The laundry fairy

This morning there was a commotion at the palace.

The prince said he did not want to go to school because his royal robes were filthy. Apparently this was the fault of the palace’s royal laundry fairy who didn’t sprinkle the garments with the magic dust that makes them pristine once again.

The royal family was told time and time again that only the soiled garments in the royal hamper will be collected for the sprinkling. The garments will not be collected from the floors of the royal chambers.

Friday night the prince put loads of dirty clothes from the past couple weeks into the hamper with expectations that they would be magically cleaned by the next morning. But Saturday morning, the laundry fairy flew off at the crack of dawn to run a half marathon. Then later that day, the laundry fairy had plans with friends. On Sunday, the laundry fairy only washes towels because that is what the laundry fairy does on that particular day.

Monday morning there weren’t any magically cleaned clothes for the prince and a verbal joust ensued.

The prince can put his filthy garments in the hamper every day or the prince can do his own laundry! What a royal pain!

The prince wore dirty clothes to school today.

 

A pirate looks at 50

Today my husband Paul turned the big 50.

We don’t have big plans for the day. We have play practice tonight. Paul, Arabella, and I tried out for the local community theater’s musical last week. Paul got the lead part and tonight is the first rehearsal.

This past weekend, I threw Paul a huge party with 70 of our closest friends and family. Just kidding. In my calculations, I didn’t know 6 out of the 70 people that showed up. It was a great day, no rain, and not too chilly. Since I hosted the party by myself, I decided to have food catered in. It was pricey, but worth every dollar.

This was the first party I hosted at our new house and this was the biggest party I ever hosted. It was stressful to know how much food to get, etc… Some people showed up that  weren’t expected and some didn’t that I thought would. My guess was that we would have 64 people, so I wasn’t too far off.

If I could do it all over again, I would’ve asked someone specifically to take pictures. I didn’t take any. I just didn’t have time.

Alissa, there is a child swimming alone and unattended in the pool. Alissa, we need a plunger. Alissa, the faucet isn’t working and I can’t turn off the hot water. Alissa, Alissa, ALISSA!!!!!!!

I loved every minute of it though. The planning, preparation, and especially cleaning up afterwards. I worried though. I wondered if I got enough food and drinks. Would the weather be nice? What if I drop the cake? What if it rained? Or snowed? What if it was too cold?

The worst thing that happened was that I felt sick with allergies/head cold the week of the party. It made cleaning and preparing on top of my regular schedule that much more demanding.

From what I heard, everyone had a great time. In fact, someone suggested that I host a party once a month. We’ll see about that!

upkeep

I cannot say that I have ever seen order come out of chaos without a whole lot of work.

My house never seems to stay clean. Even if we weren’t making messes, there would still be dust. The cabin at the end of the season is never as clean as we left it come spring.

With my kids going back to school, it is hard to keep up a great GPA. In fact it is even harder if you let your grades slip just a little. I recently heard that it is easier to turn a 3.0 into a 2.0 than it is to to turn a 2.0 into a 3.0.

Chaos just doesn’t turn to order. It is unnatural.

It is hard to blog. It is hard to come up with fresh new ideas day after day year after year once the initial excitement wears off. Bloggers come and go just like friends tend to.

It’s hard to stay happily married after the honeymoon is over.

It’s hard to raise children when the cute bubbly baby turns into a surly teen.

Something always needs fixing in the house. The lawn needs mowing. The laundry needs to be done.

It’s hard to go to work every day even if you love your job.

It’s hard to maintain a fast running pace. My husband always tells me to just compare myself to me. But, frankly, I would rather compare myself to people my own age that chain smoke and never get off of the couch. I could never compete with my 17 year old self. I probably couldn’t compete with my 35 year old self either.

Order takes constant work. There comes a point in your life when you really have to judge whether it is worth all of the upkeep.

That’s when you become experienced enough to put your time and effort into the things that really matter.

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

 
Yesterday morning this was the sight in my kitchen. Seems like I can never have a proper party without trashing my house.  I spend all day cleaning and cooking only to be faced with it again. 

I had a smashing party! Literally. At the crack of midnight, Alex’s friend smahed his head against the table 5 times starting the new year with a bang. Not to mention a swollen, bruised, and bleeding face. I’m surprised that I haven’t had a late night knock on the door from a mother screaming about a concussion and a law suit for the nefarious happenings at my house. What can I say? My house was over run that night with teenagers. Ten teens to be exact and 3 other kids…One of the teen girls was very attractive and possibly single if that explains anything. 

So I spent the next morning cleaning up after the party. I threw out the items that were broken. I searched for the items that were lost of stolen. I started a new year’s resolution to never to have a New Year’s Eve party again. Then I took down my Christmas tree and purged my house of 2016.

After a sleepless night and a snow storm of cleaning, I packed the kids up in my car and headed on the long trip to visit my mother-in-law. Paul left to spend a couple of days with her early in the morning, but I couldn’t rouse the kids before noon. My MIL, Martha, has stage 4 terminal lung cancer. She drastically declined since our last visit. Her figure that once had a little padding is now reduced to grayish yellow skin on bones. Her clothes were baggy, even her glasses were too big for her gaunt face. Her once jet black curls were replaced by patches of gray hair.  She coughed and wheezed with every inhalation. 

Martha was happy to see us. We had a nice visit for a few hours, then went home. The trip home was sorrowful. Angel was certain that she would never see her grandmother alive again since it is almost time to go back to college in a town far away. Our spirits were low. 

So I did what I had to do. 

I took the kids out to a Chinese buffet. I thought maybe it would cheer them up a little. Everyone got a good fortune cookie, except Alex. His fortune cookie was empty. I’ve only saw that happen to one other person. Me. When I was his age. It really bothered me back then. I thought that perhaps I would get hit by a bus or something. Alex said that meant we could create our own future, that we are really lucky according to Google.

I thought a lot the last couple of days about this new year. We were invited to sail the Caribbean with some new friends for their honeymoon. Regrettably, due to my MIL’s failing health, we had to turn down our spot on the love boat (yuck anyway). Instead, we will stay closer to home. This next weekend we are heading to Chicago as my daughter Angel was lucky to get tickets to see Hamilton.  
Being in a musical is just a much fun (if not more) than watching them. Angel has a lead role in her college opera this spring. Paul, Arabella, and I are going to try out for the local community theater musical this week. I am hoping to get the part of a floozy. I haven’t been on stage for 5 years and am nervous and excited to be back.

Paul and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary this summer. Where did the time go?? We will go on a week long sailing trip to celebrate this summer. However, we decided to not go to Tahiti next winter to celebrate but chose Thailand instead. We have friends that live over there. What is better than having our own tour guide that speaks our language to show us around off the beaten path?? We are planning on visiting Bangkok April of 2018 for their New Year festival. It is very hot and humid during that time, but we want to go to celebrate their New Year as they have several days of country wide water fights. It would be the trip of a lifetime. Plus I would get closer to checking off visiting all of the continents off my bucket list especially since I have never left my own continent.

So, I will save my pennies and look forward to sunnier days during these dark times.

I hope that you all have a wonderful new year! 

5. Five things that make me happy

Day 5: What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?

  1. This weekend Paul and I will be visiting Angel at college for the first time since we dropped her off in August. I am happy about that. I am also happy that all of my children are doing really well right now. They are all getting great grades, hanging out with good kids, and dating people that I approve of.
  2. I am happy that all of our hard work is finally starting to pay off. We could finally afford to trade in our rust bucket of a truck for a newer vehicle, get new windows for the house, and pay for things that we have been neglecting to take care of for a long time. Even the new shoes and winter coat I ordered online fit and are exactly what I wanted. That’s a happiness plus..
  3. I am happy to cross a lot of items off of my to-do list. It is fall cleaning time. Although I don’t love cleaning, I love a clean and clutter free house just in time for winter. Cleanliness makes me happy..
  4. This is the time of year that I start planning and thinking about next summer. Planning summer races and weekend getaways are almost as much fun as summer itself. Also, Paul and I are going to be celebrating our 20th anniversary next summer. I am going to start planning a trip to the most beautiful place in the world to celebrate, Bora Bora. I am possibly planning a vow renewal and getting Paul a new ring for this ceremony (since he lost his). Planning and thinking about exciting new adventures makes me happy. Plus, after being together over 20 years, I am happy to be married to a wonderful man.
  5. Lately I have been able to run without having knee pain. I feel healthy and strong. This makes me feel hopeful and happy that I can advance my fitness goals for the next season.

Road trip

Angel and I decided to go on a little road trip.

Tomorrow is Angel’s freshman college orientation. Then we are heading to Wisconsin Dells for one full day at the water park. We are ending the road trip with my cousin’s wedding in Milwaukee this weekend. 

It was a long and fairly uneventful several hour drive to Angel’s new home. We saw the smallest little Bambi come out to us in the middle of the road without hitting it. We saw Amish children working in their gardens while the Amish men were working their fields with several large horses. I saw a very large man cross the road to get his mail in shorts. Little images stick in my head from the road. The men at the first stop and go light holding signs asking for change for a burger wearing better clothes than mine. The waitress at the restaurant who exchanged numbers with my daughter because they would be attending the same college together for the first time in the fall. The rest was a blur of people, places, and things but mainly fields. Field after field as we wound through small towns.

I left a list behind. A list of things that I do. Chores that need to be done on certain days. I entertain this fantasy that the others can’t live a few days without me. You would be proud of me, I let go of perfectionism when it comes to chores. I let the kids help out. I give them chore lists. I also implemented a cooking rotation. The kids get to pick out the recipe, shop for ingredients, help make the food, and clean up one day a week one kid at a time. I have given up a lot of control.

I remember a conversation with the mom of Alex’s first girlfriend. She told me that she does not allow her children to do anything because they don’t do it up to her standards. No laundry, no cleaning, and absolutely no cooking. She said that she was OCD that way. I thought about the words she said for a long time, in fact longer than the relationship lasted. I thought that I didn’t want my kids to end up marrying someone that didn’t know how to do anything. Then I pointed the finger back at myself because I really was the same way. I never wanted my kids to do anything either because it really wasn’t perfect enough. How is that going to prepare them for the future?? It doesn’t. So I decided to let go.

I give them chores and I look the other way when it is not clean enough. Sometimes I rewash the dishes. Some of my kids seem to realize that their lack of cleanliness bothers me. Sometimes they do a crappy job in hopes that they will no longer be asked. But it doesn’t work that way. 

I think that everyone will survive just fine without me for a few days. After all, they will be living a long adulthood without mommy being there to clean up their messes. 

I am planning on enjoying this road trip and spending some time with my daughter as adults all alone on an adventure…

Branching out


Not only did I watch my daughter graduate this past weekend, have a small party for her, run 6 miles, watch a parade, walk some more, and sail a couple hours…I also spent a whole day up north getting the cabin ready for the season. And I wonder why I am tired!?!

This typically isn’t a terribly daunting task. It usually involves sweeping and vacuuming up tons of dead ladybugs. Big whoop! But this year was different. This past year several of our big trees had to be cut down because of oak wilt. That left the yard full of dead logs, branches, and brush. Unfortunately, due to a bit of a miscommunication and a broken axle on an old wagon that caused the wheel to fly off into someone’s yard, my brother Mark was unable to join us in the clean up while we were there.

That left my brother Luke, my husband Paul, my son Alex, and I to do the heavy lifting and yard work. Now I have complained in the past about not being able to help the guys. This year they needed me and I complained about how heavy everything was. Nevertheless, they hear me complain every year about how strong I am when there is no work for me to do and about how weak I am when there is a lot of heavy lifting. Lol.

We spent the day raking brush, picking up sticks, and stacking wood through brief sporadic rain showers. We were filthy. Then we put the dock in. I helped carry the dock to the water. The hardest part all day was putting the large raft into the water. We couldn’t move the huge logs without Mark and his chain saw. So we had to tilt the raft on its side and push it in through a narrow treeless gap. Alex and I had to use our arms to hold up the raft making sure it did not tip over. After awhile my arms started shaking. There were a couple rough patches where I jolted my back. Whine, whine, whine. We weren’t even sure that we would be able to get it in the water with all of the wood in the way, but we did. Paul urged us to keep working. What a work horse! That is one of the things that I like most about Paul, he has an incredible work ethic. Not a lazy bone in his body. 

This weekend I am planning on going up north and swimming despite a forecast of stormy cool weather. Yesterday I signed up for my first triathlon. I felt fearful when I had to sign the waiver that promised we wouldn’t sue if this activity causes injury or death. Oh my, now what did I get myself into?? If I can run a marathon, I can do a small triathlon. Right???

I practiced the bike to running transition and this weekend I want to work on swimming. Then my plan is to put it all together. I sure hope that I am giving myself enough time since the triathlon is in a month. It has been really cold this year to go out swimming in open water. 

Today I biked 12 miles followed by a 3 mile run. I haven’t biked that far since I was a teenager without transportation. I found it to be very tri-ing. Lol.

I had to keep repeating the same mantra over and over. I am a marathon runner. I am a marathon runner. I am a marathon runner! Imba maraphonn rrrumber…. 

Life times 

I had every intention of writing yesterday, but things don’t always go as planned. After today, I am done with my spring cleaning. Now we are just waiting for spring. Usually in the middle of April, spring turns on like a light switch. I plan ahead to have my spring cleaning over and done with before it is nice out. 

It has been cold this past week with more days of snow than without. Some patchy snow remains on the ground with another inch of snow and sleet expected this afternoon. Friday afternoon thick snow flakes fell to the ground. Please don’t tell anyone else in WI that I am saying this, but it was very beautiful. Saturday morning the sun glistened making the snow sparkle like diamonds. But now it is bleak and cloudy. All of the babies cried in church. They seemed to take all of our repressed feelings towards winter and let them spring forth like the wailing of the wind that cries out to us today.

Yesterday, I went to the bowels of Hades into our little crawl space to peer into all of the bins and boxes. I was hoping to find the letters my mom wrote to me the summer that she spent out of state in the hospital with Matt. I haven’t been able to find them anywhere. I’m afraid that I may have accidently thrown them out with all of the high school notes that I found. My old school texting! LOL. You know, the notes that I didn’t want my parents to find and now I wouldn’t want my kids to find. LOL. It makes me sad, but maybe they will turn up somewhere yet.  

Also, I was looking for pictures to display for my daughter’s high school graduation next month. Since more than half of my childrens childhood was before the digital camera era, I have 4 big bins and multiple boxes of unorganized pictures and memorabilia. I started to feel stressed that my display of her life would suck. I hate to be unorganized with this since organization is a strength of mine. So I decided to make a display of pictures from all of the shows my daughter performed in along with a couple baby pictures. Then next winter, instead of working puzzles, I am planning on going through all of the pictures. I am going to work with my mom to take all of the old family pictures and back them up online. After my kids are settled as adults, I am going to gift them with a bin of their most precious childhood moments. 

Yesterday we had my parents and Matt over for supper last minute. We spent several hours watching the old family videos that we had uploaded to a hard drive. It was so strange seeing my brothers, cousins, and myself as young children. Then we watched my kids as young children. It was so strange seeing the progression of time all in one day. Time sure flies. Enjoy every moment while you can.

Puzzling failure

I should’ve known when I opened the box and saw the glue that it wasn’t going to be easy.

I have one of those high strung intense type A personalities. So, yes, I find that I have a hard time taking it easy or relaxing. There is always something to clean or laundry to do. I have to actively seek out ways in which I can try to relax. Over the winter months, I try to relax by doing puzzles. It was something that I would do with my grandma years ago. 

This winter I did two puzzles. Well, that is not completely true. The first puzzle was moderately difficult just because 75% of the puzzle was green in some shade or another. I just wanted my second puzzle to be easier and more relaxing. When I opened the second puzzle, I found glue and instructions to hang the puzzle on the wall like a picture. That was puzzling to me. It looked easy. I dismissed it as tacky and started working on the outside edge. After having difficulty with the outside edge, I searched the box two more times without finding any extra pieces. It was a brand new puzzle, so there weren’t any missing. I finally had to rework the edge. 

After getting 75% done with the puzzle and wasting countless hours that I could have spent cleaning, I found out that the edge was still put together wrong. There were many pieces that matched in shape and design but weren’t right. I still was not finding a perfect fit in many edge and inside pieces throughout the puzzle. I came to the realization that I would have to take apart what I had already done and completely rework the puzzle.

In an impulsive fit of rage, I took my arm and swept the puzzle onto the floor. A jumble of obscenities and puzzle pieces flew across the room in an angry roar. Then I started throwing puzzle pieces into the box, which I threw into the garbage, which I threw into the dumpster that I took to the curb before I changed my mind. I felt like a complete and total failure.

I tried to commiserate with other puzzle friends. One friend is working on a puzzle that he separated into different containers based on puzzle piece shape. He works for a half an hour every night to find one piece. 

Oh, what a failure I am!

Then today I realized that I am not a failure. The puzzle failed me! It was supposed to bring me relaxation but failed to deliver. 

I did learn a few valuable lessons. First, never judge a puzzle by its box. Second, if you find glue inside the puzzle box it means that the puzzle is so difficult that you might want to hang it next to your diploma on the wall.

I am done doing puzzles for this winter. But I did find a few puzzle pieces while doing my spring cleaning today. 

Travel woes, the mess we returned to

The first 24 hours upon our return from Orlando was such an emotional roller coaster ride that it rivaled some of the roller coasters that we were on during our vacation. While we were gone, we had icy roads. School was delayed. On the way to work, our employee hit a patch of black ice propelling her into the ditch. It wasn’t her first accident, she was so upset that she could barely work. On our way home, we saw a car in the ditch. Disoriented people were wandering around outside of their car in the middle of the highway. We faced the prospect of having to shovel 5 inches of heavy icy snow when we got home that evening.

While we were gone, we hired my daughter’s 17 year old friend to pet sit. She has been our pet sitter for the past two years without any issues. That being said, we were not prepared for the mess that was waiting for us. When we got home, our pet sitter was stuck in our unshoveled driveway. Our garbage bin was lying in the ditch tipped over spewing out garbage that was put out too late to be picked up. We parked our car on the road, running into the house quickly getting hit with blowing snow while jumping over snow banks. When we got inside, there were piles of dog crap everywhere along with rings of piss and puke in multiple locations all over our living room carpet. The floors were filthy, there was dog shit caked on our toilet seat. 

Our pet sitter started crying saying that she got a second job and asked her mom to help her with the pets. Her mother is absolutely crazy. She is the woman that the neighbor’s called the cops on because she would speed around the school bus while its stop sign was out. She also overfed her own dog from her hand. She somehow thinks that people don’t feed their dogs enough. It seemed as if she overfed our dog without letting him out. There were 4 piles of puke which contained a total of about 2 cups of food, our dogs total daily food allowance. Our dog seemed sick when we got home and threw up again during the night. I started cleaning up the mess while our pet sitter cried hysterically. Paul was able to get her out of the driveway and start on the shoveling. After our pet sitter went home, she got into a huge fight with her mother where things were broken and thrown. 

While I was cleaning up, I noticed a couple of wet stinky towels bunched up underneath the rest of the towels. It looked like someone was cleaning up a mess but trying to hide it. Then the kids and I noticed that some of our things in our bedrooms were out of place. Someone went through all of our personal belongings. I have never felt so violated and sickened in my life. I cried thinking of how my pets were not cared for properly. The house was absolutely trashed. Paul and I were finally were able to get to bed around midnight. When I woke up the next morning, I discovered more poorly cleaned up piss rings on the carpet. We ending up spending as much money renting a carpet cleaner that we did paying our house sitter. I am kicking myself for not taking pictures of the mess we returned to.

The next day I headed back to work. I was so busy catching up from the time that I spent away that I didn’t have time to do any more cleaning. To make matters worse, my in-laws were coming over that night for supper. My mother-in-law was going to be in the area because she needed a PET scan. Back in November, the doctors found a tumor in her stomach and lungs. They did a biopsy on the tumor in her stomach because that was less invasive. They found that the tumor in her stomach was highly treatable, so we decided to go ahead with our vacation plans. In December, the doctors decided to do a biopsy on my mother-in-law’s lungs. She had a collapsed lung and pneumonia which they treated with heavy duty antibiotics. But what was troubling was the finding that the cancer in her lungs was a different kind of cancer that was in her stomach. They are afraid it may be in other organs. She had breast cancer 15 years ago, now 2 different cancers in 2 different organs. Monday we will get the test results.

When I got home from work on Thursday night, my mother-in-law was sitting in the recliner wrapped in a blanket. She did not feel good enough to go out to eat so we ordered food instead. She was so frail, weak, and sickly looking. It was hard to see her like that. When she left she spoke in a hoarse strained voice. She told us all that she loved us. She told Angel that she would like to see the college that she picked out someday. This is the point that Angel ran into the other room crying. My mother-in-law said good bye to me. She thanked me for being a great wife to her son. It seemed so final. I went in the other room to cry and comfort Angel. 

The beginning and end of our vacation was very rough. I am glad that we were able to get away for a couple of days of fun. I am afraid that the next couple months will be very difficult. I guess we will find out for sure on Monday.