Monday, December 27, 2010

We Interrupt This Holiday Season ...

... to bring you the following important announcement:

On December 23rd, sometime between Noon and 1 p.m., I officially became a future mother-in-law.

That's what happened when this boy:

decided to go to beautiful St. Augustine

with this girl:

We already knew what he had planned, so we weren't surprised when we got a text saying, "I'm engaged!"

I texted back congratulations, and then just to clarify I asked, "Is Kylee engaged too?"

Happily, she was. And they are. 

And that means I'm a future mother-in-law. So far Kylee and I are getting along fine, and I'm really enjoying getting to know her better. If she's not enjoying getting to know me, she's keeping it to herself for now. 

I did feel it best to lay some things out right from the start. So I told her that I promised to never make fun or criticize her housekeeping, mothering or cooking skills--as long as she never criticized mine.

I also told her that if I was ever at her house and I loaded a dish in the dishwasher, put a load of clothes in the dryer, or swept the floor, I did it out of a sincere desire to help, and not out of any mistaken desire to "set things right" or "show her how it's done".

Then I told her she could feel free to do dishes or laundry at my place any time as well.

It's always best to spell out the boundaries right from the start, I think.

We had one other conversation that's made me think we will get along well. We discussed dream cars. Mine is a Hummer. Hers is a Range Rover. Yeah, I think we'll get along fine.

Unless she gets her dream car before I get mine. : )

Congratulations, you two, and welcome to the family, Kylee!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Procrastinating Hodgepodge

There are so many other things I need to do, but since I don't want to do them right now, I'm sneaking away to do the Hodgepodge. Seven questions and a random thought. How long could it take? Actually considerably longer if you click on the link to go read everyone else's answers. But that's up to you. Just remember to comment on mine since you're already here. After all, I'm using up gift wrapping time, here!

1. Share your Christmas Eve traditions.
Well, I guess I could, but wouldn't you rather have your own? We seem to do something different every year. The one thing Indiana is adamant about is that presents will be opened on Christmas morning and not on Christmas Eve. Even when our children were very small, and would not go to sleep until the wee hours of the morning for all the excitement. Even then we couldn't open presents. No, we had to wait until morning. But I got even. We used to sit up half the night waiting to open presents. Now we sit up half the night after the kids go to bed wrapping presents. Ha! Whose laughing now?

2. What was the best book you read in 2010? (we're not going to include The Bible here)
I've read many books. Some I liked and some I didn't. I can't remember any of them at the moment. (I can barely remember my name at the moment.)

3. Do you have pets and if so do you allow them on the furniture?
We have two cats, Dex and Drizzle, and one dog with an attitude. The cats are allowed on the furniture, but the dog isn't. Officially this is because the cats are smaller and more well-behaved. Unofficially it's because the dog doesn't like me, and because the cats wouldn't be trained, but the dog would. Ha! Whose laughing now?

4. What event from 2010 are you most thankful for?
 I survived it. At least, so far.

5. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before.
I lost forty-three pounds. (Isn't it amazing how that comes up in casual conversation?)

6. Brussel sprouts...friend or foe?
They've never done anything to me. On the other hand, they've never done anything for me, either. I'm gonna say foe.

7. Who would you nominate for man/woman of the year?
I'm gonna go with the person that invented the Christmas cookie. And sprinkles.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Sprinkles are happiness in a jar. Open 'em up and let your smiles out!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Take Time To Enjoy the Little Things

Sometimes in all the busyness of the season, the littlest of things can bring you joy. For instance, at the party on Saturday, we had a white elephant gift exchange. You may have heard it called Dirty Santa or Yankee Exchange or some other or-so-witty name. The idea is to bring a grab bag gift. When it's your turn, you can either choose a gift to open, or you can choose to take an already opened gift from someone else. Needless to say, the game is quite boring if everyone plays nice and only opens their own gift.

Also probably needless to say, I've felt it my duty in the past, as hostess of the party, to take someone else's gift--merely in order to stir things up and make the game more interesting. I always felt I was only acting in everyone's best interest, but apparently my husband didn't see it that way. This year he reminded me in advance not to take the nicest gift at the party. Like it's my fault that last year I ended up with the ceramic cookie jar shaped like a present. Or like it's my fault the cookie jar was filled with homemade Christmas cookies. Or like it's my fault that no one else took it away from me when it was their turn. He can't remember something I've told him two minutes after I said it, but for an entire year he can remember that I took the cookie jar. There's something so wrong about that.

So in the interest of being the obedient wife, I agreed not to take the nicest present this year. But just before the party started, I took out my cookie jar from last year and made sure it was shined up and displayed prominently in my kitchen. Sometimes the wordless gesture says it all.

Another small thing that brings me joy at this time of year is a visit to the post office. You may dread it, but not I. Perhaps I don't dread it because I have foresight. Perhaps I don't dread it because I plan ahead.

Perhaps I don't dread it because I'm petty.

I had to mail a package today, five days before Christmas. Most people would rather schedule a root canal. I merely went online and printed out my postage label.

Did you know that if your package already has the label and postage on it you don't have to stand in line?

Twenty minutes before the post office closed, I walked through the doors and faced a line of people that stretched across the entire front of the store. With a gentle clearing of my throat I murmured, "Excuse me," and stepped through the line, headed toward the counter.

I could feel eyes boring into my back as I walked directly up to one of the clerks. As her customer stepped away from the counter, I turned my package so she could see the postage label. The clerk reached out and took the box, adding it to the stack behind her.

I turned and headed back toward the door, having to excuse myself again to squeeze through the same two people who were still standing in front of the door.

I was careful not to make eye contact.

Less than two minutes after arriving at the post office, I was headed out of the parking lot again. Unfortunately, the pleasure I felt had little to do with scratching the errand off my list.

It's those little things that give you joy ...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Just In Time For Christmas!

For those of you disturbed by my snarky hodgepodge on Wednesday, I thought you would be reassured to see this:

I found my warm fuzzies!

Just in time for the Christmas party!

They're a little dusty, but that way they'll match everything else in the house.

Can I have a big "awwwww" please?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's Hodgepodge Weather

If you're feeling overwhelmed with holiday stress, then a Hodgepodge break is just what the doctor ordered. What could be more fun than seven somewhat thought-provoking questions and a random thought? So read mine, and then click on the link to find other Hodgepodge mayhem on this cold winter afternoon. But don't forget to leave a comment first because that will warm my freezing Florida heart.

1. What does it mean to have the 'holiday spirit'?
Oh I'm pretty sure that's the overwhelming feeling of panic I feel when I realize I have ten days left until Christmas and I have no baking done, half my shopping left to do, and no Christmas cards addressed yet. And did I mention the party we're having at our house on Saturday? I'm just ho-ho-ho-ing all over the place.

2. What sits atop your tree (s)? Why?
For the last two weeks We've had a star dangling upside down from the top of our tree. It started out right side up, but our kittens thought the tree was a great playground, and they nearly tore the whole thing apart. I would show you, but I can't find the cord to upload the picture. I wonder what those pesky felines did with that?

3. When was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back?
That would be the last time I dislocated my shoulder.

4. Which of your senses is most sensitive this time of year?
My sense of time running out.

5. What do you have too much of in your kitchen?
Dirty dishes. Whose on the list for washing today, guys?

6. What do you do for meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? Big meal? Breakfast tradition? Open the cookie tins and have at it?
Meals. Hmmm. Let's add grocery shopping to my to do list in #1.

7. What is the best thing about winter?
The cold weather and the snow ... and the fact that both are usually far, far away from here. Although we're actually freezing to death right now. We haven't seen temperatures in the seventies in at least three or four days. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I know I'm being snarky. But did you really click on my link because you were expecting warm fuzzies?    Those would be in the back of the refrigerator. But I wouldn't eat them if I were you. Oops. Guess I should add cleaning out the fridge to my list on #1 as well! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Deeper Things of Life and Carpet

Disclaimer:  No children were harmed in the writing of this post. As for the husband ...

After reading my last post, I want to assure you that no one had to eat peanut butter and jelly with a straw last week. When I arrived home, most all of the bacon grease had been thoroughly cleaned and my kitchen looked wonderful. Of course, last night my kitchen looked like the aftermath of an explosion, but Thursday night it looked good.

And therein lies the stumbling block to my Christmas wish. I want a clean house for Christmas. I'm not sure that's possible unless we spend Christmas Eve scrubbing, and then Christmas Day not moving. I'm perfectly fine with that, but the rest of the family seems to feel that plan lacks a little in celebrating style. So I've had to compromise a bit. But I think I've come up with a philosophy that helps me achieve my goals. I've summed up this philosophy in a very common phrase.

It's the thought that counts.

Shortly before Thanksgiving, a friend and I were discussing the work I had planned out in order to finish my fall cleaning before the holidays. She commented on how many days were left before Christmas and I agreed that I didn't have much time.

"That's not the point," she argued. "You're never going to be able to keep everything clean all the way up until Christmas. Not with that many boys in the house. It's impossible."

That was true. And it would be discouraging to a lesser individual. But I was quick to point out the one thing that would save me.

My standards of clean are lower than hers.

They have to be. I've finally gotten to the point that, if I've made the effort to clean, then I have to be satisfied with that. In my heart I know it was recently clean. Therefore, at the very least, it's cleaner than it was. So at least whatever dirt that has accumulated is newer dirt. And that has to count for something, right?

I apply that principle to most of my cleaning (as anyone whose been in my house can see) with the exception of the carpet. A couple of times a year I rent one of these and clean my carpets. And believe me, I do a thorough job. To me, clean carpets and upholstery are the final sign that things are deeply clean. I love seeing a broad expanse of carpet free of stains and tracked in dirt, and I really enjoy smelling the freshness of all that cleanliness. For the next month, I notice the clean softness of the carpet every time I walk across it.

If I'm enjoying the clean sensation of carpets for a month, that will last me through Christmas, surely.

So after tackling all my baseboards and air vents this fall, I spent the two days after Thanksgiving cleaning my carpets. I cleaned and re-cleaned. I pretreated. I used the hand tool along the edges. I had the boys bringing me buckets of water and moving furniture out of my way as I went along, determined to clean my carpets better than I ever had before. My husband offered to help, and I let him do part of the family room, but he didn't overlap his rows as much, and he went faster than I wanted him to so I did the rest of our over 3,000 square foot home myself.

Late in the afternoon of the second day, I was finishing up the last of the two bedrooms upstairs. My back ached and I was exhausted, but my carpets looked wonderful. I flipped the machine off and called for more water to finish the last little bit, but no answered. They couldn't hear me because they were running the vacuum downstairs. Indiana had found an incredible Black Friday deal on a Dyson for the church, and he decided to try it out.

I was more than a little aggravated. I had just cleaned all those carpets last night. What was there to vacuum? I found out a short time later when one of the boys ran upstairs to show me the canister.

It was over half full.

My first thought was that he must have been vacuuming outside. There was no way there could still be dirt in my carpets. Especially not that much dirt. I was briefly consoled when they told me it came from the family room.

Well of course. Wasn't that where Indiana had worked the carpet cleaner? Hadn't I told him he needed to go slower? I was vindicated.

At least, I was until they showed me the dirt they vacuumed from the living room. And the hallway. And my bedroom ...

I went downstairs and stared at the carpets that had looked so clean half an hour ago. They looked dingy.  They felt soft the night before, but now they seemed brittle and stiff when I walked on them. My guys took my month of carpet cleanliness enjoyment and sucked it out in less than thirty minutes.

For one wild moment I was tempted to haul the shampooer downstairs and start all over again. But I was out of time, out of weekend and out of cleaner. So I reminded myself that there was less dirt in the carpets than there had been before, and that it was the thought that counts.

I've said it before and I need to face the truth again. I'm no June Cleaver. I need to accept that.

But I'm still tempted to clean the carpets again after the holidays. Maybe if I wear pearls and heels this time ...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

All I Want for Christmas

If you were to ask any of my boys what their mom wants for Christmas, they would always tell you the same thing.

 Actually, they'd probably shrug and say "I dunno", but if I were to ask them what they think I want for Christmas, they would know the answer:

A clean house.

They know the answer because I usually ask this when I'm handing out chores that need to be done, of course.

Don't get me wrong. I want presents. Come December 25th, if I have a gleaming house and nothing wrapped for me under the tree, I will not be a happy camper. But surely I'm not the only housewife that enjoys the holiday a little more if her surroundings are clean. I mean, seriously. Isn't it a little easier to enjoy opening your gifts if you know all the toilets are scrubbed and the floors are mopped? How much better to relax knowing that no one can write their name in the dust on the coffee table? I don't think that's too much for any hardworking mother to ask.

So with the holiday season in mind, I end up doing some fall cleaning every year. Some years it's in depth. Some years I feel good if I manage to keep the condemned sign off the front of the house. This year for some reason I became obsessed with air vents and baseboards. They've been neglected for quite some time, and it shows. And that has bothered me for--well, for quite some time.

About five or six years ago, I got one of these for Christmas, and it is absolutely my favorite tool of all time. But you know how it is--once you take care of one dustball or cobweb, you see six more. And once one area got cleaned, another area just looked too dirty, so I had to clean there as well. Before I knew it, I was spending every spare minute (there were surprisingly few of them) this fall scrubbing my house.

The problem is, by the time I cleaned one area, the first area was dirty again. I considered roping rooms off as I cleaned them, but that wasn't always practical. Sure, I could get everyone to stay out of the guest room, but I couldn't convince anyone that we should stay out of the kitchen until Christmas. Especially when Thanksgiving hadn't even come yet.

Don't get me wrong--I would have let them eat. I'm not completely heartless. But no one was enthusiastic about menus that consisted of cold cereal and sandwiches. I don't know what their problem was. I was still letting them use dishes and silverware. Well--plasticware anyway. And don't judge me. I had a very nice set of Oneida flatware--32 place settings to be exact. I was going to loan it to the church for a ladies' luncheon, but I could only find seven forks. Seven. No one seems to know what happened to the other twenty-five. So I think I'm perfectly within my bounds to relegate the boys to the plasticware at the back of the drawer.

When the guys tired of the Cheerios menu, I agreed to occasional hot meals--easy meals--with the stipulation that they clean up after themselves. Clearly I live in a dream world. I have one word for you.


Apparently they could live with cereal and sandwiches if I would only allow them three to four pounds of bacon a day. I'm not willing for the trade off because they're not holding up their end of the bargain. I pulled a knife out of my knife block the other day only to discover the handle was coated with grease. Closer inspection showed grease splatters on the entire block, plus the counter, the cabinets, the microwave and the dog. Harsh words and a demand for cleanliness produced smeared grease on the counter, the cabinets the microwave and the dog.

I've now banned fried foods for the duration of the holidays. And if all that grease isn't cleaned up before I get home from work tonight, they're going to be eating their peanut butter and jelly straight from the jar. With a straw.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sleighbells Ring, Are You Listenin'?

Seven questions and a thought. What could be simpler, right? So take a break from all that holiday hustle and bustle, and link your sleigh up with Joyce from This Side of the Pond for Wednesday's Hodgepodge. Just leave a hodgepodge of comments first, please.

1. Have you ever been on a real sleigh ride? How about the warm weather version - a carriage ride?
One year when I was a child a local outdoor mall had a sleigh complete with a Santa and horses (no reindeer) pulling customers (re: dads and kids waiting for their shopping moms) around the parking lot. There couldn't have been enough snow for a real sleigh, so it must have been a wagon of some sort, but in my nine-year-old mind, it was the ultimate sleigh ride. As for the carriage ride, Indiana Jones took me on one in downtown Chicago when he proposed. That would be the ultimate carriage ride, I think.

2. What's your policy on 'chain mail' know, the emails you receive that are often some sort of poem/blessing/good wish that ask you to send it on to 10 or 12 friends? Do you delete without opening, read and trash, read and trash and then worry you won't be blessed/lucky/protected? Do you delete the sender from your contacts or just go ahead and send the love onward?
Truthfully, I always feel a little threatened when someone sends me such wonderful blessings/wishes/poems and then threatens me with horrible things or lack of blessings if I don't immediately annoy 10 or 12 friends by passing the blessing on. Kinda throws cold water on all that love and warmth, doesn't it?

3. Who is your favorite character in any of the Christmas movies and why?
I love Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) and Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen) in White Christmas. They're such conniving little stinkers they crack me up. And they can dance like nobody's business.

4. Share a favorite quote.
"Now I have to kill someone again." --my son after someone shut off his video game before he had a chance to save.

5. What's your favorite holiday scent?
The smell of pinesol. Hey, I love a clean house for Christmas! Believe me, it's a rare treat around here.

6. Does the Christmas season stress you out? In what way?
I only get stressed out when I realize that I'm not enjoying the holiday season because I'm getting too stressed out.

7. What's the best thing about your life right now?
I actually have one.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
If life is what you make it, then I want mine to be a big cookie with extra chocolate chips. And calories don't count.

And with that extremely pleasant thought I'll leave you to your own Hodgepodge for the day.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Kylee's Coming to Town

So we're having something new for Christmas this year. Or I guess I should say we're having someone new for Christmas this year. You may remember that I blogged about going to the doctor and starting on a weight loss program (I've lost 40 pounds so far, by the way) waiting for applause. Thank you. because my son told me that he would probably want to get married sometime next year.

Well, Matt's girlfriend, Kylee, is coming to spend Christmas with us this year.

She is a brave girl.

Not only is she spending her first Christmas away from her family, but she is traveling from the frozen north, where she lives, to experience her first Florida Christmas. We're going through a cold snap right now--the temperatures are barely going to stay in the sixties for the next several days, and everyone is bundling up in sweaters and jackets. But we could have eighty degree weather on Christmas Day. You never know.

In addition to the shock of the weather, this girl is willing going to expose herself to the inner workings of the Boyd family for a solid week. It takes a brave soul to do something so foolhardy. Either that, or she's in love.

At any rate, I'm looking forward to having another female in the house. But I'm faced with a few dilemmas of my own. I mean, this could be my future daughter-in-law some day. What kind of a potential future mother-in-law impression do I want to make?

She's going to be staying in my house for a week. Now, Kylee has been here to Florida before. She visited last summer during VBS. She and Matt were interested in each other at the time, but they weren't really a couple. At least, they weren't at the beginning of the week. And they certainly weren't as serious about each other as they are now. And she wasn't actually staying in my house.

So all sorts of details are running through my mind like, what kind of meals should I fix? I need to get a Christmas stocking for her to hang with the others. I need to get the guest room ready. How clean should I have my house?

Yeah, you read it right. How clean? My first instinct was to scrub everything in sight. I also wanted to clean out and organize closets and cabinets and corners that might have been neglected for the better part of--well--a long time. I wanted the house to actually sparkle when she walked through the door.

Well can you see the obvious problems? As much as I would love a sparkly house (merely for my own enjoyment) I'm afraid it would leave an impression straight out of Everybody Loves Raymond. And I am so not going there.

So then I thought maybe I shouldn't fuss at all. You know, just take her right into the family and take on a love-me-love-my-house attitude.

That seems a little cruel. I should probably save that for when one of my boys brings home a girl I don't want in the family.

So I'm back to cleaning again. Just a few things that needed to be done anyway before the holidays. Cleaning carpets. Scrubbing out kitchen cabinets. Nothing major. Except maybe for the guest room closet. And the laundry room. And--

They make a cute couple, don't they? And I am looking forward to her being here. Sixteen days, Kylee!

Of course, with me being me, I did run into a few problems when I attempted all that cleaning. But I can fill you in on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Holly Jolly Hodgepodge

Hello! Looking for some questions? Well, you've come to the right place! Joyce from this side of the pond has seven more questions and space for a random thought. Join up right after you leave a comment. What? You're going to answer seven questions and you can't even leave one comment?

1. What is the most interesting thing you've done in the last year?
You know, I couldn't think of anything interesting that I had done this year, so I looked through my blog posts to refresh my memory. Turns out I couldn't remember anything because I hadn't done much of anything. I'm gonna chalk it up to the fact that Indiana Jones was slowed down by surgery this year, and that normal every day life has a unique flavor around here. And we're just gonna let it go at that.

2. What is your most meaningful family heirloom?
Probably my hips. Thanks, mom.

3. What food festival would you most like to attend? If you're not sure click here to see a list of possibilities.
There are two things necessary for a successful food festival. One, it shouldn't cost anything, and two, I shouldn't have to bring anything other than the ice.

4. you love it or is it considered a four letter word where you live?
Snow is a four letter word no matter where you live. S-N-O-W.

5. Can you ski? Do you ski? Are you any good?
I've never skied. I think I could, though. And I think I'd be good at it. Except for that whole grace thing. And the possible broken leg thing. And ... wait a minute--

6. What quality in your spouse or best friend are you most thankful for?
He never gives up at the same time I do.

7. Describe the coziest spot in your home.
Probably curled up on the couch ... in my husband's arms. Yeah, that's a pretty cozy spot.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Why is it that with each passing week I have a harder time filling in this last one?

And with that thought in mind, I'll leave you for another day.

Related Posts with Thumbnails