Sunday, July 31, 2011

Clean Sheets

Despite, my arch nemesis--another load of laundry--it's all worth it for the feel of clean sheets. In the summer, when it is hot, when the ticklings and flirtations of that midnight breeze waft into the bedroom, and you crawl into the freshly made bed.  Your toes separating the layer of coziness and acceptance.  The crisp embrace.  The smell of sleep awaits.  The joy in surviving a long day and the final arrival of dreamland.  There is nothing like it.

The eco-friendly minimalist in me feels some guilt about the number of 600+ thread count sheets that fill my very tiny linen closet.  I often wonder if I could survive the withdrawal from living with one set of sheets, one duvet cover and one quilt.  Maybe two, I think, and then I can't decide.  Which ones do I keep?  This one was given to us as a wedding present, and this one is extra crispy if dried on the clothes line.  And well, that's my favorite cozy up on the couch quilt.  And then, you add the real bamboo sheets, and I have to keep the sustainable ones!  

One of my first fights with my husband was over sheets.  I asked him, trying to match the duvet cover with the sheet set, if the shades of green matched.  I kept trying to make him choose between two different sets of green, insisting he choose, all the while offended that he didn't care.  He walked out of the store.  I don't ask him those types of questions anymore.  My desire for perfection, even in sleep.  (insert eye-roll here)  Pretty funny, and silly to think back on now...ah, how the years change I just want a place to land that doesn't have pee pee, cracker crumbs or leggos...  
My son despises blankets.  The cute little baby swaddled and peaceful...yeah, that was not him.  Peaceful, yes.  Swaddled, no.  My husband and I kept thinking we were doing the swaddling incorrectly.  Endlessly rechecking the Harvey Karp book "Happiest Baby on the Block," in any attempt to master the art of the swaddle, the better we got at it, the more improved my son's techniques became at getting out of it.  We would get him to sleep, swaddled and sweet.  Set him down in his bassinet.  Wait for it...wait for it.  Feet at the perfect 90 degrees.  Wiggle a bit.  Slam his feet down.  Success!  Swaddle unlocked, and free to wiggle.  I guess he likes his freedom.  He still refuses most blankets, although he does enjoy one my aunt knitted for him...there is ownership in it for him, and lots of love.  

Thankfully, hubby and I are the same kind of blanket sleepers.  Pulled up to right under our chins.  Snuggled and warm...except...just before he falls asleep, and perhaps as his own de-swaddling mechanism (like father, like son, I know) he scrounges around the bottom of the bed with his toes.  Searching for what, I don't know, but this scavenger hunt allows just enough of the outside cold air in through the side of the blanket.  And then, finally settling his feet...poof...cold air fills the warm and snugly sandwich of blankets.  I remember it bothering me so long ago, but now it's an expected nighttime routine, and there is comfort in knowing, after it, I can fall asleep.    
Changing the sheets always brings joy for my son and I.  Me, for the anticipation of a clean space...the tucked edges...flattened with straight lines and very few wrinkles.    The accented pillows, aligned and set with style.  For my son, the fun in the reckless abandon of jumping on the bed, diving onto the comforter, and swinging in the sheets.  Total opposite approaches, and yet fun and laughs are had by both. 

I suppose the clean sheets and their first embrace with my exhausted body, provide me with the unconditional acceptance I have been longing for all day.  Despite the aging decrepitation of our really shitty, eco-un-friendly mattress, I know it will be there for doesn't complain, it doesn't want dinner, it doesn't need anything from me...and it means the much anticipated arrival of sleep.  

(Picture courtesy of Family Bed)


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Washing the Coffee Pot

I despise washing the coffee pot.  

I didn't consider myself a coffee drinker until we relocated. When the house is cold and I have to get up at o'dark thirty, there is nothing like the first sip of coffee.  It gives me hope...that I will eventually wake up...that my bed will still want me at the end of the day...that my husband's lunch might make itself.  I think, in truth, I have always been a coffee drinker, but before, I just bought it.  Oh, the luxury.  I don't know what it is about sandwiches and coffee...both taste so much better when they are made by someone else.  I miss Maria.  She worked at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf down the street from my career job.  She made the best chai lattes. She knew me by name, and we would always chat.  As the crowd of caffeine crazed on-lookers waited for their next fix, I would awkwardly stare down at my gorgeous high heels, worrying if they would last me through the day, when my little toe was already getting pinched.  She would wish me well, and I would hope that I didn't spill my wonderful-mouth-watering-made-by-someone-else latte on the hood of the car as I juggled to get in and drive back to work.

Every day I wash the coffee pot.  The crevices.  The coffee grounds.  The part of the carafe that I cannot, despite endless maneuvering, ever really get my hand far down enough to wash thoroughly with the sponge.  I worry about that part.  Will it make me sick if I didn't get it clean enough?  Is that why the coffee tasted weird this morning?  I roll my eyes and rinse, swirl, try with the bottle brush, and give up.  Every day.  

One day the coffee pot had the audacity to fight back.  I was generous enough to myself to preset the sucker the night before.  Awoke to the "BERRR" of the grinder, then the smell of the fresh brew.  Scrambled to find my slippers, morning sweater, and sneak out of the bedroom.  Turned on the kitchen light to find coffee all over the counter and dripping onto the floor!  Lucky I'm crafty.  Pipe cleaners to the rescue, and those damn coffee grounds stuck in the lid were shown who was boss!  

I don't know if it's just that its mindless.  Or that I have to do it every day.  But, man do I despise washing the coffee pot.  My mom jokes with me to embrace it.  To meditate on it.  To uncover its meaning.  I know it's not really about the coffee pot.    I think it is that last part of me that I'm fighting to still keep...of my financial independence...of my old life...of my freedom from the monotony of things like...the coffee pot.    

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Today was Beach Day with the family.  We used to live 5 blocks from the beach in Southern California.  I often enjoyed taking the beach road past LAX and the shit factory in order to avoid the smog and the 405 traffic.  Crashing waves and marine layers were an every day sight.  Those were the days, right?  It's so easy to live in the past.  

Today, it took us 45 minutes of curvy roads.  The dog barfed, my son fell asleep, and my dedicated hubby and I had peaceful, intimate and UN-interrupted conversation about finances and security.  That never happens!  (Well, the dog barf, always, but the son napping accompanied with meaningful conversation...rarity indeed.)  I guess if we still lived 5 blocks away, we would have missed out. 

We set up day camp.  Two blankets (already covered in sand), a basket of sand toys and a cooler of snacks. 

I grab my book.  "The Gifts of Imperfection--Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are" by Brene Brown.  I have been carrying this book around for a couple of months now, but keep trying to find the perfect time to read it.  I am determined to take time for me today, and I knew reading this book would give that to me.  

I'm enjoying the author.  She seems to be a science nerd like me.  She writes about "wholehearted living"--something I find very foreign, but frantically anticipate discovering.  I read the sentences, "No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough....Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn't change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging."  

Wow.  What statements.  My eyes fill with tears.  Seriously?!  Have I ever told myself I am enough?!  

I put the book down, wiping the tears away from my cheeks, and look over to see my husband and son building their sand castle.  They decide to go and get a bucket of water.  I watch as they walk away and I begin to wonder about being enough.  

Does my son feel like he's enough?  My husband?  If I feel so inadequate, how do they feel?  About me?  About themselves?  What does "enough" actually feel like?  

I gaze, mindlessly, at the waves crashing onshore, the foggy haze of clouds and sun further behind.  The sand in my toes starts to tickle.  

I'm curious, if we took each grain of sand, the ones stuck on my jeans, or the ones all over my feet, how many moments I would be able to count.  As if the number of them would make me more...worthy.  

Meeting my husband, our first kiss.   
Oh geez,dating "what's his name."  
My grandmother's death. 
Giving birth.  
Becoming an administrator.  
Holding my son after a fall.  
Quitting my job.  
Dancing on the stage.  
Nursing my toddler.  

I am overwhelmed by the number of moments in my life, and I'm only on my big toe.  I imagine all the moments in everyone's lives filling up the beach shores.  


I'm surrounded by moments.  How many have I been present for, living and embracing fully? 

I wonder what this has to do with feeling like I'm enough.   

They are returning with the full bucket, and I tell myself I have to pull myself together. I bolt from my stillness and my intimate mind starts to wander.  About the what ifs.  About the "awful-izing" I seem to be so accustomed to.  I begin to feel the stress and anxiety.  I do NOT want to do that today.  

My husband, my son, and my dog, this beautiful beach, the crashing waves, the sand stuck to my jeans and in between my toes...this moment is definitely enough.  I brush the sand off my toe, with gratitude.