Monday, August 19, 2013

Bonnie and Clyde

Growing up, my mother use to scold me and my older sister for fighting.  She would say, "You two need to love each other!  I always wanted a sister, and if I had one we'd be best friends."  There was one thing Janell and I did agreed on.  We were pretty sure that was utter nonsense.  If she had a sister, they, too, would fight.  A lot.  Being friends with siblings was just not possible.  Then, years later, my little sister unexpectedly weaseled her way into my affections, and I suppose she proved my mother right.  Tessa and I are Bonnie and Clyde.  She's my other partner in crime.  She's my best friend.

This summer I had my second child and three weeks later moved to Salt Lake City.  These events brought about some lifestyle changes.  There are no more daily trips across a park to see my sister.  She doesn't pop over to play with Andrea and watch our favorite shows together.  We can't walk to the grocery store and drown sorrows over a 30 cent soda on hot afternoons while talking about celebrities and my bodily functions.  Because I have children and am a full-time milk-making machine, Tessa and I don't get much alone time even when I do venture down into her valley.  I miss her a lot.  This last week, through a series of text messages, I began to see how hard this move and my child bearing has been on her.  Though her difficult and messy teenage years her best friend hasn't been able to spend countless hours at the mall with her.  She hasn't been able to join her for concerts and fan girl Zain Tomlinson Styles.  She's not available for frequent weekend sleepovers and late night nail painting.  She's at home scraping boogers off the walls and wiping poopy bottoms.

Watching me mother has even inspired Tessa to wait a LONG time to have very few children.  I guess I don't always make motherhood look very glamorous.  But there is something I want her to know.  Even though I don't enjoy cleaning up throw up or scraping feces out of panties, frequent night wakings make me feel like I'm losing my mind, and I've yet to find anything that compares to the emotional strain my children put me under, this is the best job in the world.

Where else could I receive daily eskimo kisses, hear Andrea's little voice calling my name, view Sam's cheesy grins, and consume such fine dining (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches)?  Where else could I feel the satisfaction of cleaning and dressing my little brood?  And when everyone is clean and calm, there is the joy of reciting from memory an entire collection of children's books over the noise of toddler giggles and baby coos that can't be found in an office somewhere.

Then there is after bedtime when the house is dark and quiet.  It might seem strange that one of the things that I love about motherhood is shutting my children away in dark rooms and sitting by myself with a tall drink of apple juice.  However, there is an indescribable feeling of accomplishment at the end of a long day that comes from keeping two people alive.  Especially when those two people have done everything in their power to provoke homicide.

This little family of mine is hard work, but I know what I'm doing is valuable beyond measure.  I wouldn't give up time with my sister for anything less important.  I hope some day she'll understand.

And something tells me thirty-something miles may make our escapades less frequent, but I don't think it can kill our craziness.

(I hope Andrea will be a good babysitter to repay Tessa for the countless hours she's performed that service for me.  And that way Tessa and I may actually be able to do some child-free activities in the distant future.)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Storage solutions (part 1)

I've mentioned before that our new house lacks a linen closet.  One of the first things I did when we moved here was find a place for all of the miscellaneous things once stored in the rather massive closet in our former apartment.  I purchased an over-the-door shoe bag organizer from Wal-Mart for about ten dollars.  I hung it on the back of the utility closet under the stairs.  I was super impressed by how many things I fit in this thing.

Across the hall from this door is a little powder room.  I managed to put extra hand towels for that bathroom in the organizer.  I also got quite a few cleaning products in those slots.  Notice I put them up high and out of the reach of my two year old.  Since taking this picture I've added Fabreeze and Magic Erasers to the list of things that can fit in these pouches.

 This door opens like so, revealing my secret storage.  And when I shut the door. . .

 It disappears and is conveniently out of sight.

Because there are chemicals hanging on the back of this door, as well as the furnace and water heater in this closet, I've taken the added precaution of putting a lock on the knobs just in case that two year old gets curious.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The neighbors

I'm loving our new house. Being able to put my children asleep upstairs and have the whole main floor for my personal whisper-free use is heavenly.  I've cleaned the kitchen, listened to music while singing along rather loudly, and watched my share of Netflix (not turned down to volume levels only discernible by dogs, mind you).  And once we kick that son of ours out of our room, I'll being able to sleep a little more soundly as the groans and moans of my decrepit mattress will stop waking up this paranoid mama.  But there is one thing that I actually hate about my townhouse, and surprisingly, it's not the lack of linen closet (although I'm still getting use to that).

I'm struggling with my neighbors.

Before we moved to this valley I was excited to meet new people, make new friends, and study the city folks.  Alas, the people here are less than friendly.  Aside from the first week of church where no one would move over for the new family standing awkwardly in the back (aka us), I've found almost all of the people I've encountered living in my complex to be, well, rude.  After living here for a few days, we were approached by the lawn guy and asked to not walk on our grass for three weeks as the sod is new and still taking root.  Since that day, we have noticed streams of people marching though our little plot of earth, taking their garbage to the dumpster (which is in front of our house, not behind).  People walk by so often, Paul and I have started seeing people who aren't even there.  One evening two women stood outside our back window and carried on a full conversation.  How rude!  You would never see this in a traditional backyard!  They call that trespassing.  It's illegal.  I suppose because I don't have a fence my lawn is game for the convenience of my neighbors' garbage runs.  Good to know.

The second horribly rude thing that we've been victim to is pinched parking places.  We have one officially reserved parking place.  It is clearly labeled with our house number.  I have come home multiple times to find someone parked directly in front of our sign.  Obviously the person who parked there is not blind, otherwise they have no business driving.  My husband doesn't seem to care.  We can still park relatively close to our house in an unmarked spot, but this is not about parking to me.  It's about respect, and so far, our neighbors and their guests have demonstrated a complete lack of it.

Paul has given me permission to place some diplomatically-worded notes on windshields if this persists.  I've already conjured some ideas that convey several different approaches.

Kind approach:
To the driver of this vehicle: Please refrain from parking in spots assigned to specific tenants.  Thank you.
To the driver of this vehicle: Next time you visit, kindly direct your vehicle to visitor parking.  Thank you.
Mean approach:
To the driver of this vehicle: Park here again and I'll call the cops!
To the driver of this vehicle: I hate you!  Park here again and DIE!!
 Passive agressive approach:
To the driver of this vehicle: Thank you so much for assisting me in my goal of daily exercise by allowing me to carry my screaming toddler, my newborn in a car seat, diaper bag, purse, and a weeks worth of groceries exactly one invigorating block as you are in my assigned parking spot just steps away from my front door.  My biceps and quads thank you.
Sassy approach:
To the driver of this vehicle: Since it is apparent by the sign in front of your car that you have moved into my home, I'll like to extend a hand of welcome.  Also, I'd like to confirm that your rent will be $400 a month (utilities included).  If you'd like to decrease this amount you may share a room with one of my children and assist them in their nighttime wakings.  This will reduce your rent to $200 a month.  Another way to  reduce your rent would be to STOP PARKING IN MY FREAKING PARKING SPOT!!!  Let me know which option appeals to you most and I'll try to be as accommodating as possible.  Thank you!
Hopefully things get better soon.