Sunday, July 31, 2011

Own It

A while back, sometime into the photography challenge, I wrote about my own personal challenge.  The promise  I made to myself that I would do something small every single day for at least a month.

In my case, I promised to put eyeliner on.

I know that it sounds silly, but it's simple.  My eyes are by far my best feature, and just the little bit of extra attention makes me feel beautiful.  Makes me feel more pulled together.

It really doesn't take much.

I've kept it up past the month.  And I've started doing other things for myself.

I've had more than a few conversations with friends lately about this topic.  About how even though you might not be at exactly the dress size you want to be, or how those fine lines are starting to show up, or how your hair never does what you want it to, you have to own it.

Be comfortable in the skin you are in.  Embrace who you are right now.  Love her.  Deem her worthy.

Don't wait for 10 more pounds to disappear, or insist that you should only wear your hair in a ponytail until you get rid of those grays.

This isn't to say that there isn't room for improvement in the physical realm, there almost always is for anyone. But just because you may not happen to be the most ideal version of yourself doesn't mean you are less than perfect.

You are perfect because you are you.

Remember what your best assets are and flaunt them.  Dig that outfit out from the back of your closet.  Wear the shoes.  Put on the eyeliner.

You are you.  And you are beautiful.

Own it.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Parade Rant

So we took the kids to a parade this morning.  We got there 2 hours ahead of time and put out chairs and blankets at our spot, then headed a few blocks away to the pancake breakfast.

All good, right?

Sort of.

We got back to our seats and all the room that we intentionally saved.  It was nice.

Ally had her last ballet class of the season at the same time, so we split up.  Tom and the grandparents went to watch her, I stayed with the rest of the herd.  Her class would finish up about halfway through the parade.

The parade started.  And it was fine for about 3.7 seconds until the rude lady who showed up at precisely the time the parade started got there.  With her kids.  That she shoved between our chairs and onto the curb right beneath my feet.

Because arriving late doesn't mean you should miss anything, right???

Then she leaned on the back of my chair most of the time, with her late morning end of July BO.

Now, normally, I'd have said something.  But I'm just not in a place to introduce any more conflict into my life right now.  So I leaned forward to see.

Until her kids stood up.  Because being the front row isn't a good enough view.

Not only did she not tell them to sit down, she encouraged them to run out at every float or group that passed by to grab anything free they could.

When Ally and her spectators got back, we were all crammed into half the space we were supposed to have. That we reserved early.

Occasionally, we'd get to see something between her kids.

I hate rude people.

This lady....she is damn lucky that I'm being a really freaking good person right now.

Blank

You know how sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night with a ton of things to write about, but then by the time you are sitting before a plain white screen, they are gone?

Okay, well I know that some of you don't.  But those of you who write will relate.

I didn't sleep much last night and today is going to be one of those marathon days.

Not sure I'll get around to writing anything good today.

But these days, busy is good.

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone.  xoxo

Friday, July 29, 2011

Why is it?

You can tell that we are officially into the dog days of summer.  I'm done.

This summer can suck it.

It was supposed to be an awesome make-up summer for the summer that sucked last year.  This one has just been worse.

Worst.Summer.Ever.

Strike that.

Worst.Year.Ever.

2011 can just suck it.

In addition to the fact that this year has just been terrible thus far, it's the end of July.  It's hot.  The kids are whining no less than 14 hours a day.  My house usually looks like a bomb went off in it.  It doesn't matter what I do, how much I try.  It's always dirty.

There are always 6 loads of wet dirty clothes and towels and swimsuits.  Plus potty training boy and the obvious need for daily laundry as a result.

The floor is always sticky.  I don't know why or how this is, but I highly suspect ice pops as the main offender.

Plus the dog is shedding.

I swear I vacuumed up enough hair two days ago to construct an entire second dog.

I need to do it again.  Already.

Someone backed up the toilet in the kid's bathroom upstairs yesterday and neglected to share this information with me.  Which is awesome.  Because now I need to bleach the entire room in an attempt to purge the nasty.

Why is it that no one told me?

Oh right....because we have two other perfectly functioning toilets in the house.  Which are both now dirty too from the chronic non-flushers who live here.

Why is it that my kids bug me constantly, whine, fight, proclaim how starving they are, need, need, need something unless I ask them to clean?  Then they can disappear and play the quiet game for hours.

Don't think I'm not onto this trick.

Wink, wink.

I'll deal with a dirty house as long as they just leave me alone occasionally.

School starts in 18 days....and I'm not about to be that person who says oh, but I'm not counting.  Lie about how I'm going to enjoy these final days of freedom with my children.  Falsely lament the fact that classes will start soon and how I'm going to miss their cherubic faces all day.

Nope.

I'm counting.

Next summer though.....it's going to be awesome.  Just you wait.

Just you wait.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Subtitled Town

So we live in Boulder County, only about 20 minutes from the city itself.  Longmont is really best described a cookie cutter suburban town.  I'm sure there are those who consider us to be a suburb of Denver, but it's a drive.

Says the girl who grew up in a place where people consider Temecula a suburb of San Diego....

We are really more a suburb of Boulder.  And Boulder is gorgeous.  If you've never been, you simply must go someday.  The Flatirons are stunning.

I took the kids to Boulder yesterday, we picked up Tom for lunch.  Sushi.  Teach em young, that's what I say.  Aidan's favorite is unagi, though I can barely stand to have it prepared on the same plate as the things I will eat.  Unagi = eel.  Blech.

I hate eels.  Everything about them.

As a completely random side note, I must brag a little about something my three older kids said yesterday.  Or more how they said it.  There is a park and a pool here in town named for one of the historically important farming families, who just happen to be Japanese.  Their last name, Kanemoto.  My kids, all of them, can pronounce this word correctly.  Without sounding like white people.

This brings me joy.

Even though we are far from the completely saturated intercultural melting pot of Southern California these days, I want to believe that I am teaching them to be open minded and accepting of other cultures and languages.  That they will take the time to learn to pronounce things properly.

It seems to be working.

Me = winning.

Anyhow, we went for sushi on Pearl Street in downtown Boulder yesterday.  It was a gorgeous afternoon and the walking outdoor mall was packed as it always is this time of year.  Street performers, impromptu vendors, musicians with hats in front of them.  I love that about Pearl Street.  It's rarely empty and boring.

But, well....it's Boulder.  Which means that in addition to quirky little stores and amazing restaurants, you are going to get to do some people watching.  You're gonna see dreadlocks, lots of them.  And a grown man wearing a pink kitty cat knitted cap.  And groups of loud, tan college students.  And nipples.  Lots of nipples.

I'm not sure they even sell bras in Boulder.

Which is fine, really.  If women don't want to feel confined by wires and elastic, more power to them.  Don't let the man hold you down.  All that.

It's just hard to look away sometimes when headlights are staring at you, or when boobs that haven't been held up in decades are flapping in the breeze down around belly button level.

Especially when the keeper of the flappy boobs is free dancing to the street musicians.

Even though we are a fairly crunchy tree hugging liberal family that moved to Boulder County on purpose because of the vibe, we still find ourselves qualifying things about the town itself.

Boulder.  Well, it is Boulder....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pint Sized

Today is one of those days.  The days that seem to be happening with so much regularity in my life anymore that it's hard sometimes to think of a time when the days weren't like this.

It will get better, people tell me.

It won't stay this way forever.

It can't.

You know me though, and I am not terribly forthcoming with the things that weigh heavily on my mind.  Today isn't going to be any different that way.

I'm not writing about the thing that I'm thinking about.

I'll blow some sunshine up your ass instead.  A pint sized version of it, in fact.

Because that's how I roll.

Those of you who are friends of mine on Facebook have seen this gem already.  I posted it yesterday, and never before has a picture of my children elicited such an overwhelming response.

That son of mine....he is unique.  He's all boy, through to his core.  He's sporting no fewer than four new bumps on his forehead this morning.  Two from mosquito bites, two from boy-versus-gravel parking lot accidents.

He's struggling to keep his eyes open as he sits next to me in his blue monkey footie pajamas.  He wants to be awake.  Really, he does.  Yawn.

He learned how to throw a Frisbee last night on the grass in the park, all of us there to watch a concert.  He did a complete flip jumping on his sister's bed yesterday.

He chased all his siblings around with a cork pop gun last night, giggling from his toes.

And he found a plastic ice cube in his other sister's room.  One that has a little tiny light inside it.

He immediately knew what he needed to do with it, of course.

Because, really, where else should it go?

Boys....

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tonight

After dinner, I went out front to put the milk bottle out.

Wait, for those of you who want to be wicked jealous, let me describe. We get our milk delivered to the house here, fresh from a local dairy.  In glass bottles.  Like it's the damn 1950's or something.  It's pretty awesome, truth be told.

Anyway....I went to take the bottle out, noticed the newspaper sitting on the railing.  There was an article about IKEA, which opens this week here in Colorado and has me so excited that I'm constantly on the verge of almost peeing my pants.  Meatballs and lingonberries????  Cheap furniture and bargains galore????  Textiles and planters and framed wall art????  Oh, IKEA....how I have missed you so.

Sorry, I got distracted there for a second.

I opened the paper to finish the article about my most favorite store in the entire universe, and heard the buzzing of a fly near my ear.  I reached a hand up to swat at it, then glanced at the sky.

Just as I did, a shooting star descended from the heavens.  The sun was setting, the sky filled with the vibrant colors of dusk.

And just like that, I had a wish to make.

Am I really naive enough to still believe in things like this?

It was the first shooting star I've seen since I was a little girl, and if I ever needed a wish, it's right now.

Wish I may, wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.

Good night, my readers.

xoxo

No Further

They say that there were a few weeks at the beginning of summer break that were nice.  I have no choice but to believe it.  I was stuck inside then, at the mercy of my children who kept injuring themselves.

Concussions.  Ugh.

When my son asks me for the three thousandth time why he can't play tackle football like everyone else, and why I am a mean mom and why he can't just go jump off the bridge like everyone else, I'll have to remind him about his jiggly jello brain from June.

I don't think ten year olds should be tackling anything.  But I know that a whole heap of y'all are going to disagree with me on that one.  

Anyway, thanks to his jiggly jello brain, and his brother's jiggly jello brain, and his sister's nearly broken hand, we were trapped indoors when it was nice.  

When it was in the high 70's and breezy and gorgeous.

Now?  Holy lord.  

It's been damn close to 100 degrees for almost a month straight.  Which would be bad enough if it was a "dry" heat like it's supposed to be here in our arid high altitude climate.  

But no.

It's been humid.  And damp.  And moist.  And nasty.

The kind of weather where taking a shower is an exercise in futility.  Where you start sweating before you even dry off.  Where there is no point trying to apply makeup because it's going to be running down your faces in mere minutes.  Where there is no point doing anything with your hair, because it'll end up in a ponytail eventually.   

When you start sweating in places you didn't realize sweat could come from.  Really?  There are sweat glands there???  

I did not realize that.

One of the blogs I follow is written by a woman who lives in the south somewhere.  I about died laughing when I read one of her Facebook posts about how if anyone needed her for the next month, she'd be straddling the a/c vent.  

Another writer makes reference to her swamp panties this time of year.    You must follow them both, really.   Because I said so.

Good lord I was laughing.

Laughing because I know now what they were referring to.  And because I also know now that I can never move further east from here.  

I don't think I'd survive if it was hotter and more humid than it's been.  

Me and my spoiled Southern California raised ass don't handle this weather with style and grace.  I'm melting.   Literally.

I want to lay beneath a fan with a spray bottle misting myself constantly crunching on ice.

Or maybe I'll just straddle the a/c vent.  That writer, she is a genius.

Y'all know where to find me now.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Wisdom of the Father

Clearly I am the responsible parent in the house.  One of us should be.

I spent most of the day yesterday moving the shit stuff in Ashley's room to the middle of the floor so that I could paint her walls.

Holy cow that girl has a lot of completely unnecessary things.  She is a saver and a keeper and a needer and a refuse-to-throw-anything-away-er.

This is what a hoarder looks like at 8.  For reals.

Anyway, by the afternoon when the walls were done and the furniture rearranged and the hallway completely full of all the other stuff, I was done.  It was almost 100 degrees.

We waited until the sun started it's descent towards the mountains and the air cooled off a little, then we took the kids for a walk to the park.  Unfortunately, in this neighborhood, that also meant that we picked up whatever stray kids were on the streets along the way.

Because I truly love nothing more than supervising other people's children.

We stayed a while, then started the walk back, taking the long way around.  The older kids on their scooters and bikes made it home before we did.  As we rounded the corner, I saw one of the kids-who-isn't-mine ring the doorbell of the douche bag HOA president neighbor.  You know, the one that lives directly across the street from me.

The sun was still out, and the kid was trying to ding dong ditch him.  Except all my kids were sitting on our grass, and I'm sure that it looked like they had done it.

Douche bag opens his door, pops his head outside, mutters something understandably pissy and slams the door shut.

Tom rounded up the kids.  He was pissed.  All of you, sit down.  Yep, even you.  All of you.  Even the neighbor kid who actually did it.

He told them that this kind of behavior was completely unacceptable and rude and was not to be done again. Period.  I'm a little surprised he didn't walk the kid home and inform his parents what he had done.

Sent the kid home, told ours they were done outside.

Once they were all out of sight, we both laughed a little.  It was funny.

When we were all inside and the door was closed, Tom continued with his tirade.  Except it was different now.  He wasn't so much opposed to the idea of ding dong ditching, but how it was done.

You have to wait until it's dark.  And you can't sit there and wait for them to open the door.

Duh.

Kids....they have so much to learn.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Off My Game

Clearly, I'm out of it.  Clearly.

I've been dealing with too much stress and it's taken a toll on me.

It's started making me take myself too seriously.  And lord knows that isn't like me at all.

My Mom is moving into her apartment here, my in-laws both spending a tremendous amount of time and energy helping her.  For that, and for everything that they've had to do in the last few weeks, I will never be able to fully thank them for.  For the things that they've had to carry on their shoulders, for the things that I have had to ask of them.

Things that no one should ever have to do.

Just saying thank you doesn't seem enough.

My father-in-law, though, he got back at me a little yesterday.  And he should.  I deserve to be messed with like he always messes with me.

If y'all think I am an antagonistic prank puller, you should meet him.

We get along well.

I went over to the apartment to drop Aidan off so he could help before I went to the dentist.  Papa was there, and needed help to move the fairly heavy, extremely breakable china cabinet.

I went to the dentist to relax.  Because only a mom can conceptualize a trip to the dentist as a break.

Then I went back to the apartment to help more.

As soon as I walked in, he looked at me and told me we needed to move it back.  To the other wall.  Where it was before.

I stared at him for a while.  Shook my head.  Glared at the wall that it had been on before, knowing that moving it back was a monumentally bad idea.  Shook my head again.  Wondered aloud why.

He saw that I was annoyed.

Then he reminded me who was telling me this information.  Who was the one that told me we had to move it back?

I still didn't get it.

It took a minute.

Then his face cracked the tiniest bit of a smile.

Wait. You're just fucking with me, aren't you?

A laugh.

He got me.  Good.  He owes me a few more of those.  Even then, we won't be even.

Thanks, Papa.  For everything.  Love you.

Even if you are occasionally a pain in the ass.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pieces of Him

There is a big part of me that still feels like the last six months have been some hazy dream.  Like everything that has happened didn't really, and it's just my overactive imagination acting up again.

If only that were the truth.

Mom sold the house and is in the process of moving here.  In the storage units she had shipped here, pieces of him.  Pieces of my father.

Some for me.  For us.

Sitting in my living room right now is a brown leather case that holds his Nikon SLR camera.  I remember when he bought that camera before our trip to Yosemite.  He was so excited at the time.

Next to the case is a large heavy bag.  One that I recognized immediately.  His bowling bag.  In it, two balls drilled for him, a lefty.

The only other lefty in the family is Aidan.  Someday, they will be his.  I wouldn't even be able to estimate how many times those balls were thrown down the alleys, spinning so fast with that wicked curve he could throw before his arthritis made him give it up.

I spent more time with him in those bowling alleys than anyone else.

I was almost born in a bowling alley, after all.  One of those balls, traveling down the lanes to an almost perfect game the night Mom went into labor with me.  She didn't want to jinx him and ruin his game.  Probably everyone in the alley but him knew that night.  Cars were ready, running in the parking lot, but the game broke in the 10th frame.  It wasn't perfect, but it was close.

I tagged along whenever he'd let me to his league nights.  I'd sit on the counters and watch him.  Oh, how he loved the game.  The guys in his league treated me like a little princess.  For as long as he played, I'd beg to tag along, even when I was in high school and past the age where hanging out with your Dad is supposed to be socially acceptable.

He put me and Gary in bowling leagues, wanted us to love it as much as he did.  He coached us.  He tried to get me to throw a curve, but I just couldn't do it.  Ever.  No matter how hard we both tried, my balls always spun the opposite direction.

I still got to be pretty good with his help. My best scratch game was in the 240's, thrown when I was very pregnant with AJ.  You know I called him on the way home that night to share the news.

In a bin next to the bowling bag, his baseball glove.

The one he took to Dodger games when I was a little girl and we sat in the pavilion.  The one he taught me how to pitch a softball with.  The one he helped coach my brother's baseball teams with.  Someday it will be Aidan's too.  The benefits of being the only southpaw left in the family fall to him these days.

These three things are just a few of the pieces of him that have arrived in my house in the last few days.  What I wouldn't give to see him behind the lens of that camera one more time.  For one last trip down the lanes.  For him to play catch with Aidan one more time.

These things have brought storms and rainbows with them, which just makes all the sense in the world.  It's only fitting that they do.  The day of his funeral was no different, first an unusually angry sky for Southern California, then the magnificent double rainbow over the hills that afternoon.

He wants us to know that he is okay, and that we will be too.  The things he wanted us to have are here now. These pieces of him here to stay.

These pieces of him are my childhood, my memories, and I will share them with my babies as he wished.

Miss him every single day.

Love you, Dad.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

An Open Letter to the Online World

Dear everyone,

I just figured that I should let you all know what I've been up to lately.  You know, since I haven't been around here hardly at all.

I mean, really.....I've barely been online for weeks now.

I haven't been reading the blogs that I've religiously followed for years.  Some yes, but not all.  And those that I have been reading, I haven't been commenting on a bunch.   I haven't been perusing my typical lineup of online discount sites on a daily basis.  I haven't been on and off Facebook all day and night like normal.

I haven't submitted anything to anyone in weeks. I haven't worked on my book hardly at all, though I am starting another one.  Yes, another one.  I haven't been marketing myself in all the virtual ways that I had been prior.

I've taken a deliberate step back and away from the computer.  Not because I don't love it and love you all and love the connection to those both near and far, because I do.  Not because I have a case of writer's block, because I don't at all.  In fact, that saying of mine that I have no need to write fiction because my life is so over the top insane is more true today than ever.  A material shortage isn't the problem.

Oh no, it's not.  Trust me.  I couldn't make this stuff up.

I've made a choice to limit the amount of time I am here.  To maximize my time online, to limit myself.  To stop looking over the top of the screen and watching life happen.  To stop trying to multitask all the time.

The real people, the living and breathing ones in my house, they need me present.  All of me.  Not just part of me.  Not just the part of me that isn't distracted.  Not just the part of me that isn't involved in a chat conversation with someone far away.

I am not walking away from the computer so much as I am walking towards them all.

School will come soon enough, I will have more time to write.  The computer can wait.

Right now, I need to be disconnected a little from all of this in order to reconnect with my life.

I'll still be writing here every day, just like I have been for the last few weeks.  I'll pop in on Facebook from time to time.  But all the rest of the time, the computer will be shut off and put away.

Thanks, everyone, for your love and support.

xoxo

Kelly

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Houdini returns

I'm pretty sure that he wants to destroy me.  Or torture me.

The boy, that is. 

We got new couches yesterday, which is apparently the coolest thing that has ever happened in this house. The kids were ripping off the wrappings like it was Christmas morning.  Fighting over foam corner protectors and pieces of cardboard.
.
Clearly, we don't get out much.

In order to make room for the new couches, we had to move the old ones.  

One of them is headed back down to the basement.  The other is currently sitting on my front porch. 

Which is awesome.

There are few things more awesome than being the woman that lives in "that" house.  At least this time, the couch is fully concealed behind the railing of the patio.  The tree and bushes in front large enough that people aren't going to see it unless they are looking.  

As much as the HOA notices about our infractions annoy me, I do enjoy how much our infractions annoy my douche bag neighbor.  

No, this isn't the first time we've had a couch in our front yard.

Told you I lived in "that" house.

Anyway, the old ripped disgusting couch is on the patio.  But not before they had to turn it just right to squeeze it through the door.  Just enough to shake out all the nasty that was hiding beneath the cushions.

Kids.Are.Gross.

Tom had to tape the frame of the futon together to get it back in the basement without it slamming shut on his fingers.  Yeah, that has happened before too.  

The tape didn't get put away immediately.  AJ found it.  All his other siblings in the other room, none of them aware of the fact that a half-full roll of painters tape was available. One happy boy.

Then it got weird.

He said he wanted to tape mommy.  He wanted to tape my mouth shut.  Then my eyes.  He got this strange tone of voice and this crazed look on his face when he was taping.  There was a dance even.

I was sufficiently creeped out by his bizarre behavior and decided that mommy didn't want to be taped up anymore.  

So, of course, we turned the tables on the boy.  Hog tied him.  Ha ha.  Take that, scary man child.

He was laughing until he realized he was actually stuck.  Then it wasn't so fun anymore.  

The kid escaped from all that tape in less than a minute.  He's living up to his reputation.  That nickname we gave him wasn't in error.

I think he really is Houdini.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This

What we have right now isn't perfect.

What we have right now isn't unblemished and shiny and new.

What we have right now is more than that.

It's flawed and troubled, yes.

But it's also hopeful.

What we have now is love.

The rest will come.

For now, we have this.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Altered

I have been painting all morning and I haven't even turned on the computer until now.  My bad.

I felt an overwhelming urge to change every single thing about a room in my house, and it needed to happen right.now.

That ever happen to any of you?

Happens to me a lot.  Sometimes for no reason at all.  Sometimes for real and tangible reasons.

I can't explain adequately the therapeutic effect that painting has for me.

It goes a little something like this:

In my hands, I completely possess the power to change something.  To make it new and different.  To fix it.  To transform it into something different entirely.  To alter it.

There are times that you just need that sense of control.  Times when you feel not very much in control of anything else.

I can't do much about much right now, it seems.  But I can paint.

This, I can do.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Do you see it?

I make complete strangers laugh sometimes.

Most of the time it's a direct result of the antics of my children.  Like the time that an 18 month old AJ turned around in the cart and started throwing things out of the basket.  Or the time that he yelled at me a few months ago to buy him diapers.  Because he needed more diapers!!!

Every so often, though, it's me.

I am way funnier than most people are prepared for.  They can't handle my funny, especially when it sneaks up on you when you are looking at bike helmets.

I had taken the kids to Target to subject myself to no less than one hour of whiny torture.  Wait, I mean that I went there to pick up an inflatable pool and some groceries.  Right....

I didn't intend to peruse the aisles of the non-grocery side of the store, but then I remembered that I needed to get a new pool since the old one was finally sent to it's final resting place after many applications of duct tape.

We walked through the sporting goods and toys, me insisting that we weren't there to look for anything but a pool.  Reigning in the kids as they'd start to drift off towards the aisles of Barbies and LEGOs, knowing that I needed a cart full of food and didn't have enough patience to be in the store for any longer than I absolutely needed to be.

Whining began.  I want this, I need this, I must have this!  No.  No.  No.  No.

Repeat.

Then they started to work the dollar section angle.  I even vetoed that.  They were getting a new pool. Maybe.  If they could manage to not drive me insane before I got the food, that was.

We found the boxes of blow-up pools and I threw one beneath the cart.   I then immediately proceeded to explain to the kids for the 1000th time that I was not buying them new goggles again, and that I didn't care if they were right there and that I didn't care if they lost theirs because I knew for a fact that there are at least 5 pairs of fully functional goggles in the house.  I hate goggles.

I can't be the only one, right?

Then I turned the corner, with my empty cart, save the pool, and rapidly dwindling patience.

Angels sang.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Suddenly, I was overcome with joy.  I wanted to skip and frolic in the aisles.

Me: Do you see it, Aidan, do you see it?

Aidan: See what, Mom?

Me: Aidan, it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen!  Isn't it beautiful?!?!?!

Aidan: I don't get it.  What are you looking at?

Me: School supplies!  They are putting out school supplies.  You get to go back to school soon!  All of you!  Even you, small child, even you (patting AJ on the head).

I said this all with quite the bit of exclamation, a smile that can only come from unbridled joy across my face.

Then I heard giggling and a snort.  Not from the kids, mind you.  They were annoyed by my joy.  But from a woman a few feet away, who'd obviously been witness to my joy.  And who clearly understood why I was so damn happy.

She was still laughing when I ran into her on the other side of the store.

Pencils and backpacks.....the first hints of school.

Ahhh, school.

I freaking love school.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

about that....

You know that saying, the one about how god only gives you as much as you can handle.

You know my opinion about that saying, and how it's basically a bunch of crap.

There are people in this world who carry more on their shoulders than they should. And I appear to be one of them.

I don't know why these things happen to me.  I have no clue.  I wish it would all stop.

I wish the world, or life, or chance, or karma, or god, or whatever it is would stop testing me all the damn time.

You would think that by now I would have passed.  That I would have sufficiently demonstrated my strength and resolve.  But no.

So here I go again, being the one who has to be strong.

Being the one who has to take chances.

Being the one who has to sacrifice.

Being the one who has to suffer.

Being the one who has to hurt.

Being the one who has to keep pushing through, believing that I'm doing the right thing.

Being the one who has to blindly take a leap of faith and just trust that it will work out the way it is supposed to.

As much as I would like my world to stop spinning so fast, as much as I wish I could just wake up from this dream and make it all go away, as much as I want to run out the door and never look back, I won't.

I'm not that person.

I will stay and fight for what I want.

I'm too strong to give up.

Seems I really can handle just about anything.

That saying, the one about god, as much as I hate to admit it, is right.

Friday, July 15, 2011

for me

I am doing something for me today.

Something I've been wanting to do for years now, but never did.

Something that is almost 3 years overdue.

A few days before my father died, I was at work with him on his last day there.  He knew he didn't have much time left, and spent a while cleaning out his car.  He cleaned out his desk.  He had to take lots of breaks because he was so fatigued, but he was determined to do all these things.

And I just did whatever I could to help him.

Before we left the lab for the last time, he said he wanted to give me something.

He'd been reading what I'd written here for a while by then, and he knew about the things that I put on my Christmas list.

He knew that he'd never to be able to give me the thing I wanted most, which was for him to get better.

He knew he wouldn't be around for anymore Christmases.

He knew.

He reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet.  His hands were shaking so much.

He handed me a card.  A gift card.  One that he'd been given, but never used.  He figured there wasn't much point in him getting anything new, he said.  He didn't need it.

But I did.  I needed to get something nice just for me.

He knew how often I'd push my needs and wants aside for things that the kids needed or wanted.

He knew I never do anything nice just for me.

He knew that I needed something replaced.  Something that I wear every day close to my heart.  Something that hasn't fully captured what it should for almost three years now.

My necklace.

It's a simple open heart necklace, with birthstone pendants for the kids. The one that has hung around my neck for six years contains markers for three of my babies.  But one has been missing now for a while.

AJ.

I ordered a new one today, using the card that he gave me.  One that is whole and perfect.

Dad, you helped me to get this thing just for me, and I'll have a little piece of you on that necklace now too.

I love you.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Learning to say no

I have a problem with telling people no. 

Most people, anyway.

There are days that it seems like that is all I ever tell my children.  The days when I even get tired of the sound of my own voice.  The times when I swear I might as well be just talking to the wall. 

But with other adults?  That word rarely appears.

Guess what?

I'm learning to say no. 

I need to stop trying to do everything.  I need to stop helping everyone else.  I need to stop going out of my way all the time for others and sacrificing my own needs at the same time.

I need to focus on the important things.  I need to be able to enjoy the time I have with my children and husband, instead of constantly worrying about what we need to do or where we have to go.

I need to spend more time worrying about what is going on in my world than everyone else's.

I have too much work to do here at home.  I have too much at stake.  Too much to lose.  Too much that is important and real.  Too much that is mine.  Too much that I am not willing to give up.

Too much that I'm ready and willing to fight for, whatever it takes.

In order to do that, I have to be able to put myself and my family ahead of everything else.

I'm learning to be selfish.

I'm learning to say no.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Go with it

We checked the weather all day yesterday, knowing that it was going to be a hard call whether we should try to go to the park last night.  The kids have been itching to see a concert.

The storms have been big and unpredictable this last week or so, which just seems to makes sense. 

Everything in my life right now seems to have huge significance and a level of uncertainty that I am not at all comfortable with. 

I don't do well with the unknown. 

So we checked the radar and the predictions, the warnings issued and watched the sky.

Then we decided to take a chance.  We'd go with it.  With this concert, and with everything else. 

The thing about life is that you never know how good it could have been if you failed to show up in the first place.  You can't let fear or hesitation keep you from trying.

We haven't been to any of the outdoor concerts yet this year, but we went last night.  We sat beneath an angry sky.  We spread out blankets on the grass and ate fried chicken out of a bucket and danced and laughed. 

And no, I didn't take any pictures yesterday either.  Someday I may regret not capturing everything about this week in my life, but right now I'm trying to drink it all in and commit it to my memory banks forever. 

The sky did the unexpected last night, and broke for a while.  Rays of sunlight came peeking out and warmed the air and the band played on. 

We just went with it.

And it's been amazing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's Baaaaack

The tent, that is.

The giant focal point of my living room that the kids insisted needed to be put up and that they need to sleep in every night and refuse to let me take down.

That tent.

You know, the thing intended to be used outside?

It shows up every so often, usually on school holidays.  Last time it was around was during Christmas break. 

I guess I should be grateful that I don't have a tree to worry about right now too.

They've all been sleeping in there for three days now, and it's probably a good thing to be honest.

They can take care of each other, lean on each other, curl up in sweaty little balls next to each other. 

As much as I'm not loving the idea of the tent, it works for us right now. 

They have all been sleeping all night.  No one has woken up in the middle of the night and wandered the halls.  No one has wedged their way in between us at 2am.  No one has started crying and needed something. 

My husband and I have had 10 uninterrupted hours a night to ourselves.

And right now, I need that.  He needs that.  We all need that. 

I'm just just hoping that this tent visit doesn't end as catastrophically as it did the last time it made an appearance.  Last time, Aidan got sick and threw up in the middle of the night.  Cleaned himself up, marched up the stairs and went to bed all ninja like.  Didn't tell us he was sick, didn't bother to wake up the other kids.

Two of them fell direct victim to the puddles of nasty.  Yes, as bad as you are imagining.  And I got to spend all morning scrubbing the tent clean.

Assuming of course that no one gets sick this time, it is working for us right now. 

Strange how something made of poles and nylon can actually improve your life at exactly the moment you need it. 

I think the tent might be here to stay a while. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

In the rain

I didn't take any pictures, but it's okay.  What I saw yesterday will stay with me forever.

It's been a rough few days around here, with highs and lows that I never imagined. Rest assured that I am okay.  The kids are okay.  We are all okay.

There is work to be done, yes.  But it's work worth doing. 

I looked out the window yesterday afternoon to see what the sky was up to.  The weather has been as unpredictable as it ever has here.  The atmosphere and my life working in unison.

A huge wall cloud moved across the distance as I watched. 

I sat out on the back patio pondering life, closed my eyes to shut it all away for just a moment.  When I opened them, a perfectly formed heart shaped void in the clouds. 

Tears, again, but this time because I was reminded that he is still with me.  My father still watching over me.  And I knew that it, all of it, would be okay.

Just a bit later, another storm cell rolled by.  The huge raindrops hitting the windows, the thunder and the lightning and the wind. 

Then the storm fell apart, lost the energy.  It just became rain. 

I set them free to run and play in the rain, my babies.  They lept and twirled and danced.  They sang.  Their little faces grinning from ear to ear. 

Their daddy showed them how to make little twig boats and float them down the gutter rivers and I fell back in love with him all over again.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass,
it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I want

I want my life back.

I want my family back.

I want my house back.

I want me back.

That might be asking too much.  It probably is.

I feel like the rug was just pulled out from everything I am.  Everything I have.  Everything I ever wanted.

I had it all once.

Thought I still did.

Couldn't have been more wrong if I tried.

I want not to feel hollow.  And empty.  And lost. 

I just want my life back.

Maybe I want what I can't have.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I'm not super

Yeah, so that whole thing about me being this person:

Blogger.Mom.Superhero.

It's not true.  I am a blogger and a mom, yes.  But that last one?  Not so much.

It's amazing how much life can change in the course of a few days.  How much you can be forced to reevaluate every single thing that is happening and has happened before.

How so much about your life can seem like a lie.

An illusion.

I'm so far past beginning to question if there is even a god at all these days.  I'm not sure.  I can't imagine living in a world where people are chosen this way to be punished.  I must have been a terrible person in a past life, because I surely don't deserve everything I have been handed in this one.

After everything that I have been through, I have to go through this too?

And now?

I'm not super.  Nothing about me is super. 

Except maybe for my faith in those who don't deserve it.

That's pretty fucking amazing.

Friday, July 8, 2011

I miss him

People who've been through the loss of a parent before keep telling me that it will get easier as time passes.  That time will heal.  I have to believe them.

It's been just shy of 5 months now, and sometimes it seems like he was just here yesterday.

There are times that I would give anything just to pick up the phone and hear his voice again.  To ask for his advice.  To hear him tell me everything is going to be okay.

Today is one of those days.

I know that he is still here, I know that he will always be with me. 

But today, I'm feeling selfish.  I'm feeling a bit like a lost little girl.

I want my Dad back.
The roses I bought one that random day earlier this year are blooming.  His roses. 

I know it's a terrible picture, but I just don't have it in me right now to go all out. 

The Thing Is

The thing is, I have to write.  This is who I am.  What I do.

I'm not about to tell you all what is actually going on.  Those who need to know do. 

Suffice to say that I'm at a point in my life that I didn't ever anticipate being.  In a place that is scary and strange and uncertain.

You never stop learning who your real friends are.  Or who they aren't.

You never know what you will do in any given situation until you are there.  Hypotheticals are just that.  Reality is a whole different monster.

One thing I've already been reminded of here is that you should never say never.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Break

Just when things were starting to get good, I have to take a break.  I don't know for how long. I won't be writing for a while. Life has just become more complicated than I ever could have imagined.

I'm going to need to ask for your understanding, and your kind thoughts.

I'm afraid I'll be needing them.

xoxo

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge Contest ~ VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITES!!!

I was going to include 10, but  I just couldn't narrow it down.  It was too hard with well over 300 pictures.   So, here are 20 of my favorites!

THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!!

Here are the nominees for the contest.  Each will be captioned and then numbered, at random.  To vote, please click on your favorites in the poll.  It is on the left margin of the blog.

<======= Over there

This post will remain tacked to the top of the blog until then.

You can vote for more than one picture if you'd like, I will set it up so that you may vote for one or all of them.  The voting will end at 10am, Wednesday July 6th.

Anyone who reads the blog can vote, so get your friends to join!

The winner will receive a nail polish set, including at least one bottle of OPI's new smoking hot shatter polish!  Good luck!

#1
Marital Bliss
Jen Celusta

#2
Dreamland
Erika West

#3
One Happy Dog
Lisa Evans

#4
Waves at Mission Beach
Tanya Guffey

#5
Praying mantis
Tanya Guffey

#6
Batman's tired
Susan Lindgren

#7
Sky from Estes Park
Alicia Farwell

#8
The hands of sisterly love
Ginger Park


#9
Wheee!
Kari Jensen


#10
Little boys
Tami Anson

#11
Fear & Pride
Alicia Farwell

#12
Home
Tiffany Gomollon

#13
Hot stuff
Robyn Sarvis

#14
Joy. Water. Love.
Lisa Evans

#15
Snow Bunnies
Kimberly Lehman
#16
Shoe Noir
Stacy Hofius
#17
Just about perfect
Jennifer Maidl
#18
Baby, you're a firework
Lisa Evans

#19
Oh, the eyelashes
Melanie Lambert

#20
I'm ready for my close-up
Jen Celusta

Until Proven

Like everyone else in the world it seems, I feel compelled to discuss the Casey Anthony verdict.  Though she was found guilty of providing false information to authorities, she was acquitted of the murder charges.

In case you've been under a rock, she was accused of killing her two year old little girl, Caylee.

Information about the case can be found here.

I did not watch the trial.  I did not sit in the courtroom.  I was not on the jury. 

Consequently, I cannot say what I would have voted had I been there, given only the evidence deemed admissible by the court. 

The thing that many people seem to forget about our justice system is that the jury has to make their decision solely on the evidence allowed.  Not on speculation, not on rumors, not on television coverage or interviews from experts looking in from the outside.  There may be evidence, completely relevant to the case at hand, that is not admitted in the case for one reason or another. 

Actual guilt or innocence often means nothing.  It's what can be proven that counts.

Like it or not, this is the system we have.  As frustrating as it may be to see defendants who are probably guilty of the crimes they are accused of freed, the system exists for a reason.  And in the event that any one of us were ever accused of a crime of which we were innocent, we would be grateful for that system.

In a case like this, the jury has to agree that the accused is guilty beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt. 

It's a high threshold to cross, particularly in a case like this, constructed almost entirely of circumstantial evidence.  Yes, the evidence was made circumstantial deliberately through the lying of the accused here.  I'm not ignoring that truth.

Still, knowing that this is the system I was trained to understand, and for a time was a part of on the prosecution side, sometimes it just sits wrong in your gut.

Sometimes someone walks. 

Sometimes everyone knows that the person is guilty, but that doesn't matter.

Sometimes an injustice is created in the name of protecting it.

My knee jerk reaction to the verdict was the same as everyone else it seems.  Disbelief.  Shock.  Disappointment.  Particularly given that the verdict was returned so quickly.  

I was even more disappointed that they acquitted.   A hung jury would have been infinitely better, because it would have left the opportunity for another trial. 

Now, she walks. 

As a mother, there are so many pieces of this case that speak to me.  The primary one being the time that elapsed between the supposed disappearance of the girl and the reporting of it.  I know that any time I've not known where my kids were for a few moments caused panic.  Fear.  Uneasiness. 

The last thing I would have been doing in that time period is partying.  Drinking.  Dancing.

How could a mother who claims to love her child do that?  I just can't wrap my head around it. 

Of course, she explained that all eventually by saying that the baby girl didn't really disappear.  That she drowned.  That Casey and her father hid the body. 

Then she turned around and accused her father, her supposed co-conspirator, of abuse. 

Again, I don't really know what happened in the household where Casey was raised.  I don't know if she was abused.  I'd venture a guess that she wasn't, and it was just creative lawyering, since it was never mentioned before trial. 

That creative lawyering worked.

It got her off.

The best way I can think of to move forward here is to ensure that neither she nor her attorneys are permitted to profit from this case.  I do not fault her lawyers for what they have done here.  I don't.  And it's not just a professional courtesy I'm extending.  They did exactly what the system asks of them, what the system permits.  They forcefully advocated for their client.  Period.

And yet, their ethics will be questioned.  For the accusations made against the father.  For the inconsistencies in the stories.  For the plain fact that I don't know how you can defend someone like her and sleep at night.  I don't know how they can live with themselves, knowing that a little girl is dead and they helped her killer go free. 

Cases like this are a big reason why I have no desire to ever practice criminal law.  It's dirty.  And it's a filth that you can't wash off. 

What you can do, what we all can do, is refuse to allow them to profit from this case.   Refuse to let Casey or her lawyers to make a cent from the death of this little girl.   Refuse to listen to their speaking engagements.  Refuse to buy the books that they inevitably write. 

One of the most disturbing things I heard today was that ABC news paid Casey $200,000 for the use of family photos.  They paid for journalistic access, which is a silent violation of the trust and ethics in that industry all on it's own.  And in doing so, they allowed her to profit from the murder of her baby.

Turning on your porch lights is a nice gesture and all, but it's not bringing Caylee back.  Speak your mind with your pocketbook.

Remember the little girl here. 

Money talks, make sure it says what it should.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

People Watching

I love to people watch.  LOVE it. 

Some places are better than others to do it.  Some places, like the mall or airport just lend themselves to a larger variety of people.  Others, like Walmart yield a higher concentration of weirdness.

Oh the things that people wear. 

Shudder.

We went back to the pool yesterday, since it's a good way to get the kids really tired.  And isn't that the goal of every parent?

I figured that since it was a holiday there wouldn't be too many people there.  That everyone else in town would have somewhere more fun to be, like parties and picnics and BBQs. 

The pool was still about halfway full.

Apparently we aren't the only really boring family.

We settled in and ate lunch, then greased up the kids and threw them in the pool.  Not literally, of course.  The nazi lifeguard was there, constantly yelling at everyone.  No throwing, no dunking, no roughhousing, no jumping, get away from the slide, get off my chair, and NO HAVING FUN!

Seriously.  Every kid in the pool was with a parent, and there wasn't a single one of them doing anything inappropriate.  But whatever, the 16 year old lifeguard was the big boss lady. 

Fortunately, there was ample people watching. 

Like the funky Tourret's guy that manages to show up all over the place.  I swear I see him every time I'm at the pool.  He spends most of his time eyeballing all the moms in the pool and talking involuntarily to himself, but every so often insists on talking to other people.  There weren't enough people to keep him busy, so he spent a lot of his time sticking his fingers in the fountains.  Yes, this is a grown man.

Or the lady who's boobs make mine seem tiny and insignificant, no small task.  Her swimsuit had a shelf built in for the ladies, pointing them to the heavens.  I swear we were only centimeters from seeing nipple.  It's hard not to look when something like that is being so obviously and so prominently displayed.

Or the tween girl who brought her Ken and Barbie dolls to the pool.  She spent most of the time that I was watching her playing with them by the rocks.  Of course Ken and Barbie were naked.  Of course they were experimenting with different positions.  Of course they were doing completely inappropriate things at a children's pool. 

Or the poor tween girl who's mom had crammed her body into one of those sun suits.  You know, the throwback to the 1940's women's suits with long sleeves and long pants.  Because that's what I want to wear when it's 100 degrees.  The suit was about 3 sizes too small, resulting in a constant wedgie.  The worst part?  The fluorescent pink floppy sun hat.  Clearly, this mother wants her kid to get laughed at. 

Or the woman who reminded me constantly of the fact that I am not nearly as bad of a mother as I think I am.  She had a small herd of children, all clearly from different fathers.  She walked laps around the pool yelling at the kids, without ever actually entering the water.  Even though she had a one year old in the pool.  It never ceases to amaze me how terrible some people are at parenting. 

Or, just before we left, the family that arrived.  With 5 kids, the youngest of which was maybe a year and a half old.  The dad, who looked to be pushing 50.  And the extremely pregnant mother waddling around the pool.  I'm pretty sure Tom's jaw actually hit the floor when he realized how many there were.  See, honey, it could be worse.  We could have two more kids

Nothing like spending a few hours at the pool to make you feel exceedingly normal and boring.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Save Yourselves

We went to the local Anheiser Busch brewery yesterday for a tour.  We wanted to learn about the brewing process and how hops are carefully chosen and precisely how long it takes to make beer.

Who am I kidding?

We wanted to see Clydesdales and drink free beer. 

Plus, my friend from high school is here...and when she visits, drinking is high on the agenda. 

We wandered the plant and watched the horrid videos and asked stupid questions like good little tourists should.  It's a small price to pay for free drinks.

When we got to the tasting room, I sat with the table full of kids as Tom and my friend went to get their first samples.  Then it was my turn,  and I got carded.  Which is awesome.  Clearly the guy didn't see me walking in with my parade of children.

Even better, I was the only one from the group to get carded.   Which is super fantastically awesome.  I should get carded, being as I am the youngest of the bunch (even if our ages are within 6 month of one another). 

Me = winning.

Since I was the chosen one to drive and shuttle the sampled adults and herd of children around, I only got the one little sample. 

When we got back home, my friend and I headed to the store to get some things, leaving Tom with all the kids. 

Apparently, we looked like we needed saving, since some overly friendly lady asked us if she could just share with us the word of Jesus.  She handed us little brochures.  We were laughing as she wished us a blessed day. 

We came here for the ingredients of Jello shots, lady.  We don't need saving.  Thanks.

I grabbed a case of Coors before we left, my Dad's favorite beer. 

The lady at the checkout carded me again.  My friend, behind the cart with the REALLLLLY look. 

Yep, twice in one day.  I rule.

As soon as we got back, the kids were itching to light things on fire.  We agreed to light one firework last night, but save the rest for today.  You all know how well that worked out, right?  One turned into 3, then 6.

And yes, there was a golden shower.  Which one of the kids proclaimed was the best golden shower EVER!!!  There are so many things wrong with that statement that I really don't even know where to begin.

Then we lit one that we weren't sure what it was and little flaming balls came bouncing out.  One came toward us, which obviously prompted the three adults to simultaneously scream oh shit!

Then, my dear sweet little Ashley yelled it too.

So proud. 

Do as we say, honey, not as we do. 

Though my dear friend was still harboring a little resentment at my being carded twice in the same day, she quickly forgot that when Tom lit the tank on fire. 

You know, the teeny little tanks that roll on the ground, then shoot little baby fireworks out the cannon?  Yeah, that tank.

The tank rolled over instead of moving forward like it was supposed to, them promptly launched a ground assault on my husband.  Little teeny balls of fire started flying towards him. 

He screamed like a girl, did a cute little jump, pushed small children out of the way, hurdled the baby and ran to safety.

Save yourselves, kids. 

Save yourselves. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Downside to a D Cup

I mentioned that I shampooed the carpet earlier this week, and was up until midnight doing it.  What I failed to mention was what I was wearing while doing it.

Though it wasn't relevant at all to the task I was undertaking, it made me realize something.

Before you read any further, if you're a guy, you just might want to stop. 

Trust me.

That is, unless you enjoy stories about big boobies.

And really, what guy doesn't?  Except maybe my brother.  I can't see him wanting to read specifically about my boobs, not that I can say I would fault him for that. 

And I digress.

So, earlier that day, I had taken the kids to the pool.  Me and all the other mommies in town in our mommy swimsuits on our mommy bodies. 

Except for that one mom that you secretly want to walk past and shove in the pool.  The one who's body appears to have been completely untouched by the wonders of bringing forth a new life.  The one still rocking her teeny bikini, even does some standing up and walking around in it.  You know most of us could stomach wearing one if we could lay in the corner in a flattering position at all times, never stand and avoid walking in it at all.  And god forbid, there could be no running. 

But not her.  She's the mom who isn't hiding her cellulite beneath a swim skirt.  The one who somehow managed to avoid stretch marks and the dreaded mommy fold. 

Shhh, you all know what I'm talking about.   Mommy fold.  You know, that flap of ne'er again to be taut skin that hangs below your belly button.  The prize you get to take home from the hospital along with a package of free diapers. 

That mom didn't get her prize.  And that mom pisses me off.  But then I just decide in my head that she's really the nanny.  And it's all better.

Ahhhh.

Anyway, having taken the kids to the pool, I was still in my bathing suit when I began the hours long process of cleaning the floor.  I figured there was no point taking a shower before I finished, and there was no point getting another set of clothes dirty. 

Plus it was 100 degrees and even with the air conditioner on in the house, I was sweating like a pig once I started cleaning the floor.

My plan worked great until my neck started hurting.

You see, I was wearing a fantastic tankini.  See above mention of hiding the fold.  The top is cream with aqua and brown embroidered and beaded flowers. It's cute. 

And it's a halter top. 

Which is nice and all, but clearly I've never attempted to wear said halter top for more than a few hours.

And clearly, my neck cannot hold my boobs up for that long.

The ladies are just too big.

As if cleaning the carpets didn't suck enough, I had to finish it with a sore neck and my swimsuit untied, straps dangling precariously from the neckline of my tank top, sweaty boobs flapping in the wind.

Sometimes it's a pain in the ass (or more correctly in the neck) to have a nice rack.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mr. Inappropriate

Since we moved to Colorado, my dear husband has been able to live out one of his childhood dreams.  Something that he could never do when we lived in the strict confines of California law. 

Here, he can blow shit up on the 4th of July.  Fireworks are legal. 

Oh you know that sparklers aren't exciting enough, right?
In our county, pretty much anything that doesn't leave the ground in fair game....though you can tell that a lot of people around here prefer to do their firework shopping in the far-more-liberal-quite-possibly-only-in-this-department Wyoming. 

There, you can buy just about anything.  And it's only an hour away.

There are fireworks stands about 3 feet from the state line, and a huge warehouse store open year round just a few miles further.  They send out flyers starting in May to all the pyromaniacs down South, including my husband.   He oooohs and aaaaahs over the brochure, shows it off to the neighbors, hides it from the kids. 

There is a reason they send these flyers to men.  Essentially, it's firework porn.

I don't let him drive to Wyoming, for the record. 

He's stuck here, buying the things boring and legal, though not really safe by any stretch of the imagination.

He can still light stuff on fire.  He can harness the power of the universe and make things explode from the comfort of his back patio. 

And, I kid you not, this was actually on his list of reasons to move here.

The first year we were here, he was so giddy with anticipation that he went to the first roadside stand he saw.  The explosive virgin, he was.  Nothing was nearly as exciting as he thought it would be, and the whole experience left him disappointed.

He vowed to do better the next year.

He came home with a ton of fireworks.  He had to put a post in the ground for the spinners, and we now have a board specifically to be used as his display platform.  We were required to oooh and aaah.  He told me that he was saving a special one for last, his finale. 

Then he giggled.

I asked him what was funny.  He showed me the canister. 


Yeah, you read that right.

And if you don't know what a golden shower is, I don't really want to tell you.  And....well, google it.  Just be warned that you might pull up some fringe porn websites. 

Clearly the people who market these incendiary devices know their target audience well. 

Guys with inappropriate senses of humor who like to light things on fire.

He actually asked me to wait to write this post.  He had a plan.  He wanted to be able to post the picture on his Facebook page first. 

He wanted to ask the question that all inquiring minds want an answer to.

Who wants to see a golden shower??? 

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Only Time My House is Clean

I'm sure that it was spectacularly breathtaking.  That it was worthy of admiration from every possible angle.  I'm sure that I would have eagerly patted myself on the back and been showered with compliments on what a good job I did from anyone who could have seen it. 

I have to let myself believe that anyway. 

Otherwise, I really did waste three perfectly good hours last night.

I coated the kitchen floor with a urethane wax.  Four coats of it.  After scrubbing it on my hands and knees two days ago, then cleaning it twice since then. 

Isn't it marvelous?!?!
Why did I have to clean it again before waxing it?  Story of my life.  Just because it's clean doesn't mean it's going to stay that way for any measurable length of time.  Certainly not around here, anyway.

Tom asked me more than once why I was bothering last night.  Why I was putting in all the effort.  He asked me the same thing when I was up late shampooing the carpet a few nights ago.  He long ago accepted that we are just going to have to suck it up and replace virtually everything in the house once the kids get a little older.  He views my attempts to clean and polish and shine it as little more than exercises in futility.

Which they are.  And I know that.

But it drives me crazy.  I know we aren't replacing any of the floors for years still.  I have to try, right?

The fact that I have to do so much of it late at night after the kids go to bed just adds insult to injury.  I can't really clean when they are all awake, and I know that whatever I clean will inevitably just get messed up in the morning.

Nothing stays clean and nice and pretty and shiny.

It's a bit like the old saying, the one that goes a little bit like this:

You can polish a turd, but it's still a turd.

I realized quickly last night that there's more than a little truth to that.  The wax may have coated the floor with a protective layer, but it also showcased every dent and scratch.  Where before they just blended in with the rest of the floor, now they have little shiny spotlights on them.  Which is awesome.

I kept trucking though, determined to get a few more coats on it.

I got up this morning to a kid already up in the kitchen with a bowl of cereal.  AJ snuck downstairs while I was in the bathroom, and his big sis got him breakfast.  He was standing on my newly waxed, beautiful floor.   Beneath his feet, the dog half-heartedly licking up the milk.  With every step, he spilled more.

Fantastic.

If you ever want to see my house clean, you're just going to have to come over between the hours of 3-5am.  Before that, I'm not done and whatever I've cleaned isn't dry yet.  After that, one of the kids could be awake, systematically undoing all that I've just done.

My floor was clean and shiny last night, honest.  I'm sure it was awesome.

But you're just going to have to take my word for it.

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