Monday, November 10, 2008


My mom always folded our underwear. I suppose she did it because my grandmother always folded her underwear. Naturally, when I moved out on my own, I carried on the folding tradition. It’s funny how these mindless traditions carry on from generation to generation without being questioned. I never gave it a second thought until one day, one husband and 2 children later...

I remember it well – I had a basket of unmentionables spread out on the bed and mid-fold a voice screamed in my head “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? Life is TOO SHORT for this!” I snapped!!

Right then and there I snatched up that underwear and waved it over my head as I shouted, “I refuse to fold underwear!” “I want my life back!!” “I DECLARE that from this day forward and forevermore all underwear in this home will be tossed into drawers without any special attention being paid to it!”

It was exhilarating! I felt like Martin Luther nailing the 95 thesis to the door of the church. This was the day of my reformation!

Everyone in the family did not take as kindly to my declaration. A look of horror passed over John’s face and then deep sadness. To this day I swear I saw a tear form in his eye. He was horrified and implored me to reconsider. I refused. I had declared independence from tyrannical panties and there would be no turning back!

As with most “give me liberty or give me death” speeches, the years have a way of softening your heart. At the suggestion of some Christian “How to be a better wife” book I pried the nailed panties off of our door and began to fold John’s underwear again. It’s my sacrifice of love and I love doing it for him.

As for the rest of my family - I remain resolutely liberated from panty duty. Wait – that sounded much better in my head…

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dumpster Diving

I'm stir crazy. Saturday I developed a horrible sore throat which my doctor has assured me will soon pass as it settles either in my head or my chest. He's a cheery fellow. 4 days at home - I can't take it anymore. I shout "Who wants to go dumpster diving?"
Only in my home would this be met with such an enthusiastic response. Sav and Lo jumped up and down and scrambled to find their shoes.
To my horror, the "big trash" truck was already out doing his dirty work, collecting the neighborhood cast offs. I wheeled out of the alley, yelling over my shoulder to the girls "Don't panic! He's heading North, we'll just get in front of him!“
This got them stirred up. They spent the next hour glancing over their shoulders and giving me progress reports.
Weaving through our neighborhood streets and alleys I managed to pass the same woman walking her dog about 4 times. I felt so bad for her as she cast a nervous glance my way. I tried to reassure her that I was not a stalker by smiling and waving. Not sure if that made it better or worse. I noticed she picked up the pace on the last corner.
At one alley I saw a man walking with a navy blue hoodie. I stopped to stare authoritatively at him just in case he was some kind of thief - I wanted him to know he was spotted. Hope my aggressive Neighborhood Watch technique worked. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to make sure because the trash truck was rounding the corner.
We were at the end of our neighborhood. I told the girls to lay low and we would follow him to the next neighborhood and then get in front of him again. They thought this was a splendid idea, so did I. I may need an intervention.
The next neighborhood proved to be much more competitive as I saw several people out digging through the piles of big trash. Then, to my horror, 2 more big trash trucks were heading straight towards us, coming from the other direction. I wheeled around one of them and then passed the other at the corner. Just in time to, I found a lovely, large, wood framed mirror. A coat of paint and voila it will be as good as new.

I've always been a shameless dumpster diver but the past few years, living in the suburbs, have proven less rewarding than when we lived in Highland Park. In Highland Park people throw away really good trash - working vacuums, purses, art, pottery, furniture, any change smaller than a twenty dollar bill. Those were the good ole days. In the suburbs people throw away mostly trash. I'm not going to lie - It has been a rude awakening.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sister Norey and the Bag of Nuts

"Savannah don't forget that you are supposed to take something that starts with the letter “N” for show and tell tomorrow."

This is our 11th hour ritual - frantically searching the house for the perfect, letter specific show and tell item.

Both girls disappear into their playroom. A few minutes later they re-appear, beaming with pride, naked Barbie doll in hand.

"Look Mom! Naked starts with “N”!!"

Being the ogre that I am I say, “No Savannah, you cannot take a naked doll to show and tell.”

Completely astounded they immediately start in with the “What? Why? Naked starts with N.”

“Yes it does, but you can’t take a naked doll to school.”

A couple of hours later I am putting the girls to bed. I say, “Sav, did you find something that starts with “N”?

“No! Please can I take the doll?”

“Still No.”

Under her breath – “Well, I could go to school naked but that would be embarrassing.” Then out loud, to me with an I can’t believe you didn’t think of this, look she says, “If I just had a sister named Norey, I could take her…”

She has a point. I can't believe I didn't anticipate this several years ago. I could have had a sister named Norey waiting for her.

The next morning we are still searching for the illusive "N". One would think there would be dozens of N items littering our home. One would be correct. However, in the heat of the moment I could come up with only one idea. Grabbing a zip-lock bag, I frantically shoved three different types of nuts into it.

"Now Savannah, I lecture her as I am half walking half shoving her out the door, be sure you tell your class you have 3 kinds of nuts - a pistachio, an almond and a cashew nut."

"OK, mom. Pistachio, Almond, Cashew - got it."

She seems less than thrilled and I feel a moment of regret for not being more brilliant.

In the afternoon I picked the girls up from school and immediately started in with the daily debriefing session…

Me - “Did the kids like the nuts you brought for show and tell”?

Sav – a very bored “yes”. She was probably thinking “There just nuts mom, how excited could anyone be about nuts?”

Me - “What did all the other girls bring for show and tell?”

Sav – Necklace, Necklace, Necklace, Necklace, Necklace

Me – EVERYONE brought a necklace???

Sav – “Yep”

I guess my poor daughter was the only one sitting around the lunch table with a bag of nuts while all the other girls were comparing their beautiful necklaces!! I have to laugh. At least she was original.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A BIG Production!

It’s noon. I’m sitting at my desk paying bills when I think to myself “I should go get the mail”.
The second the thought pops into my head I inwardly groan.

My girls LOVE to go get the mail and I know this, but it is so much easier to get the mail myself.
Loralei frequently complains that I “always” let Savannah get the mail. This is only partly true. Most days I try to sneak out the front door un-noticed. Inevitably Savannah catches me in the act at which point she will bust through the door, fly down the sidewalk and practically knock me over to get to the mail before I do.

So today, motivated by the hope that someday my kids won’t have to go through therapy and will instead “rise up and call me blessed”, I decided to ask Loralei to get the mail.

The reason I groaned…

I’ve read all the articles about how parents that do everything for their kids are doing them a disservice. That I as caring parent should embrace the imperfections, the mistakes and the messes as a valuable part of the learning process - even if it takes 3 times as long.
I KNOW this and I like to think of myself as an embracer of the mistakes and the messes. The truth is, it’s not the “mistakes” or the “mess” that really bother me so much as it is the production. My girls can turn any little task into an elaborate Hollywood-worthy production.
I could sell tickets.

Today was no exception.

I called Loralei into my office and said “Loralei, I’d like for you to get the mail.”
Thrilled, she runs out of the room full speed yelling at the top of her lungs;
“Mommy asked ME to get the mail! ME! She asked ME to get the mail! Did you hear me Savannah? Mommy asked ME to get the mail!”

Of course at this point I’m feeling a little guilty, thinking that perhaps I have indeed allowed an unbalanced, mail-getting system to prevail in our home. As these thoughts are going through my head Loralei runs back into the room – NAKED.

“Mom, could you just put a dress on me?” (jumping jumping) “A dress!” (jumping jumping) “I want a pretty dress on to go get the mail!”

What? The annoyance is already starting to creep in. Deep breath.
“Loralei – just go get your clothes back on. You don’t need a costume change to go to the mailbox.”

Loralei turns, completely deflated and begins to slump out of the room - hopefully going to retrieve her clothes. She collides with Savannah who is racing into my office, arms full of walkie-talkies.

“Loralei!” “I found the walkie-talkies!” “I’ll stand on the front porch and we can talk to each other while you get the mail!”


A few minutes later, I accompany Loralei in a princess dress and Walkie-talkie laden Savannah to the door. We all step outside.

As every mom knows, part of the prestige that comes with retrieving the mail is, of course, getting to go out to the street by yourself. So Savannah and I stand on the porch as Loralei starts the all important march to the mailbox. 10 steps down the sidewalk she turns around and begins to converse – i.e. yell at the top of her lungs - with Savannah, via walkie-talkie.

Loralei – “SAVANNAH!”
Loralei – “WHAT? PUT MOMMY ON!”
Loralei – “GIVE IT TO MOMMY!”
This continues for much longer than I would like to admit and even without the yellow button being pushed I’m quite certain that the entire conversation has been heard for more than a block.

Loralei finally gives up and goes to the mailbox. Suddenly she realizes she can’t open the mailbox while holding the walkie-talkie.

“I can’t do it!” she wails.
I walk to the mailbox, open it for her and begin to pull out the mail.
Lo - “Is any of this for me mommy?
Me – “I don’t’ know yet.”
Lo – “Is this one for me?”
Me – “Just a second”
Lo – Is this one for me?
Me – “No”
Lo – Is this one for me?
Me – “No”
Lo – Is this one for me?
Me – “No”

Finally I am worn down and give her my Weight Watchers meeting reminder card with a rooster on it. Loralei is happy, I am exhausted and we all go back inside.

Weight Watchers?? Yeah, right! I know someday I am going to look back at this time and I’m going to miss the big productions that make up my life but today all I want is a chocolate chip cookie and a nap.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Summer Organizing

At Costco yesterday, I was enticed into purchasing the newest copy of Real Simple Magazine. With a cover article entitled “Easy organizing – 99 affordable ideas” who could resist? I was hopeful to motivate myself to do the all important and extremely necessary spring cleaning I’ve been putting off, so I excitedly cracked it open and began to page through it. After a few bunny trails down Jennifer Garner’s make up recommendations and the perfect menu for a garden party I finally found the article I was looking for. Low Cost Organizing! Here is a sample of the "helpful" tips I read…

1 – "Repurpose colorful ribbons from gifts to tie around bed sheet sets so that they don't stray."

  • Are they serious? I have 2 kids, 2 dogs, a husband and a business to run. I don't need to decorate my linen closet - I need a bigger linen closet with a lock so that I can shove more stuff in it without worrying that it spring out and assault my family and any friends that come over.

2 - "Repurpose ice cube trays in your desk drawer as organizers."

  • Can I repurpose the ice trays to gag myself with instead? How many times in my life do I have to read this stupid idea? Who are these people with thousands of tiny things rolling around in their desks? Paperclips, pushpins, I’m out!! Where can I buy giant ice trays to organize the kids and the dogs in a drawer? KIDDING!!!

3 – "A wine rack might store magazines and news papers."

  • What?

4 – "Stash a flashlight in your lingerie drawer and it will be easy to tell the black tights from the navy ones."

  • If I’m digging through my drawers for a pair of tights in the pitch black of night - color coordination may not be my biggest problem.

5 – "Ensure that your favorite purses remain free of dust and within easy reach by arranging them in a 10 compartment polyester hanging handbag organizer."

  • Finally! This is great advice! I plan to use it to convince my husband that I really do need to buy 9 more purses.
OK – seriously I know we can do better than this. I really am ready for a little spring cleaning. I’d love to hear some practical BUSY MOM organizing ideas that are tested and actually work for all you pros.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Family Pictures

Yes! We are really this beautiful!