Monday, March 21, 2011

Grousing a Little

Parents do a lot of thankless things for their kids. It starts with poop-filled diapers and carries right on through until the time they leave home. (Possibly beyond, but I can't think that far ahead. Note to self: ask Dame Judi). Among those thankless tasks performing taxi service ranks high...especially when in the midst of preparing for a particular event like, say, oh...the spring musical.

I am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo over this and the show hasn't even gone up yet (opening night is Thursday). Tonight, for example, rehearsal goes until 8. That's right, 8 in the p.m. Which means for the second week straight The Spouse and I are eating without her, I have to leave the house during prime TV viewing time to fetch her and then feed her warmed up whatever-we're-having (tonight it's lamb chops with gremolata and white beans because that sounds very spring-y to me). Tuesday and Wednesday she rehearses until 6pm (only slightly better) and then there's the the whole picking her up AFTER the show. (Although, to be fair, I only have to do that 2 nights because other people are helping out).

I swear, if that child ever wins a Tony or an Oscar she had damn well better than thank her mother, "without whom I wouldn't be all".

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Day So Far

1, Spill coffee on self walking to car.
2. Spill more coffee on self getting into car.
3. Drink what is left of coffee; start driving The Child to school.
4. A couple miles in, warning light comes on (which only says "Stop vehicle safely").
5. Briefly consider ignoring light until realize that car is not accelerating over 20 mph.
6. Pull into fast food parking lot.
7. Call dealer. (Car dealer, not the other kind).
8. Call roadside assistance.
9. Call The Neighbor to see if she can come get The Child. Neighbor en route to Tacoma. No go.
10. Call one of the housekeepers to a) inform him a family is coming to check in and need to be headed off because I won't be in any time soon and could he please do me a personal favor and come get The Child and take her to the train station so she can go downtown and get a bus to school.
11. Call MAB to tell her what is going on since she has the day off.
12. Turn Child over to housekeeper as tow truck arrives.
13. Go to dealership (having a very pleasant and uplifting conversation with the driver).
14. Get loaner car.
15. Get stuck in traffic.
16. Decide to go home and change.
17. Realize house key is still on the ring with car key

And that was all before 9am.

I had macaroni and cheese out of a box and a Coke for lunch.

And I changed into an over-large Google VetNet t-shirt left over from our Veterans Day party. It does nothing for my figure or the overall look of today's ensemble but at least it isn't stained with coffee. A lot of coffee.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just Sayin'

5 a.m. is too early to get up.

I refuse.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Making an Ash of Myself

It's late this year. Very late. Usually we are all well into the routine of Lent by now and here it is, only the first day. Appropriate though, because even though The Groundhog predicted an early spring, there has been precious little evidence of that...some pale blossoming, a slender crocus here or there. But Lent actually means "spring"....or rather the lengthening of days toward spring. So now that it is here perhaps the rest will follow.

There's a contagion sweeping through the House this week and I got some of it so I've been home since yesterday. Nothing dire but I'm a big believer in hitting the fluids and naps at the onset rather than waiting until I feel like complete crap and it's too late to do anything but ride it out.

I'll make it out to church for my ashes...maybe one of the little parishes nearby that don't really do much for me liturgically but are convenient. Or maybe I'll rally and go to the Cathedral. It doesn't matter. Getting the ashes, marking the start of the journey, hearing the words "turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel"...that's the point.

Oh, I do love Lent. I've been thinking a lot about what is unbalanced in my life these days...the causes (or perceived causes, anyway...the 6 weeks of Lent ALWAYS end up revealing more than I expect). I'm grateful for this time to simplify, to be more thoughtful/prayerful about the direction of my life/the condition of my heart. Some years, I admit, I kinda phone it in. I did that last year...partly, I suppose because it turned out the real journey of last year ended up being about Suzanne's cancer diagnosis. I'm hoping for a little less drama this year...just the opportunity to be open to the Spirit, to tidy up some of the dustier cupboards of my soul and thereby uncover a new freedom (or energy or some sort of positive force like that there) to - oh, I dunno -be more present in my life and to the people with whom I share it.

Happy Lent, to those whom that applies. Happy regular ol' Wednesday in March to those who it don't.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Goodness of People

I was walking around with a heavy heart today. So much craziness in the world right now. Pick your poison. You've got Khadify (or whatever the spelling du jour is of his damn name) slaughtering people, GOP controlled state houses rolling back collective bargaining all over the place, an impending government shut down, Rush Limbaugh calling Michelle Obama fat (oh, the irony), big earthquake in New Zealand...and that's all just off the top o' me head.

And then I had to go get The Child from rehearsal and it was snowing. By the time we were on the return trip the roads home were all getting very slide-y. And, as you may know, Seattle is just chock full of hills and we live atop one of them so no matter what I do I HAVE to drive on hills. In the snow. We were only 3 blocks from home, on the last hill, when the car said, "Yeah, no". And it wasn't the worst situation to be in. I mean we could walk home. But I was so stuck I wasn't even sure if I could get the car to the side of the street to leave it.

Then some dude came up and said, "Would you like me to push you?" I gratefully accepted his offer, praying to the Little Baby Jesus in His Golden Diaper that I didn't end up rolling back over my Good Samaritan. The car wouldn't budge.

So dude called over to his buddy for help. "What for?" said Dude 2. "A car is stuck," said Dude 1. "What car?" asked Dude 2. "Uh, the one in front of the house. Hello?" So Dude 2 came out. He assessed the situation and opined that if they could push me a few yards I could roll back into the driveway and then gun it up the hill.

"Do you have a lot of experience driving in snow?" I asked.

"Yeah," said Dude 2. "And I'm a mechanic".

"Ok," I said. "You're driving".

They pushed me the requisite yards, I put her in park, we got out and Dude 2 took over. He expertly negotiated the car into a firm position and got her up over the crest of the hill. Thanking him and Dude 1 profusely, The Child and I returned to the vehicle and they both called out, "You ladies have a good evening".

Just restored my damn faith in humanity, I tells ya. And I am so baking them some cookies.


Friday, February 18, 2011

And Speaking of Patriotism....

Actually, this has nothing to do with patriotism. But I only just now realized that if the government shuts down on March 4 that means me, too. Like, I won't get paid. And yes, I've kinda been thinking about taking a few days of personal leave because, well, I can...but taking it because John Boehner is a prize jackass wasn't exactly the scenario I envisioned.

I'm kinda freaking out a little here.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Got Your Patriotism Right Here

The population I work with is, generally speaking, pretty conservative. Not all, mind, but most. Meanwhile, none of my co-workers are. Because of the environment we are in, we keep our mouths shut about politics, unless we're all alone in the office. And it's fine. I hear some stupid stuff from time to time but I can finesse it. Except for this:

A big (and very attractive) framed picture of the President hangs on the wall of our office. We're not obligated to have a picture of the President in our office but when Public Affairs offered an extra one, MAB and I snapped it up. And it makes us happy. But a couple of times it has happened that someone has been in the office and said something along the lines of -and I'm not making this up- "Can we turn that to the wall?"

Now mind you, as a federal employee I am to conduct myself as a non-partisan while on the job. But when I hear something like that it makes the big vein in my head go "thumpa-thumpa". Until I hit on the perfect response. I look at the person who just uttered the offensive comment, smile sweetly and say, "Sir, with all due respect, that is the President of the United States, the Commander in Chief and my boss. We will not be turning it to the wall".

And every single time you know what happens? The offending person shuts the H up.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


A friend of mine who is possessed of 2 small children recently asked those of us who are farther down the parenting road if we agreed with the adage that "the days are long but the years are short". I gave him a resounding "you betcha*".
When you're not getting a full night of sleep, when you never eat a hot meal, when you are convinced that your loin fruit will in fact be the only kid at college still wearing diapers, when you are putting your butt in the hard seat of one more school concert you never think that your life will be your own again. You are quite convinced that your future holds nothing but sandy eyelids, cold mac and cheese and the chapped hands that come from washing after yet another diaper change.
But that's not the way it is.
The little beggers grow up and they keep growing up. And then, all a sudden, you wake up one morning and the damn baby can't be found. It finally happened. You finally DID leave it on the bus. And then some adult-sized person walks out of the nursery wearing a "Twilight" tshirt, grumbles something unintelligible in your general direction and pours itself a cup of coffee. No need to call the Port Authority. You didn't lose the baby. It just frakking grew up.
Today The Child is 17. (Yes, she's still The Child. It is my last bastion and you'll not wrest it from me). More to the point, she is now only 1 year away from being a legal adult. Even more to the point, I have but one more year (and a few months...she'll only be halfway done with her senior year when she turns 18) to make sure I've taught her the rudiments of what it will take for her to make her own way.
She's a good kid. A very good kid. Oh, she can't unload the dishwasher in less than 30 minutes to save her life, her room is thisclose to being condemned by the health department and she still prefers the floor to all other surfaces for the storage of her stuff. But she's a good kid. She may drive us ocassionally insane with her know-it-all attitude but she doesn't drink or smoke or do drugs. She asked for a purity ring for her birthday. She doesn't skip school or sneak out or break curfew. And when she is dealing with anyone other than The Spouse or me she routinely impresses them with her open heart, happy spirit, level head and good humor. This is me, counting my blessings.
But it is certainly very much on my heart today that this is a milestone quite unlike many others. This time next year my role will officially begin to shift from supervisory to advisory. Yes, she'll still be in our house for a while and the old "as long as your under my roof" thing will absolutely apply. But once the government recognizes her as an adult, so must I. This is a gift that Dame Judi gave to me (Sean, not so much...he didn't really "release" his daughters until they were married. Sean is way old school). From the time I left home, Dame Judi stopped telling me what to do. She was always there for me - and still is - any time I needed advice or perspective or prayer or just a sympathetic ear. But once I was on my own, she respected that I had to make my own way. She didn't always like how I did it and she no doubt bit her tongue more than once but she trusted that she'd given me a solid foundation from which to launch my own flight. And so, having no other model for it, that's what I now prepare to do for The Child. I'm now closer than ever to turning her out into the world, whether I think she's ready for it or not. (And let's face it, part of the "readiness" only comes with the doing. Gots to push them baby birds out the nest!)
But she's not going anywhere for now, except out for sushi with her parents, so no need to get all maudlin and crap. Not to mention that if I did get maudlin in front of her I'd get a big eye roll and a "Mu-ommmmm". She's still not too grownup.
*time honored phrase which I am determined to reclaim from She-who-must-not-be-named.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Little Theory

Has anyone else noticed that a whole bunch of us slowly stopped blogging about the same time a whole bunch of us got on Facebook? Even though the fundamental purpose behind Facebook (annoying ads and Zynga games) is not micro-blogging, I think status updates, at least on some level, satisfy the same somethingsomething as blogging (at least in the short term). Plus, once nearly everyone I knew got on it there was the immediacy of response. We still get to play with the comments. (And lord knows, most of us would admit that some of the best of our writing emerged in response to the cleverness of our readers).

Some bloggers, no doubt, just plain lost interest. But should the above theory be even remotely true, it goes a long way to resolving the mystery of why so many bloggers suddenly fell to earth at the same time.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Isn't It Always the Way?,

Just when I decide to start blogging again, the 'e' key on my computer gave out. That's right. The 'e' key. Not 'q'. Not 'x'. Not 'z'. 'E'.

But, you say, you're using your computer now and there doesn't seem to be a problem.

You have no idea how hard those last 2 sentences have been. I have to do this pokey/slidey thing to activate the 'e' and it's annoying.

Well, you say, then do what I do: just blog at work until you get a new computer.

As I've explained to you before, that's not really an option, for a lot of reasons. For one, I share my office with MAB so when I'm not working she knows. And yes, I am allowed 2 15 minute breaks and 30 minutes for lunch but I don't usually take the breaks and lunch is usually spent eating at MAB's desk playing Monopoly (the card game...way faster than the board version). Plus, for me, blogging on company time isn't really company time. It's your time. Your taxes pay my salary and I have this big thing about not being a "typical government employee". I'm at work to work, to provide a service, and by cracky, I'm going to do it.

The Spouse did mention that he saw HP laptops at Costco for $400. So I may soon be taking some of that salary you so graciously allowed me and getting a new computer. One with a functional 'e' key. Also, one that doesn't require hitting ctl-alt-del every time I want to click on something other than the thing I'm doing right at the moment. And one that doesn't inadvertently click, drag and highlight whole sections of a page in a very random and weird way. And one that doesn't suddenly go "oorrrggg achugggggg". Or that doesn't occasionally pop up with a "no hard drive found" message that requires a panicked rebooting right in the middle of paying bills.

Yeah, I really need a new computer.

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