Tailgating for Romney

Do you have plans for tonight?

David does.

It's the second presidential debate.

I know.  I'm excited too.

I just can't wait to hear the same questions and the same answers all over again.

But wait.

This time it's town hall style.

What?  Holy cow, that changes everything.

Now I'm totally excited.

Because different people will be asking the same questions that the same two guys will be answering in the same way.

Oh yeah, we're kickin' it town hall style tonight.

But what I want to know is if any of this is really necessary.  I mean, I could do all the answers for them at this point.  In my sleep.

What is left to suss out?

Do people really not know who they are going to vote for? 

I don't believe it.  It's not that hard.  Do you want more or less of what we've had for four years?  See?  Easy.

I want to know who all these "undecided" voters are and ask them why they can't get their junk together.

Get your junk together, people, so the rest of us can get on with our lives.

I thought about having a tailgating party for the debate.  You know, invite the neighbors, break out the grill, use red and blue paper plates, and napkins that say "Power to the People."  Maybe my neighbors will bring beer because I am pretty sure I cannot do another one of these without alcohol.

What?  Too far?

Not far enough, CIM says.

If I was at that townhall tonight, and Candy Crowley handed that microphone to me, here are the burning questions I'd ask the candidates:

Why are there no good designers on Project Runway this season?

Are skinny jeans actually an ironic joke that make us all look fat?

When is Starbucks starting up their salted caramel flavor again and what do we have to do to get that to be a year-round thing?

How does Connie Britton look that good all the time?

Is it wrong that some guy has the energy and determination to get himself 24 miles above the earth and I have trouble getting the energy and determination to get myself up 24 stairs to put the clothes away?

Should I join my ward bookclub or is my eventual disappointment inevitable?

Is using eventual and inevitable in the same sentence redundant?

Can I use the shrimp I didn't use last week, but put in the refrigerator to defrost, or is that just asking for trouble?

What do you think we should wear for our upcoming family picture?  Keep in mind that the last official family picture we took was four years ago when one of you took office, so this is most likely going to be on the wall for some time.  The voters cannot afford a mistake.

Should I curl my hair or wear it straight for the aforementioned family picture?  Should I color it the same color as Connie Britton's?

Forget that last one.  That's just silly. 

Or is it?

Regardless, as Fox News let us know this morning, there are only twenty days until the election, and then David will be all mine again.  And for the record, I am really hoping Romney wins tonight.  Because when Romney gets lucky, we all get lucky.

What?  Too far?

Yes, says RIM.

The Scariest Month of the Year is September

It has not escaped my notice that three of the last five posts have contained numbered lists.

(Be assured that your disappointment is no match for my shame.)

Regardless, somehow today turned into October. Amazing really, as I thought September and all it's horrors might never end.  If I wanted to, I could make quite the numbered list, starting with "grrr" and ending with "ugh" and all the exhausting, soul-killing, first-quarter-back-to-school grievances in between.  If I happen to find myself in purgatory at the end of all this living, mine is sure to be an eternity of September.  Excruciating.

So, in a rare display of holiday spirit I dressed my mantle up in eagerness for the upcoming holiday.  The kids, who know I have always downgraded Halloween to "minor holiday" status, hardly know what to make of my new-found zeal for Halloween.  What can I say?  October has never looked so good, with its promise of fall break and a few days of sleeping past five, fall food menus, a perpetual apple pie in my refrigerator, and six tickets to the BYU Homecoming game clipped onto my calendar.  There will be fall leaves and crisp temperatures to go with the game, not to mention twenty or so uninterrupted hours in the car with my lovelies.  It's nearly enough to make me weep, and more than enough to make me decorate in anticipation.

Now if only the election were already over, my life would be near perfect.  Please Fox News, give my husband back.

For Money

It has been five days since the Garden of Hope Spring Tea (my big fundraising event of the year) and I am out of excuses.  It is time to post.

I cleaned my house.  Long neglected.

I paid the bills.  Long overdue.

I went to the store and the library.  Long out of anything to eat or read.  (There is a running debate around here about which is worse.)

Today I intend to go to my final class and iron David's shirts.  The man has been ironing his own since February.  And after that I have a list of things I've been meaning to get to: wash the girls' bedding, organize the swim cupboard, prepare the file boxes for the end-of-the-year school treasures, breathe, sleep, nap, smile.  All good things and all about time.

Last night I had a dream that David no longer loved me.  Too hard to live with, plus the house was a mess, he said.  I woke up and had to be reassured several times before he left for work this morning.

When I think back over the last three months, I want to dance (it's over!) and cry (it was hard!).  David has been calmly coaxing me through the ensuing maelstrom of ups and downs.  You can imagine.

Anyway, did you know I was a philanthropist?  (Honestly, there is almost no end to my amazingness.)

Well, I am.

I made this quilt and raised a whole lot of money for the cancer program at David's hospital.  (He should be so lucky, I tell my horrid dream.)

And even better, I looked gorgeous doing it.  (Hello.)

David and I have a standing joke that since he didn't marry me for my money he must have married me for my looks.  This post is evidence that it seems I'm good for both. 

Tomorrow, a real post. 

P.S.  A generous and heartfelt thank you to all of you who sent cards and help and good wishes my way during the madness.  They meant more than I can say. 

The New Addition and the Angel of Death

Yesterday I had a problem in the middle of the day.

So I called David.

Surprisingly, he answered.  I almost dropped the phone.  He is usually in the hospital black hole and cannot be reached until after six or seven when he reemerges into our lives.  I was only going to leave a heartfelt, desperate message.

I said, breathing heavy, "I just saw a mouse."

"Are you sure?"

"Um, yep."  And then, just so we were clear.  "And it's your job to kill it."  There are a few jobs in our marriage that I just can't stomach.  Those ones are clearly his.  And this is one of them.  I'm a traditional girl and I believe in having defined roles in marriage.

He assured me he'd take care of it.

Last night after I returned home from teaching a body image class the girls asked, "Why didn't you tell us you saw a mouse?"  Apparently the subject had come up over dinner.

"I didn't want to scare you."

"Why would we be scared?  It was probably just Shiloh."


"Shiloh.  Our pet mouse."

"Wait, what?"

"We found a mouse in the backyard and we've been feeding her and we named her Shiloh.  It's probably just her."  Given the chance, these girls will mother anything.

I stared at them, aghast.  My mind reeled and stumbled around forming a quick lecture on the black plague.  I was just about to start in on it when Olivia said, "Now that you know about her, can we keep her like a real pet?"


I told David we have a problem.  The mouse in our house has a name.

And that is how David acquired a new job around here.  One that not only includes killing the scorpions and mice, but one which includes killing our children's "pets," along with their hopes and dreams and romantic notions.

Clearly another job I don't have the stomach for.

I just hope that David does. 

Sand in My Eye

How about something fun today?

I'm in a bad, bad mood.

In fact I may be teetering on the verge from "mood" to outright "funk."

It's that bad.

And it's all David's fault, of course.

Now he is reading that last line and I can hear him scoffing all the way from the hospital.  He is thinking, "That's outrageous!"

And it is.  (But don't tell him.)

I'm going to move on to the fun stuff in just a minute, but first, the straw that broke the camel's back.  (Because I know you are wondering.)  I went in the bathroom this morning to put Caleb's hair up for "Crazy Hair Day" and I walked through a substantial sand pile right in the middle of the floor.  I asked, "Who dumped their shoes out in the middle of the floor?"  And everyone said, "Not me." 

I know.  I was shocked too.  And if you are wondering how this is David's fault I will just remind you (as I reminded him) that he was the reason these children (and therefore, the sand pile too) exist in the first place.

I know what you're thinking.  "Wow, she can make a mountain out of a molehill  sand pile like nobody else I know."  What can I say?  It's a gift.

(Don't worry.  It's October.  I should be feeling better any day now.)

Now to the part where I make your life a little better.  Fun, right?

On the way to Utah last weekend, David asked me if I brought any books-on-tape.  I had.  But he wasn't interested in either of them, and so I casually mentioned that I had a bunch of "This American Life" podcasts on my ipod that we could listen to.  I've mentioned this before.  But honestly, David thinks my penchant for NPR is another of my charming character flaws, and has always declined.  But then he got a little desperate on our way out of the desert and I tempted him by saying, "There's a funny one I think you'd like."  And so he reluctantly consented.

We listened to every one of them before the trip was over.

I made a convert.

Some of them are so laugh-out-loud funny David and I just sat and hooted at each other and wiped our eyes afterwards.  Some of them are so sobering we just sat and looked at each other, our eyebrows doing all the talking.  Some of them are so informative we would have to pause the podcast and discuss our take on it, and how it made us think of something else we had to tell the other one right away.


And, as you know, I love being right.  So this was doubly wonderful.  David even asked me when it "normally airs."  Ha!  I told him Saturdays at two with a gleeful, triumphant smile.

So if you haven't already, you really should subscribe to the podcast and next week you can fold your laundry to the joy that is "This American Life."

And can I just say, that when I can't sleep and I am lying in my bed in the dark, I fantasize about being interviewed by Ira Glass.  And the stories I would tell him and the pauses he would make and the questions that would follow.

I can just imagine the one I would tell him about the sandbox I found in the bathroom this morning and after I told him the whole thing, how I harassed the children and made a federal case out of it and was nearly run through by the beam in my own eye, he would pause and ask, "At any point along here did you think 'This is crazy!'?"

And then I'd give a long pause.

And we'd both laugh, because of course I hadn't.

The Only Solace of September

Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy and I put up the rest of the tomatoes and peaches on Tuesday.

(They are my loyal canning companions.  It was nice to see them again.)

And then, because I couldn't help myself, I bought three more boxes of peaches yesterday.

I'm out of bottles, of course.

And shelf space.

But it's now or never.  There are no more peaches in November.  So we're making the most of it.  And eating peaches on everything.  Last night I had some on my hamburger.  Delicious. 

In bed last night, as I was drifting off, I remembered my grandmother's peach nectar, a drink so good it makes you feel wicked.  And I made a little plan to make some of my own.  That thought alone is enough to make me happy for the rest of September.

Which is saying something.

Because September is my hardest month to be happy.  (With May the close second.) 

It is the interminable month of the year.  Back at school full-time, the schedule and the early mornings taking their toll by now.  The heat is still oppressive while the rest of the country is getting a respite, and envy is making me crazy.  I am so madly jealous of every resident of Wisconsin right now I can hardly stand it.

And so I console myself with Austen and dreams of peach nectar. 

And sometimes I feel nearly human.  Though I was so prickly with David this morning he may disagree. 

Never mind.  I am off to drown my regrets in peaches and cream.

Just hope I bought enough.

Entropy, Repentance and Me

Last night David and I stayed up late watching a movie and Jimmy Kimmel's monologue.  (Quit halfway through because it was a rerun.)

And then David put the clean sheets on our bed as I walked through the house cleaning up the bits and pieces of our evening and putting another couple of pieces in the puzzle we are working on.

As I passed the laundry room I sighed. 

Last week my washing machine died.  And could not be resurrected. 

The repairman said to go shopping.  I did so grudgingly.  Partly because my budget doesn't have room for a new washer and dryer and partly because I found out that in an effort to make washing machines more energy efficient, the government instituted new standards (none of which included anything about making clothes cleaner which seems like a gaping hole in standard-making if you ask me [which nobody did by the way]) which only resulted in making the machines more expensive and less effective. 

(Whew.  That might have been a run-on sentence just now.  Too bad.  I've done enough repenting already today.)

Now don't get me wrong.

I like the earth. 

But why are saving the earth and having clean clothes mutually exclusive?

And (dang it) the machines I can afford don't match my laundry room like my old one used to and they also stick out way past my countertop and since my laundry room is really just a hallway anyway, it is really bothersome to have them sitting out so far. 

The guy who came to install them could tell I wasn't happy.

He said, "I can tell you're thinking something.  Do you have any questions?"

"Only the unanswerable kind."

"Try me."

Bless him.  I smiled.  "What do you know about entropy?"

He cocked his head.

I continued.  "I mean I just want to be able to wash my clothes, you know?  And in the meantime entropy is slowly destroying my washing machine bit by bit with every load, and at the same time the government thinks they know better than me and they are secretly conspiring to make me buy a machine that is more expensive and less effective than my current machine, which was slowly falling apart by the way.  And both of these things were happening simultaneously, until we reached this moment, when I have to buy a new machine that requires special laundry detergent and it takes twice as long to wash and doesn't match and costs a lot of money that I had planned on spending at the beach this summer." 

He looked a little nervous at that point, and in his defense, I may or may not have gotten a little teary by the end of it as well. 

Clearly at a loss he asked, "How many kids do you have?"

I told him, belligerently.

"Yeah.  That's a lot of laundry."

Starting to feel a little soothed, and slightly chagrined, I whined quietly, "And they stick out."

He could tell he was starting to make some headway and perked up.  "I think this is a great room.  Yeah, they're a little bigger, but there is still plenty of room to walk and you have a great little laundry room here."

"Okay."  I felt a little better.

But by the time David left for work I was fired up again.

He asked for clarification.  "So are you mad at me?"

"No, I'm just mad."

I gave him the same rant I gave the delivery guy.

A little too buoyantly, he said, "Yeah, but they're more energy efficient."

Which was clearly the wrong thing to say.  (Let's be clear.  There wasn't a right thing to say at this point.  Just walk away, darling.  Which is what he did.)

By the time he came home from work, I had repented.  I had remembered the millions of women washing their laundry in a dirty river, or over a washboard, or with nothing to wash at all.  And I got a little humble. 

And as the day wore on and I folded load after load, I got a little more.

And I remembered that I am not entitled to life without entropy.  I live in a fallen world.  And I could save myself (and my husband, yes please) all kinds of grief by simply accepting this one principle of the plan. 

I spend entirely too much energy fighting the fall.  And I do mean fighting.  Not to mention the exertion of repentance afterwards.

Perhaps I should start implementing my own energy efficiency standards.

Don't worry.  I can already hear RIM and CIM.  It'll never make it out of committee.

If, At First

Olivia in the throes of ecstasy over the last piece of lemon pie.  It was so delicious she nearly lost consciousness.

I am try, try, againing.

I ate a slice of lemon cake for breakfast this morning.  And was almost immediately sick.  I had forgotten that my blood sugar was bargain-basement low and the shock of all that lemon-sugary goodness nearly sent me into a coma.

I tried to breathe through the sugar high.  And as the world went spinning I firmly reminded myself (again) that I need protein first thing in the morning.  Lemon cake has surprisingly little protein content.

Clearly, I'm a slow learner. 

Do you remember this argument about the quilt I am working on.

CIM won.  (Big surprise.)  Almost as soon as I finished the post, actually. 

Which is a real shame, since I think my life has taken a steady decline since then.  And I should know better.

I am madly working on what, I think, is the fourth version of this quilt.  (I've lost track.)  I keep telling myself that this is the fourth and final try, but (let's be honest) that is probably just wishful thinking.

But wait, you say (full of genuine concern), isn't this supposed to be done this week?

I nod my head tremulously.

But then I rally, remembering that this is how I do everything.  Pull the rabbit out of the hat.  And then kiss my husband fervently for enduring another week of crazy.   (Apparently, I'm a very good kisser.)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some sewing to do before that cake wears off.