The Time I Caught a Man Cold


I hate excuses. My philosophy is to just own up to whatever went wrong, which means that this week I suck. We returned late Monday from vacation and I woke up sick the next morning. I worked each day, then collapsed into bed, sometimes way too early, like 2 p.m. during a Dropbox upload. (“I’m just going to rest for a minute while the photos uplo…zzzzz.”) This was a dream for the kids, who quietly turned on the TV and iPods for hours of endless, unpestered play.

Then yesterday things got a little better and I was finally being productive when our internet caught my illness. It went down hard, which is thankfully rare, but toss together a moderately sick person with no internet and it was as if I’d been stranded on a remote island with nothing more than the Penny Saver. I moaned, I cried, I mourned. I was close to calling Hospice. The internet said I had influenza, but I’m embarrassed to say I had a man cold. It was bad; I watched three episodes of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo without moving an aching muscle. I was clearly giving up.

Today the internet is back, and my optimism resurfaced briefly until one kid left his room fully dressed before 7 a.m., having spilled a full glass of milk in bed, which soaked through every quilt, blanket, sheet, and lovey. The vacation laundry remains tossed on the living room floor while I wash the milk mess.

A lot has happened – New Jersey! Philadelphia! Disney’s Planes! Probably other stuff! Oh, yeah, I made a cocktail! And a super cool bulletin board that has me enamored! – but for now, someone has to unpack, and it appears I’m the lucky winner. Did I mention we’re going camping on Sunday?

We’ve Reached Our Mid-Point of Summer


Whoo hooo, the kids’ photo albums for the year are complete! Sadly, it’s last year. Still, goal met and all. It truly was Christmas in July as I felt all of the frustration and rage I normally feel when doing these albums at the end of the year. I need a new album source.

There are six weeks of summer left, but I’m feeling pretty much done. I fall into the trap of planning ahead which is really a form of procrastinating. Standing in our front yard that was ravaged by a lax builder, I thought about how I plan to do needed yard maintenance in the fall. That plan is ridiculous because the fall isn’t going to be any more relaxed than July. It’s all a mess and I need a drip system.

Today is the last day of summer camp for my kids, which is sad, scary, and exciting. Sad because I will not be alone at home until mid-September, scary for all the squabbling, requests, and entertaining that will happen, and exciting because part of that entertaining includes adventures. There is potential in the freedom, I only hope it doesn’t get eaten by squabbling. When I said good morning to one of my kids who was adding syrup to a waffle, her response was, “I’m bored.” You’re eating breakfast before leaving for camp in a few minutes, there is nothing to be bored about. But, we’re reached that age, the age of perpetual boredom.

One of the many things I will miss about camp is the lunch program. My kids’ school doesn’t have a lunch option, making summer camp our only break from lunch-making during the year. Saying goodbye to that makes me want to cry. Hello, cheese and crackers!

My boredom busting plan is to do one fun thing a day, from the big, like a Giants game, to the small, an unlimited electronics day. Let’s do this thing, summer!

Starting Back with a Small Step

So, where was I, again?

Every night, after the first kid goes to bed, my plan is always to sit down to write, but somehow I end up watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory for the seventeenth time. 

Then, when I think about writing outside of the moment of inspiration, everything gets darkly philosophical. Who cares, you know? 

We've gone to baseball games, where I had to buy a $40 hat because we still haven't found the kids hats packed away for the remodel. And it wasn't just the price that was annoying. She looked at every single hat several times, and there are a lot of baseball hats just for one team. It's not a prom dress. 


My son's dreams came true when a mom brought Cheetos as the team snack…and he made it to his sister's game in time to be offered a doughnut. Because this never happens, I decided to look away. 


I've chased down Pagoda the Runaway Turtle, who, thankfully, is stealthy but slow. 


And I lost a lot of sleep to follow breaking news while running through emergency scenarios in my head. My pledge is to make a better effort to always have milk in the house.

Remodel: Déjà Vu, There is Light at the End of this Tunnel

Tippytoes-heartrockThe past two weeks were the vacation that was not a vacation. Add it to the long and growing list of things ruined by a remodel. We came home from Christmas to be told that the flooring wouldn't be finished in time for us to host our annual Superbowl party. Beleaguered should have been my word for 2012.

The good news is that four weeks from today, the house will be so close to done. But, I may have said that in November, too. The bad news, other than the fact that I may have made the one month announcement before and may be wrong again, is that the next four weeks will be incredibly chaotic as everyone returns – the plumber, electrician, painters, roofers – added to the builder and his one man crew, who will be joined by the flooring team. 

Last month I was jealous of everyone posting holiday photos of warm fires near beautifully decorated Christmas trees or freshly baked and decorated cookies. Today, I am ready to unfriend all of the people relishing in a quiet home as school is back in session. I'm back at Starbucks, having almost completely forgotten what quiet or privacy was ever like. Some friends joke about carefully folding undergarments and hiding them under clothes while visiting the doctor or gynecologist. Recently, after teams of men had been working in my bedroom all day, I walked in to find three of my bras hanging in the closet doorway. Why had I wasted all of this modesty at the doctor's office? I have lost the battle for privacy. 

Being close to the end means visible things are happening again. All of the counter tops are in, including the shower details, mantle base, and most importantly, the island of (my) dreams. 





The mantle is almost complete, but it took a lot of negotiations. Our issue is that the TV needs to go above the mantle, which shut up, I know, some people hate, but due to the shape of the room, it's what we need to do. With the TV above the mantle, I didn't want the mantle high because that would make the TV too high, yet the mantle needed to be high enough to meet the safety requirements of the fireplace.


It was designed, negotiated, built, questioned, renegotiated, and rebuilt. Thankfully, now it's down to the finish details.


Things I never thought I'd hear during the remodel, especially from the electrician: "Uhhh, I think I woke the Furby." 


The best home security device ever.

Sick and Tired with the Sick and Tired


Early this morning I headed out to the grocery store to get Saltines and 7-Up, because while we're very lucky that our kids rarely get sick, when it does happen, we are never prepared. I hurried to the store before Kevin left for work, throwing on dirty jeans and putting my hair back in a pony tail. Mascara was smeared under my eyes and I had blue paint on my hands and arms after a long weekend of home improvement here and at my sister's new house. I looked like hell, but I was just happy that I remembered to put on a bra before rushing out the door. The grocery clerk looked at me with a smile and asked if I was on my way to work. I wanted to take a step back, let her really take me in, then ask her where she thought I worked, where looking like this would be acceptable. A windowless call center? Prison?

My sister and her husband got their first house last week, and we spent the weekend taping, sanding, painting, and inhaling the Simple Green that my sister was spraying liberally everywhere, with one day off to work on my own house, which needs to be packed up and emptied before the remodel begins. We have so much stuff, and in the end, this will have been a great exercise in downsizing, but in the meantime: boxes everywhere. My new hobby is panic attacks.

In the last week:

I helped drive my daughter and classmates on a camping trip that was later cut short by one day to high wind. Clover came home upset that the trip ended early, and this was somehow my fault based on how angry she was with me. In grade school, I loved books with obvious foreshadowing, but as an adult, experiencing the foreshadowing for the teenage years isn't fun. I'd rather it come on as a sneak attack.

I drove to five stores in order to find name brand Wiffle bat sets and Nerf footballs. Last summer, Cape Cod was lousy with Wiffle balls and bats, but here, all I could find is branded, thick bats that look more like something from the Flinstones than a baseball bat. What's up with that, California? But success happened! We are ready for a summer of Wiffle ball and touch football. 

Softball ended, Girl Scouts is wrapping up today, and there are only three more weeks of baseball. I love this time of year.

I cannot get any work done today with the incessant sounds of Cartoon Network blaring for the sick kid's entertainment. I'm consoling myself with 7-Up and crackers.