Friday, September 23, 2005

Tastes like crackers...

My three-year-old son asked for a snack this morning. He requested "white milk and Ritz crackers."

"Mmm," he said as he bit into a Ritz. "Tastes like crackers."

"I guess that's a good thing, isn't it?" I answered, trying to stifle a smile.

"Yeah. Mom?"

"What, honey?"

"I love you is a good thing too, right?"

"Right. It is."

"Okay. Because I love you."


That's my sappy moment for today. This same little boy said a few minutes later, when I told him I was going to make a big pot of soup and a pumpkin pie for supper: "Maybe no soup. Maybe just plain pumpkin pie with no syrup."


"Do you want whipped cream on the pumpkin pie."

"No, just plain. No syrup. No soup."

Maybe he'd like it better if it tasted like crackers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I made brownies today...

Brownies cure everything, right? Good for what ails you, right?

Well...maybe not. But Betty Crocker and I have always had a good relationship, and times of trouble tend to send me scurrying to the kitchen to make all manner of comfort food from meatloaf to pumpkin cake to soup to cookies.

Today it was brownies. With almond extract and white chocolate chips stirred in.

I ate one. Okay, two. And a piece of pear pie.

I may have negated my workout this morning, thirty minutes of intense cardio and thirty minutes of strength training. Do I care? A little. Not much. Not today.

Today was a brownie day.

Anyone want one?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

So here's a question...

What do you do when you find that you have a serious ideological break with a person who had previously been a close friend?

What do you do when you believe that difference in ideology has caused your friend to make a choice that you perceive as a rejection of your friendship?

Maybe the friend doesn't see it that way. Maybe the friend believes the relationship can survive this basic difference. Maybe the friend doesn't realize how such a choice hurts you, especially when the choice appears to say in big, flashing neon letters:

It doesn't matter what you think or what your truth is!

Is this a political difference? No. Those, we got through. Our political differences didn't seem to matter.

No, this is personal. There was a choice made that clearly rejected my point of view as invalid.

So then what do you do in such a situation? What do you do when you know that person cannot or will not change that line of thinking? The choice has been made, and it's not going to be unmade.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Memories Are Made Of This

It's amazing how music can trigger such visceral memories. Some songs are so powerful, I can almost physically feel myself jolted into the past, suspended there for a moment's time, reliving a long ago instant as fully as if it were the here and now.

Everyone has songs like these, and I unexpectedly heard one this evening while on my way home from an errand. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, I blindly grabbed an unlabeled mix CD my husband made for me, pushing it into the CD player.

Instantly I heard a woman's giggle, then the music.

Dark in the city, night is a wire....

Suddenly, I wasn't a 39-year-old mother driving a minivan out of a shopping center. I was a high school junior, in my bedroom, listening to the radio and getting ready for a date. I could feel the warm spring breeze from the window. I could feel the blue eye pencil sliding along my lids, and I almost detected the faint aroma of Aqua Net. I was there, just as surely as I was sitting in my minivan on Eagle Road. I wouldn't have been at all surprised to find the next song was "On The Loose" by Saga, a song I haven't heard or thought of in years.

So many memories wrapped up in music. I can hear one note of "My Sharona" and be transported back to the eighth grade choir room, the KQRS blasting on the stereo before the teacher showed up. I can see kids running up and down the carpeted risers, all singing more fully and loudly than they ever did during classtime. I can see Kris G. in the middle of it all, Metcalf Junior High School's answer to Farrah Fawcett. And then I remember how much I wanted to look like her, and how awkward I felt next to her.

"You Should Hear How She Talks About You"... it's early June of 1982, and I'm just a few weeks from my 16th birthday. I'm at Valleyfair with my best friend and her boyfriend, and I've met someone. His name is David. He's visiting from Texas. It's 70 degrees out, but he complains about the cold and wonders how I can stand it. We're riding the Ferris wheel together, and he's wearing a blue v-neck velour sweater. He has feathered hair and the most beautiful hazel eyes I've ever seen. I know he's going to kiss me, and he does.

"This Beat Goes On/Switchin' To Glide"... it's the spring of 1983, and my school's hockey team has made the state high school championship game. Far too many of my crowd is crammed into my best friend's boyfriend's 1974 Mustang, speeding down the freeway to the St. Paul Civic Center for the game. It's Saturday, and we feel like the whole world belongs to us. The windows are unrolled, and I'm sitting on a boy's lap in the cramped backseat of the Mustang, laughing as my hair continually whips the side of my face. I have never felt as free as I do in this moment.

I have dozens more memories just like these. They are quietly filed away in my brain's back room, waiting for one note to release them to the forefront, flooding my present and pulling me into a time warp if only for the flash of the instant it takes me to recognize the song.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Mouse In Our House

The Space Age Housewife still seems, in the aftermath of the hurricane disaster, to be a shallow exercise in self-absorption. I'm not sure when I'll be able to resume my sometimes serious, sometimes self-deprecating little glimpses into the workings of my feeble suburban brain.

Still and all, I want to write. Until such time as the Space Age Housewife regains her sense of self, I'm going to post here some of my previous writings in the hopes that someone will enjoy them.

This little vignette was written in February of 2004:


“Noooooooooooooooo! Ew! Ew! Ew! MOM!”

The alarmed screams bring me flying from my office chair to the kitchen, where I come screeching to a halt at the sight of my teenage daughter standing atop a stool near the refrigerator. Behind her, the cheerful local news anchor delivering her story on my portable kitchen television seems incongruous and almost funny.

“What on earth…?” I ask, puzzled by my daughter’s apparent fright.

“It’s…a…MOUSE!” she shrieks in answer, gasping for breath between words.

“A mouse? Are you sure? Maybe you just saw a shadow. Or some dust. Or something.” I step into the kitchen and cautiously peer under the cabinets and the refrigerator.

“No. It’s a mouse! It’s under the stove!”

Trying to instill in my daughter a sense of confidence I do not feel myself, I sidle up to the stove and gingerly kick at it with one foot. Nothing. Feeling braver, I bend down to have a peek under there myself. I am sure my daughter imagined the whole thing. There is no mouse here! Vermin? Disturb the purity of my kitchen? No way. Suddenly, as if to challenge my faulty perception, something scurries past me from the stove and shoots underneath the dishwasher, behind the base of the cabinets. Squealing in disgust, I leap away from the stove and jump on top of the other stool.

“I told you!” my daughter cries in a voice still high-pitched with nervousness. “I told you it was a mouse! Do something!”

Do something? Like what? A preliminary run-through of my options brings me right back to what I an actually doing: perching on a stool with my heart pounding at an abnormally high speed. A glance at the clock tells me it will be at least an hour before my husband will be home.

“Er…what do you want me to do?” I ask.

“I don’t know! You’re the mom here!”

“Yes. Yes I am,” I agree. “And my relationship with mice and their ilk is somewhat marginal. They offend me, I offend them, and therefore we try to stay away from each other. Do you think it’s still under the dishwasher?”

“I didn’t see it come out. It’s just waiting down there to get me!”

At that, my four-year-old wanders into the kitchen.

“Hi, Mom,” she says curiously. “What are you doing on the stool?”

“Um, nothing, honey. Nothing. Go play in the living room. Watch Sponge Bob.”

“I heard it!” my older daughter screeches, nearing hysteria. “It was making a scratching noise!”

“What?” my younger daughter asks again. “What is it?”

“It’s a mouse,” the older one blurts before I can stop her with a frown and a warning shake of my head.

“A MOUSE?” the littler one yells. “Is it a BIG mouse?”

Just then the phone rings. I lean way over from my spot high above the floor and tip the receiver off the hook, dragging it nearer to me by the cord. When I am able to reach it firmly in my hands, I put it up to my ear.

“Hello?” I say, my own voice tinged with the same high pitch as that of my older daughter.

“Hi. What’s going on?” It’s my husband.

“We have a mouse!” I cry into the phone. “Can you come home?”

“What do you mean, we have a mouse?” he asks. What does he mean, what do I mean? What does it sound like I mean? A mouse, man, a MOUSE! In my house!

“I mean, we have a mouse.”

“Where is it now?”

“It ran under the cabinets. Behind the dishwasher.”

“Oh. Well there’s access to the subfloor there. It’s probably outside under the deck by now. Unless it has a nest in the subfloor.”

“A n-n-n-est?” I croak. “Under…my…floor…?”

“For crying out loud, honey. It’s not going to hurt you. I’ll take care of it when I get home. I just called to let you know I have a late appointment.”

“How late?”

“I don’t know. Another hour or two.”

“We’re on top of stools.”


“We’re standing on stools. How long do you think we can do this?”

Without giving him a chance to mull that over, I continue in a rush.

“You have to come home. I can’t put my feet on the floor if a mouse is going to run over them.”

Behind me, I hear a medley of voices as both of my daughters cry out at once:

“Mother! At least you have shoes on!”

“Daddy! There’s a mouse in the house and it’s going to come out AND EAT KAYLA’S FACE!”

“Listen,” my husband goes on. “If you can’t wait for me to get home, call an exterminator. There’s a voucher in the phone book for a free consultation.”

“I don’t want a consultation,” I answer sourly. “I want the mouse gone.”

“I’ll bring some d-Con home with me.”

“What if it goes into the subfloor and dies down there? Won’t it stink up the house?”

It is obvious my husband’s patience is wearing thin.

“Honey, I have to go. I’ll take care of it when I get home. You do not have to stand on stools. It isn’t going to hurt you! It is probably hiding from you.”

He hangs up before I can make any additional protest.

“Well, Mom? What are you going to do?” My daughter, half-standing and half-sitting on her stool, changes the television station from local news to “Jeopardy!”

“Mommy?” my younger daughter asks from her newly acquired seat on top of the dining table. “Is the mouse going to eat us?”

“No, silly, no, no. Mice don’t eat people. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

Nothing. Right?

“Then why are you standing on the stool?”

She has me. I’m stumped. If I want her to believe me, and if I don't want her to be terrified of mice and traumatized forever, I am going to have to get down.

Cautiously, I step one toe onto the floor, then slowly ease myself off the stool until I am standing on my own two feet. So far so good.

“There it goes!” shouts my older daughter. “There it goes!”

I turn just in time to see the mouse duck under the door to my pantry.

“All right, that’s it!” I say, snatching my preschooler off the dining table and bounding into the living room to retrieve my young son from his spot in front of Teletubbies.

“Jump!” I holler back at my teenager as I hurriedly pull coats out of the hall closet.

Just in case that mouse does turn out to be of the face-eating variety, I am taking no chances.

We’re going out to supper.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Whatever you do for the least of these...

Today's entry will be short.

I can't bring myself to resume my own self-absorbed silliness just yet, sitting here in my comfortable chair, in my warm and dry home in the high desert, far from the destruction of a hurricane.

No, today I will reflect on that greater world that surrounds me, and not the narrow world in which I live.

I am a Christian. Perhaps you are not, but I am. As such, these are the teachings that stick with me the most today, the most basic of a loving, Christ-like attitude:

Whatever you do for the least of my brethren, you have done for me.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

If you have a dollar to give, please do. If you have a hand to lend, please do.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Please help the victims of Hurricane Katrina

This isn't a time for me to talk about me and my life. This is a time for me to take a break from blogging my own petty concerns about my insulated world and to ask you to take a moment from yours to help those whose lives and homes have been utterly devastated.

If you have already given, thank you.