My dad was brave but I didn’t know it

I started babysitting when I was ten years old.  I was left in charge of children younger than me and paid with a pile of coins on my dresser.

When I was fourteen, I rode a twelve-speed bicycle from Seattle to San Francisco.  (My stepmom accompanied me, my brother and a sister.)  For vast stretches of Highway 101, I was utterly alone, pedaling on the shoulder of the road as cars and trucks whistled past, sometimes blowing gravel into my face.  We slept in sleeping bags . . . and didn’t even bring a tent along.

When I was seventeen, I spent a night alone in the Miami airport while waiting for my connecting flight back home to Seattle.  (I’d been in Jamaica on a missions trip.)  I can’t imagine my boys in the same situation.  (I do remember some scary moments encountering overly-friendly men, but I simply set my chin and strode away as if I had somewhere important to go and something important to do.  Seventeen.  Imagine.)

So, I suppose it’s no wonder that when I was eighteen, my dad bought me a bus ticket and drove me to the local Greyhound station and sent me off to college.  I rode that bus for days and nights, traveling totally alone to Missouri from Washington state. I’d never even seen the college before I arrived.

I can’t believe how loosely my parents held me as I grew up.  I was allowed to circle my neighborhood on my banana-seat bike from the time I could ride without training wheels.  As a teen, I had a curfew but also  the freedom to ride around with my friend, Shelly, in her old yellow Volkswagen bug whenever I wanted to go.  I rode public transit into Seattle.  I rode my bike miles and miles and miles without ever telling anyone where I was going.

Now that my own kids approach the age of eighteen, I have no idea how to act.  My own upbringing offers no helpful hints.  I would never have allowed the young me to have the freedom that I was granted.  (Or maybe no one ever really noticed me since I was never any trouble.  That’s a possibility.)  On the other hand, nothing bad ever happened to me.  Aside from a few scares from weird people and a lot of catcalls from passing cars, I was able to navigate the world without harm.

How do parents do this?  How do you know whether to throw your kid into the pool and let them thrash around or whether to cradle them in your arms as you inch slowly down the steps into the shallow end?  When do you let go?  How do you let go?  Clearly, there is some middle ground and that’s where I’m trying to stand.

But it’s hard.

Hard to let go, hard to hold on, hard to imagine my kids in the big wide world without me right there whispering suggestions in their ears and reminding them to flush the toilet and brush their teeth.

I don’t know how my dad did it.  He gave me the gift of independence.

He was brave to let me go.  (I didn’t know until much later how much that cost him but that’s a story for another day.)

The painter is missing

The painter never showed up today.  And he never called.

I know he will be back tomorrow . . . I think he will be back tomorrow . . . I have no reason to believe he will not be back tomorrow.  (Will he be back tomorrow?)

I will be relieved when the painting is finished.  My room has one unpainted wall and then the Boy Cave is the final task.  And it’s a pretty big task.

I have spent so much time in that room removing items, cleaning, moving things.  Paint, carpet and then we’re ready to put the house on the market.  I think.

In keeping with my insidious plan to drive myself crazy, I have scheduled another appointment for myself tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m.  I wish I’d stop making Monday appointments.  The precious hours between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Mondays are my only “free time” anymore . . . and I keep squandering them on grown-up things like eye appointments and dental appointments.  It’s maddening, really.

And now, it’s almost 2 a.m. and the eye doctor is going to scold me for having bloodshot eyes but it’s NOT MY FAULT.

The saga continues

Last night, I checked my phone messages on the land-line and found that the appliance store had called to let me know that the electrician was scheduled to install my new dishwasher between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m., but close to 7 a.m. since I was the first delivery of the day.  [Reminder: I work until midnight six nights a week.]

It seems like a lifetime ago that I woke up at 6:50 a.m., donned my glasses, a sweatshirt and sweatpants and tried to look alert.  I made my bed, then lay back down, listening for the doorbell.  I watched Good Morning, America and thought again what a cute pocket-size guy George Stephanopoulous is.

At about 7:30 a.m., the phone rang.  The voice informed me the driver was about twenty minutes away.

Forty-five minutes later, he arrived.

The new dishwasher was installed before I left at 9 a.m. to take my daughter to school.

When I returned, I lay back down on the made bed and listened for the painter to arrive.  He hadn’t told me he would be late, so I figured he’d arrive by 9:30 a.m.   I fell into one of those half-sleeps where you dream crazy dreams that seem mostly real but also disturbingly loony.  At 10:15 a.m., he has still not arrived.

I fell into a deeper sleep with even more bizarre real-feeling dreams.  At 10:55 a.m., I woke with a start.  Had the painter come, knocked and gone away?  Had I missed a phone call?  I went downstairs, opened the door and peered outside.  No painter, no painter’s van.  (Had the Rapture occurred?  What was going on?)

At about 11:15 a.m., from my spot on my made bed, I heard the front door open and the painter’s voice:  “Good morning!”

I sprang from the bed and looked down the stairs at the painter.  “Were you here already?” I asked like a complete lunatic.  “I fell asleep and worried that you’d been here and gone?”

Then he told me that he was late because he had to clean out the chicken coop.

Now, that is an excuse you don’t hear every day.

At noon, I signed on to work on my computer . . . and realized that I don’t work until 1 p.m. on Wednesdays.   So, instead, I drove to Value Village to drop off yet another small load of stuff we had that we don’t need, including four size 4T dresses that have been hanging in the laundry room for approximately four years.

What?  I was busy “cleaning my chicken coop.”

There’s a strange man in my house

So, we’re getting our house ready to put on the market.  I’ve had the kitchen counter-tops redone and new vinyl put in the laundry room.  I bought a new kitchen sink and a new toilet.  A few days ago, a guy installed a new stove.  There’s a new dishwasher sitting in the living room waiting for a guy to hook it up on Wednesday.  A nice young man installed two new light fixtures.  A long-suffering friend came over on very short notice to help us put up the new hood over the range.

And for a couple of weeks now, I’ve had a man here painting the interior walls.

He was due to arrive this morning at 9 a.m.  I worked last night until almost 2 a.m. . . . went to sleep at 2:30 a.m. . . . and woke up very reluctantly on a non-school day at ten minutes until nine.

The painter finally arrived at 10:20 a.m.  No, he did not call and let me know he would be late.

He was here until almost 7 p.m.  And while he’s a great guy and a meticulous painter, I am weary of having strange men in my house.

Spiffing up the house to sell it is a pain in the neck and also makes me wonder why in the world I didn’t spiff it up earlier.   Other than the fact that it’s a huge ordeal and inconvenience.

Next up?  Making arrangements for an appliance store to come and pick up my very old freezer.  But first I have to defrost it and clean up the Coke explosion that resulted from two of my kids forgetting cans of Coke in it last week.

Yes, it’s fun to be me.

The New Year

Last year was a year of uncertainty.

This year has a little more structure . . . but much of it remains shrouded in a giant cloud of the unknown.

Frankly, I’m not fond of being unable to see what’s going to happen next.  I’m more of a planner.  I like to line things up in alphabetical order and sort things from tallest to smallest.  And this year is a gigantic ball of tangled yarn that is too big to hold, let alone untangle.

Well.  So.  There’s that.

Meanwhile, the painter will be here at 9 a.m. and I’m so very sad about that because as it turns out, tomorrow there’s no school (still?) and it would be a perfect Sleep-In Day but since I thought there was school until a short while ago, the painter has already received permission (from me!) to come at 9 a.m.  He’ll be painting the upstairs bathroom and possibly my 8-year old daughter’s room, a fact that makes me want to cry because her room is in complete disarray and that means that tomorrow morning not only will I be unwillingly awake but I will be sorting through the debris on her floor, wondering what kind of mother allows a child to have such a sloppy room.

Good night.  More tomorrow unless I am dead from lack of sleep.

What is a platelet anyway?

Driving down the road with teenagers, I had the following conversation with one teenager:

Teen:  ” . . . so I was thinking we could use that song as a platelet for our song.”

Me:  ” . . . a platelet?  Do you mean a template?”

Teen:  “Uh.  Yeah, template, whatever.”

Me, smiling:  “Do you even know what a platelet is?”

Teen:  “Yeah . . .  It’s a really small plate.”

Me, instantly hysterical:  “A really small plate?!”

Teen:  “What?”

Me:  “A platelet is a kind of blood cell . . .”  [Note: Slightly inaccurate, but still, close enough.]

Teen:  ” . . . ”

I had begun to laugh so hard I was crying . . . I couldn’t breathe.

Now, days later, all I do is think . . . platelet, really small plate . . . and I am amused all over again.

That is all.

Giveaway and Time Saving Tips

First of all, I want to offer you a chance to win a $50 Bank of America gift card.  All you have to do is leave a tip for getting back time during the holiday season.  I will pick a winner on (or about) Christmas!

AND THE WINNER IS: #3, Judy from Anybody Home. I used to pick the number, but I can’t figure out how to put that little box here so you can see.  Anyway, you’ll have to trust me!

Thanks for all your comments . . . hope you had a Merry Christmas!


You may have noticed that I am busy.  Really, really busy.  How do I fit everything in?  (Cue commercial break now, please.)

First of all, I prioritize.  I figure out what is most important and focus on that first.  Stuff that isn’t vital may get neglected.  (For instance, who has time or inclination to dust?)

I also make lists on my desk calendar.  While I do depend on my iPhone for many things, I depend on my handwritten calendar for information and scheduling.  (Then I might put an alert on my iPhone calendar but I like to see things written down.)

Finally (and the point of this compensated post), I handle all my banking online.  I pay all my bills, including my mortgage using the trusty internet.  Furthermore, I use Mobile Banking, so I receive alerts about my balances.

Bank of America offers these helpful solutions:

  • Receive instant account balance alerts : Don’t worry about making an extra stop to the bank during all of your holiday shopping.  Keep track of your spending by using Bank of America’s Online and Mobile Banking and receive instant alerts if your balance is running low.
  • Bank on the go: It’s easy to set up mobile banking and secure access to your money wherever you are. Download the mobile banking app and you can check balances, transfer money, pay bills, and locate ATMs.  Sign up for text banking and you’ll be able to send a text message to get your balance instantly in a reply.
  • Make quick and easy deposits: Holiday means a lot of extra work, so eliminate the labor of depositing checks.  With Bank of America’s Deposit Image ATMs, you simply feed checks or cash into the ATM with no envelopes or deposit slips required.  You get images of your checks and a list of cash deposited on your receipt as proof.
  • Save a trip to the bank: Don’t worry about making an extra stop to the bank during all of your holiday shopping.  Keep track of your spending by using Bank of America’s online banking: set up alerts, check balances, and transfer money.

I just heard about this cool MapQuest feature . . .

  • A lesser-known “route planner” feature on MapQuest helps you save both time and money by mapping out an entire journey – with multiple stops – all in one convenient step.  You can add up to 25 destinations along any route, and the tool gives you the fastest route.

Bank of America has recently developed a Twitter handle called @BofA_Tips . . . so follow them for even more tips and ideas.

Good luck and thanks for participating in this giveaway!

This contest is hosted and fulfilled solely by Actual Unretouched Photo.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Bank of America and received a Bank of America preloaded gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”


Dental visit.  Ouch.

Hair highlighted.

Husband returned.

Left on a late jet-plane for New York City.

Room service.

Working online in hotel.

Wednesday meetings, meetings, working, office party, cab-ride, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, John’s Pizzeria, cab-ride.

Thursday home but not before meeting an amazing car-driver.  Then work.

Friday, husband gone.


Saturday?  Blank spot.

Sunday?  Church, nap . . . what else?

Today?  Sister, shopping, traffic, painter, nap, work, lunar eclipse.

* * *
I will be back to fill in this post with actual writing and details.  But tonight I am too tired and at 10 a.m. the painter will be back to paint my kitchen, entry-way, hallway and living room.

Quickly, quickly

Since you were last here:

1)  My four children had early morning dental appointments.  One had a cavity.
2)  A guy came and installed new laminate counter-tops in my kitchen and master bathroom and new vinyl in my laundry room and adjoining bathroom.  He arrived at 8 a.m. two separate mornings.
3)  I painted the laundry room and adjoining bathroom (midnight to 3 a.m. . . . I vow to never paint again.)
4)  I participated in two telephone conference calls with my company.
5)  I worked my regular forty hours.
6)  I had a temporary crown installed in my jaw.  Ouch and ouch and ouch again.
7)  My hair colorist had mercy on me and colored the uppermost portion of my hair so I have no obvious roots.
8)  My husband arrived home for three days!

Tomorrow?  I am leaving my house at 5 a.m. (that is four hours and twenty minutes from now) to catch a 7:30 a.m. flight to New York where I have a work meeting and then will attend the company Christmas party.  I know.  I am very fancy.  Well, not really.  But I will be in Manhattan on business anyway.

While I’m gone my husband will be here.  You’ll recall he’s already working in Southern California.  This is the first time he’s been “home” since October.  It was nice to see him for awhile and to hear him snore while I worked.

And now I’m going to bed to get a hoped-for solid four hours of sleep.


Okay, look.  I had quite a busy weekend visiting my husband and our new church in California.  I wanted to tell you all about it.

But I can’t because it’s 1:30 a.m. and I just finished working and I’m exhausted and at 8 a.m. a guy is going to arrive to install new countertops and at 8:30 a.m. two of my kids have to be at the dentist and then I have to take one of them to school (and bring the other home) and then at 11:00 a.m. I have an important work-related telephone conference and I just don’t time to tell you all about it.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll have time.

Don’t hold your breath.

What did you do last weekend?

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