Friday, July 7, 2017

Deodorant and Term Papers

Three times now in the last week, I've experienced deodorant marks on my work clothes. And, not just the white marks. I'm talking greasy, residue marks that cannot be rubbed or washed out of a shirt.

The best part of deodorant marks on your work clothes is (1) if you notice it before you catch a morning flight and wash it out because you don't want to have to re-think an outfit in the dawn's early light and then, (2) you notice when you get to your destination, after you've walked through airports, sat on a flight and interacted with co-workers in a different city, that the stains are still there and look more like sweat stains than deodorant marks.

(The sweat could happen because I happen to live on the hottest place on earth and it is mid-July.)

(But, go with me on the embarrassment and that I had to facilitate a session in front of a group of people without flailing my arms around, rather keeping them pinned to my side so no one would notice the not-sweat, but deodorant stains.)

So, along with the deodorant marks landing on my work clothes, I've spent three evenings scrubbing out the damned spots. (Literature reference. This all fits in to what's to come in this writing.)

And, then, the scrubbing doesn't work. OK, it did on one of the shirts. The dress required another night of scrubbing. The other blouse is dry-clean only so now I have the deodorant stains mixed in with the water stains . . . Calgon. Or Tide stick. Or something take these stains away.

Welcome to my first, second and third part. These are the times I want and want for a fourth part.

You might be thinking. Wash out the spots and take them to the dry cleaner if that doesn't work and friend, you've got a fourth part.


I've a son in summer school. He took six hours the first session. Both online courses. Both basic requirements for his B.A. Welcome American Literature and Texas History to the Adams' house.

I mouthed off one evening early in the summer session that I would help my son because these were courses that really didn't contribute to his degree, and, hey, I have a Journalism degree and took many, many hours of English. The icing is his granddad was a History teacher.

Cake. With icing.

More like a natural disaster cake like my grandmother used to make. (Oh, I miss her. She named her desserts natural disasters because there was either a crack in the cake -- earthquake -- or something caved in -- sinkhole.)

When you squeeze in a semester's worth of work into four weeks, you get a lot of readings, a lot of writings and a lot of quizzes. And, a lot of late nights because your son works retail and typically closes, which means he gets home around 10:30 p.m.

All with a side of term paper. Only 1200 words. Again, cake. I can write 1200 words in a minute. I was a reporter who could knock out 10 to 15 inches of copy in a heartbeat. I was paid to write those words. This go-round, I paid to write these words. $500. We needed two As.

What did I learn this semester? I learned that there were Japanese internment camps in Kenedy and Crystal City. I learned the history of barbed wire. I learned about the journeys Texans took before the fall of the Alamo. I also learned that it is easy these days to cite sources.

Enter the term paper.

As many of you will fondly recall, in any English college course, there comes a requirement of demonstrating you are making progress on your term paper. The outline, the draft, the thesis statement and a sprinkling of potential sources. Gone are the days of going to the library and handwriting down the sources. Gone are the days of the MLA as we knew it.

Now, MLA is like on version 8 or something and you have web addresses to take into account. You also have to distinguish between print or web.

But guess what? Whenever you find the source you need, after hours of searching the only two allowable databases, you click this little button to the right of the source and up pops the MLA-approved citation. Come on. Easy. And, since the internet is always right, you don't double-check against any MLA information your history professor provides.

We (with a heavy emphasis on me) worked on the term paper preparation paper. We got an 86. I was astounded and disappointed. Apparently, the central question was two questions even though the second question began with 'and' and if that second sentence had been added to the first, it would have been a run-on.

(hmmm. . .some things never change.)

Put that 86 on the shelf. Or 86 it. Bring on the 1200 words comparing Native American creation stories to the original, Genesis 1.

(By the way, the Bible is a primary source and you don't cite it as 'God, The Bible.')

Chris began and I wrapped it up. We spent four evenings and a weekend pulling this bad boy together. We cited, we attributed, we quoted, we presented a fine analysis in 1300 words, give or take.

I got a 92. Oh, I mean, Chris earned a 92. 

An A. I was excited and thrilled. Chris told me his grades don't count, it just goes to credits and is indicated as a 'pass.'

My Grandmother would have named this natural disaster cake as 'the mom who hasn't enjoyed a fourth part in a week' volcano.

He passed. We're happy. We had As in those classes and we learned something. We discussed Thoreau's Resistance to Government (Civil Disobedience) and ways we step out and show our disagreement with our government (I don't buy garage sale permits). We talked about the internment camps and what that was and how it could happen today.

That's when I thought of the importance of these unnecessary, required courses. They spark conversation. Maybe not when you are in the middle of college and just wanting to get through these basics, but maybe when you are a parent having those late nights with your college student.

Today, Chris turned 20. The last few weeks have been time spent between the two of us working on homework, talking about the readings and yeah, griping about the grades. In only a few years, I won't have that time. He won't be home. He'll be away. He'll be having conversations about current affairs with other people.

Tonight, we'll have cake. It's not a natural disaster, but it is his favorite -- the yellow cake from a box with the chocolate icing from the tub. We'll go out to eat as a family. G will complain that the meal costs too much and Chris will order the most expensive item on the menu. We'll talk about the day Chris was born and birthday parties of the past. And, I may be a bit sentimental because I'll be wondering how I can remember the moment. I'll try to remember so I can attribute and cite the statements and conversation.

That's a perfect fourth part.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Polishing Silver and Depop

We have stacks of things to sell, things to do and things to organize around our house. A few of those stacks are in our bedroom.

I have a plastic bin full of Lee High School jerseys and shirts that are to be one day made into one of those clever t-shirt quilts you see all over Facebook. Note: Chris graduated from high school two years ago. I also have a duffle bag full of SA Celtics 2015 jerseys, t-shirts and shorts that are also to be made into a quilt. Chris' last game as a Celtic was August 2014. I'm a wee behind. But, these quilts are so dang expensive. And, I always wonder, will Chris really be excited about these quilts? He probably would have been two years ago.

G has a pile of clothes he wants to sell. He has some good things -- barely worn shoes, Adidas gear and other nice items. I have a bag of what I consider vintage clothing. Some Gap items from the 90s and a few other pieces from the depths of my closet.

We have a bag of clothes Chris has outgrown. Some of them still have tags on them.

I've tried the neighborhood sale sites on Facebook and had some success. Men's clothing just doesn't sell too well on those sites. And, no one seems to be interested in my so-called vintage clothing. I hate to just give these things away because I know they could fetch a price. I mean, they are indeed, 'so fetch' in and of themselves.

One of our babysitters has a business selling clothes on the Depop app. She has been super successful so I thought I would give it a whirl this morning. It's a Saturday with only a mid-afternoon birthday party on the schedule so why not.

I began snapping pictures of all these pieces, wrote captivating descriptions and priced these items to sell. Update: I've not received any interest. OK, it's only been a few hours, but still. These things are hot.

What is it -- one man's trash is another man's treasure? What if it's my considered treasure -- does that mean someone else thinks of it as trash?

The Depop app was to be one of those things that does work for me when I'm not working. That sounds like a Tony Robbins or some other entrepreneurial kind of inspirational thought. It's so simple. Upload and hit next and the offers should be coming in as if these were hot off the racks or from a sample sale.

(Clock ticking. No notifications on my phone.)

I like the idea of something working for me when I'm not working. That's part of the beauty of a fourth part. Think of the crock pot. That works for me and I don't have to be working in the kitchen. The DVR. That's a hard-working piece of technology in my house and all I have to do is ask it nicely to record my shows. The programmable dishwasher. It works while I sleep. The sprinklers. We program them to work while we sleep -- or when we think no one is driving around readying to report a water waster. (Maybe we just water our back yard during these summer water restriction months.)

An ideal fourth part is having other things working while you don't. Remember, it's about you. Only you. Doing those things that no one else is potentially interested in or doesn't understand (speaking from experience, G does not get the need to watch all things Bravo every evening).

My fourth part today on this un-event-filled Saturday started around 5:30 p.m. We went to the birthday party which was just about the hottest birthday party I've ever been to -- and it is the beginning of June and it was at a pool. (Oh yeah, we're in South Texas and it is June. We're touching the sun this time of year without any rain -- as mentioned above, water restrictions.) After I sweated off any bit of caloric intake from the past few weeks, the girls shoved some ice cream cake in their mouths and we came home. We walked into the nice AC and I ordered groceries. My favorite new working for me so I don't have to work thing -- Instacart. Not only can I shop online, they deliver within two hours. Yeah, there's an upcharge, but I don't have to even go near a grocery store -- not to shop or even sit in a parking space awaiting someone to load up my car with my order. Pure, sweet joy. Working for me. It's working for me.

Now, I just get to sit and type and catch up on some reading. We've been to the library a few times since school has been out and I typically check out a few cookbooks, a few non-fiction reads and a fiction book or two. I'm reading a Pat Conroy book, Beach Music. It's perfect for the summer and makes me want to visit Italy and Charleston. It's a thick book so it really isn't a pool or beach read. It's a read-inside-because-it-is-400-degrees-outside book. (Oh, the library has another one of those working for me things so I don't have to work -- I can place holds on books online. I do a quick search for a book, ask for a hold and when the books are available at my drive-through library window, I go by and pick them up. Come on.)

Is this working for me while I'm not working thing really just a fancy way to write, 'I'm kind of a lazy person who doesn't want to leave my house.' Maybe.

Even though we didn't have anything on the schedule today, G and I did do some deep housecleaning this morning. Some prefer spring cleaning. Nah, we like summer cleaning. I went deep in the dining room and he took on the bathrooms. Here's G's approach to deep cleaning a bathroom. It typically involves him walking out at one point, rubbing his eyes because he did a combo Clorox and some other chemical (we don't clean green around here on deep cleaning days) with a cloud of toxins following him. Hey, I've got some spit-spot clean bathrooms.

The dining room only requires a broom, a vacuum and a Swiffer duster. But, it was deep cleaning time, so I went through the cabinets and decided it was OK to toss tax returns from 2003 through 2008. I also found some Paris trip ideas I had tucked away in a travel box. Added those to a stack to read through to plan the big trip.

The other activity I took on since I had the dining room was to polish silver. I only have two pieces that I don't even think are 100 percent sterling silver, but they were tarnished. A pitcher and a baby cup I have from my grandmother. So, while G put on gas masks and wore hazard suits to clean the bathrooms, I polished. Lots of elbow grease and a little chemical paste later, I had shining pieces. The girls were so impressed with the before and after. They are gaining that appreciation for these antique pieces I have that one day will be theirs.

They won't have to buy them on Depop. But they will have to put in a little work to keep them preciously preserved.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Graduation and Pancakes

My husband works graduation every year. Some years are uneventful -- no one sneaks in a deflated beach ball or forgets to wear a tie -- and other years bring interesting challenges -- hair color not in standard hues or phones making their way out to the procession. This year, as has been the case for the last few, G is in the honor court. Selected by students, he sits alongside the graduates responsible for a row of students. He gets to watch them all night.

It is an honor. He appreciates the recognition. And, he gets to wear a gown. No mortar board, just the gown. 

When Chris graduated, G serving in honor court worked in our favor. I only had to worry about three people, the girls and I, finding seats, and Chris was just a few rows up from G. They were on the same side of the arena. Picture taking was a breeze and keeping up with their faces was not a problem. Both knew where I was and could find me in the crowd.

Chris graduated on a Friday. This year, Lee graduates on a Saturday night. So much for a family fourth part. 

We did go to the pool, but then as G left, I thought he was just going home to relax. Then, I remembered, he had graduation. With a start time around 7 p.m., he had to be there about an hour or so earlier (I think). He saw us lazing around in our post-pool wear and he was suiting up. Bless him. One, it is about 200 degrees today with a high percentage of humidity. Two, it's Saturday.

Aside from graduation, we have only one official activity on the books. The girls have a birthday party to attend tomorrow. This morning, we bought the presents -- buying for an eight-year-old boy is a challenge. Thank goodness for Legos and water guns. We also bought some other necessities at Target. La Croix, bathing suits, magazines and a swan float. 

Yay. We go to the beach Monday. I cannot wait. This is the only week-long trip we can take this year. Camille's Simone Biles program only allows for one week off and we jumped at the chance to get out of town. Port Aransas and Island Retreat are as familiar as G in the Lee graduation honor court. We know what to pack, what to wear, what to do and what to eat. 

I'm making a couple of casseroles -- millionaire spaghetti and King Ranch chicken -- along with desserts -- Trader Joe's vanilla cake and Rice Krispie treats. Then, we're packing up the cooler and the truck with all sorts of chips, cereals and snacks. I'm bringing almonds and Tone It Up protein bars because yeah, I'm on Weight Watchers.

The girls and I have started packing because I'm doing that cooking and assembling tomorrow. My fourth part will come Monday through Thursday next week. All day. Each day. The biggest effort is loading up the truck to go down to the beach to set up our tent, chairs and towels. Oh, and making a few sandwiches to go with us. 

Because the counter tops were full with beach fixings, I opted for an easy dinner tonight. Bacon and pancakes. Emptied the dishwasher and ironed while making dinner. (Maybe a few of the pancakes were browner than recommended.) The girls and Chris ate it up. I even ate a few pancakes. I had enough points left for dinner that I could -- and drink a Chardonnay that paired nicely with the buttery cakes. Come on, who cares about the pairing? It's Saturday. It's summer. And, I had four points available for the wine.

Fourth parts in the summer are sometimes so usual, you hardly notice them until you are a few hours into them. I've been watching season three of the Great British Baking Show on Netflix for the last hour or so and didn't even know it was almost 9 p.m. I've been going strong with a fourth part since about 7 p.m. This doesn't include the few hours we spent at the pool or the time after our Target run. 

I have to remember that fourth parts are a well-deserved right and during the summer are almost luxuriously effortless. I have to hold on to these moments because they don't come as long or as often during the school year.

And, just like those Lee graduates, I have to remember the days past are important as they influence the future. But, those future days have to be curated. They have to have purpose and meaning. They must have fourth parts intermixed with the other parts.

They must have a few extra points allowing for pancakes. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Fidget Spinners and Toothbrushes

A three-day weekend with rain in the forecast and in actuality.


Fourth parts of swimming or some outdoor adventure went out the door.

Lucky for my family, I like a good cleaning out when everyone is trapped inside. As Camille said after we cleaned up her room, 'that was fun.' Ah, yes. Passing along the sweet joy of cleaning and organizing.

And, finding things.

My girls like to pack away various items in backpacks, purses, drawers and containers. Oftentimes, we spend many minutes looking for that one lost something and discover it in a backpack. (The girls have about four backpacks each. They also have about 10 purses. Each. Add to that an overwhelming amount of tote bags, wallets and pencil cases.)

We've got a lot of storage where you can hide Barbie clothes and accessories, American Girl clothes and accessories and My Little Pony clothes and accessories. Can you believe those little horses have clothes? Yes, tutus. And, head wear.

Pencils, lip gloss, stickers, candy, ponytail ties, rings, bracelets and nail polish also find their way into the many, many bags we have on hand.

When it is time to do a room clean up and put things in their place, we start by emptying out drawers. The girls have a teacher drawer, an American Girl drawer and a personal drawer. The girls can fill those drawers up with whatever they want. When it is too full, emptying begins. This go-round, we pulled the drawers out. We found a pair of G's basketball shorts that had wedged between the back and the bottom drawer. The girls have used this dresser for over a year.

We also found old Valentine's Day candy. Caroline had a half-eaten bag of Fritos in her drawer.

After we bagged up the trash, sorted through Barbies and made tough decisions about what play jewelry to keep, the girls had an organized room. We are on day two and it is still looking good.

Along with finding the shorts, the girls found Barbie shoes in the bottom of Caroline's teacher tote. Camille exclaimed, 'I've been looking for these.' (Really, the gold wrap up the legs stilettos? You missed those?)

The biggest find, sitting underneath the Michael Jackson Thriller hat and the Jessie from Toy Story hat, Caroline's fidget spinner. Overjoyed. She needed a fidget spinner after the week or so we've been looking for the fidget spinner. She was so anxious about where she had put it and why she couldn't find that bright yellow toy. It was in her room all along. Tucked under the hats in the dress-up area. Not in the place where it belonged, but in their room nonetheless.

What a find. Organizing may not feel like a fourth part to most of you, but to me, it brings such pleasure. Finding the lost toy made it an even better fourth part.

That wasn't the only organizing and clean-up effort. With only three more days of school, I went through the pile of art work and homework I've saved. Cleaned that out into a more modest, savable stack. I went through my files and whittled those down.

Then came the bathroom. The bathroom shared by the girls and now, that their brother is home from college for the summer -- it's his bathroom, too. Along with headbands, nail polish and play makeup, there now is boy stuff -- shaving cream, after shave and razors.

Plus, six toothbrushes.

He brought home six toothbrushes. I laid them out on the counter and asked him to decide if he needed all six. They haven't moved. All six are still there. They aren't labeled with the days of the week. There are six.

How long will they be there? Until he moves back to school in August.

How many times will I ask him to go through them? Several.

When will I eventually shove all six back in the drawer? Tomorrow.

I need a fidget spinner. Where did Caroline put that thing?

Right now, I'm so glad he is home. It's been enjoyable and pleasant. He's been spending time with us, eating with us, going to the pool and even staying at home with his sisters when G and I are out.

This week, he is off a couple of days so he is going to be home. I don't know if that means the toothbrushes will be put away, but it does mean he'll be having dinner with us. I don't know if he will empty the dishwasher or pull up the trash can, but it does mean he'll watch basketball with his dad.

I don't know if he will clean and organize his room, but it does mean he will be living here if even just for a few months out of the year. He's here.

With six toothbrushes on the bathroom counter.

Where's that fidget spinner?

Friday, May 26, 2017

FOMO and Beta Fish

Please don't let my son know I used the phrase 'FOMO.' Let's be clear, I just recently learned what that stood for so I'm thinking I'm pretty hip.

I'm not a regular mom, I'm a cool mom.

It's the beginning of a three-day weekend. Memorial Day is Monday. Yes, I'm thinking of those who served -- Granddad among them -- and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom. I learned about the red poppy this week and wish I had one to wear Monday. I will update my profile pictures on my social media sites with a poppy to serve as my way to honor veterans.

With a three-day weekend ahead of us, and then, only three more lunches to pack -- yes, only three more days of school -- we have the world of opportunity and possibilities. Where should we go? What can we do? A day trip? A drive downtown? Explore our city? Sample different ice cream shops? I don't want to miss out on a day that could have some activity. FOMO?

We do have a few obligations this weekend other than the usual grocery shopping, laundry and cleaning. We have a graduation party and a coaches' party to attend. Both will be fun and require little planning on my part. Then, we have our anniversary dinner Sunday p.m. 21 years in the books. Our anniversary was actually earlier this week and we chose to celebrate over half-price Sonic shakes. 21 years people, 21 years.

Monday is free, wide open. I asked the girls what we could do and they suggested going to the pool or playing with friends. Well, that doesn't sound like a day trip or an adventure. I'm going to keep working that angle.

I also have a stack of books from the library. A few cookbooks, a few fiction reads and some non-fiction choices, too. One is titled 'Women Are Crazy' and it is about making mom friends. That makes me a bit sad because I miss my mom friend who moved last year. But, I have tried to make friends this year and succeeded a bit with a couple of moms at the girls' school. Two. Maybe three.

My friend who moved said there should be a or Tinder for moms. Can you imagine the profile questions? Do you eat organic? Do you prefer Trader Joe's over the traditional grocery store? Do you buy gift cards or Barbies for birthday presents? Do you cuss? Do you drink? Do your children get baths every night? Are you good at braiding hair? Do you watch TV? Do you let your children watch TV? Do your children know the words to songs from Grease and they are only eight years old?

Maybe that is something she and I should develop. We could be rich. We could have more friends. Wait, nah. I'm good with the friends I have. Yes, I could add a few and plus, I do want to connect better with the girls' friends' moms. (Too much plural-ness and possesive-ness.)

It's so hard. It takes work. I don't try to impress the other moms, but sometimes I feel like I need to present my best self. Whoa. That's too much like dating, right?

And, yet, we are here on a Friday night looking forward to a weekend with few activities. If I had new friends, we'd have to do stuff. You know, get to know you kind of stuff. Unless, everyone is feeling like I do.

Do we have this FOMO belief? If we don't have plans, are we missing out? If we don't have a full calendar, are we short-changing our lives? Are other people sitting in their front yards with neighbors enjoying the 900 percent humidity with cocktails and laughter? Are there mom groups making plans for activities and day trips on Memorial Day?


(Right now, Chris would say something such as 'that's not how you use it' and I would try to have a discussion. Oh, wait, he's headed off to Austin for a fun start to Memorial Day weekend. He doesn't have time to explain the lingo kids use these days.Plus, he isn't FOMO-ing. He's in the middle of it.)

I felt a bit of FOMO yesterday when I saw my empty Nordstrom cart along with the banner announcement of a half-annual anniversary sale. It's not 'the' anniversary sale, but it is a sale nonetheless. I have some Nordstrom notes waiting to be spent and I have needs for my birthday trip. I started to shop. I found some boots, sneakers, a pair of jeans and a shirt. I kept looking. I kept paging through the site. I even looked at sleepwear. I don't need sleepwear. I kept thinking, there may be a deal in there and I had the FOMO. (Are you supposed to use 'the' in front of FOMO? This is exactly why Chris doesn't want me to try and use the phrase.)

This FOMO is real. Sometimes I do get caught up in what am I missing. I have a DVR that records two shows at once, but that means something might not get recorded. Am I missing out?

I am trying to buy a backpack for work and you would think I'm planning a lifetime commitment. Am I concerned I might miss out on the perfect one?

I struggle with finding items for the home because I might not pick the one because there are so many choices.

I try to find the best show to binge on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu. Too much, too many.

FOMO, already.

I do try not to get caught up. I do try to appreciate the here and now. I do try to only go a few pages in on Amazon searches for products and not look at all the results.

I do try not to Google answers to all life's questions. I can't control what other people do.

After Chris left tonight, he sent me a picture of a Google search he conducted. It was on possible reasons for why a fish would die. It read that a change in water temperature can shock a fish possibly resulting in death.

Guess what happened before Chris left? His beta fish, Larry died. The fish I cared for since Spring Break. The fish the girls took turns feeding every morning and night. The fish who I actually talked to at times. The fish who Caroline claimed she would play with because he wiggled when she looked at him.

I cleaned the bowl tonight while Chris readied for his night out. I carefully scooped him out of the dirty water and plopped him in a bowl. I rinsed the bowl, filled it with the nice lukewarm water a tropical fish needs, squirted in the beta fish drops to help do something to the water and then put him back in his fresh bowl. I sprinkled in some food flakes.

A few minutes later, I noticed Larry was not moving. He was upside down. No fluttering fins. No gulping for air and snacking on food.

And, no emotions from anyone in this family except for me. I felt so badly. Gervais carried him in a net to the toilet. Camille quickly volunteered to flush him -- even waved at him as he went down. Caroline didn't bat an eye. Chris took a picture.

Now, you get why I received that picture of fish dying from shock.

Wonder what Larry will miss now that he is gone? The three-day weekend? Chris' new apartment next year? A bigger bowl?

Time for another search. What kind of fish will we buy now? How many results will that produce? There goes my fourth part on an uneventful Friday night.

FOMO on the right fish. It's up there with the right backpack, right booties and right friends.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Cable Outages and Library Books

Gray Sundays in the spring and summer months oftentimes mean 'stuck inside the house and why can't we go swimming' discussions.

This gray Sunday was a 'recover from the late p.m. birthday party' we had for the girls. They had two friends sleep over and by 10:30 a.m., it was just the Adams in the house. We cleaned up the yard and the glow-in-the-dark party favors, opened and put away new presents, organized gift cards and played with the new toys received from friends. 

I wasn't feeling well (the gray day, maybe) and Chris woke up with his back-in-San Antonio allergies. This gray-ness was kind of taking over. The girls wouldn't let it. I mean new American Girl doll accessories, gel pens and Shopkins kept the color in their day.

Along with G going to HEB and making returns to Party City with unused glow-in-the-dark hair spray, black lights and neon paper goods, Caroline had a make-up horse riding lesson and I needed to make a quick run to Target. And, when I write 'quick' run to Target, this time, it really happened. Gray days can make you move quickly -- a storm looked to be coming in.

After horse riding, which is where we learned there is horse camp this summer with arts and crafts and swimming -- oh, and horse riding, too, we dashed into Target. First stop, Starbucks. Three frappuccinos (my children). Then, a return of a dress my mom gave Camille, and we found a replacement.

With Chris home for the summer, and when he is indeed home, I can run errands solo even if G isn't home. I dropped the fraps and Caroline, showed Camille her new dress and then dashed to the library. No stopping and going in because we have a drive-through window. I mean, how easy is that. (Doesn't that read like Ina Garten?)

The librarian said to me it was a perfect gray day for reading. This gray Sunday was proving to be a winner. Yeah, it was a bit chilly at horse riding and yeah, we had to dash in and out of Target to avoid the pending rain. But, I could come home and just read and read and read. I had three cookbooks, three self-help kind of books and then some fiction. 

While I paged through a cookbook, I multi-tasked by watching some episodes of the newest season of Master of None. That is a good show. Aziz Ansari is funny. The writing is solid. There are some memorable lines and moments. I was humming along, thinking I would finish up that series and move into Kimmy Schmidt. I am a binge-r.

In the middle of episode nine, the internet stopped. I heard a couple of voices in the house bemoaning that the cable went out. I even heard one person mention he had to go LTE. The travesty.

I had books. I could relax and start to feel better. I continued to page through the cookbook. I continued to rest. Remember, my stomach wasn't quite right.

With the cable and internet down, my family came to the living room and then, the kitchen. Dinner made by G, table set by Chris and everyone sitting down together. I even came in and ate plain noodles (the Keto challenge is over, praise God). And, we laughed. We told stories. The girls imitated their brother. There was also some 'dabbing' taking place.

Cable and internet still down. 

I cleaned up the kitchen and everyone gathered in the living room. Then, I heard magic words from my son. 'Who wants to play a board game?'

Gasp. Take pause. Thank God for the cable and internet being down.

We played Dice-Capades. It is a fun game a co-worker recommended last year. It has you act out things, name lists of random items and answer trivia. All with various shaped and numbered dice. Caroline had to name six Presidents. Chris had to name a single talk show host. Gervais had to guess the amount Elvis paid for Graceland in 1957. Camille had to challenge Chris to three rounds of rock, paper, scissors. I had to list three palindromes (I went with mom, dad and tot. Chris suggested race car. I had never, ever thought of that one. Camille's face was full of wonder at her brother's brilliance).

Chris won. 

I'm thinking the Adams won. 

A gray Sunday with a few things to do that ended up getting done without the internet and cable.

Chris survived. The girls made it. G lived. I read.

I'm thinking we all got a fourth part. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tarps and Delayed Flights

Remember the purpose of the fourth part? It's to be all about you. Choosing what you want to do. Choosing things to do that make you happy and feel fulfilled. Reading, writing, working out, watching TV, cooking, drinking, sleeping . . .

(Those might be a list of my fourth part activities.)

(Since it is close to the end of school, I'm choosing drinking and sleeping these days.)

(And, since I'm on another five-day challenge . . .this time Keto . . .I'm not able to drink.)

(So, sleeping it is.)

Except for last night.

I didn't sleep very well because of two or three or four reasons. I was sleeping in a hotel bed. I went to bed really late because of a delayed flight. I was so excited to wake up and move my son home for the summer.

I forgot sleep aids. The room had a hint of cigarette smoke in the air -- I guess that is what you get when you use points. Caroline was asleep right in the middle of the bed when I arrived and moving a sleeping seven-year-old at midnight is like moving a bag of rocks.

So much for my planning.

Before I left the house yesterday, I had two hours with zero activities. I cleaned the fish bowl and fed the fish. I did laundry. I unloaded the dishwasher. I made sure I had my make up, nighttime moisturizer and contacts packed. I had blank checks in my bag (my son is in college, you need loads of blank checks).

I watched a little TV. And, left the house spit-spot.

Oh, if the flights would have been as cooperative and predictable. Nope. Delayed and delayed.

Fortunately, I had WiFi on both flights. I was able to watch the Housewives of New York on the first leg of the journey. I listened to a few podcasts while waiting for flight number two. And, I had window seats both flights.

But the second flight wasn't so pleasant. A large man -- in height -- sat in the middle seat. And, his right elbow was in my left side most of the ride. I had a 'lap baby' who I think was really about three-years-old in the seat behind me. He kicked and kicked and hit and hit and cried and cried and whined and whined. Hey, I get it. His bedtime was way overdue. He needed a sleep aid and his mom needed a drink, I'm sure. But, I was over the kicking, hitting, crying and whining. I tried to sleep but the frequent elbow to rib and kick in the back prevented rest.

I knew all would be better when my son picked me up and took me to the airport. It did get better. That short 10-minute drive was full of conversation. In that short ride, he told me about his thoughts on changing his major, ideas on the summer, saving money and a possible trip with his dad for their big birthdays (20 and well, something more than 20).

Hearing his voice in person, being in the same car with him and planning a few months together was my perfect fourth part.

Today's fourth part must have been the six-hour drive. It didn't seem too long and I did read and watch a few episodes of the new season of Master of None. Allora. Grazie mille. Prego mille.

But, there was rain in the forecast. And, we had a mattress and box spring in the bed of G's truck. After the moving it downstairs from Chris' apartment, loading it up and then re-loading when we discovered there were a few other pieces of furniture that needed to get into the truck, I wanted no ruin to come of them.

I dropped a few hints along the long, long drive as we made our way through little towns that we may need a tarp. I'd look at the weather forecast and mention it looked like rain up ahead. I made comments as we passed mercantiles (OK, they weren't really mercantiles but we were in small West Texas towns and there were only Dairy Queens and stores of wares) that there are bound to be tarps for sale.

As we rolled into Menard, there was both a little grocery store and a dollar store. I could drop hints no more. I said, 'We need to pull over and find a tarp.' Guess what? The grocery store had two . . . no price tag, so we made it up and $7 later, I had a tarp. Wait, we then had to kind of gently shove the tarp over the mattress without undoing the bungee'd, hooked up lattice-like contraption G put together to hold everything down. I think he said, 'straighten out the strap' a few times. Similar to my tarp plea, it went unlistened to so he had to go back and correct my work.

With under two hours left and a tarp wrapper 'round the mattresses and only a few flaps in the wind, we headed home. A couple of work calls didn't stop me from experiencing a full fourth part feeling.

Remember, fourth part is what I want to do. It's what brings me fulfillment. It's what makes me happy.

And, with all five of us under one roof, eating dinner together (I had planned ahead and made a pork roast that just required heating up) and organizing Chris' room, I was feeling really fulfilled doing what I wanted to do. I was happy.