Category Archives: Children

People – A Manual

When I brought my oldest daughter home from the hospital, as a baby, I walked out of the doors and felt this huge weight settle on my shoulders. Here was this wonderful, new, red and wrinkly creature that I had to take home and keep alive. My only pet, a goldfish, had survived less than a month. I regularly kill plants and here they sent me home with no instructions other than checking to make sure that the car seat was properly installed. “That’s wonderful, she’ll be safe for the ride home. But then what?”

I wished for a manual.

So I think I’ll write one. It might take me a while. Maybe by the time the computers/robots have taken over I can get it published. It’ll be a bestseller and all the little robots can rush to the pet store and buy their own human and my manual.

Kid Wars

It’s the summertime and my children are staying up until midnight, skipping meals (if they sleep through it), and that equals arguing. And it’s the same argument every time: “She’s on the [insert TV/Computer/device] without doing her chores first!” And they wouldn’t care except they did their chores so to be fair they need to tattle on their sister.

Other than getting them back to normal sleep patterns and feeding them (I skip fixing breakfast, because they are plenty old enough to fend for themselves.) I’m not sure what else to do. The rule at our house in the summer is 1/2 hr of practicing and 1/2 hr of chores before screen time each day. Chores are free form, but maybe that should change because the house doesn’t seem to get any messier, but it really doesn’t get any cleaner either.

I couldĀ  farm the children out to the neighbors, then the tattling would go away because they can’t see each other. Or send the little ones to a labor camp in Siberia, then the 1/2 hr of chores would seem easy. “Thirty minutes of chores, I can do that before waking up!” But the real solution is shipping them off to Grandma’s, where they only have cable TV and a computer and chores are something their parents used to do back in the good ‘ole days.

Fabric Aging

Leftover fabric from curtains for old house.

Starting a new project with leftover aged curtain fabric, postponed due to broken power cord.

I like to buy fabric with the ambition of doing a project that day, but realistically the fabric sits in a box with my sewing supplies for two or more years. Fabric, to work properly, has to age you see. For example I have six yards of blue velvet that I purchased to make Christmas dresses for my three daughters, about eight years ago. It should make fantastic dresses, however since all three girls have grown in the last eight years, 6 yards is more the quantity I’d need to make them all skirts, well, realistically mini-skirts. But if I wait another eight years, I’ll only have one daughter living at home and I could use the 6 yards to make a dress.

But that daughter hates velvet and wouldn’t wear the 16-year aged vintage fabric. I’ll have to rethink this plan.

Another project was material I bought to make curtains for my daughter’s navy bedroom. The fabric was aged only a short year, when it became time to sell the house. Not to let the pale blue, with Asian-inspired dark blue trees printed fabric go to waste, after only two hours of labor I had the curtains made and hung. I enjoyed them for the last month we lived in that house. Of course I was so busy moving, performing (it was December) and packing that I only looked at them two or three times.

For my new house, one of my daughter’s rooms has a uncovered, west-facing, half-circle window, deadly in Austin summers. I’ve purchased the material, purple velvet (her pick, not mine) and have folded it neatly to age in a box next to my other fabric supplies. They can impart their wisdom of the years and their despair of ever being anything other than fabric. While I’ll contemplate the difficulty of hanging fabric on a round curtain rod.