329 Days Later

Three-hundred and twenty-nine days later, I found the Box of Keys.  I wasn’t looking for them, of course.  Instead, I was trying to find cold medicine or maybe something else.  I can’t remember.  It doesn’t matter.

What matters is the fact that I found the Box of Keys.  Back in the day, I very helpfully marked the clear plastic box with a Sharpie marker–“KEYS WITHOUT HOMES”–as if it weren’t obvious that a bunch of random keys had no permanent homes.

When I spotted the Box of Keys at the very top corner of the upper cabinet shelf behind two bottles of Advil (one expired, one A-okay) I said, “There they are!”  I stood on tippy-toes and pulled that box down with great glee.

I couldn’t remember why I’d ever wanted them, though.  Is this my new life?  I spend frantic minutes searching for things I can’t find and then I find things but I can’t remember why I cared in the first place?

I actually did a search of my blog to figure out why the keys had seemed urgent.  I found my blog from June 5, 2013 and then I remembered the padlock situation.  (My son started a job and needed a padlock and I found the padlocks but couldn’t find a key.)

I am actively resisting the urge to find the padlocks.  I suspect I would not immediately be able to find them and that would lead to another semi-panicked, frustrating game of It Was Right There Why Can’t I Find It.

My husband would never have a box of keys without homes.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  his ideal living situation is a dorm room with beige walls and an extra-large bookshelf.  He does not save things “just in case.”  I like to think that I balance his tendency to throw away perfectly good stuff, but the truth is that I probably drive him a little crazy with my drawers of doodads and boxes of doohickeys and all those shoes I don’t really wear. (Let’s not discuss my laundry room.)

I have boxes of cords that belong to electronics that we may or may not own.

I have a queen-sized air mattress that was purchased 17 years ago and used once.

I have a hamster cage I bought at a garage sale–it was such a deal–but we’ve never owned a hamster.

And so on and so forth.

But listen, if we ever get a hamster, we don’t have to buy a cage!  And if we ever live in houses we once lived in before, we won’t have to get spare keys!  And if you come to my house, I can offer you an air mattress upon which to sleep.

I have an air compressor somewhere so we can pump it up.  Just give me a little time so I can figure out where I left it.  (It’s lost.  Probably in a box in the garage.)

329 Days Later

Ready or not

I’m never really ready for Easter.

I know that getting all the kids out the door on time will be a challenge.  My mind is already pulling together the details of the dinner that I’ll need to provide immediately after church.  And, of course, it’s always tricky to cook when I’m not actually home.  We’ll be at church and I’ll feel pressured to look better than usual and I’ll wish my boys would look like catalog models, but of course, I’ll just be glad to have them all sitting next to me in the balcony.  At least my daughter will dress fancy.

I’m already tired, this year because I had to drive to Palm Desert this morning for a lacrosse game this afternoon.  The worst part about the drive was backtracking.  Forty-five minutes after we left, my daughter called to let me know that her lacrosse equipment was in the car.  This was problematic because she was going to her lacrosse game with her dad and I was driving our son to his game.

Anyway, I had to turn back, adding an hour onto our two hour drive.  So, we left home at 9:45 AM and arrived in Palm Desert at 1:20 PM, twenty minutes late.

We got home at 7 PM and then I had to go to the store to buy last minute groceries and some Easter baskets and candy to put in them.

It’s been a long week for me and my husband.  For him, it was long because his oldest brother died unexpectedly from a suspected heart attack last Sunday morning.  On Monday morning, he flew to Texas to be with his family.  He returned this morning, in time to drive our daughter to lacrosse and a son to work.

While he was gone, I assumed all the driving-of-the-kids.  One day I made ten separate drop-offs and pick-ups.  (This is in addition to my regular old full-time job and housekeeping and napping.)   The driving itself is mindless and makes me feel impatient, but the very worst part was getting my 16-year old son to high school by 7:45 AM, requiring us to leave home at 7:15 AM.  For a lot of you, that might not be early but I work until at least midnight every night.  I close my eyes at about 1 AM or even later.

I was sleep-deprived all week.

Right now, I need to retrieve baskets and candy from the car trunk so I can assemble Easter baskets for the youngest kids.  (My oldest kids turned 21 this week.  I can’t tell you how bizarre that seems to me.)

I’m not ready for Easter.  (The cooking . . . the clean-up . . . the egg dye . . . the baskets . . . the everything that a mom has to do to make it all happen.)

But I’m ready for the Resurrection.  I’m ready for life triumphing over death, for joy after sorrow, for sunrise after the dark nights.  I’m ready to celebrate–in my heart, at least.  (Start with the heart and the rest will follow.)

Happy Easter, everyone!

Ready or not

Why books are better than sports

Fortunately, I found a beach towel in the trunk of my car.  I wrapped it around myself and sat on the top row of the bleachers, thankful for the seat cushion I splurged on at the Puyallup Fair a few years ago.

My boy’s team had a lacrosse game against their rivals, a team they’d lost to awhile back.  Time for revenge.

The first quarter, the other team scored a lot.

My boy didn’t play at all.

The second quarter, our team scored some, but we were still behind.

My boy played one play.

The third quarter, the score got closer.

My boy didn’t play.

The fourth quarter came and went and our team lost.  I think the score was 11-9, but they turned off the scoreboard so fast I didn’t get a chance to double-check.

But I do know this.  My boy didn’t play during the fourth quarter, either.  He was put into the game for maybe a total of two minutes.

I texted my husband and kept him apprised of the scored.  I also mentioned that I thought it was rotten that my boy didn’t get to play much at all.

My husband explained about upperclassmen and sophomores and fairness and said our boy would learn from this and that he’d understand.  But I didn’t understand myself.  Not really.

As we walked toward the car in the dark parking lot, my boy didn’t seem very understanding.  In fact, he did a rather unflattering (but amusing) imitation of one of the coaches.

It just seems to me that if you go to every practice and work hard and sacrifice four nights during the week and one day every weekend that you should get to play in the actual game.  (My boy actually scored two goals in each of the last two games, too, so it’s not unreasonable, in my mind.)   I kept these thoughts mostly to myself, of course.  But still.

I guess I’m not much of a team player.  I don’t really care that much about the team.  I care about my boy and watching him stand on the sideline clutching his lacrosse stick, dressed in his cleats and helmet and pads and not playing–along with thirteen other boys–frustrated and pained me.   It probably bugged me more than my boy but it looked to me like exclusion and rejection and injustice.  (And maybe I’m over-thinking and over-feeling and over-analyzing this.)

But you have to admit, my friends, that this is a perfect illustration of why books are better than sports.

(Well, that might be a faulty conclusion, but has a book ever overlooked a kid?  I think not.)


Why books are better than sports

Spring Break, Part Two


On Monday, we woke up early and tried to get to Disneyland before everyone else.  It’s Spring Break, after all.

We spent twelve hours traipsing back and forth across the park, standing in some lines, outsmarting other lines by using FastPasses.  We wondered why our favorite rides were closed and skipped the parades entirely and ate and shopped and paddled a canoe around the River.

And we found the Springtime Round-up where a variety of Disney rabbits were posing for pictures.  Grace normally hates having her picture taken with costumed characters–a funny and stubborn quirk she’s had since she was two years old–but for some reason, she jumped at the chance to have her picture taken with Rabbit (of Winnie-the-Pooh fame).

The other highlight of the trip was a ride on Splash Mountain.  She’s ridden it only once before and found it too scary to ride again, but for whatever reason, she decided it was time to ride it again.

Now, we have a few more days of Spring Break.  Then I begin the countdown until the end of the school year.


Spring Break, Part Two

Spring Break, Part One


Tomorrow, my 16-year old’s Spring Break begins.  This is a glorious time of year in which I don’t have to make a school lunch before I crawl into bed.  I don’t have to spend 45 minutes each afternoon retrieving him from school.  I don’t have to make sure his favorite shirts are ready to wear each morning.


Tomorrow, my 11-year old is still in school, her charter school which requires her to do her coursework at home.   So I will be doing my best to push her along, to prod her to do her best.  I will insist that she does every subject even though she’ll try to bargain and convince me to let her do two histories tomorrow instead of one today and one tomorrow.  I will try to be the Voice of Reason and the one who doesn’t let her off the hook even though I’d like to just play hooky pretty much all the time.  (Don’t tell.)

In another week, my son will be back at school and my daughter’s Spring Break will begin.  And I personally will be counting down the days to summer, that fantastic time of year where our schedule is less structured and we can breathe without considering how to solve a quadractic equation and there will be absolutely no sentence diagramming.


Spring Break, Part One


I borrowed this idea from Carmen at Mom to the Screaming Masses.
What is the last thing you watched on TV?   Revolution on NBC.  I’m barely following the plot but it keeps me company while I’m working.  (It’s on right now: gun shots and fire and conspiracies and betrayal, etc.)

When did you last step outside? What were you doing?  I dropped off my son at lacrosse practice, then stopped by Albertson’s to buy a few things which turned into $111.00 worth of things.  I carried in about a dozen bags of groceries and a small case of water bottles in two trips.  I am Woman, hear me roar.

What is on the walls of the room you are in?  A poster that says “KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON” and a couple of photographs I took at Long Beach, Washington.  One shows a woman riding a bike while walking a horse on the beach at sunset.

If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?  Houses for all the people I love.  Cars for all the people I love.  A vacation home in Tahiti.  A fancy new 15-speed bicycle.

Tell me something about you that most people don’t know.  I became a amateur radio operator (aka “ham radio operator”) when I was thirteen years old.  I rode my bicycle from Marysville, Washington, to San Francisco, California, on a 12-speed bicycle when I was fourteen.  Mt. St. Helen’s erupted when I was fifteen.

Who made the last incoming call on your phone? My husband, calling to ask me if everything was okay because our daughter had called him (while he was at a meeting) to ask him where I was (Albertson’s!).  She had called me right after she called him.

What was the last book you read?  I just finished Insurgent by Veronica Roth.  Now I’m reading Anne Lamott’s Some Assembly Required.

If you could change something about your home, without worry about expense or mess, what would you do?  I’d make the laundry room a LOT bigger.

What was the last thing you bought?  Groceries at Albertson’s.

If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be?  Someone creative and funny . . . not sure.

Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?   Lowe’s or Home Depot.

Is the glass half empty or half full?   Half empty.  Or spilled entirely.

Name something that took you by surprise.  My entire life.

Name one TV show you will watch every time it’s on – Judge Judy.  I just became obsessed by her.

Name a movie you will watch no matter how many times you’ve seen it.   When Harry Met Sally.

What’s the farthest-away place you’ve been?   Tahiti.

What’s under your bed?  Nothing but Roy the Paranoid Cat (not pictured above).

What is your favorite time of the day?  Dusk, that magical hour before dark.

What Inspires You?   Books.  Creative people.  Great movies.  Solitude.

Now it’s your turn.  Pick a question and answer . . . here or on your blog.  Or don’t.  Whatever.  I’m not bossy.  (Ha.  I am bossy.)