Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Are our lives becoming just too fast-paced?

I needed to make a doctor's appointment, and the receptionist put me on hold. Later, I complained to my husband.

"I waited at least five minutes!" I told him.

I had just pulled into the drive-thru at McDonalds. "One moment, please," said the voice through the screen. The woman in the SUV behind me leaned out the driver's side window. "Haven't they taken your order yet?" she yelled at me.

Awhile back I had two assignments due at the same time. "Which do I need to do first?" I asked my editor. "Both," she said.

My son woke up early this morning, and went downstairs to watch cartoons. He dozed off again for about 10 minutes while I cooked him some bacon. When I woke him up, he was cranky.

"I fell asleep because breakfast took too long!" he told me accusingly.

There is fast-paced, and then there is crazy. Sometimes - a lot of times these days, actually, when we're moving too fast to even take a deep breath - I wonder if our lives have crossed the line.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A motivational letter to the Easter bunny

My little boy used a paper towel to write a motivational note to the Easter bunny last night. Here's what it said:

Dear Easter Bunny

I hope you have a great time bringing happiness to the world. And Easter is one of my favorite holidays. I hope you like my letter.

Love, Sean

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring storm and SpongeBob a fine mix

The calendar said spring, but someone forgot to tell Mother Nature. The day started out with snow and sleet and now, late at night, lightning was flashing across a threatening sky.

I was tucking in my daughter when the thunder started.

"Mom!" I heard my son call from his room. "The angels are bowling!" I laughed and kissed my daughter goodnight. "Mom!" said the voice, this time much closer. "I wish they'd stop."

My son was out of bed now, right beside me, acting brave but looking more than a little nervous. Even my daughter, far too sophisticated for anything as mundane as an impromptu slumber party, decided tonight was a fine night for some company.

"Let's watch SpongeBob!" she suggested. And we did. I inched between my daughter and son - which is like being sandwiched between a pillow and a bag of tacks - and they laid their heads on my shoulders while we watched the adventures of the country's most famous undersea sponge.

Outside, the lightning flashed and the thunder crashed and Mother Nature did her worst, but in the dark, crowded bedroom, I didn't mind a bit.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Oh, anything mom can do ...

The sketchpad was on the table, and I was painstakingly teaching myself to draw tulips when my daughter noticed what I was doing.

"Ooooh, can I draw, too??!!" she asked excitedly. In a matter of moments, my little budding artist had put my rookie efforts to shame.

I had just put in a yoga DVD when my son zipped down the steps and noticed my pretzel-like position. He was immediately intrigued.

"Are you exercising?" He quickly joined me. "Is that stretching? You're not stretchng very far. I can stretch more than you. Look, look how much I can stretch!! Are you looking?"

I had just sat down at the computer when the two munchkins appeared behind me and began looking curiously over my shoulder. This time, I finished up hurriedly and wordlessly left the room.

I knew what was coming. Ahh, yes. The joys of having the children home for spring break.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Bad Day

Appearances don't matter, I told myself as I trudged into work that morning. Who cares that my normally obedient hair had gone rogue or that I was suffering from a very noticeable case of acne?

I was still me, right?

But when my computer crashed and my e-mail disappeared and my supervisor gave me another project I realized, with apologies to Judith Viorst, that this was a Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day.

So I shouldn't have been surprised when the air conditioner vent kicked on even though it was 40 degrees outside. It shouldn't have fazed me when my socks didn't match. I should just shrugged when they ran out of fries in the cafeteria. Because that's what happens on a Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day.

But it just got worse. That afternoon, I was interviewing a designer; it had taken forever to get him on the phone. I'd actually moved to a more isolated cubicle for the interview. The cubicle, unfortunately, was near the bathrooms. Which they were cleaning. The toilets flushed again and again and again and again and again. I sounded like I was chatting from a highway rest stop.

I called it quits and went home. At which time I realized I'd left my wallet at work. Because that's what happens on a Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Unwelcome 'book 'em' at local library

I live in such a nice little town that meeting someone unpleasant is always a bit of a slap in the face. But it happens, of course. I guess no place is immune.

Yesterday, my daughter wanted to go to the library. She's 12, and she likes to visit "The Teen Place," a special room that houses all the YA offerings, along with a few tables and a line of computers. It has a neon sign and is very hip looking. I knew she'd come out with an armload of Manga books.

Well, I love the library. Our library is wonderful, and I'll use any excuse to go.

So I said I'd meet her around the bestseller area. Despite the fact I have a stack of book at homes waiting for me, new books always prove an irresistible lure. Well, I stuck my nose in a book for too long. I looked up and didn't see her, so I decided to go make sure all was well.

A man was standing in the doorway of The Teen Place. When I tried to get by him, he put up his arm, barring my entry. "Sorry," he said brusquely. "No one goes in or out. The police will be here in a few minutes."

My heart began to pound. What was going on? I pushed against his arm. "My daughter's in there," I said just as curtly. But he wouldn't let me by. Using his body to block me, he turned his back and started talking on his cell phone.

The room is very small, and peering over this idiot's arm, I could see my daughter wasn't in there. But other kids were - quietly studying or reading at the computers. Who was this guy? Something was fishy. He didn't have on a library badge. And the whole door-blocking thing was monumentally creepy. If I couldn't get in, did that mean those kids couldn't get out?

I took off at a trot - first things first. I had to find my daughter. And I did, almost immediately. She was waiting for me by the front door, thank goodness. We headed toward the reference desk.

"Excuse me," I said to the librarian. "The man barring the door to The Teen Place, the one not letting anyone in or out, is he with the library staff?"

The woman looked startled. "Excuse me?"

I knew it! "Yes," I continued. "And ... he says the police are coming?"

The woman jumped from her seat, and before you could say my name backwards, the library security staff was over talking to the guy. Turns out someone had (supposedly) stolen his son's cell phone, and he decided no one would leave or enter the premises until he got the police to come over and check things out.

My daughter and I left soon after. I didn't think the guy would be too thrilled that I'd spoiled his little lockdown. Besides, my library had lost its charm for the day.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Big bed brings back little girl for awhile

Our daughter needed a new mattress - there was no getting around it. We had put it off long enough. But a new bed deserves a clean room. And our tween's room was overwhelming, to say the least.

It was so messy, I was embarrassed. How had I let it get this bad? Where had this mess come from? A burgeoning artist, our 12-year-old had piles of sketch paper seemingly EVERYWHERE. Not to mention pencils, pens, markers, pastels, books, erasers ... STUFF ... tucked into every nook and cranny.

And let's not even talk about the clothes, clothes, clothes that seemed to cover nearly every piece of furniture.

Two giant trash bags later, I was exhausted. She was cranky. But we were ready. My brother arrived in the F-150 and he and my husband took off. The two of them did the heavy lifting, setting up the new bed.

We'd gone for a bigger size, moving up from a twin to a full. Not a big deal, we'd thought at the time. Belatedly, we realized we'd need all new sheets and blankets. But my daughter was delighted. She stretched out and relaxed in her luxurious, clean boudoir and fell right to sleep.

Later, my husband called me to her door. "Look," he said. "Look how small she looks!" He was right. Our growing girl looked positively tiny in her oversized bed.

My husband's smile reached ear to ear. "It's like we have our little girl back," he whispered. "Just for a while."

Monday, April 4, 2011

"This is too great a day not to sing"

The sound echoed through the near-empty hallways. It was ...the theme from Scooby Doo.

"Lalalalala ....lalala," the little boy sang loudly and somewhat off key.

Since school had just started and the halls were nearly empty, he had excellent acoustics. He smiled.

His mother, however, appeared somewhat mortified. "Shhhh," she whispered to her young son as she hustled him out the door. "You need to be quiet!"

The boy stopped singing for a minute to explain.

"I can't, mom," he said. "This is too great a day not to sing."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Small changes, better health? We'll see

I had to visit an urgent care office this weekend. Oh, it was nothing, really; in less than a day, Western medicine had done its job, and I was feeling considerably better.

But for something so small, this bug bit me pretty hard. And all the way to the doctor, I worried. What if it wasn't something minor? What if it was something ... major? (Luckily, it was a short drive.)

See, I think I'm like a lot of people. I'm pretty healthy. And I take it for granted. I don't worry about my health until something goes wrong. I tend to forget how lucky I am.

After this weekend, I'm thinking ... maybe that should change. I could start small. Exercise, at least a little. Maybe introduce something green into my diet now and again. And while I hate to even think it, maybe all the coffee I drink isn't really a good thing.

I'll never be a fitness fanatic, of that I'm sure. But I'm pretty sure I could do a little better with what I have.