Friday, May 30, 2014

Lunch hour

Need to pick up son’s wood-shop project before one oclock, but I’m at the office, submitting an online grant application. It’s due.

Submission fails. Question six 6 too long.

Fix. Submit again.

Submission fails. Question eight  too long.

Repeat four more times. Submission successful.

Rush to high school to pick up son’s woodshop project.

Woodshop project: side table. Looks good.

Son brings woodshop project to parking lot and loads into vehicle.

I depart.

Stop for sandwich to make it back to office for one o’clock webinar.

Webinar topic: database reports and dashboard panel.

Sandwich shop closed for remodeling.

Go next door and order Chinese take-out.

Worry about missing webinar, thus causing a costly fee to agency.

Veggie fried rice in hand, rush back to parked vehicle.

Daughter calls. She’s stuck in a parking garage with her three-year-old client.

40 cents short in her debit card to pay the fee to open the gate. No attendant. What to do?

I worry for my webinar, but who cares, what about the children?!!

Call Bob, who’s at a conference. Idea comes to mind.

Call daughter. She’s driving around parking garage calming the three-year-old by saying they can’t get out because they are “special.” She plays the Frozen soundtrack.

I forget about the webinar, the wood-shop project, and the fried rice. Instruct the daughter to go to pay machine and look for phone number. Standing under a tree by my vehicle, call that number. 

A live person answers. Halleluiah!

“My daughter and a small child are stuck in the garage. They are 40 cents short. Can you help?”

Yes, he’ll go there immediately to help. Shout out to Keck Parking. You guys rock.

It’s 90 degrees outside. Did I mention I don’t have my own car? I’m driving Bob’s rust bucket truck. It’s a big glug.

Head back to the office. Admire the wood-shop project riding shotgun. Imagine it next to my rocking chair. 

Wait, there’s a sprawling pen-mark on the front of the wood-shop project. It says “Stephen” in three inch letters. Stephen is not my son.

Bumble into my office. Five minutes late for the webinar. I’m logged in. My agency is not charged.

They say you should use the lunch hour to network.

I use it to parent teenagers. Life is beautiful.

Friday, May 23, 2014

On the occasion of our daughter's high school graduation


Daughter graduates.
Her wave is unstoppable.
I am riding it.

Daughter graduates.
Seventeen and leaving home.
I'll not be destroyed.

Daughter graduates.
She powers forward. I ride.
A baby born, gone.

(a built haiku, a work in progress)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Don't stop believing

Amanda's graduation pic, Roosevelt High School,
Des Moines, Iowa, Class of 2014,
courtesy of Megan Clausen Photography
A 17-year-old daughter is so beautiful to behold. Today at the office, I got an emergency telephone call (aka not a text) that went something like this:

Her: Mom, the neighbor is spray-painting their grass the color of green!

Me: They're re treating their lawn with chemicals.

Her: But you know what that means, right?! (To my writer friends, my lovely girl really does talk in exclamation points.)

Me: Their yard is going to look great?

Her: No, mom, it's Glee!

Me: (She's referring to the very first episode of Glee where the character of Finn [RIP] as a child watches his mother's latest loser boyfriend chemically treat the lawn while blasting a Journey song, Lovin, Touchin', Squeezin, which would stay with Finn until he gets into high school to help inspire the newly formed Glee club with another Journey Song.)

Me: Don't Stop Believing, honey.

Her: Don't Stop Believing, mommy.

End of call. Back to work.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Grow Something

I planted the colors green, yellow, red and orange.
The kids call my favorite eats "mom's tropical food."
Welcome to my vegetable garden!

As you may know, we live on one full acre. To Bob it's "a farm," a compensation from living 46 years in the inner city*. To me it's "another job," an overwhelming sensation from having very little liquid time. With all this land, you'd think we'd have planted a garden a long time ago but I didn't know where to start.

However, I found a solution.

It's "live globally, act apartmently." I ask myself what would I do if I lived in a little space. Suddenly things become very clear. I need to plant a container garden because that's what you would do if you didn't have a yard. (Note: in the background of this picture is the St. John's Faith Garden, an impressive expanse, which has been a nice proxy gardening experience. Yet, I still wanted my own kitchen garden.)

This is how we did it.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Different Kind of Love Triangle

My husband was mad at our daughter for the dent in her car. (He said it was about responsibility.)
I was mad at my husband because he was mad at our daughter. (I said it had nothing to do with responsibility.)
He was mad at me because I was mad at him. (He said I didn’t understand.)
I said he was being unreasonable.
He said I was being mama bear.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Pastor's Wife

Grateful to Living Lutheran for the opportunity to post this short reflection on being a pastor's wife:

In seminary, circa 2006, they offered a workshop for spouses of ordination-bound students on the topic of being a pastor’s spouse. I myself was the wife of presumed future pastor but did not attend the seminar because what was there to learn? I felt liberated from the traditional label “the pastor’s wife.” Plus I was a working mother and wouldn’t have time to be pushed into a corner of expectations. I barely had time to brush my teeth.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

On Waitressing at 25 – Employment Dos and Don’ts

When I was 25 years old, I had a BA in Political Science and Criminal Justice, an MA in Secondary Education, and a student loan debt that could finance a midsize luxury car. My ambition was to teach high school social studies.
Instead I was waitressing.