Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mr. & Miss Independent

Is it really a worthy goal of parenting... the goal that you will eventually raise them to become independent adults?

If it's one measure of success, then David and I would like to quite while we're ahead.

After one day of second grade, my son has been keeping a 100-yard head start on me during our walks to and from school.  He begs and pleads to just walk to school by himself and cannot wrap his brain around any good reason that I should be close to him while any of his classmates are within a one-mile vicinity.

Miss M has been asking for weeks if the school bus could pick her up and take her to preschool, instead of her mommy dropping her off in carline.  Last week, we passed an apartment complex that sits close behind her preschool.  She asked us what an apartment was and then informed us that she was moving in.

I told her it wasn't necessary for a two year old to find her own place and transportation for her first year of preschool (she doesn't seem convinced).

I am eager to volunteer at both of their schools this year, but I'm kind of worried that neither of them will claim that they know me when I walk into their respective classrooms.

As I see it, this leaves me with two choices:

1.  Play it cool. Avoid eye contact with my offspring.  Get a volunteer badge with a fake ID.
2.  Play it like their worst nightmares are coming true.  Gaudy clothing, grand entrance, big hugs and kisses for everyone - especially my offspring.

Considering that we probably DO want them to be well-adjusted, independent adults, I'd better not screw around with their little heads too much these days.

I'll wait until they're in middle school.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


It was late Thursday afternoon.  My husband was scheduled to arrive home around dinnertime on Friday after a weeklong business trip out of town.  And after dinner, our small group from church was scheduled to arrive at our house for Bible study.

And for some inexplicable reason, I decided that those 23 hours would allow me plenty of time to completely re-decorate and repurpose my husband's home office.

The office: BEFORE
It was practically dinnertime on Thursday when I mentioned my crazy scheme to the children in the back seat of the car.  They were all for it!  Choosing new paint and accessories seemed like an exciting adventure, so we diverted the car into the Lowe's parking lot and charged into the paint section.  I told the man behind the counter that I knew exactly what I wanted (of course I did, I'd been thinking of this idea for an entire 10 minutes at that point).  I chose 3 color swatches and maneuvered our cart through aisles of shelving, mirrors and hardware while our paint cans churned.

After leaving the home improvement store, we pulled through a barbecue joint for sustenance and arrived home at dinnertime.  After feeding my children, we piled into the smallest room of our house and began moving furniture and opening paint cans.  The first color to go on the wall was called "Man Cave" - a deep, masculine shade of gray that was perfect for the "gym" side of the room.  The paint went on like butter, and in no time, I had one wall completed.  
"Man Cave"

I would later regret what this early stroke of luck did to my ego.

Drew carefully opened the second color of paint while I moved more furniture out of the way.  He called out, "Wow!  This looks like cheese!!"  The comment concerned me, as I was hoping for a soft, lemony yellow.  I peaked around the corner and had to agree that the color seemed a little more "processed cheese spread" than "lemon meringue".  Nevertheless, I plunged ahead, setting aside the paint can lid that was carefully labeled with the following warning: 

"This shade may take 2-3 coats for complete coverage".

I had planned to paint the remaining three walls this color, so I got to work quickly.  The kids were helping, so despite a carefully placed drop cloth, our carpet became home to bright drops of yellow paint.  

And for yet another inexplicable reason, I decided that the best course of action would be to pull up the carpets.  So, while I rolled paint on walls, Drew now moved on to ripping carpet and padding from the floor.

It was close to 9pm at this point, and neither of my children were showered or dressed for bed.  But they were getting tired and fussy, and the only contribution my son was making to the conversation was an intense line of questioning about how much trouble I thought I'd actually get in with Daddy for this mess when he got home.

I sent the kids off to the showers and then plopped them in front of the television.

With the first coat of cheese whiz now drying on the walls, I took a moment to step back and survey the scene.  I was disappointed in how patchy the color was drying on the walls, and I was horrified when I realized that I only had about 1/3 of a can of paint left - there was no way one coat was going to work.  So, I plunged on into the second coat.  

By midnight, I was desperately scraping together every last ounce of what I now considered the most offensive shade of yellow on the planet.  It was barely covering the majority of the room, and on one wall, I still had a six inch border that hadn't even been touched.

It was, in a word, disastrous.  And after six hours of painting, I had absolutely no solution.  So I fell into bed alongside my children.  All of us with patchy of yellow and gray paint in our hair and on our clothes.

The next morning, we were scheduled to meet my sister-in-law at the beach.  A part of me thought I should cancel.  The other part of me needed to escape, so by 9am, we were sitting with our feet in the white sand beaches while I lamented to Sharon about my stupid, spontaneous ideas.

By the time we left the beach, it was 11am, and David would be home in less than 6 hours.  Company would descend on my house in about 8.  And I was driving home from a beach excursion.  So, I did what any logical, independent, 36 year old woman would do.  I called my mommy to tell her about my wreck of a room.  

Within 30 minutes, she showed up on my doorstep with paint clothes, brushes, and new colors in hand.  She mixed and matched and got to work.  I ordered a pizza and found the broom.  

My hero

Two hours later, I felt hope returning.  When my mom left, I began the process of putting furniture, pictures, and accessories into the room.  A few minutes later, my husband called to tell me he was less than 2 hours from home.  Every single remaining second was spent cleaning, organizing, nailing, sweeping, and promising my son that Daddy really would like the surprise.

The clean up begins

The mess had spilled down the hallway

And somehow, inexplicably, at 5pm, the office/home gym actually looked like an office/home gym.  Even the giant rug covering the cold bare cement floor looked like it might have been a well-thought-out detail.

The Office side
The Gym side with mirrors, weights and the TV
The carpet covering the cement floor

There's still a lot to be done, but my husband loved it.  Drew was probably the most relieved of us all.

That night at Bible study, one of my good friends noticed the only clue to my day of disaster... two spots of "Man Cave" gray paint on my knuckles.  "What have you been doing....?" she began.

"You don't want to know." I answered.  "Just do me a favor.  Don't even let me have 23 hours of downtime ever again in my whole life."

The results could be disastrous.