tree to tree

Quinland and her fellow Girl Scouts had decided to spend their cookie earnings on a trip to Tree to Tree Aerial Adventure Park, and the long-awaited trip finally took place last weekend. I went along.  Dang, it was cool.

The trees have platforms built around them at various levels. They have different “elements” that you walk across to get from tree to tree, all of which are crazy obstacle course-style things – tightropes, stilts, seesaws, stepping stones – way up in the air. They have six different courses of varying heights and difficulties, all of which have at least one zipline.

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These are the lower three courses; the others are higher and scarier. In fact, we didn’t see the Black Diamond course until we were in the parking lot, leaving, because you have to get to it by way of another high course we didn’t do.

There was some doubt as to whether I would actually go up in the trees or just watch from the ground. I knew that if I felt well, I could totally do it; I’m not afraid of heights, and you don’t need to be afraid safety-wise, because you are always clipped to a line that will keep you from falling.

Q is quite afraid of heights, so the whole idea was pretty tough for her, but she was amazingly brave and made it through course after course for three hours.

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And as for me?

Oh, yeah, baby. I absolutely did it. I stayed on the two lower courses with Quinland, but I cruised on through and ziplined like a pro. Okay, not exactly like a pro. My shirt rode up and my gut hung out and I spun around in a very unsuitable way… but I did it.

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I was proud. Though I admit to a little of my structural integrity phobia seeping through my courage when people on the courses above us (literally above!) would come zipping in on a zipline and slam feetfirst into the platform. Yikes!

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cleaning crew to the rescue!

Yep, I did it. For the second time since we have been home from Europe, I had cleaners come in to clean my home.

David and I had a not-quite-complete communication about an end-of-the-year party for his whole staff at our home. I thought it sounded like a great idea, but I neglected to find out exactly when it might be happening. David logically thought that “end-of-the-year” meant just what it said: the last day of school. Which would have been fine… had I figured this out more than two days beforehand, and had the party day not also been my drug day.

Pulse Steroids Day is wacky, because no two of them are the same. Sometimes I have tons of steroid-induced energy; sometimes I just want to curl in a ball and drool in my bed. You never know. I wasn’t taking any chances on the possibility that I might not have the house up to par, so I got on the phone, and Fernando and Venicia agreed to come over on short notice and get things spruced up. (This also bought us some pre-drug hours to whip the front yard into shape. Things had gotten pretty straggly.)

Now, call me crazy, but my very favorite part of the cleaning experience was that they cleaned my laundry room. You know how a laundry room can slowly get a lovely patina of dryer lint on everything, and you might not even notice it? That wasn’t the case here. It was impossible not to notice it – linty, linty, linty. I don’t remember my old dryer blowing lint around like Greg’s does; I even checked the vent connections to be sure they were all tight.

But I digress. The moral of this story is that everything is now happily delinted. (That’s a word, right?)

While we are at it, I’d like to show you my two favorite things about my laundry room. First, I have a fantastic clothes-drying setup  above my washer and dryer. I bought this hanging rack right after we moved in, because hanging clothes is a necessity when dealing with tall people. You definitely never want to put anything in the dryer, because inevitably it shrinks in length, never in width. Hanging stuff is also good for delicates, of course, and for band t-shirts that you want to preserve for as many decades as humanly possible.

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(The dryer is currently serving as storage for all my outdoor chair mats. I was taken in by a couple of days of nice weather, so I broke them out. Then the regular June rain settled in. *sigh*)

My other favorite thing is my IKEA Grundtal wall shelf. It holds my laundry products neatly, and also serves as a great rack for hangers.

??????????????Yes, I have a million hangers, and yes, I have them hanging in color order. Why? So that when I hang up Quinland’s clothes, I can match the color of the shirt to the right colored hanger. I know, I know… Don’t judge me. It is my little OCD corner of the world. Speaking of OCD, I am irked that my non-staged photo shows all those microfiber dust cloths that someone dumped in a dishpan all cattywampus. They were all in one of those yellow boxes you see above, nice and neat. Hmph. The thing in the sink, on the other hand, is just homeless. I believe it goes in Greg’s dryer to dry a sweater on, all nice and flat. As far as I know, it’s never been used.

I could get sooooo addicted to having cleaning people. It is an amazing feeling to be in a home that is all nice and clean and to know that you didn’t have to do it. What a treat!

eating dinner as a family

I may have mentioned before that David and I have struggled for all time with preparing and serving regular meals. I never developed any skill in cooking, and I know that my fear of failure in the kitchen – failure that, I might add, is a frequent occurrence – has definitely hampered my ability to buckle down to regular cooking. Add in some family dynamics about whose responsibility for shopping, cooking and cleaning is whose, and dinner time often leads to an every-man-for-himself “grazing” extravaganza.

This has bummed me out over the years. I know, without a doubt, that all three of us would be healthier if we ate better.

Last week, I read an interesting article about families who eat dinner together. “When families dine together,” the article states, “they tend to eat more vegetables and fruits — and fewer fried foods, soda, and foods with trans fats, research shows. When younger kids frequently eat dinner with their families, they are less likely to be overweight than other children.”

I feel guilty. I feel like I have been a bad mom to Quinland. I am resolved to step up to the plate, and I can only hope that these next few years have a positive impact on all of us. I’ve broken out my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker – which I have owned for years and never used – and have made some excellent chicken stews. Pop everything in, cook 30 minutes – foolproof and tasty. (No, I’m not a Pampered Chef consultant, but this thing is awesome!)

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Still, I must say, the article kind of cheered me up in another way. It identified these benefits of dining together as well:

  • Kids are more likely to stay away from cigarettes.
  • They’re less likely to drink alcohol.
  • They won’t likely try marijuana.
  • They’re less likely to use illicit drugs.
  • Friends won’t likely abuse prescription drugs.
  • School grades will be better.
  • You and your kids will talk more.
  • You’ll be more likely to hear about a serious problem.
  • Kids will feel like you’re proud of them.
  • There will be less stress and tension at home.

These effects, I surmise, come from the positive, one-on-one interaction that occurs around the dinner table, from open communication between parents and their children. I’m happy to say that – regardless of our haphazard eating habits – we have plenty of that quality time with Quinland, and I believe we have reaped all those benefits. She is an awesome, awesome, awesome kid… she has amazing, supportive, friends who are all awesome kids… and they all get good grades (and stay away from substance abuse!).

Whew! I’m not a bad mom, after all – just a bad cook… and I am getting better every day.

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