Monday, May 24, 2010

Learn to Eat Like Old People

Another guest post from my husband, K.

We ate dinner at our friend’s house last night.

It was a casual dinner party, kids included.

We fed the kids first and then the grown-ups ate.

All this skewed dinner a little late by our early-eating clock.

While we waited, we both noshed on crackers and hummus.

A little bit of cheese, yes please.

We picked at left over hot dog pieces and grilled mushrooms as we cleared the kids plates.

When it was ready, we both ate solid dinners.

We could not refuse the chocolate cake.

Soon after, regret set in.

Both of our stomachs hurt.

My practical wife said,

“We have to learn to eat like old people.”

Oh baby, you talk so sexy to me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Wild Bachelor

Flabbergasting K and I, my mother offered to keep the children for a week at my grandmother's home in Virginia last summer.

I was, of course, excited about the possibilities of a child-fee week, but I was equally excited about my children having the opportunity to spend a summer week in the small Virginia community where I spent so much time as a child.

The Mayor and I talked on the phone one night before bed and he told me all about his day.

"I met Charlie and Joey at the pool and we talked and talked. We talked about the things we have, what we like to do and where we like to go... it was so great, Mom."

Charlie and Joey are both cousins of his.

Everywhere we turn in this part of Virginia, relatives abound.

There is something tremendously comforting in having a sense of place like that, where everywhere you go, you are related to someone.

I drove back up to Virginia to collect The Mayor and The Rooster the next weekend.

While I was gone, I got a series of e-mails from K under the subject heading "wild bachelor."

----- Original Message -----
From: K
To: Jessica
Sent: Jul 11, 2009
Subject: wild bachelor

Yes, I’ve gone wild.

I will now regale you of my exploits:

  • Changed the HVAC Filters

  • Washed the new sheets

  • Took stuff to Goodwill

  • Bought laundry soap and toilet paper (24 rolls! – Wild!)

  • Got sunglass clip-ons at the Walmart

  • Sorted sock drawer

  • Watch out.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Jessica
    Sent: Saturday, July 11, 2009 12:45 PM
    To: K
    Subject: Re: wild bachelor

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    -----Original Message-----
    From: K
    To: Jessica
    Sent: Saturday, July 11, 2009 12:53
    Subject: RE wild bachelor

    The romp continues...

    • Replaced the kitchen fluorescent light fixture -Which revealed just how disgusting our refrigerator had become. Ew. Cleaned out bottom drawers and underneath bottom drawers (yuck - red strawberry something or other pooled and streaked and sticky).
    • cleaned the top of the refrigerator (also remarkably gross).
    • cleared out back porch, sorting hangers and beach toys.

      I can't be stopped.

    My mom says she'll keep them again this summer.

    I live in unbearable suspense, wondering what my husband will get up to this year.

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Summer List

    I saw this in the Real Simple magazine last summer and I liked it.

    It seems like the right time to re-read it...

    If you have an hour this summer...

    Roll down a big hill

    Paint rocks

    Spray each other with seltzer

    play flashlight tag

    roast marshmellows

    Catch (and release) fireflies

    Bake mudpies in the sun

    Toss a frisbee

    Start a grass fight

    Lok under stones near a pond

    Run through the sprinkler

    Read bedtime stories in the hammock

    Organzie a crazy eights tournament

    Make a daisy chain

    Smack a tetherball around

    Samp a family picture at dusk (in the beautiful light)

    Weed (i.e. pick dandelions)

    Challenge friends to a wtermelon sees spitting contest

    Catch (and release) minnows

    Jump rope with the hose stream

    Work on your catwheel

    Launch foam rockets

    Skinny dip

    Take a pj's walk

    If you have a day...

    Take a hike - make a display for the next hikers with the treasures you find

    Write and stage a play

    Create a rock garden

    Build a raft and set sail across the creek

    Sell lemonade

    Say yes to a trip to the zoo or amusement park

    Put on your bathing suit and wash the car (and the toy cars, too)

    Sip smoothies poolside and give each other manis/pedis)

    Volunteer at a working farm (find one at

    Take a long bike ride with lots of stops (for ice cream, cloud watching, flower picking, etc.)

    Rent a boat (and row gently or merrily down the stream)

    Tour your town's playgrounds

    Go to a minor league baseball game

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Walk to School

    This is a guest post written by my husband...

    We walked to school this morning and held hands most of the way.

    It was a remarkably beautiful spring morning, cool, fragrant with all the blooms, noisy with the songs of birds, patterned in slanting light and shadows.

    I’m glad we walked. We have fallen out of the habit of late and I realize the school year is almost done.

    The Mayor was a little grumpy at the outset, upset that we had not looked for and found his Pokemon cards before we left the house. But the glower left his face shortly.

    We talked a little about what he would do at school (Spanish every Monday, work time every day, recess when it's not raining – recess was likely today) and we said good morning to the stream as we walked over the little bridge.

    We came upon the smoker man who, unfortunately, walks his dog and smokes his cigarettes every day around the same time we walk to school.

    His dog is one of those teeny, pug face dogs that must be quite yappy when it gets to barking.

    The Mayor twisted his face and stuck out his tongue after we passed him and ran into his trail of cigarette smell.

    We talked about habits, how the smoker man walks his dog at the same time every day.

    As we came alongside of school, I commented that the school year would soon be over.

    I said, "Soon you're going to be done with kindergarten and on to first grade. How did you get so big?"

    He shrugged his shoulders.

    I told him how proud of him I am for doing such a good job at school this past year.

    I was feeling very fond of him today.

    We reached the front door.

    I kneeled.

    He announced he was not going to have school breakfast that day.

    I told him I loved him and that I hoped he had a good day.

    He kissed me. Gave me a hug.

    Then he said, sheepishly, “I love you.”

    I actually had to ask him what he said because I didn’t hear him and my face was less than a foot from his.

    I hugged him again.

    He asked, as is his habit, “Do I have to go to the cafeteria this morning?”

    I told him he did.

    I stood up and took a few steps away and he called me.

    He stood by the front door and pointed up to a poster on the glass.

    "What's this all about?"

    I read the title of the event to him (a pony ride event) and said he should ask Ms. Pitts about it.

    He turned and walked in the door.

    He is so big, yet he still seemed so small.

    I wanted to squeeze him in my arms.

    Protect him. Love him.

    Such a perfect little guy.

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    Westward Currents

    At exactly 7:00 Eastern time, The Family Joy sat gathered around the family dining table.

    At the very same moment, it was 4:00 Pacific time and Grandma Seattle was meeting with her boss.

    I knew she was worried about the meeting, the company she's been with for 10 years is changing.

    [And, to state the obvious, change is hard.]

    We stopped dinner and thought of Grandma Seattle.

    "Close your eyes," K suggested to the kids.

    "Say 'I'm thinking of you Grandma and I hope everything turns out just the way you want it to,' but don't say it out loud, just think it in your head," he told them.

    The four of us sat with our eyes squeezed shut, concentrating, sending this message.

    "Now," I said, "imagine there's a great red, swoop of love that rushes right out of the top of your head. Imagine it sweeping over all of the states in our country and traveling all the way to Seattle. Imagine it finding Grandma and swooping down and flowing right into her body."

    Four sets of eyes remained tightly shut as a great red swath of love rode the wind westward.

    "Let's send her kisses," The Rooster suggested.

    And a thousand kisses flew from our windows and fluttered off to the great northwest.

    We love you and we're thinking about you, Mom.

    Sunday, May 09, 2010

    Jack Handy's Sister's Thoughts

    Sometimes the children fight.

    They pick at each other mercilessly, needling away.

    At those times, I secretly wish I had earphones on and loud music playing.

    Is that wrong?

    Friday, May 07, 2010

    Doomed to Live Here Forever

    We're trying to sell our house right now.

    We don't have to sell our house at the moment, but The Mayor and The Rooster share a room and, while that works for now, it won't work forever.

    On top of the pain of trying to keep it clean and "show ready" despite the best efforts of the short and loud people we live with to do otherwise, we have chosen to embark on this undertaking during the worst real estate market in a long, long time.

    [Because we are so very intelligent.]

    To make matters worse, we live on a busy street and only have one bathroom.

    It get's tiring to constantly hear all the reasons why our house sucks.

    "The road noise was too much for my clients. Nice home, good sized rooms which is important to my clients, but they are noise sensitive."

    K got so hearing the reasons why our house sucks that he wrote his own...

    Too noisy, not big enough, not enough bathrooms, …, mailbox post too twisted, too many trees, don’t like broken driveway pavement, sink fixtures not gold plated, doorbell too loud, there’s some chipped paint, I smelled dog poop in the backyard, I saw a ghost in the basement, I think my great grandmother was sick with the measles when she was a girl living in this house…

    #Doomed to #LiveHereForever


    Wednesday, May 05, 2010

    Note to My Children

    I am not your napkin.

    I am not anyone's napkin.

    I am not a napkin at all.

    Get your hot dog off of my arm.

    Stop blowing your nose in my sleeve.

    Monday, May 03, 2010

    There Should Be A Manual. Seriously.

    I was in a meeting awhile back and a colleague mentioned that they had recently read a report suggesting that a child’s ability to feel empathy was a strong indicator of both academic and life success.

    [blink. blink.]

    [Deer in headlights followed by...]

    [Deep, ponderous thought.]

    [Later trailed by emergence from deep pondering with BUBKISS to show for it.]

    How DOES a parent best teach empathy?

    Saturday, May 01, 2010

    And Now For Some Useless Information!

    I found a list written in my handwriting on the back of a recipe.



    Slow-talking, people in charge

    Keanu Reeves

    Diesel Exhaust

    Antivirus Expiration

    Photos of bizarre skin ailments

    Michael Gross (Played the father on the TV show Family Ties)

    Jessica Simpson

    Seashell Art

    Any guesses about the list's theme?