When we were younger and stumbled upon my mom’s grocery shopping list, we’d sneak things like “candy” and “ice cream” onto the list in our best mom-like handwriting. Sometimes it worked (read: she humored us) and we felt like victors.
Last night, I stumbled upon Fred’s grocery shopping list and got to work.
Well. I popped home over lunch today and on the counter were three packages:
- Reese’s Eggs (Check!)
- Reester Bunnies (Check!)
- Cadbury Eggs (Check!)
It’s official: I have the best husband ever.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
(PS – is it just me or is Easter candy, like, the best?!!)
I had an incident a few months ago involving my sewing machine that was serviced at a local shop. I got it home, get it all re-assembled and it was a HOT MESS. The bobbin wasn’t catching and the tension is causing a billion birds nests (if you’re not a sewer, know this isn’t a good thing). The needle-threader wasn’t doing it’s sole purpose in life – threading. Frustrated and irritated that it cost me close to a hundred bucks to have it all cleaned up and have it not work led to me giving the shop a call to see if I could get it back in.
It started off nice enough with me explaining my problems. Then she told me it wasn’t their problem because it worked fine when I left. I told her that all I did is drive across town and plug it in – it’s not working. She said she was sorry and that I was welcome to bring it back in but that they’d charge to do the cleaning again. I told her it’s clean – it just needs to be fixed. She again apologized and told me there was nothing she could do that it was fine when I left.
I was getting HOT.
I told her that it shouldn’t be my problem either when I pay them to fix it all up and then it doesn’t work. She didn’t care. I told her that I wanted to bring it in and have them look at it and that I’d never – until this moment – had a problem with the needle-threader. She sniped back that they NEVER touch the needle-threaders so that was my own doing. (WUT.) I informed her, with a shaking voice, that it was in fine working condition for YEARS until I had just gotten it back. She, again, told me to bring it back in so they could look at it.
No, ma’am, it’ll be a new ticket so you’ll pay for any time and work put into it.
Not feeling this was fair I started raising my voice asking her how she thought this was even remotely close to fair? I didn’t do anything to my machine except plug it in and I’m being penalized for them screwing it up? She didn’t see it that way and told me to bring it back in – for a charge. I asked if there was someone there today so that I could get this done and she not only told me that I couldn’t cut in line of other paying customers but that the techs were going to be out for at least a week. (DOUBLE WUT.)
I yelled at her that this was complete bullshit and hung up the phone, steaming.
I think most of us wonder at some point in time just how our kid(s) will end up as adults… I think ours is going to turn out fine.
(PS – Using some tools, my spit and nearly breaking a piece, I did get it fixed. Thanks, asshats.)
I’m always lost in thought on some level. These days, I’m in my head almost all of the time thinking and thinking and thinking. I spend a lot of time re-hashing events to figure out what I could have said, or done or should have said or done or even what I still can/will say or do.
I haven’t been able to shake something said to me the other day. A friend was referring to a conversation with someone else when she relayed to me that there’s a better version of her tucked down inside somewhere and the key is finding it and then trusting it to shine through.
Her version of the conversation took a different route but I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. And since it’s all about Anna all the time, I’m going to tell you how I related it back to me.
The deeply hidden version of you can be heavy – closeted homosexuality – or light – having an arsenal of jokes that you’re not sure anyone else will think are nearly as hilarious as you do. The courage to un-hide it can be just as well hidden.
I find it, hands down, easier to tell myself that’d I’d just suck at it (whatever IT is) so just don’t try it. You’ll suck at making friends so don’t. You’ll suck at making that chicken cordon bleu so don’t. You’d suck too much to teach a class on quilting or sewing so don’t.
And “suck” is just ONE term I use while beating the crap out of myself. I’m no good at this or that so just don’t do it. You aren’t funny so just don’t say it. You always have good intentions (see: gardening, blogging, weight loss, etc.) but you never follow them through so just don’t start because you will fail. In fact, I am much more comfortable talking myself OUT of doing something than I ever will be talking myself IN. I’d rather not do than run the risk of tripping, falling or – worse – failing.
In a sick way, I’m being pre-emptive. Because if I don’t do/say/think/try it, you cannot tell me that I failed and I cannot fail. You cannot judge my short-comings. You cannot quit being my friend. You cannot laugh at me. And really – if I do try something and utterly fail at it (see: dead plants, ignored blog, fat ass, etc.) then it feels awful and I beat myself up for being stupid enough for attempting it.
I’d love to sit here and tell you that it’s just who I am – part of my makeup. But is it? Was I, as Lady Gaga says, born this way? Or is it something I’ve taught myself to do? Self-esteem and confidence have got to be the hardest things to change.
But with enough of that deeply hidden courage, it’s (probably) possible.
Sometimes when we make changes in our lives, they don’t necessarily turn out better than what we were previously working with.
I know that’s vague and no, I cannot elaborate out here in the public space that is a blog. Just know there’s something big looming ahead and I’m both excited and scared and I promise to fill you in when I can. In the meantime, it’s got my mind completely pre-occupied.
[Disclaimer: Everyone is in full health, no one is pregnant and Elliot hasn’t been expelled. Nearly sent to a military boarding school this weekend, though.]
This weekend was a live-study of lazy-bones behavior at the Seckman house.
Things started out a bit bumpy… my anxiety control was put to the test on Friday night (near fail, honestly)(more on this later) and we woke up Saturday to a puking and pooping boy. But, it wasn’t the boy that we own so it was more-or-less okay other than it cutting the sleepover a bit short.
Saturday: Kael was picked up around 8am so what better to do than crawl back in bed? Covers pulled up, I took a little snoozer while Elliot watched some cartoons. I got up, started reading a new book and when Fred ran an errand I took a cat nap in the recliner as Elliot worked on his sticker book. (I am not getting paid to tell you that this book is awesome, btw. I just think they’re awesome.) Fred came home and talked us into getting dressed and we ended up gorging at the Valentino’s buffet. Full, fat and happy we came back home where Elliot had quiet time and I “studied the back of my eyelids” for a little bit. More sticker-ing. More reading. Some video game time. No one was hungry for dinner so we nibbled a bit here and there all night. Elliot went to bed. Fred watched movies. Anna read and then went to bed.
Sunday: Cartoons and Bond movies were on most of the morning as we puttered about – Fred read the paper with coffee, I read my book and some blogs and Elliot was back at work on that sticker book. Fred, the overachiever, showered and ran out to get us some lunch while me and E lazed about. I did manage to get out of my bed and walk 15 feet to the clothes hamper to start sorting laundry. Yes, I want a cookie. I carted laundry down and we ate lunch and then we went our separate ways – Elliot to quiet time, me to read my book (under the premise of “yeah, I’m going to shower… in a bit”) and Fred was doing whatever Fred was doing. I did manage to take a shower at some point and then we made a grocery list with – I kid you not – 5 items on it. Fred went to the store while me and E hung out some more, this time drawing Lego guys and cutting them out. I blew his mind with my snowflake-making skills. While Fred made dinner, I started an obnoxious game of tossing marshmallows into cups (Fred was the winner). We all ate and then worked on Elliot’s valentines for school this week. He had a snack (M&Ms in a dark room with only a flashlight) and soon went to bed having never changed out of his pajamas from Saturday night. I finished my book, logged it in Goodreads, watched the news with one eye barely open and said to Fred “see ya tomorrow, Sech” as I drifted off to sleep.
For months, Elliot has been asking for a police birthday party. My gut reaction was that there are only two kinds of parties I know about that involve police… one involves strippers dressed as police and the other involves police at your door telling you to keep the noise to a minimum and inquiring if underage drinkers were present – neither of which are entirely appropriate for a 6 year old.
I employed every parental tactic short of saying NO in trying to dissuade him from this choice. He held firm (read: he’s as stubborn as a mule (read: me)), insisting it would be good.
The party was on Saturday and it was FUN.
We sent out police report invites a few weeks ago. Elliot was decked out in navy pants and shirt and cinched with a belt. A name tag reading “E. Seckman” was affixed next to a sticker LPD badge and the entire ensemble was topped off with a police hat. Police tape was strung through the house and the orange cones from last year’s construction party were used again (best Menards purchase ever). We made brown lunch sacks into evidence bags and filled them with badges, notebooks (for writing tickets), LPD K-9 trading cards, a length of police tape and, of course, a pair of handcuffs for when they finally apprehend their suspect. The cake had vehicles from Lego City pulling over a robber and while the homemade ice cream never did completely freeze, it tasted delicious.
Presents were opened, playtime ensued, Happy Birthday was sung and candles were blown out.
And then the cops showed up.
BLOOP! BLEEP! came from our driveway along with a flash of red and white lights.* The kids nearly lost their shit as they realized that actual police officers drove an actual police car to Elliot’s party. It was a mad dash to get on shoes and run outside to climb in the vehicle and push buttons making the sirens go off yet again. They hung around for a solid 15 minutes while the kids climbed in and out repeatedly.
Too many presents, a lot of laughs and a nice time with a small group of family and close friends. The best part was at the end of it all when Elliot looked at me, cocked his head to one side and snarked, “you guys didn’t think this would be fun, huh, but it was.” That’s my boy.
More pictures here.
- – - – - – - – -
*A big thank you to our friends and LPD for the hookup! It certainly pays to know someone on the force sometimes.
I went to my local quilt shop Sunday with a gift certificate (read: free money!) in hand. I needed nothing which usually ends up with me spending more than I should on random fabrics that will do nothing but get stored in the closet where fabrics go to die… er, wait for me to use them… some day.
But 30 minutes after getting there, I was back in my car feeling dumbfounded – how is it possible that I browsed – with FREE MONEY – and came out empty-handed?
Easy, when you pile all of the little annoyances on top each other.
The jacked up pricing slays me. The un-knowledgeable employees drive me batty. Splitting up new fabric lines drives me crazy (I found pieces of Joel Dewberry’s Heirloom all over the store and had they been together I likely would’ve scooped up some of each). The sheer quantity of batiks makes me weepy… and not in a good way. The woman never runs a true “sale” in her shop and somehow that leaves me feeling like I never get a good deal. Sure, there’s always a sale section but it’s full of crappy old stuff that no one wants which is exactly why it’s the same stuff that’s been in the same sale section for yearrrrrrrrrrs. Also, lady, it shouldn’t matter if I get a quarter yard cut straight up or fatted (I think I made that word up but I love it!) – a fat quarter shouldn’t cost SO MUCH MORE than a quarter yard cut! That is highway robbery.
So when I was shopping around, and even had a few bolts in my arms, and I heard an employee going on and on about what a lame store my favorite shop in town is, she kind made me lose the love. Shouldn’t all brick-and-mortars be (somewhat) banded together even if you sell the same essential product?
That was the moment that I set down my bolts and walked out. Sad because I didn’t get any new fabric and sad that this is how they operate.
BUT THEN… Kait suggested I review each store in town from brick-and-mortars to even the dreaded chains. And Stacey agreed that it’s a great idea. What? A reason to shop at every shop in town? Oh, I couldn’t… oh OKAY!
So there you have it – my next personal project. I’ve started a list of things to look for/at in each shop – any suggestions on what you look for?
Elliot turns 6 today.
He’s funny and smart and a bit of a charmer. He’s got his dad’s hair, my grandpa’s smile and big feet. Frequently dressed in a plaid shirt with a super hero tee poking out, he’s confident and self-assured – personality traits that I’m pleased to see in him.
Kindergarten has turned him into a thoughtful boy with questions about real-life things and asking for definitions of words and phrases he’s heard. He’s a constant stream of math questions that he knows the answer to (hey mom, what’s 2 plus 3?) and his reading homework involves a bigger, longer book each and every time – and he breezes through it all. His writing and spelling has improved and I love the look on his face when he’s mentally figuring something out.
His personality is developing to be his very own. He’s so much like me and he’s so much like Fred and in (mostly) a good combination. And under all that is an honest and innocent kid with real feelings – a kid that proudly declares his mom is the best woman on the earth and a kid that came home nearly broken after getting teased about a jacket that made him look like a firefighter.
I get a glimpse into his development when he makes a statement with a tacked-on question – “that’s not very good… right, mom?” – and these moments make me feel the weight of our words and actions. He hungrily consumes what we say and do and holds us in the highest regard so, of course, to him, everything we say must be correct. Our answers must be the truth. Everything we do must be right.
Hopefully, we’re doing this parenting thing well and that he not only survives the next 12 years under our roof but continues to grow into an excellent human being that I’m nothing but proud to call my son.
Birzzle – Get the app. Like, now. And then try to tell me you’re not addicted.
Quilting – I joined my first bee! Now I need to figure out what the F I’m doing.
Hot tea and my space heater – WARMTH! My desk area was 61 degrees today.
Nexus – You know, to play Birzzle.
My allergist – 0 sinus infections since I met him 9 years ago.
The flu shot – Everyone is dropping like flies… I ain’t gettin’ no flu! (knock on wood)
Elliot’s sense of humor – I partook in 2 separate hearty belly laughs this weekend.
Fun Dip – I ate all of the Fun Dip that Elliot got for Christmas and I ain’t ashamed.
Marking things off my to-do list – I finished some Christmas presents this weekend!
Snow – Fluffy snowflakes slowly drifting to the ground unexpectedly
Lance Armstrong – Just go away.
Hearing “I don’t know what to do” – Elliot, go to your room.
Single digit temperatures – And should I mention that it “feels like -1″ outside?
Pinterest recipes that end in massive failures – You. Suck. But I can’t quit you.
Paying the “specialist” fee to see the beloved allergist – I saw him for 3 minutes.
Holidays – When I have to work and the boys are at home watching cartoons. In bed. In pjs.
Today is Fred’s birthday. All together now, “Happy Birthday, Fred!”
Recently, he did a Predictive Index thing and WOW-OH!-WOW did they nail him. His “strongest behaviors” were spot on: proactive, openly challenges the world around him (YEP), resourcefully works through or around anything blocking him, impatient for results, decision-maker and action-taker with little need of proof to confirm decisions (DOUBLE YEP), more interested in his own ideas (TRIPLE YEP), willing to bend the rules and not easily discouraged by setbacks.
(I bet a-hunnerd-bucks that Judy and Cindy are nodding their heads.)
They also included a list of ideas on how to supervise someone like Fred Seckman. How to “maximize his effectiveness, productivity and … satisfaction.” Because it’s his birthday and I’m all about giving (shut up), I have decided to give examples of how I, his supervisor at home, am already doing these. KUDOS TO ME.
Provide as much independence and flexibility in his activities as possible. I’m very good at letting him clean the house by himself, cook dinner by himself and brew beer by himself. All of which I allow him to make independent decisions on except when he’s cooking hamburger and I feel the impulsive need to instruct him to use the meat chopper thing instead of mashing it up with his hands.
Provide opportunities to learn and advance. I regularly tell him what he’s doing wrong as I believe in learning from mistakes. This normally involves gems like “I don’t understand WHY you would get clean cotton scent deodorant when you KNOW I like fresh cotton scent?!” Then I stare at him to let it sink in. And then, I think, he learns and advances (and refuses to ever buy deodorant for me again).
Provide opportunities for expression of, and action on, his own ideas and initiatives. I will admit that I mostly only follow the first part of this because if I were to allow him to ACT ON his expressive ideas, we’d have a goat tied up in the backyard as a full-time grass-chewer.
Provide variety and challenge in his responsibilities. Oh believe me, this happens. Daily. Considering I am the biggest challenge of all, I provide constant variety in mood, demands and levels of tolerance for such things as buying the wrong deodorant smell. I also like to shirk duties at the last minute – an extra layer of challenge when it’s something that HAS to be done.
Provide opportunities to prove himself, and recognition and reward for doing so. I let him do this by becoming Captain Consumer Reports every time we need to purchase something. For example, we blew out our blender so I provided the opportunity for him to research a new one to buy and then, as a reward for buying it, let him make the family chocolate malts! They were delicious! And malty!
Provide freedom from routines and repetitive details, balanced by accountability for results. Ha, ha, ha, good one, Predictive Index. I don’t let him run free. EVER.