Monday, October 16, 2017

DC-ing is hard work

Well.  This weekend didn't go as planned.  We're in the middle of Fall Break right now (capitalized, of course...should maybe be FALL BREAK!!! though), and this was that weekend that I've been looking forward to since I knew of its very existence back in the middle of August.  High expectations, I guess, are bound to flame out.  But, le sigh..., I really needed a mental break. 

Here's what I know.  I was set-up to enjoy essentially 3 days more or less by m-y-s-e-l-f to explore museums.museums.museums unencumbered by whining or anyone else's schedule.  It was 3 days of me-time to do me-time stuff however me wanted to do it.  I mean...SIGN ME UP, EUNICE. 

The boy was selected to attend and present at a 3-day conference for research educators in DC, which if you're reading between the lines as you should be, means that you too understand what I'm getting at here: free hotel room for me.  How fast can I buy a plane ticket for that situation?  Plus, he was getting fed all weekend, so it was really alls for me. 

While I didn't devote a lot of planning time prior to the trip to figuring out all of everything, there was some amount of pleasure in knowing that I could just go and figure it mostly out when I was there.  When I travel with kids, we're pretty scheduled so that we don't run into the unintentional melt downs that occur when you forgot to pack snacks for the impromptu trip to the wherever.  I keeps lists on top of schedules for kid-trips.  And that's cool.  BUT THIS WAS GOING TO BE COOLER.

I've never been to DC, mind you, and my recon work involved asking a couple of co-workers what I should do.  They all said "Go to the Holocaust Museum."  To which I thought "And, pray tell, what else shall I do with the other 66 hours of my weekend?  Give me more input, please."  The answer I should have gotten and will no give to any and all who ask is "Go to ____ and you won't be disappointed.  Really, just go to _____."  Let them fill in the blank because it is all, all so very worth it.  And the free-ness that abounds!  I do love me some free-ness (even if that means having your things frisked every time you walk in a building). 

Put on your walking shoes, though.  At one point on Sunday afternoon while the boy was waiting to catch his flight home and I was just getting to Arlington, I texted him a picture of my dress/legging/tennis shoes get-up which gracefully by default added 15 years to my age but comfort to my tootsies.  The much cuter leopard print flats were relegated to the backpack for that afternoon.  I knew that this would be an issue all weekend, but I'm still in my 30s sister-thren of the interweb!  Unite with me that cute feet are still a something to be wanting!

I did get a blister from those leopard print flats.  Sacrifice.

I'm all wonky right now in my timeline.  Back up with me a moment.  Here's a fun breakdown in 60-seconds or less. (but probably more)

Friday, 3:30 AM:  youngest daughter begins throwing think to yourself, "I have to get up in an hour and a half anyway, so I guess I'll just pretend to sleep"
Friday6:20 AM: get out of the house 20 minutes late with some amount of guilt at leaving your mom behind with 1 sick child, something she didn't sign up for but for which you assured your daughter that "Grandma knows how to take care of a sick little girl"
Friday 7:15 AM:  can't sign in at airport & are quickly told that you missed your flight
Friday 7:16 AM:  email confirms that your flight left 20 minutes ago & you mistakenly had in mind that the landing time was the departing time; begin to understand that this weekend is going to have issues
Friday 7:17 AM: agree to be on standby on 2 different flights (Indy-->Houston-->DC because that makes sense) in order to get in only 6 hours late rather than 10 hours late from original arrival time
Friday 11:07 AM: find good guac & chips because HOUSTON
Friday 3:38 PM:  trying to find boy, who's asking questions and am almost in tears because METRO
Friday 3:40 PM: find boy, get a hug, suck it up and begin the museum-ing
Friday 6:12 PM: boy walking quick-quick-quick back to hotel; trying to find food that's not from a chain restaurant but can easily be taken back to the hotel room to veg
Friday 8:22 PM: finish running on hotel treadmill which is noisy & has no closed captioning on the TV...blerg
Friday 9:00 PM: boy is done for the night with conference, says "Let's wait until tomorrow night for a date in the chic hotel bar"
Saturday 7:04 AM:  boy starts throwing up (see above, Thursday 3:30 AM); work to get the heck out of that hotel room ASAP-er than ASAP while covering ears with hands because gag
Saturday all the day: try not to feel naseous
Saturday all the day: 5 museums, 1 National Mall, 1 Capitol building, 1 Supreme Court building, 4 monuments
Saturday 6:18 PM: text boy (who's feeling better after updating vomit reports throughout the day...doesn't help in fighting the nausea) about internet check concerning burger & fries joint because maybe-maybe-maybe am hungry enough & that sounds better than anything else
Saturday 6:18 PM (concurrently): slogging back from furthest point of the day on sore-sore-sore feet while alternating between nausea/food/gag and hmm/supper/maybe?
Saturday 6:32 PM: opt for strawberry shake/cheeseburger/fries - walking all the day, deserve it, right?
Saturday 6:49 PM: halfway through shake, burger gone, fries not looking so great but f-r-i-e-s so give them a go
Saturday 6:53 PM: don't finish fries for the first time in this history of histories
Saturday 6:57 PM: tell boy to get the heck out of the bathroom, empty the wastebasket & bring a cold washcloth on the double hurry
Saturday 6:58-8:32 PM: alternate between cold tile of bathroom floor and uncomfortable pillows of bed watching Houston beat New York (great game!)
Saturday 8:33 PM: decide emergency is over and will live
Sunday 6:01 AM: made it through the night, happy sigh
Sunday all the day: worse nausea...not cool, universe
Sunday all the day: please-let-me-not-throw-up-in-____ [public location] & locate closest trash can when entering new room
Sunday all the morning:  cute animals at zoo! kids would like
Sunday 12:37 PM: drag out "lunch" with the boy so that he'll just sit for company a little longer before he has to catch his shuttle
Sunday 1:25 PM: decide to visit Arlington because it's on the way and then collapse at airport for whatever time is remaining...give in
Sunday hours of the PM:  glad am at Arlington where trudging is OK and silence is pervasive, also pleasant breeze, shadowy trees & occasional benches
Sunday 4:01 PM: figure out can't make it all the way back to airport on Metro as it should be because of maintenance and have to figure out a new shuttle situation
Sunday 4:52 PM: {on shuttle] driver: You in a hurry?  me: fortunately, no...  [traffic is vile; bus almost sideswipes or otherwise damages many, many vehicles...crazy DC driving]
Sunday 5:57 PM: not fun figuring out the maze of the huge airport while weary and bleck
Sunday 6:02 PM: order hummus and pita chips in hopes of keeping it down prior to flight, which is place that always induces weird nausea-y ness
Sunday 9:32 PM: missed shuttle stop...trudging again but in the dark and 20 degrees colder
Sunday 10:17 PM: home at last, home at last...youngest daughter just threw up again after 3 days of being all-clear

I give up.

It was a slog of a week to get to the weekend, which was supposed to be the relief.  It wasn't terrible but it wasn't great.  There was little fun food on a trip when I should have been having all of the fun food.  There was some fantastic art and history experiences but also the mobs of middle schoolers, which is just not where I was at, mentally.  And today, we let go of our fuzzy boy, and I've been highly weepy. 

So it's just an moment-by-moment situation right now, and all of it seems like too much work and too much thinking. 

But, I saw pandas for the first time, and I affirmed that yes, while I can figure out everything on my own, I really prefer to travel with the boy if for no other reason than I don't have to slog through the women's bathrooms with all of my stuff every time.

Also, my calves and right side continue to be surprisingly sore.  Figure that one out.

So it was a I'm-glad-it-happened-but-boy-was-it-work kind of weekend.  And even though finding a decent breakfast was just about the hardest thing ever, it'll be great to go back with the girls someday.  I think? I hope? I have faith that this can happen.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Shipt Wrecked

Sometimes, things seem great.  Sometimes, things seem to be worth the cost.  Sometimes, things make you think "Well, technology, you're becoming more worthwhile in my life." 

SHIPT.  You did seem great.  You did seem to be worth the cost (and perhaps then some).  You did make me reconsider my on-again-off-again love affair with technology (mostly off-again...seriously, I try to get over you and you keep hanging around and hanging around and making me think twice/thrice/fourthice about how much I should love you.

But bite.  Big time.

First blush - $100 a year to have someone else pick up my groceries for me and then deliver them to me?!?  I'm just about as cheap as they come with new-fangeled doo-hickies and thing-a-ma-bobs, but this seems like moolah well spent. 

We be cheap around this here place.  I do not own/use a smart phone.  The boy does not own/use a smart phone.  I hear that there's a new one coming out.  $1000.  That (doesn't) make sense.

Second blush - My new grocery store situation has expanded by a couple of possibilities, none of which are regularly not busy.  And, I don't have the luxury of much kid-free time to stroll happily up & down the aisles in my pixie chinos & wedges like one might see in a happy-camper advertisement.  My kids enjoy racing the shopping cart up and down the toothpaste aisles, talking LOUDLY even if I'm standing right behind them, and engaging in games of we'll-pretend-that-Mommy-can't-see-us.  I maybe pretended that they weren't my children and calmly went to the frozen section & found 2 pints of ice cream just this week.  Hypothetically speaking.  Basically, it's a bit of a hassle to take them, and we're a 1-small, 1-medium trips a week kind of family now.

Third blush - The price went down a few weeks ago.  Really down.  Like 50% down.  And I signed up.  I'ma never gonna take those kids to that place again, at least for a year while someone else endures the struggle for me.

Fourth blush - I hated it.  I hated the mark-ups on just about everything (1-lb. of grapes for $14? a box of basic Puffs for $2.49?)  I hated the limited selection (for the love of a bag of organic carrots...I know they're lurking somewhere!).  I hated the time it took me to scroll endlessly through too much I'm-never-going-to-buy-this stuff in order to find the 1 kind of yogurt that I want.  I figure that the time spent scrolling would go down the more I used the service and could just reference back against my previous orders.  Admittedly, I like that part.  But it took a s-w-e-e-t forever to get my $35 order when factoring in cost & actual want/need.  Even taking my children with me, I can do that quicker.

Fifth blush - Hidden costs are for the birds.  I didn't know that there would be mark-ups.  Silly me to think that once I paid for a service, I would then pay the cost that the brick & mortar store charges.  And for someone who has never had pizza delivered and who almost never tips when it is optional because seriously, a $35 haircut doesn't need to have an additional charge, I did not see the tipping of the Shipt person coming.  That was it for me.

I had it for about 48-hours.  I made one order with it.  I like it in theory, and I think that there are other slightly different services that may be more worth my time/money, but this one just is NOT.  But, the person I talked with via live chat on a Sunday afternoon was lovely and refunded the service fee without question.

Props to those who are making these grocery services work.  Back when I was a teenager and helping my grandparents with their grocery shopping, I had a couple of thoughts about how cool this kind of a personalized grocery shopper could be.  But gag.  If this is the best it can be...pass.  

Friday, September 8, 2017

Update: The Job

I’m actually typing this in an email to myself while eating cucumbers, cheese & hummus at my desk.  That’s my kinda mid-day break.

There might be crackers happening soon.

There will probably be coffee.  Actually…I’m going to make some.  BRB (as the kids say)

So I’ve had something of a revelation: the electric kettle + pour over coffee maker combination.  My new full-time gig is at a place that is so big that it necessitates 7-minute passing periods.  That gives me more than enough time to brew a cup of coffee the slow way.  And because I’m an equal opportuni-tea beverage drinker, it makes it that much easier to have my daily cup of green (New Year’s resolution 2017 for the win!) as well.  But right now, I’m going dark.

It’s an in-class writing kind of day from start to finish, so I’m at my desk for a considerable chunk of time.  Which is good, ‘cause I’m getting a big hunk of work done.  Which is bad, said no one ever.

And here’s my Update: NEW JOB
It’s OK.  It feels normal to be back in the daily grind.  It feels good to have some consistency to hold onto.  It feels GREAT not to have to coordinate 3-5 weeknights where I have class and the boy has meets or practice.  

The 2 biggest changes happen at the bookend parts of each day.  It’s a logistical dance getting everyone ready and out the door by 6:45 in the morning. Our girls are big breakfast eaters, which can drag onnnn interminably if we let it.  There’s still too much of the “C’mon, we gotta go!”  So I’m working on that.  But all told, they’re doing g-r-e-a-t, beyond my expectations of what it was going to be like.  I’m still shuddering in anticipation of the LONG and DARKER than DARK winter months when sluggish attitudes prevail and tempers are snappy.  I haven’t been able to figure out how to flex schedule the three darkest months of the year so that I teach virtually from, say, Bali.  I’m working on it.

The boy is doing the drive right now back to his one & only teaching job.  The truest shame in this is not that I’m solely in charge of before/after school shuttling, or that I’m the one who is rushing around every morning making sure that 2 littles are set & ready, or even that we’re putting miles upon miles on our car (again).  NO M’AAM/SIR.  The boy drives MY car now everyday because it’s considerably cheaper at the pump for that daily mileage.  

The thing is, we upgraded when buying this car because I was driving so much and because we went cheaper on a previous car that we bought for me.  That car is absolutely fine, but it turns out, we really believe that paying a little more to have some of the perks is definitely worth it given how much we drive.  And now, I’m back with that base model purchase, and I miss my whip dearly.   
BUT.  So it goes.  That's just the cost of doing business, so to speak.  It's like how my running is down to about 1/3 of what it used to be - just enough to help not gain back any pounds, I hope.  I don't have a normal treadmill-TV combo anymore (which, frankly, IS what I prefer), so I've been pounding the neighborhood pavement.  And it's s-o-o-o boring, just me and the sound of my feet with the occasional whiff of a neighbor's grill.  I don't know how you other 99% do it.  I've tried the earphone thing a few times before on early morning runs when the only thing on TV includes infomercials and the morning news (which is more aptly the morning weather-update-commercial-commerical-commercial-more-weather-update-small-puffy-news-piece).  So I do miss the ability to just take off for 30 or 45 minutes and veg out with some mindless home makeover shmarm.  
And it's Friday, which means that anything else I really have to say is skewed by the wierdness that is the end of a workweek (even a short one).  Cheers to the weekend and some grading.  May there be a big cup of coffee and a brownie in it somewhere. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Updates! Updates GALORE!

Well, hey there, good lookin’.  It’s been a sweet forever.  But I’m back from the longest of months.  Right at the top of the list of “things that I’ve learned along the way in ye olde educational profession”:  August and February are the LONGEST months of the school year.  The days may even have more hours in them during these months than in any other (I’m trying to verify).  This is my first year working with the more balanced school calendar that is quite popular around here, which subsequently extends the first month of the school year by an additional 10 or so days.  But, I got that first paycheck for the full-time gig, so let’s check that one of the list of “things to accomplish this summer.”  There’s a certain kind of validation that a legit paycheck brings, one that I can’t shake.  It’s time.


We officially moved and officially sold (sometimes seemingly on a wing and a prayer).  On the hottest 2 days of the entire year thus far.  But shortly after, I started stress eating big time and probably gained back all of that how-much-can-one-person-sweat-in-a-day weight that I like to think I lost. 

I also officially and subsequently sent 3 packages to our old address.  One was box springs for our kid’s bed (not a surreptitious box on the front porch).  She ended up sleeping on a mattress on the floor for about 2 weeks while we sorted that one out.  The other 2 involved some covert maneuvering by our former neighbor and me (nicely) harassing the new owner.  And then I gave up on changing our address on pretty much everything but Amazon and (because what else is there in life?).  Perhaps between now and when W-2s come out from my FOUR employers that I’m currently on the books with, I’ll get all of those changed.  Or not.  It’s annoying.

The new house is pretty much everything that I imagined it would be: bigger and somehow largely the same as the old digs.  We did rip off a big old, glued-to-the-wall mirror from the girls’ bathroom yesterday.  So we have that look going for us as you can imagine what the underside on the wall looked like.  But that’s progress since we’ve had a new mirror ready to hang for four weeks now.  We move at a lightning speed around here.  Another newbie that we’ve had brand new and waiting to be installed for weeks now:  a new faucet for the sink in the kitchen.  We quickly (in about 2 seconds of having possession) learned that the faucet leaks unless you have the handle just so, which means that I spend a good amount of my day making sure that things are just so, which also means that I want to rip it out of the sink and throw it in the street like the scumster that it is.  But, the boy is waiting to unpack his plumber’s putty first before replacing it.  Except the boy is looking through zero boxes a day in search of that magic goo.  Ergo, leaky faucet = still intact.  This is riveting stuff, so I’ll keep you posted. 

Something that we can’t just update on a whim: light switches.  They will do me in yet.  They make virtually no sense, and there’s just about nothing more annoying than a switch that has the sole purpose of turning an outlet on.  Gag.  Plus they’re the wide, flatter switches rather than the littlerones that stick out farther.  Blerg.

All of that aside, much of the problems in this establishment stem from the fact that we don’t have a shed as we did with the former place.  Our garage continues to be all of the piles and all of the boxes that are lingering like parasites that moving boxes are.  And it turns out that yard sheds are pricey and don’t always come with such niceties as floors and roofs.  Plus, we’re all of us full-timing it in addition to add-on activities for the adults, so the goal is to pony up the dough for a we-have-to-abide-by-HOA-covenances-now yard shed by frost-on-my-window season.  We did slip a new composter in beside the trash bins and no one from the neighborhood has banged on our door yet. 
(Sidenote:  I’m still adjuncting on the side because I have issues, and I think that I’ll be in charge of 9 classes for a couple of weeks right around Fall Break.  That was unintentional planning – “add-on activities,” folks.) 

We also have an extra washer/dryer set languishing in the garage.  As one would have.  Some people keep an extra fridge/freezer in the garage.  We abide by the “you can’t have too many washers & dryers that aren’t hooked up” motto, it seems.  Sometimes, you have the will to tackle a job (like unhooking current washer/dryer and reconnecting other washer/dryer).  And sometimes, you just lose the will to start yet another job that will undoubtedly have some issue pop up.  One can only make so many trips to Lowe’s before you just abandon the current house and start over in your parents’ basement.  We’re about 2 trips shy of that right now.

The lawn mower is still in the garage, too.  Which we sometimes use.  But we switched from a yard with 2 trees (total) to a yard that has around a dozen and a raised bed and these odd, staggered trellis things. The first time we mowed, we tag-teamed the yard, and just from my half, I very much wanted to BURN IT ALL DOWN.  It’s a whole bunch of piddly little cuts and maneuvers and blasted circling circling circling.  So that’s a job that I’m going to turn back over to the boy, at least mostly.  Otherwise, this mama may have to coin the term “lawnmower rage.”     

But, the biggest issue isn’t actually the house but our favorite tabby, the Toby-est with the most-est.  The one who was prescribed chamomile tea when I wasn’t ready to commit to Prozac for her.  The one who needs to CHILL OUT a lot bit.  She acts all dewy-eyed and lovey-dovey, but then she turns around and continues to be a beasty-hearted little fuzz-bum when we’re not looking, and her time is short if she cannot pull her act together.  So, I’ll pause on that story line because I’m in what you might call caught between denial and pulling-my-hair-out-frustration.  But this little 8-lb. ball of fun times and shenanigans is my girl – the one who yawns stinkily in my face at night and doesn’t let me grade any student’s writing without her body squarely on my lap.  She’s purring her way with me through this post right now, in fact.

Life does not only include furry beasties now, though.  Our house does have quite a healthy supply of adorbs-ably sweet little toads/frogs.  (We’ve debated which they are and are still flummoxed.)  We also have some biggies hopping around occasionally, and even though this happens about every other day, it’s still delightful to look out a window and see a tiny toadie the size of a quarter staring back at you while suction-cupped to the window (mostly on the outside, but the boy did let one in on accident a few days ago).  In fact, the first night that the boy was here, he walked out onto the front porch and thought there was a squirrel sneaking up on him.  Nope…frog.  (I know.  I get them confused all of the time, too.)

We’re also apparently in the flight path of a local-ish hot air balloon company.  Last night, there were four of them floating around up there.  They’re often low enough for us to hear the whooshing sound and see the people moving around in the basket.  So that’s pretty great.

I do have a strong inclination to continue looking for a(nother) new house, however.  The left turn out of the subdivision is a rough one.  There are going to be years of this.  I’m not sure we’re that strong to endure it.  The boy isn’t yet ready to buy into this notion of moving because leaving the subdivision is a burden on my life.  If I start now, I’ll wear him down someday.

The rest will have to wait and hopefully sooner than another month from now.  Also, my glasses are broken and I’ve been wearing them now with only 1 of the legs holding them on my face.  Only 1 student has noticed.  So there’s that, too.  (That’s livin’ the dream.)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The short report

I want to write.  I really do.  Instead, I've been moving boxes and just now giving up in favor of paper grocery bags & small trash bags.  We're stuffing our cars and making a few trips down the road. 

This morning, I bought room darkening curtains for all 'cause we're not staying up this late every night waiting for the sun to go down.

This morning, we wandered around a new farmer's market and met an adorbs dog named Louie (part chi-woo-woo -as we say - and part terrier).

This morning, I woke up with both cats hanging around in my room.  They hadn't ventured upstairs until last night.  It looks like they're getting over some of their new-home anxiety.

This morning, my daughter decorated her wall with decals, and it looks jammin'.

Right now, I'm sitting in a beach chair in an almost empty living room, poaching my own internet and putting off the return trip and another unloading process in the HEAT for a few more minutes.  I'm also watching some baseball because n-o i-n-t-e-r-n-e-t a-t t-h-e n-e-w h-o-u-s-e.  It's like 1996 all over again.

Thanks be that my job does not have me work outside all year round.  It would test the strength of my soul.  

Friday, July 14, 2017

All the leggin's, all the time

I have much, much, much to write about, but I fear that I will be just makin' y'all jealous 'bout all the leggin's, all the time.  Summer = so many leggings. 

(I'm also watching The Office right now because NETFLIX HOW DARE YOU?!?! for pulling it from your offerings?!?!  I will undoubtedly forget things that I want to tell all of the you.)

Here's where I'm (mentally) at right now:

1.  We close on our new house in 6 days.  It turns out that the time between when you agree on a price and when you pay for the price is a long time.  It's not that I'm all BALLOONS & CONFETTI & CHEERCHEERCHEER but rather like dearly beloved can we just get this ooooover with?

2.  We close on the sale of our current house 4 days later.

3.  I spent 9 hours today working with other teachers on crafting/planning/drafting rubrics, assessments, a schedule, and a decision on what material to use.  We completed (almost) ONE unit.  We're now (almost) through October.  Le sigh...teachers.

4.  This town continues to be a magnet for twisters, and as I woke up just a few days ago when the siren went off for the second time that night, I immediately thought "We're not going to end things this way, house!"  (It's time to back off on life when you think your house is out to get you by attracting tornadoes.  That usually doesn't happen, I hear.)

5.  Our big furball is really a bony furball right now as he is on what I called "kitty life support" right now, i.e. down to his final days.  He's in that bony hips & spine stage now, but his sweet, sweet eyes still have some life in them, and we can't tell that he's in pain.  So we're gonna give it a go and take him with us to the new digs rather than take him to the vet for one final showdown in the exam room. 

6.  I apparently have to be trained in about three things this summer if I want to continue with any of my jobs. 

7.  I'm also currently employed by 4 schools, though one hasn't exactly paid me yet.

8.  The Boy can't wait to do my taxes for this year, I'm sure.

9.  I have a list of well-we-really-don't-want-to-have-two-empty-rooms furniture options.  When I don't have grading that I have to work on, then I'm probs going to be searching, searching, always searching for ideas and cheap-but-not-too-cheap furniture because sometimes you just want a chair to sit in. 

10.  Neither of us don't really want to just buy stuff and more stuff because we have some space.  It's a fine line to walk for me.  Just yesterday, our financial advisor (ironically) told us happily "Oh, you'll grow into the space!" when we indicated that we want this to be our last mortgage and we're really intending to downsize hard when the girls go to college and shouldn't she be proud of us for our financial prudence.  But we don't really want to "grow into the space."  And then she said "Just don't get one of those tiny houses that you see on TV."  I think there's a fair bit of space separating the two. 

11.  I ran 4+ miles yesterday, and it felt relatively easy.  That's never happened before.  (I also heard heavy breathing and was glad to see that it was someone behind me on the stair machine; I thought for a minute that I was just an obnoxious breather.)

12.  A few hours after we close on the new place, the Boy is leaving for 3 days to go to cross country camp.  This is the first time that he's done it even though he talks about doing it every year.  His timing is suspicious.

13.  I'll be basically moving us into the new place by myself after he helps with the couple of big things.  I'm OK with this.

14.  The day after the last closin' (which happens right after the movin' when I'll be wearin' the leggin's), I start back up again.  I'm kinda OK with this, mostly just tired of waiting for it to start.

Something HAPPEN already. 

But wait...that means I can't wear the leggin's as much.  It's a catch-22.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Fare thee well, June. Thou wert rough.

Good people, we are looking at only 18 days left in this old house (that looks fresh and fit as a fiddle with its GORGEOUS new's very flaunty, right now).  In the meantime, there are boxes to be attended to every day (5 boxes a day keeps the mental breakdown at bay!) 

I'm trying to space out the packing by figuring out a handful of boxes every day, but most of them are a modestly-sized Amazon box and it comes in spurts.  Por ejemplo.  Today?  No boxes.  Why?  Because I got lazy and felt icky this afternoon.  And the boy worked on a few, so I felt like squelching on to his handful and calling it a day.  Honestly, most of the not-really-using-right-now stuff is packed, so we're down to the it's-gonna-have-to-wait-another-14-days boxes for the crunch time maneuvering. 

And it's been remarkably peaceful and unhurried and calm, the packing part at least.  The rest of June was a HOT, HOT MESS.  There were pre-planned 2 camping trips, a pre-planned 3-day synod assembly, 3 different classes to start/continue/finish, the funnest of the summer library activities, gymnastics, swim lessons, visiting the new school, muddling through money-money meetings, looking-finding-dithering-calling people-calling people-calling people new house garbage, and running to attend to.

Some days, they were a trial.  But we're still here, all drama aside.

We surely did make it to July, or as I've been looking at it, the Promised Land

I have big plans this month:
1.  Consistently work on my Sunday crosswords before Friday.
2.  Read two books.
3.  Plan out the entire school year (maybe just the first 2 weeks).
4.  Figure out what to put in "the living room" in the new place so that "the living room" doesn't become the receptacle for odds, ends, and sundries.  This is a thankless task that no one else in this house will help me with.  I feel adrift and refuse to get sucked into Pinterest's clutches.  Good people!  Do help.
5.  Feed my family something other than tuna salad, egg salad or hummus sandwiches.  We cannot be sick of those before school starts.  I will weep salty, salty tears if my children won't let me send those to school f-r-e-q-u-e-n-t-l-y because know what?  The Elder doesn't like peanut butter.  Someone's gotta be the kook.

But this cleaning and packing thing has been so good for my soul.  I love that we have at least half of the house packed and more empty boxes than full ones yet in the garage because we try hard to avoid accumulating stuff.  I was surprised at the warm fuzzies that I got a couple of times when I stumbled upon some kept notes from good friends and The Boy.  I realized that it was time to let go of some more stuff from our wedding with no regrets.  I appreciate the ruthless quality that makes me reconsider every single thing I start to pack in a box, evaluating whether it is worth the time and effort to move it.  If it weren't so expensive, I would move every few years just to go through this part. 

So on to a new month.  May it be merciful and kind.  And, may we dig our toes in the sand one more time before facing the new school year head-on. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The good, the scary, & the downright ridiculous

Oh my words, but it's been a doozy of a last month.  A DOOZY.  We just returned from a weekend of camping with the Boy's family and it was the worst example of how to successfully camp that I've ever heard of.  We've all forgotten matches or foil or even toothbrushes and have had to improvise for a moment when camping.  But, have you ever forgotten
1.  the handy little backpack to carry water and such for hiking,
2. the campstove,
3. all towels & washcloths,
4.  a hatchet/mallet,
5.  all of the bread for all of the sandwiches for all of the family members' lunches that you've signed up to bring, and
6.  all of your cups/plates/bowls/silverware?

All on the same trip.  As I basically drove the long way around the big city to get to the camping grounds (why did I go the long way? why did the Boy not stop me?), we basically kept thinking of more things that we completely whiffed on remembering to bring.  To be clear, it wasn't just me not remembering this stuff; it was the boths of us.  It was me looking around the shed where we keep our camping gear and telling the boy "I got the tent out...I think I got it all" and both of us either foregoing our usual pre-camping checklists or electing to only write down the foodstuffs that we needed (and that obviously still didn't work as I forgot all of the bread for all of the sandwiches and the Boy's side really likes their sandwiches). 

We DID, however, bring along 2 lanterns which need new batteries (i.e. don't work right now) even though I told the boy "Hey, here are our lanterns, but they both need new batteries."  We still brought them.  So that helped us out.

But it turned out to be a completely lovely weekend of camping, despite all of the head smacking going on.  And this was my inaugural effort at sleeping with our new mats (instead of the air-mattresses-that-are-always-flat-come-morning).  Two melatonins and six hours later, my hips feel a bit bruised but otherwise all went well with that.

With the next camping trip on the horizon, we're basically just throwing all of the necessaries in a pile in the garage whereupon we will not have to think too many pre-camping thoughts next time but will instead just fit it all back into the car. 

But we come by our absent mindedness honestly, folks.  We have been doing & completing & compiling piles of paperwork of late because, in part, we are selling the house.  (We've also been cleaning & discussing & cleaning & showing & deep cleaning some more.)  Eight years later, the stars have aligned.  It turns out, the market is pretty good right now for selling this little box, and four days after throwing the old "for sale" sign out in the yard, we were offered full asking price minus a bit of closing dollars; we looked at each a few times, stopped talking about it for the night, rehashed the "Are you really sure...I think we really should..." options and then signed to agree. 

This house was supposed to be a three-year commitment as we were young and didn't need much space, as I went through graduate school, before we were going to move on the proverbial bigger and better things.  But those biggers and betters didn't really materialize because in hindsight, we needed all the years of our 20s to really get those end goals figured out.

There's a good dose of comfort in staying where its familiar and relatively cheap, where we have the  walls painted our preferred colors and where a delightful pair of cardinals know that I'm going to feed them.  But this bit of land was really never supposed to be our final landing spot, and the upside of staying true to the potential we anticipate is worth something.  So when we figured out that we maximize the equity on this place, we gotta do it, even though there are going to be some really painful moments ahead for us as a family.  The girls, as one might imagine, are confused and scared and anxious about a lot of it but alternately excited about choosing the paint colors for their new rooms and finding out that they might have access to pools and new playgrounds. 

The flip side of the coin is that while we're in a great position selling our house right now, we're in a frustrating, difficult position buying a house right now because the seller's market here is similarly a seller's market there and houses are f-e-w and far between.  Things will somehow work themselves out, but right now, we have no house come 30 days after closing on this place.  

The impetus for putting the current house on the chopping block came about when I had a full-time teaching opportunity rather fall into my lap fairly easily and quickly.  It's not a "we have to move" situation but rather a "we get to move to where we've long talked about wanting to live someday - we now have the reason that we need."  The stars, good people, the stars...they are in some crazy alignment right now. 

So the future seems to be coming fast and furious for this little family, not exactly like we imagined it would be, which is kind of fun and lots of worrisome.  The whole lesson learned here is that when your world is full of the end of one school year, swim lessons, gymnastics, orientation days for a new job, selling your house, frantically searching for a new one, cleaning and paperwork galore, a little kitty boy who isn't eating much anymore, commitments to conferences, and teaching two summer classes, you just might forget to bring dishes and towels when camping because your mind is too full of all those other bits and pieces. 

When every part of you is feeling weary, it helps to have a bit of a camping boondoggle with beautiful weather and plenty of nature to reset and renew.  Plus, a good old fashioned campfire really does wonders for the soul.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The last of the last days of preschool

Interweb-type folks:

Tomorrow is the Younger's last days of preschool.  For realsies.  I have been driving one child there every week for five years and now that bandaid is going to be ripped off.  What was that...sounds of sobbing coming from my general direction?

No ma'am.  No sir. 

I'm not a weeper when my kids reach their little mini milestones.  I sure do love 'em, but I also love watching them develop and grow more than I do love reminiscing about the days of yesteryear. 

Por ejemplo.  When I think about how many fewer tears we resolve on a daily basis, I rejoice.  When I realize that I haven't torn my hair out over the smears of pasta sauce that missed the bib (i.e. LESS STAINING), I sing the praises of any and all.  And, when I hear my children telling each other how annoying they're being (and why...!) rather than hitting or screaming because they have words now, the hallelujahs bubble forth. 

Of course we have work to do.  Of course they're still in progress.  But, ohmyword, I love that they're growing up. 

I also love that I wrote the last check for preschool.  And that I don't have to drive across town back and forth and back and forth.  And that I don't have to make so much polite conversation with other moms who assume I'm all bleary teary eyed like they are.  (I'm pretty lousy at polite conversation and will inevitably say something that makes me sound like a blundering dolt.) 

I'll say it again: No ma' sir. 

However.  I don't really like Kindergarten.  I don't like that all-day K is the only option anymore and that we have to remember when "red day" is.  I don't have much in common with other Kindergarten parents, it seems, and I'm practically grinchy about Kindergarten graduation.  For the love...

The Younger is pretty stoked about joining the Elder at school next year, and what is probably one of her worst kept secrets, the Elder echoes that sentiment.  I'm already starting on packing all of those lunches.  (No, I'm not.  Maybe I should?!?  No, I shouldn't.  But I wish I could.)   

There's a reason we only have two kids: I can't handle the thought of packing more lunches every day.  Oy vey.  (True story: There have been multiple times when the boy and I say "Hey, we should take the girls to do ___ for the day," but then I immediately think "Nah...that means someone (usually me) has to pack lunches for everyone.  Pass.")  Everyone has their struggles. 

But there's someone who's not having the struggles, and that is the Younger.  She's fantastically excited about tomorrow because TALENT SHOW and END OF SCHOOL PROGRAM.  But after that razmatazz, she's just stuck at home with me.  She better enjoy her last day.  We all will.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Well, things happen. I guess.

Well.  We bought a dryer.  We basically designated our old one for assignment (We bought it and its washing machine soul mate with my first full-time teaching paycheck; in hindsight knowing how much I used to get paid, I'm amazed that we pulled that heist off.  I feel good about the 11 1/2 years we spent together.  But when I spent 6 hours, routinely, trying to get a load of sheets dry, we decided to let it test the free agent market and sign with whomever it wanted.  Fortunately, that transaction worked well.), and the new model sings a little song to me whenever its done with a load. 

I wish I knew that it in the store.

I want to take a baseball bat to it already.

Just shut up already and stop gloating that you did what I told you to do, i.e. dry the clothes.

In hindsight, I seem to recall hearing whisperings of others with musical dryers as well, though this "upgrade" boggles my mind.  What function does this serve?  Are we trying to calm the masses who may be otherwise upset with their laundry chores by tricking them into thinking that the ice cream truck is coming instead?  DOES IT HAVE TO CHIME A LITTLE TOODLEY-TOOT AT ME FOR 10 SOLID SECONDS?!? 

You know what would be a valuable upgrade?  Drying my sheets better.  Let's stick with our intended task, here, Bertha. 

It turns out that no easy task is ever easy in this house.  Dryers are purty easy to other words, an easy in-and-out task.  But when the dryer is wedged into a tight spot behind the washer, things gotta move.  Maybe the washing machine was feeling like her time is coming (calm down, Betty Lou...we're keeping you since you do your job).  Maybe the installers (both of whom I am monetarily invested in...i.e. the boy and my dad) did us a service in finding a weak spot that could very well have burst at an inopportune time.  Whatever the case may be, we have a new set of hoses all ready to be installed on Betty Lou.  But she's been rooted to her spot for a decade, and her old hoses not only broke but badliy, and a plumber has been called in the hopes of mitigating the potential damage.

Yes, that's exactly it, you smart person.  We need a plumber because we bought a dryer.

Fortunately, we have some highly acommodating


in-laws across town who are more than willing to provide a washing machine for us to use for the coupe of loads that I was saving for the new dryer.  So as to stem the spread of grodiness among dirty clothing and towels, we've taken a couple of loads across town.  The second load involved a tight schedule and a hail storm.

Again, you hit the nail on the head, wonderful reader of mine.  I was caught in a monsoon with half of an umbrella (truly, I tell umbrella situation is pitiful) and a load of wet towels (two of which I promptly dropped back down on the dirty, dirty ground while trying to shove the aforementioned load of wet towels back into my trunk while holding the half of an umbrella in between my chin/cheek and shoulder while the torrents challenged my fortitude and thankfulness) all because we bought a dryer. 

At this rate, I may drop a freshly baked pan of gooey chocolate chip cookies in a mud puddle because we bought a dryer.  I might have to take out a second mortgage because we bought a dryer.  I might accidentally get arrested BECAUSE WE BOUGHT A DRYER

In the dictionary of my life, should you choose to look up the definition for "adult," it will simply relate this story.  Adulting is some weird stuff, people.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Brownie duds

A year ago, we replaced our kitchen range when our old one incinerated itself while I was baking some chocolate chip cookies for the boy. 

(Let's take a moment to remember that sheet pan full of cookie dough.  Gone too soon.  Unable to reach their full potential.

Let's also rejoice that I didn't have a pricey and time consuming pan of something roasting away in there.  I would have been more along the lines of livid.)

Now, our house is what I affectionately refer to as "always for sale," which means that we're loathe to throw down some serious coin for an appliance that we're not going to take with us when we con someone strike a bargain of a deal to take over the mortgage for this joint.  (Poor sap.  You're out there somewhere.  I'm just waiting on you to introduce yourself to us.)  So, we invested in a "functional" brand new range.  It has no bells, but it does have a whistle that I still can't figure out and therefore never use the timer on the oven.  On the plus side, all four of my burners are reliable unlike the previous 10 years of my life with Ol' Bessie.  On the negative side, I CAN'T BAKE A DECENT BATCH OF BROWNIES TO SAVE MY COCOA-DEPENDENT LIFE. 

Folks.  It's turning into a catastrophe around here.  I've been hankering for days upon weeks for a gooey/fudgy batch of dark, dark brownies (preferably "studded with nuts," which is always my choice).  My range is unable to apparently regulate heat.  This results in dark, dark brownies that are too, too dry. 

We ALL know that an excellent brownie requires two things: chocolately-ness and the right texture.  I can like with all of you "cakey brownie" people, but I'd prefer that you wipe your feet before you enter my house and also not talk to me.  Just keep your (wrong) opinions to yourself.  You fudgy brownie people - you're my favorite people in the whole widey world.  Let's debate pecans v. walnuts someday. 

My range is quite obviously in the how-can-ruin-the-texture-of-every-baked-product category.  I've learned to adapt for cookies.  Other goodies are more malleable.  But brownies just require a certain knack for toothsomeness that I just can't reconcile with Omar the Angry Oven. 

I know (I know...) about an oven thermometer, which I used to have with Ol' Bessie and found to be not that helpful.  I haven't gone this route again with Omar since I've been able to basically make things work with variable cooking times.  But right now, if we have to suffer through another pan of mediocrely textured dry-ies, I'm gonna get weepy. 

Lesson learned, Omar.  Sometimes cheap is as cheap does.  Now to just find that poor sap to offload you...

(In other news, I signed a contract a few days ago to have our house re-roofed.  And we bought a whole new furnace/AC system 6 months ago.  There's broke.  And then there's b-r-o-k-e.  I'm over this shanty.)

Saturday, April 8, 2017


Folks.  For kicky giggles, I've been weighing myself at the end of the weeks, often, just to see if this "running thing" is actually all that and (enough calories to afford eating) a bag of chips.  I've slid back into the previous decade on the scale, so I guess I'll keep on keepin' on.  That's not actually why I've been running, or at least it's about at the pinky on my hand 'cause I'm a believer in things are what they are, amen.  But at the same time, if the numbers go down a snitch, how 'bout that?!  Who knew that logging the miles meant the cinnamon rolls still taste delicious and don't sit so heavy on the hips?    Pretty much everyone.

We're squeezing out all of the goodness that is Spring Break part II (SBII), which has had some glorious moments.  Allow me to gush. 
1.  The boy took over half of the dropping off & picking up of children duties.  He missed a turn the second morning & apparently heard about it from the Younger 'cause "that's not the right way to school." 
2.  I had a coffee date on Wednesday, whereupon the boy across from me spent time looking up information on a house for sale that he drove by.  He overlooked the fact that I drive by these houses every day.  I already know the knows about these things.
3.  My mom called in the middle of our date, and when I called her back, I coyly intimated that "I was on a date with my boyfriend."  Now I'm covered.  No one will question me in the future should I ever want to take another boy out on the town.
4.  Baseball started this week!  It's been a lousy week in the records column, but for the first week of the season, it's still pretty great!!!
5.  Not only have I skitched my driving duties, but I've largely ignored the Younger on at least 2 occasions when I pretty much forgot that I had children at all.  This introvert needs some chunks of time like that once upon a season.
6.  The boy had minimal track stuff this week.  It's been a nice week of farewell before we'll see him again at the end of May.  Maybe June, depending.

In the meanwhile, I've been making a more concerted effort to read, starting with The Word Detective by John Simpson.  If you're into WORDS and all things OED (Oxford English Dictionary) - because who isn't? - then this is an enjoyable read.  And the dude is all together willing to make fun of himself in an entirely British sort of way.  And I like that. 

But, gentle readers.  The last time I went to the library intending to get 1 or maybe 2 books, I accidentally checked out 8.  I'm still just in #1 (though #8 is a cookbook all about cupcakes so I've tasted that a bit, too).  It's oy vey difficult to find time to chew up some reading and still see my boys. 

Life is a constant push and pull scenario.  Woe, woe, woe is me.

Coming up next includes a memoir by a woman who grew up with a thief for a dad (but she didn't know it), some fluffy fiction because I figure it's been a year and maybe it's time that I remember what a good story is, and a couple of looks at some historical moments/people of whom and about whom I know absolutely nothing.

And on that note, allow us to pause for a moment in honor of a couple of spunky gals - Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  I read Sotomayor's memoir a few weeks back, and trust you me when I say that it's not political at all.  She makes a point to stop right where most just begin to know who she is.  Her life, like so many, is nothing short of extraordinary and que interesante - an excellent read for anyone who needs a sample of a woman in charge of her own destiny.  I just finished The Notorious RBG last week (prompting my ill-fated trip to the library), and it's. just. delightful.  There's no gloss, no veneer, no political tom foolery.  It's just about what makes RBG so notorious - another thoughtful work about a woman we should all wish to know. 

So that's what's been going down and what's coming up in real time these next few days.  Also, my cat has wretched breath and is about to get booted off my lap.  The nightly struggle...

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Perfect piggy pedi palooza!

When you walk into your 10 AM pedi appointment (first time slot of the day, folks! no wait!) with BRIGHT my-7-year-old-actually-chose-these-for-me-and-I-love-them running gear and coffee in hand, think twice before offering the pedicurist your scummy feet while blithely announcing "I just ran 3 miles this morning, and I've been looking forward to this!" and no other information.  For example, a lovely (and necessary) follow-up might sound something like "Don't worry.  I definitely took a shower first."

I completely forgot that part because bliss, thy name be A Good Pedicure.

After some searching, I've found my pedicure home.  Granted, the first song that came on the radio when I started soaking my piggies was "Hit Me Baby, One More Time."  Ah, that took me back to ye good olde days of music.  Even some Britney can't ruin my mood because this was a well earned hour of warm, bubbly water and foot rubs with some plum paisley thrown in for good measure.

(I do gravitate to the dark, dark colors for the toes.  It's my (toe) jam.  One time, probably out of a nervous habit of wanting to fill the silence - slash - make awkward chitchat, I asked the pedicurist's opinion about colors and she essentially said "These are colors for summer, not what you're looking at."  I mistakenly listened to her so as not to keep on careening toward Awkwards-ville, and did. not. like. that. color. at. all.  I never went back there.)

Someone tell me why a dark shade of purple, a solid color, is called plum paisley seeing as how it's not paisley at all.  I liked the name though, and this is also a decided factor in how I choose paint colors: Sugar cookie?  Check.  Peacock fancy?  Yes, please.  Purple-icious?  No m'aam. 

All of this is by way of saying, a decided highlight of SpRiNg BrEaK '17 (part I) was my hour spent with my new BFF (whose name I don't know but who still gets paid pretty well to be my friend once every 4 months).  I love the whole experience from the delightful smells of something like heaven when I walk in to the smooth, slippery way my feet feel when I leave, from the first moment scooching my feet down into the copper tub to the way she doesn't make me talk for the entire 60 minutes, from the way it takes me an hour to read about 12 pages because I'm so distracted by foot joy to the way my coffee tastes decadent. 

I'm just a girl in need of a foot rub now and again with a little bit of polish thrown in for good measure. 

I've done the manicure thing before, and it was OKAY.  I've done the massage thing before, and it was NICE.  But the feet have it.  It took me about 10+ years of my adult life to realize this is just a part of my yearly budget.  I'll eschew all manner of things that would otherwise sap my pedicure funds in favor of this one-perfect-hour treat.  When I make my first million, yes there will be weekly pedicures in my life. I am pedi sure about that. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Hear ye, hear ye!

In another round of I'm-late-to-the-party-but-better-late-than-never, I have a few links to share tonight.  Good links.  Sometimes funny links.  Scratch your head or sigh in comradeship links. 

Here's the deal.  I find myself with some extra time on my ears that isn't fully taken with a form of media, and as I was typing that sentence, I realized just how many different outlets of communication I have on a daily basis in my life now.
1.  Sirius XM radio (at least for a couple of more months...thanks hubs, for the Christmas present 'cause I heart Michael Smerconish!)
2.  6 large TV screens on various channels in front of me while treadmilling (On another note where I talk about running yet again, I'd like to point out that I thought today was going to absolutely bite the biggest of the big ones cause it's been a few days since I've run.  And it didn't.  3 cheers to that.)
3.  2 different devices with a constant email update/news update/entertainment update, all day long
4.  a favorite TV show for about an hour in the afternoon and another hour at night if I'm lucky
5.  3 podcasts that I follow every week
6.  another couple of podcasts that I've dabbled with
7.  a new podcast that I tried this week
8.  MLB TV soon and very soon (like a breath of springshine, the new season is a'startin')

But let's gab about #7 for a bit.  I occasionally reach into the TED Talks vaults for a class source with a couple of the classes that I teach.  And they're always fantastic.  Always smartly delivered.  Always fascinating.  Who knew that TED Talks are available for podcasts and videocasts?  Indeedy, they are.  They're that nugget of insight, wisdom and learning for the sake of learning that's been missing from my life.  They're (generally) kid-safe (which means that I can have them on in public spaces while putzing in the kitchen), and they're delivered in snappy little 5-20 minute packages, which is perfect-o for those times when you have a few minutes but not long enough for an entire episode of whatever it is that you're involved with. 

Just while juicing a few lemons, prepping for pizza and unloading a dishwasher, I listened to a discussion on asteroids (she seems like someone that I want to drink coffee with) and some thoughts about why we should raise brave girls (YES, YES, oh my YES & color me convicted of not practicing my own bravery skills).  When I was then making the pi pizza pie (it's 3-14 & my young people are always down for a mid-week, kitschy celebration), I sighed deep sighs on the truth of women's voices (my sighs were shockingly British sounding, too).  While I folded towels tonight, I considered a different perception of indoctrination (and will promptly be integrating this into my lesson plans for next week - get read, ENGW-132!).  And, while throwing on some clothes post-shower/pre-school pick-up, I delighted in learning from obituaries (fascinating stuff & proof positive that I don't only listen to female TED Talks speakers). 

Good people.  Embrace a new possibility.  A new potential.  A new bit of knowing.  If nothing else, I find that listening to brilliant and motivated people make me cheer for humanity and strive to be more of everything in a good way, a possible way.  There's a whole bunch of hope in knowing that a whole bunch of others know a whole bunch of things that I don't and so that I don't have to. 

And if you have a bit more time in your world or want to delve into a longer conversation of happenstance and hard work combined, I encourage you to give How I Built This a go.  I've only listened to a couple so far, but they haven't failed to make me shake my head a bit and appreciate the Common Joe aspect of all the innovators and entrepreneurs among us.

With all of those listens I'm sending your way, here's a clip for you parents out there.  I envy her spunk when faced with a car trip with kids.  There's just about nothing I dread more.  I want to be at so many places, but the boy doesn't want to foot the bill for airplane tickets (begrudgingly, I'm in agreement with right now), which means that we make calculated risks using Mapquest to guide our X-hour parameters.  We're firmly in the pack-up-the-kids-and-a-puke-bucket-mode around here.  My child...she is what she is.  But I'd like to see where the adrenaline-from-another-round-of-carsickness Mommy-tude falls into the hourly breakdown.  HINT:  For us, it happens pretty fast.  (I had the girls 45 minutes away from home this past Saturday for a girl's day adventure.  We made it 15 minutes before we had windows down and the familiar look was on her face.)


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

From the riffraff to the hoi polloi

Folks - I ran for 25 minutes at 5.5 miles per hour today (40 minutes total - that was my middle jag).  That's the fastest for the longest, people.  Cheer ye all, cheer ye all, I did not so much as keel over and perish but still ran on.

Readers - I'm glad that I have girls.  I spend 40 minutes a day reading books with two best friends who help fairies capitulate against conniving goblins and a nefarious Jack Frost rather than about muddy trucks and backhoes.  This is one of those times when God was three (thousand) steps ahead of me and knew my heart.

People - It's swimming week for the Elder, which means nightly hair washings and a couple of extra loads of laundry.  Have you ever tried to comb my daughters thick, gnarly wet hair?  Oh, lovely people.  I have.  Many times.  And that's enough to sprout my first grey hair.  Detangler is something of a placebo against this gnarl, and it must be two-three times a week that I ever so gently and kindly remind her that IF YOU WOULD LET US CUT IT, THIS WOULD NOT BE OUR HAIR WASHING SITUATION.  The end.

Homies - I'm about fed up with students who don't take the time to look at my feedback before shooting off an email to me about WHY DID I GET THIS GRADE and (my favorite) YOU MUST HAVE ENTERED THE WRONG GRADE HERE.  No, good students of my class.  I didn't.  You just stunk at that assignment.  All is not peaches and As when one does not take the time to understand the assignment and abide by the parts being asked of one.  But then we get back to class and I remember that I like my students a whole bunch, and I keep on a'keepin' on.

Humans - Today's word is "protmanteau" because that's relevant.

Community - My lilacs are burgeoning with leaves and my "decorative crab apple" tree has the hazy red of springtime on its blushing branches.  Absurd.  Unreal.  It's March 8.  I'm concerned about all things springtime in this crazy season of warm-cold-warm-cold-warm.  I also read a book on urban gardening lately (really good...makes me want to plant some potatoes in the front yard, be forewarned).  Someone send me some seeds!  Or seedlings!  'Cause I don't have any place to sprout seeds!  Let's get our warm dirty dirt on.

Mortals - I'm also reading a book about sugar.  Lemmetellya.  There's some good stuff in there about things like high fructose corn syrup that I just didn't know before and some things that I glaze through for a couple of pages at a time but overall, it's a sweet read.  Sweet, I say.  And it makes me want to swear off desserts forever.  But I haven't gotten to the part where we talk about how sugar is addictive yet.  We'll see what we learn when we get there.

Plebians - I got a doughnut today.  I knew that I was going to get a doughnut today.  It helped me through the last 7 minutes of my almost-so-I'll-say-it-was 4 mile chug today.  That doughnut didn't last long enough to make up for those last 3 minutes.

Tribe - Yes, yes I am using  It's 10 o'clock, and I'm also watching TV.  Sometimes the power of words elludes me at moments such as these.

Commonality - This one's a stretch.

Mob - I like this one.  Let's be a really good mob, though.  Let's mob illicit ice cream or something.

Family - I like putting on some running leggings in the morning and putting off the morning shower for a couple of hours.  And these knees, they're fresh and ready to go seeing as how I coddled them for the first 33 years of their existence.  I think I have a couple of good years yet in them.  Maybe even a 5K.  If it's not too bright and not too humid and not too cold and no one in the crowds lining the race knows me. 

Blogees - I'm going to eat some cereal because there isn't a better pre-bedtime nibble.  So says me. 

Friday, March 3, 2017


So I blissfully slept on the couch last night, curled up wearing a sweatshirt and in the middle of four blankets of various weight.  I'm a girl who likes some heat and the weight of covers when she sleeps.  There have likely been downwards of two times in my life when I haven't been able to sleep because "it was so hot."  Por ejemplo.  We went tent camping in 100-degree humid heat last year.  The heat bothered me not a jot (at night).  When I was a mid-teen, my parents gave me one two of my favorite presents ever: flannel sheets and a down comforter.  July was toasty roasty in my room.  I admit, it almost sounds disgusting to me to acknowledge that I used to sleep in flannels year round, but then I remember the glacial conditions that my dad (i.e. the one controlling the A/C) prefers.  Whenever we visit now, there's nearly always an extra blanket or two ready and waiting at the foot of the bed because it's like they know me.   

Those roasting July nights of my youth...ah...those were some of the best of times when it comes to my sleep.  As an adult, there have really been two better-than-I-could-possibly-believe of times that I now recognize in hindsight.  (If only I had appreciated the glory days when I was in them.  Nowadays is very much not the glory days.) 
#1:  When I was teaching full-time, pre-children especially, and getting up earlyearlyearly so that I could drive to work and/or when I didn't even have the longer commute but still cut myself off from work at 11 PM each night after longlonglong days.
#2:  Both times I had a newborn.  Naturally.  Those days taught me how to sleep for realsies. 

But something happened a little over 18 months ago, July 2015, actually.  That was some humdinger of a month, I tell ya.  Sleep - no more.  Hormones - not my normal.  Life - different.  I'm pretty positive that this whole thing has been a hormone issue from the get-go given that my sleep changed muy dramatically all at the same time as other not-very-exciting-nor-blogworthy things happened.  But who knew that one would need to be sleep trained mid-30s?  Not I.

Now I.

I read this article once before but came across it again today and I read this last night, so it seemed like a good time to talk about it, given my couch surfing proclivity.  (To be fair, I fully expected to sleep on the couch last night 'cause I had coffee late and was teaching late.  Even without coffee, after driving home, it takes me a while to downshift into neutral, and by that point, my normal was a while ago.) 

I desperately want my own room that we can call a "guest room" for the sake of social appearances.  I never need melatonin when I sleep by myself.  I always need it at minimum otherwise. 

I don't love all of the 10 tips, though, for re-training your sleep patterns.  I'm n-o-t a fan of less than 67 degrees in my bedroom.  We get that low in the winter, but my nose gets cold.  Blergh.  I'm not on board with getting rid of a clock, even though I'm aware of the light issue.  And it's 100% IMPOSSIBLE that I forgo my computerly devices within 2 hours of sleeping.  When would I work?  That is my prime working time; I could have a jam packed kid day and feel confident that I was going to get something accomplished once they were put away for the night.  It's a non-option.  I feel anxious-er now just thinking such a dreadful thought.

I haven't tried any of the teas yet because a) tea tastes like t-e-a (and while I've adjusted to my cuppa green each day, unsweetened, something reminiscent of hay doesn't scream sleep baby sleep to me) and b) diuretics seem to contradict my nighttime goals.  Has anyone had any success with an herbal nod? 

And how does one sleep this way when one is not in one's own meticulously curated sleeping space?  So much can go wrong.  So much does go wrong.  There's a noisy fan running somewhere.  The room is frigid.  My child is BREATHING beside me.  The windows don't have coverings (what the what here, good people of the hospitality industry?!?).  Good people that we travel with are on a different sleep/wake schedule and talk like people are wont to do.  The mattress just feels different.  Call me kooksville if you want, but why yes, I am that person bringing my own pillow to the hotel/B&B/in-laws/whatehaveyou because that's a deal breaker.  Give me my pillow or give me a night of wallowing.  (I do have the perfect pillow.)

Sleeping outside of my home is a new worry.  A worrisome worry.  It's enough to make me all a-dither before the witching hour draws nigh when staring a strange sleeping arrangement in the face.  It's gotten to the point that I mentally scout a second-option-escape-route out in advance.  Just in case.  And it's almost always needed now.


This sleeping thing is for the birds.  Maybe not...they were singing pretty happily at 5 AM-ish just the other day.      

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Around the world in 12 meals

This is going to be quickish 'cause my students aren't submitting their drafts (due in 3 h 29 m), so I'm flush with some unexpected time, and I have a Sunday crossword staring me down from 2 feet away.  My purple pen is all lined up, and I think that I might even have an episode of Grey's Anatomy lined up, too.  In other words, this Sunday night is turning out to be more pleasant than expected.  Let's move along here, doggy.

I gotta share this one.  It's about my best idea ever (take this as you's not exactly Earth shattering or anything).  Once a month this year, we're choosing a different country to explore.  We investigate their food, read a book about them, and prepare a meal to enjoy together.  So far, we ventured to the Philippines in January and China in February.  The Filipino meal - excellent.  The Chinese meal - equally excellent but not received as well.  So far, we're two-for-two on trying new foods (and we had five different, new foods to try out yesterday!) without complaint, which is not always the case. 

Next month, we're going to catch a boat to Ireland because March = all things Irish, and who doesn't need a dose of meat and potatoes after noodles and oyster sauce?  Plus, Filipino cooking often calls for an ingredient called banana ketchup.  Let's return to some semblance of normalcy in the space of my regular grocery store aisles, eh?

The moral of the story here, which I already knew (this isn't our first three-ring circus), is that if you want to try something new, get the kids excited about it, too.  Give them a purpose.  Allow them to have input in the decision.  Find out what they're interested in and gratuitously, shamelessly exploit that.  And, when all else fails, give it a ridiculous name and cross your fingers.  (For a while there, kiwis were known as dinosaur bones around our house.  And then the Elder came to terms with their deliciousness.  Now, she eats them for lunch or snack almost every day.)

欢呼  (Cheers!)