That’s just a big load of…cardboard.

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I always try to think the best of people.

Well, I usually try to think the best of people.

Okay, let’s be honest. I often immediately think the worst of people.

The following tale took place at the end of a crazy-busy, long, hot day…one that would continue with yet another meeting in the evening. I was not exactly at my best. In my own defense, I will say that I totally kept my mouth shut. Probably there was some eye-rolling, but I was wearing sunglasses, so I’m sure I got away with it.

So…I’ve been ordering shit-tons of furnishings, floor coverings, and decor for updates in the area where my work takes place (NOT my office, mind you – this stuff is for others to enjoy in the spaces where they gather for classes, meetings, etc). So the large area outside my office has been littered with piles of cardboard all week long. With a funeral taking place this morning (and I’m sorry, but this person chose a really rotten week to die, in my opinion – and yes, I know I suck) I had to get everything cleared out yesterday. That meant a trip to the recycling center a couple of blocks away. Luckily, Middle dropped in yesterday afternoon and had a few minutes to help me load it all (well, not quite all – there will be more unwrapped on Friday and still more arriving next week) into the back of my SUV.

This is AFTER I’d put two big armfuls in the dumpster.

At the recycling center, I pulled up next an enormous, gleaming BMW SUV. A woman sporting – I kid you not – a tight mini skirt, stilleto heels, and copious makeup and jewelry, was carrying a bag of plastic and paperboard items to the dumpster I needed – the one clearly marked “CARDBOARD,” and totally ignoring the dumpsters clearly marked “PLASTIC” and “PAPERBOARD.” Not only did she proceed to place her items in the dumpster I needed, as I stood there with an armful of cardboard taller than myself in the HOT SUN, she dithered over it, blocking the dumpster door, for at least a minute. Then she must have decided she was doing the right thing because she left all the items there and finally emerged, carrying three clothing hangers marked “Talbots.”  Next she turned to the man overseeing the recycling center for help. Holding up the hangers, she whined, “I don’t know what to do with these.”

I had a pretty good suggestion right on the tip of my tongue for what she should have done with the damned designer clothing hangers, but as stated previously, I managed to keep my mouth shut.

The employee looked the hangers over, said – rather reluctantly – that they had a place where they kept items that could be taken to a charity shop, and he could maybe put them in that spot. Much relieved, Miss Fashion Plate exited, thus saving herself from the torture of finding a place to put a used hanger.

Oh. My. God. Can you get any more privileged and clueless than this? I’m sorry to say that while this woman was the personifcation of a stereotype, there are WAYYY too many people just like her in our local, horrifically affluent community.

Oh, and another odd note about this little experience. I was extremely thankful when two different employees offered to help me unload all that cardboard from my car. Except that one then just wandered off without helping at all and the other grabbed a few pieces and then simply stayed inside the dumpster rearranging the cardboard that was already there while I made ten trips back and forth unloading all the rest myself.

It’s a damn good thing the rest of my day had been filled with awesome, generous people who were totally a joy to work with.  See? I really do try to think the best of people. Well, the people who deserve it, anyway.    

This summer is brought to you by Rogaine.

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It’s only just the end of July, and yet for me summer is over.

With heat indices in the 110 range every day for the last week and the forecast showing more of the same., we’re clearly smack in the middle of the season. But for me, it’s pretty much done.

My summer is suffering premature balding.

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I’d say, metaphorically speaking, that this summer is at about stage VI of this illustration.

In my mind, summer still means kids home, swimming, a camping trip, playing games, hanging out with the ones I love most.

Instead, our youngest has already left again for his college. With his new responsibilities in the dorm we likely won’t see him again for several months.

Oldest had a super-fast trip home weeks ago (one which was tarnished with some seriously bad news from another family member AND my preoccupation with her brother’s health after his trip to the ER), but that was all we saw of her.

Middle is struggling again with issues related to her digestive problems and the emotional challenges tied up with all that. And she’ll be back into a school schedule in under two weeks, as she digs into her “professional year” before being certified as a teacher.

I’m so wrapped up in projects, new ventures, and major re-adjustments at work (all VERY good stuff) that I’m working more in these “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” than ever before in my 11 years there.

Yeah, I know. This is life. Kids grow up. Stuff happens. Quit whining and be thankful for what you have.

I get all that. And I am very thankful. But I would also like to buy out all the Rogaine I can get my hands on and apply it to this prematurely balding summer. Turn back the clock and have those long, joyful days with my three funny, fascinating, brilliant children back again.

Anybody got a coupon for that?

Failing at Facebook, failing at life. 

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Facebook has been trying to get my attention for some time now. Rather, some people I’m “friends” with appear to have an important message for me:
I really suck.

The evidence:


Not only do I seem to hate my MOM, but I hate her so much I didn’t even take 2 sec. to decide whether to share. Just scrolled right past, writhing in disgust.


I really excelled with this one. I have two sisters, and still couldn’t be bothered to share this meaningful meme.


Not getting into the pit bull debate, but I’ll tell you this: They’re plug-ugly. I don’t “heart” them, and I’m not sharing.


So it turns out I’m neither proud of my sisters, love them with my whole heart, nor can I simply not imagine my life without them. In addition, I am repulsed by the juxtaposition of Pooh Bear and Tweety Bird. I am obviously evil.


Now I’m failing as a mom, because I didn’t share this genuine, authentic expression of love with my two daughters. Plus this image is pissing me off because it’s so blurry it’s making my head hurt. I expect my girls are now scarred for life.


And my son (and everyone) will never know how proud I am of him because I didn’t share this odd little guy running around in a cape and underwear. Because of course I would never actually tell my son in person that I love him with all my heart and am proud of him.


In the end, I can’t even love Jesus right. Didn’t share this one…largely because it looks like the guy on the left is just about to impale one of those little cherubs with his long pointy. Surely I’m going to hell.


I might be induced to share this one. Surely that’s evidence enough that I am the personification of a Facebook failure.

And proud of it.

What the…

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Would anyone care to explain to me why, after the egregious sin of not posting for one day, I return to check my blog and discover that every single customization I had made in it a few months ago has suddenly disappeared to be replaced by the generic place-holder crap that screams “I don’t care enough about my blog to make it look nice!” ????

Seething.

On further inspection, every blog I visit has suddenly lost its customization.

Just wondering…is this some new punishment WordPress has made up for us poor slobs who go with the free themes?

Project completed. Moving on.

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Well, today we move my littlest (and tallest) darling back to his dorm, where he’ll spend the next couple of weeks in training for his new job as a Resident Assistant. I feel like I should call the folks at the Resident Hall Services and prepare them to have their socks knocked off. Because this kid is on fire.

He’s been working like crazy all week, and we have a gorgeous new bathroom to prove it:

  

This fun print cleverly covers up the access panel The Boy put in, in case of future plumbing emergencies. There’s another one in the ceiling just above, framed nicely with molding trim, in case of emergencies involvin the upstairs bathroom plumbing. Best to plan for every contingency when you have the chance.

  

Yesterday was meant to be the day when we put up the finishing touches, the towel bars. So, after I’d gotten up early to mow before the heat index reached 110 (seriously, it’s miserable around here), we got out the towel bars we’d bought at Ikea a few weeks ago. Well, we thought they were towel bars. They turned out to be drawer pulls/cabinet handles.

So, there was a diversion to IKEA, trying to dash in and out as quickly as possible without mowing down all the people who were enjoying a liesurely stroll through the arrow-directed path. Return desk! Upstairs for actual towel bars! Downstairs for a few decorative items! Checkout and run!

The rest of the day continued in high gear. Grocery shopping (there was NO MILK in the fridge when I got up yesterday morning – crisis of Biblical proportions!), getting all his dorm stuff out of storage, making sure all his clothes were washed and ready to pack. run to Target for a few last-minute toiletries, dinner, and baking his favorite treat to take with him. These are our version of whoopie pies – chocloate-chocolate chip cookies with homemade butter cream frosting in the middle.


It’s the first time I’ve made them for him all summer. It felt good to do something special for my boy to send him off.

It’s a good thing we were so busy all day long (otherwise I would have been weepy every few minutes), and I’m thrilled that I spent most of the day with him.

Because I’m going to miss him like crazy.

Too tired.

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After several weeks of moving so fast I can’t keep up with myself, this is how I’m feeling tonight.

 

If only I felt this cute, as well.

 
Hoping I can make it to this point…

  
Instead of just crashing on the floor. 

More tomorrow…

Growing new bones. 

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They say time heals all wounds, right? Well, time and circumstances are doing a fairly decent job of putting things back together in my world. It hasn’t been easy – I think I might know how Harry Potter felt the night he spent in the infirmary drinking Skele-gro and having his arm re-boned (yes, I’m re-reading the whole series). But improvement has been rapid.

Separation and change of both environment and perspective have a lot to do with this recent healing. 

The Husband (whose new career has just come to an abrupt end) went on a business trip with my step father, giving me some much-needed breathing room and allowing me to stop wanting to slap him every time he walked into my line of vision. 

I left town to continue my work at Kansas Leadership Center, offering me a change of focus, time to think new and very big thoughts, learn new skills, and spend time with others who are doing the same. The work I’ve been doing is absolutely draining, and yet entirely energizing. I’m learning new ways of thinking and gaining professional skills. Just as the bones grew quickly and brought Harry’s arm back to life, I’m growing a new life-giving framework. Cool stuff.

At the same time, I’ve been staying in close touch with all that’s going on at home. There have been many tasks to keep up with for work (thank goodness for decent internet service in our hotel and conference building). Phone conversations with The Husband as he keeps me updated about his new career plans. And constant photos and news flashes about the progress on the final stages of the bathroom project:

  

Trim installed.

 
 

The mirror was just a smidgen too big, requiring some comporomise and modification.

 
  
Everything’s functional and The Boy took the first shower last night. The only thing left is to place all the towel bars and decorative accents, which we’ll do when I get home this evening. So proud of our son, and so thankful he enjoyed taking on this job.

So today we finish up at KLC, and I go home to big changes in our physical space, big changes in our everyday home life, and big changes in the way I approach my work.

Growing new bones. 

Beat the clock!

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I don’t know how I know this, but that’s the title of a very old game show, in which constestants were given a challenge to complete before the clock ticked down.

It’s also the theme of this week, the last week before my dearest, darling boy has to return to college – two weeks before most kids, as he’ll be a Resident Assistant this year and has to have two weeks of training. Not only am I mourning in advance, knowing he’ll be gone again for MONTHS, but that’s compounded by the fact that I have to be out of town for the next three days to complete the leadership training I started in May. And then there’s the fact that The Boy was not cleared to resume normal activities post-surgery until last Saturday, at which time we were still a VERY long way from completing the summer bathroom renovation project.

So, in trying to beat the clock, here’s what’s been happening around here in the last two days:

After spending the first 5 weeks of his summer break tearing the bathroom walls down to studs, putting up and mudding drywall, placing a new shower stall, and replacing all the wiring and plumbing, here’s trip # 352 to Home Depot, for the baseboard and trim.


Then: Caulking around the shower. He did a gorgeous job with this task, which means I’ll be tapping him to replace the crappy caulking around the upstairs bathtub come Christmas break.

Next: Removing the ugly sheet vinyl, which was put in right before we bought the house 27 years ago. Guess what kind of tile is underneath? Yes, you got it in one – asbestos! The non-friable kind, which meant we were allowed to remove broken bits and dispose of them ourselves, with special precautions.

Then, preparing the surface (a three-step process, if you don’t count removing the sheet vinyl) so that new tile can be placed:

Last night: laying new tile – peel and stick, for economy of time and pocketbook at this late stage.

Today is earmarked for cutting and placing trim around the floor, door, and window (which I won’t be able to paint for a couple of weeks, when I might have a “free” day). Then, ASAP – it’s a race to install the toilet, sink cabinet and faucet, and wall fittings. Because Friday has to be reserved for getting his college stuff out of the crawl space where it’s been stored for the summer, loading it into his Jeep and my SUV, and shopping for last-minute dorm items.

And then on Saturday, it’s good-bye to our youngest. Certainly no longer a baby in reality – I mean, look what he’s accomplished in the last eight weeks! – but always my baby.

Preparing for the tears to flow.  

A weird thing I noticed on Facebook…BABY HEADS

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Okay, so you know how when you’re scrolling through Facebook, especially on a phone or an Ipad, you see the top of a photo first, and then the rest of the photo appears as you continue to swipe upward?

So it turns out photos of babies are really creepy when all you see to start with is this:

  

Or this:
  
I mean, I know babies have big heads. That’s just how they come. 

But…yikes!

“Would you rather…” – reader’s edition

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SuzJones at It Goes On has shared a fun post that I just have to get in on, with “would you rather” questions about reading habits. Real life is too unpleasant right now to write about real stuff, so I’d much rather focus on my book life.

Here goes:

Overflowing-BookcasesWould you rather only read trilogies or only read stand-alones?

If I can expand the category of “trilogies” to “series,” my answer is definitely series. Once I find a cast of characters and a setting I love, it breaks my heart to say goodbye to them if they only exist in one book. I haven’t found many trilogies I actually like (in fact, there are several I truly hated, including the so-popular Twilight and Hunger Games series…my advice to those authors being “for God’s sake, get an editor!!!”) but my most favorite-est authors write long series about the same characters – pure joy.

Would you rather read only male or female authors?

That’s a tough one. Almost all of my favorite books are by women, and I tend to find books by men not my cup of tea. At the same time, one of my most beloved authors is a male. I’m looking at you, Alexander McCall Smith. So if I had to choose it would be very painful.

Would you rather shop at Barnes and Noble or Amazon?

Not a fan of B&N – prices are too high and it’s just not a happy atmosphere. Plus, as an introvert, online shopping and surprise packages on my doorstep make me VERY happy. Favorite bookstore: Half Price Books. It’s like going for a treasure hunt.

Would you rather books were made into TV shows or movies?

Movies, generally. Though a lot of books made into movies (Ella Enchanted, cough cough) are complete losers, there are more good movie incarnations in my opinion than TV incarnations. Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Room With a View…

Would you rather read only five pages per day or five books per week?

Ha! Five books a week, for sure. Actually, I have done that…

Would you rather be a librarian or a bookseller?

Definitely a librarian. They’re really immersed in books, literature, non-fiction, helping the public…booksellers are out for the bottom line.

Would you rather only read ebooks or physical books?

I keep an e-book going on my phone at all times for emergencies like doctor visits when I’ve forgotten to carry a book. But for everyday reading, always a physical book. Need that sensory experience – including the various scents I associate with various favorite books.

What fun that was! Thanks, Suz, for giving me that opportunity.

“Go Set a Watchman” update: Harper Lee’s follow-up to “To Kill a Mockingbird” now rests, unopened, on my shelf next to its masterpiece sister. Middle Sister’s boyfriend, who is an English major and author/literature critiquer-extraordinaire, has given me his opinion, which has wavered back and forth. I think one day I will read it, but just now I need the cozy comfort of a well-loved classic. So I started re-reading the Harry Potters. Very much needed in a life that is currently overtaken by chaos.

Happy Sunday, and happy reading!

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