Barber’s Brush

by beagoodmom on September 28, 2014


I believe this is an antique horsehair barber’s brush.  The kind you might use to sweep hair off a customer’s shoulders.  At least, that is what we always used it for.  For as long as I can remember, its been part of a hair-cutting kit at my Grandma’s house.  All the other components of the hair-cutting kit are more modern, since the kit gets used quite frequently.  But this was always the old, odd ball thing.

Originally, my Uncle John used the kit, to give Sunday haircuts to my other uncles.  Years and years of Sunday haircuts.  When I was a kid, John used let me use the barber’s brush do the shoulder sweeping as he cut his brothers’ hair.  It was a pretty important job I thought.

When John died in 2000 there was a brief moment of confusion…who would give the Sunday haircuts now?  Although I was just a sweeper girl, I boldly said I would and stepped in to try and fill the void.  (Luckily, all my uncles wear a buzz cut, so it was an easy job to step in to.)   Sure, I live 90 minutes away, and sometimes their hair would get a little shaggy while they waited for me to plan a visit, but they always waited.  Giving haircuts was (is) my thing and they let me do it.  Luckily their hair didn’t grow that fast!

When I visit, I get the plastic bin from the cabinet in the backroom.  I unfold the green chicken-print cape the I make them wear while I cut (I hemmed it myself, one of my first sewing projects as an adult).  We keep our clippers in a box covered with “Dragon Tales” stickers (they were free in a pack of juice boxes 15 years ago and I stuck them all over the box because…why not?).   I give buzz cuts and clean up their necks.  I tame the 3 inch long eyebrow hairs that are oh-so-common in the 70+ crowd.  When my Uncle Bill was alive, I would trim his beard and mustache with little manicure scissors.  I am sure that beard-trimming was my worst skill, but he never complained.  Uncle Bill and Uncle JoeJoe had/have bald-on-top old man style haircuts.    The most challenging part of cutting their hair was chasing the random hair in the middle of the bald spot  Those are really hard to cut; trust me.  Uncle Chuckie has thick mop of white curly hair that I can barely get the clippers through.    I don’t think I ever made a bad cut, but they probably wouldn’t have told me if I did.

After every haircut, Chuckie says “did all that white hair come from me?!”

After every haircut, Joe Joe slips me $20.  I sigh and say “I’m just going to waste this on candy!” and he smiles.

Giggles likes to do the sweeping for me now, unless she is outside playing with her cousins.   When I gave the haircuts this weekend, she was being a little rough with the barber’s brush and I told her to be careful, that it was old and it was important to me.   I (somewhat) jokingly told JoeJoe that I wanted him to put it in his Will that I get the barber’s brush when he dies.  He said “take it today”.  I said No.  He said yes.  I said OK!

So, now I have a barber’s brush.  I already had the memories.  But now I have the brush too.

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I give up

by beagoodmom on September 25, 2014

Waiting for them to freely decide they should chip in and do some chores on their own didn’t work.  I’m back to barking out orders like a Drill Sergeant on parade day.

Heaven help them.


A broken bottle

by beagoodmom on September 23, 2014

Pookie had a rough start to his day recently.  As you know, he hangs out on the porch for about 15 minutes every morning, before the girls are ready to go to the bus stop.   I recently bought a pretty yellow Mum plant and put it our porch table.  I was determined that this plant would not die, so I had been watering it diligently.  But…I was growing weary of the amount of attention I had to pay to this silly plant.  So, I came up with a solution.  I cleaned out a glass ketchup bottle, filled it with water and stuck it upside down in the pot.  A classic self-watering plant!

Enter Pookie.

I assume he has never heard of a self-watering plant and what he saw was a piece of garbage stuck in Mom’s plant.  So…he pulled the bottle out.  And water came flowing out the top of the bottle.   And it scared him, I assume, so he dropped it…on the porch…where it shattered into a million pieces.

All of this just minutes before they had to leave for the bus.  Oh, and it was raining.  (you know how Pookie hates the rain).  I told him it was OK and that I would clean it up.  Just go to the bus; its all OK.  Its just a bottle.

When Pookie got home from school we had the following note from Judy Blume:

Not sure what is going on with Pookie today.  He has ben the total opposite of yesterday.  He has been so loud today, yelling outloud.  When I ask him to stop doing something he tells me “go fly a kite” and “boo to you.”  When we were in the other classroom today he kept getting up and saying “Its time for lunch, lets go.”  Very loud.  There were crumbs on the desk he was sitting at.  He started to eat them.  I told him to stop.  He tried to shove them into my mouth.  I had to hold his hand back and he kept trying to put it in my mouth.  Putting down wrong answers and I knew he knew what to put down.  When we switched rooms, a boy was at the door and Pookie pushed him trying to get into the room,  He was throwing pencils at wall in Math.  As we were going to math room he goes into the computer room and falls on the floor.  I have never seen Pookie act this way.  Very defiant.  Could it be the weather?”

I wrote back:

We had an incident this morning.  I could see that it upset him at the time, but I didn’t think it would be to that degree.  I’m sorry to hear that it affected him all day.  I had a glass ketchup bottle stuck upside down in a plant on the porch, to slowly water the plant.   It was a new thing; I hadn’t ever done that before.  Pookie saw it as he was on the porch before school.  I’m sure he thought it was odd, so he pulled the bottle out of the plant.  I suspect that he was shocked when water came pouring out, so he dropped it on the concrete where it shattered.  I told him it was OK and that I would clean it up, but he kept saying “Mom’s bottle is broken!”  I suspect that he was upset because of the broken glass, but also because he had some understanding of the fact that the bottle belonged to me.    Thank you for looking out for him and understanding.

She wrote back:

That explains it.   It was so unlike him.  Thank you for telling me.

So, while I am very sad to hear how badly his day went.  I guess there are some silver linings here.  First, I think his reaction was amplified because he had feelings of remorse and empathy.  He felt bad because it was Mom’s Bottle that he broke.  Second, Judy Blume gets him.  She really gets him.  And she still cares about him.

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Not my job

by beagoodmom on September 23, 2014

I have been feeling overwhelmed around here because I seem to be the only one that is “in charge” of anything.  Sure, some of my housemates may put away a pair of shoes or respond favorably when I ask them to unload the dishwasher, but the underlying theme is that I am “in charge” of all that stuff and they are “helping.” 

There has been an empty shampoo bottle on the bathroom counter since before I left for Arizona.  Yes, that is OK to people who are not “in charge.”  Apparently that is something the person “in charge” of shampoo bottles should step up and handle.  Guess who is “in charge” of empty shampoo bottles? 

Every day the kids go down to the basement to get ONE PAIR of underwear; I guess because they are waiting for me to put their clean laundry away.   Or they have been taught that if they ignore a responsibility long enough, it will go away.  (that thought actually scares me and makes me feel like a failure as a parent)

We’ve eaten dinner at 6pm every night since at least 2001.  But if I walk in the door at 6:02pm, and they are all sitting there waiting for me, I’m still expected to get cookin’.   Last night I didn’t mention dinner and no one made a move to take action until 7:15!  Why?! 

I get so tired of having this same discussion, over and over again.  I make chore charts, but no one follows them unless I remind and nag.  I assign permanent jobs, meaning “no matter what, this is your job every day” and people still “forget” to do their permanent job or were “just about to do it.”   Inevitably those jobs somehow get folded back into my responsibilities.   Why?!

Then I blow up about it and for the next 48 hours or so they all work very hard to show that they are doing their jobs.  Look at me!  I am doing the litter box!  I brought some laundry to the basement!  Watch this….I am unloading the dishwasher!  But then their attention wanes….and all these jobs go back into my bucket.  Its a never ending cycle. 

People say the answer is “hire a cleaning lady”.   I don’t see how that is a valid response, honestly.  I don’t negotiate with terrorists and I feel like my getting a cleaning lady so that the rest of the people who live here can continue on as residents of a free Bed and Breakfast seems counterproductive and a real insult to me.  Also, just for giggles, lets look at the job posting we would need for that:

Wanted:  Cleaning Person.  Must be willing to follow children around and pick up shed clothing/toys, do laundry (including separating twisted inside out undie/jean bundles), use library card to scrape sticky residue off of breakfast table, unload dishwasher twice a day, pick up a metric ton of crap off of floors before vacuuming….

People say “get the kids to help”.   Yeah.  I’ve already been through that.  You read about that a few weeks ago.  The only thing that has changed around here is that I have an extra $28 dollars a week in my wallet since I am not paying allowances.  Other than that, no one seems to care.  I tried the “shock and awe” method.  I have literally rousted them from their beds to say “you did not hang up your backpack.  Go downstairs and do it now” hoping that getting pulled out of bed would make an impact.  Nope.  I have thrown away the things they won’t put away.  I currently have 2 trash bags under my desk full of things that are supposedly important to my family, but not important enough to put away properly.  Guess what?  No one has missed these things; they have been under my desk for 3 weeks. 

People say “make list of family responsibilities”.  Ah yes, that’s also called a chore chart.  We have had a chore notebook, a chore dry erase board, a box of chore index cards and the old fashioned chore charts.   I make ‘em.  I post ‘em.  But no one lives them.  No one buys into the idea that they are important and permanent.  They are like the New Year’s Resolutions of the home.  Lots of hype…but forgotten by January 16th.   I try rewards; I try punishments.  Neither produces results, other than to create more labor and stress for me.   And, of course, the additional labor when I have to do the work on everyone else’s chore charts myself eventually. 

People say “lower your standards, just learn to be happy in a dirty house.”  That is really a rude response People.  I not only live in this house, I work in this house.   I literally spend all my time here.  And, yes, that is the correct use of the term literally.  I work from home; in a house that makes me unhappy.   Why am I not important enough to have a clean house that makes me happy?   I would LOVE to work outside the house, but I can’t.  I work at home because BAGD’s job is unpredictable and Pookie needs to be home after school.  So, I am trapped in these four walls.  These four messy walls.  I might get to leave the house tonight, so that should be exciting, means I would have only been trapped here from Sunday at 2pm through Tuesday at 5pm.  What’s that?  51 hours?  Gee, that’s nothing; I’ve done longer time. 

So, what’s the answer?  I don’t know.  My current approach is that I am not going to be “in charge” of anything until the rest of these people start being in charge of something too.  Under our old model, I would tell them what they were in charge of and then when they didn’t do it, I would pick up the slack.  Under this model, I am in charge of nothing.  I am doing nothing.  If that’s a problem, they can define a system that changes it, and actually follow that system for more than 48 hours.  And if, in the meantime, I find that this house becomes too dirty for my comfort level, I am checking into the Embassy Suites and returning here for my 7am-4pm work day.   That may sound funny to you, as it did to me when I first thought of it, but I am now thinking that may be the answer.   If I can’t have this place be comfortable for me as a home, then I will start to look at it as my workplace.



September 22, 2014

A note from Judy Blume this week: In Social Studies they had to do some drawing of a tool or machine.  Pookie drew a robot.  Some of the students got up in front of the class and told about their machines.  Pookie asked when it was his turn.  He said a few things about his […]

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Big Feet

September 20, 2014

Geetle’s new season of basketball starts in a week, so we had to go out and get her new Bball shoes this weekend.  That’s always an adventure! Believe it or not….Geetle has big feet.  But, then again, she is 5′ 3″ at age 11 so…there you go.  When we buy her usual shoes (non-basketball shoes) […]

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September 18, 2014

I had a business trip to Phoenix this week, a conference for compliance professionals.  BAGD was supposed to come down to spend a few days with me but he got crunched at work, so it was just me and 400 other compliance professionals.   The hotel was just beautiful and I wish BAGD had come.  Very […]

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The tooth is out!

September 10, 2014

  The wiggly tooth lasted 36 hours!  Giggles went to bed Monday night as usual.  Well, as usual, except for the constant wiggling of the tooth.  About 15 minutes after “lights out” she came bounding out of her bedroom, downstairs to my sewing room yelling “Mom!  Something exciting happened!” Sure enough… she had a little […]

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Expectation vs. Reality

September 10, 2014

Let your kids dress themselves, they said.  Let them express their individuality, they said. Kids dressed in layers & funky acessories are adorable, they said. Wrong, I said. I’m a zebra, Giggles said.  

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In a nutshell

September 9, 2014

BAGM:  what happened to the belt from your dress? Giggles:  Oh.  I got it taken away at school but then I got it back. I don’t know where it is right now. BAGM:  Why did you get your belt taken away at school? Giggles:  I was wrapping it around my head like this.  At first […]

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