Today I accidentally worked three extra hours.

It’s a boring story involving my lack of attention and complete denial that it’s December.

So I won’t tell that story.

I am really, really tired because I accidentally failed to drink any caffeine today.

That’s another boring story involving my lack of grocery shopping and failure to cook anything in many days.

Today, I wore pajama pants all day.  I am exceedingly grateful that my drives from here to there throughout the day did not require me to get out of the car because I am very judgmental about people wearing pajamas in public and yet, here I am.  In pajama pants.  All day.

Tomorrow my husband is flying to Seattle.  I remain behind to drive my kids around, to work and to take care of all the mundane yet life-preserving details involved in taking care of a family.

So off I go to sleep . . . because in exactly six hours, I have to drive my baby boy to high school.


What costs a lot and makes me want to cry?

This afternoon at four, my two youngest kids and I had dental appointments.

On the short drive to the office, I asked my kids if there’s anything they like doing less than going to the dentist.

“No,” they said.

“What about running five miles?”

“I’d rather run five miles.”

“What about walking on broken glass?”

“I’d rather walk on broken glass.”

“What about listening to your brothers argue?”

Pause.  “I’d rather go to the dentist.”  My 15-year old son absolutely hates to be around arguing or fighting, especially when his brothers go at it.

Personally, I’d rather do almost anything than go to the dentist but I also want to have teeth until I die.  So, we went.

The exams and cleanings took longer than I’d hoped–we were there almost two hours, I think.  My daughter ended up getting two especially stubborn baby molars plucked out.  The adult teeth had come in and still those babies refused to leave.  My son passed with flying colors.

The dentist looked at my mouth, asked me if I’d been wearing my mouthguard but I don’t have and never have had a mouthguard so I said no.  He looked puzzled and studied my chart.  He advised me to get one (low price of $295 after insurance)  and told me I’d be glad I did in twenty or thirty years but I’m not convinced.  I also need three crowns (low, low price of $400 each after insurance) but I’m putting that off until money grows on trees.

Also, can someone explain how to carry on a conversation while someone’s fingers and sharp metal dental tools are all crowded in my mouth?  While I enjoy the staff at this dental office, it’s pretty difficult to chat while I have the x-ray things clenched between my teeth.

It sounded something like this:

Her:  “Oh, did you cut your hair?”

Me:  “Yaaaaa, uhg had nnnufffff soooo uh cuhhhh i.”

Her:  “Oh, is that your natural color and curl?”

Me:  “Ahhhhhhh, uh aaaaah.”


Him:  “So are you all ready for Christmas?”

Me:  “Uhhhhhh-hhhhhhh.”

* * *

The dentist:  More fun than walking on broken glass but a lot less fun than pretty much everything else in the world.


What costs a lot and makes me want to cry?

Worst and best

My alarm rang at 5:30 AM and I sprang out of bed, no snooze button involved.  I didn’t dare to “snooze” because after only four hours of sleep, I feared falling deeply asleep again.

We left the house at 6:22 AM and arrived at the soccer field an hour away on time–a Christmas miracle, for sure.  It was chilly–under fifty degrees, which I know is a heat wave compared to some areas of the country, but for us, here in sunny San Diego, it’s downright cold.  So I wore mittens.

The game was fierce but ended in a zero-zero tie.  We raced into our car and over the hills and up the highways and byways to our church where we arrived just in the nick of time for the annual Christmas brunch.  (We changed clothes in the car.  I only changed shirts but my daughter went from soccer uniform to Christmas dress complete with fancy shoes.)

The brunch was lovely and before we knew it, it was time to get back in the car and drive an hour through rain to the soccer field.  Driving in the rain reminded me of living in the Pacific Northwest.  Mainly, I remembered how much I hate to drive in rain.

At the soccer field, the rain pelted us and the wind blew.  By the time the game started, the girls were soaked through from “warming up.”  I sat in my beach chair wearing  sweater, scarf, coat, mittens and hood.  I had a blanket over my lap and an umbrella shielding me.  And then the rain stopped but the cold wind remained.

The worst part was that the other team scored a goal in the last minute of the game.  So, our team lost 1-0.

The worst part was the drive home, an hour through mostly rain.

The worst part was discovering my right shoe was broken and let water in as soon as I exited the car.

The worst part was getting my jeans soaked from the knees down.

The worst part was having wet feet and wet socks and wet shoes.

The best part is that this day is over.

Worst and best

Being a grown-up

After work–and after picking up my 15-year old from school–I took a 15 minute nap before driving my older son to work. It was 4:15 PM and while driving west toward his workplace, I could see tufts of clouds like cotton batting suspended in the sky.

My immediate inclination was to speed toward the ocean so I could watch the sun set.  I seriously considered it.  The sun sets at about 4:40 PM here.  I had approximately fifteen minutes to race to the beach, an entirely possible proposition.


I am a grown-up.

Grown-ups have to resist the impulse to run to the shore to snap photos of the sunset even if the clouds are delightful and perfect and the sky is already turning pink.

Grown-ups drive instead to the pet food store and spend a lot of money on a 44-pound bag of special dog food for the dog that sheds everywhere and digs holes in the back yard.

Grown-ups ignore the glowing sky and drive to the grocery store to buy chicken breasts and zucchini and mushrooms and brown rice so they can cook dinner.

Grown-ups cook dinner when they’d rather be getting sand in their shoes.

Grown-ups are responsible.

I am a grown-up who missed the sunset.  (I am not only a little bitter.)

(And tomorrow, I have to leave my house at 6:15 AM to get to the soccer field by 7:15 AM for an 8 AM game . . . being a grown-up is not for the faint of heart.)

Being a grown-up

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