Sunday, October 20, 2013

In which I procrastinate on house stuff by signing up for a marathon

I should be hanging pictures right now. I should be making dinner. I started in on this project to finally hang my hallway pictures and then I got distracted by the urge to sign up for a marathon.

I've had the urge for about a year, maybe more, but I successfully ignored it (much like the hallway picture hanging chore), citing lack of time, the inability to commit, the impending transition to a then unknown destination.

But the transition is complete (all moved in, except for the hallway pictures). And I finally have the time to train. And I'm tired of waiting. I want to get this 26.2 mile long monkey off my back. For the record, 26.2 miles makes for a really heavy monkey, you guys.

And if I'm going to torture myself for three and a half hours, I should probably choose somewhere cushy to do it, somewhere not 5 degrees and snowing, somewhere that isn't dark all but 6 hours of the day. California, perhaps? In January, you say?

Sign. Me. Up.

So here's the plan. I'll bribe the family to come along with promises of Legoland and Sea World. Whenever they whine about how I forgot to feed them because I was busy running the whole damn day and then fell asleep on the foam roller, I will pleasantly remind them that if they ever want to see their precious Legoland, they will be nice to mommy at ALL times. (Insert Dr. Evil-esque selfie

I will do this. (Run a marathon, Silly--not hang the pictures! Hanging the pictures requires way too much follow through.) I've been training for several weeks already, so I'll just keep going, knowing that's it's for real now.
If I lay all the hallway pics in the middle of the hallway, maybe it will force me to finally hang them up? #Don'tholdyourbreath #Justwatchyourstep

If you want to follow my training, I'll be chugging away on DailyMile. If you want to see how nice my hallway looks when after all the pictures are hung up, check back with me in February.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's Monday, so of course {Just Write}

It's Monday, so of course. I start the morning by picking a fight with my husband about where to store the winter gear. It's the first fight we've had in months, and I'm listening to myself yelling about where to put the hats and gloves and shoes. I am excessively angry about mittens, and we are supposed to celebrate my husband's birthday today. Happy birthday to you, your wife is a shrew....

I'm walking back from the bus stop when my neighbor reminds me about the girl scout meeting at 5:15. Crap. Thought I'd have all the time in the world to make the birthday dinner, but apparently, not so much.

I hurriedly slice up the eggplant while my daughter asks me how to spell "have" and "does" and "what" and "fireweed". The timer beeps, and I grab the pot holder and run to the oven.

"It's a compound word. So first you spell fire, f-i-r-e, and then weed, w-e-e-d." I turn the bundt pan upside down, and out falls the birthday cake. And by fall, I mean fall apart. I try not to do the same.

My husband comes inside.
"The fence guy is finished...he just needs a check."
"Great. Ok. Can you take care of it? I'm busy ruining your birthday dinner."

I go back to the eggplant parmesan and the failed no-fail cake, tempted to spell another four letter word....s-h-i-...

"Jo, you told him we didn't need the back section done?"
My husband is back, and this is a question. A good one.

"No, he did the estimate before the neighbors put in the back fence, but I thought he was going to finish the part that theirs didn't cover. Oh my word, he didn't do the back?!"

We both race out the mudroom door to wave down the lumber-laden fence truck. On my way out, the door slams into my son's cheek as he is trying to get in. I return to find him in tears. Oh, buddy, I'm so sorry. Crap--is that another timer going off? What the hell did I set that timer for?

It's 5:15. Time for the meeting I forgot about. I take deep breath after deep breath on the walk to girl scouts. I tell myself that the intensity of my angst and frustration is in no way warranted by the circumstances. Nothing on my list of woes is a big deal. Not the stinky blue cheese spilled  all over the bread cutting board, not the useless 85% complete fence (that might not be rendered useful until next spring!), not the likely-mildewing laundry that I forgot to put in the dryer, not the ruined cake.

A few minutes into girl scouts, I listen to six of the cutest little first graders spontaneously break out into a chorus of "Down by the Bay." I take another deep breath, inhale the blessing of a healthy, happy (at least at the moment) child.

(I feel like I should leave out the part where I return to finish the dinner, mess up even more stuff, run out of pans in the drawers because they are all in the sink. And the part where my healthy, happy daughter throws such an egregious fit that she has to go to her room in the middle of dinner--screaming loud enough to make our ears bleed. Oh and the part where my husband's plate gets cold while he addresses the behavior with my daughter, the part where....)

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes, I believe I was inhaling blessings or some other inspirational crap like that. But for real. If this is what my worst day looks like, then I can't conjure up one legit reason to complain. (Except maybe about the mittens. Those wet, stray, disorganized mittens really piss me off sometimes.)


I know I said it was Monday, but it's actually Tuesday. And on Tuesdays, we just write (in this case, about Mondays).

my monday moment of zen (borrowed from a view on a friday run)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

In cloudy and in clear

When the notification popped up about the aurora borealis, I was peeling apples in the kitchen and the kids were racing scooters under a cloudless sky. It said to "expect a show come nightfall", that the northern light activity would be as high as it gets, that tonight was the night.

At dinner, as we discussed school bus seat assignments and the government shutdown and reading log prizes, my mind wandered hours ahead to how I'd catch the lights on my camera. As I scooped the potatoes onto plates and said yes to thirds on applesauce, I pictured what an epic Instagram the aurora borealis would make. Northern lights! With my own eyes! How lucky am I?

The clouds rolled in while I was washing the dishes, scrubbing the cinnamon sugar from the bottom of the applesauce pan. A half hour later, the sky reportedly lit up with green and pink. But I didn't see a speck of it.

I'm sitting now at the desk, typing, and the clouds have only grown thicker. This is the verge, the cusp, the almost but not quite. There's a metaphor here screaming to be crafted into a moving and inspirational essay about perspective. If someone could write it up all nice and pretty and goose-bump inducingly, and then send me the link on Facebook, that would be great. Until then, I'll just be here pouting about the clouds.


It was dangerously gorgeous on the way home from school today. And by dangerous, I mean, so pretty that I might possibly pay too much attention to the mountains and not enough to the driving. I want to capture it somehow, but I'm too tired to come up with words that do justice to the extraordinary beauty perched on either side of the road that loops between the ordinary places, from school to home, up the hill from the river valley.

It feels surreal to be in this vast and beautiful place, just driving my same old car, coming back home to my same old burgundy chair, the one I sat on in Virginia and Maine and Ohio and now, here in the last frontier.
See, this is why I can forgive Alaska for snowing on the first day of fall

There's a stage of moving when everything feels familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, when routine takes a solid four-walled shape within adventure's high-peaked circus tent, when life feels simultaneously risky and safe, when skin prickled hope mixes with bone deep contentment. I'm in that stage. We'll call it the honeymoon stage. It's also the can't-go-to-bed-angry stage, even when my beloved state promises lights and delivers clouds.

So good night, Alaska. I love you, for warmer, for colder, in cloudy and in clear.