Meditations on Bed Time

September 27, 2012

Some nights, after the kids head upstairs for sleep, I am reminded of all the nights I would have to make the journey up the stairs with them. The bedtime stories told tangled in Katy’s pink and purple Dora sheets, the long conversation with Colin in the dark, him and I sprawled side by side in a room that smelled like turtle and damp socks, those days of nightly visits weren’t that long ago.

I still venture upstairs from time totime. Katy likes to show me her latest innovations in closet organization and makes me admire the night light she got at the Ag Fair in Truro. Colin tries to explain something about either basketball, football or video games, and I try to look interested. I’m aware that soon I won’t be welcomed upstairs anymore. I enjoy that I only climb them when I choose to, and that I’m still invited more often than not. I’m happy Katy still has Dora sheets and Colin’s room still smells like socks.

I know the day is coming soon when I will be told I am not welcome. I will miss our sleepy talks, and the smells of children, and children growing up, (sweat, old gum, and nail polish.)
And on some nights, they kiss me goodnight in my bed and tuck me in under my quilts.
I’m not sure which I prefer, sending those I love off to sleep and dreams, or being sent.
It’s nice that I have a little time left to enjoy both.

     This morning I was woken by a bird chirping. Under my bed. I am not a brave woman, I immediately ran up the stairs and woke my son to rescue me from the bird chirping under my bed. (I’m so thankful he is at the age where he can rescue me from stuff.)

     The bird was dubbed Stix. Katy’s last diorama was transformed into his a temporary home. Colin went out to dig worms while Katy looked on the computer for information about finches. While they were busy, Stix died.

     Services were held at approximately 5:30 in our back yard. We have decided Stix resting place will be next to dear Daisy and under a bush.

The Safest Place to Be

September 26, 2012





    1. Colin, Katy, Tue and Christian are washing the dog in the back yard. It is was light when they started. It is dark now. Five minutes ago they were at war over who got control of the hose. Since I called them in, they started laughing again and arguing over who is the muddiest.
      Momma the cat is in the corner of the dining room. She’s been dying for months. Tonight Katy fed her tidbits of ham for dinner.
      I’m here on the computer, writing things down. Sometimes that’s the easiest, driest, safest place to be- in front of the computer, writing things down.”

I recently returned to college with the hope I might eventually figure out what I want to be when I grow up. In the course of this journey, I’ve studied math, computer science,  two subjects out of my comfort zone, but I think I met my nemesis in the form of a course called Anatomy and Physiology, no, it’s actually Applied Anatomy and Physiology, ( does this mean we have do dissect frogs, or are we going to play doctor?)

I have a quiz this week, but I when I sat down to study, I was seized by a very, very unfamiliar urge. I wanted to clean my house.

It was quite a bender. I washed the walls, I took everything out of the refrigerator, wiped the shelves, then re -organized it’s contents. We now have a space put aside for cheese, I’m happy to say. But the highlight of my afternoon was when I tackled the  receptacle in my kitchen known as the library box. On the bottom I found, buried under Highlights magazines, National Geographics and takeout menus, a “Mom’s Got It Together Calendar”. On the cover is a picture of a very happy mother, I assume, and a sticker that says “keeps the family in order”. Along the bottom it promises “Stay organized- so you can play!” It is a 24 month calendar good from September 2010 thru August 2012.

I had a golden opportunity, and I blew it.

     Tonight called for a long, leisurely stroll around Turner’s Pond with Sophie, Katy, my eight year old, and her two friends, Thanh and Tue. We took off around 6:30.
     The sun glowed orange and red, the girls raced on ahead playing tag, i think. I was listening to Michael Frante on headphones. From time to time I’d pause for the awkward conversation between fellow dog walkers that happens while our respective dogs sniffed each other’s respective butts.

      At the end of the walk, I left the girls to collect the Wonder Pup so I could catch up on Words with Friends and beat my mother, (another story.)
      Suddenly I heard “Sophie’s looking for something…” Next “Sophie’s chasing chickens. Mom, she’s chasing the chickens and I don’t think they like it.” Immediately followed by “Sophie’s in the CHICKEN COOP!”
     Let me make this clear, I don’t take my family and my dog walking on a farm or anywhere near a farm. This was Turner’s Pond, where at best I thought she’d chase some ducks. Ducks who have wings and know how to use them. Maybe some geese, who might teach her a lesson and bite her on the nose.
     So when I sprinted thru the woods, I had no idea what I was looking for, I was just following the sounds of little girl screams, an occasional bark, and some panting.
     Set back from the path, there it was. A chicken coop, and just outside the coop a yard, the whole thing all neatly penned in with chicken wire. “Katy, where’s Sophie?” “She’s inside.” I lifted the roof of the chicken coop, and there she was, in a space about the size of the inside of a very small oven, accompanied by three very scared chickens.
     Katy ran away crying. Sophie looked at me and tried to wag her tail, though it was difficult, given that chicken coops, by definition, are on the small side. The chickens cowered, Sophie wagged and smiled. She was ready to settle down for a sleepover with poultry.
     “Tue, Thanh, help me!” The girls lifted up the roof the chicken coop so I was able to reach in and pry Sophie, all 52 very reluctant pounds of puppy, out of our feathered friends home.
     The sun was down by the time we left the Pond, Katy’s tears were dry by the time we left the pond, and on our way home from the pond, I promised Tue and Thanh a trip to the yogurt bar.
     But not tonight. I’m still looking for long and leisurely, so right now, I’m heading upstairs for a bath. Tomorrow, I’ll go apologize to the chickens.

How do you like it?

September 17, 2012

Sophie, the pup, prefers water from the toilet. Bijoux and Mamma, the cats, love to sip from glasses left on the table intended for humans. I’ve never seen Whitey the bird drink, all I know is she likes her H2O clean. (Which explains why that is the one spot in her cage she hasn’t used as a toilet.) Sammy the Turtle uses his water dish as a means of escape, he likes baths more than beverages.

Colin and Katy like their water delivered to them, five minutes past bed time. And it must be cold. Most nights they don’t get it, but they seem to be thriving.

I like to gulp water right from a gallon jug, 20 drinks and I’m done for a while. Sheldon likes cubes so he’s in charge of refilling the trays.

It’s funny. We all get thirsty. And each of us have entirely different ways of quenching that thirst. For the most part (excluding Colin and Katy’s demands, I mean, every single night, 5 minutes after I have tuck them in,) each preference is indulged.

I’m not heading for a metaphor, I’m sleepy. I’m not going to break into song about how lucky I am to be an American. I can’t sing, not much rhymes with water and it wouldn’t go over well with the top 40 demographic.

I just wanted to note- water is important. Scientists say so. So does the school nurse, and the trainers at my gym.

So turn off the tap when you brush, leaving it on isn’t going to clean the sink. Don’t flush just because you went into the bathroom to reapply lipstick. If you have to take a bath, share it with someone you love, or someone who smells so bad it is interfering with your quality of life.

My family and I thank you.

Bliss (Rated G Version)

September 15, 2012

     I just realized there is a moment in my life where I consistently achieve a state of bliss. It’s not yoga, I like yoga, but actually zumba and body pump are more my thing. And it’s not time at the park, or hiking the Blue Hills, definitely two of favorite ways to spend time. It’s not hearing just the right song on a spring day, car radio blasting, kids complaining, but the musics too loud for me to hear them- that’s fun too.

     My bliss is when I look at the laundry table and realize every single article of clothing in our home is clean, folded, and put away. Where it belongs. No stray socks on the floor, dirty napkins behind the washing machine, dusty leggings under Katy’s bed. It. is. all. where. it should. be. Deep sigh. Yup… Bliss.

     Maybe there is an anal retentive neat freak buried deep inside of me. Well, enjoy it, because this only happens once a week. Oh, who am I kidding. Twice a year. During a good year. Bliss.

I have to tell you, (I have to tell everyone, if I could afford to place huge ad in all media outlets, I would,)   after 12 years, 2 babies, way too much time on the sofa nibbling on snacks starring cheese, often accompanied by silly cocktails and/or too much wine,  I think for a while, I just too much time, I am back on track. I got offf of the sofa, went back to the gym, and tonight, I discovered  I can slide into my size 9 cocktail dress. I can do this without laying down on the floor and inhaling so deep that my belly hits my large intestine. There was no jumping up and down while clutching the zipper and cursing God, or fasting for 48 hours.

I slid into that dress like my skin was covered with that slime scuba divers wear when they have to put on one of those awful neoprin suites. Except my dress is looser than one of those neoprin suits. A little.

Sophie prays

September 11, 2012

Sophie prays

Dear Lord, Please make the cats play with me. And while you’re at it, maybe Julie could loan me one of her socks for a nice game of tug of war instead of wasting early morning nap time on waving a camera around and asking me to smile. Maybe you could remind Julie I’m a dog. Dogs don’t smile, we wag, sometimes we grin. But we don’t smile on cue for stupid cameras. More games, less photos. Maybe an extra meal sometimes. Got it?

It’s Saturday night, late. We’ve had a long day and Sophie sits at my feet right now, begging me with her eyes to head down the stairs, and slip between sheets. She knows it’s late, she can tell by the way that I sit here, at my desk, shoulders slouched, eyelids heavy, I really shouldn’t attempt this right now.

It might not go well, I might make a mistake, make a bad judgement or go for an easy out that I would regret in the morning, just to get this over with quick. But I made a promise to my mom, and a person should honor a promise made to her mom.

     I haven’t taken my turn at Words with Friends with Mom in four days, and by midnight tonight, I guaranteed I would make my moves in both of the games we are currently playing. I just know that once I start, I won’t be able to stop. After I finish with Mom, I’ll move onto Marnie, then Alyson, I’ll ask Julie and Jon if they’re up for a challenge.  If I don’t get any immediate responses, I can reach out to a random opponent, someone out there, in the night, in the world, also looking for someone to share Words with Friends, though in this case, we would have to call it Words with Strangers. I could end up in front of the screen all night long, scowling at my letters, wondering why not enough words start with x and what a qi is, wishing…
     I could pass my damn game to Alec Baldwin. I heard he quit recently, but he’s never played Sheila Templin. She’s really, really good. Sophie would be happy, I’d get enough sleep and Alec Baldwin could learn something from my mom.
     Alec, what are you up to this evening?