Friday, January 29, 2010

Exactly, Darling

As a writer/mother, I always point out author bylines and photos when I read books to the chickens.

A few days back while unloading groceries, Chicken Little pulled this box from the pile.
“Look, Mom,” she said, all wide-eyed, pointing to Pa and Nell. “These are the people who wrote the popcorn!”

I get so misty-eyed when I see my parental intentions taking root.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Every Girl's Sunday Afternoon Fantasy

So, I’m trolling through the grocery store. The chickens trail behind me. They bleat. “Mommy can we have this? Can we have that? Momm-meey?” They grab boxes of Pokemon macaroni and cheese and bottles of bubble bath shaped like Cinderella off the shelves. They bonk into other shoppers like poorly-shot pool balls.

It’s been a delightful weekend of homey togetherness. Captain Daddy has been at work, putting in his usual 48-hour shift. The rest of us-three have been crammed in the house doing the same puzzle over and over and getting increasingly sick of each other while it sleet/snows outside. Good times.

By this point—Sunday afternoon—I am over it. I am wearing a ball cap, old shapeless fleece jacket that I used to wear pregnant, and a scowl. Strutting my stuff. Running wild and looking pretty. Hot child in Fred Meyer. With offspring.

I round the bend at the end of aisle eight and nearly smash my cart into this totally cute guy in uniform. Turnouts, actually. Firefighter gear. He’s clean-shaven but a little rugged-looking, with crazy cheekbones and boyish good looks that have been around the block just the perfect number of times. His blue eyes gaze directly into mine. I am startled. I freeze.

The fireman takes a step closer. He leans over. He kisses me.

Though it kind of feels like it, I am not having a sleep-deprived fantasy, perhaps the sort that comes from getting no exercise and eating mostly only crackers and cheese for three days. I don’t recall having done any hallucinogens prior to loading my children into the vehicle and driving across town. I am not sure what else might explain this unexpected bright spot in my day.

“Daddy!” scream the chickens with delight.

This August, I’ll have been married to that cute fireman for ten years. We met 14 years ago this week. Every time I see him in uniform, I feel 25 again.

And yeah, on-duty firefighters grocery shop. And cook. That’s even hotter.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Hawaiian Vacation, In Quotes

Captain Daddy, on the plane over as Chicken Little climbs him like King Kong on the Empire State Building, roaring and kicking: “Kill me now.”
Captain Daddy, night one, 2 a.m.: “Are you going to take her to the ER or am I?”
R (age 6) to Chicken Noodle (age 4), day two: “Don't talk to me. Ever again.”
Captain Daddy, day two: "Where is Little's blankie?"
Me: "With Noodle's sweater. On the plane."
My sister, day three: “I had a dream that a nice normal family wanted to adopt me.”
Chicken Little, night four, 3 a.m.: “I kattack you big fat mommy!”
Me: “Middle-of-the-night time is for sleeping, baby. No kattacking.”
Chicken Little: “Kattack kattack!” (thump)
Me, day five: “Family vacations are about tradeoffs. You get this (gesturing to vast stunning tropical landscape). But you have to give up sanity.”
My mother, day six: “I used to think happiness was everyone I love in the same room. I’ve changed my mind.”
Me, day seven: “Sometimes you’re the pickaxe, sometimes you’re the coconut.”
Me, at the airport after our return: “I am not sure I am ever going to do this again.”
My sister: “Nope. See you on Facebook.”

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy Blogoversary To Me

Today is the one-year anniversary of this blog! Bust out the champagne!

Oh. It's 6 am. Well. Coffee will do. Slip a little something in it, if you must.

Here’s a Blooming Year One redux.

First post: Popcorn

Blog Inspiration: Late Bloomers

Hero's Challenge, Act I: Consult

Foreshadowing: Free the French Fries

Plot Twist: Plot Twist

Hero's Challenge, Act II: A Bloodcurdling Halloween Horror Story

Audience favorites:

We’re Going to Potty Like It’s 2009

The Farm Share Blues

Torn Between Two Lovers

The Perspective Express

Roots and Flowers

Post That Best Describes My Glamorous Life: Baby You’re a Star

Post I Should Reread When I Get Bat-Shit Crazy: Onward Intrepid Writer

Blog words written: 31, 400

Visitors: 2533

Personal Take-Home: It’s been one heck of a year

Hero's Challenges, Act III: to come

With that, I’m out for ten days. Santa delivered (Santa Brings The Heat)—I board a plane for Hawaii tomorrow.

PS We’re dropping Chester off on the way. I'll take pictures.

PPS It might be time to change my bio blurb to the left. Book burning? What book burning?


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Welcome to My Disaster Area

This is picked up

I sleep under fine art

The very latest in home decorating

We did this, yep.

A couple of weeks ago we went to a friend of Noodle’s on a play date. It turned out to be the kind of house that makes me feel bad about my house. Not a brand-new shiny McMansion, no. The kind that used to be a fixer-upper. That was then very thoroughly fixed-up.

You know, like what my house could look like. If I actually ever did anything to it.
This house was sparkly remodeled but livable and personal. The children’s rooms were nicely appointed and their toys were arranged in little vignettes on shelves. Family photos hung on the wall in neat rows. Cupboards and wainscoat were painted fresh white. Furniture was perky, d├ęcor just so. It was very lovely. I kind of wanted to move in.

The chickens and I came home to our own house, which seemed to have been mobbed by five-year-old Hells Angels in our absence. Mismatched toys littered the floor, piles of dishes mixed with art supplies in the kitchen, books were haphazardly crammed onto shelves, crayon covered the walls, stickers were stuck to the floor, the Christmas tree tipped at an odd angle.

In other words, it was exactly how I’d left it that morning.

I raced around trying to right a few of the most egregious wrongs, wondering how soon I could convince Captain Daddy to repaint the entire interior, before stopping dead in the living room with this realization.

I kind of like my house.

Even with Crayola walls and kid-art haphazardly taped everywhere, including the headboard of my bed. Even with a dozen slightly mutilated magic wands shoved in a vase instead of flowers in the dining room.

Sure, there are things that I’d like to fix, like the unpainted sheetrock in the basement and the stained linoleum in the bathroom. But when I look at those things in better moods, I see not ugly imperfection, but time—time spent elsewhere.

Time spent reading books to the chickens or hiking in the woods as a family or reading the New Yorker or writing a book or even sleeping. Time spent in pursuits other than beautifying my home. Which has never been nor will ever be my priority. And that’s just me. And so be it.

My chickens won’t grow up in bedrooms with beautifully arranged shelves of perfect toys. They will grow up, for better or worse, with a clear sense of my values, which are: people first, play second, work that makes you feel good third, work that impresses the neighbors last.

(This explains many things, including the fact that my median income over the last ten years is about what it cost to buy a Toyota ten years ago, and that there are several decaying objects in my backyard, including a rusted-out cruiser bicycle (though I actually blame Captain Daddy for that one. Funny. We share the same priorities.))

This epiphany made me so cheery I put the pile of kid art back from where I’d scooped it and sat down with the new Sue Grafton novel. Now that I’ll be happy I devoted time to when I am on my deathbed.

It's a caterpillar, duh