April is National Poetry Month, which means–well, nothing, really, to most of the world, but to me it means for one month a year I actually read a little poetry and thanks to my former grad school classmates, I try to write some, too. I don’t remember why–something in response to NaNoWriMo, based on the name–they decided that in April they would write a poem every day and thus designated it WriPoEvDa. Super genius, huh? Well. It’s a good idea, anyhow. And it comes at a particularly fortuitous time for me as I have recently hit a wall with my fiction. It gives me a writing assignment. Plus, working that poetical side of my brain often helps get the blood flowing in the prosaic side, too. And things work best when they’re both working at once. Like CrossFit, maybe. For your brain.
So: planning on writing a poem every day this month. Who’s with me?
My husband and I were texting back and forth about the baby, who was napping in her car seat while I sat in the garage waiting for her to wake up. We were discussing her sleep habits, which have been nightmarish lately. Naturally, we used lots of emojis. And when I use lots of emojis, which I imagine were invented to save time in conversation, I am inevitably asked to explain myself. The more I’m asked to explain myself, the more emojis I use, and the more nonsensical they become. Because winking face, poop, unicorn, hamburger, Dutch flag.
You get it.
Anyhow, one of the emojis I had to explain looks a like this:
I used it to indicate that I hoped we’d “hit the jackpot” tonight and she’d actually sleep. Not the diction I’d choose on my own, but scrolling through the emoji options can really inspire my writing. That would be a good exercise, actually: Quick as you can, pick six emojis. Now turn those emojis into a story. Go.
Anyway: the word, “jackpot.” What a weird word, right? Clearly it’s in reference to the “pot” of money the gambler hopes to win. But who’s Jack? I had to know.
Apparently, the jack in question is a playing card. The term was originally used in a form of poker, where the “pot” could not be won until a player could open the bidding with two jacks or better. I learned this by entering two words into Google: jackpot + origin. (I tried to paraphrase the definition but, well, it was pretty straightforward.) It’s amazing how quickly one can get information these days.
Do you text your spouse throughout the day? Lately, my husband has been asking that I send him more pictures of what the kids and I are doing. (I asked that he send pictures of his day, too, and I received several blank-faced shots of him at his desk. Thanks, Hon.)
At first I kind of rolled my eyes. Since he spends most of his day in a cubicle or a meeting room, he seems to idealize our “freedom.” (If you’re a stay-at-home mom of littles like me, you understand the quotation marks.) But as I started sending more photos, I started focusing on the bright spots in even our dullest days, and seeing the humor in some of the darker moments. (Have you ever texted anyone a picture of poop? You can’t help but giggle about it.)
Having spent quite a few days doing this, there is one drawback: sometimes the pictures are quite repetitive from one day to the next. But that just adds to the challenge. I’ve started to look for the silliest things I can send, or the most mundane. He wants pictures, he’s going to get them.
I am a horrible housekeeper. My biggest problem: I do not care. I mean, I don’t want to live in squalor or anything, but when the kids dump toys or cereal, it doesn’t bother me. I’ll clean it up eventually and/or the dog will take care of it for me. A sink full of dirty dishes doesn’t bother me; it won’t sit there forever. Worst of all (at least for my housekeeping skills), clutter actually comforts me.
Mostly, this isn’t so problematic. My husband is a bit of a neat freak but I’ve worn him down over the years and if the kids make the kind of mess that will make his head hurt (a floor covered in Lincoln Logs or blocks–large masses of small things seem to be the hardest on him) I generally clean it up before he gets home.
But–my kids are growing up. I want to teach them good habits. So I’ve been scouring the internet for tips on how to become a better housekeeper, or at least to keep a cleaner house. These sites can be a little repetitive, but I think I’ve found some that might just help: Continue reading “Handy Housekeeping Hints for the Hopeless Housewife”