Sunday Confessional with a Splash of Margarita

Heather says:

This isn’t particularly Home Ec related, but sometimes life is more than the chores that make it easier.

As many of you know, last year was incredibly difficult. Okay, I can see my therapist giving me a look, last year was insane.

Yet I’m still standing.

In fact, now I’m standing with a few more freckles. I just got back from Cozumel, Mexico. I saved up for and took my first solo vacation. (Trust me, Customs thought it was a little weird, too when I re-entered the country. Are you sure you traveled alone? You didn’t meet friends?) Back in November, as things were just starting to fall back into place a really good Groupon deal crossed my radar. I jumped on it and bought that “dream vacation.” Ever since I was a child, I’ve wanted to go somewhere warm and have nothing to do. And. if anything, last year taught me that life won’t hand you the things you want and may cut the ride short.

So I went.

It turns out that I am truly awful at doing nothing.

I brought a crapton -technical term- of Kindle books (Highlights include but are not limited to): Looking for Alaska, The Book ThiefThe Off Season (actually I read all three in this series but this one was the emotional sucker punch),  Innocence: A Novel, and Socially Awkward: A Novel. I dove back into the Flavia de Luce Series which I highly recommend if you’re looking for a book for pre-teens with a strong, smart, sassy female lead. Yes, I read YA and teen fiction and quite happily, thank you. If a book is well-written, it doesn’t matter the demographic.

It turns out you can avoid a lot by being busy and last year I avoided mourning by burying myself in work and busyness.

So what happens when you go to Cozumel alone, armed only with books?

You meet wonderful people who offer to drag you up to North Dakota to set you up with a man -completely unnecessary and I’m sure North Dakota is perfectly nice, but I live in the South for many reasons and warmth is fairly high on that list. (And please understand that’s only what’s wrong with that idea on the surface, we aren’t going to get into the deeper aspects, that would get too ranty for my taste.)

You take SCUBA lessons and get PADI certified for Open Water*, only to rupture an eardrum and end up spending a lot of time sitting in a boat with a captain who speaks no English and probably has no interest in your clumsy grasp of kitchen Spanish.

You learn that all-inclusive means that margaritas are way too easy to order and end up going to bed ridiculously early. When you go to bed ridiculously early, you wake up ridiculously early in a town that runs on tourist time. Hello many more hours to fill.

You learn that hot water is truly one of life’s greatest pleasures. (My room had none.)

You learn that you can survive without a smart phone, but that you miss all the people on the other side far more than you ever imagined.

And you finally cry. A lot. Mostly in private, but I’m pretty sure the staff at the hotel wondered who the weird, crying woman was. And apparently you let perfect strangers hug you in the bathroom.

And weirdly, you start to feel better.

NotesAnd, maybe, just maybe you’ll see yourself in a book. Tsh Oxenrider, in Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World stated, “[...]work is my leisure of choice.”

I know what that looks like and I’m finally okay with it. 

So this wasn’t the standard Sunday Confessional, but it’s a big one for me. I know I need to make sure important things don’t fall off my radar, but I need to quit trying to define myself in ways that don’t fit my preferences.

What about you?

What do you have to get off your chest?


Sunday Confessional, the oh boy, it’s been a while edition.

Heather says:


I haven’t even thought about the Sunday Confessionals in a long, long time.

However, last night, as I was preparing to wrap my daughter’s presents for today’s surprise party¹, I realized that Scotch Tape has yet to enter my home. I’ve managed to get glue sticks and scissors and odds and ends for the youngest to entertain herself, but tape for myself? Apparently not.

I sat on my bed and used a glue stick. Now THAT, my friends, is Saturday night entertainment. It’s an amateur wrapping job at best, but really all she’s going to care is that they are pink. Right? And cake, I’m sure she’s going to care that there is cake and Hello Kitty and My Little Pony – which there’s another confession right there. I frigging adore Pinkie Pie, quite possibly the most obnoxious cartoon character in the show and she makes me giggle while I’m in here trying to write.

Speaking of unhealthy cartoon affection. . . I am an unabashed Phineas and Ferb
fan. Hands down, it is the best cartoon ever made. Disney, you have won my respect with your geek references and general awesome. My phone’s ringtones? All Super Mario and Phineas and Ferb. . . Support calls for FeedBlitz? Doofenschmertz Evil Incorporated *jazz hands*

Finally, yesterday I decided to be all kinds of productive. I made two large batches of food for dinner. Why? I had an afternoon free and it’s back to football season, only now with the added complication of a forty minute drive on my days. (I moved). So there I was with a huge skillet of sausage, peppers, and onions and a gluten-free version of enchiladas. And then I lost all initiative and we had both for dinner. (Yes, there are leftovers, I had intended on making something else for dinner). Sigh. So much for well balanced on the days I don’t have to work.

So there we go, life is settling into a new normal but normal is not and never will be perfect. That said, I’m finally finding my equilibrium and that includes the ability to let myself relax and not feel like I have to work like a crazy workaholic person hopped up on deadlines.

What do you have for this week’s Sunday Confessional? Feel free to link to a post, if you’ve written it up elsewhere.

¹FYI it’s kind of difficult to give a kid a surprise party when a surprise party is pretty much the only thing they ask for. Thank goodness for good friends.

Monday Morning Confessional, I Have Jury Duty

Heather says:

File this one under, “Sometimes I really wish I had a normal 9-5 job so I could keep the days of the week straight.”

You know how on Sundays the chore chart reminds everyone to check their schedules?

I forgot.

This means I completely spaced, until five minutes ago, that I have jury duty this afternoon.

This being human thing? It’s for the birds.

So tell me, what air headed thing have you done lately? Hopefully they won’t take my phone away and your comments will entertain me until I have to pay attention. Oh and tomorrow? We leave for Minnesota, 24 hours in the car with kids, send some good thoughts in this direction and include some caffeine in those thoughts.

A Case of the Mondays When I Should Have Been Doing a Sunday Confessional

Heather says:

Holy cow, I had a heck of week. The up, down, crazy, sideways and what the heck am I doing kind of week. I know it’s Monday morning, but each time I opened my browser to start working on this week’s Sunday Confessional (which would have been long enough before Sunday came along) someone in my household lost their ever-loving-minds.

Most of you know what the Sunday Confessional series is, but for those who are newbies (oh hai! And welcome to Home Ec 101) it’s the series in which I try to point out that no one is ever going to get their lives magazine perfect. And I never want to contribute to anyone feeling like they are somehow less of a person because their homes and lives don’t match media and judgy mcjudgerson Internet Standards. The Sunday Confessional isn’t about celebrating mediocrity, it’s more about just admitting that no, we ALL have bad days or weeks. And I want to be sure you understand that we are almost always -in our heads at least- comparing our own absolute worst moments with other people’s best foot forward.

Last Monday I flew home from San Francisco where I had been meeting with the Method brand -and oh my, I cannot wait to tell you about that, I have never fallen in love with a company before and I have butterflies. . .  we talked chemistry and the environment and cleaning and and and post coming later today, I’ll stop gushing now.

Tuesday, I started my new job. I’m now a server in an Irish pub three nights a week. I love it, it’s exactly the kind of escape from startup / homeschooler / working from home life I needed. What I need now is a way to manage my time more effectively -the fact that it’s Monday and I’m writing Sunday’s post should say something. Friday another server called in and I was thrown into the Friday night rush on what should have been a training shift. That really wasn’t a big deal, I did serve for years in my past life, it was just a matter of having to cut myself some slack for not knowing all of the ins and outs of their computer system and hoping they’d cut me the same slack. I made it through. Saturday I picked up a shift because the server that called in had to be replaced. Let’s just say it ended up being a very, very late night thanks to the time change* and my children do not have a snooze button.

Sunday morning my dog ripped off a toenail and created a scene straight out of Dexter for me to clean up just a few minutes before I had to get the kids ready for Sunday school. You know, I really hope no one in my household disappears unexpectedly, I’ll have a lot of explaining to do when the crime scene people show up with the black lights. Yeah, the floor only got a lick and a promise kind of cleaning, the deep clean has to wait until tomorrow -hopefully.

Today? I have to figure out how to get all of these metaphorical juggling balls back into the air, maybe I’ll breathe after my shift ends tonight.

What about you? What do you have to get off your chest? I know it’s Monday, but we just had the time change, so we’re all running a bit behind.

*No, it wasn’t the kind of late night that results in a hangover, it was just a late night running my mouth with actual adults.


Sunday Confessional 2/19/2012

Heather says:

People new to Home Ec may wonder what this series is about. I started the Sunday Confessional a few years ago when I realized how it was way too easy to only share the best parts of life. Most of us tend to compare our personal, absolute worst with everyone else’s best foot forward. I started the Sunday Confessional not as a way to celebrate mediocrity or to encourage people to fail, but as a way to be honest about life. It’s never magazine perfect or tv tidy. We all have problems that aren’t fixed in thirty minutes and areas of our life that aren’t always perfectly staged for a photo shoot.

People get scared when their life isn’t measuring up to these false ideals. People write me emails, ashamed because they feel they aren’t good enough. I don’t want to contribute to that feeling. I want Home Ec 101 to be a resource no matter where you are on your journey to self-sufficiency and just as an FYI, perfect isn’t even on that map.

The way this works is I share something and then it’s your turn in the comments. It’s okay to be anonymous, just keep it family friendly.

So here goes:

The people who are close to me have been worried about me for a while. “You’re too stressed, Heather,” and yes, they’re right. You see, over the past five years Home Ec 101 slowly turned from a hobby into an actual job and what is slowly, so slowly, evolving into a career -this website isn’t all I do, but it is a hefty portion and the most public part of it. What those of you who don’t know me can’t see is I sweat the details, all of the details, all of the time. Was my tone too snarky? What if the community gets mad at me for for working with [Brand X]? I need to redo all the things right now! Oh no, I had a typo and no one told me. (Email me typo alerts, please, it’s kind of embarrassing to have them pointed out in the comments)

Some might say I’m a bit high strung.

Some might say I’m neurotic, but in a cute and endearing way not the scary way, of course -at least that’s what I hope.

Throw in some stress on a personal level and it really has gotten to be a bit too much.

So what does a work-a-holic do when they need a break from their brain? They start interviewing for a low-stress, part-time gig. (And then they bawl alone in a parking lot because they are “good enough” on the Internet to work with nationally recognized brands, but feel they just bombed an interview for a serving gig.) And then a couple days later they realize they just might be a bit hard on themselves when they find they actually landed said gig.

Starting in a couple of weeks, I’ll be working, very part-time, in my favorite Irish pub. (Some people I know have said I got the gig because I’m a redhead; I would hope it had more to do with the nearly ten years of F&B experience I had prior to having kids.)

Some of you are wondering how a serving gig could possibly be low-stress.

Let’s just say I need some “done” in my life.

As a mother, there’s never “done,” as a home owner, there is ALWAYS stuff I should be doing. As someone who is self-employed and works from home, there is always something more I could be doing to grow, improve, or increase my business.

Three nights a week I will now have a reason to put on make-up and leave the house. I will show up, do my job, and do it well. It may be conceited, but even as I worked my way up in the kitchen, I always waited tables because I was good at it and it brought in good money. At the end of my shift, I will clock out and I will carry home with me an immediate payoff, not only tips, but what they represent: immediate feedback on a job well done. Something I rarely get, as my boss* is very hard to please and knows when I’m phoning it in.

*I’m referring to me, not the one at the pub.

Am I idealizing it? Yes, a little bit. There will be things that go wrong, there will be the occasional table that doesn’t go well, there will be nights with crappy tips, I know this, but this time around, I have a more experienced perspective. It’ll still be a night out of the house that didn’t cost me anything except time and a few hours where I was distracted from the many things that are entirely out of my control.

And? The best part? The very best part of all? I will actually get to talk to adults, on a regular basis, without typing! It’s only been almost 9 years.

So what do you have to get off your chest?