Most Cats Catch Mice…

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The first time I saw our male kitten crouching low and still, I admit I felt a small rush of pride. Although I dread the capture of small creatures and attempt rescue whenever possible, I honored this rite of passage. Our kitten was growing up! He was the feline picture of stealth, patiently waiting for his moment to …POUNCE! In he rushed, clearly excited by his first catch, a giant dried magnolia LEAF. A leaf?!

Most cats catch mice. As it turns out, Ziggy is more inclined to prey of the botanical variety. He is a fine and powerful hunter…of flowers and leaves.

I’m a bit confused, amused and (quite honestly) relieved. Evidently I will never have to walk in on a partially eaten bird or a frightened little mouse being toyed with on my kitchen floor. I’m just wondering if it’s too late to change his name to something a little more fitting. Like “Ferdinand”.

Frustration in 15 Easy Steps

#1 Agree to host the school’s Thank You Luncheon at your house.
#2 Decide, since all these people are coming to your house, you might as well replace that grungy, stained, extra gross carpet on the stairs that you’ve been talking about replacing for two years.
#3 You ponder putting in hardwood on the stairs. The rest of your house is all hardwood, why wouldn’t you have hardwood on the stairs?
#4 Your husband tells you that you are crazy. He saw the stairs and they are made of plywood. He tells you to get an estimate.
#5 Hardware on the stairs costs approx. $8,000.00. The flooring man asks why you want to spend all that money?
#6 Husband spits out his coffee when he hears the estimate.
#7 You choose carpet and get a new estimate.
#8 Flooring Man #1 calls back when husband is working from home. Husband scares that man away with hard core negotiating.
#9 Enter Floor Man #2. Looks at the carpet you chose with Man #1 and laughs. “Why would you want that on your stairs? That will wear terribly.”
#10 Choose new carpet get new estimate.
#11 Husband smiles because new estimate is $600.00 less than first estimate–and we even got a discount!
#12 3 days until the Luncheon. Man arrives to install carpet. Pulls it up…and BINGO, beautiful hardwood stairs. Only the two bottom stairs are kaputt and need fixing.
#13 You make Installation Man wait one hour while you ponder how fast you can repair the steps and paint all of the trim in the stairway.
#14 Even though Flooring Man and Installation Man are willing to do whatever you want, you decide to go ahead with the carpeting (three days until the party, the cost of the hardwood refinish, on the hook for the carpet you bought, etc…).
#15 Bang your head on the wall as you watch carpet cover your coveted hardwood stairs for at least the next 5-8 years.

Car Hop Mom-ent

Those of you that know me, know that I was an A&W car hop for 13 years of my life. Yes, I did hang trays with frosty, ice cold mugs of root beer on car windows. No, I did not wear roller skates–I was born during a more litigious era.

Today I experienced a moment that I hadn’t experienced for years…the grandma change purse moment. Almost all little old ladies had snap shut coin purses and counted out their change to the exact penny. These were the same ladies that would ask for change for a quarter so that they could give me a nickel tip.

You learned to be friendly and patient over the years. You could be in the busiest rush, and hustling your rear end off–then, there would be this peaceful moment as grandma dug in her purse. I learned to take those moments where I found them. I didn’t tap impatiently or try to hurry these women along.

Today in Costco, there was a sweet grandma in front of me in line. Her granddaughter was with her, and we all waited for her to pay the cashier. I thought the man behind me was going to have a cow. The cashier looked sour and irritated.

I hope we all take time to remember someday we might need some extra time. Also, busy moms out there, take those moments when you can find them.

All The World’s A Stage: Middle School Production of a Rocking, Rolling King Lear

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John came home from middle school play try outs and didn’t say much. I didn’t want to press the issue, in case he didn’t get the part he wanted. It wasn’t until hours later, when we were driving in the car (a lot happens when we are driving in the car) that he let it slip that he had actually gotten the LEAD role.

When I first saw his script, I silently freaked out in my room. King Lear in King Lear? His highlighted version was almost completely covered in yellow on every page! How in heaven’s name was he ever going to remember all of those lines???

I bit my nails through late nights, as we ran the lines together. I clenched my jaw through the rehearsals and dress rehearsals where almost none of the kids knew any of their lines. I know that it’s always a disaster and somehow comes together, but I hate to say I truly had my doubts.

True to form, our school’s version of King Lear was fantastic. We are blessed with a supremely talented drama teacher and talented kids. John rocked his part, learned his lines, and made his family extremely proud.

I don’t know why I’m amazed–but kids are all pretty amazing from time to time, aren’t they?

Barbie Dream House with a Front Porch

My friend was talking yesterday about her Barbie Dream House. She lives in it right now. I do not live in my Barbie Dream House. I don’t think I ever will.

For one, it really is not that important to me. For two, I am happy to have a roofed area to call my own. For three, what is there left to do if you can’t have a little lust and envy?

In our 15 years of marriage, we have owned three homes. Our first home was a 1970’s bungalow. I hated the house. George loved it. I looked at the cul de sac and the big, mature, leafy trees and knew it would be a good home. I caved, but mostly because I didn’t care all that much.

Our second home was bought when George changed jobs and it required a move across the country. The market was so hot, that any house for sale got multiple offers, complete with nasty bidding wars. Houses sold in hours. We hunted for weeks. The price tags were hefty and the properties were a mere shadow of our Canadian home.

The agent sent us an e-mail on Friday. We looked at the pictures of the house and it looked pretty good. We bid $10,000 over the asking price and we were homeowners on Sunday. House was bought sight unseen. God bless the internet bubble. Like I said, I am just not that picky of a person.

That house turned out to be just fine. It was another good old California bungalow–but in California this time. It was also very modern. I am a country girl–I had no idea how to decorate such a fancy kind of place. The layout was wonderful, but we quickly outgrew it.

Our last house is bigger, but it’s the same 1970’s Brady Bunch kind of place. There is nothing fancy or imposing. It is a friendly house where all the guests squeeze into our kitchen and don’t move during parties.

Once again, my husband, who must have this thing for the 70’s, loved the house at first sight. I shook my head and said no. Later, I woke up in the middle of the night and knew it was the place for us. We had been searching for a year, and I was too beaten down to search anymore.

I am still hopeful for a front porch and a porch swing. That is my fondest desire. A big, wrap around porch. I see them, so I know that they exist. There is even a house in town that makes me weak in the knees–it has a front porch so perfect and beautiful and awesome.

So, essentially, this is an open letter to my husband. Honey, if you really want to wow me. If you really want to make my romantic heart pitter patter–don’t buy me chocolates or champagne. Just send me a picture of a front porch and tell me someday, just maybe, there’s a chance we can stick my midwestern porch on the front of our Brady Bunch angular abode.

Stress Much?

How I Battle Stress:

  1.  Margarita Friday
  2.  Breathe
  3.  Hike
  4.  Tivo
  5.  Wine
  6.  Girlfriends
  7.  Spin Class
  8.  Latte
  9.  Shopping
  10.  Massage
  11.  Tequila

(Not necessarily in that order)

How Do You Like Your Eggs?

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At my house, the cutting of crusts is commonplace for the 7 and under crowd. For the eating of sunnyside up’s, however, it’s crusts only. How do you like your eggs?

Winter Whites

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This is one of the reasons I love where I live. At home, in February, my white magnolia blooms. One four hour drive later I am in the mountains where all things are white as well. Compare and contrast. Isn’t it incredible?

Scary Funny Things Kid’s Say: A 7 Year Old’s View of Abortion

My first grader, Birk, was in her booster. I was driving the good old mini van and we were heading home from school

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“Mommy, do you know about abortions?”

Whoosh, almost hit a tree. I had to focus my eyes back on my little baby cupcake and try to figure out where all of this was coming from.

Luckily, Ruth piped in with just the right big sister question. “Do you know what that means, Birk?”

I was holding my breath and trying not to take out any inanimate objects, or animate ones for that matter.

“It’s when a mommy and daddy fight a lot and they don’t want to live together anymore. Then they get an abortion and they can marry someone else.”

I finally found my voice again, “That’s enough. We will discuss this all later.” Luckily we were home and it was time to jump out of the car and have dinner. Hope later is far off in my future.

Didn’t Your Mamma Teach You Any Manners?

Birk drew this picture on the airplane during a 70 minute ground delay. She patiently sat with her mommy and daddy, while the man in front of us was the perfect example of bad manners.

 

He complained endlessly, even when the flight attendants and the captain explained that we were grounded due to bad weather at our destination. He insisted on a free bloody mary, even though the attendant explained that she could only serve water.

 

This man rang the call button again and again asking about when we might take off and rang the call button again, ready to accept the offer of water.

 

The flight attendant cheerfully poured his water and the man yelled after her, as she continued down the aisle, that his water was not cold. At that point it was clear that it was all that she could do just to smile and ignore him.

 

It was all I could do not to stand up and ask him, “Why didn’t your momma teach you better?”