This Couldn’t Wait for Thursday

I think I get to call it a “Small Success” that I didn’t completely lose my mind when:aXE

  • Little Brother stepped in dog poop while wearing his fairly-new soccer shoes
  • He brought the befouled shoes into the house to ask me what to do
  • I handed him an old toothbrush for the scrubbing job, instructing him to dispose of it outside when he was done
  • He brought the dripping-wet shoes back into the house…
  • …intending to spray them with Axe to make them smell better
  • I got him some paper towels so he could leave the shoes on the porch

And through all of that, I remained calm and did not yell, shout or go all Screaming Meemie on him.

I’ll have to think of something else for Small Success Thursday, because this one just couldn’t wait.

For My Penance, I Will Slow Down

I live a life fueled by adrenalin with a side of anxiety.

In short, I don’t do “slow.”

Just ask my poor husband, who strolls, ambles, and meanders along–10 feet behind the rest of the family because apparently all the kids inherited my inability to decelerate.

I’m always looking for a way to get something done–or to get somewhere–a little faster. I don’t take the highway to Little Brother’s school because that adds half a mile and about 7 traffic lights to the trip. I can get there more quickly if I drive through the neighborhoods.

Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw once tweeted:

muffet mcgraw tweet

That’s pretty much how I roll too. And yesterday on my way to Mass at Little Brother’s school (so I could be there for his test-and-dose diabetic routine after Mass) I was driving pretty urgently.

As in 41 mph in a 25 zone.

By the time I saw the police SUV, it was too late. He saw me first and followed me to the school parking lot where I foolishly parked in my usual spot–in full view of half the classrooms.

Did I mention that the police officer had his lights on?

I was polite. He took my license, registration and insurance card and went off to check SCMODS* to verify that I’d never had a speeding ticket in over 30 years of driving.

The officer, mercifully, did not give me a ticket–just a warning that I need to slow down.

Honestly, the embarrassment of being pulled over right in front of the school cost me more than any speeding ticket would have.

So what was I saying Thursday about the hours in the day?

…this Lent is going to be all about letting go of–giving up–the control I want to have over the hours in my day. Resistance is futile, but acceptance is going to be hard-won…

I feel like I go through the day always putting out fires. I only get to what’s urgent, and it’s a struggle not to assign everything to the “urgent” category. Writing these words, I can feel myself clenching up inside.

I’m on a “mission from God.” So is the police officer who handed me some grace in the form of a warning.

*”State. County. Municipal. Offender. Data. System.” If you do not recognize this quote, you need to watch The Blues Brothers. Stat.

Murphy’s Law and Conference Calls: My Day in a Nutshell

I was having a pretty decent day today, until around 8 AM. That’s when it all fell apart.

As I tossed laundry into the washing machine, my daughter called. She’d left the house 10 minutes earlier and stopped at Starbuck$ on her way to school. Leaving her car running, she went in for her drink–but her driver’s side door froze shut, and all her other doors were locked, so she had to be rescued.

I hadn’t even had my coffee yet at that point.

Arriving home, I quickly downed some breakfast and got ready to go to daily Mass for the first time all month (and maybe only the third time this year). I almost fell apart when Hubs suggested that we take care of a banking errand right now. Fortunately he was willing to wait until after church.

He’s home today, because his office has no power. That means he’s been spending most of the day on conference calls.

On speakerphone.

Conference calls involving 75 computer programmers do not provide the world’s most fascinating eavesdropping, for the record.

I made my usual runs to Little Brother’s school to hang in there with him while he had his before-snack and before-lunch glucose tests and shots. He says he needs me there…I’m serving as a security blanket of sorts, I guess. Whatever helps. On my way back from the second school run, I was in Hubs’ car because he’d blocked mine in. I pulled into the driveway, listening to the Catholic Guy show in satellite radio, and suddenly heard some unfamiliar voices talking about “the primary user.”

“What the hell?!” I yelled, turning off the car engine and suddenly realizing what had happened.

Hubs was using his cell phone for the conference call. He hadn’t turned off the Bluetooth.

Fortunately, he had it on MUTE, so his career was in no way jeopardized by my hollering.

But honestly, I was really feeling like a mess today. All I wanted was a good cry and a Big Mac. I couldn’t cry until I got back from that second run, because I didn’t want to be in school with red eyes–all the kids there know me and I have to be able to smile when I see them. And I didn’t get the Big Mac, because Hubs wanted to go to lunch together at the diner.

They brought me the wrong omelet, and I got to listen to a lecture on 99 experimental treatments for juvenile diabetes.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad they are doing research. But I’m just trying to get my diabetic child through the next meal. I don’t have room, mentally or emotionally, for experimental treatments, the Defcon 3 Continuous Glucose Monitor, or artificial pancreases (pancrei?)

I still want that Big Mac, and I still want a good cry, but I can’t have either one right now because it’s time to pick Little Brother up at school.

Small Success Thursday: Furniture Shopping Edition



It’s Small Success Thursday at! Why not stop by, encourage other moms and share your own achievements from the past week or so?

I didn’t get in on the Boxing Day fun last week for Small Success Thursday, because we were visiting my family for what is known as “Christmas The Day After.” While some cousins couldn’t make it (and were definitely missed) we had a great time just enjoying the visit, the dinner, and plenty of laughs.


My house hasn’t completely fallen apart despite all efforts to the contrary (super-balls in the manger scene, remote-control helicopters in the stereo speaker wires…)


Little Brother successfully navigated three days of Christmas with blood sugars in check! He even got to have dessert. For the record, there are about 7 carbs in a medium-sized Christmas cookie. I made them all the same size this year so we’d avoid the Higher Math involved in figuring out how many carbs in a large Christmas tree vs. a skinny candlestick vs. Frosty the snowman. This year, we just had stars.

-3- new sofa

I invented a new way to shop for furniture. Our family-room couch bit the dust (long story, not the kids’ fault…this time) and I was in no mood for shopping companions. I set out for the store, cell phone in hand, and explained my requirements for the new sofa to the saleswoman. Once I found one I liked that fit my wish list, I texted a photo to my husband, who showed it to the rest of the family for their thumbs-up. I may never bring anyone to the store ever again. That was Monday. It was in stock, so we got it on Tuesday, and I watched the Mummers Parade from the comfort of my comfy new couch.

What’s a Mummer? It’s a Philly New Year’s tradition and it’s tons of fun. My favorite part of the parade is the String Bands division, where the groups perform their own music while dancing and wearing elaborate costumes. String bands include brass instruments, banjos, xylophones, accordions and the occasional double bass. Here’s an impressive performance by the Polish-American String Band.

That About Sums It Up

Little Brother came home from school today with a religion project he’d made on the computer. For November, the month of All Saints, the students in his class had found quotes from different saints and made signs with pictures of the saints and their quote.

martin de porresHere’s my son’s:

St. Martin de Porres

Compassion, my dear Brother, is preferable to cleanliness.

For a boy who thinks that just about ANYTHING is preferable to cleanliness, these are definitely words to live by.


best christmas pageant everLittle Brother is rehearsing for another show:  this time it’s the Christmas play at the community theater. He’s playing Charlie Bradley in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Last night he found out what he has to bring for his costume:

  • one church outfit
  • one casual outfit
  • TheDad’s bathrobe

I told him that he needed to check with the director about the church clothes. Normally he wears a golf shirt and khakis to church (then tops it off with his altar-server robe.) I mentioned that the director might have had a button-down shirt in mind when she requested he bring church clothes.

He replied, “If I have to wear a tuxedo, I’m going to flip out.”


I’m cooking pot roast for dinner, so there’s a bag of onions on the table. I’ve been trying this unique storage method for onions and garlic–so far so good. I keep the onions and garlic in paper bags in a hanging wire basket in the basement; holes punched in the bags allow air to circulate.IMG_0792

So Little Brother wants to know why there’s a bag with holes in it on the table.

“It’s for the onions. They need to breathe.”

“Onions aren’t alive. Dead things don’t breathe.”

“Right. Well, the air needs to get around them so they don’t rot.”

“Does it work?”

“I think so.”

“Oh! They should put holes like that in coffins, then, so dead people wouldn’t rot.”

“They’d rot anyway.”


At this point I’ve had about all I can take of this strange conversation. “Because they’re not onions!”


They Held Down the Fort

I’ve got to hand it to my kids. Because TheDad is absolutely swamped at work (and has been for about a month now, with a bunch of unrelenting project deadlines) they were largely left on their own this week while I was at the writing conference.

There were a few “distress calls” in the form of text messages from the Big Kids, but the issues were minor ones.

I’m going to reproduce some text messages/exchanges exactly as they happened–grammar and spelling issues notwithstanding.

Big Brother:  “How do i use dishwasher” That was the simplest one to handle.

Middle Sister: IMG_0728

I’m pretty proud of myself for not losing my mind over that. To be fair, I will admit here and now that one time I poured the bleach in that “middle thing” that is supposed to be for fabric softener.

Which reminds me. I need to go run the washing machine with vinegar in that “middle thing” right now to rinse out the rest of the soap.

Big Brother cooked dinner for two nights. That’s not really newsworthy in itself, since he cooks at college all the time. But he outdid himself this time–he served edamame one night as a side, and apparently Little Brother “destroyed” it.

calphalon panOn Thursday we had quite the detailed textversation about whether (and at what temperature) he could put my Very Favorite Skillet into the oven. I told him exactly what kind of pan it was–it’s my one piece of *really good* cookware and I’m obsessively kind of protective of it–and sent him off on a Google search to find out. (Apparently, it’s good up to 500°.)

Later, I got a text during dinner to let me know that dinner had been a success:IMG_0729

That was quite entertaining for everyone in my table.

Middle Sister announced, upon my arrival, that she will make a good housewife.

There were no dirty dishes in the sink and the clean ones were put away.

I do need to teach my kids how to properly load a dishwasher, as I’m obsessive particular about that (and I have mad Tetris skillz that translate well to dishwasher-loading).

And all 3 of our cordless phones had gone AWOL. I’ve been home for over 4 hours but I’ve only found two so far.

But all in all, they did a great job. They ate well, kept the place just about as neat as it is when they’ve got adult nagging supervision, got Little Brother to and from our town’s recreation day camp and one soccer practice, and dealt with him when he wasn’t at camp or soccer. And Middle Sister’s doing a show at the same time.

I’m gratified to know that I’m not obsolete yet (as evidenced by the small difficulties they encountered) but that they’ve proven themselves to be quite independent when they need to be.

Murphy’s Law Morning

I have been awake for less than 5 hours today. And already, the following “glitches” have taken place:

  • Little Brother was most ungracious (not to mention greedy) upon finding out that the Tooth Fairy had left her usual $1 instead of the $5 that some of his classmates get.
  • TheDad informed me that his car HAD to go to the mechanic TODAY because some “your car will explode if you don’t go to the mechanic” indicator light had lit up on his dashboard.
  • That meant that I had to commandeer Middle Sister’s car and take her to school and force her to (indignity of indignities) ride the bus home today.
  • Little Brother came thisclose to missing HIS bus because he hadn’t packed his schoolbag last night, like I’d asked him to.
  • Middle Sister had a pretty empty gas tank.
  • I had to follow TheDad to the car dealership and then he had to take me back home. ALL of this was before I even got a cup of coffee, not to mention breakfast.
  • I thought maybe there would be a diner run on the way back from Hyundai City, but no…(and poor Hubs is first of all not a mind-reader and second of all WAY too busy at work right now so I know there was no time for a diner run. But a girl can dream. Especially when she needs coffee.)
  • Middle Sister started sending me angry texts because the discombobulation of HER morning meant that she’d forgotten some important papers on the coffee table.
  • A piece of the splashguard of my stand mixer detached itself when I was making cookies for Big Brother, who’s coming home for dinner tonight.
  • Little Brother’s coach emailed the date and time of the CYO basketball playoff game:  smack in the middle of a Tech Week rehearsal for Annie Jr. (I’m dealing with that by praying for snow.)
  • I found a broken zipper pull in the dryer’s lint filter. Inspecting the laundry, I discovered that it had come off the Notre Dame hoodie that I JUST got for Christmas.

None of this is “big stuff” but it’s the little stuff that really gets to me.

I could really use a reboot here, especially since in just a couple of hours, I have a Secular Franciscans meeting and there will be guests, so I am WAY outside my comfort zone on this one (introvert problems). It’s not that the guests aren’t welcome–I’m glad they’ll be there. But I find it tough enough to conduct a meeting when it’s “just us,” never mind up to 10 extra people, some of whom are strangers.

And I have to make sure I’m out of that meeting on time to pick up Little Brother and his friend at Chess Club after school.

At the moment, I’m kind of afraid to touch anything or go anywhere! I could really use a double dose of Grace and Dignity right about now.

Question du Jour

…or, more accurately, del día.

I sent Little Brother off to scrub toilets after he finished his homework. He’s always been a fan of that job.

While he was busy creating toilets full of bubbles, he noticed the bilingual label on the Comet. “It says ‘20% más’. What does ‘más’ mean?”

“In Spanish? It means ‘more’,” I replied.

More scrubbing, then:  “Do people in Spain have toilets?”