I Am a Cliché. I even Know How to Spell Cliché.

04 September 2014 | 3 Comments

This morning, I dropped the kids off at their respective schools.

I know.    

Can I explain to you how magical it is for a parent to have two hours and fifteen minutes to themselves, three days a week?  The answer to that is, pretty damn magical.  Thank you, sweet, sweet pre-school.  I haven’t been alone on a regular basis, in a silent house no less, for seven and a half years.

Seven.  And a half.  Years.  Just the QUIET alone.  Those kids of mine are apparently a noisy duo.  The first two days, I couldn’t even bring myself to turn on the radio because the quiet was so magnificent. 

This morning though?  I almost danced my way out of the classroom.  I was the mom in the SUV, giant smile on my face, blasting Vanilla Ice and singing every word, just because I can.  Then I got home, to my quiet house and picked twelve pounds of tomatoes from the garden.  Homemade tomato sauce?  Heck yes.    Did I mention it was quiet? 

I might even shower before noon!

I have much, much more to tell you.  Including explaining what I’ve been doing all summer.  I intend on doing just that, but for now, shhh… thirty more minutes before I have to pick the little one up.

To That Girl, In Her Twenties.

20 August 2014 | 4 Comments

That Girl in Her Twenties

It’s fine that you don’t have it all figured out. 

Hear me out.  I know you think you do, because that is how you have operated your entire life, but no, you don’t. 

Not at all, in fact. 

You are exactly, unequivocally where you are supposed to be in your life.  Trust in that.  Put to rest that feeling, the one that says, everyone else has a plan and you don’t.  It doesn’t matter that your siblings, your friends, your parents, that girl from high school, your cousins, or your mortal frenemy were married, had a job, whatever at your age… that isn’t your story, it’s theirs.  Stop bringing self-doubt and comparison to the table instead of your own bounty.      

Enjoy right where you are, right at this very minute.   Your entire life is there, laid out before you, just loaded with possibility.  You can fill it with whatever you want. 

I wish you could appreciate how unbelievably awesome that really is, but you won’t until you are old.

You get to make mistakes.  Thousands of them.  You get to try stupid shit.  If there ever was a time to do that, it’s now.  Trust me.  You get to do that thing that you believe in, the one that puts a fire in your belly when you think about it.  You can even do the thing that everyone in your life tells you NOT to do.  Sure, sometimes you will screw it all up, but sometimes it will be magnificent.  Do it, regardless of the outcome.  Just because you can.  

That goes for dating too.  You get to date the right ones and date the wrong ones, you don’t even have to recognize the difference right now.  You can have unapologetic {safe… goes with out saying, doesn’t it?} sex without attachment.  You can be in a long term relationship without ever having sex at all, if you like.  You can date, you can flirt, you can masturbate without shame, you can be abstinent, have a thousand partners, you can love a man, or a woman, or both.  Your body doesn’t belong to your parents, your partner, your friends, your religion, or anyone other than you.  And that is exactly who gets to make the decisions about it.  You.       

You get to struggle and work harder than you ever have.  You will learn exactly what you are made of in the moments that you think you can’t handle.  You will flounder and you will figure shit out, or you will fall flat on your face.  The first will teach you perseverance, the second will teach you humility.  Both are hard won, valuable gifts.

You get to figure out, sometimes it’s ok to walk away.  You can run from toxic friends, from your small town, or your big city, from the thing that you no longer want to be, but were just sure you wanted to do when you were twelve, and even from that relationship that no longer makes you happy.    

Your life, it will unfold.  Faster than you ever imagined it could, in most cases.  All it will be a part of you and each piece is important.  You will have hilarious stories to laugh about with your friends, the heartaches will have softened, you will know that you lived your dream, you will be grateful for the mis-steps and mistakes and the lessons learned. 

I know it’s hard to see right now because you are waiting for that next thing.  The person.  The career.  The house.  The kids.  The feeling that you have it all figured out.  Not unlike when you were five and waiting for school to start, twelve waiting for your first kiss, or sixteen and waiting for your drivers license.  Those things you’re waiting for, they will get there, when they get there, they can’t be rushed.  If I’m being honest, sometimes they never show up.  

Here is a secret though, one that some people never figure out.  You don’t need any of those things, not one, to be a complete, wonderful, dazzling human being.  You’re already there.  But, you knew that already, didn’t you?

So, Toledo Was Fun This Weekend.

04 August 2014 | 6 Comments

Saturday morning, I woke up to this…

Toledo Water Emergency

Now, two things you should probably know.  One, my Aunt Sue isn’t tech savvy, she doesn’t text me.  I have gotten exactly ONE text from her, ever.  So you can imagine I was completely confused.   Two, I am an up late kind of girl and Friday… Friday, I went to bed early.  Or I would have seen the health department post at 1:30 in the morning that we should NOT consume, boil, or even touch the water coming out of the tap. 

No drinking.  No showers.  No cooking with it.  No washing dishes.  No hand washing. 

Nada. 

Don’t touch it, don’t let your kids touch it, and don’t let your pets near it.

Which is super fun because right before bed, I downed two huge glasses of contaminated water.  And did a load of dishes on the ridiculously hot setting of our dishwasher.

To put it mildly, people were freaking out.  I told Dave that he should probably hit the store for some bottled water, but by 7:20 am, when he got there, they were already out.  Dave headed to Sam’s because his dad has a business membership, which means he could go in at 7am.  There were already lines around the building and the sheriff’s department was there, so he turned around and came home.

I wasn’t immediately panicked because we had about ten quart sized bottles and some 8 ounce bottles in the basement.  The first two quarts went right into the Keurig and I realized pretty quickly how completely under prepared we were for anything longer than a day.  Even more so when we realized that some family members didn’t have any, like my diabetic 89 year old Gram and my sister and my brother.

We take clean, safe, potable water for granted.  Especially here in Ohio where we have access to the Great Lakes and some of the best water in the country, right out of the tap.  And we use way more than we probably should.   

Try turning off the water to your house for 24 hours and seeing how you would cope.  Then tack on another day and a half, just for fun. 

Now just imagine 600,000 people all doing the same.  Stores in cities an hour away were completely out of bottled water by 11 am on Saturday morning.  Just imagine that.  All of the metro Toledo area, Angola, Indiana, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Monroe, Sandusky, Bowling Green, Findlay all being completely out of bottled water in a matter of hours.  It’s sobering.  Produce departments were also completely cleared because of water spray that contaminated anything exposed to it.  Aisles of paper products were empty.

Produce Section during Toledo Water Emergency Empty Paper Product Aisle Toledo Water Emergency

I swear you’re going to see me on one of those doom’s day prepper shows because of this experience…

Sunday morning, we went to my aunt’s house to shower and fill up our food grade buckets {Dave bought the last four at Lowes} with water.  We were able to bring that water home and wash dishes and our hands in clean water.  They gave the all clear that it was ok for healthy adults to shower, but didn’t provide even ONE actual scientific number to back that up.  As of Monday morning, when they finally lifted the ban, the mayors office and the Ohio EPA still had yet to release any actual data.   

National Guard Water Filling Station      

We’re extremely lucky that it was only half a million people affected and not more than one major city.  If Cleveland or Detroit had also been affected, I don’t think we would have been able to have the immediate response that we {luckily} did.  By Saturday afternoon, the national guard had been mobilized and had a plan for truckloads of water to be delivered, the Red Cross had some water available to those who didn’t have any, people were calm and delivering water to those who couldn’t get out.  I saw gracious people handing out bottles of water to neighbors and friends and strangers alike.  There were calm lines and absolutely gracious, smiling, tired faces of our Ohio National Guard, Red Cross Volunteers, and store clerks.  There were people calling and offering showers and places to fill buckets in cities not affected.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all handled perfectly, there were instances of price gauging.  There were altercations at stores.  There were people buying ridiculous amounts of water, that I hope were for more than themselves, but probably weren’t.  The mayors office really dropped the ball disseminating actual information and it just fueled every idiot in the city to fill in the blanks, true or not.  Every rumor you can imagine spread like wildfire on social media.  I really do think his office acted appropriately in not giving information they weren’t sure about, but they should have just said, hey… we have no idea.  Instead they said that they would have answers, test results, and continuously stalled or just didn’t show up when they said they would, it wasn’t good.  By Sunday evening pissed off people were throwing out suggestions about protesting.

They also really need to overhaul whomever is handling their social media accounts.  Pssst… Mr. Collins, call me.      

Cheers to clean water and the ban being lifted.  I’ll wait to drink it, until you provide those actual numbers. 

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