Monday, August 31, 2009

Shaping up and shipping out

I'm turning this lurching barge of a life around and transforming it into a lithe sailboat that is complex yet fine tuned. One might say I'm trading in the African Queen for the True Love. I'm tired of getting caught up short on things. I hate clanging a wrench on the steam engine of my life to get it running. I'd rather do a series of graceful movements to make smooth transitions over placid bodies of water. I don't want to drag this thing through the swamps encountering leeches, slugs and all manner insects. Especially now, with two kids in school (gasp), I need to stay on top of things. And I'd like to do it with some panache.

Here's a list of what I've done so far:

  • Organized the kitchen cupboards
  • Removed the excess layer of crappy toys from the girls rooms
  • Set up a "cozy corner" in their bedrooms so they have a spot to read
  • Organized Riley's armoir...I ran out of time to do Lucy's drawers and closet yesterday
  • Rearranged furniture
  • Adopted a stern tone and voiced my expectations clearly and resolutely
  • Cancelled the cable (just internet and netflix. It's good for you...)

Doc and I are the baby and the only child respectively in our familes and let's just say that we've both experienced some discipline issues in the past. To put it plainly, we procrastinate. Well, not anymore. Now, it is my plan to get the work out of the way before goofing off. It's just like my Mom told me it should be. And I hope to have all hands on deck for this. I'm sure it's going to take more than a whistle to make it happen; we are all so daggone independent. But I think the benefits of teamwork will reveal themselves in this endeavor.

Mom was right of course. I'm happier when I leave the house and it's standing tall, rather than dashing off and coming home to one mess or another. Also, it feels good to have everything ready in advance. I'm hoping the feeling is addictive...and contagious. I'm also more open to others when I know I don't have anything hanging over my head. I want to be a better friend, daughter, mother, wife...

Wish me luck and bon voyage that I can trade my clunker in for style, grace and peace.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

If Doc's Huck Finning It, I'm Tom Sawyering It

snow 2-18-07 (3)

Recently, my friend and colleague, Valerie, posted the above picture on Facebook and asked if anybody wanted the furniture. I happened to catch the notice first and jumped on it with both feet. So as of Sunday, my family left and this furniture arrived. Well, my Dad and I went to get it. Of course, there is far less snow on it now.

Over all, the furniture is in decent shape. It's a bit weather-beaten and it might need some reinforcement, but, then again, who doesn't need a bit of TLC? So, my project for the week has been to beautify this wonderful Adirondack furniture.

Monday night:
  • Went to Home Depot and bought sea foam green stain, indoor/outdoor paint, brushes, etc.
  • Began to stain the furniture.
  • My mind wandered as I spread stain and listened to the crows and locusts. I was glad to be able to do this project uninterrupted with no one giving me advice or taking it over
  • My neighbor Wally walked over and took the brush from my hand and showed me how I ought to do it
  • I finished the stain, the 50% chance of thunderstorms falling in my favor
  • I walked over to the Tiki and had one beer on an empty stomach
  • I staggered home and hit the hay with some Murder, She Wrote

Tuesday night:

  • I grabbed a bite to eat on the way home
  • I goofed off on the computer for too long
  • I began painting the decorations on the furniture, whose stain looks lovely (I can't take a picture; Doc has the camera)
  • I completed the design on one of the love seats and nearly completed the other, but ran out of light
  • I had one beer, hit the hay with some Newhart

Tonight I plan on going straight home and finishing my designs while it's still light out. I also want to paint a quote or aphorism on the cross-pieces of the love seats. Something short and sweet. I was thinking maybe "Tempis Fugit," but I'm not completely sold. What do you think?

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Canoe Trip

So Doc is about to whisk himself and the kids off to the country and I'll be a virtual bachelorette for five days. Of course I'll be working for four of those days, but I'll have my evenings free to spend as I wish. I'm kind of at a loss as to what to do with myself. Here are some of the things I'm considering:

  • Organizing the junk drawer
  • Painting the living room
  • Getting the kids' clothes ready for school
  • Finishing my novel
  • Squandering every night sipping mojitos in the swamp

Got any other ideas?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Celebrites Who Have Appeared In My Dreams: Greg Kinnear and Beckeye

It was night and all the neighborhood kids were running around like the Lost Boys. Everything was a mess and I went into the house. Greg Kinnear, our handy man, was dressed in painters clothes and came into the kitchen wiping his hands. His sleeve seemed a bit lumpy.
"Hand it over," I said. Greg had been stealing from us regularly, but he wasn't very good at it. He pulled out a bottle filled with glowing beads (much like those in Bejewelled).
"Hey," said Lucy, "That's the engine from your space ship, Mommy!"
I took it and set it on the counter, about to fire Greg.
"I wanted to tell you," he said, "There's a motorcycle gang out front and their causing trouble."
"Ok," I said, "I'll handle this and you and I will talk later."
I grabbed some bottles of water and headed out to the porch. I wondered why so many people were wandering around my house when I saw Beckeye standing in my neighbor's front yard. She was wearing a purple, taffeta, June Cleaver number. Her hair was pulled back in a fetching pony tail and she was running a mimeograph machine. Pink flyers for a party were flying off the machine and heading toward the street where people were grabbing them and heading for our house. She waved at me as she continued to crank.
I handed the bottles over to the gang, who looked like they just stepped out of Thunderdome. They were a rowdy bunch. They were having difficulties opening the bottles and I spent an inordinate amount of time telling them the bottlecaps were left-hand thread and they'd have to turn them the other direction.
A ghost floated over me and I could feel the hair on my head stand straight up on end.
Then I woke up.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Documentary Film of the Day - Blind spot: Hitler's Secretary

In honor of Some Guy's Hiatus and in celebration of his 15 millionth post, I thought I'd steal one of his ideas. So here's my Documentary of the day:

Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary
Doc recently bought a book from the library bookstore called Never Coming to a Theater Near You, which we kept in the john and would read (since we couldn't read Some Guy's Blog on the toilet). There's a large section of the book dedicated to documentary film, which ordinarly makes my eyes roll back into my head and I'm not well again until I watch a few episodes of the Golden Girls or "Idol Gives Back." But one happened to catch my eye: the eponymous Blind Spot.
The review was so compelling, I went to the library, found it the dvd in the catalog and had it sent from the main library to my little local branch. Now Doc and I are movie buffs from way back, but in the past, oh, seven years or so, we seem to have lost the habit. More often, we'll get DVD's of TV shows, pop one in and pass out after the opening credits. But we were both so jazzed about this particular documentary that I was hoping it would be something we could watch together. Of course, the subject matter is perfect for a romantic night at home...
The movie was due back at the library yesterday, so I was determined to watch it. We put the movie on at about 11:00 p.m. and it was in German. Totally. No subtitles. So, I searched the menu, added English subtitles and we were off and running.
This movie is basically a film of Traudl Junge, one of Hitler's secretary who was stationed at his bunker, speaking directly to an interviewer about her experience from the time she was hired until Hitler's final days and her escape. There are some cut away scenes where she is watching footage of herself talking and she interjects with a correction, more detail, or a restatement of her feelings in hindsight. But that's it. No music. No narration.
It's remarkable. And creepy. It's very personal and she gives quite an insight to what kind of person Hitler was and how he could be a nice guy even if he was killing a bunch of innocent people. She was obviously struggling to relate her experience while history and hindsight lurked over her shoulder.
As Chris might say, "I highly recommend it." And to quote him again: "Documentaries have exposed me to so many new and interesting things. Like one of the women in the video says, documentaries 'have the power to make you empathize with things you never really knew you could empathize with.'" If there ever was a documentary to make you empathize with things you never really knew you could empathize with...this one is it.
Congratulations, Some Guy on your 15,000,000th post! Cheers and Gesundheit!