Monthly Archives: April 2015

8 bags and then some…

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Spring event season is upon us which means our weekends from here until mid-June are completely booked. This also means the house, which for the last three months has largely been ignored by all inhabitants, is in dire need of cleaning. For all areas to get cleaned,  I need all hands on deck to help partake in our annual Spring Cleaning. The only problem being, convincing the inhabitants to take part.

“Mom, my room is already organized” the boy argued. “An organized mess? Please!” I replied. “Nonetheless, there is nothing wrong with the mess. I know where everything’s at.” He tried again. “Bay, you know you have a two dressers in there yet none of your clothes are inside them. Instead, they are all bundled on top. The least you could do is put your clothes away, you know–inside the drawers. Then pick up the dirty clothes off the floor and throw them down the clothes shoot. I’d like to actually see what the carpeted floor in there looks like.” “Mom, I did all this last Spring…” He tried once more. “That’s why it’s called Spring cleaning bud… Get busy, please”. I explained.

IMG_0173At first the doll was also reticent to begin cleaning. “Mom, it will take forever…” She lamented. But after coming home with an entirely new wardrobe, she was a girl on a mission. “Mom, I’m throwing away all my old clothes…” She announced, disappearing into her bedroom with an armful of kitchen bags to fill.  IMG_0175

“I honestly don’t know how all of this fit into my room…” She said every time she appeared with another bag full of trash. “Look a volcano!” She said as she walked through the living room. “When did you make that?” I asked. Shrugging her shoulders she said, “I don’t know, 5th or 6th grade?” Another time through to empty her trash, I found the home-made quiver she made for her Hunter of Artemis costume last fall. She sighed heavily at me and said, “Yep, you can tell I’m thirteen… I no longer need this crap anymore…”

All told, she said goodbye to the several school years worth of accumulated projects and dust by filling our family garbage can to the brim with eight bags of trash. In addition, she cleared out her stuffed animals (keeping only a handful) to donate to our parish festival. As for her old clothes…? She filled ten kitchen garbage bags, which we promptly gave to a neighbor in need.

The boy, on the other hand, cleared a path in his room.. .though his dresser drawers still remain empty.

Small progress.

I got to watch…

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As is the doll’s prerogative, whenever she tries on new clothing, I’m usually relegated to wait outside the dressing room door and beg for a glimpse of her in the new clothes. Sometimes I get lucky and she forgets to lock the door, allowing me to sneak a peak before she slams and then bolts the door shut. But most of the time, I’m left wondering what the clothes look like on her frame.IMG_0165

Saturday I (excitedly) got to watch her try on several new shirts and sweaters my niece Cori picked out for her from a large “sample” sale through her business with Express clothier. A few weeks back when the doll was trying on dresses for Easter and a wedding in May, I emailed her Godfather, my brother Bill with her sizes and Cori went to work finding many different styles of shirts, pants, shorts and sweaters for the doll to try. Saturday afternoon, we stopped over at my brother’s house for her to try them on.

IMG_0164Before we left our house I said, “Doll, whatever you do, listen to what Aunt Mary Beth says. She has a much more discerning eye for fashion than you or I do. So listen to what she has to say…” When we first arrived, my sister in law Mary Beth, handed her a bag of shorts and said, “Go try these on in the bathroom…” and then began sorting through five large bags of clothing, looking for her sizes. When the doll took too long trying on shorts and pants, her aunt ordered her into the kitchen to try on the tops, so she could see and offer help if need be. I sat at the kitchen table trying very hard to be good–and keeping my mouth shut.

One top after another the doll tried on and I noticed a familiar trend. If the shirts were in a darker hue, the doll liked them. If they were bright and colorful, she wanted nothing to do with them. Several shirts were so cute, but not in her “style” of clothes. “This is very trendy…but maybe not around here…” her aunt said as the doll decided not to go with one cute top. But when all was said and done, the doll and I came home with two very large bags of new clothes. “Mom, this may be the first time in my life, my closets won’t be filled with hand me downs or hand-me-overs”. She smiled at me. “True…and these clothes are truly new clothes…”

IMG_0172In addition, while trying on the tops she couldn’t hide her excitement and broke from her moody teenage mold and smiled the entire time. Even when putting up with mom trying to snap the occasional picture of her beautiful teenage doll in a more colorful shirt than normal…

 

Kooky week…

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I’ve had a kooky week. I found myself in an ironic position early Thursday morning as I cleaned up vomit in my bathroom. A week earlier I was in the exact same position, except I was in Punta Cana; a victim of food poisoning. This time however, the doll was the sufferer. There is nothing harder than watching your child being sick and knowing you can’t help them other than to offer encouragement as you pull her hair back and out of the way.

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I spent Wednesday evening with my dad, sharing pizza, music and stories with him. I introduced him to Wicked, Kristin Chenowith music via YouTube, while he had me plug in Josh Groban, Tony Bennett and Katherine McPhee, of all singers. Back and forth we found so many different versions of “Over the Rainbow” (His favorite song) and marked which ones were his favorite; for later listens. We ended the night by going to church–musically speaking. As the strands of “Here I am Lord” began to play, he began to sing loudly and together we praised God and enjoyed being in one another’s company. 

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Finally, today I’ll be saying goodbye to Mrs. P as one of her caregivers. Her son James recently retired and has decided to spend more time with his mother, which I fully support. At 95, who knows how much time she has left. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit sad at losing her.  I’m going to miss her many stories of youth, growing up in Syracuse, NY to Irish immigrant parents and the path which brought her to our fair city. 

working on the railroad…

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When the boy was a baby, one of his sensory toys would play the tune, “I’ve been working on the railroad” and he loved making that tune play. He used to put all his effort into hitting whatever was necessary, to get that song to play. Today, however, he puts very little effort into anything, other than laying around and watching stuff on the internet. If all he had to do was eat, drink and play online all day, his life would be complete. Unfortunately for his parents, we’d never get rid of him. As such, the boy and I had a come to Jesus moment the other day, when confronted with what his summer could look like if he didn’t begin taking these last six weeks of school seriously. Honestly, if looks could kill, you would be celebrating my funeral mass today.

He was watching something on his iPad instead of doing the household job I had assigned to him. Fed up with his half-assed work ethic I said “Give me the iPad,” I said. “No. I’ll put this down now, but when I’m finished folding, I’m planning to watch something to “kill” time later.” He said. “Oh really? I’ve got a better idea. Why not “kill” time by studying?” I demanded. “Well, then time will spread out to infinity…” He said. “If that’s the case,  then finally, you’ll be fully prepared for math,” I said taking his iPad away.

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“Bay I want to you attend the math lab after school and have the teacher in there help you with your math test corrections–so you can figure out where you keep making mistakes” I said to him Tuesday morning. Unhappily he replied, “Okay, Momma”. “Your dad will pick you up around 4 pm, so you’ll have plenty of time to work…” I added. “Mom, it won’t take that long…” He tried. “Then use the time to have him help you with other areas of math you’ve been struggling”, I said before adding, “Oh and I want to see the work so I know you’re actually going to the lab and not wandering the halls talking to others while waiting for your dad.” I finished.

Insulted was he.

Not caring that he felt insulted, was I.

When I arrived home Tuesday evening I asked him how his day went. “I have something for you…” He said, fishing his corrected test out from his backpack. “If you look on the last page, you’ll see I had the teacher sign and date the test for you.” He said. “Nice, good job.  So did you two figure out where you made your mistakes?” I asked. “I failed the test because I didn’t prepare for it!” He said defiantly. Looking at his father first, before readdressing the boy I said, “So you’re finally admitting you didn’t study for the test.” “No, I didn’t think the test would cover anything more than matrices”. He argued. “Okay, Bay, let me make sure I understand…. math is a progression class right? You learn one thing that builds upon the next and so on and so forth, right?” Gritting his teeth, he begrudgingly replied “Yes”.  “So, wouldn’t you contend that having knowledge of the previous stuff would help you solve the matrices questions?” “But I didn’t know he was going to have us solve those type of questions”. He tried again. “Bay, perhaps the time has come for you to begin studying for all contingencies…” I offered. “Mom if I did that, I’d never have any free time to myself”.

Considering you’ve been majoring in “free” time for yourself much of this past school year, I think you can afford to give up some of that “free” time to the cause of good grades,” I said before adding, “Or, you can find out how hard your summer of free time will be, when you don’t have any.” Sitting up on the couch he looked hard at me and asked, “What does that mean?” “I may enroll you in a math clinic or find you a part-time labor intense job” I offered. “Or, you can crack the books and take these last six weeks serious and improve your grades. Your choice bay”.

I walked away as his eye daggers flew, humming the railroad song, to myself. Hoping he would get the message and put some effort behind his school work.

Finger’s crossed, please!

add ons…

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After reading my blog aloud to my husband yesterday, he laughed and together we made the same grossed out noises we made when we happened upon the condom the first time, with one exception. “I never touched the wrapper,” he said firmly. “Yes you did, you held it up for me to see” I replied. Not hardly, I think I kicked it with my shoe.” He explained. “That doesn’t make sense, in correlation to where we were standing. You held the wrapper up for me to see…” I replied. “Marsh, your memory is faulty. I kicked the wrapper with my shoe”. He tried again. Nevermind we weren’t wearing any shoes or sandals at the time, I simply replied “Whatever dude”. But as a matter of record, let me emphatically state, he picked up the wrapper to show me.

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IMG_0149If you recall, in last week’s blog, “10 years”, I lamented how much I was enjoying the quick little holiday my hubby and I were taking without the kids yet was sad that I missed out on seeing my doll in her Easter dress. With many thanks to my brother Dan, I can share with you how beautiful she and her cousins Mary and Elle looked Easter Sunday.

Something tells me, Dan and I are both in big trouble…

On a side note, I texted the doll to tell her someone told me how beautiful she looked that day. Uneasy with compliments she replied, “What’d they say?” “How you looked in that dress!! They said, and I quote: “That dress was perfect for you and you walked confidently, which made you look even more beautiful.” I replied. A few minutes passed before she replied, “I felt weird because I was in heels and I was like taller than Uncle Dan in them”. To which my response was simply, “Well he’s short. Go with it!”

When I arrived home and found the picture, she reiterated how uncomfortable she was and I explained, “There will always be shorter men than you. Don’t let that stop you from wanting to be beautiful and taller than God intended.” She nodded her head in acceptance before adding, “Okay”.

 

okay okay…

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Ever since we came home from our little vacation, people have been asking me for a tale…you know something funny that happened on the island. “We were basic beach bums…” I explain, “We didn’t even take any excursions, we stayed at the resort…nothing funny there, right?” Yet they’ve persisted, “Something must have to have struck you funny…”

Okay, okay…

Easter Sunday morning we woke up fifteen minutes before sunrise and made our way down to the beach. One of the things my husband and I enjoy doing on vacation is taking long walks at sunrise before the hot sun makes the walks too unbearably hot. Plus as a perk, we get to witness a glorious sunrise.  

As we walked among the sea of chaisse lounges, we came across a beautifully luxurious site: beds lined up perpendicular to the ocean in front of us. “My cousin Monie told me there is nothing better than lying on these at the beach.” My husband said as we came up along side them. We longingly looked at the mass of pillows gathered on the beds and their sheets as they billowed in the breeze. “Let’s make sure we reserve one of these..” I said to my husband.

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Reaching up to take his ball cap off his head to place on the bed in reservation, he stopped mid stream and instead reached down, grabbed and then held up an opened outer condom wrapper. We both nervously laughed and said “Oh great” before I took another step and found the spent condom lying atop the sand, like it was nothing more than seaweed. “And there’s the condom!” I said immediately grossed out. Looking at my hubby, then to the bed then back to the condom we both decided the luxury beds were not for us.

“Ewww seriously?” I said grossed out. “Why can’t people pick up after themselves…?” My husband asked the universe. “Can you imagine the pick up line at the club? Let’s make love under the stars without sand in our clothing? Blech!” I said. “Well so much for that fantasy…” My husband said and we laughed. 

We never went near those beds the rest of our stay–though we watched plenty of others do so. “I wonder if they flip those foam pads over every now and again?” I wondered aloud. “I don’t think even that would help…” My hubby replied and I agreed.

Luxury is highly overrated. 

together time…

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Yesterday I ran into a friend of mine who had spent much of the past week in Florida with her children. “Welcome back!” I said to her and she said the same to me. “I saw you made it to Disney world…” I said, alluding to pictures I saw on her facebook page. “Yeah, a few of my friends lives have changed dramatically over the last few months that I decided to say the heck with the cost and take the kids. “We had a lot of fun but too much walking” Her daughter relayed to me. “Yes they were very good though we walked about seven miles each”. “Yeah we did Disney a few years ago..” I said in agreement. “I’d much rather have had your vacation” she said. Smiling back at her I said, “Yeah, we were beach bums. Didn’t go on any excursions, just laid around at the beach and drank rum for a few days”. I said with a smile. Smiling back at me she said “Yep, that’s my kind of vacation…”

DSC01629Last week, my hubby and I enjoyed five whole days of together time (sans kids) in the Dominican Republic, which seemed to reinvigorate our marriage. That’s why taking anniversary trips are a must. Yesterday morning he asked me if I’d like to go back to the island in October, when the rates are half the price of what they were last week. Smiling back at him I mulled over the options and replied with my standard stock answer, “We’ll see”.  But the truth of the matter is we need a new garage, new driveway and new carpeting in the living room, etc. So many things we “need” and vacations aren’t necessarily high on that “need” list.

“Want” list, oh yes!

Need?

Mayybe.

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