1 Cup of Common Sense

 

I enjoying cooking dinner, and I’m pretty good at it too.  Unfortunately, I sometimes forget to add common sense to the recipe…

Like tonight.  About halfway through my meal prep, smoke started to pour out of the oven. Through the chaos of the smoke alarms blaring, opening the doors to air out the house, and turning on every ceiling fan possible, I realized that the grease from the meatballs had fallen onto the stove bottom.  I chose to use the cookie sheets without sides.  This caused my husband to have to quickly wipe out the bottom of the stove, while shaking his head with his best ‘Only you’ smirk.

While I waited for the oven to be clean so I could continue cooking dinner, I remembered another time I decided to forgo common sense…

I was 12 years old and babysitting the two little girls across the street.   It was snack time and we had voted on microwave popcorn.  So, being the responsible babysitter I was, I asked the 8 year old, “How long do we put the popcorn in for?”  Her response…”8 minutes.”

Several questions still haunt me to this day…

Why did I not just read the directions on the bag?

Why had I never made microwave popcorn prior to that day?

Who asks an 8 year old for help?

As 95% of the world knows, 8 minutes is entirely too long, and it only took 5 minutes in for the house to become smoky and to reek ofburnt popcorn.  As I quickly removed the bag from the microwave, and tossed it into the sink, I realized a very important lesson…I was incredibly book smart, but strongly lack what my mother referred to as, ‘street smarts.’

“Common sense, not so common,”  is a favorite saying of my husband.

I then remind him that he didn’t marry me for my common sense…he married me for my looks.

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My Willpower is Weak

Since today is National Poetry Day…

Like many people out there, I have a few flaws.

Nothing so bad that I’m breaking some laws.

If I’m honest, my willpower is absolute crap.

Time after time, I am lured in its trap.

On Monday, healthy food is where it’s at.

By Wednesday…ohhh Chipotle!  I’ll have that!

Just one more Netflix episode, then onto the chores.

Eight binge hours later, it’s time for some snores.

Productive days off…I’ll get up around seven.

By the time I roll over, it’s ten to eleven.

One more chapter, then bed, I need to sleep.

As I turn the last page, my alarm starts to beep.

 

Weekends only for cookies and candy and cake.

It doesn’t count when I add some fruit to my shake.

I’ll fix it one day, there’s no need to stress.

My willpower is  a constant work in progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sump ‘Pump’ed Up

I was blessed with two very hands on parents.  My mom and dad didn’t call repair men, they took care of pretty much everything on their own.  And, lucky for me, they passed down their DIY skills eagerly.

Whenever my parents were doing some sort of home project, both my sister and I were right next to them, ready to learn.  We loved helping them and they loved our assistance, even, if at times, we were more of a hindrance than a help. My mom and dad taught us how to use tools, paint walls, follow instructions, and be confident in our abilities.

At first, my husband doubted my know-how.  The day after we closed on our new home, I looked at him and said, “I’m going to change the locks while you’re at work, okay?”

He laughed at me, nodded his head, and said, “Sure, I’ll help you when I get off.”  He’s lucky I love him, enjoy proving him wrong, and gave him the new copies when he got home.  He quickly learned to have faith in my talent.

So, today, when after finding out our sump pump’s life had expired, my husband turned to me and said, “I can’t miss work, you’ve got this, right?”

My first reaction was…Oh no, I’ve never watched my dad change a sump pump.  But then, I quickly  recovered, searched it up on YouTube, and went to purchase my supplies.  After two trips to the local hardware store, I was ready to roll.

I grabbed my tool box and dove right in.  Like most home projects, it was not as easy as I thought it was going to be.  There was much more involved than simply pulling out the old on and sliding in the new .  I sawed PVC, measured multiple times, fit it together to find out it wasn’t right, swore a few times, glued the pipe, and finally closed the lid.  I crossed my fingers and prayed to the plumbing gods before I hesitantly plugged in the sump pump…

The sound of water rushing up the pipes, draining from the pit, and not spraying all over my basement, was music to my ears.  I celebrated with a few fist pumps and some wonderfully awkward dance moves.  And then I picked up the phone and called my parents…”Hey, guess what I just did!”

The Hardest Part

The hardest part won’t be waking up and getting out of bed tomorrow because it’s Monday and I’m tired from the weekend.

The hardest part won’t be saying good-bye to my husband and fur babies because Monday is the day that I miss them the most.

The hardest part won’t be trying to get the students to focus and work hard because it’s Monday and they’re tired from the weekend.

The hardest part won’t be straining and pushing to get to the end of the day because no matter how much you sleep and rest on the weekend, Mondays are never easy.

The hardest part will be my kickboxing class.

It will be so hard to drive home and not go straight to the couch for a nap.

It will be so hard to change into my workout clothes and not my comfy pants.

It will be so hard to climb back into my car to drive to the gym and not catch up on my DVR.

It will be hard to get out of my car and walk into the gym and not turn around and drive to Target.

But once I’m in…

My body will work hard to get through the torturous 15 minute warm-up.

I will sweat hard while pushing through the bag rounds.

My left-hooks and right roundhouses will hit the bag nice and hard.

I will breathe hard through the speed round, through the non-stop punches.

On Tuesday, it will be hard to get out of bed because my body will be tired, but happy from my hard workout.

They Did It

 

I have the best parents…ever.  I dare anyone to argue that fact with me.

When I was born, my mom gave up her downtown office job to stay home and raise me, and later my sister.  My dad busted his butt during the week and surrendered his weekends to more working, so that we could have someone at home with us all the time.  As we grew, we never needed for anything, and we never knew how difficult it was to raise two children on one income.  Only now, do I truly understand how arduous it was to feed and clothe and educate and entertain two children, who at times were not very grateful, on a limited income.

They did it!

When my dad unexpectedly lost his construction job, but parents did not allow themselves to wallow in self pity or waste their breath on ‘why us’.   They researched and made calls and talked to banks and opened their own business out of our home.  The business did well  at times,  and not so well other times.  They never gave up, pushed through the rough times, and still provided us with more than we ever needed or wanted.

They did it!

When our home became too small for our family of four, my parents attempted to sell. Unfortunately, our little home was too little for others as well.  My parents’ solution…build more room, create the perfect home for us.  So, they drew up plans and called in friend and bought materials and literally built our new addition with their own two hands.  I’m still in awe every time I stand in those rooms…my parents’ blood, sweat, and tears are forever etched into the very fabric of their gorgeous home.

They did it!

When my grandmother became too sick to live on her own anymore, my parents moved her into our home.  They sacrificed their own bedroom and bed…sleeping on a mattress in the living room, so that their daughters’ lives wouldn’t be too affected by the new living situation.  They dedicated hours and days and weeks and years to making sure that my grandmother’s last years were as sweet and comfortable and happy as possible.  There were rough days, but through it all, they focused on us and not them.

They did it!

When life handed my parents lemons, they made lemonade, set up a stand, and sold the hell out of it.

 

Subbing for 8th Graders


At the end of  last school year, I made a difficult decision.  I decided to resign from full time teaching.  A lot factored into this decision, but we will save that for a later Slice.  To supplement my income, I became a substitute teacher.

Substitute teacher: most people cringe at the thought of that job.  Pranks…spit balls…disrespectful students…mass chaos in the classroom.  Movies and television give the job such a negative connotation.  But as a certified teacher, at a school I taught at for several years, I look forward to work every morning.  And when I know I’m subbing in the 8th grade, I’m even more excited.

Never in my life did I ever think I would say those words out loud, but I thoroughly enjoy subbing in the 8th grade, where I am placed on a weekly basis.  Jr. High students have always terrified me, but these wonderful kiddios make my job so much fun!

I look forward to…

The playful banter I have with several of the boys.  We can joke one minute and continue to work diligently on an assignment the next.

The hellos I receive as I walk among the students in the hallways, along with there sweet smiles.  They don’t have to say hi, but they want to.

The happy smiles on their faces when I answer, “Yes” to the question, “Are you our sub today?” (And I’ll admit, it’s an ego boost when they seem disappointed if my answer is no.)

The couple of girls, who fondly refer to my as ‘mom’ in the hallway before class.

The students who knew me before I was married, and insist on using my maiden name because “that will always be your name to us.”

The chance to teach them something new.  As a sub, teaching isn’t always part of the plan, but for those teachers that allow me to take on a new topic, I like getting the opportunity to enlighten students again.

Watching these amazing kids, most of whom I knew when they were just little 4th graders, grow into smart, respectful, and remarkable young adults.  I never, ever thought I would enjoy 8th grade, but I do.  I’m excited to see all the marvelous things these students are going to do with their lives.  I know I’m not their teacher-teacher, but I still like to consider them my students, that’s something that will never change, no matter my job title.

 

 

Chicago Sports 4 Life

To say that my husband and I are Chicago sports fans is the understatement of the century.  We may or may not have a problem.

  • My husband and I met at a Cubs game.
  • Our cat, Kaner, is named after Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks, and our puppy, Wrigley, is named after the Friendly Confines.
  • We believe in three seasons…baseball, football, hockey.
  • Dinner is complete without a rundown of the sports news from the day.
  • A peek into our closet will reveal several authentic (my husband is a jersey snob) jerseys from the Bears, Blackhawks, and Cubs.
  • Every Christmas, it is guaranteed that we will give the other some sort of Chicago sports related gift.  This year I received a David Ross Cubs jersey and my husband was given several World Series related items.
  • During the football months, every Sunday is dedicated to the Bears, no matter how bad they are that year.
  • Despite the fact that I am not a hockey fan, Blackhawks games overrule all other TV, especially during playoff season.  I may not watch, but I’m in the room for emotional support.
  • Both our birthdays fall near Labor Day weekend, so we forgo exchanging gifts and instead go to a Cubs game.
  • During Cubs post season, we spent more money on playoff tickets and bar tabs than we did on our mortgage.
  • When Kris Bryant threw the final out to Anthony Rizzo, which led to the Cubs World Series Win, my husband and I cried…probably more than on our wedding day.

Chicago sports are our life.  We live and breathe them…well most of them.  We don’t have time for the Bulls.