Saturday, May 03, 2014

What do you call a dinner conversation that involved hearing about how your husband can identify which guy in a parking lot will have tools so he could crawl under his Jeep and fix the starter?  Or when Flash talks about some punk kid that goes to school with him flippantly calling Flash "buddy" at the tux shop, and your son's equally sarcastic response?  Or learning that your husband may have been on speaker phone instead of hold at Auto Zone when he said, "Man, I have to piss like a racehorse?" Or how Flash had to think of how to delicately remind The Mister about the button in the Jeep that he had just recently told us about when The Mister couldn't get it into neutral?  Or when the boys try to explain why The Mister smells a little perfume-y.  Or when the teenager starts singing along to Bonnie Tyler's "I Need a Hero"?  What do you call conversation over dinner where your husband and teenager have you laughing so hard you cry, recounting the events of their afternoon?  Well, at my house, we'd call it, "typical."


If you're stopped at a light and some guy in the lane next to you jumps out of his car and walks over to you and unexpectedly slams the hood of your car shut and then gets back into his car and drives off, do you try to catch up so you can thank him or do you laugh thinking about how odd the whole scene must seem to everyone else on the road, when you know that guy was actually your husband shutting your hood  after you had to jump start his Jeep?  

Friday, May 02, 2014


I remember birthday parties and themes over the years.  A construction cake, sleepovers, building a stand for a new fish tank.  Giggles and smiles and celebrations of an amazing child.  But this one is different.  This one is hard.  This one is eighteen.

I think about it every year, the drive to the hospital, the complications in delivery, the  blue of his little feet and his cry, when it finally came.  I remember missing my mom with an ache that hurt more than giving birth.  The days following are the proverbial blur - summed up by saying I had never before felt so unprepared.  For a girl who had graduated with honors, I had no idea how to get this child to stop crying - something that seemed like it should be so fundamentally easy at that point.

We've journeyed through life - through divorce and relocating, through the Year of the Death Glare (12 was tough on us both), through first girlfriends, hard classes, learning to ride a bike, then drive a car; and most recently applying for college.

We have yelled, cried, sobbed, laughed, held grudges, forgiven each other, hugged, smiled, winked, smirked and wrestled.  We've consoled each other, made tough decisions together and forged our way through life together.  He's been my constant companion for all the years.  

His nickname has never seemed as appropriate as it does today.  Eighteen years?  They've gone by in a flash.  It isn't possible for me to be the mother, a woman in her early forties trying to balance college money and retirement savings.  And when I look at him, it doesn't seem possible that he can be the same boy as the little blonde boy walking around the house with an audio cable - "plugging" into the couch cushion and speaking in martian to the other end.  It's easy to say, "Where did the time go?" but if you're a parent, you know the answer.

It was spent holding a crying baby with tears running down your own face because you can't figure out what's wrong and you just wish he could tell you.  It's spent trying to figure out what your preschooler is trying to tell you from the back seat and finally realizing he's talking about a yo-yo - something you've never shown him or talked about - realizing he's now learning without you for the first time in both your lives.  It's spent holding onto the back of a bike and lying to your child when you promise you're not going to let go, you're not going to let him fall.  It's spent pouring over a math textbook that might as well be written in Greek knowing that despite your education degree, you cannot figure our your middle schooler's math assignment.  It's spent worrying about him letting him in to the house and staying safe until you get home from work.   The time is spent shopping for new shoes and new sweatshirts (red when he was seven, orange when he was a teen, and now green).  The time was spent in parent teacher conferences wondering if you've put too much on his shoulders at such a young age - is freshman English too much for a seventh grader?  The time is spent driving to the apple orchard, the strawberry patch, Bowman's Tower, the shore, Tennessee, Michigan, back and forth to Cleveland so he can meet up with his grandparents... the time has been poured, moment by moment, hoping that everything you did would amount to something.  More than making memories together, you prayed all along that you were making a man - helping to create a human being that would be loved deeply for all of his life (by more than you just you!)

It's not that he's not ready to be an adult and to move on.  It's not that I think he's not prepared, or that he'll fall flat on his face. No, it's that he is ready.  That he'll do just fine.  He's going to be better than fine.   It's just that he won't be here.  I won't hear about his day every night.  I won't sit around the dinner table with him and hear about all his friends, his Calc test, his work schedule or his plans for the weekend.  I won't have him around, cracking jokes at my expense or wrestling with The Mister.  He won't be here playing cards, mowing the lawn or riding with me on our drive to school every morning.  I'm going to miss him so.  We are going to miss him so. 

And so today, we will celebrate this milestone birthday.  Tomorrow is prom, next month graduation and in the fall - well, let's not even talk about that today.   For the one thing I've learned over all these years is that as painful as giving birth was, as much as I cannot truly think too hard about all that happened that day or how truly terrified I was, I know this: giving him wings is proving to be as painful and as terrifying.

Happy birthday, Flash.  I love you!! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

We don't make waffles very often around here, but this morning I thought they sounded delish.   I made up the batter and then pulled Mom's waffle iron down from the top shelf in the pantry.  I set it on the counter, plugged it in and just stood for a moment, thinking about Mom.

Julie and I got her this waffle iron for Mother's Day or Christmas or her birthday, I don't remember now the occasion, just that we knew she'd love it.  And she was so excited when she opened it up!  Somewhere in the cleaning up of all the wrappings and the box, however, the instructions were accidentally thrown away, and Mom wasn't sure how it worked.  She didn't know how long to cook waffles.  And so the waffle iron sat, in the way back of the cabinet for years.  

After Mom died, Dad asked Julie and I to take anything from the pots and pans that we might be able to put to use.  When we came across the waffle iron, I decided I would take it home and see if I could figure it out without instructions.

It was probably weeks later when, as a young bride, I decided to try my hand at making waffles.  I followed a recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and then plugged in the waffle iron to preheat.  I was looking through cookbooks trying to see if any of them said how long to cook a waffle, when a loud chirping sound came from the waffle iron.  

The tears just rolled down my face.  I couldn't stop.  My husband came in to the kitchen to find me sobbing.  He couldn't understand why a chirping waffle iron would make me cry.

So every time I get it out, and especially when I hear the chirp, my heart aches for Mom.  Especially today.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Jim vs. James

There is quite a difference between Jim Nantz calling the Matser's golf tournament at Augusta this weekend, and The Mister's running commentary...

Nantz: "...that ball needs to slow down...slow down...."
Mister: "...that ball needs to f'ing stop!"

Nantz: "That shot came up woefully short!"
Mister: "What the hell was that?  Hit the ball!"

Nantz: "That was definitely too much wood."
Mister: "That's what she said!"

Ahh, The Master's will never be the same.

But Mom, why did you have to fertilize the lawn today?!?

Thursday, March 06, 2014

How I Came To Give Up Tropical Fruit for Lent

Arriving home at quarter to ten after a very long day at work, I lamented to The mister that I had yet to figure out what to give up for Lent.  "I thought about giving up soda again, but I had a Diet Coke at ten this morning, so that idea is out.  I thought about giving up sweets, but I grabbed a candy bar on my way to the basketball game tonight in lieu of dinner.  I thought about giving up flour, but I had a leftover dinner roll with my salad at lunch today.  Sigh.  I don't know what to give up this year!"

"How about giving up popcorn?  You love popcorn!" suggested my non-practicing Catholic husband.

"Yeah, well, I had popcorn at the basketball game."

"Ah, well, there goes that idea.  How about grad school?!" he joked.

"While I would LOVE to give up grad school, that' snot very feasible at this moment.  But I like your thinking!   I guess the only thing left for me to give up for Lent!" I teased back.

"Sex?!?  Wait, there must be another option!" he quickly replied.  "Have you had an orange today?"

"An orange?" I asked.  "Um, no.  But I don't eat a lot of oranges, so that wouldn't really be much of a sacrifice..."

"Well, then, how about all tropical fruits?!"

"All tropical fruits?!?  You think I should give up tropical fruits for Lent?!?"

"Well, it's a better option than giving up sex, that's for sure!"

"So when I get to the Pearly gates, I am going to have to look my Maker in the eye knowing that I gave up tropical fruits for Lent."

"I think He will be very proud of you."

I can always count on The Mister to make me laugh, and tonight he did just that, just when I needed it most.  It' swell worth the sacrifice of pineapple on my pizza or a clementine in my lunch to laugh with The Mister.

Tropical fruits?!?

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Some people dream of vacations by the water.  Some dream of a mansion on a hill.  The Mister and I dream of a cow.  This cow.  A Scottish Highland.  We'd like a cow, a pig, a few chickens and a piece of property that gets less than twenty inches of snow a year.  Seems reasonable, doesn't it?

Yeah, We Don't Get Why It Needs a Sign...

We saw a bunch of these while driving home from northern Michigan over break.  I thought the message was inherently obvious, but apparently those northerners need specific instructions.

A Happy Husband

The Mister was pretty excited about getting another tool cabinet for the garage!  Now, if it would just warm up enough to actually work out there...

What Moms Do When Their Kids Are Gone

Flash left his room(s) unattended for ten days over break.  I seized the moment and CLEANED!!

Ahh, what a nice change!  While you might be wishing for "before" pictures, trust me when I say you don't want to know!

Not Sure How Accurate "AccuWeather" Really Is...

I don't know what's up in Kalamazoo, but it sure is the hot spot - literally!!

Hi.  My name is Eliza.  It has been 26 days since my last post. 


I am so sorry.  The holidays have passed; our one year anniversary has passed; nearly all of January has passed and I have no blogs to show for it! 

Here's my recap:

The holidays were wonderful.  It was amazing to have a family of three altogether celebrating Christmas together!  The Mister got me an amazing new camera (I know, I KNOW, there should surely be PICTURES then, shouldn't there?!?), I got him a new tool chest for the garage.  We bought Flash a fridge and microwave for his dorm room (yikes) as well as some computer parts he wanted.  (Side note: within an hour of the last package being opened, Flash had completely assembled his own computer from scratch. Amazing!)

Celebrating our first anniversary was wonderful, too.  In true martial fashion, we originally planned on a night away and dinner out, but downsized the celebration so we could put the funds into our vacation account for the summer.  Welcome to married life!!  :)  The Mister sent me the most beautiful arrangement of flowers and cooked us all New York strip steaks for dinner.  I got him...a card.  Yeah, I know.  But the first anniversary is paper, right?!? 

Last weekend was a huge moment in all our lives...FLASH GOT ACCEPTED TO COLLEGE!!  He submitted his application in the middle of October to State and just finally heard last Saturday that he was accepted there.  He's still waiting on news from two other schools, but at least has the relief that he has somewhere to go in the fall.  (We assured him he was going SOMEWHERE...)

The real reason I am completely AWOL from life lately is grad school.  In a word, grad school is a bitch.  I hate it.  I hate everything about it and everything I have to do for it.  I hate that it's not something I want to do, it's something I have to do to keep my teaching license.  UGH!  In any case, I'm almost halfway through the program and the next couple of months are really the most intense, so hopefully I will survive. 

If grad school wasn't making me cranky, the weather sure would be.  We have had four snow days already and still the potential for more this week with temps significantly below zero.  If you're reading this from Minnesota, or any location north of Michigan, my hat is off to you.  I have no idea how you stay sane.  The Mister and I spend all our time talking about moving to Kentucky (not too hot, far less cold, still mountains and hills to see...) We would leave today if either of us had employment there. 

So that's my recap.  It's not exciting, but I didn't want to look back years from now and wonder what the void was all about.  Grad school people.  Avoid it at all cost.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014


We talked over dinner last night, about our resolutions for the New Year.  Here' sweat we came up with:

Eliza resolves to:
  - start each day by waking up.
  - not watch baseball (in the off-season).
  - not consume any illegal substances
  - not commit any felonies
  - remain a non-smoker
  - not watch any WWE events on pay-per-view
  - refrain from eating road kill
  - not become an arsonist, a vegan or Hindu

The mister resolves to:
  - not cheer for the Yankees
  - hate Ohio State
  - not eat quinoa
  - end each day by sleeping
  - not buy any curtains, throw pillows or bath towels
  - retain possession of his Man Card
  - not become a referee for water polo, a fashion consultant or a spelling bee judge
  - not throw rocks at airplanes

Flash resolves to:
  - not get arrested
  - drink large quantities of Mt. Dew
  - avoid physical exertion including outside chores, team sports and exercise
  - listen to music, text friends and play video games daily
  - study and do homework only when absolutely necessary and required
  - remain skeptical about all plans and intentions initiated by Mom.
  - not grow a handlebar mustache

We think these are pretty good goals, don't you?