02 September 2014

Autumn Has Arrived

It's been a crazy summer.

Juggling working from home with kids at home, going to Europe...Despite the days that seemed to drag forever when the kids were whining about boredom, the summer seemed to go by in a flash.

And here we are, autumn temperatures have arrived, and with it, the return to quiet days of peaceful solitude.

My house is still under renovation, my master bath still not back together. Two teenage girls battle it out every morning in the sole functioning bathroom before school, and Littlest and I avoid them at all costs. There have been mornings where I seriously understand those PTA moms who have Bailey's in their coffee... I can see the temptation, given that the first two hours of my day are spent in a hormonal war zone.

But at the same time, I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel... scouting out colleges for Eldest, beginning to plan curriculum for Middlest to get into the college of her choice. They've survived their undoubtedly drama and trauma filled childhood, somewhat successfully, as have I. And most surprisingly, we're none the worse for wear. In fact, stronger and closer because of it.

I'm content, like I haven't been in a long time. Things are falling into place, smoothly, and without thought or effort. I've been lucky enough see my sister a lot with our overlapping work travels, the kids are doing well, and we're having fun as a family. Life is pretty damn good at the moment.

Here's hoping autumn brings you the same serenity.

26 August 2014

Skipping down Memory Lane

It's a hot summer night, without a hint of a breeze. Tendrils of hair stick to my neck as I walk hand in hand with my lover. It's late at night here in SmallTown, well past the city-imposed curfew. We meander slowly, both because of the heat and simply because we've nowhere to rush off to. He's teasing me, and our laughter fills the night as we play hopscotch with the lamplight. Wrapping his arms around me, he pulls me close for a kiss, then picks me up... I halfheartedly struggle to free myself, but it's a ruse, and he knows it.

He compromises, "Come on then, piggy-back ride", he says, his charming grin as undeniable as it was the first time I laid eyes on him two years ago. I giggle like a schoolgirl...me? Piggy-back? Lord help us, I'm almost 40! But I oblige, and hop on, my legs wrapped firmly around his taut and defined waist.

We laugh as he skips down the street, carrying me like a child.

A police car slows down as it passes us, and stops. "Shhh," I say, trying unsuccessfully to regain my grown-up propriety as J puts me down, still laughing. "Yes, sir?" he asks, in his deep Southern drawl. "Your girl dropped something a few steps back," says the officer. He winks at us, "Carry on, kids." He drives off, and from the sidewalk, J retrieves the flower he'd tucked behind my ear earlier. 

Laughter in the lamplight, a kiss under the moon, and memories to keep me warm.

I'm a lucky girl.

He's been gone for months now, taking care of family in the South. Communication is sporadic, at best. Weeks go by without a word, as life gets in the way. Slowly his life has taken root there, and in unspoken agreement, we don't make plans for the future. In my heart there's an emptiness that I ignore, and I carry on. 

But he texted me last night:

"When I get back, I want to do some things with you that we haven't had a chance to do. Take you for a motorcycle ride. Fly you to Lake Tahoe and spend the night. Take you out for good sushi. Sleep under the stars with you. Sneak you off to a motel room and talk dirty to you. Help you around the house and play with the kids. Make you mine."

Pipe dreams, I know, spoken out of loneliness and longing. He's thousands of miles away, and I have no idea when (or if) I'll see him again, and yet... 

I'm a lucky girl.

18 July 2014

If Only...

It was Dancing to the Oldies in the ballroom after dinner one night while we were cruising Europe.

I was sitting with the boyfriend's family as couples filled the dance floor. Cheek to cheek, and hand in hand they danced to love songs as the sun set. The family drifted off, coupled up, as I sat by myself. The boyfriend was off playing chess somewhere, I'd been told, and I sat there... 

Wanting to be that old couple some day. The ones who had seen it all, and still wanted to dance with each other, still smiled fondly, still laughed together. The ones who had years of memories, the "remember when's", the shared look of knowing what the other is thinking, feeling, remembering. The ones dancing to "Put Your Head On My Shoulder".

I love the family, and they love me. More so than the boyfriend does -and truthfully, more than I do him. I'm a convenience, I know, I fill the spot nicely.  No drama, no bumps, I know the right thing to say at the right moment in time.

His brothers adore me, and are the brothers I never had. We joke, we laugh, we watch out for each other. If only...

Instead of "remember when's", I have "if only's".

If only the family were enough.

11 July 2014

Back To Reality

 ♪♫♪♫...  Back to life, back to reality...   ♪♫♪♫ 

Europe was great, but it's back to reality for me.

Meaning 2 children and 1 hellion spawned by Jekyll and Hyde, masquerading as a teenager, home ALL THE TIME. It's summer holidays, and every morning the day starts with... "I'm bored. What can we do today?" before they've even finished breakfast. In between fielding conference calls, laundry, being a short order cook, and actually trying to work, the children's incessant pestering is driving me bonkers.

My sister was in Phoenix for work last week, so out of desperation I squeezed all the children and their associated piles of crap in the car and road-tripped to see her. There's a "water park" resort in Phoenix, close to the office, so my sis and I booked adjoining rooms and crossed our fingers that I'd make it there with sanity intact.

Hours driving to Phoenix: 4
Hours made it before the teen started complaining: 0.25
How many times I got lost: 1
How many times I wanted to tell the kids to get lost: 672
Bottles of wine waiting in the room: 1
Bottles of wine needed by the time I arrived: Screw the wine, where's the vodka?

Once we arrived though, and I got settled by the bar pool with my laptop, the kids disappeared into the water play areas and it went fairly smoothly. Days spent with only the occasional grumble by the kids, relaxing and catching up with my sister in the evenings while the kids veg'd out in front of the TV, and unusually cool weather for the desert.

Working poolside

All in all, it was great.

And then we had to come home, as my bank account has been complaining more loudly than the children recently... sigh.

27 June 2014

Picture Post

I walked city streets, drank wine in cafes, and climbed castle towers. I listened, with half an ear, as the tour guide droned on about the buildings in front of us, across the plaza, and up the hill. I watched, as elderly tourists walked clumsily upon the cobblestones, while young couples strolled hand in hand through winding streets.