Corn Starch, Beer, and Vacuums, Oh My–Oh and Merry Christmas Eve Eve

No, this isn’t a tale of Christmas baking gone horribly wrong.

It’s been an interesting morning here at our house

I was on the phone with a friend catching up and feeling very badly that in the wake of our hard drive getting fried I had forgotten to call or send an email or a note of any kind to thank her for the beautiful centerpiece she’s sent us for Christmas.

The girls had been noisily pushing babies around in laundry baskets–with LOTS of sound effects, I think perhaps they were airplanes–so I was happy when they relocated to their rooms and were happily and quietly playing.  Yes, I said quietly.

You see where this is going, right?

So Carolyn comes out looking extraordinarily sheepish and saying, “We did something silly, Mama!”  A close inspection reveals that she’s liberally sprinkled with white powder.  So I high-tail it back to their bedroom to see that the Abber-doo is COMPLETELY covered  in white powder, and it’s sprinkled ALL OVER their bedroom.

Cornstarch. 

Last night, Abbie had had a monster diaper rash so to clear it up I’d sprinkled her liberally with the moisture protecting powder.  I got distracted with crazy antics during bedtime stories and forgot to take the container (the mostly full container) off of their dresser.

So….  I set out to clean up the white stuff (we were dreaming of a White Christmas, right?).  I got the dust buster and handed it to Carolyn.  Natural consequences dictate that you clean up your own mess, right?  But the dust buster wasn’t going to cut it.  So I got the big vacuum.

Then the large piece of plastic that I’d neglected to pick up got sucked up and a sick,  burned rubber smell permeated throughout the room.  I unplugged the vacuum and inspected the bottom of the machine looking for a slipped belt, and satisfied that it was still in working order, headed out to the kitchen to grab the vacuum attachment to get into the cracks and crevices. 

The girls had been playing with said attachment this morning.  It’s one of their favorite forbidden playthings.  So I had banished the offending tool to the top of the cabinet.  The very tip-top where not even I can reach.   I reached up to the attachment, swung it down and heard a crash…  and fizz-whoosh…  and a splash….  and some drips.

There was an amber colored puddle spreading over the kitchen floor and counter….  and an amber colored splash decorating the ceiling.

I wish I could adequately paint a picture for you of  the things I saw and heard as the bottle careened over the side of the cabinet-tops.  I wish I could explain the confused thought processes in my head as I came to understand the second HUGE mess that I was going to be cleaning.

Beer.  Beer all over me, my kitchen, and my cupboards. 

Husband’s brother works for Anheuser-Busch and sent him a special collector’s item beer still in it’s test packaging.  It’s been sitting on the top of the cupboard for quite some time now.  Or at least since the last time that I needed to get the ‘cool stuff for which we have no place’ tucked away somewhere.  The vacuum attachment in one efficient movement, snagged the bottle and brought it down spilling puddles of beer all over everything.

So I mopped up the big puddles, I vacuumed the rest of the corn starch, I dipped the girls in a bath, and then I stood on the counter and wiped the ceiling clean…  and while I was up there took care of some long-forgotten dust which had accumulated.

In the span of  15 minutes, cornstarch was spread all over my kids’ room, beer sprayed all over my kitchen–even staining my ceiling, and my vacuum nearly bit the dust.  In the span of an hour, I got the messes, and the children cleaned up.  And they say this job isn’t mentally stimulating!

And now I’m sitting here blogging it, watching more snow fall and my girls snuggle as they watch yet another Christmas movie (I needed a break!), and musing that I guess these things really DO happen even when Husband isn’t off playing Navy.   I’m headed to get a  bath to get the beer smell washed off, and I’m wishing you all the Merriest of Merry Christmas Eve Eves.

Happy Birthday to a Friend I Miss

It’s my friend’s birthday today.

Growing up, she was probably my best friend, though there was always drama. 

I fought for my friendship with her harder than for most.  There were many falling outs and lots of mistakes made, but I fought.  We taunted and teased each other and we stood together when we were taunted and teased by others. 

In some ways I think that my friendship with her was among the most UNhealthy that I’ve ever had.  I think co dependence was a big problem for both of us.  I know that I felt responsible for her well-being too often.  She was suicidal in high school, and I can remember feeling that I had to know how she was and where she was at all times because I just never knew what she was going to do. 

She could be wreckless–in relationships with guys, in the way she lived her life, in her flirtation with danger despite trying to be a ‘good girl.’   And that made her scary and captivating all at the same time.  She was one of the most vulnerable people I ever knew, but she fought that vulnerability tooth and nail. 

But there were good things too.  Until our senior year in High School she was my person to analyze everything to the minutiae with.

In grade school she was the only one who could make our imaginings the most real.  She stood with me in fifth grade when we were surrounded by a circle of taunters who wanted to crush our childlike sense of play before we were ready to let it die.

We spent hours on creek banks figuring out life as we grew up together–wondering about why our parents were so weird and when boys were going to start liking us.  And then wondering when boys were going to start liking me and how she could best fight the droves that swarmed around her off.  We waded through fields of wheat together talking about God… trying to figure out what it meant to be His child and to be loved by Him. 

She was wild and crazy and scared and skittish and I just loved having her in my life.

We promised with great fervor when we graduated that  despite the difficulties that separated us our senior year, we would be the kind of friends talked about in Michael W. Smith’s incredibly cheesy song.  We both cried all the way through the endless litany of ‘Friends are Friends Forever if the Lord’s the Lord of Them….” at baccalaureate.

We came home from college for our first break both changed.  We got together to visit.  And I said something wrong, or did something wrong, I’ll never really know what….  She excused me from our visit and excused herself from our friendship.  And I’ll always wonder why.

The year after we graduated from college we ran into each other once, we went out to dinner once.  We tried to find some common ground in the midst of awkward chitchat.  When my Mom died she sent a card.  When she had a baby, I sent a card.  I did my best to let her know that I valued her and her friendship.  I felt mostly met by a brick wall and pleasantries.

The relationship was never healthy.  It always stretched me thin.  It always caused conflict between me and other people. 

But she was my friend.

And today is her birthday. 

Happy Birthday, friend.  Wherever you are, I hope that you are well.  I hope that you are loved and know that you are loved.  I hope that the happy outweighs the sad.  I hope that you have made peace with your demons.  I hope that you are blessed.

Minor Gripes and Grrs

We have been scrupulously avoiding using our electric heaters this winter to save money.  I mean, to the point that the mean temperature in our bedroom at night is probably 42 degrees (we sleep under two comforters and a quilt–it works for us!).  We leave the heater in the girls’ room on at night, but that’s the only one we’ve run all year.

We’ve relied on our woodstove to heat the house during the day.  And really that’s a great way to heat our home.  It makes everything feel so warm and toasty, even if it is a little more work. 

We having record low temps this week on the island.  It hasn’t been this cold here in ten years.

And so, of course, when Husband went to start the fire this a.m, he discovered a problem with the wood stove (I will parenthetically add that he discovered said problem a week or two after *I* said, “Honey, I think something is wrong,” and he blew me off.  Oh well at least we got another week’s worth of heat out of it, right?). 

So we’re back to the money-sucking electrical heat.  And we get to call the Chimney Guy.  Which isn’t all bad.  The Chimney Guy is kind of a fun person.

Our (desktop) computer shot craps too.  Don’t know if it was a virus, or a power surge but the hard drive is fried most likely in a non-recoverable way.  Stupid us didn’t back up a lot of the precious photos that we had on that computer.  Of course, I was in the middle of several projects on it, most notably a collection of my Grandmother’s recipes to give to our family, and the scanning of her priceless heirloom family photos. 

And, while I feel infinitely better than I did last week when I had a sinus infection, and an infected/inflamed ear canal, I still can’t hear out of my right ear and it’s starting to hurt again.

Sometimes it feels like everything we touch falls apart.

I’m starting to feel a little Grrrbah about it.

So let’s see…  Where’s the grateful here:

1)  I’m grateful that we have electric heat to fall back on. 

2)  I’m grateful we have a home to heat at all.

3)  I’m grateful that we have Husband’s laptop so I can sit here and write and gripe and still do at least some of the computer tasks I need to.

4)  No one who owns TWO computers, even if one is small and slow, should really be able to complain, right?  And besides, it’s all just stuff. 

5)  The Chimney Guy really is pretty fun.  Carolyn gets a kick out of him.

6)  I might get to go see my sweetheart of a doctor whom I love and adore, and that always cheers me up.  Even when I’m sick as a dog.

And besides:

7) Our family is together.  For Christmas.  My heart isn’t stretched across the ocean and I’m not having to put on a brave face and a good show for my babies while we miss Daddy this year.  I love that.

8) We have snow.  And it’s sticking around.  And we’re supposed to get more.  That never happens here.

9)  My first Canning adventure was a successful undertaking and the house has smelled SO GOOD for the last few days.

10)  The home-made Christmas presents are almost all done, and they’ve been really fun to put together.

11)  Our housing allowance is going up, and if we can ever get ahead of these little crises and setbacks, it’s going to help a lot.

12)  Despite the money hemorrhages all of the above has caused, I still get to go Christmas shopping for my babies tonight.

So I’ll get over my Grrrbah and go on with my day.

Grateful

I was just sitting here thinking…

I still feel like tar.  I have no energy, my glands are huge, I have a cough that shakes the earth. 

The kids are still sick. 

And Little Miss insisted on us both getting up at 5 a.m. this morning.

Days like this do not make me happy.  They make me grumpy. 

My main focus of the day is to survive.  More movies…  More couch time.  More, just doing my best to get by.

But at a little after 4 p.m. today, my husband is going to walk through the door.  He is still feeling sick.  He may be grumpy.  Things may not be perfect between us this evening.  They probably won’t be.

But he’s going to come home tonight.  I don’t have to do the sick kids thing all by myself indefinitely.  He will walk through the door, and he will help. 

I KNOW BETTER than to take that for granted.  I am so incredibly grateful.

Honest? Why Thank You! (Oh Please No…)

So…  I hardly ever do awards or memes around here.  I don’t have any real good reason why I don’t except that usually I put the thought of them off long enough that by the time I get around to them it’s months later and those who passed it on have probably long ago decided I was rude by not doing it .

But Hope has always been a hero of mine, and she is one of the most honest ladies I know–and get this–she’s even brave enough to be honest to herself, at least…  more often than most of us are.  She passed this award/meme on to me, and because she is Hope and she is delightful and she inspires me to be honest, I’ll do this one.

The rules:
List 10 honest things about yourself.
Pass around some linky love, seven to be honest.

1.)  I thought about this little project all night last night with quite a bit of apprehension.  See, I want to come off all quirky and fun, but I’m afraid I’ll just come off weird and whiney.  Yes, I  have pride issues. 

2)  I love tea.  And I love the fact that the fact that I love tea makes me feel all cool and sophisticated (especially since I HATE coffee), but the truth of my tea-love is that I love the really soft-core flavors.  We’re talking peppermint, and gingersnap, and honey vanilla chamomile.  My husband likes dark and pensive flavors like English Breakfast and Earl Gray.  I wish I could be that cool.  But those kinds of teas make me gag.  And DON’T get me started on iced tea with sugar in it!!!  UGH!

3)  I am, and always have been, a picky eater.  Most everyone knows this.  When I eat my vegetables, I STILL most often take a bite, then take a drink of water, and swallow them whole so I don’t have to taste them.  This goes double for peas. 

4)  I get REALLY resentful of my husband when he gets sick.  Isn’t that like the ultimate of non-compassion?  But see he ALWAYS gets sick right after *I* get sick, and usually the girls are either sick…  or you know, not sick, which means they have energy to be real pills when I feel like scum.  And while all this is going on, I end up nursing not just my urchin children, but also my husband who ALWAYS manages to get anything that we get WORSE.  So he gets to spend his sick days in bed, while I get to spend them wiping the noses of and medicating everyone else.  *sigh*  (Yes…  He’s sick and in bed right now).

5.)  Baboo 2 needs a diaper change right now.  She smells.  I am going to finish this blog, before I change it. *Ok, so in the interest of full disclosure, I actually did get up and change it, but only because her and her older sister were holding diapers and looking mischievous in their playroom, and I REALLY didn’t want to scrape poop off of the carpet.*

6.)  The only reason I clean lately is so that Husband (who needs a clean house to feel at peace with the world) doesn’t get grumpy.  The thought of him getting grumpy because of my lack of cleaning performance overwhelms me so much some days that I don’t feel like cleaning.  It’s kind of a Catch-22, don’t you think?  The house has been kind of a mess lately. 

7.  In the last month I have baked *something* probably every day but five or six.  Despite my intentions at generosity I have eaten a good majority of the fruits of my labor.  In fact, when I woke up last night and remembered the 6 or 7 (or 8 or 9) cookies I’d snitched yesterday, I put the batch that I made the day before yesterday on a high shelf in the garage so I’d have some chance at resisting their pull. 

8.)  I get seriously upset and worked up any time someone yells, or their tone even gets harsh.  Despite that fact I still yell at my kids far too often.

9.)  I feel like hammered dog poo today.  I use that phrase in honor of my Mom who announced to her oncologist that she ‘felt like hammered dog shit’ when he cheerily asked her how she was doing one day.  But I’m not as  brave as Mom to go for the gold and say shit.  So I take the weenie way out and say ‘poo.’

10.)  I have to go clean.  Husband just got up 

7 people to tag: 

The Queen of Snark Herself, K.L., Jodie, Loqi, Michelle, Ann M, Lwayswright