One Fabulous Thing

…because each day has at least one.

04.07.2010 Oooh, Shiny! April 16, 2010

Filed under: Household — onefabulousthing @ 8:31 pm

As a Christmas gift in 2008, my in-laws gave us two housecleaning sessions with the woman they use to clean their own house. I was about a month away from giving birth, so the intent was to help ease the burden of household tasks while we were getting to know our newest family member.

As it turns out, cleaning your house with a newborn around isn’t really that hard. Especially when you have a newborn like ours, who was lulled to sleep by the sound of the Roomba and would have happily hung out in the carrier sling all day long while I put laundry away or washed dishes. The love affair with the Roomba did not wane in later months, by the way:

However, keeping a house clean with a roaming toddler just waiting for your back to be turned so he can swig from bottles of toxic cleaner or smudge his fingers all over the newly-cleaned mirror is a lot more difficult. In addition to that, when the weather on the weekends is as beautiful as it has been, the last thing I want to do is spend the day inside cleaning.

So, I finally called the woman and cashed in the first of the cleanings. I felt a little sheepish admitting that the Roomba provides the only vacuuming our floors see, and that I wasn’t 100% confident that we owned a sponge mop, since we rely on the Swiffer WetJet. I will admit that I spent some time making sure everything was picked up before she came, and that I was a little concerned about what she might report back to my mother-in-law about the things she saw (“You let your grandson live in that house? You wouldn’t believe the dust bunnies under their dresser!”)

When I walked in the door after work, I almost wanted to to take my son out in the backyard and keep him there until college so we never messed up the sparkling perfection that was my house at that very moment. Everything was clean all at once. It was amazing. No streaks on the microwave door, no crumbs on the counter, no dust anywhere. The things on my husband’s dresser were neatly arranged. The floor was gleaming. Unfortunately, it was gleaming to the point where my son could see his reflection in it, which meant that he immediately had to drool all over it and wipe it around a little with his hand.

It didn’t really matter though, because I hadn’t just spent a sunny weekend afternoon cleaning it poorly with the WetJet while not spending time with my son. Instead, a local woman who has kids and is putting herself through school got paid to do it, and did it well. Seems pretty win-win to me.

So, Fabulous Thing #97: Coming home to a clean house.


04.06.2010 One Moment in Time April 13, 2010

Filed under: Family — onefabulousthing @ 10:26 pm

I’ve been spending a lot of time at work over the last few months, even when I haven’t physically been at work. Fortunately, my son gets up early and goes to bed early, so we get some good playtime in before work and I have been getting some good work in after bedtime. Today though, with the sun shining and my increasingly steady-on-his-feet and adventurous boy on my mind, I rearranged my schedule a little to make some room at the end of the day.

With that time, I picked my son up early, with the intention of heading to the playground near our house for some pre-dinner outside time. This was not a truly spontaneous outing, since I had hoped that morning that it would be possible and had brought a little bag of animal crackers and my son’s water bottle in preparation for a stop on the way home. We headed home from daycare well ahead of afternoon rush hour, and I hoped that the playground wouldn’t be too overrun with big kids. I regretted not bringing my camera, as I was pretty confident that the mixture of sunshine and swings would make an irresistible photo opportunity.

I pulled into the playground parking lot, noticing that there were plenty of baby swings free, and gathered my cell phone and the refreshments. I switched out my work shoes for the sneakers I had thoughtfully stashed in the car that morning. It felt good to leave my work bag behind in the car, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t worry about getting dirty, even if it meant some extra clothes needed to go to the cleaners this week. I opened the back door of the car with a big smile on my face, ready to make my son’s entire week with the fun we were about to have.

He was sound asleep. Like, mouth hanging open, head slumped over asleep. It was OK though, he always wakes up a minute after the car turns off. I sat on the seat next to him and waited. And waited. “But I brought you snacks,” I whispered. He slept on.

A few minutes later I returned to the driver’s seat and took us the few blocks home. When we got there, he stayed asleep in his seat. I opened the car windows and sat on our steps, enjoying the last of the afternoon sunshine and the quiet of our neighborhood. It was lovely, actually. When at last he stirred, we went inside to let the dog out and have some playtime before dinner.

My son was delighted to let the dog out, like he is every day. He was gleefully mischievous about pulling things out of the snack drawer before dinner. It made his week to corner the Roomba and scamper away shrieking when it turned back and came at him. He didn’t miss the playground one bit.

This experience made me think about a training I had attended, and the companion book I purchased and read long before my son was a twinkle in my eye: The Biggest Job We’ll Ever Have. The whole book is great, and I am happy to have been reminded of it so I can go back and read it now that it is more personally relevant to my life.

The piece that stuck with me was a story that the author recounted about this idea she had for a roadside picnic on the drive home from a family vacation. She packed a lunch, with visions of pulling over by an idyllic, flower-strewn meadow to enjoy their meal. As the drive went on and it became apparent that such a setting would be hard to come by on their trip, her husband offered alternate suggestions. Unswayed from her vision, the author and her family ultimately ended up picnicking on some grassy median in front of an office park or some such place, the whole bunch miserable and probably wishing desperately for a McDonald’s.

Years later, that story came rushing back to me. I could have stuck with my vision and woken up my son. But would he have enjoyed the playground then? Would it have been the carefree, idealized experience I hoped for? Probably not. More likely, he would have sat listlessly on a swing with the late afternoon sun in his eyes, wondering why I had awoken him from a nice warm snooze in the car to dangle him from some chains and take crappy cell phone pictures. It might have been nice for me, if I’d been able to look past that, to feel good about doing this fun special thing with my kid. But I’d really be missing the point, I think.

So, Fabulous Thing #96: Letting a sleeping kid lie, and letting go of my expectations for the afternoon.


04.05.2010 First!

Filed under: Work — onefabulousthing @ 9:08 pm

I have been dragging my feet about posting this, because it feels a little…petty? Small-minded? I have been trying to come up with some other way to say this, some different spin I could put on it, to no avail. So here it is, in all of its lowly glory: Today, I got to the office before my boss on her first day back from a 4 -month maternity leave.

This is so trivial for many reasons, not the least of which is that she is the last person to keep mental tallies of the comings and goings of her senior management team. There are objective measures by which she can easily see that the program that I have been directing in her absence has been stable and profitable. I’ve hired some quality staff, and hopefully helped retain some others.I’ve worked hard to maintain our good relationships in the community and to uphold the high standard of work that we do.

Maybe I was a little concerned about where I would stand when my boss came back and things got a little reshuffled, maybe I didn’t want her to think that I’d been slacking off in her absence.

But there’s just something about sitting at your desk, as though you could have potentially been there for hours already, when your boss walks in. Judge away.

So, Fabulous Thing #95: Making a good first impression, all over again.


04.04.2010 Things Aren’t Always What They Seem April 11, 2010

Filed under: Garden — onefabulousthing @ 9:43 pm

Today was Easter, the important Christian holiday of small toys, chocolate, lots of eggs. fertile bunnies, pastel colors, and fancy hats. And Jesus. There’s something about Jesus in there, right? Just kidding – I went to Catholic school, I know the deal.

Today was also significant for the blow that I struck against my formerly-held ideas about myself. I think everyone has those persistent thoughts that come from the offhand comments of others, or perceptions about what is good and bad that are formed in a million different ways. In no particular order, here are some of mine:

  • I’m a picky eater
  • I have a black thumb
  • I’m shy
  • I’m not athletic

It’s funny how sitting here, right at this moment, I would agree that all of the above statements are true about me. This is despite some evidence to the contrary:

  • I love to cook all different types of food, and I have dined at some amazing restaurants and eaten their tasting menus without any special requests.
  • I taught undergraduate psychology classes for a few years, and one of the things that excites me the most about my current job is doing trainings. My profession at its core requires me to make connections with people.
  • I have run a marathon.

And as of today, this last one is true:

  • I have started a vegetable garden.

I’m not exactly sure why I hold on to these things about myself that aren’t accurate or helpful. I am happy to knock another one off my list. Wish me luck.

So, Fabulous Thing #94: Growing.


04.03.2010 Nurture April 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — onefabulousthing @ 9:16 pm

There is an instinct I have, totally separate from anything I might have learned in my professional training and practice, to give people who are going through a hard time a wardrobe makeover, a day in the sun, and a good meal with a lot of vegetables. I am not so naive that I think this will make everything better instantly, but I feel like it’s a good base to start from.

There is a young woman in my life whose life needs a little fixing up. Today, she came to visit. I gave her some of my clothes, including some shirts in brighter colors than the black hooded sweatshirts she usually wears. We had a lunch picnic at the beach, and she laughed a little chasing my son around the grass. Her calzone had broccoli in it.

I hugged her goodbye, and made a plan for soon. I wanted to slip her in my pocket and carry her around with me to keep her safe, but I let her go for now. At least she got some vegetables.

So, Fabulous Thing #93: Laying a foundation.


04.02.2010 Kind Soul April 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — onefabulousthing @ 9:45 pm

I had a heart-stopping moment today when I opened up my wallet to pay for a purchase with my debit card and realized it wasn’t in its usual spot at the top of Plastic Card Row. The other usual suspects were there – theĀ  CapitalOne Card with the beach scene on it, the library card, the customer rewards cards for various places…but no debit card.

I immediately realized that I must have left it in the drive-up ATM I had stopped at earlier in the day. I am so accustomed to using my debit card to make point-of-purchase transactions that I think I sort of spaced on how the whole ATM deal works, and drove away once I had cash in hand.

I went back to the bank and went inside with my fingers crossed. I explained my situation to the teller and she said that someone had turned in my card. Hooray! She asked for ID, got my debit card out of the vault, and gave it back to me. She also gave me the tip that I should stick with the drive-up ATMs that are on the wall of the bank itself, not the ones in the outside lanes, because in case this happened again the card would just be sucked inside the bank and not left out or shredded by the machine.

Two kind souls, really. One is whoever took the minute to park their car and go inside the bank to turn in my card instead of trying to use it or just discarding it, and the other was the teller at the bank who gave me the inside scoop on ATMs and wished me a happy Easter as I left.

For the record, and for whatever possible positive press this might give them, the bank was Coventry Credit Union. We have been thinking about leaving Bank of America for a while now, and this experience with their good customer service (to someone who wasn’t even a customer) might have pushed CCU ahead of the pack of potential banks to switch to. One good turn deserves another, right?

So, Fabulous Thing #92: Crossing paths with the right people.


04.01.2010 Lush-ous

Filed under: Style — onefabulousthing @ 9:18 pm

One thing that has made my life a little more fabulous over the past few years is discovering the simple pleasures that LUSH products have the power to give. Ocean Salt and Handy Gurugu were my gateway drugs. I swear that Vanishing Cream is responsible for my C-section scar being practically nonexistent a year after it was created. I took a Sex Bomb on vacation last year, and it was the best bath I’d had in a while.

The actual products aside, the best thing about going to a LUSH store is that you always get like six free gifts when you buy stuff. That’s how they get you. An extra Bath Bomb here, a massage bar there, and before you know it you are hooked on a new seasonal scrub or foot cream.

Because my husband is a kind and thoughtful sort of man, he braves the wall of scent that you must break through to enter a LUSH store to get me nice treats from time to time (the Fair Trade Foot Lotion is a staple now, thanks to him). He always gets like ten extra samples, probably because the women at the store also think that he is a kind and thoughtful sort of man and want to reward him for being so (or they know how to spot a man who is besotted enough with his wife to shell out that sort of money for fancy soap and foot cream). A week or so ago, he was at the mall and picked me up some nice soap, Alkmaar and Figs and Leaves, and got a sample of Dream Cream along with some other things thrown in.

Tonight, I took a shower after letting Jillian Michaels kick my ass around the living room for a while, and decided to soothe my sore muscles by using the Dream Cream instead of my regular old CVS generic lotion. Well. I am forever spoiled for regular old lotion. It wasn’t too greasy, it had a light scent that was really pleasant, and it made my skin feel like silk. Maybe my husband isn’t completely altruistic after all…

So, Fabulous Thing #91: Dream Cream.