Unscheduled Blogging Break: the Good, the Bad, and the Still Dirty House

I haven’t posted in nine days, which in blogging terms is closer to seventy-four years. Didn’t plan it, didn’t resurrect posts from my archive (most of which make internet bulimia look good). I don’t really know what happened, beyond your common-or-Dr. Seuss-variety slump.

A few years ago, Angela from New York sent us the children’s book Hurry, Hurry, Mary Dear by N. M. Bodecker and Eric Blegvad. It’s a poem about a woman in New England who has chores galore before winter comes. “Stack the stove wood, string the beans, up the storms and down the screens.” Round and round and in and out she whirls, while Hubs lolls in bed and then waits for his tea in his rocking chair.

Dick isn’t that bad, we live in an apartment, and if ignoring your children were an Olympic sport I’d be the Shawn Johnson of mothering. (Finally a gold in something!). So other than the adequately-helpful husband, easy access to mass-manufactured canned goods, and kids happy to watch movie after movie, my life is exactly the same as the under-appreciated, over-worked Mary Dear.

That’s my excuse for not blogging, anyway. Of course, probably you managed to find other means of entertainment in my absence (Just kidding! — of course you sat and moped while I slumped and Michael Phelps won yet another gold medal. I mean, after awhile, doesn’t all that winning and breaking world records and million dollar bonuses from Visa get just a bit . . . old?).

Have you noticed how many sports have four events or four strokes, or how much better baseball would be if there were only four innings? So I tried to think up four categories for my blogging break, but there’s a reason I’m not an Olympic athlete, despite doing my best to eat as close to 12,000 calories a day as possible. So I fell back on pros and cons:

Seven Pros and Cons of the Blogging Break

(1) Pro: Fun Outings with the kids (pools, dinosaur museums, parks)

Con: Since Susan (turning 4 in October) will not start kindergarten for 734 days, there are more pools, dinosaur museums, parks and McDonald play places in my immediate future than June Cleaver ever imagined.

(2) Pro: All this swimming = best tan of my life.

Con: All this no-routine-in-general, not-going-to-the gym-in-specific = flabbiest stomach since Spot vacated the premises.

(3) Pro: Gorgeous Utah weather — it’s getting chilly after dark now, and we’ve been stopping at parks on our way home.

Con: That’s on our way home from seeing every single (cheap) house, townhome, and condo in a thirty-mile radius. Apparently we are poor, picky, poor, and soon-to-be homeless.

(4) Pro: Quality reading time.

Con: Spending the better part of two days reading Breaking Dawn = “quality” might be a stretch. (That’s nothing time-wasting-wise though — I read Scarlett, arguably the worst book ever, in 18 hours straight).

(5) Pro: More time for “real life.”

Con: The house is still a mess anyway. “Real life” should not include “clean house.”

(6) Pro: Time with good friends from high school and my sister.

Con: Real-life problems like complicated pregnancies and lousy husbands are much harder to cope with that quirky servers and mean Stumblers and feelings of raging blogging-inadequacy.

(7) Pro: If you don’t post, turning on the computer is much less “what-if-no-one-commented-on-my-last-post” angst-ridden.

Con: If you don’t post, getting fewer comments is almost for sure. (Although I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the emails, tweets, and IRL comments; my acknowledgments page is all ready in case I ever write anything real).

If you wrote a great post while I’ve been gone, let me know. I hate it when people say that. Duh, all my posts are great, and if you weren’t such a loser, you’d know that and whenever you come back from a break you’d be camped out at my blog catching up. Right? Well, let me know if I missed your epic/ramble/etc. I’ll stumble it for you! Seriously. Unless you’d rather I didn’t, in which case tell me why, ’cause I’m planning a post on Adventures in Stumbling.

We’re going to my dad’s family’s reunion tonight; back late Thursday. Had to promise Dick I’d do all the laundry this week in exchange for him getting to go on the funnest camping trip ever with the coolest people ever. ! So if you send me a post url after 3 pm today, I’ll stumble it early Friday. I’d really like to read your post, stumble it, and then get some feedback from you as to what sort of response/traffic you get from the experience. Like a focus group, only better.

Like trying a swimsuit on, only in front of your realtor and your mortgage broker

split level homeYou’ve probably heard that there’s a housing slump. But I’m not buying it. Unless by “slump” you mean that paying 229,000 for a screwy multi-level, 1600-square-foot house in an okay neighborhood is a steal. (Just nod, you New Yorkers; I know, life isn’t fair).

Most of the time I feel really grateful for the money Dick brings home. He also doesn’t complain about his job like he did when he was teaching, which is good because then I don’t feel like telling him to shut up at dinner because AT LEAST YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO LOOK FOR KID SHOES TODAY. SEVEN TIMES.

But house-hunting, even in a housing “slump,” is stealthily depressing. It’s like how I usually feel pretty good about my body, just glad I have shoulders and knees and elbows, but then I try on clothes, or get my picture taken with anomalously skinny people, and suddenly I am plunged into a real slump.

Here’s a great cure for the money-grubbies: Global Rich List (via FMH). Someone asked me tonight how the BlogHer Ads thing is working for me, and I was embarrassed to say that I still have not remembered my password, so, beyond meeting some great other bloggers (like Marianne and Beth) in my “circle,” I don’t really know how it’s going. I’m sure millions of dollars are waiting for me to claim.

I started with BlogHer after talking to a bloggy friend of mine who joked about how she would be retiring soon on her $28/month ad income. So I thought it would be instructive to see how an income of $336 a year (28 x 12) stacks up:

Since I know my bloggy friend has a couple other sources of income, it’s probably only of interest to me that if one were to make just 336 dollars per year from one’s blog, one would be richer than quite a few people in the world. One would also be annoying for saying “one” all the time.

For those who don’t measure everything in terms of blogs(!?!), Wikipedia says that the median household income in the U.S. is $46,326, which stacks up like so:

I just have two words to say about that: Ho-ly Cow.

If only there were a website that could make me feel this positive about my body. It would tell me that, compared to most mammals, like whales and elephants, say, I really look like this:


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I have fought the Finance Frump before, and probably will again, but I hope this helps in the war against all manner of frumpiness!

Recipe for a Happy Summer, and some encouragement for Hillary

Sally’s school year is dragging on endlessly, which is fine with me. We’ve been house-hunting for months, but now that the weather is fine, my requirements have changed from 1) good neighborhood, 2) open floorplan, and 3) four bedrooms to 1) fenced-in yard, 2) fenced-in yard, and 3) fenced-in yard. In fact, since even with the housing slump we’re still poor-ish, next week we’re going to start looking at empty lots and tents.

In the meantime, here’s my recipe for a Happy Summer:

Now that you’ve got the kids occupied, it’s time for mom to have some quality time. If you get tired of reading blogs (I know, like that could EVER happen), put your computer to some good use. On sites like PrimeTimeRewind and Hulu, along with the network stations sites (nbc.com, fox.com, etc), you can catch up on all your favorite shows.

You might be thinking that TV is just so … so … shallow. But there are lessons to be learned and inspiration to be gotten. Tonight Hillary Clinton is (probably) (maybe) realizing that she is not going to win the Democratic nomination. Other women have faced similar setbacks, though, and I’d like to offer some encouragement to Hillary, inspired by Phyllis on The Office. In the season finale, Goodbye, Toby, Phyllis faces her toughest assignment: party planning. As she gets overwhelmed at the enormity of it all, she shares:

When I was a little girl, my mother told me I could be anything when I grew up: teacher’s aide, nurse’s assistant, some sort of volunteer. But now, I just don’t know.  

Despite these discouraging thoughts, Phyllis goes on to throw “the best party” ever. Complete with bouncy castles and fair food. I think Hillary probably needs a big hug, and to remember that she can still be anything she wants to be: teacher’s aide, nurse’s assistant, some sort of volunteer.


And that’s how I responding to “Mom, I’m bored” this summer.


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