Fairy Tale Life

Once upon a time, there was a poor homemaker who barely had enough time to wash the clothes or dress her children. She never seemed able to sweep her kitchen floor.

One night, as usual, she cleaned enough dishes to make it through the following meal, dressed the children and got them to bed, then started some laundry and fell asleep quite late.

The next morning, she was surprised to find that a small army of ants had cleaned all the crumbs off the floor for her!

If you think she’s going to make them little outfits in gratitude, though, you’re reading the wrong fairy tale.

Auto Correct

My name is cheeks, or cheers, or cheese.
It depends upon my “smart” phone’s mood,
Fat-fing’ring on its tiny screen,
Its bumbling guess at my next move.

I’m riding, now, about boys to techs.
No: writing, voice, and text, you phone!
Hands-free dictating needs many checks;
Else, I send a nonsense palindrome.

(In)convenient technology:
So nearly, annoyingly helpful,
Rests snugly in uncanny valley –
‘Twixt time-saving and straight-up stressful.

The Best Christmas Ever

Four eventful years ago, on Christmas day, I was still recovering from recently giving birth by Cesarean Section.

He was my third trip down the necessary-surgery route, so I knew the drill. I wasn’t carving any turkeys or wrestling other offspring.

In fact, I was lounging like a holiday whale in my parents’ armchair. I sat within reach of my newborn on one hand, and the Christmas tree and presents on the other.

At some point, I got up to adjust something. My short-term memory is barely reliable, so we’ll assume I was changing the music on the CD player behind the chair.

I slipped.

I fell onto the arm of the armchair, with said arm jabbing me cushily at about my uterus.

This was the worst spot to land on. The armchair had struck true. Panicked, I checked down South in the bathroom. Sure enough, I’d started bleeding heavily.

Bless my parents; they immediately offered to keep the other three boys entertained, while my husband drove me and our youngest up to the emergency room where I had delivered just two weeks before.

I told my story to the check-in, to the nurse on staff, and to the on-call doctor.

Fortunately, the bleeding stabilized. Happy ending.

I’m sure I’m not the only one to remember this Christmas, either. I wouldn’t be surprised if the staff went home to their respective families that end-of-shift and said, “The best Christmas story today was this woman, who slipped on a present…

Greetings Cards Have Not Been Sent

Glass Balls

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve felt swamped this season. I’ve got a few balls spinning precariously in the air: the boring blog job, my day job of stay-at-home mothering, writing, present-buying, cookie-making, and THE Christmas Newsletter -all threatening to drop and break into a thousand tiny glass-ornament shards.

Someone should have taken all this into account, particularly knowing I’m a horrible juggler.

It’s the small hands. Might be lack of practice, too.

Point is, it’s December 21st and there is no way I am going to get these Christmas cards to people before Christmas. I know. The post office told me.

After navigating an endless, winding line of hopeful package-senders, I addressed the top of a head behind an overflowing counter. “WILL THIS ARRIVE BY CHRISTMAS?” I yelled.

I think the hair moved. A mumble made it through the wall of bubble-wrapped envelopes and Flat Rate Priority Mail boxes. A finger poked through to point at their posted notice: Priority Mail Not Guaranteed to Arrive if Mailed after December 20, 2017.

“So…. I HAVE A HOPE?”

I think the pile sighed.

And yet, I push onward. I’ve typed up a funny newsletter and sent it inside a crappy Wal-mart card for over a decade now. My audience needs me.

I think.

That, and it’s a decade of tradition. As Tevye would say, “…It’s a tradition. And because of our traditions, every one of us knows who he is, and what God expects him to do.” Though I don’t actually send one to any deity, you get the idea.

Besides juggling and general motivation problems (a standard writing prompt of mine on this very blog), I have made chronicling events difficult for myself. Impossible for myself.

I take my writing seriously when it’s not 2 a.m. before a deadline. I assume a new angle each time is imperative. So, the work gets pushed back and pushed back.

We got a few cards in advance this year, which was nice. Usually I don’t get so many until I’ve sent my famous offering first. All of them are photo cards; the families smiling in matching clothing, standing somewhere ethereal like their front yard.

“We should do a family picture next year,” my husband noted, examining our mail.

I glanced up from the 75 envelopes I was hand-addressing, trying to psych myself up for the next three steps. “I don’t know,” I sighed. “A picture seems like so much work.”

The Human Condition

Do you ever stare at the human face, and think that it’s a really strange feature?

Bony bumps protrude beneath squishy orbs that we call distinct and handsome, and fangs spread wide in a gesture we recognize as friendly.
Droopy parts are pasted on the sides and smack dab in the middle -plus dead cells sprout from the top or ears and nose like a wild jungle plant’s fronds…

What gets me, when I’m in this mood, is how the arrangement of these fleshy parts causes us humans to say how attractive an arrangement it all is (or not).

You’re all so weird.

Not By Half

I find eating decisions simple when I first sit down.

“Yes, that’s my order,” I say to the server, then eagerly take the first bite. Besides an odd habit of eating my hamburger upside-down and setting it with the bite away from me, I have no concerns of direction or hesitation.

Somewhere just past the middle is when the problem sets in.

“Do you want any?” I ask my husband. His meal is also half-finished; he was going to ask me the same.

We’ve reached the awkward point of portions: too little to box, and too much to finish.

Half is exactly the problem we encounter with brownies at home.

Easily enough, the pan is reduced to a row, two servings, then one. Once there, at a reasonable final square, we play the mind-game of a psychological mathematician.

Every time I want to eat a bite, I cut what is left in half. When my selfless husband walks by the pan, he removes exactly half of what he encounters.

If Zeno had his way, neither of us could claim selfishness. But we’re talking brownies.

And this is the real reason, I tell the doctor, that I cannot stick to my diet.