Category Archives: Crazy Mama

How Does It Feel To Want?

So, the house was tented.




Been there.  Done that.

Except for the fact that I haven’t stopped moving for three weeks (pre-tent prep and packing, tent survival at the Residence Inn, and post-tent unpacking), it was no biggie.  In fact, on the morning we handed the keys to Armando from Terminix, I spotted a few ants in the kitchen and was like, See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya!

If there was a silver lining at all to the Great Tenting of 2104 (besides that my house is termite-free…for now), it was that I got to Clean Shit Out (CSO).  I tackled three bathrooms, five medicine cabinets, the entire kitchen and pantry, and the laundry room.  As nutty as it was, it was epic stress relief for a Mama who, on occasion, calms her inner Crazy by organizing the cabinet under the kitchen sink (I did that, too, by the way).

Filling a dozen garbage bags with unnecessary “stuff” in the course of a weekend was like a giant Ommmmmm from deep inside my core.  The most satisfying moment of Operation CSO, though, had to be when I emptied the refrigerator the night before the tent went up.  During the week prior, we ate what we could, salvaged what still had a manufacturer’s seal, which wasn’t much, and tossed the rest.  The morning we relinquished our keys, she was nearly empty.  Gloriously empty.

I hadn’t seen her like that since we first bought her.  I wiped clean the shelves and drawers.  I scrubbed the dried up drips and dribbles that had collected over the years.  I even found a knife stuck in an unidentified sticky brown substance underneath the cheese drawer.  I had no idea we were missing a knife!   I marveled at the bright, empty space inside the refrigerator and freezer, which had also been hiding a vast amount of long-forgotten and expired treasures.  The bare space soothed me.

Editor’s note: During Operation CSO, I defrosted and ate my matzo ball soup from Rosh Hashana.  It was like saving family pictures from a fire.

When I pack for a trip and put exactly what I need in my toiletry bag and exactly what I need in my jewelry case and exactly what I need in my suitcase (plus a few extra things because a Mama needs choices!), and exactly what I need in my carry-on bag, I almost always think to myself, Why do I have so much other stuff?  THIS is all I need.  THIS is enough.

When the tent came off and we moved back in, we first unpacked all of the exactly-what-we-needed items we brought to the hotel.  Then, we unpacked the shopping bags filled with miscellaneous items we hauled with us, like the last few rolls of paper towels, hand soap, vitamins, Kefir, snacks, juice boxes, and other supplies for school lunches.  The cabinets, pantry, and refrigerator began to fill up again.  Next, I went to Publix and then I went to Publix and Whole Foods and then I went to Publix again, and the house filled up even more.  Finally, we picked up the dozen boxes and plastic bins (and our pet fish) we stored at a friend’s house, and I don’t know where to put any of it!  All the more, we seem to be managing just fine without any of it!

Saturday night at dinner (we had a babysitter, a necessary expense after the Great Tenting of 2014), I told Mike I wanted to spend less money on stuff we didn’t need so we could buy window treatments.  Wine was consumed, so it seemed like an odd rant, but I what I meant was:  (1) We spend too much money on stuff for our kids and ourselves and on food for our monster refrigerator that we lose sight of, which inevitably expires and/or grows mold and is thrown out before we have a chance to eat it, (2) I do want new window treatments.  Woven shades would be lovely, and (3) I want new window treatments because investing in our home – the center of our family – matters.  Party in the Tub doesn’t (although Riley might disagree).

God help me, I want to start my (financial) diet tomorrow.  I do.  I want to stop rushing.  I want to stop packing and unpacking.  I want to unplug.  I want to sit down more.  I want to marvel at my bright, empty refrigerator (and woven window shades).  I want to throw out more and bring in less.  I want to run out of hangers.  I want to stop going to Publix and Whole Foods and Publix all over again.  I so badly want to live with less and I want my kids to want the same, which doesn’t seem humanly possible, and, yes, I’m aware that wanting less is still wanting.

When I was a little girl and I would whine and groan and plead and cry for stuff, my dad would say, “How does it feel to want?”  For a long while, I didn’t understand his question because I thought wanting felt fantastic.  Perhaps it was because a lot of the time I got what I wanted.  (This, by the way, is not a judgment on my parents.  They did a darn good job raising my sister and me, and they should pat themselves on the back.  And they should move to Florida so I can drop the kids off at their house every Saturday night, but I digress.)

Where was I?  Right.  “How does it feel to want?”  Eventually, I figured it out.  I know now that wanting feels empty, or bad, not to be confused with an empty refrigerator, which feels really good.


Filed under anxiety, cleaning, Crazy Mama, food


I started this blog to find meaning in my everyday life. Early on, I discovered there were things I did as a mother that made me feel happy, proud, and grateful all at once. That’s when I began the Runaway Mama Bucket List.

On my list so far are watching my boys splash in puddles, baking a cake from scratch, running a 5K and having my kids watch me cross the finish line, and taking Dylan to see Cars 2 in the movie theater.

This past weekend, there was a small carnival set up at a church near our house. The boys had never been to a carnival, which, of course, was a source of anxiety for me. (God forbid they missed out on such an important childhood experience. It would be heartbreaking. Devastating. They’d eventually resent me, and they’d never get into a decent college.)

The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. It was my mission to bring them to the carnival and – drum roll please – take them on their first ever Ferris wheel ride. It would be extraordinary! It would be a bonding experience for the whole family! It would change our lives forever! They boys would never forget the unbelievable feeling of being on top of the world! It would end up on my Runaway Bucket List for sure!

Editor’s note: Thank you, Mike, for indulging me. Lucky for you, there was beer for sale at the carnival.

Before we left the house, I told the boys to be good listeners because it would be busy and crowded. I also said, “If you’re saving your poops for the carnival, you’re going to be very disappointed. Go now, because if anyone has to use the bathroom at the carnival, which will surely be gross, we’re leaving.”

Editor’s note: It might be time to address my public bathroom issues with a professional.

And then we were off!

There she was…


First, we went on some rides…


This kid took the motorcycle ride very seriously.


Dylan’s first roller coaster!

Then we played some games, which robbed us of our life savings.


Worry not. It was worth every penny, because we “won” a lot of crap prizes.


In fact, Riley actually earned back everything we lost when he “won” this hundred dollar pillow.

Of course, I carried everything (#motherhoodis).


And then, it was finally time for the bucket list worthy Ferris wheel ride.

Mike and I double-checked with the boys that they weren’t afraid. You’re not nervous? You’re not scared? Both said they weren’t, so we went for it. The views were pretty cool, and the boys seemed to enjoy it. I, on the other hand, had a moment when we reached the top and the ride stopped because other people were getting on down below. We were just dangling up there. Swaying in the breeze. Hanging from a metal contraption that was probably fifty years old and taken apart and put back together hundreds of times each year, which got me thinking…

What kind of mechanical safety measures were in place at this creepy, traveling carnival? How often were the rides checked for maintenance? What if we fell to the ground? Would we survive? What was I thinking!? I heard about carnival ride accidents in the news all the time! Were the carnie workers trained to handle the equipment or an emergency? And why did they have so few teeth?

Then, as quickly as it stopped, the ride began moving again, and my Crazy slowly receded. I smiled and took some pictures…





…and when we were safely on the ground again, I breathed deep.

Then we had “lunch.” By lunch, I mean popcorn and a blue raspberry snow cone.


Carnival. Check.

Ferris wheel. Check.

Bucket list? Maybe.


Filed under bucket list, carnival, Crazy Mama