Sunday, July 21, 2013

Coming home to Pittsburgh...

     I was sifting through seashells today, taking a moment to exhale after a week of wonderful houseguests and beautiful busy noise, enjoying the still salty memories from our recent beach vacation. I came across a poem that found my fingers on our first morning back home. It reminded me how wonderful it is to return home renewed and refreshed by time with family, sea breeze and beach walks with no planned destinations or time restraints.  Our trip to the beach soothed my soul, loosened my nerves and bleached my hair a color I've decided to call carefree (not the same as careless) blond. (It's terrible, but I refuse to pay to have it darkened when it will just get more bleached by chlorine and sun for the rest of the summer.)

     Vacation for us, as it is for most families, was a break from the spinning cycle of run here, sprint there, pick up this one, drop off that one, Hi, Bye, goodnight, and so on. Instead of the morning rush to catch the school bus, we'd leisurely slip into swimsuits and sunscreen and make a day of searching for sharks eyes and tulip shells. During these hot, lazy strolls, conversation seemed to spill as naturally as the ocean spills onto the sand. On rainy nights, all five of us would cuddle up together on the one couch, under two blankets, relishing in the uncomfortable perfection of being so close to each other. We watched movies and ate popcorn and candy for dinner, confident we wouldn't get bellyaches or cavities. That stuff just doesn't happen on vacation.

     After two weeks of sandcastles, seafood and sun, it was time to say "See you next summer." I was okay with that. I left the beach feeling blessed to have had the opportunity to experience it with my daughters and husband and also with parents and extended family. The beach left me rejuvenated, calm and grateful for everyday blessings.

      Much as we enjoyed rubbing shoulders with each other in our tiny condo, I have a renewed appreciation for the breathing space our home provides. I absolutely loved every minute my toes twitched in the sand, but I'm also glad now for the smell of fresh cut grass and clover. Marco Island was as magical as always, but Pittsburgh is where we make magic from our own little square of reality. There is a time for vacation, and then there is a time for....

 Coming Home

Crossing the quiet threshold, we bring the noise.

It smells wet and empty, like old dirty laundry.

In a day or so, the air will fill

With morning breath and garlic

And the scent of pool soaked bodies kissed by sunscreen.

The plants are mostly dead.

Too much rain or not enough attention?

Hard to say, but it doesn’t really matter.

We’ve come home.

Solid ground and pillows that don’t leave a crick in my neck.

A sense of newness inside the old and comfortably worn.

I kick my shoes off in the hallway, noticing the stray grains of sand that spray from them like sea foam.

I sigh, then smile, then shrug my soft muscled shoulders.

We’ve brought the beach back home with us.

In more ways than one.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Stinky Boots - Embarassing Moments Make the Best Memories

Someone recently asked what my most embarrassing moment was. I took one look at my husband's face. He had both eyebrows raised, both begging and demanding that I not tell the story. So, I thought I'd blog about it instead. Everyone has a terribly embarrassing moment, right? And, honestly, if you don't have one, you need to get one and learn to laugh at yourself. It's so cathartic.  Feel free to post your funny moments below. I'd love to laugh at you too.

Okay ~ here is probably the funniest/most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me.
I was pregnant with my first daughter, almost 10 years ago, and it was my 2nd prenatal visit. I had spoken to my Mom earlier that day and she'd informed me I would not have to have an internal check anymore -the doc would just listen to the heartbeat and measure me etc.. It was Friday late afternoon, and my husband was with me. We were dressed to go out to dinner and a movie after the appt., and I was wearing my infamous stinky black boots with... wait for it...

No. Socks.

Now, this may seem a little strange to some, but honestly, these were really stylish (from Payless by the way - I was dressing on a teacher's salary...) and super comfy high heeled black boots. And, really, they were only smelly when I took them off, so I figured what they heck? No one was going to be seeing (or smelling) my bare feet in mid December, right?


Cute young Dr. (the one in the practice that all of the nurses and patients got googly eyed over) walks in to the exam room and introduces himself to me and my husband.

"How you doin?" And, he winks... I swear.... maybe.

He then proceeds to tell me to change into the green papery robe so he can come back in to do my internal.


The minute he leaves, I completely freak out.

"These are my stinky feet boots!" I tell my husband, desperately seeking one of his solutions.

"So?" he asks - totally not getting what an internal exam is, probably, or possibly not suffering from the visual of cute Doc's face resting uncomfortably and green with nausea between my sweaty stirruped feet.

"I can't take them off! The whole room will stink!"

"So, leave them on," he tells me.

Now, I'm suffering from the visual of me in what  would look like a pair of stripper boots when worn with no panties and propped up in stirrups.

"Yeah, that's not happening." I desperately scan the room, trying to locate a quick fix for the stench my feet would bring to the table. Powder? Spray? Soap?

Soap!  And, not just soap. Water! Angels sing - "laaaaaa", and a ray of light bursts through the acoustic ceiling tiles, shining directly on my salvation - the corner sink. I could wash my feet with soap and water before Dr. Cutie returned.

At this point, I am wearing a tight fitting red sweater (pregnancy chest, remember?) and one high heeled black boot. No pants, no skivvies, no gown yet. I make my way, bare bootied, over to the sink and hoist one leg up onto the counter, ready to scrub away the gross when "knock knock knock," Dr. Cutie Pants walks in without pause.

"I'm not ready yet!" I shriek, in what may or may not have been the English language. I probably sounded like a cross between a howler monkey and a sick cat.

My husband bursts out laughing at me sliding gracefully across the floor on one wet foot, slamming the door shut with my body and staying there to make sure the Doc doesn't push his way back in.
To this day, I am sure beyond the shadow of a doubt that Dr. Cutie Pants saw me, washing myself at the sink. Every time I start to imagine what he may have been thinking the moment the image of naked butt, soap drippy me graced his eyes, I cringe and stop myself. The shame is too much to bear. I'm sure his staff, upon hearing the shrew-like echo that reverberated down their Christmas card decorated hallway, readied themselves to fax prescriptions for any number of mood altering drugs.

Safe for pregnancy drugs, of course.

In the end, I did wash both feet before I forced my husband to inform the Dr. I was ready for my examination now. Never wore those boots to the Dr. again, but I did continue to wear them to places I was one hundred percent sure I would not have to take them off.

And, stinky or not, they were my favorite boots ever.