#7: Your husband’s fashion sense

desert

My husband’s fashion sense? Now, why would the initiator of this sad and desperate search term want to know about that?

If you are one of my readers, you may already be convinced that my husband has no fashion sense based on the clothing he buys me. But he actually dresses himself quite well when the occasion calls for it.

He wears nice suits and shirts. He’s often the only one in a meeting with a tie on. And he has a collection of antique cuff links that’s really quite impressive.

But like many of his species, he’s inconsistent. He went through a short-sleeved Oxford shirt phase that was truly unfortunate (I accidentally donated these shirts at one point.) He often has to consult me to see if something matches (he bats about 500 on this count.)

And, of course, the garb he wears at home is composed primarily of early-90′s novelty t-shirts, rugby logo-wear, and baggy sweatpants. But my yoga pants-wearing self can’t argue much with that.

So while I’ll give him “has a tailor with a good eye” I don’t think I’d credit him with the fashion sense necessary to address this individual’s needs.

Fortunately, he doesn’t read my blog so there’s little chance his feelings will be hurt.

By the way, I conducted minimal (that is to say no) due diligence to make sure the aforementioned search term was not the title of a porn video. But I think I can pretty safely say that no porn videos were harmed in the writing of this post.

Read the series:

Anxiety dreams involving my kids 

How do I talk to my surly teen? 

I have only one child but laundry and housework never end

Life is not a competition

How to relax and enjoy your children

Gym class was never like this

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

Tips for the desperate gardener

IMG_0711What an embarrassment. My perennial garden, a source of pride in past years, is a weedy mess.

While we were running around during a busy spring, and huddling inside during uncooperative, rainy weather, the weeds moved in and took over.

Then, feeling neglected, many of my perennials decided to migrate to different locations, infringe on their neighbors, or waste away to nothing. It’s as if Mother Nature’s testing my resolve.

Well, I don’t have much, but even I’ve reached my limits. The weekend found me up to my waist in tick-infested, overgrown foliage, yanking out handfuls of invaders.

Before I had my kids, the garden was a refuge. I’d head home after a long day at the office, don my grubbies, and dig around in the dirt in the long mid-summer evenings. Pulling weeds felt like an accomplishment. Dividing perennials like a fresh start. I enjoyed the physicality of it.

Fast forward a few years, and the garden took a hit. I no longer had the energy or the time to tend it. Ever try to weed with a fussy baby next to you in a playpen, or turn soil with a toddler eating deer poop off the lawn? I have.

Here are some tips when the state of your garden calls for triage:

Pay the neighbor kids to help. My kids are old enough to assist now, but they aren’t willing helpers. I have to bribe, pay, threaten or conscript them. However, my neighbor and I have discovered that our kids, who sometimes balk at doing even work they’re being paid for at home will often jump at a chance to do the exact, same work at someone else’s house. So we trade kids.

Pull the tallest weeds first. A method my oldest son caught on to right away because it fills up the bags faster. But it also makes the most immediate visual impact. You’ll actually feel like you got something done.

 Pull all the similar weeds first. This is a good method to use if you have new weeders who might accidentally remove the expensive day lily you drove miles and miles to obtain. Pull a sample weed. Hand it to them. Say, “Pull out everything that looks exactly like this.” Repeat at necessary intervals.

Utilize those garden tools. There is a reason they were developed. If your garden is really awful, like mine, turning over dirt might actually be faster than pulling each, individual weed. Plus, (if you’ll pardon the generalization) those boy children would rather use the tools anyway.

Assign tasks based on individual strengths. My oldest son is all about filling up the bags, but my youngest wants to find a tiny plot of soil and make it perfectly smooth and weed free. Assign the perfectionist to the paths and borders where neatness really counts. Otherwise, you’ll just be frustrated that in the time you’ve been clearing the back 40, this child has cleared only one, perfect square foot.

And my #1 tip…

Embrace native plants, a method I borrowed from another neighbor. I’ve ceded one whole section of a perennial bed to a large stand of milkweed. The butterflies like it, and it’s pretty enough, especially when it’s in bloom. And I’ve let some other wildflowers take root.

“What’s the difference between a weed and a wildflower?” my youngest asked.

“A weed is just a wildflower growing where you don’t want it,” I answered.

I almost believe that.

The Slightly Hungry Games

IMG_0714The other morning I woke from a dream where I was engaged in a Hunger Games-esque contest – only the contest was filtered through the mundanities that are my life.

There was a lot of packing involved. We each had to amass a large amount of gear in a duffel bag. Then the contest got delayed. We waited and waited, until it was rescheduled and then we all had to pack again. The kicker – some people got to decline to participate. As I woke, I was asking myself, “Why does she get to get out of this?”

Yeah, sounds like the kind of adrenaline-producing, life-or-death struggle I’d be part of.

It got me thinking how other movies would be watered-down if they were filtered through my life. Here’s how I think they would play out:

Born on the 2nd of July. We can only scrape up two kids who are not at camp or on vacation to attend the birthday party for the kid with the summer birthday.

Dances with Coyotes. A coyote crosses my son’s path as he retrieves the newspaper at the end of the driveway, passing so close my son can hear its nails clicking on the pavement.

Dead Tired Mom Walking. After a day shuttling kids to the orthodontist, the mall for back-to-school shopping, and driver’s ed, I sit through three hours of evening lacrosse practice.

The Deer Chaser. After hearing crunching through the front screen door, I confront a doe who is on the front stoop eating the buds off the perennials. She calmly walks away, annoyed with me.

Life of Pie. I make a pie in order to use up some peaches that are getting soft, then spend the hour it’s cooling trying to keep the cat-who-will-eat-anything out of it.

Not-so-national Lampoon’s Vacation. Five people vie for wi-fi access in the car, and eat two weeks worth of snacks in the first six hours of the trip.

Of Mice and My Husband. My spouse declines to remove the gas fireplace insert in order to remove the dead mouse that is obviously enshrined there.

The Titanic Problem. I find a puddle of water at the base of the water heater.

I tell you, it is five-star action around here. Non-stop.

 

Silly me, I don’t know from desperate

emoticonWhen I wrote my latest installment of Search Terms of the Sad and Desperate, I was unaware that the phrase “gym class was never like this” referred to the title of a porn video. Silly me. I didn’t know just how much desperation there was out there.

I noticed this after a suspicious bump in traffic, much of it generated BY THAT EXACT SAME SEARCH PHRASE. Despite my naivety, even I have the powers of deductive reasoning to figure that one out.

(OK, I know about half of you reading are now in the process of searching “gym class was never like this.” I hope you’ll come back to finish the post when you’re done, and are not lost to me forever.)

I was slightly panicked, until I sought the counsel of my husband, who suggested that from now on the titles of all my posts ought to be the titles of porn videos, and the sage advice of my blogging tribe who suggested I relax and enjoy the extra traffic (even though….ewwww!)

But I still felt an explanation was due. Whew, got that off my chest.

I briefly considered searching the titles of all my posts from now on to make sure this doesn’t happen again, but I think that could seriously constrain my creative process. (Ha, ha, my creative process, snort!) Or at least send me into a paralysis from which it will be hard to recover.

Ignorance is bliss, folks.

Read the series:

Anxiety dreams involving my kids

How do I talk to my surly teen?

I have only one child but laundry and housework never end

Life is not a competition

How to relax and enjoy your children

And of course, the infamous Gym class was never like this

Summer touring, blog-style

untitledA big virtual hug and many thanks to the fabulous Susan at Pecked to Death by Chickens for inviting me to join this blog tour.

The tour requires me to respond to the following questions. My answers are, of course, utterly fascinating.

1. What am I working on? In addition to blogging I have started two books. One is a small business management handbook; the other is a novel. Neither is close to finished. I’m also working on raising three wonderful children. None of them are finished either. Nor are any of the numerous projects around my house. Do we see a pattern here?

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? I try to bring a wry humor to everything I write, even if it is instructional. And I try to write the way people talk. Or at least the way I talk when I am chatting to myself.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?I live by the principle that when you meet adversity, you can either laugh or cry. I choose to laugh. I hope others will, too.

4. How does your writing/creating process work? I throw everything up in the air and see what comes down. I take notes constantly – on paper, on my phone, on my iPad – and then pull out the bits and pieces when I have time to construct something. It’s amazing how much content you can pull together from that. My most creative ideas seem to come at inopportune moments (in the middle of the night, in the car, in the shower, during meditation) so I try very hard to record things as they come to me.

As part of this blog tour, I get to introduce you to three of the fabulous members of my blogging tribe.

Mary is a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom to two beautiful girls, ages 4 and 6. Her husband works full-time for the military. She runs her own direct sales business as well as two blogs, Living a Sunshine Life and Homeschool Antics. In addition to writing, Mary enjoys casual photography, painting, needlework, reading and spending time with her family.

Charity has four young children who inspire her to be a #GoodEnoughMom. It wasn’t until she discovered her husband’s affair and her life fell apart, that a lifetime of fear, depression, and anxiety was revealed to her. Her marriage was restored, but she spent an entire year walking through hell, and it wasn’t until she got to the other side that she realized she was actually walking the road to freedom. She shares her story on The Wounded Dove.

Sharon who writes at MommyVerbs, is a working Momma, 41 years old and newly tattooed for the first time, who enjoys writing about life with X and Y while playing fast and loose with punctuation. She spends many, many hours sitting on bleachers by ball fields and she’s on a mission. To be intentional. To pay attention to the action of her world. To engage and encourage others to do the same…especially when it comes to health and wellness.

These lovely ladies will post on July 20th, but feel free to stop by to visit them before that.

And thanks again, Susan!

#6: Gym class was never like this

desertUsually, in my installments of Search Terms of the Sad and Desperate I offer advice to visitors whose search terms hit my blog. But I’m not sure the originator of today’s topic, “Gym class was never like this” is seeking advice. I think he or she is just making a statement to the world.

But I’m intrigued. Is this someone who loved gym class and wishes that all life was like gym class? Or is this someone who huddled in a corner of the gym hoping no one would notice? In my experience, there is no in-between.

I’m picturing someone in a cube at the office, feeling either hateful or joyful, making a comparison to a past in the gym.

Here’s what I think might have been going through this person’s head if they hated gym class and love their job:

Gym class was never like this because…

  • …we didn’t get to eat during it.
  • …it made us sweat while right now I am basking in a frigid blast from the AC.
  • …I never get picked last here.
  • …at work we don’t have to swim and then go directly to a meeting.
  • …I can sit in the same chair all day if I want to.
  • …my boss is not a sadist.

But if this person loved gym class and hates their job, they might be thinking:

Gym class was never like this because…

  • …we don’t get to “accidentally” hit each other with field hockey sticks here.
  • …humiliation of others was tolerated, and sometimes openly encouraged.
  • …I was always picked first.
  • …those who violated the rules got a foul or better yet, got kicked out of class.
  • …now, I have to sit in the same chair all day.
  • …the gym teacher was not a sadist.

How about you? Did you hate gym class? Love it? How would you finish this sentence? I am dying to know.

Read the series:

Anxiety dreams involving my kids 

How do I talk to my surly teen? 

I have only one child but laundry and housework never end

Life is not a competition

How to relax and enjoy your children

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

I love a parade

IMG_0696It is my privilege to attend an annual 4th of July parade that defines what small town celebrations are all about. Each year, we anticipate representatives from all modes of transportation – tractor, truck, car, horse. We cheer loudly for the bands and the veterans. We vie for the free water and hotdogs, and the kids risk life and limb to retrieve candy from the street.

I love this parade. Its main asset is that it changes little from year to year, and let me tell you, there is much comfort in predictability.

Here are some of this year’s highlights:

The mammoth is looking a little warm. He probably wasn’t meant for this weather.

IMG_0673 There is a lot of liberty going on here.

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All the emergency vehicles are in the parade, so don’t light the barbecue until it’s over.

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Not sure which I like best – the mariachi band or the polka band (I have an inherited love of mariachi music, but this is a Grammy-winning polka band, I kid you not!)

bands The guys in the little cars hope the parade never ends.

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At times, the pacing could have used a little attention.

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Nothing to say here.

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I think I was this car in another life.

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The water ski team is taking no chances this year.

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Belated best wishes to those of you for whom the 4th is the holiday of the summer. Hope you celebrated in style!

Five important things to know about teens

surly teenRaising teens is a dangerous business. It’s easy to fixate on the perils and temptations that seem to await them around every corner. But if you haven’t reached the teen stage yet, you may not realize the perils that await you, the parent.

Here are my top five:

  1. Dumb, monotonous pop songs will run endlessly through your head. As soon as you manage to get a song off your mind someone will turn on the radio and it will be on again.
  2. You will never again be able to find an unoccupied bathroom, even if you have boys. We have .60 bathrooms per capita at our house but I have to stay up until the wee hours just to get a shower.
  3. Their activities will consume all of your time and money until they are old enough to drive, at which point they will take only half your time and all of your money.
  4. The most gag-ifying smell on earth is a damp ski glove/hockey glove/lacrosse glove. Just burn them when you’re done with them.
  5. Your teen will not tell you about an illness or injury until they are at the point of hospitalization if they think it will cause them to miss a sleepover/outing with friends/date/tournament/fill in the blank.

What have I missed, oh beleaguered parents of other teens?

#5: How to relax and enjoy your children

desertToday’s installment of Search Terms of the Sad and Desperate, where I offer advice to visitors whose search terms hit my blog, tackles the thorny topic: “How to relax and enjoy your children.

Is this a question or a personal development program? If the latter, I should probably sign up.

Because even I, who am able to dispense completely unqualified advice on many topics, cannot answer this one. I’ve never actually done both things at once. I am able to relax on occasion, even with the children present, but to say that I am enjoying them in those moments might be going a little too far.

Why, you ask? Well, if I could ignore the multitude of dangers that lurk around every corner, pretend I’m not putting off a huge list of inevitable tasks to spend time with them, and navigate their constant squabbles I guess I might be able to relax.

I’ve never professed to be a fun mom. I make no apologies. Fun is not my natural state. For me, life is not a garden of earthly delights. It’s more like an overgrown plot of intriguing weeds. (And for my children I’ll add, “Sorry, grow where you are planted.”)

So I think I’ve met my match here. This question requires a professional relaxation consultant.

Read the series:

Anxiety dreams involving my kids 

How do I talk to my surly teen? 

I have only one child but laundry and housework never end

Life is not a competition

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

One last Fitness 5 on Friday

Fitness 5Better late than never, right? It’s time for one last Fitness 5 on Friday, a link-up courtesy of JVKom Chronicles. This week, Jen asked us:

1. Have you ever taken a fitness class? Not a general fitness class, although I’ve taken yoga and dance classes.

2. Why do you workout? I’m a health nut, and exercise is an important part of a health regime. It helps me sleep, maintain strength and flexibility, and relieve stress.

3. What is your biggest motivator? I just plain feel better after I exercise. I try to stick to activities I really enjoy – if it’s something I don’t like, I’ll avoid it.

4. Where do you draw your inspiration from? The teachers at my yoga studio are incredible people. In addition to holding regular classes, they teach individuals with disabilities, returning vets with post traumatic stress disorder, and others with special needs. They are upbeat, positive, and generous with themselves.

5. Do you have routine physicals? (it’s very important to check your health). Yes, but I’m not as good about it as I could be. Definitely an area I need to work on.

Thanks again, Jen, for another fun month of link-ups. Visit her site, JVKom Chronicles, to join the Friday 5 linkup and read other posts.