Life in 3 – The One Where the Feathers Fly

On a hazy, 114-degree Friday afternoon—while hiding away in the house with blinds pulled and fans blowing on full-blast—one can still experience so much of life and learn a few lessons along the way. Here’s what I learned today:

  1. A perfect Friday afternoon can be simple. It can mean work is slow, Netflix has a good limited series, and there’s plenty of Diet Coke in the fridge. #LetsRockThisSummer
  2. Naps are sacred in our house…so when we were ALL awakened from a mid-afternoon nap only to discover that our mini American Eskimo had dragged a pigeon into the house for a late lunch buffet, the sacred silence was broken by maniacal, shrill barking. Certain “talking” breeds are not conducive to peace…or naps.
  3. No vacuum is meant to handle pigeon feathers. It wasn’t pretty. Nothing more to add to this one.

Bonus learning: Always block the doggie door before any sleeping occasion—or you, too, could discover random wildlife in your home at the most unexpected time.

Life in 3 – The One About What I Found in the Sofa

I’ve recently discovered that you can tell a whole lot about a person—and a family—simply by reaching your hand down into the side of their sofa and rooting around for treasure. Now, you have to be brave and reach really, really deep…like up to the elbow, so if there are kids OF ANY AGE in the home, say a little prayer and cross your fingers that there’s nothing alive in the crevices.

We Are a Clean People

I feel like I need to put that out there, because what I’m about to tell you might land us on an episode of Hoarders or, at a bare minimum, on some sort of shameful internet list mocking families who find pizza crust in weird places.

That being said, it’s become clear that the contents stuffed into the depths of your sofa can say a WHOLE LOT about what’s going on in the house. We have two teenage boys at home. Here’s are 3 things I found in our sofa today:

  1. 17 mismatched socks. Contrary to popular belief, we DO have a laundry room with a fully functioning washer and dryer. However, our teenage sons seem to have either forgotten its location and/or how to work the very complicated machines.
  2. Miscellaneous snack wrappers and 3 plastic drink bottles. And a whole LOT of crumbs. I can’t adequately describe the sensation of reaching deep into the sofa only to have your fingernails impacted with stray (and likely weeks-old) crumbs that were left wholly for my enjoyment. It was a special moment.
  3. 4 dead batteries…and the wrapper from the new package of batteries. We could have zero food or drinks in this house, and as long as we have batteries, the boys would be happy. Especially in the summertime, batteries are the lifeblood of existence. Games must be powered at ALL times.

I have questions. So many questions.

When did our sofa turn into a trash can? And do my kids have some sort of disorder that prevents them from walking from the living room to the kitchen to throw away their trash? Should we see a physician about this troubling inability to…ummm…physically MOVE during the summer?

Is it wrong to throw all couch-debris into their beds? Can I volunteer them for some sort of neighborhood cleanup?

Mostly though…HOW LONG is this summer vacation going to last??

Life in 3 – The One About Flunking Geometry

3 Totally (Not) Legit Reasons My Kid Flunked Geometry

Please note these are NOT legitimate reasons for failing any class, so this is me throwing the bullshit flag on my teenager. Yeah, I know, my kid is 15 and like totally cool, but here’s the thing:

Ain’t no trick he’s tryin’ to pull that I ain’t tried before.

(That’s me, Mom Dude, with my best gangster line. It’s usually good for an eyeroll or two.)

In other words, been there, done that. Know what’s worse than the boat my kid’s in? My mom was a teacher in the small high school where I attended. Most of the time, she knew how I did on tests before I did. Now, that’s rough.

Apparently (unbeknownst to me), my kid had it very rough time in geometry this school year. I had no idea! You’ll probably be shocked to read about the 3 things his teacher did that MADE him flunk the first semester…resulting in his attendance at summer school.

Shocking classroom incidents that led to my son getting BELOW a 50% for the first semester include:

  1. The teacher graded all the packets—except for his. Of course he turned it in, he assured me. And he absolutely completed the entire packet. He had ZERO idea why the teacher might overlook his packet. Hmmmm… #Sus #ISmellARat
  2. The teacher won’t put anything in the gradebook. So it just shows up as a zero, which is why his grade looks so low…but it really isn’t…it’s just that darned lazy teacher. #ItsGettingDeep
  3. The teacher hasn’t given any extra credit yet. But, like, she totally does…that’s what everyone says, so if you just scrape together 500 extra points from the imaginary homework fairy, you might have a chance in hell of passing. #Reassuring

I don’t even know where to start. First of all what is WRONG with this teacher? What is she even DOING? I mean, aside from getting carpal tunnel from red-marking all the crappy, half-assed work that crosses her desk. Aside from that, what is she up to? Because…wow, she seems kinda lazy, right?

(Disclaimer: It’s unfortunate that this needs to be a disclaimer, but here goes. It must be said. In NO way do I think that my child’s teacher is lazy. I was being sarcastic.)

So, if your kid is in summer school—or just barely missed the distinction—be on the lookout for a few of the hidden signs. Is the teacher overlooking all the hard work your kid is putting in? Is your child a prodigy who merely forgets to put his name on ALL of his papers?

I’ve learned from my 15-year-old that there are so many ways one can fall through the cracks, so be alert, parents. Be alert.

Life in 3 – The One About Bravery

Today was about post-vacay recovery more than anything, so there was a lot of brain fog to burn off. Here’s what crossed my mind in the middle of unpacking mountains of dirty, wrinkly beach-worn clothes:

  • There’s a whole lot more “sweet” to “home sweet home” after being gone for a week. It’s amazing how much a great mattress, abundant ice cubes, and oh-my-god-I-thought-you-died dog excitement can remind you that paradise can be found right at home, too. When you think about it, everyone has a little bit of paradise they’re surrounded with…we just have to choose to appreciate it.

  • Being silly is a prerequisite to life. We get stressed a LOT. There are plenty of opportunities to worry, so when we run across the times when can goof off and act like we’re a couple sandwiches short of a picnic, we should go for it! I’ll never remember the 512,000 spreadsheets I’ve worked on in a lifetime…but GUARANTEED, I’ll never forget my daughters assuming their most “serious” explorer poses on the top of this volcanic rock formation. Get silly whenever and wherever you can.
  • Try a few things you think are weird. Sometimes what we think is weird is just unknown to us. My family went on a tour of a family-owned chocolate farm, and we learned so much! Did you know that chocolate nibs grow in a pod, on a soft membrane…and some people eat that membrane because it tastes a bit like citrus? Yeah, me either. Only about 6 people on the tour tasted the membrane, which is actually becoming a local delicacy. Will I ever eat it again? Maybe not. But I’m glad I stepped outside my comfort zone to try something new.

Happy exploring & happy stepping outside your comfort zone. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Always do what you are afraid to do.

Life in 3 – The Hawaii Kickoff

I just returned from spending a week in Hawaii with my family…ALL my five kids, my son-in-law, and my husband. I told myself I was going to catch up on my reading and writing during that week. I did not do that.

Here’s what I did instead.

I freakin’ enjoyed every minute with the people I love! I forgot to carry my phone with me…numerous times. I didn’t check my work email. Hell, I barely checked my personal email. I made it my personal goal to have a margarita at every bar that had a beach view, and I took approximately 1,236 pictures of my kids.

Listening to the Waves

I got this idea while listening to the waves on Day 5. It also struck me while listening to the entire crew triage my daughter, who insisted on boogie-boarding…even though the surf was rough and the shoreline incredibly rocky. Here’s what I thought:

There are moments in life we never want to forget. Laughs & waves. Turtles & sunburns. Underwater gashes & triage on the sand.

And Along Came…

It’s an easy way for me to look back and laugh at our crazy antics…and well, if it can make one person laugh or give one person hope, then I guess finding 3 little reasons each day to reflect and learn isn’t a bad way to pass the time.

Vacay in 3

  • On day 1, I saw a baby turtle playing in the surf, I splashed in the waves with ALL my kids, my son-in-law, and my husband, and I saw an island rainbow.
  • We were all graced with turtles, manta rays, new coral growth, octopuses, and an ocean full of vibrant reef fish.
  • We met new friends (like Junior at Polynesian Tattoo, Ponyo and Ocean the octopuses, and the grandpa we all want to adopt at the chocolate factory) and learned to live the aloha lifestyle…simply relax and enjoy life!

The Care & Keeping of Your Bridge-Troll Soul

I get it. People are tired of being cooped up in their houses and going on long, solitary walks and sitting on their front porches reading books and well, generally being not surrounded by people. It sounds absolutely excruciating—unless you are an introvert, in which case, you’ve been given an extended vacation from people-ing that is akin to winning a getaway to a tropical island filled with coconuts, island breezes, and cabana boys—the kind that deliver drinks and don’t want deep conversation.

It’s not the most popular opinion. Most of my friends are chomping at the bit to GET. OUT. THERE. To get back to normal, whatever that was. To get back to the office, get back to the grind, the carpools, the birthday parties, the over-committing, the general busy factor of life. But what if… What if this has been a way to get us all to slow down, look around, and appreciate what we do have? So take a minute. Look around. Breathe. Play some silly games and watch Netflix. We WILL all be back out there soon. Soon the tide will turn, and it will be the introverts who are uncomfortable again.

Just give us some pajama pants, fuzzy blankets, and books…and everything will be ok.

This post is for you, introverts. We’ve all become accustomed to being at home, and quite honestly, we’re loving the fact that we don’t have to work so hard to bury our introvert tendencies just to function in the real world. We can be productive, work successfully, and NOT be in such a loud, extroverted world. We don’t have to worry that the spotlight will turn on us in meetings—but we can still do amazing work. We LOVE our teams, but we don’t have to worry about team-building activities that include constructing the tallest spaghetti towers. (Please stop doing this to us. It’s unnecessary, and we don’t need spaghetti to understand the concept of teamwork.)

But I digress. Let’s get down to the business of taking care of your inner bridge troll. My inner bridge troll is the one who does not want anyone TROMP-TROMP-TROMPING over her bridge (or getting in her personal space). She’s an unpredictable troll because sometimes she likes to go out, have fun, and kick back…but those times are exhausting—and they require recovery time. You see, we introverts LOVE our people, but we recharge in our solitary environments.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure your inner bridge troll is the happiest troll around—and in turn, you can be sure to be the best friend, co-worker, and family member to those around you. They’ll understand you better, and you’ll FEEL better, so just go for it:

Don’t overcommit. I know, it’s difficult, but when things get back to some semblance of normal, everyone will want to do ALL. THE. THINGS. And probably all at once. Check yourself before you wreck yourself, introverts. You’ve been in your house for weeks with nothing but your kids and your toilet paper stash, so ease back into outside life gradually.

Prioritize. There will be things you really, really want to do—and then things you feel like you have to do. Here’s the thing: you don’t have to do anything. Be gentle, be kind, and learn how to say no.

Do what you love. Things are changing daily—heck, probably even hourly—and no one really knows what’s coming next. What do you love to do? Answer that question…and then REMEMBER the answer. Don’t forget to do the things you love. I love to write, make mosaics, spend time with my family, and currently, my new fascination is bullet journaling. Don’t let any of those things go. Instead, build on them—even when life lets us get out and about again.

Reach out. Ok trolls, here’s the hard part. You are not the only people on the planet—and there are people out there who love you and care for you. That means you have a responsibility to not only focus on your own introverted comfort, but also look outward and focus on the needs of your loved ones. Try picking a day or two a week to make phone calls and check in on people, send good old-fashioned cards, and plan coffee dates with friends. If they can respect us as introverts, then we can at least go get a damn cup of coffee.

image of introvert caricature smiling

Relax. Life will go on. We will adapt—humans are good at that. Let’s all just lean into each other’s strengths and get through this thing. Some of us are good at people-ing. Some of us are good at introverting. Let’s all work together.

My hope is that from all of this we will emerge smarter, more intuitive, and more able to respect boundaries of those who work differently, play differently, and live differently. That’s the beauty of being human. Find your people, love them, and appreciate them even more after all of this is over.

Bridge trolls: Come out of your caves occasionally to chat with people and get in touch with what’s going on in the world.

Extroverts: Reach out the introverts and try to understand that it’s sort of tough for us to leave our Hobbit houses and socialize…but we really love you and want to be your friends.

And there you have it. Bridge trolls, meet the extroverts. Extroverts, meet the bridge trolls. Now, y’all work that shit out.