Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

(Coral honeysuckle. Photo Credit: The Man)

My friend Danielle once said May is the new December, and I've been quoting her ever since. I feel like I've been running around like a mad woman for the last two weeks. Teeth cleanings, annual exams, this errand, that errand. And, of course, the second grade poetry festival.

Just when you think it's safe to get out of bed without brushing your hair, they spring the second grade poetry festival on you. We were this close to school being over and done with, this close to saying no more hot lunches, no more classroom theme parties, no more field trips. I thought I was done. But no. Yesterday Will comes home from Our Fine School with an invitation to spend the first thirty minutes of my Wednesday morning enjoying poetry.

Well, I love poetry, and there is little poetry finer that penned by a second grader, but the second grade poetry festival--the idea of having to find somewhere deep inside me that last bit of school rah rah cheerful mommy-ness--Reader, I thought it might kill me.

Fortunately, it didn't. And once I was there, all was delightful and amazing. It was just the idea of having to go, you know? The idea of one more thing. The idea of having to comb my hair before 8 a.m..

It's the little things that undo you.

(The garden, with a view of the porch. Photo credit: The Man)

So summer is a-cumin' in. The Summer of Pie. The summer where Jack cooks dinner once a week, and the boys and I begin our quest to find the best hamburger in town. We're going to go to lunch at a new burger joint each week. We're going to take notes. We're going to compare and contrast.

Really, it's all I can think of. That, and going to the pool.

(Jack's latest pie--Strawberry Lemonade)

Tonight, I made the last school lunches of the year. My last night of feeling guilty for being such a lame mom and packing pretty much the same thing every single time. I have no lunch imagination. I eat the same thing every day for breakfast (scrambled eggs) and lunch (salad with walnuts and avocado). I'm boring that way. And now my children will be boring that way, too.

But I don't have to worry about it for eleven more weeks. And maybe next fall, I'll make the boys make their own lunches.

That'll show 'em.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Attic Diaries, Day 2

(My friend Sarah gave me a bunch of Swiss Chard today--isn't it gorgeous?)

I am making progress. Teeny tiny progress.

What keeps me going? Your comments help, especially comments in which you share that your children are grown and you still have Lego in your attic.

Does the Lego-less attic even exist? I don't think so.

Today I had three small projects: Put all the party stuff in one box, all the arts and crafts supplies into one bin, and make a neat pile of the Legos boxes. Actually, my plan had been to chuck the Legos boxes into the recycling, but then I realized that they weren't empty.

I thought about pretending they were and sort of kind of accidentally throwing them away.

(By the way, I'm sorry that I had to cut the bat footage from the video. He's a really cute bat.)

Below: a picture of the pie Jack made last week. He hasn't made this week's pie yet, though he has made the crust (his first!), which is chilling in the fridge. This week it's double apple pie. I can't wait until we get to strawberry lemon pie. I love strawberry-anything and lemon-anything.

Tomorrow I may take a break from the attic, but on Friday I'm going to attack the corner with all the comforters that need to be washed and the old curtains that long for windows but are far too old and faded to hang up in public, and a bunch of other stuff that's really hard to fold neatly and I don't have any place to put.

But right now I'm going to plant some mint in a pot. Doesn't that sound nice?

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Attic Diaries

I have made an attic video. It is, as videos go, pitiful, but it should give you an idea of the state my attic was in when I started cleaning last week. You can view it below.

So far I have gone through all the clothes I'd "stored" (i.e. threw onto an ever-growing pile of outgrown and worn-through garments) in the attic and now have two huge bags to take to Good Will. I've donated three boxes of picture books to the library. I've hauled out boxes of my books (i.e. books I've written) and put them in my study, where, for a fee, Jack is going to organize them and shelve them on the bookshelves I bought for $15 today at our local ReStore store.

The attic, I'm sad to report, looks worse than ever.

But that's how it's going to be, isn't it? It's always darkest before the dawn. It's always messiest before the Attic Fairy comes and waves her magic wand over the world's largest collection of Scooby Doo jigsaw puzzles and makes it disappear.

Before I post another video, I promise to learn how to use iMovie so I can properly edit my videos. Until then, this trainwreck will have to do. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Healing Power of Pie

Yesterday morning Jack came downstairs and planted himself in front of my rocking chair, where I was reading the newspaper online. He had on the sort of mopey, sad-sack expression only a twelve-year-old boy can muster. "I feel nauseous," he told me. "Am I hot?"

I sighed. I'd been back in town for less than twenty-four hours, and I was still weary from my travels. "Let me feel your forehead," I told him, and he slumped down in front of me. He was definitely warm, verging on hot. But feverish? Hmmm ... I'm not sure I'd call him feverish.

Normally when one of my children claim to be ill, I tower over him like a marine sergeant, spittle flying from my mouth as I yell, "UNLESS YOU HAVE A 104 FEVER AND AN ADVANCED CASE OF LEPROSY, YOU WILL GO TO SCHOOL!"

But that's not where I was yesterday. I waved a limp hand at him and said, "Fine, go back to bed, we'll see how you feel in an hour."

In an hour, he actually felt hotter, and he looked sort of pasty, so I felt like I'd erred on the side of good judgment. It would be nice in situations like this to have a thermometer that works, but I have bad thermometer zen. I can't explain it.

He came downstairs for a bowl of cereal around 3 p.m., and the Corn Chex seemed to revive him some. "Did you get all the ingredients for the pie?" he asked me, leafing through the book he'd given me the day before for Mother's Day, Southern Pies. Jack is our family pie maker, and he'd already decided the first recipe he was going to try was Black Bottom pie.

"You can't bake pies when you're sick," I reminded him, and he nodded. And then, I swear, the color began to come back to his cheeks.

"I'm starting to feel better," he announced. "I'll make the pie tomorrow."

And, dear reader, he did, the minute he got home from school. It's chilling in the fridge right now, and it is gorgeous. I helped him some, but it really is Jack's pie. The Pie that Brought My Child Back to Health. How could it be anything other than delicious?

I'm working on my attic video. I made one today, but it was five minutes long, and it would probably take you an hour to download. I'll try again tomorrow. Be prepared to be shocked, I tell you, shocked!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hopes and Dreams

(The porch in the morning.)

Tomorrow I'm going to Chicago, where I hear it is cold. Here in North Carolina it is warm and rather gorgeous. The peas and sugarsnaps are in, and it's hard not to eat them straight off the vine. I suppose we should wash the pods first, but we are, after all, organic farmers. A little organic dirt never hurt nobody.

I have finished the revision I've been working on all spring, so when I come back from Chicago on Sunday, I will have a wide-open road until the end of May, when my children will be hanging out full time in all their glory. Don't tell them, but we're putting the boys to work this summer. I'm calling it Homeschool Summer Fun Camp. Have adventures folding the laundry! Test your your dexterity as you spend the morning weeding the garden!

But in that little stretch of three weeks between Sunday and May 31st, I have my house to myself and for the most part my time to myself. So you know what I'm going to do?

I'm not sure if I should tell you. You'll scoff. You'll raise your eyebrows and roll your eyes. You might even smirk. Okay, no, not you. You would never smirk.

But you'll take it with a big grain of salt when I tell you that I'm going to organize my attic.

Yes, yes it is true.

I even plan to use Jack's flip video camera to make a before-video for your viewing pleasure. Just please don't send people from reality TV shows to my house after watching, no matter how great the temptation.

Here's the thing: for so long I've told myself I just can't do it. That the only way to tackle the attic is with professional help, which might include the administering of professionally-prescribed drugs, but would most certainly entail hiring a professional organizer.

At other times I've thought, 'Why not leave the mess for the children, after I've dearly departed? It's mostly theirs, after all.'

But I have decided to toss out my defeated-even-before-I've begun attitude and say, Yes, yes I can. I really can. Really, really I can.

Stop smirking! Remember how I said you weren't the smirking type? It doesn't become you at all.

So that's my big plan. It's not exactly grand, but I imagine once my attic is put to rights, the rest of my house will follow suit. Suddenly I will be living simply, almost austerely. Everything in its place, everything peaceful, calm, serene.

Is it just a crazy dream?


Speaking of crazy dreams, I dreamed about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last night. That's it--no more BBC America for me!

But wasn't her dress to die for?