Archive for February, 2010

Time For Change

I’m to that point. The point where I start rearranging furniture like a madwoman, hoping it will satisfy my cravings that have a very real possibility of turning violent if not addressed. And I’m not gentle with my poor furniture either. I think maybe it’s because I hate it. I totally destroyed my file cabinet that has been on the brink of destruction for years now. I don’t know why I’ve been babying it. It’s just a piece of junk. In fact, it’s such a piece of junk that once I took the drawers out to move it, the top disconnected from the sides and they all just fell outward. In slow motion. I didn’t even try to stop them. I watched them and then I took what still somehow stuck together and I ripped with all my might. Wood splintered and screws went flying. Then I hauled it all out to the curb in one load and threw it on the ground. I would even go so far as to say that I hucked it. I hucked it so hard that the lady two houses down who happened to be taking out her garbage at the same time looked up at me in alarm.

Then I moved the couches.

Then I broke my back moving the piano.

Then I moved pictures around, putting the ones I’m really sick of in places where I won’t have to look at them so much.

Then for good measure, I switched the curtains in the family room with the ones in our bedroom.

I don’t know if it worked though. I still hate everything. I mean I really, really, really hate everything.

And just when I’m good and ready to wallow, this happens:

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Singing this:

Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start

Dang it.

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The Great White Snow Day

We woke up Friday morning to this:

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With no work or school for anyone in our entire household, we slept in, had a nice banana, chocolate-chip pancake breakfast, bundled ourselves up and headed to the local neighborhood park. See that slope on the far side of the park? That’s where we were headed, with about 200 of our closest friends.

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We passed a trash can, overflowing with make-do sled attempts of those who had gone before us.

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We headed up the “hill” with our blow-up swimming pool toys, in our Converse and Sunday boots.

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Thus began a super duper fun day.

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We found some of the cutest people in the world on this great, white snow day.

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I love the Texas winter clothing

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And the Texas sleds. Not to brag or anything, but mine worked waaaaay better than the girl’s behind me.

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Two things I love about this picture: The look of utter delight on my nephew and his daddy’s face and the bare legs and tennis shoes with no socks in the upper left corner.

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Baby, it was cold outside.

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What an absolutely spectacular couple of days. What a way to spend the day of the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. My kids had never seen anything like it in their entire lives. And they may never again. We got a record 12 inches in 24 hours! Luckily, our household was not one of the hundreds of thousands who lost power. But we did experience a little damage, just like the rest of the city. There are trees down everywhere. In the seventeen years I’ve lived here and experienced countless spring storms with damaging winds, I’ve never seen as many trees down as I have in the last couple days. And they went down with no wind at all. Just a little bit of white stuff. Wimps.

And now, our back patio has been raining for two days straight. It’s not raining anywhere else in the city. Just on our back patio as the snow melts and has dripped a solid rain off of our roof for 48 hours now. Snowmen all over the city are falling over and dying. And boy, does the grass look nasty as the beautiful white goodness vanishes and reveals what was under there all along.

Sigh.

It sure was fun while it lasted. And I believe Spring just might be extra beautiful this year…..

Happy Whiteness, from our family to yours!

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(To see all 170 of the ridiculous amount of white pictures we got, click here)

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Snowball Fight!

Grace was the first one home from school and she built herself a little cute Grace-man, all by herself. She wanted no help and wouldn’t let us see until she was done.

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When Sadie got home, we all came out

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And things went crazy from this point

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Jacob even got in on it

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Maya enjoyed watching from the porch

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We let to Togo in on the action. He went absolutely berzerk. He moved so fast, I couldn’t get an unblurry picture of him.

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Then we saw Callie and her friends pull up, so we “hid” so we could pummel them.

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They pummeled back

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Well, some of them did anyway. Callie fights like a girl.

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My camera started to get really wet, but I just kept shooting through the water

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Come to think of it, Bethany fights like a girl too…

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Yep – they’re all girls.

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At some point, Callie went down and she just laid there.

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And laid there…

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…until she got cold enough to take some action. Boy, was my lens wet by this point.

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And somehow, in the midst of it all, we built a Mrs. Frosty

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I know this is a lot of pictures. But twelve inches in 24 hours! In Dallas! It’s amazingly, breathtakingly beautiful. And school is cancelled. And we’re soaking up as much of it as we can. Even though we have no good coats or gloves or boots.

Next up: Sledding on cookie sheets.

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The Ride to School a la Sadie

I drove. Sadie rode shotgun while shooting. Callie ate toast and banana and coffee in the back. Grace talked about building a snowman after school in the other back. Sarah Brightman sang Pie Jesu to us while we marveled at the beauty.

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Winter Hope

It’s eleven-thirty pm and I head to bed. I wake up at one, two, three, four-thirty and five. At five, I decide that I am not going to the office this morning. I’ll take the kids to school, then come back and work at home. That decision feels good. I fall back asleep. At six-thirty I get up, wake up my littlest and then go out and make sausage and coffee and turn on Good Morning America. It sure is snowing on the east coast. I wish Sam Champion would put his hood up instead of letting the snow accumulate on top of his head. They say it might snow here tonight.

It’s a good morning. No yelling about clothes or curling irons or the bathroom and the older two are actually in the car before the little one. The little one runs out to where we’re waiting in our pre-heated car in the near-freezing temps in her bare feet, carrying shoes, socks, coat, scarf and backpack. She gets in breathless and rosy-cheeked, eyes still a little puffy from sleep. We pull out and the old one asks if she can pick the music this morning. I say yes and watch her in my rear-view mirror as I drive. She looks beautiful this morning with her straightened, chestnut hair and eyes as blue as the Texas sky. The sun that is beginning to rise reflects the hope in her eyes as we pull onto the concrete jungle, crawling with metal animals, bathed in morning light. I am amazed at how she shows no signs of tiredness even though I know she was up working on homework way after I went to bed. It is morning and the sense of new mercies is there on her fresh, fifteen-year-old face. I’ll take it. It’s a beautiful counter-balance to the mornings filled with desperate hopelessness and tears.

She picks Kelly Clarkson, The Police, Travis, Over the Rhine and Coldplay. I can hear the middle one sing every word to every song, quietly. I can’t see her there on the other side of the back seat but I can picture her eyes that are as deep as her soul as she looks out her window, unaware that she’s even singing. The music lives in her. She hears something once and she knows it. Across the genres. She can’t help it.

My heart is full as I remember their audition for the Spring Talent Show yesterday. Three sisters, singing in three-part harmony about how they’ll come back for each other whenever they’re called. They made the judges a little emotional. They made me a little emotional.

I drop them off and head back home. The sun is now fully up and I put on my sunglasses. I listen to the theme song from Cast Away and pretend I’m walking on a deserted winter beach instead of slithering through a sea of school zones and semi-trucks. I think about what I want my discipline for Lent to be this year. I wonder if it will really snow tonight.

I pull off the freeway and sing along loudly to Carrie Underwood. I’m almost home. I pull in the garage, walk in the kitchen, load the dishwasher and start it. Then I grab my computer off the kitchen table and go back to my darkened bedroom where the fan is still going, drowning out any sounds of life. I get under the covers, propped up by pillows and begin to write. Who am I kidding? I’m not going to be doing any work today.

I hope it snows tonight.

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The Art of Conversation

The other day I went to a movie with my family. When the movie was over, we stood up and walked out. Apparently I move a lot faster than the rest of my family though, because when I got out of the theater, nobody that I thought would be behind me was behind me. Nor were they anywhere in sight. That happens to me a lot. So I sat down on a bench to wait for them.

The next person to come through the door (out of the same movie I had just come out of) was a short, squat stranger in sweats and a baseball cap. She gave me a smile of acknowledgment as she walked past and I smiled slightly and gave a little nod. After she had gone a couple more steps, she stopped completely, stood there for a second as if trying to decide what to do, then turned around and walked back and stood directly in front of me.

“So…….what’d you think?” she asked me, smiling expectantly.

I scanned her face for a minute trying to figure out what it was she WANTED me to think. Then, determining that she must want to know what I thought about the movie we both just came out of, I looked at her eyes for a microsecond longer, trying to read if she loved it or hated it, until I came up with what seemed like a safe answer:

“It was quite an experience…..”

“Yeah. It’s just another story. You know?” she said, while raising her eyebrows and shrugging her shoulders.

“I know,” I replied, shaking my head in disbelief. “How do they keep coming up with those anyway?”

Then she just stood there while I just sat there, both of us kind of bobbing our heads at one another in affirmation, while trying to figure out where to go from here.

“Welp, see ya,” she finally said. And then she put her hand high in the air as though to salute me, turned on her heel and walked around the corner, out of sight.

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Won’t You Be Mine?

It’s February. That means I’m about to have two teenagers in my house. Sadie turns 13 next week. I feel official now as the parent of teenagers. The other night we had about twenty of them here for chicken tacos. I felt like Bill Cosby. He’s my inspiration these days. We’ve been watching a lot of old Cosby shows now that we have TiVo and while it was funny when I used to watch it as a kid, it is easily 100 times funnier now watching it as a parent. I’ve been thinking a lot about my parents and how they always just seemed old, like they knew exactly what they were doing when I was a teenager and I would have friends over. Now I’m wondering if they ever experienced the terror that I feel. If they did, I never noticed it. I wonder if my kids just think I’m old and I know what I’m doing? Cause I don’t. Not. At. All.

Of course, my parents didn’t have to deal with cell phones and Facebook.

We got our recent cell phone bill this week and I went through it just to check on things and make sure rules were being obeyed (no texting during school or after 10pm). While the rules were obeyed, I found some other things that were rather….interesting:

Chris and I both sent around 250 text messages last month

Callie and Sadie both sent around 3500 text messages last month

(!!!)

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How is that even possible? And that’s just during the time they’re home from school and 10pm! If you figure there are eight texting hours on school days and twelve on the weekends, that gives them somewhere around 16,000 minutes they have available for texting. That means they send a text message once every 4.57 minutes, all day, every day. And that doesn’t even include the messages they receive.

(!!!)

No wonder they’re exhausted. That’s a lot to keep up with school, chores, homework, extra-curricular activities, getting enough sleep AND their full-time job of texting.

New rule at the Linebarger home: Cell phones go in the special cell phone locker the second they walk in the door from school. They can have them back when chores and homework are done.

I think the girls were actually relieved when we told them.

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