Thursday, September 28, 2006

What's the deal?

Tired. I am just tired. In some ways I don't mind when Gary is gone — evenings to myself, minimal dinner preparation. But I am the full-time chauffeur, full-time disciplinarian. No relief, no off-duty time.

Consequently, I am exhausted. I've had little, niggling details to take care of for work; I've gone to two (yes, two!) goofy networking lunches this week. I've done the usual around the house. I've read a book. I need to see if my movie is due at the video store. If so, I'll need to return it yet tonight.

And I'm tired.

I'm ready for a low-key weekend. I'll go to a soccer game, see a school play, supervise the hanging of the laundry room shelves. Clean the garage. Assemble more shelves. Hang out by the pool.

But I won't do it alone. And that's a good thing.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Two More Days

... and I'll be a single parent no more. I am ready to give up this gig, even though it will only be for two days. Yes, he'll be leaving me yet again.

It gets old, this job of parenting solo. And the last two days have been rather trying. Nothing terrible or tragic, just trying. Tonight I plan to curl up on the couch and watch a movie, what with no season openers to cheer me up.

But it is a week of new episodes of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Thank goodness for the little things.

Back to parenting, the job that never ends.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Don't know if that is even word.

What's worse is, I don't care.

It's that sort of day, that sort of week. The weather is beyond fabulous — sunny and 80 — yet I am in a funk.

How else could I explain that I ate popcorn for lunch?

Sigh. This, too, shall pass.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


So, today I spent the day working the booth at the Cy-Fair Chamber Business Expo. I dreaded going — I am really, at my core, incredibly shy and don't necessarily enjoy making small talk with people I don't know well; I have a hard time at cocktail parties as well, which is why I avoid them unless I know the attendees well.

My anxiety was unnecessary; today wasn't so bad. People were very friendly, very receptive to the magazine. I made several good contacts. And — as if that weren't enough — I filled my bag with all kinds of freebies, from pens and pencils to a nifty highlighter and very cool penlight/laser pointer/keychain. The girls were the lucky recipients of said loot; they loved it.

So, now I have to get the house in order. Tomorrow I must get groceries, finish cleaning house, and really clean up my office — my parents will be sleeping in here. Assuming they come — my mother has hurt her foot so we're awaiting a final verdict on whether she is nimble enough to make the journey from Austin.

Trying to keep up with these girls is like herding cats. For every item I pick up and put away, they respond threefold in the opposing direction. It is enough to make a normal person insane, and when you figure I am the parent involved ... well, enough said.

Plus I'm on my own this weel and next. When Gary called last night to share with me his time spent sight-seeing in Paris, it was all I could do to hold my tongue.

As for me, last night I spent my precious free time sewing patches on Sylvia's Brownie vest. All I could think of was my dear friend Tammy and the fact that she has no children, thus she will never get to enjoy this task, which I was completing for the third time (both older girls were Girl Scouts as well). Sigh ... I wouldn't trade my girls for anything, yet, on occasion, I have momentary flashes of envy for that totally adult lifestyle.

So, rather than cleaning bathrooms or putting laundry away, I am here, writing. Well, I rationalize, it's easier than seeking therapy. A few minutes here sorting out my demons beats an hour at the analyst probing my innermost thoughts.

Cheaper, too.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The week thus far: The truncated version

Busy week — much to do. Here's what's been going on at Chez Gerlach-Mueller:

• Work. I am wrapping up the magazine this week, so I've been busy finalizing calendar items, etc. It's just busy work, but it needs to get done.
• Kids. Homework, activities, chauffeur service. Drove Sylvia to gymnastics, then came home for an hour and took her to soccer. Made a run to Wal-Mart (ick) to buy her Brownie uniform. Made mental note of less than desirable state of the superstore.
• Chamber of Commerce. Went to a luncheon yesterday ... but first I had to go get new shoes to go with the outfit (and return the shoes that Alison got for her birthday that are the wrong size). Found the shoes, but was almost late to the luncheon. But it was worth it — the shoes look fantastic. The 7-year-old next door complimented my outfit at the bus stop — I must have looked great (!). Networked at said luncheon. Not my favorite activity.
• Business expo. Tomorrow I will spend the day working a booth for the Chamber business expo. I wouldn't mind so much except that they are making us wear matching shirts. I really hate stuff like that. I'd rather wear an outfit of my choosing, not declasse polo shirts in a color that doesn't flatter me. Sigh. What I put up with for employment.
• Book. Of course there is a book — there always is. Seldom am I without reading material. I kind of like John Irving, but The Hotel New Hampshire is just weird and unsettling. I don't like some of the characters, and I have real problems with their behavior. But I want to finish it; I can't really judge the book unless I read to the bitter end. I hope I don't regret the time vested.

Before Friday I must clean, get groceries, sew the accoutrements onto the Brownie vest. My parents will be here for the weekend and things need to look presentable (certainly the bathroom they will use).

I excavated the top of my desk — it looks fantastic. Progress.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Romance in the news

This dates back to yesterday at least, but hey — I'm intrigued.

What could be more fascinating than the love life of Condi Rice?

Deadlines met

For this week, anyway. There will be more next week. And other stuff to do, as always. You know how it is — just one thing after another, never ending.

But I feel on top of things today. And tonight we have theatre tickets. It's Opening Night, so we get all dressed up and a special reception at intermission. I've never seen The Fantasticks, though I know it's one of (or maybe the?) longest running shows on Broadway. And Jerry Orbach starred in the original off-Broadway production. I'm looking forward to it. And to a date night.

I was reminded yesterday of how hideous the traffic can be here, as I took Sylvia to a make-up gymnastics class at 5.15. p.m. I watched as a driver a few cars ahead of me did not take adavantage of a left-turn signal, holding a line of cars behind her/him hostage to the onslaught of traffic from the opposite direction. Learn, people: You don't stop when it is turning yellow, not at 5.15 in the evening, not in Houston traffic. You go ahead and go. Morons. Grrr.

Then I had to deal with the gymnastics parking lot at 6.30, where it is virtually impossible to get out of one's parking space.

Yes, these are the annoyances with which I deal. Small stuff, really.

When I arrived home from gymnastics, Alison and Madeleine had fixed dinner. Granted, I had asked them to, given them instructions on when to put what into the oven. But still, they did it. The table was set, everything was ready. And they were so proud. Very sweet.

Cooler temps are ahead, and I can't wait. I'm ready to turn off the AC, watch my electric bills become bearable. Awaiting the arrival of fall, Houston-style. I'm not sure what to expect, so it should be fun to see.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Lunch with Sylvia

If the size of the grin on Sylvia's face is any indicator, then my lunch with her was a success. She loved her Happy Meal, and she and I had a nice visit.

CFISD is all about healthy foods — parents may not send cookies or treats for birthdays, only two holiday parties during the year. But it's OK to bring fast food to share with your child for lunch?

And today, there's more good news about childhood obesity. I don't see my children heading down that path — and we do try to stay on top of the amount of fast food and junk they eat. Especially the carbonated beverages — the girls would sell their soul for one. And we try to keep them active. But this parenting business requires eternal vigilance; if it's not one thing it's another.

So I took Sylvia a shake instead. It was so worth it to see the look on her face. To be little again; to feel that very sincere type of love, untainted by pessimism and doubt. Childlike innocence — I need to be reminded on occasion just how special that feeling is.


I'm mourning the death of Ann Richards today. Being a big fan of smart, articulate women, it should seem obvious that I liked her. She was sharp and witty, a true force with which to reckon. She'll be missed.

Good parenting?

I'm working this morning, transcribing the tape of an interview. (This reminds me of why I am not big on using tape recorders for interviews; the net gain is generally not worth the extra effort.)

Then, around 11, I'm heading off to have lunch with Sylvia. She will be so excited ... though I have to confess, it's not out of sheer generosity. Naturally I am looking forward to eating with my daughter, making her feel special for having her mother at school. But the real reason I admit with a bit of chagrin: I was so busy filling out the forms for the wrapping paper order (stupid, stupid school fund-raisers) this morning that I forgot to pack her lunch.

However, Sylvia was pleased because she helped me choose which three over-priced rolls of paper we would order. I chose the cute snowmen with candy canes and the red and green that looks like 1959-vintage paper with ornaments. Sylvia and Maddie chose an all-occasion paper in brown, white, and blue; a little dull by my standards, but it made them happy to have a say.

But now, the real reason we were filling out the forms this morning? Because I was too tired last night. I had the choice, after the girls were in bed, to curl up with a book or fill out the fund-raiser order form.

I ask, which would you choose?

Ultimately my punishment is that I have to go eat lunch with my daughter ... would that all my foibles turned out this way.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


My brother sent me this. It is an incredible time-waster.

Naturally, I've already spent many valuable minutes playing. I have to say, it's pretty fun. A bit mindless, perhaps, but fun, never the less. My high score is over 8,000. Can you beat that?

Much work still to do ... so why am I here, blogging instead of editing? You know the answer, my friends. And not to worry, it will all get done.

So far today I've found time to do some laundry, clean the kitchen, and go on a two-hour lunch. And spend some time with the funky squares. But I also sent in one completed story and have worked on another one, answered work-related e-mails. So it's not all bad news. (Though how would I know for sure — I have not read the Chronicle yet ...)

And I like my hair today, for what that's worth.

Back to work. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My Contribution to Society

I am all dressed up: skirt, fancy top, heels, accessories. No pantyhose; I've already shared that I do not wear those unless it is really cold — which, fortunately, it rarely is in Houston.

Why the chic attire? I went out on an interview today, meeting with the president of the Cy-Fair Chamber of Commerce. And it's a good thing I dressed as I did, as she mentioned the other reps from the magazine she had met and pointed out how they always looked classy.

If only she could see me in my normal, everyday get-up ...

When Alison was little, she wore only dresses. Which was interesting, because I don't get all dressed up around the house. I prefer jeans or shorts. I don't always wear tennis shoes, but sometimes I do. And Alison was all about dresses. She wanted to be "pretty." In fact, she had to have skirts or dresses with big skirts that would "go out" when she danced. She refused to wear pants. Ever. Even when she went to sport day in Germany, she wore a skirt. Around mid-first grade she did a total 180, preferring jeans and Tshirts for years. She's hit a middle ground now, wearing dresses and skirts on occasion. The other two were more moderate all along, knowing that there were times that jeans were simply more practical.

Truth is, I like to get dressed up. I love to shop, love to wear all my outfits. This is part of the reason I have a job. (Well, that and the fact that I need some purpose in life; when all your children are in school all day and you have no social life, there has to be a reason to get up and get moving. Mine is now deadlines.) Only going out every week or so has worked well for me. When I was at the paper in Lafayette, I got into sort of a rut and felt like I wore those same black pants to work four days out of five.

So, now that I only get dressed up on occasion — which does not really include church, where most members of my congregation wear the UUniform: cargo shorts, T-shirt with some sort of liberal religion slogan, and Tevas — I can concentrate on really looking fabulous on those days. Not sure I would say "fabulous" was the word of the day, but I think I did OK.

So what is the sign that one has too many shoes? When you can't find a pair you're sure you have? After digging through all the boxes (in the interest of discretion, or modesty, I won't reveal the actual number of said boxes) not once, but twice, I was about ready to give up. But I did find them. And I was so pleased to see that they matched my skirt (a taupe/stone color) perfectly. In fact, it was like getting new shoes — they will go with so many things.

OK. So, the interview went well. So, since I was out and about, I made a stop at the Container Store to replace my apothecary jar (used for bathroom storage) that I broke this weekend while tidying the bathroom. (That'll teach me to clean, huh?)

But first, feeling that my home shoe selection is inadequate, and since I was on 1960 anyway, I made a run to DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse, for the uninitiated). I found a pair of black shoes (loafer-type) for fall, to replace the ones I've been wearing and watching wear out since 2000. But the best news is, not only did I find a pair I like, I found three other pair that would have worked just as well. I did limit my purchase to one ... and one pair of sand-colored heels (yes, sand; read the box). And a pair of red and black Converse for Alison's birthday.

And, since I was out, I made a run to Ann Taylor. I'll spare you the details; suffice it to say, I did moderate damage. And realized that I now need new navy shoes. Which, I'm sure, can be arranged.

My day of retail therapy being over, it was now time to come home, join real life, and meet the school bus. So I made the transition from career woman to mom, supervising snack time and homework. Rescheduled gymnastics, checked on music lessons, read e-mail, returned phone calls.

I haven't changed clothes yet. I'm not sure I'm done being pretty. But I'm going to. I am going to take off my tiara and return the pretend dress-up clothes to the closet where they belong. Even wearing jeans, it's still possible to dance.

Monday, September 11, 2006


I wasn't going to write about the fifth anniversary of 9/11. I'm not trying to pretend it didn't happen, but public grieving isn't my style.

But today, it's everywhere I turn. It's hard to avoid, isn't it? Every mention in the news has been all about what we were doing, how we felt, and whether or not we've recovered.

Rightly so, I suppose. Yes, it was a national tragedy — one of epic proportions. I watched, along with the rest of the country, in stunned silence as the events unfolded. Like everyone, I remember where I was — home with a 2-year-old — when I heard the initial reports on the radio. An accident with a small plane, I assumed; then, naively, I hoped no one was hurt. Then when I heard about the second one, I thought briefly that it was a strange and macabre coincidence.

I was glued to the television for much of the next several days. All the same, I wondered when our life would return to normal. Because it always does. We don't quite forget, but we move on, at some point as if nothing ever happened.

And I remember Alison's reaction, her concern that I was too involved, too caught up in the news reports. She so desperately wanted me to move on. So I did — for her, and for all children. We can't dwell on the negativity too long or we get mired in the mess, unable to extricate ourselves and return to any sense of normalcy.

Like any proper tourists in New York, we visited Ground Zero. It was three years later, 2004, when we were there, so it was no longer a disaster scene so much as a construction site. Yet we knew, when we stood there, what had happened. We took pictures, but not out of disrespect. It was more about remembering what had happened and the gravitas of the events that day.

My friend Amy blogs, and she wrote this about New Yorkers and their reaction. And I agree with her. Why must they feel that they have to "own" this tragedy? Did the people of Oklahoma City react this way? Weren't we all affected?

Why does any of us feel that we must have a piece of such a thing? Years ago, when Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested, someone had to ask Gary, "Isn't that the same area where you lived in Milwaukee?" Well, yes, but years before. And just because it was the same city, same general neighborhood, it doesn't give him an instant connection. But what if it did? Does it make people somehow feel more a part of the action because they knew someone who was there?

Strange, these human tendencies to want to feel a part of a notorious event. Is it compulsion? Maybe.

In any event, so much for not writing about this day. But I guess I'm just doing what we all must: staking my claim on a piece of history.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Bad Hair Day

It is indeed. I think perhaps I need to find someone new to cut it. One week ago today I was completely happy with my hair; I remember because I had a lengthy phone conversation with Peter and we discussed, among other things, my hair, with which I was pleased. (It says a lot for our friendship that we can discuss my hair and our mutual hatred for Ann Coulter in the same conversation ...) I never can seem to figure out what I have done differently on the days I like it. Though today my guess is it has to do with how long I wait to dry it; since my days are my own, I often let it air dry then finish it up. Is that my mistake? Whatever it is, I even sank so low last night as to contemplate trimming my own bangs. And I have enough bad high school memories to know that is never an answer!

You know the worst part of this: No one else even notices. Which means that even on the days I think my hair looks great, it really doesn't. Or, conversely, on the days I think it looks terrible, I look stunning. N'est ce pas?

I thought not.

But other than the hair, once I get past it, everything else has gone OK today. I worked a lot this morning, editing articles. And, I am pleased to report, they need very little work. The writers I have are very enthusiastic and, consequently, do good work. I still have some stuff to finish up (such as, writing my own stories ...) but it will get done. All in good time. Though the due date is fast approaching. I work best on a deadline.

It's the weekend, which means two full days of opportunity. Alison wants to see Superman at the IMAX; her birthday is approaching and she is worried that it won't be there anymore, so we're going to celebrate early. We need to get the invitations out for Sylvia's belated party. And we need to watch Hotel Rwanda that we've had from Netflix for more than a month. This weekend, it gets watched or it goes. And this time, unlike the last three weekends, I mean it.

Not sure what else the weekend holds. I think I'll let it surprise me.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Happiness is ...

... beautiful daughters! Seriously, aren't they the cutest things?

Sometimes, when I look at them, I have to stop, collect myself, and remember that I brought these very special people into the world.

And even if I never publish a novel, never write an Op-Ed for the New York Times, or never win a prize for fiction or nonfiction either one, I will know that my legacy is my children.

And that might have to be enough for me. I could have done worse.

PS: Yes, one is missing. The enigma that is my eldest ... it just adds to her charm.

And one more thing ...

Madeleine the critic is helping me with my blogging these days. Well, she offers sporadic assistance. Today she is wondering why I listed 99 things in yesterday's post. What can I say? It was an arbitrary decision; no real rhyme or reason.

She thinks I need to add one more to make it an even hundred. Her choice: To point out that I have a preference for blue ink pens.

Guilty as charged. What can I say? I prefer blue to black ink. Always have. I should also note that I prefer medium point. And these days I really prefer gel pens.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that I really love buying pens. Well, I actually love buying any sort of school or office supplies. I like to buy post-its, pens, those really nice wooden pencils (you know, the kind without any paint on them). I like pads of paper, highlighters, tape dispensers, little organizational tools. Love them all. A trip to Office Depot is anything but boring for the likes of me.

So there you have it. Maddie will be pleased to see that I have now been totally upfront about my odd fetishes. But I'm warning you, I could be hiding other unsavory facts. Best not to tell all too soon.

Up and at 'em

In a delightful change of pace today, I got up off my can and walked. Exercise — I truly hate it, but I have to admit, I felt great when I was done. I've been intending to get busy all week, so now here it is Thursday and I am just now doing something.

Part of my change in motivation has to do with the weather; it is much cooler these days. It is still hot here — I think it will be hot here for months, but come November it will feel great. But we're having a brief respite from the oppressive heat, so I can deal with being outside in the mornings. So I hit the pavement, complete with Gary's iPod in my ears, and to the sounds of Elvis Costello walked all through the streets of our subdivision, checking out the houses, seeing which ones have more curb appeal than mine.

So, with the weather as hot as it is, I had to find out the scoop on white pants and skirts. Yes, Labor Day is past, but the 90-degree temps remain, and I suspect they will for a while. So I e-mailed the fashion writer at the Houston Chronicle. She responded immediately — she could tell, I presume, that this was no frivolous question, but of the emergency variety. And good news for those of us with new white pants: I can continue to wear them through the fall. Such a relief.

Sigh ... back to work. And to the vacuum. And the beds. Real life. A nice little break from my fantasies.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

All About Me

Slow day here in the 'hood, so it's time for fun facts — more than you ever wanted to know about me:

99. I have three daughters.
98. I always thought I wanted four children. Reality won out.
97. I am married to my college sweetheart. We met when I was 18.
96. We have a dog. She and I are not close.
95. This house — brand-new — is the only house we've owned that was built after 1920.
94. Yet I love it.
93. I love to read.
92. My favorite authors include (but are not limited to): F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edith Wharton, Margaret Atwood, and Jane Austen.
91. My favorite writers include (but again, are not limited to): Maureen Dowd, Anna Quindlen, Michael Kinsley, and Thomas Friedman.
90. I love to cook, but I hate to fix dinner every night.
89. I love to shop, but not for groceries.
88. We have a huge, huge bedroom closet. And my part is nearly full.
87. I haven't worn panty hose since ... can't even remember.
86. I like to go out to lunch.
85. I also like to go out to dinner.
84. Snakes, bugs, rodents, and bats really creep me out.
83. I love my part-time job.
82. But I wish I got out of the house more.
81. LIke all women, I love chocolate.
80. Especially the dark kind.
79. I love to watch reruns of MASH, but only with McLean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers.
78. I like Stephen Colbert better than Jon Stewart.
77. I love plants, but I am a lousy gardener.
76. My favorite stores include Williams Sonoma, Restoration Hardware, Ann Taylor, IKEA, and Target.
75. Among my prized possessions is a set of the Young Folks Shelf of Books, circa 1960.
74. I've lived in five states and Europe.
73. But I've never been to the Grand Canyon.
72. I didn't go to Disneyworld until I was 36.
71. And I don't care to ever return.
71. I love to play darts.
69. And I'm not too bad.
68. I also love to bowl.
67. And, again, I'm not that bad.
66. I even own my own shoes and ball.
65. My daughter was born on my great-grandmother's 101st birthday.
64. I never get tired of watching When Harry Met Sally and You've Got Mail.
63. I cry every time they meet in the park.
62. And I cry every time Charlotte dies in Charlotte's Web.
61. I never miss The Office.
60. Or Everybody Hates Chris
59. Can't stand Kirstie Alley.
58. Or Brooke Shields.
57. Or Kathie Lee Gifford.
56. Or Joan Rivers.
55. Since moving to Houston, I've become a fan of The View.
54. And since I love Rosie O'Donnell, I love it more.
53. Though I miss Star Jones (go figure).
52. Elisabeth Hasselbeck is an idiot, but she deserves to have her say.
51. I've marched on Washington. Twice.
50. I'm a die-hard liberal.
49. Yet I respect many Republicans whom I know personally.
48. And I am considering — only considering! — voting for Kinky Friedman.
47. But I'm still thinking about it.
46. I paid a small fortune to take my kids to see The Producers on Broadway with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.
45. I am still in touch with my best friend from fourth grade and my best friend from age 40.
44. And my favorite male friend from college.
43. We talk every month or so.
42. I refuse to drink diet soft drinks.
41. Or eat fat-free food.
40. This could explain a lot.
39. I've never been snow-skiing.
38. Or snorkeling.
37. I've never been to Las Vegas.
36. But I've been to Paris four times.
35. I love sushi.
34. I hate beer, but I love red wine.
33. And champagne.
32. I love to play trivia at bars.
31. And I love to win.
30. I love to play board games.
29. And I love to win.
28. I am very competitive.
27. I have read more books than I care to count since moving.
26. But that's more of an embarrassing stigma than an accomplishment.
25. My favorite classic Hollywood stars are Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly.
24. I stay up to watch the Oscars every year.
23. I have three brothers. I am the second eldest.
22. I am close friends with all of them.
21. All of my cousins are boys.
20. Yet I have three daughters.
19. I can speak German. Though not very well.
18. I love to sing karaoke.
17. I drive a Chrysler minivan.
16. But I'd much rather be driving a Mustang.
15. I love having a really clean house.
14. Sadly, most of the time, I don't.
13. I really love early morning hours and late night hours.
12. It is difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile these two likes.
11. I love to play Mah Jongg. (And win.)
10. Much of the music I love has been relegated to oldies radio stations.
9. I am addicted to public radio.
8. I love Elvis Costello, Harry Connick Jr., Broadway soundtracks, and the Steve Miller Band.
7. And a bunch of other music.
6. The last book I read was The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio.
5. As a child, my dream home was Crete, Nebraska, where my grandparents lived.
4. My dream home now? With my husband and daughters, wherever that is.
3. I graduated from the University of Missouri and have my master's from Bradley University.
2. I am six years in arrears in putting photos into albums.
1. I can ramble aimlessly for a very long time.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Happy Labor Day

It's Labor Day. And in honor of this workers' holiday, I am not working.

I will spend the day at home, with my family. I will tidy up, putting away all the things we bought at IKEA yesterday. If the weather holds out, we will swim. We may attend the neighborhood Labor Day picnic, complete with live music, food, and bouncy houses.

I will do some laundry. I will make the beds, unload and load the dishwasher, and straighten up the bathrooms. These I do not consider work; this is what I must do to maintain order in my home. And I am adamant about order around here ... or at least some semblance thereof. Not that I achieve it every day, but I desire it with every fiber of my being.

But today is not about achieving this goal. Today is about relaxing, about not working. I will not clean out the pantry, organize my closet, or even run the vacuum.

Even though I have already spent part of today writing and will write more — writing is, for me, not work. It is part of my employment, naturally, because it is all I know to do. But is so much more than my vocation; it is how I express myself, how I identify who I am. It is who I am. This is what a writer will tell you, that writing is in their veins.

But the writing today, this and the other I may do, is not the writing for which I am paid. Because today is not a day for paid labor. It is a day off, one I will enjoy. Tomorrow it is back to the routine, back to the grind. The girls go back to school and I will get busy with deadlines fast approaching.

That is tomorrow. Today is a holiday from work. I plan to enjoy my time with my family as we celebrate this last official day of summer. Good-bye to the sights and smells of summer, welcome to fall and all it beholds.

Happy Labor Day!

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Friday of possibilities

Today was off to a less auspicious start than yesterday, when the high school bus was a no-show. I'm forever indebted to the anonymous neighbor (Morgan's mom?) who saved me by offering Alison a ride. Though I was scrambling to get Sylvia dressed and send her next door with her breakfast so she could catch her bus while I gave Alison a ride — a fact which I hope Alison pointed out to the neighbor who does not know me. I do try, really, I do!

Yet I'm totally lazy. It's not as if I've accomplished nothing today — I've read my e-mail, work-related and personal. I'm getting responses to the many press releases I've sent out promoting beautiful, upscale Cy-Fair Magazine. I finished my novel. Well, novella, Summer Crossing by Truman Capote. Which has edified for me that yes, too many semicolons and colons are, in fact, distracting.

But I'm moving slowly today. The benefits of working at home.

I had a leisurely morning while I read yesterday's paper. Who says that ding dongs aren't a breakfast food? You know, I'd be horrified if i caught one of the girls eating like that. Yet in my morally ambiguous approach to parenthood, all rules change when you're the mommy. As I've often said, once their name is on the mortgage and they pay the bills, they are welcome to make the rules. Plus, what they don't know can't be held against me (!).

Library books to return, floors to vacuum, kitchen to tidy, sheets to fold and put away. A tribute to the mundane. Which has led me to decide that our budget certainly can support a twice-monthly housekeeper. As I explained to Gary, if I am happy, then, by default, everyone will be happier. His response: The girls would probably be willing to sacrifice their allowance in support.

A psycho mom, every child's dream. My goal each day is to make sure that doesn't happen ... admittedly, some days are better than others.

Alison is off to Baton Rouge tonight, and Maddie and Sylvia are going on an overnight. What to do: Dinner? Movie? Dancing? The sky's the limit, and downtown Houston is a mere 25 miles away.

The evening awaits ...