Tuesday, July 7, 2015

This one's for you, Domesticity

Me (lamenting the fact that I'm bored when there are literally thousands of things I could be doing around the house): "I think I'm ready to go back to work. I'm tired of finding things to clean."

Chris (looking around in hopes of finding things I've been "cleaning"): "When do you do that?"

Fair game. I think the real issue here is 1.) I'M TIRED OF CLEANING SO CAN EVERYONE JUST LEAVE THE HOUSE FOR 10 HOURS A DAY and 2.) I'm tired of looking for things to do to occupy my time so I don't feel so deliciously, indulgently lazy. So I made an official list of things to do today to make up for the fact that I've wasted the last 420 hours of the summer not doing a whole lot. I mean, I took Ben on three college visits. I needed recovery time.

Ben bemoaned the fact the other day that his life was devoid of buttermilk pancakes, so I sought to rectify the situation and solidify myself as the favorite parent by making him IHOP's buttermilk pancakes today. I first noticed that we were low on maple syrup, and not wanting to spend $7 on Aldi's maple syrup when I could have purchased it at $4.99 weeks ago, I set out to make strawberry syrup with some remaining questionable strawberries. Don't worry. I used some-not-so-good and even-more-not-so-good ones to even the taste score. Half a stick of butter and 1/2 a cup of sugar and some vanilla later, all was well with the world. Oh, right. And pancakes and sausage.
This strawberry syrup is also delicious when used 
as a jam on zucchini bread. Or toast. Or a spoon.

After breakfast I cleaned the kitchen for the third time of the day, even wiping down the counters and sweeping this time. I could hardly contain myself I felt so alive. After standing in the kitchen sweating for two hours, I ran with glee into the living room to fold four loads of wrinkled laundry. I couldn't believe that this is how I get to spend summer vacation. I didn't actually unload the laundry though. I left it in the living room, hoping someone would put it away. No one did. It made it as far as the top of the stairs. It's still waiting.

I took a nap because, hey, summer vacation. When I awoke, I read chapters 7 and 8 of The Great Divorce for book study tonight. I understood the material because I actively tried to concentrate on what the sentences were trying to tell me rather than just skimming my eyes over the words and thinking about last night's episode of The Bachelorette. I find I understand things better when I pay attention. I probably could have graduated higher in my class had I figured that out in high school. Oh, life experiences. You're so tricky.

Sadie showed me the exercises they had to do in 5th grade PE for some sort of presidential fitness program. It was pretty intense. And more on the torture-y side. I used this burst of exercise to prove Chris wrong that I DO in fact do things throughout the day rather than the last 30 minutes before he gets home. I "groomed" and bathed Nickels who actually loves getting a haircut and bath. I bathed Penny who hates it with a fiery passion and keeps trying to run away and then squeals like a pig when I pull her out from under the patio chair.

Disclaimer: Penny and Nickels are our dogs.
They are not extra children in my charge that I bathe on the patio like dogs. 

After a shower of dog hair being rained down upon me, I took a shower because...ew. I lowered my standards and decided to give Kinroo Blue one more shot. Still not very good. I still drank it though. No one likes a wasteful complainer. Buck up, Rachel. I made dinner of sun dried tomato and goat cheese turkey burgers with roasted sweet potatoes while enjoying my sub par beer. I wonder if June Cleaver drank beer while she cooked dinner. Is that why the antics of The Beaver and Wally never seemed to bother her? 

I went to our women's book study tonight where I actually knew some of the answers AND I didn't even have to look up any summaries on Wikipedia to tell me what was going on in these two chapters. My paying attention method seems to have been beneficial. I love when hindsight can be used in the present rather than after the fact. That's handy. I told a story of how I'm a hypocritical lying sinner saved by the blood of Jesus. I'm sure no one was surprised by my sinful nature revelation.

We're going to play Rummikub now because no one has to go to bed for school tomorrow. I almost feel guilty for saying it, so I'll just say it quietly: Woot.
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Monday, July 6, 2015

First world problems, sure, BUT STILL VALID PROBLEMS

As I approach the final weeks of my summer vacation, I've started to panic that I will no longer get to spend countless hours a day finding things to do and bargain them away until tomorrow a la Scarlett O'Hara. Tomorrow, though, I will clean the bathroom. And cut up fruit for the freezer. And fold the laundry. And whatever else I've managed to neglect the previous four weeks.

Sadie and I started the day by going to Walmart. Did you know it's surprisingly and wonderfully empty at 9 a.m. on a Monday? I wondered if we were in fact the last inhabitants on Earth given the countless unoccupied aisles. Alas, we were not. We saw other people next to the toilet cleaner. There goes my dream of winning the Ultimate Earthling Survivor Competition.

Then we went to the pool for FOUR WHOLE HOURS. I spent more time at the pool today than I have in the last five collective years. I got to wear my old lady romper bathing suit. It was everything I wanted in a bathing suit. It's also good to have friends who are not introverts because they invite you to do things like get out of the house and talk to other people. I forget that there's an entire universe just beyond my front door. I just have to go out and aaaaahhhhhh! The sun! It's so bright! Shut the door!

We came home and I took a nap because I have older children who allow me the indulgence of sleeping because I am old and weary. Before you get all jealous, it was only 30 minutes. Then I cleaned the kitchen because I should at least do something productive with the 40 hours a day I have and I don't want Chris to come home and say, "Seriously, Rachel? You've seriously done nothing today?" I don't want to have to answer that. I mean, I know how I'd answer that. I just don't want to say it out loud. It's good to have some mystery in a marriage. Like...how I fill my summer vacation days.

I found this recipe on MSN/Popsugar for a carb free pizza crust. Now before you say, "Carb free pizza crust should have been an indication of its success rate," I love all things food. Vegetarian, brisket, hamburgers, pizza, healthy alternatives. As long as it's not packaged or made with artificial sweetener, I'm game. So this recipe piqued my interest as a healthy pizza crust option. However, I should just know not to mess with perfection. Bread, sauce, cheese. Not hard to mess up. Unless you substitute pizza crust for a crust made from cauliflower. Normally I love all vegetables and try to eat as many as I can in a sitting/day/week/lifetime. But this had to be the most time, energy, and resource consuming recipe for a grand bitter disappointment. After grating the cauliflower, cooking it, washing umpteen dishes, grating the cheese, making the sauce, baking the crust...it would have been just the same if I'd just steamed the cauliflower and poured sauce and cheese on top. So stupid. And it wasn't even good. I couldn't justify its healthy benefits. I could not overcome. I'm torn between just throwing it away and never letting anyone know of this abysmal failure or letting the family try it and ruin any chance of anyone ever wanting to eat vegetables again. Oh, Life, why do you have to be so hard?

I also discovered that there is no substitute for beer. I'm all for cutting financial corners. Non-packaged food, clothes, cars, home decor. It's all just stuff that doesn't really bother me. One area, however, I have discovered that cheap ≠ better: Beer. I bought the Kinroo Blue at Aldi thinking that it would be an acceptable substitute for Blue Moon. Spoiler alert: It's not. It tasted like drinking diluted sour swill from a college dorm party where no one could afford decent beer so they bought the knock off brand at Aldi. I could not overcome. I don't know what I'm going to do with the other five bottles. Drink them in the name of not being wasteful? Give them away in the name of charity? Pour them out and take the $6.97 loss and buy real beer? Oh, Life, why do you have to be so hard?

Maybe I just need to get over my first world problems and do something truly productive. There's always tomorrow.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Oh, hey, endless hours of the day.

The only problem with having so much time off during the summer is by the time you get used to having so much time off it's time to go back to work. I've settled in to a nice routine called What Do I Do Today With An Abundance Of Time on My Hands. I looked at the calendar today and realized that I go back to work in a few weeks and thought, Crap! I haven't done any of the things I had on my to do list!

Our days are spent languishing under the weight of spare time. Yesterday I finally drug Sadie out of her room at 12:30 to go to town with me. Not in a bad way, no. We literally went to Big Town since we still live in the middle of nowhere. I'm not bitter. We went to the library where we used up all of the City's air conditioning. I'm so hot. Like...all the time. I tried to put extra air in my pockets but it was of no use.

We played a couple of subdued rounds of Skip-Bo because we're 10 and 37 going on 55 and 82. I love card games. I really just like games that don't involve in depth strategy. Chess? No. That requires so much thinking

[On an interesting side note, during one of our college visits in June, they informed us that if you were a chess wizard, you could receive a full ride scholarship to that university. Full ride. But that sounds so boring. I can barely keep my eyes open as I type "chess scholarship" because my brain cannot process at that level.] 

I remained mostly calm while Sadie lost the first round and demanded a rematch. She likes to react to each card as she draws it from the pile.  Sad, shocked, appalled, excited. She runs the gamut on facial expressions. I told her she would be awful at poker, but she says she likes to throw off her opponent. I wonder if she knows she's even doing it. I wasn't thwarted by her ruse. I won the second match. We had to leave after that because it was starting to get a little tense.

We gathered our books, I rechecked Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire for the second time. Surely I can finish the book in 9 total weeks, right? It's not looking promising. I keep finding other ways to waste time. Like clean out the fridge. Or recycle everything in the pantry. Or declutter the plastic container cabinet. Important things, people.

After filling our heads with luck-of-the-draw card games and our lungs with beautiful compressed refrigerated air coolant, we went to Dollar Tree because IT'S DOLLAR TREE. Sadie picked out hair ties and I made some really important purchase of which I have already forgotten what it was. Since I bring in our second income, I splurged and let Sadie pick out two detective games and two puzzles. THEN because we're living high on the hog, I also got two ice cream sandwiches. It's like all my dreams were realized right there on aisle 5 of Dollar Tree.

We came home and I took a nap because FREE TIME, people. Sadie put together the first of two puzzles in a box. Final score: Sadie: 240 pieces, Rachel: 30 minutes.

I "made" dinner but then forgot it was in the oven while putting together puzzle numero dos, so our ranch chicken became chicken jerky. It was very dry. No, like really dry. Whoops. 

I went to a book study at church were I still didn't understand what was going on in The Great Divorce despite having looked at a summary on ever-credible Wikipedia. At one point, our group leader read a passage out loud and I had quite the a-ha moment that perhaps I would understand it better if I read it out loud slowly. Better yet, I wonder if she would be opposed to having reading time. Is 37 too old for story time? Probably. I can buy alcohol though. That should count for something.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Update No. 2

There was a snack station at one of my campuses today. There was an assortment of fruits, cereal bars, bagels, and juice. You know what I ate? Powdered sugar donuts. Why, Internet? Why? After all the weeks -- nay -- months of eating healthy and trying to focus on "losing weight" (puh), do I undo it with donuts? Delicious, crumbly, powdered sugary confections of perfection? It's not even real food. Just arid highly processed starches covered in finely ground modified starches. It was so good. I only took three because I wanted to appear dainty, but I'm sure the snack hall monitor knew the score because I scampered back to my office, covered the window and decimated them. The evidence was clear as a drug bust on my desk. Powder was everywhere. And then, as if I didn't feel bad enough about myself, I convinced myself that I needed the waxy chocolate donuts as well because, hey, free donuts. I went back when the monitor had her back turned and took two chocolate donuts. I love donuts. Almost as much as I love beer. Beer and donuts. Staples of an American pantry.

I haven't washed my work clothes in weeks. Probably a couple of months. And you might be thinking, That's gross, Rachel. You should keep your disgusting habits to yourself. Never fear, naysayers. I HAVE THAT MANY CLOTHES. So so many clothes. I've gone through all the pants that I even wore several times until a noticeable spot appeared and it would be evident to all and sundry that I was indeed not doing laundry. Never give away your hand until forced to do so, right? So now I've moved on to skirts and dresses. The only down side to that is having to shave my legs every day that I expose my alabaster skin to the world. First world problems, sure. But still. It's a hassle. No one wants to mess with that nonsense on a daily basis. I think I can still go about six more weeks with all the skirts and t-shirt combos I can make. I feel like I'm living in a fairy tale.

I do have it on my to do list this summer to get some sort of a tan. Although I don't really tan so much as beige. It's a slightly less startling pallor than Sleepy Vampire or Death Came to Roost.

When we sold our last house a couple of years ago, we got our asking price within a day of it being on the market. It was a wee house of only 1300 square feet. It was a fair price. It's for sale again for $25,000 more than what we asked two years ago. You want to know my first thought? Eff that noise. That's bananapants. $25,000 more for a 1300 square foot home. I wonder how much we could get for ours now? We'd all have to live in our car, sure, but think of all the money! And Ben has his own car, so it would really be like he'd have his very own house. I really think this could work. Wait. I have all the clothes. I would probably need my own car for my clothes. And then another car for all the food. And then another car for hanging out in that's not filled with food and clothing. Suddenly this seems like I haven't really thought this home selling process all the way through. Beer and donuts should solve this conundrum.

Dogs licking my hands while I type still hasn't gotten helpful overnight.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Update of sorts

I've been trying to watch the movie Intolerable Cruelty for the last four days. Watching this movie has intolerable cruelty. I can't imagine on what level anyone in this movie thought, Hey, this is a good idea. I can't figure out if it's really boring or...nope that's about it. Boring. So stupid. It's finally, mercifully over. Wait...this thing got three stars? There's no hope for humanity.

I found 55 cents on my walk. Two whole quarters and a beat up nickel. I love finding quarters. I love finding $5 bills more. Why can't the street proffer larger forms of currency? I would even settle for lids to all the plastic bowls under the counter. I wonder if when the kids move out and we clean out their rooms if we'll find all the things we've been missing over the years. Cups, bowls, sleep, money, TV time, quiet, matching lids, missing socks, last pieces of cake. I have already found some questionable food dishes in Ben's room on several occasions. It's been a mystery as to what I would have served that looked like moldy vomit. I don't remember making that for dinner, but it's not to say I didn't. And we'll totally need to burn his room when he moves out.

Why do I have two furry dog shaped shadows follow me every time I go anywhere? Every time I get up to go upstairs, they launch themselves with fervor in pursuit of another location. Then they both insist on laying RIGHTNEXTOTME and lick my hands as I type. It's not exactly helpful, but I also don't understand the animal kingdom.

Ben is rounding out his junior year of high school. To me that's a little weird. Is it to you? Do you remember when I started this blog and he was a mere 9 years old? He was such a baby. You read that, Ben? A baby. So wee. I try not to think about the fact that he'll be a senior and what all that entails. It just makes me sad. But also glad that he's so awesome. Is that what parenting is? A constant grab bag of mixed emotions? This sucks. 

Sadie goes to middle school next year. She's so tiny! She's not ready! She's only 10! She asked the other day if she could buy her lunch more at school next year.  More as in more than the two times I let her this year. Why buy lunch when you can eat already purchased food from home? I don't understand kids. I do understand spending money. It's my favorite hobby. 

And reading. I love reading. In the last two weeks I think I've read about 6 books. My brain can't process words fast enough and get to the resolution quickly enough. I wanted to eat a couple of them they were so good. I need words to be edible.

I need this blog to do something more than suck.
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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Interacting in the real world and not behind a computer screen

My first day Facebook free started to be a productive one. I'm not saying FB is bad or evil or of the devil, but it is definitely implied. I also recognize my own failings in relying upon it for social interaction and passing time.

I cleaned up the kitchen and went through my recipe binder. For years and years I've been hoarding collecting recipes for a day when...I don't know. I suppose I wanted to be prepared for any situation, much like the Boy Scouts if they hosted impromptu dinner parties. I took clothes upstairs that were hanging in the laundry room for weeks. Turns out all the time I wasted on the computer was time I should have spent cleaning. Ahem.

I cleaned out a tube of lip balm that had melted in the car. Now it's good as new. I showered and shaved my legs to go to a cross country booster club meeting. Maybe they're not a booster club yet. Perhaps I'll find out at the meeting. I normally wouldn't go to anything like a booster club meeting with people I didn't know, but my lack of reliance on Facebook has forced me to seek alternatives for seeing actual, live human beings. I met one of the moms at a parent meeting the other day, and she was so lovely and I thought, hey! I'm interacting! 

We ran errands and ate lunch at Sam's because I'm incredibly cheap frugal. Yes, let's go with frugal. That sounds way less stigmatizing. Chris, Sadie and I wandered the aisles of Sam's and the library and...I think we went somewhere else. I was really tired so it's all slightly fuzzy.

I took a nap because Saturday afternoons were made for napping. Then we went to visit Chris' parents for dinner and football. The whole time I was present and engaged in the moment and with the people whose company I was keeping because I knew I couldn't run home and hop on the computer to interact with online personas. I had to make the most of my time with people because, I'm telling you, THIS IS IT. This was real life.

The whole day I felt heady and so alive, practically giddy that my time felt like my own. I wondered if this is what it was like for smokers after they quit smoking and can taste real flavors again. My senses were heightened in that I was no longer in bondage to a virtual reality. I had zero desire to return to my previous state. My desire for such things had been conquered by an all-consuming Savior.

That sounds like such a dramatic thing to say, but there are only two states in life that matter: Dead and alive. And I'm not talking about whether you're alive and breathing or dead in the ground. It's whether you're dead or alive in Christ. Nothing in this world matters more than whether you are conducting yourself with the knowledge and grace of Jesus or whether you're pursuing things of this world and the flesh.

I am chief of the latter. I am ashamed to admit how much time I wasted on Facebook. Ashamed. I want to fall on my face on the floor and weep for the beautiful moments I threw in the trash because I was a slave to my own sin. I have deliberately neglected tallying the amount of time I've spent on FB because I don't know how I would live with myself knowing that number. I'm already ashamed of my gluttony, numbers add nothing but more remorse.

Today we went to church and I had to consciously think to myself, Make this time count. This is your interaction with people. THIS IS IT. I loved it. People matter. Relationships matter. Relationships on the other side of a computer screen are empty and unsatisfying. It's looking like I'm on my way to becoming a hugger.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Posty McPostykins

Me: "I think I would like another baby."

Chris: "You just told me you were too old."

Me: "That's just what I say to make myself feel better. I could do it."

Chris: "Let's just get another dog at the pound."

I do want another dog (a buddy for Penny) but I'm leaning to wanting another baby. I just need to convince Chris that at this stage in our lives (I'm 36...ugh) that starting all over is what I want. Gladly. Baaaaabyyyyyy feeeeeveeeerrrr. The kids are 16 and 9. 16 and 9. This baby fever needs to be replaced with someone more productive like shopping or movies or anything that gets my uterus' mind off of procreating.

Chris is currently helping Ben with his Algebra II homework. They were just discussing a program that Chris wrote for one of his classes on how to find a prime number. I stayed out of that conversation out of respect for math and science. I might hurt its feelings that despite being an older college student, I cannot participate in discussions such as these. I do remember the quadratic equation. Small victory.

I took Penny for a walk by myself tonight. The children didn't want to come with me. They wasted a perfectly beautiful evening staying inside. See? I need smaller children who actually want to spend time with me. We did play Scrabble Slam when I got home, so family values were restored. Ben informed me that I smelled like I went for a walk. I asked for clarification later, and he said I smelled like BO. I guess that better than saying I smelled like a dirty diaper. Small victory? Probably not.

I've given up on cooking dinner. I used to make 16 course meals that took several hours to make and were lovingly prepared with wholesome ingredients. Tonight, though, I dumped out tater tots and mini corn dogs on baking sheets and heated them up. I used the oven, so that's almost like homemade. I rounded it out with some peas and carrots.

Me: "How can I get rid of this baby fever? What can I do?"

Chris: "Look at how much it costs to buy a minivan. Look at the cost of daycare."

It would only be $5000 per school year. That sounds doable, right?

This post was pointless and I've solved none of the world's problems. I've failed humanity. Par for the course.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

When crap spills out of my head it becomes words

Yesterday was the millionth snow day of this school year. By 11:50 a.m. I'd achieved a grand total of zero things. A whole lotta nothing. I consumed most of my daily calories in pretzel rolls and hazelnut spread. At one point I was calculating when Chris would leave for work so I could eat more rolls and spread. It was quite the balancing act to enjoy mere bites at a time yet not so much to horrify Chris but still leave enough to fully engage in the gorging later.

You know when people say, "What's your biggest fear in life?" and they mean it all deep and philosophical like you're going to say, "I want to be a good role model." That's not even close to mine. I'm sure I'll disappoint legions of people. You'll survive. No, my biggest fear (or within the top 3) is slipping and falling directly on my face in the cold icy weather. Why wouldn't I land on my ass or use my hands to break my fall? I don't know. I have a face? My fear is I'll use my mouth and/or teeth to cushion the fall. (In case you were wondering fears No. 1 and No. 2 are driving off the side of the road into a construction zone and coming out of the bathroom with my skirt tucked in my underwear.)

The TV in our bedroom has a big green glowing spot on it at various times. There's no rhyme or reason as to when it will appear. Tonight it looked like Bobby Flay had encountered Slimer from Ghostbusters (RIP Harold Ramis -- you were my first movie star crush when I was a kid). Our last TV died so we walked around Sam's for DAYS and DAYS trying to convince ourselves that -- as adults in our 30s -- we were worthy of spending $200 on a semi-decent TV for our room. After hours of deliberations and price comparison, we talked ourselves out of it and put the TV back on the shelf. A friend from work knew a friend who wanted to make a quick $25 selling their old school TV to frugal schmoes. It's very beasty. Nothing sleek or modern about it. But it was cheap, so that pretty much fits our MO.

I would like to go on the show Worst Cooks in America. Surely I can make something atrocious. Once I made a chicken paprikash dish that most closely resembled chicken vomit. I could fumble my way through a couple of challenges and then by challenge three just start nailing it and be all, "I don't know what happened. It just...clicked [26 years ago when I started cooking because I was bored staying home all day during the summer]!" I could use $25,000. I wouldn't even gloat. Much.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What I ate today

It should be known that I never get complimented on my outfit of choice. I usually dress like a lumpy potato so any positive feedback is generally not forthcoming. Today I chose my best thrift store jeans and a purple plaid shirt because nothing says "I'm ready for manual labor" than "Lumberjacking it today seems wise." It was single handedly the most favorably complimented item I've worn. Much like all of fashion, I do not know the magical combination that struck such haute couture gold. Turns out that was the best $.79 I've ever spent at the thrift store. For a purple plaid shirt. That had paint on it. That I did not even put there. And still bought the shirt with the paint. I wonder if I can buy stock in purple plaid.

I made poor food choices today. Today was a physically exhausting day, which usually necessitates eating overly processed and chemically altered foods. I'm pretty sure an alchemist was behind many of the choices today. There was:

Breakfast (banana with peanut butter and jelly, hard boiled egg)
3 cups of coffee
Grocery store vanilla cupcake
Homemade lunch (bbq chicken, macaroni and cheese, salad, yogurt)
Grocery store chocolate cupcake
Can of coke
Homemade dinner (chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes, broccoli)
Frozen vanilla yogurt with shaved chocolate
Two cups of coffee

Good grief. Looking at that is abysmal. How have I not died at this point?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A la peanut butter sandwiches: Valentine's Edition

While I'm ahead on planning Ben's birthday party, I suck at remembering or even caring about Valentine's Day. It usually sneaks up on me every year when Chris says, "What do you want to do for Valentine's Day?" Usually, I want to do as close to nothing as possible. Strike that. I always want to do as little as possible for Valentine's Day. So much pressure.

We agreed that this year we could go for pizza because, well, it's pizza. I don't need any other excuse for not having to cook for a night. It could be as simple as losing a left shoe.

Chris (hypothetically): "Have you seen my left shoe? The brown one?"

Me (in reality): "Have you looked at Papa John's? While you're there, could you pick up dinner?"

So our gift to each other was going to be dinner out and Chris would discreetly look away while I tried to stuff two whole pieces at a time into my mouth. The agreement was ironclad. Pizza. No gifts. Dinner would be the present. But then he threw me a curve ball.

Chris (covering all the bases): "What do you want for Valentine's Day?"

Me (because I was thinking about it): "Ben & Jerry's Greek Frozen Yogurt."

Chris (is he just messing with me?): "I thought dinner out was going to be our present to each other."

Me (I don't understand the rules of this game): "Then why did you ask?"

Chris: "I was just checking."

Since he already bought cards for me AND the kids days and days and days ago just to prove what a worthless Valentine I am, I stopped on the way home from food pantry to get a card from the "Someone Special" special edition kiosk. Hey, I know someone special and need to buy some overpriced card stock to prove I love them. I put back the card that had a dissertation about love on both inside flaps. Gah. BOTH SIDES. That's excessive. No one loves anyone that much. I chose something with four lines so that Chris wouldn't have to take a nap during the Declaration Of Love Day.

I also bought each child (count 'em: 2) a carton of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. I also bought me Chris a carton of Ben & Jerry's Greek frozen yogurt. Frozen love in a tub. We all win.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

They say it's your birthday (in 28 days), well it's my birthday too (in 313 days)

I had The Birthday Conversation with Ben tonight. Usually they're not so ominous, but 16 ushers in lofty expectations. Driving! Fast cars! Beautiful girls on dates! Only not so much because you're in this family and we don't have the money to give you a car -- new or otherwise -- for your birthday.

Me (trying to explain it so I don't crush his soul): "We know that you're going to need a car soon and we want you to drive. But we have to figure out how to get Dad a new car and me have one and you have one as well. It's just a lot of coordination, but we'll get it all worked out." [breathe now]

Ben (earnestly): "I know. I wasn't expecting a car for my birthday."

Oh. Well. That takes care of that.

As I was standing there spewing my car spiel, I thought, Whoa. This is so adult. When did I get old enough to be talking about passing along cars to a teenager? I should be wiping drool or finger painting or mashing bananas. I could also do it for a baby, but babies take up so much time and energy. I don't know why I can't grasp the fact that Ben is growing up and I'm getting older. Maybe I keep forgetting.

This will be the first year I am proactive in setting up a birthday party well in advance rather than, say, something with 48 hours notice. Most years I forget other people have birthdays until I realize two days before that I gave birth around this time so many years ago. For the first time in...well, really, ever, I feel like a productive woman. Like a real, ovary-wielding woman who plans parties and gifts and menus. Not the schmoe I am on a normal basis, pulling half-assed events together from the discount bin at Party City and Big Lots. Internet: I BOUGHT HIS PRESENT ALREADY. 30 days in advance. I feel euphoric.

THIS time I sent out a save the date email and started deliberations with Ben as to what he wants for his birthday menu. He originally wanted just a dessert party where everyone brought a cake or pie and we pretended that we lived in a bakery. Since we don't all consume 3,000 calories a day, I said we have to have a real meal with real food.

Who have I become? Will people expect more of me now that they know I can? Can I get a new dress for this party? I saw one on eBay. Yes, a new dress is definitely in order for someone else's birthday party. I couldn't call myself a woman if I thought I could "make do" with what's in my closet. As if.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The ice day that wasn't

Most of the universe had a snow day today and canceled school in preparation for the coming of the Ice Man. Only no one called the Ice Man to invite him to entomb us in ice yet again, so we just had a Cold Day. Just cold. No ice. No threat of inclement weather. Just...cold. 

Not to poo poo the gift of a free day, I slept in until 5:41 a.m. and lounged around in my pajamas, drinking coffee and shopping on eBay. I tried to summon messages from beyond of people wanting to bequeath the contents of their closets to me since they had an ENTIRE DAY TO CLEAN OUT THEIR CLOSETS. Since no one was offering me their used clothes, I had to go purchase my own at the thrift store. 

I spent two magnificent hours looking at and touching anything and everything I wanted in the store. Thank you, public school, for Shopping Day. I spent $13.20 and got two pairs of walking/workout pants, jeans, work capris, a dress, and a shirt. I even put back some running shorts because I'm 36 and have the legs of an 86-year-old who has lived in a cave since birth. You're welcome.

Then I went to Starbucks and purchased lunch of a Tai Chi Latte. Or maybe it's Chai Tea Latte. Thai Cheese? I don't know. I took down the Starbucks menu board homage when we moved. It was good with the vanilla scone. Thank you, public school, for Coffee Day. 

Then I went to the library to return and check out books. You know, what normally happens at a library. I checked out Falling Upward by Richard Rohr on the recommendation of the pastor at church. Not to brag or anything, but I was totally paying attention. Thank you, public school, for Library Day.

I had to take a nap when I got home to alleviate all the productivity from the day. I did all of this in my Saturday Pants sans makeup and contacts. It was cold. No ice. I need another ice day. Say...next week.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dear Sadie: You're eight! It's great!

Every birthday seems to fly at me faster and faster. Every day you seem a little older, a little more mature. As much as I try, I wish like the dickens that I could stop time so I could keep you at home forever.

This morning Dad said, "It seems like just yesterday she was turning 7."

No, it's been a very loooong year. So long. But we made it out (barely), and you are flourishing and becoming the stunning young woman you are meant to be. Sadie Rose, I cannot for the life of me figure you out. You'd think I would have some sort of an advantage being that we're both of the female population. However, that seems to be for naught because I am constantly in a state of confusion as to your next move, thought, or rationalization. You like to cuddle first thing in the morning but you won't hold my hand the rest of the day. You like robots and art and reading and science. You like dancing and engineering and fashion. That's like using all of your brain all of the time. To be honest, I don't know that I can keep up. Some days I have trouble staying awake once I get home from work.

This morning as we stood on the sidewalk in front of school, I felt like it was just you and me despite the throng of cars and kids and bikes. The blanket of clouds hung over our heads, and I squished your face in my hands and I wished I could load you back in the car and take you for donuts and shopping. You were my piece of home outside the brick and mortar walls of school, and I held on until the very last moment before you had to go inside. I was afraid to let you go because you were taking such a huge piece of my heart with you.

I love you so very much, kiddo. You are the heart of my heart, and I don't know what I'd do without you. Happy birthday, Sadie. You deserve it.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Renewed for another 10 years

This weekend Chris and I celebrated our 10th anniversary. Of marriage. I thought you might be getting it confused with the 10th anniversary of our Sam's membership, but we've only had that for a couple of years.

We decided we'd splurge on reasonably priced fun this time and go stay in downtown Dallas because we don't get hustled enough by our kids. We need to be hassled by homeless vagrants as well. I guess having kids is kind of like having homeless vagrants live with you but at least they smell better. Sometimes. 

We saw someone getting arrested at the dog park, and we dodged a homeless guy either asking us for $2 for a hamburger or trying to give us $2 for a hamburger. Again, not much different from home. Someone's getting in trouble, someone is wheeling and/or dealing, the people are just smaller.

We dropped the kids with our parents and hightailed it to Big D for The Big Ten. Chris found a deal on Living Social for accommodations at The Adolphus that included parking, breakfast, and tickets to the Sixth Floor Museum. After checking in and changing into "date clothes," we had a dinner of hamburgers and beer. I realized my date clothes are really just nonstained everyday clothes. I wasn't dressed nearly slutty enough for downtown. There were some regular schmoes milling about and they made me feel at home. I changed back into my regular schmoe clothes so we could walk around without wearing ridiculously uncomfortable shoes.

It's always weird to be on vacation, especially without kids because anything goes. You come and go as you please, you eat whenever you want, you don't eat at all, you drink absurd amounts of coffee because you don't have to be a paragon of virtue. In fact, you can be a monument to irresponsibility if you so desire. At 11:30 on Saturday night I decided that I was thirsty, so we threw on shoes and walked to 7-11 to get some water because I didn't want to spend $12 on a bottle of Fiji water from the minibar. Sure, we go to 7-11 all the time at midnight to get essentials.

The room was decent if a little bland. It was nice to be away from home. I always tell Chris, "I want our room to be like an elegant hotel room." But the room just had plain walls, old lady flowered curtains, and a chair. I can totally do that. They were missing the bags of Goodwill donations, so that was a nice touch. The continental breakfast included something from the bakery section. I chose the $5 English muffin, juice and coffee. I doubt it came from another continent. I could have 12 English muffins for $5 from the Mrs. Baird's bread store. TWELVE.

Chris, I love you completely and fully and without hesitation. I know we could have stayed cheaper in a La Quinta, but we couldn't have bonded over the old lady decor, overpriced bakery items, and the people drinking at the bar at 11 a.m. I love being married. I love everything about it. I love raising kids and chores and all the messiness. These last 10 years have flown by in the blink of an eye. They have been the absolute best years of my life, a gift from God that I do not deserve. 

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." -- Luke 6:37-39

I don't know what I've done to deserve this, but my cup is running over. I love it.