Friday, January 29, 2010

Keepin' It Real

I struggle sometimes with how much of my life to share on this blog. I mean, I'm always surprised that anyone besides my mother reads this. (Hi mom! Thanks!) And because there are people out there that read this that don't know me from Adam, I think about what I'm writing and how I'm presenting myself and my family. I try to be honest but I also try to entertain because really, there are few things in this life that I love more than laughing and making other people laugh. I know that some people come here just to read about my dog, and that the posts that I write about my struggles with her are some of my most read. I realize that some people come to see what kind of craft idea I've stolen and copied. And for others, well, I'm just not entirely sure what they are getting out of coming here, but they keep coming back. And I'm grateful. For all of it. But...

Sometimes I am not feeling funny. Sometimes I am struggling. This is one of those times. I have a hard time even writing that down, knowing that people will discover that I don't have it all together all the time. That sure isn't the face I like to present to people. But I just can't seem to stop myself right now. There are things rattling around in my brain and pushing against my heart and writing seems the best way to work through it. I'm not going to overshare. Most of what I'm feeling are things I've felt before: I'm overwhelmed. I've had some epic parent fails this week. I'm discovering some things about myself that I don't like. I'm having my faith stretched. It hurts.

I'm sorry if this feels like a navel-gazing, pity-party of a post, but I'd feel less than honest if I put up some happy-go-lucky post when frankly, happy-go-lucky looks pretty damn far fetched right now. Sometimes life is just sucktastic and it feels better to just say so than to try to slap on a facade and pretend that everything is okay. So I'm saying it: Life right now, is pretty sucktastic.

When I was in high school and college, there would be times when I would feel pretty crappy about myself. I know I'm not alone in this. Everybody has had those times, right? I can remember crying to my mom about it. She totally understood. She came up with a phrase that we still use with each other all these years later: "I feel like a piece of puke." It's a pretty apt description, I think.

That's how I'm feeling. I don't like it. I don't even like mentioning it. It makes me feels small to think of it. With all that is happening in the world, it feels like the most selfish thing ever to feel so intensely self-focused. But things keep happening and I keep finding myself looking at me and who I am and what I'm about. I'm arguing with myself. I'm worried. I'm angry. I doubt myself and some decisions I've made. Then I turn around and get mad at myself for doubting myself. My skin is much too thin. Arrows have been launched, barbs have hit their marks. I am angry that I am passive about some things; that I just continue to let things go because it's easier not to make waves. Then, I become frightened of that anger and deny it. Who me? Angry? Nuh uh. It's all fine.

But it's not.

I know that this will pass. I know that I am not alone. I know that I am not the only one to struggle with my feelings and worry over how I handle situations. But you know? When you are in the ocean and the waves are big, you don't see the other souls out there bobbing on the water. What you see are the waves.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Pink Puffy Heart You

Valentine's Day is on it's way and while I don't do a lot of decorating for Valentine's Day, when I saw a heart like this one on One Pretty Thing, I knew that I had to give it a try. After all, it only involved a Styrofoam heart, some fabric, a pencil, and some glue. It was unbelievably easy and it didn't take all that long. In fact, I was able to sit at the kitchen table or in front of the telly and get it done.

So how do you get from plain Styrofoam heart to pink puffy heart? You cut the fabric into 2 inch squares and then place the center of the square over the tip of the pencil. Grab the edges of the fabric, dip the pencil tip into the glue and then poke it into the Styrofoam. Simple, no?

In fact, I recently did this with a group of friends--a couple of whom claim they are craft-challenged--and every single one came out well. It's an inexpensive project too because if you have the fabric already, then you only need to buy the heart. I think it took about a yard to cover the heart with some squares left over.

My only trouble came near the end when I grabbed my heart too enthusiastically while poking my pencil in and I broke my heart. Literally. And then my heart broke. Figuratively. Because I only had a few squares left to do. I hate it when that happens! I might have muttered some naughty words. Fortunately, that's what hot glue is for and I was able to fix it up. Now, my first heart hangs in my kitchen window,

while the one I did with my group of friends hangs on my front door. See?

I think, since it's hot pink, it might find its way into Mary's room once it's finished. After all, it goes with her green and hot pink decor. Then next Valentine's Day, I can steal it borrow it for the front door again.

I pink puffy heart wreaths. And a pink puffy heart wreath? Well, I just about don't know what to do with myself.

Under Construction

Things have been kinda busy around here. You know, what with me winning the AFC championship for the Colts. What? You didn't see me there with my laser rocket arm? No? Okay, okay. I was totally the 12th man. At home. In front of the television. But that's okay, because Payton said that Colts fans are the best fans in the world. And he's right. I rock. Alrighty, that's enough of that. Except for this: Watch out Saints! Geaux Bleu!!!! (Um, that's Go Blue in Cajun. I'm multi-lingual. *snort*)

Aside from trying very hard to cough up my lungs and spleen and giving my best Barry White imitations in the morning due to The Crud that is going around, we have been busy with the loft conversion. We no longer have a loft, people. We have a room! With a doorway! And a closet! And drywall dust everywhere! Okay, so I'm not so excited about that last one. But hey--a room!

For about a week this is what our entry way looked like:

Is that the tallest ladder you've ever seen? It's a two man ladder and you would have had to pay me megabucks to climb it.

Then see that thing there? The metal plank thingy? My husband says it's called a "pick." I say it's called a "pick my fainting body off the floor." The drywall finishers walked back and forth across that thing like they were only inches instead of 15 or 20 feet from the floor. Every time I looked at that thing my knees got all watery and well, excuse me for this but, it made my buttocks clench. You're welcome!

Then when my husband walked back and forth across it to prime and paint the new wall, I couldn't walk by it without thinking "widow-maker" and tossing prayers heavenward.

Here's is what will be Mary's room. See? Closet! With no doors!

See? Windows! But no paint! Or carpet. Well, there's carpet, but it's rolled up in the hallway waiting to be recut and retacked back into place by our carpet guy. It's really fun to navigate the hallway in the middle of the night when Mary comes into our room and wants to sleep on our floor. Stubbed toes? I've had a few.

Soon things will be painted green. That's right, I said green, not pink. Her Royal Contrariness has decided that she would like her new room to be just like her old room in our old house. Ahhhh five year olds...can't live with them, can't sell them to the Gypsies.

And this is how the entryway looks after the paint. (The paint looks kind of yellow, but it's not. It's sort of a light khaki color. Or maybe, it's Chino-colored. Heh. It has some yellow undertones --thanks, previous owners!--but it's not yellow.) It's like that wall has always been there. I keep walking by it and thinking, "Wow, that looks like it's always been there!" So you know, it um...looks good.

After we finish Mary's room, I'll start painting James' room. He wants a black chalkboard painted wall and then French's mustard yellow paint on the rest. Just thinking about it gives me a migraine. I'm working overtime to convince him that we can make it look Steeler-ish without so much yellow. So far, he is not convinced. I'm still trying to wrap my head around him wanting Steelers colors instead of a Colts themed room. I'd like to say that the Superbowl will change his mind, but I've already bought the bedding. So he'll continue to cheer the Colts while sleeping in Steelers sheets. That just doesn't seem right, does it?

Meanwhile, my second son, with a perfectly good room, tries his hardest to tell us that he'd like his room redone. Because he always gets hand-me-downs. Because he never gets to be the first to do things. Because he really wants to have a Colts room. Hmmm...He might just have me at that last one.

Geaux Bleu! Show those Saints who dat!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Oops, She Did It Again

I don't normally go around paraphrasing Miss Spears--although she does have a line in "Womanizer" that goes 'You say ahm crayzeh, I got yo crayzeh!' that I like to spout off now and then. Come to think of it, that would have been a fitting title, too. Because the dog? She did it again. And now? I got yo crayzeh!

Just when I think that we have possibly overcome the Jailbreak Syndrome with the dog, she goes and proves me wrong. This time she managed to squeeze out the mudroom door and streak through the garage as I was getting ready to take Sean to the bus stop and take Mary and myself to school. All I saw was a streak of yellow and all I felt was a cool breeze as the dog tore out the door. The children didn't even have time to be surprised before I barked, "Sean, run to the bus stop! Mary, go wait in the van!" and then ran inside to fetch a ball.

One of the last times Tilly tested my sanity escaped, I had her squeaky tennis ball in hand and was able to turn the escape into a block-long game of fetch. This time? Not so much. Tilly heard the squeak, and from where she was sniffing heaven-only-knows-what in the neighbor's yard, she stopped in her tracks and immediately zeroed in on the ball. I threw it into our yard and she was off like a shot to fetch it. But this time, she didn't bring it back. This time, she looked over her shoulder and, ball in mouth, ran for the proverbial hills.

I tracked her to yet another neighbor's yard and was roughly 30 yards away when she spotted me. She froze, ducked her head, lowered her tail, and looked at me warily. We squared off. I was determined to get the upper hand. I was not letting the dumb dog win.

Famous last words. (Although, I'm not really sure those are actually famous words. I've never seen them in a book of quotations and you don't really hear people bandy them about like some other famous words. So, okay, not famous. But certainly frequent. At least in this house.) I squatted down and hid the leash and called to her reassuringly. I'm fairly certain that she could only hear my words. I don't think she could hear my intentions. Which were, namely, to yank a knot in her tail. Or, at the very least, withhold treats for a little while. None of that mattered really, because she trotted towards me wagging her tail and I was all "Ohhh! Good dog! Come on Tilly girl! Let's get you home! What a good dog!" and she was all "SEE YA SUCKER!!" She got about 5 feet away and then hit the afterburners. Stupid dog even had the nerve to look over her shoulder as she ran away, ears flapping, a doggy smile upon her muzzle. It was like she was taunting me.

No, it wasn't like she was taunting me. She was taunting me! I was being taunted by a stinky, intellectually challenged dog!! So then, it. was. on.

I ran by some parents who were still talking after the bus had left and they all pointed and said, "Tilly went that way." I waved a hand in thanks and then ran home to Mary and the van.

We took off driving after the dog, thinking that she was headed for the next neighborhood or across the busy street outside our neighborhood. There was no sign of her. I did stop once, thinking that I saw her, but it was the dog of one of the neighbors that doesn't like Tilly. One of the neighbors that has complained about Tilly escaping and coming into her yard. One of the neighbors that inquired as to when we might be getting a fence. And her dog? Totally outside their fence. Hmph.

So then it was back to our cul-de-sac. I was driving slowly, flashers on, windows down, calling the dog. Then I glanced at the clock and realized that I needed to call work and let them know that I'd be late. Then I called a few people and asked them to pray that I'd find the dog quickly. What, don't you ask your friends to pray for stuff like that? Well, if you had this dog, you totally would. Because there was no way I was finding and snapping a leash on the dumb dog without divine intervention.

I spied her in yet another neighbor's yard, leisurely sniffing and taking lavish pees on their lawn, letting all and sundry know that she had visited. She saw the van and wagged her tail in greeting. I had barely hit the brakes when she made like the Invisible Man. I got out and tried to find her, traipsing through backyards and calling her name. And to think that my neighbors don't like me. Huh. Go figure!

After rattling her treat jar and calling and whistling and just generally making a fool of myself and freezing my fingers off for about 10 minutes, playing cat and mouse dumb dog and dumber master, she came through a side yard and spied the van again. She started to walk toward it, then stutter stepped, as if she were warring with herself. I'm sure the circuits in her little brain were nearly overloaded with the decision: Hmmm.....van with treats! or Fun game with making master look stoopid!

Finally, I was inspired to go to the van, open both sliding doors and ask Mary to call the dog. Mary barely got Tilly's name out and the dog was climbing in the van while I was snapping the leash onto her collar.

I drove back to the house and put the dog in while muttering bad words and then I drove to work nearly 40 minutes late and then I had 478 people ask me if I'd caught the dog and then my head exploded and then I died. The end.

Tonight? I will be spending my time researching electric collar/fencing systems. Stupid dog. She wins again.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Questions For The Universe

These are just a few of the questions that have been rattling around in my head. I figure that this is just the place to let them loose. After all, you all are familiar with my own little brand of insanity, so you probably won't think any differently about me after reading the kinds of things that have been occupying valuable brain space.

Why does drywall dust find its place into the smallest nook and cranny and what makes it next to impossible to dust off of your clothing if you should happen to bump into it?

Related--but only barely--question: Why can I go for days wearing dark colored shirts and have nothing land on my, um, chestal area, yet when I wear a light colored shirt, it is as if my boobs are stain seeking magnets?

What is up with Madonna's arms?

Why did I start getting wild chin hairs when I hit 35?

Who are The Powers That Be and who died and made them so powerful?

Why did no one tell me about making doughnuts using refrigerated biscuits?

Related question: Will the authorities come after me for neglect of dependents for not discovering and preparing those luscious pieces of fried dough sooner?

Why do people with Y chromosomes find farts so funny? In my experience with my own Y chromosomed beings, there is nothing funny about them.

Who wrote the book of love?

Where have all the flowers gone?

Why do my children like to gorge themselves on crappy television?

Why does time go by so quickly as an adult when it seemed to fairly crawl when I was a child?

When will someone invent a self-cleaning toilet? And not just the bowl, but the whole thing--especially the part by the bolts that seem to be magnets for grunge.

Why does my dog enjoy eating ice cubes from the ice maker?

What exactly is Lady Gaga? I'm pretty certain that she's not from around here...

Why do I get embarrassed when I wave at someone who is not who I thought they were? Like they care if some random stranger waves to them.

Why won't my daughter consume more than ketchup and air?

Why do I like to organize things but I don't like to clean?

Why do we have 428 pencils but only two of them are sharpened?

What is the purpose of the uvula?

When will my children think that I know things?

Correction: When will my children think that I know things besides what's for dinner or where their favorite pair of black pants are?

When is "LOST" coming back and will they really reveal all the secrets of Craphole Island?

Related question: Just what in the wild, wild world of sports is that smoke monster??

Why do I have four calendars and still forget the occasional appointment?

What, exactly, is in a Hot Pocket?

Why are you still reading this?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Photo Friday: Longing

Yes, I know it's only mid-January. Winter has really only just begun. And I'm certain that stupid groundhog will see his shadow. He always does. Stupid rodent. But I'm already longing for the spring. I want to see this in my front yard again:

How will I ever make it through February? It's such a long month for being such a short month. Sigh...

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I really don't have much to say. I just thought you might like to know how very talented I am. Would you like to hear? You would? Awesome, because I just know you'll feel better about yourself after you read this.

My 13 year old was getting ready to go to volleyball practice and made a pit stop in the powder room. While standing outside the door waiting for her, I happened to glance up. And what I saw was appalling. There was dust on one of our vents, y'all. I know! How can that be? I just don't understand it because I am such a clean freak! (Shut up. You can stop laughing now.) Not being one to let moss grow under me, (I mean it! Shut. up.) I decided that rather than stand there and shift back and forth or grow impatient, I would dust the vent off. With my hand. Because I am, as I might have mentioned before, a sooper jeeneus. All was going well and loads and loads of stringy, nasty dust was falling to the floor and I was thinking to myself, "Self, you will need to vacuum that stuff up pronto, because that is some seriously nasty stuff," and then, BAM! Okay, not BAM exactly. More like SLICE! As I was swiping away the dust from the vent I managed to try and swipe the fingerprints off of the index, middle and ring fingers of my right hand. Jeeneus, I tell you! I cut myself but good!

Have I mentioned that I'm right handed? Yep. Life is going to be very interesting over the next few days as I try to do things with just my thumb and pinkie. Also, it is very hard to open band aids one handed, but I managed to. Know what else? It's pretty hard to type with bandaged fingers that are throbbing with each heartbeat. But I do it for you, people, because I am dedicated. (Seriously, stop laughing!) This post has taken way too long though because most of my sentences have typos from having great big bandages on my fingers. I keep having to go back and fix words.

You might want to check back and make sure I'm okay. I might end up with a gangrenous hand due to all that nasty dust. Oh, I washed my fingers and everything (and it stung like a b****!) so I got all of the dust off. I think. There's always the microscopic stuff you can't see...but you know, I tend to be a little melodramatic sometimes. And I'm also given to some exaggeration on occasion. (Shut it, already!) I suppose that it's possible that my immune system has built up an immunity to any dust borne pathogens however, given my less than stellar housekeeping. I'm pretty sure that my career as a concert pianist is over though. Ahem.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mail And Interviews And...Some Other Stuff

I love mail. I love going to the mailbox and seeing what's inside and having that brief moment of hope and frisson of thrill thinking about what might be inside. Usually it's bills and flyers and such. But sometimes it's a letter from a loved one or a small, unexpected package. And like Pavlov's dogs, it always gets me excited thinking that the next time I open the mailbox there just might be a little nugget in there with my name on it.

I would even go so far as saying I love email. Yes, it's different than the post, but sometimes just as good. Sure, I get tired of sifting through the chain mail that some people send and sometimes it's just a joke that someone thought was funny enough to forward. But that's okay. On a really bad day, I even like my spam box where I find myself dreaming of a Nigerian prince with money for me or just what exactly those Canadian pharmacies could do for me.

What I don't like, is getting an email reminding me "Hey, remember that thing you signed up to do? That thing you volunteered to help with? That thing that you thought in all of the pre-holiday hubbub 'hey that's in January and I'll deal with it then'? Well guess what? Tomorrow is that thing! We'll see you at 8 a.m.!" Yeah. I don't like those so much. Would you like to guess what was in my email Monday night? Did you guess "a letter very much like that disturbing grammatically icky thing you just wrote?" You did? WINNER! WINNER! CHICKEN DINNER!

So the thing that I had volunteered for was giving mock job interviews to the 5th grade students at my son's school. I had done it when my daughter was in 5th grade and quite enjoyed myself. Fifth graders, you see, are quite flaky and I kinda dig that, so I figured that it would be time well spent.

Here in my neck of the ol' Hoosier woods, part of the curriculum for social studies is learning about how business and communities work. One of the ways that schools around here teach those lessons are in cooperation with Junior Achievement. In my experience, this has been a great program for helping kids understand how business and community work and the kids really like it. So before the kids head to Biztown, they must apply and interview for the jobs they want. And I--I, my friends--was one of the interviewers. How would you like to see me in a chair opposite you glaring at you with my laser eyes and frowning and harrumphing? Scary, huh? Yeah, I don't think the kids were too intimidated either.

And so it was that at 8 a.m. on yesterday morning--a morning I might add, that I had crammed full of other things and appointments, it being one of my days off--I headed off to James' school to strike fear into the squeezy little hearts of 10 year olds interview students.

I must tell you, it was worth every minute of the time I had to carve out of my schedule. The kids were all fluttery and nervous as they approached. Most of them offered very nice handshakes and made good eye contact as their teachers had coached them to do. I found that the job of Disc Jockey was one of the most popular, (Can't you just hear the Biztown radio station deejay? "And that was Miley Cyrus with her latest hit! Next up we'll be hittin ya with some Jo Bros, Demi Lovato and we may even throw in a little Taylor Swift just to change things up a little. Stay tuned!") but CEO and CFO gave it a run for its money.

My own son was hoping to get the job of attorney. When asked by his interviewer (not me, thank goodness!) why he would be good at that job he responded, 'I'm really good at arguing. I'm logical and I'm persistent and I always win. Except if I'm arguing with my mom.' Don't you think he deserves the job?

One of the students I interviewed for the CEO position will probably be one someday. He was quite confident and bright and had a pretty good grasp of what he'd need to do. When I asked him a question that required some elaboration on his part, he responded with 'Well, if my company was in trouble financially, I'd look for ways to cut costs or increase prices before I'd fire people.' I might have tried to put him in my pocket and take him home.

Another boy interviewing for the same position listed golf as his favorite pass time. When I asked him about it, he told me he plays just about every day in the summer. I inquired about what course he plays. He responded with the name of a local hoity-toity country club. I'd say he's got that part of being a CEO down. I also asked him about his best score. He beamed as he told me 39. (For nine holes.) Um, I'll be looking for his name on the Tour in a few years.

I was impressed with how well-spoken, polite, and poised these kids were for their ages. I don't think I interviewed that well on one of my first interviews at 22. (I totally cried in my first interview y'all. They asked me what was my favorite movie and why and I got all teary when describing how Dead Poets Society touched me. Dork. Whatevs. They offered me the job despite my hyperactive tear ducts.) Not one fifth grader cried today. I'd say that if they get nothing else out of those lessons, the interview sessions will give them some skillz, yo.

After two hours of interviews I had to high tail it to get a flu shot. Then I chased around town looking for Styrofoam heart wreath forms and found NOTHING for my efforts. Then I picked up a few groceries and came home and unloaded them. Then I took a child to the thief of my retirement account orthodontist. Then I did laundry. Then I fixed supper. Then I wrote this. Then I killed you all with the boring minutiae of my life. The end.

Hey. You try and make errands glamorous. I challenge you. Also, I just don't have the mental wherewithal to come up with a better ending because Idol is coming on and I have children to get ready for bed. There. Now it's the end.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Things I Did Not Know Until I Had Children

I have a degree in education. I taught some pretty tough characters. I was raised by educators. I have older brothers. In short, I know some things. But nothing compares to the education you receive when you become a parent. I have been a parent for roughly thirteen and a half years and my friends, I have become knowledgeable in things that I couldn't have imagined before I had children. Let me enlighten you:

You can never have too many Legos. I had no idea but my boy children insist that this is true.

It does not matter what you fix for dinner, there will always be someone who turns their nose up at it and declares it "gross."

There is nothing--nothing--that compares to the smell of freshly bathed baby head. I cannot tell you the great enjoyment I have derived from sniffing and nuzzling fuzzy baby heads.

Boys from the ages of around 7 to about 12 simply loathe brushing their teeth. They cannot explain why they abhor it. You cannot reason with them. Your logic means nothing to them. They do not care if they get cavities. They do not care if their breath could peel the paint off the wall from a hundred paces. They will lie to you, saying they have brushed--even going so far as wetting their bristles to convince you. Do not trust them. You will have to stand watch over them and supervise their brushing. Dentists will tell you that children are capable of brushing their teeth unsupervised around the ages of 6 or 7. Capable? Yes. Willing? Not so much.

Never, again I say, NEVER underestimate a the validity of this statement from a child: "I think I need to throw up."

Looking upon your sleeping child will cause you to forget every moment of havoc that he or she may have wreaked (wrought? Sorry Mrs. McVey! I really did listen in your English class.) while awake.

Boys can make guns out of anything.

Dolls that pee are worth their weight in gold. They provide solid entertainment for girl children, bringing forth their maternal instincts. They provide many hours of potty humor for boy children, bringing forth their, um, grossness.

Children simply cannot be bothered to turn out lights, shut doors, or change toilet paper rolls. They have better things to do.

Ketchup is not a condiment. It is a food group.

A fierce hug around your neck from your child can relieve all manner of stresses and ills.

A child that leaves the house wearing green pants, an orange and purple plaid tank top, a pink tulle tutu, and slippers is most likely: a. about three years old, b. not a first born or only child, c. winning a battle that it's worn-out mother has long since given up fighting, or d. dressed by daddy.

The first time your child smiles a gummy smile at you, you will swear that you have seen a glimpse of heaven.

You will hear the words "your breath stinks" from a child who has crawled in bed with you in the middle of the night and you will not think them rude and throw them out of your bed. In fact, you will probably hug them and laugh.

Watching your child accomplish something will give you a great sense of pride. Watching your child accomplish something that they have struggled with will give you a greater sense of pride than when you accomplish something you have struggled with.

Reading bedtime stories is sometimes the best part of the day.

My children do not think I am lazy if they get cereal for dinner. They think they are having a treat. (How awesome is that?!)

There is no such thing as childproof.

Purple ink from a stamp pad will come off of your new leather couch, your white kitchen cabinets and your white, spawn-of-Satan-shows-every-little-crumb-of-dirt kitchen floor (thanks be to God that I no longer have to deal with that floor!) but it will not come off of your freshly painted walls.

And finally, one of the most important things that I did not know until I had children:
I am not a perfect parent. And it's okay. I mess up and my children know I mess up. But through my mistakes, I hope to show perseverance. I hope to model humility. I hope to explain why my children need to depend on their Heavenly Father who never errs.

I also hope that I win the lottery, so that I can keep their therapy jars fully funded.

If you are a parent, what have you learned since having children that you didn't know before?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Photo Friday: Snow!

It felt like I was living in a snow globe all day long. It was beautiful. The fact that the scene had to be viewed through squinty eyes behind sunglasses because I was dying with a migraine didn't mar the beauty too much. When I felt somewhat revived, or less like death warmed over, I got out with my camera and took some shots. I'm still amazed at what spending a little time with my camera does for me. While it doesn't always cure what ails me, it sure is good medicine! Ansel Adams, I'm not, fo sho, but I was pleased with these shots.

So for those of you reading from around here, this will all look familiar. For you readers who come here from somewhere that snow is a novelty, well, enjoy!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hire Me!

I have a job. I work at a preschool. If I weren't working there, I'd probably still be staying at home. Working, but in a different way. I'm pretty good at being a teacher. I'm pretty good at being a mom. I'm pretty good at making a home. (Except for the laundry. God as my witness, I hate laundry!) But if I could earn a living at something else, an unexpected, made-up kind of job, here is a brief resume of the types of jobs I could make a killing at:

Light turner-outer--I have a decade of experience switching off lights after people have left the room. I have been doing this since my oldest was tall enough to reach the light switch. I don't know why, but my children seem incapable of shutting off lights. They are geniuses at turning them on and leaving them on. But the shut off? Not so much. I could make millions, I tell you!

Door/cabinet/drawer closer--See above.

Expert Mumbler--I am super awesome at mumbling and muttering things under my breath. Tired of your boss? I could make fun of his/her parentage and sartorial decisions without him/her ever hearing me. Sick of your mate? I can utter unheard those things that would push their buttons if said aloud, thereby alleviating tension without actually causing a dispute.

Bathroom trash can emptier--It would appear that I have a superpower in this area. I think I must have laser vision of some type, because apparently I am the only one that can see when a trash can is full or overflowing. Also, I must have superhuman strength, because it seems that nobody else is able to lift out the trash bags. I would rock your world with my can emptying abilities.

Toilet paper replacer--See above.

Dog hair magnet--I must have some sort of genetic mutation that allows me to merely walk into a room where a dog has spent time and every single dog hair immediately flies through the air and clings to me. Seriously, I could make a killing with this one. People would never need a lint roller again. They could just call and invite me over for tea and their home would be free of dog hair instantly--or the minute I left, anyway.

Bedtime story reader--I know, I know. You all think that this is a job for a parent or grandparent, but can the parents and grandparents read with great expression and do voices and accents? They can? Oh. Well then, never mind.

Vacuum canister emptier--See trash can emptier/toilet paper replacer.

Long line finder--Need a few things at the store? In a hurry? Take me with you. If the line is long, simply ask me to get in line at the one I think will move the quickest. You are then free to choose any other line you wish, because it is guaranteed--guaranteed, I say!--that the line I have chosen will be the one with the chattiest cashier, or the oblivious lady with four children under five who are hopped up on caffeine and sugar and climbing on the candy racks(wait, is that lady me?), or the elderly gentleman who cannot hear and is paying only in nickels, or the 5 surly teenage girls who each have two things to buy and cannot see the point in putting them all together and then figuring out the total and dividing it up because math is haaaard! Meanwhile, you will take your things and be outta there in the merest whisper of an instant. I could make a mint doing this job at Christmastime alone!

Pillow replacer--See trash can emptier/toilet paper replacer/vacuum canister emptier.

Fun killer--Again, I must toot my own horn at my awesomeness in this particular area. For references, you may ask my children. They will be only too happy to tell you about the many, many creative ways I find to suck the fun out of anything.

And there you have it. If you see any of these jobs listed in the Want Ads, keep me in mind, won't you?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Wrapping It Up--Better Late Than Never (Right?)

Let's see here. Where to begin? The last two weeks have been a whirlwind. Christmas Eve was wonderful. There were approximately 25 people here dining and visiting and laughing. It was relaxed and wonderful and I couldn't have done it without my mother. Plus, she made potato salad, a dish which I will never be able to replicate this side of heaven, so you know, I was one happy camper.

Christmas day dawned considerably later than it has around here in years past. My children are all getting older and we haven't had a predawn opening of gifts in a couple years. In fact, we had to practically drag the teenager from her bed. The children were excited and then happy as they opened their gifts. And it was a wonderful treat to have my mother-in-law with us, as we weren't at all certain that she would be able to make the trip this year. Then after the gifts there was eating. Followed by a few more gifts when my brother-in-law came by. Then there was more eating. And then we ate some more. Oh yes, then we decided to eat. And after we ate, we thought it might be kind of fun to eat. And then after all that eating, we nibbled. We nibbled for days, my friends. Just writing about all the eating is making me feel kind of sick. Ugh. But it was soooo good.

After all the presents and eating, there was construction. My husband and my dad started to wall in the loft. And after my folks left, my husband put the drywall up. So now we are waiting for the drywall guy to put up the last pieces of drywall that require scaffolding and then tape and mud and sand all of it. It's not that my husband can't do the taping and mudding and sanding, it's just that he's done those things before and discovered that not only do the pros do it more quickly and efficiently and better, but they are much less likely to lose their everlovin' mind in the process and then drive their wife crazy too. Sometimes paying someone to do a job saves more than money. I'm just sayin'.

For New Year's Eve, we found ourselves with only one child under our roof. Maggie, James and Sean had all been invited to sleepovers, so Patrick and Mary and I were left rattling around this house like so many seeds in a gourd. Usually New Year's Eve finds us cranking up the karaoke machine, playing wii, playing board or card games, and eating appetizers and drinking goblets of sparkling grape juice. This year, Mary got to eat her favorite meal (mac'n'cheese and a grilled cheese sandwich) and then watch television with no interruptions from siblings. Then she entertained Patrick and I as we ate a delicious dinner by candlelight. After that, Mary got both of us for bedtime stories--an event nearly unheard of around here. When she was finally settled into bed, my sweetheart and I sat before the fireplace sipping wine and talking. And when the New Year came in, we bed. Asleep. It's official. We are old and we have no life and I am ready to weep at how uncool I have become. The only reason we were able to wish each other happy new year at 12:02 was because the dog was growling something fierce because of all the celebrating she could hear other people doing. Sigh.

We did a little celebrating on New Year's Day. It was the birthday of a dear friend and so we went to her surprise party. There was more food (um, would you think it impolite if I unbuttoned my pants?) and lots of laughter. Then we came home, popped our party crackers, and had our goblets of sparkling grape juice and many, many toasts.

All in all not a bad way to spend a couple of weeks. And now, I head back to work and the kids head back to school and life gets back into it's regular schedule and routine. And I promise not to write such lame stuff in the future, but all of those pecan bars have made me stupid. It may take a few days to get my brain out of the sugar haze that is currently enveloping it.

In the meantime, how were your holidays? Did you get a present that made you dance with excitement? Did you stay up too late on New Year's Eve? Or, are you going to make me feel better about my lame uncoolness and tell me you hit bed before midnight? Come on, you can tell me. You know where the comments are--don't you want to be the first one to post a comment on my blog in 2010? Sure you do!