Tag Archives: children

The Art of Production

When the chicks leave the nest, there’s a relationship dynamic that needs to be rediscovered and rebuilt with patience and a whole new respect for one another. For example, this year I remembered my husband is artistic. Now that I am his aged wife, I admire his commitment and discipline to his most recent medium: oil on canvas.

When we first met I knew he could draw and create. I enjoyed watching him sketch with his younger brother in the dining room or produce strategic military scenarios in the sandbox with his baby brother. Nowadays he and I go on Friday night dates that include a 40-70% off canvas sale or a quick stop to replenish an oil color. Our early Sunday mornings usually consist of old episodes of Bob Ross or the Jenkins. When Richie is in his own makeshift studio, I love seeing his art come to still life.

This past weekend we went into one of our girl’s abandoned bedrooms to view his gallery that is taking shape. Christmas presents and potential future sales adorn the walls. We took our conversation across the hall to our other daughter’s abandoned bedroom, to view all the stored art supplies. My artist husband was like a kid in a candy store. He excitedly counted his canvas inventory, by size, as he considered his next subject.

My more analytical perspective concluded, “At the rate you are turning out finished pieces each week, you still have a two years supply of canvas!”

“But I bought them all on sale!?”, he replied with an appreciation for commerce I wish I’d seen more of over the last 27 years.

“Yes, hon, and I know you’re excited to transform them but your storage costs will break you in the end.” Although I’d considered our gallery ambiance as romantic and thought about the Picasso series, Genius, we’d recently watched, I was unintentionally a buzz kill.

My perpetual inventory comment ruined the creative mood, so we walked outside to enjoy an Indian summer on the deck. Our preparations for winter were viewable at the back of the garage: bagged coal, stacked wood and kindling piles. We milled about watering the plants that were still enjoying the warm weather, rehung the hammock that isn’t quite ready for winter storage and added Halloween decorations to the yard.

I retrieved a fall slate for the back door, came back out on the deck, and as Richie raked wood chips near the railing he announced, “I need another 8×10.”

I became impatient. “Are you kidding me? You’re addicted! Didn’t we just have this 2-year stockpile conversation?”

He looked hurt.

Confused.

Liked he’d lost respect for me.

“A tarp. I need an 8×10 foot tarp for this last small pile of seasoned wood!”

It’s our dynamic.

It doesn’t need to be rebuilt.

Or rediscovered.

Our relationship is still a blend of old habits and new beginnings. I have a lot of respect for my husband’s hobby but must continue to work on the art of conversation. After all, in our family, the chicks are gone, the cock does more than a-doodle and I am still the mother hen.

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Firm

Our daughter will be moving to a new apartment, so we went to furniture stores with her to check out locations, quality and price. One of the stops was a glass mattress store front. The locale seemed hokey versus some of the more upscale local shops she visited. Regardless, we went in, figuring our daughter would at least determine what type of mattress she liked.

Nobody was on the display floor when we entered the mattress graveyard. The oversized room was eerily quiet but also Tarah’s preference. She didn’t want anyone watching her reenact sleep habits.

We walked up and down the Madeline-esque rows and nobody greeted us – which was actually great. I hate being pounced on and our daughter was the customer, not us. Our shy Tarah finally got comfortable enough with the environment, sat on a mattress and out came Mr. Salesman. The mattresses either had doorbells under them or this guy was watching us through a peephole. I would have believed either based on his sudden interest in our family. I was subtle:

“Can you go back to wherever you came from?”

He tilted his head like our family dog, either wanting attention or to hear me better.

I explained that the process was a little awkward to us and asked for some time to figure out preferences.

The salesman said he completely understood, explained the store color coding for soft, medium, firm and returned to the back room.

My Goldilocks daughter roamed about, tried several mattresses and declared her just-right preference was “soft”.

Right on cue, Mr. Man appeared again.

“Did you not find something else to do?” I continued, “she is just starting to figure out the differences. Could you spend some time with Google instead and give us a few more minutes?”

He seemed to somewhat understand, showed us where to find the pricing charts and went back to his ease-dropping peephole.

We talked with our daughter about brands, budgeting and moving day as she bounced between her three favorite mattresses. When she declared which one she liked best, the Wizard of Odd came back out from behind the curtain.

“Can you make yourself scarce? We are discussing her game plan for moving and how this is all going to work.”

He was understanding enough but only after he explained delivery options, showed us his springs exhibit and told us about the 1-day ONLY free bedframe sale!

“Thanks but we are not going to buy something our first day out. Can you go to the desk for one moment and bring us your business card instead?”

He no longer understood. My fake purchase alternative was too formal and he explained, “I am always the only one here. Just call and ask for me (who else was answering?) and I’ll help you with financing.”

We all stood to leave. Tarah thanked him for letting us look and moved toward the door to continue her comparison shopping. I followed her out of the hokey location and wondered why I didn’t just ask the guy to get lost?!

#Guess

Friday night but my disciplined husband keeps his weekly work routine and goes to bed by 9:00.

Past 9:30 but this cinema buff keeps her weekend desire to watch old movies past midnight.

Classic Hepburn was a given. Including Spencer Tracy and Sydney Poitier was like adding salt and pepper to a favorite dish.

Guess who’s coming to dinner was my 1967 choice. Looking back in time at this social issue was the comedy-drama I wanted.

15 minutes into the movie and I wonder why I hear my husband going out the back door? I figured he needed more wood to ensure the fire made it through the night. My mind stays focused on the screen and I pay more attention to the gallery and nice digs than I do to my own artful home. When I hear the stairs, I finally turn my head thinking Richie decided to join me.

But it’s not Richie!

Guess who’s coming to dinner was my 2018 reality. Gawking in surprise at my non-social butterfly baby girl was the comedy-drama I needed.

She had not flown in on United but I was thrilled to be reunited with her.

I didn’t have a Tillie to make us sandwiches and it was too cold to eat outside but I did whip us up some cheesy scrambled eggs to eat in the kitchen.

I never made it past the scene where the doctor meets the dad. On the interesting flip side, Tarah’s dad visits his doctor in the morning.

Our reunion tonight was comedic. I can’t wait to see what drama unfolds tomorrow…in both households.

Three for the price of one

My husband had an early shopping day with our daughter on Saturday, so I decided to surprise my parents and enjoy my eggs and toast at their house. It’s only a three-mile drive but my timing was off. My father had just finished his own eggs, bacon and oatmeal and my mother was already enjoying one of her favorites – an ice cream cone breakfast. While we didn’t enjoy a meal together I thought our 1×2 time could still be special.

I started to tell my mother about my journey home from work on Friday night. I explained that I sometimes take a different route home to learn the area around the new office.

My mother responded after finishing her cone:

“Whatever.”

Knowing that was just her catchphrase I continued…

I was only telling you because my GPS said there was a Goodwill in the area. I knew I had her attention now because it is one of her favorite places to thrift. It was my hook.

“Whatever.”

I didn’t even get to add the punchline that I followed the map for an extra six miles and learned the store no longer exists in that location. Feeling incomplete, I had to at least finish my sentence. I cut to the chase and told her that I found a new shop that I liked in that neighborhood anyway.

“Whatever.”

Mom. I know you’re excited for James to take you to the casino but you’re not listening here and now.

“Oh yeah?”

Yes, it’s like you can only focus on my brother. I get it though. I know you’re just excited about the trip. My comment seemed unappreciated but it registered and she snapped out of it.

“What time is it in Nashville?”

They are only an hour behind us mom. It should be around 8 AM. Why?

“I’ve been sitting here waiting to call your sister Twyla. I mailed her a package and wanted to know if it arrived.”

Well that explained more. I decided not to take her uninterested comments personally. I also realized it was my brother she was irritated with, not me. He had told them he would arrive between 9 and 10 but it was now 9:10, so she considered him late.

My mother reached for her flip cell phone. I asked what time she was going to call my sister? Her response was curt and quick.

“The hell with her. I guess I’ll have to risk waking her up.”

My sister Twyla couldn’t sleep up to or past 8 o’clock if she tried. Although she’ll wish she had when she answered the phone. The unwritten rule is that you called when a package arrived, so my mother didn’t worry that her gifted parcels were in oblivion.

The heat was off James and I and onto her but she didn’t even know it yet.

“You’re up.” was the start of my mother’s conversation.

I could only hear one side of the call but her next comment was, “well, there’s not much going on here.”

I jumped on the other extension. Really mom? I thought your other daughter was here visiting?

Knowing how sensitive I am, my mother quickly acknowledged my comment:

“Oh, shut up.”

Then to Twyla:

“What do you mean several packages have arrived and you don’t know if one of them is from me?”

My sister works so hard she probably hadn’t read any of her mail from the entire week yet. Regardless, she was now required to look through the stack while my mother was on the phone. She was going to be in trouble either way. If it was there, she hadn’t reported in to the Mom tracking system. If the package wasn’t there, it would also be her fault simply because the post office had assured my mother of a Friday delivery.

Based on my mother’s mood, I was now glad the attention was not on me.

Wrong again.

“What? I can’t hear you, Donna burnt some toast and it smells awful.”

I know noses and ears are somehow connected but I didn’t realize my carbohydrate carbon smell could impact my mother’s hearing aids.

I ignored the comment as I thought ‘Whatever’ in my head. I broke my yolk to match my heart and slopped up the bright yellow gravy, picking up the emotional pieces. I washed my dish and gathered my coat and keys.

My father came back in the room and asked why I was leaving so soon?

I just thought I’d stop in on my way to getting groceries. Twy is on the line. Have a good day with James.

“If he gets here. It’s almost 9:30.”

My morning visit was complete. We did not enjoy a meal together, the timing was off and it could have been special.

“Home” for the Holidays

When you pray that your children get home safely for the holiday

and everyone arrives at the house the afternoon before Thanksgiving

and then your kids go out for the night,

so you go back to the beginning and hope your babies get home safely for Thanksgiving.

#twenties #fifties

Photo credit: Instagram