I tried. Really, I did. For several years now, I have put up with dim-and-getting-dimmer lighting in the family room and dining room. If I didn’t turn on the dining-room light when I started cooking dinner, we wouldn’t be able to see our food during the meal. And you couldn’t read in the family room.

So this week, I kicked them out: all those compact-fluorescent lights we’d installed in those fixtures. At $7 per bulb, it was going to take a while to realize the energy savings when we had to turn them on earlier than we needed them in order for them to get halfway bright enough to use. Now I’m supposed to find a special disposal site for them, because apparently they’re toxic waste, too.

Fortunately, I’ve been hoarding those good old incandescent bulbs (thank you, Thomas Edison!) I can switch on that dining-room light just as I switch off the kitchen stove, and it’s nice and bright in there. (You could land a plane on my dining-room table if you had to.) I’ll save the mood lighting for dates with TheDad at fancy restaurants. Although the dim lights were good for one thing: it was harder to see whatever Little Brother had spilled during the meal.

CFLs just do NOT work for me.

So Much for Idealism

There’s a song from the musical Barnum that goes, in part:

Bigger isn’t better,
Taller isn’t smarter,
Stronger isn’t always wise.

It’s a lesson I’ve always tried to teach my kids–all of whom started out as little “peanuts.”

But last night my kids learned, without a shadow of a doubt, that the one with the memory foam pillow wins the pillow fight.

It’s the Little Things

On a day when I’ve been up since 3:30 AM (to take Big Brother to school at 4 for departure for his senior trip), it’s the little things that will keep me sane, awake and reasonably happy until bedtime.

My whole family knows to stay away from me (far away) when I’m sleep-deprived and cranky. I tried to go back to sleep after I dropped my son off, but no such luck. So I figured I’d do my best to make the most of the rest of the day, in the hopes that I won’t be sending the rest of my family running for the hills.

First of all, I said yes when TheDad asked if I wanted to hit the diner for breakfast. We had a nice time, too, just relaxing. I think we both needed that. And the poached eggs hit the spot. So did the (caffeinated) coffee.

I was home just in time to leave again for daily Mass. That’s always a good thing.

Then I took myself for a long-overdue haircut. Last time I got a haircut it was December! I had the stylist try something new and so far I like it.

After that, I stopped at Panera for my favorite lunch of an asiago-cheese bagel with veggie cream cheese, and a caramel latte.

Maybe, if I can manage to get my work done early today, I’ll squeeze in a nap before the school bus gets here.

But if I can’t, and I’m so sleepy I can’t be trusted around the stove at dinnertime, there’s no fear. I found a pack of pre-seasoned taco meat in the freezer, so all I have to do is heat that up and add some tortillas, lettuce, salsa, and some boxed mac & cheese.

And if you want to hear what I sound like when I’m not sleep-deprived, I’m guesting on this week’s Among Women podcast. Pat Gohn does a fabulous job hosting this podcast, and it was great talking with her.

Pardon Me, Your OCD is Showing

Little Brother likes to help me unload the dishwasher. While most of its contents have to be put away in cabinets beyond his reach, he’s more than capable of taking care of the silverware, especially since the little basket that holds them in the dishwasher is removable. He actually gets mad at me if I do “his” job.

Letting him help in this way, though, is a lesson in letting go. He (usually) gets the knives, forks, and spoons into the right compartments. But pointing in the right direction? Not so much.

This is one of those times when I need to remind myself that it really doesn’t matter if the spoons are all facing the same way. He’s 7, and he willingly helped me to a household job. I don’t have to go back into that drawer and turn all the forks around so the tines point toward the wall.

I really want to, but I don’t have to. And it’s going to take all I have today to leave those forks alone.

By the time dinner rolls around, most of the forks will be back out of the drawer and on the table anyway. There’s always a chance that tomorrow when Little Brother empties the clean-silverware basket, he’ll face the forks the right way. (I can talk to myself like this all day, but I’m still going to struggle to stay away from that drawer.)

I’ve got to learn to save my perfectionism for situations when it’s really needed, like editing. The sorting of silverware is something I’ll need to let go. It might drive me crazy today (if I’m not crazy already) but it’s way better for my kids.

The Groundhog was Wrong

I knew all along that it would be an early spring. How can that groundhog avoid seeing his shadow with all those lights for the TV cameras?

It certainly feels like spring this weekend. Monday’s igloo that was built by Middle Sister, Boy Next Door, and Big Brother collapsed on Friday and there’s not a trace of it left, save for the sand-diggers and small shovels strewn around the front yard.

We’ve got the windows open and I am listening to the birds sing. I spent 20 minutes already today on, trying to figure out what bird woke me up this morning. I never saw the bird, but his call goes “whistle whistle, twit twit twit twit twit.” He whistles twice and twits at least 3 times, and each time, he adds a few. Then he gets quiet and starts all over again. Yes, I am compelled to count how many twits each time. So if you have a clue about this bird, I’d be so grateful.

We saw two robins in the yard this morning, and the kids wore shorts yesterday.

AND we’ve already had our “spring ahead” on the clock. So it must be spring. So there, groundhog!

Spoken Like a True Girl

I came home this morning after Mass and grocery shopping to find a message on our voice mail. Apparently it was left yesterday afternoon, and I didn’t realize it. The little girl who lives behind us wanted to play with Little Brother. She’s almost five, but quite the pro at leaving messages!

“Hello, my name is Cutie Pie, and I’m calling to ask Little Brother to come over and play with me, because I want to play. Give me a call back. My number is ###-####. Bye!”

I feel bad that we didn’t realize she’d called, and at the same time I’m really impressed at her ability to leave a message. It must be a girl thing, because Little Brother will call and say things like, “Hello, can Cutie Pie play? (wait for someone to respond, which won’t happen because this is voice mail)…Bye.”

Feels Like Monday

I always get messed up on these long weekends. I am convinced that it is Monday today.

Little Brother made a bet with his uncle on the Eagles game this weekend. If the Eagles lost, Little Brother would have to wear a NY Giants t-shirt for a whole week. Well, you know that the Eagles lost. Little Brother does not own a Giants shirt but his uncle was happy to provide him with one! Other than school, he is wearing that shirt and even hiding it so I can’t wash it. (I found the hiding place, though…don’t worry! No stinky Little Brothers allowed around here!) I’m glad that he is being a little man and living up to his end of the agreement. Maybe he will think twice before gambling again.

There are a lot of errands to run today and it is NOT warm out. I could put some off until later in the week and hope for a warmer day, but I have to do some today, so while I’m out I may as well just get it all done. One of those errands is re-registering Big Brother for school. He will be a senior next year. I have to go to the school with the forms and the very last school-bus application I will ever write for him, and of course a large check.

And it promises to be a busy week in basketball for Middle Sister. Practice tomorrow, game Thursday, game Saturday, game Sunday. Fortunately her jammed finger from last week is all better. She’s already talking about softball for the spring.