Monday, February 25, 2008

Seven-Minute Lull

When I was in college, and wild and crazy, a girl in my circle of other wild and crazy friends told us all that someone with too much time and too little imagination had once discovered and documented that in any conversation, there is an unpleasant lull on average every seven minutes. And whenever we as a group of wild and crazy friends, experienced said lull, that friend would pipe up, "Seven-Minute Lull!" After a while, we all started doing it. And now I do it around my family and no one has any idea what I'm talking about and I do not feel like explaining. Except that I just did to anyone who stumbles across me on the Internet so that's a bit strange.

Anyway, I feel I'm in a bit of a Seven-Minute Lull, if you will. The Holidays are long-gone, basketball season is over, winter is winding down, and we've recovered from the illnesses that descended upon the household. Ahead lies Man-Cub's birthday, Easter, several weekend retreats for various members of the family, the advent of Spring, and the birth of Lobelia's baby boy, for whom I need to start working on a blog name. The months ahead will be increasingly busy, but, for now, there is nothing to do but sit a spell and sigh as I wait for the chaos to roll in.

For those wondering, we did indeed get our snow. It was just the kind we needed, too. The weather gods were indeed benevolent and gracious to us. We got 2-3 inches, got our SNOW DAY, on a Friday no less, everything looked lovely, and it's still hanging on. But it wasn't enough to cause county-wide panic or runs on displays of milk, bread and toilet paper everywhere, or to keep us house-bound. There were accidents, of course, but no more than there usually are when more than a centimeter of snow falls on this area.

I am much appeased. Now that I've had my Snow Day and my afternoon of being startled every time Man-Cub throws a snowball at the window in front of me, I can relax and look ahead to Spring. I'm not quite ready to bid adieu to Old Man Winter just yet, and wouldn't complain to a late snow storm, but I do know that in about 3 weeks' time, the wind will shift and the tree frogs will come out. And the first peep of the tree frogs in March is right up there with the first spicy of whiff of woodsmoke in September on my list of favorite things.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Crossing my fingers...

Listen, I tried to find a more clever image, but just couldn't do it!

The weather man is teasing us with the possibility of a "winter storm" ("storm" my eye, they're warning of an inch!) so I've been hopping about the front yard in my mittens and snowshoes, chanting pleas to the fickle weather gods.

"Oh Mighty, Victorious, Wise and Benevolent Ones, oh that you would see fit to bestow upon us mere mortals the most blessed gift of a sparkling, lovely, thorough coating of at least an inch of snow!"

Think it'll work?

Ah, how very prompt, here come the first flakes now...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Don't wanna jinx myself...

...but I think I'm back.

That's right, almost completely better. I still have a little lingering nasal echo (you know what I mean, right?) when I talk, and if I'm even slightly late in taking a dose of my meds, my head starts to constrict in protest, but I'm back to life, back to reality. Which is actually good.

One of my very first orders of business was to strip and remake all the beds. It had been almost two weeks and if there's one thing I'm rather anal-compulsive about, it's the making of the beds. It actually felt good to get everything freshly laundered and smoothed back on those beds properly. And, of course, nothing in the world feels like slipping your tired body into a cool, soft, properly-made bed. Ahhhhhhh.

So, several things happened while I was gone. Valentine's Day came and went so I missed the opportunity to post my usual V-Day snark.

In case you can't tell, I'm not a fan of V-Day, or VD as I'm fond of calling it. I'm not overly hostile toward it, like the stereotypical, lonely, old-maid variety of VD haters, but I just think it's rather silly. It was fun when The Viking and I were dating, and then newly married, but I guess it's just sort of lost its charm. I just hate the thought of all those poor men having to scurry around to find their obligatory dozen roses for their lady-loves. I would hate for The Viking to have to do that. I'm much happier celebrating our birthdays and our anniversary and leaving Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and Father's Day out of it. I could go on a long diatribe about exactly what bothers me about those holidays, but I won't. It won't entertain or inform you anyway. I'll just leave it with my silly, homemade conversations hearts, which, if you're interested, you can make here.

In much more important news, on the day before Valentine's Day, my sister, Dharma, and brother-in-law, Vance, had their day in court to have Baby Bee's adoption legally finalized!

There they are, all dizzy with happiness. I don't think I can tell you how long we all have longed for this. They've been through so much for and to finally have their daughter is nothing short of a miracle. I haven't seen either of them this happy since their wedding day.

We couldn't be with them on court day, as it took place in Missouri, but Daria was there and Mom flew out for the occasion. They said Baby Bee hopped up and down in Dharma's lap, clapping her hands and charming the judge during the proceedings. And then the gavel went down and they all went out to celebrate.

Baby Bee had her first taste of cake. She was more interested in playing with it than eating it.

This is one of my most favorite photos ever. I just love how soft and radiant they both look. And I've longed for years to see my sister smile like this at a child of her own.

Aren't they all beautiful? Vance is about to complete his defence for his PhD in Chemistry any day now so we're all planning to gather and celebrate when that's over. I simply cannot wait. I miss them all so much.

So now it's official. Baby Bee is irrevocably and forever ours. Now that's fitting for Valentine's Day, don't you think?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


My little dalliance with that pesky cold has erupted into a full-blown sinus infection.

I'm coughing, sneezing, feverish and so congested it's making me dizzy and disoriented. If I'm awake, my head is pounding and all I want to do is go back to sleep. But then I can't sleep because of all the crazy, psychedelic dreams I have when I'm like this.

Ugh, indeed.

That being said, I don't know when regularly scheduled activities will resume. I've been to the doctor--again--who has dosed me up with lots of fine drugs, so hopefully, this misery will end soon. I need to get back to my husband, my children, and my house. There's not a clean piece of dishware to be had, the kids' clothes are strewn all over the place and we've been surviving on foods such as mac & cheese, spaghetti and tacos (i.e., anything The Viking or Redheaded Snippet can prepare with the help of shouted instructions from me on the recliner).

Until my entire household returns to full health, I'll be lying down, watching lots of tv.

Again, ugh.

Friday, February 08, 2008

You can tell me, I won't tell.

It's a quiet night here at my wit's end. I am still under the weather, or rather, more like once again under the weather. I cannot tell if I've been reinfected or just been blessed with round two of what I thought I had recouperated from last weekend. Suffice it to say I'm still sounding like Bea Arthur, coughing like a consumptive and sleeping every chance I get. On the bright side, Man-Cub, bless him, is finally better and returned to school with a spring in his step this morning.

In my convalesence over the past few weeks, I've had lots of time to think and plan my re-entry into productive housekeeping. As you can imagine, my house has kind of gone feral while I've been lying low. I had managed to tame it enough for safety's sake, but after a few weeks' neglect it's reverted back to its wild ways. And, I fear it's going to take a lot of muster to bring it back from the brink. A lot.

I think I may have shared this before, but I'm not the best housekeeper. Don't get me wrong, I've learned a lot and am worlds better than I was before, but I'm still not that great. I have tried to keep my house clean all the time, really I have, but it is just impossible for me. I'm just not wired that way. I am one of those women who would benefit greatly from having a live-in housekeeper. I can hear you all spluttering, "Pffft! Who wouldn't!?" But I'm serious! I'm not talking about a nameless, faceless maid who comes and goes while I'm out shopping all day, like an office night-cleaning crew. I'm talking about an old-fashioned, kindly, older, possibly widowed woman who lives with us and becomes part of the family. The kind who polishes furniture and airs linens and works alonside me making beds and preparing meals. Sort of like Mrs. Doubtfire. Or the housekeeper in every Rosamunde Pilcher book I've ever read. Or Aunt Jamesina, Rebecca Dew or Susan Baker in the Anne of Green Gables books. I would be brilliant with one of those!

But they don't exist anymore, do they? So, since I don't have an unmarried, but spry Aunt who needs a place to live and a family to love, I'm on my own. And I have set myself to the task of always improving on my housekeeping abilities and habits. It hasn't been easy. I grew up with a mother who was practically a Bohemian. She hated housekeeping (still does) and only ever did it if someone was coming over. Someone she wanted to impress, that is. We never tidied up for just our friends.

I never learned any proper housekeeping habits, except how to make hospital corners and fold sheets. I was married before I knew most people dust and vacuum once a week and make their beds every day. Isn't that horrifying? You can see what I was up against. Fortunately, I have a most patient and supportive husband who never complains and does his best to help me in my quest.

As a result of my never-ending endeavors to improve, I have become intensely interested in other people's routines. I've spent hours looking through blogs, scouring websites, studying books. I've created chores lists, chores schedules, goal lists, you name it. I haven't yet gotten things running as smoothly as I'd like, but during this last bout of enforced idleness, I've been tweaking things and I'm ready to get started again.

So, I'm wondering: what is your routine? Daily, weekly, monthly or more? Are you one of those women who rise early, shower, dress, enjoy a cup of coffee and have a hot breakfast on the table by the time your family comes downstairs in the morning? Or do you (like some people who shall remain nameless) tear yourself out of bed at the very last possible moment, stumble down the stairs behind the children in pjs and bathrobe, blindly shake some dry cereal and a splatter of milk into two bowls and slide them across the island, praying for a phone call that pipes have burst in the school building and everyone can go back to bed? I want to know!

What do you do before you go to bed at night to prepare for the day to come? Do you set out clothes for everyone, set the table for breakfast and set backpacks, purse and car keys by the door? Or do you just make sure there are enough clean clothes in the dryer, enough fixin's for everyone's breakfast and lunch and take your chances that each shoe, bookbag and school paper will be in the last place you remembered it at 7:55 the next morning? I want to know!

Do you keep yourself strictly to a chores schedule, or do you just "feel" what needs to be done and then do it? What do you do first? Make your bed, have breakfast, take a shower? I want to know! How do you manage your weekly chores, such as dusting, mopping, cleaning the bathrooms and other such things? Do you assign them each to a day? Do you do them all in one day? What about Saturdays? What about the kids' jobs? I want to know!

I'm not trying to pry, I'm just trying to find out from normal, every day women what works for them. What are your secrets for a smoothly-running, comfortable, homey household?

Tell me your housekeeping secrets! I want to know!

P.S. Spell checker STILL not working. Of all the dirty, rotten, low-down...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sick and Tired...

...of being sick and tired.

So, the gig, for anyone who is interested, went well.

My voice held out, the songs went well and everyone had an enjoyable evening. The fire department raised a nice sum of money to put toward the building of a new fire station. It was worth every moment of silence I had to endure the week before.

But I am so tired again today. Man-Cub seems to have picked up either what I had, or something else wonderful and different. He has had a fever since Friday morning that just won't break. It's been hovering around 101 degrees but spiked up to 103 on Sunday morning. I took him to the doctor, which, of course, prompted his temperature to take a temporary dip back to normal, but no reason could be found for his symptoms. The fever continues, unabated, and his cough is getting worse and worse. I'm not sure what to do. I don't like taking my kids to the doctor unless there is something they can for them that I can't and his ears, lungs, throat and sinuses have already been checked. It was declared to be the work of a virus, which we all know cannot be killed. So do we just keep dosing him with Motrin and Tylenol for the fever and Dimetapp for the cough and pray things don't worsen into something more serious? And when do I know if things have gotten serious?

Man-Cub, like many of us, gets very clingy with Mom when he is sick. Most of the time, I play second-fiddle to The Viking, who is the apple of our son's eye. But when he is sick, move over, Dad, cause it's Mommy time! I have to admit, I have been thoroughly enjoying being needed and wanted so much by my sweet boy who usually rolls his eyes when I kiss his forehead. But it is a bit like having a toddler again. I haven't been able to get much done this week and have spent a lot of nights getting up to check his temperature, give him medicine, replace cold cloths on his forehead and smooth his sheets and blankets.

I also had a proofreading deadline this week, my Bible Study assigment was particularly time-consuming, and I'm helping organize a PTA fundraiser that is supposed to take place on Saturday. Throw in two basketball games and you've got a recipe for disaster! There is a game this afternoon and I cannot find out where the dang thing is going to be! We have a bit of a problem with getting the correct information about our daughter's after-school events. I don't know why this is, as we seem to be the only family in town with this problem, but it is most frustrating, especially when you have a sick child and have to have the entire family fed and on time to church by 6:30 on a game day.

I, for one, am hoping the school's website is right for once and the game is being played at home. But, of course, that means Redheaded Snippet is wearing the wrong uniform and is going to need me to bring her other one up to her at some point today. I am also hoping Man-Cub will sleep the day away so I can catch up on missed sleep as well. And, it may not be very appropriate for me to say this as a PTA officer, but I'm hoping the fundraiser scheduled for Friday is cancelled. There doesn't seem to be enough interest as we haven't sold any tickets, and I would like nothing more than to put it aside for another time when my family is healthy and I'm not so worn out.

On that note, I'm going back to bed. Maybe Man-Cub and I will take a trip to Grandma's later to see which movies she has that we haven't watched yet this week. I'm feeling a big pot of tea and a nice, hot, fresh batch of scones shared under a fuzzy blanket on the couch in front of the tv will be just what we need!

P.S. I don't know what's going on, but the spell-check feature has not worked for me the last 3 posts I've written. So, if things are a bit out of order, that's why! It's driving me crazy!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Nerves, nerves, nerves

I only have a few minutes, but I'm trying to keep myself busy and not freak out because we're supposed to be at the gig in only 18 minutes and The Viking isn't even home yet, let alone showered and changed.

Yes, the show goes on! I was a good girl all week and didn't talk and my voice seems to have responded well to all the pampering. It isn't back to its usual strength or range, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we can turn the volume on my mike way up and lower the key of every song by at least a third with only the touch of the "transpose" button! I have always been more of an acoustic girl at heart, but in situations like these, you can't beat the convenience of an electric keyboard.

I'm dressed, primped and preened and jittery, waiting at the desk near the door. I hope he hasn't lost track of the time. I hope he's not in trouble somewhere. He's not answering his cell phone. Again. Maybe he's at the fire station (the venue for tonight's event) setting up sound equipment even now. Maybe he took his suit with him and is changing there. I don't think so, but I can give him the benefit of the doubt.

This is the first time we're singing/playing for a fire department function and only the third time we've ever performed in town so I'm rather nervous. I don't really know what to expect tonight. We're supposed to be singing in the background while everone enjoys their dinner, but sometimes these things turn out way different, with everyone stopping in their tracks and sitting, staring at us while we play. That always unnerves me. And small, close groups make me more nervous than large, impersonal ones. I'd rather be in a concert hall with stage lights blinding me to the mass of people I'm facing than sit all cozy in a small cafe with the people so close I could kick them.

I'm so glad to be feeling better. I was really getting tired of all that miming. Plus, Man-Cub seems to have caught it and I don't think this household could handle two of us like that at once.

Okay, I'd better go. He's still not here, but I am still planning on being where I'm supposed to at the right time. It's time to leave.

I'll try to pop back in later and let you know how it went. Maybe I can even get some photos!