Weekends and holidays

For those of us who have kids or pets – or God help us – both, there is one thing we know for sure. Illnesses, accidents and other misfortunes happen on the weekend or a holiday. Instead of sleeping in last Saturday morning, I quickly sat up in bed because “that sound” pierced my dreams and shoved me into consciousness. Our 70-pound Goldendoodle, Mac, was making noises you hear two seconds before a dog pukes on the bed. I had just enough time to grab a blanket and throw it under his mouth. (This is probably how they got the name “throw blankets.”) Mac was at the beginning of a days-long stomach problem of unknown origin. The good news is […]

Help! My kid is a senior.

For the second time in our lives, Tom and I have a high school senior in the house. The first time it happened was two years ago, and it was weird. But that was 2020, when everything in the world was weird. Like most events in 2020, our oldest son’s traditional graduation ceremony didn’t happen. Then when it was nearly time to move him into the dorm, his college decided to only offer classes online of the first semester until conditions improved. Thankfully, things are different now that our middle son, Jack, is a high school senior. Circumstances have drastically improved. And in about six weeks, Jack will wear the navy-blue cap and gown I ordered two years ago for […]

Number 49

Last week I did something that took no effort at all. I turned 49. As special occasions go, you can’t beat a birthday. No one expects you to plan for it. No one needs you to cook or shop or wrap presents or decorate the house. Compared to days like Thanksgiving or Christmas, birthdays are literally and figuratively a piece of cake. And if you’re lucky, that piece of cake is free from whatever restaurant your family took you to for dinner. Or maybe someone makes your favorite cake, which is what always happened when I was growing up. A wonderful lady we called Granny Davis, who went to our church, used to make the most incredible layered yellow cake […]

Check the cord box

Last weekend, a friend needed to borrow a piece of equipment, and I knew exactly where it was. I retrieved it from the closet but then realized it had a cord – actually just half a cord – dangling from it. Upon closer inspection, I realized the power cord had a connector in the middle, but the half of the cord that plugs into the wall – which you could argue is the most important half – was missing. I asked Tom if he knew where the cord was, and he told me to “Check the cord box.” I rolled my eyes and sighed. He might as well have said “Go bungee jump into the Grand Canyon to see if […]

J is for Joy

I love it when something old becomes new again. And lucky for me and my fellow letter lovers, word games are not only new again, they’re cool. Even my teenagers are doing it. In case you haven’t heard, I’ll fill you in on the hippest new (and free) word game that has captured global interest. It’s called Wordle, and it’s a rare joyful thing that came out of the pandemic. According to a recent New York Times article, a software engineer named Josh Wardle invented the game for his girlfriend. The two of them had become obsessed with word games from the New York Times, like one called “Spelling Bee” and the iconic Times crossword puzzles. Since she liked word […]

Robots on the road

If you watched the Super Bowl a few weeks ago, you may have noticed that most of the car commercials were for a specific type of car – electric. Electric cars and crypto currency were the two things promoted the most during the year’s most expensive commercial time slots. When our middle kid leaves the nest for college this fall and takes his car with him, Tom and I will need to buy another vehicle since we’ll be down to one. So, we’re thinking about getting the kind that doesn’t need unleaded. Going electric makes sense to me lately. We’re already plugging in plenty of things that need charging around here – phones, watches, headphones. Why not charge up the […]

Pandemic padding gets uncomfortable

Something uncomfortable happened after Christmas. It has taken me several weeks to admit it because I already know how it’ll make me sound – shallow, silly, vain. But I’m going to say it because experience has taught me that uncomfortable truths get easier once they’re shared, especially if the other person understands. So here goes. For the first time, when I looked at snapshots of our Christmas celebration, I couldn’t find a single photo of me I liked. Not one. And it wasn’t bad hair, no makeup, dim lighting, or an unflattering outfit. I wish I could blame any or all of those things. But that wasn’t it. The pictures just didn’t look like me – at least the me […]

Sweet six in time for Valentine’s Day

The sky is blue, the snow has melted, and the Covid home tests are once again negative. Hallelujah! My family and I have thankfully recovered from the virus, just in time for Valentine’s Day. The only remnant of Covid is a tickling, nagging cough, like respiratory graffiti left behind just to prove it was here. But after getting through this viral kick in the teeth, I’m finally feeling good again and remembering how many things there are to appreciate. I won’t put my favorite people on this list because you have your own list. Love them well. But here’s a list of six things I’m loving this month. (Keep in mind I’m not compensated in any way to love or […]

Reporting from the Covid cave

Part of me felt like a failure. For nearly two years straight, I tried to make sure it didn’t get us. And then it got us. For a nerd who always wants to do well and follow the rules, getting Covid felt like I’d screwed up after almost two years of effort. But a virus, especially an incredibly contagious one, doesn’t care if you were a good student. It doesn’t check your high school transcript. It just looks for an opportunity and takes it. Simple as that. The only reason we found out the virus was in our house was because our 17-year-old son took a 3-hour nap in the middle of the day and said he was still tired. […]

7 not-so-simple rules for parenting teens

Since our oldest son turned 20 last month, I’ve technically completed what’s often called the terrible teens for at least one of our three kids. For the record, it wasn’t terrible. But it was, shall we say, challenging. Enlightening. Humbling. And as with all challenging experiences, I learned things. So, this column is for all my fellow parents of teens (and the alumni parents who’ve lived to tell the tale). Here are my seven not-so-simple rules for parenting teenagers: Remember this phase of life isn’t as easy as it looks. If you judge it strictly by outward appearance, you’ll assume teenagers have it incredibly easy. They sleep late. Many of them have lightning-fast metabolisms that let them eat an insane […]