Monday, May 28, 2012

Three-Day Weekends

I love three-day weekends. That's hardly a startling revelation, I know, but my love and appreciation for them goes a little deeper than the simple fact that I don't have to leave the house to go to work. During my original career choice in life, there was no such thing as a three-day weekend. People want their news, no matter what the holiday or observance is. (That was red-flag number 2,365 on the list of "Hints I May Have Made a Poor Career Choice.") To this day, my husband doesn't get three-day weekends. People especially want their beer on Memorial Day and Labor Day. So, I know how lucky I am to get a three-day weekend, and I don't take them for granted. I still get a thrill on Sunday nights when I'm not feeling the usual Sunday-night "the weekend is over" dread.

Other reasons long weekends are so great:
  1. I'm home with my sweet kids, and not a single one of them is barfing or pooping uncontrollably or whining because of a never-ending runny nose or burning up with a fever. This day off doesn't involve a trip to the doctor or the pharmacy. This day off doesn't affect the balance of my days off from work. 
  2. Sunday naps are not only allowed, but they're nearly mandatory. Most weekends are too short to waste any of their hours with napping. But three-day weekends beg for naps. Go ahead! You have so many extra hours that you can easily spare an hour on the couch in a deep, dreamless sleep. Complete with drool. Oh, yeah...
  3. Three-day weekends are made for sitting in the shade in the backyard. Other weekends are too busy with doing and going and trying to pack in everything you think you want to do during the week while you're stuck at a desk. But the pressure is off during three-day weekends. Sit in the shade with a good book. You know you want to...
  4. Illicit late Sunday nights. Don't know why, but it feels so naughty to stay up past midnight on a Sunday. Not that I never do it on regular weekends. I often do, as a matter of fact. But on normal weekends, I know I'll be regretting my decision in a few hours. On three-day weekends, it's exciting to know that there will be no consequences for extending my Sunday into Monday morning.
  5. I love giving the double-wave to the usual routines and schedules. I eat when I'm hungry and sleep when I'm sleepy. Bathing is optional. Coffee flows freely. This may seem like something that could go on any Saturday, but when you have three kids (and one is a toddler), the routine rules the roost. A two-year-old doesn't know the difference between a Wednesday and a Saturday. He wants to eat when he always eats. He wants to fill his diaper when he always fills his diaper (generally, right after I've put a clean one on him). He wants to nap when it's nap time. But for some reason, on an extra weekend day, it's easier to disregard the usual schedules. And for someone who's usually pretty strict about such things (have I mentioned that I'm a bit Type-A?), that's delightfully freeing.
  6. Tackling mammoth jobs... or not. Most of the time, laziness wins out, but this weekend, my sister convinced me to spend a few hours cleaning and organizing my garage, a job that was LONG overdue. And you know what? It was a great feeling to accomplish something that seemed so overwhelming on the surface but that wasn't very difficult or time-consuming at all, once we got serious and just did it. And it's inspired me to take on some smaller jobs, like closets and toy boxes, on regular weekends. Look out, Goodwill and DAV. You're about to meet a frequent donor.
  7. Movie marathons! My eight-year-old son is my movie buff. Usually, he chooses to watch one or several of the Harry Potter movies when we have a rare day off together, but he also likes Nanny McPhee, The Pirates of the Caribbean series, Indiana Jones, and less-conventional films like Titanic. I've even persuaded him to partake once or twice in a little Pride & Prejudice with me, even though he always moans when I start up that DVD. He can't resist a good cuddle and some escapism with his mom. Today, Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly, and Orlando Bloom are entertaining us during his little brother's nap time.
But the BEST thing about three-day weekends is that I get the chance to see what life might be like if I were a stay-at-home mom. Sometimes I think, "This is grand!" but usually I come to the conclusion that Stay-at-Home-Mom Land is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live here. It's not for everyone, namely... me. I like the occasional forays into the life, but it generally makes me appreciate that I leave the house each morning, if for no other reason than for a change of scenery. I'm nothing if not fickle.
For this particular three-day weekend, we have our military men and women, past and present, to thank for the respite from our usual routines. My heartfelt appreciation goes out to all who have served to preserve the freedoms (Sunday naps included) that we take for granted.

Sometimes I spend long weekends writing my books, which are available exclusively through Amazon. Please, read them. Then tell me what you think by visiting me on my Facebook author's page.

Happy reading!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life

Someone recently said to me, "You have an interesting life." She said this to me in an electronic format, so she couldn't hear me laughing so hard at that statement that I woke up my sleeping child. After I stopped laughing, I considered that she was being sarcastic. But no... she really meant it. So, I started laughing again.

On the surface, I have about as ordinary a life as someone can have. That's why I write stories about imaginary people. I gotta spice things up somehow or I may just prove that you can die of boredom. I have an ordinary job and live in an ordinary house and drive a very ordinary car. I look ordinary and so do my husband and my kids. We're vanilla. Not even French vanilla. Just vanilla.

But wait. It's not all about appearances, is it? Because the more I thought about how uninteresting we are, the more evidence I found to disprove my hypothesis.

  1. An eight-year-old son named Jack. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me I needed to publish a book of collected Jack stories, I'd have about a million dollars. That's still a million dollars less than if I had a dollar for every time someone urged me to read Fifty Shades of Grey, but... I digress. Back to my quirky son, my Jack Quotes of the Day on Facebook are major crowd pleasers. He has a very unique view of the world, and he's eager to share it with me, usually when we're alone together in the car on the way to school. Plus, any second grader who routinely attempts to sneak out of the house with no underwear under his clothes, says to his two-year-old brother, "Rub my feet, dumb baby," and knows the names of more domestic cat breeds than some veterinarians is a real piece of work and is going to keep his mom's life interesting, probably until he's forty, since he'll still be living at home.
  2. I make stuff up, and people actually want to read it. I find that very interesting. And sometimes puzzling. But I'm grateful for it. It used to be that if I had a weird dream about riding in invisible go-carts with Colin Firth, I'd wake up, shrug my shoulders, laugh about it with a couple of friends, and go on with my day. Now, that's fodder for future fiction. Everything is. From my slight (okay, more-than-slight) crush on the McDonald's drive-through guy who looked like Matt Cassel (where did that guy go, anyway??? Traded to a different franchise? I miss him...) to my unfortunate run-ins with other people's poo in public restrooms, it's all fair game. I just file it away for my next imaginary friend to experience.
  3. I'm a magnet for reality-challenged people. If someone is crazy, and we're in the same general vicinity, they will find me and talk to me. And I won't be able to escape.
  4. If embarrassing moments were somehow profitable, that would be my calling. Oh, wait... I guess I'm doing the best I can to try to make them profitable (see item #2).
  5. I have five siblings, and each of us has kids, and some of our kids have kids (none of mine do, yet... I just wanted to point out that I'm too young for that). Life cannot be dull in a family our size. There's always something going on, and it's never boring.
  6. When I watch shows like The Middle, I often find myself thinking, "Is that supposed to be odd? Is that why it's funny to most people?" because I often think it's funny because it's actually happened to me.
Alright... it's not overwhelming evidence that I'm providing here. There's plenty more, trust me. But I have some shame. What more do you people want from me? I admitted to crushing on the McDonald's drive-through guy!!! I'm a pretty open book, so if I'm holding something back, you should probably just be thankful.

What makes your ordinary life a little bit extraordinary?

When you're as interesting as I am (cough, cough) and you have an over-active imagination, you feel an obligation to (over)share with the world. To save your family from ostracism, you give some of your craziest thoughts and experiences to fictional people, like I have in my books, Daydreamer, The Secret Keeper, and The Secret Keeper Confined, all of which you can purchase on Amazon. My third Secret Keeper book is in the works, but I don't have a release date yet, because I'm incredibly busy going through every McDonald's drive-through in Springfield to try to find my boyfriend. For smaller, more regular doses of my ramblings, please "like" my Facebook page. If you had one, I'd "like" yours.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

In a Funk

Springfield area, beware! I have a bad attitude. But knowing is half the battle, right? That's what G.I. Joe always told me just before he and his pals did their freeze-frame laugh at the end of each episode. Plus, I know I can turn things around, because I HAVE THE POWER!! Oh, no, wait... that was He-Man. And what would Jerrica do right now? She'd touch her magic earring, and a whole new persona--not just any persona, though; a rock star named Jem!--would take over. Dang, I wish I had those earrings!

I'm just having a tough go of it this week. Nothing earth-shattering, in the grand scheme of things, but it's been a poopy week, sometimes literally. And it's only Tuesday.

However, I'm optimistic that things will improve. And not just in a "It can only get better" kind of way. No, I know it can get worse. A lot worse. I've been there. I'm not claiming that I'm having one of those weeks. Not even close. There have been no positive pregnancy tests, epilepsy diagnoses, trips to Urgent Care with sick kids, or computer meltdowns. No, I merely have a case of the blah's. I'm in a funk. I need an attitude adjustment.

What's at the root of this? Well, of course there are reasons. I won't bore you with them, though. Nobody likes to listen to someone else's petty complaints. I mean, they're not petty to me, but they sure will seem petty in writing. And then the only thing I'll have to brood about is that I've lost what little credibility I may have had (and that's only for those of you who don't know me well enough to know that I'm not at all credible).

I'm also not gonna blow smoke up your wazoos with a bunch of insincere mumbo-jumbo about counting my blessings and accentuating the positive. I know that's what's required, but I'm just not feelin' it. And I'm not going to insult your sensibilities by pretending like I am feeling it. Sometimes I just need to have a good mope. I'm giving myself permission to have one right now.

That's because I've been liberated.

A wise man that I used to pay on a regular basis for the purpose of him pointing out really obvious things to me (a.k.a., a "therapist") once told me that there's no such thing as perfection. He said I'd never be perfect, but I may just make myself crazy trying to be, so it was really in my best interest to stop trying so hard. Yes, I actually had to have someone say that out loud to me. But thanks to my passing that along to you for free, you can spend your money and lunch hours on other things. You're welcome.

The point is, I'm not perfect. Therefore, I sometimes find myself in a funk for silly reasons. A perfect person wouldn't bemoan the fact that she sometimes has to flush her co-worker's... stuff... down the toilet. She'd just do it and go on with her day. A perfect person wouldn't let a little writer's block get her down, either. A perfect person wouldn't have writer's block, now would she? Nope. She also would never have road rage, even in this town. She'd merely sing along with the radio while reflecting on her beautiful children and loving husband, as the person in front of her drove ten miles under the speed limit, slowed down for green lights, and treated his or her turn signal like something that would negatively impact the city MPG of his or her massive, window-tinted SUV. Smile, smile. Blink, blink.

Even knowing that perfection is unattainable (I'm pretty sure I believe that, anyway), I still can't help but yearn for it. The wonderful thing, though, is that contentment doesn't require perfection. I CAN be that blinking, smiling person. For one thing, we have the technology (and the chemicals) to make it happen. However, since I'm not willing to be a cyborg or take more drugs than I already do for other medical purposes (riiiiight), it's a good thing there are more options. Like meditation. Prayer. Family (the ones not currently causing the aggravation). Friends (real and imaginary). Laughter. Escapism. Blogging (I suppose). Other people (not me) would include physical activity as one of the ways they blow off steam or pull themselves out of their funks.

And I really will get up tomorrow morning and strive for contentment for at least the first hour of the day, until the efforts to get three children and myself out of the house and to our respective places of daytime tedium work their disgruntling magic.

For now, though, I think I'm just gonna wallow in it. Wallow in my funky funk of a funking funk. I dare any of you to try to stop me.

When I'm not dwelling on my bad 'tude, I like to write chick lit. I also creep around on Facebook way more than is psychologically healthy, but since I decided to replace my therapist with Cheetos and red wine (because they're slightly less expensive), I don't have anyone to point out the obvious to me that I spend too much time on there (Chester Cheetah's not much for dispensing wisdom). Click the links below to see the underwhelming fruits of my college education.

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