You CAN Do It

So last night I banged out a post on home repairs for the mama- it ended up waaaay too long, and after posting, I got up at 1 in the morning and deleted the beast. The truth is, there are a ton of online tutorials available for any project you could possibly need doing. I highly recommend the How-To-Library at Lowe’s.

The most important thing, and I cannot stress this enought, is that you CAN do it.  If you can squeeze toothpaste out of a tube and use a putty knife, you can re-glaze a window. If you can spread peanut butter on toast, you can repair drywall. If you can turn a screw, you can hang a towel rack, a curtain rod or a TP holder. Really. You CAN do it.

So if you have something around the house you are tired of waiting on DH to get to, get to it yourself! Check out the How-To-Library, type in your problem, and tackle that job! And I want to hear what you’re doing~!

The Dirt Monster or How I Love Doing Everything Twice

So much of motherhood is an exercise in monotony. Rise each day, fix meals, wipe behinds, change diapers, do laundry, do dishes, fix more meals, drive somewhere, deal with a tantrum, do more laundry, do more dishes, bath dirty babies, lather, rinse, repeat again tomorrow. And again. And the next day, and the next and the next… Not a lot of personal satisfaction to be found there, at least for me. Oh, there is immense satisfaction in clean babies fresh from a bath, in little arms hugging your tightly, and other shiny moments that carry you. But I don’t think many mamas would argue there is a lot of boring repetition in motherhood.

Usually, by the end of the night, I’m done. And I mean, Done. Once they are bathed and in their jammies, I can taste the end of the day- and I know soon, I will be able to collapse and have a tiny bit of peace. So last night, after their baths and teeth brushing (why oh why do they ALL smear toothpaste on the mirror? Why?) everyone was in their jammies, and I sat down to read a little bit of a magazine that came yesterday. La la la, sittin’ on the couch, looking at pretty interiors and how nice and clean the mama in the magazine’s house is- and knowing, just knowing, how much she stressed and had hired help to get ready for that quaint shot of her toddler playing in the spotless, designer kitchen, I heard a sound that frightened me…

Silence… Oh. No. Nothing strikes fear in the hearts of little kid mamas quite like silence. Oh. Crap. Where are they?? Getting up off the couch, I look around the quiet, peaceful, house- yes, there were the crumbs and goldfish on the floor, there was the stray socks and untied sneakers, there were the plastic dinner plates still on the table… but no kids.

A blur of pink and bright green catch the corner of my eye- and I look out in the backyard. Oh. My. Craptastic. This is what I saw:

Remember, she has already had her bath, and those are new jammies… As I got closer, the horror became more apparent:


Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. Oooooooh. Noooooooo…

The boys quickly rushed to strike super-hero poses once they saw mama. Protecting the Dirt Monster, I see- and then this final shot- of my darling little bunting of a girl:

You should’ve seen the bathwater. Second bath, that is. Even her diaper, yes diaper, was full of dirt.


Stella. That’s our new pet’s name. Yes, the birdcage does now have a tiny inhabitant. She is turquoise and grey, and as soon as she is not terrified of her new family, I will take a picture of her cute, tiny parakeet self. Right now, she is hiding under a towel, hyperventilating and wondering to what level of hell she has descended.

I’m going to record myself saying “Leave her ALONE!” and play it on continuous loop. Poor baby.

Random Crap, Early Summer Edition

Unbeknownst to me, Beanie was standing on the toilet paper holder, looking out the window in his bathroom the other night. He was supposed to be in bed- but he was into mischief. The toilet paper holder, meant for Charmin and not Beanie, ripped out of the wall and tore a large hole in the Sheetrock. Super. Awesome. Cool. I’m so glad I get to fix that now.

Jeffrey evidently felt too tired while sitting on the potty yesterday, so tired actually, that he had to grab the hand-towels and hang on them. Guess what? The towel holder ripped out of the wall too! Only this was in my toile bathroom- you know, the pretty one guests and nice people get to use- but now their are large holes in the Sheetrock, torn wallpaper and fun galore! I get to fix that too.

On my way, alone, to Lowe’s today to buy all the crap we can’t afford to fix all the Sheetrock, I stopped at some garage sales. It extended my time away, and that was fine by me. Spackle, drywall anchors, plaster patch compound, a putty knife, some insulation for above the french door waterfall from the other night, some new super-duper caulking, and a combination lock to keep Beanie in the backyard.  Oh, yeah, he likes to escape and run down the street. I figure it ought to take him at least a few weeks to figure out the combination- much longer than if he had to find the key.

So, my garage sale haul- small and puny- is as follows:

  • One dozen antique Christmas balls, in original package, 50 cents
  • 1887 copy of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, $1
  • 1902 copy of Sonnet of Shakespeare, $2
  • A completely new, unused baby book from 1951 for a baby girl, 50 cents
  • An antique colander, $1
  • Two rubber stamps, 10 cents each
  • Three antique Schylling tin spice containers, 5 cents each
  • An embroidered pillow case for Abby, 10 cents

So what’d I spend? $5.35? A lot cheaper than therapy.

I forgot- the toilet flusher thingy broke too, and I have to replace that in the downstairs bathroom.

Bright spot I’m looking forward to? My cousin Heather is coming up for Independence Day weekend. I’m so excited- I haven’t gotten to spend much time with her in years, and she is one of my favorite people. When I go down to California to visit, it’s always so rushed and we never get more than an afternoon together, so I’m really looking forward to three days with her. She’s never been up here, and well, I’m just very happy. Oh, and Crazy Chicken Annie is her mama. See? My favorite people.

Spring is finally really here in the Northwest. Nice, mild 70’s, breezey in the afternoons, lovely. The only problem is, it was so late getting here, all the gardens are about a month behind schedule. Picking strawberries is my July 4th tradition, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be ready this year until the end of July. Crud.

We have a new clothing trend in our house. Beanie has given up a lot of his pink things, and now Abby is wearing his clothes. Sometimes I think I should just scrap the whole “ownership” thing and just have a big, communal, unfolded laundry pile that all pick from… oh, wait. I do. Abby is currently sitting to my left, munching the already mentioned Cheetos, wearing Bean’s snow boots, a t-shirt of Jeffrey’s and a flowered necklace as a hair band. Her fingers and face are day-glo orange. Awesome.

Mighty Big Shoes to Fill

Can you miss or grieve for someone you never knew or met? I don’t know, but today when I heard Tim Russert had died of a massive heart attack at the too-young age of 58, my heart sank. News people in general don’t inspire much trust, but I always liked when Tim Russert was on my TV- he seemed genuine, trust-able, and, well, normal. Catching Meet the Press on a Sunday morning was something I like to do once in a while. He seemed to care about journalism, care about being honest, impartial and unbiased- kind of a rarity these days, when every cable channel has some lip-glossed and hair-clubed pundit telling you what to think.

Godspeed, Mr Russert. May the four winds carry you safely home.

Will Posterity Even Care? A Meme.

Answer these questions (is it me, or are meme’s like giant versions of grown-up mad-libs?).

What were you doing ten years ago?

  • 1998- I was working for a toy company, travelling to toy shows in Germany, snowboarding with friends in Austria, living in California, driving a convertible and wondering if I would ever get married and have kids.

What are five things on your To-Do list today?

  • go to the grocery store for milk, eggs and cheese- you know, food.
  • my monthly quilt guild meeting- and I forgot, and I’m the president.
  • Have a mommy-date with Beanie
  • Call my mom
  • Insulate and caulk the waterfall potential over the French doors.

What are your favorite snacks?

  • Salt. A nice salt lick would be nice- I could put it on the coffee table- when I walk by, I could swipe a lick and be happy.
  • Did I mention cheese?
  • Bubbies half-sour dill pickles- and even tiny sips of the brine. Did I mention salt somewhere? Yeah, it’s a problem.
  • Frozen red grapes.
  • granny smith apples and a wedge of sharp cheddar cheese

Places you have lived?

  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Santa Clara, CA
  • Santa Cruz, CA
  • Capitola, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Somewhere in the Northwest…

Five things you would do if you were a billionaire?

  • Pay off all the debt for all my family members. Then I would buy a piece of property so we could all build natural straw-bale, solar houses close to each other again. But not too close.
  • Open an art gallery for really quirky and fabulous things that might not otherwise be considered art- things like textiles, mixed media crafts, stuff like that.
  • Did I mention cheese?
  • Travel. And travel and travel some more. Show my kids the world.
  • Start my own line of cool stuff- fabric, art supplies, organic cheese.

Five people you want to know more about?

  • Abigail Adams
  • Julia Child
  • Amelia Earhart
  • My grandma Kathryn
  • Her mother, Emma Christina

 What are your favorite scents?

  • Grapefruit peels
  • Jasmine on a warm breeze
  • Cotton bed sheets dried in the sun
  • Old library books
  • Newborn baby head

What are your favorite games?

  • Kick the Can with my family on a hot summer night
  • Swinging on a rope swing on an old oak tree (remind me to tell you a story…)
  • Monopoly with my grandma and cold, tall glasses of Coke with tinkling cracked ice.
  • Canasta, same as above.
  • Wiffle Ball baseball at the Maka Memorial Day Picnic

 Play along if you want. Or not.

Too Much Excitement

So, this crazy lightning storm hit us tonight, making us fling open the windows in abandon and let the boys get up to watch the electricity crack and boom across the sky. It was intense and lovely, blowing from the northeast and filling the streets with torrents of rain and wind. Front porches are so wonderful.

As it died down, I sent the boys back to bed, and headed downstairs. I was checking my email, and suddenly, I heard water running- like a faucet- immediately to my left in the dining room- what the…? I got up from the computer, and pouring, I mean pouring down the french doors in our dining room was a waterfall. Inside. Did I mention inside? Yeah, inside.

David! David!! I holler- bring me some towels! Now!! What the crap…? This is a really nice and solid house, and so far, knock on wood, nothing has been wrong with it- ever. We don’t need this now… David comes ambling down the stairs, with two brand new, spa-size, never been used, given to us as a gift by his mother, white towels folded over his arms. I’m jamming kitchen towels along the door jamb as fast as I can and he has brought me my nice, NEW towels to help with the flood. Hooray.

Running to the foyer, I holler for Jeffrey to bring me the towels from his bathroom, and throw the new towels on the landing. Jeff comes downstairs with all the folded towels from the closet. I swear, it must be the genes. Is it only me that thinks NOT using NEW CLEAN towels for a flood is just a no-brainer? Is it only me? Is it a Y chromosome thing?

Anyway, it finally stopped raining and I was able to mop up the puddles and pull off the now-useless caulking around the doors. Near as I can tell, the old northeast side of the house (our backyard, where the doors lead to…) doesn’t really get pummelled by rain all that often- and the seal around the doors obviously failed- so I have wet Sheetrock, and a caulk-less door, and some work to do tomorrow.

Sometimes, I’m really glad my parents built the house I grew up in. I learned a lot of very practical things- I can hang a door, frame a window, I know how to lay and grout tile, and I beleive, with just a little elbow grease, I can seal the door and caulk the leaks tomorrow. *sigh* No rest for a pimp.

Just a Blip on the Radar

Grey drizzle has been coming down all day, and it made my drive home from the hotel out by the airport miserable. The large trucks on the freeway kick up and spit out such grit and slop, the wipers on David’s truck barely cleared a triangle for me to peer anxiously at the road. It was fitting the morning, and as the day wore on, the afternoon as well.

The seminar started at eight, but I was late because of the drizzle and road conditions. Also, because my kids are not used to having mom get up and leave before they do- yet, this morning, that was the plan. I forgot breakfast, and scarfed my allergy pill with a bottle of water I found on the passenger seat and called it good. When I got to the hotel, there was one seat left in the conference room, which I gladly grabbed and made myself comfortable.

Fifty or so doctors and therapists filled the room, and a stout woman at the front of the room was polling the audience- which let me know I was the only “just a mom” and not a medical professional in attendance. It’s ok- I’m brighter than a bucket of rocks, so I pretty much kept up with the jargon and followed along in the presentation materials.

The seminar was on Sensory Processing Disorder treatment in pediatric, clinical, and educational settings. It was fascinating- and answered more questions than it posed- at least for this mama. And as I begin this journey, looking for answers to the puzzle that may be one of my children, it was heartening to be surrounded by people whose entire profession is devoted to helping families and children. I am so hopeful for the future.

The Birdcage

Lookie what I got at a barn sale this weekend! My friend bought it for me in exchange for some quilting I did for her! I’ve been looking for one of these for years, and this came complete, with the stand and everything.  It’s exactly like the one my mom had in our kitchen when I was a little girl. I’m giddy. The only problem? Now the kids think we should get a bird. Should I put a birdie in my 1930 Hendryx art deco cage? I’m temped, I must say…