Monthly Archives: November 2017

Here We Go

The first sign of Christmas at our house is always the Advent calendar. The first day is tomorrow (December is comin’ on like a freight train, y’all), and I put it up on the mantel after the boys left for school this morning.

They’ll discover it sometime today while I’m at work, and despite repeated talks about waiting until the morning of each day to check for their Advent activity surprise, they are unrepentant cheaters. When they were little, I could load up the whole calendar and forget about it, but now I have to do each day’s note the night before when I’m sure they’re asleep.

Because all of these things are true, I made a special note and put it in the box for December 1.

I’m a little sad we don’t have a nanny cam, so that I could capture their howls of frustrated outrage for posterity. I’ll just have to use my imagination.

I was born at night, my darling, impatient, sneaky sons. I was. But it wasn’t last night.


A couple of years ago, the boys broke the doorknob on the door from the garage into the house. Paul replaced it, and the new doorknob worked. Sort of. It was always stiff and weird, and people would think the door was locked. Lately it had gotten a lot worse. I was throwing my hip into the door to get into the house.

I’m not sure why we put up with this for so long – maybe we’re both fatalists and believed that we somehow deserved a rotten doorknob – but it finally gave up the ghost the other day. It wouldn’t work at all anymore; to get the door to stay closed we had to throw the deadbolt.

I got on Amazon and ordered the doorknob with the best reviews I could find (“HANG THE EXPENSE!” I said, which I may never have said before in my life. “I’m getting the best doorknob there is!”)

The new doorknob arrived yesterday and Paul installed it after supper.


Isn’t she beautiful?

What has happened is that we cannot shut up about the new doorknob. “I can’t believe how easily this is going together!” Paul gushed, screwdriver in hand. “The other one was a pain to install, I remember.”

He got home from work today and I said, “I can’t believe how nice the new doorknob is! It even feels completely different in your hand! And the door just shuts behind me!”

Later, Paul came back in from the garage after taking out some trash. “This is so weird!” he said again. “It just feels so great!”

I’m not sure what the moral of this story is except perhaps that you get what you pay for. Also that our family is easily pleased. And sometimes a little too cheap for our own good.

The Nature of Hair

I’ve been getting a lot of comments about my hair lately. Mostly because I’ve been letting it grow — it hasn’t been this long since I was in college — and when it gets long, there is rather a lot of it. And it is not hair that lies down and looks glossy and demure.


I was at church on Sunday and someone else said something about my hair and then asked, “So is it hard to work with, curly hair?”

“Kind of,” I said. “I used to have a lot of trouble with it because I wanted it to do things that went entirely against its nature. As I got older I learned to work with it instead of against it, and we’ve made our peace.”

I’ve said that or something like it a number of times over the years, and it wasn’t until I was driving home that it hit me. Do you know what else besides my hair is no good at acting demure?


I think it would be fantastic to be like Grace Kelly and be perfectly put together at all times and glossily, smoothly serene, but that’s never going to happen. I’ve tried, you guys. I have tried so hard to be quieter and stop with the irreverent jokes and care more about my flowerbeds. (Don’t drive by to look. Just … don’t.) You know what happens when I try to be Grace Kelly? I am miserable, and so is everyone who has to deal with me. Like my hair, I’m hard to work with if I’m trying to do things entirely against my nature. But it is so much harder to make my peace with this than it has been to make peace with my hair.

I know this goes the other way, too. Paul has a cousin that has probably never said anything tactless to anyone in his life, because before he opens his mouth, he thinks things over for a nice long time. Like maybe a day or two. It’s a nice trait that no one in our nuclear family possesses. Some years ago, Paul was astounded when his cousin told him he’d always been a little envious — because Paul can just talk to anybody, anytime. Straight or curly, we all seem to want some of what we haven’t got.

I don’t mean this to say that I can’t change at all, or try to get better at things. How depressing would that be? But I do think things go better when I work with what I’ve got.

I will never tame my hair. There will always, always be strands that sneak out around my temples when I pull it back, and those weird Jane-Austen-era ringlets that form at the back of my neck. My hair will not behave on humid days no matter what I try.

But most days it’s fine. Probably most days, so am I, and so are you.