Joy: wood floors

We’re coming up on the 3-year anniversary of our Great Flood of 2009. Which expelled us from our home for four months and caused nearly $50k in damage and forever altered the way we view possessions. (Didn’t alter my sweet tooth, though, which, frankly, would’ve been a welcome side effect…)

It was a crazy experience to arrive home from a weeklong vacation and, exhausted, enter an allsofasudden uninhabitably waterlogged house, take a heart-sinking inventory of the damage, and sit in a state of numbness while waiting for the insurance and disaster cleanup people to coordinate. But, over the ensuing days and weeks and months, the shock trasformed into creative fodder for fabulous home improvements. Stuff like new tub surrounds. New doors. New bathrooms. New flooring. New moldings. New arrangements. New new new…

One of the changes we opted for was to replace the ceramic tile floor in the entryway, dining room, and kitchen with red oak. The floor that was once cold and grout-grimy (let’s pretend my lack of housecleaning had nothing to do with that) became warm, welcoming, earthy, and part of the ebb and flow of our home.

To anyone else, the floor is nice but probably nothing special — a place to walk on, sweep (in theory), and spill the occasional glass of milk. But to me, it’s become a talisman of change, of the capacity to make things beautiful when circumstances are anything but. I think you get the point, but just in case, let me be clear: it brings me joy, and I love this floor. Maybe not enough to recommend extensively flooding one’s house to attain such a treasure, but then again, maybe so.*

*But, really, not. Because having a flooded house stinks. 

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Joy: Shirt-and-sweater combo

Not the best day overall today, friends. I just wasn’t feeling it. What’s ‘it’? you’re asking. Good question. Anything, really. I wasn’t in my parenting groove (translation: my kids fought and I couldn’t/didn’t stop it), wasn’t feeling healthy or cute, wasn’t motivated or creative or cheerful or enthusiastic.

I know (think? hope?) everyone has days like this. And sometimes I feel better knowing that they make the good days even better. (Sometimes that reminder just makes me annoyed, but whatevs.)

So today’s joy was simple but genuine: shirt parts (e.g., collar, sleeves) that come pre-attached to the sweater to create the look of a great ensemble but in a single pull-one-thing-over-your-head-and-be-on-your-way movement. Oh yeah.

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Joy: Celerie Kemble

This afternoon my children were either napping or out of the house. (I’m hoping that the one at school wasn’t napping as well…classtime power naps don’t start until junior high, right?) (Not that I would know, of course.) (*cough*)

The laundry needed doing, dinner needed prepping, my body needed exercising, every square inch of ye ole household needed dusting (at the very least). And yet what I chose to do was make myself some chocolate pudding and curl up on the couch to peruse my beloved Celerie Kemble interiors book.

Sometimes my joy is very short-sighted. And I’m okay with that. Because, honestly? Chocolate pudding will exist in heaven. There’s no doubt in my mind.

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Joy: Round-trip bus ride


Because she had a backpack and was (apparently) thus safe from any back injury that would potentially be incurred, my 3-year-old adrenaline junkie amped up the daredevil factor of our sidewalk journey this morning: “Don’t step on a crack, or you’ll fall and break your…TOE!” Commence wild maniacal laughter. (This, people, is why my own jokes are so well received around here. The bar is set verrrrrrrry low.)

My 3-year-old and I walked to the bus stop and then went on a round-trip bus ride this morning. Even among the mid-Monday-morning smell of alcohol and rarely washed bodies that accompanied the surprisingly populated 10:41 line, it was delightful. The sun was out, the temps were sky-high (50s at the time! beautiful!), the bus windows were huge. Plus, little A.’s sunglasses were only attached at her ears (didn’t touch the bridge of her nose), so every bump and jiggle of the bus sent the little shades on an up-and-down waggle way out in front of her face. Made me laugh every time.

Also joy: taking off my cute but stiffly brand new ballet flats when we got home to discover only one and a half blisters on my heels where I was convinced at least four enormous monstrocities (sp?) would be. It’s a good day.

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Joy: Indoor picnic

On weekends, the last thing I ever want to do is make dinner. Am I weird? (Don’t answer that too honestly…) So you can imagine my delight, nay, JOY, when my daughter had the genius idea to picnic for dinner. At first they wanted to go outside for the feast (they’re really into the idea that it’s warm out there…even asking why haven’t we set up the swimming pool and hammocks and can they eat popsicles). Sometimes I get tired of saying “no,” so I struck the kiddos a deal: if they looked out the front window and saw grass instead of snow in our front yard, then we’d dine outside.

As they beelined up to the living room windows, I crossed my fingers that global warming hadn’t taken effect in the past 25 minutes…and, while I was at it, sent a coupla positive vibes to the polar bears.

Phew. Looks like the snow in our yard (and, I can only assume, the polar bears) were present and accounted for. Indoor dining it was.

Nothing like a little cheese, veggies, apple slices, crackers, and “fancy” mini PBJ samwiches eaten on a blanket in the entryway to make it feel like spring. That was joyful. Short-lived, if I’m being honest, as the kids started arguing about who would sit where. There may or may not have been tears and a piece of thrown cheese involved. But the joyful moment was already documented, so there you have it.

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Joy: 3-for-1 deals

What’re you looking at? It brought me joy, okay?

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Joy: Diamond snow

It snowed last night. Here’s the amazing thing about snow: it makes even the ricketiest, ugliest structure (in this case, the beloved swingset left here by our house’s former inhabitants) look almost magical and quaint… a transformation that, according to my calculations, is 35% due to snow’s sun-struck glittering appearance and 55% due to the fact that it’s a fairly solid cover that hides the rust spots in the metal, the bright blue plasticity of the slide, and the, ah, evidence of doghood all around the ground.

Oh, and the remaining 10% is just  because, seen through an almost-clean window of an almost-warm house, gripping an almost-steaming mug of cocoa (kids + breakfast time craziness = never fully steaming cocoa), everything looks magical. Like sparkling diamonds.

Mmmm. Diamonds. Joy joy joy.

p.s. 35 + 55 + 10 does, indeed, equal 100%. Wow. Where were these awesome math skillz when I needed them in college?

Today’s poll (answer to see results):
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only look at one thing for the next month, would you choose sparkling snow or diamonds?


Joy: Time Out

WHAT: Time out from everything

WHEN: Middle of the day

WHY: Snuggling with my sick toddler

Today’s JOY brought to you by 3 hours at InstaCare, complete with a vomit-all-over-mom episode (why, yes, it IS as awesome as it sounds), a random nap in the exam room, and an orange popsicle.

We found out a couple of nights ago that our 3-year-old has a pretty intense kidney infection. So sad. I’ve also been finding out over the past several months that I need to re-prioritize, as I spend a lot of my life’s minutes putting off stuff that’s important (make dinner for my family) to do stuff that’s probably lame (surf the web).

These two discoveries seem to have nothing in common, I know, other than the fact that they brought about today’s joy: setting aside a million things that, despite their frivolity I still wanted to do, to be 100% there for this little girl. I didn’t even check my email or texts while holding her, which, for a multi-tasking addict like myself, is huge. Shouldn’t be, but is.

So, yeah. Total joy today whispering with and holding little A. Icing on the cake: she stroked my hair.

Today’s poll:

For real, how much time do you spend online in an average day?

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Joy: Fonts

I’m a total English nerd. Don’t mind admitting it. I edit and write and revise for a living. (Which actually is less impressive when you realize that my husband is the real breadwinner around here. I’m the homemaker who strives to keep burned dinners to a minimum. If I actually did edit for a “living,” I would probably be dead right now. Or eking out a scant survival on cans of beans divided and rationed out over seven days. Split among my children. While we sob buckets of tears underneath our shredded tarp-for-shelter.)

So. Where were we? Oh yes, my nerdiness. Welp, that explains today’s JOY. The stretchiness (and sans stretchiness, as the case may be) of the font on this subway art brings me joy. Some words just pop–my favorite is the striking contrast between “pray” and “eat more vegetables.” Plus, I made it myself. Kinda. With hardly any swearing or throwing of paint brushes across the basement.

Singing a song of joy right here.

Today’s poll (answer to see results):
Best fonts: serif or sans serif?

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Joy: Tiny clothespins

There was a guy in college that my roommates and I loved. He was about 10 inches shorter than us girls’ average height, the absolute nicest and cutest, and we adoringly called him “Bite Size.” (Erm, not to his face, though. Too potentially emasculating and, frankly, despite our love for the guy, at his height it’s not something one can risk in good conscience.)

Anywho. For me and for a research-based 93%* of double-X-chromosome bearers out there, tiny stuff = adorably endearing = joy. Bingo on the mini clothespins strung up on wires in our hallway, which has subsequently become the “Kids’ Art Wall.” Which, if you’ll allow me to cheat a little in this post, is an addition to our home that ALSO brings me joy today. Got ourselves a two-fer.

Speaking of bite size and joyful combinations, though…anyone else getting a hankering for some Butterfingers, Halloween-style (e.g., steal-’em-from-your-kid’s-bucket-in-the-dead-of-night-then-spread-around-the-remaining-candy-so-it-looks-just-as-full)? No? Oh. Yeah, me either.**


**Total lie.

Today’s poll (answer to see results):
Best bite-size candy bar

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