Trampolining by moonlight

1071570_10151589945942632_184669496_oTonight, I was late coming home, because I’d been asked to talk about reviewing and entertainment writing with an evening journalism class at Eastern Michigan University.

So it was dark, a little after 8 p.m., when I parked on our street and let myself into the house. Lights were on, but the place was silent – in a way that NO house with a 5 year old and a 2 year old in it is silent.

I walked around and checked each empty room, puzzling out the possibilities. Joe’s car was in the driveway, so they had to have walked wherever they went. The nearby café we used to frequent for post-dinner smoothies recently closed, so that left the library down the block as the prime suspect.

I grabbed my keys, locked up, and trudged back out to the sidewalk.

But then I thought I heard faint giggles and voices, coming from somewhere in the area of our house.

Could Joe and the girls be outside, in our backyard, though the moon and the streetlights were the only sources of light at this point?

Yep. As I walked down our long driveway, I spotted silhouetted figures bobbing up and down on the trampoline, and heard peals of high-pitched, little girl laughter.

What the what? Continue reading

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“Putting the tree in the garage”

The enormous tree limb that's now taken residency in our garage.

The enormous tree limb that’s now taken residency in our garage.

On Monday, while I was at work, I got an email from a neighbor who was concerned about some gigantic tree limbs and branches that had fallen from our old cottonwood on Saturday, shortly after we’d hosted a big backyard birthday party for (now five year old) Lily.

The unwieldy limbs had fallen onto a section of my neighbor’s garden, near the big bounce house we’d rented for the weekend. And right when it happened, my neighbor came to let me know (I’d been inside the house, doing post-party clean-up), and then she helped me lug the biggest limbs onto the grass, a few feet from her garden.

Since then, though, I’d just left them there, assuming Joe and I would get around to breaking them down when we got the time. Ha, ha.

But Monday’s evening forecast called for rain, so my neighbor was afraid – probably justifiably – that a truckload of little cottonwood saplings would spring forth in both our yards if I didn’t take action right away.

“OK,” I thought, still seated at my work desk. “Change of plans.”

I called Joe and asked if he could come home a bit early, before I got the girls from preschool. The answer was “no.” But he insisted that I wouldn’t be able to do the job myself, and that it would take me at least an hour.

But never underestimate the determination of a mommy willing to cut corners.

Yes, I proved my husband wrong on both counts. I arrived home from my commute at about 4:30, and because I usually get to the girls’ preschool at about 5 p.m., I went to work immediately.

Whirring with activity while still in my work clothes, and breaking off branches while holding limbs to the ground with my foot, I packed three yard waste bags as a cloud of cottony fluff funneled around me. When I’d broken down all I could – in a half-assed manner, naturally, with big branches sticking out over the tops of the bags – I dragged the paper sacks into the garage, leaving an enormous, 15 foot, stripped hunk of tree on the ground.

Though it had taken the strength of both me and my neighbor to move it two days before, I thought it worth trying to move by myself, now that it was a leaner version of itself.

So I squatted down, grabbed hold of the thickest part of its circumference, and stood with it in my arms, pulling it into the garage.

And at about that moment, the clock in downtown Farmington chimed five o’clock.

Ka-BAM.

I tell this story not to underline what a fierce bad-ass I am – though that would be an awesome bonus – but rather to explain how this experience is emblematic of my day-to-day life since becoming a parent. Continue reading