Escape from the Chaos

Sometimes when I visit my mom in the sticks, I need to escape to my other relative’s houses for some peace and quiet. A vacation from my vacation sort of. With my brother moving home and the exponential increase of junk and clutter, I’ve found it difficult to find a place to sleep other than the living room that is right smack dab in the middle of chaos central. But that is not really the reason I need to escape. I’ve been sleeping in my mom’s living room for years. The real reason is: it’s next to impossible to put the baby to sleep with the on-going yammering of my noisy nieces. And please don’t get me wrong, there is nothing I love more than yammering of noisy nieces. It’s just that sometimes I need a little break from it. Sometimes I like the happy smiley baby that wakes up from a nap better than I like the whining sad grumpy baby who needs a nap but doesn’t want to take a nap because she is afraid she is going to miss a minute of fun with her cousins.

I hate it that I’m constantly shushing my nieces (and my brother or whomever else happens to walk into the living room) because I want Baby Bug to take a nap. I know you are supposed to vacuum and bang dishes while your kids are napping so you can teach them to sleep through noise but after you’ve been rocking and soothing for more than half an hour and then a random exclamation from your four-year-old niece (or a loud slam of the screen door) wakes the baby up again and again, you get a little tired of it all and you don’t care about those old sayings of wisdom. Wisdom schmizdom. I just want my baby to go to sleep!

SO… after a day of chaos, Baby Bug and I took a little respite at my Aunt’s J’s house aka Auntie Tickle. (She got that nick name because she always tickles clavicles.) Aunt J’s house is the polar opposite of my mom’s house. She still has a lot of stuff (aka clutter) but it’s carefully tucked away in cubby holes and closets and under the bed storage that you never ever see. In fact, my Aunt never throws anything out but this is impossible to believe because her house is clean and neat and very very peaceful.

Sleeping in my Aunt’s spare bedroom was like a trip to the Ritz for me. Just the quietness was monumental. I never sleep in quiet like that. At home we are next to a highway and a fire station and an intersection that the honking ambulances and fire trucks bellow through at least three times a day and one time at night. I’ve gotten so used to the sounds of Harley Davidson motorcycles spluttering down the highway, I don’t even know what it’s like to watch a movie and hear the entire dialogue at one time. When I take an important business call, I often sit in the shower with the water off just because that’s the quietest place in the house. (And you thought that echo was my speaker phone.)

The silence was bliss. Just being in a spare room that is not also being used as storage for an entire lifetime was a luxury. I rolled up the window blinds and looked out at the silent night sky full of stars. I let the moon shine down on me and just sighed the biggest sigh of all time. The best part of my Aunt’s house is her view. Her house is in a tract of homes right up against the foothills of the San Bernardino mountains. (is that right? nobody is awake that I can ask if I have that mountain range right… will correct later.) In the moonlight you can see the peaks of the mountains and a bright star that I think is a planet. It’s beautiful. There is nothing like taking in a view when you are tired and the baby is safely tucked in the port-a-crib beside you, snoozing away. Peace sweet peace.

The next morning I was up at the crack of dawn (like usual) and after a quick cup of forbidden coffee with my Uncle, Baby Bug and I were out the door to explore my Aunt’s sprawling back yard. My Aunt’s back yard is phenomenal. It goes on for ages down a hill and into the river wash that butts up against the hills. It’s like an adventure park. There are paths everywhere and little destination points with covered verandas, chairs to sit in, bridges over a dry stream and of course weeds galore. She’s going to kill me for putting up pictures of her over-grown back yard, especially since a crew of gardeners is due this week to come in and hack back some of the over-growth.

Personally, I like it best this way. I love the wild sage and the paths that look like time forgot them. I love feeling like I’m out in the wilderness exploring where no man has gone before (for at least for a month or so). I love the jack rabbits that scurry out of site as you traverse across their favorite munching grounds. I love the giant flowering bushes that are taking over the hillside like they own the place. I love the sound of honey bees going crazy gathering nectar. I just plain love it outdoors and there’s no better place to immerse yourself in it than an over grown garden. Not to mention my Aunt’s master planning makes it the ultimate maze of fun nooks and crannies to discover.

I would have taken a zillion more pictures but I was wearing my Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes and my cheap, uncomfortable but cute Payless high heels.

Breakfast at Camp Chaos

I’m not sure where to start. I’m at my mom’s house and I’m supposed to be “helping” her clean out her screen porch so my brother can move back home. Yep, you read that right. My brother’s moving his family back in with my mom again. I like to call my mom’s property “Camp Chaos: if you’re crazy, you’re welcome.”

My mom says I can type up a quick blog post instead of helping her but I know that’s a bad idea because by the time I get done typing this, the baby will wake up, it will be lunch time, my nieces will be hungry and the whole process of feeding, changing, playing, rocking and yelling at the older kids will start all over again AND still the screen porch will not be cleaned out. This is why nothing ever gets done around here. Sometimes I just want to go to the nearest Home Depot and hire a bunch of immigrant workers just to do silly things like clean cat boxes and haul trash out of my mom’s property. It’s that bad. We are all losing our minds.

Of all times to have no time to blog, now is the time I have the most I need to blog about. I miss those old days when I was bored at work and I’d type out every little feeling that floated across my brain. Now I have to be a grown up and hold it together. I don’t have any time for venting or even just recording events for posterity. It makes me sad.

So here’s a quick run down so I can get back to helping my mom:

My brother’s birthday was last Thursday. This last Saturday we had a big family breakfast in my mom’s yard. I thought it was such a fun but bad idea. My mom’s place is messier than it has EVER been (which says a lot if you know anything about how messy my mom’s place is). The thought of extended family coming over to eat breakfast on the lawn next to the fifty some cars parked in the over-grown lawn, the giant inflatable pool that deflates daily and floods the over-grown lawn, the five-hundred-and-one chewed up kiddie toys that the dogs think are treats, the trash, the cans and bottles that are supposed to be getting recycled but only ever manage to get recycled all over my mom’s yard and whatever other crazy mess resides in plain view and brings the value of my mom’s whole neighborhood down… You name it, it’s probably on my mom’s lawn.

But nothing stops a good party when you’re related to me. The relatives came, they gathered in plastic chairs under the shade of the trees and umbrellas. They sipped coffee and chatted while my mom, CC and Auntie Kedge worked inside beside unpacked boxes and piles of garden tomatoes that are ripening faster than they can be eaten. My dad operated the grill as usual and the fare was better than anything you’d ever get at any fancy buffet. There were homemade cinnamon rolls, fluffy scrambled eggs with cheese, pancakes and bacon, kielbasa (of which I got none), orange juice and fruit salad… We may not always keep a nice house around here but we never miss a meal. Which might explain the family tendency for rotundness.

So that was that. I have other things I want to blog about like my Grandpa having cancer and how out of control I feel when I visit my mom and I can’t do anything to help my brother and his family and their desperate situation…. I want to say it’s just tough times but I think it’s always tough times around here. I think this is just how it is and we have to make the best of it because in the meantime, my nieces are growing up and this is their childhood. Maybe I’ll spend a little less time blogging and a little more time yelling at them. Just kidding. I’m going to try and yell less.