Good Will To All

Yes, I know it’s been almost four years.  And yes, I know I said I would continue to write.  And yes, I said I would continue to blog.  But, (spoiler alert) I didn’t.  Requisite excuses and mea culpas to come in a future post.

Fast forward to November of 2016 and writing is the last thing on my mind.  But over lunch one day, my dear husband turns to me and says, “I know what I want for Christmas… I want you to write a blog.”

Err, excuse me?  While I was fully prepared to Amazon his gift of choice with just a few taps of my nimble fingers, I was not prepared for this.  What do I write about?  How do I even start?  When do I have the time?!?!  It was the start of the Christmas season and don’t laugh, you legitimately employed readers, my busiest time of the year!  There are cookies to be baked, gifts to be bought, presents to be mailed, cards to be addressed, donations to be given, kids activities to volunteer for, parties to attend, friends to host…and don’t get me started on that damn elf!  Yes, I know…I can barely write this with a straight face.  I never said I was trying to send a man to the moon.  I’m a housewife, people.  This is what I do.

Then, as if the gods could hear my frantic inner monologue, what appears in my mailbox but a jury summons?  For the two weeks in December leading up to Christmas, I would be forced to sit in a room full of strangers who had also “won” a civic lottery of sorts with absolutely nothing to do.  No running last-minute errands, no post office trips at the eleventh hour, and no cursing like a drunk sailor while wrapping Christmas gifts when the girls are in school.  Instead, I’d have to compress all of my tasks and finish by the 9th. The 9th!!!  I needed smelling salts just thinking about it.

While I bemoaned my fate, I received tons of advice on how to escape jury duty.  My favorite was from my well-meaning aunt in Dallas given over pre-Thanksgiving drinks:  pretend I don’t speak English.  I won’t lie; I did entertain the idea for half a second.  But when I realized the only things I could spout in Korean were restaurant menu items (Kimchi!  Galbi!  Bibimbop!), I put on my Star Spangled Banner big girl panties and reported to dungeon-like basement of the Hennepin County Government Center on December 12th to fulfill my civic duty.

I won’t bore you with the minutiae of sitting on my butt, minute after excruciating minute, waiting to see if I would be needed to serve.  Because if I did, it would look something like this:

9:23AM- Threw away old receipts from my wallet and spent 20 seconds in silent shame reflecting on my horrid fast food addiction

9:26AM- Tried not to judge the man sitting next to me who was precariously close to invading my personal space because he was falling asleep

9:27AM- Ate a KIND bar

You get the picture.  My only real source of entertainment was sending my dear husband texts throughout the day informing him of various chores that he needed to do for me.  He was not amused, but me?  I felt drunk with power!  I finally knew what it was like to have my very own housewife!

By the end of the first day, I was almost delirious with boredom.  Just when I thought the hallucinations would start, I heard my name called.  They needed a group of 24 to be interviewed for a criminal case.  Our group was whisked away to one of the many courtrooms in the government center.  Please note: when I say “whisked”, I mean with all the rapidity of any government agency.  This involved a glacial TSA-like security check, a slow crawl up a rickety freight elevator to the 7th floor, and yet another mind-numbing 32 minute wait in the hallway of the courtroom.  The wheels of justice are anything but swift.

In the courtroom, our group was interviewed by the judge and attorneys on everything from our employment history to criminal records.  The interview lasted into the following day and well, I didn’t make the cut.  Despite not having a criminal history and not having served in law enforcement myself (apparently, being sheriff of my house doesn’t count), I was let go.  And while I could write a whole ‘nother blog about my feelings of rejection and unworthiness (ha ha), I’ll leave you with this.  The group interview process was an unexpected gift.  It was a reminder to me that 1) I am a lucky woman and 2) to be kind and respectful to your fellow human beings with an open and understanding heart.

With no electronics to distract me and no way to multitask, I heard the stories of 23 other people who like me, were randomly selected for jury duty.  Within this microcosm of our population, I listened as women admitted to being sexually assaulted or abused and others confessed to having been homeless.  Many talked of their own struggle with drug addiction and some admitted to having served jail time.  One shared that family members had been shot and killed while another told of how her father was currently serving life for murder.  They also talked about their children, relatives, and other loved ones and while we might have been from varying backrgrounds, we all had the capacity to love, forgive, and endure.  In the age of soundbites and Twitter, you forget that there is a whole life history behind each person that can’t be summarized in 140 characters or less.  Sitting in that courtroom, all I could do was listen, feel, be thankful, and promise myself to do more to help my fellow men and women.  What more can you ask for from Christmas?

As I said, I wasn’t selected for this particular case and spent another day in the “pit” waiting to see if I would be needed for another.  I started this post that day out of a combination of boredom and inspiration.  And at the end of the third day, the county released all jurors and I found myself with a second gift: a calendar that was now completely clear for the one and half weeks leading up to Christmas. So thank you, Hennepin County, for the gift of time and the gift of heart.  Merry Christmas, everyone and Merry Christmas, honey!  Thanks for making me do this.


Stocking Stuffers

As I was strolling through the house earlier this week with a smug smile on my face, congratulating myself on finishing all of my Christmas duties, I noticed something was different at our mantle (besides the fact that Sarah had once again re-organized the stockings based on her personal Naughty/Nice List for that day….usually Chris and I are in reversed positions so I’m curious to know what triggered this change in my status and what offense Chris committed to be demoted below the dog):

The five large stockings are for Chris, me, Sarah, Katie, and our dog Ellie. But what do I spy? Another smaller sock! Closer investigation revealed this:


Who is Star, you ask? Well, let me introduce you to this member of the family whom I have yet to mention in any of my blogs. Everyone, meet Star.


Yes, Star is Sarah’s Betta fish. Sarah has taken it upon herself, bless her little heart, to make sure that every family member is equally represented for Santa’s consideration this year. What I wanted to do was take Sarah aside and explain to her that Santa is a very busy person with limited child care and does not do well with last minute additions, exceptions, and alterations and that such changes might drive him to secretly binge on huge quantities of Christmas cookies in the dark hours of the night and maybe take out his frustration on his unsuspecting spouse who has no inkling how stressful the holidays can be and who only has to buy for one person on an ever growing list of family members, friends, babysitters, teachers, cleaning ladies, bus drivers, and other “support” staff. Instead, I found myself at the local PetCo one afternoon, navigating treacherous roads and icy parking lots to buy Star some new sparkly turquoise gravel and a neon orange plant to spruce up the joint. After all, every one deserves a little holiday cheer…no matter how small.

A Christmas Miracle

I noticed that the house seemed eerily quiet.  Katie had announced about ten minutes before that she wanted to play by herself in her room…a smallish miracle of sorts since she is usually never more than 2 feet away from me during the day.  With this unexpected reprieve from my normal servant chores, I took the opportunity to stuff our Christmas cards.  Another five minutes passed with no sounds.  Then another.  Finally, I couldn’t stand it a minute longer and had to investigate.  And this what I found:


Katie napping!  It’s the first time she’s done so in months.  I debated whether I should wake her up; she was Pull-Up less and I’ve had my quota of laundry for this week.  I decided to risk it though and I snuck out of the room to continue to work on our cards.  Then, the snow started falling.  So beautiful.  So peaceful.  So quiet.  So not like my normal day.   And for the bow on this perfect gift- we have a sitter tonight so I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to put an overly rested 2 year old to bed!  Miracles do happen everyday. Hope y’all are experiencing your own holiday magic during this season.

All I Want for Christmas

Like most major retailers across our nation, Sarah has chosen to completely ignore Thanksgiving and has moved right on to Christmas.  While cleaning her room last week, I found this piece of correspondence sitting neatly on her desk:

Brushing aside all issues of privacy and discretion, I opened up the envelope without hesitation to see what Sarah had to say to good ole St Nick.

This is a dramatic departure from last year’s list when Sarah had at least 10 items from which to choose.  This year, she’s putting all her chips on the table and is asking for one thing…a phone.  I should at least be grateful that she didn’t put an “i” in front of it but I doubt she’s imagining opening up a rotary phone on Christmas morning.  And then, as an alternative, if Santa cannot cough up said phone, she writes, “You pick.”  So simple yet so diabolical.  I can imagine her sitting at her desk, tenting her fingers and whispering, “Excellent,”  à la Mr. Burns as she crafts this note.  She is basically testing the guy by saying, “Santa, you with all your magical skills and wisdom choose the one other item that would bring my little heart joy, fulfillment, and happiness.  Let’s see you work for this year’s cookies, buddy.”   Chris and I are going to need some serious strategizing this year.