And that about sums it up

Today, after driving two of my sons to work, I went to a community garage sale with my daughter.  We wandered around the gated community in the sunshine, peering at items displayed on tables, chatting with friendly sellers.

Then I spotted a replacement Crock-Pot.  I actually own two of these Crock-Pots but one of the lids shattered on my tile floor and the other lid lost its handle.

Anyway.  The new-to-me Crock-Pot was five bucks.  I could not be more thrilled.

Well, I could be more thrilled, because after buying a couple other things, I came across a lush desk chair sitting in someone’s driveway.  “Are you selling the chair?” I called to the woman in the garage and she said, “Yes.”  And that’s how I came to own a La-Z-Boy Horizon High Back Leather Executive Chair for twenty bucks.  (Current retail price is . . . WHAT?  I just looked it up . . . $829.00?  How can this be?)

Anyway, it was an exciting day for me.  A new-to-me Crockpot and a new-to-me desk chair.

Add a lunch with my husband and daughter, an afternoon nap and some time to read and it equals a fine Saturday indeed.

Giveaway – Shark Tank Tuesdays on CNBC

Last week, a box of Shark Tank “swag” arrived at my house.  My kids and husband gathered around like it was Christmas since we are all giant fans of the television show Shark Tank and watch it regularly.

And thanks to the swag box, I realize we can catch all the episodes we missed by watching Shark Tank on Tuesday nights on CNBC at 8 PM and 9 PM because they are running back-to-back episodes.

If you haven’t yet watched Shark Tank, you might want to check it out.

Personally, I love seeing the weird products, the crazy products, the brilliant products–and their creators.  And I adore the “Sharks.”

Anyway, here’s the box sitting on my bed before we opened it.  First we just admired the box.

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We were giddy with anticipation, wondering what our box would hold.

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Inside, we found speakers made from recycled material. They plug right into an iPhone or any device with a headphone jack. Grace claimed them.

My son, Zach, claimed the Gobie waterbottle. (It has its own filter!)

We have yet to try the BBQ sauce.  My daughter didn’t like the cool peanut butter, but I thought it was pretty good–and it’s healthier than regular peanut butter (twice the protein, twice the fiber, less fat).

The ReBoot energy spray went to another son.

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And now I have the opportunity to give one of you a box of Shark Tank swag, too!  Please leave a comment and I’ll pick a winner Monday.

Good luck!

The winner is . . . Paige!  Congratulations!

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Fruit flies and more!

fruitflies

Okay, look.  I know it’s been awhile since I blogged.  If you saw my office, you might understand that I’m a little swamped by my real life.  In other words, I am surrounded by the Clothes Alps, which is laundry stacked in high enough slopes to warrant a ski lift.

And we currently have company staying in my son’s room.  Relatives from the deep South have come to visit.  They try not to complain about our “cold” weather since it’s been hovering in the mid to low-seventies, but I know they are chilly.  They might also be wondering what we have done with all the mosquitoes and humidity.  We shipped them all to Texas, that’s what.

Anyway, before the company came I was single-handedly devoted to cleaning up this place which involved paying a cleaning crew to clean and paying a carpet cleaner to carpet clean.  Our house looks mighty fine unless you peer into my office, laundry room or garage.  Or the boys’ room or my closets.  Or my pantry.

Last week, Grace had Splash Camp all week.  That required me to limp out of bed at 7:45 AM to deliver her on time.   The boys all have jobs which they enjoy to a greater or lesser degree.  (Some of them to a severely lesser degree, but howdy Son, welcome to adulthood where jobs aren’t always as fun as playing video games!)

I’m starting to have that sinking feeling that summer will blast by in a blaze of lightspeed, leaving me wondering why we didn’t get to the beach more often.

Why haven’t we been to the beach to frolic during the day yet?

(See:  Splash Camp, work, visitors, etc.)

Oh, now, if you’re still here, let me tell you how to eliminate fruit flies  the easiest way possible.

Get yourself a little bowl or ramekin or something to hold about 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar.  (Not white.  That won’t work.)

Add a drop of dish soap.

Swish it around with your finger.  (Or be fancy and use a spoon.)

Place the container near your fruit fly community and watch them dive into the vinegar/soap mixture.

BOOM!  You’re a fruit fly killer!

(You’re welcome.)

 

Happy, happy, happy

Yesterday, my daughter and I went to Disneyland with our friend.

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One of the things I love about having annual passes is that we go frequently enough that I can see the flowers change regularly.  These Cosmos are lovely.

Some of the decorations for Independence Day are up as well:

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I slept less than four hours Sunday night but managed to get up at 6 AM.  We planned to get to the park early enough to beat the crowds.  I woke up my 11-year old at 6:08 AM.  She spoke to me so I know she was awake, but when I left my bedroom at 6:45 AM, I noticed the house was strangely still.  That’s when I discovered her sprawled on her bed, sound asleep.

So, we were slightly later than we wanted to be but we still arrived before 9 AM.  And weirdly enough, we found the lines short and we were able to enjoy many of the attractions.

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(It’s always fun to see Minnie Mouse.)

Amazingly enough, we stayed almost until the park closed.  We saw the parade, the fireworks and the Fantasmic show.  We walked almost 19,000 steps, the equivalent of about 9 miles, I think.  We had about as much fun as you can have at Disneyland.  Any more fun than that might have killed us.

As it was, we all kind of hobbled to the car and moaned about our feet.

And that concludes our Disneyland adventure for this school year.  (Our passes are blocked out until August 18.)

It was a happy day indeed.

 

 

 

Sunset, sunset

Green wave and distant beam of sunlight.

I love the many ocean moods. The moody skies hung over green waves the other night.

And tonight, hazy light and distant surfers as the sun set.

Sunset, sand, surfers.

Now, I’m ready for the weekend.

From snail to sand

My day began with an encounter with a snail on the sidewalk outside my front door.  I was bleary and barely awake as I drove my son to work.  When I got home, I made the bed and then lay down for a few precious minutes before starting my day again.

All was calm, all was bright until nearly 2 PM when I had to pick up my son from work.  Soon after, it was time to pick up my youngest son from school.  I knew that after I picked him up, we’d have to drive to Legoland to turn in some paperwork for his new job.

Instead, when he climbed into the car, he told me he needed to go the School District Office to get his work permit signed before he could deliver it to Legoland.  After we arrived at the District Office, he was informed he needed his birth certificate.  So we drove 15 minutes home to retrieve that document, then finally, on to Legoland.  By the time we got home we’d been in the car for over two hours.

That’s why I had to throw together dinner in twenty minutes before driving my daughter to the church for her final AWANA night.

After waving good-bye (and transferring responsibility for her to my husband), I drove directly to the beach.  I parked, carried a chair down the stairs and sat down to watch the green waves curl on themselves, dissolving in a white froth of foam.

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The skies were gray so instead of tracking the sun as it slid down the sky, I watched the waves and the surfers and the clouds and the thin places where the light glowed.

I took photos until my phone died.

Then I carried my chair back up the stairs and drove home feeling soothed by the rhythm of those crashing waves and the hissing foam and the surfboards bobbing in the distance.

 

Liberation

Even the backyard frog is silent.  The dog snores quietly from the hallway outside my office.  Jimmy Fallon is on the television and I’m tired and about ready to climb the stairs and go to bed.

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A year ago, my oldest kids would have still been awake way past midnight.  But now they are working men and as such, they get tired and go to bed at a decent hour.  It’s a small miracle, one of the changes brought about by employment.  I have to say that I am so happy to again be the last person awake in my household.  That job has done what my nagging and suggesting never could.

Tomorrow is the last day my daughter will be doing schoolwork at home.  Her official last day of school is Thursday.

Tonight, I was relaxing in my room, watching television before my work shift began and she wandered in and stretched out next to me.  When questioned, she said she was bored.

This might be a bad sign to have a bored 11-year old when school has not even let out for the summer.  I told her that the good news is that as soon as she’s done with school she can clean up her room and then I’m going to gather some books for a summer reading list.

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Many of these books were purged in the Great California Migration of 2011.

My girl does not really like to read.  I find this unfathomable.  I keep suggesting books and raving about books and handing her books but she is unconvinced.  I do not recognize this part of her.

So, this week winds down and when it ends I will no longer have a child in elementary school.  We leave behind another stage of life and perhaps because the stages have stretched out and overlapped for so long, I feel no regret or pangs.  I’ve had one kid or another in elementary school for sixteen long years.

*

In other news, the wildfires have been contained.  School was canceled for two days while firefighters battled the blazes and thousands of people were evacuated.  I spent my weekend at lacrosse games.  On Saturday, we drove an hour or so to my son’s last game where I sat on broiling hot metal bleachers watching my son stand on the sidelines for the whole game.  (They lost the game.)

On Sunday, my daughter had a tournament, so we drove thirty minutes the other direction–past the wildfire area where we saw a little smoke still wafting from a hillside–and she played five shortened games.  After a season in which they lost every single game, they won their fourth game–the last game scheduled.  We were so happy until we were informed that the girls would “get” to play one last game.  They lost that game, thus illustrating perfectly the word “anticlimactic.”

So this week, the temperatures are literally forty degrees lower than last week.  The whole world is no longer on fire.  My kids have no more sports practices.  The upcoming weekend has no scheduled activities or plans or anything.  I feel like someone found the keys to the handcuffs and we are free, free, free!  Now run before they catch us and throw us back into jail!

 

Smoke but no mirrors

Is there anything worse than a telephone conference call?  Why yes, there is.

What’s worse than a telephone conference call?   Being in charge of that conference call.   That’s how my day started: with the dreaded morning conference call.  I’m not sure why I dread the call so much–during the call, it’s fine.  After the call, I realize it wasn’t so bad. But before?  I dread.

After the call, I worked for a few more hours, then quit working a couple of hours early.  (I worked overtime last week.)  I’d dreamed briefly of a pedicure or a movie or lying on my bed, reading all afternoon.  But the extra two hours instead turned into de-cluttering and straightening up and cleaning off my desk, all while watching the constant local news coverage of the brush fire that had popped up about ten miles away.

Then I had to go pick up my son from his high school which was dismissing early because of poor air quality.  As I drove over to pick him up I could see columns of smoke from three separate fires billowing into the sky.  Waiting in the line to sign him out, I witnessed a dad losing his mind over the requirement that he sign out his kid–he was yelling and gesturing and finally pushed his way past the waiting parents standing in line to get his son.  The lady behind me mentioned that he was upset because their neighborhood was being evacuated.

So, free pass to that dad.  You are allowed to lose your mind when you’re worrying about picking up your kid before you evacuate your burning neighborhood.

If you look at a map, it seems like we’re surrounded by burning hillsides and canyons.  Eight separate fires have raged and ravaged today near us, but we are not in any immediate danger.  The air smells of smoke, though, and school is canceled.  I’m hoping that when we wake up the fires have subsided and that the winds will be calmer.  It was about a hundred degrees here today with gusts of hot wind.

In non-related news, here’s a recent conversation I had with the order-taker at the drive-thru at McDonald’s:

Him:  Can I take your order?

Me:  Yes.  Can you tell me–what is a Horchata frappe?

Him:  Huh?

Me:  The Horchata frappe? What is that flavor?

Him:  Um, just a minute.  [Insert two minutes of complete silence.]

Him:  Uh, the Horchata frappe is a frappe made with Horchata.

Me:  . . . .

(Fortunately, my iPhone knew the answer.)

Almost Mother’s Day

Don’t tell my kids, but I could really live without Mother’s Day.  I can’t really even remember any specific past Mother’s Days besides the year my husband was out of town and some of my kids were so rude and hateful to me that I ended up crying.  And the photo frame that my husband had purchased and given to them to give to me didn’t really help.

(Let’s note that I love being a mom and that before I was a mom, all I ever wanted in the world was to be a mom.  It’s just the day called “Mother’s Day” that I’m talking about.)

(Thankfully, most of the details of that awful Sunday are lost to the waves of time, washed out to settle on the bottom of the ocean or maybe to float in that giant plastic island of trash I’m told bobs somewhere in the middle of the Pacific.  Either way.  I can’t really remember most of it.)

Mainly, I just don’t need a holiday where my offspring are required to give me stuff and sign cards and bow down to my awe-inspiring wonderfulness.  I’m not big on celebrating myself.  Honestly?  I’d rather be set free to spend the day on my own, going to movies and thrift stores and the beach at sunset.  Not very mother-like, right?

This year, a baby was born somewhere in the Midwest and because of that, one of my co-workers has taken some well-deserved vacation time to be with her daughter and new grandbaby.   That co-worker normally works on Sundays.  (So do I, but not until 9 PM.)  My job involves scheduling, so I sent an email a week ago to ask another employee to work.

I thought I had her four hour shift covered and then tonight, I found out that I don’t.  So, instead, I will be working the afternoon myself.  On Mother’s Day.  This, my friends, is even worse than a normal Mother’s Day!  This is a Mother’s Day in which I have to work eight hours.

It’s not exactly anyone’s fault and I blame myself for not following up earlier.  Assuming is generally a mistake and all that.  And we’re pretty short-staffed so anytime someone takes vacation time, it’s a challenge to find someone to cover the hole in the schedule.

In other news, only nine days remain of school for my youngest kid.  Then the true celebration will begin for it will be the end of my decade-long reign as the most reluctant homeschooling/school-at-home parent ever.  Now there’s a reason to party!

p.s.  I love my kids.  They are awesome and hilarious and always give me cards that I treasure–and other stuff, too.  I’m just a curmudgeon.  I know!  Don’t judge me!

Spontaneity

At about lunch time yesterday, we abandoned our responsibilities–Grace and me–and headed north to Disneyland.  We arrived by 2 PM and rode the monorail into the park.

That explains why I am exhausted today.  But we sure did have fun.  (I have a funny little series of photos to post soon.)  We didn’t get home until 9:30 PM.  I immediately started working, finally getting to bed at about 12:30 AM.  (I am quite possibly too old for these shenanigans.)

The school year is winding up (hooray!) and lacrosse is winding up (yay!) and AWANA will soon be over (HOORAY!).  I am super excited about free-time, about reading books, sitting under a beach umbrella, and reading more books while sitting under a beach umbrella.

And next year, Grace will be attending school full-time (instead of doing her schoolwork at home in conjunction with a public charter school).  For the first time in about ten years, I will not be directly responsible for the education of any of my children and I am beyond thrilled.  If you amplify thrilled by ten thousand, that would almost approach my level of thrill.

In other news, I spent last Saturday cleaning my laundry room, washing dishes and filling kitchen trash bags with clothes my kids have outgrown or deigned too uncool to wear.  Did you know that wearing denim shorts is “so nineties”?  Not only did I not know that, I spent my weekend cleaning my laundry room.  That’s not cool, either, but I found it rather delightful.

Before you know it, these will be the good old days.  Buckle up.

 

 

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