Getting Older

Husband was going to call up some friends to play basketball at our house this evening. We have a small court that acts as our driveway, certainly enough room for two on two. He called a few friends and his younger brother to play. When he hung up the phone, he looked at me with a puzzled frown on his face and said, “Damn, we’re getting old.”

My reaction was something like “Well, gee. Thanks.”

He scratched his head, perplexed, like he didn’t hear a word I said. “I called up Joe, asked him to play this evening and he said, ‘Sure…no, wait. I’ll have to check with the wife when she gets home from work and make sure she’s all right with handling both kids on her own tonight’.”

I nodded, not sure how this makes me old.

Husband continued. “Then I called up Sam and asked him to play. He said, ‘Great, what time?’ I told him around six and he said, ‘Well, I got someone coming to fix our water heater. It broke last night. Let me see if I can reschedule it’.”

I blinked slowly. “So because your friends have to check with their wives and fix their water heaters, that means that I’m old?”

“I call Joe and he has to check with his wife before he can come out and play. I call Sam and he’s got to fix something with his house.” He laughed, a playful gleam in his eye. “Wanna know what Cam, my little brother said, when I asked him to come over?”

I waited.

“He said, ‘I’m in. What time?'”

So there you have it. The passage of time does funny things. You get older and wiser, but with that comes all kinds of baggage. (Some of that baggage is priceless and cheek-pinching cute, though, isn’t it?) Although I don’t know anyone in their thirties who would go back to being eighteen, it definitely has its perks. Zip zero responsibilities.

And this is what we have to look forward to from here:

*Wait until the middle of this video for a great laugh. Just when you think he’s being a gentleman, complimenting her hair, he says the unexpected. I suppose there are some things time never changes…

Would you rather…

write one book that hits HARRY POTTER/TWILIGHT hard, then drop off the face of the publishing earth,

OR

write book after book, making a long-standing career in the writing industry?

I’ve heard this question asked a ton. By my non-writing friends. By critique partners. And I think the response could depend on where in the writing industry you stand. If you’ve already hit it big and can’t seem to make another book work as well (anyone read Meyer’s The Host?), you may long for a slow and steady career. But, I could imagine someone on the other foot, coveting that #1 NYT or USA Today Bestseller slot.

I’m not sure where I stand. I look at the Twihards and Potterfreaks and think wouldn’t it be cool to have a following like that? I could only dream of writing something so profound that it comes to life and overtakes a generation. All Rowling’s money aside (and it’d take boatloads to cast that lot aside, I’m sure), I don’t know if she’ll ever be able to write anything again, for fear it’ll inevitably be measured against Harry Potter…and fail.

Could I write one book or a series of books and be done? Could I stuff the storytelling inside me? I don’t think so…

It makes me wonder where Rowling hides her scribbling notebooks. And how much they’ll be worth when they’re uncovered.

What about you? Which would you rather write? One HUGE hit or a series of steady ones? (Not that we have any control over that, of course, but it’s fun to ponder.)

Short Term Memory

First thing I did when I awoke this morning was try to find some news. Since the television was occupied by Looney Toones, I started up my computer and began google searching recent events.

Japan radiation update

Rebuilding Japan

Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Oil work on Gulf of Mexico beaches

I got nothing. All articles relayed information from the past. Like I was reading the tragedies from a history book.

So I added today’s date to the searches.

I got nothing but a current article linked to the old information. I was flabbergasted. It seems news stations and papers have taken the attitude: It’s not top news anymore, so why write about it? This has to be a result of google top searches on those subjects dwindling.

But Americans can’t have such a short term memory, right?

Then I hop on Facebook. Most of my friends are shocked that we’re still getting rain in June. Like it’s never happened before.

Why doesn’t anyone remember when high school graduations were held the first week in June? (I graduated today, actually, 13 years ago.) Why doesn’t anyone remember how class after high school class had to have a back-up plan: 1) graduation on the field with unlimited tickets 2) in case of rain, graduation in the gym with two tickets. Why doesn’t anyone remember the panic when it rained a few days before graduation and everyone was worried it wasn’t going to clear up in time to have the ceremony on the field?

On the day of my elementary school graduation a huge storm was brewing. Strong winds cracked our huuuge “Graduation Class of 1994” banner in half.

It may not happen every single year, but it happens enough that people shouldn’t be shocked about it.

I’m just wondering why we have such a short term memory? Doesn’t anyone care about the cleanup efforts from the oil spill? The one that was said to be the greatest oil disaster in history? Doesn’t anyone care about the extent of radiation in Japan or how the radiation dumped into the ocean is affecting that ecosystem? And why, on a much lower level, doesn’t anyone remember that rain and storms are often a part of the first week in June?

I’m sure no one will have an answer. I’m just rambling.

And, as you can probably guess, I’m loving this rain. I just wish I could drink my coffee and catch up on my news while watching it.

My weekend with an editor

I spent Friday and Saturday with an editor from Grand Central Publishing. She came to San Francisco to speak with our RWA chapter and answer questions about the industry.

I picked her up from the airport early Friday afternoon, showed her around the city, then spent the whole next morning and afternoon talking about “the business”.

I. Learned. So. Much.

Surprisingly though, most of what I learned this weekend had nothing to do with writing or publishing. Of course I took away gleaming tidbits of information about what goes on behind Oz’s curtain. Of course there’s things I know about being on submission that I didn’t know before. Of course I feel like I have a better grasp about how the industry’s cogs work. But that’s not what I’m writing about today. And because lists are neat and easy and I’m in a neat and easy kind of mood, here’s five things I learned from my crazy, whirlwind of a weekend:

1-I should never handle parking tickets. Never ever. I lose them every time. Is it in my wallet? On my dashboard? In my pocket? Nope. This time it was stuck in the machine and instead of waiting for the ticket to spit out, we were on our way, gabbing about Weight Watchers and laughing about big butts (mine mostly). It took a good Samaritan holding the ticket up, screaming through the parking garage, “Did anyone lose a ticket?!” for me to wise up. I’m parking ticket challenged. There have to be others out there…

2-It’s freezing ass cold in San Francisco in May. (On a related note: Minus the racks and racks of *I Heart SF* sweatshirts, there are NO warm clothes sold in the city in May.)

3-When a friend is on vacation, thereby able to eat whatever desserts they wish, if you are the one showing them around on their vacation, you are by default on vacation too. Diets need not apply. We ate at the Cheesecake Factory for a mid-afternoon snack after realizing that both of us had eaten there before without trying their infamous cheesecake. (Random similarity, right?)

Doesn’t it look delicious? It really was.

4-Doing absolutely nothing is absolutely something. We drove around San Francisco from one spectacular stop to another. We gawked at Alcatraz, drove across the Golden Gate twice, curved our way down Lombard Street, strolled Pier 39, and ate absolutely tongue-lolling food. We talked family, shopping, friends, boyfriends, husbands, school, books and alpha heroes. Although I’d only just met her, by the end of the day I felt like I’d known her for years. We didn’t really do anything, yet it was one of the most memorable days I’ve had in a long time.

And finally…

5-Editors aren’t scary three-headed creatures who chomp on manuscripts for lunch, glaring hungrily at debut authors as they begin their submission process. Contrary to what debut authors think, editors are helpful and friendly. They want you to succeed! Editors are people too. Great people who love books and writing (many of them are authors themselves). They smile ear to ear with their clients as all their hard work shines on the printed page. They’re people who fight for authors and genuinely love the publishing process.

I had a great weekend. Now excuse me while I get my cheesecake-lovin’ butt to the gym.

I am *THAT* mother

Oh, boy. Confession time.

I went to an ex-students wedding on Saturday. Husband had to jet right after the ceremony to get to work…so I was left alone with Princess and Tank. Usually…and I now emphasize the word Usually as if it’s the most important word in the English language…Usually the kids are great. They’re not perfect angels, but they have manners. They’re well-behaved. They’re respectful and listen when I tell them to do something.

I prepared for the wedding as a “good mother” should. I brought cars, crayons, pads of paper, tic-tac-toe sheets, barbies, Nintendo DS and three games, Cheez-Its and Popcorn. Enough to keep the kids busy through Armageddon. Seriously.

They. Were. Not. Having. It.

The wedding went off without a hitch. Tank started to get squirmy so I took him outside. No biggie, right?

Within five minutes of the reception starting, things started to break down. Tank didn’t want any of the toys. He kept saying he was hungry…but not for the snacks I brought. He was beyond irritable. (Might’ve had something to do with him getting four shots two days prior…) He had an “accident”, spilled drinks all over the beautifully arranged table, played tag with a kid from the table over and proceeded to “tag” him in the back with a fork.

Oh, but it gets worse. Any time I tried to talk to him, to get him to calm down and stop running all over the joint like a madman, he screamed bloody murder and pulled away from me. Not normal for the boy who gets dejected when I discipline him by simply tell him “no” at home. Any of you out there who know Tank, know he is Mr. Mellow-Yellow. He’s quiet. Shy. Apparently not this night.

It gets worse. You see, I know my kid is acting up. I know he’s being a pain. I don’t need to be told by someone else.

A woman the next table over (with two boys my kids’ age who were acting like total angels) leaned over to me and said, “I brought toys for my kids. If you want, your son can play with some of these.” She handed me a plastic frog. Tank screamed. I said, “Oh no thanks. You see, I brought toys…and food. He’s just having a bad day or something. This isn’t normal and I’m not sure what’s going on with him.” She looked at me like I sprouted six heads. Like it was an excuse I’ve given a thousand times at a thousand different weddings.

I realized…I am THAT mother. The one with the child running rampant around a beautiful reception. Never in a million years would I have thought that to be me. I would have sat Tank in the car on a gazillion second time-out…but I couldn’t leave Princess alone in the hall. (I gave him three timeouts in the hall of the bathroom, though, where his scream echoed so loud I’m still deaf in one ear.) I would have left the reception completely…but I already told Princess we could stay for the beautiful Princess cake. She was so excited.

When I told her we had to leave because her brother was throwing a conniption-fit, she threw a conniption-fit like only a six year old girl knows how. Water works started. The bottom lip popped out. Her feet dragged the floor. She pleaded her case with everyone she saw on the way out. I was the evil step-mother tearing her away from the ball.

Oh, boy.

Picture this: I’m dragging a screaming three year old with one arm and holding the hand of a wailing six year old drama queen in the other who “Swears she’d be good enough for cake if I just let her stay!”

After they were buckled into the car and the crescendo escalated in the cab, I slouched against the side of the truck and took a deep breath.

I am that mother.

I was never going to be this mother.

The world has officially flipped on its head.

Then I came to the conclusion that all those other mothers might’ve been having a bad day too. Their kids might not be hellions every day. They might’ve just gotten shots. The mother might’ve been holding the fort all her own with no one to lend a helping hand. The kids might’ve been sleep-deprived. Hungry. Fussy.

I was so judgmental.

I apologize to all the mothers I’ve judged through the years for unruly children. I feel your pain. We all try our best…sometimes though, the worst days shadow our best efforts. We end up looking and feeling like failures in the process, but we have to remember: It’s a single day. One day.

And tomorrow’s a new one.

Today I’m going to take this lesson on perspective and apply it to my work-in-progress. So much hinges on whose perspective a scene is written. The scene at the wedding would have been completely different had it been from the bride’s perspective. Or from the woman offering up her son’s frog. Or from Tank.

Times like these help me remember that a scene needs to be written from the person who has the most to lose. That night, it was me. I lost my sanity. I’m only now getting it back one behaved child moment at a time.

Freedom!

I couldn’t tell you how many times I shouted the phrase today. Yes, today was a milestone in the Miller household.

Both my children were in school this morning.

Which left me totally, utterly FREE. Oh, I know there are those of you who love having babies around and feel sad when those babies separate and walk into the classroom. I know there are those who try for more children once their oldest gets into school. (What, are you crazy?!?) There are also those who cry as their little ones walk through that classroom door and they’re left alone to their own devices. (And by devices of course I mean housework, grocery shopping and laundry.)

But not me.

Today (just to prove to myself that I could) I went shopping for a writing chair and desk. (Found the chair, not the desk, but it was oh, so much fun just perusing.) I had lunch. (Veggie burritos from a local taqueria because they’re DELISH and Tank eats all mine when we take him.) It was great.

I might’ve been the only mother skipping to my car as I dropped the kids off at school. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face all day. It’s not because I won’t miss them around the house because I will. It’s just that this is the moment I’ve waited for since they were born. I’ve groomed them through the years. Primped them. Taught them. Built them to be good people and good students. (At least that’s the hope, right?) And now they get to put what they’ve learned into action.

Yes, it’s a little scary. That Freedom in all its glory also means that anything could happen…

I feel the exact same nervous energy about my new WIP. I have the characters backstory solidly in my head. I know them inside and out–how they hurt, why they feel the way they do. But what if when I start writing (and I give them the freedom to move and breathe around the pages) they misbehave and ruin the darn good story line I’ve concocted in my head? Those darn characters are mischievous and never seem to behave properly (at least in my books, they don’t). My real-life children will behave better, I know they will.

Writers, do you feel me? Do your characters perform on cue, as expected, always? Or do they rummage around and get into trouble where you didn’t plan on having any? Mothers, were you the type that relished your newfound freedom with your children in school or did you skulk for the few hours they were in the classroom? Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one…

Dashes, turkey legs and gremlins, oh my!

I think I may have just won the title of the most random blog title ever! My brain is a little fried today and after reading this post you may know why. And the title fits! It does! Let me tell you…I’ve had a great (albeit exhausting) week. And it’s not even finished yet!

Saturday my sister-in-law was married in a gorgeous Irish-themed wedding. I was over-the-moon excited to be the matron-of-honor and, after re-reading this paragraph, promise to quit with the dashes from here on out. Games were played and Queen’s favors were won. Smoked turkey legs were deliciously evil and there seemed to be an endless supply of beer. In the midst of the reception where I scored major points in archery and bocce ball challenges and where Husband won the stone toss, I discovered two things about myself. One, that I can wear the heavy, flannel, traditional garb that the women did back then without groaning too much about it. The temperature licked at 100 degrees, but my dress stayed on. It was a larger feat than it seems…take a look at what I was up against…

Which leads me to the second thing I discovered about myself…there is nothing sexier than a strong-jawed, wide-shouldered man in a kilt holding a bare turkey leg. (Side note: I’m not much for historical novels, but as of late I don’t know what’s going on with me. First, I love McCarty’s The Chief, and now I’m drooling over Husband in a kilt. I think it’s time I re-evaluate my writing/reading preferences.) (And YES, I have a left arm…it’s wrapped behind my back and hidden beneath 10 pounds of stifling fabric. Hungry, sword-wielding Husband didn’t gnaw it off.)

After the wedding, Husband and I packed up our two munchkins and headed to Pinecrest Lake, a campground with loads to do. Actually, even though there was fishing, horseback riding, and miles of trails to hike, I sat on the beach and looked at *this* all day:

Not such a bad view, huh?

This is me and Husband back to our modern-day selves, lounging like two lizards on the beach. Don’t say anything but I think I liked him as a stone-throwing Irishman better. Ha!

The rugrats had never been camping and I was a little hesitant. In my worst nightmares I could not have imagined how dirty they’d get. The ring around my bathtub looked a little like those gulf oil spill pictures floating around the internet. Although I freaked out every time they kicked up plumes of dirt and laughed or shoved dozens of marshmellows in their little cheeks, they loved every second. Every single sugar-filled, dirty-little second. When we left, they were innocent and cuddly…a little like Gizmo. Remember him?

“Please let me go camping and eats tons of sugar! Pleeease! I’ll be a good little gremlin!”

Now imagine Gizmo whacked out on pixie sticks and doughnuts and candy and picture him swimming in the lake waaaay past his bedtime. Yup. You got it. My cute, cuddly kids came home looking a little like this:

“Open this refrigerator so I can get to the deep-fried twinkies or I’m going to saw off the handle with my chainsaw! Raawr!” (And, why yes, that is me hiding behind the wall, too scared to enter the kitchen for fear the gremlins will eat off my right arm. It’d be awful to post a picture here tomorrow of me missing BOTH arms, right?)

Needless to say, I’m so glad the week is over. It’s over, I tell you! We’re home safe, the kids are clean (back to their mildly innocent, cute and cuddly selves), the piles of camping gear are (mostly) unpacked and I’m drop-dead tired. Wait…it’s Thursday? Shoot. What should I do with the rest of my week?

Maybe I could convince my knight in shining plaid to dress up again. *wink

(Edited to add: Anyone wanna do a dash tally? Think I broke the twenty mark?)

Birthday Blues

My grumble, grumble, thirtieth, grumble birthday is coming up on Saturday. I’m kinda freaked out about it. I’ve never been one to fret about growing another year older. I drown myself in random quotes about birthdays that make me feel young and vibrant when that time of year rolls around. It pretty much works. A few well-knowns like “age is nothing but a number” and “it’s not how old you are but how old you feel” do the trick on days I search for those creeping grays.

But thirty? Holy hell.

I’m the last of my friends to cross the threshold.

I really do feel older. (Thanks largely to the two knee surgeries that have left me with a slight gimp and aching pain that rears its ugly head when it’s cold out.)

I tell Husband to turn down his loud music when he ramps it up. But come on, who wants to get their eardrums blasted out by Rage Against the Machine or Slipknot every “quiet” Sunday morning?

I’d MUCH rather spend my mornings with a mocha from Starbucks, a Chewy granola bar, and my blank word doc than a sweat session at the gym–even though I know which of those I *should* be doing.

And I’d much rather spend my nights cuddled beneath a blanket than out drinking with friends.

Is that so wrong? Am I making thirty the new fifty? I worry sometimes. Especially when Husband gets back from an open track meet this weekend and says he feels younger. Younger! Can you believe that? The nerve of him to mention youth when I’m about to be old and gray. Hmph!

I actually have plans for my thirtieth. A big bash with family and friends and beer and yummy cake and presents…it’s my sister-in-laws wedding! Oh, I’m sure I’ll do something the day or week after but for now there’s no plans. I kinda just want to curl up on my rocker, pet my cat, drink some tea and watch 60 Minutes*.

*For the record I don’t own a rocker, or a cat, I don’t drink tea, nor have I ever watched 60 Minutes. And I’ve especially never done them all at the same time which would absolutely catapult me into the Depends-Zone.*

Anyway, back to my thirtieth. I don’t want presents this year. Hell, I don’t even want to drink. (Did enough of that at RWA National, thank you very much.) What I would like is a day with no cooking, no cleaning, no loud music, no stress, and hey, what the hell, maybe a book deal thrown in at some point.

Yeah, that’d pretty much blow the top off year thirty.

I’d looove for you all to weigh in. How did you feel at thirty? Were you as freaked out as I am? What did you do? (And if you say you watched 60 Minutes I’m going to chuck my MTWTHF pill container right at your head.)

Edited to add: I forgot to mention (not surprising seeing as memory loss is the first thing to suffer in old age) that the 100 Follower Contest is coming to a close. I’ll pick the winner of Eve of Samhain or a $15 Starbucks Giftcard TOMORROW. If you’re interested don’t forget to follow the “Author Spotlight” link and comment.

Near Death Experience aka Motherly Freakout

You’ll never believe what happened to me Saturday night–other than my diet blowing up like a two-ton firework because I stuffed myself at my uncle’s birthday with two too many pieces of tri-tip and deliciously yummy chocolate cake and soda and pasta salad and more pasta salad and crunchy outside-warm inside garlic bread and chips and dip and…Whew. I feel a little better after spewing all that…not literally of course.

Well, doesn’t that lead right into my post? I had a near death experience on my way home from the birthday party! YES. It’s true. At least in my head it is.

Here’s what happened.

I left the party well after midnight when the full moon was highest in the sky. The roads were bare save for the few squirrels and possums smattered here and there on the dry asphalt. My radio was blaring “Thriller” even though it was way past Halloween and my fingers were latched around the leather-wrapped steering wheel like a vice.

It’s then that I heard the words whisper from the backseat: “Mommy, I unbuckled my seatbelt.”

“What?!?” I yelled, glaring into the back.

Sure enough, as slats of moonlight streamed through the back window I saw my daughter’s body free from the restraint that would save her life if some whacko came flying around the corner and slammed into us. And it could totally happen.

My mind raced. We were still a good ten minutes from home. I couldn’t keep driving. The roads were bare but it’d only take one car veering out of their lane to hit us and that’d be it. But THE ROADS WERE BARE AND IT’S THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, meaning it’s prime serial killer hunting season. I couldn’t pull over knowing that. There was hardly a shoulder anyway because the road bent and twisted along the river like a shadow hovering beside a dark serpent. There was nowhere to go.

“Put it back on,” I instructed her, slowing to a near halt as we approached the bridge stretching over the river.

She struggled. “I can’t.”

At this point I went into a wild rant about how it’s dangerous to take off seatbelts while the car is still in motion much like the rant you’d get from a stewardess if you don’t stow away your articles and put your tray tables in their upright and locked position on takeoff. Except I wasn’t wearing a pretty smile and a starched suit-dress. I lectured very well anyway and proved my point as a car came barreling around the corner, windows down, Jay Z’s “Hustler” carrying on the night breeze.

IT’S GOING TO HIT US! I KNOW IT IS! THE ONE TIME SOMEONE TAKES HIS OR HER SEATBELT OFF IS THE TIME SOMETHING HAPPENS! OH GOD! IT’S DARK! IT’S COMING FAST! I’M HELPLESS!

My saving grace appeared on the right–a small stretch of sand just before the bridge, large enough to fit my big ass truck. I weaved off the road, bounding over rocks and potholes and came to a halt before the little sandy patch shifted into a dirt road and dropped down into the river.

I sighed a breath of relief as the car passed, disappearing into the night. I peered through the dark to where the truck’s lights illuminated something near the water. It…it almost looked like people…yes…two, three, maybe more…men. Big men. Damn it. They had to be big mean-lookin’ men who didn’t look pleased that I’d disturbed their little party, didn’t they? Couldn’t be little old ladies having a midnight tea party, oh no. Holy hell, there was some sort of bonfire going on and they…why were they all standing and looking at me? Oh shit, my lights were pointed right at them. And what they were smoking was definitely not legal.

I reached frantically into the backseat to latch my daughter’s seatbelt. I couldn’t reach it.

The men were closer now. Three decided to come check me out, bottles clutched in their grasp. They couldn’t have liked my lights shining right on them but I couldn’t turn another direction (there wasn’t any room), and I couldn’t turn the headlights off. Like I’d want to commit myself to the dark where I couldn’t see them at all! But I also couldn’t keep driving with my daughter’s seatbelt off while car after car sped by! I wouldn’t press my luck–I couldn’t!

I made a split second decision.

I jumped out of the truck, hauled serious ass to the passenger door directly behind mine, leaped across the back bench seat, jerked the belt across my daughter’s body, latched it, slammed the door shut, scurried back to my seat, slammed my door closed and bounded back onto the road.

I was seriously winded.

“Why’d we have to hurry?” she asked, innocent and worried.

“Because it wasn’t safe!” I snapped, my heart still beating out of my chest. “There were men out there by the river and it wasn’t safe!”

“There were men by the river?” It’s clear the trauma had left her wondering why her mother just reacted like a raving lunatic. But then she said, “Were they Fishermen?”

“Yes,” I answered dryly, my mind picturing gangsters with weed and guns and knives and…fishing poles? “They were really crazy fishermen.”

The remainder of the drive home was met with silence as she, no doubt, tried to understand what was going on while I calmed myself down. But I couldn’t! We almost died! Those guys could’ve totally killed us, hacked us up with their filleting knivery and fed us to the fishes as bait for their next meal! Really! It could’ve totally happened!

Okay, okay, so I may’ve overreacted a little bit. I didn’t leave the party after midnight…we left at nine. A car did come barreling around the corner right as she depressed her seatbelt button, but I thought I heard Michael Bolton not Jay-Z. Okay, that’s a stretch too. I didn’t hear anything. BUT there were three guys doing something they weren’t suppose to be doing near the river. They DID NOT like my headlights illuminating them and they did walk toward me to figure out what the hell I wanted. Except they weren’t gangsters or bikers, at least not from what I could discern.

But they sure as hell weren’t fishermen…not that I took the time to look for poles or tackle boxes.

Lastly, something I must admit…the freakout…THAT was real. My emotions. My thoughts. Those were about spot-on. Not so much of a near death experience in reality when you look at the hard facts but who looks at facts now-a-days? Everything seems to be driven by feelings and beliefs and desires and hopes and fears. I was definitely running on a few of those skewers that night.

The rest of the night I was completely spent. I crawled into bed and delved into Monica McCarty’s The Chief before I called it a night well after midnight. My mind just wouldn’t shut off. Thank God the historical romance didn’t have cars or seatbelts or crazy men who had bonfires much too late at night and freak out mothers driving home with their restless children.

What about you? Your child ever push the seatbelt button while you were still driving? Have you ever forgotten to latch it completely and freak out when you realize you went halfway across town without it? I could imagine your mind might race through horrible possibilities as mine did. Care to weigh share so I don’t feel like the only batty mother?

Know-it-all

I don’t know it all. Far from it, in fact. But there are a few things I do know…like every day is a new day.

On top of editing, I’ve been planning a bridal shower for my sister-in-law, cleaning and cooking like a madwoman and taking care of my usual motherly summer duties (like taking kids to play dates and sports events). I’ve held it together rather well, with only the minor occasional freak-out. (Very typical of type-A personalities, I must say.)

But yesterday I lost it.

It seemed like every room I cleaned was dirty within two minutes of me walking out the door. Every time I looked at the kitchen sink it was full of dishes again. And every time I came home from the store there was something I forgot to pick up. I’d finally gotten my living room and kitchen cleaned and decorated for the shower, and walked into my son’s room to put away laundry. I kid you not–I couldn’t put a thing away. The mess was unbearable. I made my way to his bed, zig-zagging around Handy Manny’s tool set and Spiderman four-wheelers. I tripped on Mr. Potato Head (totally wrenched my knee avoiding his damn pointy green hat), sat down, and had a good cry.

The Husband came in and found me a few minutes later. He asked me what I was doing (with a half-laughing, half-concerned “are you having a meltdown?” look on his face). I told him “I just needed a minute”. He said something like “Want me to leave you alone?” I shook my head, dried my tears with some clean baby wipes, and got back to work. I kept thinking tomorrow is a new day. Hell, six o’clock is a new hour and there are things to do.

No rest for the weary, I suppose. At least not around my house lately. (After working a 13 hour shift this morning and 4 hours sleep the night before, The Husband cleaned out the rabbit’s cage and hosed off the patio for the party this afternoon. He grumbled, but sucked it up too.)

That brings me too another thing I’ve figured out along the way.

Even though we celebrated our 8 year anniversary with a fancy-dancy trip to San Francisco a few days ago, there’s a deeper level of appreciation when he offers to mop the kitchen floor and do some laundry than go somewhere romantic. Don’t get me wrong…there’s much to be said for a kid-free night out…but there’s something about a man with a mop that’s sexy as hell. Love is shown that way, people, not with roses or candlelit dinners.

Now if I could just figure out how to get my kids’ bedrooms to clean themselves.