Thursday, June 26, 2014

Are You Tactically Sound?

    My husband told me this morning that last night at lineup they had a quick training that dealt with officer safety.  The topic was police families as targets.  Apparently there are people who are following officers home, getting an eye on their families and then waiting for the officer to leave again so that the families are left unprotected.


   How many of my fellow wives and mothers feel like they are unprotected in their spouse's absence?  I can honestly say that I don't anymore but there was a time when I would have been the world's easiest victim.  Before becoming a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) family, I had only a mild clue about the evils of the world and absolutely no clue what it meant to be tactically sound.  Over time I have learned that the world is not full of rainbows and unicorns.  There are evil people out there that delight in doing evil things and protecting my children has become my number one priority.


  We are pretty cautious about certain things.  The kids never wear clothing that says "My Daddy can Arrest Your Daddy"  or "Cop's Kid" or anything else.  We don't talk about his job to anyone except those closest to us and we never allow our kids to be photographed or video taped for anything public that would have their name or other identifying information on it. I don't get them monogrammed bags and if they wear a baseball jersey with their name on it they are either at school or at baseball game where everyone knows their names already anyway.  They are only allowed outside alone when they are together and I generally send the dog out as back up...and we live in a pretty "safe" area.  I use quotes because I believe safe is relative.


   Let's not forget the alarm system, the dog and the self defense items available in our home.  I read something once in a book that said you should never be more than arm's length from something that could be used to defend yourself.  That doesn't mean your house should be covered in cold steel.  There are many other items that can be useful depending on where you are in the house.  You just need to have a plan. Unfortunately home invasions have been increasing in number and cop's families are being targeted in many cities.


    Do you lock your doors even when you are in the house?  We do.  It only takes a second for someone to try the knob and see that it's unlocked.  Before you know it, they are in your home and you are at a tactical disadvantage.  Caught with your proverbial pants down, so to speak.  Make them work for it.  If they want in that badly, let them kick the door in while you grab your favorite weapon of defense and dial 911.  I am not afraid to defend my home and children.  God help an intruder if they get past the alarm and the dog because I will do what it takes to protect us.


    How do you park your car?  Always, always, always back your car into the driveway.  My husband starting insisting on this when he first got on the job and I joked him about it but I always do it.  In a tactical situation- a quick escape for any of a myriad of reasons such as an intruder, a weather event or whatever- it is so much easier to just jump in the car and pull out rather than have to back up and re-situate.  In those lost seconds, anything can happen.  Give yourself the advantage, take the extra time to park nose out and be ready for anything.  I so strongly believe this that I do it at the supermarket, the baseball field and even at work.  In fact, since I started this at work, several of my colleagues have followed suit.  My girlfriend and I call it tactical parking.
 
    One of the first things my husband did when we moved in to our house is put up security lighting.  Our house is lit up like a landing strip on any given night.  Dark houses beg to be invaded.  The second thing he did was pull up all the shrubs in front of the long wrap around porch.  Large and overgrown, the shrubs provided a great hideaway for an attacker.  We now grow a variety of perennial flowers in front of the porch.  Tall and full enough to look pretty but not nearly enough to hide a human.
  
     When I was in college in the early 90's there was a rash of coed attacks on college campuses.  I saw a television show about ways a woman could defend herself against an attacker.  My favorite, and I still do it probably for my own piece of mind more than anything, is to line your keys on your keychain up with your fingers.  Stick each key between two fingers and make a fist.  It won't do a ton of damage when you hit someone but it will buy you a precious few seconds.  Other handy tips were- box his ears, poke his eyes or nail him in the groin.  Of course, the best defensive action is prevention.  Don't be a victim.  Be aware of your surroundings- the hubby calls this situational awareness.  Park in lighted areas, don't text and walk, stay off the phone, watch the people around you.  If you have it in you, take a self defense class.  The academy where my kids took Tae Kwon Do for several years offers them often- just for women.  If you want more information, message me.


     I am sure some of you laughed when you read the title of this blog.  I smile every time I look at that row of cars tactically parked in the lot at work.  It's a funny concept for a non military or non police person.  Most people don't do threat assessments everywhere they go but it would definitely benefit every last one of us to be aware of our surroundings and keep an eye on that guy hanging out amid the parked cars in the dark.  The text messages can wait until you are safely locked in your vehicle and it only takes two seconds to lock the house after entering.  Take care not to become a target.


    Trust your gut. If something feels wrong or unsafe, that's your instincts kicking in.  Hang out at the mall a few extra minutes to avoid the guy in the parking lot or ask someone to walk with you to your car if you leave work late.  All the tactics and self defense in the world aren't as good as listening to your instincts and avoiding a potentially dangerous situation. 


   Stay safe!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Contract Signed- It's Official!

I would like to share with all of you something that happened yesterday.


After years of work and a whole lot of rejection, I was finally offered a contract on one of my stories!  As of mid-day today I am officially an author of Breathless Press, a small press devoted to all things romance.  I am still getting familiar with them but I had to giggle a little when I discovered the title of their blog "Breathless Press- Bedtime Stories for Adults."  I think we are going to be a great match for each other.


The book, Witness Protection, is the first in a series about loner cops with huge chips on their shoulders that face off with strong, independent women and end up losing their hearts despite how hard they fight it.  After all these years I wrote a book about something I enjoy and had fun doing it.  That was the key, all along.  Write what I know and have fun doing it.  Seems so simple...yet it took me so long to get the hang of it.


I have already begun communicating with my editor who answers all of my questions patiently and quickly.  In a few days we will begin to work on revisions and getting a cover designed.  Their website says that it should take only four or five months from date of contract to date of release- that means before Thanksgiving I will be a published author.


Actually, I should say I will be a professionally published author, by another party.


If you have checked me out on Amazon lately, I actually have a couple of mysteries available there both in ebook and print (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=carolyn%20laroche ) that I am very proud of. 


Tucked in with the mysteries is also a fantastic book that I co-wrote with a friend and the help of dozens of police wives across the continent called The Crazy Lives of Police Wives.  We have already- in just two months- far surpassed my wildest expectations of a self-published book.  Hundreds of print and ebook copies are already out there helping and entertaining police wives around the world (yes , we have even sold a few copies overseas!).


When I started my first book I was working as a research assistant in a chemical engineering lab.  I spent hours by myself, watching a "batch" of whatever "cook".  I couldn't leave it unattended but I would have gone out of mind without something to do.  So, with a legal pad and a pencil I put out the first version of Double Jeopardy over about a years' time.  At night I would go home and type up the day's notes.  Fifteen years later, I finally finished it.  In that time I worked on others, including Witness Protection and I am proud of how far my writing has come.


A big thank you to all of you that have supported and believed in me as I navigated the rough waters of writing and publishing.  I know that this is just a small step in my career but it is a step in the right direction and there are no words to describe how excited I am to be heading down that road.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Blood Money

Today my little boy became a man.


OK, not exactly...   But he did conquer the swimming test at the YMCA.  He jumped in, swam a lap like he was taking a walk and came up victorious.  He no longer needs to have Mommy or Daddy within arms reach in the pool...AND...he can go down the water slide!


I wish I had taken a picture of the pride in his big blue eyes as he put on that green I can swim without an adult necklace and went off on his own for the first time ever.


It's the little things in life.


Like the fact that his father, after working nearly three weeks straight with only one day off somewhere in the middle of it all, was there to witness the monumental moment.  A part of me thinks he was waiting for his dad to be there because Dad has been working a lot of hours recently.


As most law enforcement families know from experience, the hours are long, the rotations are crummy and the pay leaves a lot to be desired so when overtime comes up it almost feels like a mortal sin not to grab as much as you can.


In the last three weeks, we have managed to snag 56 hours of overtime- a veritable windfall but not the most we have ever done.  About five years ago, both of our furnaces and one of our AC units died at the same time to the tune of way more money than we had available.  Thank goodness the department was short handed...for over a month he worked double shifts and we were ultimately able to pay cash for the needed utilities.


We have been in an overtime drought for over a year so again,   it was almost sinful not to grab up what we could what with a trip to my brother's wedding right around the corner and a few nagging bills begging to be paid off.


My friend and her police officer husband call it blood money.


I laughed when she first said it but after the first two shifts, I understood completely.  When he works nine days in a row, we all feel it.  The boys miss him, I miss him, my sleep cycle misses him...  I have never been much of a sleeper anyway but the insomnia became my best friend when my husband started working the night shift.  Nine years ago, the REM cycle as the rest of the world knows it disappeared from my life. 


After all this time, I just roll with it.  If I can 't sleep I read, work on one of my writing projects....or if I am really wired, sweep and mop the wood floors, clean all the bathrooms and organize a closet or two.  I used to check the local news online about every hour or so but I have since replaced that with reading silly articles about celebrity bathing suits or some such nonsense. 


The best sleep I have is on the first night of the hubby's off days.  His presence in our bed makes me feel more secure than the alarm system and the dog together.  I am not afraid to be alone at night.  Even when my neighbor thought she saw someone creeping in the backyard, I was not afraid.  I just feel better knowing that he is safe at home with us rather than fighting off the demons of the night.


It has been a long three weeks...I won't even try to deny it but I will say that it has made this first weekend together in so long has been pretty nice so far.  We, as a family, have learned to enjoy and cherish each other more in the limited time that we are all together...absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.


Have a great weekend and enjoy the ones you love.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bubble Boys

In my younger years, I was blissfully na├»ve and unaware of the evils of the world.  I grew up in a small town that, aside from the typical everyone knows your business because you live in a small town, was fairly safe.  My friend and I would ride our bikes for hours all over town and no one would worry.  There was no reason to.  Everyone knew everyone else and my mother always knew what I was up to, even if I wasn't the one to tell her.


Those were the days before I spent two years working on a master's degree in criminalistics and long before I married into the thin blue line.  The good ol' days before I knew anything about the evil things some humans were capable of doing.


My final semester of graduate school I took a class in death investigation.  At the time I had been toying with the idea of medical school to become a forensic pathologist.  The state medical examiner was my professor and a good portion of his lectures were spent looking at photos of various victims of various crimes and discussing the sort of evidence he recovered and how he determined cause of death and manner of death.  Near the end of the course, which I had thoroughly enjoyed it was time to discuss child abuse.  There is a big difference between the death of an adult and that of a child.


Somewhere in the middle of the lecture he flashed a photo of a two year old little boy with bright blue eyes and wild blonde curls.  He was a beautiful child, if you didn't notice the angry bruises all over his skin.  The mother's boyfriend had apparently not had any tolerance for active little boys.
In that moment I knew that I could never be a medical examiner.  Even as I sit here I can still see that beautiful little angel as clearly as if I were still looking at that photo.


I guess it goes without saying that little boy has stayed with me my whole adult life.  Every time I send my boys to school or summer camp or when we were looking for daycare all those years ago, I would think of how that little boy and his mother trusted the man that hurt him.


As a police wife I think I know a little too much about the things that go bump in the night.  When I see a car pulled over by a police car, I think drugs or guns not speeding ticket- like the rest of the world.  My mind automatically thinks the worst of everyone and everything in every situation.  Sending my eleven year old into the men's restroom because he is just too old to go into the ladies room with me any more scares me to death.  Having them out of my sight at Wal-Mart sends me into a panic and trusting them to ride a water slide at the small, local waterpark gave me heart palpitations as I stood watching and waiting for them to shoot out the end of the tube.  Of course they were fine in every one of those situations.


My eleven year old craves freedom and independence.  As a mother I know I have to give it to him but I really do not want to.  I want to hold him- and his brother- close and protect them from the evils of the world.  If I could have my way, neither one of them would ever leave the house without me within arms reach.  Of course, that is neither logical nor possible.  Especially if I want them to grow into sane, productive members of society.  I have to give them freedom to explore and independence to make their way in the world.  I can only hope that their father and I have prepared them enough to understand good choices from bad and good people from evil.  It doesn't hurt that we put them through years of martial arts training for a little stranger danger fear and self defense skills.


I am not ashamed to admit that I struggle with overprotection.  I own this behavior fully.  In this day and age I think it is a good thing to be a little cautious.  My good friends, the ones who know me best  accept this about me and have, on more than one occasion, talked me down off the overprotection ledge.  It doesn't stop me from having mini panic attacks in private but it allows my sons to grow and have as much of a normal life as they can without mom following them everywhere they go.  Short of putting them in a bubble like that one in that old John Travolta movie, I accept that I can not protect my children from everything.  I'm not sure they could design a bubble that would contain my little one anyway... I am certain he would find a way to pop it and escape into the world.  He can't be contained, even by my shelter of over protection.


As their mother I will always worry for them.  Lately I have taken some big steps in allowing them to gain independence and as painful as it has been for me, I have also taken great pride in the way they have accepted this freedom.  At the water park yesterday, they remembered to check in after every three rides and to reapply their sunscreen regularly.  I managed to relax and enjoy some time with a friend.  We returned home tanned and tired and safe...and bubble free.







Saturday, June 14, 2014

It's a Small World After All

First, let me apologize for my absence....I missed both my Wednesday and my Friday post.  The past five days of wrapping up the school year both in my classroom and for my boys was crazy without boundaries.  Class parties, field days, final exams, closing up my classroom- well, only partially closing it up, I still have a fish tank to take care of over the summer- and just finally getting more than a few hours of sleep have all ruled my schedule.  This is the first act of writing I have performed in over a week.  I was starting to hallucinate and get the shakes.  Writing is my drug...  I can not go for more than a day without feeling the effects.


Yesterday was my first official day of summer vacation.  My sister in law told me to do something fun.


Want to know what I did? 


First stop was the butcher followed by a trip to Barnes and Noble to get a gift.  After that we hit two grocery stores, the dollar store and the local farm stand.


Please believe me when I say my cupboards and refrigerator were so bare they echoed.  In the crush of the past two weeks, I did not make one trip to a single food store.  Don't get me wrong, we had canned goods and a few packs of hamburger and sausage but nothing to feed a growing boy for breakfast or a snack after swimming.  No lunch meat, no bread to put it on any way and if the milk were delivered on Friday mornings we would not have had that or eggs or cheese.  I didn't even have a box of pasta....what kind of Italian runs out of pasta??  So, for my first day of summer vacation I couponed, bounced from sale to sale and filled my kitchen with something other than canned corn and sauerkraut to eat.


At stop number three I am loading my trunk with random items such as watermelon and a case of water when I hear a voice say "Well, look at you in your shorts!"


Walking toward me was a former student.  The comment struck me as odd.  I mean, we live in the south.  It was 88 degrees and 98% humidity...who wouldn't be wearing shorts?


Then I realized this person had only ever seen me in work clothes- pants, skirts and dresses.  How odd it must have been for her to see me out in the "real" world, sweating my butt off and wearing shorts and flip flops.  I bet she didn't actually mean to say that, but just like most really intelligent people, sometimes things just slip out.


I think it's funny.  On my first day off, away from students, one of the first people I see is a student- who was amazed that I, like everyone else who lives in the south was wearing shorts!


When I was sixteen, I think I was convinced my teachers lived in their classrooms.  We lived in a really small town yet I never saw a single one of them out in the "real" world ever.  I can't go anywhere in this town I live in now without seeing at least one former gem from one of my classes.  Do you know that I went to Disney World seven years ago and just as we finished checking in, I ran into a student?  That gave a whole new meaning to "It's a small world"  for sure.


It's not really a bad thing to see my students.  Actually, as long as the relationship was good in the classroom, it can be a great thing.  At our favorite restaurant, our server takes really good care of us and my boys adore her.  In the grocery stores, my bags are packed well.  It is definitely worth the look on the my brother in law's face when he looks at me with a shake of the head and says "Sissy, we just can't take you anywhere..."


I enjoy my time off from work in the summer.  It gives me the opportunity to make up for lost time with my boys, get the house back in order and do a whole lot of writing.  I don't miss teaching in the summer but I am always ready to get back into it come Labor Day.  I intend to spend a lot of time at the pool, the beach and hanging out with friends on the back porch.  I am sure, beyond all doubt that I will run into a student or two but I don't mind.  I will be wearing my shorts and flip flops just the same.

Monday, June 9, 2014

On Raising Boys...

     Last night I took my oldest son to the 5th grade graduation PTA pool party at the YMCA.  Aside from the fact that the DJ's obviously did not have children and played several songs absolutely inappropriate for two hundred eleven year olds, it was an enjoyable experience.

     My once ten pound, eleven ounce baby boy now almost looks me in the eye.  My sweet toddler who once followed Mommy everywhere now seeks out his friends at the pool or the park instead of staying close by my side.  It kills me, letting him go but I know he needs to develop independence and form relationships on his own.

   As I sat in a corner in a lounge chair pretending to read, I observed my boy in his pre-teen environment.  Just like any mom, I was pleased to see that he was well-liked and as much as he was a follower he was also a leader, not afraid to do his own thing.  I couldn't help but think that so far we have done our job well.

    So, if I am so proud of the young man he is becoming, why am I so sad to see this school year come to a close?

   The teacher part of me absolutely can not wait for Thursday, when we bid our students farewell for two and a half months for a well deserved summer vacation.  The mom in me says no, it can't end because if it does my baby boy will no longer be my baby but a middle schooler.



    Oh, how time flies.


    Raising boys has been an adventure I hadn't expected.  From the time I purchased that first little blue sleeper to the last baseball bat I just spent way too much money on, I had no idea that being a mom to boys would be so rewarding. or so challenging...


     I would be lying if I didn't admit that once upon a time I cried when I found out I wasn't having the little girl I always dreamed of.  But, after eleven years and two sons later, I am so thankful that the Big Guy had my back on this. 

   Over time I have learned that it is a gift to be charged with raising a son.  The work I do will determine the kind of men they will become.  The weight of that knowledge can be overwhelming at times.  I want so much for my sons and not the usual money or power.  I want them to be good husbands and fathers, to measure success by the relationships they maintain.  I pray for them to be strong in spirit and giving in nature.  Of course, I want them to accomplish things academically and I am proud to cheer them on at each and every ball game.  That's not enough though.  I want them to learn to work for their academic success and be proud in their accomplishments without being prideful.  They learn to throw a ball, hit a double or catch a pop fly at the same time they learn to respect their coaches, be tolerant and supportive of their teammates and how to win- and lose- graciously.


    I am not at all happy that my babies are growing up but I am so proud of the young men they are becoming- individuals with personalities and interests all their own.  At the end of the week, when one moves up to intermediate school and the other enters middle school, I will probably be just a little bit sad.  That's just the way things are going to be.


    Of course, I will then remember that summer vacation has finally arrived and I will put on my bathing suit, head to the beach and all will be right in the world.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Karma Has a Great Sense of Humor...Bless Your Heart

Whenever I leave the house in the morning with the intent of arriving at work early, the fates seem to pull together and say "No way, girl.  You are not going to efficient today."

Today was no exception.

I would have been ten minutes early were there not some mysterious back up at the tiny two lane bridge that everyone in the world seems to need to cross to get to work.

Where we live there are a lot of bridges- most of them draw bridges.  Our little corner of the world is situated on the inter-coastal waterway so boats are moving through all the time.  Big boats, sail boats, barges, tugs.... Many of the bridges go up on the hour or half hour and every one knows to leave early when you have to get over the bridge - which could mean any of a dozen or more bridges.

I would have totally understood the traffic jam if the bridge had been in the middle of a lift.  That's just part of shore living.  But, there was no lift.  No accident.  No major activity of any sort.  Just cars not moving.

Unexplained traffic jams make me cranky.  I try to fight it with good music, a sip of ice tea and an open sun roof but after awhile, when there is just no reason to be sitting for twenty minutes in my car without air conditioning (not so bad when the car is in motion but hot as you know what when I am sitting in backup), I get frustrated.  It's my inner Yankee trying to break free.

The worst of it?  The tiny two lane bridge that I absolutely have to cross on my way to work merges from two lanes into one of rush hour traffic.  So, when we finally inched forward enough for me to move to the right, I turned on my directional and started to make my move.  There was plenty of space for my little red car to get in there.  The car next to me- do you know what he did?  Hit the gas and blocked my merge.

Bless his little heart, he must have been in a real hurry to move those three feet.

Ten years ago we relocated from New England to the south.  I love living here. True southerners are kind, giving, laid back and make some mean biscuits, fried chicken and gravy.  No one enjoys traffic but we all just sort of cope with the bridge issue together.  For a particularly long  lift, I have seen people get out of their cars, grab a water or sweet tea from the trunk and stand around chatting for a few minutes.  Southerners look for any excuse to drink a sweet tea and shoot the bull.  It's true what they say about southern hospitality.  People are just nicer here. 

In fact, in all the years we have lived here I don't think anyone has ever "flipped me the bird" (you know, given me the middle finger) while driving.  Where we lived in New England it was common practice to drive with hand on the horn and the other raised in the window wagging that middle finger. Blood pressure would soar, people were always angry and driving anywhere was very unpleasant, to say the least.  Neither one of us has encountered any real road rage in over a decade.  That is why I was so surprised that this man was so anxious to cut me off that we nearly collided.

What a pain an accident would have been in all of that traffic!

I wanted to ask him if he made it to his destination any faster by blocking my merge but I am pretty sure I already know the answer.  When the traffic finally started moving, we ended up side by side at the next intersection- he was stuck behind two police cars so you know he wasn't rushing anywhere for a bit.  I, on the other hand, made my left turn and arrived at work smiling and satisfied.  Karma had done her job well.

Revenge is not mine to seek.  I don't have time to hold grudges and I don't retain anger at all.  I am too busy for all that.  I do, however enjoy a well played hand of Karma.

As for that man, well, bless his heart....I hope he made it to where ever he had to go.

PS....In the south, "bless your heart"  is most surely not a blessing....it's a little like flipping them the bird with an innocent smile and a toast of sweet tea.... :-)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Spontaneity. The act of doing something spur of the moment, unplanned and just because...



After a long day of work (only six more school days to go!), all I wanted to do was take a nap.  My boys had other ideas.  They wanted to go to the YMCA and hit the pool.  My usual response?  Mommy had a long day and she's tired.  Not today...maybe on the weekend.  Yesterday's response?  Go put on your trunks, let's go.  For me, that is spontaneous.

On the way there I thought about my dad.  He passed away in the summer of 2010 but I think about him every day.  My oldest child is Dad reincarnated with his caring personality, abundant talents and his ability to talk all day, every day without ever running out of things to say.  

He looks very much like him as well so it sort of takes the edge off of missing him so much. 

Anyway, when I was kid, Dad worked long hours in the hot sun running his roofing business...Shoreline Roofing.  I still have one of his business cards- as old as I am the darn thing is an antique!  He would come home dragging his butt exhausted and covered in dust and dirt.  I am absolutely certain he would have loved to take a cold shower, sit on the couch and drink a beer.  I would have, if I were him.  Instead, he put me and my sister in his truck and drove us down to one of the many beaches on Lake Ontario near where we lived and we went swimming.  I want to say we did this nearly every day all summer long.  Not too many people had backyard pools in those days.

On the way to the YMCA I remembered the summer when I broke my wrist ( another story for another day!) and he taped my arm up in trash bags and duct tape so I could still play in the waves at our favorite swimming hole.

 I had to smile.  I must have looked ridiculous. 

We were not a wealthy family but we were happy and we made our own fun.  I grew up in a time where people worked hard for what they had and electronic entertainment was non-existent. Phones were attached to cords and most families had one television and one car.  Cable? Not until I was a teenager.  Internet?  What?

To have a cast on my arm for the whole summer would have made for a very long, hot summer if Dad hadn't managed to come up with a solution. Sure I had to hold my arm up out of the water the entire time but it was so much better than sitting in the sand watching my sister have fun. 

Apparently, the YMCA is the place to be for the grade school set.  We were standing at the check in desk and they started seeing kids they knew.  By the time we made it to the outside pool the boys were itching to get in the water.  They stepped out side, kicked off their shoes and threw their towels into my arms.  I remembered the joy and excitement of that first jump into the chill waters of Lake Ontario and I instantly forgave them.  Especially when I discovered my youngest sister, my brother in law and their two little ones also playing at the pool.  I love my niece and nephew.  My sister and her husband too.  They are pretty much my social life when I am not at work or running to the baseball field.  Seeing them brightens my day.  The long day, the hot sun and the spontaneous decision to take the kids to the pool turned out OK.

We spent an hour at the pool.  The boys found some friends to play in the water with.  My preteen son exerted his need for independence and went off to the "deep end"  (four feet deep!) with some buddies while I sat and cried internally that he was growing up way too quickly!  I got some wet hugs from my nephew and played with my niece.  It was worth the time it took to get in the car and drive there when I was so dragging my butt tired. 

Where we live, lakes are not plentiful and anyone who is anyone apparently joins the YMCA.  I couldn't help but think though, that hopefully my kids would grow up one day to have their own kids, arrive home from work butt dragging tired and say yes, let's go swimming because somewhere in the back of their minds they will remember that I did it for them.

It's about making memories, folks.  Memories that last long after our bodies shut down and we are gone from this world.  My dad was not perfect, not by a long shot, but he was a good father and the legacy he left behind reflects that.  Someday I hope that my children remember me with as much love as I remember him.

Now, put down that tablet, step away from your computer, turn off your smartphone and...go swimming!

Monday, June 2, 2014

I Think I Need a Hammock

I took a nap today.


Let me repeat....I....TOOK....A....NAP....TODAY...


It may not feel like cause to celebrate to you, but to me it is a monumental event.  With every Saturday for the past three months completely booked with ball games, I haven't taken a nap...or just sat and read a book...in so long I had forgotten what it was like.



It was amazing.  The nap was only an hour long but it was worth every second.  I might try it again tomorrow.  The only thing that would have improved the experience was a hammock, strung between two palm trees on a tropical island somewhere.


There are so many things I could have...should have...been doing instead.  The laundry pile is out of control.  Like gremlins, I swear someone dumps water on it and it multiplies while I sleep. 
Then there are the four cans of paint sitting on the back porch waiting for me to revitalize a weary deck. Of course, there are always floors to vacuum and mop, toys to put away and dishes begging to be loaded into the dishwasher.


Heck, I could have even done a little writing.  My newest book, number one in a series about the secret (exciting) lives of police wives is chock full of juicy romance, mystery and murder and I am dying to finish writing it so I can share it with the world.  Yet, there I was sound asleep in my room, enjoying the beautiful breezes of a coastal spring day through an open window.


Wait, I forgot...I did do something today!  I sat on the porch swing for an hour while my boys played a round of nerf  with the boy next door.


I felt a little guilty so I cooked a good dinner.  Fresh cut, butcher shop pork chops on the grill, baked potatoes, corn and buttered noodles (for the one who despises potatoes).  My oldest son says "Oh, we are having a big dinner tonight?"


Too many grilled cheese sandwiches during baseball season?


In my defense, they were always fed even if it meant eating in the car on the way to the field.  At least it wasn't fast food.  I only slipped in that direction once or twice the entire season...not too bad if I do say so myself.
I still consider myself a pretty decent mom.  I work all day, run in the house, grill a cheese sandwich and get my kids to their games on time each and every time.  They always have clean uniforms (including those athletic cups in the dishwasher!), clean school clothes, supplies and lunches.  My house may not be in the next issue of Country Living or House Beautiful but I keep the kitchen and the bathrooms clean and the floors swept.  So there is a pile of papers on the counter begging to be sorted and I often pull those clean clothes straight out of the dryer?  All those hours spent watching my kids hit and catch and throw and learn how to be part of a team are far more valuable to me than sorting those papers.  There will be plenty of time to purge in two weeks when I don't have to go to work for over two whole months.


So, this won't be my year to win the mother of the year award.  I'm OK with that.