Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Little Corner of Heaven- the laundry room

 For those who may wonder about the origin of the name .... 'The International Laundress'... this began when tired overwhelmed mother.. (ME)  was day dreaming about the glam life.. working pre-kids and jetting off to fab places around the world for a PAID JOB-- that's a fact, but what was also a 'fact' post-kids was when I lamented this particular daydream to my son who was 8 at the time... I was folding laundry telling him about my past life...saying 'I used to do my work all over the world'... and naturally because that idea was unimaginable to him.. darling son applied his scope of experience... and proclaimed 'THAT?' (laundry folding) hence, the name.  So with this new title, I decided I had earned a 'special' room to carry on my duties and I decided to paint a beautiful shade of green and add a few creative accents... like a chandelier with pearls and other colorful accouterments! I do love this place and when I found a bird to match I couldn't resist   meet 'Tutu'.  
The International Laundress

Monday, March 28, 2011

Can I go to bed yet?

Sometimes I remind myself of a whiny kid on a car ride who keeps asking ‘are we there yet?  I find myself thinking …. ‘can I go to bed yet?’   It’s probably pathetic to say, but lately, with stress at a high- pitch...sleeping has become the best part of my day! When days are long like they have been for the past 16 years, it really is a relief that I am able to find a quiet place to relax.…   In my home, my ‘bunker’ from the extreme chaos is my big four-poster bed….. I enjoy being ‘embedded’ in our ‘green zone’ -  ironically our bedroom happens to be painted a calm shade of green (a subliminal color selection to be sure) … For me, bed-time is usually ‘earlier-the-better’… oh, the simple things in life … a good reading light, lots of pillows, scented candle, my comfortable goodnighties jammies and my industrial-grade ear muffs!  With our one-eyed cat ‘Winky’ who is also cuddled in, we are a real pair at bed time… tooth guard, wrinkle cream, goofy socks on the tips of my feet and my big heavy ear covers to block out the world while I am reading.   These ear-muffs I have to say, were one of my better investments in my mental health.  After extensive research, I learned these are the kind that jack-hammer construction workers use or employees directing aircraft to terminals.   Good-sport husband is used to this spectacle… doesn’t even notice, he is usually also in a zombie-like-state watching a learning channel or an old movie.  With the door locked we feel safe.  Later in the evening, hubby will do a walk-through for collateral damage and I can’t even hear the machine-gun fire of expletives as he flushes toilets, shuts off lights, TV’s and open doors in other parts of the house!      
Essential evening mental-health accessory

'Winky' our cuddly one-eyed cat

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ode to Emma Joy!


As a ghastly way to start your day, few things rank up there with Old English Sheep Dog Diarrhea.  Our beloved Emma had a problem yesterday …. And today, we were kinda playing ‘chicken’ about being the first person 'up' … we knew the kids were sleeping  (it’s Saturday) and being exhausted from another late-night dispatch run … I knew intuitively that we were pushing our normal routine to let  ‘the girls’ out.   Enjoying myself in my cozy bed, (actually wishing to stay 'embedded').... with each minute that passed .... I felt the stress rising…  I was actually bracing myself for a catastrophe…already thinking about my ground tools and the thought of machine-gun fire of expletives from darling husband.    But a revelation has occurred!  NO nightmare messes…today!  What a treat!   My life is at such a low level, I feel like I got a raise and a bonus.     This is exciting news…. I haven’t felt this joyful in a long time !  Woo hoo….   I think great things are in store for me today ! J

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Audacity of Kids!

I am a very busy working mom running a business from a home office and as anyone knows that spells trouble when kids or dogs are involved. Problem is, I have a double dose of both. I need to be available at a moment’s notice for phone calls with a tone of professionalism. I’ve conducted my business while running to outside snow banks, barred myself in a shower stall and finished calls breathlessly in my locked car (sometimes in that order).  My children on the other hand, are completely oblivious to any ‘outside’ activity that I may do that does not involve them. It seems at times, that I’m like a magnet for the blast of noise that follows them….. usually the racket rises with the degree of importance-of-the-call.   It’s like they’re deaf and blind. After years of this it’s uncanny how they can be standing in front of me (barking) while I am on a business call… to then have an impulsive teary eyed teenager making verbal demands and threats as I am doing things that redefine the word ‘multi-tasking’. The contortions on my face alone are the first hint- even the dogs can understand that!   Today was one of those days… Darling Daughter claims to have told me (she didn’t) about a later start to her school day …… I then continued in my usual phone business zone to be accosted by her for an IMMEDIATE ride to school or it would result in dire consequences that related to a Biology exam-- an outcome,  that would then ruin her life. As always …Mommy on Dispatch was there for her.... ‘yes ma’am. 'toot toot' ….. we were on our way as I seamlessly continued my business call. I sometimes think that I wouldn’t know how to work without distractions… could that be the key to success? We’ll see…

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I need a 'do-over' LOL :)

Although I sleep in a deep REM stage of  sleep, the other side of my brain is busy busy…usually a night of more working and colorful problem solving, basically ‘saving the world’ (while snoring) Funny though, the very thing that needs ‘saving’ is ME. I laugh thinking of my mother’s latest comment after spending the weekend here….’you need a do-over’ …. No kidding … She was so excited to leave after a just a couple of action-packed days in the chaos. Grammie who lives 4 hours away, was nice enough to take darling daughter out for a little birthday shopping and probably more thrilled that this is only a once-a-year occasion.  She has done her 'time' here.

Still in a daze today from cleaning, managing a guest and work, I knew my day was not going to start without the usual snag, even before my first cup of coffee and my vitamins (2-Excedrin), … I could immediately smell the familiar wafting aroma coming from the office area where the dogs sleep. Yep, Lollipop had a mishap that was likely a result of too many dinner scraps the night before… ‘Daddy’s Little Fatty’ (the one on the left)  always makes sure her plate is clean …. I have ‘the girls’ ( Lollipop & Emma ) on a regular schedule, but ‘accidents’ do happen. Actually gigantic messes that always go unnoticed by the kid who first lets the dogs out...   Like an android, good-sport husband, was already attending to our first calamity of the day.... I then followed up with my usual weaponry – my trusty steam sanitizer…. Like a never-ending relay-race our functions are defined, air-freshener is sprayed and scented candles are lit.   The day continues with the usual fast pace…. So for now- I’m going to actually take a break tonight and read something meaningful like ‘Diary of a Wimpy  Kid'… it’s not too heavy so it won’t hit me in the face when I doze off.  nite nite...

'Driving' ME Crazy !!

Yesterday upon waking, when I first saw my son, I must have looked worse than I feel if that’s possible, because he promptly came in to lecture me on working too much. He then, with all seriousness, brought me the last three books in his series of ‘A Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ – he knew I liked reading the first one and thought this would be a good way for me to pry my fingers off my lap top and relax for a moment. It actually was very sweet- a rare occurrence around here… unfortunately ….No such luck today (about reading his books), business first these days… maybe I’ll read tomorrow. We have had lots of interest in Goodnighties as a result of a cover story in Women’s World Magazine this week that mentions our high-tech pajamas. That then means …lots of work.... busy, busy… which is a good thing.

My restful ‘break’ last night was my twice-a-week ‘date’ with myself while waiting for darling daughter as she works out with a gymnastics club about 20 minutes away. I do cherish this time, but like everything in my life, comes with a penalty… ‘Mom can I drive?’ are words that still make me cringe! I’ve decided there are fewer things more brutal than riding with a teen driver… Ok....being panty hose for Kristi Alley is also a tough one.   I just can’t relax while driving with her (unless I’m drunk…a joke :) … I still clench- even after a year of this and we are still shouting at each other and fighting over the radio and I don’t see that ending any time soon. I feel like I’m riding shotgun in a demolition derby with expensive cars. I know I shouldn’t have my feet on the dashboard, but I just can’t help myself. The required ‘rap’ music she needs to have to ‘focus better' claiming ‘I can’t drive without it’ …… I didn’t want to take further chances!  So my stress level rises to a new pitch....

The idea that way-back-when someone came up with the idea that a 16 year old could handle driving on their own, I think was meant for a tractor in an open field. I shutter when we are next to a proud older driver in their shiny fancy car- I want to yell  …’stay clear’ you’ll be sorry save yourself while you still can !  The warning sign I had made for my back window is just not big enough.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Unexplained Mystical Underworld of Cleaning

Even without going to Hogwarts for training it seems that I have mystical powers to be able to spot things like empty containers in the refrigerator or more remarkably, garbage in the built-in slide out rack that is just filled to the brim. This supernatural talent can also spot filthy dirty counter tops and jelly on cabinet handles that need to be wiped off, or ketchup stains on a damask tablecloth… hmm ? -- that might be chocolate.   Occasionally I will have an understudy...(my son) helping me…. his specialty is 'floors' but today he got a little too aggressive with a stiff scrub brush and he scrubbed off what he called 'the wallpaper' -- which was really the white cabinet finish near the floor.   He tries to be helpful.... but sometimes leaves me breathless after 'assistance' like standing in the pull out garbage rack.... not a good outcome. With no filter for his thought-process his immediate 'solution' is the one he goes for with plenty of gusto - not a thought to the consequence!
Another ‘helper’ like a Nimbus 2000 and one I treasure as the hardest worker in this new bright fuchsia vacuum- a 'gift' from my husband- matches my stilettos (a joke). With every good intention he bought it for me a few weeks ago and rather than buy the floor model - he wanted me to have a 'new' one,  one which I had to put together myself.  Since I'm always looking for new things to do (another joke), I then had a moment to bond with my new companion.... I kept thinking...(to the vacuum) 'you poor little thing....what a horrible job you have before you!' I'll be nice, but it's a tough life-long commitment, almost as bad as being a high traffic rug in this house! So far, we are getting along great. :)  we both like to be unplugged! :) Sweet DreamsZzzz

The Crown Jewel of this Kingdom! 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Window To My World....err, I mean 'door'!

My children have a very strict aversion to simple things that would make a big difference in my disposition...and by extension, their life! ....they just don't 'get-it'.  After years of talking about this, the carelessness continues.   It can be as simple as quietly turning a doorknob  before closing a door (like after a 5:00 am shower) or even simpler,  closing a freezer door before leaving the kitchen for the night. even lower expectation of  just closing an outside door or turning off all the lights and TV?.... Each night I find myself like a jail warden - patrolling the grounds - confirming a lock-down for the night.  Mastering these tasks for them, is apparently a difficult skill in their world.  Is it carelessness, being inconsiderate or just plain stupidity?..... probably all three! 

 For as long as I can recall 'doors' have always been a sacred divide for lots of reasons.  Occasionally I lock my bedroom door (ok, all the time) ....doors are important around here!  A few years ago  my son had a slamming phase that began with first 'losing' the knob (I took it off) after finding a hole in the wall from a spirited 'open'  with  further sanctions shortly after that of.....  physically removing the door for 2 years! this was after the door frame started to go crooked on me.     Finally, the slamming stopped- can we say... slow learner?    My daughter on the other hand, as I have told her time and time again.... is going to get her a** kicked if and when she ever has a roommate or lives in a dorm where she loudly closes doors.   That roommate will also need a hazmat suit...but that's another story.  :D

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

School DAZED.....

Statistics have indicated that children educated in the US have really fallen behind....DUH!    Japanese kids go to school 43 days a year more than ours and I have feeling they're not playing video games in their downtime!   I am amazed at how many days off my kids have from school  - it's always something!  Ever heard of Casimir Pulaski Day?  Well he was  a Revolutionary War Cavalry Officer born in 1745- I'm sure a great fellow, but giving kids a full-day off of school to celebrate his birthday is a bit over the top!   This week,  my son has two days off, for what? I've stopped asking- especially with Spring Break upon us!   My normally o-kay son is ornery like his pissy sister from new sanctions on his video-game addiction--it's really like heroin for him - he  shakes at the thought of doing something like interacting with non-virtual people or  even worse, reading a book!   His Science grade makes me 'shake' and I'm tried of hearing since November, of how he's on a 'come back' with this class .... yeah right!  So the days of being the crazy uncle in the basement are over... he now is on very limited use with his X-Box.... will be nice to have him return back to society... it was time.
As any ADHD mother knows.... it's A's or D's with these kids... that then translates into a correctional facility or Harvard.  No middle ground here.....everything is extreme!
I recently heard a great analogy about children with this condition... 'They have the brains of a Maserati and the brakes of a bicycle' ... and I wholeheartedly agree with that! Another reason why they need to be constantly monitored!   So exhausting.... off to bed my favorite part of the day! :)   Sweet dreams!   Zzzzz

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Year-round... 'March Madness' !

'March Madness' is a term that is not exclusive to the NCAA-
I'm afraid the 'MADNESS' term is more like fill-in-the 'month'
Madness at our house.

Years ago when your shoes would stick to the floor from spilled apple juice, I had a fantasy that my high-alert household (what my brother referred to as a combat triage unit) would settle down.  No such luck- in fact, the messes became bigger, the problems greater, the noise louder and consequently the damage more expensive.  Like war with friendly fire incidents happening everywhere we go to battle with ground-tools  like toilet plungers- marching from bathroom to bathroom.  Full-blown tantrums like heavy machine gunfire when TV remotes are missing and high-tech TV's won't work, a casualty of impulsive button pushing..... to then have electrical circuits BLOW like hand grenades on a regular basis while the smoke detectors SCREECH for burned food or wake us up in the dead of the night for a low battery.  We were just not meant for calm serenity with this gene pool.

My hubby and I are like hostages each morning,  accosted by our captors with demands for money- the 'look' today was more commanding than a Homeland Security Officer at O'Hare - I thought a full-body scan for the coins was next! Then  taxi-curb service to school and my day began.   Did I mention I am probably the only person in this time-zone to be appreciative of losing an hour of time 'day light savings time'... (so I could go to bed sooner) .....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Smart Fabric-- Stupid Mommy

Sometimes I wish I were as brilliant as the fabric used in Goodnighties sleepwear -- it actually does many things at once (comfortable, blocks achy pain, moisture wicks, anti-microbial and will help you sleep better!)  and it doesn't talk back... just quietly does as it's supposed to do! Shhh...don't wake up!

Today was another morning calamity that combined my many skills....only these unlike Goodnighties have to be done one-at-a-time....first, scrapping cheese off of a plate that was microwaved deeply-   Like the toothfairy, it is known throughout the land 'here' that there is a magical figure inside the dishwasher who flies in with surgical tools to meticulously scrap embedded food off plates- I would hate to spoil this for them.  They also believe that this 'fairy' cleans up breakfast dishes and lets the dogs out - apparently two very difficult tasks for hyper-focused kids.  This assessment was followed by poop from impatient dogs in their sleeping area (my office) .... all while having my first cup of coffee!  yum.... Then it was back to TAXI dispatch with direct orders for a quick stop along the way-  the teenage necessities of life - hair gel from Walgreen's a mission of vital importance.    This obsession is tantamount to a case of cigarettes- MUST have once a week.  yes, ma'am.

So in conclusion...'Stupid Mommy' will be trying to be efficient wearing I-pod style pajamas 'smart-fabric' -- and will be 'embedded' in my bed hoping this will absorb into my skin LOL   :)
  It's a rewind to start the week! 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

On the road again! toot toot!

See, I told you I'd be back  :)  ...  It's been difficult though,  I've been on 'dispatch' all day - 'on call'... 'Taxi driving' for one of my more difficult clients.  This 'customer' is impatient-to-leave and VERY particular about making sure I'm waiting for the return trip.   We have an exclusive arrangement because she won't be driving on her own any time soon.   As part of my penance for this decision, I receive random 'calls' that after 10 pm are likely to wake me from a dead sleep... odd unpredictable times like, 11:10 pm and last weekend  it was at 12:38 am at the train station in the rain.   I cheerfully obey and when a critique comes about my driving skills, I always smile and say 'yes, ma'am'  toot, toot .... gotta go!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Work With Out End.... :)

I know I have ZERO credibility now after twice stating 'I'm Back' to not return for months- but since I am still kinda babbling to myself,  I guess it's OK... So now I AM REALLY BACK... and I have a good reason for the lapse.  I have been  working 24/7 on a project that I can only credit (or blame) myself about.   My plan now is to keep this thing (blog) going as my spa-treat-escape! (we'll see)......

To explain (I know I sound like my kids)... It all started with my chronic sleeplessness and I don't have to explain (from my previous posts) just how exhausted and exasperated I am from this life I have created.  After not sleeping well for months (or is it years?) I finally had enough and started researching a solution. What came next was unexpected!  I found nightwear that proclaimed to be a new line of fabric treated with negative ions to help you rest and sleep better called Goodnighties ( ).  This product also claimed to control nightsweats - another bi-product of my aging body.  It actually sounded like a joke... but I was desperate to try anything.  kids / hubby were eating me alive and I could barely function  so I bought a pair!    What happened next was a pretty shocking revelation for me.... even from the first night in these pajamas-  I SLEPT STRAIGHT THROUGH THE NIGHT!  what a  treat!   more surprises continued...because I began getting my creative mo-jo back so to speak.  My husband claimed it was a cure for B.W.S.  (Bitch-ee Wife Syndrome)  so everyone was happy!   I was actually starting to feel better!  I then as a sanity check bought my bff a pair because she had declared since 1984 to have not slept well from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome- again ... she was blown away by finally being able to sleep and will now not wear anything else!

 I then did something really crazy and for the first time in my career, I cold-called this U.S. manufacturer to find myself within a couple of weeks, carving out an exclusive business partnership to handle all marketing and sales for this unique product.    I then became an unexpected entrepreneur! Wasn't even looking for a job.... but because I was finally passionate about something.... I knew it was time to get back in the business saddle that I had known in a previous life (before kids).  

My life is now fully consumed with this business to the point of offering a lot of neglect to my family (they were due)... I am full-blown committed to the project- we are like 'The Little Engine That Could'  moving in the right direction and keeping ourselves off the '3rd rail'.... great fun but extremely challenging at times!  I do smile more often and it truly is rewarding to be able to help sleepless women everywhere!