funkadelic

Monday, March 12, 2012

GRUMPY


I’m grumpy.  Irrationally, petulantly, grumpy.

I’m grumpy because our winter was so mild that I didn’t really get a chance to wear my colorful collection of scarves.  I have a friend in Saudi Arabia who sends me beautifully embroidered scarf/wraps for holidays and special occasions.  When I wear them I’m prone to dramatically flinging them over my shoulder and “sweeping” into and out of rooms like a washed-up movie star.  I didn’t get enough of that this winter and it’s making me grumpy.

So beautiful - you would sweep dramatically too.
I’m grumpy because the heel is worn down on my favorite pair of sandals and I’ve only worn them a few times.  I don’t have some curiously dysfunctional walking style and it hasn’t happened on any of my other shoes, so it’s making me mad.  I suppose it could be attributed to me “digging in my heels” but I thought that was supposed to be a good thing, so….Grumpy.

I’m grumpy because I passed by my kids’ orthodontist’s office the other day and realized I haven’t been there in a while.  Their orthodontist is ridiculously tall and handsome, so my children’s painful monthly adjustments always provided me with a nice little mom-thrill.  I had three kids in braces over 11 years, so I came to look forward to that harmless thrill.  My youngest is 11 and as snaggle-toothed as the rest of them, so I’ll no doubt be back in his office soon enough … but that makes me grumpy too.  Four out of four kids placed in the crappy, crooked teeth lottery?   Grumpy.

I’m grumpy because I have seven pair of glasses, I can’t see out of any of them and I lost the one pair I liked the most.  I’m super grumpy because virtually all of my interests require the ability to see, (imagine that) so it’s very annoying to keep getting eye exams and new glasses only to discover a few months later that I still can’t thread a needle or see my computer screen without tilting my head at some perfect 38 degree angle.  At my last visit, after several rounds of “Better One? Or Better Two?” (I hate that game), the Dr. selected the optimal lenses and pronounced it my new prescription.  “It’s still blurry” I complained.  “Yeah, well, that’s the best we can do” he told me.  Seriously?  SERIOUSLY?  People can get their cataracts removed on their lunch hour, but you can’t correct my vision so everything doesn’t look like it’s in perpetual soft focus?  GRUMPY!


And now that I think about it, I’m even grumpier to realize that after 12 years of public schooling and 5+ years of college, I still have only the most remedial of math skills and I just made up that 38 degree angle thing in the previous paragraph.  For all I know that might mean my head would have to be folded behind my knee.  It seems pathetic to me that I recently had to Google how to use the % key on my calculator.  I’m not stupid, but in all that schooling I had exactly two math teachers who didn’t make me want to poke myself in the eye with a protractor.  What is wrong with our educational method for teaching math skills?  It’s making me grumpy SQUARED (like I know what that even means).

I’m grumpy about my fingernails.  A month ago every fingernail was in perfect protein harmony – all about the same length and nicely polished.  I could tap them against things with a satisfying click, point fetchingly across the room, and scratch hard to reach places.  Then, within a couple of days, every single one of them broke, split, cracked and peeled until it appeared as if I had recently clawed my way out of a rock quarry.  They look awful and it’s making me grumpy.

I’m grumpy that my mom lives 500 miles away from me.  I LIKE my mom.  I like to talk with her, visit with her and work on family history together.  Better yet, SHE likes ME and thinks everything I do is awesome and brilliant, so how could I NOT like and miss her?  It ticks me off that planning a trip home to visit is akin to mounting a military invasion.  Grumpy.   

Mom on the left.  Obviously.  Doesn't she look fun?

Probably everyone has seen the internet memes about “First World Problems” and I suspect this is what I sound like:


I know I’m being a cry baby and someone should call the Waaaambulance and that there are many wonderful things in my life for which I should be grateful.  But I’m still grumpy.

But you know what I’m really grumpy about?  Eli had surgery on his right foot about three weeks ago to lengthen his Achilles tendon and release the tendons in all of his toes so that someday he might have the possibility of walking.   

He can’t scratch it, he can’t stand, he can only sleep on his back and his leg is supposed to be elevated at all times.  He can’t get comfortable and he can’t really go anywhere because we have a three-foot long board inserted under the cushion of his wheelchair to keep his leg extended.  He probably has three more weeks of casting, then therapy for several weeks and when that is done, they‘ll do it all over again on the other foot. 

Top of foot where they re-routed tendons.
Stitches from cutting all the toe tendons.
 
 So I know I really have no business being grumpy.  And that makes me even grumpier.  

What are you grumpy about?  Go ahead - I hereby declare it "Grump Day."  Do tell and maybe I won't feel so guilty about the cloud of Grump smothering me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Suburban Wild Kingdom

            I don’t know how many times I’ve said “I’m not an animal person” but I’m going to say it one more time in hopes that the self-fulfilling prophecy effect will kick in and someday I won’t actually be surrounded by unwanted animals.  The only thing I really have against them,  other than the fleas, parasites, fur, hair and poo, is that I just don’t feel the need to bring anything else into my  home that needs to be taken care of and requires "Cleanup on aisle 6."
  
            So of course we have Lucy, the cat Eli brought home several years ago.   

Lucy surveying her domain from the top of the laundry cupboards.
 She’s relatively unobtrusive with the exception of a couple of bad habits – the main one being her slash and kill tendencies.  She considers our wooded backyard her own personal smorgasbord of rabbit warrens, bird feeders and adorable Disney woodland creatures put there for her gastronomic benefit.  Honestly, if I weren’t so often confronted with her carnage, it wouldn’t bother me so much, but she’s an unrepentant attention slut, so after she decapitates the fluffy baby bunnies and rips off the redbird wings, she has to grandstand and deposit them on my screened porch for me to stumble over and scream.   

Her attitude could use some work, too, as she’s very demanding.  I don’t mind her sleeping at the foot of my bed at night, considering she keeps my feet warm, but apparently her schedule is chock-full, necessitating an early start around 4:30 a.m.  First on her agenda is herding me bleary-eyed to the bathroom to turn on the bathtub spigot so she can have a refreshing drink. Unfortunately, the girl can’t hold her drink, and once she gets going she is ready to party.  And the party is outside.  I do NOT want to stagger downstairs at 4:30 a.m. to let her outside, but if I don’t, she stands at the side of my bed and meows… belligerently, loudly, impatiently, with attitude and dramatic inflection that leaves no doubt that she is TICKED OFF I am not complying with her requests RIGHT NOW.  
I can get this brand of abuse from my human children, so I’m not keen to take it from four-footed ones.  

            However, Lucy’s been looking pretty good lately, especially since my husband brought home Hugo, - a big macho name for a little snot-spot of a dog.  My husband and I have had several mature, adult conversations about the pros and cons of owning a dog, and we agreed that we didn’t ever need another dog, because they cost money to maintain the shots and flea meds, and they need someone to walk them and care for them, and we’re too old to go chasing a puppy around, etc. and he nodded wisely and agreed and then brought home the dog.  
  
The dog is not very bright, or he would realize that relaxing on my heirloom quilts does not endear him to me.  He appears to have some gender issues, because he has a definite thing for my high heels and will go to great lengths to extract them from my closet.  He’s peed on the couch and my umbrella and in the middle of my area rugs (located on a sea of hardwood floors that would have been much easier to clean).  His only redeeming feature is he loves Eli and will sit on his lap all day. This makes Eli unbelievably happy, so for the moment I’m not making a serious effort to “lose” him.  (Especially since I found out the vet micro chipped him.) 

Hugo enjoying a nap on my grandmother's hand-pieced string quilt.


             And just to make sure that I never really sleep at night, my 11 year-old is the proud owner of a Siberian Hamster.  How the heck he got all the way from Siberia to my house is a mystery, but I am absolutely PHOBIC about rodents and don’t even like to cross the threshold of his room.  Most of the time, I can just block out the knowledge that it exists, but lately I’ve been hearing this weird whirring noise and I finally traced it to the hamster’s cage.  He has a wheel thingie and he’s running on it.  He’s running really fast and hard.  I think he’s practicing for his getaway when he will run straight to my bedroom and induce an acute myocardial infarction in my animal hating heart.

         So the dog antagonizes the cat and eats her food, the cat hisses and climbs the furniture, the hamster is training for a 5K and in the midst of the unrelieved fun comes a tap-tap-tapping at my door. Last year a cardinal spent months pecking at my dining room window.   I put colored paper in the window to block his reflection, but he just moved to a new window (and considering about 15 windows span the front of my house, I gave that up real quick).  He was so loud Eli complained he couldn’t hear the TV over the noise.  Well, ol’ Red is back and now he’s pecking at the sidelight windows by the front door and he is SO LOUD he’s waking me up in the morning.  He faithfully shows up, pecks for a couple of hours, then goes away  - probably to take a couple Excedrin for his aching beak, but he comes back EVERY SINGLE DAY.  

video

 He’s become such a fixture I was even inspired to pen a poetic tribute to him: 
 
Once upon a morning early, I awoke and it made me surly,
As I lay there, almost napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my old front door.

 “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore —
 “ ’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door —
But twas only this poor redbird,  tapping, tapping…nothing more.

And the Redbird, sometimes flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the chair outside my door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a redbird that is dreaming,
Of his partner in the window right outside my old front door.
Will he stop it?  Nevermore!

My apologies, Edgar.

            Alas, it would seem that I have not yet atoned for whatever horrific thing I did in a past life, as a couple of weeks ago when I went out to warm up Eli’s van for church, I found this on the hood.  Really? 


Friday, February 10, 2012

Faith, Hope and Charity - Thy Name is Mykishia


It only took a couple of months after we brought Eli home from the hospital for us to realize that taking care of him was going to be HUGE.  It took hours to give him a bed bath, get him dressed and in his chair, and monitor the feeding tube he had at the time.  He had to be weight-shifted every 30 minutes, the laundry was epic, nurse and therapist visits seemed constant, the guilt was never-ending that we weren’t doing enough, and it didn’t take long for us to reach the breaking point.  

One day the Visiting Nurse found me standing on the ledge waiting for a strong wind and asked how we were doing.  I told her.  Graphically.  Emotionally.  With gestures, tears and my Loud Voice.   


And she very sweetly said, “Honey, you all need some help.  You need a social worker.”  I mentally recoiled at the idea of a SOCIAL WORKER (DUN da dunnnn) and envisioned every melodramatic movie-of-the-week where a wicked social worker pried a crying child out of a distraught mother’s arms (although I was briefly tempted by the idea that they might remove some of mine…it would definitely cut the work load), but I let her make the call.

God bless that nurse and the social worker she sent.  He happened to be a guy and I vividly remember sitting in my basement when he said, “There are all kinds of programs to help you.  Would you like to have an aide come in during the day for a few hours?”   

WOULD I?   

Would I like to sleep more than 3 hours a night again?   

Would I like to only have to do 14 loads of laundry a day?   

Would I like to interact with the other three children I have?   

YES, I WOULD.  

So the Social Worker/FairyGodfather twinkled his magic wand and an agency began to send an aide in 7 days a week.  There have been ups and down…we’ve had aides young and old, bossy and meek, one who dressed as if she just came from her exotic dancer job, some that became part of the family, and some that prompted even Eli (who has a brain injury, mind you) to make the universal finger-twirling sign at the head symbol for “she’s a little loopy,” but overall we've been ridonculously blessed by these unselfish people who do a job most people would find difficult.
 
And then came Mykishia.   Mykishia worked for us briefly and we loved her, but she eventually had to quit, as we were one of her many jobs and she needed to cut back.  Several months and another turnover went by, and the agency asked if we’d like to have Mykishia back.  YES PLEASE. 


Mykishia does my dishes, even though I tell her not to.   

Mykishia brings Eli breakfast from McDonald’s.   

Mykishia does my laundry and folds my underwear into perfect little packets (which I, personally, have never managed to do.) 


Mykishia reminds me when Eli is out of shampoo and body wash and deodorant, and then she reminds me again because I constantly forget. (I’m researching my theory that brain injuries are contagious.) I'm sure she thinks "it's hard to get good help" about me.

 
Mykishia sweeps my floors and takes Eli to Steak n Shake and sneaks him Diet Coke and gum when Mom has cut him off.

Because Mykishia comes, I was able to go to school, write papers and sleep late in the morning after studying all night.   

Because Mykishia comes, there are five hours in the day where I don’t have to think about changing diapers, finding the remote, playing UNO, feeding the cat (which he worries about 59 times a day) charging his chair or what’s for breakfast.

And while it’s awesome to wake up and find my dirty dishes washed, or have my underwear unfold in a cute little accordion when I pull them out of the drawer, here’s the best thing about Mykishia:

She loves Eli.  She really does.

She nagged us to make a therapy table for him, so we did.  She told us he needs to be doing more for himself, so she makes him brush his teeth and clean up his sink.  She spends hours making him pull himself up on his chin-up bar, do bed exercises and encouraging him to try harder.   


She began pulling him out of his wheelchair to a standing position and transferring him to a kitchen chair so he could practice sitting at the table.  Initially, he could support his weight while standing (with Mykishia holding him steady) for 10 seconds.  Then it was 20, weeks later 30, and one day when I timed them he held himself up for one whole minute.  I know it doesn’t seem like much, but in brain-injury time (rather like dog-years) it’s BIG.

Or it was big, until Pete and Mykishia called me upstairs the other day to see this:



video

And it’s all because Mykishia comes.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Goin' to the Garage

 I spent a couple days last week cleaning and organizing our garage and here are three discoveries I made: 

  1. One wet, mildewed pillow wadded up inside a tent, crammed into a cooler. Not salvageable.
  2. A suction machine left over from when Eli came home from the hospital.  Might be salvageable but I really don’t want to try and find things to suction. 
  3. The mess I was cleaning and organizing was entirely my husband’s fault and I’m not sure he’s salvageable…and he’s obviously not trainable.
As soon as I graduated, I began making lists of all the projects I had put off while I finished school, and when Christmas was over, I started on the list; repainting my daughter’s bedroom, catching up on laundry, sorting through my son’s outgrown clothing and making daily trips to Goodwill as I jettisoned months (if not years) of accumulation.

And then I started on the garage… (please imagine the ominous thundering drums that should accompany that statement.)

Once upon a time we had a 2-car garage that was stuffed to capacity and rarely able to accommodate an actual car.  After Eli’s accident, we converted one side of the garage into a bedroom and bathroom for him.  This left us with a 1-car garage that was NEVER going to accommodate an actual car.

The second fridge and an upright freezer are in the far corner of the garage and procuring an extra gallon of milk or a carton of eggs has lately turned into an Olympic event, involving balletic leaps over the table saw and contortionist-style limbo-ing under the pressure washer.  Something had to be done and I would have to be the one to do it.  Why is that, you ask?  Sit down, relax and I’ll rant tell you about it.

Whether by osmosis, genetics or example, my mother taught me to be organized.  I love nothing more than sorting, organizing and labeling STUFF.  My label maker and I have a close, personal relationship.

Here is my pantry.  It’s not alphabetized, but its close.

Here are some of my scrapbooking stamps…I assigned them a numerical/alphabetic code, then cross- referenced them in a binder by category.  Yeah… I know it’s over the top, but it’s what passes for fun for me.


My husband is missing this sickness gene.  He thinks he tries, but he’s not even close to playing in the big league.  Here is the credenza in his office.


I will now share with you his method of being organized in his office.  Are you ready?   

It’s LEGAL PADS.  He buys them by the dozen and jots down unintelligible gibberish on them while he’s on the phone.  An important part of his process is to only use the first few pages of the legal pad, and then get a fresh one.  This ensures that when he really needs that important purchase order number, or change of address, he will have to fan through stack after stack of legal pads scattered over his desk.  But here’s the best part; when he needs to “get organized”?  He PUTS THEM IN A STACK.  That’s it.  That’s his system.  You can see how divorce is the only option, right?

So the garage.   Pete and I spent one day and a substantial sum of money to make a therapy table for Eli so he could do strengthening exercises.   The table had to be large enough for him to lay down on and practice rolling over, etc. so it’s approximately 8 x 4 feet.   


We built it this past summer, Eli used it for about two weeks,  and then my husband proceeded to pile up a mountain of junk on it while working on some project and that was the end of that.  Eli’s aide, Mykeshia, bemoaned the fact that she couldn’t get him in there anymore and everyday one of us vowed to get it cleaned up, but I was busy with school and Pete is clearly organizationally handicapped, so fast forward to my “clean all the things” rampage.

I began by putting away all his tools that were scattered around the house and garage.  It took me a full day.  I labeled his tool chest drawers and put the corresponding tool in the labeled drawer.   

That seems like a simple concept, doesn’t it?  I kid you not, he came out for a moment to help me with something and when he needed a screwdriver, he said, “Where are the screwdrivers?”     


It was at this moment that I sensed the enormity of his organizational deficit. 

Speaking of screwdrivers, guess how many are in this drawer?  87.   

Guess what he asked for at Christmas?  Screwdrivers.   

Guess what he got?  Screwdrivers.   

Can YOU guess where they are located?  Well, even if YOU can, HE apparently CANNOT.

I found six containers of zip-tie thingies, because every time he’s in Home Depot, he says, “Hey, we can use some of these” and he buys another package.  I don't think there is anything in our home that has a zip-tie around it.  What exactly does one zip-tie, other than bail-jumping criminals?…and I suspect they probably take the large size, which doesn't come in our assorted pack.

I discovered at least six tents.  I have never been camping in a tent.  To my knowledge, the last time my husband accompanied one of the boys on a scout campout, he slept in the van.  Yet out of six tents, we were only able to compile two complete tents that had tension rods and stakes and the little handkerchief screen thing that goes on top.  To be fair, I don’t think he lost the tent parts, but it does make me wonder who in our household is camping irresponsibly.

I banished him from the Great Garage Cleanup in the beginning because I knew if he were involved I would never be able to purge anything.  (At one point I posted on Facebook for anyone interested in various items to come grab them before he found out, and true friends that they are, my driveway was a beehive of activity as people carted off shelving and golf clubs and life vests while he obliviously worked in his office…no doubt scribbling on his legal pads.)   

But periodically, his nosiness would get the best of him and he would mosey out to see what was happening and I swear it was like Christmas for him.  (In fact, maybe next year I’ll just lead him to the garage for a guided tour.)  

He randomly opened drawers or noticed items on the newly cleaned shelves and said things like, “Hey, I forgot I had a router - that’s awesome!” or “Would you look at that?  I knew I bought some of those once…”

This experience has taught me three things:
  1. Should I need to hide anything, the screwdriver drawer is now my go-to spot.
  2. I can label the drawers, but I can’t make him read. 
  3. In the event I divorce him, I’m making him KEEP ALL THE STUFF.  That should be punishment enough.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Gather Round My Table

As holidays go, I like New Year’s Day.  New Year’s Eve is low key for us – being non-drinkers eliminates about 95% of most New Year ’s Eve festivities, so it’s usually just games and snacks and one determined child trying to last until midnight.  I’ve never liked the idea of making “resolutions” but I’m a big “planner” so I make plans.  (I know – semantics.  But I like plans!)
 
Still, I like the idea of celebrating a New Year.  There’s something hopeful about it, and I consider the fact that I’m still hopeful one of my best traits. (See May 1, 2009 entry for journal post on "hope" at the link).  Whatever the last year may have dropped, slopped and splashed on your doorstep, there’s something cleansing about anticipating the New Year and naively hoping it will be better than the last.  

Mary Chapin Carpenter’s  “Thanksgiving Song” has a stanza that says,

 “Grateful for each hand we hold ,
  Gathered round this table,
  From far and near we travel home,
Pretty Dining Room for company...
  Blessed that we are able.”

While I have a lovely formal dining room with a table that seats 10, we inevitably gather around our not-as-big, not-as-formal breakfast room table.  It’s made of iron with a glass top and we bought it primarily because we figured our kids would have a hard time destroying it.  It’s held up great, but more importantly, it’s held our friends and family.

Kitchen table - where the "Gathering" takes place
Last month when I graduated from college, I sat at that table with friends and family, including my baby brother who had never been to my home in Atlanta.  He doesn’t like the “traveling far” part of “from far and near” but he made an exception for me and I was so thrilled to have him gathered round my table.  

We gathered round that table at Thanksgiving with my older brother and his wife and children – two young boys who brought life and happiness to the “kid’s table” when it seems like my kids aren’t really “kids” anymore.  

Eli sits at that table every day with the help of his aide Mykeshia, a woman who loves him like her own.  She literally holds his hand (and sometimes arms and legs) while he struggles to sit up straight and not fall over.  She holds him in place and encourages him to last just a little bit longer – and he does, because he is so thrilled to be sitting in a regular chair at the regular table… because he too knows that’s where everything happens.  

We’ve gathered round this table for Sunday dinner nearly every week – countless pans of Chicken Pot Pie, meat loaf and mashed potatoes, and blueberry-peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream.  We gathered for the food, but often stayed to talk and laugh with friends.

We’ve gathered there to play Canasta, board games, Mexican Train Dominoes, and endless, infinite, countless games of Uno with Eli.

I’ve read a thousand books there, propped against the napkin basket so I could read and eat at the same time.   

Even though there are at least five desks in our home, Hudson invariably spreads out his homework there, so he can have company and not be lonely.

Friends have pulled up a chair and talked and cried with me.   Children have sassed me there, between asking me if their friends could stay for dinner and complaining “you never fix anything I like!”  

My children’s friends have sat there through the years; once loud, sweaty, clumsy children prone to spilling soda and making messes; now mature young adults stopping by to drop off wedding invitations.  

I have three tablecloths for the glass top – plum, gold and green, and every week the dirty, crumb-laden, stained one gets whisked off and thrown in the wash while a fresh, crisp, clean one slides on, ready for more friends and family to gather round.

If you stop by my house for a few minutes, I’ll often sit down with you in the formal dining room to chat briefly.  But if you’re my friend and you’re going to stay awhile, I’ll bring you on back to the kitchen to “gather round my table.”  

I hope the New Year finds you happy and “blessed that you are able” to do all you want to do.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Melancholy Holly Days

Christmas makes me melancholy.

It doesn’t have anything to do with presents or memories or stress.

I’ve ran the gamut of Christmas experiences - ones where I killed myself making everything perfect and ones where I kind of threw my hands up and said, “Eh…it will be what it will be” and it doesn’t really seem to have much bearing on the melancholy meter.

I’m old and crochety enough now that I pretty much do what I want.  For years I’ve made handmade Christmas cards with a ridiculously clever, self-deprecating, ironic newsletter (well, it is to me) but last year I just thought, “Nah…don’t feel like it” and the world didn’t stop spinning on its axis.

I love to make Christmas cut out sugar cookies, almond roca, and pecan tea tassies, so I will.   

Why yes, the Gingerbread man DOES have an icing diaper...cause we're creative like that.
 

 
I don’t especially like decorating the tree, but I’ve still got an 11-year old at home, so that has to happen, and of course, I enjoy it once it’s up (and I’ve cajoled, pleaded and pummeled someone else into putting all the storage containers away).

I’m wondering if maybe it’s the Christmas music that I love to listen to.  I can’t tolerate the peppy, cheery stuff like the aneurism inducing “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” or “Jingle Bell Rock.”  I tend to listen to more obscure stuff like Robert Downey Jr’s cover of Joni Mitchell’s  “River” and Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Christmas Carol" from her "Come Darkness, Come Light" Christmas CD.  It speaks to my soul...and apparently my soul is one gloomy chick.

I load up my Christmas mix while I'm in the car, or let it play while I work in my office, and slowly but surely I just start to feel….”yearny” even though I don’t really know what I’m yearning for.  

I do miss the days when my kids were little and there was more anticipation and excitement, but I don’t think that’s it entirely.  I do know I’m happiest if I’m with my extended family – I miss being close enough to my brothers and sister that  we can all gather together at someone’s house where it’s loud and noisy, and we eat good food and laugh until our sides hurt.  

It seems I stay in a perpetual state of wanting to just curl up on the couch with a quilt and a cup of cocoa, and wistfully dream about some perfect holiday that I can’t quite put my finger on.  

Do you have a mental Christmas scenario that never quite manifests?  What do you yearn for?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Notes From My Office Three Weeks Before Graduation:

Dear Skinny Jeans – 

I know you’re lonely on the shelf in my closet, but Zumba and Running are lonely too, and until I can visit them again, it’s not looking good for you.

Dear House – 

I’ve heard the fan blades and baseboards coughing from the dust buildup, but unless the Hoover decides to take some initiative and “suck it up,” they’re just going to have to wait until I’m finished with finals. Besides, I’m sleeping with the pillows that are begging to be washed and bleached, so they’ve got first priority.  

Dear Children – 

It is NOT NICE to do any of the following to Mom:
  •  Poke her when she’s sleeping and ask, “Are you asleep?
  • Transfer money from her account to yours without asking because you’re “out of gas” and you “didn’t want to bother me.”
  • Roll your eyes when I draw a blank on what your name is…and roll them again when I can’t figure it out,  even with clues.
Dear Office – 

Could we talk?  We’ve been spending a lot of time together and frankly, it’s not working for me anymore.  I dread walking in and seeing the piles of books and papers everywhere – you’ve really let yourself go lately.  I used to have fun when I visited you – I would scrapbook and surf the internet and tidy up household details, but lately you’re a real drag.   

You’re disorganized, you’re messy and to be honest, you’re just a reminder of all the fun things I haven’t been able to do for a while, and I think we need a break from each other.  Calm down!   I don’t mean right this minute - I’ve still got two presentations and three papers to finish before graduation, but after that…I think I need some time to myself and it would be best if I didn’t see you for a while.  It’s not you…it’s me.     

Dear Van – 
I’m only going to tell you this once:  DO NOT DIE ON ME UNTIL AFTER FINALS or I will scrap you so fast your catalytic converter will spin…and not in a good way.  I KNOW your struts need something,  and I’m not ignoring that groaning sound you’re making (sheesh…who could ignore it? – you’re such an attention hound), but I simply do not have the time or money for your drama right now, so just be grateful you got an oil change last month and you get gas every week.  There are plenty of younger, peppier, foreign cars that catch my eye when I’m driving around, but I’ve stuck with you this long, so try and return the favor. 

Dear Husband - 
The kids told me you were out of town.  Are you coming back?