On Friday, I took Harper to a Home Alone class. It had nothing to do with the 1990 Macauley Culkin comedy and everything to do with how to call the police and what to do when someone knocks on the door and how to answer weird phone questions when you find yourself alone in the house.
While Harper was learning how to trick scoundrels, I found myself saying the following words to Meredith:
“If something goes wrong, please call 911 first and THEN call Daddy. If I’m on the ground, don’t spend any time looking at me. Just call 911. I don’t want you to remember me as being on fire.”
Why so serious? Because I had to change a halogen bulb, and the light fixture is covered with engraved warnings about electrocution and turning off the power to the house before attempting to change the bulb.
(I did NOT turn off the power to the house before I attempted to change the bulb. Why? Because the helpful man at the hardware store (where I purchased the replacement bulb) told me it wasn’t necessary. Also, I crave DANGER. (I once either line danced or rode on the back of a motorcycle during a snow storm. My memory is fuzzy.))
Helpful Man at the Hardware Store: Don’t worry about powering down the house. What’s more important is that this bulb is never touched by human hands because the oils in your skin could cause the bulb to explode.
Me: Dear Lord! Should I buy special gloves or goggles?! I’VE NEVER DONE ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE!
Helpful Man: Just use a paper towel. BUT BE VERY CAREFUL.
Meredith and I came home, I VERY CAREFULLY removed the old bulb, I put on my gardening gloves and unwrapped the new bulb, I VERY CAREFULLY put it in the socket thing, I closed up the glass panel on the fixture, I flipped the switch, and nothing. Nothing happened.
I then removed the glass panel and took out the bulb (while wearing the gloves, obviously) and turned it the other way and put it back in and replaced the panel and switched on the light and again—Nothing.
I then stomped around the house for a bit and when Jeff got home he returned the bulb to the store and exchanged it for another bulb and he brought it home and I became The Halogen Master by refusing help. I put the bulb into the socket and replaced the glass panel and when I flipped the switch, nothing happened. Again.
I’m boring you. I feel like I never have adventures any more, so when I do something that involves electricity and/or the possibility of death, I immediately think, “This! Yes! I shall write about this at Fluid Pudding!” And here we are. 451 words of me not being able to switch out a bulb.
Quick Ending: My dad drove up on Saturday morning and hooked a meter to the switch. The switch was fine. Jeff then took the bulb and wiggled it. He WIGGLED it. Suddenly, our back yard was filled with 150 watts of halogen brightness. Because Jeff wiggled the bulb. As soon as I saw the light, I left the house to get my hair cut. If you can’t be smart, you may as well look presentable.
Also, less than ten minutes ago I accepted the first freelance job I’ve had in several weeks. Suddenly, I’ve removed my Low Self-Esteem hat and I’m thinking about changing my lotion from Stress Relief to Energy! (Side note: If you want to see me cringe, use the word Cream instead of Lotion. Double the cringe for Body Cream. And don’t ever talk to me about your Bottom.) Anyway. Freelance!!!
So, the lazy journal thing is going well, but it’s hiccuping me away from Fluid Pudding. That’s no good. Let’s catch up.
I drove to Weight Watchers, but never made it to the front door. It’s not a big deal. I’m in an okay place right now.
I’m a clencher. Sadly, although the new night guard will prevent the wearing down of my teeth, it does NOT prevent the clenching. Every night I wake up biting my tongue so hard that it’s numb. (I once had a dog who bit his tongue off during a stroke. I’m thinking about you, Thumper.)
A teacher at school told me about a restaurant that is less than ten minutes away from my house. I had never heard of it, and now it’s my favorite place. Old Taco Bell turned Greek/Italian. Lasagna? Yes. Baklava? Yes. BABA GHANOUSH?! YES!!! (Pizza? Yes.)
Last April I ran into my best friend from college. When we started hanging out again, I was so afraid that we would eventually revisit all of our memories and then have nothing left to say. Thankfully, we have a LOT to say, and I’m honestly the luckiest person to have so many amazing people on my boat.
I also finished my first skein of yarn spun from the fold. It’s fat and lofty and completely screwy. BUT, it will make a fun pair of fingerless mitts. Maybe. Possibly not, because it’s completely screwy! (It’s always good to try new things. Even that thing where someone named Amanda drops a shot of whisky into a glass of beer. (You don’t have to finish it.))
Jeff and I walked around the lake last week. My waterfall was still frozen, but we DID manage to come into contact with what I believe to have been a trench coat-wearing unmedicated schizophrenic man who had some words to scream about Jesus.
I didn’t get a photo of the man. Honestly, my adrenaline was amped to the extent that I probably would have stuck my thumb through my phone had I tried to snap a photo. (“I can lift a truck if it falls on my child” and all of that.) Anyway, the police were called, so I’m assuming everyone now has the help they need. (Not EVERYONE, but at least the man with the Jesus screams. I do hope that he’s okay. And his little dog, too.)
Today I attended a few red carpet ceremonies and I put off designing a brochure that I was supposed to finish yesterday. The good news? No one will be nervous about the brochure’s absence until Thursday, so perhaps I’ll hit it on Wednesday. And that’s tomorrow.
We’re having avocado sandwiches for dinner. Take a baguette and slice it lengthwise. Spread some sort of vinaigrette on the top half and dump some cheese (vegan or otherwise) on the bottom. Broil both halves until the cheese starts dancing. Take it all out of the oven and place avocado slices on the cheese. Sprinkle lemon juice over the avocado slices. Top it off with lemon pepper. Sandwich it up. It’s our favorite. (The recipe is from Betty Goes Vegan, which is still my favorite cookbook.)
The last time we spoke, I was getting ready to prepare for Friday’s colonoscopy.
I prepared. I also had the good sense to send the girls out of the house on Thursday evening. When you’re 8 and 10 and unable to drive a car, the last place you want to be is trapped in a house with a parent who is chugging Gatorade mixed with Miralax. Thus it was, and so they went.
Jeff and I left our house for the hospital on Friday morning at 6:00. When we arrived, we were handed a buzzer.
Nurse (to Jeff): The buzzer will go off once when we’re ready to prep her for the procedure. It will go off again when she’s in the procedure room. It will go off a third time when you’re able to visit her in the recovery room.
We sat down and noticed that the number on the buzzer corresponded with a color coded screen.
Me: Look. My box is white. Does that mean I’m hungry for a doughnut? Because I’m hungry for a doughnut.
Jeff: Look at 87. He’s red. That means his blazing hot wings are ready.
With that, the buzzer went off for the first time.
Jeff: WELCOME TO THE TERROR DOME!!!
Long story shortened. The nurse took me back, asked me a bunch of questions, stuck an IV into my wrist, gave me a warm blanket, and told me to take it easy.
As I was taking it easy, I heard her greeting the woman in the next room. She started the same set of questions.
Nurse: Do you know why you’re here today?
Lady Next Door (LND): For a colonoscopy.
Nurse: Did you drink all of the prep mix?
LND: I didn’t.
Nurse: Oh. Okay. Did you refrain from eating solid foods yesterday?
LND: No. I had cereal for breakfast and some crackers last night.
Nurse: Oh. Okay. Have you had anything by mouth since midnight last night?
LND: Yes. I drank some coffee this morning.
Wrong answer, wrong answer, wrong answer. I suddenly felt very superior for drinking, refraining, and keeping my mouth closed after midnight.
Let’s skip ahead. I met the anesthesiologist. They wheeled me back to the procedure room. I rolled over onto my left side. I drifted into the most wonderful Propofol-induced sleep. The doctor piped me. I woke up.
Me: Have you talked to the girls?
Jeff: Yep. I texted Meredith just a few minutes ago.
(Thirty seconds pass.)
Me: Have you talked to the girls?
Jeff: Um, yep. I just told you that.
Me: So you talked to them? To the girls? Have you talked to the girls?
Because Jeff is patient and Jeff is kind and Jeff does not envy and Jeff does not boast and Jeff is not proud, Jeff drove me straight from the hospital to a doughnut joint and then allowed me to shove a vanilla long john into my face while he ran into Starbucks and picked up a chai for me.
So, what’s that white thing on my colon? I don’t know! BUT, it’s normal.
Bonus: It is a rare delight to catch a glimpse of the elusive Colon Farrell. Luckily, my doctor is a wizard with the colonoscope and was able to capture a quick photo before Mr. Farrell disappeared behind my cecum.
Meredith’s fourth grade teacher looped up this year, meaning her fourth grade teacher is also her fifth grade teacher, and all of the students who were in her fourth grade class are also in her fifth grade class. It’s a really great situation because the teacher is amazing and the kids all get along.
This morning Meredith dug around in her room for a bit to find the bag she uses to collect Valentine’s Day cards at her class V-Day parties. When she found the bag, she also found that it still held all of the cards and candy she received last year. Who agrees with me that she just needs to take a Sharpie and change every occurrence of To to From and From to To? If you love something set it free and if it flies to Meredith there’s a good chance that you can get it back someday because she never throws anything out.
Have you ever received an invitation to a party just a few days before the party is happening, so you sort of know that you’re a B- or C-lister? Please know that when I mentioned doing a Fluid Pudding BowelPrepAlong a few days back, I really had no idea that the prep would be taking place TOMORROW! You are not a C-lister to this party. It’s more of a spontaneous SURPRISE party! For your insides.
All of this to say: Tomorrow is the 13th anniversary of the day that Jeff proposed to me, and I will be celebrating by knocking back a few Gatorade/Miralax cocktails. Mmmmmm. That’s right, Barry White. Please know that this is not my first pony in the colonoscopy rodeo. I know that tomorrow is not going to be an awesome day. (Unless it IS an awesome day.) Also, my children have accused me of speaking too candidly about the colonoscopy. (They are mortified that both of their teachers know that I won’t be at the parties tomorrow because I’ll be prepping.) I see it like this: If me talking about getting a colonoscopy causes someone out there to get one and they tell a friend and so on, pretty soon it will be like concentric circles of bowel preparation, and anything I can do to jazz Katie Couric works for me. (My sister once dressed up like a polyp at a fundraising event. This stuff is important.)
A few weeks back, Tempe mentioned that Greenwood Fiberworks was doing an Olympic spin-along. And wait a second. While I’m taking you over to Etsy with me, check out this shirt. I need that shirt. Anyway, to participate in the spin-along you purchase Sochi fiber, start spinning it during the opening ceremonies, and finish your yarn (and perhaps knit something with it) before the closing ceremonies end. You earn points along the way for posting photos of your progress and it really is a wonderful thing.
Here is my fiber. It’s a 85 BFL/15 Tussah Silk blend.
AND, here is my first bobbin all spun up.
For those who might care, the plan is to make a two-ply yarn by spinning it fractally. For those who might care, I’m dedicating this skein of yarn to Shaun White because I’ve grown to like him despite his lack of medals. Did you know that he’s young enough to be my son? Did you know that I sleep with a tiny microwaveable lavender-infused hippo on my shoulder? We’re just getting started over here, aren’t we?
You know how every few months I go a little crazy and I start singing songs about how I wish my life could be a little different and then I quiet down for a bit and then “I Wish My Life Could Be A Little Different” cycles back around and have I thanked you lately for sticking with me as long as you have? I honestly don’t have many long-termers in my face-to-face life. I’ve said it before, and I mean it: We should meet up for burritos.
Please be patient, because the following probably isn’t going to make much sense. I’m just sorting things out by typing out loud.
I talked to someone last week who is NOT a therapist. We spent absolutely zero time talking about the differences between my life now and my life five years ago, yet I drove away from our dinner with a gut full of Margherita pizza and a gut-wrench sort of yearning to turn back time and make different choices.
I have never described myself as a people person. I once had a job interview during which I was asked if I enjoy being social. I answered honestly, and I did not get the job. (No hard feelings. My title would have been Fax Room Manager and I probably wouldn’t have met Jeff which also means I wouldn’t have met Meredith or Harper. So many people out there are much better suited (figuratively and literally, because the place had a strict dress code) to be a sociable fax room manager.)
In high school I spent a lot of time looking at the floor and sort of dreading the five minute breaks we had between classes. One of my teachers detected my weird anxiety, and he let me skip class entirely one day to spend 45 minutes by myself practicing the piano in the choir room. Best gift ever for a seventeen-year-old weirdo.
So anyway, I’ve been making lists of things I need to accomplish and things I want to accomplish and long term goals vs. short term goals and somehow I always start thinking about other people’s problems. (Do you remember that O.P.P. song? Me neither.) And then I start obsessing about how I can help to FIX other people’s problems. But I can’t. I can’t fix other people’s problems.
I need to come to grips with the fact that I am better behind the scenes. Leader hats don’t fit me very well and getting face time has never been important to me, and I’m slowly learning that getting face time is actually not good for me at all, and stop looking at me like that. I told you that this would probably not make much sense.
My Lazy Journal has been really fun so far, but yesterday I put up the following Buddha quote, and someone I really like asked something like, “Um, are you sure that’s a Buddha quote?” and IT’S NOT A BUDDHA QUOTE! BUT, regardless of who said it (probably a guy named Keith from Paducah), it’s good stuff. It’s Way to Live stuff. Especially the part about letting go of things not meant for you. That part has been on my mind for three days now. (The cold never bothered me anyway, and so forth.)
Five years ago I invited you to join me for a Fluid Pudding BowelPrepAlong. We may get a chance to try it again. I’ll know more tomorrow. Can you even imagine how exciting it will be to announce a second FPBPA?! Could this be a blogging first?! Could I possibly be a bowel prep blogging pioneer?! WHERE IS MY FREE TRIP TO DISNEY WORLD?!?!
I’m turning comments off for this one, because I think we would all be better off just watching the Olympics or perhaps not watching the Olympics. Maybe the next time we meet up I’ll talk to you about my bedroom goals. (It’s all about organization, Gutterhead. Have I mentioned that we would like to move?)
I spent most of January organizing our kitchen. It’s a year-long organization project, and the end goal is to put the house on the market before 2015. (February is bedroom month. Bedroom month is going to be tricky. I believe basement month is in March. I will cry more than once during basement month.)
It appears that we have two cabinets in our kitchen that are not square or rectangular. They are more like heptagonal trapeziums with all sorts of weird angles that don’t hold a can of beans or a box of couscous. These cabinets are useless to me because I have no idea what to put in them. These cabinets actually ruined my day yesterday because NOTHING is the shape of a heptagonal trapezium. Late last night I shoved a rusty sifter into my heptagonal trapezium, and it was just as distressing as it sounds.
Ah, but #lazyjournal is NOT distressing. People are actually doing it and tagging it on Facebook and Instagram and on their websites, and feel free to join us. Do you want me to share my Lazy Journal entries here, too? Let me know. I’ll share them today, but I’ll plan on NOT sharing them in the future unless you’re interested.
Also, last Tuesday I had all of my annual bloodwork drawn, and I believe my vein exploded in my arm (I’m a clencher). This morning it looked like this.
If it’s still there in a week, I’m going to return to my tattoo place.
Let’s talk about that whole single sentence journal thing. I’ve heard from a few people who told me that Gretchen Rubin talks about a One Sentence Journal in The Happiness Project.
She started hers to build on the idea that happy times from the past can make you happy in the future. I’m starting mine because I’m lazy, but I really enjoy sitting down with a blank page and a pen. She types hers on the computer. Mine will always be handwritten, but I plan on sharing it on Instagram. She has really great hair and I think I want to be friends with her. My hair barely exists and I’m much more charming on the computer than I am in real life. I could live on bean burritos and snickerdoodles. I may have to have a colonoscopy in a few weeks. The two previous sentences may (or may not) be related.
Anyway, because the hashtag #onesentencejournal is taken by Happiness Project enthusiasts, I say we just forget about hashtags. (Honestly, don’t get me started on hashtags. I once found myself all bent over in a closet and one of the reasons why had to do with hashtags (and my lack of spine).)
So, anyway, although the official start date is February 1, I’ve been warming up.
If you’re joining us and posting your stuff online, please share the address. If it takes less than fifteen minutes to accomplish, I’ll create a sidebar link list of our blurb journals. Wait. Blurb Journal. Hashtag Blurb Journal?! What just happened?
Ten years ago, I got up every morning and wrote three pages in a journal. It was a time to puke my head out onto paper before getting started with the day, and I always loved the results.
I’ve been trying to get back into keeping a written journal for years, but I’ve always failed.
This afternoon I picked up a sketch pad and decided to write down a sentence that summarized the day. (Please know that my definition of sentence is loose. It can hold two periods. And can be capitalized. Burgers don’t have to look like burgers.)
Anyway, because the whole thing took less than two minutes and I was able to play with the pen Jeff gave me for Christmas (I love that stinking pen) and now the day is documented, it occurred to me that I should be doing this Every Day. One (or two) sentence journal entries. No need for elaboration.
Would you care to join me? Take a week to find a notebook and/or pen, and we’ll get this thing going on February 1st. Maybe we’ll even create a hashtag for it. We deserve a hashtag, right?
This year Meredith once again won her class bee, making her eligible for the school bee. Once again, she studied her butt off to prepare. Once again, before leaving the house I grabbed a hot tea and a notebook to keep me busy so that I wouldn’t fidget, cry, or chew off my own arm during the assembly.
I arrived at the school at 1:50, and the spelling bee was scheduled to begin at 2:15. At around 2:00, the participants arrived, drew their order numbers, and took their seats. Meredith was lucky number four, and I would show you the photo of the kids lined up, but I didn’t have model release forms with me, and I have a funny feeling that a photo with Meredith and nine “hidden” children wouldn’t stir up much excitement.
Moderator: Meredith, your word is Gorgon.
Meredith: GeeOhAreGeeOhEn. Gorgon.
Moderator: That is correct.
Now wait a second. In case you didn’t follow that first link at the top of the page, look at how much Meredith has grown since her first appearance at the school spelling bee.
Oh, my heart and songs from Fiddler on the Roof and in ten years she’ll be 20 and my hair is so gray and my neck is starting to look like a gobbler neck and my ankles are the same size as my knees and every other sentiment that involves somehow saving time in a bottle, Jim Croce.
After Gorgon, which was a Round Five word, the other participants started dropping fairly quickly. Meredith hung in there with words like Infringe and Disarray and Vouch and Bolide and Forbidden.
When it got down to the final two participants, Meredith was given the word Vitriolic.
She spelled it correctly.
Moderator: Fourth Grade Boy, your word is Pontiff.
Fourth Grade Boy: Pontiff. P-O-N-T-I-F. Pontif.
Moderator: I’m sorry, but Pontiff is spelled P-O-N-T-I-F-F. If Meredith spells the next word correctly, she will win the spelling bee.
Meredith approached the microphone.
Moderator: Meredith, your word is Piety.
Meredith (without hesitation because she’s cool like that): Piety. PeeEyeEeeTeeWhy. Piety.
At that point, I grabbed my tea and started chugging it while writing PIETY! in my tiny notebook and my eyes welled up and I was clapping by slapping my legs and when did I lose all of my coolness? Because, honestly: It’s all gone. All of it.
(By the way, today is National Pie Day, and Meredith won the spelling bee with piety. I love that. Because I love pie. (And piety isn’t so shabby, either.))
Because the Puddings tend to celebrate all of our accomplishments with some sort of burrito or another, this evening we braved the freezing temperatures and burritoed it up. And burritoed is not a word. Until now.
When we last spoke, I mentioned that I wanted to pick the girls up from school and take them to Disney World. This was just my way of telling you that I was about to pick the girls up from school and take them to Disney World. Jeff was there for a sales meeting, and because the girls had a four day weekend, hooking up in Orlando made sense.
David Sedaris has taught me a lot of things, but one of the most memorable is this: No one wants to hear about your travel stories. No one wants to know that our flight was delayed to the extent that we were going to miss our connecting flight, meaning we would be at least a day late to Orlando. No one wants to hear that I had to pick the girls up earlier than I wanted and that we had to run like jerks who run through the airport and blashen blashen blashen ofdiuvhdvfkneipr98yshoa.
When we arrived in Orlando on Thursday night, Jeff picked us up from the airport and broke the news to the girls that they would be sharing a bed during the first night of the trip. To Harper, it suddenly didn’t matter that we were in Orlando. It didn’t matter that Jeff had a huge stack of snacks waiting for us in the hotel room. What mattered is this: Apparently, Meredith is a kicker. A KICKER.
(When Meredith was in kindergarten, the art teacher wrote her name on the back of one of her projects. Instead of writing “Meredith” she wrote “Meredlo”. It’s Harper’s favorite misspelling EVER, and sleeping with Meredlo is not hashtag how Harper does.)
I shared a bed with Meredlo on Thursday, and there was no kicking. The End.
Because the temperature was below freezing in St. Louis this morning and because freezing St. Louis people don’t want to hear about Florida, I’ll keep this short.
On Friday, we went to the Magic Kingdom, and the sky was amazing.
(Please know that castle cleaning crews were cleaning the castle and I really needed them to move the crane so I could take some decent photos, but they wouldn’t. So I didn’t. I did, however, almost get run over by at least 3,291 strollers that carried children who should have been walking. Let me just say this: If you have a child who is over the age of four and that child is perfectly capable of walking, please don’t rent a stroller. Your eight year old may be tired and cranky, but that doesn’t mean she needs wheels. There are other kids (and adults, for that matter) who need the stroller/wheelchair space. Don’t take up more room than you need. Someone please change the subject because I could go on and on about this and I’m starting to not like myself.)
On Friday evening we went to the new hotel, and it was a place where no one had to share a bed unless they wanted to.
Saturday was for Universal Studios, and Hogwarts was breathtaking.
My only recommendation? Buy ONE butterbeer. There is a good chance that the thought of butterbeer is much better than the actual butterbeer. And maybe you’re the only person in your party who really likes the butterbeer so you end up drinking most of the butterbeer because you don’t want to waste money and then you end up feeling really sick. Like, so sick that you are unable to go on rides because the thought of vomiting in public terrifies you. I’m 43. I know.
On Sunday, we went to an outlet mall and purchased absolutely nothing and then we went back to the hotel where Jeff and the girls swam and I watched the end of one of the Twilight movies and worked on a cardigan. That evening we went to Downtown Disney and ate at the Rainforest Cafe. Also, I made out with a statue.
Here’s the thing. If you give me a statue, there’s a good chance that I’ll make out with it. It’s hashtag how I do.
On Monday we checked out of the hotel and drove to Cocoa Beach to spend some time with the Atlantic Ocean.
At 6:40 we jumped on a plane and flew back home. After we went to bed, it began to snow. School was canceled. I cleaned out a cabinet and a closet, made fake steak veggie burritos, and set up an appointment with a new dentist.
(Edited to add: Thanks to Beth’s curiosity, I did some research and I now know that the statue with whom I was making out is a statue of Patrick Kavanagh, a colorful Irish poet who died of bronchitis in 1967. The statue is outside of Raglan Road, an Irish pub named after one of Kavanagh’s poems. Thanks, Beth!)