Last night I was up until the early hours of the morning trapped in an anticipation fueled cycle of checking the weather app on my phone and stepping out onto the back porch to monitor the various forms of winter precipitation as they fell from the sky.
Is snow a body of water? Social media loves pictures of feet next to bodies of water.
My days are numbered
Even now in my thirties I can’t help but get excited about the prospect of a snow day. I guess it should be prefaced that I am a born and raised Georgian and in Georgia, snow is magic. When I was a kid, snow in Atlanta was like the universe just giving you an extra day.
A free day. A magic 24 hour period inserted between, “Oh crap, I haven’t even started that book report yet” and “Please turn in your book reports.” It meant your parents stayed home from work and played outside with you, it meant supplementing your not so winter wardrobe with bread bags on your feet and 3 pairs of socks because you had to wear tennis shoes in the snow, it meant hot chocolate and wet gloves hanging by the fire. Snow days in Georgia are made of happy even when your mom makes you wear a pair of tube socks for gloves with sandwich baggies on top because why would you need to own ski gloves down south? Snow days meant rummaging through the basement looking for anything that could be turned into a sled and playing until your hands were numb, your cheeks were red and you collapsed into the house one big freezing, soaking, pile of exhausted joy at the end of the day.
We’ve Lost that Lovin Feelin
Remember that time that our kids went to school? I think it was called 2013 and it was neat. I admit I went a bit overboard on the whole waxing poetic about the wonder of snow up there because the truth is, when a snow day overstays its welcome, the harsh reality sets in. This is the part when you see what you are really made of, when the loving family dynamic gets put to the ultimate test. Cabin Fever.
I admit using a pic from The Shining is a bit too obvious but some things are obvious because they are right.
It starts out innocent enough; a board game, an extra snack, a glass of wine or beer a bit earlier in the day than usual, a sarcastic remark to your spouse, a snap at your kid for making a mess. We don’t catch any of the warning signs because we don’t know how long we will be here. Somewhere along the way the sanity rope feels like it is starting to fray a bit and the local weather man showing the snow in his area becomes some bizarre backdrop back drop to your family’s de-evolution.
In what feels like an instant you are turning a blind eye to your kid eating a bowl of “skittles cereal” and you are dreaming about that Amazon droid helicopter thing delivering a case of booze to your frozen snowy doorstep. You become a bit numb to what your kids are up to as long as they keep it down and don’t get blood on anything as you settle into your own little wi-fi fueled haze. Cycling through social media, weather apps, and random google searches, you are suddenly curious if the U.S. just invented slopestyle to pad our Olympic stats. Eventually you start to wonder how long you have been sitting there. When did I take a shower last? Why are my children’s collective worldly possessions all in the living room? Did I just eat this entire can of Pringles? How long have I been wearing these pajama pants? Is it still snowing? No school again? What day is it? What year is it? Netflix is the only one in this house that truly understands me. How many lunches have we had today? Is there anything left my kids haven’t fought about?
Sound familiar? You start organizing games like the nap game and the prize is whichever kid falls asleep first doesn’t get a spanking. You gather the family around the table to work on a 1000 piece argument. You start wondering if you should send the internet a Valentine’s day card. You try to make the best of it by thinking of all of the great family memories the snow storm has provided but get interrupted because now that your kids have not played with every single toy that they have, they have resorted to taking breaks from fighting and crying to climb on stuff and jump off of furniture and you are pretty sure you need to find an ACE bandage so you can tie them up with it and MAKE IT STOP.
RIP Snowman, gunned down by the glorious thaw.
Being cooped up for days on end can push us right to that edge but somehow we hold on. Sibling rivalry wears itself out and sleep gives us the short respite we so desperately need. The thaw is coming and we just have to hang on and one day we will look back and only see the happy. When you are in the moment though, cabin fever is completely weak.
19 Comments | tags: activities, Atlanta, Blog, cabin fever, family, food, funny, Georgia, humor, ice., kids, netflix, Pax, Random, relationships, siblings, snow, snowman, technology, valentines day, weather, wi-fi | posted in Uncategorized
My wife and I recently celebrated 12 years of marriage. I know to some that is a long time and to others we are still relatively new at this. Here is the thing though, I think 12 calendar years is probably equivalent to at least 20-25 IKEA years. What I mean is that this 12 year accomplishment deserves your applause because during that time we probably made at least 20 trips to IKEA. IKEA is like the Swedish Wal-Mart where healthy loving relationships go to die.
Tools? We don’t need no stinking tools!
I guess one of the good things about IKEA is that the golf pencil and little paper tape measure are free, especially since the marriage counseling is going to be so expensive. I mean, if they would let you take a plate of those delicious horse meat meatballs into the showroom I would go there by myself on a Saturday just to watch couples melt down in public. I am pretty sure that any husband can agree that the 4 words that can strike fear into even the bravest of souls when spoken in an IKEA are “what do you think?’ WHAT DO I THINK?? EJECT, EJECT, SAVE YOURSELVES I’M DEAD ALREADY. What I think is that after 20 seconds in that place we are all drunk on sleek design and functionality and that intoxication will soon wear off when we realize no number of multi-tool organizational shelving units will make the inside of our house look like the showroom there. Of course that isn’t what I said. What I said was, I think it is great, I think everything in here is great. I think if we get this dining room desk /storage unit with hidden drawers and special built-in lights that take light bulbs that cannot be purchased anywhere else on the planet it will probably solve most of our problems. Que meltdown.
At IKEA this is like finding Super Mario’s secret warp zone to world 8-1.
Those Swedes think of everything though, because it is hard to look all pissed when you are storming off pushing a cart with 4 swivel wheels and you have to Tokyo drift around the corner to avoid knocking over a display of 4000 glass tea light holders. The also know that any little argument can easily fade away when you turn the corner and both marvel at the 200 square foot living space. Suddenly you want to trade your big house in the suburbs for a broom closet because how cool is all of this stuff?
I need to be honest though, while it is possible that IKEA can present some unique relationship challenges, they do have some cool stuff; no Viking helmets but cool stuff none the less. We have some of their cool stuff in our house and most of the time the joy of new furniture is enough to quell the in store disputes and bring everyone back to a happy place before the put together meltdown occurs.
I think we all know about the put together meltdown. I am a pretty handy guy I fix stuff and know my way around a tool box but that really doesn’t matter when it comes to Swedish engineering. There is no piece of IKEA furniture in our house that wasn’t halfway assembled then taken apart and reassembled because I had something upside down or backwards or inside out. You would think that the only problem with that would be the increased amount of time to complete the build and the addition of a few 4 letter words to your kid’s vocabulary but the real problem is this:
Once she learned the new curse words it was time to let her take over.
Furniture from IKEA is not designed to be taken apart and put back together. With the re-screwing or allen wrenching or whatever you call it of each bolt with that multi-tool the structural integrity is compromised. So basically after a 6 pack of beer, 2 cut knuckles, a kid wondering what that word meant and a bucket of tears (mine not there’s) you wind up with a bedside table that is capable of holding an alarm clock and a pencil and anything heavier than that causes the legs to wobble.
They say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I think that this can be applied to relationships for sure. Arguing in IKEA can be pretty weak but getting home and lounging on your new futon/file cabinet/spice rack is totally sweet.
18 Comments | tags: anniversary, arguments, beer, Blog, building, counseling, family, food, funny, humor, IKEA, light bulbs, marriage, meatballs, profanity, Random, relationships, Saturday, shopping, showcase, Super Mario, sweetandweak, tea lights, time, tokyo drift, tools | posted in Uncategorized
Remember raising your hand so long your arm started to cramp and you had to do that behind the head support move with your other arm?
I started the 4th grade in 1987 in Ms. Griffith’s class. I finished the 4th grade in 1988 in Mrs. Chun’s class. Her husband proposed to her in front of our whole class with a singing telegram. Our class sang at the wedding, I caught the garter. We did a class play of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, I was Edmund. I remember how she would sing with us each morning and how she put her hand on my shoulder with empathy when we got back from Christmas break and I told her that I didn’t get the GI Joe Aircraft carrier. Even though she was my teacher, I think I maybe had a little bit of a crush on her, she was kind and pretty and always seemed interested in what all of us had to tell her. Her’s is the class I see in the forgotten corners of my mind when I think back to elementary school.
The middle school years can be tough on everyone and the feeling to fit in is almost palpable. I will never forget saving my money from mowing lawns and heading out to the mall, going into a cool clothes store called Chess King and buying Skidz. It was the coolest outfit I had ever owned and for once I was going to have the name brand clothes just like the cool kids. I remember wearing them on a Monday morning and feeling like the king of 7th grade. I think they went out of style the Wednesday of that same week but I didn’t get the memo and wore them again and endured some ridicule. That was the last time I wore them, middle school was hard. I will also never forget Ms. Hall, she was my English teacher and she taught me lots of things, the most important was that teachers don’t have to be the enemy. Ms. Hall was funny and cool and I remember that older kids from the high school would come by sometimes to visit her. She would joke with us and laugh with us and made me feel like her classroom was a safe place where the middle school pressure to be something you are still too young to be can be overwhelming. When I made it to high school I went back and visited her, I felt like the coolest kid ever.
try not to be so jealous of my style
In high school I seemed to find my way a bit but I still had plenty to learn. Mr. McCloud taught me that being sociable was a good thing but it was also ok to apply myself and that I was smarter than the effort I put forth. Mrs. Moody & Mrs. Evans taught me how to be a part of something that was bigger than me and put a class clown up on a stage and let me spread my wings in a more productive setting than the back of Mr. McCloud’s Algebra class. Mrs. Rivers taught me that the movie “Gone With the Wind” left out quite a bit of the book and that sometimes taking shortcuts aren’t the best idea. She also taught me it isn’t much fun getting an F on a test.
In college I had a philosophy professor (I don’t even remember his name) that not only taught me about existentialism but also that joining in on the conversation, attending classes, and taking an interest could make college a good experience for what happened inside of the classroom as well as what happened outside.
In 2003 I remember helping my wife hang paper on a bulletin board and getting her first classroom set up just right. It was what she wanted to be ever since she was a little girl. Most of us lose on making it to what we wanted to be when we grow up. For most of us it turns out to be “this is what I do” not “this is what I am.” Not for her though, a teacher is what she is.
I am sure that there were parents that summer that got their kid’s class list and weren’t thrilled that they got Mrs. Holland because it was her first year and you just never know about first year teachers. Fast forward a few years and it is common knowledge that if you have a third grader getting ready to start the year, you hope that they get to be in Mrs. Holland’s class. Kids from the high school come back to visit her and by the time they are freshman it has been over 5 years since 3rd grade. She makes a difference in those kid’s lives. The kind of difference that they still remember when they grow into full size people. She has this unbelievable gift that sets kids at ease and somehow they instantly know that they can trust her. She pushes them to be better and to grow and in her classroom is often where the bloom of a person begins. She doesn’t do teaching, she is a teacher.
Next year their won’t be any kids or parents excited because they got Mrs. Holland. After 10 years in the classroom it is time for a little break. She is going to stay home and cherish being a mom while our girls are still young. I am sad for this batch of rising second graders that they won’t get to experience a third grade year with her but I am more excited that we get to have her all to ourselves for a while. You see, she isn’t just a teacher. She is also a mom and that is another thing that she doesn’t just do, it is something that she is.
I couldn’t be more proud of the impact that she has made in her first 10 years of teaching and I know that there will be times that she will really miss it. She has been “playing school” for as long as she can remember and today she exclaimed with a tear in her eye that it was her last day to play. I know that she will be back in a classroom one day and I can’t wait for this next little chapter of our lives where we can grow as a family. She is so excited to be taking this break because even though every school year brings a fresh batch of 3rd graders, your own kids are only young once.
No matter how old we get we can all remember at least one teacher. The one that explained it different or the one that held our hand when we needed it or made us laugh and feel like we belonged. None of us would be were we are today if it weren’t for the impact of teachers and I just happened to be lucky enough to marry one. Teachers of the year come and go with each new calendar year but for dozens and dozens of kids, Mrs. Holland wasn’t a teacher of the year, she was the teacher of their life.
Here’s to the next chapter Mrs. Holland, cheers!
12 Comments | tags: family, fashion, humor, memories, mentors, mothers, relationships, school, style, summer, teachers | posted in Uncategorized
Meg, How I love thee.
I am not really one for multiple Hollywood crushes or movie star infatuation. Yeah, I obviously had a thing for Samantha Micelli on Who’s the Boss, but what 12-year-old boy didn’t? I do, however, make a rare exception. The movie “You’ve Got Mail” comes on TV a lot and no matter what, if I am able, I watch it until the end and fall in love with Kathleen Kelly all over again. I am certain that it is her girl next door appeal that gets me every time. I am a sucker for it and lucky to have a beautiful wife with that same kind of something. (Ok, now that I am finished with that sentence, back to Meg.) I can admit that some of her attempts to stay youthful have yielded less than stellar results in the lip area, but she is still Meg and every-time I see Kathleen Kelly sit down on the floor of her apartment with her bowl of soup, my heart flutters a bit.
I wouldn’t be true to myself to have a blog that talks about things that are awesome and not mention Meg. I appreciate your indulgence and will see if I can’t think of something funny to write next time, or at least butch it up a bit with a post on the designated hitter or the spread option offense.
Meg Ryan, with short hair and a crooked smile. Totally sweet.
Uh, Yeah; I meant to do that……
You ever have a moment when you are sitting in the pole position (1st place) at a red light and the car on your left goes so you ease off the brake and begin to proceed when you realize they only had a green arrow and your light is still red? No? Just me? Great. That moment is pretty weak and you can’t really play it off. You are now sitting there with at least 58% of your car jutting into the intersection and the idiot behind you wasn’t paying attention either so he just filled the gap. Leaving you hanging out there with no place to go and nowhere to hide. If you have the courage to look around you will see your fellow drivers shaking their heads at you in disappointment or even gesturing to you with their friends and laughing at your expense. If you are lucky, your light turns green quickly and you speed off leaving your shame and embarrassment behind you, but if it is one of those long green arrow deals you just have to sit there and take it like a man. Maybe you could roll down your windows and explain that you saw a black widow spider walking in front of your car and you were simply being a hero by killing it with your tire. I think that some people figure out how to leave embarrassment back in jr. high with dropped lunch trays and cracking voices, and some people wind up shamefully trying to sink down into the seat of their car counting the seconds till THEIR light turns green. Feeling like an idiot is totally weak.
6 Comments | tags: embarrassment, hollywood, humor, Meg Ryan, relationships, traffic | posted in Uncategorized