Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why are grown-ups so tired?

This question was posed to me last night by my otherwise intelligent 12-year-old son, Harrison, when both Jeff and I expressed, at past 11 p.m., that we were tired. "Why are grown-ups so tired all the time?" he wanted to know. And I launched into a brief, yet powerful, explanation that involved something about "because you kids never pick up after yourselves" which ended in a group eye-roll and a "Why did you even ask that?" admonishment from Hannah.

But, kids, it's your lucky day! Because I'm here to explain, once and for all, why grown-ups are so tired all the time. We begin with that bane of grown-up existence - the JOB. Yes, that thing daddies and mommies go to every day, that keeps them from home for nine or sixteen hours, is often in a mysterious location, and involves some type of "work" that can only be explained in simple terms such as "daddy works to cure cancer" or "mommy fights corporate giants". Imagine, children, if you will, having to go to school TWICE in one day! Gasp! And have twice the homework! And meaner teachers! That, in essence, is a job.

But my mommy "stays home" you say? So, she "doesn't have a real job"? ...........sorry, I just fell over laughing. I'm back now. Mommies and daddies who "stay home" with their children do not really stay home. Is your mommy sitting on her ample bum eating bon bons or is she driving you to soccer practice? And gymnastics? And Italian cooking classes? Children, your mommy (and the still-rare "stay at home daddy") is a busy, busy person. She picks up after you. She makes your food. She allows you to destroy her otherwise marginally clean home with your pack of wild animals you call "friends". She, quite literally, moves mountains - of laundry and crap that is strewn across the family room floor. She brings your lunch when you forget it. She writes checks for your expensive drama retreat and your overly-priced field trip to the fun center to ride bumper cars and eat tasteless pizza.

Your daddy works at his mysterious job, then comes home to fix broken chairs, find out why your fish died, stomp down the recycle bin, fix the radiator in your car so you don't have to ride the (horrors!) bus to school, kill spiders, clean dog barf off the carpet, and maybe find a small sliver of time in which to work out or pursue his own hobbies, while still dispensing his wit and wisdom to counteract your latest teenage drama and single-handedly hand-toss fifteen pizzas for your weekly "movie night".

In between all of that, mommies and daddies rarely have time to enjoy the luxurious pursuits that you enjoy, such as lounging in front of the TV, eating and drinking all day and leaving dishes in your wake, or asking for $20 to go to the movies with their friends. We're too busy wondering why that pile of random clothes is still sitting at the top of the stairs, even though we asked you three days ago to pick it up. We're confused as to how every single glass in the house could possibly be dirty when we have an actual dishwasher that could clean them, if only someone would fill it and empty it. We're scratching our heads as to how you can still possibly have another clean piece of clothing to wear when you have a pile of laundry that carpets your bedroom floor - several inches high!

Beyond that, we have worry and concern........will you ever learn how to properly close a cereal box? Will you ever get a job? When you do, will you understand that if you spend all your money on a purple hoodie, you might not have enough left over to pay your car insurance bill? Will you ever understand the peace that relative order and neatness can bring? And more importantly, will you ever learn that wiping up spilled chocolate milk with a dish towel and not rinsing it out can only result in a permanently stained dish towel that will have to be relegated to the rag pile?

This, children, is why grown-ups are so tired. We do and do and do all day long. We give and give and give. Sometimes, we'd like someone to give a little back, you know, to allow us more time to rest and relax and be more fun, and perhaps, conceive of the concept of starting a movie AFTER MIDNIGHT and actually staying awake to finish watching it. Wonderful, you say! How can this happen? Well, this is where you come in. Lucky for you, I have compiled a list of things YOU can do to help stop the epidemic of overly-tired grown-ups who are "more fun" and "not boring".

1. Pick up after yourselves. If you eat an Air Head, put the wrapper in the trash. Same applies to cheese sticks, granola bars and juice boxes.
2. Rinse and re-use your cup for a WHOLE DAY! I know this is a shocking concept, but watch and see the amazing results.
3. If you enjoy a nice bowl of artificially colored, sugared cereal with fresh, cold milk, close the box of cereal properly when you are finished pouring it, return it to the gaping empty spot from which you retrieved it instead of tossing it on the pantry floor, and return the milk to the refrigerator. Because cold milk is a privilege we all should enjoy.
4. Do a load of laundry at least twice a week. Avoid the embarrassment of having to wear gym shorts to school because all your jeans are dirty, and, please, do not try to pass off the wrinkled, straight from the hamper look as "chic". Everyone knows. Plus, there's the smell.
5. Put your laundry in it's receptacle. Not on your floor. This makes it so much easier to walk around your room and bathroom, plus, you will actually have a chance of escaping if there's a fire. Imagine the tragedy if we had to tell the sad, sad story over and over again of how our little darlings died in the house fire because their sneakers and hoodies became entangled in their pajama bottoms as they rushed to make their escape, which was hampered anyway but their inability to open the door due to piles of dirty laundry. Tragic, indeed.
6. If you are so inclined as to hone your essential cooking or baking skills in the family kitchen, please clean up afterwards. Hardened cake batter and coagulated mac 'n' cheese are so much harder to remove than if you rinse right away!
7. If you are lucky enough to have parents who are crazy enough to allow you to have a sleepover/crash pad/frat party with seventeen of your closest friends, please be courteous and pick up and wash all blankets and pillowcases the next day. Fold them! Put them away! This, alone, will save grown-ups countless hours of hard labor, and, subsequently, less tiredness.
8. Pay your mother some respect for teaching you how to read. Award her for those countless hours of flash cards by actually reading the handy list of chores she has so thoughtfully inscribed for you and DO THEM. Every day. Think of it this way - would you rather do a small amount of chores each day or spend an entire weekend day doing hard labor and listening to your grown-ups scream, rant and threaten? P.S. Screaming is hard work and makes grown-ups VERY tired.
9. Learn some basic skills such as how to unclog a toilet, prepare a simple meal, use the carpet cleaner on a spot of dog barf, wipe a counter, wash a window, and run a vacuum. These will serve you well into your adult years, until you can produce some offspring of your own to do them.
10. Say a kind word to the grown-up in your life. "Please" and "thank you" are a nice start, but some other favorites are "how can I help?" and "why don't you rest while I do that?" and "grande or venti?" and "olive or twist?" Those are all good things to say to mommies and daddies and make them much, much less tired and more fun!

So, there you have it, kids - the answer (along with some helpful tips) on how to help grown-ups be less tired and more fun. Follow this sage advice, and before you know it, your mom will be hopping off the couch at ten p.m. shouting "DQ run! I'm buying!" or your dad might say "Who wants to go to the mall? I'll drive and here's $20!" You just never know what might result if you follow the above advice closely. And every day. In the meantime, mommy and daddy will be napping because we're so, so tired..........

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wow.......

Jeff went to the bathroom in the "powder room" otherwise known as "the room other people who visit your house use, so please keep it clean and don't put your dirty underwear on the floor" room. (Disclaimer: there has actually been dirty underwear left on the floor in here, I say this to show you how much the kids do not care). Anyway, he noticed that there was no toilet paper. However, someone had made the effort to scooch the tissues closer so that they could be repurposed into butt-wipe. Jeff, knowing, as everyone in the house knows, that the extra toilet paper is kept (obviously) under the sink cabinet, opened it to find an entire package of TP just waiting to be put to it's intended purpose. Aghast at this utter display of laziness to the "nth" degree, he decided to write a note to the child offenders. So, he finished up his business and set out to find a post-it note. Those, not surprisingly, had been relocated to an unknown location, so he managed to find a piece of paper and then went about looking for some tape. He found the tape roll and it was.......empty! Unbelievable! He grabbed a glue stick, which was, unsurprisingly, empty as well. Found another one and adhered the note to the side of the tissue box. Arlie, the next to use the bathroom, came out and said "Really, dad? You had to swear?" The note said: This cracks me up, fuckahs!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tolo pictures..........

Kara, Max, Hayley

Rachel, Hayley, Maddi

Hannah all dressed up!

Hayley - so pretty!

Sisters!

Kisses - note look on Hannah's face! :)

More kisses!

Beautiful sisters! 

Framed

Eye love this girl!

Typical Hayley/Max looks!

Domestic goddess

Jewelry!

My girl

All the beautiful girls
Love this one!
The whole group!
Teo, Rachel, Max, Hayley
Kara, Aly, Maddi, Hannah
Typical!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Facebook Paralysis

We all have it. Well, those of us who have a Facebook have it. It's called Facebook Paralysis. It's a real condition whereupon a person, glued to their Facebook screen, and, having read all the most recent posts, played all the games (if you do that crap, I don't!), and commented on all the photos possible, keeps staring at the screen, refreshing and hoping something, anything, will come up to entertain them. Now, mind you, we all have other things beckoning us - chores, obligations, children. And we all know our lives somehow progressed along before Facebook. But now we are in its grips, Facebook, like Starbucks, keeps us coming back by the sheer power of "want". You WANT a latte. You WANT a pastry. And no matter where you go, on every corner, there's a Starbucks urging you into its double doors. You blindly follow the glowing green light of Starbucks' logo sign and pay $4 for a cup of coffee, day after day, because you WANT. Facebook is worse. It's always there. On your computer. Day and night. So easy to just "leave it up" while you attend to other things.  And such a good excuse for not doing those other things. Because a chat window might pop up. Or a notification! A NOTIFICATION! The very word indicates urgency and must be attended to immediately. God forbid a MESSAGE show up! Messages are IMPORTANT! They are, like, e-mail! And the holy grail.....a friend request! That cannot be ignored. That tiny red "1" means that somewhere, someone wants to be YOUR FRIEND! And even if all is quiet, if no red numbers are mocking you, the home page hasn't changed in five minutes, and "no one" is on chat, you'll keep Facebook up and running "just in case". And you'll refresh the page again. Just in case. You know you do it.

Valentine's Day and Mickey Mouse

So, yesterday was Valentine's day. I, I mean, the Valentine fairy, left heart-shaped M&M boxes and SweetHearts and cards for the offspring, and a box of Lindor truffles and a card for the manly man. He, in turn, followed my instructions to a "T" which went something along the lines of "I don't want any stupid, expensive flowers, or jewelry we can't afford, or chocolate - wait, chocolate is good. I want chocolate!" And then I went on to tell him I did NOT want any "stupid, cheesy card with a bunch of writing in it!" to which he replied "I don't get you cards like that" but I hold in my hand, right now, the birthday card he gave me that has a butterfly on the front and says "Some people make the world brighter just by being in it" on the front. I mean, that's nice and all, but I'd expect that from a co-worker or maybe one of my friends. I want something more meaningful from the better half, ya know? So, I instructed him to write me a letter or make me a card - I even left out craft materials in case he wanted to tap into his inner Martha Stewart (he didn't). So, here's what I got - a bag of Lindor truffles (dark chocolate - double yum!), a Lindt dark chocolate bar with almonds, and Lindor truffle "bites" which are basically mini versions of the aforementioned truffles. My card was a piece of red paper folded in half that said "I (drawn heart) you" and inside "Love, Jeff". He also noted on the side that it was "simple and sweet". I got a Tully's gift card and a pair of heart-shaped earrings (jewelry violation!!!) "wrapped" in a Tully's napkin! LOL! I LOVE THIS GUY!!!

Best of all, though, was surprising the kids with a trip to Disneyland. Now, mind you, this was not a Valentine's day gift (how would we ever top that?) but it was an occasion where we were all together so we surprised them with notes and little Mickey Mouse stuffed animals holding hearts (how appropriate). Enjoy the video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nfbpv1TRcyI

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's always something..........

I stole my title from my niece Sydney's blog, but it so describes our lives around here. Not a day goes by without some drama, large or small. Today started out by me being startled awake by my phone. Hayley was calling to tell me that she and Hannah had stopped by their dad's to get some clothes and their backpacks for school. But "in all the confusion" (huh?) she had forgotten to pick up her backpack so could I please call the school and excuse her from first period so she could drive back and get it? Not long after she walked in the door and I said "what are you doing here?" to which she replied, "I guess my backpack is actually here". Where it was in the first place. The house she left from this morning. Sigh.

Then, I got a text from Arlie saying she had forgotten her PE clothes and could I drop them by during lunch? What the....? Do these kids think I just sit around all day waiting to be beckoned for some menial service to them? I was getting ready for work at the time, but Jeff generously offered to drop the (still dirty) gym clothes off  on his way to work (by bike, mind you). Problem solved.

Then I got a text from Colin. You're right, I don't have a child named Colin, but this child is one of the "drama kids" who frequents my house and he thought he might have left his wallet here on Saturday night after the dance.  I texted him back that I'd look around for it, and headed to work.

Four hours later, I left work and went straight to Costco to purchase New York steaks, salmon and shrimp for a Valentine's day feast. On the way home, I got a call from my neighbor and got distracted from my mission to stop at Walgreen's. I ended up at home, scarfed down a reheated piece of veggie pizza, and set to work doing Disneyland vacation arrangements in order to get everything squared away so we could surprise the kids with the trip at dinner.

Colin texted me after school was out and asked if he could come by and search the house for his wallet. I let him. He came by again, later, with Brie, and they both looked, but no luck. This is the second wallet Colin has lost in as many months. He also has a chronic key loss problem, but he's not my child so I will not judge. (Love you, Colin!)

Arlie arrived home and chatted with me for a while, necessitating me hiding my computer screen and waiting for her to leave so I could continue my work on the super secret mission. Then, Harrison arrived home and told me that the whole class got Valentines from their parents today except him. WTF? I sent his Valentine in - put it in the teacher's box myself. I was fuming. Fired off an email and then decided I needed to go to Walgreen's anyway so headed up to the school. Solved the mystery when the teacher opened a box of file folders and discovered ALL of her mail (including several valentines for other students) in the box. Problem solved - Harrison got his Valentine AND his teacher gave us a whole container of red velvet cupcakes to take home. (Saved me making dessert!).

We headed to Walgreen's to pick up the one item I needed for the super secret project and went home. I was not home five minutes when I got a call from Hayley. She and Hannah had been in a car accident. I grabbed my purse and keys and was out the door again in a flash. Spent the next 45 minutes in the center turn lane on Bothell-Everett Highway talking to a police officer about the accident (luckily, not serious - rear-ender, but both girls now have neck pain!). Finally, finally got home again and locked my bedroom door so I could finish up the project.

Jeff arrived home and started dinner while I worked on the plan. Five cards, five notes and five Mickey Mouse stuffed animals ready for the big reveal. Set the table and dinner was served. Video cameras at the ready, we let the kids read their notes. Lots of screaming ensued. Video was uploaded to Facebook. Spent too much time on Facebook after uploading video. Ate too many sweets in celebration of Valentine's day. Finally took my computer to bed with me because I couldn't sit up any longer, but was having an IM conversation with my cousin and didn't want to cut it short. And here I am, staying up way too late again, blogging about my busy day.

Hm. Maybe I should just get more sleep?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Be my valentine........

Valentine's Day. What a money-pit! I mean, I am drawn to the red hearts and the whole pink/red/white color combo just kills me, I love it so much. I love chocolate as much as the next girl, and flowers are lovely. Dinner out is a huge treat, and sexy lingerie is......well, let's skip that part! I don't need some lacy thing I can barely squeeze an ample thigh through. But the whole point is, Valentine's day, like any other holiday, comes with so many trappings and wrappings and things to spend money on. And while I LOVE the idea of a day to celebrate love, I like to think of Valentine's day as a day to share love and appreciation with everyone - family, friends, co-workers. Not just "lovers". I'm as guilty as the next person of spending money on candy and cards and little trinkets and tokens of affection for the ones I love, but mostly I just think it's a great opportunity to tell everyone you love them. And the reasons why. So, for the ones I love, this is for you:

Jeff - I love you for being the most amazing husband ever. For being my best friend, my biggest fan, and an all-around good guy!
Hayley - I love you for your tireless enthusiasm for all things fun, your adorable cupcakes you make for anyone and everyone, spreading love one frosting-covered cake at a time. For being such a high achiever and following your dreams no matter what anyone says.
Hannah - I love you for your devotion to your family, your hilarious personality, your incredible talents - singing, drawing, movie-making. For being such a great friend to everyone and for making me smile every day.
Arlie - I love you for your sense of adventure, and your love of life. For your devotion to both of your families and your support. For your sweetness and all the good inside of you, and your many talents.
Harrison - I love you for your ability to make me laugh, every day. For your incredible singing voice, your caring and love for your family and friends and your ability to make everyone feel important.
Mom - I love you for everything you did for me growing up. For just always being there and making our home a fun place to gather. For all the food and fun times and celebrations.
Dad - I love you for the way you always took care of us - a big family of six - not an easy task! For being a good listener and full of good advice. And for making me laugh all the time!
Marcia - I love you for being my big sister and knowing so much more than me (haha!). For helping me figure out how to be a good mom and being a listening ear all the time.
Monica - I love you for your own unique take on life, forging your own path and not needing to conform. For showing me that being a mom means putting your kids first and being there for them no matter what.
Doug - I love you for being my only brother and always having my back. For your hilarious personality and being kind to everyone. For being the one and only Unka Doug.
Sydney - I love you for being the first baby in my life. For being such an amazing mommy to your own babies and for salad night and taking pictures!
Justine - I love you for being my beautiful cousin, and an amazing mommy to Keegan. For being so brave to move to another country and for serving our own country.
Hayden - I love you for being such an amazing guy - a talented athlete, a ladies' man (haha), and a super supportive brother to your sister collection.
Maddison - I love you for being such a bad-ass motorcycle racing chick, but also for being my sweet little Maddi. For being so funny and always smiling.
Flower - I love you for being such a talented, beautiful girl. For having such a great personality and quick wit, and for eating all the retarded blue M & M's. And for coming to Camp Aunt Mo for so many years!
Aubrey - I love you for your adventurous spirit and your devotion to helping others. For your beautiful spirit.
Mitch - I love you for your sarcastic humor and for being such a dedicated brother to Aubrey. For your amazing mind.
Kaden - I love you for being just about the cutest little boy in the world! For being so smart and fun to be with. For your sweetness and loving way.
Jackson - I love you for your sweet face and your smile. For being such a darling baby and making your mommy and daddy so happy.
Keegan - I love you for your beautiful eyes, your infectious smile, and for making me happy every time I see your little face. I cannot wait to hold you!
Linda - I love you for bringing Jeff into the world and for accepting me into your family with such loving, open arms.
Tom - I love you for being so devoted to Grandma Linda and for being her partner in adventure!
Dennis - I love you for helping bring Jeff into the world and welcoming me into your family. I love the way you love Arlie!
Mary Anne - I love you for your ability to bring people together and create such great memories. For welcoming me and the kids to the beach house and all the memories we've created from there.
Heather - I love you for your amazing ability to stay organized and top of everything despite having a busy life. For always welcoming us into your home when we need a place to stay.
Greg - I love you for your laid-back personality and adventurous spirit. For being so dedicated to your family.
Makayla - I love you for your tireless devotion to pursuing your passion and for being so sweet and caring. For your quiet resolve and for being Arlie's cousin.
Maiya - I love you for your adorable personality and for making me laugh. Your huge smile and larger-than-life personality are amazing!
Tonya - I love you for being my best friend and always picking up right where we left off. The more we change, the more we stay the same. I love you for always being my biggest supporter!
Janet - I love you for being my friend - for being such a support to me and just "getting" me, through tough times and good times. And for your Stampede Brownies!
Shannon - I love your for valuing our friendship so much that you care and watch over my family like we're sisters. Your support and friendship are invaluable.
Amy - I love you for being a great listener, full of amazing advice and ideas and for being a neighbor that feels like family.
Carla - I love you for being such a dedicated friend, always picking up on the little things, checking up on the big and little things and knowing how to bring cheer to my life all the time.
My book club - I love you ladies for bringing me that much-needed girl time once a month and being a sounding board and support system on all things.
Tracie - I love you for bringing yoga into my life - who knew I could love it so much? I love the way you teach with such a passion for the wholeness that is yoga.
Priscilla - I love you for telling great stories and for being so talented at making jewelry and sharing it with me!
The BHS drama kids - I love you for being amazing human beings, dedicated to the art of entertainment, on and off the stage, and for filling my home with laughter and empty pizza pans!
My extended family - cousins, aunts, uncles - I love you for being my family. Each of you, for being part of who I am and for how much you love and care about your own families. Reading about your lives on Facebook makes me happy and feel closer to you.

I'm sure I've forgotten many. Did I forget you? Let me know and I'll tell you why I love you!