Monday, October 27, 2008

shouldn't it be obvious?

We were blessed with a (mostly) kid-free weekend and absolutely no spending cash. This meant one thing of course: CLEANING. And clean we did.

The yard: The birch (my favorite) sacrificed its life for the sake of a concrete landing pad for the soon to be hooked-up hot tub. The ugly metal clotheslines (and 6' of concrete blocks they stood on) were removed and filled. Dirt was placed around the house and graded in an effort to eliminate water in the basement. The burn pile stacked higher than the house itself.

The main level: I found all my counter space. Yep. ALL of it. The fridge shed more than half of the papers attached to it via magnetic force. The rooms were dusted, swept, vacuumed, organized.

The basement (and most dramatic transformation): The pool table moved to its new location. Carpet was installed, a couch, chairs, entertainment center & television were introduced, and a cozy family room was magically formed. One of the bedrooms was organized and cleaned to form a much needed child's sanctuary (a.k.a. "play room") complete with craft table, cd player, and art work on the walls. The other bedroom that had until this weekend been nothing more than a stoarge room, was stripped of its boxes & cobwebs, cleaned, aired, and sanitized. Carpet was installed, bunkbeds erected, cable run (yes, another television here, too), and voila! Instant "Guest Room." The laundry was washed, folded and put away (all except for that darn last pile of delicates; sweaters that require a drying rack that I don't have).

My body ached. My head ached. My fingers hurt. But, damn, did it look GOOD! I couldn't wait for the girls to see it.

Dotter was the first - it was like seeing her open the perfect Christmas gift. So shocked and surprised was her reaction! We were all downstairs when the Jellybean came in. She came tramping down the stairs and flopped herself onto the couch like it had always been there. Oblivious to the improvements she began talking about her weekend: where she went, funny things her cousins said, who she met, etc. I couldn't take it anymore: "Bean - don't you see anything different down here?" I asked. She stopped, looked around, and after a beat (and in perfect teen fashion) replied, "oh, yeah - looks good" and continued with her conversation. So much for "great job, mom! you did good!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


With all the finger pointing going on these days, it's no wonder everyone has sore shoulders. It's almost like they all pulled something trying to quickly blame someone else.

Ok. I get it. I'm too "black and white." I think things are either here or there. My lines are all drawn permanently with Sharpies... none of this "in the sand" stuff for me.

But when something is YOUR responsibility shouldn't you man up and take that responsibility on?

Friday, October 10, 2008

"How are you?" "Good. And you?"

I was listening to a discussion about feelings this morning. The point was made that so many people cannot adequately answer the question "How are you?" The speaker went on to say it was his opinion that we simply don't know ourselves well enough to answer the question; that we aren't in tune enough to know the many different feelings we're capable of, much less how to explain it.

I agree - but I also think we're in a society that doesn't exactly value "listening." We rush, rush, rush around - breezing past people in hallways or on the sidewalk; we multi-task to the point of insanity - cooking dinner, tv on in the background while the children ask us questions about homework and our husbands explain how they're going to help their brother cut down a tree this weekend (wait, is that really what he said?).... anyway... that's another discussion for another day.

When someone asks me "How are you?" I can honestly say I don't consider it a question that someone put forth because they honestly care to stay and listen to the answer. But the speaker had a point: How would I answer that question if I wasn't permitted to reply with the obligatory "good! And you?" response that I'm used to?

Happiness is definately defined by a person's individual standards; it's certainly not universal. Case in point: If I told you happiness is a dog curled up in your lap would you agree? You would if you loved dogs. But for the person (me) who is highly allergic and submits herself to two shots a week in an attempt to someday breathe like a normal person, I can honestly say that would NOT be happiness. To me, that would be torture. (And I'm not even going to get into the dog hair that would be stuck all over my clothes - ick!) What if I told you happiness is balancing your checkbook at the end of the month and finding out you have a positive balance of $1.17? Would you be jumping for joy or severely depressed? I remember the day I balanced and saw I had $1.17 left over after all the bills were paid. I was so ecstatic - I called everyone I knew! To me, that moment was so much better than winning a lottery. I had single-handedly reclaimed my independence. I, alone - just me - had paid all my bills, had fed my daughter, had fed myself - and I had $1.17 still in my pocket!!

We define "happiness" in the way that makes sense for ourselves, no one else can do it for us. So, I say - Go out and do the things that make you HAPPY. Enjoy the things that put a smile on your face. It doesn't matter that no one else "gets it." It may be a hot cup of coffee, a good book, a 45 minute shower with the kids locked out of the bathroom, a walk, hanging the children's artwork all over the house (even though someone else might say it doesn't match or isn't meant to go there). It may be taking a ride in a car, or watching horses in a pasture, or writing in a journal, or doing yoga, or playing Scrabble with your 90 year old grandmother. The point is, do something so you can answer that question in a better way:

"How are you?"


Thursday, October 9, 2008

houdini hound

Our dog, (I'll call her Satan), has the unique talent of escaping her kennel. Every day we put her in the cage, every afternoon she greets us at the door eagerly waving her tail. (No wonder she goes in so willingly; she's only in until she's certain we've driven away.) It's not for lack of trying on our part - we've put her in, swung the kennel around so the door is facing the wall, and PRESTO CHANGEO! The dog is out and the kennel is found in the middle of the room, door still locked shut. We've tied the door. "Tied" as in laced a thick tow rope like a garter all around the sides of the door to make sure it can't open enough for her to squeeze through. Alas, it fails.

It wouldn't be so bad if she just went to hang out on the couch and drink from the toilet. But she's still in that "let's see how much damage we can cause with just my teeth" stage. The rugs (yes, both of them) have their edges gnawed, the couch has a chunk out of the bottom and the recliner is not so comfortable now that the stuffing has been removed.

I'm beginning to think we'd have better luck if we locked the furniture up when we left and just kept the dog out.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

more than i can see

I so didn't want to get up this morning - it was dark and rainy and well, just miserable. The kind of day you could disappear into the thick folds of a comforter and not care when (or if) you woke up. But then, sure enough - without taking into consideration my mopey mood, God whips out a paintbrush and paints such a brilliant blue sky and bright sun -- it seems like every leaf is dancing away to a song I can't hear - swaying green, shimmy-ing gold and waving yellow.

Sometimes I wonder how it's possible not to see beauty.
Sometimes I wonder how it's possible to miss the good things.

Oh, but that's life, isn't it? Challenge after challenge until we're fed up to our eyeballs.... and then the unsuspecting gift of a beautiful sky, or a smile from a stranger, or a hug from a friend... and then - even though it doesn't explain everything - we just somehow know that there's so much more out there than what we can even begin to imagine.

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