Monday, May 23, 2016

Please help me make it to the end of this school year!

I was going to write this clever "how-to" post about being prepared to send every one off for their days in an organized and relaxed manner, but who am I kidding?

I am not organized or relaxed and I just want this school year to end.

This week, aside from school, we have 13 baseball events (not including my husband's teams). That's 12 games and one practice for three kids. I have not watched a full game all year, except for the minor league game we went to the other night, because I have to split my time among two to three places on a regular basis. Not just watching but picking up and dropping off as well.

The homework. Someone is struggling in an honors class, someone else has three papers due in one week, and so-and-so hates the computer program he has to use to do his math homework. ("I get 8x5 right every time and it won't turn green!")

Coffee Talk with Carlie: doing homework at the table

I feel like I lose an hour

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

All I am is a chauffer

I love baseball, but I do not love this year's baseball season.

These are my three sons' baseball schedules.wp-1461249834362.jpg

That picture was from the beginning of the baseball season, when I calculated that in a total of 45 games, there were only 15 games that didn't conflict with someone else's game.

Then it rained.

Things got rescheduled.

I lost track of how many conflicts there were and the schedules became obsolete because coaches changed things on the fly and one of my sons' coaches typically doesn't give more than 12 hours notice about what time practice will be for that day. It's maddening because I can't plan ahead how to pick up/drop off the other two at their practices/games.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The perfect reflection of God

This is a story I wrote in 2009 that ultimately appeared in Chicken Soup for Soul: What I Learned from the Dog. It's about learning to love my mom's dog and part of my journey in coming to terms with my mom's untimely death.

“Look at that adoration!” the woman with the enormous cat said about the dog, who was wandering around sniffing at things while trailing his leash. She had been interjecting questions to me while fawning over him. I was standing at the reception desk in the veterinarian’s office getting my latest dose of dog-owner encouragement from the vet tech.

“What kind of dog is he?”

“I don’t really know – I think part Lhasa Apso.”

“How old is he?”

“We’re not sure, he was adopted.”

“What’s his name?”

“Benji. He’s my mom’s dog. Was…”

I answered distractedly. I was trying to keep everything the vet tech said straight while keeping a straight face over the amount of the check I was writing for the exam, vaccinations, specialty food, and medicine. I had inherited a dog with special needs.

I never knew I wanted a dog. A single mom, I had three young children already. And now I felt like I had a new baby: he woke me up at night, sometimes more than once. For what, I didn’t know.

He wouldn’t eat food out of his dish; it had to be on the floor. And he didn’t seem to be able to eliminate unless he was attached to one end of a leash. He was used to going out in the morning, mid-afternoon, and at night. But that didn’t work with my telecommuting and childcare schedule all that well. So, I was often impatient with him, frequently muttering, “Tick tick tick, dog, I’ve got a 3:30 conference call!” as he stopped to sniff, root, and “scroot,” as my grandmother used to call the doggie-dirt-kicking thing which always sent ground matter flying in a perfect trajectory towards the other end of the leash to which I was attached. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!

I tried putting him out into the side yard and would sing in a falsetto through gritted teeth, “Go potty, doggie! G’wan, go potty!” But apparently he did not go potty on command like my mom’s former dog. He would barkandbarkandbark at the side door, which was distracting during my conference calls, and no doubt annoying to the neighbors. The kids were too young to a) walk the dog and b) stay alone while I walked him at night, and as a result, I often found a puddle somewhere the next morning.

And, even though I gave him a bath once a week or so, I didn’t really like how he smelled. “Stinky little beast,” I thought to myself, no doubt scowling, as I cleaned up the aftermath of the bath – wet floors, wet walls, and enough wet towels to trigger just one more load of laundry. I didn’t want him on the furniture and I certainly didn’t want him in my room. That was the cat’s domain. My sons didn’t mind him in their room, though, and often fought over whose bed he’d sleep on.

“God help me,” I frequently said aloud, and would then add, “right,” because I could hear my mom’s voice in my head reminding me, “He will.”

One day, I had been brought to my knees yet again to clean up a mess on the kitchen floor.

But no one will see it

I set up the nativity in the back yard again this year. In the past it has been out front near the fire hydrant that is on our property, and...