Wednesday, September 17, 2014

And the Short Guy Laughed

Friday evening, I was sitting in my family room and I heard the noise that indicates my kids have turned on the water outside. I yelled out the back door to the kids, “Stop playing with the water! You have 10 minutes before you need to come in and get ready for bed.”

“We’re not playing with the water,” they all chimed.

“Well, just turn it off, please,” I instructed.

They insisted, “But we didn’t turn it on!”

I closed the door and listened more carefully to the sound that I had thought meant the water was running. I followed the noise through the kitchen and traced it to my refrigerator. Uh oh, I thought. My refrigerator is making really strange sounds! I opened and closed the doors a few times (like that was going to stop the sound and make everything okay.) Any technician would agree. “Well it was broken, but since you opened and closed all the doors, you fixed it!”

I decided I’d probably have to call someone to come look at it on Monday. In the meantime, I just plugged in my ear buds and cranked up The Psychadelic Furs. Voila! No more annoying noise.

At some point on Saturday, I asked Jackson to mow the lawn because I was pretty certain if he didn’t mow it soon, he was going to need a scythe just to clear a path to the front door. This is when we discovered that he couldn’t mow the lawn because a small lake had formed on the side of the house. You know, where the water was running. Where the water had been running full blast for nearly 24 hours straight. Yeah, there. Apparently I was right the first time. It wasn’t the refrigerator; it was the water spigot on the outside of the house.

I walked outside my house and was greeted with this sight.

I started hyperventilating, envisioning my water bill. I remembered my parents yelling at me for taking such long showers as a teen. “Do you want to pay the water bill?” they demanded. “You don’t need to take a 30 minute shower!” Ohmygosh, that was nothing compared to this!

I kept calm and tried to figure out the best way to go about stopping the leak. To an outsider, it may have looked like I was running around in circles, flapping my arms like Chicken Little, squawking, “My water’s leaking! My water’s leaking!” But I assure you, I was busy, using my cerebral cortex to formulate a logical plan for curbing the steady flow of water.

Thankfully, my level-headed friend told me to call the emergency number for the water department. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I called, explained my situation, and was informed that some guys were on their way over to check it out.

In the meantime, I figured I could keep the water from gushing out by screwing a spray nozzle onto the hose. I ran across the street (I didn’t actually run. I don’t do that. It’s an expression) to borrow one from my neighbor. I realized I’d have to screw the sprayer onto to the hose with the water rushing from the hose in a torrential stream. I’ll give you a minute to picture this. Yep. 

Me + hose + sprayer = me drenched from head to toe. Just as I realized the sprayer didn’t even fit on the hose, the guys from the water company showed up. They took one look at me, my wet hair stuck like seaweed to my cheeks, my tank top plastered to me, my shorts dripping down my legs, and started laughing. Well, the short guy laughed. A lot. The tall guy was all business.

“Uh yeah, I tried to screw this sprayer on the end of the hose. I didn’t work. It wasn’t one of my better ideas. Then again, it wasn’t my worst idea either,” I stammered.

The short guy laughed some more.

The tall guy screwed some sort of fitting onto the end of my hose. He didn’t get wet at all. Apparently the secret is to fold the hose in half, effectively crimping it and stopping the flow of water while screwing the fitting onto the end. The short guy looked at me as I wiped the mascara from my cheeks and attempted to smooth my dripping hair back off my face, and he laughed some more. Not liking the short dude.

In the end, the guys stopped the surge of water and left. I walked inside so I could change clothes before heading back to the football field. No sooner did I get upstairs than the doorbell rang. I ran back down and answered. The water guys stood there. “I’m sorry to bother you, but you know, instead of calling a plumber, you could just go to Ace and ask for a . . .”

I interrupted at this point. “Thank you, but I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I’m pretty sure I can’t fix this, and I’m scared to go to Ace because I’m convinced the guys there all take bets on what crazy fix-it problem I’ll come up with next.

And the short guy laughed again.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

10 Reasons Why I Wish my Kids Grew up in the 80s

I’m proud to say I grew up in the 70s and 80s. Well, I’m not so proud of the plaid, flared pants I wore as a kid, but overall, I think it was a great time to grow up. Come to think of it, it’s pretty amazing that any of us from that time period even survived to adulthood – no seatbelts, second-hand smoke everywhere, heck, cigarettes for sale in vending machines! — running around outside by ourselves with no cell phones until dark, scorching-hot metal playground equipment positioned over asphalt and guaranteed to give you a concussion, 3rd-degree burns, and/or Tetanus, and lawn Jarts (which were basically little spears that children were supposed to throw in a target on the grass, but inevitably ended up impaled in some kid’s skull every summer).


image: flickr

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I’m a Parent. I’m a Teacher. How Back-to-School Is Putting Me at Odds with Myself

It’s back-to-school time — that most wonderful time of year when the backpacks don’t smell like sour milk, the pencils are sharpened, and the brains are like dry sponges just waiting to soak up all the knowledge their teachers can impart. As a parent, I yearn for this time of year. Don’t get me wrong — I really love spending time with my kids all summer. But when those last couple weeks roll along, it becomes clear that they need to get back to school — for everyone’s sanity!

For the past few years, however, instead of doing a little happy dance when August comes around, I have mixed emotions. Working in a middle school, I know that back-to-school time for my kids also means back-to-school time for me. And although it’s exciting to begin a new year and it’s refreshing to get back on a normal schedule, it can also daunting.

So I find myself conflicted inside. I approach the following same 10 back-to-school themes as two selves — two sometimes opposite, opposing forces — all within the embodiment of just one parent. I meant teacher. I mean person.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I’m Trying to Be Strong, But I’m Drowning in This Single-Parenting Thing

I can’t even begin to adequately describe the overwhelming feeling that threatens to drown me daily. It’s like trying to stand in the ocean. You get your footing, but before you can enjoy the cool water washing over, soothing you, you spot a wave on the horizon. It moves closer and you know it’s going to hit you, but you’re powerless to stop it. You’re in too deep to simply turn around and head toward shore. Sometimes you can dive under it and resurface with only a little water in your nose. Sometimes you can jump up and avoid being swept away with only a spray of salt stinging your eyes. But other times, times when you’re distracted doing something else, the wave sneaks up, hits you, and drags you under, scraping you along the sand and bits of broken shell, pulling you away, twisting you around until you don’t even know which way is up; all you know is that you can’t breathe and you can’t get your footing, and you don’t know if it’ll ever end. And now and then, before you can resurface, a second or third wave knocks you down and keeps dragging you along until you’re not even sure you want to resurface because sometimes it’s just too darn hard to try to remain upright.


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