a fresh start

Another school year is upon us and we are all trying to settle in to the new normal.  With both of the younger boys starting HS, I was determined to impose structure to the weekdays/evenings. To that end, the boys are expected to be home each night for supper and both TV and computers screens are off unless required for school work.

After the first day, I diligently scanned class syllabi and filed away those that I would likely want to refer to again. I made a list of additional school supplies needed with a plan to pick them up this weekend.  I am determined to keep all 3 boys on track, checking in each evening about what is being presented in classes, related homework, and what assignments were looming on the horizon.

E’s schedule underwent some changes after his case manager determined that the skills course that she originally placed in him was not a good fit. The stress resulting from all of the schedule changes and the transition to the HS environment finally erupted on Thursday evening.  I rode the wave of yelling and insults with deep breathing and a strong Brandy 7. The night ended well with E and I having some 1:1 time on the couch before he went up to bed.

Youngest one got his first taste of the rigors of HS sports. He plays on the freshman FB team and had his first game on Thursday afternoon. He plays offense and defense in addition to being the team’s kicker, which translates to minimal opportunity to sit on the sidelines and catch his breath. After a dinner of Subway and reading a short story for English, he put himself to bed at 8:45pm.

Oldest is embracing his final year of HS in his usual happy go lucky style. The part-time job continues and his goal is to purchase a truck before the snow flies. The college mail keeps coming and we told him that he seriously needs to consider what his next move will be. I still need to schedule an appointment for him to have his senior portrait taken. The only blip on the radar was a missed orthodontist appointment, my fault for not having placed it on the calendar.

I am enjoying my new job and recently was able to swap a clinic that was 30 miles away to one that is 8 blocks from my house.  Covering 3 clinics, managing the needs of 130 patients and working with 3 different clinical teams is challenging, but void of monotony. My love of organizational systems has paid off and made the job manageable.

With the crisp days of fall upon us, I am content. Tom and two of the boys are taking in the Renaissance festival today.  I plan on doing some grocery shopping and baking a loaf of 5 minute artisan bread. Later, we will celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary by taking in the Jazz festival on Selby avenue.  I think I’ll surprise Tom by suggesting that we take the motorcycle.  That might be the only gift that he needs.


trying not to freak out

As we get further into the month of August, I have spent more time thinking about what will be on my plate starting September.  I have spent a good deal of time this summer reviewing the research literature on the topic that I have chosen for my clinical research paper.  I have read at least 100 research abstracts of which only about 8 relate enough to my topic to be of use to me.

I have completed my orientation at the hospital where I will do my clinical internship.  Beginning the week of August 29th I will spend two  days per week working on the adult behavioral health unit. I am excited for the challenges that await me, but also nervous as I will be facilitating group therapy sessions for the first time in my career.  My husband offered reassurance by saying  “They (patients) don’t know what you don’t know.” So I will “Fake it until I make it.”  God help my poor guinea pigs.

The other 3 days of the week will be spent at my current job.  My boss is allowing me to go from  32 hours per week down to roughly 20 hours per week.  This has been a great blessing as I know other students who have been  forced to quit their jobs and take part-time positions that pay a lot less.

I have been saving money like crazy this summer in an effort to manage any unforeseen expenses that arise while my income is significantly diminished.  I know the best laid plans can come back to bite us in the ass, but I’m choosing to be optimistic.

Despite the tremendous amount of work that I will need to accomplish between Sept and May, I am excited to begin the semester. My first pass through the bookstore always makes me giddy.  I will also be purchasing a new laptop. My refurbished one was $250 and has served me well during the first two years of my degree program, however, I need something more reliable and with a battery life to insure that I have access at all times to my research.

So I will wind down the summer by reading a couple more books just for fun and enjoying my free time while I can.  I will thank my husband in advance for all of the work that he will be doing while I play the slacker wife for one more year.  Come May I will be gearing up for the job hunt and doing my share of the dishes again.

this and that

Well I survived the family vacation to Ely.  To call the place that we stayed a cabin would not be doing it justice.  We were in a lovely log home complete with hardwood floors and knotty pine covering the entire interior.  The kitchen was spacious and included a dishwasher. The log dining table sat 10 comfortably.  The home was tucked back into the woods which provided a great deal of privacy and most importantly protected our fellow resort guests from hearing the occasional “fuck you” and other priceless comments from the mouth of my dearest child.   There was a private fire ring surrounded by Adirondack chairs and  a log bench swing.  Our dock was also private.

Each kid had their own bed and each couple had their own bedroom.  The 3 bathrooms quickly became designated as boys, girls and adult.  You couldn’t pay me enough to clean that boys bathroom at weeks end. About midweek we realized that both the children and the parents were better behaved than in years past when each family had their own cabin.  I believe that the children were spurred to better behavior by peer pressure and an abundance of adult authority figures.  As for the parents behavior?  The gin, brandy and beer sure didn’t hurt.

The week was broken up somewhat by a 2 night  trip into the BWCA that included  my husband, 4 kids  and my  2 brothers-in-law.  A fun time was had by all. The kids carried their weight by paddling and carrying Duluth packs during the portages and as a result stood a little taller upon their return.

The subject of reserving for the same week next year came up during checkout. The  resort  will hold the reservation for one week and then open the week up to the public.  I loved being in that setting with my family however the stimulation and close quarters began to take its toll on me by Wednesday.  I also think that the kids were beginning to feel the stress  of sharing a bedroom with 3 other people and running out of ways to amuse themselves and each other.  Too much family time can backfire sometimes.  It is difficult to make a decision one full year in advance.  That being said, the location was ideal for our families.  Hmmm.

life is good

I am sitting on my couch blogging while enjoying a glass of wine and a quiet house.  My super human husband is a few feet away installing new lights in my kitchen, in between changing loads of laundry.  Yes, I am the slacker wife for now, fully aware that once I complete grad school I will need to get off my ass and start pulling my weight around here.   For now, I have research papers and text books to distract me from dust and dirty clothes. I can live with that.


Last week I arrived home from class to find that my husband had gone out and bought new phones.  Two nights ago I arrived home from class to find two used love seats in my yard.  My son told me that they were being given away by the next door neighbor and I was supposed to pick the one I wanted to put in the basement.  My husband arrived home and was shocked when I told him that I wanted neither one.  I shudder to think what I will find when I arrive home tomorrow night.  The man seriously needs a hobby.

But back to the couches.  My oldest son decided that he would put one of the couches in his room.  Tom thought that it was a great idea until I pooh poohed the idea. Do we really want to set a precedent of allowing couches in bedrooms I asked. He acknowledged that I made a good point.  Tonight Tom decided that he would move one of the love seats into the basement to replace his recliner that is ripped and broken.  Ask me if he measured the couch before he and Michael started down the stairs.  If you know Tom well enough you already know the answer to that question.
As I sit here and write there is a large love seat wedged between the staircase walls and ceiling halfway down the stairs.  It won’t go down and it won’t come back up, seriously!!  What do you even say to the guy in this type of situation.  “I told you so” just doesn’t pack a powerful enough punch for this particular situation.  “What the hell were you thinking?” not so good either.  I am open to suggestions.  I’m thinking the couch isn’t going anywhere soon.

P.S. Tom just sent Michael out to the garage for a hammer.


I walked into the kitchen this morning and was immediately struck by the difference in temperature between it and the rest of the house.  With a crushing feeling, I felt the radiators and soon realized that  the furnace was not pumping water to this area of the house.

My first call was to my dear Tom to ask “did you notice that there is no heat in the kitchen?”  His response was “No, it felt warm to me.”  During 18 years of marriage I have come to realize that Men don’t notice changes in their surroundings in the same Women do.  I understand that I am making a sweeping generalization, however, I’m pretty sure that any scientific study worth its salt would back me up here.   It was I that first became aware that our house is inhabited by a colony of mice.  It was I that noticed the smell of natural gas coming from the outside meter and two weeks ago I noticed that the front of the house was not being fed by the glorious furnace.

In some ways I envy Men for their apparant lack of awareness.  I would love to look at mouse turds on my counter and assume that they were bits of an Oreo cookie.  I wouldn’t then feel compelled to spray my counters with bleach water daily and yell at my children for the 100th time to put a plate   under their food.  It I lived in unawareness, I woldn’t feel the nagging need to solve the problem.

But alas, my powers of observation are exquisite and as I result I will spend my  morning waiting for the furnace repairman instead of going to the gym.  As I wait I will try my best to  count my blessings that there is furnace to be fixed and natural gas to power it.

Regarding my previous post “where’s the air freshner,” my Son asked if “stinky boy” could come for a sleepover this weekend.  Ten guesses on what my answer was.