Write

I got this text message today from my friend and great mentor:

Deb Write.jpg

Sigh. 

I was telling Jim last night in bed that I actually miss blogging, it's been so long. Of course, I followed that up this morning with reading all of ShitFoodBlogger's tweets to him. Yes, I'm aware I'm doing Bedtime with Busydad wrong. 

The best I've got right now is that I heard this NPR piece about memory yesterday (or maybe it was the Christian radio station. They're always tricking me into listening to their shows, with their nearly-secular news bits and catchy and slightly emo pop Jesus rock) and it made me realize that I need an actual doctor/scientist/expert to explain to me why it is that I can't remember how many years I've been alive or the names of the three people who dug their way out of my Holiest of Holies, but I can right now without even THINKING about it recite the name of each book of the Old Testament to you, in order, or all the words to Cool It Now (even the raps, yo), or the entire 1988 McDonald's menu song (now in two breaths; getting old is hard). 

Audre Lorde says that everything can be used, except what is wasteful, and I suppose I'm still young enough that I haven't yet had to figure out how I'm going to need the lyrics to New Edition songs, but old enough to know that being able to recite all the books of the Old Testament out loud in order may just come in handy sooner than I'd care to admit. (I never did get my free McDLT for singing the whole damn menu song, though. I think I'll write a letter. I hope that counts, Deb.) 

What I do know, however, is that I can't start sentence with But anymore, which makes blogging quite challenging, and also that everything has changed so much since the last time I really, truly *wrote* on this blog that I don't even know where to start with it all. Our memories are terribly and hilariously subjective; each shift of angle, of experience, of perception changes them with radical unpredictability. I believe that you have to write what you know, and what I've always know is this pile of remembered shit I've drug around with me like the most unwilling sort of companion. 

I know it because I haven't been willing to let myself know much else. My husband gave me nearly nothing, and I held on to that almost-void with all the strength I had. But now (that was hard, but I did it) I'm one four-hour online parenting class away from not being married to him any longer, and I'm okay with that. Somewhere in this down/quiet-time I've found my peace with him, with all of it, and let go of that wonderfully familiar nothing I've been clinging to. 

I don't need nothing anymore.

I don't even want it.

That's a pretty big deal, for me. 

I have all these posts in draft - stories of this new life that we're building, new memories we're making in a new place with new people where the slate is clean for all of us, where we can decide what we want to be now, where we are equally as excited and terrified of the possibilities laid out before. It's hard to write it out, largely because I don't know a single thing about it yet...but I want to. 

I heard Jim say to one of his clients the other day (and I'm paraphrasing) that what bloggers have that no other form of media has is emotional attachment; our readers are a part of our narrative, they are invested in the stories of our lives. I remember what that was like, feeling like my story mattered to more than just me. I'm going to try to start writing this new story, with these new players, in this new place that I don't know, but I'm excited to discover.

Tools for Efficient Winning

My mother always joked that we had eight dishwashers in our house. In fact, we had four children and an in-sink-erator. We grew up in the hood, where no one I knew at all ever had a dishwasher. I once knew someone who had a kitchen sink hand held sprayer, and I remember standing at their sink for hours making lush, soft tufts of bubbles. I still do it today, actually. I am easily amused, shut up. 

I didn't have a dishwasher in my a home I lived in until my first son was six months old, in 1998. I regarded it with suspicious eyes, and used it as a really large built-in drying rack, and occasionally to sterilize bottles (but I always felt guilty about that.) In my mind, if you couldn't feel what you were scraping off, it wasn't getting scraped off properly, and until AI was perfected you weren't going to catch *me* using one of *those things*. 

And then I had another kid. It's scientifically proven fact that all sense of justness and moral integrity a person ever had is pushed out with placenta #2. 

But now my kids are older, and I live in a rental house with a really old dishwasher in the middle of a place where water doesn't naturally occur, and so I have a bit more time and a lot more motivation to hand wash my dishes again. Plus, I have a sink sprayer. 

So I've been hand-washing my dishes exclusively for the past year, and it's surprising how quickly you forget about a dishwasher once you stop using it. It's also astonishing how fewer glasses your kids will use in the course of a day if they know they have to hand-wash them at night.  

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The only problem with it is that this was my dish rack. I had paid exactly $2 for it at a yard sale or something. That's not actually  a photo of my dish rack; I was going to take one, but there's internet judgement and then there is asking for internet judgement. It was gross, that's all I'm saying. 

I have two teenage boys and a daughter. We fill that dishrack in 17 seconds. It wasn't fun.  

I kept using my dishwasher as a built-in dishrack, but then I'd forget the dishes were in there and then totally freak out of my kids for losing all of the [expletive expletive] side plates and spoons, and they'd get all afraid of the side-plates-and-spoons-gremlin who was clearly coming at night and framing them, so something had to be done. 

Something like this.  

I first saw it when I visiting simplehuman HQ a few months back. (Because I'm an ambassador. #disclosure I drooled for a while, then set out to get me wunnadoes. I mean, really, they have a separate wine rack *and* a separate knife block. They completely get me/my inability to unload a dishrack. 

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But I didn't have to get one because see mysterious floating finger in the picture? That is Mr SimpleHuman himself and he MAILED ME ONE. I swear, I love it more than I love hand sprayer bubbles - and I think we've established how much I love those.

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And we want to send you something, too. Because presents are nice, and life should be simple, and your trash can should totally match your dish rack. Or is that earrings and chonies? Either way, my fellow ambassadors and I want to give you whatever simplehuman product you you find the most innovative or efficient or just plain crazysexycool. Whether you are into apocalypse/puppy-proof bulk food containers, or soap pumps that squirt soap out faster than your dirty kids can dodge it, or paper towel dispensers that give great hugs, or a laundry basket that makes you like laundry again, we (and simplehuman) got yo back. 

Go poke around the simplehuman site and let me know in the comments which item would rock your world, and you'll be entered to win it. If you want extra entries, you can tweet about it to, just be sure to @simplehuman and me (@mrlady) so we see it! You can enter on each of our sites (click the links above to visit Clay, Kristen, Sarah, and Tim's posts.) We'll choose winners randomly, so you don't even have to be clever or anything. You can just say WANT and a link. 

Happy exploring, and good luck!

 Updated: Congrats to Casey who loves disgraces and wins a dishrack!

Lice Don't Project, They Jump. Right?

When I was a little girl, I had hair past my knees - and I don't mean just hair, I mean HAIR. I mean hair you couldn't wrap a pony tail holder twice around. I mean hair that took all night to dry. I mean hair that kept me out of foster care because it made up 6/10 of my pathetic, starving body weight. I could get out of the shower, comb my hair out, and walk out of the bathroom completely naked, because I was Cousin It with calves. Or Samara, if you're under 25. #stayingrelevantforthedamnkidsonmylawn

And one night I was laying in bed, and found a bug in my hair. A bug. IN MY HAIR. I imagine all kids are senstive about bugs, but when you live in the 'hood, and everyone you know lives with cockroaches and ants and shit, bugs in your hair are not. even. a. little. okay. I ran downstairs crying, and shoved the bug on the tip of my finger between my mother's nose and her Nintendo paddle.  She smacked my hand away from her face and yelled at me OH MY GOD SHANNON IT'S A FUZZY GO BACK TO BED. Because Tetris. 

So I went back to bed. And then more fuzzies I found, the more silently I freaked out, because fuzzies are really disturbing things to find. Eventually I stopped finding them, mostly because I stopped looking. I got off lucky with a hand smack that one time, and I was not about to tempt fate, or my ass.

Years later, someone I knew from church told me her most vivid memory of me was this dream she'd had of me once, in which she was sitting behind me and my hair, my veritable wall of hair, was moving. - because it was full of bugs. I never did tell her it wasn't a dream.

By the time the school realized I had lice, all of the eggs had hatched and my hair was, quite literally, crawling with bugs. I don't even want to think about how many classmates I infected. We had to use a bottle of lice shampoo on all three of my siblings, and then another one on me. A whole bottle. And then the little comb thing, which was laughable but by then my mother was so completely freaked out by the infestation on my head that she sat Tetrisless, night after night, slowly combing dead things out of my hair. It took about a week. 

A few weeks later, once it was done and the house was bleached and my head was empty and I was able to re-enter public society, my mother saw in my hair what she thought was a nit, but was ironically probably just a fuzzy - so we did the whole thing over again. And it kind of burned my scalp, which created flakes, which she mistook for nits, so we did the whole thing again.

That's how cycles are created, which is kind of ironic because the other day after swim class, my daughter was pulling her cover-up over her head and something fell on her chest/jumped on her chest, depending greatly upon whom you ask. MOM THERE IS A BUG IN MY HAIR AND IT JUMPED ON ME!!! No, honey, it's not a bug, it's a fuzzohshit

I still contend that it was a fuzzie. I haven't flat out sat down and dug through her hair yet, because I'm still too traumatized by my last encounter with lice, and a bit too freaked out by the nearly-exact repeat of this little slice of my childhood, but I am going to have to eventually, and I guess I'll just have to pray that you can't give someone lice through flashbacks.

Updated to add: 8oz of prevention is worth a pound of cure. My friend Melanie found a way more elegant lice-prevention method than never-let-my-kid-out-of-the-house-again.