How to Get Kids to Pick Up Quickly and Enthusiastically

I asked my boys to tidy their room, which was a disaster, and, because they’re smart, capable, 9-year-old children who don’t need to have everything explained to them anymore in excruciating detail, I gave them two basic directions, as follows:

  1. When you are finished picking up your room, gentlemen, I should be able to both see and walk upon the floor.
  2. Your things should be organized in such a manner that you can easily find everything. I’m sure I don’t need to mention that you can certainly not find everything — including the shoes, jackets, books, homework folders, etc. that you cannot find ANY of the school mornings — if you shove it all underneath your bed or in the closet. Correct? I do not need to point this out? That there needs to be a better system? No? You get it? OK. OK, then, boys. Full speed ahead.

They finished in 10 minutes.

They have NEVER finished cleaning ANYTHING in 10 minutes, but there they were, tumbling down the stairs in holey socks with giant smiles, proclaiming completion. ...  read more

Brain Crash: Rebooting

My brain crashed sometime last week. It was just all, “No. Nope. No. We’re done here. Over and out,” and that’s the last I’ve heard from it in a while. I honestly don’t know what to tell you about that or at all how this post is going to materialize because… BRAIN CRASH. So I’m not promising anything here like sense-making or coherency, but, let’s be honest, I rarely offer those things, anyway, so whatever. We’ll just do what we usually do here; buckle up and see how it goes. ...  read more

On Finding Our Foundation

My foundations are a little shaky these days. A little crumbly and in need of shoring up. Or in need of discarding, maybe; in need of abandoning as foundations at all and building anew, since I feel like I’m mixing sand and mud into concrete as fast as I can and throwing the muddled mess at the foundations of my politics… and the foundations of my religion… and the foundations of my religious politics… and it’s not sticking like I’d hoped. ...  read more

Hold Everything! (A Group Remodeling Project: Part 6)

Regarding the range hood, HOLD EVERYTHING, friends.

Our friend, Katherine, just sent us this picture, and I suspect it’s the Perfect Thing.

VintageHoods

That’s a “Vintage Hood” made to order by the folks at Antique Vintage Appliances. They can make it in any color and any size with several trims. So all the advantages of a modern hood, all the lovely of vintage. Here’s their shtick: ...  read more

Several Problems with the Kitchen Remodel, Mostly Emotional (A Group Remodeling Project: Part 5)

Friends! GOOD NEWS! Greg and I fought about the kitchen!

This means he’s not being crafty or wily or luring us into complacency before he springs his trap to derail us.

Unless he’s being crafty and wily by arguing to throw us off the crafty and wily scent. He IS better at chess than me. Probably. I’ve never played chess with him, but I assume, based on his passion for mathematics and strategy, and my inability to sit at a table for longer than two minutes before feeling jittery and panicky and like there are twelve other things I should be doing with my time, that he’s better at chess than me. Greg’s definitely better at Scrabble, though, so I feel like we can extrapolate. He takes five hundred thousand million years to take his turn so he can graph every possible letter combination and permutation and the trajectory of their positions on the board, and then he gets crabby when I poke him in the shoulder and say, “Greg, Greg, Greg, Greg, Greg, Greg, Greg. Are you going to go now? How ’bout now? Now? How ’bout now?” ...  read more

Under Cabinet or Wall-Mount Range Hood? (Where You Tell Me How to Improve My House: Part 4)

Alright, folks; we have a winner!

IMG_9466mostrecent

84% of us voted to put Betty against the wall between the fridge and the sink. Whether we were motivated by the desire not to obstruct the window or because we want to jump naked out of a cake for Greg remains unclear and is, frankly, irrelevant.

Our conclusions are clear:

  1. Betty goes against the wall between the fridge and the sink,
  2. I’ll have to move the dishwasher further to the right so it’s not too close to the sink, and…
  3. We need to buy a really, really big, hollow cake, approximately the size of Rhoad Island so a) we all fit and b) Greg becomes too distracted to check our bank account ever, ever again. I just want to clarify that we are very egalitarian in these parts so the naked cake-jumping is not limited to a single gender; please begin mentally preparing yourselves now for close, sweaty, naked quarters inside the cake cave and to champion all body types, because we will shame no one for skinny or fluffy bodies, and to explain to your well-meaning friends and relatives that just because we’re sans-clothes together does not imply anything sexual or untoward. This is simply the World’s Best Distraction technique which is required in order to serve a Higher Purpose; namely, Helping Greg Through a Very Difficult Time because we care about him to the moon, and we don’t want him to have a heart attack. So really what we’re doing is Heart Attack Prevention, and when they ask if you’re crazy, you should ask if THEY’RE crazy for wanting people to die of heart attacks.

Incidentally, the other 16% of us aren’t necessarily opposed to putting Betty against the wall. We just wanted to be sure we’d explored all the options first. Some of our ideas included building Betty an island, putting Betty where the hutch or fridge are, or keeping Betty in the current stove spot but using a retractable hood or downdraft vent. These are all technically possible, but, in the end, there are various reasons I rejected them: the bulkiness of a downdraft unit, the fact that Betty’s high back would block its effectiveness, my dislike of a heat-sucking downdraft next to a stove, my adoration of our farm table, the desire to stay married to Greg and not drive him away with a full kitchen remodel, and, ultimately, the appeal of leaving the window totally unobstructed by Betty’s back or a pull-down hood. Those factors combined with a whopping 86% in favor of the move make the choice straight forward. But I like the creative way we think! We are going to need to keep this up as we go forward. ...  read more