Friday, April 19, 2013

Who do you want to be?

I'm struggling to express how I feel right now.  The suspects in the Boston bombing have been caught.  But I'm not cheering in the streets.  I am not jubilant.  More than anything I am sad.  Sad for these men (boys really) who went so far astray.  Sad for the people they hurt.  Sad for our country and our world.  And I am, once again, resolved to do what I can.

We *all* need to spread peace and happiness, love and joy.  Each and every day.  Next time you're angry, pissed off and ready to snap -- stop and think.   Because you know what?  That belligerent guy on the phone -- the one cursing at you?  Turns out he's not really angry.  He's not angry but he is scared. He feels like a little boy trapped inside a man's body and what he really needs, more than anything, is a hug.

And those people who broke into your car and destroyed your stereo?  Perhaps they were hungry. Or addicted to meth.  Or schizophrenic and off their medication.  No matter the reason they were not in a good place to be breaking into cars.  They need light and love.

And that woman who cut you off in traffic?  Maybe she was worried about her Dad who was just hospitalized. Or maybe she was your co-worker who thought you should move over and you, in your own daze, didn't.  But guess what?  You didn't run into her and she didn't run into you.  So the minute she cut you off was the minute the incident was over.  No need for anger. No need to dwell.

And what about that guy who flashed our kids inside the school?  Turns out he did us a favor.  He showed us our flaws. Our children are safer for his misguided actions.

Maybe I'm just a silver-lining kind of girl.  Someone who looks for rainbows through the storm.  But I believe we have the power to positively change the world one interaction at a time.  Of course, with each interaction, we can also perpetuate hatred, anger and negativity.  So, before you act, stop and think.  What do you want to put out in the world?


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

You Can't Always Get What You Want

It's no secret I want a hobby farm.  Just five or ten or forty acres to fuel my dreams.  Only, at this point in our lives, we're not in a position to buy.  At least not yet.  However I've decided to be positive; to act "as if."

Now if we were to buy a farm we'd have to move.  And we'd either need to rent out our house or sell it.  Either way we'd have some cleaning and sprucing up to do.  So, acting as if we are going to move, I'm spring cleaning.

I started in the girls' room which was scary to say the least.  Cleaning that room resulted in a monumental pile of laundry.  And, thus, I began a laundry binge -- determined to clean every last bit in the house.

Now midway through my laundry fest my washing machine starting giving me a "sud" error message.  I'd just made a new batch of detergent using a new brand of soap.  I figured it was a little too sudsy and made a note to myself that I wouldn't use that soap in the future.  Then the machine took it one step further -- "F2".

According to Google the drain line was clogged.  I found a drill, an appropriately sized bit, took apart the front of the machine and cleaned the filter (which, by the way, was disgusting).  I put the whole thing back together, proudly dusted off my hands and continued to launder.

Of course things couldn't be that easy.  Next the dryer stopped drying.  Turns out I'd been a bit exuberant putting it back in place (after moving it to repair the washer) and the exhaust line was pinched off.  That little issue was fixed without too much trouble.

By this point most of our clothes were clean and I, in the laundry zone, moved on to other household items -- specifically the rugs in our house.  Bad idea.  Very bad idea.  

The rugs have (had) rubber mats on their undersides which came apart -- into tiny tiny pieces.  These pieces subsequently clogged the drain -- again.

But no fear!  I can fix it! I intrepidly removed the front of the washer, pulled out the filter, cleaned it and put the whole thing back together.

Only the washer still wasn't draining. Ugh.  I got back in there and cleaned the drain tube in front of the filter with a chop stick.  The clog broke free and a HUGE FLOOD of dirty smelly water spilled out onto my laundry room floor.  Yippee!

I mopped up the floor using every single towel in the house.  While mopping I discovered a slimy mess of now wet dog food under the washer.  That got cleaned too.  I pulled out the washer and dryer and cleaned behind them.  Then I discovered a hole in the dryer hose and repaired that.  Finally I put everything back together.

Then I washed the grungy dirty towels. Halfway through the wash cycle the filter clogged again.  And, yet again, I pulled the whole thing apart.  This time using sheets to catch the water because there were no more towels.  Of course it was more of those evil rubber pieces.  

As I type I am hoping my laundry adventures are complete.  The towels are still in the wash and appear to be completing their cycle.  I've purchased new rugs.

I've learned a few things along the way:

1) Sometimes it's better to spend a little money (i.e. I should've simply bought new rugs).

2) New rugs cost much less than a new washing machine.  Thankfully, hopefully, a new machine won't be needed.

3) "... you can't always get what you want, if you try sometimes well you might find, you get what you need."  In other words -- though a sparkly clean laundry room wasn't on my to do list, nor were lessons in washing machine repair, I got both.  Win-win.

4) And, finally, once the Rolling Stones are stuck in your head good luck kicking them out.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Love Yourself and Carry On

A confession:  Today I did dishes and laundry.  I vacuumed.  I had coffee with friends. I weeded and raked leaves.  I hung a window on the chicken coop and built the girls a new perch.  I went to my son's lacrosse game.  I took an hour and a half break when my ear was acting up.  I shuffled kids to and from school. I made $2.63 (money found in the wash).

Today was my day off.  My weekend.  My time to decompress. It's 10:00 pm and I'm settling in with a cup of tea.  I feel guilty as there are things left to do.  Before I go to bed I'll switch the laundry and dust the book shelf.  Then I'll lay in bed trying to decide whether or not I should pop up, just for a moment, to give the toilet a quick scrub.

Only here's the thing.  If you were to come to my house you'd look around, smile politely and think "does this woman *ever* clean?"  You'd likely wonder what I do all day.

You see my efforts are just enough to keep this place from completely falling apart. Nothing more. Nothing less. I am one woman.  One woman with three kids, a husband, two dogs, two cats, two cockatiels and seven chickens. The odds are *not* in my favor.

Tomorrow will be the same.  There will be new laundry.  New dishes.  New weeds to pull.  People will want to be fed and driven around.  There will be shoes in the living room, dirty underwear in the bathroom and dishes upstairs.  If I'm *really* lucky someone might even pee on the floor. Friday I'll return to work and all that was done will be undone.

I will work, come home and begin again. Should the kids be helping me?  Absolutely!  Is it like pulling teeth to make that happen?  Oh yes.  Yes indeed.  Does Mr. Peculiar help?  Sometimes.  Though he feels his time off should be just that -- time off.   And yet someone has to get stuff done.

My point? Judge not lest ye be judged.

I've been chatting with lots of moms.  Many of us are in the same boat -- working and trying, as best we can, to maintain a household.  We are not lazy.  Rather quite the opposite.  But we are all decidedly human and can not accomplish Herculean feats.  So let's be kind and understanding and forgiving; both of ourselves and others.

It's easy enough to clean a corner, take a picture and throw it up on a blog.  I'm as guilty as anyone for editing out the clutter. I just want you to know that behind most pretty pictures lies disarray.  Embrace it for what it is - a beautiful mess. Love it, love yourself and carry on.