The closet

(This cat finds March Madness unimpressive.)


I did not go on a hike today, but still, I walked more than 10,000 steps cleaning out my closet. I had to try on almost everything and so I’d grab an item and put it on while walking over to the mirror for a look.

I’m exhausted.

I gathered five big bags of clothes to drop off at the thrift store.

I still have too many clothes (and nothing to wear), but that’s a problem for another day.

Now that I have finished that task, I must face taxes (and death) as they are inevitable. The taxes this week–or next (let’s not rush into things) and death, hopefully in 50 years after I’ve lived long enough to get revenge on my kids.

(I’m just kidding.)

(Or am I? I’ll let you know in 49 years.)

The closet

The sky is (not) falling (though the patio cover is)

And today, a second termite extermination company guy came over to inspect my house. He also confirmed termite activity and a rotting patio covering.

“It’s not an emergency,” he said.

It’s not an emergency.

My across-the-street neighbor told me the other day that his dad told him that a problem that can be fixed with money is not really a problem.  (Or something like that.)

Really, anything that can be solved with money is not the end of the world.  A rebellious child, a fatal disease, a killer mudslide, a vicious avalanche, a broken heart . . . none of these things can be prevented with money.  (Can they?)  Those are Problems.

So it’s all perspective, right?

I’m just trying to do the right thing and make the right choices–which is pretty much the story of my life. It’s disorienting, though, to have your actions as a parent questioned by the very people you are doing your best to raise and protect. (I’m so tired of this.)

Having your intentions misunderstood or misinterpreted by your kids is a special type of pain that you can’t really imagine before you have kids.  (Utterly exhausted.)

Balancing freedom and safety . . . granting permission or just saying no . . . it’s just exhausting some days, isn’t it?  (I need a vacation.)


Today, one of my sons texted me to let me know he forgot to tell me he was going out of town for a conference and that he needed to pack business-casual clothes and could I help him?  And, by the way, some of the clothes were dirty.  So, I helped him out because I’m nice like that. I also bought him two new pairs of pants at Costco because college students don’t usually have enough “business casual” outfits to last four days.  At least my college students don’t.

Between that, the termite inspector, giving a different child bad news (“you can’t go”) and having that child furious with me . . . and then making an appearance in a class my husband was teaching . . . I had another one of those crazy busy days. I did get my walk in and I did clean up my kitchen, so there’s that.

And so far, the sky is not falling, nor is the deck cover.  (But there’s always tomorrow.)

The sky is (not) falling (though the patio cover is)

A nibble here and rot there

I started my day dropping Lola off for a bath, brush and nail trim. Lola is my Bernese Mountain dog. That info is for those of you who haven’t been following along at home.

By 9:30 AM, I was on the phone with the insurance company (twice) trying to figure out who failed me this time. Bureaucracy is fun, am I right?

Then at 10:20 I was walking the muddy trail with my husband. He accompanies me on my daily hour-long hike a few times a week. I had to break it to him that my podcasts are more entertaining than he was today, but I think that was just my Daylight Savings fatigue being rude.

I was barely out of the shower at 11:54 AM when my twelve o’clock appointment showed up. A nice guy from a termite extermination company inspected my house and informed me he didn’t find anything scary in my attic, “only termite droppings.”

I said, “Um, that sounds scary to me!” And he said, “Well, I thought you meant something scary like rat droppings.”

He checked out my patio covering and let he know that the wood is not falling apart because of termites but just because it’s rotting due to age. Well, great. If that’s not good news, I don’t know what is. Ha.

He left at 1:20 PM and I went and picked up Lola from the groomer. I had a half an hour before it was time to pick up my daughter from school, so I watched part of a episode of Breaking Bad. I’m ten years behind the times. Please, no spoilers.

I dropped my daughter off at her friend’s house, then came home to cook dinner. Then I went back to pick her up.

Now the day is done. It’s 10:20 PM.

I’m tired but at least I wrote this.

Tomorrow’s excitement includes dropping off a car at a collision center. (It’s always something.)

A nibble here and rot there

Revive me again

I’ve spent hours going through old blog posts because at some point my blog became contaminated with spam links. I noticed this a couple of weeks ago when a link to my blog came up in my Facebook feed.  I read the post and noticed a strange link and then realized that spam is spread throughout my blog like termites. So I’m going through each post and removing the link by hand. (So far, I’m finished with 2009 and 2008.)

Speaking of termites, I’m so afraid we have them, at least in the large wooden patio covering in my back yard. Some of the wood is coming apart and if I lived in Washington state still, I’d just assume it’s rotting wood or something inexplicable but now I’m just worried about termites.  I’m having some companies come and do “free” inspections but it strikes me as improbable that a company who is in the business of exterminating termites would not FIND termites.  It’s like a kick-back from them to them.

Anyway, reading my blog posts from ten years ago has been an encouragement to blog more regularly. In ten years I won’t remember so much of this time in my life. I can see that clearly because when I read those posts from 2008, I am flooded with emotions. And I want to kiss myself on the lips in gratitude for preserving in words all those minutes and days and weeks.

For instance, will I remember in ten years that today my cell phone rang and my 20-year old son told me, “First of all, we are okay,” before explaining that “his” car (that we leased) was rear-ended on the freeway because he had to stop suddenly?  He managed not to hit the car in front of him but the guy behind him smashed into the bumper and trunk of his car.  He pulled over and took a photo of the guys’ license. He photographed both cars and got the guys’ phone number. Then he called me.

The funny thing is that the smashed in part of the car had already been dented (by an unknown driver in a parking lot way back when he first got his license) and then by rolling backward in the driveway and bumping (hard!) into a fire hydrant. I’m still not exactly sure how that might have happened, but it did.

Will I remember that it rained today and that I:

1) Woke up at 7:15 AM and got up at 8:30 AM and went for a walk on the trails?  Even though it was lightly raining?

2) Drove Adam to work at 10 AM?

3) Came home and ate yogurt and homemade granola while watching an episode of Breaking Bad (Season 4 – I am ten years behind everyone else)?

4)  Agreed to meet husband for lunch at Souplantation at 1 PM and when he called at 12:47 PM and said, “Are you almost here?” and I said, “Um, yeah,” and when he said, “Where are you?” and I hesitated for just a second before confessing, “In the laundry room.”?  (I followed that up with, “You SAID one o’clock!”)

(We tardy people always think we can do just One More Thing.  In this case, I thought I could just switch the laundry real quick before heading out. Non-tardy people show up fifteen minutes early.)


My 15-year old daughter spent the night last night at her friend Erika’s house. She’s there all day and tonight, too. I just read about her five-year old self in my blog posts from 2008 and it kind of makes my heart hurt to remember. Then again, I had those sweet times with her, even if she can’t remember them.  Even if she’d rather be at some other house all day and all night.


I’m in the background investigation stage of getting a new job as a dispatcher. It feels super invasive to have questionnaires sent to my seven references plus my family members, including the sister who hasn’t spoken to me in fifteen years. I feel like I haven’t really taken a deep breath since December 11, 2017, when I applied for this job.  I just really want the job.


I just read an Ann Patchett book (This is the Story of a Happy Marriage) and it was a delight. Now I’m reading a quick mystery by Harlan Coben.


And with that, I consider this blog revived.

Revive me again


I stood in line at Target today with an armful of things I didn’t know I needed until I found them while on a quest to get hair mousse.

In front of me stood a woman with a little girl. I watched them interact.

The woman ran her fingers through the child’s hair and asked her if she’d brushed it that morning. The woman told the girl that something was bad for her brain (screen-time? I didn’t hear) and that they should get some exercise, maybe go for a walk.

I remembered with a pang when my girl was that small and I felt such a rush of longing for her small self. I miss her childhood in a way that I never missed my sons’ younger days. Maybe that’s because the boys were all noise and headlocks and video games and smelly socks and unflushed toilets.

My daughter was dollies and tea parties. She was stickers and markers and notes penned to the “Best Mommy In the Whole World.” She was stuffed animals and “Finding Nemo.” We used to walk around the block in the afternoons and when she was really little, she once insisted on going into a neighbor’s yard where she started to gather their ceramic gnomes.

We did everything together, and not just because she would cry if I left her with a sitter. She loved to swim and she adored the ocean, so we’d go on long strolls down the beach. “Want to go see the sunset?” and she’d always say yes. She’d insist on wearing a swimsuit, even for a nightly stroll when it was too cold for getting wet and she’d get splashed anyway.

For years, I took her to every soccer practice and every soccer game. I sat on the sidelines while she practiced, even when other parents just dropped their kids off. She talked non-stop while we drove from place to place. Her constant chatter was the soundtrack of my life.

When she was very little, she’d come into my bed every night or early every morning. She’d rotate like she was a rotisserie chicken and it drove me absolutely crazy how she could not be still. If she didn’t come into bed, she’d just wake me every ten minutes by standing bedside and saying, “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.” until I stirred.

(When was the last time she crawled into bed with me?)

What I’m saying is that we were close.  We were very close. Every night she’d call downstairs, “I’m ready!” and I’d go upstairs and tell her goodnight.

Until one night, she didn’t call me upstairs and I didn’t notice.

She used to watch “Survivor” with me and then one night, I remember saying, “Okay, but only if you’re still and if you don’t talk.” (I so regret those moments I was irritable and short with her. I thought we had forever.)

She never watches television with me anymore, even when I ask.

I miss her.

I miss her blond curls. I miss her hand in mine. I miss her absolute belief in me.

Now, sometimes when I say something, she scrunches her darkened eyebrows at me, conveying her astonishment at my ignorance or . . . whatever. I get that scrunchy-eyebrow look fairly regularly. She is far, so far from me.

I never, ever expected her to drift away. I thought that we would always be close. (Is that crazy?) I don’t even know the moment that the tide carried her away and now she’s a speck out in the sea.

So, she’s growing up, becoming herself by trying on some different personas. (Her current persona has purple hair and wants a septum piercing.) She’s 15. She has to find her way. She will find her way.  (I hope it’s back to me, someday.)


My heart is an empty nest, feathered with memories of a little girl who once adored me.



Today was okay. Busy, but fine. Whatever.

(Still unemployed. Husband left the country on a trip this morning. I had to get up super early today. Took my car for an oil change. Just regular life.)

And then at 9:15 tonight, my son said, “Is that water?” He pointed to my office ceiling, the same ceiling that is only two years old.

This is the ceiling that was repaired after a toilet overflowed and left puddles of water that rained onto my desk. It cost a lot and involved my insurance company and ended up raising my insurance rates.

Yeah, that ceiling. It has an unmistakably wet mushy spot.


It’s always something, isn’t it?

This time I poked a big hole in it and only a few drops of water plunked onto my desk chair.

I guess I’ll be calling a plumber tomorrow.


Tuesday Museday

Several times today I clicked my iPhone on to check if it were Tuesday or Wednesday. That sums up the discombobulation of unemployment coupled with the kids’ Winter Break. I have no idea who I am or what day it is.

But life has a way of propelling one forward. I’d seen a video of someone making lasagna and my longing to eat that lasagna gave purpose to my day.

How much smaller life is than I once imagined it would be. Small goals, easily reached.

My husband has let me know in no uncertain terms that I can no longer classify myself as middle aged unless I plan to live to be 104. I insisted that the first ten years of life don’t really count, therefore I am obviously middle aged, even if I should die before I reach 100.

So I have small goals. I’ve given up the illusion that kids–mine or others–value my opinion or instructions. It’s so stupid, really, that once you add decades of life experience–plus a lot of reading and observing–younger people dismiss you because you’re old middle aged.


I wanted lasagna. I got in my daily exercise–the better to outlive you, my dear–and bought the ingredients. I cooked it. I ate it.

Here’s a tip for you youngsters.

Next time your eyes slide past a middle aged person as you search for someone who is exciting and relevant and unwrinkled, stop. Ask that invisible older person in your life, “What do you think?”

You might be surprised.

Meanwhile, I’ll be hiking and eating whatever I fancy for dinner because I can.

Tuesday Museday