Women are paying $2000 for a “certification” from Marie Kondo
that allows them to tell other people how to throw their stuff away and stop
living in such a mess. Those achieving top certification status charge as much
as $500 plus travel.
I will do it for $25 and a Starbucks gift card.
I’m not KonMari certified, but instead, I employ a method that
has been handed down for centuries; a method that has been used in homes all
around the world.
I call it…
The Mom Method.
I will arrive at your home, introduce myself, hug all family members, and then proceed through the house, room by room. I will look at the dishes piled in the kitchen, the empty Pop Tart box on the kitchen counter next to the open package of saltines. I will see the coffee stains from your spoon that dot the countertop. I will take in the dirty clothes in the piles and the unmade beds and the bathroom that last saw a thorough cleaning when it was on the market. I will smile at the dresser drawers unable to close, drawers bulging with garments. I will delicately pick my way through a sea of children’s toys that cover every floor in every room.
And after witnessing the house or the apartment or the RV or the
tiny home, I will sit down with you. I will take your hand. And with one
eyebrow raised, I will tell you very simply…
“You need to pick this sh*t up.”
You will be shocked, as this is not what you were expecting. The
words will feel like a slap. This isn’t how Marie Kondo does it, you will say.
No, I’ll explain, it isn’t. But it’s necessary. You are a grown person. You don’t pay money to someone to tell you to eat; you don’t pay someone to tell you to bathe or wear clothes or feed your children, and yet you feel the need to pay someone to walk into your home and tell you to clean up. Hello?
How hard is it to put that Pop-Tart box back in the cupboard?
Same with the saltines.
You see the coffee stains left by your spoon-wipe them up.
It takes less than 3 minutes to make a bed. You don’t have 3
minutes in the morning? You spend twice that long just checking Facebook on
Newsflash: if the dresser drawers don’t close, it’s ‘cause you
either have too much crap in there, or you just shoved it in there without
folding it properly. Figure out which one it is and fix it.
In fact, fix all of it. ‘Cause you KNOW what is wrong; you’ve just been doing it too long and now it’s become a habit to be sloppy.
Cut it out.
Pick it up.
Put it away.
And if you don’t, I will come back and do it FOR you, and trust
me, you won’t like what I throw out.
And then I’ll give you another hug and tell you I love
you and leave.
She was 2.5. She and
her 4 year old brother had just learned of the joy of Batman and Robin, courtesy of the 1997 movie of the same
name- the worst Batman movie ever made. George Clooney played the role of the
caped crusader and I suspect it was the motivating factor in his co-founding Casamigos later in life. After subjecting the world
to that Batman movie, George had to make up for it by giving the world good
tequila. It was only right.
The movie was awful.
It was campy and the dialogue was cheesy and there were people dressed in
monkey suits. It was an awful thing to watch but my kids loved it; it was like
a cartoon come to life. And having watched it over and over and over again, the
children came to the conclusion that they would take up the roles of Batman and
Robin, with our son being Batman and his little sister, his trusty side-kick.
They didn’t have
costumes. Unlike those talented moms who can fashion together a costume for
their children from scraps in their sewing room, my children’s mom can’t even
sew on a button. I would actually love to learn how, but at this point in my
life, that ship has sailed. Plus it involves math, which automatically puts me
off. So the need to be Batman and Robin resulted in tying small blankets around
their shoulders to serve as capes and going on many adventures in the backyard
and around the house. The dog played the villain on more than once occasion.
Now, my daughter’s
blanket was a blue checkered pattern with a squatty little cowboy in the
center. She had other blankets, of course—pink and lacy and girly, but no-THIS
was her blanket of choice. She wore it everywhere. EVERYWHERE. And most people,
upon seeing a toddler girl with a cowboy blanket around her neck correctly
assumed it was serving a “dress up” purpose and so they would try to engage her
“Oh, aren’t you
darling! Are you a princess?”
Yikes. I’d hear that
question and wince because I knew what would follow every single time. And I
felt sort of bad for the stranger asking the question. They meant well, of
course, but to my daughter, it was a huge offense. Her eyes would blaze, she’d
put her hands on her hips and declare with the righteous indignation of a
cowboy blanket caped crusader:
“NO. I AM ROBIN!”
Of course, at first,
she couldn’t pronounce Robin, so it came out as, “NO. I AM RYE,” which only
added to the confusion. “What is she saying? Your kid thinks she’s bread?”
“I AM ROBIN,” became
a battlecry. Each time she said it, she became a little more indignant. She
even started thumping her chest as she spoke. It got to the point where I would
try to head-off each pissed off toddler encounter by introducing her as “Robin,
from Batman and Robin,” accompanied by a face that said, “Humor her with this.”
But she never gave up
and she never gave in. She knew who she wanted to be. And armed with a cowboy
blanket and fierce determination, she let the world know that she was not a
princess…SHE WAS ROBIN. She would not be be swayed. In a sea of princesses at a
preschool parade, my daughter was the girl with a blue cowboy blanket tied
around her neck and pride on her face.
Why am I telling you
all of this?
I’m telling you this
because children are my most favorite kind of people.
I’m telling you this
because “weird” is wonderful.
I’m telling you this because I now have a freaking amazing adult daughter who loves her makeup and dresses and heels but also shows up to things with no makeup, un-showered, and wearing ratty clothes; a daughter who knows who she is. I’m telling you this because The Robins of the world change it.
100 years from now, no one is going to care
who I am. I know this. I don’t mean that in a bad way and I don’t say it in the
hopes someone will contradict me and shower me with praise; this is not said as
No, I say it because it’s true. 100 years from now, no one is going to care who I was. The same probably goes for you, too. In fact, with a few exceptions, it goes for most people. Command an army, serve as president, discover the cure for stupidness…history will remember you. But for most of us, this simply isn’t true. History won’t remember us. The wonderful everyday glorious things we did: raise a family, work hard, bake a mean apple pie, help our neighbors… these things will never make it into the history books.
But when it comes to our family, well, that’s
a little different. They are the people who could very well remember and more
importantly, WANT to remember. To them, we will be part of that marvelous root
system from which future generations sprang to life. We will be part of their
story, whether they like it or not. I mean, you can pick your friends, you can
pick your nose, but you can’t pick your family, right? You are stuck with them
and they with you. And most of the time, that’s a pretty great thing.
But what will they know about us? After all,
time has a way of blurring the details. Family stories get changed, ever so
slightly, with each telling. It’s to be expected. Tales are told of my Sicilian
grandfather, Carmelo, who played poker with his Sicilian “friends” in the
basement, and how each put their gun on the table during the game so that no
one would end up the casualty of a sore loser. It’s a great story-no wonder “Goodfellas”
is one of my favorite movies.
And while stories like this are a part of how
I know a man I never met, I know him more from photos like this one: a man
playing a banjo, his vineyard behind him, a dog at his feet.
In fact, I know more about my Sicilian grandfather from this one picture than I do any story.
I look at this image and see a man who loved music enough to pose with his banjo; a man who loved his dog and whose dog clearly loved him (check out that adoring expression) a man who was poor but donned a tie and hat because obviously, this photograph was important; a man who smiled at a time when smiling wasn’t “cool.”
No one but a handful of people in the world
care about this picture. But to those handful, this picture is everything. I
don’t have many photos of my grandfather. Photos were expensive and my dad’s
family were dirt poor, so few pictures exist of this wonderful man and his wife
and their 13 kids in their house on the hill in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. But
with this one photo, I feel like I KNOW my grandpa.
Last night was the APS Gold Bar Gala, which means this morning, I woke up on a high. For those of you unfamiliar with an APS Gold Bar, it is a peanut butter and chocolate treat that once graced the lunch tray of lucky Albuquerque Public School students until someone somewhere said “too much sugar” and the delectable treats were removed from the lunch line-up. It couldn’t have been an easy decision. Those Gold Bars go way back. They were like lunch room currency. I’m sure there was a collective groan across the city when they ceased production, a real Obi-Wan Kenobi moment: “I felt a great disturbance in the Albuquerque Public School System, as if thousands of students voices cried out in terror and Gold Bars were suddenly gone.” The Gala portion of the night was created to recognize and honor 14 selfless high school seniors and 2 hall of honor educators. Put the two together, and you’ve got the Gold Bar Gala.
Now, you might think that the high I am currently ridingis a result of consuming two, yes, two peanut butter and chocolate gold bars at the gala, the first of which entered my mouth before I even ate my salad, but, you would be wrong; it’s only part of the high. The real reason is that last night was everything good in the world and when you are surrounded by people dedicated to making a real difference in the lives of children and their community, you can’t help but wake up with a spring in your step. Hopefully, that spring will last all day, ‘cause I don’t even want to know how many calories are in those Gold Bars. I should have just glued them to my hips, ‘cause baby, that’s where they are going to end up.
A little backstory: Kelsie and I were thrilled to attend a tasting of the Gold Bars at the APS Food and Nutrition Services kitchen. The over 900 Gold Bars were hand dipped in chocolate by the students of Sandia High School Culinary Arts, under the watchful eye of Unna Valdez. It felt sort of like Kelsie and I had both won a Gold Ticket and were visiting Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I’m not sure who Kelsie is in this scenario, but if you’ve ever seen me eat chocolate, you would know that I am definitely Augustus Gloop.
As we arrived at the Gold Bar Gala, we were greeted by mascots from all of the high schools. They were high-fiving guests, giving hugs and posing for pictures. It would have been nice if I had thought to photograph them. I didn’t. I ran into friends immediately upon arriving and forgot. This may or may not but definitely DID have something to do with Gold Bar Excitement.
The evening was simply wonderful:
As the night wore on, we heard story after story about the impact that one favorite teacher made on a young life. We watched high school seniors honored for being the unsung heroes that walk the halls of our Albuquerque high schools every day, doing as much good as they can to as many people as they can without a thought of reward or recognition. (Which is totally why they deserve both)
We laughed. We cried. We felt hopeful and proud of our schools, our students, our teachers and those that support them. And at the end of the evening, we left with a reminder of that which we already knew full well…that ONE person can make a difference.
And if ONE can make a difference, imagine what many could do…they could change the world…for GOOD.
While I love all of nature, I have a thing for mountains. Rocks, even. For while flowers and trees are beautiful, they can be uprooted; they can be devastated by weather and destroyed by fire.
But rock and mountain, well, they are different. They are unmovable. They are solid. They exist for thousands of years. And the markings of time etched into their surface only makes them more beautiful.
Is it any wonder I would choose such a spot for two people in love?