Why my office is a hazardous waste area

I’m not really sick, but I was sick.  I caught a cold right after my husband got home from Texas, which I believe was a month ago.  Who can remember?  Anyway, I was truly, ghastly sick and after the typical 7-10 days of symptoms, I felt better but the cough remained.

And I still have this cough, but only at super inconvenient times.

I cough during the quiet portions of church or concerts.

I cough five minutes after I lie down to sleep.

I cough when my bladder is full.  (You women of a certain age will understand the tragedy of this situation.)

* * *

My office is a disaster.  Baskets of sorted and folded laundry sit everywhere.  The mail I brought in from the mailbox after three days is piled high on my desk.  The dog’s leash is here.  My daughter’s history book is here.  The Reader’s Digest is still here even though it needs to go upstairs to the bathroom.  I have a refund check from the same medical clinic that sent me a notice that I owe them $25.  (They keep sending me bills.  I pay the bill.  They send me a refund of “overpayment” and then send me another bill.  It’s confusing but has to do with unconnected accounts with different record numbers.  Dumb. The lady I talked to on the phone about this today was super rude about the whole situation.)

Anyway, my desk is dusty and dog fur litters the carpet.

The mess is driving me crazy, absolutely crazy, but I don’t have an hour or half an hour or fifteen minutes or any time at all to putter around in here to clean up.  Let me explain.

Today I rolled out of bed at 8:45 AM to work at 9 AM.

After work at 3 PM, time to pick up my son and his friend.

Back home by 4 PM, time to pick up another son to drive him to the bank so he could open an account.

Meanwhile, we went to the pet store and Walmart for toilet paper and guinea pig food and laundry detergent.

We picked up pro-ordered pizza on the way home, got home and left home ten minutes later for soccer practice.  It’s so weird to leave for practice when it’s pitch black outside with the sliver of moon hanging low in the sky.

I sat in my minivan during practice with my iPhone, reading blogs, reading email, reading Facebook and playing Candy Crush.  I wanted to lean my seat back all the way to sleep but I feel weird sleeping in a parking lot.  I guess this means I am not destined to live in my car.

We were home at 7:45 PM and then I tried to take a nap while listening to Carrie Understood sing (and badly act) in The Sound of Music.  But I couldn’t sleep because as soon as I relaxed, I needed to cough.

So I coughed and coughed until my husband got home from a meeting.  We spent fifteen minutes catching up on the day’s news and then it was time to work another three hours before bed.

I’m sleepy and coughy.  Basically, I’m approximately 2/7th of the seven dwarfs.   (If, in fact, there were a dwarf named Coughy, which there was not but let’s not let facts deter us.  Probably, they had a cousin named Coughy, who changed the spelling of his name to Coffee and then opened up a Starbucks.)

Oh dear.  It’s really time for me to sleep before I get more ridiculous.

Why my office is a hazardous waste area

Nine fingers

Tonight, my daughter sang in a holiday concert with a children’s choir.  As those children sang “O Holy Night” I tried not to cry.  There’s something about children singing and particularly about children singing Christmas hymns that just evokes all that emotion.

The concert also featured a Jewish men’s chorus and a celebration of Kwanzaa and an assortment of choirs and instruments.

One of my favorite details, though, was watching the  man playing what looked like a string bass even though he was missing half of his ring finger.

AGK bass1 full.jpgI thought about both of my grandfathers.  Each of them were missing a finger–an index finger for each of them, I believe.  My maternal grandfather cut his own finger off with a saw, I think.  I can’t remember how my paternal grandfather lost his finger.

I always found it kind of weird that both my grandfathers were missing a finger.

Anyway, I admired watching that man play that instrument despite that missing digit.

And if I weren’t so utterly exhausted, I might have some clever way to wrap up this post.

But I don’t.

The end.

Nine fingers

Burning ring of fire

I tend to fall into bed at around 2 AM.  I finish working and then make a school lunch, fold a load of laundry, maybe wash some dishes and then go to bed.

So when my alarm rang at 7:30 AM today I felt bleary and maybe a little bit like I’d been tied to a horse and dragged over a dusty and rocky path.

I comforted myself by planning a post-meeting nap and then to my chagrin, I remembered that I was supposed to start working at 9 AM instead of my usual 10 AM.  That was problematic because I would be at a meeting with my daughter’s teacher at 8:30 AM.


Not only did I not get a nap, I had to start work an hour early.  And I have to start an hour early every day this week.  No fun.

Today I had appliance repair guys come to look at my dead dishwasher and linty clothes dryer.  First, they examined the dishwasher and declared “good news” and “bad news.”

The good news was that James, the head repairman, was able to diagnose the problem. Yay!

The bad news was that he was not able to fix it.  He explained that the part was no longer available and that to rebuild it would cost as much as a new dishwasher.  Boo!

We then had a brief conversation to lament that things are not built to last and then we blamed the younger generation for expecting electronics to be disposal instead of reparable.  Alas and alack.

Then James and the other guy moved on to the clothes dryer.  As soon as they removed the front panel, I heard exclamations of amazement and alarm and incredulity.  Then they called me in to see the fire hazard that blanketed the interior of my machine.

You could see where part of the linty layer had smoldered into a black patch of doom.

It was pretty scary, actually.  That was what I smelled when I smelled the scent of smoke in my laundry room last week.

When they pulled the top of the machine off and looked inside, it was even more impressive and alarming.

They cleaned out the whole machine and said I was lucky that we hadn’t had a fire.  They told me this was not just build-up from the three years we’ve been here but from way before that.

Here’s the moral of the story:  Get someone handy to open up your clothes dryer so you can vacuum it clean or . . . if you are unhandy like some of us, hire someone.  It cost me less than a hundred dollars and kept my family’s underpants from going up in flames.

Burning ring of fire

Laundry whoa

I went to bed last night way after midnight and then a text message woke me at 6:24 AM.  Because of that text message, I had to work from 9 AM to 5 PM today . . . and then my usual shift from 9 PM to midnight. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s eleven hours of work.

And then, because we have a meeting with a teacher at 8:30 AM tomorrow, my daughter and I spent two hours organizing her schoolwork and preparing.

I consoled myself with the reminder that I only have seven more years until my youngest child is done with school.  That’s really not all that comforting, but considering I’ve been parenting school-aged kids for fifteen years so far, that seemed some consolation. Just how much longer will I have to know how to divide fractions and how to recognize a direct object or subject complement?

Seven years will pass in the blink of an eye, right?  The only problem is that in seven years I’d prefer to be about . . . oh, say 35, but instead I’ll be approaching sixty.  Why can’t the kids grow up and leave me the same age?

Anyway, the main excitement in my life today involved the arrival of the dryer vent guy, a super nice man who told me he’s been married for twenty years–and we exclaimed over how quickly the years pass.  He and his team used drills and tubing and, for all I know, sorcery to clean out the dryer lint lurking in my walls.

When this house was built, some genius thought it was a good idea for the dryer vent to go up through the wall, then around a corner, then across the span of the garage, then around another corner and then finally, out of the house.  Everyone knows that a dryer vent is supposed to be straight so that the dryer lint doesn’t accumulate, right?

Anyway, so I was mortified when I saw the clumps of lint–a veritable blizzard of dryer lint–piling up under the outside vent.  Pure shame, as if I were the idiot who designed the flawed system.  You practically needed a shovel to scoop it up–but they used a vacuum cleaner.

So, let the laundry resume.



Laundry whoa

Just another day of rest

We were late to church today.  That’s nothing new.  One of my kids absolutely cannot manage to get ready on time.  I try to keep this in perspective.  For instance, he is GOING to church.  That’s something.

After church, we went directly to a hair salon for haircuts for two of my boys.  Is there anything more boring than waiting for someone to get a haircut?  I think not.

We picked up lunch on the way home and then before I could doze off, I left the house again with my daughter to buy shoes.

Here’s the problem with having an 11-year old daughter.  Her feet are still growing and so the shoes I bought last Easter don’t fit this year at Christmas.  And the shoes I buy for Christmas will likely not fit at Easter.  And because we live in southern California, “fancy” shoes aren’t worn very often and I don’t want to spend a fortune on them.

Anyway, her “fancy” shoes don’t fit any more and we have a Christmas brunch to attend next weekend, so she needed shoes.  We went to my favorite shoe store (Famous Footwear).  I brought along two “rewards” cards that were coupons for a total of $20.  Today was also buy-one-get-one-half-off with an additional twenty percent off after that.

We shopped the Clearance racks and found a pair of dress shoes (white or cream, we couldn’t tell–and really, probably off-season but it could be seventy degrees next weekend, so who cares?) and a pair of RocketDog flip-flops (so cute).

The total for both pairs of shoes, including tax was $3.88.

That would be my best shoe buy ever except that once I paid zero dollars for a pair of flats at Famous Footwear.  (They were $5 and I had a $5 coupon.)

Anyway, I love a bargain.

When we got home, I put our Christmas tree together.  Fortunately, last year I’d purchased additional white twinkly lights to supplement the pre-lit branches because last year some of the branches didn’t light up.  Last year it was extremely frustrating to discover that fact but this year, I knew it would happen so when sections stayed dark, I shrugged and fixed the problem without losing my mind. (I hope I get bonus points for that.)

My daughter and youngest son put on all the ornaments while the dog frolicked around barking her fool head off at us.  She’s not had a walk for a few days because we noticed her limping and decided to try to restrict her activity to hopefully clear up that problem.  So she is extra feisty.

I wandered the house with various decorations, looking for good spots to place them.  I almost finished but not quite.  Tomorrow I’ll either put the rest of the things up or I’ll put them away.  I did note that we still have both Baby Jesus and the spare Baby Jesus which made me smile.

Finally, it was time for a nap, a viewing of The Amazing Race and then work.  I just finished making my son’s lunch and now it’s 2:00 AM and time for sleep.

And now, I brace myself for an extra busy week which includes not only a year-end dentist appointment for three of us (yuck) but also a Christmas concert, soccer tournament, and Christmas brunch in addition to all the regular craziness.


Just another day of rest

On blogging and damp laundry

So, this is the end of November.  I did my best to blog every day this month . . . and I think I’ll continue my efforts even though some of my attempts are pathetic.  (I participated in NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month.)

When I started this blog ten years ago, it was just to share my daily life with a few friends.  For awhile, a lot of people I didn’t know were reading here and leaving comments (those were the days!) but now, we’re back down to just a few of us.  I am so glad that I’ve been blogging here for ten years, though.  I could never remember all the stories and thoughts I’ve recorded here.

In the past ten years, blogging has become more about marketing and branding and advertising.  Bloggers promote themselves and their books and their projects.  They jostle for attention and compete for sponsorships and free stuff to review.  People know what a “blog” is.  (When I started blogging, most people had no idea what that even meant.)

I was in the crowd at one point, even blogging professionally for awhile for a company.  Companies sent me products to review and I even got hate mail (a true sign of success, right?).

But now, it’s just me and my keyboard and my life.  So many topics are off-limits.  It’s not like I can discuss my 15-year old son’s exploits or my 20-year old twins’ jobs or my 11-year old’s moods.  I am aware of their need for privacy.  I know it’s inappropriate for me to tell the stories that don’t belong fully to me.

Blogging is crowded now with some thirty-one million bloggers in the U.S. (according to some statistics).  I am a quiet voice in a sea of shouters.  I’m not the kind of person to shove to the front of the crowd.  I don’t like to draw attention to myself.

I do like to be heard, though.  I love to tell stories.  I like to recount situations that made me laugh or cry.  And I’m devoted to remembering these days, even if I have to edit myself before clicking “Publish.”  (I wish I didn’t have to edit myself at all, ever, but I’m a realist.)  I am writing for an audience of one, really:  myself.  (Clearly, I am no marketing genius and I have no interest in building my “platform.”)


In other news, I realized last night that my clothes dryer was not doing its job.  The broken clothes dryer joins the broken dishwasher in refusing to work.  The appliance repair-guy should be here on Tuesday.

In the meantime, my house is covered in damp but clean clothing.  It looks like we’re building crazy cat-sized forts out of clean shirts and pants and bath towels.

And with that, I bid November 2013 farewell.  Seems like you just got here!


On blogging and damp laundry