Teach Them to Make Coffee

The sky might actually be falling. 

Whatever. 

I think we can handle it. At least most of us. 

I’m not gonna lie, I was more perplexed than worried when our governor announced on Friday the 13th that all bars, restaurants and saloons in Washington would be closed for at least two weeks. I was mostly just obsessing on the use of the word ‘saloon’. I mean who uses that word anymore? But I figured Governor Jay used the word saloon because he thought maybe using just the word ‘bar’ would not be clear enough to get the point across: NO PUBLIC DRINKING IS ALLOWED ANYMORE in ANY PLACE except alone in your closet, hiding from the man-boys who might find your booze stash and either judge you or sneak some. Plus, there are usually spittoons in saloons and that would DEFINITELY spread the virus fast, in a super gross way. I totally concurred with GJ’s decision.

But then my husband told me to either get my glasses on or learn to read because the word was SALON not SALOON.

Dear Sweet Jesus, Mary, Joseph and all the very tired angels: Armageddon has come for us all and she has very bad hair.

But really? I have been wanting to grow my hair longer anyway. Besides, on Monday the 23rd, G.J. announced that in 48 hours all non-essential businesses must shut down and that in order to flatten the curve, people would be required to stay in their homes for at least two weeks, save for essential getting out reasons, like drive through coffee orders (because apparently no one knows how to make coffee at home anymore). So the only people who will be seeing me and my bad hair are four of my five sons who probably don’t notice that I even HAVE hair, my husband, whom I quit trying to look good for years ago, and my daughter on Facetime who for SURE cares about how good or bad my hair looks but soon won’t be able to see me through her own overgrown bangs.

Really, I’m not stressing about bad hair, no public drinking or eating, a tanked 401k (we don’t even HAVE a 401K so why would I worry about that?) or whether or not our kids will fall behind in school. The boys are disciplined enough to do the minimum requirements via online schooling and I have been stepping in every now and then to help them stay focused. For instance I requested that Mitchel shout into his video game headphones in SPANISH ONLY this week, so that we can ALL learn how to swear in Spanish, which somehow seems so much more polite. My plan for next week is that everyone needs to be up and at ‘em by at least 11 am. Mainly so that while I’m uber busy obsessing over the latest news and statistics from the CDC and the WHO (which according to my daughter is NOT a band, who knew?) someone can bring me coffee. Coffee that they learned to make at HOME. That right there is about as good of a mother as I’m going to be until Armageddon gets her bangs cut.

Stay safely sane and make the coffee at home my beautiful friends.

Think With Me For a Minute

You have one single loved one you know is at high risk and could die if all the people around your person don’t act asap. It could be your kid, your dad, your bestie, your spouse, your lover, your grandma. These necessary actions cause a lot of scary and possibly devastating financial turmoil for a lot of people who are not at risk but it saves your person’s LIFE. Would you not pray for the actions and potential sacrifice of the whole to save the life of your one person? Every single life is precious. That’s my take.

Eight and a Half Minutes of Abandonment

It’s early morning and I’m in a hotel room  in Orange County, California getting ready for a few days of meetings. I flew in yesterday, which I must say, was a day that felt like a complete fall apart after a long run of back to back peaceful days full of good choices and namastaying. 

Things went wonky when I could not find my green, eco-friendly, save the turtles straw that I use every single morning to drink the raspberry, spinach protein/vitamin shake that I drink every single morning right after my routine of morning pages, gratitudes, yoga and shower, which all happen in the same order, every single morning. Make note: none of these things had happened yesterday morning except the shower, because I had an early morning meeting before leaving for the airport. So it was truly the metaphoric last straw when I had to drink my smoothie WITH MY LIPS touching the CUP thereby gaining a semi-permanent purple ring around my mouth, the kind little kids get when they drink red Kool-aid. Only greenish purple. 

This led to further unraveling. For instance, I thought that my meetings were in SanDiego this week. Actually, I thought Orange County was a COUNTY that San Diego was in. So when I checked in for my flight, I had a total panic attack when they said I was actually going to Santa Ana. But then I looked at my meeting itinerary and it said Laguna Beach. Where the fuck was I supposed to actually BE?  Instead of blaming California for it’s lunacy of having one general location be called so many things, I instead started feeling bad about myself for not knowing where I’m going on such a regular basis. I am my own travel agent so I only have myself to blame, though you’ll be happy to know I was actually supposed to go exactly where I ended up. Which is pretty typical for me, by the grace of God and a couple tired angels. 

Then, the Prime Video shows that I thought I had strategically downloaded for my airplane ride, in fact did not download. So I turned to the book I had just purchased as a challenge by a friend to reread: “Atlas Shrugged”. Unfortunately the book had print the size of microscopic ANTS and I forgot my cheaters. So I had NOTHING to actually do on the plane except pretend to sleep because I’m trying not to work every second of my life. Except the guy next to me had to keep going to the bathroom every four minutes. 

These heinous first world problems all happened because I couldn’t find my green straw. 

I’m pretty sure someone in my family is fucking with me.  

And I WILL get to the bottom of this when I return to Spokane. But I’m here in Orange County/Laguna Beach/Santa Anna/San Diego where I’m pretty sure straws are against the law, among many other lesser things. 

For instance the sign on my bathroom door says: 

“ PLEASE BE ADVISED in accordance with CALIFORNIA STATE LAW this door must remain closed to provide clear access to the exit in the event of an emergency. Thank you.” 

Now, I am not a typical law breaker. Like my rigid morning routine typically helps keep me together in an otherwise hectic existence, most rules are in place for a reason. BUT come ON California: everyone knows that one of the many advantages of staying in a hotel room by yourself is that you get to poop with the bathroom door open. 

So I broke the law.

I’m a Washingtonian outlaw, breaking bad in California. 

Feeling rather free and feisty, I skipped my yoga routine and took advantage of another hotel delight: dancing with complete and total abandonment, jumping and shaking and convulsing to Michael Jackson’s best all time song “Smooth Criminal”. Twice. It wasn’t pretty and I’m not gonna lie, I may have peed myself a little, but it feels like I broke out of jail for eight and a half minutes. You should try it. (Dancing not peeing.)

My very logical point here is that I can sometimes let myself be mentally jailed by my routines. Besides, when they take me to Folsom for leaving the bathroom door open, I’m gonna have to learn to live without a heck of a lot more than green straws. 

P.S. Folsom is NOT in Orange County. It’s in Sacramento County. Where Sacramento also is. Somewhere in California where I am not. Yet.  

The Write Reasons

Yesterday, when Black Fried Day was over, I went to go take a bath after mostly sitting on my butt all day with the family, watching football, basketball and movies while eating leftovers. When I looked in the mirror I saw there was a giant booger in my left nostril. I was kind of shocked that no one had said anything to me, because it was HUGE. Your family is supposed to tell you when you have boogers in your nose. But upon further inspection I realized it was part of a chewed up potato chip. Grant says he swears he didn’t see it but wanted to know how I knew it was a piece of potato chip? 

“I didn’t EAT it! Gross! I knew because it still had ridges.” 

How does something like this HAPPEN? Did I snort it out from my partially filled potato chip throat when I was laughing? Did I cough into my hand and then itch my nose? WAS IT FROM SOMEONE ELSE’S MOUTH? 

There are so many questions that go unanswered for me on a daily basis. 

So there. I have made myself giggle about something silly that happened to me. It seems just that on day 30 of my quest to post on my website every day for 30 days that I should be entertained by myself. Otherwise, why do this right? 

Writing a post every day has not been easy. On day fifteen I whined to my bestie about being sick of myself already at only half way through. But I don’t think it’s me I was really sick of. I’m easily entertained by me. I think more so I was feeling bad about adding to the noise on social media.

There is SO MUCH NOISE. 

It’s a tricky thing, writing. Writers write to write but we also write to be read. And to be read in the vortex (aka the internet) without becoming an overbearing social media hound is nearly impossible. (It’s this new thing called algorithms that I am currently unwilling to figure out.)

I have been thinking a lot about what it may have been like to be a writer before any kind of advanced technology was created and there was just pen on paper and this burning desire to SAY for the sake of saying. If you wanted “likes” you wrote letters to people about your ideas and if you were compelling enough, they wrote back. Though it was and still is considered rude to not acknowledge hand written letters. 

Pen on paper is my preferred means of writing, especially when I’m working on poetry. That nobody seems to like except me. Though I’m mostly okay with that. I understand it’s probably confusing to read about potato chip boogers in my nose one day and a restless poem about ghost words the next. Who IS this person on Peaceof8? Is she even stable? 

But that brings me to the point of this “Closing Post”. I have been exploring in my mind these 30 days what it is I want out of the writing on this blog site. 

Healing? Maybe so. I know that every time I write something and then release it into the vortex, I feel lighter and freed from the nattering in my head. Things are worked out on the page and then let go. That seems like healing to me. Several years ago a friend and I were talking about my blog site. I said I was thinking about shutting it down because no one was really reading it. He reminded me that if one person reads a post and is made to feel better in some way either from laughing or crying or just a little truth sharing, then it’s worth it to keep going. So there is maybe the idea of healing another person while I heal myself. 

Immortality? Oh yes. Maybe a little bit of that. When you leave a trail of words people can still find you even when you’ve gone out of their physical sight. I bet when I’m dead my kids will actually read my posts to see what I wrote about them. Though they may be grossed out by the potato chip booger. 

Money? I used to tell myself that when I was making money writing I would then  be a successful writer. But I look at some of the blog sites where writers write for money, and I am bombarded by ads or asks. This noise to me distracts from the words. I make plenty of money with my noisy enough day job.

Fame? If I write regularly am I hoping that fame will come? I guess there will always be a bit of desire for fame. It’s hard to overcome the need to be read by as many people as possible. But if I’m truthful, I know I’m not ready for fame yet. It’s possible it will come someday but right now I’m still trying to find my voice, which is still going through the highs and lows of puberty writing. Fame would mess up the search and I’d be forced to abandon my bad poetry and short story attempts for the pressure of finding funny in everything. And some days things just aren’t funny and I want to write about that too. So I’m grateful for my small but loyal group of readers who put up with my inconsistent voice. They are my fuel and have reminded me about the importance of commenting and sharing when I have read marvelous words from other writers. This is the ultimate compliment a writer can receive and right for the write reasons. 

Black Fried Day

“Soooo, when do you have to head back home?”

“Mom, I live here.”

“Oh.”

Today is Black Fried Day, that special day of the year when I start wondering when they are all going back to where they came from: the land of bickering butt faces. 

Unfortunately that land is HERE, where they were created and this is the gathering season where they conglomerate and feast off each other’s worst traits and cackle with delight. I have no one else to blame but myself for them being butt faces. Because their dad has been hiding in the bathroom pretending to poop for the last two hours. 

It’s probably just my pre-pre-pre to the pre-diabetes kicking in. Yesterday I ate all the food and drank all the wine, so today I am fog-brained, without humor or personal space. The happy glow of yesterday has worn off,  when a loud and colorful fight over the youngest using the oldest’s coffee cup for his hot chocolate would have been funny.

The fight interrupted crucial recovery time in my office where I was waiting for the ibuprofen and coffee to give me some hope of being a nice person today. 

Stomping out to the living room, I threatened to take the youngest’s technology away for the rest of his life if he didn’t stop swearing and smack talking at his brother. But when I looked at the oldest, I paused. Stumped. There was nothing I could do to punish the oldest. He already lives in hell, otherwise known as a corner of our basement with no door, while he ‘gathers himself’. 

Still, I felt the need to get him where it hurts the most (because that is what we do here). 

“Actually that’s MY coffee cup. ALL of the cups in the cupboard are mine. Except the one that is your dad’s. You’re welcome for getting to use them.”

My daughter, who was sitting in the living room ALSO drinking from one of MY coffee cups, said with a self righteous smirk on her face “Really mom? You’re only fueling this.” 

This same girl asked us yesterday what Grant and I talked about when no kids were around. “Do you run out of things to say when we aren’t around? Do you just go silent?”

The always witty fifth born said we probably just sit next to each other in our tv chairs and show each other funnies on our phones and guffaw. (He didn’t actually say guffaw-that’s creative embellishment on my end.) 

I imagine it’s probably weird for the kids to think we have a life outside of them. How dull for us it must be in their eyes. 

Little do they know we have a very cool life that doesn’t include any of them.

The secret society of Grant and Heather.

Picture us this coming Sunday night, the half three who still live with us have gone to their separate corners for the night, the other three finally gone to their home away from home. Me sipping wine from the oldest’s coffee cup with wicked pleasure. 

We both sigh heavily. 

“I miss them so much when they aren’t all in the same room.” I say. 

We sigh again. 

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” we both say in unison, Grant with a raised eyebrow and me with a knowing smirk as we hunker down all comfy next to each other in our tv chairs and start peacefully scrolling on our phones, sharing funnies and guffawing.

A Full House

I am up early this morning. Not to get the bird on. That’s Grant’s job. Though the way I wrote that it sounds like his job is to flip the world off. Close, considering the turkey is a whopping 27 pounds, requiring a custom made piece for the Weber so that the lid closes. 

My job is the pies

Which I can do with closed eyes. 

Plus a bunch of sides

A Thanksgiving Haiku. Sort of. 

No, I’m up early not to peel potatoes, but to write this blog post while my heart is full. Not that it won’t be full later. It just won’t be a peaceful full. More like pandemonium full. 

Yesterday, I was happy to have the task of making the eleven pies (Siwinski Dozen) because it kept me partially distracted from being anxious. Maria was traveling home from Portland with Jackson and Grant took Dave to go get Daniel from Pullman and there were warnings of fifty-five mile an hour winds plus some snow. We have had many a thing go wonky from wind in our lives so I was having visions of cars being blown off the road. 

But everyone is safe and sound and last night the house had volume again, only a reving up for today’s full decibel level. It’s interesting, I just did the math and it won’t be until the year 2021 that I will have been living with children as long as I lived without them, assuming I don’t kick the bucket by then. Or run away. So technically I have not had enough time to get used to the noise yet. 

BUT this will more than likely be the last year we have us all here for Thanksgiving. We didn’t expect Dan to be here this year because of his football equipment manager job at WSU. We have two kids who have found their person: Maria and Dillin and with that comes obligations for them to be at other family celebrations. It’s inevitable. One by one they will build their own lives and their own traditions and Grant and I will have a smaller and smaller crew for holidays until it’s just us and the dogs. 

OMG. I’m crying. 

Fucking full heart.

The dogs will be so sad!

So today, I’m going to capture the noise level and keep it inside me, like fireflies in a jar. 

Only the fireflies really need to be set free at some point in time so the rest of the world can enjoy their light. 

Sticks and Stones

I quit work early today and have been making pies since 1 pm so as to avoid kitchen chaos tomorrow: 

  • Four pumpkin pies. 
  • Three fireball whiskey pumpkin pies (as an experiment)
  • Four Tollhouse Pies

Grant and I got the food shopping done yesterday, which is a miracle in and of itself, especially because there was very little of our normal bickering. Though it did take a long time just to MAKE the list because Grant kept interrupting me when I was trying to write something down by saying something HE wanted written down, which then made me keep forgetting what I was about to write and then we would both stare at each other with these blank looks: a clash of things forgotten. Somewhere up in the universe are little floating cartoon thought bubbles with works like “butter” and “charcoal” colliding into each other.   

There are a lot of things to remember for our holiday food traditions and we didn’t want a repeat of the “Cool Whip Incident of 2018”. 

Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday of the entire year. Food, Family, Football and the traditional Thanksgiving Day FIGHT where at least one of us loses their cool every year because they are not able to overcome someone else’s snarky words.

Whoever wrote the poem…

Sticks and stones may break my bones

But works can never hurt me. 

…has not met any west coast Siwinskis. Sticks and stones are soothing compared to the trash talk that happens in our household, especially during the holidays. It usually involves a board game or the mad rush to get the food prepared and unburned but fully cooked in perfect synchronicity (which has happened maybe 5 out of 28 times.) 

One of the boys has a video from a few years ago when our youngest Mitchel blew his cool and spewed a very gruesome but quite epic threat upon his gloating oldest brother Duncan who was I’m sure taunting him relentlessly with words “that can hurt you” during a game of Monopoly. To tell you exactly what he said would mark me publically for potential Bad Mother Prison because it’s always the mother’s fault when the child does or says bad things. 

But one thing is for certain about these Siwinskis of mine: they are not fragile people who are easily offended. Most of the world’s nonsense (and there is a lot of it) rolls off them like water on a duck because their skin has grown thick from rude word calluses. Unless of course the words are from one of their own. Those still sting.

I just hope it’s not me on video this year. I’m generally pretty joyful (wine) on Thanksgiving, unless of course SOMEONE doesn’t give me enough warning about when the turkey will be done, which can result in lumpy mashed potatoes. Like the Tragic Thanksgiving of 2017.