5 Books by Friends of the 5 Kids Blog

Mar 30 2015

Happy Monday, friends! I don’t know how your day started, but I woke up to the sun shining and the birds singing and the soothing sounds of my dog harfing on my bedroom carpet.

Ahhhh… bliss!

AND — a bonus I didn’t realize right away — the dog also had the runs. Wheeeee!

I love Mondays. 

love Mondays. 

Actually, I kind of do.

You know, not at first or anything. 

Not before lots of grumbling and griping. 

Not before I’ve laid in bed and hit snooze and begged my children to feed themselves because I don’t want to.

Not before Everyone Is Annoying.

But eventually – eventually — I love Mondays.

Mondays are like All the Other Days around here, after all.

Someone ralphs. Someone poops. Sometimes literally. Sometimes figuratively. Not always in the appropriate location or at a convenient time.

And then we clean it up.

Sometimes we’re crabby with each other. Sometimes we can’t find anything to wear. Sometimes our brothers and sisters and moms and dads and kids are awful and oh my gosh JUST STOP.

But eventually – eventually — I remember that life is a mess and muddy and mucky, yes, but there is magic here, too.

Big magic.

Insidious magic.

Permeating magic called Love.

And I can see it, too, if I can just remember to Keep Watch.

Keep Vigil for the Magic and for Love and for the Dawn which comes, always, after the Dark.

Keep Watch in the Mess, and Have a Cup of Coffee, because Magic is on the way. Even — eventually – on Mondays.

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P.S. None of that was my point.

I sat down with A Point, gosh darn it!

And then I got sidetracked which is TOTALLY NORMAL in these parts, but still SO ANNOYING. Like the keyboard gets away from me and then BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, off I go.

So the Point was this: Friends of this blog sometimes write books! And I want to celebrate their work by telling you abou tit. (<– That was supposed to read “about it,” but I always type “abou tit,” and it makes me giggle, so I decided to leave it in in case you’re pathetic and immature like me and need a giggle, too.) I want to celebrate their work by telling you ABOUT IT. 

So the following are 5 books written by our friends here at the 5 Kids Blog. Plus a bonus book at the bottom, a small part of which I wrote. Please peruse these titles and send a little encouragement their way, friends! I’m so proud of our community!

hand5 Books by Friends of the 5 Kids Blog

 

1. The Secret Life of Book Club

Secret Life of Book Club, The - Heather WoodhavenGenre: Ficton
Author: Heather Woodhaven
Where You Can Buy ItAmazonBarnes and Noble 
Facebook PageHeather Woodhaven
Website: Writing Heather
BlurbBook Club Just Got Real. Jeanine Phelps is tired of reading about other women who grab life and have epiphanies. She challenges her book club to live like the heroines in the books they love. At first, seizing the day is pure fun until it generates an upset in each of their lives: Jeanine’s husband is so inspired by her new vitality it triggers a bizarre mid-life crisis involving tacos. Paula, the model PTA soccer mom, starts fighting with her man about the family printing business until she’s drawn back to her secret passion. Kate, a single mom and teacher, can’t figure out if the rekindled friendship with the new museum creator is worth the romantic risk. Anne, a mother of four babies, works to hold the book club together while trying to figure out her own identity. When everyone heatherprofilewants to quit the challenge, the media’s spotlight makes it impossible. Can they rely on each other while keeping their priorities? And more importantly, is their sanity worth the chance to each become a heroine in her own life? 
Heather’s Favorite Review: “Moms. Books. Messy relationships. Lots of fun adventure. Count me in. Even better, the story did not disappoint. In fact, it made me laugh, cry, and then laugh some more.” -Kristine McCord, Author of Outrunning Josephine Finch and The Santa Society
 
 
2. Hard Core Poor: A Book on Serious Thrift
 
KellySangree1GenreFinance, Money Saving
Author: Kelly Sangree
Where You Can Buy ItAmazon
Facebook PageBooks, Bikes and Budgeting 
BlogBooks, Bikes and Budgeting
BlurbThis isn’t your average money saving book that tells you to fire your maid, buy regular gas, and cut back on Starbucks to save money. KellySangree2This is a book that finds ways to wring money out of super tight budgets. This is a book for people who don’t just want to save money, they NEED to save money.
Kelly’s Favorite Reviews: This blog post on Penniless Parenting and this Amazon review, “
Kelly, thanks for the great book! I liked how this book presented both tried and true advice as well as new frugal tips which I had never considered. I also appreciated the nonjudgmental tone of the book. It was as if I was listening to a wise friend”

 

3. Raising the Hardy Boys: They Said There Would be Bon-Bons

HardyBoysGenre: Essays, Columns
Author: Nathalie Hardy
Where You Can Buy ItAmazon, Book Launch
Facebook PageNathalie’s Notes 
BlurbI’ve been keeping it real since before that was even a thing. In my journals, anyway. For more than half of my life I was excruciatingly shy and a host of other unfortunate adjectives. But now everything is all better. Except not. But I’ve learned that inner peace thing people talk about is only possible when you give in to fully embracing NathalieHardy2your life exactly as it is instead of lamenting the one you thought you would, or should, have. This book is a collection of my notes while I attempt to do exactly that while raising my own pair of Hardy Boys.
Nathalie’s Favorite Review
“I love Nathalie Hardy’s honest style and thoughtful portraits of family life. Hardy’s quick, relatable essays are full of comfort, warmth, and humor. Raising the Hardy Boys is full of hope and everyday wisdom for anyone who’s ever been part of a family.” Lela Davidson, author of Blacklisted from the PTA and Who Peed on my Yoga Mat?, Managing Editor of ParentingSquad.com and Associate Editor of Peekaboo magazine

 

4. What Color is Monday, How Autism Changed One Family for the Better

Genre: Autism MemoirCover
Author: Carrie Cariello
Where You Can Buy ItAmazon, Barnes and Noble 
Facebook Page: Carrie Cariello
Twitter@carriecariello
Blog: Carrie Cariello
Blurb: “One day Jack asked me, ‘What color do you see for Monday?’ ‘What?’ I said distractedly. ‘Do you see days as colors?” Raising five children would be challenge enough for most parents, but when one of them has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, life becomes a bit more chaotic, a lot more emotional, and full of fascinating glimpses into a unique child’s different way of thinking. In this moving memoir, Carrie Cariello invites us to take a peek into exactly what it takes to get through each day juggling the needs of her whole family. Through hilarious mishaps, honest insights, and heartfelt letters addressed to her children, she shows us the beauty and wonder of raising a child who views the world through a different lens, and how ultimately autism changed her family for the better.
Carrie’s Favorite Review: This is quite distinct from most autism memoirs. While others can certainly be positive, and usually end up that way, Cariello does what a growing number of adults with autism are advocating for – embraces the condition as what sets her son apart and allows him to see the world in ways which typical brains cannot. By extension this allows his family and those around him to at least experience these different perspectives tangentially, a compatibility that Cariello celebrates without sentimentality. Her style is open and fluid, and while she certainly doesn’t shy from the many profound frustrations of living with a child with autism, her approach to these challenges is inspiring. Whether she intended it or not, too, the book is incidentally a great outlay – and celebration in itself – of the sprawling, mess-filled love that comes with raising large families, which is a joy to read about as well.

 

5. Someone I’m With Has Autism

SIWHA Final CoverGenre: Autism Essay Collection
Author: Carrie Cariello
Where You Can Buy It: Amazon, Barnes and Noble 
Facebook PageCarrie Cariello
Twitter@carriecariello
BlogCarrie Cariello
Blurb: “Joe and I haven’t really considered a strategy for explaining to Jack that he has autism; we figured it will be apparent when he’s ready to know. But I have a feeling that the time is coming soon, because slowly but surely Jack is learning that he’s not quite like all the others.” The Cariello children-first introduced to us in the heartwarming memoir What Color is Monday?-are growing up. And while their parents struggle with the same things all parents struggle with, Carrie and Joe have an added challenge: When and how do they tell their kids, including Jack, that Jack has autism? In this brilliant sequel culled from her many essays and articles, Carrie Cariello shares with us how she and her husband show Jack that he is not alone, that there are others who know, understand, and love him for exactly who he is.
Updated Press CropCarrie’s Favorite Review: This new collection is even better than her first book, What Color is Monday? Her writing has grown tighter and more powerful, and I found myself laughing more often and crying even harder. It’s a very, very touching story about how Jack and the other kids are growing up, and how they are all learning about Jack’s autism. I’d never really thought about that before, but it must be one of the toughest things any parent of an autistic child has to face. (Tougher, even, than “the sex talk,” which she explains in one chapter!). Cariello shows us how it’s done, never once pretending it isn’t hard while still managing to make it all uplifting and–most importantly–real. I hope she keeps writing more of these.

 

And a Bonus:

I wrote an essay for this adoption anthology, edited by my friend, Melanie Springer Mock. It’s about grit and grace and the ways my theology — my understanding of God and Love — changed through the desolation and consolation of our second adoption

The Spirit of Adoption: Writers on Religion, Adoption, Faith and More

TheSpiritofAdoptionGenre: Essays on Adoption and Faith
Editors: Melanie Springer Mock, Martha Kalnin Diede, Jeremiah Webster
Authors
: Melanie Springer Mock, Beth Woolsey, Jere Witherspoon and more
Where You Can Buy It: Wipf and Stock PublishersAmazonBarnes and Noble 
BlurbThe Spirit of Adoption explores many of the complexities inherent in adoption and its relationship to spirituality, challenging us to move beyond the common mythologies about adoption to consider the more difficult questions adoption raises about the nature of God, family, culture, loss, and joy. Rather than hearing from experts in adoption, this collection uses the narratives of birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees themselves, bearing witness to the ways adoption shapes its participants’ spiritual lives. By allowing others to narrate their spiritual journeys through adoption, we hope to proclaim that adoption can be a wonderful, powerful, hopeful experience, and one that is difficult, painful, despairing–and that these paradoxes of adoption might be held together in God’s handMelanieSpringerMock.
Beth’s Favorite Review: “…As my mother first explained it to me, [adoption] seemed simple. Sometimes mommies can’t take care of their babies, and sometimes other mommies and daddies want a new baby, so they adopt. And they all lived happily ever after. As I grew up, I knew that the subject was much more complex. … This collection of essays is a must-read for anyone considering adoption or any adoptee ready to undertake the journey of integrating past and present. Though all of the essays include a spiritual lens (hence the title), beth-equals-boss-099the range of theological and philosophical traditions should help all spiritually-attuned readers, even “bad Christians “who claim Anne Lamott as a patron saint, find their place in the text. The writers are sometimes parents of adopted children, adult adoptees,and birth parents. To understand the subject, one has to listen to all of the above.The only conclusion after doing so is that God is both loving and paradoxical, never magically removing pain completely, but always holding parents and children tenderly whether or not they can comprehend the grace of their existence.” Shirley H. Showalter

 

An Important Essay on Penis Tendons by Two 8-Year-Old Boys

Mar 26 2015

Dear Reader,

My twin 8-year-old boys asked to guest post on this blog. What a great learning opportunity, I thought. What a wonderful way to pass my craft on to my children, I thought. And so I agreed and set about creating parameters for them.

“Yes, you may guest post,” I said, “but – BUT — you will need to pick an important topic, you will spell words correctly, you will have a POINT, you will have reasons for that point, you will have a conclusion, and it will be about something that will improve the lives of other children.” In other words, none of the parameters I have for my own writing because DO WHAT I SAY, kids, NOT WHAT I DO, which is hypocritical, yes, but it’s the same way I treat drinking milk out of the carton — OK for me, not OK for you hooligans — so I’m being consistentsee?

In conclusion, my boys wrote an important essay on penis tendons — in which they spell words correctly, have a point, have reasons for that point, and have a conclusion — so that they might improve the lives of other children.

Please make sure your children read it.

You’re welcome.

Sincerely,

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An Important Essay on Penis Tendons
by Cai and Cael Woolsey

IMG_2698

This is a bull’s full size penis tendon.

It is made out of a full grown bull’s penis tendon.

You make this by killing a bull and taking out the penis tendon and drying it out. Or you can buy it at the pet store. 

Sometimes we called it a buffalo’s penis tendon, but it is not a buffalo’s penis tendon. It is from a bull which is a boy cow.

Sometimes we called it a bull’s penis intestine, but it is not one of those because penises do not have intestines.

A bull’s penis tendon is for your dog to chew on, but it is also for you to play IMG_2702with.

You can use a bull’s penis tendonIMG_2697 for many things.

You can use it as a spear because it’s really, really stiff.

You can poke people with it.

You can use it as a flag pole.

You can use it to bend it to regain your strength.

You can use it to see how far down water is.

You can use it to rest your arms.

If your fan stopped, you can push it with the penis tendon.

You can use it as a fishing pole.

You can chew on it until your mom says to stop it.

You can use it as a walking stick.

You can use as a ninja stick.

You can stick it into the ground and mark where something is.IMG_2696

You can whack bugs and other things with it, because it is a really good whacker.

You feel happy when you play with a penis tendon.

We learned about penis tendons about a week ago at the pet store. We did not know about this before.

It is important that other kids can know about penis tendons because you can use it for many things, and it’s fun to play with. 

The End

IMG_2704

My Dust Bunnies Aren’t Bunnies; They’re Rodents of Unusual Size

Mar 22 2015

My dad had open heart surgery, and then my kids started puking. Of course they did. Of course they did. Because illness waits for no one, as parents everywhere know, and I did not have the time or energy for pukers this week. Nope; illness waits for no one, and it’s certainly not going to book a time on the calendar that’s convenient. 

My friend Valerie started texting me things like, “You have a puker AGAIN?” and “SERIOUSLY? AGAIN?” and then, because she’s a registered nurse who’s medically trained and knows how to combat things like viruses and bacteria, she suggested we purchase an isolation bubble for our backyard, or invest in a decontamination unit, or, and this is the most medically sound suggestion of all, “light a match and walk away.” 

I thought about it, but I can’t find the matches because our house is buried under mountains of socks who’ve given up ever finding their soulmates, and All the Papers that come home from All the Schools, and That One Stack of Stuff I Was Going to Take Care Of two years ago that has reproduced and multiplied and is now Seventeen Stacks of Stuff I Was Going to Take Care Of But Probably Never Will. 

So, instead of cleaning my own house (because UGH and ARE YOU KIDDING?), I headed to my parents’ house to clean theirs. After all, my dad is recovering from OPEN HEART SURGERY. They NEED ME. (Read: They didn’t actually need me.) And also, I can AVOID CLEANING MY HOUSE by being altruistic and SELFLESS and stuff, and no one — NOT ONE PERSON — can blame me for it. WIN/WIN, friends.

Win/win.

I asked my parents where I could start — what all they neeeeeeeded me to do– and, after my dad finished sighing the I-wish-you’d-go-away-because-I’d-really-rather-nap sigh, they said I could clean the floors because, and I quote, “Our floors DO indicate we’ve been living in sloth and squalor.”

FYI, for those of you who Weren’t Raised by Marines, the picture below shows everything – every single thing — I could find to sweep in their kitchen along with a penny for scale. 

IMG_2687

THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is Sloth and Squalor to a Marine.

Let’s just take a moment to think about my childhood, shall we?

Thank you.

In addition, I found a dust bunny under my parents’ couch.

This dust bunny:

IMG_2686

That dust bunny.

That teeny, tiny, adorable dust bunny.

Which I found after looking diligently for it because my dad had said, “There are dust bunnies everywhere.” 

Everywhere = one spot under the couch. 

Just one. 

One wittle baby dust bunny whose eyes hadn’t opened yet.

Under the couch where my dad couldn’t even SEE it.

It’s like the Princess and the Pea, except it’s the Marine and the Mess. 

For comparison, when I got home, I picked up the first dust mammal I came across. 

And, you guys, this isn’t even the biggest of my dust rodents.

IMG_2691

Just the most available.

Let’s compare:

Aw:

IMG_2686

Ew:

IMG_2691

Cootchy cootchy coo:

IMG_2686

Needs headgear:

IMG_2691

And you know what I did with that dust rodent of unusual size?

I put it back where I found it. Yes I did.

Because I LOVE you, and, if your house is messy, I don’t want you to feel lonely.

I know. I give, and I give.

With love,

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On Waiting, Which Sucks, And on Love, Which Wins in the End

Mar 13 2015

There’s very little I like less than waiting. 

Natural disasters, perhaps.

World hunger, certainly.

Debilitating disease, for sure.

But waiting? Ranks right up there. On the Top Ten List, probably, of Things I Like Least.

  1. Debilitating Disease
  2. World Hunger
  3. Disasters
  4. Waiting
  5. Jeans Shopping
  6. Bra Shopping
  7. When My Socks Twist Inside My Shoes
  8. Slow Drivers in the Passing Lane
  9. That Claw-Crane Arcade Game That’s Everywhere — EVERYWHERE, Including the Grocery Store — That’s a Money Drain and a Time Suck But My Kids Want to Play Anyway. DESPERATELY Want to Play. 
  10. Pooping My Closet

I admit I’m a do-er. A task-er. A planner. I like things like Action Plans and Lists … and phrases like Work Hard / Play Hard, even though Playing Hard, to me, often means laying in my bed reading a book or laying in the sun beside water. I read that book HARD, though, friends, and I soak up sun like I MEAN IT, you know? 

Waiting makes me jittery, though. I don’t know how to do it well. It’s not in my skill-set or how I’m naturally inclined. Now, I have no trouble with Waiting’s close cousins, Procrastination and Laziness, but WAITING? Waiting exists in that space in between Doing Something and Doing Nothing; it requires presence and mindfulness — active pursuits of the soul and the heart, except with a still body and, I imagine, a quiet spirit. I suck at that.

I’m at the hospital today, in the Cardiac Surgery Waiting Room.

A WHOLE ROOM dedicated to Waiting. Full of Waiting People. Full of Jittery People. Full of Quiet and Serene People. Full of Both/And: Nerves and Peace, Mindfulness and Mess, Ups and Downs, Ins and Outs, Overs and Unders — feelings just all over the place.

My dad is having open heart surgery right now — a mitral valve repair by a world class surgeon — and there are Things I Know and Things I Don’t Know. 

I don’t know how this surgery ends, for example. And I don’t know how I feel from one minute to the next. I don’t know what lies on the other side of today, although I know what I hope and what I pray, which is for a long time — a long, long time still — with my dad.

I do know this, though: I know my dad loves me. And he knows I love him. I know I’ve said all the things I need to say, whether we have another hour or 40 more years. I know we’ve loved each other well. I know my dad loves his wife, my mama, and I know he loves my husband, my brother, my sister-in-law and our kids. To the moon — he loves us to the moon.

I know we’ve worked hard — really, really hard at times — to listen to each other and value each other and let each other grow and change even when we think the other’s position is effing nuts.

I know we’ve laughed more in my 41 years than most people laugh in 100.

I know Love lives. Because my dad told me so, I know Love lives. Love lives. Love lives — no matter what — and Love wins. 

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UPDATE: Thanks for all your prayers. All’s well.

After some drama yesterday afternoon and a second, unexpected surgery to keep us on our toes (during which I wrote the post above and felt angsty and talked to Jesus A LOT and said all the fucks), my dad came through fine. He’s on the mend, cracking jokes and being his usual gregarious self, albeit with a little less energy than usual. We’ll take it! 

It’s not lost on me that this could have gone differently. I’m sitting in the Cardiac ICU waiting room right now while my dad rests, and I’m watching the jackets and half-empty coffee cups and phones and computers left behind by an extended family who are about to lose their mama and grandma. They were going to keep some family members in the waiting room on a rotation to watch the things while they took turns saying good bye — her heart is beating slower and slower and her time here with us will soon be gone — but I said, “I can do that for you if you like. I know I’m a stranger, but right now I’m your friend. I’ll sit and keep vigil with your things if you want to sit and keep vigil together with the one you love,” so they walked together through the doors and down the long hall, holding hands.

This Waiting Room is a strange thing. A sacred space full of relief and solace and excruciating pain.

Two days ago, my 2nd graders had a music concert at school. They sang Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World, and over and over and over the last few days, these lyrics have run through my head: 

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white,
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world.

The bright blessed day. The dark sacred night. 

I don’t know, you guys. Sometimes the nights just seem dark, you know? Just dark and LONG, and, even though I know the dawn is coming, I begin to doubt it. Every long night, I question whether the dawn is coming. And I forget that the long, dark nights — the Waiting Rooms of the earth and of my soul — are sacred ground, too. And places of grace. And that it’s OK to need each other then. That the needing of each other is part of what makes the dark nights sacred. 

So, on this bright, blessed day when my dad lives and thrives, and this dark, sacred night when another family says good-bye to their mama — Both/And, friends; so very Both/And — whether you’re in the bright day or the dark night, I send you my love. My love and a hand to hold and the reminder that we stand on sacred ground through it all.

DadSurgery

An Essay on Being Supportive (and on Boobs)

Mar 10 2015

You know how people post things on the World Wide Webs that are TOTALLY Too Much Information, and you’re all, “Oh MY GOSH. STOP,” and “GEEZ,” and “What ever happened to people having a SENSE OF DECORUM and NOT SHARING All the Things with strangers??” Yeah, well; if you’re nodding your head in understanding right now, you should probably stop reading. Because I care about you, and it’s OK that we’re different from each other, and, also, I’m about to talk about boobs. 

As for the rest of you who are still reading, you have only yourselves to blame; if you treated me like a stranger instead of a friend, maybe I’d get the message already, but you keep hanging out here in my living room, and so I tell you the things I tell my girlfriends in secret. This is on YOU, friend. On you.

Here’s the sitch:

My boobs have been falling out of my bras lately. 

When I twist, when I raise my hands above my head, when I bend over, whoop, there they go, just… falling on out the bottom like they have places to go and people to see. 

Like they’ve packed their bags and are waving good-bye. 

Like they’re late for the airport, and yelling at the cab driver to step on it, man, and looking at each other saying, if we RUN through security, we can BARELY MAKE OUR FLIGHT; go, Go, GO!

Now, I know what the problem is. Beyond gravity and aging, I mean. The problem is I’m cheap, and I hate shopping, and bra shopping is almost as bad as jeans shopping (psst… go to MakeYourOwnJeans.com <– not an ad; I just love them), so when I bought the wrong bra size initially – a little too big around the rib cage — I didn’t exchange my purchases or buy new ones, because UGH. Just ugh. And also, ugh. 

I decided I’d make them work. With a few surreptitious adjustments here and there, and trips to the bathroom to give the serial runaways another lift home, the bras have been fine. Not great, but fine, and, I’ll be honest; “fine” is a step above my otherwise low undergarments standards, so it was kind of a win. 

I recently dropped a few pounds, though. Very few, but some, and between the wrong size to begin with and the reduction of  back fat holding the harness in place, my breasts have become something of a social hazard. 

It was time to replace the bras.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of giving my darling husband all the background info on why I was headed to the store to make new purchases.

He offered an alternative.

“HEY!” Greg said, “Instead of you buying new bras, how about I follow you around watching for escapees? I can catch them and put them back! Quick as lightening! Like a Dog Catcher except for boobs! A Ninja Boob Catcher! Or… OR, BETTER YET, I’ll just follow you around the house and hold them in place for you. Because I care, Beth. Because I will literally always support you.” 

Greg is such a good helper.

Also, I bought new bras.

Also-also, there’s no greater point to this story. That was it. The whole thing. THIS IS WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE INTERNETS, friends. And so, so right. 

Also-also-also, we have a new shirt in the 5 Kids Store online.

It looks like this:

Hands

I call it the “Let’s Support Each Other” shirt because that’s what this site is all about. BEING SUPPORTIVE.

Interestingly, my brother, who’s in charge of the 5 Kids Store because I promised him if he was really, really diligent he’d someday earn an entire packet of gum, created that shirt even though I did NOT tell him about my boob situation. (Hey! Score one for me being socially appropriate!)

No; he was creating THIS shirt…

WavingShirt

… about Waving in the Dark, because that’s what we do here together. We talk about the ridiculous. We talk about the important. We sit together in the dark, waiting for dawn to come, and we send each other love through it all.  

Yes, he was creating THAT shirt which is lovely and sweet and a poignant reminder, when he accidentally made THIS one, too…

Hands

“Oops.” 

Yeah.

Mm hm.

In conclusion, my boobs fell out of my bra, my husband and brother are super mature, and you can buy socially inappropriate, glow-in-the-dark t-shirts here

I’d apologize for all of that except I’ve decided to stop apologizing for who we are. 

Love to you and yours, no matter how immature they be,

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There’s Such a Thing as Being TOO Efficient

Mar 6 2015

There’s such a thing as being TOO efficient which I just discovered, um, experientially.

Look; I know that’s a hard sell, because TOO efficient? How can efficiency be bad? Like, EVER? And, trust me, I know the demands on our time and the number of things we have to get done — the dishes, the laundry, the jobs; the poopy bottoms, the owie kisses, the fights to break up; the lunches, the dinners, the incessant snacks; the snuggles, the sweat, the stories; not to mention the email boxes, the grocery shopping, the tiny tasks that are death by a thousand paper cuts, and the various demands to be a good — or, OK, passable for those of us setting a more realistic bar – wife, daughter, friend, employee, mama and more. 

Because there’s always more, right?? So Much More; I know this, I do, and I can sympathize, down to my cherry red toenails, with the need to Do All the Things and Do Them Right Now or else Fall Further Behind, which is, I swear, one of the 9 Circles of Dante’s Hell. 

“Further Behind.” Ugh. It’s the 5th Circle of Hell in the modernized version of Dante’s Inferno we shall call WE ARE WAY TOO BUSY, MAN.

Dante’s 9 Circles of Hell for Those of Us Who Are WAY Too Busy:

  1. Busy
  2. Way Too Busy 
  3. Behind
  4. Really Behind
  5. Further Behind
  6. HURRY UP
  7. DO MORE THINGS
  8. Whatever. I Don’t Even Care Anymore. Sleep Was Overrated, Anyway.
    and
  9. Almost Caught Up, which is the worst one of all because IT DECEIVES US into thinking Caught Up is possible

On the bright side, I hear the beer is really good in Hell. Microbrewies, like, EVERYWHERE. Warm, yes, but, still, BEER.

Nevertheless, some of us live in the 9 Circles; we’re at least Way Too Busy, and so we think — we think — if we just TRY HARD ENOUGH and are More Efficient, we can work our way out.

Now, I’m not saying efficiency is always bad. Efficiency has its place. I’m just saying All Things in Moderation, friends.

Because there will come a time in life — there will — when you’re trying to Do All the Things and Do Them Right Now, and you will find yourself rushing into the public restroom to take a quick potty break you Do Not Think you have time to take, and you will discover yourself EFFICIENT-ing your time without even thinking about it by unbuckling your belt and undoing your jeans button and unzipping your pants before — BEFORE –  you actually arrive inside the stall and close the door and have things like, you know, the PRIVACY to undress. 

You will, somewhere in your subconscious, think this is a good use of time. 

You will, somehow, believe undoing your pants pre-stall makes sense.

You will, on some level, be confident you are saving precious seconds you can use later, and that this will get you ahead

Interestingly, as you are rushing, fly open, you will notice you are NOT ALONE in the restroom. Of course you’re not alone. OF COURSE NOT. You are not alone, and your FLY IS OPEN because YOU opened it, at which point you will have two choices, as follows:

  1. Ignore the social ramifications of the situation and pretend it’s entirely normal to prepare for pottying in such a manner, or 
  2. Twist quickly to the side, away from the other restroom occupant, and both subtly and gracefully pull your shirt down over your pants so she doesn’t notice. 

OBVIOUSLY, you will go with Option #2, and OBVIOUSLY you will accidentally slam your knee into the cabinet on the wall of said restroom, totally wrecking both subtle and graceful, but ROCKING “distracting” which turns out to be a serendipitously effective alternative.

Anyway, friends, the point is, there’s such a thing as being TOO efficient, TOO multitasky, and TOO ahead of game. I know in our busy world with too much to do, it can be hard to believe — nay, impossible –  that it’s better NOT to do All the Things Simultaneously, but there are Certain Circumstances where that’s TRUE, friends. 

True truth. 

Which I share because I love you.

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Why We Have So Many Kids

Mar 3 2015

It finally happened. My kids asked why we have so many of them. 

“Why did you and Dad have so many kids, Mom?” they asked, because five kids is a lot of kids, and it only took them, like, eight years to notice.

Now let me just say, I’ve promised my kids for years they can ask me anything, and I’ll tell them the truth, no matter how embarrassing or detailed or distasteful it is, which works MAGIC with sex ed, of course, because after just one reeeeeally thorough sex answer including words like Mom and Dad and secrete and thrust and “as often as possible” and “yes, usually while you’re home, otherwise we’d never get to,” and “no, we’re not always going to ‘at least wait for you to be away for a sleepover’ but thank you for the suggestion,” they stop asking me about sex and start asking their friends on the playground again which is the way God intended us to get our information. 

So when my kids asked, “Why did you and Dad have so many kids, Mom?” I said, “We didn’t mean to,” and “It wasn’t our fault,” and “We intended to have 2 or maybe 3 kids like reasonable people,” but then I felt bad for basically telling them they’re here because their parents are poor planners so I made it better by saying, “Just kidding. We’re raising you kids as a food source in case of the zombie apocalypse, and, because we’re good planners who think ahead and prepare for emergencies, we have FIVE of you so Dad and I don’t go hungry. You know that box of emergency supplies we keep in Aden’s closet? The one the size of a tool box with a wind-up radio, a box of matches, two flashlights, some dead batteries, and six packages of ramen? Yeah,” I scoffed, “like that’s gonna work. I mean, you had to know we have a better plan, right? Right??” 

And because these children are my children (and because I’ve already ruined their minds by telling them with the truth about sex — the Biggest Horror Story of All), they immediately sold each other out by pitching me Key Reasons Dad and I Should Eat the Other Children First — just a HUGE, cascading list of back-stabbing and betrayal — which is why I’m currently in possession of a list I’m fairly certain can get me arrested, including information like which of my children has the highest food value, which has the most optimal meat-to-body-weight ratio, and the beginnings of a geometric grid for plotting each child on an X-Axis which shows Liability on one end vs. Usefulness on the other and a Y-Axis which is a sliding scale from Very Appetizing to Not Very Appetizing at all. 

In conclusion, five kids is a lot of kids which, it turns out, is going to be incredibly useful during the zombie apocalypse. Also, my geometry teacher was right; I really was going to need that whole plotting-a-graph information some day! Who knew??