Traveling and the Irrational Fears

I’ve talked about the lies I sometimes believe. I fight those daily. There is probably another post entirely that I should dedicate to the truths I KNOW to be true, but don’t act on.  One such truth is that the dreading of something is always worse than the doing of it. We put off and put off and put off the things that hang like acid on our stomachs. Taxes, break ups, stepping on the scale, term papers.

For me, this morning, it is Space Bags.

Yes, space bags.

I ordered them from Amazon on the recommendation of two families who travel and said they are life changing. I mean, what could be better than putting some stuff into a bag, applying a vacuum to it, and reducing it’s size by 2/3? Right? For a large family, this is the best thing ever. Except that the box is still unopened. Not a suitcase is packed. Not a space bag is laid out for use. I am paralyzed for some reason. I have an irrational fear of space bags? Maybe.

Maybe it isn’t the space bags at all. Maybe it’s the fact that someone ALWAYS throws up in my car when we go north. Maybe it’s the fact that Typhoid Mary is on meds for Strep and I’m too busy watching the sky for the other shoe to drop to stop and open the space bags. Maybe it’s actually the space bags.

All I know for sure is that when I made my list of what had to happen today, “Clean out the brown chair” was Item #1 and “Clean out refrigerator” was Item #2. Open the space bags and figure them out didn’t even make the list. I’m having some inner prioritization turmoil.

So my plan is, add the space bags to the white board list. CONQUER. Do an awkward victory run around the very clean house before picking up the kids at 2. Blog about how awesome space bags are and how I’m no longer irrationally fearful of them.

Maybe it’s efficiency. I’m scared of efficiency.

Plastic. I bet it’s plastic.

Zip enclosures?

Ok, I’m out.

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The Mundane, the miscellanea, and the Monday

I realized tonight, several days too late, that I passed up a goldmine chance to gag you with a pun. Instead of ThrowBACK Thursday last week, which was a post about gross things, I could have entitled it ThrowUP Thursday. Oh, what a difference a preposition makes.


Oh well.

Moving on.

Today, my eastern side of the county kids were out of school for our local strawberry festival. My oldest is not in school on this side of the county, so he didn’t have the day off and said he was JUST FINE with us going ahead without him. (1) I’m slightly offended by the ease in which he pushed us out to sea. (2) OK. I’m over it. We’re going without you. Since AG wasn’t along, we did little kid things. The weather started out perfect. I mean, PERFECT. But by 1 p.m. we felt like we were all wearing lava tunics and were dying for some indoor air conditioning. It was a little embarrassing, really. It was the first time in 12 years of parenting that I have actually gone to a festival on the day they let us out for the festival. It just seemed like the thing to do. And in case you are sitting there feeling slighted because either your mother doesn’t love you enough to take you to a festival or you don’t love your children enough to take them, I will regale you with stories of everything you missed. I mean, do you have time for this? If you don’t have time for this, here’s the short version:

Take Dramamine, park at the church ACROSS from Taco Bell, avoid the ice cream unless you are certified, and get the biscuit.

Now, if that’s not enough for you and you really DO have time for more, here’s the long version:

(1) Stopping in to Publix at 9:45 a.m. saved me $5 on 4 festival tickets. Boo-chaching-YAH.
(2) I drove in to Taco Bell/Pizza Hut, which is a block from the main gate, to park. “Is it $5?” I asked. “$10,” the very hurried dude answered. Um, does that come with 2 Burrito Supremes? Cuz I’m not paying that. The good news is that all I had to do to reduce my parking fee from $10 to $5 was drive 50 feet down a sidewalk against traffic. That was awesome.
(3) I was almost 100% convinced that this post would contain a vomit story after the twisty hot air balloon ride in Kiddieland. Fortunately, the ride ended 30 seconds before that moment. Mama’s Boy was green around the gills, but recovered nicely.
(4) To make themselves feel better about charging $4 for a $1 soft serve cone, they overstuff the cone to accommodate Shaquille O’Neal. This SOUNDS like a good idea, I realize. But when you are 6, 7, and 9 with virtually no frozen dessert skills, the overstuffed thing becomes a recipe for cone-in-trash. Mama’s Boy was the first to go down. Apparently, this is his first ice cream cone. It began dripping before I had even pocketed my change from buying it. Within seconds, it was POURING over the sides of the cone paper. I tried consulting with him, offering advice, using visual aids and very charismatic hand gestures. Nothing was working. It was like a mudslide, people. I mean it. So finally, in an unpremeditated moment, I grabbed the cone and did the around-the-world lick to clean up the drippies. What else could I do? It was going BAD. Well, that was it for him. Oh, forget it, he said. Now you’ve ruined it. Ruined it? What are you talking about? I had to do it? I had to fix it? Now it’s gross. You LICKED it. So I tried to offer my cleaned up version back to him. He wouldn’t take it. So I dropped that overstuffed, licked-clean cone into the bottom of the nearest trash can. The other two cones ended similarly, but took longer to flame out. This was a bit like riding a mechanical bull, only it was, “How long can you lick the confounded cone before IT LICKS YOU?” Huh? Well. Now, I’m really making you jealous.
(5) The strawberry shortcake that I had for lunch almost made up for the ice cream fiasco. I bypassed the slice of pizza and saved myself for the shortcake. Beloved was the only child who would eat “slimy” strawberries, so we just got two of these. We had the choice of shortcake or biscuit as our bottom layer. I chose biscuit and she chose shortcake. Her shortcake disintegrated within about 7 seconds and then who looked like the smart one? I mean, if it’s a contest…and isn’t it always?

Posted in Blessings from Routine Stuff, Family, The Mundane | 1 Comment

The lies I sometimes believe

Ever since Monday night, I’ve been thinking. And ever since I jotted down my thoughts about Rose, I’ve been trying harder to be one. In the wake of memorial services and bad-news emails, perspective is clearer and action is more easily determined. The lines between important and unimportant are clearly drawn.

The trick is to keep going. Next week. April. July. Where will I be in July?

This morning I stayed home with Typhoid Mary–again–because THIS TIME she has strep. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah. I know. Ridiculous. There are two schools of thought on contagion with something like this. Quarantine the poo out of them and clean things within an inch of their last layer of finish. OR…Make out with the germy one and expose yourself and get it over with. I know the first method SEEMS so much better and cleaner and righter. But where’s the control in that? I LOSE control. If I smooch the germs, I am taking back control. I am saying, DO YOUR WORST because we are ready! I am saying that YES, we may get sick also, but we chose this. We didn’t want to stay well. We are doing it on our own terms.

That’s stupid. Nobody does that, but I do like to think about it. It’s sort of a Walter Mitty moment for me and I like it.

Typhoid Mary is on meds and acting completely fine now. Jury’s still out on the rest of the inner circle.

So, back to thinking.

Since I’ve been practicing epiphanies since Tuesday, I’ve been also listening to the arguments in my head against making changes. We all have moments where we are standing at the intersection of Self Improvement and I Wash Myself with a Rag on a Stick. In those moments, there are factors that cause you to go down a new path or stay stuck on the old one. For me, sometimes my remaining stuck is based entirely on the lies I hear in my head and then choose to believe. Here are a few of them:

  • This won’t matter. This DOESN’T matter. Oh, yes it will and yes it does. Absolutely it matters. Whether it’s the banana or the cheesecake or the bible reading or the Price is Right or the counting to 10 before putting the child up for sale on Craigslist…it matters. Five minutes matters. Small choices matter. A day is made up of hundreds of small, “this won’t matter” choices. Seven of those days and you’ve got a week. It matters. Make it matter. If you mess up, get up and try again. But try NOW. Because now matters.
  • I should start this tomorrow. I’ve already wrecked today, so I’ll start tomorrow. No. This doesn’t work. It CERTAINLY doesn’t work with dieting. It doesn’t work with much else either. Do it now. Putting off a good decision just creates a few more hours of bad ones. I’m creating a hill that’s almost too high to summit. If you are having the thoughts, then start immediately. Procrastinating is risky at best and crippling at worst.
  • I don’t have an original thought in my head. Actually, this one is mostly true. But that’s okay.
  • Unoriginal thoughts are worthless. Not that many people actually DO have original thoughts. We are all sharing ideas and trying to keep from making the hole in the ozone layer any bigger than it already is. Share those unoriginal thoughts. It’s all good.
  • This is permanent. The way it is now is permanent. No. You can change. IT can change. This too shall pass.
  • I will someday arrive. I keep this one going in the biggest way. I really think I still believe that I am someday going to pull it ALL together in such a spectacular way that I will be able to recognize that I’ve arrived and sit back and enjoy a utopian peace. It’s a fluid journey. I will keep moving and never arrive. I will never be able to get ahead of the obstacles or predict them in such a way as to totally dodge them.
  • I’ll be more useful later. I’m not useful enough in this phase of life. Wait until the babies are all bigger. Gone away. Washing their own armpits. Whatever. Wait. Wait until you are more useful. This is a lie. Don’t wait. You are useful now. I don’t know how. I just know you are. And I am. And I’m figuring out how best to figure that out. If we all look at the Roses in our life and step up our game just a little, we’ll see big changes a year from now.
  • It’s too late to do anything about that. There are times when it really IS too late. As in, I can’t send Rose a note and tell her she’s largely responsible for my recent epiphany. However, most of the time, this isn’t the case. So what if I waited 10 months to introduce myself to the older couple sitting one pew in front of me in church. This is a little embarrassing, but swallow the awkward, woman, and just say something (I’m giving up on you). It’s not too late. Befriend someone. Send a note. Let go of something terrible. Make a change. It’s not too late. And if it IS too late on some front, we can still take a step in the right direction. It’s up to us.
  • Past failures equal future failures. Where fitness is concerned, this one gets me. I’ve been trying to drop 25 pounds of Typhoid Mary and her sister (who’s only like a day older than her…not really) weight for 6 years now. I haven’t accomplished this because it’s hard and I’m tired and I like donuts and many, many other artificially beautiful tasting things. I’m tempted to give up and think that since it hasn’t happened, it won’t. Ever. This is a lie. Again, it’s all in the hundreds of small decisions in my day. I am not destined to fail.
  • I’m good with 5 hours of sleep. Really, I’m not. What happens the next day can vary from drunken knock-knock jokes to grumpy snippiness or bad decisions or snoring in the carline. Five hours of sleep isn’t enough. And since I’m telling myself this lie right this moment, I’m signing off to get a solid 5 1/2. Awesome.



Posted in Recipes for the Unskilled and Lazy | 7 Comments

Throwback Thursday

Originally posted on Blog. Blog like the wind.:

I know I shouldn’t post this, but it took me back to the days of potty training the Squishy. She put me THROUGH IT, let me tell you. I’m sure I lost some very valuable days off my life expectancy just in following her around and trying to determine when her self-imposed constipation would finally end. If you don’t like gross stories, don’t read this one. It’s Throwback Thursday.

Just now I was dancing like a fiend to Somebody to Love by Justin Bieber. While trying to dance my flab away, SnuggleMonkey had to “go.” Since she refuses to do her business in a potty she could fall into, she uses the $22 Target training pot. It is difficult to clean a bottom while still dancing. I did.

Then, still dancing, I carried the “success” (though in many ways it was horrific) to the actual pot to flush. In…

View original 81 more words

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If I ever get a pet, I’m definitely getting it on Craigslist

Well, I couldn’t help myself.
I just had to go to the Pets section of the Craigslist community. Usually I have to search through more ads to get to anything that furrows my brow. Today was easy. The first three I looked up were kinda fun. Not life-changing fun. Don’t require that of me now. Just kinda fun.

The first little nugget was apparently written by the nugget himself, a small dog who calls himself Clyde and seems to trust his mother implicitly and have a decent self esteem. He isn’t much on grammar, though. They never are.

my name is Clyde and I am the last one out of a litter of 7. I have  eyes to die for when you look at me. I love to be head and will sleep in your bed most of the night. I am mostly potty trained. I have been with other dogs and cats, but will also take time to sit in your lap. I have been to the vet 3 times and the humans got my shots and had me dewormed. I will be about 5lbs when I grow up. my mom says it is time for me to go to a new home and to leave her side. she said even though she will miss me its time for me to find humans of my own to take care of me. so if you would like to be my new human plz email and find out what you will have to do to have me in your home.

First of all, Clyde, you ALWAYS start a sentence with a capital letter. Always. Doesn’t matter what your breed is or who your daddy is. If you don’t start your sentences with a capital letter, you are attracting the wrong kinds of humans. What does “I love to be head” mean? Head of what? The human’s household? Other dogs? MOSTLY POTTY TRAINED. Oh, Clyde. I have children. I KNOW what that means. That means you are going to pee and poop on EVERY.SQUARE.INCH of my house. Every blanket. Every towel. Every piece of furniture. Either you ARE or you ARE NOT potty trained. Mostly means that people are pretending until the moment they walk into the grisliest scene ever. Been there with a non-furry 2 year old. Still taking meds to forget that one.

So I scrolled down and found the human posting of Clyde’s listing.

he has just the eyes to die for. you will want to take him home when you look at his eyes. (I’m sorry, but I’m just finding this whole eye thing to be a bit creepy. They talk about it a little too much for my comfort level.) he loves to be held and loved on. he is looking for a new home. somewhere he could have a lap to sleep in. he will be about 5 lbs. I am asking a rehomeing fee but he comes with his first shots and 3 vet visits.

Now I know where Clyde got his grammatical skillz from. The “lap to sleep in” bit threw me off. Does that mean I get to sleep sitting up in a chair all night, so that Clyde has a lap? And can we talk about “rehoming” fees? Really, people. Just tell me you’re selling me your dog. Sell him to me and charge me for him. Don’t call it a “rehoming” fee. Did you have to put handicap ramps in your home? Are you having to repaint and recarpet because of all the “mostly potty trained” accidents that were happening?  Indeed.

My final post just reinforced the ugliness of the guinea pig. Horrifying creatures, really.

Cute Male Guinea Pig Looking for Loving Home

I have a baby guinea pig looking for a new home. he is a pretty boy in asking 10 for him.

He is a pretty boy in asking for $10 for him. Um. Pretty boy? Pretty boy is Ricky Nelson. This guy will show up in my dreams tonight. Carrying a splintered club and wearing a backwards ball cap.

There was also a bearded dragon for sale….I mean for REHOMING FEE of $175. He came with everything but crickets, because he had run out that morning. If I’m going to rehome your dragon for $175, I’m for doodle sure going to get me some free crickets. Umm…

On second thought, I’ve decided to call all of these people and offer them some red-pen edits for a small re-grammaring fee. They’ll thank me later after they’ve found their human.


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Observations on a Rose

It’s been a strange few weeks. I’ve been in a personal fog that related to organizational things, visitors, sickness, and the fallout of a post contagious house. Life has been leading me around by the nose. I’ve just been reacting.

That’s exactly the problem.
This has always been my problem.
In quiet moments, I have bursts of inspiration. Grandiose ideas of what I can do to serve my neighbor and teach my children well.
Then someone spews something that I have to clean up. Or the school calls with a volunteer request. Or the Today Show comes on. And stays on. For 3 hours.

There’s not a lot that I can do about the spewing part. But most of it, I do have SOME control over. But I’m not controlling it. It’s controlling me.

So at the end of the day, nothing looks any different than it did the day before. At the end of the month, those ideas that were chiseled and colorful and swelling in my mind are now watered down by time and doubt and chores that I won’t remember doing tomorrow. I begin to wonder if the notion ever had any merit in the first place.

And then I forget I ever even thought it.

Until someone dies.
In that moment, it all comes flooding back. In one instant and in the instants to follow, I remember every wish, every thought, every unchecked item on past to-do lists, every regret with total clarity. Total clarity.

I see it clearly. I resolve again to do life differently. I plan. I try. Someone spews. Someone calls. I get tired. I forget.


On Sunday, an older lady who was special to my church family, and to me, died peacefully at home. Then, on Monday, another woman, also getting up there in years, took food to the grieving family. This second woman was named Rose.

I don’t know what time Rose got out of bed on Monday morning and I don’t know what she did first thing. What I do know is that at some point that morning, she took food over to the grieving family without being asked to do so. No meal list was posted. No requests had been made. She just went, because that’s who she was and what she did. After that, she took food to two other families and dropped off desserts for our college students. And after all of that, I am imagining that she went home. I don’t actually know where she was when it happened, but that afternoon, Rose had a sudden heart attack and died. On her last day on earth, she was providing for others. That’s a pretty good way to go out.

I’m not sad for Rose or for Mrs. Pickup, because they have finished their race and earned their reward. I’m mostly sad for me. I’m sad because I’m afraid I’m not learning the lessons quickly enough or permanently enough. I can’t just keep rethinking the same thoughts or relearning the same lessons. I’ve got to build on this. I wish I could tell Rose how much it meant to me that she bought my oldest boy a remote control car on his first birthday. Never mind that he broke it in less than a week. She paid attention to him. She paid attention to everyone. I know I said thank you for that gift. But did I really tell her the impact?

I regret that. It doesn’t matter to her now and she doesn’t need anything from me now. But there are others who do. Other words unspoken, other letters unsent, other intentions sitting under a heavy pile of have-tos.

This sequence of events really caused me to think. Why can’t I seem to stay in the driver’s seat? Why do I have intentions that I don’t fulfill? Well, the why part isn’t that difficult. Life moves at a ludicrous pace and most of us move with it with our faces bent toward our smart phones. I know WHY I haven’t mastered it yet. What I need to know is HOW to break the pattern and become a Rose. Or half a Rose. Even a petal would work most days.

(1) I need to stand and observe my day before it even begins. What’s coming today? What HAS to be done? What did I already commit to? I need to try to look at the whole thing from the start and have a firm grasp of the “knowns.”

(2) Once I’ve got a grip on that, I need to ask myself what I can do to provide service or joy today. Who will I see on my day’s path? Who needs to hear from me? What kind of free time do I have and what needs to fill that? If I’m asked to do something, what will I say? If I say yes, will important things be neglected? If I say no, what better thing will I do with my time?

(3) What obstacles are preventing my progress? I need to REALLY KNOW the answer to this one. If committing to unimportant things is causing important ones to stay undone, I need to change this. If a bad habit is standing in my way, I need to avoid that. I need to defuse the bombs before they have a chance to go off. I did this rather successfully last year when the hub was out of town for a month. I realized during the first two week stint that I had accomplished NOTHING. And after looking hard at why that was, I realized I was lonely, was turning on the TV for “friends” and noise and then getting sucked in to whatever came on. So, the second 2-week-stint, I made a rule that I could not watch any TV between 8 a.m and 8 p.m. Instead, I turned on Pandora for music and hammered away on my task list.

This is really how I need to live my life. I can’t just wait for the empty snippets of time to appear and hope to fill them with big important service projects that have been on my mind. I have to carve out the time and make sure first things really do come first. Maybe today I just need to do something small. Something small is still something. A lot of something smalls makes a pretty big life.

It’s so totally NOT brain surgery. But for some reason–for me– it is hard.

So for today, I’m going to try to be a petal. And if I keep my focus and string together enough moments of trying, then maybe someday I’ll be a Rose.

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Well, it’s been an embarrassingly long time since I even READ another blog, much less attempted to write one. I considered giving up altogether, but it didn’t seem right to just skulk away. So here I am.

Not surprisingly to anyone who knows us, there’s been some vomit. So much vomit. So many people. So ridiculous that it doesn’t even bear retelling. It wouldn’t seem real. You wouldn’t believe. It all started with the youngest and some special houseguests. The houseguests had never been in my house before. In fact, no one but my in-laws and crazy Cousin Chuck have ever stayed in the farmhouse. People think we’re haunted.

Now I know why.

Our friends got into town from the West at around 11 p.m. eastern time. Their kids were shot. We got everyone settled down and then said good night and figured we’d all catch up in the morning. At 1:15 a.m., not even 2 hours after their arrival, my youngest shows up crying by the side of my bed. By this point in my life, this scene should cause my blood to run cold, but somehow it didn’t. I thought it was a bad dream, or a need for water, or an innocuous request for a hug.

“I just threw up in my bed,” she said, instead. Not a hug. Just a big ole vomit 2 feet from the poor little child sleeping on her floor.

In that moment, my past life flashed before my eyes and my future weekend did also. I just knew the next four days were going to be nightmarish and grisly. I was already looking around for the emotional scar cream. But then…move on, woman, your kid is standing here covered in throw-up.

So, 1 hour, a load of laundry, a new set of pajamas, a large McDonalds cup, a can of Lysol, 2 paper plates (think backhoe, people) and a whole lot of praying and gagging later…I was ready to lay back down for the night.

Hmm, though. Hmm. Now there’s a conundrum. Where should I lay down? Typhoid Mary was flat-out in my spot. Her spot upstairs was DE-FILED. The guest room was filled to 4x its capacity. Plus, I needed to be the cup holder for Typhoid Mary. I couldn’t exactly escape to the couch.

My bedroom is about the size of some people’s walk-in closet. No joke. The queen sized bed IS the whole room, with a narrow walking path all the way around it. Until 3 a.m., I sat on the floor on a throw pillow and did the whole cup-holding, chin-wiping routine. Then, when I thought I’d pass out from deep vein thrombosis, I climbed up onto my bed and curled into fetal position against a footboard I now cursed. This is where you’d sleep if you were a hairball coughing, mangy cat. I am almost 5’9″. This wasn’t working for me. I got kicked in the head at least twice.

I was never more grateful to hear an alarm go off before 6 a.m. That was one of the longer nights of my life. There have been 2 others in the last week, but I feel a certain confidence that this round is over.

I don’t know why people don’t want to stay with us.

Posted in The Grotesque | 5 Comments