I refuse the 21st century

DH and I were having a brainstorm session last night on how to find more space in our little house. We have a 4BR house, with all of the bedrooms being occupied by us and our 3 kids. DH, upon acceptance of a new job offer in May, began working from home twice a week. We got rid of the TV in our bedroom and replaced it with an old table and just-about-as-old computer for him to use. This arrangement has worked okay for awhile, but now DH is complaining of too many interruptions (what; don't people constantly enter his office at work to sort laundry/give kisses/ask "where did you put the _____?"/complain that someone isn't letting them watch TV?). So, we've been trying to figure out what we could turn into office space.

During the discussion, he suggested that we get rid of all the bookshelves in our house and replace them with a Kindle system. A Kindle system involves something called electronic paper, about the size of a paperback book, which can store up to 200 books and lets you read them, one page at a time, on a screen. It also has wireless access to the Kindle store, where you can buy books at around $10 each. "Think of all the space we'd save!" he mused. I know he was also stumping for anything to replace our Wal-mart-cheap bookcases, which I'll admit do need to be replaced, are from Wal-mart, and do look cheap; since they were bought out of desperation when we were tired of getting our books out of boxes but too poor to afford what we actually wanted. Apparently this system costs less than replacing the bookcases with the desired pieces, which I know he thought would appeal to my frugal side. But although I have embraced much of the new technology of various kinds that's now out there (I wouldn't be blogging if I didn't), I choose to remain one foot firmly planted in the past on this subject.

Get rid of my books? I love them! I love going to my shelves in search of something to read or reread - and finding it. I even just like looking at them. Doing such serves as sort of a history of our life: here's a couple of my journals from when I was a teenager, on that shelf are a few textbooks from our college majors that we each felt were worthy of keeping, over here is the novel I used to pick up while I nursed my first baby, there's a whole row of book club books I loved, not to mention birthday and Christmas gifts, etc. And I love lending books to friends! When someone mentions a book they'd like to read and asks if I've read it, it's so much more fun to say, "Yes! You can borrow my copy!" than to just refer them to the library. (Let's recall Sesame Street and remember that sharing is fun!) And if they like it - and if my own library allows - it's even more fun to recommend and lend another by the same author when they're finished with the first one. You just can't do that with a screen! No, I'll keep my old-fashioned, corner-folded, beat-up books. After all, if you drop a screen-book in the water while reading it in the bathtub, that's the end of your screen-book...but paperbacks will always dry out.


the corn is as high as a 4-year-old's eye

That's our Miss Bee, and that's our corn. It's only about 3 1/2 feet tall, and it already has tassels and the beginnings of small ears. I'm actually afraid the tassels and ears are coming a bit early because it seems like the stalk should be taller. But, hey - all this came from seeds we planted ourselves, however prematurely. We have also harvested 1 cherry tomato and 2 Romas. There would have been more cherries, but the birds got to a couple. A friend told me that if you hang CDs near your tomato plants, the reflective surfaces will scare the birds away. It's working! Our cantaloupe plant is also thriving and wins the prize for the most progress. It is twining all around its corner of the garden box. The parsley and basil plants have yielded one yummy batch of pesto, and a little green knob is slowly starting to look like a pepper. So far, our little garden is doing okay!



Just a mommy moment to share with you...

It began on Valentine's Day. Continuing in the tradition of my mother, I usually get the kids a little gifty for Valentine's Day. Nothing real special; it just has to be something red, white or pink. (And cheap.) This year, I had no trouble finding something for Miss Bee (V-day seems to be all about girls), but the boys were a little harder. After searching Wal-Mart's cheapie aisles several times and coming up with nothing, a clearance rack of calendars caught my desperate eye. They had pictures of animals - no red, white or pink ones, though - and a big, RED "$1.00" sticker on them. Shazam, into the cart. Shopping done.

The next night, the kids (read: the boys) started nosing around at the dinner hour: "So...did you get us anything for Valentine's Day?" I knew I had scraped the bottom of Wal-Mart's barrel for those calendars, but hey; it was something. Anyway, I gave them the mommy "Maybe," and made them wait until after dinner, at which time I presented them with their cheap but heartfelt prizes. I didn't expect cheers, but I also didn't expect the incredulous "this is all we get?" or "calendars????" DH, I could tell, was ready on the other side of the couch with an "I never got anything for Valentine's Day when I was a kid" speech, but held his tongue. No amount of showing them how they could keep track of their important dates and approaching activities convinced them that this really wasn't all that bad of a deal. So they bedgrudgingly hung their $1 calendars up in their rooms, grumbling all the way.

Fast-forward to a day about mid-May, when I happened to be in Flip's room talking to him, and noticed the calendar, which was actually open to the right month and had several red X's on all the previous May days. "Flip, have you been using your calendar?" I asked. "Oh yeah, Mom!" I took a closer look, and sure enough, he was crossing off each day, counting the days till the last day of school. I flipped over to June and even saw comments written on some days: the last day of school ("excitement!" - spelled correctly, even); Father's Day ("I love you dad"), and the equinoxical (is that a word?) first day of summer (a big red "boo-yah!"). I told him how great it was - while still laughing at the "boo-yah" - that he was using the calendar.

I did not say "See? I TOLD you!" (Be proud of me - that's what I usually say.)