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Modern House-wifery

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My dishwasher died this week. It set off my PTSD caused by growing up in a family of eight without a dishwasher much of the time. Because of the piles of dishes created by eight people on a regular basis, and the late night dishwashing marathons to catch up, I have a serious attachment to my dishwasher. Not only that, I have a scientific method for loading it.

The science is this: the dishes that remain to be hand washed after the dishwasher is loaded is in direct proportion to my level of happiness. Therefore, everything that can be, is crammed into the dishwasher.

My husband does not agree with my theory…other than the happiness part. He seems to think that if you overload a dishwasher, the items don’t get clean enough. I have a scientific solution for that as well…run it again.

I seriously try to avoid hand washing dishes.at.all.cost.

But something strange has happened. As the kids and I (and the husband) have been hand washing dishes all week, I’ve found it rather pleasant at times. Something about my hands in the warm water, the smell of the soap, and chatting with one of my daughters while she dries the dishes has awakened a strange domestic feeling in me. It’s time spent together that wouldn’t normally happen. The rhythmic motion and running water is relaxing, and let’s face it, hard work is rewarding.

So maybe I won’t be in such a rush to get my dishwasher fixed. I’ll enjoy these moments of working together like our ancestors did without the modern convenience of a dishwasher.¬†Although If my husband reads this, I may deny it. ūüôā

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Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Life happens

I tend to keep this blog light, literary, and more writing focused. I have shied away from being too personal, and posting sporadically has made that possible. However, when writing a post everyday, real life tends to creep in.

Today was going to be about voting. Life happened.

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I woke up to a phone call and voicemail at 6am. Phone calls outside the polite timeframe are always cause for alarm. The call was to inform me that my jr. higher’s bus was on a two hour delay due to safety concerns. My first response was to look out the window for frost and ice. Nothing. Of course, anything weather related would have been disclosed. The next step is to log onto social media to see if anyone else knows anything.

Within an hour we all learned that an online threat was made against the school. Law enforcement was brought in, the threat investigated thoroughly, and the perpetrator taken into custody. Law enforcement and administrators deemed the school “safe” and school resumed on a two-hour delay schedule.

To get really personal, we live thirty minutes from the most recent school shooting. Four years ago, my whole family huddled under bleachers watching the swat team move in and listening to gunfire while a gunman ran loose in our town and headed toward the football stadium.

I do not feel “safe”. I do not feel that my kids are “safe”.

I believe they are as safe as law enforcement and our wonderful school district can make them, but ultimately none of us knows the day or the hour. Ultimately tragedies are deemed tragedies because they are sudden and unpredictable. There will be no end to tragedy on this earth. There are no laws we can vote into place that will keep a madman from opening fire on innocent people.

I sent my daughter to school today. I didn’t want to at first, but living in fear empowers evil people.

There is only one way to live in this world: not in fear, but in faith…and with hope. Hope in the one who breathed this world into existence. Hope in the one who saw that it was good. Hope in the one who redeemed me for His own. Hope in the one who loves me as His child, and loves my children even more than I do. He is in control. He is my peace. He is my hope.

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

NaBloPoMo

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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I make no resolutions

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I haven’t always felt this way, but anything that involves me “resolving” to do something that I have been unable to discipline myself to do the many years I have been alive, seems to be a set-up for failure. There have been some years that I have purchased the obligatory gym membership in January, and other years I have bought a new journal vowing to write everyday of the year. We all know how this goes‚Ķ By May the gym barely knows I exist, and the journal is buried under a stack of books and magazines with the last entry dated March 3rd and the entry before that is probably February 13th with the first line being, “sorry I haven’t written in a while.” (Who am I apologizing to anyway?)

The nature of my job and the fact that I have four children means our year revolves around the school calendar. Our “new year” really starts in September. I like to picture our year as a mountain with a lush valley and lake on the other side (not that different from our natural habitat). We start up the mountain in September and it is a grueling climb fraught with promise. School and sports schedules control us with the trifecta of holidays looming ever closer. The powers that be might want to revisit the idea of having Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all within two months of each other.

In the course of our climb we lose sleep, ¬†get cranky, and want to give up, but we keep going because with each week and holiday we pass, we are that much closer to the top of the mountain. November and December pass quickly filled with food and fun times with family. By the end of December we feel almost comatose. Then we reach January. January is the top of our mountain. The routine is set, the rest of the year is downhill, and sometimes we can even see the plush valley below that I like to call summer – ah, summer!! The most refreshing word in a teacher or child’s vocabulary.

With the fall behind us and the holidays over we can take a deep breath and prepare for the downhill climb – which in the nature of the school calendar includes several relaxing breaks.

The downhill climb is much more conducive to breathing and thinking. Having time to breath and think enables me to put my priorities in order and make positive changes in my life. I usually have time once again to exercise, get my house in order, and even read for pleasure. But, don’t get me wrong. These positive changes are in no way “resolutions.” I make no resolutions except to arrive at that lush green meadow in one piece and bask in the sunshine while trying not to think about the next mountain that looms on the other side of the valley.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Chivalry is Not Dead

Apparently neither is mind-reading.

While loading my van at Costco I was composing Facebook rants in my head such as, “The best rain dance I can think of is a trip to Costco” and “Why does the checker fill the box so damn full, I can’t lift it out of my cart” (I don’t usually swear out loud, but remember this was all in my head) and finally “If you are going to sit and wait 15 minutes for my parking spot, you might as well get out and help me!”

Well apparently the man waiting for my spot was a mind reader. It was either that or the aforementioned box spilling half its contents on the ground as I wrestled it out of my cart. He jumped out and offered to help. I gladly accepted and then said something that will make many of you cringe: “I don’t usually come to Costco without my husband’s help.”

It almost sounded politically incorrect to my own ears. Did I just admit that I really needed a man’s help? I used to go to Costco by myself‚Ķ.if I was lucky! Sometimes I had three little helpers with me. Now a couple of those helpers are teenagers who are too busy to shop with me and I could easily fill two carts at Costco. Between the shopping, loading the car at Costco, and unloading the car at home, I consider my trips to Costco my workout for the day. So do I need my husband’s help? No, not necessarily. I could be an independent woman and handle it on my own. Do I want my husband’s help? Most certainly. We enjoy each other’s company, it makes it much easier for me, and he gets to throw things in the cart that I don’t normally buy.¬†

But on the other hand, I do need¬†my husband. There is nothing wrong with needing another human being.¬†Americans have made independence an art form and a soapbox to stand on. If either gender needs the other than you are “whipped” if you are a man or “repressed and anti-feminist” if you are a woman. Why don’t we all just admit that on a basic human level we need each other.¬†We were created for it. It says in Genesis that a “man will leave his father and mother… and the two will become one flesh.” One flesh. I don’t know about you, but I desperately need all of my flesh.¬†

My students are studying Medieval literature and chivalry. Chivalry is defined as: bravery, courtesy, honor, and gallantry toward women. In other words being fierce and brave in battle and courteous and gentle in the parlor. This isn’t popular in today’s society because we mistakenly believe that for a man to be chivalrous a woman must be weak and in need of a knight in shining armor. But what in the definition of chivalry indicates weakness in women? Chivalry is holding one human being to a high standard in the way they treat another human being. Seems to me that we could all stand to be more chivalrous with each other male or female.

So thank you, man at Costco, for showing courtesy and honor and coming to my aid one human being to another.

 

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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This Too Shall Pass

I don’t often miss my babies, but when I do it comes over me in a wave so powerful I can feel their soft bodies in my arms and smell the baby smell of warm milk mixed with baby powder.

As I dropped my youngest off at school today, I thought of returning home to a quiet house with dishes and laundry to do, papers to grade, and the quietness of no interruptions. There were many days I longed for this. Oh, how I longed to have a few quiet hours with no little person tugging at my leg while her sister was screaming in the crib. But now that those days are here, I sometimes find myself suffocated by the quiet and missing the little warm bodies that needed me more than anything in the world. The way their bodies meld and fit so perfectly in my arms, The wispy hair that always seemed to smell so good, and even their sweet and sometimes not so sweet little cries are all part of an overwhelming stage of life that we usually wish away.

We can’t wait for them to grow more and more independent, to give us some of our independence back. And then you wake up one morning and realize you have arrived. That was it. That was all you got. Just a few years of never enough cuddles, wiping away tears, and being the center of their world. Now it’s friends, iPods, closed doors and navigating the reality of raising young adults. This stage is fun and beautiful in its own way, but so very different.

When we are in the midst of struggle and hard times, we often hear the adage, ‘This too shall pass.’ Unfortunately the same holds true with times we treasure.

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Posted by on December 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Dear Fellow Drivers,

I am a distracted driver. There, I said it. I know what you think of me. I’ve ridden with my husband enough times to fear that I am the “crazy driver” he is often frustrated with. But before you call me a menace to society or wish me permanently banned from the roads, I think you should know a little something about me.

I have not been in an accident or even had a speeding ticket since 1996. (ok, one photo-enforced speeding ticket, but we all know those are evil and don’t count).¬†

I have a job, a husband, and four children which means I have a million things on my mind at any given time, and most likely, there are at least 3 different conversations going on in my car that may sound something like this:

Child #1 “Are we stopping at Safeway?”

Child #2 “Can Olivia spend the night tonight and bring her dog for us to keep?”

Me “Yes.”¬†

Child #2 “Really?!! We get a dog?”

Me “What? No, of course not. I was talking to your sister.”

Child #2 “Moooom! But, you said, YES!”

Child #3 “MOM!! I’ve been telling her to stop touching me for like 20 minutes!”

Child #4 “That’s impossible. We’ve only been in the car for 9 minutes.”

You get the picture. Anyone with more than one child is very familiar with the above scenario. 

So yes, I am a distracted driver. I may cut you off in traffic. I may miss an opportunity to let you merge. I may even inadvertently block the entrance to the apartment building you are trying to turn into because the light changed and the line of traffic didn’t move as far forward as I anticipated.¬†

I’M SORRY! I really am. I’m not an idiot. I’m not a bad driver. I’m just distracted.

For my part, I will strive to focus on the task at hand and be more aware of being extra courteous to you, my fellow drivers.

For your part, before you mouth horrible things at me to express your rage or even pretend to shoot me with your finger (yes, that really happened) can we just give each other a little grace. Whatever I did to elicit such a response was in no way intentional, and if we’re not exchanging insurance information then no harm was done. So take a moment and think about your response. If your destination is so life altering that arriving two minutes later will wreck everything, than by all means, spew your hatred. Otherwise, just ¬†accept the mouthed apology of a frazzled woman and move on.

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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