Showing posts from September, 2013

Misguided Ambition

I drove to New Jersey this weekend, armed with 60 boxes and 6 rolls of packing tape.  Yes, it was time to clean out my dad's house, where he had lived for over half a century.  I thought I was up to the task.  I thought it would be cathartic to go through that stuff, sort it out, and box it all up.

And, yes, it was cathartic - that is, if catharsis is the process of grief morphing into a feeling of resentment toward the dearly departed once the mourner realizes, with a sense of dawning horror, that 60 boxes is NOT NEARLY ENOUGH.  60 boxes is a JOKE.

I had a realtor stop by, approximately 24 hours into this process.  Up until then, I was doing okay - focused on my progress, energetic, hydrated.  And then, as I took her around the house, I snapped out of my illusions and saw the mess through her eyes - the accounting office with papers from 1978 on, the 2-car garage already full of boxes, the laundry room with I-don't-know what-all shoved into it.  It was in this last room that …

Broken Dreams

A while ago, I announced on this blog the exciting (to me) acquisition of a new set of glassware, an acquisition necessitated by the sad fact that we had only 3 intact glasses remaining in our kitchen cabinet.

Fast forward almost 3 1/2 years - Brian dropped a glass in the sink and I realized that we, once again, had only 3 usable glass drinking receptacles left.  Now, in this house, 3 1/2 years is not a bad run for a set of glassware, not bad at all.  But still, I've grown to dread that sound of breaking glass.

In Target later that week, I chanced on a clearance shelf full of plastic tumblers.  Understand, if you will, that - approximately a decade ago - I had decided that I DESERVED glasses, not plastic tumblers. Sick of bowing to the exigencies of a house full of children, I swore that never again would my lips touch anything but glass.  And, until that fateful evening in Target, I had stuck to my vow, regardless of our kitchen's granite countertops and tile floor that spell…


Quick note to say I'll be back soon.  My dad passed away on Sunday, and we've been busy doing stuff - funeral, sitting shiva, eating ridiculous amounts of cake and cookies, and trying to figure out how to clean out a house that was lived in by the same person for over 50 years.

I'm grateful he isn't suffering anymore, very grateful - but it is disorienting (to say the least) that someone who has always been in my life is not there anymore.  Apparently, judging from my surprise at this situation, I have just figured out what death means.  Some of us are slow learners, you know.

And now, to bed - last night I didn't sleep well, as I was alone in my dad's house, with ALL the lights on.  I was working with the theory that a well-lit house would discourage other-worldly visits.  And then I turned half of the lights off, because I remembered my dad scolding us for leaving the house "lit up like a Christmas tree" and figured that my overuse of electricity mi…

Plumb Crazy

The rash hasn't killed me yet.  Just thought you should know...

Today?  I had to help Rachel get ready for her FIRST GIRL SCOUT CAMPOUT EVER.  Rachel's naturally high level of enthusiasm was ramped up to the nth power, because she gets to do archery and kayaking tomorrow and I'd even think of joining her, it sounds like so much fun, but the place where they are staying?  Has no flush toilets.  Yet it has cabins.  With cots.

SOMEONE at Girl Scout Central seems not to understand that plumbing is not a negotiable camping option.  Beds are negotiable.  Wooden shelters are negotiable.  You see, tents and sleeping bags suit even this civilization-loving gal just fine.But, to my way of thinking, there just aren't enough s'mores in the world to make using an outhouse a reasonable proposition.  With or without the corn cobs...

[Outhouse image: Wikipedia]

Walking The Walk

It's hot here.  Just thought you should know.

I left the air conditioning off for most of the day, because only 1 member of the family was going to be in the house most of the afternoon, and damned if I'm going to air-condition a 2300-sq-ft townhouse for hours on end for only 1 person.

By the way, that 1 person?  Wasn't me.  Key point.

So, David got to enjoy some solitude, at the price of feeling a bit, well, poached by the time the rest of us returned from our various classes and play dates and errands.  I was hoping the hot house would encourage David to go out and look for jobs in air-conditioned stores and eateries, but no such luck.  He seems content to continue to rake in money from hapless older people who cannot figure out how to move their photos from their cameras to their computers.  So be it.  Lord knows he isn't going to run out of customers any time soon.

Where was I going with this?  Oh, yeah, it's hotAfrica hot. So I turned on that AC as soon as …

Pinterest For The Rest Of Us

Rachel and Susie and I had quite the girly-girl day today, shoe-shopping (Payless BOGO half-off!) and going out to lunch and browsing at Michaels.  I came home after a few hours of this immersion in all things feminine and begged Larry to take Susie to the pool, because, really, there is only so much enthusiasm and chatter one person can take in a single day.  I am done.

To recover, I vegged out on the Internets and discovered this Pinterest board that was apparently created by someone who is most emphatically NOT Martha Stewart.  [Warning: if you don't like the f-word, don't click.]  I particularly liked her messy message board how-to. Then I bestirred myself to prep a pan of boppies early, as I will be taking Rachel to her tennis team try-outs right before dinner.  By the way, it still makes my non-athletic self giggle to think that I'm taking a child of mine to try out for anything.  Rachel's wearing her new Payless sneakers and her Target tennis skort, so essential…

I REALLY Like Tennis

I couldn't bring myself to post yesterday, because I liked the pictures in Thursday's post so much.  Do you think Larry would mind if I went all teen-girl-y on him and plastered photos of male tennis players all over our bedroom walls?

I guess I know the answer to that one.  Spouses can be so stifling.

I went with a friend for a pedicure today; I spent 15 minutes trying to choose a new color and ended up with the exact same color I've always gotten.  Because I'm adventurous like that.  Although, really, just getting the pedicure itself is adventure enough for my personal-space-craving self....

And, finally (because there really isn't much going on in this neck of the blogosphere, and really? Sometimes that's a good thing), let me recommend Marinka's little tour de force on why her husband REALLY shouldn't try to discuss family budget issues with her.  Ever.

Open Minded

We don't get cable TV, so imagine my delight at discovering that ESPN is streaming the US Open matches live on a computer near you!  Oh, my, those tennis fellas are delicious.  I mean, um, talented - very talented

 All this, and brains, too....

That Serbian guy is no slouch, either, of course.

Tennis skills honed during the NATO bombing of Belgrade - talk about cool under pressure, eh?  AND he speaks 5 languages, including French.  Ooh, la, la!

I know, I know, I'm much too old for any of these nice young men.  And I don't have a shred of cougar in me.  But I do have 3 daughters to marry off, so it behooves me to research potential sons-in-law, don't you think?  Duty calls!

[Youzhny image: WSJ]
[Djokovic image: Adelaide Now]

The Truth About Parenting

A few months ago, our oldest child Theo – a newly minted Army officer - surprised us with a visit. He came home over a holiday weekend, because – get this – he just felt like it (awesome!); and we old folks at home were thrilled.  That is, I was enjoying his stay until something unfortunate occurred, an incident that left me, essentially, a broken woman, contemplating the futility of all human endeavour.
You see, I’ve spent many years (22, to be exact) watching reality steamroll over my na├»ve child-rearing aspirations.  As the mom of 6 kids born over a span of 13 years, I’ve experienced my share of disappointments: I’ve had to gradually surrender all my nutritional ideals to the great god Sugar, for example; I’ve watched the Internet pretty much destroy my dreams of a TV- free home; and I’ve even accepted that teaching my kids to maintain orderly bedrooms - and their actual doing so? - are two entirely separate matters.  
But, despite my multiple run-ins with reality as I raised the …

Ours Is Not To Reason Why

I know, I know, lots of mothers all over the blogosphere are over-the-moon happy today that it is the first day of school.  But while those lucky women dance around their newly liberated households, strewing flowers and kissing school-bus drivers, there is a small group of us moms that is steeling itself for battle instead.  We are sharpening our machetes, as it were, to hack our way through the school-year jungle of workbooks, unit studies, educational apps, and field-trip planning that springs, fully formed, the day after Labor Day.

Yes, the homeschool moms.  It's us.  We feel a tad left out this week.  Behind all our bravado and nonchalance, there is a teeny part of us that wonders what it would feel like to have the house empty 6 hours a day, 5 days a week; we go all aquiver at the thought of our kids getting upset with someone WHO IS NOT US over assigned math problems; in fact, sometimes we even fantasize about nodding sagely at parent-teacher conferences and running the …

Don't Google, Be Happy

Some quick updates:

Still working on the crocheted plastic sleeping mat for Haiti - I've got 10 inches done, so this particular good deed should only take me approximately 6 more years to complete.

Still aghast at what the ravages of time have wrought on one of my favorite singers

Still walking around humming "The Circle Game" and mourning my lack of cute babies to squeeze

STILL have not worked up the nerve to change out my starter earrings for something prettier (although I am planning to use the Neosporin hint that Cassi passed on (one that she got from Jen on the Edge).  I've said it before, but I'll say it again:  I LOVE the blogosphere.

The only thing new is that Theo dropped by for the weekend, so I bestirred myself to cook a bunch of food in honor of his visit.  To be perfectly honest, it was more of a group effort:  I prepped the meat, but Larry grilled it; the children shucked the corn so that I could boil it; and I braved the hot August…