Friday, December 18, 2009

The Quiet Before the . . . I Don't Know What

My house is so quiet that it is eerie.

It's eerie because two of my three boys are home. They just had their last day of school before the winter holiday, a half day, and they are home. And they are quiet. I mean SILENT quiet.

My oldest is busily, obsessively, and quietly on his way to solving the 5x5 Rubik's cube I gave him for his birthday two days ago. I'm guessing he will have it done by the end of the day or tomorrow at the latest.

My youngest is reading. Yes, reading. The reluctant reader is in his room reading a book and does not want to go anywhere or do anything, he wants to stay home because he is reading a good book. He is actually choosing to read rather than cruise the kitchen for any holiday sweets that might be lurking in drawers.

Even the dog is quietly lying at my feet and not jumping up every few minutes to see what I'm doing.

The quiet is so strange that I am slinking around trying to figure out what to do. I am just more used to trying to drown out noise so I can form coherent thoughts. With the absence of the noise, I still don't have any coherent thoughts.

I'm not going to waste this kind of tranquility on doing laundry. I'm going to enjoy this quiet because I know I will never again have it after I give my youngest son his Christmas present; an electric guitar.

What the f#%@ was I thinking?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm Not That Old!

My oldest son is thirteen today. A teenager. I am the mother of a teenager.

We are going out to dinner as a family to celebrate.

I have an uncontrollable urge to make sure I DON'T look like the mother of a teenager tonight. I want the chef who will cook our dinner at Benihana's to think, as he throws knives and slaps shrimp around the tepan grill, I want him to think DANG she is way too young to be the mother of this teenager.

In three years my son will be getting a driver's license. In ten years he will be two years past the legal drinking age.

If my dermatologist was really smart, she would start blasting clients with all kinds of youth-enhancing treatments when their children turn thirteen. Having a teenager makes you venerable to youth-enhancing promises.

Mom, I know you are going to call me when you read this and tell me that it is even weirder to have a grandchild who is a teenager. Then again maybe you didn't think it was weird until now.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

These Holiday Blues Are Not Mine!

Talk about the holiday blues! This morning I got out of the shower and grabbed one of my favorite pairs of jeans from my closet. I went to put them on and they were a little more difficult to get over my thighs. As I started wriggling and pulling, I thought "I am going to kill my friend Tali who made those EVIL pretzel-Hershey kisses-M&Ms things. I ate a whole bunch of them and now my jeans don't fit!"

Then rrrippppp went the belt loop as I tried desperately to get the jeans over my hips.

SHIT. Not good.

I look down at the jeans. How could this be? Yes, they DID fit me last week.

Then I looked again.

They were my son's jeans. My eleven-year-old son's jeans.

Thank god.

First, but probably not the last, time that will happen. And perhaps soon they will even fit me!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Help

Getting out all the Christmas decorations can really be a pain. First of all, they are stored where I cannot retrieve them by myself. In the past I have had to rely on my husband to get them down, which usually occurs about ten days and eighty-seven reminders after I would actually like to have them available. Second, we have an artificial tree which requires at least two people to assemble.

One of the most awesome things about having three boys who are getting very strong is that they can get all the decorations and the tree down for me and I only have to ask them once and bribe them with candy.

OK before you write me off as one of those "fake tree" people, let me just tell you that my entire family used to be sick for the entire month of December, from the day we put the tree in the house until the day it went to the trash. Yep, allergies. Fake tree equals no sniffling, no sneezing, no sinus infections, no ear infections, no trips to pediatrician, pharmacy, no antibiotics. So I don't care what you say, it's worth it.

When I bought our fake tree eight years ago, it was a marvel. Even my mom was jealous. It's twelve feet tall, with thousands of tiny white lights. It came with a VHS video demonstrating how to assemble it, starring a very effeminate man who overly enthusiastic about Christmas trees. The first time we watched it we were crying so hard with laughter we couldn't follow the instructions.

Eight years later this tree is dusty and only three of the thirty (?) strings of lights still works. It's the old-school lights where if one goes out, the whole string goes out. So it sat in our living room for the last five days looking very dusty and very pathetic, lit at the top, middle left, and part of the bottom. My husband INSISTED he was going to fix it.

I gave him a deadline and an ultimatum. If the lights are not fixed, or mostly (partly?) fixed by a particular date, the tree goes away and I replace it. As the deadline neared, he completely avoided the tree, not looking at it, talking about it, even being in the same room as the tree. I knew there was no way he would test each and every little bulb on that tree, but he was breaking out in hives at the thought of having to throw something like that away. I certainly wasn't going to fix the lights myself. Finally tonight the deadline arrived. He let out a deep sigh as he prepared to go in and face down the tree.

My oldest looked at him and said, "Dad, do you need a Christmas tree pep talk?"

After much laughter my husband admitted that he just didn't have the time or desire to work on the lights and maybe we should replace it. At the ready, I brought in the cheap tree I bought at Home Depot. We set it up, all the lights work. But it is half the height of the old one, didn't come with a funny video, and will only hold about one-eighth of our ornaments. It looks pretty bad. On this new tree, if one light goes out, the others on the string stay lit. But it's not really a big deal because I think this tree has only two strands of lights on it. My middle son put a positive spin on it. "Mom, it will look like we have a TON of presents when we put them under that tree."

Now I'm the one who needs a Christmas tree pep talk. I'm thinking about going back to a real tree, sinus infections and all.

I'm going to bed to dream about my secret fantasy of having Kren, the florist who created stunning flowers for our wedding almost eighteen years ago, coming to my house to deliver a very tall beautiful perfect tree, setting it up, lighting it, and decorating it for me. A girl can dream.

In reality I'm going to have some interesting negotiations with the boys about which ornaments we put on the tree and which get left out this year. Hey, at least we won't need the ladder.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

One Hundred Years



This is my husband's beautiful grandmother, the day before her 100th birthday. She was born in, and still lives in Juneau Alaska. It was a pleasure and an honor to be there to celebrate with her and the many relatives who traveled to Juneau for the occasion.

Her words of advice? Live a healthy, outdoor lifestyle.