Posts Tagged ‘family’

Here Ends the Eating

In Family Life on May 13, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I think I’ve figured out why Americans eat so much.  We used to have small kitchens that were rooms all by themselves.  They had doors.  No one was allowed to just wander in and happen upon food they didn’t need or really want.  If children came into the kitchen, they would get a chore to do.  So they stayed out and mom got an hour alone without hassle.  Dad came home, sat down and ate whatever he was given.  I can’t imagine my dad coming home from work and fixing himself a piece of bread slathered with butter and whatever meat and cheese he found in the fridge.  He sat down and ate what was on offer and then he played with the kids or read the newspaper or watched Laugh In.  The kitchen was a big mystery to him and he liked it that way.  And mom liked being able to close the door and leave the mess behind so she could enjoy dinner with the family too.

My Dream Kitchen ("Stay Out")

Ok, my childhood kitchen didn’t look like the kitchen in the picture, but it wasn’t very fancy and you sure wouldn’t invite guests to come in to chat during a party.  Now we have eating palaces within our subdivision homes.  Shrines to food.  We say they are open plan so we can all share in the cooking and good times.  Maybe for the first year of your marriage.  Or maybe until the kids are born.  Then moms (working moms and stay at home moms) do all the cooking and no one chats with her except to ask when dinner will be ready.  They can see the food.  They can smell the food.  Food food food.  They want it now!  Out of sight, out of mind though.  My boys can go for 7 hours straight at the local roller coaster park with no food.  Why are they so starving at home when the dinner has only 10 minutes more to cook?  Because they can see it.

Open "Anytime" Plan

And as for parties, how can I pretend that I made the catered food myself if everyone is up in my face in the kitchen?  I want to come swirling out of the kitchen with hot delicious food and have everyone wonder how I manage so well.  So I will propose that we turn our “bonus room” or spare bedroom into the new kitchen and turn the kitchen into the exercise gym.  And when dinner is over, it is over.  THE KITCHEN IS CLOSED is the sign I will put on the (shut) door.  Here ends the eating.


SUV Runs Out of Gas in front of Prius – FAIL

In Family Life on April 14, 2011 at 10:52 am

The dumb thing was I knew I was going to run out of gas. Thankfully I was not on a main road, but it was super busy. You should have seen how fast I put the giant SUV into neutral and got it off the road and onto the shoulder. It can be done ladies. I’m only 5’5” and I got it over with a push from a lady stranded in the 50 car back up I created. Not sure why no men got out to help. They were probably on their cell phones or otherwise distracted.

How it’s done:

  • You can push a 2 ton Hummer and other big SUVs.
  • Practice in your driveway.
  • Don’t wear your PJ’s on school carpool run.
  • Accept any help offered.
  • Buy a small plastic gas can at nearest gas station.
  • Fill it up and wipe it off so you don’t stink up your new friend’s SUV.
  • Even though gas prices are high, make sure you are never running on empty.
  • And for Prius haters, get a bumper sticker that says “My other car is an SUV too”

Where is the most inconvenient place you’ve run out of gas?

Driver’s Ed – Look Who’s Driving

In Family Life on February 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm

My 14.5 year old boy was out on the highway for the first time with his driving instructor. When he has an exam at school, I pray that he would be reminded of all the stuff he studied. He would rather I pray that God give him all the answers…even the ones he never studied. Well, he was amused to find I prayed God would supernaturally drive for him on the highway.Taking no chances with that one! I think he knows his mommy loves him now.

Things I have learned since he started driving lessons:

  • When stopping at a light, back tires of car in front must be visable
  • Must put seatbelt on before zooming out driveway
  • No zooming out of the driveway
  • Must look in all mirrors every 7 seconds
  • Must not use mirrors to put makeup on while driving
  • 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock, or else
  • No texting at the red light

He is paying attention. He’ll be making us all better drivers now. One thing he wonders is why insurance will be higher for him than for girls. He knows he is very safe. He also thinks he could outrun an officer of the law should the need present itself. Don’t tell the insurance company that.

Have you learned anything about driving from your teenager?

Humbug Husband Embraces Love

In Family Life on February 16, 2011 at 9:15 am

He had a terrible day, left work early, and walked through our door with a dozen red roses and chocolate.

A Valentine Humbug no more! I’m still in shock.

Does your significant other come through for you on holidays?

The Ghost of Valentines Past

In Family Life on February 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Yesterday my husband told me that “people” are saying Valentine’s Day has become nothing more than a way for Hallmark to make money.  There is a backlash against Valentine’s Day and “people” are no longer supporting it.  I told him I still supported it and that was the end of the conversation.  Now I am wondering if by “people” he meant himself.  Not taking any chances, I bought my own heart shaped stuff, cards for the kids and plenty of things made out of sugar for our little after school picnic.  I know it will brighten up our day.  The remains of our party will all be cleared up by the time the humbug comes home from work.  I hope he falls asleep on the sofa and the ghost of Valentines Past haunts him until his heart grows 2 sizes too big.

Do you think Valentine’s Day should be phased out?

Perfect Storm in a Starbucks Cup

In Family Life on January 27, 2011 at 10:27 am

I pulled off the road today because of an accident ahead and went to Starbucks to wait it out. $6.00 later, I was sitting at the window sipping and reading The New York Times. Since I didn’t have my reading glasses, I started with the “Home” section which had the biggest pictures. I read an article by Michael Tortorello that discussed the conundrum we have, as parents/art critics, when our children present us with their masterpieces in crayon day after day. Keep some and throw the rest away at midnight has always been my philosophy. The article turned poignant at the same time as some other thoughts occurred to me and the caffeine hit my brain. A perfect storm. Ms. Palmer, interviewed for the article, described coming home one day to all her school art work waiting on the porch for her. Her mother delivered it after years of collecting. She realized in that moment that her mother was no longer the “keeper of my art”.  I am still the keeper of my children’s art for a few more years.  Some of it is here:

While I read the article, I overheard the cause of the accident that drew me into Starbucks. Life and death so close. The thoughts of my own treasure sorting after my parents both died came flooding in.  I cleaned up their whole house.  I threw away countless, once special, items and kept countless more. This is what I kept:

  • Certificates from universities
  • Honors from professional organizations
  • Letters and photographs
  • Unpublished books
  • Grandma’s Russian recipes
  • Grandma’s love letters from Grandpa
  • My dad’s “pinup” picture of my mom when she dyed her hair blond.

Now I am the age my mom was when that pinup picture was taken.  This year I will venture into our storage room and label what is important for our kids to keep when I die.  With no reading glasses to wipe the steam from, I wiped my tear filled eyes and quickly made an exit from the pseudo community of Starbucks on a rainy day.

Where is your childhood art?

Post Traumatic Carpool Stress

In Family Life on January 24, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Has the SUV made our lives easier? I’m not sure. I was in a carpool that had about 40 women driving 40 times 2.7 children to school and back. This was done according to a flexible schedule developed and updated real time by a process engineer who worked in the city. We all carried printouts of the spreadsheet for that week telling us when we were to drive and who to pick up. Kids from kindergarten through highschool were shuttled to and from a school that was about 30 minutes away. Some moms had to commute to the drop off parking lot and then we all put our kids in the cars for that shift. My boys liked certain cars based on comfort and smell. But in the end, they just wanted to go in mom’s car. It was pretty stressful for everyone involved. It wasn’t until we moved to another city that I realized the stress of it all.

To join this carpool, it helped to have a 7 seater and 24/7 access to email and texting. Most of us did. The poor woman with the 4 seater had to drive twice as many shifts and eventually dropped out. There was a lady whose computer died and she had to drop out too. When the economy turned bad, a mom lost the use of her cell phone…and she dropped out. We drove one shift per child so it cut down on hours in the car but also cut down on hours with our own children. I met many like minded women in those days. Learned all sorts of things about their marriages and eventually their divorces. I saw the whole cycle of life through their eyes. Babies were born and parents died and spouses left. Spouses always left. Usually left a house full of babies. One husband died young. He lived on revered in his wife’s eyes. She lived on without the heartache of rejection.

Now I drive the boys and we talk about life on the way to school and philosophy on the way back. Sometimes we just talk about Call of Duty – Black Ops. But we talk. It’s so much better. And when daddy shows up at school to pick them up, they are wild with excitement. Well, the 11 year old is. The teenager is too. He just doesn’t show it as much. And sometimes we pick them up together and stop for ice cream on the way home. That wasn’t allowed in The Carpool. Someone did try that once but the texts and emails that followed shamed her into following the rules. We still drive an SUV but not to ferry half the school kids back and forth. It’s mainly so we don’t get into a crash with another SUV.

How’s your carpool working out for you?