Friday, Friday

I found myself free of responsibilities for three hours today so I went to a movie.  As you  may or may not know, I like to see the movies nominated for Academy Awards before that awards show.  And this is the time of year when many of those movies are released.

So today I saw Dallas Buyer’s Club because “they” are saying Matthew McConaughey will be nominated for a Best Actor award for his work in that movie.  (He was nominated for a Golden Globe.)  I had high hopes for the movie but found it unpleasant, mainly because I couldn’t warm to McConaughey’s character at all.  I found him very unlikeable.  The movie is getting great reviews, though.  I wouldn’t recommend it, but that’s just me.

The theater was mostly empty for the 11:05 AM show.  I had picked out a seat in the center and shortly before the movie started an older gentleman came in and sat just one seat away from me, violating all the personal space rules that have ever been created and observed by humankind since the beginning of time.  Weird.

After the movie, I had forty-five minutes before my son needed to be picked up from work so I very optimistically decided to stop by Costco.  Shockingly, I was able to park, shop, pay and load my purchases into my trunk in thirty minutes.  It was a Christmas miracle!  Some days I stand in line for just about that long.

I literally spent the rest of my afternoon driving around.  I picked up one son, delivered him home and then left to pick up my other son and his friend.  I drove the friend to pick up some clothes at her house, then had just enough time to pick up my third son for work.  I then drove back to school to drop off my son and his friend for a drama showcase.  I returned home just in time to work.  I realized at that point that I had been in the car for two hours.

At least it wasn’t raining!  Or snowing!  And this weekend we are supposed to be back in the seventies where we belong–and I’m not talking decades but temperatures.  (Thank God, because the seventies were not a good look for many of us.)


Wanted: Rest for the weary

My husband has flown to Seattle for the weekend.  He mainly went to perform the funeral service of a dear woman from our previous church, but he’s also planning to visit various friends and eat at his favorite restaurants.

The temperature right now in Seattle is only about five degrees cooler than it is here . . . but tomorrow, it will get twenty degrees warmer here than there.  And by Saturday, we expect to be back in the seventies here.  It will be about 45 degrees in Seattle.

You’d think I’d miss my old state, but the last year I lived there, it was dreary, wet and cold.  Maybe it seemed worse because I was under a tremendous amount of stress.  I’ve loved living here near the ocean with so much sunshine.  I don’t miss wet feet and crazy hair and dismal, dark skies.  (My hair was often crazy there because every time I went out, it would get wet.  This was especially distressing when I was a teenager and trying desperately to wear feathered bangs.)


For a few days I am working a later shift than usual.  I consoled myself by telling myself that I would get to sleep in each day but then I remembered that I have to get up at 7 AM to drive my son to school.  There truly seems to be no rest for the weary.

Well, unless you count Saturday.  I hope there is rest for the weary on Saturday.

I am looking forward to Christmas Break (no driving anyone to school or home from school!) but on the other hand, I am not even close to being ready for Christmas, so slow it down, Father Time!  I need to get it together, stat!

Starting by sleeping right now.


Today I accidentally worked three extra hours.

It’s a boring story involving my lack of attention and complete denial that it’s December.

So I won’t tell that story.

I am really, really tired because I accidentally failed to drink any caffeine today.

That’s another boring story involving my lack of grocery shopping and failure to cook anything in many days.

Today, I wore pajama pants all day.  I am exceedingly grateful that my drives from here to there throughout the day did not require me to get out of the car because I am very judgmental about people wearing pajamas in public and yet, here I am.  In pajama pants.  All day.

Tomorrow my husband is flying to Seattle.  I remain behind to drive my kids around, to work and to take care of all the mundane yet life-preserving details involved in taking care of a family.

So off I go to sleep . . . because in exactly six hours, I have to drive my baby boy to high school.

What costs a lot and makes me want to cry?

This afternoon at four, my two youngest kids and I had dental appointments.

On the short drive to the office, I asked my kids if there’s anything they like doing less than going to the dentist.

“No,” they said.

“What about running five miles?”

“I’d rather run five miles.”

“What about walking on broken glass?”

“I’d rather walk on broken glass.”

“What about listening to your brothers argue?”

Pause.  “I’d rather go to the dentist.”  My 15-year old son absolutely hates to be around arguing or fighting, especially when his brothers go at it.

Personally, I’d rather do almost anything than go to the dentist but I also want to have teeth until I die.  So, we went.

The exams and cleanings took longer than I’d hoped–we were there almost two hours, I think.  My daughter ended up getting two especially stubborn baby molars plucked out.  The adult teeth had come in and still those babies refused to leave.  My son passed with flying colors.

The dentist looked at my mouth, asked me if I’d been wearing my mouthguard but I don’t have and never have had a mouthguard so I said no.  He looked puzzled and studied my chart.  He advised me to get one (low price of $295 after insurance)  and told me I’d be glad I did in twenty or thirty years but I’m not convinced.  I also need three crowns (low, low price of $400 each after insurance) but I’m putting that off until money grows on trees.

Also, can someone explain how to carry on a conversation while someone’s fingers and sharp metal dental tools are all crowded in my mouth?  While I enjoy the staff at this dental office, it’s pretty difficult to chat while I have the x-ray things clenched between my teeth.

It sounded something like this:

Her:  “Oh, did you cut your hair?”

Me:  “Yaaaaa, uhg had nnnufffff soooo uh cuhhhh i.”

Her:  “Oh, is that your natural color and curl?”

Me:  “Ahhhhhhh, uh aaaaah.”


Him:  “So are you all ready for Christmas?”

Me:  “Uhhhhhh-hhhhhhh.”

* * *

The dentist:  More fun than walking on broken glass but a lot less fun than pretty much everything else in the world.


Worst and best

My alarm rang at 5:30 AM and I sprang out of bed, no snooze button involved.  I didn’t dare to “snooze” because after only four hours of sleep, I feared falling deeply asleep again.

We left the house at 6:22 AM and arrived at the soccer field an hour away on time–a Christmas miracle, for sure.  It was chilly–under fifty degrees, which I know is a heat wave compared to some areas of the country, but for us, here in sunny San Diego, it’s downright cold.  So I wore mittens.

The game was fierce but ended in a zero-zero tie.  We raced into our car and over the hills and up the highways and byways to our church where we arrived just in the nick of time for the annual Christmas brunch.  (We changed clothes in the car.  I only changed shirts but my daughter went from soccer uniform to Christmas dress complete with fancy shoes.)

The brunch was lovely and before we knew it, it was time to get back in the car and drive an hour through rain to the soccer field.  Driving in the rain reminded me of living in the Pacific Northwest.  Mainly, I remembered how much I hate to drive in rain.

At the soccer field, the rain pelted us and the wind blew.  By the time the game started, the girls were soaked through from “warming up.”  I sat in my beach chair wearing  sweater, scarf, coat, mittens and hood.  I had a blanket over my lap and an umbrella shielding me.  And then the rain stopped but the cold wind remained.

The worst part was that the other team scored a goal in the last minute of the game.  So, our team lost 1-0.

The worst part was the drive home, an hour through mostly rain.

The worst part was discovering my right shoe was broken and let water in as soon as I exited the car.

The worst part was getting my jeans soaked from the knees down.

The worst part was having wet feet and wet socks and wet shoes.

The best part is that this day is over.

Being a grown-up

After work–and after picking up my 15-year old from school–I took a 15 minute nap before driving my older son to work. It was 4:15 PM and while driving west toward his workplace, I could see tufts of clouds like cotton batting suspended in the sky.

My immediate inclination was to speed toward the ocean so I could watch the sun set.  I seriously considered it.  The sun sets at about 4:40 PM here.  I had approximately fifteen minutes to race to the beach, an entirely possible proposition.


I am a grown-up.

Grown-ups have to resist the impulse to run to the shore to snap photos of the sunset even if the clouds are delightful and perfect and the sky is already turning pink.

Grown-ups drive instead to the pet food store and spend a lot of money on a 44-pound bag of special dog food for the dog that sheds everywhere and digs holes in the back yard.

Grown-ups ignore the glowing sky and drive to the grocery store to buy chicken breasts and zucchini and mushrooms and brown rice so they can cook dinner.

Grown-ups cook dinner when they’d rather be getting sand in their shoes.

Grown-ups are responsible.

I am a grown-up who missed the sunset.  (I am not only a little bitter.)

(And tomorrow, I have to leave my house at 6:15 AM to get to the soccer field by 7:15 AM for an 8 AM game . . . being a grown-up is not for the faint of heart.)

Why my office is a hazadarous waste area

I’m not really sick, but I was sick.  I caught a cold right after my husband got home from Texas, which I believe was a month ago.  Who can remember?  Anyway, I was truly, ghastly sick and after the typical 7-10 days of symptoms, I felt better but the cough remained.

And I still have this cough, but only at super inconvenient times.

I cough during the quiet portions of church or concerts.

I cough five minutes after I lie down to sleep.

I cough when my bladder is full.  (You women of a certain age will understand the tragedy of this situation.)

* * *

My office is a disaster.  Baskets of sorted and folded laundry sit everywhere.  The mail I brought in from the mailbox after three days is piled high on my desk.  The dog’s leash is here.  My daughter’s history book is here.  The Reader’s Digest is still here even though it needs to go upstairs to the bathroom.  I have a refund check from the same medical clinic that sent me a notice that I owe them $25.  (They keep sending me bills.  I pay the bill.  They send me a refund of “overpayment” and then send me another bill.  It’s confusing but has to do with unconnected accounts with different record numbers.  Dumb. The lady I talked to on the phone about this today was super rude about the whole situation.)

Anyway, my desk is dusty and dog fur litters the carpet.

The mess is driving me crazy, absolutely crazy, but I don’t have an hour or half an hour or fifteen minutes or any time at all to putter around in here to clean up.  Let me explain.

Today I rolled out of bed at 8:45 AM to work at 9 AM.

After work at 3 PM, time to pick up my son and his friend.

Back home by 4 PM, time to pick up another son to drive him to the bank so he could open an account.

Meanwhile, we went to the pet store and Walmart for toilet paper and guinea pig food and laundry detergent.

We picked up pro-ordered pizza on the way home, got home and left home ten minutes later for soccer practice.  It’s so weird to leave for practice when it’s pitch black outside with the sliver of moon hanging low in the sky.

I sat in my minivan during practice with my iPhone, reading blogs, reading email, reading Facebook and playing Candy Crush.  I wanted to lean my seat back all the way to sleep but I feel weird sleeping in a parking lot.  I guess this means I am not destined to live in my car.

We were home at 7:45 PM and then I tried to take a nap while listening to Carrie Understood sing (and badly act) in The Sound of Music.  But I couldn’t sleep because as soon as I relaxed, I needed to cough.

So I coughed and coughed until my husband got home from a meeting.  We spent fifteen minutes catching up on the day’s news and then it was time to work another three hours before bed.

I’m sleepy and coughy.  Basically, I’m approximately 2/7th of the seven dwarfs.   (If, in fact, there were a dwarf named Coughy, which there was not but let’s not let facts deter us.  Probably, they had a cousin named Coughy, who changed the spelling of his name to Coffee and then opened up a Starbucks.)

Oh dear.  It’s really time for me to sleep before I get more ridiculous.

Nine fingers

Tonight, my daughter sang in a holiday concert with a children’s choir.  As those children sang “O Holy Night” I tried not to cry.  There’s something about children singing and particularly about children singing Christmas hymns that just evokes all that emotion.

The concert also featured a Jewish men’s chorus and a celebration of Kwanzaa and an assortment of choirs and instruments.

One of my favorite details, though, was watching the  man playing what looked like a string bass even though he was missing half of his ring finger.

AGK bass1 full.jpgI thought about both of my grandfathers.  Each of them were missing a finger–an index finger for each of them, I believe.  My maternal grandfather cut his own finger off with a saw, I think.  I can’t remember how my paternal grandfather lost his finger.

I always found it kind of weird that both my grandfathers were missing a finger.

Anyway, I admired watching that man play that instrument despite that missing digit.

And if I weren’t so utterly exhausted, I might have some clever way to wrap up this post.

But I don’t.

The end.

Burning ring of fire

I tend to fall into bed at around 2 AM.  I finish working and then make a school lunch, fold a load of laundry, maybe wash some dishes and then go to bed.

So when my alarm rang at 7:30 AM today I felt bleary and maybe a little bit like I’d been tied to a horse and dragged over a dusty and rocky path.

I comforted myself by planning a post-meeting nap and then to my chagrin, I remembered that I was supposed to start working at 9 AM instead of my usual 10 AM.  That was problematic because I would be at a meeting with my daughter’s teacher at 8:30 AM.


Not only did I not get a nap, I had to start work an hour early.  And I have to start an hour early every day this week.  No fun.

Today I had appliance repair guys come to look at my dead dishwasher and linty clothes dryer.  First, they examined the dishwasher and declared “good news” and “bad news.”

The good news was that James, the head repairman, was able to diagnose the problem. Yay!

The bad news was that he was not able to fix it.  He explained that the part was no longer available and that to rebuild it would cost as much as a new dishwasher.  Boo!

We then had a brief conversation to lament that things are not built to last and then we blamed the younger generation for expecting electronics to be disposal instead of reparable.  Alas and alack.

Then James and the other guy moved on to the clothes dryer.  As soon as they removed the front panel, I heard exclamations of amazement and alarm and incredulity.  Then they called me in to see the fire hazard that blanketed the interior of my machine.

You could see where part of the linty layer had smoldered into a black patch of doom.

It was pretty scary, actually.  That was what I smelled when I smelled the scent of smoke in my laundry room last week.

When they pulled the top of the machine off and looked inside, it was even more impressive and alarming.

They cleaned out the whole machine and said I was lucky that we hadn’t had a fire.  They told me this was not just build-up from the three years we’ve been here but from way before that.

Here’s the moral of the story:  Get someone handy to open up your clothes dryer so you can vacuum it clean or . . . if you are unhandy like some of us, hire someone.  It cost me less than a hundred dollars and kept my family’s underpants from going up in flames.

Laundry whoa

I went to bed last night way after midnight and then a text message woke me at 6:24 AM.  Because of that text message, I had to work from 9 AM to 5 PM today . . . and then my usual shift from 9 PM to midnight. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s eleven hours of work.

And then, because we have a meeting with a teacher at 8:30 AM tomorrow, my daughter and I spent two hours organizing her schoolwork and preparing.

I consoled myself with the reminder that I only have seven more years until my youngest child is done with school.  That’s really not all that comforting, but considering I’ve been parenting school-aged kids for fifteen years so far, that seemed some consolation. Just how much longer will I have to know how to divide fractions and how to recognize a direct object or subject complement?

Seven years will pass in the blink of an eye, right?  The only problem is that in seven years I’d prefer to be about . . . oh, say 35, but instead I’ll be approaching sixty.  Why can’t the kids grow up and leave me the same age?

Anyway, the main excitement in my life today involved the arrival of the dryer vent guy, a super nice man who told me he’s been married for twenty years–and we exclaimed over how quickly the years pass.  He and his team used drills and tubing and, for all I know, sorcery to clean out the dryer lint lurking in my walls.

When this house was built, some genius thought it was a good idea for the dryer vent to go up through the wall, then around a corner, then across the span of the garage, then around another corner and then finally, out of the house.  Everyone knows that a dryer vent is supposed to be straight so that the dryer lint doesn’t accumulate, right?

Anyway, so I was mortified when I saw the clumps of lint–a veritable blizzard of dryer lint–piling up under the outside vent.  Pure shame, as if I were the idiot who designed the flawed system.  You practically needed a shovel to scoop it up–but they used a vacuum cleaner.

So, let the laundry resume.



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