getting my house in order

getting my house in order
it's a jungle out there

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thoughts on New Year's Eve


I wish I had taken a picture of the moon last night. It was clear and just a hair shy of full. It's been snowing all day, and though it seems to be clearing up, we may not have a good view of this New Year's Blue Moon of the Decade.

regrets

Bruce and I have never spent a New Year's Eve together. Or a Valentine's Day for that matter. I'm a chef's widow. So it's a good thing I don't give a rat's ass about all that romantic stuff, let me tell you.

The first New Year's we were married, I surprised Bruce with a huge sushi boat for 2 and a bottle of champagne. I planned this mainly 'cause I thought I was supposed to do something romantic, being a married lady and all. That shit does not come easy to me. I special ordered the sushi, which was way more than we could afford at the time. Bruce got home from the work at 3 a.m. He was done with caviar and lobster, and had to climb over thousands who had watched the ball drop in Times Square to get the train home. We ate a ton of sushi and drank the champagne and I got sick as a dog. I'm a lightweight. That's the the highlight of my romantic gestures over the past 18 new years.

pathetic

He spent last night at the restaurant in order to start his 19 hr day early.

Home phone rings. Caller ID tells me it's Bruce

me: AAARGH!!!
B: watsa matter, Chica? Is that a sigh of resignation?
me: I can't resign. This is a lifetime gig. There's no one to accept my resignation
B: You can fax it in... didn't you see the fax number at the top of the page?
me: it's all blurry goddammit...

He's having one of his romantic seize the day moments. He called to say he's so glad he found me. He tells me this in his sighing you're my chica voice.

Meanwhile I'm yelling at Ty you cannot put clean clothes on such a dirty body. go take a shower.
Jack's squawking where's my robe... did you wash my robe?...
Yes, Jack, I'm washing your robe cause you haven't taken it off in 2 days.
Never mind the fact that I haven't showered in 3.
Mom, my cell phone is in the pocket.
So I'm holding the phone between my shoulder and my ear, trying to focus on the sweet nothings and CARPE DIEM and rescue Jack's cell phone before the washer fills up with water.

Chica???... you still there???...

shoot me

He says he's driving home tonight, cause he doesn't want to spend another night away. Which is all very well and good, but scares the shit out of me cause its NEW. YEAR'S. EVE. And he has a dark and windy drive home. And people drive when they shouldn't. And it's snowing. And after all we've been through this year
IT WOULD REALLY FUCKING SUCK if some drunk driver squishes him like a grape.

So. On that note...
Have a wonderful New Year
Be safe
And please don't get squished cause I'll be sad




Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A good day

Bruce and I text all day long cause it's easier than trying to have a conversation

pathetic
though when we're in the same house, we usually use our indoor voices

Bruce: how are u today?
we rarely have more than 30 seconds in the morning to say hi/there's coffee/bye

Me: Just thinking of calling. Spent 3 hrs @ dentist, van is still getting inspected, and I forgot about cello lesson. It's a good day

Bruce: by that i just mean taking everything in, carpe that ole diem. you know


That's the difference between me and my husband. I'm the practical one
which is a scary thought if you know me. I'm the one who impulsively buys houses and paints them pink and purple, and had too many babies a little late in life. I'm the one who wants to hang it all up and dig wells in Africa. I'm the one who doesn't even THINK about saving money. I'm the artist. But I'm also the one who takes care of the pink and purple house. And I'm the one who takes care of the late in life babies who share it with us.

Bruce is the the one who gets stressed out over 401ks vs IRAs
what the fuck are those? He's the one who said we could never afford a house. He's the one who makes sure we NEVER purchase something we can't pay for. He's the one who wouldn't leave New York because of job security. what??? NY is the ONLY restaurant town on the PLANET??? That's Bruce. But Bruce is also the romantic. He wants to be AWAKE through life. Doesn't want to miss a smell or a taste or a sensation. Wants to experience it all, and then some. He wants LIFE. He wants LOVE. He wants PASSION.

Me. Not so much.

So when Bruce sends me a text asking how I AM, I respond in pretty concrete terms. What's getting done. What's not getting done. Who's not doing what needs to get done. What's going smoothly. Who's melting down.

That's my life.
That's what dictates how I AM

Dentist check extra bonus points cause i got a cleaning too
State motor vehicle inspection check it's a miracle it's not 3 weeks overdue
Screwed up cello lesson
despite the fucking blackberry goddammit that's supposed to tell me when I'm late rescheduled for tomorrow cause the cello teacher's awesome

Sometimes, I do get restless. Aggravated. Frustrated. I think about what might have been, but is not. But mostly, I feel like I still have time to dig wells in Africa. Or travel across country in a winnebago. Silly me. I still have time.

Bruce always feels like time's a wastin'. It's slippin' away. SEIZE THE DAY

It's kinda funny.

So although it's pedestrian, provincial, and pathetic, it's OK. Cause it's all about the wooly mammoth. i'll explain that one tomorrow.

I don't need over the top or larger than life. My life is quite large enough most days thank you very much. I just need to feel like I'm not spinning my wheels, getting ripped off, or sacrificing my kids to this insane culture.

Ms. Moon talks about feeding the chickens and kissing Owen and the live oaks. And let me tell you, that lady's no schlump. That's what it's all about. The simple stuff. Life in a bowl of soup, or a new inspection sticker on the minivan. Or no tears at the dentist. That's my life.

Keep it simple.

Anything more than that and my head's gonna explode.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

And what to my wondering eyes should appear...


Seems like a lot of folks had their
Best Christmas Ever.
It was certainly the best Christmas
I've had in a long time.
Might be the little blue pill likely.
Might be my healing family most definitely.
Might be my daddy who every year when asked
only wanted peace on earth for Christmas
may be sending his family peace from the flip side...


it was good
it was lovely




happy christmas kids


this was breakfast
courtesy of The Kitchen Witch
she's really smart and funny
I subbed mini chocolate chips and sour cherry preserves
for the raisins
my kids hate raisins

this is Ty having a weird-off with himself
it's a cool hologram thing
the frog is inside the disk
but looks like it's sitting on top
I guess he wanted to lick it...


two words...
Beatles Rockband


we always have SO MUCH FOOD
we love to eat
and eat
and eat

roast lamb and pork shepherd's pie
get it?
shepherds, baby Jesus, farm animals
huh? huh?
get it?
my sisters are SICK of me


Santa stopped by
that was a great treat
these are the cousins who weren't freaked out
by the big man in the red suit

We had a good time. A lovely time. Lots of laughter. Very little stress and storm. Which is an amazing thing. There are A LOT of really intense personalities in our bunch. And it's been a rough year or two. Lots of falling outs, and hurt feelings. Lots of loss. But it was still really good. Despite the shitty stuff.
Somehow we all just felt good, I think.

It was a good time. A lovely time.

Friday Fragments-Saturday Edition oops, now it's Sunday

still playing catch up
still a little behind schedule
blogland was where I really wanted to be all week
but Christmas called...



go visit Mrs 4444
tell her Michelle made you late

This week's fragments consist of all the "almost" posts that never quite came to a boil over the last two weeks
things I wrote on line at Walmart
things I wrote on line at Target
on line at Stop N Shop
or sitting in the minivan in the Home Depot parking lot

Sunday
I actually made a list and checked it twice. I plotted out a schedule mon - thurs and all the things I have to get done. In nice neat rows. All organized-like.
Some of you are probably like ...so ... does she want a medal?
Fuck yeah!
For me this is a big deal cause I deliberately keep our lives as simple as possible
Cause I'm not a fucking circus clown goddammit and I HATE juggling. The last time I had a "schedule" I was in grad school. A VERY long time ago. And can I tell you something about schedules? THEY WORK!!! When I laid every thing out in front of me I realized it wasn't so bad at all...

Monday
I got everything crossed off. Check. Check. Check. What a sense of accomplishment! Hosting Christmas? fa la la this was gonna be easy peasy...

Tuesday
I am NOT ONE OF SANTA'S fucking HELPERS! My grinchy grinch feet hurt. And just when I decided to treat myself to a new pair of uggs the pipes backed up again. I threw a load of laundry in while I was making breakfast and soon smelled that smell. Ty was brushing his teeth ..mom???... the drain in the bathroom???... it smells again...I ventured down into the basement which had morphed into the laBrea tar pits. A pond of thick black stinky stuff was all backed up out of my 116 year old pipes. Fuck me. So. Called the guy with the really long snake. An hour later my new uggs and $216 were circling the freshly snaked drain. And that shit wasn't even on my list to give me the satisfaction of crossing it off...

Wednesday
And then coming out of the bedroom I kicked my
most favorite rechargeable handheld device
down the steps. Noooooo I cried in slow mo watching my day spiral down the newly snaked drain...
Thank my lucky stars it came to a clattering stop at the first landing.
I use that thing every day. Sometimes 3 times a day. Except the days I'm at work cause by the time I get home I'm just too tired.
But man, what if it's cracked? Will it still work?
Will it get the job done?
How will I get through the holidays without it? And the last thing I want to do is drag my kids out to shop for a replacement...
All these thoughts raced through my mind as I ran down the steps to assess the damage.
Flip the switch...
Music to my ears...the reassuring hum... the weight of it in my hand...

Dustbuster. This girl's best friend.


Christmas Eve Morning

I'm trying to cultivate a serene holiday vibe. Cooking. Decorating. I have our iPod Christmas playlist going. But I also have 4 loud boys in the house. With Nerf guns. Fake rifles. Pow Pow Pow 4 boys running through the house, pounding up and down the steps, slamming doors, shooting guns, barking military commands. All to the tune of "Oh Holy Night". I feel like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now...

Christmas Eve evening
My sister calls. Mommy's going to the emergency room. She's not feeling well. She thinks her potassium is high...
My first reaction is to laugh out loud
maybe a little inappropriate
But damn! It's Christmas Eve! And high potassium doesn't feel like anything until it's high enough to short out your heart. So WTF? Honestly. I think she does it for attention. Kinda sick huh? When I tell Bruce he says umm... Chica?... have you noticed she does this every holiday... I don't want to sound critical or anything, but she does this every holiday...
I laugh out loud again yeah, Bruce, I've noticed.
I wonder if they're gonna admit her. She was really sick last time. I wonder if it's gonna fuck all 17 of us up for Christmas.
I wonder if she's really sick this time.

What I realized over the last two weeks is that I work best under pressure. And something crazy like hosting our family's Christmas isn't so crazy at all. The house is really clean well sort of. The decorations look good. And I didn't get all tense and crabby. The clog didn't put me over the edge. The pow pow pow in my kitchen didn't put me over the edge. And the possibility that my mom would be hospitalized on Christmas Eve didn't put me over the edge.

It was actually kinda nice.
And my mom was here on Christmas day in all her glory.




Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Deck the Halls with Giant Blue Balls fa la la la la


Jack catches me muttering to myself...
Me: I want big balls. How'm I gonna get big balls?
Jack:
Balls, Mom?
Me, totally distracted: Yeah. Balls. Blue ones.
Jack: You want big blue balls?
Me:
To hang. Off the porch
Jack:
Mom...you want your big blue balls to hang off the porch?
Bwa ha ha


Seriously. The shit I put up with...


before





after

I love my big blue balls

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sundays in My City: Late Edition


the beautiful and talented
hosts

Unknown Mami

come fly with us

Alicia Keys rocks when she sings
about this town

we trekked through the snow and
met up with my youngest sister
and her family
for

DIM SUM
yum

Chinatown

dim sum guy

dim sum

and more dim sum

a few of our happy children
post dim sum
stuffed like shrimp dumplings


then uptown for
holiday lights

Mia loved the Sephora windows

Saks Fifth Avenue

more Saks

and more
kinda weird, huh?

six red gowns at Saks
this one was Mia's favorite
Valentino
of course



silver and gold at Rockefeller Center

ice skaters

the spires of St Patrick's Cathedral

these streets will make you feel brand new
big lights will inspire you

let's hear it for New York


Are You Kidding Me??


Do you know what this is???


This is the view from my front door this morning. ONE INCH. This inch of snow caused Ty's super special-we can't wait-huge part of our holiday season concert to be cancelled. A concert that's so special it was to be held an hour north in a beautiful theater that hosts events such as the Moscow Ballet. And it was cancelled. For the nor'easter. That didn't hit here.


crappy phone pict
look how happy and proud
that kid was
after rehearsal yesterday morning


Right. So. The alarmist, inaccurate, swine flu-like prediction for 12 inches of snow caused me to descend into Hades again to buy Ty a pair of snow boots. Yesterday. After concert rehearsal. When I didn't have like 679 OTHER things to do. which is why I've been M.I.A. this week Just one of those things being to deck my outside halls...

I know, I know. Why did I wait this long to outfit my kids in appropriate outerwear? Because that's what I do. Every year. I scramble to find snow boots the day before the first big storm is forecast.

Cause I'm an idiot.

But I HAD to find boots for Ty cause today is our oh so exciting family trip into NYC for dim sum yum and Christmas lights. All the cheesy, touristy, 5th Ave lights and windows that the kids have never seen. And we plan to stop at a very special place so the kids can see this.

And since the forecast was for 12-18 in the city, I thought fuck the nor'easter. It screwed the concert plans and made Ty's sweet face all blotchy as he was trying to hold back tears. We are NOT cancelling dim sum and Rockefeller Center.

do you hear me universe and Sam Champion???

So we found boots. On the Saturday before Christmas 6 hours before the fucking nor'easter is forecast to hit. In the right size. On sale. And NOT at Walmart.

the Universe is Abundant

Then I dragged my poor husband outside to help me hang holiday lights.

Why did I wait so long?

I TOLD YOU. I'M AN IDIOT
sorry for yelling

Since we have NEVER decorated the outside of our house, we had no idea how to do it. None. And it was 18 degrees. Without the wind. First we tried the porch. How do we attach the damn lights?? Then we tried the Japanese maple in the front yard. But we don't have a ladder high enough to reach the top branches so it just looked stupid. Then it was dark. Which wasn't the worst thing cause then I could see HOW REALLY STUPID THE STUPID LIGHTS LOOKED.

In an attempt to keep things light and laugh instead of cry, I thought damn, I should have been taking pictures of all my pathetic attempts to keep up with the fucking light hanging Joneses.

But alas, no picts. CAUSE THE SNOW WAS COMING! And I figured we'd be either digging out today sunday, or down in Chinatown feasting. And tomorrow monday I'd be solo and probably in knee deep slush. At least for once I kept all the stupid christmas light receipts cause somewhere deep inside I knew it would probably never happen. I bought A LOT of lights

Well. One inch.

I guess I'm glad we didn't get covered. Cause maybe I can try again tomorrow to hang lights. Maybe I should let the light plans Plan C by the way go. Like I should let the cancelled concert go. But the pit bull in me is chompin' down hard and locked on. my jaw hurts

So. We're off to NYC. Apparently Central Park got 10 inches. Which may work out for the best. Maybe Chinatown and 5th Ave won't be INSANELY CROWDED on the Sunday before Christmas.

the Universe is Abundant


Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Fragments 14 days and counting

Friday Fragments
hosted by Mrs. 4444


go visit and leave a little
holiday cheer


Turns out Jack wanted to get me a radar tracker for Christmas. We used to call them fuzz busters. Apparently he brought this up with Bruce, who informed Jack that he was pretty sure radar trackers are illegal in our state. Jack says we gotta do something so she stops getting speeding tickets.


Some strange Christmas Faerie infected me and now we're hosting Christmas. Which if you know me is quite something. Luckily, I have a few days off before The Big Day, so maybe I'll get the house clean. Entertaining is always a good excuse/opportunity to get into all the nooks n crannies that hold the melted butter masquerading as dust bunnies and grime. Spent Wednesday's snow day scrubbing molding and trim.
Good times.


And speaking of Christmas decor, did you ladies really think I was SERIOUS about Barbra and her Jingle Bells?
I know my house is crazy looking, but if I was motivated enough to deck my outside halls, it might be more along the line of sitar music and Moroccan hanging lanterns. Bruce says our house looks like the inside of Jeannie's bottle. I always loved the idea of living in that bottle. And he and I both agree Jeannie was HOT.

If I get it together enough to decorate outside, I'll post
picts...


So Jack's school had a food drive for our local pantry. The class collecting the most cans received a 25$ prize and a whole bunch of school recognition. Jack's class won, and they were totally stoked. They decided to have a pizza party with the prize money. One of the mom's offered to pay for the pizza if the kids donated the 25$ to the pantry. Which of course they did. When their teacher called one of the six pizzerias in our little town, and told the story of her awesome can collecting students, pizza man oh so generously offered to give them a break on the tax. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Those kids dragged 305 cans and boxes of food in, were totally motivated, and dumb pizza guy is offering to drop the 6.75% sales tax??? jerk So the students, being the smart and savvy kids they are, yelled BOYCOTT!!!! So that's what we're doing. And the next pizzeria they called knocked 60% off their pizza party bill. There you go.

My Week in Review
Monday

Mia spills an entire bowl of cheerios between the leather couch cushions. More rotten milk in my creases.

Tuesday
45 minutes on line at the Walmart pharmacy for my thyroid medication.

Wednesday
snow day
shoot me
But the kids did all the shoveling. Before I was even out of bed. Awesome kids.

Thursday
Ty's home sick, another day blown.


Ty's learning about explorers.
Today he asked me if people thought the world was flat when I was born.
Ty, honey, Christopher Columbus sailed in 1492. That was like almost 500 years before I was born.
Oh. quizzical blank stare. My favorite explorer is Giovanni daVerranzano. He was eaten by cannibals on the island of Guadalupe. He was Italian. And Samuel deChamplain. Where does it sound like he's from? I don't remember. And they don't know when Hendrik Hudson was born but he left the Netherlands and sailed for England. He died in 1611. Was that when you were... ...wait... 16?...19?... 16?...
1963 Ty. I was born in 1963. I wasn't alive when those explorers sailed.

He's also been known to ask me if there was electricity, did people still live in caves, and were there cars or just horses when I was born. Seriously.


Happy Friday!

Your fairy is called Columbine Icedancer
She is a bone chilling bringer of justice for the vulnerable.
She lives in mushroom fields and quiet meadows.
She is only seen when the bees swarm and the crickets chirrup.
She wears lilac and purple like columbine flowers. She has icy blue butterfly wings.