Archive for November, 2010

all tuckered out…

Monday, November 29th, 2010

It is 8:10 and I am ready to drag my tired self to bed. Why? Well…

This morning………after making sure everyone was clean, dressed and fed I greeted the A/C repairmen. We have been without A/C or heat for 3 weeks (it’s a long boring story…trust me). Luckily it’s November in Florida and the weather has been more than agreeable. We have had windows and doors open and have managed just fine. Nonetheless, the big trucks pulled in for the day-long task of replacing all the duct work under the house.

With them all squared away, I took the big girls to school. Back home to get Laura ready for school and get myself together for an errand marathon. I forgot to set the coffee pot so I had to stop and get some on the way to preschool. I got Laura settled into her classroom and headed to the DMV. That’s right. The dreaded DMV. I had already gotten my FL drivers license so all I had to do today was get the car tag done before it expires tomorrow. No biggie. My first trip through the line I found out that even though the van is in both mine and Robert’s name, the SC DMV only put his name on the tag form therefore I have to have a copy of his drivers license and his signature (not a copy, the real thing) or a power of attorney (once again not a copy). Not usually that big of a deal. But Robert happens to be in China for the week. Grrr. So the lady behind the counter said to just give her my proof of insurance and she would issue a temporary tag until he gets back. No problem! I had the proof of insurance….on the counter in my kitchen. Seriously. Fortunately I only live about 1.5 miles from the DMV. Back to the house. Squeeze between the A/C trucks and the house. Try not to step on the workmen or their tools. Get the proof of insurance. Back to the DMV. Of course when I got back the line was five times as long as it was the first time I went through. (Apologies to my Birmingham friends who have it way worse in DMV world!)

Now while in line I had the opportunity to people watch. Admittedly a favorite activity but not one I had time for at the moment. Anyway. One man had been “given” a boat by a friend. (Apparently I need new friends.) He did not have any paperwork and could not find the boat’s identification number. He argued with the teller for about 10 minutes until she finally said “COME BACK WHEN YOU FIND THAT NUMBER……..AND BRING THE FRIEND THAT “GAVE” YOU THE BOAT!”

The next young man in line was really confused. He announced to everyone that he was homeless. Then he proceeded to ask the teller if he brought in his roommate would that count as proof of residence?  He even said that he was living in someone’s apartment. Then he repeated the word homeless about 10 times. Apartment = homeless? I don’t think so. He must have been going for sympathy. The woman behind the desk had none. He was there to get a tag for his new BMW.

I finally got my temporary tag and headed to the next destination. Toy Hell. It dawned on me yesterday that while I was trying to enjoy the end of the Thanksgiving holiday that Christmas is a mere 3.5 weeks away. I am NOT prepared. I started on my list last night trying to find the one thing that my husband and I have agreed to get my oldest daughter. (I am not divulging any secrets because she is smarter than I am and if I write it anywhere she will find it.) I do not like Toys R Us. I am not ashamed to say that. I had to go there because it was the only place in town that still had this particular item in stock. I always feel like that store is taking advantage of me because I am a sucker who loves to see her children get something from their list on Christmas. But I got the LAST ONE in Sarasota so I guess the trip was worth it. Score 1, again, for Toys R Us.

Time to get Laura. Fix lunch. Put Laura in her bed. Agree to let her get up without taking a nap since the A/C men were crashing around under the house and she had been yelling at them through the window for at least 30 minutes. She was also announcing the arrival and departure of every repairman that dared darken our driveway. Fix snack. Pick up the big girls from school. Head to the doctor’s office for a follow up visit. Stop by Old Navy on the way to replace Abigail’s school sweater that she lost. Try not to hurt Laura for loudly singing her new song about sticky, sticky bubble gum while I’m talking with the doctor. Try to keep Abigail from throwing up after her appointment (she’s doctor squeamish). Head home. Carry sleeping Laura from the car into the house. Fix dinner. The whole time I’m fielding emails about PTA, calls from my part time job, chats from my unable-to-sleep husband overseas. Finally it is time for the girls to put on their pajamas, brush their teeth and go to BED. Whew.

I am not complaining. Parenthood is hard but rewarding. And most days are not as crazy as today. Tomorrow is grocery and laundry day. Not so bad. The truth is I love my life. I have huge respect for families who juggle full time jobs and parenting. I don’t know if I could do it. Our situation works for us and that is what counts. A sense of humor and a supportive spouse make it all possible. If I couldn’t laugh I would probably go postal.

Just proofreading about today is exhausting. And it starts all over in the morning. I’ll say it again…whew!


Sunday, November 28th, 2010

This year in our normal fashion, the Donovan household watched Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving special and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It wouldn’t feel like Thanksgiving if we didn’t watch them.

It all begins with Charlie Brown’s The Great Pumpkin. We watch it faithfully around Halloween. I have seen it every year. As soon as the music begins I am whisked down Nostalgia Lane back to sitting in our little den watching it with my brothers as a child. I laugh at the same parts and am not bothered by the fact that I can recite the whole episode almost word for word.

After Halloween and Thanksgiving the traditions continue.  The tree…the lights…the music…the movies…the food…the time with family…the smells…the decorations…the eggnog…the presents…the sights…the holiday cards…the list is abundant.

This isn’t the first time I have talked about tradition and it probably won’t be the last. Some families don’t participate in any rituals and that is fine. For us, these observances are the things that shape our perceptions of the season. They personify a sentiment that we pass from our parents to our children. Our enjoyment of the family traditions is the glue that binds our family holiday experience.

Some of it can all get rather silly I know. But it brings out the child in me and in Robert. And makes our girls giddy with glee. That is the best tradition of all!

…giving thanks…

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

…family…delicious food…friends, both new and old…happy children…long walks…beautiful weather…visits from afar…

For these things and countless more, I am humbly thankful. What a wonderful way to start the holiday season…

Hattie is Linus…

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

I love Charlie Brown. Growing up, my family holiday traditions always included watching the Charlie Brown specials on TV. I have fond memories of watching it with my brothers and laughing at the same scenes year after year.

One of my favorite Peanuts characters is Linus. He carries around his beloved blue blanket while he philosophizes about life and waits for the Great Pumpkin. I never thought I’d have a Linus of my own but I do. Hattie is Linus. She has a yellow fuzzy blankie. She takes it everywhere. All three of my girls have a special blankie but Hattie is the only one who has clung to hers with this much devotion for this long. We don’t let blankies leave the house unless we’re on a trip but she carries hers around the house all day. She makes it into a cape. We’ve figured out how to make it into a one-shouldered dress. She is soothed by it when she is upset. It is a tea party tablecloth or a picnic blanket. She ties it around her head like a turban. She can fashion a papoose for her dolls. The possibilities are endless!

It all began when Hattie was about 15 months old. She couldn’t fall asleep until she could rub the hem of her blankie between her fingers. We don’t know why…it’s just something she started doing on her own. Then she started wrapping it around her head in her sleep. Now, at 6 and a half, I have to unwrap it from her neck every night before we go to bed so she won’t sweat to death!

Hattie’s love of her blankie has become one of her special traits. I know at some point she will start having blankie-less adventures. I just hope it holds together until then!!


Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Yesterday morning I was writing a check and I wrote down the date. 11/9/10.  I had this strange feeling that the date was important.  I did a quick mental inventory of birthdays and anniversaries and came up with nothing.  A few minutes later I gave up and went about my hectic day.  It wasn’t until a conversation with my father at the end of the day that I figured it out.  Thirty seven years ago on November 9th my sister passed away.  Noel lived just a few short weeks past her first birthday.  I never knew her…but in some strange way I feel like I did.

My father talked to me and to both of my brothers yesterday but they were not conversations of sadness.  It was more of a remembrance of love.  We are not a family of grave sitters.  While her remains may be at the cemetery, we feel that Noel is not really there.  She lives on a little in each of us.

Noel’s life has never been a secret to me.  There are pictures of her in frames around the house and dolls that belonged to her and then to me. There was no big family meeting during which her existence was “revealed”.  She has always been and always will be a part of our family.

Even though Noel’s life ended before mine began, I have always felt an ethereal connection to her.  I am not ashamed to admit that I have shed tears many times during my life because I longed to know her.  Would we have looked alike?  Acted alike?  Had similar handwriting?  Walked a comparable path in life?  Had like taste in friends or clothes?  Would I even be here if she had lived?  It is a great mystery for me.  It sounds like I spend a lot of time thinking about Noel but, like it or not, that is not true. I usually remember her on her birthday each year.  I don’t know why this time was different.  I don’t have an explanation for that tinge of familiarity yesterday morning.  Regardless, she is now on my mind.

I do often wonder how my parents dealt with her death.  Medicine wasn’t so modern then and her condition was not curable.  They had no choice but to accept her fate.  It is not lost on me that if medicine wasn’t so advanced as it is now, my daughter Laura would not be with us.  I cannot even bear that thought.  Now that I am a parent I realize that our time with our children under our wing is so very short.  My oldest daughter was born and before I could turn around she turned 9.  Where has the time gone? Have I impressed upon my children just how important they are to me? One can only hope.

Now it is the 10th and the anniversary of Noel’s death has passed by again. She had a large impact on our little family and we are all lucky, whether in reality or in our dreams, to have known her…