Zen and the art of child/ carpet maintenance.

I am relieved to say that I was wrong or, at least, that my first instinct was correct: the insurance that was advertising to those whose “other car” has a siren on top is indeed aimed at first responders, police, and the like. I realized this when I saw another similar sign advertising to nurses, which leads me to believe that such professions are associated with lower accident rates. As someone who is not unfamiliar with the basic tenets of actuarial science, I find this fascinating. Which professions tend to make more insurance claims? Which professions are associated with high risk behaviours? I spent way too much time contemplating this, while driving and singing along to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun this morning.

I know, I know, I had you at actuarial science.

Last week was all about dental checkups and this week is all about the optometrist. Sometimes parenting feels like a lot of maintenance, like the kids are vehicles and I’m trying to maximize performance and longevity. I guess that IS what parenting is. Nevertheless, I find it infinitely satisfying when I’ve successfully made appointments for all these things (next week: haircuts). It feels like the actual appointments are nothing compared with phoning/ emailing to make appointments, scheduling them and figuring out the calendar and schedules. And I only have two children! I admire all of you who are making all the back-to-school appointments for more than two because honestly, two is challenging enough.

One thing I do need to make an appointment for is carpet cleaning. We only have carpet in the basement (does that sound dirty? It kind of sounds dirty.) and it’s reached reprehensible status, in my opinion. I remember when we ripped out the carpet upstairs and replaced it with hardwood, how disgusting it was to dig the dust bunnies out from under the TV and realizing that when the carpet was there, the dust just WENT INTO THE CARPET. It’s enough to make me want to rip out the carpet downstairs, but that is simply not feasible. Anyway, I do need to get someone to clean it but the thought of having to move all the moveable things, and then have someone in the house with a giant hose for several hours (okay, this really sounds dirty) is overwhelming. I keep looking at my calendar, and then at the carpet cleaner’s number, and I just can’t bring myself to do it yet.

It’s a hard knock life.

I’ve been reading a few books this summer that have garnered a lot of buzz and interest, and once again I feel like I’m an alien from another planet who dislikes things that seem to be commonly enjoyed. This is like when I read the much-acclaimed The Goldfinch, and ended up wishing that I’d never picked it up. What a downer of a book. Anyway, I read Hausfrau and I found it very disappointing. I should have known it wasn’t going to be my type of book. Sex addiction. Dissatisfaction with what appears to be a perfectly normal life. Boring sessions with a psychoanalyst. Multiple affairs. An affair with a man named Archie. VERY SAD THINGS THAT I WON’T GO INTO IN CASE YOU WANT TO READ IT. The whole thing was like a modern, less interesting Anna Karenina, which maybe was the point since the main character is named Anna. Have you read it? Did you hate it or am I all alone in this?

Then I read Little Children, which sounded light and interesting, and instead circled around the following: an affair, a pedophile released into the community, and bitchy moms. Doesn’t that sound great? In other words, I’m looking for some book recommendations, preferably something uplifting, or at least not depressing. Anyone? xo


  1. We are doing haircuts/dentist/doctor/orthodontist, etc. all this week and next. Plus an ADHD evaluation meeting for Noah.

    My level of summer reading is re-reading old Stephen King books, plus whatever my book club is reading, which this year was Cloudstreet. You might like it if you don’t mind some narrative confusion. You have to pay attention to who’s narrating and when you are in time, which is not always clear. But it’s very well written, interesting characters. It’s about two Australian families who share a house over the course of twenty years from the 40s to the 60s. Some sad parts, but given the number of characters and how much times passes that’s not too surprising. I wouldn’t call it uplifting, exactly.

  2. I hated Hausfrau too. I stuck with it because I kept feeling as if it would…do something better. And unfortunately I kept reading until the Sad Thing, at which point I wished I’d stopped reading far sooner.

  3. I stumbled on the movie of Little Children a few years ago, watched for a bout 1/2 an hour and realized it was totally not for me. PASS. Etc.

    Less distressing: Last week Husband took all of our rugs to be professionally cleaned. I’m quite enjoying only hardwood floors in almost every room of our house (except the playroom), probably because it’s Summer and it’s hot. In Winter I would hate it because everything is cold and horrible. Still, cleaning is MUCH easier without all of that damned vacuuming.

    • Wait. There’s a MOVIE about Little Children? That seems…terrible.

      Cleaning IS much easier. I’d rather wipe up paw prints than haul out the vacuum. Oh! You know what’s gross? After we got hardwood my husband thought something was wrong with the furnace since he had to clean the filter and it was DISGUSTING. We realized that the dirt went into the furnace filter that would have previously gone into the CARPET AND OMGGGGGG.

  4. I was trying not to jump straight to the book recommendations, but I’m over here mentally waving, saying, “Ooh, ooh, I know this one!”

    Which of course I don’t, without knowing your taste in books (though if you tell me a couple of titles that you love, I might be able to suggest something).

    So I’ll just tell you a couple of books I’ve loved during my recent good reading streak. I just tried my first Georgette Heyer Regency romance novel (apologies if this is old hat to you) and now I have pledged her my undying devotion and am determined to read all of them. Think Jane Austen (Heyer nails the historical accuracy, which is huge for me), totally tame as far as romance but lots of banter. I love banter. Warning: she also wrote mystery novels, which are okay, but not nearly as great as the romances. I’ve read The Reluctant Widow and Black Sheep.

    The Royal We is a fun read, but well-written and characterized too. It’s narrated by an American girl who goes to study at Cambridge, where the next heir to the British throne just happens to live down the hall. The authors did a great job of imagining what it’s like to be Kate Middleton, if Kate were American.

    I hope that helps!

  5. Wow, I wrote you a novel-length comment! #sorrynotsorry

  6. I recently finished at the Waters Edge by Sara Gruen (who also wrote the wonderful Water for Elephants). It was a beautiful story.

  7. I already picked one child up half an hour late because the practice times had changed on the same day I sent another child to an activity without some of the required paperwork. And there are still three weeks of activities and forms and appointments before school begins. Hold me.

  8. But does the carpet match the drapes?

    There – THAT’s dirty.

    Read The Martian!

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