Family

My child needs a leash. No, really. He does.

Yesterday I seriously speculated the question, “Are leashes just for dogs?”

To all leash-bearing mothers across the globe, please accept my sincere apology; I beg your forgiveness.

I have, in the past, placed judgment upon you — assuming you were weak mothers with poor training skills.

Now personal experience has changed my perspective, and I have to admit you are NOT weak, but instead, you are simply genius and perhaps even enlightened.

Why have I reached this conclusion?

Because yesterday, while shopping for fabric with my aunt, Kenny turned in to the Tasmanian Devil on Crack.

When we started out, I dared to blame it on the caramel corn, but after four hours of sheer frustration, I had to concede he was possessed and made a mental note to plan an exorcism and invite all my praying neighbors with crosses in hand.

You think I’m joking, right?

Internet, at one point when I told him that “No, you cannot crawl up the side of the fabric wall!” and “Where did you get those scissors?”, I swear his head twisted ALL THE WAY BACKWARD.

And then, of course, there was the dilemma of turning it back around.

Nasty business.

All the while the elderly women smiled to themselves in a wicked way that usually would tick me off but left me wondering if they were witches themselves, and if so, maybe they would know if garlic would work or if that was just for vampires.

The demon fell asleep for the ride home but awoke recharged once we reached his sisters’ school and was in full form when we walked back through the door at home.

Geez, I couldn’t even get him to settle down with Cheese Bits — and that usually captivates him for at least one-tenth of a millisecond.

Everything Else

I’ll give YOU money, just TAKE the stuff already!

Ah, garage sales; not normally the thing one thinks to pull together in the WINTER but due to what I can only describe as a seasonal hiccup, this year East Texas was robbed its winter.

I’m pretty ticked about this because now I won’t get to wear my one winter sweater.

Nope, gotta fold it up and put it in the Ziploc alongside the rest of my winter garb.

So, I’ll quit complaining and get back to the whole garage sale thing already.

Now, one thing you must know about me is that I did not inherit the pack rat gene that runs rampant on both sides of my family. I can and do discard, sell and give away items that are no longer useful or needed. I do not function based on the fear that I might need a particular item ten years down the line, so I’d better store it now rather than buy it later.

What this means is that I will never be that Grandma with the attic full of broken high chairs, discarded frames, antique wrapping paper, linens, mismatched puzzles, trunks full of newspapers, old wedding gowns, or wardrobes covered with dust from years long gone.

Nope, not I.

While that Grandma may have treasures in her attic, mine won’t be the catalyst for an allergic reaction or a full-out search and rescue party when my 9-year-old grandchild happens to venture in.

My attic is intentionally organized, with boxes stacked according to size, wearing printed labels detailing the contents therein. I painstakingly engineered it for timely access according to need and the alignment of the moon and stars. Rainman could live in my attic — everything has a place, and everything is in its place.

If I’m not using an item now, and if it isn’t a seasonal thing, then I want it gone. So, I spent two weekends sorting several not-needed-items into three piles: Attic, Give-to-a-good Home, and Garage Sale.

Yesterday was the garage sale.

I have concluded that those who throw a garage sale and those who attend them are two entirely different breeds.

I don’t go to garage sales.

The thought of rising early on a Saturday morning to look through the cast-offs of another family holds no attraction for me.

But if I were an avid garage sale attendee, I would display my manners and not arrive at a garage sale at 5:30 am when the paper expressly said it began at 7:30 am.

And if I were to be so rude as to show up a half-hour early, I would NOT try to OPEN the garage door for a preview.

It was DARK outside, Internet!

The lights in the house were off.

We sat in the dark hoping no one would see us drinking our morning manna (coffee) and snorting sugar-laden donuts.

The early-lack-of-boundary-garage-sale people came with flashlights in hand, wearing little fanny packs (And why are they called that when they wear them across the front?) full of singles and coins.

These people come in layered clothing for the morning cold and afternoon heat, and they always wear sneakers for quick entry and exit.

They swarmed in and out like a hive full of bees, looking to land on something delightful and get their honey on.

Some arrived with trailers and trucks. Others came in compact cars, and we watched them emerge like clowns in a circus:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7… “HOLY MOLY, eight people just climbed out of that Geo Prizm!

CALL RIPLEY’s!

Oh crap, there’s another one, that makes NINE!

What’s this? Are they opening the trunk? NO WAY!! TWO MORE!”

And the day went on and on.

One particular guy asked me three times if I’d come down on a set of knives:

Guy: “Ma’am, would you take less for these knives?”

Me: “No sir, the garage sale will start in 25 minutes, I am going to take my chances.”

Guy: “Will you take $5.00 then?” (Knives marked $10.00)

Me: “No sir, I can sell them for $10.00. I will sell them for $10.00. You can have them for $10.00.”

Guy: “How about $8.00? Will you take $8.00?”

Me: [Now laughing] “Seriously? You’re asking me that seriously?”

Guy: [Silence]

Me: [Having stopped laughing] “Oh, no way, you are serious. Okay then, let me think about it a sec. Oh yes, here’s my answer: NO! NO, I WILL NOT TAKE LESS THAN $10.00 FOR THOSE KNIVES!”

Everyone steps back from their tables to watch the interaction. One woman takes bets as people figured their odds on who would win the garage sale showdown. Me or Guy.

Guy: Whispering to his wife (probably saying, “Let’s put up the knives, she’s too attached to them and won’t take less.”).

Me: [Waiting]

Guy: Standing there staring at knives.

Me: Standing there staring at the guy staring at the knives.

Guy: “So, will you take $8.00?”

Me: “Oh for crying out loud, TAKE THE KNIVES ALREADY! TAKE THE SIT-AND-SPIN! TAKE THE PIZZA HUT LAMP, TAKE IT ALL. TAKE, TAKE, TAKE IT NOW!! I AM OUT!”

Guy: “O-o-o-kay already, so here’s $8.00.” Walks off with the knives, an elephant hamper, two trivets, and a crocheted toilet paper cover.

Me: Shaking, rocking back and forth. “I need a donut. Are there any donuts left?”

In other news, the Kenmore man is due to show up tomorrow and replace the seal on my dishwasher. I’m to be home from 4:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m., not to use the phones or internet, try only to read fiction, not to walk out to get the mail, and to sit at the ready with a hot meal prepared to serve once he arrives.

But you know, what else do I have to do on a holiday?

Everything Else

Not So Productivity

u.n.p.r.o.d.u.c.t.i.v.e.

And this is where the healing begins.

Hello, my name is Heather, and I am a list-aholic.

I make lists.

All kinds of lists:

  • grocery lists
  • kids’ sizes lists
  • to do lists
  • client lists
  • Christmas lists
  • thank you lists
  • favorite products lists
  • must-see movie lists
  • must-read book lists
  • weight loss goal-date lists
  • packing lists
  • daily planning lists
  • uneven tire tread lists
  • which breast is sagging the fastest lists

Y’know… LISTS!

Whew, there; I have outed myself, but I can’t say I feel better than before.

See, I have searched the internet high and low for a 12-step program for list-aholics, but alas, there are none.

And then it became apparent — OF COURSE there is no 12-step program! In the words of my 5-year-old, “Um… duh!”

Those 12 steps would be a LIST! A 12-step program would only send those of us preparing to launch into full-out OCD further into the mire that is an organized, beautifully constructed, plan for life and living it.

There is NO PLAN for list addiction.

NO PLAN for the anal retentive, FlyLady worshipper.

No PLAN to insert into my coveted Legacy Nappa Leather Zipper Binder (if I ever even owned a Legacy Nappa Leather Zipper Binder), and honestly, I gotta tell you, it leaves me feeling quite listless.

So, instead of the apparent chaos that, by default, will occur in an unplanned 2006… don’t expect much from me. Really. You’ll be so very disappointed.

Clothes washed &mash; or not.
Work completed &mash; or not.
House cleaned — or not.

Let’s just call it what it is, the year 2006 will be the year of “Not-So-Productivity.”

That is unless I fall off the wagon.

Family

Ever have that NOT SO DRY feeling?

You know those moments that are just perfect?

Not a perfect hour, day, or week; we are talking about a singular moment in time that is uncompromisingly perfect.

I had one of those moments yesterday.

“Captain Underwear” had an early morning (thanks to sisters who cannot close, but must SLAM, any and all doors in the house when getting dressed for school), and I noticed that he was nodding off — even in the midst of play.

It was evident he was incapable of planning the moment his sleep would take over and subsequently, hit the ceramic tile face first.

So, I moved him and his coveted Connect Four to the couch.

Within minutes he lay slumped over the game with a red checker stuck between his face and the couch.

When I went to dig out the game from beneath his sleeping body and tuck him in for an early nap, it occurred to me that work could wait another hour, so I grabbed my favorite quilt and tucked us in together.

In walks the perfect moment.

Here I am with my son snuggled up in my arms, snoring softly and already smelling of big boy sweat.

The gentle rise and fall of his chest signaled his deep, restful state, and as if in a Hallmark commercial, a cool breeze blew in through the window (here winter doesn’t make a grand entrance, it whispers).

Truly, this was THE MOST PERFECT MOMENT.

Until…

A warm sensation — spreading from my left thigh, down to my knee and then, my calf.

Yep, my perfect moment was ideal for the li’l guy too; so perfect in fact, that he lost all control — and peed on me.

Perfect moment over.

Everything Else

You know you’re in a small town when…

Yesterday, we drove to Dodge for haircuts.

Yes, you read that right. We don’t get out of Dodge around here but instead, get into Dodge (Dodge, TX, that is) for a trim.

It’s a half-hour drive, and I love every bit of it.

We pass trailer lots, pastures with hay bails and grazing livestock, and an old drive-in movie theater converted to The Lone Star Liquor Store with a marquee that reads, “Give us a shot!”

There are also rip-shod school bus stop shelters like this one — made from particle board and sporting an American flag and a rusty throwaway chair.

School Bus Stop

The drive takes us east, headed down Hwy 190 toward the one-light town where my grandparents (and not too long ago, my great-grandparents) live — Point Blank.

Then, we hook a left at junction 409 to head into Dodge City bypassing the Kentucky Hillbilly BBQ, which I’d say needs a name change (since we are, in fact, in Texas) but probably won’t be necessary since businesses disappear as fast as they arrive on that corner.

Taking a right at the faded wooden arrow sign, we drive another quarter mile down a gravel road, before turning on the dirt drive that takes us up to Bonnie’s salon.

Decorated with a quaint garden framed in cinder blocks and a “Shear Success” sign hanging lopsided by one chain, Bonnie’s place is as hard to miss as it initially was to find.

Bonnie's cinder block garden

The kids pour out of the Suburban almost as soon as I bring it to a stop, and try to steer clear of the disgruntled 3-legged dog.

Trotting up the precariously perched plywood ramp, we open the door to a blast of cool air from the a/c unit hung at face level on the opposite wall. And lo and behold, wouldn’t you know, the client ahead of us is my grandmother, who just happens to live 17 miles in the opposite direction.

“Well, you should have told me you planned to be here, I would have brought Meredith’s birthday card.” she tells me.

And I think, “How would I know you were going to be here, Momma Milly?”

But of course, I don’t say that because she’s my grandmother and my kids’ great-grandmother, which means she gets all the respect that matriarchal position holds here in the South.

When we leave, we’ll pass the bicycle graveyard.

Bicycle graveyard

Where this wheel is already SPOKE-n for.

See what I did there?

Spoke-n for

And you know what?

We wouldn’t go anywhere else.

We love Bonnie. She is an excellent stylist, keeps her prices reasonable, and well…

Emelie with bangs

It always feels like home there.