Saturday, May 31, 2008

Spin cycle

One of the things on my wish list for our new home is a laundry room located on the main floor or, better yet, on the same floor as the bedrooms. A couple of weeks ago we looked at a house that had the washer and dryer on the second floor and I would have bought the place on the spot, except that Dan is not as impulsive as I and it will be his house too:)

I was actually rethinking the whole laundry room location this morning when I was sorting "the wash" in my basement laundry room. It has a concrete floor, an extra high table that Dan made for me out of an old door and 2x4's, and plenty of room to sort piles on the floor. Needless to say, the room is far from decorative. The joists from the floor above get covered in cobwebs and I'm none too quick about vacuuming them. The cupboards are from a neighbor's kitchen re-do. The shelf over the washer and dryer is a piece of particle board that I've covered in blue check contact paper to match the makeshift laundry table. It holds boxes of detergent and bottles of stain remover and fabric softener, as well as the James Salt Water Taffey bank that is almost full with coins collected from the washing machine. On the unfinished wall is a calendar towel from the Jersey shore -- a souvenior that my aunt brings me every year from her vacation.

With the dryer humming away and the washing machine swooshing I enjoy the peacefulness of working in my hideaway. Between switching loads of laundry and folding clothes, warm and sweet smelling, right out of the dryer, I straighten the shelves that store all the assundry off-season and infrequently used items in our household. Nails pounded in ceiling beams hold Christmas wreaths, Easter baskets and beach bags. Another set of shelves hold bins of out-of-season clothes, punch bowl set, a box of costumes, assorted gift boxes and a stamp collection that I'm hoping someone will one day take an interest in.

I wonder what it would be like, having my haven right next to the family room or located in some other central area of the home. My laundry room is where I escape when the going gets crazy around our house. I sneak down the stairs, where noise of the machines drowns out the conversation and accompanying bedlam upstairs. I've been known to escape down there and vent my frustrations with tears or the last scoop of ice cream. The hum of the dryer and the rhythmic chugging of the washer don't give me away.

There's something comforting about the aroma of Snuggly fabric softener and freshly laundered clothing, folded neatly and organized in piles for each family member. I think back to the afternoons I would come home after school to find my mom folding a basket of clothes, still warm from the dryer. Perching on a stool in next to the dryer, I would spill all the news of my day. I've found that a tall stool, picked up from a garage sale, is one of the necessities in my laundry room. It's the perfect height to set a laundry basket, to sort clothes. And it's portable for dragging from one part of the room to the next.

Not long ago, Dan solved the dilemma of where to put the ironing board, when he took mine and fashioned it into one that folds down from the wall. As my grandpa would say, it's a real "rube" job, but it works great.

I guess there are days when hauling baskets of laundry up two flights of stairs has it's drawbacks. But my room is functional and utilitarian. I can't imagine having the laundry room in a common area where people, other than my family, are coming and going. Perhaps I'm just reluctant to air my laundry in public. It would mean I'd have to keep up with it, and that would definitely be a challenge!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

May Madness

I’m hiding out at my favorite spot, the library. Snuck in a Starbuck's, too. A little over four hours and counting until Emily is done with school for the year. Luke finished yesterday. Joey finished classes two weeks ago. My mind is just fried. I honestly don’t remember a time in my life being as busy as I’ve been the past few weeks. Back in April, I knew what was coming. I planned, made lists, shopped ahead. I really thought I had it under control. And I guess I did because so far everything has gone off without a hitch – although we still have Joe’s Eagle ceremony tonight, but I’m confident that it too will be fine. I put together some table decorations last night, finished the scrapbook yesterday afternoon. Later this afternoon, we'll head over to the church to set up tables, decorate and then pick up the deli trays. He is printing up the programs this morning -- nothing like waiting til the last minute. It's a family trait. In the course of the past week we've celebrated a high school graduation, a birthday, a confirmation, a 5th grade graduation/end of the year activities, an Eagle ceremony, and we are preparing for an exchange student who will arrive on Friday. Not to mention that baseball and softball seasons started for Luke, Em and Dan! Needless to say, our plans for listing the house have been put on hold for a few weeks. Until things get back to "normal", whatever that is. What I would really like right now is to check out a Debbie Macomber book, curl up on the lounge chair on the back porch and just get lost in it. I especially love the early morning hours in the summer. Last year, I kept my little prayer basket on the back porch and it held everything I needed – journal, extra reading glasses, pens, books, even a candle. The kids would sleep in, sometimes I'd stay in my pajamas until nine o'clock and just enjoy the early hours of the day, drinking coffee, reading and writing. How I look forward to that time again! I'm off to find a good book -- probably a Debbie Macomber. I can never remember which ones I've read. But the nice thing about my spacey memory is that I can re-read books and enjoy them all over again.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Graduate. . .

. . . and his very proud parents. Graduation Day was perfect. The ceremony was held on the football field -- the same football field where my high school graduation took place 32 years ago! It was a beautiful Colorado spring day, albeit a bit breezy. The sun shone brightly and spirits were high. Afterward, we celebrated the day with a backyard party. The yard was filled with family and friends and more kids than it has seen in a long time, as all my cousins brought their little ones. It was just as it should be, lots of laughter, lots of hugs and kids running everywhere. This morning, I slept in, getting up in time to catch the last 30 minutes of CBS Sunday Morning. Then I did something I haven't done in a long time. I sat on the back porch, with a cup of coffee and read the entire Sunday paper in one sitting! Yesterday, we also celebrated this kid's 15th birthday: Does anyone remember the movie 16 Candles? I was reminded of it yesterday, numerous times, as we ordered Luke to "here help with this or that for your brother's party". He was a good sport about it, as he is about most everything. Today, there are few remnants left of yesterday's party -- some stray balloons, a few pieces of cake and one very sleepy graduate. Not to mention two weary parents. We'll pull it all together tonight for Luke's Confirmation mass. And then we'll have more cake and punch. . . and take more pictures . . . and have more reason to celebrate the abundance of . It's all good stuff.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Countdown to party time. . .

Today is all about getting the house ready for the graduation party tomorrow. Cleaning, straightening up, decorating, cooking, setting up tables, mowing the lawn. . . everyone was in on the action. This little guy followed Dan all around the yard as he mowed. . .
"I wish they'd get a riding mower so my feet didn't look so stupid."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pelecanidae (and Rubber Anatidae)

I wonder what the little guy in the foreground is thinking? "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, and maybe those guys won't notice me."

This morning I took Emily to school and was driving home by way of the post office when I spotted this flock of pelicans in our community pond. They floated about in their little group, seemingly oblivous to the rain. When the weather is nicer and they are more active, it's fun to watch them, performing like synchronized swimmers. They swim about in their group, all facing the same direction, perfectly choreographed moving to the right and then to the left. Sometimes they arrange themselves in a circle, all facing the center and in one motion they dunk their heads in the water, bottoms up, and all come up together at the same time. I like to picture them with little flowered swimming caps on their heads, straps hooked under their chins, like little Ethel Mermans.

After a while, I guess even the pelicans grew tired of the rain. I'm sure the rubber ducky was glad to have the place to himself:) And here's an aside. In trying to amuse you all with a clever name for a "flock" of pelicans (there isn't one, it's just a flock of pelicans) I did learn that in general, a group of birds on the ground is a flock, and a group of birds in the air is a flight. Class adjourned.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Taking a break

Today is a big day. We're having our home office re-carpeted and the puppy is gone ALL day (getting "fixed"). I don't know which I'm more excited about -- replacing 20 year old carpet, or not having pesky puppy at my heels all day. He's so cute, but SO energetic. Maybe today's procedure will slow him down? So, I'm working in my relocated office in our family room. My computer is still in pieces -- a laptop contains my office software and the kids' computer is my internet connection. And I'm without a printer/copier. It's challenging to say the least. Every time I reach for a file cabinet , it's not where it's supposed to be. Luckily, my neighbor has started working from her home a few days a week. She is without a fax machine and frequently comes over to use ours. I've been returning the favor today, using her copier. One other major distraction is a nesting pair of Swainson's hawks in our back yard. I love watching them through the binoculars, seeing closeup how the construction is going on their nursery. I know I should be working, but can't help wandering over to the window every so often to see the progress they're making. When I'm able to post pictures again, I'll share it with you. I swore they were red-tailed hawks (my apologies to my Dad, a lifetime card-carrying member of the Audobon Society. To my untrained eye, it could have been a bald eagle.) And, when I can post pictures again, I'll be sure to put one up from my lunch with Xandra last week! We got to meet when she came to Colorado for a visit with her cousin. It was so nice to meet my "cyber friend" in person. She's a sweetheart and even nicer in person than at Heart of Service, if that's possible:) Okay, I'm back to work (and birdwatching;)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Life is good

I guess it's one of those inverse, proportionate reaction kind of things (no, I don't know what I'm talking about) that makes it so that the busier your life is, the more blog fodder you have, but since you're so busy you don't have time to blog. Something like that. This week has been a doozy and I don't foresee it slowing down until at least June -- of 2010. With a graduation in three weeks, a confirmation the next day and an Eagle Scout Court of Honor a few days later; then the arrival of our Japanese exchange student for 10 days -- I'm thinking I best log off for the time being. I'm excited for the next few weeks. Our eldest son is graduating from high school. The one that left for college in January. His principal told him that even though his course work was finished in December, she wouldn't give him his diploma unless he went through ceremonies with his class. "Your parents have earned that," is basically what she said. Smart lady. Have I mentioned that we're preparing to put our house up for sale in June? Timing has never been my strong suit, but I do work better under pressure, so I'm feeling rather in my element. And to the 50% of my blogging audience who read but never comment (that would be my family), I hear all the "yeah, RIGHTs" being groaned as you read that last sentence. So when I'm spazzing out over the stress, be kind, and don't remind me of what I just wrote. As I work my way through the next three weeks -- ceremonies, hosting a graduation party in our back yard, finals for our freshman, end-of-the-year party for the fifth grader who will be leaving elementary school, and as the class parent coordinating a gift for the teacher and assigning duties for that end-of-the-year party, having new carpet installed, and keeping everything else balanced -- as in laundry, meals, work, and softball practices -- well, I'm thinking it will be like swimming through quicksand. But, when it's all over, it will be summertime. And we'll have nothing to do but sit and watch baseball games. And enjoy the sun and barbeque and go camping a time or two. Oh, and move. Hopefully. Life is good.