Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Seeking Direction

I got a bee in my bonnet a few weeks ago that I wanted to find a salvage yard.   I wanted to dig in junk and get dirty and find a cool treasure to bring home with me.  Adam was totally on board.  

We found the place.  I knew the minute I walked in that I had struck scrap-metal-gold, because the place smelled like a cross between my dad and every old hardware store I have ever been in in my life.  My hands were black in the first two minutes, that's how good it was.  We bumbled around inside the small store without much inspiration.  Then we stepped out the back door into the elephant-graveyard of all dead metal (insert lame 80's-hair-band joke here).  A giant warehouse loomed before us with rusty gizmos and cool thingamabobs that I had never seen before.  There were piles and shelves and palates of STUFF.  Glorious, stinky, oh-so-dirty stuff.  I became the daughter of the picker that deep down I have always been, and I got that excitement that some women get when they see a BOGO sale on shoes.  

Off in a corner of the warehouse there were a few dozen giant metal drawers.  Like - morgue sized drawers, minus the corpses.  They stood in about 20 rows, and were stacked clear to the 20 foot ceiling.  I was only tall enough to see into about 3 or 4 drawers high, so I managed to get a kid who worked there to bring me one of those rolling staircases.  I began going through the drawers like a paleontologist, with careful enthusiasm and a gambler's drive, sure that my treasure would be in the next drawer.  

Soon I found an amazing, old brass weather-vane.  
It was coated in a gorgeous natural green patina and a healthy layer of dust.  
It seemed like it had been waiting for me.

I asked the one legged guy who owned the place (I don't make this stuff up) how much.
"How bout ten bucks?"  he said, dragging on his cigarette.  
"Sold." I smiled.

There were several other things I wanted to bring on home with me, just because they were weird, but I resisted the urge.  I am more in a season of releasing than of gathering, and I am trying to make lasting changes in my behavior so that I can be happier in my home and with the way I spend (waste?) my time.

Still, just for kicks Addy-boy and I wandered around the yard outside.  The huge racks and piles of junk out there made me feel like an ant on an alien planet, but there was still an amazing beauty in the peeling paint and rainbows of rust and age.  It was fun to be there with Adam and listen to his ideas for all the big strange metal boxes and shelves and cages.  Several of them included locking his sisters inside.

We would have stayed lost out there for a few days, but time called us back to our duties and we made our way back through the place to pay for our loot.   We were already planning our next adventure as we walked out to the car.  There is magic in finding something forgotten by all the world.

My weather vane has been sitting on a little table in our entry since it came home.  I want to find the perfect place for it, but I don't want it to be put away and forgotten.  And each time I look at it I think about the direction(s) that it points.  I have tended to let myself be blown by the winds that come up in life, and to let that wind choose my path for me far too often.  It is hard to walk against the wind, but sometimes we need to.  We really need to.  For me, the wind that blows hardest is often my nature, my tendency towards certain behaviors.  I would tell myself that the things I do choose me, rather than the other way around, because of my character (or character flaws).  I would tell myself that this is just the way I am.
But it doesn't have to be.

So I have begun to shed that old belief, and to step into the wind.  It is manifesting in the tiniest ways, but I see it.  And as I walk into my particular wind, I am feeling a little stronger each day.  
Homeschool -deciding to do it, then deciding how to do it, then re-deciding each week and month as I learn more-, has become truly life altering.  I knew I was doing this for my kids, but I never knew how much it was going to change me.  I guess I kind of thought I was all done changing in big ways.

But I am just at the beginning of this particular journey, 
and the wind is only beginning to pick up speed.

Monday, February 20, 2012

All Tuckered Out

I could tell you about this week,
but then I'd have to kill you.  Or maybe you would kill yourself.  So I will save you the drama and sum up, in general terms, what will go down in the dim recesses of my cluttered memory as: The week from "What-was-I-thinking-ever-becoming-a-parent-?"

The week was peppered with the joys of a 12 year old having a Homeschool-Chernobyl (oh, you just wait, there's a post in there somewhere) and seasoned generously with the thrill of an insurance company calling me about my car being involved in a hit and run in San Diego.  Yah, because I have time to buzz down to SoCal and commit a felony.  Between Rocketry class and Anglo-Saxon Literature class, I just drove the 20 hour round trip for kicks.  Then a few days later there was the real hit and run,  - courtesy of a "blue Toyota" (thanks, witnesses, you really outdid yourselves on that one) - in the grocery store parking lot.  A word to the wise, if you ever walk out of sliding glass doors and are followed to your car by a police officer, it won't end well.  Officer Bradshaw was nice, and called me "Sweetie" and "Hun" and told me to have a better day.  I wanted to hug her, because there were other things that happened this week, the kinds of things that parents of teenagers spend long, fret-filled hours talking about behind closed bedroom doors, but I only shrugged, "It's got to get better, right?".  I surveyed the damage, and by the grace of the hit-and-run-gods it was over the top of the dent I put in the fender 7 years ago.  Let's call it an embellishment and leave it at that.

Somewhere in between teenager-drama and bumper-rama, the plumbing backed up next door.  This month I get to earn my keep as the property manager.  More advice... don't put rice down the disposal, apparently it swells.

My Jonah baby hit a milestone this week that matters to none but those of us in Mormon-dom.  He turned 18 months old and graduated from mama's lap to Nursery, that special place at church where goldfish crackers are consumed in Costco quantities and germs are shared freely.  He hit the door running and never looked back.  "Oh, WOW!" he said in his most blown-away voice at the sight of blocks and cars.  "OH, WOWWWW!" He blurted again, tossing a car aside to grab the bright macaroni noodles for making necklaces.  I faded from his line of site.  I just couldn't compete with all the toddler bling.  I lingered at the door and called a feeble and unappreciated goodbye.

"He'll be alright." one of the nursery leaders consoled.

"I know he will, but I won't." I whimpered to the closing door as it severed a little string from my heart to that fat, precious boy.

My arms felt so heavy with their emptiness as I sat in endured my class. 

That settles it.  Clearly, he can not grow up.  I am putting my foot down.  I simply will not allow it.  Make a note.

So, you see, I'm all tuckered out.  But I only have one day left to get my paintings ready for an art show I am trying to get in to.  Little things, like Jonah spilling a pint of white gesso on the rug while the dog simultaneously vomits ten feet away, have created a few delays.  Tomorrow I plan to paint - between tending the teen, helping the homeschooled heart, and scaling the mountain of laundry that was neglected last week in the hazmat that is my life. 

Break out the yellow suits and gas masks, sweethearts.  This is not a drill.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Something to be grateful for

I had been contracting 100 times a day for 5 weeks when I finally went into labor with Jonah.  I started labor already totally fatigued.  About 15 hours into active labor, there came a moment - an eternal, agonizing moment - when I felt like there was no way I could go on.   I knew that the more I focused on my pain, the more consumed I became, until (as almost every woman feels who has ever labored naturally) there came a moment when it seemed I might actually die from the pain.  

In that moment I realized that I must look for something, 
somewhere in my body where the pain was not reaching.  
I found it.  
It was my earlobe.  

For a whole contraction, I thought only about my earlobe.  I kept chanting in my head, "My earlobe doesn't hurt, my earlobe doesn't hurt!".  That got me through one whole contraction, but by the next surge, just thinking about it wasn't enough.  I began to rub my earlobe between my finger and thumb, and as though I was discovering it for the first time each moment I thought of it, each little moment that I rubbed it, I realized that there was that one tiny place on my body that did not hurt.  I began to pull on my earlobe so hard that it was actually a little uncomfortable.  But even that new sensation was comforting in it's own way, because I could REALLY feel my earlobe, then, and that made it easier to focus on it.

It has been hard for me lately.  I am struggling with so many things.  Things that may or may not be too private to share, but that I am too tired to even think about again in this particular moment.

The other day I found that the toothpaste had been left out and open, and a second tube had been crunched beyond function or recognition.  I was irked.  I was tired, no,  I was... (deep breath, looooong sigh)

So I had to find something about that moment that didn't call up for me all my failures (have I not taught them well enough?), all my disappointment (how many times have I told them?) all my angry self pity (I swear, no body cares about all the work I do around here!).
I had to find an earlobe to pull on.
And I did.
And here it is:

Somebody brushed their teeth without having to be told.

Then, in that moment, a tiny angel sang a song in my head, that turned into a teensy angel chorus.  Itty bitty beams of sunlight broke through my cloudy sky,
just for a moment.

And just for a moment, I found something in my toothpaste smeared world
 to be grateful for.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Mesozoic Birthday

Who: Miss Ellie and half a dozen prehistoric pals
What: Celebrating Nine Years since she hatched
Where: All the-heck over the house
When: From the dusk of the Late Triassic til the dawn of the Early Cretaceous
Why: Because I am daffy, that's why.
How: Sugar, movies, streamers and balloons, and then more sugar.  Dinosaur shaped sugar.

I think she must have asked me 
while I was on the phone or in a comma or something, because witnesses later told me I said yes to a sleepover birthday party for Ellie.  Somebody should protect me from myself.

I threw some tacos at the beasts and tucked them in on the hardwood floor for a dino-flick as soon as cake and presents had been adequately massacred.  At 1 AM I threatened them with extinction if they didn't settle down and go to sleep.  I put on a really boring nature program, and they turned into a herd of Slumbersaurs.  It looked like a bomb went off.  A big, pink, sleeping bag bomb.

By morning, excavation revealed several missing socks and shoes, but stealth archeologists located all missing parts, packed them in plaster and sent them off to their respective museums.

Tessa's already making plans for her b-day in April.  
Be assured, there will be no pillows involved.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Jurrasic House

I know you can't tell, but those used to be dinosaurs.  A T-Rex and  a "Long Neck", if you must know.  A pair of short necks after Jonah finds them.  It just stinkin' serves me right for trying to get all Martha Stewart up in here.  
I think next time I'll leave the candy making to Hershey's.

I don't know what it is, I just have this thing in me that tries to be a cool mom.  But being Cool-mom takes so much energy that Thinking-ahead-mom goes offline, leaving Cool-mom alone in the kitchen (play shrill stabbing music here...  "wrrre wrrre wrrre!").  Cool-mom tries to make a volcano birthday cake with pudding lava, while she is also making homemade tacos and dinosaur suckers in a lovely shade of old-chewing-gum-grey .  Had Thinking-ahead-mom been here, Jonah-saur would have found his cocoa-cranial rampage preempted.
Oh, the carnage!

Tune in next time, boys and girls, when Cool-mom says,
"Yes, Ellie, you may have a sleep-over for your birthday."
Thinking-ahead-mom has left the building. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Door

This is the door that Laine bought.
This is the door that goes in the wall that Guy and Laine built.
This is the door that goes in the wall that makes a room where there wasn't one before.
This is the door that goes in the wall that makes the room that hopefully will bring some peace to the house.
Fingers crossed.
And eyes and toes.  And legs, but only 'cause I have to pee.

Tomorrow is Saturday.  I will spend the day finishing the wall.  Apparently blankets hanging over the studs isn't quite up to code.   I view this wall as a wall for me.  For my peace of mind.  So I can shut a door on the mess.  So I can send a certain somebody to his room.
Where he will, I am sure, slam the door.
The door in the wall of the room that Guy and Laine built.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Last night...

...I had a dream.
I was in a car with one of my children.  We were driving along a highway that had water on both sides of the road.  It was dark and raining, and the water was rising.  It spilled over the sides of the road, and the white line in the road faded away under the rising flood.  The car began to slide off of the road and plunge into the water.  Our car was swallowed by the black, murky water.  I wanted to protect my child.  I leaned over him to try to shield him, when the front window imploded.  Shards of glass and cold, dark, muddy water poured in onto us.

I screamed and woke up.

Dreams are so symbolic.
I hope it was only a dream.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


 I used to post a lot.  I really liked it, too.  I liked having my life recorded, because being as forgetful as I am, I seriously can't remember yesterday.  
I think it was Tuesday.  
Seriously, was it?

So it turns out that I can't keep up.  
Hence, I can no longer wait until there is time to write.  
In fact, now is the perfect time not to write 
because it is 1AM and I am so tired there is a buzzing sound in my head.


I am trying to get into an art show.  If I make the cut, I will have to paint 25, 8"x8" paintings before the end of May.  The application painting is due in a little more than two weeks.  
I got an early start because I wanted to have plenty of time.

Jonah had the same idea.

He found the painting, pulled the plastic wrap off the palette and personalized my art work with his own distinctive style.  I will have to start over.

It's not the first time one of my toddlers has ruined one of my paintings, though hopefully it will be the last.  And it isn't the first painting that bit the dust this week, either.  A commission painting that I have been putting off for an embarrasingly long time sat for too long with the latex masking medium on it, and the latex turned to something that resembles chewing gum in a parking lot on a hot day.  I will have to start that one over, too.


Adam is not entirely happy with homeschool.  He misses his old friends.  I am having to rethink how I approach all of this for him.  Um, you know, sort of start over.
*Sigh. Whimper.*

Ethan has crossed over into that land where: all adults are an embarrassment, all assignments are pointless, all rules are to be broken and all that I say is to be argued with or ignored.  I'm not sure where to even start with him.

*Sigh.  Whimper.  Sniff.*

I guess I haven't written much, partly because there hasn't been much that is nice to write about.  And you know what Thumper's mom used to say; "If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say anything at all."

Fine for her.  Her kid was done with adolescence in like, six weeks.  I will have SOMEONE being a teenager in this house for the next - count them - 16 and one half years.