Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Good Enough

There's a fine line between perfection and good enough.  Or if you ask the nun I've been working with for the last few months (she's been helping me learn how to stop being insane and just "be." I'm not sure if it's working or not- OK, it's not), it's a big chasm between perfection and good enough. 

(She's a delightful, very centered nun. Probably perfect although I would get in trouble for saying that.)

Perfection: Eye Liner, mascara, contoured eye shadow and $150 eye cream
Good Enough: Glasses. No one can see the bloodshot eyes because of the glare.

Perfection: Iced martini glass, frozen shaker, filtered water ice cubes with suspended raspberries, Dutch vodka and lemon liquor and sugar rimmed crystal glass.
Good Enough: Mid Shelf Vodka and a straw (note that even in the good enough category, it is UNACCEPTABLE to use the bottom shelf.)

Perfection: Even keeled response to all stressful professional situations. (No threats of homicide or bodily injury on myself or others either for affect or as a true threat to the general public.)
Good Enough: Feeling hateful and occasionally spitting.

Perfection: Dressed and fed children reading "War and Peace" on Christmas break while studying ahead for winter finals.
Good Enough: Out of bed before noon, dressed by 5pm, please A&P. And there are frozen waffles, knock yourselves out.

If I can only pound this into my thick, thick skull: good enough is all that anyone asks of you, me or that lady down the street with the perfect Christmas lights. The little voice in the back of my head is really bothered by the laundry in the bathroom and the fruit flies and the cat hair and the dust on the floor in the hall. Said another way, if God wanted things to be perfect I'm certain we wouldn't be celebrating a stable and some stinky shepherds with their equally foul sheep with the accompanying excrement. Or those wise men? Really, Frankincense, aren't those stinky bath salts that the kid can smoke to get high? A savings bond would be way more appropriate.

Lastly, even without the perfect combo of 5 fruits and vegetables per day, my monster children are 6 foot 3 at age 14. God obviously allows for some wiggle room on the requirements.

I declare this post, good enough. If I say it 100 times, maybe I'll believe it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Here's what's going on my head.

Should I blog? Nah, it's too much work. Easier to drink at night and then fall asleep drooling on the pillow.

Wait, someone might think I have a problem. (Define, problem? I'm above ground, how bad can it be?)

I can't blog about nearly 15 year old boys because that's embarrassing. Somehow, along the line, I became embarrassing. This probably occurred around the time I dropped some kids off at school in my Christmas pajamas and it was May and sunny at 7:30 in the morning and everyone could see that my jammies had Christmas ornaments on them.

It's been an interesting few months. I won't bore you but suffice it to say we're all still kicking. This reminds me, speaking of kicking, hold one moment, while I scream the following (it's like in real time!)


Peter: Ya, when this show is over.


Peter: 5 minutes.

Honestly. Turn off the lights. Pick up the shoes. Push in the chair. Don't smoke dope. Use your napkin. Stay away from whores.  It's really rather simple.

I thought if I turned to God that maybe I'd have a better chance of raising the urchins or at least keeping one of them out of prison. I'm pretty sure you have to push the chairs in at prison. I'm pretty sure that God doesn't think I've got this under control.

At dinner tonight:

Me: PLEASE DON'T USE DOPE. I read some article about high school students and reefer and I'm totally freaked out.

Kid: I don't use marijuana, Mom.

Me: Well then stop watching that reefer madness show and telling me how much money you could make if you moved to California and opened your own dope pharmacy.

Kid: It's just a show.

Me: I'm turning off the cable. Don't do stupid stuff.

Kid: Like in college when you hid in the bushes so you didn't get arrested? Dumb like that Mom?

So, to blog or not to blog. What comes out of my head and onto the fingertips may be a problem.

Friday, May 27, 2011


I knew that would get your attention. And this post really is about sex, or not having any.

So when you're 14 and on your way to High School in the fall, there's stuff that needs to be discussed. Some people don't like to discuss it and I am sitting in a house of 4 people that would rather debate the efficacy of mold retardants than talk about sex.

After confirmation, the church decided it was really important to beat the confirmands senseless with what they should and should definitely not be doing in high school, or anywhere while in high school. In our case, knocking up young ladies.  There were two sessions about keeping yourself pure and A&P were hauled to both of them. 

I tried in vain to get information about what was presented. I got nothing.  I was getting most of my information from a friend whose son told her everything. Feeling jealous and let down, I figured I was being frozen out of the purity information.  But I thought I'd try anyway.

Wednesday at dinner I said to them "Just tell me one thing that you learned at church." Peter replied, "one in four people has an STD." Hey, that's pleasant. I kept myself together and asked "What do you do to keep from getting an STD?" Loaded question, not sure where this is going to go.... Andrew says emphatically, "KEEP YOUR PANTS ON!"  Oh good. That's great advice. Every time you leave the house for the rest of your life, I will implore you to KEEP YOUR PANTS ON.  They learned something!

Later when downloading with Tim, he confessed that Peter had shared in the car on the way home that one in four people has an STD.  This is how this conversation went.

P: One in 4 people has an STD
T: Well, I don't have an STD... so I'm pretty sure neither of you has an STD.... and there are 4 people in our family... who does that leave?

Nice, thanks.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

An Open Letter to the Reptiles in my Yard

Dear Mr Toad,

I know you have a place in the food chain. You probably eat bugs or something. But can I offer you a bit of advice?

When you see a giant hand coming at you in the bush, could you hop aside? Is that too much for a girl to ask? I already have a "Prince" so I'm not going to be kissing you and there's no need to sit still. I also don't have any desire to touch you and I'm pretty sure you have salmonella.

By the way, when you don't move and I see you and nearly touch you while schlepping oak leaves out of the boxwood bush, I scream. This scream echoes all over the neighborhood and everyone things I'm a goofy drunk because two feet behind me is an empty martini glass.

If at all possible, it would be appreciated if you could spread the word to your reptilian friends- snakes and the like.  Oh, and the lizards (snakes with legs) could you tell them too? You're all creepy and too closely camouflaged to all of the leaves and dirt and I can't hardly stand the thought of touching you or seeing you creep away like I didn't almost see you or touch you. Can we just be honest? If I wanted to eat you, you were right there. (I have the willies.)

Lastly, I'm prejudiced against reptiles in general but I have a high degree of tolerance for leaf peepers. I don't ever see them but they hang out in the Black Swamp vestige behind our house and I love to fall asleep while they're singing.  But, Mr Toad, you might take note that they stay far away and I have never screamed at them.

Thanks for your consideration.

The Idiot in the House

Sunday, April 17, 2011

And Now Something Interesting

A&P were camping and backpacking this weekend in the rain and gale. It's all good and it builds some character- just like when I had to walk to school past the creepy houses when I was 4. This is why I am so twitchy.

Back to A&P, I was concerned that they might get wet so $300 and a trip to Bass Pro later, I felt a little better. Although everything is waterproof, I still had to have the can of waterproofing spray. It felt like insurance.

Long story short, I never had time to do anything with the waterproofing spray so off they went with the manufacturer's statement that they were waterproof. The spray languished on the counter.  After A&P left, I said to myself, "I should really put that away in the cabinet." But then I got distracted by some Mexican food and a carload of girlfriends. Nevermind.

A&P arrived home today no worse for the wear until Peter tried to wipe me off the planet.  (Let's take a moment and recall that Peter is the clown type offspring who turned my dryer into abstract art. He's been on my list.) I walked into the kitchen, minding my own business, not hollering at anyone or even being annoyed despite having just put in a load of rain and topsoil, soggy laundry. Oh no, who cares about that, it builds character.

When what to my wondering eyes appear, but Peter precariously holding a 12 ounce can of waterproofer.  Before I could even draw a breath to swear at myself for neglecting to put it away, he dropped it on the floor where the lid and the white push cap popped off and flew across the kitchen along with a 4 foot stream of high pressure waterproofing silicone spray.  With catlike reflexes I lunged for the can thinking I could turn it upside down in the drain of the sink before it turned my kitchen into a glazed toxic waste dump. I grabbed the can and spun around to leap to the sink only to lose contact with the now waterproofed kitchen floor. I went flying and then THUD. Or maybe it was KA-THWACK. Or ARE YOU KIDDING ME, NOW IS WHEN I SELL YOU TO GYPSIES IF THEY'LL EVEN TAKE YOU. 

I managed to crawl off my floor which was now a giant skating rink and dump the can upside down in the garbage disposal.  Peter says "Hey, sorry about that." Ya, speak up, and me too because I won't be able to move for the next three days.

On the upside, the kitchen sink is wicking water rather nicely.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Head in the Dryer

Thanks to my Number 2 son, the inside of my high efficiency dryer is purple. 

My husband walked in the the laundry room to remove a load of clothes for Peter to fold when suddenly there was screaming.  "Oh my Gosh, this is awful!" and "Oh, come quick!"

I thought the laundry room was on fire.

Alas, there were no flames or billows of noxious gas. But the inside of the dryer looked like a monochromatic Jackson Pollock experiment.

"Did you check the pockets?" I hollered.

Indignantly and probably correctly my husband responded "No! I told him too!"

"Since when is a 14 year old trustworthy with any large appliance?" This is the kid who turned chicken nuggets into charcoal by microwaving them for 22 minutes.

After the yelling and accusatory statements, it fell to me to figure out how to keep the laundry from turning blue or purple for the rest of our lives. I briefly thought about buying a new dryer, but then I remembered an old Heloise trick for removing ball point pen with hairspray.  So with my head in the dryer and a 14 year old cloth diaper turned rag, I began spraying the inside of the dryer with hairspray.  The fumes were off the hook. I think I saw Jesus in the back of the dryer.  Miraculously, whether Jesus was there or not, the ink dripped down in long blue and purple lines. It came off, mostly.  We decided the next step was to sacrifice a load of kid laundry before we dared wash a load of white shirts.  So far, so good.

I read a short story once about a lady in England who became so depressed that she turned on the gas and stuck her head in her oven.  I wasn't depressed, but angry, and it wasn't a gas oven but an electric dryer filled with an entire can of aerosol hair glue.

If anyone asks, it's art.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Easy Ways to be Sick & Tired

I was laying around today catching up on some stuff that I apparently didn't read back in February.  I don't even remember what I was doing back on February 7th but it obviously wasn't reading the New York Times Magazine. Lucky for me it was buried under a pile of other junk, including but not limited to a Family Circle magazine that I don't remember buying. As soon as I saw the Family Circle I realized why I bought it. "Easy ways to lose 10 pounds fast." What a crock of cat litter. It was a bunch of stuff like "don't eat the leftover fries that your kids leave behind" and "stop swilling wine like a drunken sailor." Really, Family Circle, you can do better.

Back to the NYT, there was an article about a blogger that reminded me that I haven't been here in like a million years and some people must think I'm dead. I didn't enter a deep dark depression after the Squirrel died, but that really did suck.  We cried for days. Stupid $20 guinea pig.  I still blame the cat.

Back to the NYT again, so the article about the blogger made me want to sort out why I haven't been here in almost 5 months, or is it 6, and what I plan to do about that. Sometimes this thing feels like a rock around my neck. I have nothing to say, or I'm too tired to say it. Or, I can't say it because calling people names could make some people mad. I like the idea that if I wouldn't say it to your face, I probably shouldn't say it here.  Since last fall, there's been a lot of stuff I didn't want to say here, there or anywhere.  (This makes a girl's head really noisy.)

So I kind of gave up on the blog thing for awhile because as my mom says if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Just easier not to speak. I even kind of gave up on Facebook other than posting weird things like "I'm sorry I cannot hear you, I have a banana in my ear" entirely in Latin. I get a charge out of the people that can translate it.

Before I knew it was Christmas and I was tired. Really darned tired. Not only was I trying hard not to say inappropriate things in an online format that could haunt me forever, but I was really super tired. I even took naps. Lots of naps. Turns out there was a reason for the tiredness which leads me back up to why I still have reading material laying around from early February. I don't remember much of early February. I do remember that A&P turned 14, but I felt so lousy I'm not sure I really noticed. Then glory be, someone suggested a blood transfusion and wow, that was a good idea.

How do you talk about a blood transfusion in a blog? You don't want to freak people out. What if some readers are objectors to transfusions? What if people think you're channeling "Twilight" even though you've never read it?" I guess if you're sick enough to willingly take on someone else's half used up fluids, you probably don't care what anyone else thinks anyway.

Funny thing about being sick and tired is you kind of don't think about it. You go to work and keep doing stuff like going to the store but all the time self diagnosing with horrible diseases from faraway lands that you're pretty sure you picked up the last time you went to the Pottery Barn at the mall.

So here we are, writing some stuff and aren't we proud that blogger didn't just turn us off out of total frustration for the space we are taking up.  I started this whole thing back in 2008 during the financial crisis as a way to avoid looking at my perilously plunging portfolio that started to look like I spent a year in Antarctica on a sabbatical with 10 of my closest friends. So this was a hedge so I didn't look at the crisis and worry all the time. Miraculously, this has been an unexpected outlet except for all the stuff I can't say.