Friday, November 20, 2009

I Hate Public Restrooms

Having kids who are potty trained is great. No more expensive diapers. No more picking up your totally cute kid and being grossed out because they smell disgusting. Yes, having kids who wear big-kid undies is great. The only time when having potty trained toddlers/pre-schoolers is not great is when you have to go to a public place. Kids always have to pee (i.e. want to check out the bathroom) when they are somewhere that is not home. So, wherever you go in public, you will have to go to the restroom and invariably that restroom will be gross. And you will be the crazy person repeating "Don't touch that. Don't touch anything. Everything has germs. Don't touch that shiny, silver container on the wall. Don't put up the seat, wait for me to do it with a wad of toilet paper. Don't... don't.... don't. DON'T FLUSH THE TOILET WITH YOUR HAND! Seriously? That's why God gave us feet!"

I'm not sure of why most public restrooms have to be so disgusting. I worked for years at a restaurant where the facilities had to be cleaned every shift. Sure, maybe they weren't as clean as your home bathroom after a thorough scrubbing and disinfecting, but they were pretty darn clean. I have only been in maybe one or two other public restrooms that were that clean. Most public restrooms, especially the ones in grocery stores, seem to have been there (without being cleaned) since before the store was even built. Everything is dark and dirty and dingy and looks like the one attempt they have ever made at cleaning it was abandoned half-way through.

I realize this is probably over-sharing, but I have always hated public restrooms. I always 'hover' instead of sitting right on the seat. I turn the faucet with my wrist and I open the door with a paper towel on my way out. Just knowing that so few people wash their hands grosses me out and makes me want to don a hazmat suit just to enter public facilities. Before I had kids I would even 'hold it' until I got home if possible, just to avoid having to risk a public restroom. Sadly that is no longer possible since when a kid says they have to go, you'd better take them or you will likely end up spending your evening wrestling the padding off their car seat so it can be washed and the frame scrubbed down.

I know that I should be glad that we now have indoor plumbing and we don't have to duck into the bushes or use an outhouse, but really? Is it really too much to ask that places with public restrooms invest in someone who actually knows how to clean and the proper cleaning supplies that person needs? Gross. Now I have completely grossed myself out writing about this and I don't want to go anywhere with my kids until they learn to hold it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Tiny House

My parents still live in the same house where I grew up. I went there a couple weeks ago and my dad was showing me that they got new shingles on the roof. I stood near the road and admired the new roof and could not believe how tiny that house looks to me now. Seriously... it is one of those very tiny houses built in the early 1950's for the parents of the baby boom. A kitchen, a bathroom, a family room, two tiny bedrooms, and a one-car garage that was later consumed into the house for a small dining room and extra bath/laundry room. The people who owned it before my parents also divided the family room in half with a hollow wall so there could be an extra bedroom. Just a very few, few very tiny rooms.

I never knew I grew up in a tiny house until I was in high school and visited the palatial houses of friends of friends. These were houses with mud rooms and his-and-hers offices and work-out rooms and dens and studios and craft rooms and at least three guest rooms and rooms that no one ever used yet were still adorned with beautiful matching furniture. It was then I knew that I grew up in a tiny house. But I think that at some level even then, through my well-concealed embarrassment, I knew that growing up in a tiny house with love was better than growing up in any-size house with expectations and family secrets and agendas instead of love.

My parents house is made of brick and has red sidewalks. I'm not sure who thought red sidewalks were a good idea, but that is one of the main things I remember of the exterior of that house. I'm have no idea where it is now, but I can see the photo in my mind. My sister Tiffiny and I are sitting in the grass, both wearing halos made of white clover, and my knees are red. Partly from the scabs and partly from the stain the sidewalk left when I fell on it and caused the scabs. Red sidewalks are a terrible idea, but will always mean childhood and skinned knees in my mind.

Why am I rambling about tiny houses and red sidewalks? I really meant for this post to be about my family. My family can drive me completely crazy, but there is nothing like a good hug from my dad or a long talk with my mom. With Thanksgiving coming up, I've been thinking about the things that make me feel thankful. I think I'm thankful for many of the same things other Americans are thankful for, like freedom and my job and food and a home to live in. But one of the things I'm most thankful for is my family.... certainly Ryan and the boys, but also my sisters and my parents and the love I knew growing up. That is not something everyone had and I am so thankful it is something I experienced when I was younger and still know today. Despite how tiny the house is I grew up in.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Sometimes we just lose things along the way. Maybe more important things take the place of those things. Maybe we block them out. Maybe we are careless and forget. I wish I knew so I could prevent it at will, because it seems like I've somehow lost my ability to write. Okay, I am writing right now. I'm typing and words are forming on the screen, but I don't want to just write. I want to write something good. Something meaningful or witty or amusing or insightful. I've been trying, but it's not happening. Somewhere in all my working like a crazy person to meet deadlines and worrying about sick kids and sadness over co-workers losing their jobs and lots of other things I won't list out here, I lost it. I hope I find it again soon, because this is getting pretty darn frustrating.

On a completely random and unrelated note, it was an amazingly beautiful day today. Sunny and crisp and almost 70 degrees. If I had only one wish (after wishing for a million more wishes, of course) I would wish that all of winter in Ohio would be like today. Except for maybe the week of Christmas, which could be 30 and sunny and snowy. I think many things would be much improved with more days like today between October 1st and springtime. Maybe I could even find some inspiration for writing. *sigh*

So here is one poem I've managed to come up with. I'm not happy with it, but I need to get back to posting some poetry. Here ya go:

My eyes keep shifting.
Not shifty.
Just shifting to
look at something
previously marginalized
but now screaming
for attention.
formerly peripheral.
Now I see it
in focus.

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Poor Blog

I now have 21 drafts waiting to be finished and posted. Sure, some of them are just a quote or a partial poem with a few random thoughts, but it's kind of depressing. I sit down and start to write and I just hit a wall. Every time. It's really frustrating so I try not to think about it. But not thinking about it just makes it worse, I think.

I thought about doing another 'Write Every Day' month, but I know with the holidays coming up that is way too much pressure and frustration to heap on myself. I think the pressure of having to post every day was good for me because it forced me to post things I would normally not finish (or post even if I considered it finished). Sometimes I go back and read those things and realize they weren't as terrible as I had originally thought. But since the post-every-day is off the table until January, I'm not sure of what to do to get over the proverbial hump. I need to come up with something. I was doing pretty well there for a while, even if the content of most of my posts was just silly, rambling nonsense intermixed with some poems.

So... okay. I'm going to try to make myself post twice a week until January. That seems reasonable, right? Especially since this is Monday and I only have to come up with one more post for the week.