Tag Archives: help

Help! I’m Buried (Under *#$@!) And I Can’t Get Up!

I have decided that should I ever go away and trust the running of my home to anyone else, other than myself — it’s not worth going.

I mean it.

Never again.

If I should have the opportunity to take a trip and leave everyone else at home again? I’m not going.


I’ll go.

But everyone else has to leave the house, too.

I took my daughter on a Girls-Only-Mother-Daughter-Extravaganza. We had a blast. And I realized about 2 hours into the trip that this was the first time in 18 years that I’ve gone on a vacation and not had to pack/plan/take care of anyone else but myself. About 12 hours into the trip, I realized, Hey! I’m going to bed. And I just have to brush MY teeth, wash MY face, put on MY pjs and then hop into bed. (My 18-year-old daughter can do all that for herself now. Joy!)

When I woke up the next morning?



I woke up. Got showered and dressed. Grabbed my things and we were out the door.


I didn’t have to comb anyone else’s hair. I didn’t have to set out clothes for anyone or find missing shoes or tie anyone else’s shoes. I didn’t have to make sure we had all of “our” stuff. I didn’t have to hear “Hun, did you pack my swim suit?” or “Mom? Why can’t we have a maid at home?” (Uh, ya’ do!) I didn’t have to shush anyone 112 times down hotel hallways.

And then?

I came home.


My utopia vanished.

And they tricked me! That’s what really gets to me.

About 4 hours from home, I called from the road. In the background, I heard the vacuum cleaner. “We’re getting ready for you to come home,” my mother-in-law said, “Your husband said he wants you to come home to a clean house. Where do you keep the cleaning rags?”

Awwww. I melted. What a gem of a family I have.

So, for the rest of the drive I had visions of gleaming floors, folded laundry, shining bathrooms.


Dust bunnies, or should I say tumbleweeds, the size of my head. I’m not kidding. We have a golden retriever and he chose the week I left to shed at least two coats of fur. We could make another dog. When one tumbleweed wafted by as I opened the door I tried to ignore it.

What about the vacuum cleaner I heard?

“#2son knocked over your plant on your bedside table. I hope I got it all out of the carpet,” says sweet husband who insisted on white carpet in our bedroom because it will be our oasis, away from the kids and they’ll never be in there.

Hampers are overflowing. Escaped socks and damp towels are trying to make a break for laundry room.

“I didn’t know how you liked your laundry done,” says sweet mother-in-law.

Clean, I think to myself.

The bathrooms? I’m too embarrassed to even think of a witty description. I’ve tried. I sat here, mouth agape, trying to be clever. Besides my mother-in-law, there were two grown men and two small boys making their presence known, if you get my drift. Disgusting is all that comes to mind.

I’ve been home a week and I’m just now coming up for air.

Nope. It’s decided. Go on a vacation, by myself, and leave my home in someone else’s hands?



(Disclaimer: My mother-in-law is, indeed, a gem. She plays with the boys, she takes them on adventures, she cooks and bakes and keeps the kitchen sparkling. The zones described above were, apparently, out of her jurisdiction.)


Filed under All In A Day's Work

Needing Some Comment Advice After My Advice On Comments

Are you confused? Well, now you know how I feel.

Seriously. I’m a nice kid. I try always to play nicely. I try to be fair. I try to be kind, even when I disagree with you. But there are some comments on my blog that I just don’t get and I’m not sure how to handle.

WordPress has a nifty little feature where if you haven’t commented on my blog before I get to approve of your first comment. You don’t know how many times I struggle with “approving” someone or not. First of all, as judgemental as I try not to be (Quit rolling your eyes – I said I try not to be. I didn’t say I never judge.), approving someone’s comment feels….well…..judgemental.

What to do? What to do?

For example:

a) There are the comments that obviously, obviously, so very, very, obviously come from someone who barely skimmed my post. They read the title, assumed what it was about and left  a vague, not even helpful comment. You know what they say about ass-u-me?


b) There are the comments by people who obviously read what I wrote but write such a flaming, almost nasty retort I’m afraid they might hunt me down and kill me in my sleep if I don’t press “approve.”


c) There are the comments that feel like spam, read like spam, walk and talk like spam. But when I visit the blog they came from? Not spam. Real live blogs, written by real live people that…well, write like spam.

So, I’m curious. How do you handle questionable comments?

(Oops. There I go again. Asking questions that (hopefully? fingers crossed?) invite lots and lots of comments.


That’s what I am.

And proud of it!)


Filed under Blogging

If It Can’t Go In The Dishwasher Or Washing Machine? I Don’t Want It!

Call me crazy but if it’s dry clean only? Pass.

If it can’t go in the dishwasher? Pass.

When I first became a mom, I was the Director of Development at a small private school. I worked with the movers and shakers and I had to dress the part. That meant suits, linen dresses, silk scarves.

After a set of sticky fingers and the first spit-up on my delicate clothes I came up with a new rule: No dry clean only clothes allowed in my closet or on my body. Ever. (Or at least until the kids are out of the house…which means when I’m 58 and who knows what will be fashionable then) Firm in my no-dry-clean rule, I thought I had it all covered.

Then today, I read an article online called 5 Things You Should Never Put in the Dishwasher. I was intrigued.

Wood – Seriously? The dishwasher is my friend. It sterilizes everything. Every. Little. Thing. My kid’s toys. Cups. Silverware. Including my wooden spoons. Of course I wouldn’t put my beautiful teak salad bowl in the dishwasher. Wait a minute. What teak salad bowl? Oh, that’s right. I have kids. I can’t afford a beautiful teak salad bowl. That bowl on the left? $124.99! For a salad bowl. My cheap all-purpose bowl will just have to do.

Knives – Apparently, knives in your dishwasher will get chipped and dull. Now, I know this. I just choose to ignore it. Who out there hand washes all of your knives? Raise your hands. Higher. I can’t see you. Oh, wait. There’s one knife washer, there in the back. With quite a few band aids on those fingers. See? You should be using the dishwasher like the rest of us.

Crystal/Hand Blown Glass – I purposely put the crystal from my first marriage in the dishwasher hoping something will happen to it. Apparently, having stuff from your first marriage in your second marriage is bad feng shui. But I can’t bear to toss out perfectly good crystal. So, I put it in the dishwasher. Darn it. Those suckers are here to stay.

Pots/Pans – Are you kidding me? The amount of pots and pans I can go through in a given day? And if the kids are “helping” me? My husband “helps,” too. As in, “cleaning” the kitchen when I cook. And his idea of  “cleaning” the kitchen is loading the dishwasher. (I’m using an awful lot of quotes in this paragraph. Sorry. But they’re totally necessary.) Everything that isn’t nailed down goes in the dishwasher. Including the pots and pans. And I’m not complaining or telling him any differently. If I did, then I’d have to wash pots and pans. By hand. All. By. Myself. After I put away the leftovers, wiped down the counter, stove, table and chairs, and swept the floor. Basically, cleaned (no quotes necessary) the kitchen. So, no. Thank you.

Gold Trim – ? ? ? Really? Gold? Real gold? Isn’t that for display only?

I’ll never forget when we bought our entertainment center and my husband was mortified that in one of the cute little cubby drawers I put wipes and about 5 disposable (clean, of course) diapers in there. It was hidden. And it was convenient. Quick change. No need to run upstairs. He thanked me after about a day.

You have kids, your life changes. Completely. In every aspect.

So, say no to dry-clean and hand-wash only. We need all the help we can get.


Filed under All In A Day's Work

Help Me Keep Oil In The Lamp

I’m still struggling with my post from yesterday. About female suicide bombers. I can’t get it out of my head. And I want to apologize for it’s length, or more precisely the lack of depth to my inquiry. It was a mere 394 words. Typically, when I am charged about something I have to be careful not to create a short novel. I’m constantly editing myself, narrowing my focus to keep it a readable length.

But yesterday, I sat there, in shock, in front of the computer screen, still trying to wrap my head around the information I found on the internet. And I found myself typing my thoughts and then stopping short. It was hard to plow through. It’s a difficult subject to understand emotionally. I’m well aware that I was lost in a stereotype. Desperately wanting to believe in that stereotype.  I wanted to tell myself this can’t be real.

And in my search for information there was a short little blurb that struck me:

“Five days after the death of Jabbar, the Awakening leader, his wife gave birth to a daughter. Last month, Baidaa Muhammed, 30, sat in their living room, in front of a gold-framed photo of her husband. The baby was named Hibatullah, or “gift from God.”

As Hibatullah rested in her lap wrapped in a white blanket, Muhammed, her face streaked with tears, declared: “I hate women.””

I hate women.

Why would she say that? Did she feel abandoned? Worthless? Angry? Possibly. Her husband was Naeem Jabbar. He was the leader of a U.S. security group, Awakening, trying to improve conditions in Iraq. For about four months Jabbar had given food and money to a 19 year old woman begging in the streets. Because of their relationship, albeit limited, security never considered her a threat. But on an evening in July 2008, as he approached her as he had many times, she detonated a bomb that killed him, herself and four others.

Now, Baidaa Muhammed is a widow. In a country that does not cherish women. Her husband died trying to rebuild a broken country. And a woman is at the root of her loss. A fellow woman left her a widow and her child fatherless.

Jennifer, from My Wildlife’s Words, asked an important question yesterday: “What else has changed for women in the last 20 or so years?” I don’t know. But I wondered that, too, as I was writing and researching yesterday. I’m going to sit on that and someday I might have an answer.

But until then I feel the need to do something.

I don’t want Baidaa to feel abandoned. I don’t want her to feel alone. Most of all, I don’t want her to hate women or hate being a woman. I want Baidaa to feel loved, cherished, valued and empowered in a positive way. Empowerment shouldn’t mean strapping on a bomb to get revenge or to join your brothers with Allah or atone for your sins.

I did a search for best non-profits for women and tried to find some of the best ones. I realize, sadly, that not all organizations are legit. But I’ve done the best I can to provide a short list here that look promising. Please give, but not without educating yourself first. And if you know of other good organizations, please mention them in the comment section of this post.

We need to band together and try to stop this madness. We can make these past 25 years merely a blip on radar. One simple step can make a difference.

“If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.” ~Mother Teresa

Women For Women International – Helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives.

Care – Defending dignity. Fighting poverty. A humanitarian organization that focuses on poverty, especially poor women.

Americares – They deliver medical supplies and medical care here in the U.S. or around the world in times of disaster, civil unrest or daily struggle.

VDay – A global movement to end violence against women and girls.

Polaris Project – An organization committed to combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery.


Filed under Be-Causes

Shoes – One For One

If you haven’t heard about TOMS shoes I’m helping to spread the word. Suzicate first enlightened me with her post about her first pair of TOMS. She loves them! Her enthusiasm was catchy. I went to check them out myself. Yes. The shoes are cute. They look comfortable and I’m all about comfort. But then I clicked on the “Our Movement” tab and I was mesmerized.

One man. Blake Mycoskie. On vacation in Argentina. To play polo. He saw women and men wearing a style of shoe he thought interesting. It was the fashionable new thing. But then, literally right next door, he saw villagers without shoes on their feet. He spent the rest of his vacation volunteering at a local village. Fresh water was 2 miles away and walking with the children they had to stop every 5 minutes or so because their feet hurt. He took a closer look. Thick callouses. Cuts. Scrapes. Painful sores. He met grown children who had never worn a shoe a day in their life. Adults who had only owned a few pairs in a lifetime. Amputations because of deadly infections. He wanted to do something.

On the plane ride home he got an idea.

Blake Mycoskie was not a modern-day cobbler. He knew nothing about the shoe business. What he did know is that children around the world, in impoverished countries, were suffering because they lacked something most of us take for granted. What if he duplicated the “fashionable” shoe he saw on the polo field spectators? What if for every pair of shoes he sold he provided a pair for children in need? One for One.

So that’s exactly what he did. TOMS, Shoes for Tomorrow, was born in 2006. I love that this is a company that was started with the sole purpose of helping others. It wasn’t a shoe company that decided to do something good. It was one man, who wanted to help children around the world and he came up with a way to do it.

For some of us, the shoes are a little pricey. On the website they start around $40. Of course, they go up from there. If you’re the type that needs to see them live I googled it and Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom carry them, too.

I know many of us are focused on Haiti right now. And some of you may be saying, “Why can’t I just donate to some organization directly instead of having to buy something?” But if you like the shoes, if you’re going to buy shoes anyway – why not purchase them from a company with a primary mission to help others?


Filed under Be-Causes

Help! I Have Houseguests and I Can’t Run Away!

We’ve been entertaining since before Christmas. We’re on our second set of houseguests.

The first set was helpful. They loaded the dishwasher and hand washed dishes after I cooked. 

The second set? Let’s just say we have a different set of cleaning standards. And they’re the ones who are staying the longest.

There are  now seven children in our home.

I want my house back!

I love my family. I really, really do. But the chaos. I just want it to end.

But it was only a dream…………..sigh.

Only 2 more days.

(Happy New Year. I would add an exclamation mark but I don’t want to be too loud. I’m sending you this while hiding in my closet, said in a whisper so nobody finds me. I can still hear them all outside my door. I wonder how long it will take them to find me. Please send peace, quiet and chocolate.)


Filed under family

Pay It Forward, Random Act of Kindness – Whatever You Call It, Let’s Do IT!

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of the Philly couple that bought a stranger’s meal at a diner and for 5 hours customers continued to pay it forward. It reminded me that I hadn’t bought someone’s coffee in a while now.

About once every two months or so (I wish it were more often but quite honestly I don’t always think of it) I pay for the order of the person behind me in the drive-through or pay the toll for the car behind me when we go to “the big city” (as my daughter likes to call it.) Suddenly, this morning I remembered that it had been awhile so when I got my coffee this morning I paid for the car behind me, as well. Her bill was only $3.18. Hmmmm, I gave the cashier a $20. I looked in my rear view mirror and there were no more cars to pay for. So, $3.18 for my good deed of the day felt a little lack luster. I suppose I was expecting a little more grand gesture – not that I’m made of money, mind you, but I’m a few months behind in my good deeds. I was atoning for my neglect.

When I make these gestures I rarely look back to see the reaction. I hope to make a quick get-away, quite frankly. But this time? No such luck. I was stopped by two traffic lights in a row and she caught up with me by the second light. She rolled down her window. She searched my face for some recognition. She found none. “Thank you for this,” she said, “You don’t know what this means to me. I’m on my way to an interview. I lost my job a month ago and I HAVE to find work. I’d given these up,” and she raised her cup, “but I decided to splurge today for a little boost of confidence. Your kindness has done so much more.”

I could see that her eyes were brimming and she was fighting back tears. I was stunned into silence. I never said a word to her, just listened. The light turned green and she smiled and drove away. $3.18. Here I was feeling guilty I had only payed it forward with 3 dollars and 18 cents. But that $3.18 provided a much-needed boost for a woman in a desperate situation – looking for work just before Christmas. It meant more to her than I ever imagined it would.

So this weekend I want you to do me a favor. Pay it forward with someone else. Whatever you can afford. If it’s a meal, a cup of coffee, a bus token…for a stranger. Someone you never expect to see again. Then come back here to this post and comment about what you’ve done. Or post about it on your blog- but be sure to come back here to link to it so we can all read about what you’ve done.

Random acts of kindness spread joy like wildfire. I think they have more power than negativity. Together we can make the world a little happier this weekend with our small gestures. (Borrowing from Bender in The Breakfast Club) If he does it, then we’ll all do it and it’ll be anarchy! Let’s start our own little version of anarchy! Are you with me?


Filed under Be-Causes, RAOK

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor – But Then What?

A post over at My Wildlife’s Words  got me thinking. My grandfather used to volunteer much of his time at soup kitchens and homeless shelters. But he never gave money, outright, to someone who was panhandling. I asked him why. And he said to me, “Because you never know if they’re going to do the right thing with it. Before you can help them they need to know how to help themselves.” He always did a litmus test with people begging for change. He’d tell them no, but if they wanted he would buy them a bowl of soup. If they took him up on the offer of a bowl of soup he’d buy them a meal, give them information on where he volunteered and often slipped them more money. If they turned him down he knew they weren’t ready to be helped.

But in my younger days I still gave them money any time they asked. And naive little me, visiting the Detroit Art Institute was approached by a gentleman who had run out of gas. Please? he pleaded, My wife and kids are sitting in the car. We just need enough gas to get home. I handed him a 5 dollar bill. He thanked me and approached another couple with the same story. I just assumed that he need more than $5 in gas to get home. We toured the gallery and walked to a nearby place for lunch. Crossing the street I see the desperate gentleman I had been approached by earlier, sitting with this buddy, drinking something out of a brown paper bag. I’d been had.

So I became jaded. I refused anyone who approached me for money. I wasn’t about to do my grandfather’s litmus test. Me? A lone female taking strange men or women to lunch? But I volunteered at our local homeless shelter, serving lunch a few times a month. I donated to causes that meant something to me.

I remember one particular Thanksgiving my sisters and I all met at my parent’s house in Louisville. My sister and I had to run out to the store. On our way, in an abandoned parking lot was an old station wagon. The back was made into a makeshift sleeping loft. Clothes and personal belongings were heaped in garbage bags. A woman dressed in tattered clothing sat outside her car with a sign begging for money. No work, she claimed. They lost their home. Trying to make it back home to California. Two children, in equally tattered clothing sat beside her. My sister cried, “Stop! We need to help them.” I kept driving and told her, no.  She was annoyed. And in the grocery store she grabbed her own cart and filled it with food. She insisted on stopping on our way home to give them the food. The woman tried to look grateful but told my sister what they really needed was money. Embarrassed, my sister reached into her purse and handed her a twenty. She tried again to leave the food but the woman refused. Puzzled, my sister got back in the car and we drove home in silence.

Later that night, on the evening news, was a story about that very woman. Evidently, a reporter followed her “home.” She used her electric garage door opener to shuttle her car away to safety. And then, presumably, entered her home. A very nice home. A very nice neighborhood. Homes with 3 car garages. Manicured lawns. When the reporter tried to interview her the door was slammed in his face. But of course, he had more information. It was estimated that she scammed $30,000 a year. Her husband was gainfully employed. She was well-known for several haunts, using different stories and signs.  And she used her children in this scam especially around the holiday season.

While visiting Savannah recently we were in a very nice specialty food store. They had gourmet jams and jellies. Wine and sweets. They also had a deli with hot and cold food. A man approached me and my son. He asked for money for some food. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to teach my child about helping someone in need. My husband was close by. There were plenty of people in the store and I could use my grandfather’s litmus test and feel safe using it if the man took me up on my offer to buy him a meal. He did take me up on my offer. We approached the counter so he could tell the server what he wanted. The server refused. I told him, No. This is my friend and I’m buying him a meal. The server still refused and told me panhandling is illegal. I told him I offered to buy him a meal. Reluctantly, he gave the man the food and I paid for it. But then he sternly told the panhandler to leave the store and never come back. And then sternly told me it was against the law to give money to panhandlers. There was a stiff fine and it was posted all over the city. I guess if they discouraged people from giving money to panhandlers they would leave and try elsewhere. So much for the lesson for my son. It turned into a big lesson for me.

Help or not to help? And who is it helping? I worked in the employment industry for a short time. Couple that experience with any of the charity work I’ve done I’ve learned there are people who want to help themselves and a “handout” will tide them over until they can make it on their own. And I’ve learned there are others that simply want the handout. Many people who need the help don’t know it exists. This country is a country of enablers. We want to reach out to others (Give me your tired, your poor). But we need to do a better job of making sure that the people who need it know where to find help. Most of all, we need to help create a society that doesn’t expect or rely on handouts to get by.


Filed under Be-Causes