Sunday, June 28, 2009

And more from the Domestic Goddess

One night last week, in a desperate attempt to feed my starving family, I popped an Amy’s frozen pizza into the oven. For the record, the term “cooking dinner” is a phrase I interpret fairly loosely. In the event that I claim to be cooking dinner, or having cooked dinner, you might want to check with Craig to see exactly what that entailed. Now, when I COOK gourmet pizza, I do so directly on the oven rack, since it gives it a nice, crisp crust. Craig prefers softer crust, but I stand firm in my stance that the one who slaves for hours, COOKING DINNER, gets to decide just how that process goes. The only downfall to this cooking method is that it often leaves a mess on the bottom of the stove if you forget to place an empty pan on the shelf underneath the cooking pizza. Not that I’d ever forget, but I am just telling you what would happen if I did.

I’m also not saying that I haven’t used my oven since last week when I cooked a frozen pizza for dinner. If you infer that from reading this post, I’m still standing by my story.

So, tonight I turn on the oven to cook some unnamed dinner accompaniment that will remained unnamed, least I further my tarnished reputation by following up pizza with what I made tonight. I eat healthy about 95% of the time and these two stories converge and draw attention to that remaining 5% quite well, don’t they?

As the oven is heating up to 450 degrees, which is of course a suitable temperature for cooking all things healthy, the pizza remains on the bottom of the stove start turning into lovely little carcinogen chucks. As expected, the smoke detector in the kitchen started to go off.

Immediately, I went into never-missing-a-teachable-moment mommy mode, as I realized Kate had never heard that noise before. The 60 Minutes episode of children sleeping soundly through smoke alarms flashed vividly in my mind.

“Hey Kate, do you know what sound that is?”


“Do you know what that noise means?”

“Dinner is ready?”

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dude, I'm still going to buy your strawberries

Today I was able to sneak in a quick trip to the farmers market. Apparently “quick” is now defined as battling dozens of wayward pedestrians, nearing road-rage to secure a parking spot, hiking across the park with heels sinking into the grass, and wiping sweat off my forehead in regular intervals. Upon arriving, I approached a large organic booth displaying a variety of fruits and veggies. A cheery woman greeted me and exuberantly said, “Oh my! Is that your natural hair color?”

In my defense, I think I am a generally decent human being. However, I hate it when people ask stupid, potentially embarrassing, uncomfortable, and nosey questions. For the record, I have never dyed my hair a day in my life; it is 100% true, natural, Scandinavian blonde. That isn’t to say that I can’t play a dumb blonde well on occasion. I also can play a blonde who could be a fake blonde, but isn’t, yet is annoyed that she’s being asked this question on behalf of all of fake blondes out there. I wanted to say, “No, it’s a wig. Is it that obvious? My oncologist said it looked great.” Or possibly, “Yes, it is. After the sex-change operation, I started growing this lovely blonde hair. I think I was meant to be a woman all along.” I even contemplated, “Why yes. Is that your natural lack of self-control?”

But, of course, I didn’t. Because although my patience-for-annoying-people tolerance was at an all time low today, I do a fantastic job at censoring my thoughts before I form them into words. It’s how I continue to maintain any degree of socialization. I said it was natural and the lady gushed about how gorgeous it was, how fortunate I was to have this hair, and how people pay blah blah blah for hair this color. Blah blah blah. Blah. Blah blah. I bought some strawberries from her and moved on.

A few booths down, I arrived at the only other large organic vendor at the market. I was inspecting the asparagus and trying to remember exactly what veggies I had bought at the store on Monday. You know the ones I spend my money on, and then allow to rot when I get home too late to cook and resort to ordering pizza instead. The young woman behind the booth looked up and said, “Wow! Is that your natural hair color?”

I’m not kidding you.

I didn’t catch on at first. I gave her a quizzical look and told her that I hadn’t been asked that question in years and I had just been asked minutes earlier. Instead of sharing in my disbelief, she diverted her eye-contact and smiled and told me how pretty it was. At that moment, I realized the cover on their new sales tactic had been blown. Perhaps next time they could make it a little less obvious, or alternate flattering comments for their potential customers. You know, or at least redefine what exactly constitutes a safe compliment ...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Life motto of the moment

I’ve been contemplating writing a post that explains just how busy I am, how far behind in all aspects of life I feel, and consequently how inept I’ve been at posting the last couple of months. Then, I thought, why point out the obvious? You guys are smart people; I think you’ve figured it out.

I’ve been inexplicably busy at work. I’m much too intelligent to write about work on my blog, but I can say it has not been my favorite of months. There is a management quote that my dear friend Sarah shared with me last week, that I thinks sums up just exactly how I’ve felt at work lately. “The key to being a great manager is keeping those who hate you away from those who are still undecided.”

I’ve been drowning in school, which includes an online stats course and a labor relations course that I travel 5 hours to attend one day per week. I think that combination could easily be threatened by a judge to any parolee and guarantee a zero percent chance of recidivism. Let’s be serious for a moment and contemplate online stats. Stats comes about as naturally to me as Swahili and I get the added benefit of having to teach it to myself. Yes, me, the one who likely won’t be qualified to help Kate with her math homework in 3rd grade. Now, let’s think about the labor relations course that I drive 2.5 hours to after a long day at work, sit in for 3.5 hours, to turn around and drive 2.5 hours home. Multiply that by 8 weeks and then pour me a drink because my brain hurts.

I’ve also been bombarded with house projects, as we finish the final three unrenovated rooms in our house in a mad attempt to get our house on the market. That sentence should make your eyes roll back in your head and uncontrollable giggles escape the confines of your mouth. Selling your house? In Michigan? Snort. This woman really is delirious. However, it’s in our master plan for many reasons and apparently I believe that we are choosing not to participate in this recession.

Today, Kate and I went into TJMaxx to see if we could hunt down an eclectic mirror for our current renovation project: the master bathroom from hell. We didn’t find one, but instead found this curious little plaque that cannon-balled off the shelf into my cart.

I think it is a sign. Now, that is a double entendre.

All of that to tell you that I wasn’t going to tell you how busy I am. I’m efficient like that.

I’m trying to be better about being here though, as this blog tends to be my only sane outlet. That right there is a scary thought …

Sunday, June 21, 2009

This level of premeditation is concerning

Kate’s nap time has evolved, albeit in not the right direction over the past few months. Our days of the easy, cooperative, sleeper are but mere memories. Occasionally Kate does fall asleep at nap time, but the other 75% of the time, she resorts to some interesting uses of this time in her room. This includes, lying in her bed, screaming “I’m awake!” or “I’m never going to take a nap!” at decibels loud enough to evoke response from the local community. Other tactics include the endearing stalling method of never-ending demands to use the bathroom, get a drink, or untangle her from whatever contorted mess she’s made of the things in her bed. When Kate employs this tactic, we lovingly refer to her as Joseph, as in Stalin. Get it? Totally inappropriate, no?

Kate’s napping antics have not elicited her desired response: the abolishment of our insistence that she even try to nap. Begrudgingly, she’s reducing her attempts to engage in these annoying behaviors. Perhaps she doesn’t like to be called Joseph. Her new approach is to utilize that time to talk, sing, and play in her bedroom. While my ultimate goal is for her to sleep, I don’t think this quiet non-nap time is a bad second choice. For her and for her mother.

Yesterday, she had been in her room not-napping for quite some time. I had issued many directives about her need to sleep, less she risk not being able to participate in the activities planned for the afternoon. It had become increasingly quiet in her room and I started thinking that she might have actually surrendered to sleep. As soon as I allowed that thought to cross my mind, I’d hear a quiet noise from her room; just loud enough to arouse suspicion. This continued to happen for the next half-hour or so. As soon as I was convinced she was sleeping, I was jolted by her loud demand to use the bathroom.

Upon entering her room, the creative use of her nap time was evident, as was the source of the occasional sounds I had been hearing through her monitor. Her beach towel was strategically placed in the middle of her bedroom floor and loaded with every stuffed animal in existance. Kate sat on her bed with a sheepish, guilty look on her face, and said, “Mom, they went swimming. Then they were cold, so I had to dry them off and warm them up.” I could have imagined it, but I swear she also lowered her chin and fluttered her eyelashes just for effect.

It was just then that I noticed two of her stuffed animals that had been relegated to the other side of the room, banished from their comrades on the beach towel. While I wouldn’t have typically found this odd, they had evidentially been placed there by Kate, instead of with the rest of her toy-mountain.

“Kate, did you put these two animals here?”


“But, why did you move them way over here?”


“Didn’t they swim with the rest of the other animals? Why did you move them all the way over there?”

“Because they are loud mom … they make noise.”


I’m in more trouble than initially anticipated. Please send in reinforcement.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

No, tell me how you really feel

Over the past few months, I’ve been working diligently with Kate on “feelings” and “feeling words”. Apparently growing up without unimpeded access to your emotions contains dire consequences. Yes, you might turn out to be a self-deprecating, procrastinating, over-committing, neurotic, Banana Republic loving, over-achieving, Jack Johnson adoring, organic food eating, crazed lunatic. Or, so I’ve been told. Suffice to say, this is an area that does not really come all that naturally to me.

In an effort to compensate for that shortcoming and my lack of role model status in this area, I’ve made a concerted effort to regularly talk about feelings and interject feeling-related jargon into typical conversations with Kate. In fact, I’ve been very self-help book sounding as I’ve relentlessly prodded my 3-year old to ackowledge and divulge her current emotional state.

I think this might be an area that comes naturally to her.

Case in point:

This evening, we were outside swinging on her playset. I was on one swing and she was on the other side, being pushed by Craig. She takes great delight in our synchronized swinging and is forever attempting to swing higher than her mother. At least we know her competitive gene hasn’t been mutated by all of this feeling nonsense, right?

ME: Kate, I think you are swinging higher.
KATE: No, I think you are swinging higher.
ME: No Kate, you are swinging higher.
KATE: Don’t say that mom.
ME: What? Why?
KATE: That’s annoying. Stop saying that.
ME: What?!?!?
KATE: Stop, stop saying that; its annoying.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Kate's Bathroom Take-Two

We started the renovation of Kate’s bathroom the weekend of November 5th. I swore it was sometime in April, but when I searched my blog archives, I was promptly proven wrong. Even worse was the fact that my intention was to complete the renovation the weekend I posted. So, the plan was for it to be completed Nov 7th and we finished it last weekend, May 31st. Instead of explaining the discrepancy, consider yourself forewarned that my deadlines have a 7-month grace window. My husband calls this the Lyndsay-Factor, which means if I say I’ll be ready in 5 minutes, he multiplies it by 7, and viola – I’m ready to go.

In my defense, the bathroom presented many challenges I did not anticipate. I sort of thought attempting to renovate a bathroom was challenge in itself. Couple that with the goal to make it guest and toddler friendly, along with gender neutral, and I thought I had enough to keep me busy.

The drama started with the wallpaper. I hate wallpaper. Obviously people who hate wallpaper and have never used wallpaper are not capable of wallpaper ordering. The one double-roll of paper I ordered wallpapered approximately ¼ of the bathroom. I do not excel in the art of wallpaper and apparently also not in mathematics.
After the wallpaper was reordered and installed, we moved to the next drama. The one thing that I insisted on removing from Kate’s old bathroom was her bathroom vanity. Don’t you judge me, I’ll come install it in your bathroom and see how you like it. The problem was that the vanity was 43” long, which apparently was totally normal circa 1978, but not so much in 2008.

After weeks of searching, we were able to find a 43” vanity, but no 43” vanity top. At that point, I told Craig that Kate could brush her teeth in the tub; sinks are overrated. We finally found a place where we could order a 43” vanity top, it would simply cost us $500. At that moment, I could see Craig mentally jumping on the sink-boycott bandwagon.

Instead, we decided to buy a new vanity, one in a more socially acceptable 37” size. I am using the term “we” a little loosely here. On the surface, replacing a 43” vanity with a 37” one doesn’t sound all that dramatic, does it? I will point out the possibly not so obvious here and fill you in on a little secret: that leaves a 6” gap of subflooring visible on the floor. And what’s the answer to that? Well, a new tile floor of course!

Craig LOVED that project, let me tell you.

So, I ascertain that I had some reasoning behind the project that fell oh-so-slightly behind schedule. But it is done and although it isn’t 100% my style, it’s cute, it’s clean, and it’s fully functioning. Oh and it’s done … D-O-N-E, done.

If you didn’t click the earlier link to view the “before” pictures, I implore you to now. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

With that, here is the completed bathroom:

Photographing a bathroom with a blazing vanity light on is horribly difficult, so I apologize for the odd urine-tint to these photos. It has nothing to do with my cute yellow wallpaper.

Aren’t these pieces darling? A colleague’s daughter (who was just accepted into THE Art Center) did these acrylics just for Kate. When she's uber-famous, I'll try to sell them on ebay.

I am sort of missing the whole Wonder Years decorating scheme we had going on here though. I just killed the last piece of the 70's that remainded in this house. Next up, our bathroom, which should be done next weekend. Errr, or possibly next month.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Kate: Month Forty


Last week when I realized I was obnoxiously late writing your monthly letter, I committed to not writing a new blog posts until it was finished. That is precisely why it has been a whole week since I’ve been able to post something here. Please note for future reference that your mother may be horrible at deadlines and allotting free time, but she holds true to her word. It’s the little things, right? Technically tonight I should be doing homework for Statistics, but I’ve been heckled via text and email for taking a blogging break that has apparently spanned eternity. I’ve decided to temporarily break from the joys of summation notation and complete this post. Don’t think I won’t blame you and the blog world when I get a B on this Stats test. I think it is what all good mothers would do, right?

Thankfully this month you’ve kept your tantrums to a minimum. I’ll certainly take the credit for utilizing my astute parenting skills to accomplish that task. It could be attributed to the fact that you’ve moved on to new ways to RULE THE WORLD and MAKE ME DRINK, but it’s my blog and I am sure we are all in agreement that it was my keen management of the tantrum-istis that sent it packing. That certainly doesn’t mean that this past month has been all gum drops and roses. Oh no, that would make life much too boring, wouldn’t it?

See, this month you developed something that we like to call PSYCHOTIC BUG COMPULSIVE DISORDER. While I know kids often have fears, this caught me incredibly off guard. Up until this point, you’ve been the opposite of fearful. So much so that I’ve panicked over just how much trouble you could get in, as it wasn’t your nature to be concerned about anything. When you suddenly erupted into shrieks that belied reality, I was sure that you must have severed an appendage. You screamed, convulsed, and sobbed with such conviction that I was frantically searching your body for a bloody wound. An eternity later, when you calmed down enough to talk, I surprisingly learned that you hadn’t been maimed, wounded, or injured. You had just seen a bug. It is sort of hard to comprehend how a bug sighting could evoke more reaction than when your forehead made contact with the corner of our Corian countertop, or when I dislocated your elbow when you were not quite two. Amazing, but true. Unfortunately this phenomenon has continued on through the month, seeming to intensify with each potentially life-threatening bug sighting. Your compulsion crossed a line when you vehemently insisted that I prohibit bugs from landing on the outside of our windows. I know you have unwavering faith in my superhuman mommy powers, but I was unable to persuade you that I wasn’t capable of executing such a request. It’s been one of the only times I’ve seriously contemplated using the statement, “You want to cry? I’ll give you something to cry about!” Of course, I didn’t, but it sort of made sense it that moment. In retrospect, I could have been much more concise with this monthly update. It could have consisted of: BUGS. YOU SCREAMED. YOU CRIED. I GAINED INHERENT RESPONSIBILITY FOR EXTINCTION OF THE SPECIES. The end.

This past month you’ve also adopted some incredibly interesting phrases. While we are protective of exposing you to improper language, we aren’t overly obsessive about the truly non-offensive stuff. I’ve wrote before about your uncanny ability to discern any borderline comment and immediately tuck it away for future reference to use at very inopportune times. This month is no exception, as we’ve added two lovely phrases to your growing repertoire. First is your endearing obsession with referring to your butt crack. I am not sure which of us are to blame for referring to your visible “butt crack” one day, but you immediately added it into your vocabulary. You routinely check your butt crack, adjust your pants to cover your butt crack and proudly declare, “Oops, my butt crack is showing!” This is stated in a surprised, I-must-make-the-world-aware-of-this-way. So, you do butt-crack humor with all the sincerely and grace in the world. Which, I guess is the really the best way to do it, right? I'm hoping that you forget it prior to Sunday school next week though.

Your second obsession can be directly attributed to your father. This is your declaration of “stinking up the bathroom”, which contains an amount of pride that ordinarily would be reserved for matters of great significance. You not only possess the need to inform everyone that you are “stinking up the bathroom”, but you muster such enthusiasm that one can’t help but wonder if you really are part male. Your father of course finds the entire act quite comedic and often encourages your behavior on a regular basis. A few weeks ago, we were eating lunch at Lone Star when you suddenly had to go to the bathroom. Since I had taken you last, you quickly looked at your dad and said, “your turn”, which he didn’t find nearly as humorous as I did. As he was getting up to walk with you to the bathroom, you raised your voice multiple decibels and said, “Daddy, I am going to STINK UP their bathroom!” I could see the terror in his eyes and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I enjoyed the entire process. You reissued your intent every few steps, with him scurrying to get to the bathroom as quickly as possible. I call that retribution for encouragement of the bathroom humor.

So, there you are Miss Kate, another month down. I enjoy these letters to you so much because it is truly remarkable to reflect on how much you really do change month by month. While I often joke about our escapades, I find that I enjoy each stage and each month with you even more than the last. You are really starting to grow into a BIG GIRL as you so often remind me, and I am so excited to share this journey with you.

Hugs, kisses, and all the love in the world,