looking a clothes horse in the mouth…

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I know the old idiom. And really, I get it. And I don’t. Hi there, here’s me being incredibly thankful for all the gifts handed to me in this life. But a clothes horse? That’s another matter entirely.

I have a lot of clothes, but I wear the same few outfits over and over again. I purchase multiples of staples like jeans and tank tops to take the tough decision-making out of dressing for everyday events. I have dresses for any number of occasions from BBQ to tea party to black-tie affair. I have a shiny sequined  shrug, several suede leather jackets (which you can’t wear in Oregon. Ever.) more cropped colored sweaters than I can count, and a coat closet full of coats for every weather situation. I have skirts, slacks, suits blouses, sweaters, tops, scarves, hats, leggings, tights, stockings and more socks than is strictly reasonable. I have a giant drawer for bras. And another for underwear. I have a lot of clothes. It would be fair to say I have too many.

But you know what, I’m a grown ass woman. I’ve been collecting clothes for ages now. I have sweaters from 15 years ago. I have jackets from 20 years ago. Things accumulate.

I am under the impression though that my child has more clothing than I have. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to receive awesome hand-me-downs over the years from generous family and friends. Family and friends with awesome fashion sense and style to boot. Plus grandparents who love to buy her back to school clothes each year. And then there’s gifts for birthdays and holidays. Plus the items she carefully selects whenever given a chance. And the pieces so fantastic that I can’t help but pick them up to expand her ever evolving wardrobe. She has more than enough clothing to fill a walk-in closet, let alone her closet. Add to that all the dance gear that litters our home. And an unreasonable number of conference and WordPress shirts.

Much like me she wears the same things over and over again. But somehow clothes she never wears are in the wash all the time. Clothes that don’t fit stay in heavy rotation. Clothes that are her very favorite are never worn because they’re hidden under a rock, hanging from a tree, or  much more likely shoved in some dark recess of her closet covered in unwanted toys and misplaced school work.

Today, with a mighty roar from me and an unacceptable though understandable amount of eye rolling from her, we’re working to look that clothes horse right in the mouth. Examine its tongue and take a healthy look down its esophagus as we get some of this clothing clutter our of our home.

Spring cleaning? No. Purging. Spring purging, as I’m sure there will be another clothes binge in the fall.

What about my clothes, you ask? I got rid of a dress. What more do want from me?

a weekend by any other name…

Well hello, weekend, if that is your real name. It feels like it’s been such a long time since we’ve had an earnest little chat. That’s probably my fault. I’ve been too busy trying to keep with all the crazy shit the week throws at me in order to give you the attention you deserve. I get that I haven’t been doing the things you want to do. It’s been all running the kid back and forth to dance classes, rehearsals, and performances. And work, yes. I’m able to admit that. I’ve been working during “our time”, weekend. And then there are the chores. Oh the chores. And the errands.

Lets face it, even when I’m not playing ballet mom, working, and doing chores I haven’t been giving you what you need, have I? I know that watching me lie on the couch exhausted from a long full week as I binge watch shows on Netflix and Hulu isn’t your idea of a good time.

Wow, I was about to get defensive. I was going to be funny and say “But hey, those shows don’t watch themselves!” But that was just me trying to make myself feel better about a situation that needs some work. Okay, a situation that needs a lot of work. You deserve far better than you’re getting from me. There are folks who give their weekends everything.

Everything!

They wake up early to romance the day, go on a hike in the beautiful forested hills, enjoy a delicious light breakfast, then it’s off to a charming little coffee shop for a flight of locally roasted espresso with carefully selected treat pairings. That’s all before they head off to the coast for an afternoon of walking on the beach. Or to the river or mountains to enjoy the great outdoors. Or perhaps to a concert. Or a play.

You’re lucky if I go out for brunch and a couple of bloody marys before I decide it’s nap time instead of the normal working, doing chores, and collapsing on the sofa.

This weekend will be no different. Here it is Saturday afternoon and I’ve already vacuumed, argued with a surly tween, played ballet mom, made two sub par meals, washed and dried two loads of laundry (but folded nothing), hung a framed poster in the kitchen, worked for 2 hours, and watched an episode of an awful show. I have no illusions that today is going to get any more exciting for either of us. There’s overseeing homework, more ballet shuttling, chores, chores, chores, grocery shopping to do, and if I’m lucky another few episodes of binge watching an awful show I started last night and just want to get through quickly so I can start some other show which is equally bad. Tomorrow will look pretty similar but with a stream of Star Wars movies playing in the background.

I think what I’m trying to say here, and maybe I should have just started with this, is that it’s not you, weekend. It’s me. I don’t think that I can be the kind of person you need right now. The kind of person you deserve. So let’s just stop this charade. Let’s stop playing this little game where we pretend that I can be someone I’m not just because your two days happen to begin with the letter S.

You’re just a part of the week to me, weekend. Just a part of the week. But we can still be friends, right?

held captive in dark comedy…

Cut in on our hapless heroine. Curled up in bed furiously typing with her thumbs on the illuminated screen of her phone. The room is dark but from the glow at the edge of the black curtains we can see morning light penetrating her dim purgatory. Her bedroom acts as a holding cell keeping her safely ensconced in darkness until she summons the strength to move. The glow of the screen lights her face as her thumbs pause in contemplation. She glances at the time but the digits only serve to drive her deeper into her blankets as the rapid thumb typing escalates.

And then the phone rings scaring her enough that she lightly tosses the phone from her hands bashing her nose. Has she forgotten the primary purpose of a phone? Is she afraid the caller bears sad tidings? Bad tidings? Perhaps her nerves are just completely fucking shot?

That reads like a caricature  of a morning. An exaggeration of a frazzled woman. It’s not. That’s a fairly accurate description of so very many of my mornings of late. When my phone rings it’s almost always my boyfriend. But when he isn’t on the other end it’s usually a member of my family calling to let me know that someone is dead. Or dying. Sometimes it’s that too.

Two weeks ago the school district’s auto-dialer called to remind me of the district wide late start, I wanted to hug the woman who made the recording simply because she wasn’t telling me anything shocking that I didn’t already know.

Death has loomed like a reeking cloud. A creeping horror movie fog obscuring all it touches and filling the spaces in my life with grief and mourning.

It seems I’ve reached an age at which people I’ve know all my life must leave us.

Ugh. Leave us. Pass on. Meet one’s end. Depart this life. Expire. Kick the bucket. I don’t like any of the euphemisms.

Those I love keep dying and I’m just done with it.

I fear my friends and co-workers are beginning to think I’m making up family members and killing them off as an excuse to be moody and absent. I can’t make this stuff up. I may be morbid, but I’m not that creative. Just tired.

all I wanted was a cup of coffee…

IMG_5727You know that foggy fuzzy state your brain can succumb to when you’ve been on the go for weeks on end. Traveling, working, family issues, cat hairballs. These things can make the most collected person tired. I would go so far as to say zombie-like.

This was just the case yesterday morning when I finally woke in my own bed after being on the road off and on for a few weeks. I was looking forward to curling up in my bed with my laptop and a really strong cup of this coffee I love. I’d been looking forward to it for several days. My coffee. At home. In bed. While catching up on work.

Simple pleasures.

So I crawled out of bed and stumbled, groggy, into my kitchen. I ran the beans through the grinder, filled the coffee maker with water, and placed the coffee pot into the machine. Just as the grinder ground to a halt I turned to pick it up. There was a scraping noise, then a sliding noise. Then…

Before I could think my lighting fast reflexes took over. I narrowly missed the falling carafe with my outstretched hand, but a little quick thinking placed my foot in its path.

My foot. In its path. This is where I take a moment to tell you that I don’t know what I was thinking. And to point out that I hadn’t had my coffee yet. So there really was no thinking.

Did you know that upon hitting a bare human foot a coffee pot can shatter into a billion or so tiny pieces? Because it can. And apparently it will. If that coffee pot is my coffee pot. And that foot is my foot.

Interestingly enough, it can also shatter into a billion pieces on a bare human foot without leaving a single scratch, cut, gouge, or wound. What it can not do is hold coffee once it’s in those billion pieces.

So I’ve been seeing a lot of my favorite coffee  shop owners these past two days.

a tale of two kitties…

IMG_5213While one cat curls up sound asleep at the foot of my daughter’s bed enjoying the warmth of the heater and the quiet sound of her breath the other is running the length of the house and back in the blink of an eye. He weighs all of five pounds but manages to produce the same audio effect as a small pack of horses clomping along at breakneck speed around a track. When he’s through with that he engages in, from the sound of it, a roman style wrestling match with each of the gods on Mount Olympus in reverse alphabetical order. It’s not unheard  for him to then sit by the back door and howl to his friends to come over for a party. He’ll keep calling out to all his little kitty friends until he remembers that he’s an indoor cat and the only other cat he knows hates him at the moment because he’s trying to sleep. When done with the party invites, he’ll go spend some time leading a massive dig effort with what sounds like several contracting companies in what I can only assume he believes to be an untouched part of Egypt where another great pyramid and several mummies will be found. Eventually he’ll find where in the vast miles of litter box he wants to take a piss and fire the teams he brought on.

It’s not long after this that he usually tires of his adventures and settles down with certainty that he has accomplished whatever goal he has set in mind for the night, but sometime during the whole ordeal another chain of events will be set in motion.

My kid will wake up so irritated by his racing, wrestling, chatting, or digging that she’ll climb out of bed disturbing the quiet sleepy cat who will begin to meow in displeasure, yell at the racing, wrestling, chatting, digging cat to stop doing whatever he’s doing, and when that doesn’t work (it never works) storm into my room with an air of desperation demanding that I do something about his behavior. You see my daughter seems to believe that I have a magic power that will force the cat to not behave like an insane asshole in the middle of the night. I mean obviously since I can sleep through his shenanigans I must have an answer. And I need to deal with it. Right then and there. At 2:16 am. You know, when I would much rather be sound asleep.

She doesn’t seem to like it very much when I suggest that she employ the method which I’ve used all these long years to withstand his strange kitty quests and tirades. That she possesses the same power over him as I. The magic is within her as well. It passes directly from mother to daughter in a line going back further than I can know.

She’s not ready or willing to take her place in the seat of power. But someday I have faith that she will make me proud and will do as so many have before to fight the cat crazies of the night. The night will come when she, just like her mother, will close her bedroom door.

And when that night comes I will be too busy getting a good night’s sleep to be proud of her.

I say the darndest things…

As parent who works full time from home my workday shouldn’t be greatly disrupted by my tween being home sick from school, none the less I catch myself saying some of the darndest things while trying to focus on work while she’s around…

  • Please put David Tennant down, I can’t concentrate on work when you’re squeaking his coat.
  • Options for kids home sick from school in this house are limited to going to bed to sleep, sitting quietly on the couch while watching Lord of the Rings, doing your homework, and cleaning your room. Everything else is outlawed.
  • Stop that. And that.
  • If I hear a single squeak or song out of those big eyed lemurs they’re going back to the zoo.
  • Sick kids don’t get candy.
  • Yes, Elijah Wood would make a very pretty woman, but that’s Frodo not Arwen.
  • No my adding machine is not voice activated, but I can talk to it if I want.

I’m thinking it’s best to just talk to myself during the workday…

run, cami, run…

IMG_1773Those of you who know me know I am not a runner. Hell, those of you who don’t know me probably know I’m not a runner. Like many, I have often been known to say that I wouldn’t run unless there was a bear or a zombie chasing me. If a zombie bear were to give chase I’d likely run like a gazelle. But as a general rule Cami Kaos doesn’t run. Hike? Stroll? Skip? Walk? Stumble? Climb? Sure, sounds lovely.

But the other day as I walked home from school drop-off, music blaring in my ears through my little headphones, I looked down at my feet striding in time with the fast beat of the music and I had the sudden urge to take off. To run until I was drenched in sweat. Until I lost my breath. Until I stood on the sidewalk clutching my side from the stitch I knew I would feel.

I turned the music on and up on that walk up because I was stressed and I needed a way to get that feeling out so I could focus, get on with my day, and be constructive. Walking home alone my mind had a few moments to turn, churn, and play catch up on all the little stones in my life that amount to a mountain of feelings and thoughts. We all have stress in our lives from any number of sources and how we choose to deal with that stress, I believe, says a lot about each of us.

I used to write. When stressed. Or when sad. Or mad. Or confused.  Or even when fooling myself.

That outlet is, more often than not, failing. I’ve moved on to other things. Organizing sock drawers. Stamping metal. Counting the number of bumps on my ceiling. That sort of thing.

But that morning, walking home, I looked down at my pink sneakers, listened to the pounding beat, and dreamt of taking off. I didn’t though. There was a fresh pot of coffee and a stack of work waiting for my attention. But ever since it’s been in the back of my mind and I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to say I won’t run.