Tuesday, January 31, 2012

First Impressions

"I am so sorry," I cried to the young man.  "I didn't mean to hit the car.  I just wasn't paying attention, oh my god, I'm so sorry."

My frantic apologizes clearly made the young man uncomfortable and probably a bit worried about what kind of crazy lady he was dealing with.

"I can't believe I hit the car," I half-way screamed.  "Is it yours?"

"No it's my dad's," he said calmly.  

"Oh geez, seriously I am so sorry.  Here's my information," I told him as I stuffed the note that I had scribbled seconds earlier.   "I have to run, but you and your dad will know where to find me, I am your new next door neighbor."

2 Hours Earlier
The kids had the day off from school, so I realized there would not be a  lot of unpacking and organizing today.  And I was kind of okay with that.  I surrendered to the chaos and we played and made paper snowflakes to decorate the new place.  Some of us didn't get out of our pjs, it was fun.

Then I got a phone call from Tim telling me that I had to jump through a few more hoops to make sure the closing (that's right we hadn't closed on our other house yet) went through.  And I had to go to several different banks for several different reasons, like right at that minute. Or all would be lost.

So, get dressed, get kids dressed, search through boxes for new checkbook, yell at fighting kids, scrape off snow on the van, trip over boxes, break up sword fight between bigger boys, look for boots for kids, find checkbook, yell at fighting kids again and again, beg kids to stop fighting and "work it out," buckle up, back out of driveway and crash into neighbor's parked car.

I hurriedly looked for something to leave a note, found it and then couldn't figure out what to say.  Seriously. I started with "Nice to meet you, sorry I crashed into your car.  Here's my number, call me ###=###-####."  I crumpled it up because that sounded like a weird pick up line.  I started to write something else and then realized I was running out of time.  

And that's when the young man pulled up and told me it was his father's car.  

It's really too bad, I had such high hopes of having a better start than the last time I moved into a new neighborhood and had to call the cops.


Tim and I had just moved into our first house together.  We were so young, in love and hopeful about our future.  I had only lived in Michigan a year and was still getting to know the area.  I was so excited to make our house a home.

But two weeks after we moved in, things in my sweet little suburban utopia went downhill.  Tim went out of town for a weekend with the guys and I was left home alone.  No big deal.  I turned on Lifetime (back when I watched Lifetime, ugh) and watched a good old disturbing movie about some woman being attacked.  Lovely.  

Then I heard noises outside.  Then strange people were lurking around out front.  Teenage people.  I sat for about an hour peeking out the window like the Bewitched neighbor Mrs. Mrs. Kravitz. She knew something was going on, she was right.

Teenagers in a well-to-do community scared me more than anything. Wealthy Less Than Zero type entitled kids looking for a high wherever they could get it, I was sure they were going to break into my home.  So, I called the cops.  Five minutes and literally eight cop cars later, a bust was made and I was feeling proud.  

I called Tim and told him of my great civic duty.  "I think I might be nominated to president of the neighborhood watch," I boldly told him.

The next day a knock on my door.  Oh good, I remember thinking, a neighbor is coming to thank me.  When I opened the door, I got quite a surprise.

"Are you the lady that called the cops on my son?  I'm your neighbor and I'm pissed, you've ruined my son's life."  

There's no real cute wrap up to these stories or happy endings.  Except, thank god for insurance, the closing went through and we are officially DONE with the house and the old new neighbor's son's life wasn't ruined.

The end.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Grab and Go

I'm tired. Really tired.  If there was a contest for being the most tired, I feel pretty confident that I would win.  I'm so tired I don't feel like watching tv or drinking wine...yup, that tired.

We moved this weekend.  And it went well despite the blustery winter conditions and my complete lack of organization.
This was my bedroom the morning we started the whole moving process.  Thank god we had a few days to get everything out.  My style is more grab and go anyway...like in the picture below I grabbed toilet paper, a lamp, a stool and a blanket.   
Look, right now I am going to admit that karma is kicking my ass.  For all the times I rolled my eyes about someone being ultra-organized.  Or maybe even called them stiff and unable to enjoy life and go with the flow.  For all those moments I made fun of you organized folk and praised my lack-of-a-system life, karma got me this weekend.  Because I am totally f-ing jealous of the organized people, the color-coded-everything-has-a-place people.  

The move wasn't horrible and thankfully we had so much help from friends and family, it was in no way organized.  And now as I look around my house and wonder what the hell I am going to do with all this stuff I wish I was a little more....full of planning skills and long-term organizational vision.

But I'm not.  So we are once again living amongst those beloved boxes.  And the kids are finding new ways to enjoy the chaos.
Like playing dress up in my wedding dress.  Isn't that what you're supposed to do with it? Oh some of you have it cleaned and stored in a special keepsake box.  Yeah, I might be rolling my eyes a little bit.

I lied though, I wasn't too tired for wine.  After a long few days, I sat down with my Sam Cooke Pandora station playing with a glass of wine in hand.  Looking around I  couldn't help but be excited about the messy fresh start. Emphasis on the fresh start. Over the weekend I told a friend that I was changing, "this house is going to be the most organized of my life.  You wait and see."  

Yeah, and maybe I will finally learn French....I mean I do keep moving the learn to speak French CDs. 
Yeah, maybe....
Au Revoir

Until then...enjoy a little classic Sam Cooke.
(the song choice is just because it is amazing to me, not for any other reason, no real troubled mind here for now at least)

Friday, January 27, 2012

It's So Not The Worst

I feel like a kid and summer break starts tomorrow.  Or like I am going on a super fun vacation and I have no idea what to expect.  

It has been so long since I felt this light.  Is this what happy feels like?  I kid, I kid.  Of course I know what happy feels like.  However hope and excitement about a new adventure, that feeling has eluded me for quite some time.  But now, it's here.  
I'm lighter.  I'm excited.  I'm grateful.

You know I love the Muppets and this song is one of the best.  I feel like singing it and dancing down the street....Life's a happy song, with someone by your side to sing along...

It's moving day!

When I first broke the news to the world that Tim and I suck at managing our money and that we were looking to short sale our house, we were met with a few people that thought we were crazy.  First for telling everyone about it and second for being excited and happy about a short sale.  

"You could lose your home if this short sale doesn't work out.  You could foreclose," a concerned friend told me gravely.  

"I know, that would suck," I told my friend.  And it would.  But honest to god, it's not the worst.

The worst is knowing a friend that gets a hopeless diagnosis at the doctor and watching them suffer.

The worst is fighting with your spouse over money and divorcing, breaking up the family and f*#&ing up the kids.

The worst is  when you're a kid, having your really cool friend over for a sleepover and finding your mother passed out on the floor because she drank too much.

The worst is having your crazy drug addicted mother break her neck on Thanksgiving.

I've seen and lived some of the worst scenarios. And I'm protecting myself as much as I can from the others. And I realize there are so many other worse worst cases people are suffering through.

A house?  It's so not what it's about.

This video I made this past fall sums it up nicely.  
Home is whenever I'm with you.

It's about love.  It's about paying attention.  It's about living.

It's a Whitney kind of week here on my wee little blog.  This song says it all, like only Whitney can. So good.

What the what!!!!  If that all got too heavy for you, check this clip out.  There's a lot of sh*t people say videos out there, but the best is by the fabulous Liz Lemon.  Because even if I was homeless, I would find this sh*t funny.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Broken Record (And Moving Part Two)

So the only thing I have to talk about is moving and boxes.  BORING.  Such a broken record, sorry. 

I mean I guess I could talk about the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills finale and how I cried during the wedding.  And how even though she is a bit over the top, I wish Lisa Vanderpump was my mother.  She really loves "Pandy."

I could talk about how I get upset over ridiculous things like how I am feeling stressed because Facebook is making everyone shift to Timeline in a few days and I just don't know if I'm ready.  Or how I worry that my daughter Lucy will get kicked out of Girl Scouts.  Because while all the "good moms" have been using Facebook to sell their kid's cookies, I haven't.  And worse I lost the damn order form.  And worst of all, she didn't even know she was supposed to be selling cookies.  Neither did I until I talked to another mom.  Epic fail.

I guess I could also talk about how upset I am about Seal and Heidi Klum breaking up. And poor Demi Moore.  And my god, Heather Locklear too?  

But really I am just covering for what I really want to talk about.....boxes.  Because in one day we will be loading up the vans and moving.

Yesterday there was a glitch.  The bank called and said there was a problem and they needed to see a copy of a refinance document from 2005.  The bank no longer had it, so unless we could produce it, the sale was not going to happen.  Why?  Because honestly CHASE bank is a tiny bit evil if you ask me.  But never fear, after ripping through several already packed boxes, I found the ever-important document.  Sale saved (for now).  The move is happening.

I read a quote today that I love.  From none other than the prophetic Brad Pitt to the Hollywood Reporter.

“This idea of perpetual happiness is crazy and overrated, because those dark moments fuel you for the next bright moments; each one helps you appreciate the other,” he said. “We are all searching for meaning in our lives, love and betterment for ourselves and those around us.”

He's right.  Without all this shit from the bank, I wouldn't appreciate moving into our crappy rental (more on that coming soon) so much.  So thank you CHASE for screwing around with us the past six months.  Because on Friday I am going to be so f&#*ing happy!

Here it is Moving Part Two:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The State of My Union

Years ago, I used to pop some popcorn and watch the State of the Union address.  That was when I was in college.  Seriously, I did that.

This year, there were some really cool friends of mine that got together for viewing parties.  Seriously, there were parties and the friends are so cool.  But sadly, I didn't attend.  Or pop popcorn.

Because people, the state of my union is chaos.  
Well, this room looks ready to move doesn't it?

We are down to two days before the big move.....down the street.   Whatever.  It is still insane.  

Boxes, boxes and more boxes.  
What a dumb time to try and drink less wine. Grrrrrr!

I love Ellen's take on the state of the union.  It's silly and fun, which I like at the moment.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Believe the Children Are Our Future

My thoughts are scattered.  My house is scattered.  I am a bit scattered. Some of you are thinking to yourselves, what's new?  But the extremely high level of scattered-ness is new...well at least extremely rare.  It's like pre-wedding scattered-ness.  It's all good stuff happening, just a little nuts.  

So, it makes sense that I don't have the answers or deep thoughts for the kids.  Or really anyone right now.  Like when, at the end of a very long day, Lucy looked at me and asked, "What do you believe?"  I told her exactly what came into my mind.  "I believe that children are our future."

She looked at me with an interested face.  All day I had been trying to get the interested face look from my children.  And now, at bedtime, lyrics from a cheesy Whitney Houston song get it?  So forgive me, but I went on and on and on.

"I believe we should teach them well and let them lead the way."  She nodded in agreement to that one.
"Show them all the beauty they possess inside.  Give them a sense of pride to make it easier."

I skipped ahead and stood up for effect as I said proudly, "I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadow.  If I fail, if I succeed, at least I live as I believe."

Lucy looked at me with a smile on her face, in awe.  And you better believe I didn't tell her it was a song I memorized when I was kid.  Or that the singer became kind of sad story and she didn't stay with Bobby Brown even though I really do think "Something In Common" was/is a great song.  

When life calms down, I will be better at answering questions, or at least try a little harder.  But for now I am going to depend on lyrics from old pop songs.  Admit it, the song is cheesy but sooooo good. Never forget, the greatest love of all is easy to achieve, learning to love yourself.  See? So  good.

In the meantime, the kids are having a grand adventure, as only kids can, with moving.  Even the packing.  The boxes are an exciting new climbing structure to baby Wade.

And just for fun, because some of you might not be familiar with this song....here you go, the classic Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston duet, "Something In Common."  I'm dropping it on you. (Kind of hard to watch because of the sad ending for them, but still a fun song.  I stand by that statement.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dude, Save the Hate

So I made it through church without a meltdown.  I made it through the weekend without a meltdown.
I know, I know I am so braggy, right?

Oh don't you worry, there WILL be meltdowns this week as we get closer to moving day....Friday.

This past weekend was weekend full of Peter Pan and sledding.  

Not what you thought I was going to say right?  Well it was a bit unplanned.  Friday night we had planned on going to Movie Night at our kids' school even though Tim wasn't too eager.  So, when it started snowing hard he saw his out.  "Well, it's snowing, I guess we should stay home," he announced with a little too much enthusiasm.  The kids were pissed.

After a few tears, the kids decided to watch Peter Pan.  Not the crappy Disney version, which I have shared my dislike of before.  But it turns out this version (circa 2003) was really good.  The fight scenes were good.  The humor was funny.  And it had Coldplay songs.  Awesome.

It really captured that whole magic of childhood thing.  Of course I cried at the end.

Saturday I had to prep for a class I was teaching in church the next day.  It just so happened to be about finding the magic in childhood.  I couldn't get Peter Pan out of my head.  So, Tim and I rented (yup we rented a movie at Blockbuster, which I didn't even think was still in business, but it is) the movie Finding Neverland.  Because I wanted to cry a little more and it is just more Peter Pan awesomeness.

While outlining another cool agenda (like last week's class), I was wrapping myself in the whole idea of imagination and mindful parenting.  I let the boys play a little too many video games while I was preparing to tell my fellow parents how to er, um, parent.  When I realized, damn, it had been too long, those boy should stop playing, I told them they had to "turn off those video games now!"  Again, the kids were pissed.  But they also weren't stopping.  They kept playing.  "Let me finish this level."  "One more minute." 

Irritated, but not furious, I turned off the tv.  Well I might as well have told them there was no Santa, we would never eat chocolate again, and worst of all the ipad was broken and we weren't fixing it, ever.  They stomped around.  JT, the five-year-old, cried and went to his room.  Peyton, the 10-year-old, muttered something.  "What did you say?" I asked.  Busted, he looked down.  "What did you SAY?" I repeated.  After a few minutes of repeating my question in various tones, Peyton said "I said I hate her.  That's what I said."

Ouch.  It's so different to have your 4 or 5-year-old say "I hate you" than your pre-tween say it.  It stung.

But then I just thought how stupid it was that he hated me over video games.  I felt like telling him, "Dude, save it.  There will be so many more reasons to hate me."  Like when I tell him he can't go to that cool kid's party because his parents aren't home.  Or when he finally figures out that if he gets a car when he's 16 it will be so he can help us pick up his younger sister and brothers and drive them around.  So many reasons.  He has no idea how much he is going to hate me.

So as I prepare for the onslaught of hate, I know I have to toughen up.  But I also know that I have to enjoy the magic of the moments now.  And as I think about all the lessons this Peter Pan-filled weekend has taught me I realize a few things.  Like the fact that yes, most of the time I have to be all about rules and limits, but I can also understand and empathize with why my kids don't get it.  And that's okay.  It's nothing personal.  And I can have a little fun too.  Because it's all a little magical and it's going fast.

If you're still reading, here's my cool agenda from Sunday's class:

Slowing Down and Making Moments Memories
Wash, Rinse, Repeat: 
Some themes discussed last week that are still brilliant.

      1. Sovereignty: 
         It’s the key to mindful parenting.  In honoring our children’s 
           sovereignty, we make it possible for them to do two things: show
           themselves in their “true seeming,” and find their own way.  Both are 
          necessary to come to full adulthood.  

Having a sense of self, an identity, core values is the 
          foundation for “everything great.”
       2.  Every moment is a new beginning, another opportunity for 
            tuning in and perhaps coming--in that very moment--to see 
            and feel and know ourselves and our children in a new and 
            deeper way. Everyday Blessings
Week 2: The Magic of the First Mile
Today we will discuss who you were, who you are and focusing on the magic in the First Mile....for you and your kids.
We’re Almost Done with the First Mile

     1. A Senior Moment-You’re not a freshman parent anymore.
-Do you ever find yourself wishing time away?
-If I Could Keep You Little is a book about NOT wanting to 
          keep your children little and truly encompasses the
           sovereignty theme.
     2. What the hell is the first mile?  
-Kelly Corrigan writes with profundity in her book Lift about the
       first mile: I am your mother, the first mile of your road.  Me and all my 
       obvious and hidden limitations.  That means that in addition to possibly 
       wrecking you, I have the chance to give you what was given to me: a decent 
       childhood, more good memories than bad, some values, a sense of a tribe, a 
       run at happiness. 
-She goes on to say: You’ll remember middle school and high school, but        
         you’ll have changed by then.  You changing will make me change. That 
         means you wont’ ever know me as I am right now--the mother I am tonight 
        and tomorrow, the mother I’ve been for the last eight years, every bath and 
        book and birthday party, gone.  It won’t hit you that you’re missing this 
        chapter of our story until you see me push your child on a swing or untangle 
        his jump rope or wave a bee away from his head and think, Is this what it 
        was like with me?  This is not told to you to depress the hell out 
       of you.  It is meant to inspire mindfulness and thoughtful 
-Have any of you thought about the first mile or this concept 
Your Inner Child (yup, we’re going there.)
  1. According to Corrigan, the average person knows less than ten stories from their childhood.  Does this statistic seem accurate?  What does our early childhood mean if we can’t remember it?
  2. Would you like to share any pivotal or meaningful memory from your childhood?
Getting to Know You (I hope all of you are singing this in The King and I style
  1. Corrigan describes our self-sabotaging ways empathetically: People rarely rave about their childhoods and it’s no wonder.  So many mistakes are made.  I see how that happens now, how we all create future work for our kids by checking our cell phones while you are mid-story or sticking you in the basement to watch a movie because we love you but we don’t really want to be with you anymore that day, or coming unhinged over all manner of spilt milk--wet towels, unflushed toilets, lost brand-new! whatevers.
  2. Feel like sharing any shortcomings?  Again we won’t judge you, we will either nod in agreement or silently feel a lot better about ourselves.
  3. Define Yourself: The Six Word Memoir
-Featured in O Magazine this month and oh yeah,
         on my blog last fall.
So, would you believe me anyway? James Frey
Desperate enough to read my spam. Caroline Brawn
Desperately seeking approval. Angela Youngblood
Keep it simple stupid, says Tim. Tim Youngblood
Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. Tim Youngblood’s suggestion for Angela’s six words
-And your six words are?????
This Magic Moment (I hope all of you are singing this in The Drifters sytle)
  1. Corrigan says parenthood is a “bold and dangerous” endeavor.  Would you agree?
  2. Peter Pan isn’t such a @#&%.  
-I recently,  like Friday night recently, watched a version of 
         Peter Pan that not only played cool Coldplay music, but also 
          told the story in a much better, magical way.  The whole idea 
          of the magic of childhood and holding on to it.  And this 2003 
          version had some great action scenes.  Very good indeed.
-And of course Finding Neverland, such an amazing movie.  If you 
          don’t know it, you need to.  Time for an amazing movie clip.  
“Young boys should never be sent to bed.  They always wake up a day older 
       and then, before you know it, they’re grown.”
  1. How do you find the magic in your kids?  In parenting?
Go forth and parent.  Find the magic.  
And if you screw up, begin again.
To live will be an awfully big adventure.
J.M. Barrie
Lift by Kelly Corrigan
Finding Neverland

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Stream of Consciousness Sunday:Sunday Morning Memories (or lack of)


Every Sunday, a most fabulous blog all.things.fadra hosts what she calls a "stream of consciousness Sunday" where bloggers simply write for five minutes and don't look back.  No editing, no spellcheck (I should be good because I never do that anyway).  

Here are other rules:

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible

The topic/writing prompt of today's Stream of Consciousness is "How did you spend your Sunday mornings growing up? What are some of your favorite memories?"

Here we go:

I am so good at remembering.  I am the go-to girl for all things remembering in my family.  "What is that show that mom never let us watch when we were kids?" "The Newlywed Game."  Too much talk of making whoopee.  "Where did we go out to dinner when the tax return check came in the mail?" Ooh, I know, ask me....Mr. Steak."  "What was the name of that group mom and dad loved and wouldn't stop playing their records?" Supertramp, of course.

My siblings and even my dad know to come to me if they need something remembered from our family's past.

So, why can't I remember Sunday mornings.  Maybe because they weren't anything special.  I remember long breakfasts, sometimes church, most likely not though.  I remember long, elaborate Barbie storylines that my sister and I would steal from Falcon's Crest and Dallas.  We would literally play for hours and sometimes get so invested we would both cry.  Oh, the drama.

But there was no routine to our Sunday mornings as kids.  
And looking back, that was pretty cool.  No routines, no structure, just time to hang.  Time to play and let our imaginations go crazy.  Time to relax and time to get ready for the week.

I never really give my parents credit for doing a lot of things right, but man, those Sundays sound so good right about now.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Moving Out Part One

Be prepared for several posts about packing, moving and unpacking.

Because we are in full swing of Operation Moving OUT.  It is a wonderful thing and I am very happy. But I do look around and wonder how the hell everything will get done.

It's a er, um, fun? challenge with the kids "helping."  The older ones are indeed pretty helpful, the younger ones not so much.

Took my eyes off Wade for a few minutes to pack up a box, I thought he was happily watching Cars 2.  But he was busy getting crafty and drawing a racetrack on his bed sheet.  

It cracks me up when people ask "Where are you moving?" and I tell them "down the street."  People look less sympathetic.  Next time someone asks I will look at them and say "overseas" and get the sympathy and attention I am looking for.

Down the street, cross country or overseas, moving is messy.  But it can be fun too.  I am making some fun old finds as I empty the shelves,drawers and closets (some that haven't been touched in quite possibly a decade).

My super cool laptop from my post-college days.

And my ancient looking phone that still had a message from the Starbucks guy asking if I would come in for a barista interview.  Which I didn't get because I wasn't cool enough.  Whatever, I'm still not cool enough to work there.

It's messy, but it's also an adventure.
Here's Moving Part One.