Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 25, 2014: Smelly Boys

The many dirty face of Baby Grant
I was reminded yesterday of the smelliness of raising three boys. Summer is especially a heat-filled bonus of odors to fill the nose.

"Who didn't put their dirty clothes in the laundry room?" is a typical accusation as I rummage through forgotten gym bags thrown on bedroom floors. I am certain I will find a sweaty shirt from football camp smoldering in a zipped knapsack.

My nose has expert instincts. Twenty-one years with a house full of boys has been a prelude to this perfection.

Although hygiene did improve with every year they grew, the smells would change. I would categorize them as worse with changing body mass which resulted in increased ability to sweat in buckets.

Yesterday Grant hopped in my car for a ride to lacrosse. My nose immediately went into full alert. There was clearly an issue.

"Is your shirt clean? The socks! Yes, it has to be the socks. Have you changed them today? Maybe you should spray on some Fa-breeze so we're not late."

Wanting to avoid my litany of interrogations, Grant slid out of the car anticipating a full clothing change. But the smell did not leave with him. It was in the car. A quick sweep pointed to his lacrosse gloves. The culprit was found. Who would have thought hands could create such a foul odor?

After assuring Grant that I had misjudged his personal hygiene, we drove to the sporting goods store. The gloves hit the dumpster before we walked in the door. Grant assured me they were too small anyway.

We learned from the nice man at the store that sweat builds up in gloves during active play. The result is a stinky stench. We bought a spray to alleviate this problem in the future.

Grant and I got a good laugh out of the case of the smelly gloves. On the drive home, I reminisced of my many years of smelly boys.

With tanned and chubby arms, they would hug me after a long day of summer play. Memories of three distinct boy smells filled my mind; strong chlorine mixed with sunscreen, bath time clean, or the familiar odor of dirty boys. With the third, I would tell the boys they smelled like a big brown bear.

"Mom, you don't even know what a brown bear smells like!" they would giggle.

My typical response: I was sure if I hugged one, it would smell just like them. And I still stand by this claim.

All this talk and memories of smelly boys lured me into the bowels of my basement where I remembered an old scrapbook page. Before blogging, FaceBook, and Instagram; I loved to journal and scrapbook. The pages above and below, sit side by side in an old album.

Alas...I do still love my smelly, silly, dirty boys. But I am guessing the day will soon come that my house will no longer smell like a locker room. I have dreams of it smelling more like fresh linens drying on a summer day......

And then I will miss my boys and the distinct smell of a big brown bear.

Grant at a year and Ben at five

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21, 2014: Driving Ms. Daisy

We had an unexpected surprise this morning. And not in a good way. Zach was the victim of a hit-and-run. Not something we expected as we hustled out the door in the wee hours for Lily's track meet.

This morning was an exercise in family divide-and-conquer. Garrett and Jake to rugby as Zach, Lily and I simultaneously loaded up for track. As I tried to open the passenger door, I was surprised with resistance. It wouldn't open. Upon further review I saw a bashed-in front quarter panel. The look on Zach's face, following my revelation, was one of shock and complete disappointment.

Since we needed to get Lily across town, I proceeded to pour myself next to Lily into the back seat. A non-functioning front door turned Zach into our chauffeur. It didn't seem to bother Zach, as his main concern was figuring out where and when the incident happened and how he was going to fix it. Not his best of mornings.

I spent the drive doing my typical explaining of how "it could be a lot worse". Cup half full strikes again. Zach drove in silence. There were no words from him. In his mind, the cup was neither full nor empty; just messed up.

Later Zach and I left the track meet to grab some lunch. This go around, there was no Lily sitting next to me in the back seat. With the front passenger door still hinged closed, I climbed in the back while Zach took the driver's seat.

I chatted away on Smoky Hill Road while Zach quietly drove his mother. And then it dawned on me.

Driving Ms. Daisy.

Poor Zach. I liked my new spot. And then I kept talking more. So many lunch spots to discuss. Options galore. What did Zach want? Where did he want to take me? What a beautiful day to look at clouds from the back seat!

I thought of the lovely Ms. Daisy. Is this what it's going to be like in forty years? I thought it best not to bring up to Zach the future feeding of jello.

Lunch ended up at Chipotle. Zach seemed pleased with Ms. Daisy for footing the bill. Then back in the damaged car with me in the back seat. All I was missing was a hat and floral dress.

I am too young to be thinking about my driving days taken away. But I have to admit that the chauffeur was a nice reprise. And don't worry about Zach. We have concluded that only a quarter panel will need to be replaced. An appointment with the garage is on Monday. He will have Garrett's car until his is back to it's former state.

I'm sorry that this happened, but sure did enjoy my short-term view from the back. Ms Daisy can wait. I will reclaim my role as family taxi driver.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 19, 2014: A Garden Patch

My very own garden patch
When I met my business partner two years ago, I knew from the beginning we were on the same page. Sharing the same work ethic and understanding of all that was right and wrong in healthcare, we understood that change was due and were collectively up for the challenge. Our business languages were aligned.

But although comfortable in my existence in the consulting world, I was intrigued at the business prospect of our working together. I plodded along, charging my hourly consulting rates and questioning my next steps.

And then one quiet summer afternoon, Fergus shared with me his life quote. What he stood for. What he wanted on his grave stone. Any doubt I had went away. We shared the same motto. The one that I recited on my most difficult days and on my best days.

"To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

So tonight among all the crazy and along with all the good in my world, I find immense joy in my very own garden. With the colorful blossoms and tenderly cared for greens surrounding my little home, I find solace and happiness. Life is good.

The sound of a bouncing basketball from my middle child shooting hoops fills our ears as we relax in the back yard. I am surrounded by intelligent and caring people in my work life. I have healthy and happy children in my home life. A loving husband. My little garden patch helps remind me what is truly important. Success is all in the definition and I firmly believe that the best days are yet to come.
A walk through my little garden....

Thursday, June 12, 2014

June 12, 2014: Hubby

I love my husband. A lot. My better half.

Today he turned 49 and tonight we celebrated with our friends. My heart warms for the cheers we had and the smiles we shared.

I have been known to sugar-coat things. And today was no exception. Daily life comes with adversity, but it really is so much better when you forge forward through the not-so-great with those you love. And a cup half full is always superior to the half empty counterpart.

So my better half and I forged forward as a team. One in combination. A great duo.

We survived our hectic day to a little surprise party for Garrett's b-day to close the night. As suspected, he wasn't as surprised as I would have liked, but the end result was just as good. Tables full of friends. Cheers. A good life.

And then we went home to what we thought would be a childless home. Instead Ben and his girlfriend, Lauren, were busy making Ben's sack lunch for his next day at work.

Ben started Garrett's day with an entryway full of balloons and a table loaded with Almond Joy's and birthday hats. We closed the night with Ben looking for affirmation on his act of birthday kindness. We concurred. A good day to turn 49.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Brucker. First as my husband and with many, many happy celebrations to come.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8, 2014: Lots of Plans and Lots of Changes

Tonight we had tickets to The Fray. The outdoor concert was to be at Red Rocks Amphitheater. This much-anticipated event would have been Jake's first concert and Zach's first Red Rocks experience. Garrett's friend, Gustavo, was in town from DC and was to join us as well.

But it wasn't meant to be. Gustavo evacuated early and the kids are instead watching Harry Potter in the basement. Our visions of a beautiful June night in the Rockies were rained on. In fact, they were poured on.

The term "rain, rain, go away" couldn't be more prevalent in my life right now. I think the black clouds are following me.

We were rained out from Red Rocks tonight. Working backwards, we were rained in to Chicago last Monday with storms closing the Omaha airport. And Mexico was more rain and clouds than the anticipated vacation sunshine.

But such is life. And life is still sunny, regardless of the rain.

Zach has comfortably moved into his new Colorado home. He and his step-brother/sister are co-existing comfortably. A warm and dry basement with a little vintage Harry Potter seems to be a happy spot for this trio.

Garrett and Gustavo had their planned afternoon bike ride rained out as well. The bikes were ready, but the roads were not. Regardless of Mother Nature, we still enjoyed a wonderful dinner with an afternoon full of catching up and good conversation. And it gave me a chance to get to know Garrett's long-time friend better. An opportunity that wouldn't have happened with their planned three hour bike ride.

So tonight I find myself with a computer on my lap and a decaf coffee to my right. I sit on cushions propped on the floor. Although the cushions belong to our outdoor furniture, our empty living room currently lacks furniture. We were expecting our furniture order last month. A unexpected change of plans delayed shipment.

I am beginning to believe that God gives us these little deviations in life just so we better appreciate all that life brings to us. The good things in life seem so much better after we deal with the perceived bad.

Such is life. By the way, the furniture is spectacular and worth the wait, I am sure. I'll post pictures once it's in and has been comfortably broken in.

I am quite sure I will always appreciate the comfort of this highly anticipated living room furniture. The feel of our month of using outdoor cushions as indoor seats will be planted in my memory. Until the shipment day actually arrives, my little spot on the floor is just fine. And we are going to give Red Rocks another shot in July. Goo-Goo Dolls and Daughtry are coming to town. A sunny night ahead....I hope.