motherhood

A Kitchen Story

Having survived a four-month long master bathroom renovation at the beginning of 2019, I was dragging my feet when it came time to dismantle our kitchen.  While it looked nice enough, it struggled to keep up with our family.  The appliances appeared to enjoy malfunctioning, the cabinets and drawers were worn and uneven and the overall look did not reflect our style.  Yet, it was hard to give the green-light because I knew ‘4 weeks’ in contractor-speak really meant ‘4-ever’.  I attempted at first, to add to my renovation denial thinking we could reface the cabinets we already had.

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Mad Dog had other ideas.

He wanted a full tear-out.  I agreed that a tear-out was certain but it would only consist of all my hair.

He kept pushing.

He researched and found a highly-lauded cabinet designer.  Within a few short weeks the date of doom was set.  Goodbye old kitchen and hello weeks of construction chaos.

Within that first week our ‘4-week’ project quickly went off the rails.  Underneath our sink, pipes had been leaking causing rotted wood.  The pony wall connecting to this area was rotted out as well and the surrounding flooring needed to be tore-up, reinforced and replaced.

It was an ugly time for all.

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As the weeks dragged on and the hiccups continued, I started to see this process as a life metaphor.  If we hadn’t taken the time to deconstruct the entirety of the kitchen, we never would have known the rotted wood existed.  Sometimes in life we have to go deep beyond the surface to clear away what no longer serves us.  This is harder than a simple resurface, but it opens us up to living more aligned with our truth and our values.

As the finish line drew near, I had another paradigm-shifting insight thanks to our kitchen counters. My design choice is unique to say the least. In a world of white subway tile and trending white countertops, my bold, sea-glass themed recycled glass-tops are unexpected to put it mildly.  It took courage and a ton of encouragement from Mad Dog, but I went with what my heart wanted.

At the end of the day I know it will not be loved by all, but it most likely will inspire a reaction.  Isn’t that kind of the point of innovative design?  To make you feel something? And isn’t it kind of the point to follow your heart even if what you love defies the norms of larger society.

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But for me, the ultimate kicker is that Mad Dog championed my choice a thousand percent from start to finish.  He could care less what anyone else thinks because all that matters to him is what I think.

Every time I sit at my turquoise-speckled counter enjoying a cup of my favorite tea, I not only immerse myself in ocean-minded daydreams, I am reminded how loved I am.

These are the most beautiful countertops in the whole world.

humor, motherhood, parenting

My Brush with Danger

As the lone female in our house I get that I am more detailed oriented when it comes to self-care and the minutiae of running a home.  It then lands on me to decide how important I think something is and to the degree I want to pursue it.

Take toothbrushes for example.  I took it upon myself to buy everyone electric brushes because I believe (or at least believe the marketing) that these will improve my boys’ oral hygiene (especially with T.Puzzle newly in braces).  This particular kind sends you replacement heads every three months.

Great.

So the three month mark arrives and it’s time to replace.  Absolutely no one other than myself cares about this.

No one.

Either I replace them all or all three of my guys will use the brush they have indefinitely.

While I did drag my feet on principle I couldn’t take it anymore and set about getting new bristles in place.

The grime I encountered on the boys’ brushes as I did so made my skin crawl.  I’m not sure what it was or how my boys had not yet contracted a flesh-eating bacteria from it, but the muck and guck in and around the toothbrush holder and on the toothbrushes themselves, made me queasy, queasy, queasy.

How they saw that and still used the brushes is a mystery or a remarkable act of courage.

I now have a choice.  I can give them instructions on the ins and outs of daily brush care, or I can let it go.

If I let it go, which is the direction I am leaning, I am praying that I can Amazon Prime myself a hazmat suit for when the next replacement bristles arrive.

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Lucky to be alive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

family, humor, motherhood, parenting

A Humble Hero’s Journey

Your parents are right.”

Words more dreaded than this for a teenage boy simply do not exist.

This is where the story of our beleaguered hero begins.

He had a humble upbringing.  Raised by a beautiful, age-defying, always-dancing mother and an extremely handsome (you’re welcome, Mad Dog) and benevolent father, our hero rose unassumingly through life’s ranks and, as any good story would have it, found himself face-to-face with doom (aka high school).

Our Humble Hero was not afraid for he new his birthright.

Great men are born to great men.

He had done the math (sort of, just don’t check his eighth grade Algebra 1 transcript) and realized he had everything he needed to succeed.  He had wit, he had charm and he had incredible good looks (you’re welcome, Full Speed).

He had everything he needed except for one thing …

study skills.

Most academic heroes, grammar gods and algebraic warriors know that without such skills, failure looms large.  Their parents also know this.  These parents state the obvious and hope their progeny take heed.  Things like attending tutorials with teachers, studying in study hall (gasp!) and taking your time on tests all fall under the wisdom arc of great, parental knowledge.

Did our Humble Hero listen to these time-tested tenets of success?

Here is his story told in his own words:

Call to Adventure: The call to adventure occurs after parent night. Mad Dog learned that the Humble Hero’s L. A. teacher had tutorials. He came home and said “The Great Teacher has tutorials Tuesdays and Thursdays in the morning.

You should go”.

Refusal of the Call: Our hero ignored the call thinking that he was too cool for more school. He assured Mad Dog that everything was under control.

Acceptance of the Call: One day, the hero got his grammar/vocab quiz back. He had missed 9 grammar questions for a score of 82. It was at this moment he knew he had messed up.

Crossing the Threshold: The hero arrived at The Great Teacher’s door and he entered the special world of her classroom.

The journey had begun.

Meeting the Mentor: All heroes need a guide that shows them the ways of life. The Great Teacher showed the hero how to become one with the grammar gods.

Trials and Tests: In class, the hero had to deal with worksheets about grammar. The days went by and eventually the hero finally figured out what a preposition does.

The Supreme Ordeal: All of the hero’s hard work had prepared him for this moment. A 50 question quiz with half of those being grammar. Mere mortals could not withstand the pressure of this quiz. But, our hero isn’t mortal. Brandishing his magic weapon, (a worn down mechanical pencil), he was able to complete the quiz with only minimal suffering.

The Reward: Much to his surprise, the hero had accomplished his goal. He had gotten an A on the grammar quiz.

Return with the Elixir: The hero was overjoyed. He couldn’t wait to tell his parents what he had accomplished.

Mad Dog’s response “I was right, wasn’t I?”

The hero could only muster, “Maybe”.

From this moment forward, strange occurrences became the Humble Hero’s new normal.  As he began to attend other tutorials along with continuing to be mentored by the Great Teacher, all his test scores and grades improved.

How could it be?  Do you mean to tell me the Humble Hero had the power to succeed THE WHOLE TIME.  Move over sister, your ruby slippers got nothing on this guy.

The moral of the story is simple.

Listen to your parents.

And, maybe listen the first time.

But, then again, where’s the adventure in that?

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A special shout-out to my fearless collaborator.  Thanks for staying true to you,
humor, kids, motherhood

Memories in the Making

I’m pretty sure July 3rd is ‘Take Your Kids To Work’ Day.  I asked Mad Dog about it, but he wasn’t buying it.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy my time with my boys, in fact it’s kind of awesome.  Being able to hang out with them with no agenda has been incredibly fun.  However, after they spend loads of unstructured time together, this leads to frustration and maybe occasional acting out.  Therefore, please, “Take Your Kids to Work” Mad Dog.

I insist.

In all seriousness, I am grateful how much I enjoy their company.  This is the reward of parenting.  All the blood, sweat and tears has paid off.  Not to say their won’t be challenges ahead, but at least for this moment, being a mom is a lot of fun.

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Moving forward I understand that they will not want to hang out with me forever.  Even though I am entertaining, am an excellent Jazzerciser (this is cutting edge cool, right?) and know a lot of really famous people:

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Ah, but we will always have the memories of this summer … I intend to make the most of them.

 

motherhood

Clean Up in Aisle Crazy

As I gather my boys near me and look at their sweet, unassuming faces, a part of me is in disbelief I am having to spout this same, tired monologue:

“I am only going to say this once and after that, I will not speak of this again.  I will simply observe your behavior at lunch and the grocery store.  If at any point I notice nonsense, when we return home you will lose all electronic and tv privileges for the rest of the day.”

At least there has been an evolution.  Oh, I still get frustrated as all get out when they act crazy at the grocery store, but now I have a solid course of action if things go off the rails.  This planning phase allows me to take a step back from attempting to control their behavior and puts the outcome of the day squarely on their shoulders.

It helps.

They really are gifted at finding things to nitpick about and causing mayhem in general.  Who drives the cart?  Who runs over their brother?  Who can’t find the hawaiian rolls even though their mom explicitly outlines their location?  Who narrowly misses the darling, elderly woman perusing the dairy isle?

Who? Who? Who?

Despite all this, we made it.  At times, dare I say, my boys were helpful.

As we meandered to our car post-shopping, an argument ensued concerning the return of our grocery cart.

“You take it back,” said Full Speed.

“You take it back.  I was in charge of pushing it in the store so you have to take it back,” said T.Puzzle.

“No, no.  It’s the law of cart-a-nomics.  Those that take it must give it back.”

Hey, while you’re at it T.Puzzle, take your brother with you.

Mommy out.

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T.Puzzle looks gleeful here because he is squatting down to make himself look short.  His subtle rebellion against posing for photos.