Home Sweet Hurricane

I washed my windows today, inside and out. Now before you start feeling bad about yourself because maybe your windows are still dirty, DON’T. I do this one time a year tops, sometimes only every other year if we don’t put up Christmas lights, which tends to emphasize the grime, bird poop, dog slobber and the broken one right in the front. (We get a lot of window salespeople knocking on our door.) This year the windows were dirtier on the inside than they were on the outside, which tells you how good of a housekeeper I have been lately.

You see, I promised my daughter we would put up the Christmas decorations on the Friday after Thanksgiving. And I’m determined to do this. So this is why I cleaned the windows today: so the coffee filter snowflakes will stick to them and not fall off from the scotch tape being made unsticky by dirt.

I need to explain (mostly to myself) that the activity of decorating for Christmas strongly accentuates the shame I feel about my worn out, cluttered and almost always dirty home. I don’t really like admitting my shame. It goes against the very core value that I try to keep sacred which is to always be grateful for what I have. But I think that this might actually be part of what brings on the shame: I don’t take care of what I DO have all that well. I have been putting my time, talent and treasure elsewhere and not on my home.

Most of the time I’m just fine with things as they are and where I choose to invest the resources I have. But every so often, usually during the holidays, I find myself comparing my home to pictures people post on social media of THEIR homes, with all the pretty, orderly decorations and serene atmosphere. And that’s when I usually go on a cleaning frenzy to at least try to momentarily conquer the clutter and dirt, which can at least make the ‘worn out’ look loved instead of abandoned. 

I don’t think we talk about this kind of comparison shaming all that much: home shame. 

So I’m gonna come out of the closet and talk about it. Well, I WOULD come out of the closet accept I can’t get IN any of my closets because they are all  filled with too much shit. You can’t come OUT of something you were never IN to begin with. 

My home so often looks like a hurricane hit it. It’s all these people and pets.

But here is something for you (and me) to ponder if you ever feel embarrassed about your home and look at the perfect pictures on social media or visit your friends gorgeous home with a little green monster on your shoulder: 

Some people are just GOOD at making their homes beautiful: be it from plenty of money, lots of time or just natural talent and desire. Admire this. Enjoy it. Visit them often! Validate them! For this is their way of being in the world and it takes effort and diligence to make and keep things so nice.

But I believe that there are more people than not whose homes are dirty, cluttered or worn out. Sometimes it’s all three at the same time. They’re just careful how they take their social media pictures and crop out peeling paint or broken windows or dirty floors. But it’s a HOME. So let us validate them as well. They are more than likely putting their resources elsewhere and everyone’s priorities are relative. When it’s important enough to them they will wash their windows, not because other people are washing their windows or judging them for not doing so, but because they just want to have a little clarity.

And make sure the coffee filter snowflakes stick this year. 

It’s National Blame Your Husband for Everything Day

It is 8:00 pm on November 1st, the first day of my personal commitment to writing a post on my blog site every single day in November, which I announced a couple days ago on Facebook.

Why would I DO that?

Because NOW I am stuck.

On the first day.

With nothing to say.

And November is National Blog Posting Month.

But it is also National Pomegranate Month. Why didn’t I just commit to eating a pomegranate every day? They are very good for you and kind of interesting to eat. My mom used to send my sister and me to the back yard to eat them. Now that I am a mother I see why. The bright red kernels found inside the thick outside skin are juicy little stain makers. It is also very time consuming to pick them out of their intricately encapsulated rows, so we would be occupied for at least an hour, emerging from the nutritious task with clown lips.

I actually had a spectacularly hilarious post written, completely ahead of schedule, at 4 am this morning, laughing quietly and celebrating how brilliant my writing was finally getting. Unfortunately all of the words were in my head and never actually got put on the page, because that would have required getting out of bed. Instead I fell back asleep and woke up again at 9 am, with mostly nothing in my head. And very little desire to do anything. The day was pretty much half over so there was really no sense in having any ambition.

Grant actually came in to check on me. I think he was worried I was dead because I never sleep that late. But then he jumped in the shower so he must have seen me breathing even though I was pretending to be dead so I wouldn’t have to do anything. Or maybe he thought he should be fresh and clean before he called 911.  Either way, when he got out of the shower I was sitting up in bed.

“Well hello there Princess Heather” he said.

“Hello servant Grant” I replied. “Please commence to doing all the stuff that needs to be done. I have to write my blog post but first I need coffee. Chop chop!”

I think Grant needs to get hearing aids because he commenced to brushing his teeth instead.

And so, on this fine evening of National Author’s Day, which by the way was also National Vinegar Day, National Deep Fried Clams Day and National Cook for Your Pets Day, all days that could have been super fun to celebrate had I not slept in so late that I didn’t have time to buy clams and vinegar to feed the dogs, cat, turtle and fish because I had to do my share of ‘the stuff’, I am lamenting that I did not pay heed to National Audiology Month. Which was last month.

Things could have worked out so much differently today.



Playing Hard Ball with Santa

My Dearest Kind and Loving Santa,

I realize that it is only September, but I wanted you to receive my letter early this year so that you have time to read it before all the madness begins and more importantly BEFORE you receive any letters from my children who, thanks to good schooling along with strong survival skills that tend to develop in larger families, have become extremely persuasive in their letter writing.

It is very, very important that we are on the same page this Christmas and that no surprises that could lead to any kind of conflict of interest (mostly on my end) occur this year. Need I remind you (again) that we decided  many years ago that YOU are not in charge of  gifting pets to the Siwinski household, on account of the difficult transportation situation (that bag of yours does not provide proper ventilation) and because, well,  I ASKED you so nicely to refrain from giving my children pets.

In case you have forgotten the details of our lengthy telephone conversation, let me explain again that we have ENOUGH pets. We take pretty good care of the two dogs and the cat but we are simply not worthy of any further creatures. There are enough skeletons in our closet (I mean umm…back yard) and while none of them (yet) are human, it’s gotten a little creepy back there.  I have lost track of which gecko, gerbil, lizard, bird or duck is buried where and I am afraid to plant flowers anywhere for fear of disrupting the dead and thereby causing haunting issues. (Have you not seen the movie “Poltergeist”?)

I had thought that Steve the Hamster would have been a clue for you. I realize you did not bring him to us; the two oldest boys sneaked him into the basement and by the time I found out he was living in our house (seems he’d been here a month prior to my discovery), the poor, psychotic little thing was beyond hope. He looked like a creature from Steven King’s “Pet Cemetery” on account of fright from ‘smart cat’ who somehow figured out how to sneak him out of his cage and ‘play’ with him. The stress caused him to lose all his hair and his eyes to bug out like a creepy cartoon hamster. No matter that the boys called him a warrior, it was just wrong and even I (the baby duck whisperer) could not soothe him. I could see his desperate eyes begging me to put him out of his misery. I was actually relieved for the poor little soul when he finally kicked the bucket. So really, should not the brutal memory of Steve the Warrior Hamster have been something for you have considered before you did what you did?

I can’t help but wonder if all that jolly shit went to your head along with a little too much bourbon on that fateful Christmas Eve night, compelling you to leave our dear little eight year old David a GIFT CERTIFICATE for a turtle. While it was very clever of you, finding a loophole around the well-known Siwinski FACT that SANTA DOES NOT BRING PETS NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOU HAVE BEEN AND NO MATTER HOW GOOD OF A LETTER YOU WRITE, I need to tell you that this turtle is not only making me crazy but breaking the bank.

It seems we picked a MUTANT turtle from the pet store (too bad the story has already been written, because I could take it to a whole new level).  The damn thing won’t stop growing. I just recently bought another tank (the third one in two years) which is the size of a small Jacuzzi tub and cost almost as much.  “Shelly” appears to be a SEA TURTLE instead of a cute little yellow bellied slider that was not supposed to get very big and poops like a medium size dog, only more OFTEN.

Santa! You have a big heart and I am so very grateful for all that you do for the world. I only ask that you tone things down at our house and that you PAY NO HEED to any letters that might come your way asking for snakes, ostriches, or ANYTHING that BREATHES. The turtle gift gave them all HOPE and hope breeds anarchy, chaos and an enormous vet bill.

Please, please consider my words Santa! Otherwise, I will be forced to play hard ball and show all of my children the mysteriously missing page thirty eight from the special Time Magazine addition entitled “The 100 Most Influential People WHO NEVER LIVED” where a ‘certain someone I know’ was mentioned right between Betty Crocker (as if she could ever influence the likes of me) and (oh the irony!) Ebenezer Scrooge. Just sayin.

Love Always,