Friday, January 30, 2015

Now that's better

All sorts of yin and yang take place in a marriage.  His strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa so it all works.  (Pretty much works.)

I am an impatient, get it done, don't-let-perfect-be-the-enemy-of-progress type person.

Adam is patient.  He contemplates and waits and doesn't want to settle for less than the best possible outcome.

(I think we drive each other a little crazy sometimes.)

I'm a clutterer, the queen of tchotchkes.  I like decorations and Adam is more of a minimalist.  I decided to hold off taking over one corner of the house and let it be Adam's.  His office.  If he didn't have it figured out, that was OK with me.  I was going to let it be his space and his domain. 

I have restrained myself from hanging pictures (and marginally scary wreaths) on the walls or filling the blank spaces with trinkets and vases.  I have let him be in the driver seat and take the lead.

Except I did get some paint chips for him to choose from because it was time already (a tiger can't change her stripes that easily):


See the brown walls?  Sort of a rust/dirty diaper motif.  Also sort of sponge painted.  Were they going for an old world feel?


Every time I walked in the room, I felt like it was sort of an abomination.  (Are the people that bought our old house staring at the walls and wondering, what were they thinking?) Adam chose the paint and we spent Saturday painting.

Before:

Do you know how impressed I am with myself that I remembered to take before pictures?  And the color was way uglier in person.  Believe me.

After:

OK, I did prop those pictures there on the mantel.  So much blank space.  It makes me fidgety.

I like it a LOT more now.

I painted this bookshelf the same color as the walls:


And yes, I put some stuff on that top shelf.  (I can't resist with ampersands.  Adam's initials are AND.)

P.S.  I think I should tell you...I was way too exuberant in my furnace excitement yesterday.  I spoke too soon.  The saga continues but I'm pretty sure we have a resolution and I'm pretty sure this one will stick.  (Don't hold me to that.)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Calling in the cavalry

Our furnace and I have a storied past.  There have been highs and lows; disappointments and frustrations.  And I've been cold.  Adam is usually at work and also not cold by nature.  The big kids are usually at school/play practice and also not cold by nature.  Mark burns enough energy being Mark that he's usually not cold either.

So basically, I'm the main one with a dog in the fight.

Since I'm nothing if not a complainer to my parents, they have been privy to the unhappy tragedy that is our furnace.  A week ago, when my dad was deathly ill, coughing and miserable, he and my mom speculated about whether or not they should drop everything and come see me so my dad could look at the furnace.

I told them it was OK.  We were surviving.  They told me they were going to be in the area this week and they would come and take a look.

Meanwhile, I paid for another company to come and attempt a fix.  (My confidence in repairmen is rapidly dwindling.)

Meanwhile, I was cold.

Meanwhile, I tried to tell myself that my dad may not be able to fix it where so many others had failed.  He is, after all, not a professional repairman.

Meanwhile, I know my dad.  And he fixes stuff.

So Tuesday night they came.  Ammon and family came over too which only boosted my confidence about the furnace.

After some pleasantries, my dad and Ammon and I went to the basement.  (I had Ammon reattach a light fixture I couldn't reach on his way down the stairs.  I mean, if you have the height in the vicinity, use it.)

While they surveyed the scene with the furnace, my mom was upstairs rescuing Emma from herself.  Emma was making tortillas for her online geography course.  (Since nothing says geography like making tortillas?)  My dad and Ammon were downstairs and my mom was in the kitchen helping Emma, so I sat down on the floor and played ponies with Azure and chatted with Melanee.  What else was I to do?

As far as I can tell, we've spent over $800 on furnace fixes that haven't fixed it.

My dad and Ammon spent a little time and my furnace?  It is perhaps too early to tell because it's quite mild out and we'll see what happens when it gets truly cold, but it's working.  It. Is. Working.

Their fix?  Leave the room to the furnace room open. 

Seriously. 

(I hate to admit it but Ammon had suggested that fix over the phone earlier and I'd never tried it.)

They didn't charge me a cent (but I did give them some cookies).

It all reminded me how incredibly lucky I am to live closer to my parents (and Ammon).  This is the sort of treatment my other siblings have been spoiled by.  I went a reaaaaaalllly long time seeing them a few times a year and I like this better.

I like Braeden and my dad talking about politics and renewable energy.  I like my mom teasing me about how ugly she thinks my new wreath is.  (It is ugly but I maintain that is a big part of its charm.)  I like Emma and my mom working side by side in the kitchen.  I like Mark orbiting around, hugging people and coming up from the basement after a wild rumpus with his little cousins, red cheeked from the exertion.  Adam had a late night at work and I like that my parents stuck around later than they'd planned so they could wait for him to come home so they could say hello to him.  

Also, I played my ukelele a little for my parents.  I want them to know that I'm not wasting my time here...I have real talent.

Ha.

Ha. Ha.





Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It would have to be a pretty great sister...

Yesterday Olivia and I were having a phone conversation while I was shopping at Target and she was driving to town to host a baby shower.  Multi-taskers, that's us.

We talked a little about our sister-less daughters.  Our sisterhood Matters to us with a capital M.  Olivia told me she feels sad that Lili doesn't have a sister.  I maintained that different isn't necessarily worse.  I feel like Emma is pretty happy with her lot in life.

I thought about it for the rest of the day though.  Was Emma sad she didn't have a sister?  Had she just not told me?  She is Independent with a capital I, so it was possible she just hadn't told me.

So I asked her.

She said, "I used to feel sad about it sometimes when I was little but I don't anymore.  I have great brothers."

So then I thought about that.

I was putting laundry away upstairs and looked down and this was my view:


These two are friends. (And yes, those are Braeden's socks.  They are always nearby, except now he tells me when he takes them off, "I will pick these up.")

Emma has a weird, meaningful and real relationship with each one of her brothers.


The more I thought about the sister question, the more I realized, it would have to be a pretty great sister to outpace these boys.


I'm pretty happy with what I've got.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Oh Braeden

One of the best things about motherhood is happy children.  They make me feel like despite the ways in which I am not winning, at least something is going well.

Braeden's UTA conference was a good one.  Every night he came home positively euphoric.  He had a great time with his friends, had fun in his workshops and learned a lot too.

I loved hearing the stories.  It's like Braeden and his friends orchestrated their days just to make me laugh in the retelling.

One person they learned from at the conference was Broadway composer Frank Wildhorn.  Braeden roped his friend Claire into going with him and they walked up to Frank Wildhorn after one of the meetings.

(It's the same Claire that I will love until my dying day.)

Braeden said, "Frank, can I take a picture with you?"

He said sure and was looking around for someone to take the picture.  Braeden said, "I'd rather just take a selfie."

Frank Wildhorn said, "I guess it is a selfie age."



When Braeden told me the story, I said, "You called him Frank?"

"Yeah," Braeden said, "We were on a first name basis.  He had said the day before in a workshop that we needed to be tenacious."  Then he admitted, "Mr. Shelley was kind of embarrassed about the selfie."

Poor Mr. Shelley.  He's the drama teacher.  Can you imagine the moxie it would take to chaperone a group of drama kids?  They are afraid of exactly nothing and in fact look for ways to draw attention to themselves.

(I think I'll love drama teachers until my dying day too.)


Monday, January 26, 2015

The best sort of news

After waiting all week with varying degrees of patience by all of us (forbearance:  not a strong suit with the women in our family... also we're not good at passing driving tests) Clarissa's mission call finally came!

We went to her dorm lobby to be there when she opened it.  Adam and Emma both videoed it and then edited it.  (That Emma...the girl has skills she did not learn from me.)

I obviously am not too expert on videos.  Adam told me there was a BIG difference between the quality shot with his phone and the quality shot with Emma's.  I said, "Which was better?"

He said, "Mine.  Noticeably."

Apparently noticeably is a relative term.

I accidentally started crying right in front of the camera and then I accidentally walked up in front of everyone and hugged Clarissa when I should have stayed out of the way.  It was one of those times when I wonder, "What was I thinking?" and then I realize the problem was that I wasn't thinking.

Perhaps I was propelled by a sisterly urge to hug Clarissa in Marianne's absence?  A proxy hug.

I cry every time I watch it.  How I love this girl!




New Zealand is one lucky place!

I loved on Sunday when Clarissa was over.  She and Braeden were each on a computer, Googling New Zealand.  Braeden had done research about their form of government and history and he had a full report for her.  They told each other little tidbits of trivia and it was one of those times that I consider myself blessed to be where I am.

Then Clarissa and Emma sang together and that's another of those times when I feel like I should pinch my lucky little self and make sure I'm not dreaming.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Crime and punishment

Mark and I have been having stalemates over math.

Yes, this is my life.  I get into power struggles with 6th graders.  He's been doing order of operations (My Dear Aunt Sally--who is only trumped by parenthesis) with fractions.  It's been a lot of fun.  Except for the part when he does it all in his head and gets them wrong and then I tell him he has to show his work and then he refuses.

So I told him he had wasted so much time we wouldn't go to the gym--which turns out to be a punishment for Mark.

So he told me that he wouldn't eat lunch.

Did I mention how much fun this has been?

Yesterday he did show his work and we finished school sooner and we--wait for it--went to the gym!  Don't ever tell me we don't know how to have fun.  Mark loves going to the gym because he's old enough to play exercise on the machines.  He spends a few minutes on each one which is perfect for his attention span and I walk on the treadmill and read on my ipad which is perfect for my attention span.

The gym we go to is the Pleasant Grove Rec Center which is right next to the high school.  Mt. Timpanogos was breathtaking against that glorious blue sky.

There's the high school on the left. And see all those vehicles?  They are driven by teenagers who try to kill me every time I get near the school.  Scary.

I love living by a mountain.  I grew up by a mountain and it seems like all is right with the world when you have a big hulking rock keeping watch.

I even like the G.

And, I admit, I like my exasperating red head.  He is stubborn, but that isn't all bad.  Someday he'll move mountains...just hopefully not Mt. Timpanogos.  I like it where it is...


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Remember that time when I was on top of things?

I'm not sure I do either...

Here's the most recent example of me not being on top of anything:
Braeden: Mom, I need some money in my account to pay for UTA.

Me:  OK, how much do you need?

Braeden:  $115 and can you do it soon, like before lunch?  If I don't pay today I can't go.

Me:  OK.  How much again?
See, so that wasn't bad.  I transferred the money.  I just didn't really know what I was paying for.  I had a vague idea that it was for the regional competition Braeden is preparing for.  Also, I knew that despite my earlier idea that UTA stood for Utah Transit Authority, in this context it is Utah Theater Association.  I think the competition is sometime in March.  Maybe?  Once Braeden started driving I sort of stopped keeping careful track of his schedule.

I did have other pertinent information in my head.  It seemed unrelated, but PGHS is performing an early showing of The Wizard of Oz on Friday night for UTA because they won last year's state drama competition.

Here's what happened last night:
Braeden:  I am going to have to buy lunch and dinner the next few days.  Do I have a budget for how much I should spend?

Me:  What?  Why do you have to buy your meals?

Braeden:  Because I'll be at UTA.

Me:  What?

Braeden:  Yeah, it's why I needed to pay the money.

Me:  What? I thought the money was for the regional competition.

Braeden: No. Oh, that reminds me.  I have a permission slip for you to sign.

He went downstairs and came back up with a little packet of stapled papers.  It was an itinerary for a several day long theater conference on the campuses of BYU and UVU.   
Me: How did I not know about this?
Braeden: I don't know.  You don't have to read it (he knew I was minimally skimming...reading itineraries for someone else's conference is kind of like reading a syllabus for someone else's class), just sign it.

Me: OK.  Oh, so Clarissa may get her mission call tomorrow.

Braeden: I'll be at BYU!  Maybe I can go see her open it if I have time.

Me: Wait, what? You'll still be there?

Braeden: (patiently) Yes, it's all in here.  (He indicated the packet.)

Me: Oh.  So is this why you're performing on Friday night?

Braeden: Yeah. We have to hurry back to the school in time to get ready.

Me: So you'll be gone tomorrow and Friday?

Braeden: And Saturday.

Me: Really?

Braeden:  indicating the packet I hadn't read
When he left our bedroom, it occurred to me that maybe I'm the worst.  When Braeden left for school this morning, he showed me the page he'd ripped off from the stapled packet that included the schedule he'll have for the next few days.  "I'll put this by your phone," he said.

That kid gets me.  Sympatico. That's what we are.

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