Last Thursday, I woke to ants swarming the dog bowl and marching triumphantly along my kitchen counters, down the wall and across the hall into the family room. One can of Raid (I know it’s toxic; don’t judge), endless expletives and a marathon cleaning session later, they were mostly dead and disposed of. They reappeared Friday when one of my kids left their lunchbox on the floor of the entryway. More swarming and spraying and cleaning. That afternoon when I watered our drought-abused flowers, I discovered them in droves on the deck. I strode purposefully back into the house and called Bill, the pest exterminator guy.
“It’s the heat,” said Bill. “Drives them indoors.” It had been in the 90s almost all week. The heat drove everyone indoors. After three hours with nary an ant sighting, I relaxed a little. Josh fixed us gin and tonics. We sat down for a fight-free dinner, a rarity for my three girls on a Friday night. Unfortunately the calm didn’t last long. Continue reading “When the Everyday Calls For Super Powers and a Good Plum Tart”→
I often end up conflicted about summer. In June I’m like a wide-eyed toddler about to chomp down on her first lollipop, all excited and can’t wait and finally! By mid-August I’m more like a disgruntled teenager who just wants to be alone.
The first two months of summer brought visits with old friends, a trip to Disneyland with Lilah, time on the East coast at the sea and then the lake and a weekend away for me at a writing retreat with the most marvelous people. Once home, I reluctantly agreed to let Ella and Ruby stay home and do nothing the last two weeks of summer vacation. They bickered and didn’t make their beds and wanted to be carted to this friend’s house and that movie and this mall. Without meaning to, I morphed from The Laid Back Mom Who Digs Summer into The Mom Who Can’t Wait For School To Start Because My Kids Are Driving Me Crazy. Continue reading “What I’ll Miss About This Summer”→
I’m unloading my little red hand basket in the check out line at the grocery store – well, it’s not really a grocery store because I hate the grocery store. Filling up a big cart with lots of food is just a precursor to the looming reality that I must cook a meal and cooking sends me to my dark place.
I can’t really say there was a beginning or an end, it happened so fast. The side table lamp rattled a too-late warning, then the bed shook quick and hard like a wet dog. I stay frozen on top of the cozy comforter, gripping the laptop balancing against my thighs to keep it from sliding to the floor. My mind races: run to a doorway? Grab the kids? Where are my shoes? Seconds later it’s over. Earthquake.
I watch my daughter trudge to the car under the weight of her ridiculously heavy backpack. Like most afternoons, she looks exhausted and a little soggy, like she’s been caught in a rainstorm and is still drying off: middle school. Her sister’s going to a friend’s house and the twins in our carpool have been picked up early for orthodontist appointments.
“It’s just you and me kiddo,” I say. She climbs into the front seat and smiles wanly.
“Hi mom. Can we go to Starbucks?
I smile back and say yes. The grocery store can wait. She’ll be 13 in a few weeks and lately I have a sharp sense of urgency around the time we spend together. Frappuccinos it is.
She’s flipping through SiriusXM heading for Hits 1, the all-pop-all-the-time station when she lands on 80s on 8. I barely catch the opening drum machine notes of the song when she clicks to the next station.
I stepped gingerly across the slick wet rocks, boots in hand, the small stream gleaming. There was something important about getting to the other side without falling in. I placed my foot on the next rock and felt the firm, sudden sting in the ball of my foot. Sharp intake of breath, a sudden jerk, a small yelp. I plunged my foot into the cold water and waded to shore where I sat on the edge of the stream examining my foot in wonder. Stung at last. Continue reading “Bee Stings, Midlife and Telling Stories”→