As much as I love snow, I hate glitter. And by hate, I mean loathe.
Liz has this habit of hating days of the week (weird, I know, but she hates most of them, all for varying reasons. People may think she's kind of a peace, love, hippie kind of girl, but not when it comes to weekdays), but I can honestly say that I don't really hate much in life, except those super-tiny, but not-quite-minuscule-enough-not-to-see dots of sparkly crap.
Why has this come up?
Well, Saturday, I was hunting with my brother, and Liz took that time to do Christmas crafts with the girls. Somehow she thinks that Christmas art projects require glitter, and so she let the kids glitter to their hearts content (of course they love the stuff).
What transpired is that there is now a glitter-encased sheen over our entire living/dining room. On the table! On the chairs! In the carpet!
And the vacuum will never get it all out of the carpet, it will hopefully just settle into the crevices like last year's glitter explosion did after a few months. Somehow though, the glitter is currently stuck on the table and chairs, and even if we wipe and wipe with a cloth (wet or dry), it just seems to move it around.
It does get on our hands and our faces, our baby's mouth, and even in the soup!
No thanks, I don't really want a glitter garnish. Even if it is non-toxic, Liz.
Snow is my favorite.
It quiets the world. Everything seems to stop when it snows. I mean, you're going about your life, and then there's a snowstorm, and life grinds to an unexpected halt.
I've heard people (mostly women and old men) say that they don't like the snow, but I don't understand it. There's nothing more off-putting than a grown man whining about 20 degree weather being "too cold." It kind of reminds me of my four girls.
Depressing for me would be Florida weather. Did you notice how it was cold a few days ago everywhere in the nation except there? Where's the challenge in that? What do Floridians endure? (well, besides hurricanes and long lines at Disney)
A good, snowy winter makes me feel alive. It makes me feel like I've survived something.
I'm sure I'm offending a lot of you with these statements, but it's just the way it is, I suppose.
Winter seems masculine. There's a lot of work involved. Chopping wood, shoveling snow, wearing boots and flannel. Anytime there's an axe involved, it's manly. There are huge, angry snowplows roaming the streets. You want a big, fuzzy beard when it's cold out. It keeps the face warm and snuggly. To all you clean-shaven summer lovers, get with the program. A beard is manly.
Summer, it's pretty girly. Wearing girly shorts, and girly flip flops. Prancing around, doing girly things. (I might be simplifying things here.)
Anyway, we're having a lot of snow here this week, and I'm enjoying it. Mostly everyone else is complaining, but I'm just irritated that our snow totals at our house were only about 18 inches. Wimpy.
The good news is that more snow is on the radar, and hopefully Mother Nature will redeem herself.
In our house, a trip to the grocery store is a little different, depending on which parent goes. For example...
Choosing breakfast cereal
Mom-style: She examines the cereal box for information like sugar content and price-per-ounce. She gets the medium-sized box of the Multi-grain Cheerios since there seems to be a sale on them and they are fairly healthy.
Dad-style: I look at the size of the cereal box and think, am I going to get any of this after the kids get to it? So, I get the jumbo box of Fruity Pebbles, instead of the normal-sized one.
Mom-style: She will debate for a long while over whether or not we need chips. And, if so, what's the cheapest bag she can get that no one will complain over. Also, if we get tortilla chips, do we really need potato? What about pretzels? Can she fool the family with those?
Dad-style: [picks out favorite chips and throws them in the cart.]
Buying extraneous things
Mom-style: She'll hit up the mega-clearance racks for little girls clothes, or throw 6 yards of elastic in the cart.
Dad-style: I don't buy anything extraneous, it's all necessary.
On picking up a few items
Mom-style: Every time we enter a grocery store, she starts thinking about meals for the future (so we start going down all the aisles). Meal planning is good, I'm not complaining about it. What I am complaining about though, is that she chooses to do this when I thought we were just running in for milk, bread, and ibuprofen.
Dad-style: I just pick up milk, bread, and ibuprofen. And maybe some Reece's cups at the register.
Purchasing essentials before a big snowstorm
Mom-style: I think she told me we just needed peanut butter, jelly, and bread. And milk. And some onions. And-- (see above).
Dad-style: Candy, Fruity Pebbles, Fruit Loops with Marshmallows, a couple of bags of chips, some drinks. Oh, and I did get milk, bread, peanut butter, and jelly too. And laundry detergent. (see, I'm not completely thoughtless about our practical needs!)
For other Dad-style posts, knock yourself out:
If Dads Had Play Groups
It’s a term that most people can get behind. I think that people use this as a reason for people to go to liberal arts-based college. It’s legitimate, I suppose. But I don’t think that going to a liberal arts school is going to do that for you (but then again, you already know my feelings on college in general).
And, I’m not advocating that people should give up focusing on one thing and trying to become an expert at it.
Quite the contrary, I’m postulating (and I know I’m not the only who thinks this) that people, and especially people pursuing a creative profession, become better at their primary area of focus as they challenge themselves at other, new tasks that are typically out of their scope.
I’m encouraging my children and myself to become adept at many different aspects of life. I’ll tell you why – I sometimes spend a huge amount of time convincing myself that I can’t do something, for many reasons. Most of them revolve around this main excuse: I’ve never done it before.
An example: We have many children, a fairly large dining room table for them to sit at, but not really enough space in our house to fit them all if they all have their own chair. So, for many months my wife and I tried to find a bench for the table, so that we could cut down the number of chairs we would need. If we had that, then we could increase the amount of free space in our living room/dining room combo.
So, for months we looked around for a cheap bench that met our specifications. We needed it to be a certain length, and we needed it to be sturdy, but we also needed it to be cheap. Well, we could never find anything that matched all of these specifications. So, my wife suggested that we just make it ourselves. Oh no, I complained, we can’t do that. I’ve never made a bench before (I do not have a lot of wood-working experience in my past), and I’d have to buy the wood, and so on.
One day, though, I happened upon some wood in our garage that I had forgotten about. I suddenly thought that maybe we could do it – after all, one of my excuses was moot now. My wife (who is great at googling things like this), found a few different blogs on “how to build a bench,” and then we just did it, we just built the bench. I had some stain and some sealant, and it just came to be in about a day.
We’ve been getting a lot of use out of this bench, and it’s been a great fit for our family. And, most importantly, it was practically free.
It also set a good precedent for our family – we can figure out how to do almost anything if we put our minds to it. It should be an interesting experiment as well when this Christmas the bigger girls get real bow and arrow sets. They aren’t too expensive, and since I’ve gotten mine, they say they want one as well.
Meanwhile, I’m going to try to stretch myself in new ways. It keeps life interesting. And, because the internet likes lists of things, here’s a list of ways that I am trying to encourage my children to become more well-rounded human beings:
Scott Keen is the author of three young adult fantasy novels, Scar of the Downers, Rise of the Branded, and War of the Downer King.