Archive for the ‘Home life’ Category

The Cat’s Meow

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Do you speak cat? My poor black kitty has walked around all afternoon screaming at the top of his lungs for no apparent reason. He has food. He doesn’t seem to be hurt. I petted him for half an hour. I think this is the kid-equivalent of I’m Bored.

Apparently his brother the gray cat won’t play with him. Gray kitty is sleeping on the back of the couch, where he’s been most of the day, and he’s just not up for a good romp today. Old kitty won’t play, either. She just hisses and smacks him. So there’s nothing to do. And unlike a kid, I can’t threaten to make him clean his room.

My kids thought we should get a dog. I love dogs, but I don’t want one. A dog is like a three year old that never gets any older and always needs taken care of. A cat is like a rock star, and you are the manager who makes sure he’s happy. There’s always the possibility that you could be fired.

Dogs bark, you tell them to shut up, and they shut up. Tell the cat to shut up, and he’ll walk over to you, peer into your face, and shout “MEOW!” He wants what he wants, and he wants it NOW.

So I picked up the nasty baby toy he found in the yard and dragged in, and I tossed it across the slick floor so that he could chase it. That was fun. He chased it, caught it, and brought it back for another round. We played that game until he was tired of it, and I went back to my computer work. And he went back to yelling.

Do I Know Where My Children Are?

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

I spend lots of time trying to make people believe that I am a competent adult and responsible parent. It’s hard work, but I am determined to fool at least some of them. My kids aren’t making it easy.

Every day, I fill out permission slips and absence notes and request forms and hand them back to the child who needs them, ready to go back to school. Every day I get calls from the school office asking for permission, absence excuses and requested information. My children apparently suffer from a condition that does not allow them to return a form to it’s place of origin.

It’s not just the high school children who have this problem. My college age son is unable to even request the correct form to get scholarship money sent to the right place. He is “too busy.” I managed to navigate the web and find the phone number for the correct school office for him and e-mailed an address for sending out the form, so that all he needs to do is make a phone call. No word yet as to whether he found time to do that.

I’m not the only parent with this problem. One dad I know told me that when his daughter was a Senior, he bought a steno pad, signed every page, took it to the office at school and told the secretary to simply write in whatever she needed. He told the secretary that if she thought it was okay for the kid to go, he trusted her judgment. He got a lot more work done after that, since he didn’t have to answer the phone every day.

I think my older daughter only appears at school long enough to get permission to leave again. Today she started off going to the local university for a college fair. She went from the fair to a quiz bowl match, and from there to a Kiwanis luncheon. She says she might get to school in time for her art class last period.

The younger one is already practicing to get out of school over the next two years by becoming an office assistant. She knows that as soon as she has her license, she will be able to run errands for teachers, seriously cutting down on time spent in class.

I pay tuition for these children to attend this school. I should be allowed to pay by the hour.

I believe the school must be subliminally transferring knowledge to them all over the city. They must be learning something sometime, since they do exceptionally well on standardized tests. They’re getting A’s in their classes. It’s hard to argue that they aren’t getting a good education. But I wonder, after graduation, if they’ll recognize their teachers!

The Pig Flu

Monday, October 26th, 2009

This flu shot thing has me in a quandary. My philosophy is that the farther you stay from doctors and hospitals, the less likely you are to get sick. We are generally a pretty healthy family.

When my children were small, I did take them for the mandatory vaccines, but while the oldest saw the pediatrician on a fairly regular schedule (he was the first child and weighed only four pounds when he was born,) the youngest got her shots from the health department (where they were free,) and didn’t see the doctor until she went for her school-ordered Kindergarten checkup. (Please don’t call Childrens’ Services. She’s 16 now, and she’s fine.)

I personally have not had a shot of any kind since I was 12. I’m…..older than that now, and it doesn’t seem to have hurt me. I get the occasional cold and I probably had the flu about five years ago, but that’s life. I’m way more afraid of getting Guillian-Barre Syndrome that of getting any kind of flu. I logically believe that it is very unlikely that any of us would have complications that would result in hospitalization, much less death.

But a friend of mine died. Not just someone far away on the news, an actual person who had been as healthy as the average middle-aged adult and thought he was going to stay home from work and play around on Facebook for a few days. I thought hard about that. My son called from college to say he had a fever and flu symptoms. He knew people who had H1N1. I tried not to worry about it, knowing that he would almost surely be fine even if he had it, but he is in Boston and I am in Ohio. What if he got really sick?

I finally decided that I won’t get a flu shot. There is a shortage, and there are people who will be seriously worried if they are denied a flu shot. I’m okay with taking my chances.

Busy, Busy!

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Time flies when you’re being a mom. The kids are back to school, I’m back to work, I’m starting on a new career and trying to maintain my house. When I saw how long it had been since I last wrote for my blog, I was amazed. Seems like I just posted last week!

But time has gotten away with me and I haven’t had time to think of a single profound thing to say. Except that Labor Day is gone, Volleyball season is just about over, and it will be Thanksgiving before you know it. Time is rushing by. So pay attention! You might miss the whole thing!

Next week, I’ll say something profound or funny. Maybe.

Someday, My Prince….

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

My blog title promises that you will get glimpses into the life of a princess. Just think about that. You come here and read that headline, and get all excited thinking you’ll finally know how royalty really lives. And then you read about me cleaning my bathroom.

When a friend helped me set up the blog and chose that title, I thought it was funny. I’m not a princess. I’m like the total opposite of the prissy, girly-girl image. I made him take it off. But he seemed so disappointed that I let him put it back. I didn’t figure anyone would ever read it anyway.

The more I think about it, though, the more I think he may be right. I may not have a crown in my jewelry box, but I think I’m destined to be a princess. As my sister-in-law has pointed out on more than one occasion, I think the rules don’t apply to me. She’s right. My mom doesn’t allow eating in the living room, but I eat there. It’s not that I think rules are unimportant. Other people need them.

I have always wanted to be a princess. My cousin and I would lie in bed at night when she came to visit and talk about what our lives would be like when we married our princes. How we would have lovely clothes and maids and canopy beds on pedestals with velvet curtains all around. I was so sure it would happen!

So why does the life of a princess involve cooking and cleaning? Where’s my driver? There is not a single velvet thing in my entire bedroom! The only princess who ever cleaned anything in a fairy tale was Cinderella, and that was only until her prince came. WHERE’S MY PRINCE?

Personally, I blame it all on Walt Disney. All those princess movies with the helpful little birds and animals were far too believeable. I had long hair, why couldn’t I be Rapunzle? He even taught us to all sing along– “someday my prince will come….” Why didn’t our mothers tell us that when he got here, we’d have to pick up his socks every day? And that princes don’t like canopy beds with velvet curtains? And that crowns are heavy and make your neck hurt?

So maybe the life of a princess isn’t as carefree as a Disney movie. And maybe even real princesses sometimes clean the toilet. Occasionally I even follow the rules. Velvet curtains would just get dusty. But my prince is coming.

Just Send Chocolate

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Today I have been trying to clear my desk off, and I finally sorted the huge stack of coupons that I faithfully clip from the paper every Sunday in an effort to save a few bucks. It also included the coupons I download and print from websites and the ones that Kroger sends me for being a good little shopper. And I’d just like to send an open letter to the kind purveyors of all this largess:

Dear Manufacturers,

I just finished sorting and filing my coupons so I can go to the grocery store. Most of them were already expired. I have sad news for you. Women are too busy to always sort the coupons the week you print them. If you can’t put an expiration date on the coupon that is at least three months long, don’t bother. Six months would be much better.

That means that I will have time to use up the shower lotion that I only need in winter and I can use the coupon for a new bottle in October. In August, it just makes me sticky. Thank you for making the amount either $.50 or $1.00, because the ones that are $.55 don’t double and that’s just an annoying tease—so close to being worth a dollar if only you’d been a nickle chintzier. And the tiny little print you use for the expiration date? Whatever new college grad marketing genius picked the font should be fired. Thank you so much! Your faithful customer.

Yeah, I can hear it now. The born organized women out there are shaking their fingers at me and pointing out that if I would just sort them as I clipped them, it would be so much easier.

Dear Women who always sort the coupons as soon as you cut them out, which you do on the day you receive them,

Shut up! We hate you. If our lives were organized enough to do that, we’d be the queen of the world and wouldn’t need to clip coupons. No offense.

Your ordinary Sidetracked Home Executive sisters.

I guess that told THEM! Now where was I….oh, yes:

Dear Manufacturers,

Forget the coupons. Just send chocolate. Thank you.

Mother Awards, Good Versus Bad

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Right now, I’m earning the Bad Mother award from my daughter, so I decided to write about it here, where I can be assured of getting the Good Mother award from at least some readers. Because as we all know, if the child thinks I’m a bad mother, I’ve done something right.

My youngest has a new best friend, and her new best friend just happens to be a boy. They worked on a project together and found lots of common interests, and now they talk and text and IM all day and half the night. He is not her boyfriend, she says. He’s just a friend. I’m very fine with that.

Now that their project is finished, they don’t see each other every day, so naturally they want to get together and hang out. She invited him over to watch a movie. That’s great! I love it when my kids bring their friends here! She invited him for Saturday. Oh. I will be gone all day Saturday. Sorry, not this week.

I suppose it’s probably mostly my fault that she’s upset. Her brother’s friends have been in and out of our house almost constantly for as long as she can remember, and I never made them leave just because I was going to the store or taking a walk. So she has been in the house with boys when no adults were present on plenty of occasions. I never thought about it. Trying to explain the difference to her isn’t easy, because it’s really based on faulty reasoning. This boy is okay, that one isn’t, even though he never did anything to disqualify him from “okay.”

Who says that giving birth makes us logical? I know that the child rearing books preach consistency, and I’m sure it’s the best idea. But life isn’t always logical, and if I consistently allow her to be here with boys I know well, and consistently say no to being alone with boys I’ve never met, I think I’m fulfilling the requirement. I’m sure he’s a wonderful kid. But he’s still a boy I don’t know.

And I am the evil mom who is wrecking her friendship. And guarding her reputation.

Back to School (It’s Not About What You Think)

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Three weeks ago, I started back to school. I haven’t been in school in a very, very long time. Frankly, I was terrified. I figured I’d be in a classroom full of young, bright students who would make me feel stupid and slow. I thought I’d never be able to remember anything. I never did learn how to study. It just seemed nuts.

Okay, when I say I started school, that sounds more impressive than it really is. I am actually taking real estate classes. I’m taking three intensive weeks of classes that I thought were going to teach me to sell real estate. Turns out they’re just teaching me to pass the exam so that I can get a license. Then I’m supposed to take all this new knowledge about contracts and lot sizes and fair housing, go out into the world, and just do it. Look out, world!

Maybe I should just stay in school. Turns out that school is FUN! It’s really interesting. There are lots of people my age and older in the class, and plenty of bright young students, too. The teachers move fast, but I was up to speed in no time. I have met great people, enjoyed stimulating conversation, and surprised myself with what I’ve been able to do.

The message here is that you can do more than you think you can. And it’s never too late. It isn’t easy, but the sense of accomplishment is wonderful.

Bugs!

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Today my daughter decided to cook red beans and rice. Talking about the origins of the dish brought up crawfish. Here is a subject that I have a definite opinion about. I know there are people out there who like these things, but frankly, crawfish (or MUDBUGS, as they’re called in some places) are just giant roaches. I expressed this opinion, and my friend (a guy, which, as you will see, is an important distinction,) pointed out that they’re more like mini-lobsters. Well, I totally agree with that. Because lobsters are just really giant roaches. They’re BUGS. They don’t even really swim, they crawl around in the bottom of the ocean or lake or stream. They have long antennas and googly eyes. They have more legs than any creature really needs. They’re BUGS and you’d might as well just have a nice bowl of chocolate covered ants for desert. Shrimp are bugs, too.

Over the years, several people (all male) have tried to convince me that eating giant water bugs would be a great idea, especially dipped in butter or shrimp sauce. Once, a guy did his best to get me to order escargot as an appetizer. Escargot, if you aren’t familiar with it, is land bugs with a French name and a lot of garlic. I secretly believe that instead of trying to impress a date by spending big money on French bugs, the real purpose of urging women to eat these things is so that men can laugh at us behind our backs. “Did you see what she ate? She thought it was food, but it was just BUGS!!” I believe that Adam started this as soon as his boys were old enough to understand the concept of grossing mom out. My proof of this theory is that I’ve never had another woman urge me to eat any of these foods. I know women who eat them, but they were all tricked by men, either their fathers or their dates.

There is a great advantage in not eating giant water bugs. I never have to agonize in a restaurant over whether to spend the extra money for shrimp cocktail. I’m perfectly happy with chips and salsa. I have never had the indignity of being wrapped in a bib as an adult. I don’t have to drag my appetizer out of a slippery mobile home that it never actually occupied in life anyway. If a guy wants to gross me out, he’s going to have to do better than that.

And don’t think the blood running out of your steak is going to do it. I get half.

Reinventing Myself

Monday, July 13th, 2009

At the age of 49, I am starting over, dreaming of a new kind of life.  I thought I knew how my life would unfold, but I was wrong.  Now I am thinking about doing things that I had always considered impossible.

Self image is a funny thing. Our view of ourselves changes over time, and we go forward based on who we are and who we wish to be. As a child, I was the oldest, in charge of the little kids. As a teen, I was a good student, aiming to graduate high in my class. As a young adult, I was a business woman, managing companies in designer suits and chairing civic activities to keep my picture in the paper. Then I got married and had children, and I spent 20 years viewing myself as a wife and mother, to the point that when I finally went back to work five years ago, I was ashamed to admit it. Then one day I woke up to the fact that my marriage was over and my children were nearly grown, and as I looked forward, I realized that I had no self image left. Wife and mother was ending, and  there was nothing on the horizon. I had spent so much time and effort working to raise my children that I had never dreamed about who I would be when they left. I was completely lost.

I wallowed in lost for a while. I throw the best pity parties. I had spent half my life relying on my husband for income, my children for activities, and other parents for friends. I had lost my desire for a career. I had abandoned my civic activities. What kind of work could I get with a giant hole in my resume? I reluctantly began shopping my spotty resume around to local businesses, filling out job applications as if I were 20 and trying to move up from burger flipping, dressing in my one nice outfit while trying to make a chubby middle-aged body and graying hair look like something you’d like to see at a reception desk. It just wasn’t working. My one job offer waiting tables was from a nice kid who thought I’d be a good motherly influence on the younger wait staff. And even that fell through.

Help came from the most unbelievable place. I joined Facebook to check out what my teenagers were doing. What I found instead were friends from high school and from my early twenties, people I had lost touch with over the years. None of them knew mommy-me. They knew me when I had plans to conquer the world, and in their eyes I still had a chance to do it. I began to remember myself as someone more than a wife and mother, and I started thinking that maybe it wasn’t too late to try something new.

And so, slowly but surely, I am reinventing myself, and I guess I’m not quite sure what I will be. My last child will graduate in three years, and if I haven’t found things to take the place of ballgames and rides and fund raising, I could find myself staring at the walls with only cats for company. My dreams for the future have never included becoming a cat lady.

For twenty years now, all of my dreams have been for my children. The first child achieved my goal for him and is headed straight for success. The second has so many goals for herself and sets the bar so high that she has no need of my dreams. The last one is such a free spirit that setting goals for her would be like tethering a bird. She doesn’t know the destination yet, but she was born knowing the flight path. I’m the one now who needs a dream.

For the longest time, I didn’t even have a direction. I felt like I stood at a crossroads, and I just turned in circles with no clue which path to choose.

How did I decide what to do? I don’t have a clue. One day someone made a suggestion, another friend thought it sounded good, and I said okay. I don’t know if it’s the best choice. I don’t know if it will work out. I just know that, as I slowly move forward, I’m beginning to dream.