Monthly Archives: February 2015

Attend a Funeral.

Yes, that’s right.  This is not a funny post.  I had to attend the funeral of a former classmate today.  He was 40 years old.  At the funeral, the priest talked about our purpose in life.  Sometimes we’re called “home” before anyone else thinks we’re ready, and sometimes we live agonizingly long lives that can’t end soon enough.  It’s usually not up to us, but it’s how we live that matters.

In this one short day I’ve realized there is something terribly wrong with how we, as a general American population, are living.  I’m not talking about the shallow made-for-TV-crap that we can easily remove ourselves from.  I’m talking about the day-to-day chaos that I, at least in this moment, am completely overwhelmed by.  Without much notice, it sneaks up on us in the most insidious way.

I attended today’s funeral and visited with some old friends afterwards.  I really wanted to enjoy catching up with people I haven’t seen in ages, but while doing so, I ordered Dominos pizza to be delivered to my boys at home and made sure they weren’t killing each other.  Then, I filtered through no less than 13 group text messages that had to do with sledding in this morning’s snow fall.  On top of that, I had messages coming in that the candy I donated for this weekend’s play was MIA, as was the payment for the “love note” I sent in for the play’s program.  I was also sent a reminder that both my 2nd and 4th graders had “snow day” work to turn in tomorrow–because kids just can’t have snow days anymore.  Then, a friendly request to see how pictures were going for the school fundraising auction, which includes coordinating pictures of some 65 sets of elementary and high school siblings during snow days, exams, field trips, confessions, play practice, sports orientation, and more….has sent me over the EDGE!

Tonight I was talking with people about a mutual friend who has completely removed herself from society.  We talked about it like it was the weirdest thing in the world, and the circumstances surrounding her decision are kind of weird, but really–who can blame her?  Shit piles up on us before we can even think to say “no”.  Our friend died at 40.  How many times did he think “I really wish I was doing something else right now”?

I’m not about to remove myself from volunteer work, or helping a friend in need or attending to my family, but sometimes–just sometimes–I would like the rest of the world to disappear and let me enjoy a moment.  Without anxiety.  Without requests.  Without demands.  And just be.

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Have Kids, Will…Hide My Tweezers!

I’m not sure what it is about my kids and tweezers, but good God, I can’t keep a decent set of them around here to save my life.  My eyebrows are such that if I go more than two days without plucking and tweezing them, I could easily be mistaken for Frida Kahlo.  Or Groucho Marx.  They’re unsightly!

On top of that, the males in my household seem determined to either ruin or confiscate every pair I buy.  They use them as some sort of tool that is not related to grooming.  Sure, they can be used to remove ticks–but please, not from the dog!  One of the grossest things I’ve found was a semi-smooshed dog tick impaled at the end of my tweezers just as I was about to remove the offending hairs above my eyes.  I don’t mind if my tweezers are used for removing splinters either, but no one around here likes to have their splinters pulled.  They’d rather use the soak and fester method.

So, how in the world my tweezers disappear, have the ends blunted and burred, or become pulled apart and warped, is beyond me.  These people confess to nothing.  It’s a mystery, and a terribly annoying one.  It’s not like they’re taking the cheap drugstore brand pairs either.  No, no, those aren’t good enough for their nefarious deeds.  They’re taking the $20 Tweezermans.

When I was in Germany last summer, I splurged on a really great pair of tweezers that I had kept hidden from everyone.  They were perfect in all their beautiful, German engineering…sharp, angled just right, and with a grip that exactly matched my preferred finger placement.  Wouldn’t you guess that the one time I left that supremely important instrument out, one of the boys took them, used them in some plot for destruction, and left them, useless, on the bathroom floor.  I cried.

No one admitted to any wrongdoing, and they all looked at me like I’m crazy when I started gesticulating with my arms about the importance of my having a decent set of tweezers.  “Don’t you know,” I pleaded, “that I will develop wooly caterpillars across my forehead if you all keep taking my tweezers?!”  They just don’t get it.

I’ve decided I need to buy a lock box or a safe for my prized possessions.  Some women safeguard their jewelry.  I covet my tweezers.

Have Kids, Will…Go RVing

Where has the time gone?  Is it Groundhog’s Day already?  This past Christmas (2014), I took my family on an RV trip for the first time ever.  Despite having four boys and a fairly outdoors-oriented husband, we are not much of a camping family.  And let’s face it, staying in an RV is just camping on wheels.  I used to actually like camping and worked really hard to convince the hub to go along with it.  He called it “pretending to be homeless” and saw zero appeal.  Somewhere in our 19 years of marriage, he came around (sort of), just as I was giving it up.  Being perpetually sleep deprived is not conducive to sleeping on a hard ground. In a tent.  With a toddler (or two) and a snoring man.  But, I am cheap.  (I mean, frugal.)

When I was thinking about what to give my boys for Christmas, knowing they really don’t need anything and we are limited on space, I immediately thought of a trip.  The prospect of travel is always appealing to me, but paying for six plane tickets is not.  So, after some research, I decided it was high time we tried out an RV.

It turned out to be not so bad.  In fact, the traveling part was quite nice!  We were able to pop popcorn in the microwave, get cold drinks out of the refrigerator, take naps, and use the toilet…all without stopping.  It got to smell a little bit funky, but there was a TV with satellite channels, a card table, a bigger table for games of Scrabble, and plenty of space to stretch out and read.  Lots of distractions!  Of course, my intention was to split the driving as equally as possible, but I somehow managed to scrape a shrub, get stuck in a parking lot, nearly side swipe a guard rail, and generally make my husband nervous every time I drove.  So instead, I did a lot of reading and game playing with the boys.

We made our way from Maryland to Florida within a two-day time frame.  Santa delivered tickets to Universal Studios, where we spent two and a half days exploring Harry Potter’s world, riding roller coasters, and eating crappy, expensive food.  It was wonderful!  Then we went to Gatorland (the best, weirdest amusement/animal park EVER), and into St. Augustine.  During this time, we spent the nights in our rented RV at a few different RV parks.  I had looked into KOAs ahead of time and reserved spaces at a couple in Florida.  They were all clean–impressively so–and family friendly.  We found some great nearby restaurants, which saved me from having to buy groceries and cook on the RV stove (my Christmas gift).

As far as camping goes, this was definitely the way to do it.  We’ve stayed in tents, camping cabins, and deluxe cabins.  But for the distance we traveled, camping in the RV was a fun and fairly stress-free experience.  Can you really ever call family vacations stress-free?  I think we did okay.  It felt really good to come home and take a private shower, get some time away from the constant spell casting, courtesy of Olivander’s wands, and to sleep in my own bed.  But, we made some really good memories for a bunch of die-hard Harry Potter fans, and satisfied my itch to go RVing.  Being in 75 degree weather didn’t hurt, either.