Something is Very, Very Wrong Here

Posted by ZenMom Tuesday, June 8, 2010 Comments

Everything seems all right.  My house is the same boring house,  It has the same dirty carpet, the same broken tiles.  You might even be able to see them but for all the kid's stuff sprawled out on top of every floor in the house.

But you can see the furniture.  Too bad its the same crappy stuff we've had for years.  And the kitchen.  Don't get me started on the kitchen.

But with all this sameness, something is decidedly different.  There is an eerie sense of calm, an uncharacteristic quiet that, quite frankly, is a little hard on the ears.  The messes are not as mountainous, the chaos cut clear in half.   Why its been so freaky, I actually pinched myself this morning to see if I was in the middle of some sick, bad joke of a dream.

Alas, I was awake.  I have the bruise to prove it.  Ouch.  I shouldn't pinch so hard.  And just as I resigned myself to the fact I that I was now living life in another dimension, I remembered.

This is my week.  My one and only week.  The one where most of the kids are gone most of the time, leaving me not knowing exactly what to do with myself.

You see my youngest daughter is away at camp in the mountains until Friday.  Her brother started day camp this very same week.  And, the Stinker is in vacation bible school every morning for the next five days.

That only leaves my oldest here.  she is prone to sleeping in until 10 or 11, it's like having the house to myself.

This would all be great if I had something wonderful to fill my time.  Instead, I'm like a deer in headlights.  Stunned by silence, totally frozen and dead in my tracks.  Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

That's because after months -- oh who am I kidding -- years of not having a moment to myself, of not being able to finish a thought or a sentence in over a decade, my to-do list has gotten a tad lengthy.  And me being the focused, organized type that I am, has no idea where to begin.

The pressure is on too.  Considering how little time I have, I feel like need to use it in the best, the most productive way possible.  Every project that I've ever dreamed of dances through my head, along with a hundred to-do and grocery lists.

And yet, unable to corral my many unruly thoughts, I sit here playing solitaire on my computer, contemplating a nap.  Oh well, so much for efficiency.

Scattered and Sleepy,



Ordinary People

Posted by ZenMom Saturday, June 5, 2010 Comments


We live in an ordinary neighborhood.  Look up and down our street and it's nothing special.  No flashy cars, no monstrous houses.  Just common folk going about their everyday lives.

My house is small by today's standards.  A throwback to that lovely era that was the '70s, its a horrid tri-level.  Whoever thought this was a good idea must have been snorting some other trendy drug of that era.  So what made us buy it?

Three simple words: Location. Location. Location.

We in the Zen family tend to like our privacy.  And our lot -- not horribly big or beautifully landscaped -- backs up to a ranch owned by the county.  It extends our yard by about a mile or so of open prairie.  This is a rare commodity in these parts, so we snapped at the chance to purchase our not-so-wonderful abode.


At the time we said it was just a starter home.  We'd be out in five years max.  On to something bigger and better and definitely less common.

Yes, famous last words, I know.  That was 15 years ago.  Here I sit, in my little not-so-special house on the prairie, always looking longingly at those big houses in nicer neighborhoods.

But looks can be deceiving.  As I look back over the years, this unimpressive neighborhood is home to some pretty outstanding people.

When I was pregnant with my last, I was very sick in bed.  And I could let my children play on the streets unattended, because I knew my neighbors were all watching out for them.

When my oldest son, who is autistic, was having a difficult time last year, the neighborhood kids, many of them teens, would willingly take time out of their days and walk him down to the pond to go fishing.

When things were tough and our yard a mess, no one complained.  Instead, I had neighbors over helping me clean my house and cooking us meals, because they knew we were having a rough go of it.

I can honestly say, we have never had a major problem with a neighbor.  Whatever minor disagreements there were have always been solved by a simple knock on the door or a ring of the phone.

Tonight, the kids in our neighborhood -- all 25 of them -- will put on their annual play.  Totally written, produced, directed and starring the diverse group of young ones, they've been doing this for six years.  Everyone is included and many schools and organizations could learn a lesson or two from this success display of inclusiveness.

Tonight, as we sit and watch their production, I'll be very proud of my four.  But I'll also be thankful for my ordinary neighborhood and its not-so-ordinary people.




Humble and Thankful,



Call Me Crazy...

Posted by ZenMom Thursday, June 3, 2010 Comments

...but I like camping.  Always have.

It may have something to do with my love of nature, sitting by a campfire or drinking some nice strong camp coffee.  Or maybe it's the big, bad-ass trailer I have sitting in front of my house right now.

OK, I admit it.  We don't exactly rough it.  Sleeping on the ground is just too much for my old bones these days, so we opted for a few creature comforts.  Like a memory foam mattress.  And a microwave.  And a potty.  That wonderful, glorious potty. Bet you never thought you'd see glorious and wonderful in the same sentence as a toilet?

Even with all this stuff, it still took three days for me to recover from our weekend camping trip.  But all in all,  I'm happy to report that we made it through the first Zen Family camping trip of the year -- and everyone lived to tell the tale.

While the trip was by all accounts a success, it was not without its highs and lows. 

Day One:
We were only an hour late in heading out.  Not bad for our crew.  Everyone was in a decent mood and no tantrums or meltdowns.  We were definitely on a roll.

Too bad the same couldn't be said for our tire.  About half the way to our destination -- in the middle of nowhere, of course -- we heard a low rumbling noise.  This quickly turned into a What-The-Hell-Is-That? kind of noise.  We pulled over to find out that our front tire was totally trashed.

Thank God for Roadside Assistance. One hour and a few hundred dollars later we were on our way with a new tire and a passel of grumpy kids.  It might of had something to do with the bones we saw on the side of the road.  My husband said they were cows, but no one was entirely convinced.  Except for the dog, who tried to have them for a snack.

Day Two
Would have been great, if we hadn't encountered hurricane force winds.  Nothing ruins a picnic like getting dirt and dust embedded in the eyeballs.  By the end of the day, everyone (including me) was convinced that camping was evil and wanted to click their heels and get the hell out of Dodge.

Day Three
What a difference a day and a little less wind makes. We went to a local zoo, waded in a mountain stream and actually enjoyed one another's company by the campfire that evening.  Camping was good and order was once again restored in the universe.

Day Four
My teenage daughter was so anxious to get back home to her texts and the mall, she was actually helpful in packing up.   Note to self:  we need to take her to the wilderness more often.  Its great motivation in getting some much needed chores done.

Call me a glutton for punishment, but in two weeks we head out for a week-long, thousand mile trip to the Grand Canyon.  Now that should be fun.


Brushing up on my cleansing breathes,


Zen and the Art of Motherhood

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