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Kitchen Sink Windows

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Forever I will remember the way the iridescent suds ran in rivulets over the thin skin on the backs of their hands. The way the water ran too hot to rinse each dish, steam floating up in wisps, but they never flinched because they had grown numb to the scorch. I will never forget the sound of glass banging against the metal sides of the sink as their hands disappeared and reappeared, blindly washing the day off of each dish. And the way they each ran a wrung out dishrag over the edges of the sink and the surrounding counter in time to hear the drain suck down the last bit of dirty water. But more than anything, I will never forget their watchful eyes as they peered out at us from the kitchen sink window.

My maternal grandmother, Cleobelle, stood in front of a kitchen sink window that looked down on a row of pine trees and the gravel driveway of their large white farmhouse. Across the blacktop was my grandpa’s carry-out – Gene’s Drive-Thru. All day long, my cousins and I ran around the house in circles, as steady as the stream of cars that pulled into the drive-thru and out with beer, candy, and cigarettes. From outside, we could see the hand-blown orange glass ball that hung from a long string to turn on the overhead light swaying slightly in front of her. Other trinkets adorned the window sill – crosses, handmade clay pots from grandchildren that held thimbles, needles, and lottery scratchers with “Gene’s Drive-Thru” printed on them. And over the sill, always, my grandma’s watchful eyes holding steadfast with each pass.

My father’s mother, who I called “Uncle Grandma,” had a kitchen sink window that overlooked her front yard. I remember seeing her standing there as we drove by with our parents, her white curls framed perfectly as she peered out, as if she knew we were coming. From inside her house, her kitchen sink window was nothing short of magical. Each visit, she set me up on the countertop so that I could see what she saw. A faded metal trivet hung on the cabinet next to me and I ran my fingers over the swirly metalwork as I watched her wash dishes. The left side of the sill was home to a rotating family of cacti, all of which I pricked myself on despite her warnings. There were also tiny patches of leprechauns and roses stuck to the bottom right corner of the window, and a small token of my grandfather’s membership to the Eagles. And almost always was the neighbor’s dalmatian – Dot – out front waiting for a treat from Uncle Grandma.

My own mother stood on the green linoleum of my childhood home and washed dishes in the sink, settled in matching green countertops, courtesy of the 1970’s. In front of our sink – her sink – were two crank out windows overlooking the golden backyard of my youth, ripe with clover and fireflies. It was here that she watched our games of tag between the two towering maples along the edge of the cornfield. It was from that window that she glanced out, the glowing orange end of cigarette dancing between her damp fingers, to make sure we were still jetting barefoot across the dewy grass with the neighbor kids until the crickets called us in. And while we merely glanced at that window once in awhile, she was always there with her eyes warmly cast upon us.

Kitchen sink windows became shrines to me – places of comfort. In those lit frames, I could always find someone. As I lived in windowless apartments, I dreamed of the day that I’d have my own kitchen sink window. When my husband and I bought a house, I rejoiced in the large window over the kitchen sink that overlooked our large, fenced in backyard that I hoped to fill with children. And now that I’m a parent myself, I am overcome with admiration for these women and how they watched us.

Because let me tell you – I am failing at the Kitchen Sink Window Approach to Parenting. I always thought I’d be the “let them bleed – let them eat dirt – let them learn from the hurt” type of parent. It’s how I grew up. We were never coddled the way today’s snowflakes are. And I truthfully believe that I am stronger because of it.

That is until I had children. When my first son, Rhett, was born, I maintained a level head and kept it together. I had the normal baby blues, but after eight weeks of leave, I put him in daycare part-time while I went back to my job. A week later, he came down with the flu at two months old and my husband and I spent a day in the ER while they put an IV in our tiny baby’s arm and pumped him full of fluids.

And that is when I became crazy. I’ve pinpointed it to that exact moment when they sent me home with him and I thought, “What if I am not equipped to keep this tiny person alive?” Over the next year and a half, Rhett attended daycare and about every two weeks, we were at the doctor’s office with some sort of sickness.

When my second son, Sutton, was born, I quit my job because I couldn’t do it again. I began staying home with both of my children and it truly was a dream come true, until the postpartum anxiety and depression set in. As a person who never quite understood anxiety or depression, it hit me hard. I never knew how debilitating it could be. I fought through it, clutching my orange pill bottle of Xanax in my left hand, afraid to take it, afraid not to. I called friends, but never family, because it seemed to me that the women who raised me from the kitchen sink window would have told me that anxiety wasn’t an option.

I was devastated and embarrassed. I enjoyed being home with my children and I loved – and still love – that momming is my job. But I’ve never encountered a job that causes so much worry. And I’ve finally accepted that my anxiety is no longer considered postpartum, and that I am legitimately, medically anxious.

In addition to Rhett’s first sickness, I can also blame my anxiety on today’s parenting standards. As a stay-at home-mom, I’m mostly responsible for making sure I raise proper children. Between all the articles telling you what to limit and not limit, how much of this that or the other thing to feed or not feed, when to start solids, what kind of milk to use, etc. and the astronomical amount of mom-shaming out there on social media, I think it’s fair to say that parents don’t stand a chance. And therefore, neither do our kids.

Our babes are growing up in the time of helicopter parents and parents are parenting in a time of immense pressure and judgement. Mom and Dad Shaming is real. So how do we get back to being hands off? How do we keep the anxiety at bay?

How do we keep that kitchen sink window in our approach as parents to let our kids live and learn? How can we trust that, in this world of sickos and human trafficking, that our kids will be ok?

These are real questions. Please discuss.

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Posted by on February 2, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

That’s Trashy…

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Occasionally (read:  often), I see things that just make me say, “That’s trashy.” And today, I thought, “Yes–this is the perfect thing to post on my blog! People love when trashiness is called out!”

But then I realized that everything I have on my list is something I’ve seen people do in real life or on my social media sites…and that I’d be calling out my friends and people who know me.  I’m trying not to be a TOTAL biatch, AND I don’t think calling people trashy in my head would be nearly as fun if the people knew I was thinking it.

So there will be no list. But chances are I’ve thought something you’ve done/said/worn has been trashy at some point in time.  If it makes you feel any better, I am trashy sometimes, too. After all, I have a tramp stamp that says, “ROCKSTAR.” Not sure how much trashier it could get. 😉

Have a trashy weekend!

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

My Final Splurge – I’m Officially Cut Off

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…my baby will be here in less than 75 days (God willing).

Know how I know I’m going to be a mom? I felt super guilty for going on one last splurge. SUPER guilty. I currently feel guilty. I’m currently considering canceling the order. I’m currently considering sending it back as soon as it gets here.

Last week, I started trying to sell two Michael Kors bags that I bought at one point in time. I liked the bags a lot. I loved them for awhile. 🙂 But I started to see them everywhere. Then, if you’ll remember, I switched to Frye purses.  I haven’t gone back since.

I pinned a Frye bag to my Pinterest board two weeks ago only to realize that I had pinned the exactly same bag 31 weeks ago.  Which can only mean that I TRULY wanted this bag.

Frye Elaine Satchel in Whiskey

Frye Elaine Satchel in Whiskey

I started campaigning to Mike, my husband, to let me get the bag. He quickly shut me down and told me we had a baby coming and that it was an inordinate amount of money to spend on a damn purse. And he was right.  So I started scheming…how could I get it? 

Simple – sell my other purses that I don’t use anymore. And I did! I sold two Michael Kors purses on Facebook and with the Maine fund that Mike said I could use (a piggy bank full of pennies that Mike and I have been saving to go to Maine…and that we also realize is never actually going to get us to Maine), I got the purse down to a reasonable price and placed the order today!  

And immediately started feeling guilt and regret and like I’m a horrible Mom…which I might be. 

Here’s my sacred vow, blogosphere:  I’m done splurging on myself. This was it.  I promise.

Now onto diapers and pacifiers!

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

I Wish My Car Did This

First of all, Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  Click here for the Horny Leprechaun (I’ve been watching this since college!).

I read a blog post this morning by my friend Danielle about the way that people have been driving lately, and I have to say that I agree with her.  People are morons on the road these days.  And it seems that the better the weather gets (62 and sunny today!), the worse that people drive.  Maybe it’s all the frustration breaking loose from days of driving on inches of ice and avoiding potholes (those still need to be fixed, Brunswick, Ohio), or maybe the sun gets under their skin and they just can’t help themselves.  Or maybe it’s putting the window down–because I know that does strange things to me.

But ever since I was 16, I started thinking about an inter-car communication system. This idea is patented.  If you try to steal it, I will sue you. It’s kind of like this:  You have a screen on your dashboard that detects all the immediate cars around you (kind of like a CB radio, but much more advanced).  If someone starts merging into your lane, you can touch that car on the screen and your voice would come through their speakers, and you could politely say, “Hey, please watch out.  I’m over here.”

Or what if they have a taillight out, and you’d like to let them know?  Or maybe you want to know what year their car is, or where they got it.  I don’t know how many times I see a car with a sticker on it advertising that they went to my college and I want to say, “Hey!  I did, too!”  We could use it to warn people of dangers up ahead, or say, “Hey, this lane’s icy!”  And can you imagine how polite merging could be?  Or what about a, “You in the Neon, quit texting!”

"Hey, check out that guy in the pick-up truck!"

Or have you ever been driving along and you keep passing someone and you know they’re doing it on purpose?  Or if you’re “car flirting” and you want to be like, “You’re cute, just thought you should know,” or “Hey!  Where ya headed?  Maybe we can meet up?”  I am well-aware that flirting with strangers is not a good idea.

I can see how this device could be used for evil, though:  Harassment, accidents, heck, even cops listening over the waves and fining you when warn others that they’re ahead.  All I’m saying is that it could help, and it could make traffic jams a heckuva lot more fun.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Blog Awards-And My Hidden Talents

Blog Award

Thanks to Danielle for giving me a blog award!  (She deserves another one from me, so check her out!)

The Rules
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you the award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 other bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

7 completely random things about me:

1)   I can say the alphabet backwards, including the little song at the end.

2)  Same goes for the Pledge of Allegiance.  Backwards.  (If you would like proof of this, leave me a comment and we’ll find a way to do that over the phone.)

3)  I once had a goal to skydive in every state.  I’ve only done it in Ohio.

4)  My right leg is full of scars.  I have a scar on my shin from jumping on my brother’s bed and falling onto the corner of the toy box when I was younger.  One on my knee and ankle, achieved at the same time on my 23rd birthday upon tripping on absolutely nothing at the Reel Cafe in Wilmington, NC.  And a lead mark where I jabbed myself in the thigh with a pencil in elementary school because I didn’t want to do homework.

5)  I am in constant fear that my eyebrows are messed up.

6)  My 24th year began in the Atlantic Ocean.

7)  I still sleep with a teddy bear.

Now to pass this on.

To Rachael, and her blog called Adventures in Name Changing.  I knew her when I was little before she and her family moved away to Arizona, and I always thought she was kind of the coolest person around.

To Erin, and her blog called The Restoration.  I met Erin in grad school, and she’s a lot of what I respect about people and women.  She’s beautiful and smart and such a talented writer.

To Visha, and her blog called The Appalachian Ridgeback.  Another woman I met in grad school who makes me laugh, and who has recently made me desperately long for a Rhodesian Ridgeback.

To The Brewer’s Daughter, who loves beer the way we all should love beer, and blogs about it with a fantastic mix of history, family, and happenings.

To the unnamed professor who chooses to remain unnamed even though I know his name, and his blog Highly Irregular–parenthetical wonders (in mundane overcoats).  I studied under the unnamed professor and he is one of my best friends.  He’s helped me out a lot on the way, writing outstanding letters of recommendation and letters of reference, and listening to me whine about…life.

And finally, to Chris, and his blog called Two Gents, Two Cents.  Chris was one of the first people I ever met in college at Ashland, and he’s still one of my favorite people on this planet.

Have a fantastical weekend!

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Hey there, Delilah!

So this is Delilah.  She is a 2011 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited…and I bought her.  And I love her.

With big purchases, though, comes a sickness.  It’s not an addiction to new things, or better things.  It’s a sickness that settles deep in your stomach, makes you wake up in the middle of the night with your heart pounding.  It makes you afraid.

Let me set up my situation for you…

I’m DAMN lucky to have this job.  And it’s a job I love and that I look forward to going to every day.  And it’s a job that pays me better than I EVER would have expected for my first real job.  So understand, please, that I am stable here.

Now, I live alone in an apartment complex (not ideal, but good).  I have incredible parents that still pay my cell bill (awesome, I know) and who happen to “want a newer model” of something so that they can give my brother or me the old one (so we don’t have to buy it).  Hence, my microwave…dishes…silverware…etc.

And I’m doing really well.

Now, Leon the Neon was dying quickly.  And she’s been a good car, but I’ve always resented her.  You see, my ex-boyfriend when I was 18 pushed me hard to get a Dodge…and only a Dodge…and he made it seem like he may not love me anymore if I did anything else.  First clue to run, right?  Nope.  I bought that Dodge–a Neon because it was the only thing I could afford.

But she had electrical problems (it’s still a she, even if her name was Leon), and the shifting was getting rough…and there was something with the radiator back in NC.  And she is 7 years old with 89,000 miles on her.  For the past three years, she’s been driven hard from Ohio to North Carolina to Pennsylvania and everywhere in between.  I couldn’t expect her to last much longer.

So after a GREAT Thanksgiving with Mike and my family, I bought Delilah on Black Friday (good sales across the board!) and Mike and I went to the Browns game on Sunday.

In fact, here we are.  And we had a blast.  My company CEO is kind enough to have 8 season tickets in the Dawg Pound for Cleveland Browns home games, and I got to take Mike.  We sat with co-workers and had a great time.

And I have to tell you that the sickness set in soon after that.  In more ways than one.  First off, I felt feverish as hell, so we stopped and bought some Motrin and Vitamin C.

Second, I looked at my student loan bills.  BIG mistake.  They say you’re never prepared for anything financially unless you’re Bruce Willis.

And no matter how many times my mother so kindly breaks down my monthly earnings as opposed to my monthly bills for me, my stomach still flipflops.  I can say 100 times that I wouldn’t have bought Delilah if I’d thought this through, but that’s a lie.  For the next 20 years, my student loans own my soul.  And Leon wouldn’t have lasted 20 years.

So this Cyber Monday after Thanksgiving, I am thankful that I have a job that allows me to pay said student loans, live on my own, and drive my dream car.  And I am thankful that I have a CEO who hands out Browns tickets like they’re candy.  For my Columbia jacket which kept me SUPER warm.  For my Dad who scares car salesmen into giving me the right price.  For my mom who will run the numbers as many times as I need her to in order to kill the feeling in my stomach.  For Mike, who hasn’t killed me yet, and who got me Motrin.  To all of you.  I love you.

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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A Domestic Interlude: Ain’t I a Woman?

I may not be a domestic goddess, but I am a woman.  I am a woman who wants to get married.  And I am a woman wants to start having children yesterday.

I’m in a tough place right now.  My senior year of undergrad (2006-2007) and the summer after, all my girlfriends that I graduated with got engaged.  And I went to grad school.  Now, I was happy for them.  I knew that there were going to be nights of bridesmaid dresses and bubbling champagne.  I knew that there was going to be dancing, and that we’d all get to get together and party like we did when we first met.  Weddings were like mini-college reunions, and I looked forward to them.

Aimee married Chris.  Kay married Matt.  Rachel married Matt (different Matt, don’t worry).  Barbs married Robert.

I won’t lie.  I was jealous.  I love them all to death, and I am incredibly happy that they are happy.  But there’s something in me that is primitively jealous.

During my undergrad, we picked up a couple extra girls in our group; they are two years younger, and graduated in 2009.  My lovely little freshmen (as they will always be called) are both in pretty serious relationships.  Heidi will probably be engaged around Christmas.  Jessica’s boyfriend has already asked her father’s permission, and she is researching reception halls.

And my jealousy returns, but this time with a tinge of embarrassment.  I’m two years older…about to turn 26…  The first round of my friends are celebrating their second and third anniversaries.  My second round of friends are getting ready to be married.  And the babies are coming, by the dozen, and they invade the photo page of my Facebook…

And me?  I am living in Brunswick, doing my job (which I still freaking love by the way), and thinking about buying a new car.

What am I doing wrong?  Why hasn’t this happened yet?

And I have to be a little grateful that it hasn’t…because anyone before Mike would have made for a disastrous husband for me(sorry if any of you read this).  Mike is incredible.  🙂  Maybe that’s why I haven’t gotten there yet.  I was waiting to find him.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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