a whole nother story but we’ll not get into that! (reason #4,269 why I’m glad we live here.)
Snow always brings back fond memories of when the boys were little and at the slightest mention of flurries, they began to pray for a snow day. Even if there wasn’t enough snow to play in for more than ten minutes they longed for just enough snow to close school. We’d get up bright and early (please explain to me WHY they could get up at the crack of dawn on days they DIDN’T have school??) and dig out all of the jackets, hats, gloves and boots we could find, then begin to layer the kids up until they could hardly move. (How many of you just flashed back to the scene in The Christmas Story where the little brother is so bundled up that he can barely walk much less play?) Naturally they would head out to play with guns a blazing and gradually shed the layers as they warmed up. When they came back in Tim and I would then have to head back out with them for project winter clothes retrieval. (which by the way was rarely successful…)
This year there are no boys at home to play in the snow. So poor Tim is out wandering the neighborhood in the snow… all by himself… looking for adventure. If he’s gone for more than a couple of hours I guess I’ll go check on him. Well, maybe I’ll only give him an hour before I head out… it is pretty cold out there. And he better still have all his winter clothes on!!
So there is a winter storm warning for Augusta starting tomorrow at 11:00am and ending Wednesday at 1:00pm. They’re saying that there is a chance that we will get one to three inches of snow… of course there is also a chance that I will be named Queen of the World and these chances are about the same. Am I the only person who has noticed that when a winter storm is predicted in this area you can be assured of one thing- no winter storm! Oh we’ve had winter storms here but they never come when predicted. Nope, they prefer to sneak up and catch everyone unaware kind of like appendicitis.
For those of you not in the south, I should clue you in to the fact that when a winter storm warning is issued you can be guaranteed of one thing- bread and milk will be sold out in every store within a twenty mile radius. I mean, if there is no power, southerners immediately make plans to fix and eat the age old Milk and Bread casserole…not really but it might be true because I can think of no other reason people would feel the need to run out and by these items. I get it that you can keep your milk cold in a snow storm and you can eat bread in a snow storm but does anyone really plan to consume that much of either one?!?! And why is there no run on the really good stuff you can eat without power when it’s cold like ice cream, chocolate, Funyuns (yeah, I said Funyuns!), chex mix, salami, redi whip, cheese, s’mores… right?? Why eat milk or bread when you can have this stuff?? So, if the storm does hit, y’all get out your snow boots and come on over… cause you can help me eat all of the good stuff I’ve stock piled for just such an occasion.
You ever notice that no one sets out to start a tradition? It just happens. We have a couple like that which just happen to revolve around Christmas. Years ago when the kids were little we would always be on the road Christmas Eve (since both our families live in Carrollton and we lived in either Atlanta or Augusta.) Therefore we found a restaurant that was always open and always convenient. Waffle House. Since my husband is naturally a giver, we also adopted the tradition of playing Santa to another family there by paying for their meal and we try to leave a VERY generous tip for our server (at least $3.00… I kid, I kid.) Always looking for teachable moments when the kids were little, we always let them help decide which family we would play Santa for (yes, some years we have paid for two families since nothing says Christmas like the kids fist fighting in a Waffle House!!) and we never fail to be blessed seeing the surprise on the other family’s faces!
Another tradition that has just recently developed is having soup with Tim’s sister, Robin, and her family over the holidays. Some years at our house and some years at hers. It’s fun because it’s family and it’s easy!! Who doesn’t have time to throw together a pot of soup, a salad and some cornbread?!?! We also enjoy getting to look at someone besides each other (just living the truth people.) Years ago the boys wanted to stay home on Christmas to play with their toys but in their vast maturity (I’ll give you a moment to stop laughing…) they are more open to getting out of the house and mingling with others. Plus it allows Tim and Rick (Robin’s husband) a chance to sneak a nap in the recliners since Robin and I are undoubtedly talking in another room.
Yes, it is hard not being with all of your family on Christmas day but some family is way better than none! Besides…it is way more fun to clean the kitchen with someone else. What?!?! Yes, you’re right, it is way more fun for someone else to clean the kitchen but my “maid money” is now being used to fund Georgia Tech and Furman. Merry traditional-making people!