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Showing posts from May, 2009

If you keep feeding them, they just keep growing

A couple weeks ago, we went to the playground with the giant rock-climbing wall. I turned to grab my camera, took my eyes off Sweet Boy for a minute, and the next thing I knew, he was 12 feet off the ground, standing proudly on the platform at the top of the wall, waving and smiling to me. I looked at Big Daddy and said, "How the hell did he get up there?!" He climbed, replied my nonchalant spouse. "He can't climb up there by himself! He's too little!"

The day after that mindblowing rock-wall climb, we were sitting at lunch when I heard a tiny knock at the door. Standing on our steps was Sweet Boy's little buddy from across the street: "Can Sweet Boy come over to play?" Imagine my delight -- his first come-out-to-play request! I watched Sweet Boy take one last gulp of PB&J then charge out the door and across the street with our friend's mom. I yelled after him "just 20 minutes! I'll be over soon!" And I turned to my husban…

Evacuation plan

Around 10:30 last night, my friend up the street e-mailed with a quick message: "Did your house just shake?" Although I hadn't felt the shake, I did hear a quick boom boom, and had just brushed it off as my cats wrestling in the hallway above us -- which often does sound like boomboom. Hmph, I thought, and turned on the news.

Sure enough, there had been an explosion at the giant Sun Oil refinery that sits on the river about 6 miles from our house. Any other night, and I would have been snug in my bed, unaware of this excitement. But this night, I sat in front of my computer and my television, trying to comprehend. All I needed to hear were the words "extremely toxic and dangerous when ignited" and "evacuation possible for residents within a 10-mile radius" and my brain went into high alert.

I stayed cool, but my thought process was weird. At least it wasn't what I would expect when faced with evacuating my family from our home. Big Daddy calmly stoo…

Got dirt?

I'm hot. My face is streaked with dirt, fingernails caked with mud, knees grass-stained. My back aches, my arms burn. Sweat drips down my forehead, soaks my shirt. My hair is frizzy from the morning mist and drizzle. But...the scent of rosemary lingers in my nose. I am smiling ear to ear.

We just turned over our veggie garden, prepping it for planting. Although we'd borrowed a (very old) roto-tiller from our good friends -- the friends who time and again bail us out with our home and yard issues -- we just couldn't get the tiller moving long enough to actually turn the soil. So, we did it the old-fashioned way: hoe, rake, hands, back.
We pounded the hell out of the weeds with a hoe, hacked at and yanked up clumps of grass with an edger, evened it all out with the rake. Sweet Boy "saved" all the worms by lovingly picking them out of the earth, collecting them in a pile then moving them to the far edge under the tiny dogwood sapling (that has remarkably survived not…

Top 5 Reasons Why My Husband Is Awesome

5. He not only washes and folds all our household laundry, but he puts my clean clothes away if I whine about doing it myself at the end of a long day. (He may not guess all the drawers correctly, but he tries -- and that's what counts.)

4. Instead of complaining about my spiky legs, he hands me one of his expensive uber-razors. (Ladies, don't be fooled by the pretty pink packages -- men's razors really are better!)

3. When we eat out, he never tells me what he's going to order. He lets me pick my own meal, then he gets the dish he knows I really wanted, and he swaps with me mid-meal.

2. He surprises me with a pair of purple Chuck Taylor sneakers he saw me eyeing in the mall weeks ago. (Because he knew I wouldn't get up off my wallet for something so silly.)

1. He calls me in the middle of a busy Monday to talk about mundane stuff like garage door openers and lawn mowers and all the phone calls he's made about each...then mid-sentence pauses and says "I can…

Moms all around me

I'm thinking about the moms in my life on this Mother's Day. First, of course, I remember the mom who raised me to be the person I am today, the one I look and sound more like with each passing day. Not a day goes by that I don't wish I could call her on the phone. I imagine today what she would be like as a grandmother, and I smile.

I think, too, of her mom, my own grandmother, the woman who spoiled me with frilly dresses and girlie gifts as a child, who traveled the country ringing a bell in the stands at my basketball games. She has stood tall by my side through happy and sad times as an adult and I'm so blessed to be standing by her side through next chapter of her fabulous life.

I think of my husband's mom, as well, the woman who raised the most amazing man I've ever known. She has taken me into her family without hesitation, with an open heart, and loves me as her own daughter.

I think of the moms who have filled in the gaps for me, the women who have lifted…

The grass is always greener

Once upon a time, Big Daddy and I lived in a two-bedroom apartment on the second floor of a large apartment complex. A quiet building full of retirees who looked after us and doted on us like their grandchildren. We would call maintenance when the washing machine overflowed and flooded the kitchen, or when the window leaked and stained the wall, or when the air conditioner unit froze up, or even when we locked ourselves out. They would come within 24 hours, fix the problem, accept a cold beer as a thank-you tip, and be on their way. We lived there for four years. Yet I complained about it every week -- hated that we had nothing to call our own, longed for a backyard and garden, felt sad that we didn't have enough space to store the bread machine we received as a wedding gift.

Then we moved to a condo, a nice little place with three bedrooms and three levels, a pretty little balcony on the living room level and a patio through French sliders on the ground level. Nice big rooms, but…

Priceless moms

I often joke about being the recipient of the Mother of the Year Award -- usually when I've done something horrible or neglectful or stupid as a mother. So imagine my delight to learn with this breaking news story that I am, in fact, this year's recipient of the coveted award! One of the funniest e-mails I've received in a long time -- I'm just replaying and replaying and replaying it.

In other news, I read today that if stay-at-home moms were actually paid for the work they do on a daily basis, they'd be earning over $122,000 annually. Not bad. And working moms would be earning over $76,000 in addition to their at-work salary. (With that kind of cash, I could actually hire the nanny, personal trainer, and chef that I long for!)

I happen to think what we do is priceless, but this gives it interesting perspective.

I suppose, too, we're paid in other ways...snuggles, kisses, tiny hands holding ours, sweet voices singing made-up songs. It's nice work if you can g…

Grow old along with me

"Grow old along with me / the best is yet to be." These lyrics from our wedding song seem especially poignant to me today, after visiting with my grandparents this weekend.

"We met at my church, you know." Out of the blue, my grandmother (the original Tall Girl who still has show-stopping legs) will start her tale of her first encounter with my grandfather:

"My mother always invited the young servicemen at church home for dinner, because my brother was in the service, you see. As we walked to the church door, I noticed that it was raining. I was upset about this, you see, because I had on my brand new shoes (in those days you had to have a coupon for new shoes, so these were very special to me) and I knew I had to cross the street to get to the car. I stood and watched the water rush down the street, and I tried to decide if I should just take my shoes off and run in my hose. That's when he stepped up beside me. He asked why I fretted, and I giggled about m…