Saying goodbye to March today is turning out to be harder than I planned for.
First of all the whole "out like a lamb" has certainly not come true this year. It is cold and wet in the Chicago burbs and there is nothing soft and fuzzy about it.
All that aside, let me explain why the end of this month is coming with a lot of change.
1) Netflix is booting X-Files and I. Am. Crushed. I still have a season and a half to get through, and I sure am not going to get through it tonight.
2) Reese's Extreme Blizzard, blizzard of the month at DQ, is ending. I don't understand how it took until March 30th for me to see the commercial for this glorious creation, but now that I know about it, it's ending.
3) Spring break is over. It went way too fast and I didn't get anything done that I wanted to.
So on this last Friday of spring break, I will be productively spending my evening on the couch in my PJs, bingeing on X-Files, and you better bet I asked husband to stop at DQ on his way home.
On to April. Hoping for better weather, new shows, and an equally delicious blizzard of the month.
When I was in college I paid my bills by nannying and babysitting.
One of the families I was a sitter for was made up of 6 kids ages 7 to 14. They were super self sufficient and really smart, thoughtful kids. I was always so impressed with them.
I would get to the house early morning and say goodbye to the kids' parents, help the kids finish getting ready, and get them all to school. Overall it was only a quick couple of hours each morning before I had class myself, but could some days be very hectic.
For example if it were raining, and we couldn't walk to school, it actually took 3 trips in my small SUV to get all of the kids where they needed to be.
Anyway, one of the things I remember most is the way they would sit at the table for breakfast.
Some days the older siblings would make toast, or ask me to fry up an egg. Some days they would throw a waffle in the toaster and fight over the last of the syrup. But most days they would all sit down with 6 bowls, 6 spoons, a gallon of milk, and one of the older, taller siblings would bring over several boxes of cereal from the top of the fridge.
My favorite part was how they would argue over who got to finish the end of the box of cereal. Half of them dressed in school clothes, the other half still in PJs and unbrushed hair, I was just an innocent bystander as they decided who would get the little crumbs and sugar from the bottom of the bag... "the salt" they called it.
"No I should get the salt, you got it last time!"
"I was about to eat that cereal anway, I should get the salt!"
"I'm the oldest, give me the salt!"
So I couldn't help but laugh as I sat on the couch tonight and heard my husband say, as he finished his Sour Patch Kids, "Wow, lot of salt at the bottom this time!"
He's heard all of my stories.
Because of all of the dogs that come and go from my house, I spend a lot of time at vet offices. For example, this week, my spring break, 3 of my days will be spent at least partially at a veterinary office, one of which at a specialist over an hour away from home.
I have to say, I very much appreciate a vet that shows me they care about my dog. I've seen so many of them.
The ones who come in and use so much scientific language that you have no idea what they're talking about.
The ones who shake your hand and refer to you as mommy or daddy throughout the conversation.
The ones who very clearly are better with animals than with humans.
And my favorites, the ones who sit down on the floor, and give the dog so much attention you wonder if they know each other. The ones who let the dog give them kisses and sniff them all over and don't mind being slobbered on.
I appreciate all vets, they guide us humans through some of the hardest, most difficult times in our pets' lives. They teach us things and show compassion for our dogs, and for us, too. I need that, if I'm going to be spending so much of my life there.
While I was browsing an online store that had sent me an email about Easter decorations on sale, I saw a kitchen towel that read "Hippity Hoppity, Easter's on its Way!"
I immediately started humming the song "Here Comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail..."
I thought about a little music maker that used to live in what we called the kids' bathroom of my parents' house. A delicate little statue, painted watercolor hues of blue and brown, I can't remember if it is a little boy and a bunny or just a bunny, but what I remember so clearly is the song it made.
When you turned the figurine on the wooden base, a little chime would sound the tune of Peter Cottontail. Soft and quiet, the song would start out strong and then as the top slowed its spin, the song would slow until the last notes were so far apart it was hard to know if it was done or not.
I have such a clear recollection of winding it up, watching it as it spun, letting it stop, and winding it up again before going to bed as a kid. I could hear every single note in my mind as soon as I saw that towel.
As my husband was trying to leave for school this morning, he discovered that he had a flat tire. All the way flat. So, of course, as anyone who found their tire flat on a Monday morning would, he stormed in the house angrily, and borrowed my car.
Luckily I am on spring break, so although this leaves me stranded, it didn't affect his day too much.
It reminded me of when I was just learning to drive and my dad did everything he could to help keep me prepared.
When I was finally of the age to get my license, I wasn't allowed to actually get it until I had a job that would afford me an insurance payment. So I got a job, and I got my license.
Then when it was time to get a car of my own, he helped me find my '94 Nissan Altima that would get me through more years than it probably should have.
But what I remember most is when he made me prove I could change a tire before he would let me drive it.
He showed me that I could stand on the tire iron to help me loosen the lug nuts because he made sure to get me a T shaped one.
He showed me where the jack was hidden inside the panel of the trunk, where to line it up so I didn't dent the wheel well, and how to hook the hand crank to the jack so that I could lift the car up.
He showed me how independent I could be, with just a little guidance, and he showed me how much he loved me and wanted me to be safe.
Years later, when at this point the trusty old Altima belonged to my younger sister, and she got a flat, she called my dad to come help her.
I assured him that I could assist her, and ran a block over where she was waiting.
He showed me how to be safe and independent, and I imagine that he felt as proud of me as I did of my sister when I got to show her all the same things.
My mom has always had a fascination with humming birds. She plants canalillies all around their deck in the back yard and hangs bright red feeders to attract them.
Most afternoons, if it is nice outside, you can find my parents sitting on their deck casually watching for them to visit.
When we were kids, we also had a fascination with them, seeing my mom always so excited when they came around. My sister and I always wanted more than anything to see them each day we played outside.
There were multiple occasions I can recall running upstairs to put on every red item of clothing we own, and dragging our thick plastic Little Tikes chairs into the back yard to sit in between the canalillies that were taller than us. We would sit, nestled among the leaves, being as still as possible, and wait and hope that we could catch a close up look at the tiny little birds while my mom watched us from the window.
I don't really understand the "Proud Parent of an Honor Roll Student" bumper stickers.
I understand a parent being proud, that's not the issue. I just don't understand why you would want that on your car. To actually stick a, presumably free, giant sticker on your many thousands (or more) of dollars vehicle that you will drive for (hopefully) far longer than your child will be a student at the school you're showing pride for.
Not that my parents weren't proud of my achievements, but I will tell you they would never stick a decal proclaiming it onto their cars! And really, I would never want them to do that. How embarrassing!
What high school student wants their parent to drop them off to meet friends with a big honor roll bumper sticker identifying them?
"Oh Debbie, here comes your mom, I can see her giant crimson and gold placard from down the block! She must be really proud of you!"
Differing opinions and alternate explanations welcome.
At a particularly rowdy staff meeting, my colleagues and I were doing an ice breaker that involved filling in several boxes on a piece of paper with some of your "favorites."
One of the categories was favorite hobby, which I, very honestly, answered "pet dogs." This was apparently very funny to some of my coworkers, especially those who at the time, didn't know me too well. Now I think that may not surprise them one bit.
One asked me, "Like, play with your dogs?"
I laughed, " You don't know my dogs. They don't play."
On the very longest of days, all I desire after school is to come home, sit down, and pet my smelly, drool-y, wrinkly, old, diaper- wearing, senior, best girl-pal Sami.
When she's feeling spry she kind of slow motion, one foot at a time, tip toes her way onto the couch. We joke that if she has enough will to get her big butt up there, we have to allow it, even though she's "not allowed on the couch."
I have never really been a ketchup lover. I was not one of those kids who would eat ketchup with a spoon. Nor do I squirt out a monstrous mound on my plate to dunk my fries. I actually would prefer my veggie burger sans ketchup.
That was until I took a trip to Portland, Oregon. Among the many breathtaking, adventurous, and life changing things I experienced while there was Portland Ketchup.
I'm pretty unsure what exactly is different about it. Maybe it's more tomato-y. Maybe it tastes a little more fresh.
But I will tell you three things. One, it has revolutionized my feelings about ketchup. Two, it has prompted me to order Portland Ketchup on Amazon. And three, I'm not even ashamed.
When you're a kid, any little thing can hurt your feelings enough to stick with you through adulthood. For some of us there is one specific hurtful thing that continues to follow you decades later. That's what siblings are for!
When I was in first grade, we were asked to bring our favorite book to class. Excitedly, I looked through my shelf and chose a book that I had always loved called My Goodnight Book. Just like it sounds, it's about getting ready for bed and all the steps that a little girl goes through; brushing teeth, listening to a story, etc. But the best part is that my mom always said that the little girl in the book looked just like me.
Eager to share with my class, I brought the book to my mom in the kitchen where she was giving my brother and sister breakfast. She smiled at my choice and grabbed a Sharpie to write my name on the spine of the book.
Oh if it weren't for that Sharpie, maybe if she hadn't been listening to my younger sister whine, maybe if she had gotten a better night of sleep, maybe if I wasn't gabbing on and on about taking the book to school, maybe she wouldn't have accidentally switched the last letters in my name o-d-y to D-O-Y. Maybe then, I wouldn't forever be stuck with the ugliest nickname in the entire world.
Relentlessly my brother would tease me "Mom doesn't love you! She doesn't care if she spells your name wrong, DOY!"
I would cry and cry and tattle on my brother until it got so bad that my parents decided to start a "Doy jar." Into the jar went a dollar for every time he would call me by that name.
Unfortunately this did not break his habit, and year after year I lived with it.
Sometimes it was Doy-Doy, or Mel Doy, or just a loud DOY any time I would make a mistake or do something dumb.
This name has tormented me my entire life, thanks to my brother. Ive gotten used to it though by now, and I don't mind so much when he says it... I've come to realize that tormenting each other is what siblings are for.