Dear Mom

I didn’t buy you a card this year. I always spend a lot of time looking through all of the cards, humor cards and sentimental cards alike, but this year I couldn’t find one that worked.

Nothing quite put into words the impact you leave on this world, on my world. There wasn’t a card that said, Your laugh is the best sound on Earth. I couldn’t find one that said I see so much of you in my daughter. She’s wild and fierce and brave and strong, just like you, Mom. There were no cards that described the days when I get to talk to you and how they are a little less stressful and hurried, that I’m more grounded and calm when I get to hear your voice. None put into words the way I feel when I come home, when I sit at your table while we have our morning coffee.

I read card after card and replaced each in it’s little bin, unable to commit to one.

Because you’re bigger than a card and greater than someone else’s words.

You’re my mother, which now that I’m a mother too, I understand how important that role is, and I realize how fortunate I am that I get to be your daughter.

Thank you today and everyday for all that you’ve done and do.

I love you.


Mandi and Mom

Sorry, Thumper…No Lifegaurd on Duty

I couldn’t sleep last night.  At all.  My husband travels for work, and he happened to be out of town, so I spent the night by myself, drinking wine, watching shows he would never watch with me, and looking forward to getting into my nice comfy bed…all by myself.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my husband, and I enjoy having him around, but he’s a giant man, and he takes up a lot of space, and he practically sleeps on top of me.  Every night.  And I’m claustrophobic.

I went to bed around 12:30 am after watching lots of trash TV.  I totally caught up on the happenings of those classy ladies of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and their stripper poles.  So clearly, I felt enlightened and enriched as I slipped into the nice cool sheets.  As I lay there, eyes covered by my sleep mask, I heard something.  I sat up in my bed and listened closer.  Then I remembered something my husband said as he left town, last Friday.  Almost a week ago.  “Hey, keep your eye on the water level of the pool, and make sure you clean out the skimmer baskets every day.”   To which I said, “Duh.  Of course.”  And he said, “You really have to do it this time.  Seriously.”  And I said, “Ok.  Whatever.  Got it.  Go.”  Or something like that.

As I lay in my bed, listening to the strange gurgling of my pool, I realized that it had been six days, and I had yet to even step foot into the backyard.  So I played every worst case scenario over and over in my head, tossing and turning, and not sleeping.  At all.

Fast forward to this morning.  Before I dropped my son off at school, I stepped into the backyard to take inventory of the task at hand.  Pool level, lower than I’ve ever seen it.  Leaves everywhere.  Strange consistent gurgling sound.  I decided this would take some time, so I took son to school, turned on Doc McStuffins for my daughter, and headed out to “fix” the pool.  First things first…I started the water.  Already, I felt better.  Second, clean skimmer baskets.  I lifted the lid to the first basket, and looked into a sea of leaves.  I reached in, pulled out a handful of soggy leaves, and threw them into the trash.  Then I pulled out the skimmer basket, emptied it, and set it back in its little watery home.  Nice.  I’m taking care of business.  Husband will never know I’m a slacker.   Feeling much more confident, I reached into the second skimmer, also full of limp wet leaves, so full that I couldn’t get to the handle of the basket to pull it out of the water.  So I shoved my hand in further.  I stretched my fingers, reached in and grabbed a huge cluster of ice cold leaves.  Hmmm.  Why are these leaves so heavy?  I thought to myself, but I was in a hurry, so I just squeezed my hand around the leaves and pulled them out further.  Then I felt it.  Fur.  An animal.  A cold furry dead animal.  In my hand.  My bare hand.

I dropped the dead animal and leaves back into the skimmer basket and squealed like a little girl, jumping up and down, in total complete freak out.  My first instinct was to run inside and wash my hands, so I sprinted, full speed to the back door, and turned the handle.  Locked.  Come on!  I banged on the door, hoping my three year old would tear herself away from her fictional doctor cartoon to let me in.  Nope.

This has happened before.  My daughter likes to lock the bottom lock, the one that tricks you when you turn it and it lets you go outside completely ignorant of what’s to come when you try to go back inside.  Thank God for good neighbors.  Crisis averted.  Back in the comfort of my kitchen, I washed my hands for twenty minutes calculating my next move.  I still had a dead rabbit and a bunch of leaves in my pool, which might have been the cause of the strange gurgling sound, so clearly, I had to get them out if for no other reason, I need my sleep.

My rubber gloves were somewhere in a landfill, having been thrown away last time my husband left and I had to fish a dead animal out of the pool, so gloves were not an option.  I cursed myself for forgetting to buy some replacements, but who would have thought I’d be fishing dead animals out of my pool so frequently? I had to come up with a plan.

What would MacGyver do?

I grabbed a wire hanger, twisted it into a hook, and stepped back out to the watery morgue in my backyard, feeling brave and not at all freaked out.  Right.  I hooked my hanger pully thing around the rabbit, and pulled him out.  I tried not to look.  I held it, hooked to the hanger, with my arm stretched out as far as it would go, squealing with every step, and threw it into the field behind my house.  And then I sent my husband an explicit text message that we needed a bunny lifeguard because I’m over fishing dead animals out of my pool.  He responded with this:  When was the last time you checked the skimmers?  Really?  Pfft.

Why is it that the “sh*t hits the fan” when the husband leaves town?  If it’s not a dead animal in the pool, the water heater explodes, the kid needs stitches, the  roof leaks, and every single time there’s a tornado, I’m here by myself with the kids.  I can handle tornadoes, roof leaks, exploding water heaters, and even ER visits for stitches, but I cannot be the undertaker for these foolish animals that can’t swim.

Rabbits  - they're smart.

Rabbits – they’re smart.

Does this happen to anyone else?  What’s the worst thing that’s happened while the husband or wife were away?