Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reality Bites.

I am back from vacation with a vengeance! The kids go back to school tomorrow.....Yay! and I have a plan! This school year will go smoothly. It will be organized. Homework will get done when they get home from school. Rooms will be cleaned before they go to bed....ON TIME! Chores will get done after dinner. Backpacks will be packed the night before. Lunches will be made ahead of time and put in the fridge so all I have to do is throw them in their backpacks the next morning.  I will use my days to clean the house, run errands, work out, sew and stock up my Etsy shop with fabulous new reusable sandwich bag sets! I will have a work schedule. And I will stick to it.
At the end of every summer I go through this plan in my head. This year will be different. This year will be MY year! This year I will have everything ready to go ahead of time. No stress. 
I always have good intentions. I am an optimist. 
And I always end up disappointed. Nothing ever goes smoothly. Maybe if I just put THAT plan into place then I won't end up being so stressed out about it all. Maybe I should just plan on it all falling to shit. Then it won't be such a surprise when it does. 
I'll just expect that the kids will come home from school, trash the house, run outside to play with their friends before I can even get a chance to look in their backpacks for their homework.
Then in the winter I'll  feel all guilty about making them stay inside and do their homework right when they get home because they only have an hour of daylight left to play outside. They are kids after all and need to play, so I decide to let the homework wait until after dinner. Then instead of doing their chores and packing their backpacks up and cleaning their rooms before bed time, they are doing homework. Then I am stuck washing the dishes, and doing their chores so I can get them to bed on time. Then lunches don't get made ahead of time and backpacks don't get packed because I am, at this point, exhausted. 
The next morning we are all rushing around trying to get lunches made, pack up backpacks, find the homework that was left on the kitchen table??? the night before. My morning dialogue will sound something like this;
"Where is your other shoe?! Where is your coat?! Why aren't you wearing underwear?! Go put some on! NOW! Your bus will be here in 2 minutes! Did you brush your teeth? No! You are not bringing your action figures to school! What do you mean you forgot to do all your homework? You need a note for what?! What permission slip? You need it today?! Where is my checkbook!? Your bus is coming! I can hear it coming down the road! Get your coat on! Why isn't your coat on?! I told you to put it on 5 minutes ago! Where is your other SHOE?! How do you lose a shoe everyday?! You still haven't put underwear on yet? No time now. Looks like you're going commando!..... and we missed the bus. "
Then I drive them to school. Then my "schedule" is all messed up for the day. And I am stuck cleaning up their messes all day because they didn't get it done the night before. Then I don't get my workout in or get any sewing done. My plans of a productive day have officially gone down the shitter!
Yep! That is pretty much how it's going to go. Every morning. Everyday. No matter how much planning I put into place. No matter how optimistic I am.  
But that is just the way it is. I am used to it. If things actually went as planned I'd probably be bored out of my skull! 
So tomorrow it begins! The first day of the 2011-2012 school year! And I have a plan. This school year will be just like all the past years. I plan on it being unorganized, stressful and full of morning freak outs!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A few hours of Bliss

 I dropped the husband and the kids off at the boat launch this morning along with the canoe, gave them all a kiss, told them to have fun and be careful before I jumped in the truck and drove away as fast as I could. Made a pit stop at D&D for some iced caffeine heaven and off to the flea market I went!
Maine has a ton of flea markets all along route1. Today I chose the Montsweag Flea Market located off Rt.1 in Woolwich. It's filled with all sorts of goodies! Antiques, junk, old toys, handmade quilts, mittens and baby blankets. You may even find that car part you were looking for or the perfect nick-knack for your aunt Betsy who collects frogs. This flea market has it all. The vendors are friendly and helpful and most of them will allow you to haggle down the price.
I had three WHOLE hours to kill before I had to pick up the boys from their canoe trip. I was kid free and husband free. With camera, iced coffee and cash in hand I was ready to shop!
And what makes it all even better.....I get to call this work.
As well as sewing handmade reusable sandwich bags and other handmade bags in my Etsy shop, I sell vintage goodies. So going to the flea market and picking up vintage treasures is actually considered my "job". How awesome is that?!
At the very first table I stopped at I found a whole bunch of vintage fabric. I wanted it all but settled for two pieces. The woman who ran the booth couldn't understand why I, or anyone for that matter, wanted this old stuff. She said she bought it in the 60's and was going to make pillows for her couch but never got around to it. She says she looks at it now and thinks it's old and ugly. So she gave me a deal just to get it out of her face. "I am sick of looking at it! It just reminds me of the projects I never got done....and it's ugly!"
Next to her table was a man selling old bottles and various parts and pieces of faucets, motors and fishing lures.

I took out the camera and started shooting pics of the bottles. This, I guess, made him think that maybe I'd be interested in buying the whole lot of 'em.
"50 bucks for the whole lot! There's some real old ones in there. That's a good deal."
When I told him I wasn't interested in buying them, just photographing them, he tried again.
"35 bucks! And they're all yours! Then you can photograph them all you want all day long!"

I graciously rejected his offer again and explained that my mom used to collect bottles and all I would have to do is ask her and she'd pull her "lot" out of the attic for me and let me have at 'em.  For free.

Still not satisfied with my answer he tried again.
"20 bucks! They're yours. I'll even throw in a few old fishing lures."
I said "no thanks" again and tried to get away.
I had almost made it too but then I got stupid and stopped to take a photo of an old bird cage.

And wouldn't you know? It was his! As I snapped the photo I heard him yell "That bird cage is on sale today only! 50 bucks will make it yours! and I'll include the birds that are in there too." The free dead birds ALMOST got him the sale but instead I decided to make a hasty exit as I yelled over my shoulder , "It's beautiful but no thanks!"
Now as much as I thought this bird cage rocked I didn't want it. Truth is I only brought $40 with me and I didn't have time to stand here and wheel and deal with this man all day.  I'll go back next weekend. If it's still there I'll see if I can get him down to $20. Maybe I'll even get some free bottles or a fishing lure out of the deal!

Once I escaped my deal making bottle selling friend I made it around the corner to the main stretch of tables and vendors.  This is where things got really fun. I came across a woman, named Elaine Niemi at E-Plus Studio,  who paints. Her work was like nothing I had ever seen before. Abstract but simple. I chatted with her for awhile about photography and art, picked up her business card and moved on. I could've bought 50 of her paintings but I was "working" today and therefor, not shopping for myself. I made my way over to a booth full of "stuff". I spied a vintage barbie travel case shoved in a box under the table.  I snatched that right up and the lovely woman working the booth for her friend showed me to another box full of barbie clothes stuffed in the back of a storage shed. She told me to pick through and pick out 10 things to go along with the barbie case. Nice deal! Nice lady! I'll be back to see her again real soon.
I spent about 30 minutes picking through the barbie clothes. The excitement of it made me feel like I was 9 years old again. I couldn't help but think back on those times and how AWESOME it would have been back then to have the "go ahead" to pick through a box of barbie clothes and take what I wanted!

I paid the nice lady for my barbie case and the GI Joe I found for my son and moved along the tables. All of them lined with goodies and treasures for every sort of person.
I chatted with vendors and crafters got business cards and exchanged email address with a few.
Sometimes I find the vendors at flea markets to be the treasures themselves. If you really take the time to talk with them you'll hear some pretty interesting stories. I love to hear how an old lady came across a certain item on her table or the old man who sells military memorabilia tells a you about his time in the Navy.  All of these people have stories and everything for sale on their tables have  stories too.  Like the old lady I bought the Cher doll from today.

She bought if for her daughter and held onto it long after her daughter moved out and had children of her own. She said she saved it for a granddaughter but all she got was grandsons. 10 of them in fact and 3 great-grandsons. So she gave up all hope of being able to pass it on to a female relative and decided to sell it.

I never really know what I am looking when I go to the flea market. I just wait for items to call out my name. Like they were meant for me. Like the clock I picked up today. Did I see myself going to the flea market in search of Chinese Revolution Memorabilia? No, but I found some and I freakin' LOVE it. This one is going to be hard to sell!
But that's what I do...I sell my vintage goodies so others may enjoy them.
I guess it pays off in the end because I get to enjoy finding them in the first place. There's no greater feeling than when I get an email form a customer saying how much they love what they bought from me or how great it looks in their living room or kitchen or what memories it brought back to them. It's nice to know that what I do makes an impact on someones life, no matter how small it is in the grand scheme of things. It's pretty cool. I love my "job"!
So here it is. The fruits of a days work. Now for a nice glass of wine and then I'll get these babies cleaned up, priced and put up for sale in my Etsy Shop. If you get a chance, stop by and say hello!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Oops! Sorry. I didn't get the laundry done because I was eating bon bon's all day- Misconceptions about being a stay at home parent.

Last school year I was talking on the phone to my seven year old's teacher. We were setting up a time to have a meeting and she asked, "Would Wednesday afternoon work for you?" I answered "Sure. Actually it's perfect. I give myself Wednesday afternoons off to do personal things and I have no plans this Wednesday." She laughed, paused and then said to me "Oh. But you don't work. Don't you have everyday off to do personal things?" I can't remember what my exact response to that statement was, but what I DO  remember is what I really wanted to say to her but didn't.  I WANTED to say "Oh ya. You're right! I just have all day to eat bon bon's, watch soap operas, sit on my ass and do nothing. Sometimes I just call a random plumber over and go at it with him because I am bored. And that's what I do all day."
This brings me to the point of this blog. I am sure many SAHM/D's will find it reassuring that they are not the only ones who have these untrue misconceptions associated with them. It's time to set the record straight.

Misconception #1 We have all day to do whatever we want.
The truth:  
If you have school aged kids, kids are in school for approximately 7 hours. This gives you 7 hours to do all the things you need to do before they get home. Included in this time is showering, eating breakfast, cleaning house, eating lunch, running errands. If you work from home, like I do, this also includes trying to get all of the above done and then trying to get some work done for your business....in 7 hours. It is nearly impossible.
 Personal things get done when everything else is finished. And nothing is ever completely finished. EVER!
If you have preschool kids at home with you then you basically have to do what they want all day plus all the house work and errands. Personal things seem to NEVER get done.

Misconception #2  We must be rich if we can afford to not work.
The Truth:
hahahahahahaaaaa! Ya, I wish! Many of us stay at home because have decided that being there for our children is more important than having money. I am sure there are a few SAHM/D's that stay at home because they don't have to work and are loaded. That's great! Good for them. Wish I was one of them. But most of us aren't. Most of us have to clip coupons and stretch our working partners paychecks as far as possible. Most of us go without family vacations and eating out. 
* just a note... I am in no way, shape or form saying that SAHM/D's care more about their children than working parents. NOT at all! Most people must have both parents working to be able to pay rent and eat.  Us SAHM/D's are fortunate to have a spouse with an income to support this lifestyle BUT that does not mean we are rich. 

Misconception #3 Our Houses must be immaculately clean.
The truth: 
And that is answered with another "hahahahahaha"! If we are lucky enough to get the house even 1/4 of the way immaculate, it only lasts for a few hours until they get home from school and trash it again. Then we get to start all over the next day.
If you're are home with preschoolers then forget about getting anything clean at all! While you're cleaning up the kitchen they are trashing the living room. You start cleaning the living room and they are trashing the playroom. It's an endless cycle.

Misconception #4 We're bored so we have affairs.
The truth
Who has time for that crap? And who wants another headache? We can barley keep  our eyes open at the end of the day to have sex with our spouses let alone trying to keep someone on the side happy as well.  Sounds like waaayyyy too much work for me!
And if you're at home with preschoolers it is nearly impossible....after all, daddy might start wondering who this "uncle bob" is that his kids keep talking about. Kids can't keep secrets. And you're never alone when you're a SAHM/D to preschoolers. You can't even pee by yourself. Let alone have an affair!
Oh and I have also heard the rumor that SAHM/D's call repair men over for a "good time". Ya okay. Have you seen the local plumber? ummmm no thanks. And even if the plumber happened to turn out to be a strapping young buck with abs like a rock and a smile that could melt an ice burg, there is no way it would ever happen. Especially after he just snaked a hairball the size of Montana out of your bathtub while you stand watching unshowered in your bathrobe and your kids are in the next room fighting with each other over who gets the last eggo. Your greasy hair and screaming kids reminding him that "This all could be yours". Chances are he wouldn't want it.  He'd run and he'd run away FAST!

Misconception #5 We sit home and eat bon bon's all day.
The truth:
Bon bon's are expensive. Refer to the the truth of misconception #2.  Most of us cannot afford to buy ourselves special treats when the kids have to have their snack and your husbands need to have their ice cream in the freezer at all times. For me, my special treat, my big splurge every week is Activia. Sad, huh? The other truth of the matter is, do you really think Bon Bon's would last 5 minutes in the house with kids? Even if you hid them, kids have this special built in candy radar. They'd find it and eat it all before you could blink an eye. I'd be lucky to get one bob bon. Never mind a whole box all to myself! 

Misconception #6 We can babysit other peoples kids and run other peoples errands because we have nothing else to do.
The truth: 
We work harder now than we did when we were working. We have our own errands to run. Since we don't work it's up to us, not our spouses, to go grocery shopping, take the kids to the doctors, attend school functions, parent teachers conferences, get the oil changes, run to the bank, pick up the clothes at the cleaners, take the pets to the vet, clean, cook, do laundry, patch up boo boo's, get the kids to soccer, baseball, basketball, ballet, dentist appointments, gardening, clean out the goldfish and skittles from the cars, drop stuff off at goodwill and if there's time, spend quality time with our kids. We don't have time for your kids or your errands. So don't ask. 

So these are just some of the misconceptions I have come across in my 7 years as a SAHM. I have a list of about 10 more but no time to write about them. The fact of the matter is, it has taken me 3 hours to write this. In between writing I have been doing laundry, dishes, getting the kids lunch, walking the dogs. Housework awaits! And maybe, just maybe I'll get a little sewing down for my Etsy shop today. If I am lucky. Speaking of which...here is some shameless advertising.... www.rhodacrookscloset.etsy.com
Well, folks back to the daily grind.. laundry, dishes, kids and cat boxes are calling me!

***Stay at home Mom's and Dad's....Please post a misconception you've run across in my comments section. I'd love to hear them! And if you're a blooger, leave your blog link too so I can check out your blog and follow you too! Thanks!

I want to be different...Just like everyone else.

When I was 14 my stepfather asked my why I dressed funny. I looked down at my black and white striped stockings, army green converse and boldly printed babydoll dress and said "Cuz I want to be different." And he answered, "Oh. I see! You want to be different. Just like everyone else!" It took me awhile to figure this one out. But when I did, I realized it was true. Everyone wants to be different. Everyone wants to stand out. So being different really isn't so different after all. We're all really doing the same thing....but differently. hmmmm....it makes sense but still is as confusing as hell! SO after awhile I just gave up trying to be different and just decided to be myself.
 I am still not sure how well that is going to work out for me but it seems to have  been going okay so far. I am married, have two kids, a best friend who is like a sister to me and a family who drives me crazy but gives me unconditional love the same as I give them. They all seem to like me as myself. Crude jokes, inappropriate comments, raunchy sense of humor and all.
So all of this brings me to this question... How can I make my blog different? How can I make my blog stand out?
Answer: I can't.
And the truth is I really don't care. Everyone is blogging. Everyone has something to say. Everyone wants their blog to get the most hits and the most followers. Everyone wants their blog to be different...just like everyone elses! So I have decided, once again, to just be myself. You can love me or hate me. But I am doing this for myself. I'll say what I want and you'll either love it or hate it. But what do I care? No one is ever going to read my blogs anyway and if you are one of the few people who actually do for some strange reason, then "Hello to you"! Get ready for me to talk about nothing and everything all at the same time. I need an outlet for my thoughts. I usually subject my husband to my non stop ADDish thought process but maybe this blog will give him a break.
Not sure yet really what this blog will turn into in the future but for now I am just going to go with the flow. I'll dig around in my brain and see what I find....kind of like the Junk Drawer in your kitchen..you never know whats in there until you dig around in it. And sometimes you'll find tacks and a bottle opener, maybe  an old christmas card and missing sock. That's kind of how my brain works..it's like a Junk Drawer...hence the name of my blog.  Maybe I'll write about my latest ghost hunting adventure,  a cool product I find on Etsy, a project I am working on, how my husband pissed me off, how slutty Lindsey Lohan's dress looked on the red carpet, evil thoughts I have about something or someone, what I am going to make for dinner. Oh! and lets not forget the shameless advertising I WILL do to promote my Esty Shop www.Rhodacrookscloset.etsy.com and my Scentsy Business www.carriestanton.scentsy.us <----- Shameless Advertising! :)
Who know's? Let's just wait and see how this blogging thing goes.