Nov 28, 2011

....When You Least Expect It......

Expect it.  Isn't that the old fashioned advice?  Pure gold, as usual.

The many days of Thanksgiving were over, everyone had gone back home, the house was still relatively clean, and I was sound asleep in bed thinking I was "ready" to get back to work and get the boys back on a normal schedule with school.

Suddenly, I hear the shower start, which is normal, as my Oldest Baby takes his shower at night.  I registered the sound somewhere in my mind.....and it seemed somewhat louder than usual.  I was in that heavy sleep that you go into about an hour after you go to bed, and I pushed the wondering away, for about 9 seconds.

Next I heard cries for help coming from the bathroom.  This is not usual, and the shower still sounded really loud.

I hear my Youngest Baby rumbling up the steps and going into the bathroom, presumably to "help" his brother.  The next thing I heard was bickering between the two of them as to how the other one is doing things wrong, and still the water is running like crazy!  By now I am no longer in any kind of sleep.  Instead I am tearing myself from my warm, soft, quiet, heavenly bed and trying to make it to the door without killing myself.  It sounds like a freight train is in the bathroom, possibly running over at least one of my children, maybe both!  

I stumble into the bathroom and the scene that greeted me was, well it was crazy, but nothing you want to get up out of your deepest sleep for.

Water was shooting out of a hole where the hot water knob used to be and both boys are trying to stop it, one fully clothed, and the other one bent over double in the shower.  I ask what happened and they both start yelling at the same time, not because they were mad, but because they had to yell over the sound of the water shooting out of the hole like a fire hose (!) and hitting the back wall of the shower when it's not hitting my naked Oldest Baby and then splashing all over the bathroom.  He pivots toward me to yell his version of the story and I notice that he is still bent over double, and at this point it dawns on me that yes, he is naked, but he also 14 and in the "MY MOTHER MUST NOT SEE ME NAKED OR THE WORLD WILL END" stage, and so I dive for the hole and tell the boys to go turn off the water to the house.  They both leave.  To do what, I do not know because now it occurs to me that they don't know where the turn off to the water is.  I yell for help.  Water continues to shoot mostly down my arms and between the walls to the downstairs bathroom.  I must say, my bathroom floors have probably never been quite THIS clean before.....

And then I throw caution to the wind, throw the shower curtain as shut as I can get it as fast as I can, ( I am not at my best at 11:30 pm after an hour and a half of sleep, I freely admit) and run as fast as I can downstairs to turn off the water.

The silence was as welcome as it was deafening.

I drag myself back upstairs to find the twins looking for tools.  Yes, I laughed too.  In fact, I laughed for about 20 minutes solid, once my legs stopped shaking and I could be trusted to stomp on towels all over both bathroom floors.

Then I start wondering who to call about this.  Thank God for one of my Angels, who was even up at midnight.  AND returned my call.  If you do not have this worked out already, you need to make a list in your head of people you can call at midnight who will not only answer the phone but will answer the call!  This list should be added to periodically, I would say at least every 5 years, because as the years go by the list gets shorter;  people die, and the ones who don't get old too.  Don't let that happen.  You will pay for it in the end, or maybe sooner, and I can guarantee it will not happen at a convenient time.  We must be vigilant.

The next morning I scooped water out of the back of one of the stools, boiled it, and set up a little station by the kitchen sink.  We washed our hair (sort of), our faces, and brushed our teeth.  We felt like pioneers.  Or prison inmates.  Prison inmates and at privately run prison, not those fancy places that have the computers and spa days.  You get the picture.

So, this was Monday after a week's vacation.

It was quite a week.

Going back to work was a piece of cake, if you know what I mean. 

Nov 24, 2011


Due to the kid's being gone today, I have been able to spend the morning lazing around with the Rock Star and the Beautiful Redhead.
Instead of peeling potatoes and checking on the turkey, we threw a chicken in the crock pot and assembled an enchilada casserole for later.  Maybe tomorrow.
My house is clean thanks to a week of "vacation" spent cleaning.  I have discovered that I hate dusting more than anything.  Whether that is due to it not being "important" enough to me or to the incredible amount of dust that my house seems to constantly recycle, I do not know.  What I do know is that in putting off dusting the other day, I decided to instead apply more rubber cement to the pane of glass that has been rattling in my front door.
During this exercise, it occurred to me that the Rock Star was coming home and would like nothing better than to help his mother with this project.  Stupidly, and in true Melinda form, I decided to just "press on".

Well, the good new is that I no longer have a pane of glass rattling in my front door.  

The bad news is that I have no pane of glass in my front door.

I plasticised over both the inside and the outside of the hole where the pane should be, ordered more glass that won't be here until next week, and still had to dust.

I bit the bullet and got the rest of the house clean.  I had to.  And do you know the twins didn't even notice there was no glass in the door?  Gotta love those boys, huh?  I mean, as long as there is food, nothing else really matters or even registers with them.  It used to drive me crazy as a "girl", but as a mother I count on it.  I have even become comfortable with it.  So comfortable, in fact, I have come to rely on it, and do you know, it seems better this way.

Anyway, with all that cleaning done, it left yesterday free to watch Gone With The Wind several times, as it was on continuous loop on AMC yesterday.  

I must confess, watching Scarlett always makes me feel better about who I am.  Also, I don't really get why Clark Gable was considered so good looking.  I guess maybe you had to be there.  But in the end, when he tells her he doesn't give a damn?  It really doesn't get any better than that.  It is kind of sad because she isn't a completely terrible person, and at that point, she could actually be kind of a good person, but of course by then, it 's too late.  Just like life.  Karma gets Scarlett too, and boy does she ever have it coming.

I think my favorite line/scene in that movie is where Scarlett is trying to get Mammy to pull her corset tight enough to make her waist 18 1/2 inches.  Again.  Mammy says "Now, Mz Scahlet, you done gone and had a baby.  You ain't nevah gone be 18 1/2 inches again, and there ain't nothing you can do about it."

That is the truth.  And furthermore, ain't nothin in this world where an 18 1/2 inch waist is gone help with, honey.  Lay that down and forget about it.  Plenty of more important things to worry about right in front of you.

I am no Scarlett, thanks be to God, but she wasn't all bad.  In fact, if she could have gotten the Southern  Lady thing out of her mind, she could have.....well, what couldn't she have done?

She is just the kind to have had enchiladas instead of turkey if she felt like.  We all need enough selfishness to do what makes us happy, regardless of what anybody thinks about it.

Embrace your self involvement, women, just don't let it take over your good sense.  Realizing what is really important is positively liberating, no bra burning needed.

In the end, I promise you the world won't stop spinning.  I also promise you that turkey and stuffing do not actually make it onto people list of important things.  Nobody will remember what kind of stuffing you fixed.  They might remember if you burnt up the turkey, or burnt up the house if you are the turkey frying kind, but other than some horrible catastrophe, all they will remember is each other, and the funny things that happened that day.  It's all that's important.  You should find that a relief, especially if you are a woman.

I wish for you today to be thankful for all that you have, even if that includes turkey.  But I hope that you have so much turkey comes so far down on the list that it doesn't even matter.

Don't be a Scarlett, never able to see what's right in front of you before it's too late.  Live every moment to it's fullest and don't worry about the mess.  It will be there when you are ready to clean it up.  I promise you that, too.

Nov 10, 2011

Speaking of Hot Toddies.....

This might be a God wink.  

No sooner did I mention Hot Toddies and confess that I didn't even know what one was, than an article appeared before my eyes.

If you can stand the taste of alcohol, here are a few recipes for your perusal.  Even if you can't stand the taste of alcohol, I often find that when one has a bad cold or the flu, it's a sacrifice worth making.  You can't really taste it anyway and it certainly does not taste any worse than some of the over-the-counter remedies I have spent money on.

They didn't say it had medicinal purposes for nothing, you know.


Nov 9, 2011

And the pendulum swings back.....

Today I was blessed with an upsurge.  Whether of hormones or hopefulness I cannot say, but hey, an upsurge is an upsurge, aye?  I always try to enjoy them, and they don't come along like they used to.  When they do come along these days, I say Tally-Ho!

Today I woke up to big, flat flakes of snow falling.  It was beautiful.  For the first time in years, well, at least a year, I was excited when I woke up the boys. 

 "Look outside!  Hurry!  You don't want to miss it!"
"What's wrong?"
"Nothing!  Hurry!"

And just like that, we were all not only up, but completely awake and happy, looking forward to the day.  By this afternoon it was beautifully sunny and not freezing.  A lot of the leaves are still on the trees and it was just beautiful.  The leaves have really taken their own individual sweet times this fall and I for one have enjoyed them IMMENSELY.  Also, it has conveniently made putting off raking more leaves easy, since they haven't all fallen yet and you'll just have to do it again.  *wink wink.

So tonight, having been in a mood to shed stuff anyway, I am going to drag out the Christmas decorations, and maybe put up some lights that can go as well for Thanksgiving.  

"The lights!! THE LIGHTS!!!  YES!"  That's the person inside my head, who cheers me on and keeps me on track.  Sometimes they are a bitter, jaded, sarcastic but realistic person that makes me laugh and rail against fate simultaneously, but not when it come to lights.  The other side of the coin in this person is that they also get up and twirl around (inside my head) and stuff, getting me excited enough to get up off the couch, put down my book and take up hammers and staple guns and do.......stuff!  I would take up a lot more than that but I can't afford power tools.  So sometimes I bake stuff instead.  There is no telling where this enthusiasm will take me at any given time,but here, on this day, the enthusiasm is for lights.  Which will segue nicely into the holiday season.  Which is upon us.

The lights always help.  I put up some inside also.  For some reason being in my warm house when it's cold outside, sipping a hot drink, baking, tending my home fires is SO MUCH more enjoyable with low lighting in the form of pretty little twinkling lights.  I'm going to pour some Kahlua in some coffee, finish making my list, listen to the music I love the most, and start wrapping what I've already got.  This is doubly exciting because I will be able to skip the step of hiding these things, guaranteeing me being able to skip that particular, horror-filled, terrifying step!  WIN-WIN!!

I can do this.  I can even enjoy it. 

I will journal about it and then, when the pendulum swings back into the dark, cold, please just let me go to bed and stay there zone, I will be able to remember this time, these feelings, this day and all that it included.

The older I get, the more I realize what a gift having your parent's words after their death is.  It's a gift that we, probably naturally, do not think about.  I have always kept a journal.  Many have been burned, you understand, but I finally got to a point where I didn't feel bad anymore about how I felt.  If, on the chance that someone read those words and got hurt by them, well, those words were not meant for your eyes and sorry as I am that you got hurt, you brought it upon yourself.  So be it. And now I feel just great about it.  Of course, now I live with people who respect other people's privacy.  It could be coincidence.  Whatever. 

I still keep my journals.  There my children will find the "real" stuff.  Hopefully when they need it.  

I often give journals as gifts, especially to new mothers.  I tell them that now their real life begins!  I encourage you to keep one, even if you only put in it what you want your children to know someday.  

If nothing else, it will be a load off your mind in anticipation of the day when you will no longer be with them.  Do it for your peace of mind.  Do it so you won't forget.  Do it for yourself.  Do it just to keep an accurate record.  The worth of an accurate is above rubies.  

You really are worth it.

And now, get ready for the holiday season and all the flour, sugar and twinkling lights that you can cram into it.

Here is one of my favorite songs that fits just such an occasion as tonight.  Enjoy!

Nov 3, 2011

Winter again.....for the next 6 months.......

ARG!  It's cold, wet and windy again. The dead limbs are blowing out of the trees.  The leaves are piling up.  And I have raked, blown, and burned twice already.

It makes me wish I had a roaring fireplace and a hot toddy. 

Not really. 

I don't even know what a hot toddy is, and the closest I ever got to a fireplace was a wood stove, which I loved dearly for the heat --but the cleaning involved!  Not really worth it.  Just my opinion.  You can't beat the heat but the clean up never ends.  Nevah!.

This morning the wind blew my umbrella wrong side out.

It's dark when I get up and will soon also be dark when I come home.

I hate this time of year. 

It's like being trapped in a dream ( of lethargy and apathy) unable to move (not that you care) while the whole time you can see Christmas (AGGG!  SCARY CHRISTMAS!!) bearing down upon you. 

I wish I was a bear. 

Mostly for the hibernation.

OK, completely for the hibernation. 

Also, they give birth to their cubs while they are hibernating.  After they have pigged out all summer and gotten really fat and soaked up all the sun and summer breezes.  Their cubs are born the size of walnuts.

 I think I could handle that. 

I know I could handle that.

Bears have good lives.  The rest of us have Christmas.

Can you tell I hate this time of year?  Nothing against Christmas but it's the pressure. 

The cleaning, the cooking, the hiding, the wrapping, the trying to figure out where you hid it so you can wrap it.  The not being able to stay in bed all day. 

The getting sidetracked in the crap that's been in boxes in the basement for the last 20 years while you look for the stuff that you bought and hid away.  You think you remember buying it.  You meant to buy it.  Maybe you forgot that too.  Maybe you dreamed it!

GREAT!  Now you don't have what you thought you had, or maybe you DO have it, but you just can't find it.  At any rate, it's just like the dream.  You know have to get busy, and yet you cannot move, frozen in dread.

Every year I start in on my Christmas shopping only to realize that I need extra stuff for the Rock Star because his birthday is Dec. 1.

I do not forget this.  NO!  I don't. 

I remember it but forget to get a gift bought.

Then, once I start buying every body's Christmas, I remember that  his birthday hasn't happened yet, that  I have simply been working ahead on that blasted list in my head.

And I skipped a step.  An event.  An event that needs a gift to accompany it.  That's when I  have to take a couple things out of the Christmas stuff  for the birthday gift. 

Because I looked over it in the pressure of Christmas.  Looked over, you understand? 

Not the same as forgetting.  Not.  the.  same.

And then he, poor first born child that he is, is short a couple of gifts for Christmas.

Why am I (and all mothers, I believe) obsessed in keeping everything strictly "even"?????  Because it's right, that's why!!!!

This is just one reason to keep some extra gifts around.  The Home Shopping Channel is great for these. Buy cheap anonymous stuff that would work for practically anyone by the hundreds, just don't forget where you put them. 

Last year I got him a crock pot. 

Sad, I know. 

Even sadder?  .............He liked it. That's how old and responsible he is now.

My little boy is gone.  Now I feel like crying.  Maybe it's the weather.  Maybe it's the menopause.  Maybe it's just that I'm not a bear.

I have to go dig my Kahlua out of the closet, pour some into a cup of coffee (that's as close as I get to a hot toddy), and surf the net for great deals with no shipping.  This is my life.  Eat your hearts out, bears everywhere.

Why do I keep my Kahlua in my closet, you may ask?  Well, ever since I found the Crown frozen in the freezer that's just the way I do it.  My liquor is now on the top shelf in an old purse, behind my memory book from high school.

And yes, I know Crown doesn't freeze.  Unless you add water to it. 

When boys are about 13 they don't think too far into the future, which is both is both their blessing and their curse.

Ok, my blessing.  Their curse.

It could be worse.  The other day they asked me if you smoked or snorted weed.  They both graduated from the Dare Program.  No comment on what they learned in it, but at least you can see why I do not just go to bed this time of year, much as I think I deserve it and would LOVE to.

 I have liquor to to guard and presents to find.  I think......

I hope I have enough energy for the next few years.  I do not think they are going to include much sleep.

It's that time of year.  Again........Yawn.  Hang in there.  

Nov 1, 2011

Respect: I Miss It!

This is a rant.  This is also my departed mother's birthday.  Perhaps that is why this hit me so hard. This is always a hard day for me.  That's all the apology I will offer up.

Today, I took a call at work.  It was a concerned daughter calling with very bad news about her father.  She was calling her ex husband, out of a VALID concern that her children would hear this bad news on the STREET, through the GRAPEVINE, and she wanted to stop this from happening, as they would be unprepared for it, and there is no GOOD way to hear that kind of news, and she wanted to come from a parent.

Now, I don't what the ex husband said before he left, but I sat the rest of the afternoon and watched gossips pass this information around, even calling people at home to alert them.  I mean honestly!!

I am not trying to take anything away from people who are genuinely concerned.

FYI:  People who are genuinely concerned call the PERSON involved, not EVERYBODY ELSE.  

I do not know whether the children heard it on the street, but it certainly is a possibility with the way people hurried to pass the news around.  Perhaps you have never had to deal with the GRAPEVINE when someone you love is sick.  If so, YOU ARE BLESSED.  Know it!  Take a moment and thank God for your blessing.

A great deal of people have genuine concern and sorrow.  Then there are the people who come to see your loved one only to rush off with the latest story of how bad they look, or how bad they are doing, what a shame it is for poor _______.  This makes the sick person's family want to go on a rampage where tongues are cut out.  Yep.  It does.

Dealing with a loved one who is facing death is heart rending enough without having to deal with all the stories that get repeated and distorted along the line.  This is the one aspect of a long illness no one ever talks about.  Indeed, a lot of people don't even think about it.  It's like a secret club.  The only people who dare to speak of it have been through it already. 

I once thought I was going to have to get into a throw down at Wal Mart with one of these people, who kept insisting they just wanted to come "one more time", "to say goodbye", when my mother had already drawn the line on visitors and I know for a fact that all he wanted was the story because in his small little mind, he could use that story as currency at the local restaurant.  I didn't have to get into a throw down with him, but let me tell you, I would have gladly grabbed a bat and busted his head with no thought for the charges that would have no doubt been filed against me.  And he would have had it coming, if you ask me.  I could have taken my chances with a jury in Linn Co. and probably gotten off.

With that said, take a moment and think before you pass on gossip.  I don't care if it's true or not.  Any kind.  Take one moment and consider the privacy of the family.  There might be people they would like to be notified first so that they don't hear it on the street.  They might want, oh, maybe 1 day, or two, to deal with bad news privately, as a family.  They might not thank you for spreading their sorrow before they have had time to wrap their minds around it.  They might even not consider it any of your business to even know it, let alone spread it around as fast as possible.  They might not thank you for throwing it in their face as soon as you see them when it's all they can do to get their god forsaken groceries bought without crying.  They may have trained themselves to only cry in their car, because it's the only privacy they have where they will not upset their children.

Your words have power.  They can cause hurt that you may never know about, but can never make up.  I once watched a movie called DOUBT that had a scene where a woman confessed to gossiping to a priest.  He told her to take a feather pillow to the top of her building, slit it and let the feathers go and then come back the next day.  When she came back the next day she said she had done as he instructed.  Know what he said then?  He told her to go gather them all back up again.  In other words, there was no way to take back what she had done, no matter how hard she might try.  It was a quite brilliant movie, I thought.

It's not like everyone isn't going to find out anyway.  It's hard enough without having to make sure you have your "game face" on before you leave the house. 

If you are really CONCERNED, have some RESPECT. 

I don't think some people even know what respect is.  They certainly do not seem to have any respect for themselves.

Much hurt is done with gossip.  It seems to be the one sin no one ever feels bad about or any need to feel contrite for.  Think about that for 1 minute.  And in case you are under the impression that you are looked up to because you told it first?  Not exactly. 

Everybody already knows exactly what you are.