Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Epically Long Essay About the Meanest Thing

I recall a number of Mean Things from a certain period of life – coff *middle school* coff coff – that happened pretty much daily.  I was a new kid – always the new kid – and not the cutest at that age.  I remember having pennies chucked at me from the bus as it drove by while I walked home (I also got the “Woof” from that particular set of boys, so I feel Wicked’s pain).  I also recall once that I was reading while I walked between classes – something I often did as a defense mechanism to hide from interactions with my classmates – and someone got up in my face and yelled “BOO!  You so ugly white-faced, you look like a GHOST!” and then took off laughing down the hall.  Once I was put in the middle of a circle of boys and they pushed me across the circle from person to person, kind of like what would happen in an after school special if the producers wanted to have a Mean Bullying Scene.  Each time I was shoved away, the mean boy would yell something about me – “Ugly yellow eyes!” “Horse teeth!” “Pasty white face!”  Girls who were usually friendly to me, if not my friends, stood aside and watched, laughed uncertainly, too intimidated to intervene but too kind to join in.  After the boys broke the circle and shoved me out, then left in a chuckling pack, a girl named Belle Eldridge (twenty years later, and I remember her name) put her hand on my arm and said “You know what they said isn’t true.  I’m sorry that happened.”  

Boy do these things sound so childish now, so obviously child-like, but they cut deep back then.  The truth is, all of those horrid losers were insecure kids themselves.  Although they had little going for them, they did have the innate skill of finding students like me, kids who were even less secure than they were, and beating up on them.  They honed in on the Shame that hung on my body like a shroud, stuck their cruel words like crowbars into the cracks in my confidence and levered me wide open, every time.  I was a naïve, timid thing then. An easy mark.

Fourteen and fifteen were terrible years.

None of these incidents, or the Mean Things of a similar vein that I suffered daily, are the worst, though.  I still think of that worst Mean Thing with shame, a flush on my cheeks, because it involved girls who WERE my friends, and who were given an opportunity to stand up for me, and who chose instead to side with the boy who was unnecessarily cruel.

As we Wonder Women definitely recall, back in the days before social media and texting, there was note-passing.  You would actually put pen to paper, write a note, and pass the paper to your friend during class.  Weird, right?  There were many different ways to get the note passed – some would fold it up like a little football and flick it, sometimes it would be passed desk to desk, sometimes nonchalantly tossed on a desktop on the way up to a pretextual pencil sharpening.  Whenever you’d get a note, you’d breathlessly pull it into your lap and meticulously unfold it, trying to minimize crinkle so as not to attract attention from the teacher.  They were usually dumb nothings jotted down, sometimes drawings, sometimes gossip.  Sometimes they were intercepted by a particularly eagle-eyed teacher, read aloud to the class.  (And Wonder Women- are we not all SO GLAD that these things were written on paper that has since been destroyed, instead of on social media to be preserved for all time?)

So this one time a note got passed.  It was toward the end of class.  There were several of us girls, and we were being all flirty flirty with a particular boy named Sean, writing notes and passing them round robin.  He wrote a note on a fresh piece of paper and passed it to Ellen.  Ellen read it, and then looked at me uncomfortably and tucked it away.  The bell rang, we jostled into the lunch room, and all of us other girls demanded that we be allowed to read it.  Sean, as you can imagine, was in seventh heaven, his crudely penciled witticisms in such high demand among a gaggle of girls.  Ellen kept insisting that it was just for her, but finally caved and gave it to Kelly, who read it, looked at me uncomfortably, and then passed it to Karen.  Karen read it. Looked at me uncomfortably.  Passed it on.  It went ‘round the table, and everyone who read it gave me that same uncomfortable Look.  I was still giggling in a choked sort of way, my smile more of a mask at this point.  I was determined to keep it jovial, to ignore the obvious signs that something uncomfortable and possibly cruel was coming, and I was too immature and childish to just let it go even though my friends were begging me to with their eyes.  I ignored their silent pleas, and demanded the opportunity to read whatever this increasingly mysterious missive contained.  What could it possibly be?

Kelly finally said “just let her read it,” and gave it to me.  It was a long sort of letter, blah blah I like you Ellen blah blah You’re so hot blah blah – and then I came to it.  “That mustache girl is one ugly bitch.  I mean, I know she’s your friend and all, but I don’t know why, because she is HIDEOUS!!!!!” 

I actually read past it at first, but then in a sort of literary double take, my eyes circled back, and I finally twigged that it was about me.  I was the ugly “mustache” girl.  (It’s true – I have always had very dark hair, I had a much paler face than I do these days, and I was not wise to the ways of waxing at the tender age of 14.  I did have a thin, pale ghost of a mustache – and my eyebrows grew together at the middle for good measure.  Add in a pair of buck teeth, and I was a rough-looking kid.)  I held it up to Karen and said “That’s me.  The mustache girl.  He’s talking about me.”  Karen looked uncomfortable, nodded.  “Kelly, he’s talking about me, right?”  Kelly looked away.  Sean, the shitty little snot, just looked smug at the end of the table, his posture communicating “What?  Somebody had to say it.”  34-year-old me thinks “Somebody certainly did NOT, you little fucker, and especially not you – 5 feet tall IF THAT, acne all over your face, braces with rubber bands.  Who are YOU to talk about looks, you assy little prick?”  But 34-year-old me wasn’t there.  Just 14-year-old me.  And that little girl felt like the whole bottom dropped out from under her stomach.  Because all of these girls, every one of them – they read it.  And it didn’t have my name, but they KNEW IT WAS TALKING ABOUT ME.  Because that’s what they all thought of me.  Clearly, to all and sundry, I was well-known as the “ugly mustache girl.”  And I was just now finding it out. 

In that moment was a wide-open opportunity for my girls to display the bonds of Sisterhood and Girl Power - and none of my friends stepped up. Not one of them had the strength to overcome their Sean-crush and call him out for being a jerk.  It was more important that he still “like” them, than that I feel like a person.  Let’s be honest – I almost certainly would have done the same thing if it had been one of them that he humiliated at the lunch table.  Strength of character is something that is still being forged in middle school – very few people enter that jungle with it already formed.

Everyone was silent, looking at their fingernails.  I put the note down.  The moment passed.  And, amazingly, somehow I stayed at the table.  Conversation, which had ground to a halt, started up again, slow, and then ramping back up to the normal cacophony of the cafeteria.  I didn’t join in.  I didn’t walk away.  I sat there, picking at my food, staring into the middle distance and breathing deep so as not to cry.  

This moment changed me forever.  Truly.  (Knowing that makes me think about how certain children go through lengthy periods of abuse at the hands of adults, and I wonder how they make it to adulthood.   If this bullying by a kid my own age had such an impact, what on earth would that kind of pain do to a person?)  In one concrete example, a year after this happened, I played a male in a Shakespeare play at school.  The costumer drew a little mustache on me, and I know she was utterly bewildered when I saw it in the mirror, burst into tears, and rubbed it away.  I kept rubbing and rubbing long after it was gone, like Lady Macbeth and her handwashing and her “Out damn spot.”  I had a "mustache" of red raw skin when I was done, and slunk out onto the stage in such shame, certain everyone was looking and laughing at the mustache girl.  I still hate my facial hair, and spend inordinate amounts of time waxing and tweezing it into submission.  I still often cover my mouth when I talk, just in case an errant hair evaded my tweezers and someone notices it there, a mustache hair on the lip of a girl.

However, on a more positive note . . . I also have a pack of girlfriends now to whom I try my best to be loyal, and whose loyalty I prize.  There have been women in my life who would casually ditch me (or other female friends) if a guy so much as hinted that he’d like her available in case he might want to call.  Those women aren’t in my life anymore.  Shattering though that incident was, I learned a lesson about character, by observing the lack of it.  That was the first "brick" in the "wall" of learning how to have standards for the boys and girls that I liked and were my friends, and not just hanging with whoever was around, no matter how they treated me.  (It took ten more years for that particular wall to get fully built up, but this was the start.)  And I can take some pride in the fact that, wounded as I was, I did not strike back.  I could have made fun of his height, his acne, his many flaws, but I did not.  Maybe that would have been a stronger response.  But not a better one.
So that's my essay.  This ended up long, but it's a sore subject for me, what with all of the cyber bullying issues going on now.  I was humiliated at a lunch table of ten - imagine if my pain had been spread across the whole school on facebook or twitter?  It's no wonder so many young people are making rash decisions in the wake of their shame - in that small, middle school world, it must feel like there is no escape.
But kudos to all of us Wonder Women, who grew into gorgeous, loving, loyal women and sisters.  We were (obviously) in a sorority together, at a very small school - a prime grounds for catty gossipy fighting and cliques.  I'm proud to say that I witnessed none of that - we were, and are, Classy with a capital C.  Maybe it's because we all suffered humiliations early enough - we learned what it's like to be on the receiving end.

The impact of just a few words.

Growing up, I always had really bad eczema on my legs and hips.  No matter what my dermatologist prescribed, they itched like crazy every hour of every day.  I tried 3 topical creams.  I even took an oral medication in an attempt to soothe the itching.  I wore gloves on my hands at night to prevent scratching.  I wore pants to bed at night.  Unfortunately, nothing worked.  I scratched my legs so much that they were constantly bleeding and scarring.

I'll never ever forget the day that I became super conscious of my legs and their appearance.  I was in my 7th grade gym class (which is horrific enough as it is).  We had changed into our school assigned uniforms - blue gym shorts and a white t-shirt and were lined on the gym floor.  We sat down, put our legs straight out, and began the warm-up stretches.  My teacher, Mrs. K, walked slowly up and down our line, inspecting us, ensuring we were stretching correctly.  And then she stopped right in front of me.

"Good God, Super Jane!  Look at your legs!  Did someone BEAT you?"


I don't remember what I said to her in response, but I do remember feeling ashamed and even more self-conscious than I normally did at the age of 13.  She had brought attention to the fact that my legs were damaged and scarred and I have never gotten over it.

It took me a long time to even show Jas my legs.  If he just happened to stop by my dorm room when we were in college, I would quickly cover my legs with a blanket.  After a few months, I realized that he loved me no matter what my legs looked like.  I was still embarrassed to show him though.

Thankfully, I have all but outgrown my eczema.  I still itch, but the bleeding has all but subsided and the scars are hardly noticeable.  To this day, however, I still sport jeans and long pants year round, even in the Hades heat of the summer.  Very, very rarely will you find me wearing shorts or skirts; I simply don't feel comfortable and confident unless my legs are covered.

Even 22 years later, Mrs. K's words still impact my life.  Unfortunately, I have a feeling that I'll always carry her words with me for the rest of my days.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I Will Not Quote Tay Tay

“You look like a female David Spade.”

This was said to me—to my face—by a member of the opposite sex who was five years my junior. It was bad enough to have a photo of myself critiqued so harshly (the comment came unsolicited to boot). BUT:

I was fourteen. And my Crush was there and heard it. And he laughed loudly, long, and hard.

Everyone has a Crush that’s the capital-“C” Crush: the big one. The one that got away … and kept getting away for years on end. The one on whom you kept tabs even when also crushing on other people. The one about whom you knew everything: best friends, pets’ names, favorite bands, part-time jobs, cars both actual and dream, siblings. The one you could always sense walk into the space you occupied no matter how vast that space was at the time. The one whose only flaw was, your friends helpfully pointed out, not wanting to go out with you—but somehow even this could be excused. The one about whom all sad songs you liked were clearly written. The one to whom you gave an exceedingly mortifying nickname so that you could decorate your notebook with “I ♥ ‘the initials of said exceedingly mortifying nickname’” and then coyly refuse to identify but revel in the attention garnered by classmates’ incorrect guessing.

The one with whom you eventually became really, truly, close friends. The one to whom you quite solemnly apologized over Mexican one night for how embarrassed and annoyed—nay, how miserable—your unrequited love must have made him for all those years (seven or eight).

The one you of course got over but somehow didn’t in some way, because here you are 22 years later still thinking about how unbearably humiliating it felt to be mocked in front of him.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Meanest Thing

Over the years people have said many hurtful things to me.  In spite of my tough exterior, I am pretty much a cupcake.  I cry easily and my feelings get hurt at the drop of a hat.  I know that not everyone will like me or understand me, but I still would like for everyone to leave any interaction with me feeling like I am at least a nice person.

So many women get caught up in making sure everyone thinks they are pretty and that has never really been an issue for me.  I happily visit Target in sweatpants.  I do use a little makeup every day, but that is more for myself than anyone else.  I have never looked at a magazine cover and felt any twinge of not being good enough.  I know that I am no supermodel, but I do not think I am ugly.  When I was younger, I always felt beautiful.  People were never fawning over me or anything, but I think I had it going on.  In the last few years, I can see the tiredness in my eyes.  I can see the dewiness of my skin fading.  I still feel pretty most days.  I think I can hold my own, you know?

However, there is one incident in particular that sticks in my mind and hits me like a ton of bricks every time I think about it.  Thankfully, I do not visit this memory often, but every once in a while it sneaks up on me.  I was in junior high -- my terribly awkward phase.  I wore big glasses, had an unfortunate perm and I was all legs and arms.  I was rail thin and did not yet know the magic of mascara.

I was at the mall with my mom and we had just parted ways briefly -- I wanted to go visit the animals in the pet store and she needed to return something in a department store.  As I made my way through the nearly empty mall (thank goodness!!!), I spied two boys ahead of me.  They were probably in high school and were dressed in "cool" clothes.  They were carrying bags and kept looking back in my direction.  At first, I thought maybe they were checking me out.  I had no idea what was about to happen.  I heard one of them yell, "Ugly dog!  Ugly dog coming through!"  The other boy whooped and laughed.  He started barking and  pointing at me.  They both began barking again, continued for what felt like forever and then took off running.  I was determined not to cry in the middle of the mall.  I kept walking to the pet store and walked to the back.  I let a few tears fall and then tried to look at all of the cute animals.  But my heart was broken.

Just that morning I had felt like I had on a cute outfit and that my hair was having a good day.  I was having fun with my mom and these boys just ruined my day.  I had never felt like a dog.  I had never felt ugly.  Never for one second.  Until now.

I refused to tell my mom what had happened until we were back in the car.  When I told her, I cried again.  Luckily, my mom told me that those boys were jerks and that I should know better.  We talked about what had happened and why those boys may have done and said what they did.  I knew in my heart that those boys were just being mean, but my heart still breaks a little for that junior high girl who got barked at in the mall.  Thankfully, it never affected me negatively but I can see how that could have really messed a person up.

These days, I mostly wonder about people who bark at other people in malls.  I mean, who does that?!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I wonder when I'll stop worrying.

I have two babies.  Well, they aren't exactly babies anymore; my oldest is 10 years old and my youngest is 7, but their ages don't really matter.  No matter how many birthdays they celebrate, they will always and forever be my babies.  Even when Little Mama is 87 and I'm a ripe 111 years young, I'll still refer to her as my baby. 

Even before they made their grand entrances into the world, I worried about them.  When I was pregnant, I worried constantly.  Were they kicking enough?  Was I drinking too much coffee?  Would their 20 week ultrasounds show that their hearts, kidneys, brains were all healthy? 

Moments after delivery I worried about their vitals - heartrate, bilirubin tests, their first poop.

As infants, I worried that they weren't latching on.  I worried if they slept too little or too much.

At 1 year, I worried that they weren't walking in time.

At 2 years, I was beside myself because Baby Angel rarely spoke a word.

At 3 years, I worried about Baby Angel hitting the other kids at preschool.  I worried so, so much as she was put to sleep for her first surgery to repair a broken finger.

At 4 years, I worried when two little girls at pre-K said mean, nasty, snubby words to Little Mama.  I worried that we would never rid our house of lice when Little Mama experienced it twice in a matter of 3 months.

At 5 years, I worried about Little Mama taking the big kid bus to kindergarten.  I worried about who her classmates were and what they were exposing her to.  I had my first talk with a principal that year.

At 6 years, I worried about Baby Angel fitting into her new school.  I worried when the pediatrician told us that Little Mama was overweight.

At 7 years, I worry about Baby Angel and her attitude.  I worry that others will think she's a brat or a snot or annoying.  I worry they won't see the precious, loving, vivacious, eccentric child that I see.

At 8 years, I worried about Little Mama being successful academically as she was failing her reading class.

At 9 years, I worried about Little Mama choosing friends who maybe weren't the best ones for her.

At 10 years, I worry about Little Mama and her success in extracurriculars - basketball, softball, soccer, Girl Scouts.

This, dear friends, as any mom can attest to, is just the tip of The Worry Iceburg.  It's a constant worry about this or that - anything really having to do with my precious babies.  "Did they remember their lunches?"  "How did Little Mama do on that math test?"  "I wonder if Baby Angel remembered to spell 'especially' with two 'ls'."  "Man, I hope Little Mama hits her free throws today."

I remember being so certain that when they grew out of this stage or that stage I would stop worrying.  What I've grown to realize, however, is that the worry simply transforms.  It's still worry, it just looks a little different.

So while I'm not worrying about whether Baby Angel is following directions at preschool, I'm worrying about her self-esteem and self-image.  I'm not worrying about Little Mama riding her bike around the block, but I am worrying about her learning how to juggle school, church, and sports. 

When they were younger, I had hoped that parenting would get easier.  What I'm finding, however, is the exact opposite.  As the years pass, the parenting gets tougher.  I look ahead to the future and see the worries to come -- At 16 years, I'll worry about them driving in a car.  At 17 years, I'll worry about who they choose to date and exactly what they'll do when they are alone on that date.  At 18 years, I'll worry about them succeeding on their SATs and getting into their #1 college.

Lord, help me.

No one ever said parenting was easy, but it's certainly more challenging than I ever thought possible.  Yes, this parenting gig is tough, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Wonder What My Best Thrifty Find Was

Although my extremely spartan (some less charitable folks may say “cheap”) husband might claim otherwise, thrift is my middle name.  I still regularly wear to work two sweaters that I’ve had since high school, keep the AC too high and the heat too low in order to save electricity, wash and reuse Ziploc bags, and happily rode my bicycle around town for years rather than drive our one car and waste the gas.  I’ve had a number of thrifty finds in my life.  We paid $20 for the nursery linens that have lasted us through two kids – the package goes for $175 new, and although it had a few tears and stains, I sewed the tears and strategically hid the stains.  (That and a $350 crib were all we purchased for the nursery when Jake was born – no other furniture needed.)   I cloth diapered through most of the boys’ diaper days - $200 for diapers total over four years of diapering, plus the cost of washing.  I have often gotten great gently used clothes for the kids at Goodwill – Gymboree, Children’s Place, etc.  (It is way too hard to find un-stained stuff that fits for me there, but kids grow so fast that half the stuff at Goodwill still has tags on it, since Mom or Dad never had a chance to put it on Kid before he grew out of it.)  I usually get gifts for family birthdays when I see it on sale, even if the birthday is nowhere near.  I start buying Christmas gifts in July.

  Sometimes it ticks me off that we have to be so thrifty, even now, when we both work so many hours.  I’d love a maid, more nights out, guilt- and coupon-free grocery shopping.  But that is the scourge of student loans, and as you can imagine, a lawyer and a professor got ‘dem some student loans, boy howdy.

Anyway, looking over a lifetime of pinching pennies, I must say my best thrifty find was definitely my very first daycare provider, Ms. Kim.  Back when I worked in my old job and had just the one kid, we were unable to find a structured daycare that we could have any hope of affording.  I asked around at work, and lo and behold, a coworker sent her daughter to Ms. Kim’s house every day. Ms. Kim charged $50 a week.  A WEEK!!  (We pay more than 4 times that for Cubby’s later part-time nanny, and more than 5 times that now, for reference.)  She was flexible . . . she could do early mornings, late evenings, even overnights, same price.  She was loving . . . she wept when I drove Jake away on his last day, and sent letters for weeks after we’d moved out of state.  She took the kids out with her most days – sometimes just around to Wal Mart or yard sales, where she’d often buy them little presents.  She fed them lunch.  She was like a stay-at-home mom.  I like my kids’ current licensed daycare a lot, don’t get me wrong . . . but boy was Ms. Kim a STEAL.

I think sometimes, as we write those massive monthly checks to Daycare Center, that I should put out an ad for a Ms. Kim around here and see if we can’t get a good deal.  But I would worry to hire someone I don’t know, in a place I haven’t lived long, without a reference.  And chances are good that such a person would want more than $1 an hour, which is what Ms. Kim’s rate basically came down to.  (She was married to a man who made good money, and just babysat a couple of kids in her house for something to do since her own children were grown.)  In any case, I think of Ms. Kim fondly, and with a sigh . . .  Fifty bucks a week.  Those were the days, man.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

LaraLove (or possibly LaraLoco)

The Wonder Women have been knocking it out of the park lately with their Wonders. This week’s topic (thank you, super jane) is no exception. I think it goes without saying that we are a quartet of Frugal Fannies—a proud tradition that pre-dates the Great Recession by roughly two decades. Three, in my particular case, as I’m pretty sure I started getting an allowance when my age was in the single digits and simultaneously started my life as a miser.

 Sometimes we sisters are interchangeable on a topic and this is such a one. Like super jane, I’m happy to scour any and all available storefronts (literal and cyber) in order to ensure the biggest bargain. Like Wicked M, my favorite conversations revolve around chortling to friends about how little I paid for some cute piece of my wardrobe. Like G Love … well, she hasn’t written her post yet but I know how much she shares our thrifty tendencies.

If I’m clothes-shopping, I won’t buy anything that’s not on the sale rack, a well-documented phenomenon. I price-compare just about everything else I buy, and when I find something I like that’s on sale, I stock up. Which brings me to my answer to super jane’s question.

In my pantry, right this minute, are no fewer than 60 Lärabars. They were only 99¢ each! And they were my favorite flavors! (Yes, either The Boy or I have tried them all … except the brand-new flavor, cappuccino. I just found out about that flavor when doing my research for this post. I'll let you know what I think about it but I'm pretty sure I'll love it!) 99¢ each is a better deal than you can get when you buy the 18-bar box at Costco! I’m so excited! And we’ve been eating them for three weeks already, so who knows how many I bought to begin with?

To clarify: I did not buy all those Lärabars at once. When they went on sale at my favorite grocery store, I simply took all current available display boxes off the shelf and checked out. I didn’t even count them. I decided that I would just stop at the store on the way home from wherever (this happened on the weekend, too) every day of the sale and if there were a box of our top three flavors replenished by the stockpersons, then it was meant to be—I should buy more. And more and more and more. The last day of the sale, there were no more Lärabars out on the shelf in my flavors … and that was that. I went cold turkey with no problem.

Now begins the actual rationing. Maybe by the time we polish off the last of our stash, they’ll be on sale again.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Do Love a Good Bargain

I have to admit that you will probably never find me in a Goodwill store.  I do not frequent the Salvation Army.  It has just never been my thing.  I do love a good bargain though!  I love finding a sale rack in my favorite store and I love to tell people just how good my bargain was!  It is almost a compulsion to shout, "I got it for only four dollars!" when someone compliments my new blouse (or yoga pants [shut up], but that is neither here nor there).

My biggest bargain find might come as a surprise to some.  It was my wedding dress.  I got it for less than $100!  This was one of those moments in life where everything just came together.  My mother, grandmother and I were out dress shopping and the salesperson directed us to the sale rack to look for specific size dresses.  I happened to find this hot little number that was simple, classy and sophisticated -- it was just my style.  As soon as I saw it, I stopped looking.  It helped that the price was ridiculously low.  So ridiculously low, in fact, that we asked if it was an error.

My mother and grandmother insisted I try other dresses on, but the moment I slipped it on...well, everyone stopped pushing other dresses on me.  Even the salesperson said something like, "Honey, that is your dress.  If you don't buy it, I will kill you!"  So, the dress was mine!

I actually spent far more on the alterations -- it had to be taken in!  (I exclaim over this because I cannot brag about this nowadays) -- than I did on the dress itself.  Every time I tried the dress on I just felt right about it.  One of my friends gave me a compliment on my wedding day that I will never forget.  She told me that my dress was exactly what she had envisioned I would wear.  That compliment meant more to me than the bargain I got the dress for.

The dress now hangs at my mother's house.  I will most likely never fit into it again.  But I can always remember the thrill of finding it and seeing that price tag for the first time!

Monday, February 18, 2013

I wonder what my best thrifty find was...

In honor of my new favorite song "Thrift Shop," I thought it would be fun to brag about some of our best thrifty finds.

But, before we start, you need to acquaint yourself with the song.  You can find the official video here on Youtube.  ***WARNING: DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS SONG IN FRONT OF YOUR CHILDREN OR YOUR BOSS.***

Love it?  Yes, I thought so.

I'm sure I've admitted before that I'm super cheap frugal.  I hate spending money, so when I'm ready to actually purchase something, I want a bargain.  I've had a bit of luck with the usual spots - Goodwill, Salvation Army, Craigslist, ebay, and even Amazon.  My mother-in-law who is super lucky when it comes to Goodwill (and I thoroughly believe that Goodwill finds do involve a bit of luck) once snatched up a gorgeous entertainment center for us.  Jason and I had just moved into our first apartment and needed a nice piece to hold our tv and stereo.  While perusing Goodwill one day, she found this incredibly beautiful, solid cherry wood entertainment center.  It's only blemish was a missing glass panel.  For $20, she bought it without hesitation.  The next weekend, Jason, his dad, and 2 brothers hauled all 8 bazillion pounds of entertainment center up 3 flights of stairs.  At the top of the stairs, Brother #2 promptly threw up.  We've moved 4 times since then and this piece has moved right along with us (much to The Brothers dismay).  It's a perfect piece and exactly what I would've purchased at a furniture store, but for a fraction of the cost.

$20 entertainment center (solid cherry, I might add) + $10 glass panel = a heckuva find

Just recently, Jason called me with another find.  He works for a local home improvement type store.  A customer had returned a barely used deep freeze.  Because the manual was missing (or something miniscule like that), the store couldn't resell it.  They decided to sell it for...get this...$9.  We already have a deep freeze, but I told him to buy this one anyway.  Seriously, how could we pass it up?  He bought it.  We plugged it in.  It works great.  And now we're selling it to his brother for $100.  Oh yeah.

-$9 deep freeze + $100 sale = $91 profit

So what about you?  What great deals have made you downright giddy?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

FFAS - I Wonder What The Temperature Is Outside?

This morning after a few too many hours of Saturday morning cartoons, I turned off the tv (to the children's loudly-voiced dismay) and the husband and I dragged our reluctant, protesting sons to the car.  There is a little bay-side park not far from us, and a short, level hike seemed the perfect antidote to an overdose of Disney Junior.  The sun shone brilliantly.  The boys were bundled.  I wore a bright green scarf.

We lasted five minutes.

Our mild little climate down here on the Gulf Coast has admittedly made us wimps, but I think even the cold-climate-living MSO-Rin would have shivered in the biting wind coming off the bay today.  We all zipped up our coats to the nose, pulled down our stocking caps, and huddled close, walking along a boardwalk over the incongruously tropical swamp foliage.  Jake, my four year old, walked almost the entire "hike" with his arm around my upper thigh, hiding from the wind.  (You can imagine how that hampered progress.)  Cubby, the two-year old, alternated between running full tilt ahead of us, and then stopping briefly to weep and whine about this terrible forced march that had interrupted his morning of Doc McStuffins.

Even I, their outdoorsy, suck-it-up mother, was not so hardheaded that I couldn't admit defeat.  We turned tail and ran back to the car, came home, played dominoes.  The husband will soon light a fire.  The wind can whip and wail outside - we are tucked up warm together in our cozy home.  I am grateful that I can idly wonder about the temperature outside, since I own this lovely "inside" that keeps me safe from the elements.

It's 52 degrees, by the way.  But with a 25 mph wind.   (The wind is VERY COLD, ok?  I don't want to hear it from any of you Midwesterners.)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Packing My Bags

Appropriately and serendipitously, Norah Jones is singing “Come away with me” to me through my speakers right now. Huh.

New Orleans was charmed. All the conditions were perfect for an unforgettable trip: a native for a tour guide, a Garden District maison, my lifelong bestie as one of my fellow travelers (plus the whole reason the trip got to happen in the first place—thanks again, J!), and my safe and very sensible introduction to alcohol. But it was also ages ago. I have probably forgotten much more about our adventures than I can now remember.

London was incredible. It was thrilling to be among the buildings and books and bustle I’d read about and hungered for all my life. I’m still inept at putting my brief time there into words. But it was also grimy. After a day on the Tube, a young lady’s handkerchief wasn’t a pleasant sight to behold.

Stratford, Ontario, was a fairytale. The Boy and I nerded out on theatre, ate wonderful food, walked the whole city hither and yon, chatted with sweet little ducks and fled from big evil swans, sipped wine at dusk at our B&B, and had an enormously blissed-out honeymoon. But it was also crystallized. I’m afraid to go back there, honestly, in case it’s not as perfect the second time around.

Glacier National Park was coming home. My inaugural visit there was actually a premonition—I moved within three hours of it 11 months after setting foot in it for the first time—as well as the start of a still-torrid love affair with wild mountains, midsummer snow, and huckleberries. My sister and I should have put out a comedy album based on our shenanigans … we had that much fun. I don’t feel quite right if I don’t get there at least once a year. But it’s also changing. Don’t click this link if you don’t feel like thinking about global warming.

Seattle was a whirlwind. Everywhere I went was fascinating and crowded; somehow it made me feel more like a local than I had any right to in such a metropolis where I only spent a few days. But it was also depressing. I’ve never seen so many panhandlers in one weekend and on such well-to-do streets.

What I’m realizing about this Wonder, and what Norah was saying, is that in the end, it doesn’t really matter where any of us actually goes. There’s clearly a theme. My favorite place to travel in the world? Somewhere—anywhere, almost—with family/friends in tow.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ah, Home

I love to travel and I love the feeling of leaving all responsibility behind and escaping the world for a while.  I love exploring new places and seeing new things.  I have been fortunate enough to travel to amazing places.  I love to think about the memories made while in these places and, oh, how I wish I could go back to every place I have loved!

I visited St. Lucia on my honeymoon and it was such an fun trip.  After all the stress of wedding planning melted away, Superman and I warmed our weary buns in the sand.  We drank cocktails and laughed and played in the ocean.  It was a fantastic trip and I would love to go back someday.

Superman and I spent our first anniversary in Key West.  This was such a fun occasion and we had a ball riding scooters around, eating ourselves silly and relaxing.  This was a genuinely fun place to visit and I have such fond memories of being caught in a rainstorm and seeking shelter while laughing hysterically.  I would go back here in a heartbeat.

Our trip to Paris was beyond anything I could have ever dreamed.  We wandered the streets, visited beautiful places and ate amazing food.  Seeing the Eiffel Tower was breathtaking.  We would eat "French dinner" in our hotel room -- sharing baguettes, cheese, and wine.  I had always wanted to visit this magical place and I would love to go back someday.

My favorite place I have ever visited is the Napa Valley.  Without question, this trip was the best I have ever had.  Superman and I flew into San Diego and drove up the coast to celebrate our third anniversary.  We spent our days driving through the mountains and valleys to discover wineries.  We ate cheese and bread and drank w-i-n-e.  It was glorious.  The people were so friendly.  The restaurants were so good.  The inn that we stayed in was cozy and welcoming.  The weather was amazing  -- sunny days and cool nights.  We would sit on our balcony in the evenings and listen to the fountains bubbling.  This place was bliss.  Every part of this trip was perfect.  I often re-visit this trip in my dreams.

It may sound cheesy but my absolute favorite place to travel is home.  I know some may say this is a cop-out.  However, it is the truth.  I love that feeling of driving up to my house and knowing that my favorite people will be there with me.  I love knowing that my heavenly bed is waiting for me.  My refrigerator is full of my favorite food.  I have wine!  Home has my comfy couch and all of my books.  It is my happiest place full of memories and love.  So, no matter where I travel in the world, I will always love going home the most.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Take me back!

I have been blessed to have taken some pretty amazing trips in my life.  My grandmother was a globetrotter and certainly instilled her love of traveling in all four of her grandchildren.  While my grandmother was alive, the two of us traveled internationally to Belgium, Rome, Portugal, France, Norway, England, Denmark, The Netherlands, and many other fascinating locations!  We spent a lot of quality time traveling the world.  I'm so happy that we were able to squeeze a large amount of "living" in before she died in 1997.

I've also had the privilege of traveling internationally with Jas.  About 5 years ago, we headed off to Europe with Jas's brother, his wife, and their best friends.  We had an absolutely marvelous time hopping our way through Europe with a EurRail pass, a backpack of clothes, and a camera.  Oh, the stories that are still told to this very day about our adventures abroad!

All of these destinations were far beyond what I ever imagined them to be.  But, if I had to pick a spot to travel back to again and again, I would stay in the United States.  There really is no debating about this one.  In an instant, I would go back to Hawaii. 

I've only been to Hawaii once.  I went with my older sister, two older cousins, grandpa, and grandma (the same grandma that would take me on my world adventures as I grew a little older).  We went to Hawaii when I was only 7 years old, but the beautiful islands and friendly people stole my heart even at such a young age.  I remember so much of our time in Hawaii.  I remember the beaches, the volcanoes, Rainbow Falls, a ride on a glass bottom boat, making leis with Gramps, a fishing excursion, a luau.  The luscious trees, bold colored flowers, the accommodating and laid back attitudes of the locals.  All of this is still fresh in my mind, some 28 years later.

I long to go back and experience it all again.  In fact, I am planning a trip for my little family of four to visit Oahu.  We promised the girls several years ago that when we got out of debt (which was accomplished 2 years ago -- Debt free except for the house!) we would celebrate with a big trip.  I set my sights on Hawaii and we are almost in a spot financially to do just that.

I can't wait to visit again!  I'm even more excited to watch Jas and the girls discover Hawaii for themselves.  I'm certain that Hawaii will steal their hearts the way it has stolen mine.

Monday, February 11, 2013

I Wonder What My Favorite Place to Travel in the World Is . . .

Where is my favorite place to travel?  Oh dear.  Oh dearie me.  This is a tough one.
The way I interpret it, this question is NOT asking where would you go if you could go anywhere in the world.  Instead, it’s asking me to think about places that I have already visited, and asking which is my current favorite place to travel, and why.  This is a more complicated question than it sounds: Am I looking for a place that’s easy to enjoy, where English is the spoken language, public transport is easy to figure out, the food is palatable, it’s safe?  Or am I looking for a place that takes me out of my comfort zone, and causes the most personal growth-by-adversity?  Do I need to relax, or do I need to be worn out, body and soul?  Do I seek beauty and “soul-food,” or do I need a reminder of how much of the world is suffering deeply?  Travel serves so many roles in our lives - which is my “favorite”?

So obviously, this answer is going to change for any one of us from time to time – even minute to minute.  Some minutes we need quiet time, and in those moments I’d tell you that hot coffee on the private balcony of our room in the beautiful Inn on the Alameda in downtown Santa Fe is what I need.  When I’ve been trucking along with my daily schedule, feeling in a rut, approaching a mid-life crisis, then I’d tell you that fumbling with Portuguese on the quick-moving streets of Rio de Janeiro is where I need to be, learning that I am not locked into one kind of life.  If my ego’s getting big, then a quick jaunt to any landscape in the West of the United States would cut me right down to size.  And if I start to feel sorry for myself, that the bite of the payroll tax hike (excuse me, the “expiration of the payroll tax holiday”) is cutting into my discretionary budget, then a trip to the missions of downtown Oakland will probably re-set my perspective and remind me of how much more I should be serving my fellow humans in the world.

So even though this answer will necessarily change, I will go ahead and answer for right now.  My favorite place to travel as I sit here, right now, on the morning of Monday, February 11 (Lundi Gras, for those of you in areas that celebrate Mardi Gras) is . . . the beautiful natural wonders of northern California, including Muir Woods, the redwoods, Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake, and Yosemite National Park.

When I was twenty-five years old, I spent one glorious summer as a “trips leader,” driving a few different groups of a dozen or so twelve-year-old students in an enormous van all over Northern California.  I started with each group in the Marin Headlands, and headed out on epic journeys that each lasted two weeks long, pitching tents and cooking over open fires, sleeping under the stars on nights it wasn’t raining, fending off bears and gorging on Mike n Ikes and Diet Cokes, and teaching these kids to revel in the glory of natural wonders and unnatural junk food. 

Today, this is my favorite place to travel.  I long to immerse myself in the dripping green dignity of the redwoods; the mossy, carpeted quiet of Muir Woods; the scale and glory of Yosemite valley; the haunted human history of the desolate Bodie Ghost town.  I would happily trade wireless internet and climate control for a tent, sleeping bag, Therma Rest, and open campfire.  I need to work this old body, and the hike up to Vernal Falls or Yosemite Falls would be perfect.  A little more interaction with the natural world would please me very much.  I could use a reminder of how little I need to survive.  And I’d like to expose my children to these wonders, while they still find the world so awe-inspiring.

Where is your favorite place to travel?

A One-Sentence Story [Apologies to G Love]

After having seen Zero Dark Thirty, Silver Linings Playbook, and Flight in one weekend, I no longer wonder what life would be like if I were more interesting--I only wonder why I didn't quite appreciate being boring before.

**Programming Note: This was my week for Free for All Friday. Whoops!**

Thursday, February 7, 2013

That Extra Hour

I have to admit that the idea of being able to stop time thrills me more than the ability to add an hour to my days.  Would it not be amazing to be able to stop time when something really great is happening just to take it all in?  Or when things are going very, very badly you could just freeze time and take a moment to breathe?  The reality is that with an extra hour each day I would probably sleep.  Oh, how I could use an extra hour of sleep every day!  No one would even know because they would all be frozen!  However, in the interest of being thoughtful about my time, I have plotted out how I would use that extra hour every day.

Every Monday I would undoubtedly use the extra hour to sleep.  Without question.  Without hesitation.  Every Monday finds Superman leaving in the wee hours of the morning for the airport.  I always sleep terribly on Sunday nights due to this and Superboy seems to sense that his daddy is leaving.  He is always up early (like 4 am early!) and I am a walking zombie those days.  So, an extra hour of sleep might just give me the little extra zip that I need for Mondays.

Each Tuesday would mean an extra hour for errands.  How nice would it be to not be rushing around worrying about nap times and snacks?  Since the world is frozen, Superboy would never be the wiser and I could just zip in and out of the grocery and Target.  Ah, heaven!  I could browse the aisles.  I could dig through my coupons for every one I could use!  I could breeze through the line and be outside to enjoy a little fresh air.  I also choose for this extra hour to be sunshine filled and seventy degrees.

Wednesday's extra hour would be used for dinnertime prep.  Every mother is aware of the "witching hour" and Superboy's is from about 4:30 to 5:15 (less than an hour and not every day, thankfully!).  I always feel guilty during this hour because all he wants is to be held or to be read to.  This is why I usually eat cereal for dinner and dream of having Superman home to help distract the little man.  So, this extra hour would make all of our lives much easier and less stressful.

Thursday I would use the extra hour for time with Superboy.  I always feel like I am trying to get a thousand things accomplished in ten minutes' time.  I have the Mama Guilt when I try to vacuum and he follows me around -- even though he loves the vacuum and thinks this is a hilarious task!  I always feel like I should be hugging him, reading to him, doing anything with him.  Things have to get done and I know this.  So, I would use this extra hour to freeze everyone but Superboy and me and we would snuggle and read the entire time.  This little boy loves to be read to and to snuggle!  This was exactly what I dreamed motherhood would be like and I would love an extra hour to soak it in.  His warm head rests on my chest and his sweet hands graze my arms and hands.  He loves to point out shapes, colors and characters he recognizes.  His little voice whispers, "Heart.  Purple.  Bubble."  He gives me kisses and brings me more books.  The most heavenly hour of the week.

Friday would bring an extra hour for me to craft, read or exercise.  I know this sounds lame but I always feel like I should be doing anything but something for myself.  I should be cleaning toilets or dusting or preparing a wholesome meal that Superboy and I can enjoy at dinnertime.  I exercise six days a week already but an extra hour of sweating without guilt would be amazing.  A chance to read or craft would also be a dream.  To just sit quietly doing something I love would be such a gift these days.

Saturday and Sunday would mean an extra hour with Superman and Superboy.  Saturday's extra hour would be used to play at the playground or to chase each other around the yard.  We could laugh and squeal and gallivant.  We could go swimming!  I could sunbathe.  Sunday would mean an extra hour of time with Superman.  I hate when he leaves every Monday and this extra hour would delay the inevitable.  We could cuddle up on the couch under a cozy blanket and watch funny television, talk and laugh.

Ah, that extra hour is quite a dream!  We Wonder Women really should unite and figure out a way to combine our super powers to make this happen.  Wonder Women Activate!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sweet Bliss

**If I had an extra hour each day, perhaps I could remember to put my posts up on time.  Other Wonderers have jobs and/or kids, but for some reason I'm the Queen of Unreliability.  Blerg.  I have Outlook calendared the next several months of WW blogs, and do solemnly swear not to be late anymore.  Amen.**

I originally titled this Sixty Minutes of Bliss, but I thought that sounded too much like the title of a dirty movie . . .

I am unique among the Wondering Women of this blog, in that I probably have the most clear record of how every minute of my time is spent these days.  That is because as an attorney at a defense firm, I have to track every tenth of an hour of my working day.  (The tenths I'm spending on this blog go down as "personal time" - no details!)  And every tenth of an hour brings in dollars for my firm, so the more tenths I bill out to a client, the happier my employers are.

In a way, I like this arrangement.  It allows me to do all manner of parental and personal things while simultaneously proving that I've put in my 8-10-12 hours a day.  I go to my kids' 2:30pm holiday parties at their school whenever they have one, I am regularly late in the mornings because my older child cannot eat three graham crackers in less than forty minutes, I will cut out early once in a while for date night, and I even was out of the office two days last month to go visit my newly born niece.  Remote access software allows me to bill remotely, and I often open up the laptop and bill a few hours at night after the kids are asleep, or put in an hour or two during their naptimes on weekends.  These night/weekend hours buy me the daytime flexibility that allows me to go to Jake's Valentines Day party or Cubby's Mardi Gras parade, and I'm happy for the tradeoff.  I'm also happy that my productivity can be noted on a page, graphed on a chart.  This eliminates some of the inevitable negative bias that many mothers suffer in the workplace - even one so forward-thinking and progressive as mine.

In another way, I don't like this arrangement.  It takes a great deal of mental exercise not to think of every hour of my day and night as one that must be billed.  I nearly wept on Monday when I realized I'd driven all the way across the bay to the boys' daycare and my work . . . WITHOUT my parking and elevator pass.  Without those two items, I cannot park or get into my office, and as I'd also left my phone at home, I couldn't even call and see if the husband was willing to deliver them to me.  Driving home and back again represented a loss of 8/10 of an hour, and I got pretty much no quality out of that bonus, unplanned-for time off.  Time off, measured in six minute increments, becomes something like calories - if I'm going to spend it, I want it to be AMAZING and THE BEST, because I don't get much wiggle room.  And that stupid mistake was like eating a piece of chocolate cake that was STALE.  Looking at the world through these kind of glasses can be harmful in all the ways you can imagine, and I'm working hard to figure out ways to handle my uber-structured schedule without losing my ever-loving mind.

This is a long way of saying that I don't take my hours lightly.  I have to plan them meticulously, down to every tenth, and run calculations on a daily basis to make sure I'm meeting my goals.  If I had an extra hour every day that belonged to no one but me . . .

Well, I can assure you I wouldn't use it to bill.

And since the world is frozen, I couldn't really use it to love on my boys, since that would be a very one-sided activity.

I'd love to use it to read - oh lordy, read a book without interruption! - or to watch some of the tv that I really want to experience.  (The Wire, and The United States of Tara, e.g.) 

But honestly?  At this point in life, right now, what I need more than anything is quiet time. Meditation. Yoga.  A nap.

I think if I had 25 hours in a day, one of which was all just for me, I would probably take it in the early afternoon.  While everyone at work is frozen, I'd wander down to an empty office and do half an hour of yoga or tai chi - some kind of exercise meant to make my body feel good and my mind go blank.  Then I'd lay down with a body pillow and some blankets, and stare out the 20th story window onto the lovely blue waters of Mobile Bay. I'd watch ships go in and out, and maybe close my eyes a few minutes.  My phone wouldn't come with me.  There'd be no notifications, no voicemail or email, no noise, no dictaphone, no notebook, no opportunity to do any activity except be still.  It would be so restorative, and reset a modern brain that has become trained to check electronic devices every five minutes.  It would be an hour without interruption, during which nothing is required of me, and I won't even have to worry about making it up by billing extra on some later day, because it's extra bonus time.

Yeah.  That would be sweet, sweet bliss.  Sixty minutes of it.  Much better than any dirty movie, for sure!

5:30pm - 6:30pm on repeat

Oh Rin, your topic this week has me wishing that adding an hour was possible!  How fabulous that extra hour would be!  And, I know just where I'd put it.

My extra 60 minutes would be added at about the 5:30pm mark, each and every day.  I wouldn't necessarily need everyone to be frozen, I just need that extra time to get my household squared away before we scatter for evening activities.

When we lived in our old town, I had a nice, easy 25 minute commute.  My office closes at 4:30pm, so I was home by 5:00pm every night.  At that point in time, my girls were active in various things (like Girl Scouts), but our life wasn't too chaotic.

We've since moved and I have tacked on another 35 minutes to my drive.  Yes, I more than doubled my commute, but the trade-off has been more than worth it.  I like (and most days love) my job and employer.  And, I now am in love with town I call home.  I have the best of both worlds and I'm blissfully happy.

My longer commute, however, coupled with the girls' more active lives (currently, we have Girl Scouts for both girls, basketball for one girl and theatre for the other girl) leaves Jas and I little time to fix dinner, eat dinner, help with/check over homework, get organized for the next day, and attend practice/GS meetings/rehearsals, etc. before sending the girls up to take showers, brush teeth, and tuck them in bed.

An extra hour in our evening would allow us to sloooow down and just enjoy being together.  Not every night is crazy, mind you.  We not those parents who thrive on putting our kids in 100+ activities to make us look so busy and active and totally hip.  In fact, we're quite the opposite.  We don't allow the girls to do more than one sport (or theatre production) at a time.  We hate stress and busing our girls from Point A to Point B all night long is too much - especially when you tack on homework. 

But then there are weeks like this week when every activity happens at the same time.  We are running.  We are inhaling.  We are ragged.  We are irritable.  We are stressed.  And oh how that sweet 60 minutes would come in handy!  A full hour to unwind, relax, play a game or two of "Clue," read a book together, and just enjoy what we've got going on as a family.

Monday, February 4, 2013

I Wonder What I'd Do with Just One Hour a Day?

If I could stop time for one brief span of 60 minutes every day, what would I do with it? I’m not going to get into time-travel theory or anything. I’m simply talking about stopping the clock with no adverse effects to anyone … nobody on the planet but me will ever know it’s happened, nobody else is unfrozen, and I never get more than just that hour. How to spend it, those 3,600 seconds of time?

I’d take my hour at a different time each day, for starters. I am such a creature of habit, and I don’t like change, so each day of the week would be designated for a specific hour that I’d try to never vary. I believe it would go a little something like this:

MONDAY: An extra bit of shut-eye. Naturally. Did I really even need to spell that out? I have Sunday-night Insomnia (it’s a thing! B/c it happens to me!) almost every week, so easing that with a guaranteed extra hour before my alarm goes off at 5:35A will be just the thing to set my week off with a happy, snuggly bang.

TUESDAY: An hour mid-morning to step away from work duties and do something analog—write letters/notes! I used to be quite the pen pal before I was able to type faster than write; the legibility of my penmanship has suffered from constant keyboard use, which slows me down further. One of the most delicious pleasures a person can know is to open an envelope or a folded piece of paper and gobble up the musings of a good friend or a story told by a faraway family member. Another simultaneously soothing and exciting experience is to write a good letter with the sole intent of entertaining/fascinating/bearing your soul to your audience. And when the missive is unexpected, it’s all the more delightful. Since the world has stopped, my computer’s not going to send emails during that hour anyway.

WEDNESDAY: Reading before bed. I’m over a year behind on The New Yorker and Newsweek. Yikes. And then I want some novel recommendations from G Love and to read all the contemporary plays that will have been name-checked in my New Yorkers.

THURSDAY: I started to cheat on my own rules and split my hour into two 30-minute blocks, but that wouldn’t make me a good Wonder Woman, would it?! So Thursdays won’t always happen at the same time every week (I should practice being more flexible, right? Look at me grow! Yay me!)—I’ll alternate weeks, depending on the weather. My extra hour on Thursday will be for marveling at either sunrise or sunset. I live in a stunningly beautiful part of the country and I’ll admit that I take it for granted a great deal of the time. Having an hour all to myself to be aware of—if not out in—nature will surely help me keep a sense of awe about the mountains and valleys and river and pine trees and sunshine and (of course) snow that are a part of who I am now. I would be loath to trade my adopted hometown for very much of anything, but the act of just living makes anything seem mundane sometimes. I forget how majestic it can be to just sit and witness the opening and closing of the days. Thursdays will make sure I remember.

FRIDAY: Afternoon online window shopping. It will be the most quickly sucked non-real-time ever.

SATURDAY: A quick-clean of the house first thing in the morning. The Boy takes much, much longer to notice that it’s time to dust/vacuum/scrub than I do, so I think this is something that I can accomplish without his noticing when he’s unfrozen. I’ll even get up, do my thing, and sneak back into bed so that I can “wake up” to a clean, happy weekend. This choice of ways to spend my Saturday hour may have something to do with the fact that we spent the entire day yesterday cleaning the house (seriously … it was a 9 to 5-er) and I was giggling and jumping up and down all day today at work, waiting to rush home to revel in the spotlessness of it all.

SUNDAY: I was going to have this be my baking day, but I’m not an inspired chef, I’m a methodical one. Everything has to be done just as the recipe says or whatever I’m attempting will turn out an inedible gruel. Plus I make a mess. I don’t think I can get something made, eaten, and cleaned up after in an hour. And if I could, I’d likely need another hour somewhere else to exercise it off. Hmm. What else? Ooh, I know! I’ll practice my subpar parallel-parking skills with no worries about traffic or judgmental strangers. But I’ll do it very carefully and with piles of pillows representing the other cars at the curb so I won’t have any ‘splainin’ to do.

What do you think, fearless readers? How would you spend your extra seven hours?

Friday, February 1, 2013

What Friday Means To Me Now

Fridays used to mean that the work week had ended and dinners out with Superman.  Friday meant the beginning of a fun weekend of soaking up the sun, visiting wineries, and sleeping in.  Those were the old days.

Now that Superboy is here, my life is completely different.  My life revolves around another person's schedule and demands.  He is, by far, the most demanding boss I have ever had -- and I have had some doozies!  He wakes early in the mornings and has no concept of sleeping in just because it is Saturday.  He could care less that Mama just wants five more minutes to eat her sandwich at lunch or that a week's worth of laundry is piled up.  All he knows is that he wants another book to be read to him or that he wants some more blueberries or raisins.

Now Fridays mean getting up early.  I honestly only know what day Friday is because Superman comes home on Thursday nights and works from home the last day of the week.  Otherwise, all of my days run together.  Fridays now mean a dinner in followed by a bath for Superboy and then an early (hopefully!) bedtime for all of us.  No more staying up late to watch a movie and finish a bottle of wine.  I am lucky if I can stay awake past 9:30 these days.

It may sound like I am complaining.  I am really not.  Things are just...different.  I like this different.  I waited a long time for my biological clock to start ticking and I waited a long time for Superboy to join our lives.  So, I am trying to take in every moment that I can while I still have time.  Soon enough Superboy will no longer come to me every five minutes for a kiss and a hug and he will not want to sit in my lap to read books.

So, while Friday may feel like Tuesday, it is a more special day than it used to be.  Fridays mean the start of a weekend with Superman and Superboy.  It means the three of us get to go on adventures together.  It means I get to watch Superman and Superboy interact and there are few things that make me happier than watching those two laugh together.  I could not ask for two better people to spend my time with and to get hugs and kisses from.