Friday, January 29, 2010

I don't want to

Today I am deeply and profoundly drool on your pillow exhausted. It has been a crazy week and I woke up thinking that I don't want to be the Mom today.

I don't want to make the lunches and dole out the snacks. I don't want to chase the two year-old and listen to the seven year-old go on and on and on - and on, about pencil toppers or anything else, really. I don't want to get up in the middle of the night when someone isn't feeling good. I don't want to make sure everyone has clean underwear or a sweater on or a dry pull-up or a backpack properly packed. I absolutely do not want to let the dog out or refill the water bowl or pick up the toys. I don't want to make breakfast or dinner or a fill a sippy cup or pour a glass of milk or wash and apple. I don't want buckle up car seats or take anyone to a gym class or have a playdate or sweep up the playdough crumbs.

I just don't want to.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A guy and a bike

Someone broke into our garage last night. The only thing taken, as far as we can tell, was Hubs' racing bike. It can be replaced, and he really wanted an upgrade anyway, but he's feeling a little rattled. He put a ton of miles on that bike and would have kept it, even if he finally splurged on a new one.

He loved that bike. Not as much as he loves us, but just a smidge less.

And me? I heard the whole thing from my perch on the couch. After tossing and turning for hours last night I decided to sleep out in the living room for a while. A few hours later, I woke up and heard a weird rumble. I wondered why someone was taking out the recycling that early in the morning and I shushed the dog. And then I shifted my position on the couch and thought about how hungry I was, decided to stick to my diet, and eventually fell back asleep.

So it isn't a complete tragedy, no one was hurt, the house was locked, and we were all safe inside it. But still, we're all a little grumpy around here. I am mad at myself for not realizing what was going on. And Hubs is pretty sad that some shadester stole his bike. Really, I think he would have been less upset if they had just made off with the car.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Insufficient evidence

Yesterday we finally finished getting rid of the last stack of old office files. There was so much unnecessary stuff that we had been holding on to - like the three year old bill from the repair to both of our cars (when I backed into Hubs' old car with my old car) and the receipt for a crappy Bosch dryer that turned on while I was reaching into it.

Now it is all gone, shredded, and hauled away.

As if it never happened.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hey mister, want to buy a box of cookies?

I've been really grumpy this weekend, like there is something hanging over my head, undone, but I can't quit put my finger on it. We've been on a quest to clean out the office, so the shredfest has been going on for several days and bulk trash pickup is on Monday so there's the stuff we're pulling out of the garage to get rid of. But neither of those was it.

And then I remembered, Girl Scout cookie orders are due this Wednesday.

I can't stand cookie season. The sale is supposed to be a learning experience for the girls, to teach them self confidence or working towards a goal or some crap like that, while raising money for the organization. Of course, the girls are responsible for selling the cookies, but we all know who really sells them.

When I was a Girl Scout, my father was the nightshift nursing supervisor at a hospital and he sold so many boxes that my entire troop went to Six Flags two years in a row. So compared to my Dad, my salesmanship is pretty lame.

Since I don't work in an office and Hubs has all of five people in his office, neither of us can count on our jobs to get rid of very many. Which means we're forced to hit the streets. Today, we'll traipse the neighborhood trying to sell a few more boxes. Girlie hopes to sell 80 boxes so she'll earn some dollar store panda from the incentive catalog, but we'll probably land somewhere closer to thirty boxes.

I'm pretty sure my Dad, I mean, I sold three hundred boxes.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The News

I cranked up the dirty mini-van, said a small prayer that the wipers were working (they were), and dashed out in the torrential rain today in search of a copy of our local alternative weekly, the Phoenix New Times.

No, I wasn't dodging the drops to get the scoop on the latest political scandal or plunder the pages in search of a hopping nightclub to hit this weekend.

I was hoping to see my name in print.

My first real live, honest to goodness, paid freelance article hit the stands today! There was some question as to whether all of the pieces would make it, advertising is seriously limiting the available pages these days. But I made it in, and my editor (really, I just like saying that) emailed to make sure that I knew and to congratulate me.

It is a small piece for the yearly Resolution Guide, a special themed insert, but it is the first thing that I have pitched and written specifically for a publication. You can check it out online here.

Oh, and if you happen to hit the New Times stand by 7th Ave and Thunderbird, sorry, there aren't any copies left.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rain, rain, don't go away

It rained yesterday.

And while my pals in Georgia have been complaining about the rainy weather, here in the desert, a rainy day is a good day.

The rain is so rare that the kids run to the windows and smush their faces against the glass to stare as the drops pelt down from the sky. So rare, that last year, Little Guy turned to me and asked what it was. We moved here when he was nine months old, so he really couldn't remember the rainy days back east. Rare enough that I have only had to pick up Girlie from school once when it was raining and she doesn't even own a rain coat.

So, we don't get the rainy day blues.

Quite the opposite!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Something from nothing

Lately I have been taking note of the amazing talents of several of my girlfriends and, though I realize how pointless this is, I can't help cataloging where I come up short.

I really really admire people who can make things with their hands. Sewing, painting, baking, photography -these are all areas that I don't seem to have the patience or the natural aptitude for.

Not that I don't have some artistic tendencies. When I had my store, I was pretty good at visual merchandising and I think my house reflects that same creativity. I have an eye for putting things together, but they have to exist already. I can't make something tangible from nothing and so as artists go, I hover at the sidelines like a fringe creative.

I think that this is what attracts me to fiction writing. I can't make things with my hands, so I make them with my mind. Or I attempt to.

But over the last few months, I haven't had the time to work on my fiction. I have picked up a little extra writing work and between that and the kids, I haven't been able to carve out a routine that gives me time for fiction. What I really need to do is figure out how to fit it in. It means some sacrifice somewhere and I just have put some thought into it. Really, I have been thinking about this for a few weeks now, but I haven't done anything about it.

Instead, I waste my time wishing I could knit a scarf.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Complaint department closed (temporarily)

Like everyone else, I have been watching the news about Haiti unfold. The latest reports estimate that an unfathomable 45000 - 50000 people are believed to be dead and the devastation is absolutely horrifying.

So while I want to continue bitching about my kids and being home alone all week with a sick two year old, I also realize that all things considered, I really have nothing to complain about. I know it won't last forever, maybe not even until tomorrow, but at least for now it seems like a little perspective is absolutely called for.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Forgive and forget

This week has been an incredibly challenging one. Hubs has been out of town, Little Guy has been sick, and lately Girlie has been, well, a little dramatic.

Last night everything erupted and I completely lost my cool. Boom! Momma goes mental. I hate losing it, but children require an unlimited amount of patience and mine certainly has limits. Limits I am learning to stretch, but still not as far as I'd like. It happened before dinner and I spent the rest of the evening wishing I had done things differently.

Still, I have hope. As I was reading a story to Little Guy before bed he expressed genuine surprise at the ending. It was a sweet moment, but that wasn't the thing that got me. He was able to forget his expectations. We've read that book a million times, he certainly knew the ending, but he chose to forget and allow himself to be surprised and delighted.

Children are the best at forgive and forget. We always say it in that order, but sometimes the forget part needs to happen first. It is the forgetting that allows us to see the wonder and excitement in the same old story. And maybe if the unpleasant stuff is forgotten, the forgiveness comes a little easier.

So, last night before dinner, what was I saying? Oh yeah, I forgot.

I made homemade chicken nuggets for dinner and the kids loved them. After dinner, Girlie and Little Guy danced to The Ting Tings and I recorded it on our camera. I let Girlie hang out on her bed with the dog while I read stories to Little Guy.

We had a great day yesterday.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Super Mom

Little Guy has a yucky virus. The fever has gone down, but he still has a hacking cough.

Yesterday, he had a coughing fit so hard that it actually gagged him and caused him to spit up a little. Of course, I was holding him when it happened. I managed to catch the spewing stream of partially digested crackers in my scarf and then get him into the bathroom before the damage was too catastrophic.

It reminded me of a story that one of my friends told recently. Over Thanksgiving weekend her daughter threw up and she actually caught it in her hand.

That is how amazing we mothers are. Able to leap tall piles of laundry and catch vomit in a single scarf.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Oh sleep,where art thou?

Remember this post about the wonderful sleep I was getting?

Yeah, well that seems to be over.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the blog post

So my mother reads my blog. Well, not my mother actually, she bought a laptop six months ago, finally got her internet access set up, and still hasn't managed to check her email account, never mind navigating the big scary internet. It is my mother-in-law who reads my blog. She really likes it.

She mentioned it the other day and it made me think about the way we write these things. Online diaries, yes. Entire truths, absolutely not. So though I will tell you about my kids and even reveal a little about the things I might struggle with, I am not going to write really painful things about my friends and family. I wouldn't want them to read it.

There is the story about my parents canceling the hospice nursing staff. There is the awkward thing with one of my dearest friends. There is the frank discussion about my financial situation and the gigantic wad of cash that we lost on our house (though, hang on, I might actually bitch about that one in detail soon).

The reality of this whole online experience is that you get honesty, but just a slice of it. The rest of the pie is still there. But those things are the leftovers, tucked away in a waxy pastry container that I keep in the back of my pantry.

Sometimes even I'm afraid to take a peek inside that box.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Now and later

Some problems are better dealt with if you leave them alone for a little while.

Take for example, dog vomit. I have learned over the years that it is better to wait before trying to clean it up. Wipe the puke up immediately and it smears and stains. But once it has dried, the debris is so much easier to remove.

Personal issues can be like this too. Some things are best left alone for a bit. I am all for facing your issues and I don't like to run away from things, but often a little time and perspective are exactly what is needed to fix a situation. Like the dog barf, you have to acknowledge that it is there, and you can't leave it forever, but you have to give the problem some time before tackling it.

Of course there are always things that have to be dealt with immediately, like spilled milk. And the tricky part is figuring out which type of problem you are facing.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Shark mouth

So as soon as the lights go down and the music starts to swell, I cry at Broadway shows. It is one of those dorky things about me. I get choked up pretty easily. And it doesn't have to be quality entertainment, a cheesy movie or even a local Christmas productions will do just fine.

Back in the day, I used to be a bad ass. At one of my corporate jobs when I was a project manager in charge of some fairly sizable projects, it was my job to make sure that people got things done. Sometimes it meant that I wasn't nice. A couple of my co-workers gave me a little plastic shark that I kept on my desk.

Shark mouth closed? Friendly and approachable. Shark mouth open? You'd better be ready to swim for the boat!

Not that I didn't cry over sappy movies then, but I knew I could count on my inner shark when necessary. These days I feel like I've gone all soft. Having a second child has taken the edge away right down to my squishy middle section and I wonder if I'll ever get it back.

Certainly motherhood changes you for the better. It opens your heart and rearranges your priorities in the best way possible. I wouldn't change the choices I've made.

I'd just like to think I've still got some oceans to terrorize.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The one where I use the word AND too much

I don't know about you guys, but the holiday season exhausts me. Like I told a gal pal the other day, "Christmas, you know, the holiday where I make everyone else's dreams come true."

As a mother of young children you feel like that. There is the cooking, the baking, the buying, the wrapping, and all of that on top of all the military style coordination required to shuffle everyone from one festivity to the next. There's the hiding of the gifts and the way the kids get cranked and a little wacky from all of the excitement.

There are house guests to accommodate and rooms to decorate. There are pine needles to pick out of your socks and stockings to save from the dog. There are last minute surprise gifts from people you barely know. There are rickety glittery homemade presents from the kids to be fawned over. There are cocktails too sweet and too quickly consumed, ditto for the cookies.

And there is always gluttony followed by guilt.

And right now I am the mother of a two year old boy. And there is nothing more exhausting, except maybe being the mother of a newborn. Or maybe being the mother of a seven year old girl.

So, yes, I am glad it is over. And maybe Little Guy is on to something, what I really need is a day in my pj's to read a book.

And to be the kid at Christmas again.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Life is a bowl of oranges

Life is a bowl of oranges. At least it is for Hubs anyway.

He's heading to Florida today to watch Georgia Tech play in the Orange Bowl on Tuesday. I can't be annoyed, I gave him the tickets as an anniversary present.

He'll be back on Wednesday then out of town the entire week next week. He's been home most of December so I've gotten spoiled. He works really hard, and GT hasn't been to a decent bowl in ages. He deserves some time away and I want him to enjoy it. And I gave him the tickets knowing full well that he'd have to travel to use them. I love him and I really wanted him to go.

So I shouldn't be annoyed. At all.

But I am, a little.

Friday, January 1, 2010


I think New Year's might be my favorite holiday.

Not for the wild New Year's Eve frolicking, usually we spend the night at home with family and friends. Years back I would have been party hopping and sloppy kissing the Mr. at the strike of twelve, but these days we celebrate much more quietly. And it is nice to wake up on the first day of a new decade with no regrets and no bathroom floor bargains with a higher power.

No, I like New Year's for the clean slate and the promise of a fresh start. The bad stuff can be in the past, at least on paper, and the good stuff is all about to happen. New Year's Eve is the beauty of before and New Year's Day is all about putting behind the excess of the holidays, swearing off the overindulging, and getting back to reality.

While Christmas is loaded with expectations and pressure to make it perfect, New Year's is about acknowledging that we suck at certain things, but promising that we'll try to do it better. It is for raising a glass to the things that kicked us in the ass a little and resolving not to be stupid enough to let the same thing happen again.

2009 wasn't a bad year. I got a ton of writing done, managed to sell a few pieces, reconnected with a few old friends, and made some great new friends. We traveled a good bit, spent the summer mostly away, and ended the year in front of a cozy fire. The year wasn't without a few negatives, most notable being my father's declining health and the realization that we have lost a ton of money on this house. But it was far from the worst we've experienced.

For 2010, I'd like to have a piece in a national publication of some sort. I'd like to have more dates with Hubs. I'd like to go to the grocery store less and the salon more often. And sure, I'd like to lose a few pounds. I might even start running again.

It's a new year, anything can happen.