Category Archives: Housewife

The Writing Path

“‘Cause I need freedom now

 

And I need to know how

To live my life as it’s meant to be.

And I will hold on hope.  

And I won’t let you choke

On the noose around your neck.

And I’ll find strength in pain.

And I will change my ways

I’ll know my name as it’s called again.” Mumford & Sons – The Cave

 

The most expensive things in my house.

The most expensive things in my house.

 

I drove down tree-lined streets with no real direction, no end destination. I just drove. Using my car as my method of escape, I ran from everything. Hoping that somewhere, a path would clear and a sign would point me to where I needed to go. I drove fast, furiously, with tears streaming down my cheeks, desperate for the pressure I had created within myself to release.

Mumford and Sons blasting from the radio, trying to empower the positive voice, the beautiful voice, within me to come forward and free me from what I perceived to be my reality.

I'm officially a writer now

I’m officially a writer now

That day forever changed my life. Two months later, I was on a new path. In January of 2013, I left my career of 11 years in retail management and took a leap of faith. I started grad school. I went back to my roots, and chose to embrace the one thing that has always made me feel better: writing.

Of course, a lot of stuff happened in those two months in between the long drive and starting graduate school to get me to that place. But I finally had a frame of reference, some structure for myself (because working a 50 hour week, being a mom to a one year old, and being 6 weeks pregnant doesn’t allow for much structure).

As I sat in Bresieth 107 for CW501 on a chilly Friday night, looking around at the 17 other people in the room with me, I felt the panic welling up inside me (two years later, I’d learn that EVERYONE felt that same way). I told myself I needed to be there. My sister once told me that I was “good at going to school,” and while I didn’t know what that meant, I held onto it, because at that moment I just needed to be good at something.

Michael sat at his desk, supplies laid out perfectly, and ready to take on his first task. Austin entered, and I swear a Fabio photo shoot was in session. The air blew his chin length hair perfectly, and I swear the sky parted and a ray of sunlight shone into the room, adding a soft glow to his presence. Elisabeth looked so put together and sophisticated that I swore she was on her fourth degree. Nina already knew Bonnie, and Austin, Debbie and Bonnie had already been acquainted. I didn’t belong here.

Best part of graduation is the dessert.

Best part of graduation is the dessert.

Two and a half years later, I’m not sure I belong anywhere but there. In such a short time, I accomplished so much. Obviously, I’ve grown so much as a writer. Thanks to that leap of faith, I am now a full-time copywriter, juggling projects and freelancing, working as my own boss. My work is out there, my screenplays are getting great feedback in contests, and I pretty much spend a large portion of my day writing in some context.

But even more impressive (at least to myself) is the personal growth that came from this experience. As I received my MFA this past weekend, I had to really come to terms with reaching that destination that saved me from miles of endless nothingness.

I’m not nervous. I’m not worried. Because it’s really NOT over. The friendships that I have made during that time period are more valuable to me than the piece of paper in my hand that tells employers I may be able to write.

These crazy kids were my P.I.C. at Sunday's ceremony

These crazy kids were my P.I.C. at Sunday’s ceremony

I network without panic. I accept that rejection isn’t personal. I deliver feedback and receive it respectfully. I have found the balance between my family, my writing, and my friends.

I drove to escape my reality. Constantly running. Now I write. Not to escape reality, but to change it. To better it.

Acknowledgements

Special Thanks to everyone who made this journey possible for me: my cohort – Austin, Elisabeth, Reagan, Rachel, Tiffany, Chris, Kelly, Leah, Draper, Jonathan, Debbie, Joe and Michael, and an extra special thanks to Nathan and BFF Nina for putting up with me and keeping me grounded. My honorary cohort members: Taylor, Dawn and Barb (we wear pink on Wednesdays!) Casey: for being another insomniac weirdo that can make me laugh at all hours and truly being a great friend. Ken for reminding me to keep comedy funny. Shadowfax, Artyfax, Casey (the cat not the insomniac), Alice and the late former feline Japanese stripper Kiki for inspiring my fashion choices that got me through the days of residency. Kendrick and Aurora, because Michael Richey said “Your kids will only ever know you as a writer.” And you guys are the reason I chose to be better. Wally, because the endless support from day one is more than I could have ever asked for. And to my family: Mom, Dad, Robin, Shelley, Bud, Andrea, Mike, Billy, Dallas, Noah, Abby and Colleen who made every residency a possibility by taking care of my children and supporting me even when they had no idea what I was doing.

I love them all so much!

I love them all so much!

I’m finally living my “life as it’s meant to be.”

 

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Labor of Love Part 2

continued from Part One…

 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013. My sister agreed to take me to the hospital. As I sat at my mother’s kitchen table, all that I was thinking about was how tired I was. I couldn’t wait to get the checkup over with so I could come home and try to get some sleep.

My sister finally arrived at my mom’s, and I quickly whisked her out of the kitchen and we were on the road. It was like any other drive. There was no talk of labor, or babies. In fact, I noticed she had stopped for a coffee on her way to pick me up!

We headed straight for labor and delivery, as they were expecting me. When the nurse took me to an exam room, she explained that she reviewed my charts while I was en route, and the facts weren’t in my favor. Many times pregnant women experience false labor, she said, and since I was previously a failure to progress, the chance was extremely low that active labor had begun on its own. She said she’d do a quick exam make me comfortable and then I’d be on my way home.

There wasn’t much time for introductions. It was early, the staff was changing shifts, and there had been a few overnight deliveries. We got down to business. The nurse hooked me up to a contractions monitor, took both my vitals and the babies, then left to get a midwife. The midwife returned, looked at all the monitors and my medical history, and decided to do an internal exam.

My sister sat to my right, drinking her coffee. We both waited for the midwife to say something. Anything. She remained poker faced, and we couldn’t tell what was going on. She took off her gloves, looked at the monitor again, then turned to me and smiled. “Congratulations! You’re 6.5 cm dilated. Guess you’re staying.”

I looked at my sister, who almost dropped her coffee. We were as much in shock as the nurse, who returned with my admissions paperwork. The nurse said by the way I walked in and m overall demeanor, no one expected me to be in full on labor mode. My little boy would be here by the end of the day.

Reality started setting in. Wally was over 500 miles away, and wasn’t scheduled to fly in until the next day. He was going to miss the birth of his son. I had a few moments to process this information but then my brain shifted to survival mode. Planning, organizing, sorting, whatever needed to be done mentally to get through this.

My sister left the room to report the news to my mother. Needless to say, there was a level of surprise from everyone I had contact with throughout the night, even my other sister’s coworkers. As my nurse began the usual routine of baby delivery, prepping the room, poking me with things, attaching monitors and loud beeping machines to me, we started engaging in conversation. She asked who was with me today, and I FINALLY introduced my sister.

The nurse laughed and said, “oh, she’s your sister!” which it then became apparent she assumed we were a couple. I proceeded to tell her about Wally’s situation, which was becoming more stressful by the moment. He was trying to change his flight, which we all know is usually as simple as writing a neuro-physics dissertation. With the help of his boss, he sat at the Dayton airport, in a desperate attempt to get a seat on the next plane to anywhere in PA.

to be continued…

Scent of a Woman…With a New Dishwasher

Like most people, I prefer eating off of clean dishes. When we moved to our new home, which was equipped with a dishwasher, I was overjoyed. While slightly saddened by the fact that we would no longer compete for the title of “Best Dish Stacker”, (you know, where you stack the most dishes in the sink, or in the dish board), I was happy to not have to get my hands truly dirty.

Since I am allergic to one of the best grease fighting detergents on the market, we always had to settle for the next step down when it came to dish detergent. It’s a good thing there were never any oil slicked ducks roaming around my kitchen, because they’d be screwed.

Being a new dishwasher owner, I stared at the shelf containing the large variety of detergents available on the market. From pacs, to gels, to powder, packages were labeled with words like “Platinum”, and “Ultimate”. I started buying in, thinking to myself: “I want my dishes clean. Like ultimately clean. Like platinumly clean.”

But clean is clean. Right? Apparently not. Sure you can go with the “Original” formula, but then you’d risk your dishes just being clean. Aren’t your dishes worth more than that? I decided mine were, and definitely opted for the dishwasher deluxe spa package.

Then something else caught my eye. There were SCENTS! Suddenly, I went from standing in the cleaning aisle at Kroger to the middle of a Bath and Body Works shop where your nose is so overwhelmed you have to buy one of everything.

As I started determining if I wanted Lavender Harvest, or Fresh Lemon Grove, (ooo, this one comes in Ocean Breeze), it suddenly occurred to me that not only would this scent only be emitted within the confines of my dishwasher, but that there’s truly no need for fragrance on my dishes.

I’ve never seen anyone smell a plate BEFORE putting food on it. Have you? Leave me a comment and let me know!dishwasher

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Daddy?

Kids say the darndest things. At least, thats what they say kids say. Mine just started talking coherently a little while ago, but for every word that is incoherent, there’s one that’s clear as day.

Ive been around kids long enough to know they repeat everything they hear. Despite my sometimes sailor inspired vocabulary, im usually really good with what I say around them.

This post is NOT about how my daughter embarassed me in public because she spewed off a few choice words appropriate only for a dissertation written by the Hound from Game of Thrones.

Instead, the offending word is one that many parents yearn for their child to say: Daddy.

On one of our regular grocery trips to the local Kroger, in which I was quite proud of myself for managing to get both children fed, dressed, and out of the house incident free by myself, my daughter sat in the cart while I carried my son in a black Boba wrap.

One by one we added things to the cart, crossing off items from our list as we toured the aisles. When we arrived at the cleaning section, the aisle was full of other shoppers. I managed to finagle the cart to the area I needed.

I grabbed the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser from the shelf and handed it to Rory to throw in the basket. Instead, in this aisle full of people, she looked at the image of a happy, smiling guy with a shiny bald head and as clear as day she yelled: “that’s my Daddy”.

Knowing my husband, I actually thought the connection was hysterical. Shes often found resemblence to her father in other famous faces. She swears he’s Howie Mandel, and when we spent last summer in Pennsylvania, she assumed Cuban American music artist Pitbull was her dad and he was just away on tour.

Once I noticed the looks on other shoppers faces I started to assess the situation from an outside perspective. This tired, weary mother with two tiny children, shopping alone on a weekday morning, so pathetic that the poor child doesnt even know who her father is. She thinks its Mr. Clean for crying out loud. We must help her. Send her to Maury.

I laughed, told Rory that was not her daddy, which only made her yell “its Daddy!” Even louder and clearer, and threw the box in the cart. Finally I caved and accepted that Mr. Clean was my childs father. “Yes Roar, thats daddy. Lets go pick out some ice cream.”

As the other patrons looked at me with pitying eyes, I finally understood why my daughter can be such a clean freak. Its in her genes.

Mr Clean Logo is Daddy?

Are You My Daddy?

Parking Whores. Oops! I Meant Wars.

Continued from A Spot in the Park:

I go outside and step onto my porch. I politely greet her and then it hits me. A hailstorm of attitude like none I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve worked in customer service!

“Hi. Can I just ask for a small favor?” I ask. She replies with a dumbfounded stare. Maybe I wasn’t speaking loud enough. Or maybe my Eastern accent has her thrown off guard.

“Could you just move your car back a little bit,” I continue. “I have two small kids, and with the snow it was just hard to take them out this weekend.”

park

My guess is no.

“There’s a driveway there. I can’t back up.” Now it’s my turn in the dumbfounded staring contest. I guess she really didn’t understand that she could park behind the driveway. I pointed out that the house next to me is vacant, and she wouldn’t be in anyone’s way if she parked there, just a few feet behind where she currently parked. She continued staring at me. Nothing was getting through whatever is behind those dumbfounded eyes, so I thanked her, and retreated to my porch.

I heard her mumble something under her breath, so I turned back around. “I’m sorry, I thought we were done,” I said. “Apparently, you have more to say?” I caught her off guard. “I was on the porch and didn’t hear you. What did you say?”

“I said it’s public parking.” She mumbled.

“Really? This is how you want to start out as neighbors?”

“I’m the biggest bitch you’ll ever meet,” she yells. Because that’s an appropriate response when someone asks you to move your car.

Knowing that my daughter was at the door, and everything I do sets an example for her, I quieted the voice in my head telling me to punch the lady in the face.

“Just a fair warning,” I told her, “I’m the nice one of this house. You’re just lucky my husband wasn’t here.” Anyone who knows us will verify the accuracy of that statement.

So she gets in her car, I go in my house, and life goes on. Since that moment, we haven’t had any contact with each other. However, I have noticed that she refuses to park in front of her own house, which makes me wonder if there’s some kind of invisible parking barrier there.  When she attempts to pull forward, the little Neon bounces back. I’d walk over there to inspect it, but there’s only one thing stopping me…

…to be continued…(again)…

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A Spot in the Park

Since moving to Indiana, everyone I have encountered has been extremely friendly. Like incredibly friendly. The kind of friendly where neighbors bring you baked goods when you move in, and the guy who bags your groceries helps you out to the car, and instead of giving out candy during parades they give out gigantic stuffed animals.

So imagine my surprise when I finally encountered someone who was, let’s just say, not so friendly. A few weeks ago, when it was the bitter cold of winter and there was snow everywhere, (remember that?) we found out our neighbors across the street were moving out. Now, when we moved in, we got the scoop about everyone on the block. We were told they weren’t the friendliest people, but they were harmless. We got their backstory, baby mama drama and all, but they never bothered anyone so life went on.

That is, until they moved out and their daughter moved in. It’s a single family home that was converted by the mom into a double block so the daughter had her own apartment. When the daughter found out she’d have to pay rent, she left. Until now.

Mom and family were moving out of the right side of the house, and apparently daughter moved into the left. This seriously isn’t any of my business, but being a stay at home mom has given me a bit of a “Rear Window” complex, except in my case it’s more of a large front bay window.

Back to the snow. It had recently snowed just under a foot, requiring us to shovel a spot in front of our house where we can park. Since we originally hail from NEPA, we brought along our snow blower, making life a little easier, and being in Friendly-ana, we even did our next door neighbor’s sidewalks.

dont park my spot

That explains why she parked there…

Cue the weekend. Suddenly, a red Dodge Neon, with Ohio plates, is parked in front of our house. Thursday, Friday, Saturday. The car just sits there, nice and cozy, in the spot WE shoveled out.  That Sunday, our next door neighbor, with cupcakes in hand, comes over to tell us about the car. Apparently, the daughter has lived here before, and was known for causing trouble.

Someone parking in my freshly shoveled spot, while annoying, isn’t necessarily trouble. But I did have to park my own car up the street and figure out a way to trudge my two babies back to the house in a few inches of snow. So it was mildly inconvenient.

By Monday morning, it was more than inconvenient. It had gone on too long, and I was now past the point of being friendly. Besides, the car hadn’t moved so I didn’t even see the owner. While Googling “passive aggressive parking notes”, the daughter goes to her car. Now’s my chance.

…to be continued…

 

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Extra Securi-Tea

You always hear about people who can’t function until they’ve had their morning coffee. I’m one of them. I don’t take the extreme of “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee”, but I need at least a sip before I can process anything major. As a mom, I’m pretty used to drinking a majority of my coffee cold, and not on purpose. It seems like as soon as I sit down to enjoy that first cup, someone yells to get out of their crib.

Regardless of all the coffee interference I experience in the morning, I’m still pretty serious about my coffee. Most avid coffee drinkers are. But what about tea? You never really hear anyone say “YouLipton Tea don’t want to be around me until I’ve had my tea.” There are no Garfield cartoons depicting him with a cup of tea and a disdain for mornings, likewise there are no internet memes about needing tea.

Coffee drinkers are always depicted as more violent and disturbed, should you take away their coffee. Tea drinkers seem more relaxed, calm, and much more willing to talk things out over a nice hot beverage.

We’ve been drinking a lot more tea in my house lately, mostly thanks to some head congestion and sore throats, and I had to purchase a new box the other day. Nothing fancy, just plain old Lipton regular tea.

s what I thought. Upon further inspection, I realized that this box of Lipton tea came with a unique new feature that could only be indicative of the secret subculture of tea drinkers.

 

 

Tea Lockbox

Yes that’s right. This tea comes with a secure lockbox. For securing your tea. In case it wasn’t secure.

I feel an overwhelming amount of security knowing that should someone break into my house, my tea is safely stored in a lockbox. Take my TV, jewelry, money, but don’t you dare touch my tea.

Obviously Lipton had to get feedback from their customers regarding this need for more tea security. This leads me to conclude that tea drinkers are not as sane as we might have previously regarded them. I may be a bit cranky without my coffee, but I’m not the least bit concerned about the safety and protection of my hot beverage of choice.

 

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A “Load”-ed Question

I’ve been doing laundry for a lot of years. I really don’t find it to be a big deal.  Believe it or not, despite my OCD issues, I don’t do any kind of sorting. Everything just goes in the machine until it’s full and then I throw in some detergent, wash it on cold and call it a day.

My current washing machine was purchased for $50 in 2007 when Wally worked for Lowe’s. It still works great and has traveled through more states then some people ever will. It’s a trusty little thing, and hopefully (knock on this cheap Asian material my desk is made out of) it will last a little longer.

In our new house, it hasn’t been relegated to the basement, or stuck in some dingy corner of the house that no one wants to go in. It’s in a cute little laundry nook off the kitchen. Since she ran out of space on the fridge, Rory likes to decorate it with magnets. It’s just another part of the décor.

Usually, I never have to adjust the “Load Size” dial. I’ve actually never thought about it much.  The laundry basket is pretty much a “large load” and when it’s full I do laundry. The machine has load size setting that range from small to super.

It wasn’t until the other day, after washing a few of the couch pillows and something of Kendrick’s that I really had to adjust the setting. I filled the basin and threw in my detergent and as my hand began to turn the dial from “small”, I panicked.

I was pretty sure the amount of clothing I had in there constituted a large load. But then I noticed all these little lines between the size options. That’s right, there’s not just small, medium, large, extra-large, and super. There’s large, line line line line line, extra-large, line line line line line. You see where this is headed. Like a speedometer, there are individual gauges between the base settings.

load size

When exactly do you decide that it may be a hair above large? I mean even somewhere between large and extra-large is plausible, but two notches under that? I mean, if I add a sock do I turn the dial to the next line? How many lines do I add for a shirt?

I wasn’t feeling confident in my decision of just plain “Large” anymore. It was like I had just discovered a whole new world of possibilities. My goal is to get just to the line before “super”. I’m not sure I want to pass into the world of Super Laundry. I feel like that’s when Rainbows, and unicorns and bubbles start spewing from the machine and out pops that “Big Gay Al” character from South Park. “Super, thanks for askin’.”

I clicked the dial to what appeared to me to be a notch and a half above “large”. Better over-estimate right? What was that question that owl always asked?

How many socks does it take to get to the center of the next line? The world may never know.