28 November 2012

This Cold Heart is Filled With Sap

I should be cleaning my house in preparation for this weekend when my sister will be here for her yearly pre-Christmas visit.  Sorry, Sharon, the house has to wait.  And while I'm at it, sorry in advance for the smelly-dog-couch (not that any amount of cleaning will take away its peculiar odor).  It's just that my brain sparked a musing and I need to get down pronto.

While on a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up some cleaning supplies (namely furniture polish--why is it that I only dust my furniture with polish on the average of once a month [if that], but when I go to look for the polish it is gone?  Are Jay and the kids doing on-the-side cleaning that I am not privy to?  If they are, they're doing a good job of hiding it.  Snort.  Sometimes I crack me up.).

Anyway, at the grocery store there were those holiday fixtures, the Salvation Army volunteers, ringing their bells and playing Christmas music.  I put a dollar in their bucket (plug for a Jay Vocab Word:  The Imperfectionist: Of Buckets and Sauce, Poopies and Sweet Peas: A Language All Our Own ) on my way past and suddenly got so choked up and emotional that I couldn't even wish them a Merry Christmas back without my voice cracking and me feeling the need to inhale sharply.  I got into the store and realized I had actual tears in my eyes.  Good god.  I'm turning into a sap.
They get me every time.

Now, as Jay would tell it, I am a cold-hearted robot that has no feelings.  This is because I don't cry at the usual things.  The kind of stuff that makes him sob.  Sappy movies.  Doctor Who.  Our wedding.  I can't help it that his empathy gene is stronger than mine (though maybe I could have at least faked a couple of tears by screwing up my face a bit when we got married).  One exception:  we both cried during the ceremony at our friends' daughter's bat mitzvah this past spring, much to the surprise of many people who only know Jay and me to be the merry pranksters we normally are.  So sometimes I am able to match him in the getting-all-emotional department.

And today furthered that fact.  I do believe I am becoming a softie.  A chump.  I also cry at parades.  I can't watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade without a box of tissues beside me.  And that's not even being at it live.  Small impromptu parade-like things do it, too.  I remember the year our high school girls' soccer team won some kind of state thing, the fire trucks and police cruisers drove through town with their lights and sirens on, escorting the bus to the school.  I was sitting in a parking lot waiting for our son to finish basketball practice and saw the whole thing.  Yup, I got all messy-sobbing, simply because it was so overwhelming.  Happily, I was alone in the parking lot, having shown up too early.  That could have easily put the "UNSTABLE" stamp on my forehead with the other basketball parents for good, but c'mon, isn't that stirring?   And no matter how many times it is played from November 30th to December 25th, hearing the Boston Pops' version of Sleigh Ride makes me catch my breath and well up

No matter how much we think we are all tough-skinned and aloof and what-not, there is always at least one thing (and maybe eventually more!) that can hit us right smack in the heart!  

And now that I've aired those thoughts, I'm going to clean.  Here's my advice:  find that thing that makes you go all mushy and embrace it! 

13 November 2012

The Pros of Highly Affordable Furniture, or, Safety Pins, Though Safe, Can Still Be Handy Carving Tools

I miss writing.  My days lately have been a series of 24-hour spans of what constantly feels like playing catch-up.  I think it's a combination of spending too much time fawning over our new puppy and now, the looming holidays which are putting me into a cleaning/organizing frenzy, though if you took a look around our house, you'd question the second half of that statement.  It's just all of those little annoying things gnawing at me that eventually cause me to stop in the middle of whatever task I may be doing and, say, clean out the hallway closet or as I did today, attempt to beautify the messy monstrosity my daughter calls her desk.

Every time I step foot in her room, the surfaces of her desk, bureau, nightstand, and every shelf in her bookcase feebly call out to me for help, gasping from being buried under so much crap.  I looked at her desk this morning and cringed.  The majority of it was covered in every color of nail polish conceived in the last five years by Loreal, Maybelline, Revlon, and a host of others.  And Scotch tape.  Everywhere.  Stuck to the top, the sides, underneath...I think she uses it for making lines of color on her nails or something.  Meanwhile, my nails are non-existent from picking at it for a good 45 minutes.

A portion of the collection.  I know there's more lurking in the dark corners of the girl's room.
So, yeah, the desk was a huge mess, and is now clean.  Let's see how long that lasts.  I blame YouTube.  There are way too many videos of new and exciting ways to do one's nails.  Come on!  Does anyone really need their nails to look like watermelon slices or candy corn?  When I was thirteen, going for bright pink polish was living on the edge.  Now the nail polish displays rival the Benjamin Moore paint chip display at the local hardware store.  Curses, you Age of Information!  

Looking at the nightmare which is a teenage girl's room (yeah, I know--teenage boys aren't any better...and why do the boys' rooms always smell like Fritos?) this morning made me start thinking of how happy I am that we did not go crazy when buying furniture for our sweet little girl who, when it was time for her "big girl bed" was the perfect image of innocence.  Who knew that a face like this:

Could, in only a couple of years, do something like this to her bed:

I like to refer to those as her Sing Sing years, where at the tender age of seven she decided it was fun to carve her name into any surface that was soft enough, kind of like a lifer in prison.  That bed didn't stand a chance.  Fortunately, we didn't have the desire (nor the deep pockets) to shop for her furniture at Ethan Allen.  And now I can simply sigh when I see her name carved into the foot of her bed, or the desk covered in nail polish, rather than go on an all-out bender like my mother did when she saw that my young 3ish-year-old self colored on my Mary-Had-a-Little-Lamb-lamp with markers.  Now that is a memory from my youth that I'll never forget.   Holy crackamoli, you'd think I had just shaved the cat (I did cut her whiskers once) or set fire to my room (that I did not do).    Not that my creative offspring did not get a good long-winded lecture.  She has yet to carve her name anywhere since.  The nail polish is another story.  I'm working on that one. 

And, yes, I know the majority of you out there reading this are saying, "Fool, why are you cleaning the girl's room in the first place?  Get her to do it herself!"  That happens, too.  But sometimes even a desk needs a full overhaul.  And now she totally owes me.  I just need to think of what.