Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Counter Attack: The Sick Child

My daughter is sick. 

Well, that's it.  We've entered the sick zone and early this year.  Once someone in our family gets sick during the school year, it seems the entire family is on a merry-go-round of viruses and colds for the rest of the school year.  Someone either has it, is getting over it, or is coming down with it. 

Last year, it hit late and we missed all the holidays while we took turns being sick.  Perhaps I should be happy it has begun early; maybe, just maybe, we will have had everything by Christmas.

So how is the front hall coming, you may ask?  What front hall, I will answer.  I haven't entered the front hall unless it's to take my son -- the one still-functioning family member -- to school. 

Have I straighted the jackets and sorted through the shoes?  No, but I have gotten out extra blankets and everyone's favorite pajamas.

Have I washed the floor and put out the area rug for winter?  No, but I have washed the carpet next to my daughter's bed and all carpet between her bed and the bathroom.  uck.

Have I put the fall wreath on the door?  No, but I've pulled the chicken carcasses out of the freezer and made chicken soup.  Nothing says fall -- and sick -- like a house that smells like chicken soup. 

So, see, just when I thought my biggest problem was a dirty, messy house, I grow wiser.  Yes, my house was a mess, but my kids were playing and happy.  I may have been overwhelmed by so much to do, but my husband still wanted to take me out for lunch. 

Hopefully, my daughter will feel better soon and my son will not get this nasty virus.  Hopefully, my husband will feel better and I will not get this nasty virus. 

In the meantime, I will dispense juice and crackers, I will make chicken soup, I will change bedding and take temperatures, and I will speak soothing words.  If the house gets a little cleaner here and there, when I have time, so much the better.  If not, I will be happy when my daughter is feeling better and my husband, too. 

Better a happy, healthy, messy house than a quiet, clean, neat, sick one . . . my house is a home, afterall, not a hospital ward.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Attack of the House

Oh my.

My house is such a mess.

No, really, it is a mess.

There isn't one inch that couldn't use something, be it dusting, straightening, rearranging, washing, or general condemnation.

It's a long story as to how it got this way.  Suffice it to say, it's been a challenging year and I just haven't always had the energy to spare on even the most basic things.

But that time is behind me now, thankfully, and now I just stand, with my hands on my hips, and shake my head.  Where to begin?

I don't know, but begin I must as the condition of this house is really bringing me down and beginning to interfere with our lifestyle (read:  I don't want to have anyone over).

So where to begin?

I know some recommend Flylady, but I end up breaking up with her almost instantaneously due to her stalker-like email practices.  Perhaps I need to make a list.  But the list would be so long that I could have a pretty formidable task completed in the time I'd take to compose a meaningful list.  I could take the 15-minutes at a time approach, but for some reason that daunts me, too. 

Room by room?  Interval by interval?  Task by task?

There is no answer.

We could move.

No, no one would buy this house in this condition.  And no one would list this house in this condition.

We're stuck.

I guess I'll start corner by corner.

That's it.

I'll start in the front hall, behind the door where the kids hang their jackets, school bags, sweaters, etc.  Then I'll work my way down the hall to the powder room.  Having those two places spic-n-span would give the appearance of a well-kept home were someone to stop by and I barred them from entering any room other than the front hall.  I could do that!


Okay, I'm off to tackle the kids' area in the front hall . . .

If I'm not back in an hour . . . grab your favorite cleaning implement and come looking for me.



Friday, September 25, 2009

Five Things I've Forgotten to be Grateful For

While reading today, I realized that sometimes having a grateful heart and a thankful attitude toward the important things in life isn't enough.  Sometimes you must stop and be thankful for the little things; for they, truly, are the bounty.

So today I remind myself to be thankful for these forgettable things:

1.  Carts at the grocery store.
 Imagine carrying all your groceries through the store . .

2.  Mashed potatoes.
The taste, the tradition, the comfort . . .

3.  Knitting.
Fashioning something useful out of tatters of time and material . . .

4.  The over-eager committee-driving parents each school has on the PTA.
Lord only knows what the world would be like without them . . .

5.  Apples.
It doesn't get simpler, purer, or sweeter than that . . .

What have you forgotten to be grateful for?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Over the Edge

Well, the march toward suburban parenting continues . . .

My husband, once a long-haired, t-shirt sporting, torn-jeans enthusiast is now a den leader for the cub scouts.  As I took this picture last week, I couldn't help but wonder who was growing up more quickly, my son or my husband.

My SweetiePies.

As if that weren't enough . . . I am now the treasurer of this humble little club.  Me.

Do you think they realize I haven't balanced a checkbook in years?  (One of the many perks of marrying an accountant type,.)

So that's it.  It's official.  No more "edgy young adults."  Well, okay, "young adult" has been off my description list for a while now.  But edgy?  Oh, okay, edgy, too.

That's it.  We're suburban.

We may as well get a dog and a mini-van and call it a day.

Oh right.  Dog is six years old.

Van is . . . older.

Think there are any Thirty Something reruns on anywhere?

Monday, September 21, 2009

What? Did He Say "Oil Can?"

Did you hear? 

The Wizard of Oz will be playing one night in movie theaters this Wednesday, September 23rd.  It is in celebration of the movie's 70th anniversary and the remastered DVD release.

I can't wait to see all the colors and the joy and the horror unfold on the big screen.

Good thing we broke the kids in a couple of years back.  They are witch-ready.

How about you, my pretties?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

And the Winner Is . . .

They stride across red carpets in stiletto heels; I pad around in my slippers.

They wear beaded gowns and drip with diamonds; I don my favorite worn-and-faded-to-perfection pajamas.

Their children are looked after by the very best nannies; mine are freshly bathed and in bed, in their matching dog jammies . . . their annual Christmas jammies from a couple of years ago.

They have husbands on their arms, decked out in the latest tuxedo fashion and hawking their own accomplishments; I have a husband sharing the remote and the evening with me . . . flipping up and back between the Sunday Night Football game and the Emmy Awards.  

They will attend lavish parties later; I will sleep next to my husband, down the hall from my children.

They will eat delicacies and drink champagne; I have cold pizza chilling in my refrigerator along side a fresh pitcher of orange juice.

They wait all night in hopes to hear their names called in recognition of a year's work.  I have already received two kisses on my cheek along with heartfelt wishes for sweet dreams and a cheerful, "See you tomorrow." 

And the winner is . . .

First, I'd like to thank my family . . .

Friday, September 18, 2009

We Did It!

Whew!  I'm exhausted.  Exhausted, but . . .


I knew the fiber goddesses -- you included -- wouldn't let me down . . .

Okay, here it is . . .

(I haven't blocked it yet -- since I've spent the better part of the day fiddling with this thing, I thought I'd better take a picture and post it before it's time to go retrieve my offspring.)  

The colors are not this deep; they are about half the intensity, which I like much better and wish I had time to correct on this photo, but time is fleeting.

It is made of out a luscious (but sadly discontinued at my LYS) Noro silk, wool, and cashmere blend.  Yum.

It is my own design, but I borrowed heavily from the "Braided Neckpiece" in Loop-d-Loop.  When I began this piece with pre-bought yarn, I was sure to have enough.  I did.  I had too much.  Too much left to waste and too little left to make anything worthy of this delicious yarn. 

So, I decided to remake the scarf/collar the way I really wanted it which would also afford me the extra yarn to make matching mittens -- one of each color, with contrasting cuffs to make it clear the do go together.  ;-) 

Whew!  All done!

Now, onto the next project . . .

This is the part my family really hates.  When they hear I am looking for a new project they all say, "Oh, no!  Head for the hills!!"  Yeah, I'm known to get a bit obsessed into it until I find something I like AND am in the mood for AND have yarn for (since I am a chronic "buy yarn I like without knowing what I'll use it for -er").  It's an interesting process.

I'll keep you posted.

In a Ball of Trouble


Big trouble.

Oh boy.

I'm stressed today.

Sick?  No, I'm feeling better everyday, thanks.

Kids sick?  No, they're unstoppable this week, thankfully.

Money troubles?  Blessedly, not really.

Marriage?  No.  Love you, Hon.

No.  I'm talking real stress.


I need the pull of our sisterhood to help me through the finishing of this scarf!

I had a bit more to go when, gah!, there is the end of the skein!  No more to buy, it was a closeout.

So quick, I'm begging you . . . light a candle, say a prayer, send out a vibe, plea to the knitting goddess . . . I need us all to pull together.

You have NO idea the problems this project has given me and I'm not ready to talk about it until it's finished.

Okay, deep breaths . . .

Stand up, stretch, look outside . . .

I feel like a surgeon stepping out of the OR to stretch my back and have a look around a moment to clear my head.

Okay, I'm going back in . . .

Hopefully, I can pull this baby through . . .

If I can't well . . . let's not even think that way.

You wait here.  Get a cup of coffee.  Put something pleasant on the community tv.  Play cards, maybe.  I'll be back when I can . . .

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Listen to the Little Voices

The voice of a child. 

Some days . . . okay, many days, I subconsciously relate a child's voice with needless interruption, daunting questions, and idle chatter.

Shame on me.

The voice of a child.  By itself, it is sweet, gentle, and innocent.  Something to behold.  It is different from ours, from adults'.  It hangs in a higher octave, filled with extra character and authenticity . . . these differences alone compel it to be noticed, noted, and heard.

Have you ever noticed how much more beautiful and important and profound something sounds in the voice of a child?

Yesterday was a frazzling day of errands, appointments, and commitments.  Nothing soothed me yesterday.  Not my cup of hot tea, not a little mindless knitting, not even a hot shower.  Then, in the most hectic hour of my day came comfort and joy and peace.  All in a single word:  puppy.  "Puppy," as said over and over by my six year old daughter while we read a book together after school.

Have you ever noticed how the most basic, committed-to-memory childhood tales take on a profound urgency and deep meaningfulness by the voice of a child?  The Itsy Bitsy Spider becomes an inspiring tale of hope and perseverance.  Humpty Dumpty becomes quite a tragedy.   My son's recitation of the opening lines of T'was the Night Before Christmas can make me a believer all over again. 

To this day, in all my almost-40 years, I don't know that I've spent a more profound, soul-filling hour than sitting next to my son, his head leaning on my shoulder, as he read to me about the misadventures of Mole, Rat, and Mr. Toad from his child's version of The Wind in the Willows.  Honestly, I keep that memory stored close in my heart, for quick reference on a particularly challenging day.  And I am so very thankful for that precious gift . . . it will be with me through my dying day.

When my son learned The Pledge of Allegiance in second grade . . . the special care he took in pronouncing "republic," I tell you, it pierced my heart and tweaked a string of patriotism in me no history lesson or trip to our nation's capital has ever approached.  I thought maybe it was just me, proud mama and all.  I tried it out on our extended family as we gathered around my mother's table for Christmas dinner.  Was it just me?  After his sweet, innocent recitation . . . nope, it wasn't just me.

So, today, I will cleanse my ears and my subconscious and start over.  Begin fresh.  I will stop the mental sigh I often have when one of them interrupts my thought process with their usual, "Mommy?"  No more inner eye rolls.  They have been given their sweet, compelling voices for a reason.  They have something to share; they offer something to be heard; they have something I need. 

I just need to listen with a heart as pure and open as are their sweet voices.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Sweet Sounds -- and Flavors -- of Family Life

Well, life continues to improve. 

Still didn't sleep that well, but due to having the living room all to myself, I could keep the tv on all night.  I am now an expert on the biographies of Valerie Bertinelli, Melissa Gilbert, and Mackenzie Phillips.  Yah, it was a long night.

However, things have perked up since then.

I picked up both kids from school with a sneaky new trick I learned to bypass the carpool line (only to be used in instances like this, mind you.)  Both kids were ready.  No really.  Even the girl!

Obviously, I was being smiled upon today.

We needed to get out of there promptly in order to make it to the speech therapist for my daughter's first appointment.  She is at an age where the "F" sound no longer passes for S, TH, T, or anything else but F.  This speech therapy practice is highly recommended and extremely hard to get into.  Things seem to have gone well and, already tonight, my daughter, if she concentrates, can say "suck" without raising any eyebrows.  More blessings. 

Home to a wonderful supper I had thrown into the crockpot earlier in the day.  Here's a super easy supper for whenever you don't have the time, but still want to look like a culinary genius:


Pepperoncini Beef Roast

1 approx. 3 lb. beef roast
1 jar (approx. 16 oz/473 ml) of pepperoncini peppers
garlic as desired

Put roast in crockpot.  Before doing so, of you desire, cut slits into the roast and insert sliced garlic cloves into the slits; as much or as little as you like.  Sometimes I just throw the jarred minced garlic into the pot, though; and sometimes I ignore it altogether -- it's still good.) 

Poor entire jar of pepperoncinis over roast, juice and all. 

Cook on high 4 hours, or on low for 7 hours.  Then pull the roast apart using two forks and stir around to immerse in sauce.  Cook on low another 30 minutes or so.

Serve on rolls, with peppers on the side if desired.

Note:  Tonight I used stew meat and the jarred minced garlic and served over brown rice.  Still pretty good. 


I burned the rice a little -- added nutty flavor! -- because I got so immersed in reading The Poky Little Puppy with my daughter.  I just love that book and the illustrations.  And I can just never get enough of a six-year old voice saying, "puppy."  Nothing sweeter.

So, as I said, life is good.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Knitting, Napping, and Modeling

I'm feeling better today, but still have a ways to go.  With appointments and other commitments every day beginning tomorrow, I decided to really rest up today and spent the day pretty much doing nothing.

Well, the brood got fed and off to school and work.  The non-school goers also got fed and tended to.  Then it was pretty much saltines, pills, fluids, knitting, and America's Next Top Model.  I think I watched the entire 2005 season, in between naps. 

And I'm on the last bit of a fun little scarf I'm knitting which, for some reason, seems to be taking forever.  Once it's finished, I'll show you.

I also learned various modeling proverbs such as "one's neck can never look too long," "you smile with your eyes, not your mouth," and "there is such a thing as being too pretty."  Sadly, I've never come across these proverbs in my own life. 

Oh well.

Today I can breathe, and I'll bet tomorrow I will lose the sweats.  Life is good . . . even with a short neck that's never been accused of being too pretty.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Letter to My Doctor

Health care, and its shortcomings, are all over the news these days.  Like everything else, there is room for impovement in the health care industry.  But today, I am very happy with the health care I received and thought I must say it.

I couldn't sleep last night.  The minute I laid down, it felt like my lungs began shrinking in until I couldn't breathe.  I moved downstairs to the reclining chair, maybe sitting up would work better.  Still couldn't sleep.  My husband was nice enough to sleep on the couch downstairs with me (I think he feels bad about the jimmie jar).  I wheezed and coughed and worried my way through the night.

When I called my doctor's office this morning and described my symptoms, they had me come right over.  Thirty minutes later, I walked into a packed waiting room.  I felt guilty as I sat down in the last chair -- I would have tried not to sit near anyone.  I settled in for a long wait because I knew they would we working me into what was clearly a busy schedule.

They called me back within 5 minutes.

My doctor was in to see me within 2 minutes.  He listened, he poked, he prodded, and he wrote out a bunch of prescriptions.  It seems I have severe broncitis . . . this is what I get for ignoring a cough for most of the summer.  He gently patted me on the arm and told me I'd be feeling better very soon and that he'd see me again in two weeks. 

I thanked him for working me into such a hectic morning.  He explained that, actually, he didn't have any patients scheduled for the morning.  It is his paperwork morning.  (Any policy wonks out there, take note:  paperwork morning.  Hmmm) 

My doctor wasn't seeing patients this morning.  The patients in the waiting room were there to see other doctors.  He had taken me this morning out of the kindness of his heart.  He could have had me see one of the other doctors there, and they could have made me wait forever since I was not scheduled. 

When I went to fill my three prescriptions on the way home, they had them ready.  My doctor had ordered them online.  A line formed behind me in the time it took the pharmacist to explain the complicated regimen and schedule for all these medications.  She took her time, and I walked out of there clear on everything -- quite a feat seeing how foggy-headed I was from no sleep, no air, and too many over-the-counter meds. 

I got home and did exactly what my doctor and the pharmacist told me to do.  Eight hours later, I am markedly better.  Still miserable, but better.

Perhaps the health care industry has improvements to make.  But for this patient, this day, things couldn't have gone better.  I hope we don't get so caught up in politics that we become jaded to the valuable health care we do receive.  I not only received care today, I received care. 

So I thank my doctor, tonight and always, for that. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Out Sick

Yesterday, I had a cold.

Today, I am sick.

The whole kleenex-clinging, incessant coughing, nose running, nose stuffed, sleepless, sweaty. shakey, juice gulping, pill popping deal.


I'll see ya tomorrow . . .

when I WILL be much better.

I will, won't I? 


sniff, sniff


cough, cough


Saturday, September 12, 2009

In Memory of My Jimmie Jar

Somewhere far in the past, I bought a jar of jimmies.  Jimmies.  You know, sprinkles, sugar strands, hundrends-and-thousands.  We rarely use jimmies on anything.  I knew, when I bought them, they would be seldom used and take up valuable space in my pantry.  I didn't care.  I bought them for the jar.

I have scoured the internet for a photo of the cute, whimsical jar, but one like it cannot be found.  It was pear shaped, full and bulbous on the bottom, narrowing toward the top.  The entire jar was painted to look like a clown -- blue pants, striped shirt, funny face.  And, sniff, the cap was a yellow baseball cap. 

Now, no one needs jimmies,  And I know no one really needs a jar that looks like a baseball-playing clown.  But it was cute and unusual and it lended a lot of charachter to my otherwise-boring look pantry.  It was the kind of jar that my kids will forget all about until they're about 30 years old, wandering around an antiques show and suddenly, upon seeing the jar, a flood of warm childhood memories will come flooding back to them and they'll think back, fondly, about the warm, fun home they had as children.  That kind of jar.   

Have you noticed I have been referring to the bottle in the past tense.  Mmmm-hmmm.

Well, as I said, I knew the jimmies would be in there a long time.  We rarely have something around here that calls for jimmies and, even when we do, we rarely remember to use them.  I, in particular, never eat jimmies.  If you're honest with yourself, you'll admit that jimmies really have almost no taste.  I don't need to waste calories on things with no taste.  So I forego jimmies.  My husband and kids are the ones who sometimes have them.  That's okay, the bottle dressed up the pantry and when they were finally gone, I planned to use the jar for cinnamon-sugar or something else cute and totally unnecessary.

In the meantime, the bottle had come to be a major figure in our pantry.  He was the ambassador.  The mascot of the "totally unnecessary" section, standing tall to welcome you to the half of the shelf that held such things as ice cream cones, jello, a couple rolls of lifesavers, a bag of lemon drops, pink sanding sugar, and gum.  When you came to the clown, it must have been a fun day.  No other reason to be in that section.

And he presided over the entire collection of gingerbread house decorations at Christmastime.  All the other decorations were in mundane, predictable bowls and containers.  There he stood, tall, in the middle of the four of us, watching . . . he could, because he had a face.      

Okay, this all probably says more about me than I'm really willing to put into words, but I loved that little jar.  That's the whole reason I bought him.  He was overpriced.  So overpriced, soon he, and all the others like him, were marshalled over to the clearance rack in the dark corner of the grocery store.  There he stood looking like something out of Toy Story, something that was waiting to be loved.  Okay, okay, it was just cute.  And once it was on the clearance rack, it wasn't so overpriced anymore. 

Home he came, and home he stayed.  He stood watch in that pantry, welcoming all visitors for at least 3 years.  Through thick and thin, good and bad, hot and cold, the clown jar was always there. 

Until.  My husband.  Used the last of the jimmies. 

What do you say to a man who coldly discarded that sweet little jar? 

"Get out and take your mundanely packaged condiments with you!"

"How does that small, cold, green heart of yours keep ticking?"

"You'll hear from my lawyer, buddy-boy!" 

Yes, yes, and yes.  And all more than once. 

All I received in return was a wide-eyed look of innocent surprise and a simple question, "Why would you keep an empty jar?"

(I have searched and searched,
I can find no picture to show you.) 
sniff sniff

Friday, September 11, 2009


Eight years ago this morning, I finished feeding my son his baby-food breakfast while watching the small black and white tv on the kitchen counter over his shoulder.  It was a peaceful, bright September morning.  He finished, I washed him up, and lifted him out of his highchair.  On my way out of the kitchen, I switched off the tv.  I walked into the living room, switched on that tv, and found that life had changed forever.

I left the kitchen a calm, happy new mother.  I walked into the living room a cornered, fiercely protective mother and a fearful, defensive, sad, and angry American.

But I am lucky.  My life, however changed, went on from that day.

So many did not.

I remember, today and always.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

All Yours With Nothing to Say

Good Morning, Kids.

Nothing much going on today.  Nowhere to be.  I'll be on here intermittantly throughout the day.   

The house needs my attention -- every corner of it. 

Nothing like hobbling down the steps in the morning, thinking only of that first cup of coffee, only to notice a mess of webs around one tiny spider in the corner of the stairwell.  I was helpless at the first sighting, but I have had my coffee now and will return with vacuums blazing!

I need to bake more bread.  A couple years ago, I started baking my own bread for lunch sandwiches.  My family likes it better than store bought and it is way more nutritious.  It was quite the feather in my cap to me that my son claimed to detest white store-bought bread in favor of my homemade whole wheat bread.  Then I asked one too many questions and found out it was because the white bread sticks in his braces more.  I'm not sure what that says about my bread.

My son's betta fish died last night.  Poor Bob.  He was a fine, happy fish only hours before.  My son was devastated.  We buried him right away, out in the backyard.  Unfortunately, burials by flashlight are extra depressing.  My poor little guy.

The other one is in danger of being left at school if she continues to choose to play and fool around rather than listen for her carpool number.  Between you and me, I know the second letter of apology she's written and delivered to the school office this morning didn't phase her one bit.  sigh

Hey, I do have big news.  When I started my first load of laundry this morning, I finally used the last of the 10,000 lb box of detergent that's been taking up space in my laundry room for what seems like forever.  I opened the door and pitched that thing into the recycle bin so fast, you could hardly see it.  Yes, that's exciting to me today.  Sad, isn't it.

That's about all from me for now.  I'm off to find something to eat and then get to work.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Just One Little Number

And one hour later, I feel like my head is going to explode. 

What can be so hard about listening for your carpool number??

Warning:  If anyone defends her or offers a reasonable answer, I'll have to deck you.

Working Breakfast

My husband and I are trying a new thing this fall.

Get your minds out of the gutter, I'm talking about coffee.

We've decided to meet for coffee out each Wednesday morning. 

What a novelty it is to sit together -- alone -- while the day is new and we're not tired.  On weekend mornings, my son is up with the sun and waiting for us.  Nice, but not exactly couple-time.  In the evenings, sometimes, I'm too tired to really talk and I know my husband is the same way.

So Wednesday mornings it is. 

And out of the house.  I am not distracted by the notion that dishes need doing or laundry should be starting or anything else.  Just him and me.  Delicious coffee, maybe something to eat, and time.  Just time.   

Today we talked a bit of business -- bills, money, planning.  Of course, we talked about the kids, who may struggle this year, who may soar.  And then we just talked about this and that.  Alone.  Together.  Out.   


Meet you next week, SweetiePie. 

Lunch Run

No time to talk, gang.  Today, in my free time, I will be taking my son's lunch to school.  He left it in the van this morning. 

See?  More school hours, more "free" time.

I'll be back later.  If more trouble doesn't find me first. 

Anyone seen my daughter's art smock??


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

School Daze

Aren't things supposed to slow down once school starts? 

For the parents, I mean.  Isn't it supposed to get a bit easier, with the kids back and school, occuppied and stimulated all day?  Not around here to make messes, need feeding, be bored, or wanna do stuff?

I always start out the school year brimming with enthusiasm and ambition for all the things I'm going to accomplish with all the new time on my hands.  I also look forward to the free time I'm going to have.  And each spring, I wonder where the time went and why not much is scratched off my to-do list.  Free time?  Ha.  When will I realize that, somehow, there is less free time when the kids are in school than when they are not.  I'm not sure how that's possible, but it is true.

For instance, take my day so far. 

Upon waking, I staggered down the hallway and woke my six year old and then presided over her shower, washing her hair and reminding her as she went along.  Then I laid her clothes out for the day.

Once I got downstairs, I did, indeed, sit down and have a cup of coffee with my husband, blessed maker-of-coffee that he is.  After that, it was a blur of hairbrushes, toothbrushes, folders, backpacks, shoes, and socks (in that order for some).  Somewhere in the midst of all that, breakfast was served and lunches were made.

I kissed the brood goodbye and waved as my husband drove off with the kids -- he dispenses them on his way to work. 

Then I sat down at the computer, to catch up with you fine folks.  Instead, I had my world rocked by an email sent out by the school principal late last evening.  A few phone calls and emails later, I was running upstairs to grab a shower, find some clothes, and throw on some makeup. 

Out the door for a meeting.  Said meeting, of course, runs over, leaving me running late to pick my son up from school (a result of the emailing).  Get to school, track down my son, sign him out, and explain to his questioning little self what is going on. 

Then we find a lovely little spot for a picnic.  A calm oasis in the middle of a tumultuous day. 

Then a quick trip to the grocery store for fruit.  And then a sprint around the store as finally an idea for supper descends upon me.  The few ingredients I need are, predictably, strewn across the store, forcing me to visit all four corners.

Crisis averted, I return my son to school, just in time for him to join his Spanish class.

Across town to pick up a new bowl for my fish.  (He seems to have issues with his latest abode.)  The next thing I know, I run into the mother of my son's classmate and end up spending the next hour talking about school, kids, daughters, life, money, and everything else that needs discussing when two great minds meet. 

Run home to put melting groceries in the 'fridge and, finally, check up on you fine people.

But no time to chat now, I've got to go pick my kids up from school, and then I really get busy.

Good thing the school day's over, all this free time is exhausting.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Mean vs. Clean

Well, Mean Mommy strikes again.

You won't believe what I did this time.

First, I allowed my son to play outside the entire day. 

I even lent him my husband (okay, his father, too).  All day, they worked at his pond.  They've been digging dirt, laying rock, and having a general all-around good time.  (If you're into that sort of thing.  I worked on the chicken coop roof while longingly thinking of all the cooking shows I could be watching and knitting I could be doing.) 

Then, I allowed the work to wind down and the clock to approach evening. 

And then.  The worst of all.  In light of how filthy he was . . .

I sent him upstairs for a shower. 

Wait.  It gets worse.

When he arrived an astounding 90 seconds later with all the dirt that had lightly covered his neck and face now forming muddy little rivers running down his face and neck . . .

I sent him back up to shower again.

I know.  How hard would it have been for me to simply smile approvingly at my dirt-streaked son and be grateful that he is mine.  I mean, what is more important?  Furniture, clothing, bedding, and overall house cleanliness, not to mention personal hygeine habits or simply being tolerant, allowing for indiviual differences?  How superficial of me. 

And then you won't believe what I did next. 

Yes, that's right.  Look away if you're squeamish.

When he returned still dirty yet again, I, yep, sent back upstairs.  Again. 

I am so mean, I was not even swayed by the sighs, the sudden limpness in the spine and shoulder area, or even the tears darkened with dirt.

He's upstairs now, taking his third shower in a whole 6 minutes. 

That's okay. 

I may be mean, but my boy will be clean.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bargain at the Pump

So I had to get gas the other day.

It was one of those emergency situations brought on by poor planning and masterful procrastination. 

I was running late and on fumes.  I needed gas enough to get to the school to pick up my kids and to get to the much more reasonably priced gas stations a bit further from my house -- but in the entirely wrong direction of the school.

So I was forced to compromise my principles and go to the gas station only blocks from my home.  A gas station I must pass when going all, but one direction for anything.  A gas station I swore off years ago due to their high prices and, worst of all, horribly chauvanistic attitude.  For example, whenever I would pump gas there, a man from the station would approach me and try to sell me a prepaid car service plan.  His angle of persuasion?  I should show my husband that I am capable of doing things myself (by prepaying for services we may never need?) and that this was a good plan for women.  (Way too many sexist assumptions in there to break out and list; you get it, I'm sure.)  Um.  No.  Not my kind of place.  However, this day, years after the last time I'd gone there, I was desperate.

I pulled in and found more than one pump out of order.  Nice place.  Once I found a working pump, I got out and resentfully shoved my credit card into the slot.  Only then did I realize that the screen on the pump was broken, making it impossible to see what I was agreeing to.  I could not see whether the previous person had paid or not.  It suddenly occurred to me that I may be paying for the previous sale, car washes, etc. as well as my own gas.

Angrily, I put in only enough gas to get me where I wanted to go.  Approximately $6.00.  Yes, I put in only $6.00 worth of gas.  I told you, I was desperate AND I detested that particular gas station.  So now the pay mechanism starts beeping invisible orders at me -- the screen was still blank.  I did my best to complete the transaction and then stomped into the station itself.

To the ancient, sexist-looking man sitting behind the counter as if he hadn't moved from there in years, I explained that the paying mechanism on the pump was broken and I wasn't sure whether I had paid and, if I had paid, how much.  The chauvanistic-looking man explained to me that the paying mechanism wasn't broken, it just wasn't working.  (See?)  I told him I could not see what I had paid for or what I agreed to.  He asked me if I had pumped any gas.  (Right on the ball, that one.)  He condescendingly explained that if I had pumped gas, that's what I paid for.  I sharply explained I had no way of knowing that or proving that since I did not even get a receipt for the transaction -- for all I knew, I had not even completed the transaction or could have paid for the order before me and who knows what else.

With a heavy sigh, almost imperceptible (but I was watching) eye roll, and disdainful look, he asked how much gas I had pumped.

"Six dollars."

He turned away from his by-hand receipt machine, looked at me tiredly, and repeated, exasperatedly, "Six. Dollars."

By this, I was supposed to feel foolish for the small purchase, I guess. 

Au contraire.

I smartly corrected him, "Actually, Six oh six.  ($6.06)  And I'd like a receipt saying that is all I am responsible for here today."

"Six. Damned. Dollars."

"No.  Six oh six.  Six dollars and six cents."

I got my receipt, along with a puff of frustration and a look that should have curled my hair, a good chuckle, a lucky number, and a story that has already become legend in my family.

All for $6.06.

Such a bargain.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Welcome Wagon!

Hiya, Sdefiore !  

Welcome, Sdefiore,
I'll have to guess at the pronunciation-ay,
And say, "That's Amore'!"


Summer: Now You See It, Then You Won't

Well, it's almost here.

Labor Day Weekend.

For anyone who may not be familiar, it is the day the U.S. takes off of work to celebrate . . . well, work.  That's the official story.  The unofficial story:  This is the weekend when we all take one last look around, say goodbye to summer and welcome fall.  It is the weekend, in my house, at least, in which we literally morph from summer to fall.  No equinox business needed in this house; we go by the calendar.  Right now, Friday afternoon, it's still summer.  Come Monday evening, it will be fall.  Today, at the grocery store, watermelon seemed like a possibility.  Come Tuesday, watermelon will seem out of season and squash will be front and center.  It happens that fast, for me anyway. 

We never travel or have any big plans for Labor Day weekend.  It's just too close to school or, as is the case this year, school actually has begun.  So we'll kick around the house, cleaning up the yard, clearing the deck of all the little things that have accumulated there over the summer:  my son's portable greenhouse, my husband's outdoor extension cord, my decorative birdcage out there awaiting a hosing off, and my daughter's rock collection.  We'll put away the extra lawn furniture, leaving just enough for us -- visitors won't be sitting out back anymore this year.  We'll be dumping out containers of annuals and stopping my son from sneaking them all inside to be raised (so he thinks) as houseplants.

I'll get my husband to restring my laundry line.  It snapped the other day just as I got all the kids' school uniform slacks hung out.  Not a good morning.  Nothing more fun that going back out, not more than 5 minutes after hanging it all, to pick the currently wet and formerly clean laundry out of the mulch and bare dirt (yard renovations continue), and fire them right back in the wash machine.  No, not good.  

Then, hopefully, we'll finish the roof on the chicken coop.  Yes, it is possible, the coop -- the essentials of it, at least -- COULD maybe, MIGHT maybe, POSSIBLY hopefully be finished this weekend.  This is the very last of it other than little cutesy things that we will do as the spirit moves us.  I can't believe it will finally be finished.  It looks great.  I will share photos with you all when it's done.  That could be as early as Tuesday!

Let's see, what else . . .

Grilling.  We always grill a lot over Labor Day weekend.  I think we'll start out easy tonight and just do hamburgers and french fries.

So, reading this through, it strikes me as a lot of work for not working.  Hmmmm . . .

I guess it's a lot of work changing seasons all in one weekend.

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