Sunday, May 31, 2015

I'm Doing Nothing

The weekend had arrived and I'd just gotten out of bed. My still sleepy self was making it's way to the kitchen for a huge cup of wake-the-hell-up-tea, when I saw Steven sitting on the couch finishing the morning paper.
“Morning!” he said getting up to hand me the newspaper and give me a quick kiss on the cheek. I could see he'd been up for a while because he was already showered and dressed.
“Morning.” I grumbled rubbing the sleep from my eyes.
“How'd you sleep?” he asked.
Now in our house this can be a trick question. If I said “Great,” I might hear that I'd been tossing and turning all night, coughing, snoring, whatever it is that I do that can wake him up and that's why he's been up for so long. But if I shrugged my shoulders and gave a “Eh, I could use a little more.” I might have him looking at his watch wondering exactly how much sleep I really needed.
I decided to go with, “Great.” as I went into the kitchen to make my tea. “How about you?”
“Good.” he said leaning against the counter watching me fill my cup with water, drop a tea bag into it and place it in the microwave. “I had to get up early today to get some paperwork done, but I think I'm all caught up now.” he explained.
He watched me as I pushed the the start button on the microwave and I smiled as my cup slowly rotated inside. “That's great!” I said sounding like I was excited that the paperwork went well when really I was just excited that I was that much closer to holding a hot cup of tea.
“I'm going to be heading out in a minute for a few appointments.” he said. “What are you up to today?”
Now, I know it's an innocent question. It's one I might ask him any other day, but today I really couldn't stop wondering why I wasn’t' going to be honest with him and say, “Absolute nothing. Not a single thing except maybe read a book or stare into space. Heck, I might not even get out of my pajamas!” but instead ,when you're looking at someone who's already accomplished so much before you even got out of bed well... it's hard to be honest.
So instead I lied. “I've got loads and loads of laundry to do, I need to go grocery shopping, I want to get some of my own paperwork done and if I'm lucky maybe even tackle cleaning out the linen closet.” I smiled at him but inside I was screaming, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE! COULD YOU HAVE MADE YOUR LIST ANY LONGER?”
We smiled at one another as he picked up his briefcase and gave me another quick kiss on the cheek. “Okay, have an easy day.” he said as he headed for the front door.
“You too.” I said then quickly added, “What time do you think you'll be home?” I tried to make it sound as nonchalant as possible.
“Probably around three.” he said. “What do you want to do for dinner?”
“Well, with everything I want to get done today maybe we'll order out.” I suggested.
“Sounds great!” He grabbed his keys and was out the door.
By then my tea was ready. I took my cup and the newspaper and headed for the back porch. I thought of the list I'd given him. Everyone had enough clothes for the day, we were ordering out for dinner, so grocery shopping could be pushed back and no one would know if I did my paperwork or not. So really the only thing I had to accomplish today was get dressed before three o'clock.

I smiled as I settled into the favorite rocking chair, took a sip of tea and opened the newspaper.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


The weekend had finally come and I was planning on doing nothing but sitting on my deck reading a good book.
That is until my son, Alex came out the kitchen door and said, “Hey, I think I might need new shorts.” He was holding up a pair of khaki shorts with one pocket ripped and the hems frayed on both legs.
Now, that might not sound like much to many people but, when Alex says he might need to go shopping ,you RUN to the car thanking whoever it was that told him his clothes were years old and looked awful.
“Yeah, I've been telling you that you needed new stuff since you took out your summer clothes.” I said calmly getting up, trying not to make any sudden moves and spooking him. “Would you like to run over to the mall?” I casually asked as I picked up my still warm cup of tea ready to toss it in the sink and get the car keys before he knew what was happening to him.
“I thought maybe you could just sew the pocket for me.” he said.
“Hmm.” I looked at the shorts he was holding out to me, pretending I was interested in trying to fix them. “I'm sorry, they seem too far gone to fix.” I was deliberately inching my way to the door, watching to make sure he was following me. “Maybe we should go to the mall?”
“The mall?” he seemed unsure. “Are you sure you can't just fix these?”
“Hey,” I tried to sound as if I'd just come up with this idea. “Maybe while we're there we can look at a few shirts, maybe even some pants?”
“Wait a minute.” He said. He'd stopped moving,
I'd gone too far and said too much too quickly. I regrouped. “No you're right, maybe a quick trip just to replace those shorts.”
“Oh.” he seemed relieved. “Maybe I do need a new pair.” He was moving towards the door again.
I grabbed my car keys and quickly walked to the car, not even yelling out to Steven where we were going. I felt like my window of opportunity was closing and I didn't want to stop for anything.
Once we were at the mall wandering through the racks of clothes I began loading his arms with shorts, pants, bathing suits, and shirts I was almost giddy with the luck I was having finding his size and the colors he liked.
I smiled as I passed other moms with their sons following them, their arms filled with clothes and bewildered looks in their eyes as if they had no idea how they got there.
One lucky mom was actually having her son try on suit jackets, I was envious but I knew Alex's limits on this trip and I needed to keep it under an hour of shopping.
Once his arms were filled I headed his toward the fitting room where woman of all ages were outside the entrance waiting for their loved ones to come out and be told if they were buying that particular item.
As Alex found an empty room and dropped the pile of clothes on the chair I had to laugh at the baffled look of his face as he gazed at the amount of clothes he needed to try on.

Once his door was closed I looked over at the other women, giving a slight shrug and getting quick head nods back, our silent high five to each other for getting the guys we were with that far. None of us wanted to go too far in praising one another, just in case one of the guys came out of their fitting room, saw us and finally knew for sure they'd been tricked. We couldn't risk any of them alerting the rest of the fitting room.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Emoji Love

Alex comes walking out of his room with his phone in his hand, “What's this suppose to mean?” he asks as he holds out his phone to me.
I look at the message I'd just sent him. It was a picture of a tiny cow's head and a bell next to it. “The bell is for calling you for dinner.” I said as I handed him back his phone. “The cow's head is letting you know what we're having.” I held up the platter of hamburgers for him.
“Why not just call me?” he asked. “I'm right in the next room.” He asked as he took the platter and headed for the table.
“Because this way is more fun.” I said as I came over with a bowl of salad and put it on the table next to the burgers. “Besides if I'd called out to you there's a good chance you'd pretend you're deaf and I'd have to stop cooking and go knock on your door.”
By now Steven was coming upstairs. “Does this mean dinner's ready?” He asked holding out his phone.
Alex looked over at Steven. “Did you get the cow's head and bell too?” he asked.
Steven handed him his phone, “No I got the musical notes and and knife and fork.”
Alex looked back at me, “Why didn't you send me that one?” he asked. “At least that one would have been easier to figure out.” he said.
“I like to mix it up a bit.” I said as I brought over the salad dressing. “It keeps it fresh.”
“Did anyone call Max, yet?” Steven asked as he sat down.
“I sent him a message.” I answered. “He got the musical notes, a cow's head and a tomato.”
Just then my phone dinged. “I bet that's Max.” I said picking it up.
“Where is he?” Alex asked.
“In his room.” I began checking my messages. “He just sent me back the hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil monkeys.” I looked over at Steven and Alex. “Okay I think he has me on that one? What do you think that means?”
Alex looked over at Steven and shrugged his shoulders. “I think it just means he likes monkeys.”
“Maybe he'd just rather be called for dinner instead of having to guess your code.” Steven suggested.
“Oh, come on this is fun>” I began clicking away looking for other emoji's that would have him coming to the table. “Perfect!” I said clicking send. “That should get him in here.”
I sat down at the table and began to serve myself some salad.
That's when we all heard Max's door open.
Steven and Alex look at me. “I told you that one would work.” I said.
Max came into the dining room and looked at the table. “He, you sent a burger, fries, beer and an ice cream cone!”
“I was close.” I said as I passed him the burger platter. “They don't have a salad bowl or a picture for ice water.”
Max sat down and took a burger off the platter. “Did you at least buy ice cream?” he asked.

I smiled as I handed him the bowl of salad. “It's in the freezer.”

Sunday, May 3, 2015


My recently graduated son Alex and I were sitting on the back porch watching the chipmunks and squirrels scurry around in the back woods collecting anything and everything they could find to make it an easy winter for themselves.
“I have to say, I know how they feel.” I said as I pointed to one very busy chipmunk running back and forth across the yard seeming to get nothing done but making very good time doing it. “For the last twenty years I've spent every fall running around getting someone ready for another school year.” I sighed. “This fall just didn't feel the same without someone going back to school.”
“Yeah, it's nice isn't it?” Alex asked as he leaned back in his chair to get some sun on his face.
“I don't know, I kind of missed all that running around this year.” I watched as a squirrel slowly made his way down a tree, grab an acorn off the ground, slowly look around before stuffing it into his mouth and frantically running back up the tree as if someone were right behind him ready to take it away. “Those days of feeling like that squirrel where we'd be running from department stores to grocery stores to hardware stores, then over to the office supply store trying to get you ready.” I smiled at him as he looked over at me. “And when I say 'we' you know I really mean 'me'. Because there was no way you were going to get supplies, pack, and make sure everything was just right for your first day of school no matter where you were going.”
Alex smiled. “Thanks, Mom.”
“I'm not looking for thanks.” I quickly added. “I'm just saying I can relate to those guys out there.” I waved my hand in the general direction of the woods. “Once you feel the temperature start to drop there's some strange need that comes over you to get busy doing... I don't know...” I shrugged my shoulders,”Stuff.”
“So now that you're not getting me ready for school, what stuff do you feel you need to do?”
“I'm glad you asked.” I smiled as I looked over at him. “I'm thinking of taking a class, maybe something on-line that I can take whenever I'm ready to start.”
Alex sat up. “Really?”
“I don't know, I've been looking at a few on-line colleges and there's one or two classes that seem interesting.” I took a sip of my tea, “It just seems like the right time for me to start taking them.”
“I think that's a great idea.” Alex said.
“Really?” I said. “Because it's been years since I've taken a class and these classes can be pretty intense. I might need a little extra time to study.”
“Well, sure. Take all the time you need.”
I felt a sigh of relief come out of me. “I'm glad you’re being so understanding, because between work and studying I might need some help around the house making dinners, cleaning bathrooms, going grocery shopping you know, stuff.”
“Sure.” Alex said. “Just let me know what you need.”
“Wow.” I had to smile. “Thanks.”
“Hey, I'm happy for you.” Alex swatted a mosquito off his arm. “I'm just glad I'm not the one going back to school this year!”
“Was it really that terrible?” I asked looking over at him. “You're not going to miss anything about school?”

Alex smiled. “I don't know.” he said. “Why don't you let me know how you feel around Thanksgiving.”


I love the fall, and one of my favorite things to do since I've moved into my new house has been to sit on my deck and watch all the activity in my little backyard woods. I was watching the leaves slowly twirl to the ground, loving all the different colors, when I realized I hadn't been seeing many birds lately.
Over the spring and summer my backyard had been filled with birds. My birdhouse had been twice filled with families. I loved listening to the babies cry for Mom and Dad to hurry up with the next snack. I also felt sorry for the parents as they rushed back and forth on their never ending search for food. In a way I sympathized with them because I too had children, (although they were older,) whose never ending chant was, “There's nothing to eat in this house!”
But now my woods seemed sadly quiet. That's when my husband Steven came out to sit with me. “Beautiful day out isn't it?” he asked as he sat down next to me.
“It is.” I agreed. “But have you noticed there are a lot less birds back here, now that fall has started?”
Steven shrugged his shoulders. “They're probably looking for food for the winter.” he said. “If your not going to feed them, someone else will.”
That was all I needed to hear as I got up, grabbed my purse and headed for the front door. “Be back in an hour.” I called.
Within the hour I was back on my deck sitting next to Steven as we both looked at the new feeder I'd set up at the edge of the woods. “How long do you think it going to take for the word to get out that we've got food?” I asked.
Steven never got the chance to answer as the first chickadee landed on the feeder and just as quickly flew away with its seeds.
As the hours went by I got busy doing chores around the house but each time I went by the back windows I checked on the feeder. “There must be a dozen chickadee's out there now!” I called to Steven, who I'm sure wanted these updates.
“That's great.” he called back. He didn't sound as enthusiastic as I was but I knew in time he'd be enjoying the feeder as much as I was.
As dusk began to fall I was back on the deck with Steven, both of us watching the feeding frenzy that was happening at the feeder.
“You know I liked when the chickadee's were enjoying it but now that the blue jays and squirrels have found it I'm not loving it as much.” I complained as I watched a squirrel hanging upside down emptying out the last few seeds from the bottom of the feeder. “Am I the only one in this neighborhood with a feeder!”
Steven looked over at me as I grabbed the bag of seeds ready to go out and fill the feeder again. “Wasn't it just this morning you were complaining that our backyard was too quiet?” he asked.
“Yes, but I wanted to feed house finches and chickadee's. Not these guys.” I said with disgust as I pointed to the four blue jays yelling at one another from the nearby trees.
Just then a little chipmunk scurried under the feeder, quickly trying to grab some seeds. “Oh my gosh, isn't he the cutest thing!” I cried as looked back at Steven to see if he could see him from where he was sitting.
That's when the blue jays started swooping down at the chipmunk, chasing him through the underbrush.
“Hey!” I called out. “Leave him alone!” I was waving my arms trying to scare the jays as I headed toward the feeder.
I could hear Steven laughing as he called out, “Has anyone mentioned that you can be a roller coaster of emotions at times?”

“I have no idea what you're talking about.” I said as I tried not to laugh as I refilled the feeder.


I'd run to the grocery store to pick up a few things, and as I pulled in the driveway my husband Steven opened the front door. “Do you need help carrying in the bags?” he asked.
“I could use a little help.” I admitted as I went around to the back of the car and popped the hatch. “I got a little carried away.”
“Hey that's what the pantry is for.” he said as he walked down the driveway to meet me at the car. Steven loved a fully stocked pantry and in some ways I'm a bit of a disappointment to him in that regard. I'm more of a daily-run-to-the-store kind of gal and at times it drives him crazy.
“I'm pretty sure there isn't anything back here that can go in the pantry.” I said handing him a flat of geraniums. I watched as a few of the tiny red petals got caught in the breeze and floated to the ground. “Aren't they beautiful!” I said as I reached in the back and pulled out the second flat of geraniums in the same beautiful shade of vivid red.
“Weren’t you going to the grocery store?” he asked as he carried the flat up to the front porch.
“I did.” holding the flat in one hand I reached in the front seat and grabbed the small grocery bag. “I just needed hot dog rolls, chips and some mustard for dinner tonight.” I called to him. “It's so beautiful out I thought we could eat out on the back porch.”
“Sounds good.” he placed the flat down and turned around looking confused. “Wait, did you just say you bought mustard?”
“Yeah, for the hot dogs.” I handed him the bag.
“Did you check the pantry first?” he asked. “I was sure we had a few extra mustard’s down there.”
“Whoops, I forgot.” I started to place the small pots of flowers into our window boxes. “Can you get the flat of vinca in the back of the car for me?” I started moving the pots around leaving room for the vinca vines to go.
“You know if you checked the pantry first you wouldn't have to run to the store so often.” Steven handed me the flat of vinca.
“I know.” I started placing the pots in between the geraniums. “Why don't you take that mustard down to the pantry, bring one of the pantry mustard’s upstairs to the kitchen and then we can both be happy.” I suggested.
“That's not how a pantry is suppose to work.”
“Well, it seems to be working that way for me.” I smiled but then looked at Steven shaking his head at me. “Don't worry, some day I'll get used to going down there first. I promise.” I added.
“I hope so.” Steven said taking the mustard out of the bag ready to head into the house and down to the pantry to fix my mistake.
“Wait!” I called as I placed the last pot in the window box then stepped back to take it all in. “Isn't it beautiful!” I cried.
Steven stepped back with me and smiled as I made a grand sweeping motion with my arms like I was Vanna White presenting him with a new car.
“It looks nice.” he said. “But aren't you suppose to wait until after Mother's Day to plant?” he asked.
I shrugged my shoulder. “Not when you’ve had a winter like we just had.” I declared. “Then the rule is, first warm day and everyone is at the garden center!” I said.
“Was it busy?”
“You had to see the lines, it was ridiculous.” I smiled. “By the time I got out of there and to the store I'm lucky I remembered we needed mustard for the hot dogs tonight.”