When you can’t find your shorts, look behind the chair

Tonight I was sitting in the rocking recliner in the family room, a place I rarely sit anymore.  If I’m not working at my desk, I’m upstairs.  But I was sitting downstairs in the family room tonight while chatting on the phone with my friend MaryKay.

As we talked, something caught my eye.  Puzzled, I stood, crossed the room and pulled that corner chair from the wall to reveal a hidden pile of clothing.

A quick examination revealed the pile to be my 13-year old’s stash of dirty clothes.

Apparently, he’s been getting dressed in the mornings in the family room–he’s the only one awake at that early hour–and he’s been discarding the shorts and t-shirts he wears to bed behind the chair, out of sight to everyone except an eagle-eyed person sitting in the rocking recliner.

Now I understand why he’s had trouble finding shorts to wear even though I’ve been keeping up with the laundry.

Kids are so weird.

This, that and the other thing

Since my last entry, these things happened:

1)  My husband arrived home for a less-then-48-hour visit.

2)  My twin sons turned 18.  This involved a lot of snack-food, a houseful of teenage boys and three games of Monopoly.

3)  My 13-year old played lacrosse in Gig Harbor.  This involved me navigating incorrectly around a traffic circle which resulted in a big loop-de-loop.  Also deja vu because, wait a minute, haven’t I been here before? I am ever grateful for my iPhone and the miracle of its internal GPS function which allowed me to conquer the traffic circle and end up at the lacrosse field.

It’s just too bad the team lost.  On the other hand, my daughter met a nice dog and spent a long time petting him.

4)  Saturday afternoon, I took my daughter and her little buddy to see the movie, “Rio.”

5)  Sunday, I took my daughter and her little buddy to the Puyallup Spring Fair where we mingled with approximately eight million other people.  The lines were too long for rides.  That is what happens when the sun finally shines here in the Northwest.

On the way home, we were stuck in inexplicable traffic . . . made explicable once I realized that the always sluggish intersection at 72nd Street and I-5 was made impossible by the traffic generated by the Grand Opening of the Winco grocery store.  What should have taken twenty minutes took an hour.

6)  Our loan was funded for the new house in California.  Which means that tomorrow we will be finally and officially “closed” on the house.  Or something like that.  I can only tell you that the process of providing the necessary paperwork for this transaction has been grueling and also painstaking and nitpicking.

7)  I shopped at Costco today.  As I waited for my total, I thought to myself, Well, this is more than a hundred dollars . . . probably about a hundred and fifty.

And my total came to $150 exactly.  Whoa.  I am an unintentional math genius.

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(That picture at the top shows the house where I lived from the time I was five until I was eleven.)

Radio silence

Do you ever want to pick up the phone and dial a number but you are too big of a chicken?  And then you think maybe you’ll send off an email but you remember that your last email went unanswered?  So you consider sending a Facebook message but are you really that needy?  So you don’t do anything but wonder.

You wonder if you did something but if you ask, “Did I do something?” you will sound like you’re fourteen years old and clueless and silly.

You review the past weeks and months and can’t pinpoint a specific event or moment that things shifted between you.

You think perhaps you’re imagining things but how do you imagine silence after years of regular contact?

Then you take things personally.  How else to explain the inexplicable?

But before you embrace the pain of taking it personally, you remember that you have a tendency to take things personally when they are not personal at all.

So you think maybe you’ll pick up the phone and call but you are a big chicken.

Instead, you pull up the corners of your heart and tuck them in a little closer.  You lock the front door to your life and from now on, even fewer people will be granted admission because it’s just too much to have people traipsing through or rather, it’s too much when no one even knocks at the door anymore.

I want to sleep but wrote this instead

I don’t know any of these people, but this photo is from 1963 and how about that car?

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Oh dear.  I can’t tell you when I was here last but I can tell you that yesterday I knocked over a gigantic glass of water on my desk while I was busily scanning slides from the 1970s.  In a miracle of epic proportions, the water cascaded under my keyboard and flowed onto the floor, completely missing all the slides and other papers stacked on my desk.

Last week was Spring Break.  Also, I ran out of Diet Coke, so those two things collided in one massive headache which lasted until I got more caffeine and sleep.  But not in that order.

Then over the weekend, my 13-year old son flew to California to take some placement tests for his new school.  It was odd having only three children at home.  My daughter and I spent practically every moment of the weekend together.  On Saturday we had our now-weekly lunch at Red Robin, then went shopping the clearance racks at Old Navy.  We finished up our afternoon with some shopping at Costco.

The teenagers invited a friend to sleep over on Saturday.  So at 8 a.m. on Sunday, I was shocked to hear the shower start–the boys were up early?  Even after a sleep over?

Yeah.  No.  That was their guest taking a quick shower after staying up all night.  His mom came by to pick him up.  My son came to my room to apologize for failing to sleep and catch up on his school work during Spring Break and suggested that he and his brother really needed to stay home from church.  So he could work on school work.  (Right.)

Fine.  In a couple of months, church-skipping will not be an option for any of us.

So Grace and I drove the hour to church.  We found a parking spot directly in front of the church building.  Usually we have to walk four or five blocks.

After church, I asked her if she’d like to go to the Woodland Park Zoo, and so we did.

The last time we went, all the boys were with us and the two oldest kids are not fans of the zoo.  In fact, they have never been fans of the zoo because the zoo involves walking and the outdoors.  Oh, the horrors.

So, it was lovely to be at the zoo with only Grace.  She ran from exhibit to exhibit and we saw pretty much every animal in the zoo, including strolling peacocks and squirrels and random ducks.  Just as we finished shopping at the gift shop–because shopping is what Grace loves most–the rain began but until then, it had been an almost-warm, perfect spring day.

Yesterday, I scanned more old slides.  While I was helping my mom pack up her apartment–she’s moving to a new place–I came across these old slides.  I offered to scan them, which is a win-win for me because we get the slides into photograph form and I end up with some of the old photographs myself.

Now the week is under way.  My 13-year old is back home.  My teenagers are (supposedly) back to their school work.  Grace is back at school.   My husband’s coming home on Thursday for a quick visit to celebrate the teenager’s 18th birthday.

And so now you know why I haven’t written anything worthwhile here.

A mathematical equation

Spring Break + Full-time job at home + rain + four kids + extra kids + headache = GET ME OUT OF HERE!

Product Review: Biotrue Multi-Purpose Solution

I was twenty-two when I snatched the glasses from my dearly beloved’s face and tried them on.  To my utter shock, I saw that I could see individual leaves on the tree outside the window.

Thus began my journey with corrective eye-wear.  I wore hideous glasses for a few years (hey, it was the eighties!) and then got my first pair of contact lenses.  In those days, we wore the same pair of lenses for a year.  (Imagine!) I’ve been wearing contact lenses for over twenty years now.

Nowadays, I wear disposable lenses.  (Right now I’m wearing glasses, but that’s because it’s so late at night.)  I wear them almost every day but try to remove them after nine or ten hours so my eyeballs can rest.

Not long ago I went to a new eye doctor, one who specialized in fitting contact lenses.  She switched my lenses to a different type because I’d been experiencing some dryness and irritation.  She switched my solution to an hydrogen-peroxide type (the kind that you use little discs).  She said it works more thoroughly, but she also told me that the other kind of solution works fine as long as you follow the directions.

You are supposed to rub and rinse them for twenty seconds, then rinse each side for another five seconds.  (I had just been peeling them out of my eyes and plopping them into solution.)  I guess most people do not follow the rinsing and rubbing directions.

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to test the new Biotrue solution.

(Oh, I was going to insert a picture of it but the file was too big.  But here, go to the Biotrue site and check out the beautiful packing.)  It’s pretty, right?

This solution has a lubricant naturally found in your eyes, matches the pH of healthy tears and keeps beneficial tear proteins active.

Admittedly, I’m not sure what that last part means, but I can tell you that this solution did not make my eyes sting at all.  My lenses felt as clean as could be.  (When I was using another brand of this type of solution, my eyes were pretty irritated most of the time.)

So, I liked this solution.  I liked how well it seemed to work, I liked how comfortable it left my lenses and I liked the packaging.  I’m not sure I would purchase this, however, because my eye care professional was so insistent about me using the other type of solution (the hydrogen peroxide based solution, used with the disc system).

Despite that, I liked this solution and would recommend it, especially if you are using another brand of this type of solution–and you find your eyes scratchy or irritated or dry.

* * *

“I wrote this review while participating in a Mom Central Consulting blog tour on behalf of Bausch + Lomb Biotrue. I received a Biotrue sample and a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

The downward spiral of worry, motherhood edition

I remember being vaguely terrified by the great unknown when I was a teenager.

My terror revolved around my irrational concern that I might get a B in Math Analysis which would result in my rejection from the college of my choice which would ruin my life.  As an end result, I’d never be employed or meet my future spouse.

Therefore, I would end up living in a cardboard box wearing ill-fitting shoes without socks for the rest of my life.  And I would have no blanket.

I specialized in the Downward Spiral of Thought.  Excellent, right?

But, of course, all the potential tragedies never happened–and other, unforeseen tragedies really did happen–but here I am anyway.  Gainfully employed, married for almost twenty-four years and raising four children.  I’m a home-owner and I have friendships that have lasted over twenty-five years.  I have been blessed and challenged in ways I never expected.

Now, I find myself peering into my children’s futures and I quake with terror because I worry they will not figure out what type of work to do.  I worry that they will not marry well.  I worry that they will never get their driver’s licenses or rent their own apartments or live happily ever after.

I’m sliding around and around the Downward Spiral but instead of worrying about my own life, I worry about their lives.

Some things never change.

Being a mother seemed impossible when the kids were babies with all the not-sleeping and the fevers and the tantrums, but now it is much worse because almost nothing is in my control.  I can’t manipulate their futures or their behavior or their achievements.

Yet, I know that the same God who had a plan for my life has a plan for my children’s lives.

I have to stop fretting.

What kind of wife are you? (Why do you ask?)

I’ve been thinking about how I’m a pastor’s wife again.

Why are pastor’s wives labeled that way?  You never hear someone introduced as a “salesman’s wife” or a “janitor’s wife” or a “truck-driver’s wife”, but if you are a pastor’s wife, you are a Pastor’s Wife first and yourself second–if anyone actually can get past the fact that you are a Pastor’s Wife.

My husband has always tried to shield me from the icky parts of his job, but it doesn’t matter to most people.  They can’t see me past the giant flashing letters that announce PASTOR’S WIFE. I’m not the person you hang out with or the one you make inappropriate jokes around or the one you want to get to know.

But you should.  Really.  If you really knew me, you’d know that I’m just a regular person, like you.  I happened to marry a man who is a pastor, but we do not sit around and discuss theology or spend hours on our knees in prayer.  (I’m ashamed to admit that, because I have expectations for a Pastor’s Wife, too, and I fail to meet them.)

He doesn’t tell me everything about his day–especially if it’s confidential.  Just so you know.  If you tell him something assuming that he’ll tell me, you are so wrong.

If you really knew me, you’d know things about me that I am afraid to type on this blog, things that might cause you to judge me because a Pastor’s Wife doesn’t watch that show or read that book or skip church for no good reason.  A Pastor’s Wife does not yell at her children or have children that balk at going to church.

I’ve done this pastor’s wife thing at four different churches.  Each time I’ve blamed myself for my failure to really connect with people.  I was too young, too busy, too shy, or I had a new baby . . . but I have felt excluded and judged and on display everywhere I’ve gone.  Maybe that’s my own perception–I do have a little problem with taking everything personally.   Okay, it’s a big problem, but awareness is the first step!

And now I’m a Pastor’s Wife again.  I hope I will be brave enough to let you see behind the curtain.  I want to drop the shield and just be a normal person and hope that people I meet will want to be my friend.

(I feel like I’m in fourth grade when I say that, so I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.  We all just want someone to play with at recess and to know that someone will save us a seat at the lunch table.)

And now he’s gone again

My husband was home for a few days.  He arrived on Monday morning and I dropped him off at the airport today.

While he was here we borrowed someone’s pick-up truck so we could throw away broken and worthless things at the dump.  (Hello, faded red sandbox, I’m talking to you.)  It was quite satisfying.

We went to a movie (Lincoln Lawyer).

We ate Chinese food.

He took my van for an oil change and a car wash.  I refuse to drive through a car wash because car washes scare me, so I wait for him to take care of that.

He played games with the kids, drove them to their various activities and took Grace to school and picked her up when it was over.

I’ve grown used to sleeping alone, so my sleep was all disrupted by his loud sleep.  While he was here, our default t.v. channel was Fox News instead of HGTV.

Now he’s gone again and I’m back to being the only adult in the house.  Only three more months of this craziness.

Product Review: 3M Natural View Screen Protector

I’ve had my iPhone for a couple of years now and can’t imagine life before the iPhone.  How did I keep up with Facebook?  How did I manage without having a phone that takes photos and video?

What did I do in those dark days before I could check my personal and work email from anyplace at anytime?  Was there a time I couldn’t check my bank balance from my phone?

Not to mention the music, photos, text messaging, and dozens of amazing apps:  Flixster, Angry Birds (!!), and Shazam, to name a few.  (I cannot, I will not live without the GPS function in my phone or having the complete Bible at my fingertips at any moment.)

But the issue with fingerprints . . . well, that is an issue.  And the worries about scratching it or damaging it are also a concern.  I can’t help it.  I’m a worrier.

I’ve always had a silicone case for it but never a screen protector because once upon a time, I saw another mom with her screen-protected iPhone and her screen was all bubbly and cloudy from the screen protector.  And I will not tolerate a bubbly, cloudy screen.

So, when the chance came to try the 3M Natural View Screen Protector, I jumped.  (Not high, because I have an aching Achilles tendon, but I jumped high enough to be chosen for this review.)

3M Natural View Screen Protector (<—That is a video about this for you visual learners.)

Putting the protector into place was simple.  (Clean the screen, remove the protector from it’s packaging and carefully smooth it on.)  Once the protector was in place, I could no longer tell that it was there . . . other than the glorious fact that fingerprints because a much smaller, easier to deal with issue.  It resists fingerprints and the ones that do appear are easy to wipe off.

Hooray for fewer fingerprints!

There is absolutely no bubbling, no cloudiness, no indication that there is a screen protector on my iPhone.  Yet there is.

It’s pretty cool.

So I can wholeheartedly recommend this product.  And I’m not just saying that because this is a compensated review.

Do you have an iPhone?  Do you love it as much as I love mine?  What’s your can’t-live-without, most favorite app?

* * *

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of 3M and received a Natural View Screen Protector to facilitate my review and a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

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