lavender gain detergent

Last night something very strange and uncomfortable happened. A girl knocked on our door at 7:50 pm. I recognized her as someone I had seen coming and going from the house across the street. The house across the street had several young, single people living there as roommates and she seemed to be one, as of late. She introduced herself and her 3 year old son she had with her, whose name was Cloud. She asked me what our plans were for Easter. I was a little surprised and said we planned on spending it with family in the area and asked why? She invited me to her church’s Easter Egg Hunt. I said thank you and that was thoughtful to ask, but we had plans. Then … it got reeeeeeally weird. She leaned in and said, “I wanted to ask you something else … my gas bill is due and I don’t have the money and I was wondering if you could loan me $80?”

yeah. super weird, right? Who the heck does that?

So then Daniel walked up to the door and I explained what was happening, to which he responded ” …. huh.” Then the girl went on to talk about herself and her son and the area and blah, blah, blah. Finally I said I had somewhere to be (because I actually DID need to be somewhere, thankfully) and I left her and Daniel at the door. Her son wandered into our house and started playing with the boys and by the time I was leaving, Daniel was trying to put the boys to bed, she was in our front room, her son was having a fit about leaving, Daniel was on the phone and as I tried to squeeze by her on my way out the door she says, “so, about that $80. Do you think you could give that to me?”

I was floored. This girl did not look like a homeless person, yet she was acting as brashly and rudely as one. I told her we didn’t carry cash and don’t keep it in the house (in case she or her roommates got any ideas …) and I couldn’t give it to her. I asked how she expected me to give it to her. She told me I could go to an ATM and get it out. I told her no. She said I could write her a check. I told her my husband is in charge of our finances and he would have to answer her and I told Daniel and walked away.

I came home and asked Daniel how he got her away from our house and it turns out … he gave her the $80. I couldn’t believe it.

This morning, I called my Dad. He had some insight on how to handle people who ask for handouts and it was great advice. He said to make sure and not take their problems on as your own. You don’t have to come up with answers for them, because it’s not your problem. You don’t even have to defend yourself as to why you wouldn’t help them because it’s their problem and they should plan for it and help themselves. He DID say that you can point them in the right direction and let them know which authorities can help them. The county has programs for struggling members of the community and you can go into any police station and they will direct you to these programs. Also, she had mentioned she was a member of the Seventh Day Adventist church. He said, she should probably go to the members of her church, or family before me.

I told him I felt taken advantage of. Robbed. I hated her for putting me and my husband in this terribly awkward situation and I wanted our $80 back, but I was afraid it was just gone. As soon as the check was written, it was gone. Daddy told me something that really helped me understand this better. In essence this is what he told me:

Christ helped everyone. You will never hear in the Bible any sermons that Jesus Christ gave on self-reliance. And more than that, he gave to everyone. It didn’t matter if they were homeless, whores, mean, bad, evil, whatever, he helped everyone. Now this doesn’t mean you should give and give and give until you are figuratively hanging on a cross, but it does mean, that every once in a while, when you do share what you have (begrudgingly or not) you are helping someone else. You are giving as Christ did. And maybe instead of throwing your money away on buying some nice Sunday heels for Easter, you gave money to someone who needed it for something else.

I told him, I just didn’t feel safe. We recently got something stolen out of our garage. Daniel’s classic BMX bike. It feels strange, having something and then without reason or understanding, it’s just gone. It’s an unsettling feeling. And then to have $80 just gone because someone put you in a terrible position and you’re too nice to say, “Get out of here! Are you crazy?!” And I told Dad it felt awful. He said, “yeah, I know. That’s the trouble with material things”.

He’s right. material things are just that. Material things. And they come and go, sometimes without reason and unfairly, but they’re just material things.

It got me thinking about material things …. Daniel and I have enough to pay the rent and pay our bills and buy food and put our boys in soccer for a season. That’s pretty awesome. But it makes me angry to think that what little we have saved up or set aside for our boys, or Sunday heels or for birthdays are going to the darn weird-o across the street! So I started thinking, “what would I do if I had a lot of money, a lot of excess?” And I’ll tell you what – I would buy Lavender Gain detergent. all. the. time. Yep. That is such a luxury.

I usually buy the cheapest, Kirkland brand detergent at Costco. But one day about two months ago I wanted to buy some really awesome smelling detergent, to wash my sheets in, so that when my parents came to stay at my house, they would sleep in really awesome smelling lavender sheets. I have been rationing this lavender Gain detergent ever since. I save it for the sheets, or towels, sometimes my underwear (never for the boys though … that would be a waste. No matter what I do, they will, for some reason, always smell like dirt, spit and grass, sometimes even like dirty bum). So, that’s what I’d do with extra money. Lavender Gain detergent. It’s awesome.

never exempt

There is always a “re-entry” period after a vacation. It’s the worst. Ray was evidently very angry that I left him, so he made me pay … for days.

We got home Sunday night, so Monday morning was a bear. Getting everyone up and off to school and then there was Ray, awww yes, little Ray. That kid was a hot mess. He spent the entire day just following me around the house crying. All. Day. The only time he was not crying, was when I was cradling him in my arms. Sometimes throughout the day, I would find myself giving up on trying to accomplish anything and I would just sit on the floor cross legged and hold Ray in my lap. I would see all the suitcases lying around the front room and think about the calls I needed to make and projects I needed to finish for people that were waiting on me for … and I would just be sitting in the middle of the floor, holding Ray. It made me a little crazy. A few times I just picked up his crying little self and gave him his favorite blanket and put him in his crib and closed the door to his room because I HAD to do something! Then there was the sickness.

Ray had been sick and I knew I would get it and I did. Monday morning. It hit like a sack of marbles in my face – particularly in my head. I had a major congestion headache all day and then that night, I got a migraine. I was sniffling, coughing, sneezing … what else does the Nyquil commercial say? … yeah, I had all of that and on top of that, I had a crying baby following me around. Then Liam and Noah came home from school and Liam broke down into tears when I asked him to do his chores and homework. Then after dinner, Noah cried because we were having Family Home Evening and he didn’t have a chance to play his Lego Game. There was lots of crying on Monday.

There is a misconception that I have had for years about having a cold. I thought that the only real upside to not being able to breathe or taste your food was not having to smell stinky diapers. This is a misconception. Not true. No matter how clogged your nasal passages are – they may be completely blocked, yet somehow, you will be able to smell the poopy diapers. It’s amazing really. And Ray had some doosies on Monday because he was getting over being sick, so we had some pretty serious diarrhea that smelled heinous, truly heinous. It was the kind of smell that was so bad and pungent that it smelled kind of spicy. Gross, wet, spicy poop and even though I couldn’t for the life of me smell or taste the lovely homemade chicken soup I made for myself and family – I was getting the full force of Ray’s diapers. Thank you, totally useless clogged nose. How does that happen??! I guess it’s a motherhood thing – to never be exempt from smelling poopy diapers.

Weekend in SF

Have you ever woken up at 6:33 am and thought, “I have to get kids up and ready for school!” and then suddenly realized it was Saturday? … and you were in a hotel room? … in Oakland? … and you’re about to spend a day of fun with your honey in San Francisco? I have. You immediately smile and snuggle back deeper into bed and sidle up to your honey and fall back asleep, until 10 am. For reals!!!

Daniel had to work out of town a lot this month. He was in Seattle for a week, then home for a week, then gone to Tracy, CA (northern CA) for a week. I knew I’d be toast by the end of the second week he was gone and we had a free flight that was expiring in May, two free nights at Marriott and that’s all we needed as an excuse. Christina and Aria split up my babies and watched them from Friday afternoon until Sunday night and that was that! Daniel met me after I flew into Oakland and we went to dinner in Oakland at B-Side BBQ, which was our favorite meal of the weekend! It was soooo good. I had a pulled pork sandwich with spicy coleslaw and Daniel had the brisket and cornbread. We shared the yams – which were out of this world! They were so creamy and smooth and sweet it was almost like some dessert soup. So awesome.

The next day was just ours.

It was a 90% chance of rain in the city and 57 degrees, so we knew what we were in for, and I planned for it, but Daniel forgot one of his many jackets, so we of COURSE had to make our first stop at … REI to buy him another rain jacket. Yes, an absolute must :) I tease Daniel a lot about the amount of jackets he owns … because it’s a little ridiculous. We also picked up an umbrella and headed out into the rain.

We really plan our trips around food. I don’t know how that happens. Just does. And I love it. At noon we ate breakfast because you can eat breakfast whenever the heck you want when you don’t have any commitments or children begging for it. So we did. We found this cool little place on yelp called Tomate Café in Berkeley. Their fresh squeezed OJ was like eating an orange out of a glass. Very pulpy, but I liked it. I had the French toast with berries and slivered almonds on top and a side of bacon. Daniel had a breakfast sandwich. Mine was the best! The bread for the French toast was amazing … it was like a challah that had cinnamon swirled through it. So yummy. My favorite review I’ve ever read on yelp was about this café. They said, “call your momma, cuz she’s about to be slapped! The French toast here is ridiculous!” I had to say that at regular intervals to Daniel throughout the day – “call your momma, cuz she’s about to be slapped!”

Then we finally made it into SF. But by the time we got there, the rain had subsided and it was marvelous! Everything smelled fresh and the air breezing in off the bay was so full of memories from my childhood – of my family spending time in the city. Daniel and I found a parking spot right of the Embarcadero, next to the bay and walked over to the Ferry building, which is right on the water. The sky was all moody and cloudy and blue and grey and Daniel’s hands were so warm to hold … awwww, it was a moment. We walked around the Framer’s Market there at the Ferry building – trying out olive oils with sourdough, looking at the flowers and fresh food, and we bought some local honey sticks to bring home to the kids. We even walked a bit farther inland and down to Boudin, to get a sourdough round for Aria and Walter to say thanks for watching the kiddos!

We were trying to figure out what we wanted to do next and Daniel mentioned Amoeba and that sounded awesome, so off we went. Because you can decide things in the moment, when you have no commitments or children getting tired or bored. Amoeba is the coolest, largest used music store anywhere. They sell used CDs, vinyl, tapes, DVDs and even VHS and they have everything you’re looking for. We got a Natalie Merchant CD for Christina, two Tonic CDs for me, a Sam Cooke CD, and a Matt Kearny album. We also bought Joe vs the Volcano for $4 and Wizard of Oz. Then we perused down Haight Street.

This is a Daniel thing. He used to do this a lot in High School. He had quite a few favorite stores and only a few of them were still there – Wasteland was one of them. It’s a clothing store, with retro, unique clothes. I loved it and found several things I would buy, if it weren’t so expensive, but Daniel said he couldn’t find anything he would actually wear in public. We’re different that way. I found this big snuggly sweater that was all chunky and nubby and big that I could see myself living in with a pair of leggings and maybe boots. I also found a full length black skirt made completely of black sequins. I loved it. Daniel asked where I would wear it and I said “church”.

Now it was about 4 pm and lunch sounded good about now. Daniel’s mom had sent us an article about this pizza place – Tony’s Pizza Napoletana …. it was incredible. The wait was like an hour to go in and sit down, so we went next door to their “slice house” where you can buy it by the slice and take it to eat somewhere else, so we did. We got the Margherita pizza, meat lovers pizza, vegetarian pizza and hot peppers pizza (can’t remember the catchy name of that one). They were all awesome. The crust was perfect, crispy on the bottom but not burnt, fluffy and bubbly … and flavorful! The hot pepper one had little dollops of fresh ricotta plopped on top and cooked – it was just too much for words. So good. The funny thing was, that we didn’t have a place to take the pizza and eat it, so we just took it to the car and chowed down. But we had such an awesome little parking spot, that people kept driving up next to us and asking, “are you guys leaving?” We just shook our heads and kept eating pizza and fogged up the windows pretty good. Once the windows were all fogged up, I took the opportunity to get in some kisses with Daniel. Of course, right as I was doing that, some guy drives up next to us and asks … I just looked at him and shook my head as if to say, “uh uh dude, no way”. He laughed and drove off.

Then we went walking. We walked up to Coit Tower, only to realize it was closed for refurbishment – yeah, lame. But the view even from the base of Coit Tower was spectacular. The city looked so beautiful and it still wasn’t raining! This whole time it had been rain free. Daniel noticed that there were steps in the sidewalk up to Coit Tower and mentioned to me that he didn’t think there was any other city where he’d seen that before. The hills in SF are pretty taxing. But it was just nice to walk around the city with Daniel. We’d stop in at stores when we wanted to and talk and hold hands. It was just a beautiful thing.

We had planned on meeting Daniel’s best friend from growing up, Nick, and his wife for dinner. We had eaten pizza at about 4:30 or 5 and met Nick and Jessica at 7 … so dinner had to be light :) We were stuffed. We spent the night laughing and talking and catching up and then driving into Pleasant Hill and hanging out at their house for a bit and visiting and watching the funniest thing on Netflix (Jim Gaffigin – sp?? – Mr. Universe), then to bed.

On Sunday we saw my family for just the briefest moment at Drew’s baby blessing. I wanted to pick up little, fat Drew, but he was sleeping and Bethany wanted him to stay that way until the blessing was over, so I got down on my hands and knees in the pew and crawled over to Drew’s carseat he was sleeping in and snapped a few pics. Then I snapped a few shots of the wonderful family I was sharing a pew with. So cute. I love my family. After the blessing, I stole a few minutes in the foyer talking to Dad about religion but that was it. It was too short. Everything we did on Sunday felt like too little time.

After the blessing we went to see Daniel’s mom play organ for a church in Berkeley. Liz is always phenomenal, flawless really. And we got to see what she does every Sunday. She introduced us to a few friends then we jumped back in the car and off we went to Pleasant Hill 1st ward. We could only stay for 2 of the 3 hours of church, but it was great. The meetings were wonderful and insightful. We still were able to be spiritually fed in a short time. And then it was over.

This was the first trip away with Daniel where I wanted to get back to my kids at the end of it. I missed my little men.

The last, fun thing to do with Daniel was to travel with him in snazzy clothes. We were still in our church clothes, so I was in a black dress and heels and he was wearing his Zegna suit. It was cool to travel like that. I’m usually sporting athletic shoes and yoga pants while traveling with the boys and it felt nice to dress up to fly. I felt like a business woman on important business. For all they knew on the flight, I was meeting with big wigs when I flew into southern CA … but instead, I was driving to Christina’s house, throwing off my heels and getting on the floor to squeeze babies. But they didn’t know that.

It was a perfect trip.

I flew in style on the way to Oakland too. Just because I could. Yep. I wore heels and everything. Daniel was surprised when he saw me at the airport … that was kind of the point.

Good morning, from Tomate Café in Berkeley. My French toast, bacon and fresh OJ.

The view while driving into SF … glad it stopped the moment we got into the city :)

Hanging out at the Farmer’s Market in an Adirondack chair I should own.

There are too many hilarious things about this picture. It’s a gem. This was D in Amoeba. You’re welcome.

Lunchtime at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana.

Me taking a breather while walking up the sidewalk stairs to Coit Tower.

Daniel, disappointed at the top.

Andrew Reed Price, aka Reedzilla, because he rang in at 11lbs at birth. heck yes. That’s how we Damiano girls roll!

Jack, Bethany, Taylor and Livie sitting next to me on the pew.

Dad and mom, totally not ready for this picture.

Flying home in style with my Cake face.

Daniel NOT cooperating for a cute picture of the two of us. Ruined! … good thing I love him anyway. You should’ve heard him giggling after this picture was taken and I saw the result. I had no idea what he was doing while taking the picture and he waited for me to see it … he can be such a bum sometimes.