Angela Amman

In front of the door

#FailureLab January’s been a bit crazy around here. Both Ryan and I are juggling a lot, and he got a little sick, and now I seem to have it. I wish I could say I’m taking it in stride, but I’m struggling to be a rational adult at times. The new year brings out the goal-setter in me, and having things fold on themselves a little only three weeks into the year frustrates me.

The most inspiring part of the past few weeks actually involved the idea of failure, which I’m trying to internalize, instead of just appreciating how it affected others. I went with two friends to a #FailureLab storytelling event, hosted by Creative Many and Michigan House.

The night held that special combination of magic and inspiration I always find in storytelling shows — my own or other people’s. Throw in a dream loft location, colorful door art, giant scrabble tiles, and a couple of swings, and I truly felt rejuvenated and excited after leaving.

#FailureLab involves three storytellers talking about an instance in their lives when they failed at something, something that was important to them. One of the keys to this particular storytelling format is the storytellers don’t synthesize their experiences and speak on the lessons they learned or how they overcame their individual failures.

Getting sick and missing some runs and not hitting some writing goals isn’t exactly failure, but it irks me, sliding under my skin and reminding me of all the other times I’ve made — and missed — goals.

I’m trying to make good decisions right now, accepting how I feel, not pushing too hard, and trusting I can buckle down in the upcoming weeks to catch up on some missed time. Instead of thinking about the last few weeks as seeing a door swing closed, I’m trying to concentrate on remembering where the knob is, so I can push it open when I’m ready.

Speaking of storytelling shows, auditions are open for Listen to Your Mother Metro Detroit 2016. Please come tell Angela and me your story! We love hearing them, and we know you have something to share with us.

A two coffee kind of day

gratitude and coffeeI woke up late today, and went through the motions of making my coffee and Ryan’s coffee. He walked down the stairs before I remembered he had fasting blood work this morning, meaning his creamer-filled coffee wouldn’t work for him.

Though I felt momentarily sad he’d have to drive to work without caffeine, I looked at my planner and decided it would be better for everyone involved if I drank his coffee — in addition to mine.

Lots of days, an extra coffee makes its way into my hands, but it generally doesn’t happen in such a blatant, double-fisted grab at caffeine.

Some days I walk the kids to school, throw in laundry, and get to work. On those days, I change into leggings and wrap a blanket around my legs, and sometimes I manage to get the laundry finished and the kitchen cleaned from breakfast.

Today I had two volunteer commitments at school, all sorts of work deadlines, a dance class, catechism, and a family date to see our city’s amazing light show light the night to kick off the holidays.

I needed that extra coffee.

I’ve had too many days like that lately, but I can’t bring myself to lessen the load, especially because a large chunk of my work hours are for a temporary position. So I work late and rub sleep out of my eyes in the morning, and I cram more than I should into my days.

Coffee helps, but I’m more grateful for the three people sharing my house with me right now. I love that Dylan is happy to come downstairs pantsless because his pants are in the dryer. (Who am I kidding? He’d go to school pantsless if we let him.) Abbey doesn’t mind pushing my laptop to the side to do her homework at the kitchen table. Ryan’s kindly not mentioning the state of the kitchen buffet, and I know the  catch-all nature of that stretch of counter is driving him bonkers.

I’ll get it straightened out eventually, and there will be slower mornings in my future. On those days, I hope I still wrap the blanket around my legs, the echo of their rushed-morning laughter in my ears — and maybe an extra cup of coffee wrapped in my hands.

NaBloPoMo November 2015

I shouldn’t be shocked no one uses the hamper

Why no one uses the hamperAfter the insanity of Bathroom Model 2015, when I showered at the gym for weeks and only forgot my bra half the time, I decided putting a hamper in the kids’ bathroom would help them learn to pick up their clothes from their bedroom floors. Prior to having their own hamper, when I reminded them to put their clothes in the laundry, things basically ended up somewhere on my bedroom floor — or in the kitchen, since Dylan prefers to change directly in front of large windows.

Obviously, a hamper of their own would fix this problem.

After all, the countless storage options I’ve tried have turned our play room into an immaculate, pristine environment for age-appropriate play time. Wait, that hasn’t happened at all.

The hamper would be different.

I measured the space next to their sink and chose a hamper carefully. Well, as carefully as I could, knowing I wanted something with a washable liner and having Dylan with me, claiming anything made of jute smelled much too offensive to enter our house. We left the store with a hamper and two Halloween costumes, only one of which was worn on Halloween. (Please come over and play dress up with us, because we have plenty of options.)

They loved the idea of their own hamper. For three hours, all of the clothes they shed ended up in the hamper. (You might think this wouldn’t be a lot of clothes, but apparently in our house, if you look at a piece of clothing sideways, it becomes soiled enough to wash.)

During hour four, things started breaking down into chaos. One of them changed in his own room while waiting for the bathroom. Or at least took off his clothes and then stood outside the bathroom door with his jammies in hand, waiting for his turn.

I reminded him to toss the clothes in the hamper.

The next morning, everyone changed in the kitchen.

I reminded them to take their clothes up to the hamper.

In three days, after walking the kids to school, I peered underneath Abbey’s bed and found two princess dresses, an old dance costume, and seventeen pairs of pajamas.

I tossed it all into the hamper, turned up the Pitbull station on Pandora, and wondered why no one seemed equipped to throw clothes in a receptacle meant for exactly that.

Frustrated, I walked into my bathroom to finish blow drying my hair. I stepped over two pairs of socks on the way there, socks kicked out from under the covers, because I adore my feet being warm while falling asleep but can’t stand for them to be too hot in the middle of the night.

Maybe we need to check the DNA map for a hamper-averse gene. They can start with us.

NaBloPoMo November 2015

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