Monday, June 21, 2010

Mamma Mia!

First of all, yesterday was Father's Day. It was a nice day with four of our six children able to be here for the occasion. My parents also came and we had a nice dinner. The dads were loved on and fed well and it was a good day.

My husband and I have six children. Our youngest son, who has been away for the summer, was home for the week. We also have another college-age son who lives at home. We have four daughters. Two of them live in town and the other two live out of state. Three of our four girls are married and we are expecting our first grandchild in November! That is pretty much our family in a nutshell.

Now lets crack open that nut and let me explain a couple of things before I get to the point of this post.

One thing you have to know about my husband is that he is a rather task oriented kind of guy. He is hard working for sure. Relationships are something you do after the work is done. I am totally opposite. If the relationships are going well, then I get some work done. If someone needs tending, then by all means drop everything and worry about work later. Needless to say, my husband and I are quite opposite, but that is probably good for a balanced life.

Now for the point. I hope you're ready for this. I am about to explain to you what I call,


Basically, it goes like this: Moms are like toilet paper and dads are the toilet paper roll. Here is the evidence to support this theory.

1) When is the last time you really gave any thought about toilet paper? We all use it every day and it is always around. Common stuff, that toilet paper. However, if you are honest in your answer you'd probably say that the only time you think about toilet paper is when you need it and it's not there! Moms are around a lot and yet we don't really notice her unless she's not around and we need her for something. Then it becomes an emergency!

2) We all know what we do with toilet paper and its various practical uses. Same for moms. She takes all your crap and loves you anyway. She can even multitask just like the toilet paper.

Good toilet paper has several layers and is soft against our skin. Moms are usually a soft place to land when the business of life gets to us. She can be counted on to lend an ear or a helping hand, whichever is needed.

A roll of toilet paper is comprised mostly of the paper. Only occasionally do we see the roll in comparison with the actual paper. A toilet paper roll can be used for making a pretend telescope or used in a craft project to build a rocket or some fun toy. Granted, without the toilet paper roll the paper would be in a heap on the floor. That roll is a vital component for sure. So are dads. Moms are usually around a lot more than dads. She is usually the more commonplace part of the day. Dads often show up for the fun stuff like watching your ball game or playing a quick game of Mother May I on the front porch before dinner. His presence is usually more occasional than mom with all of his responsibilities outside the home. It's a good thing dads do what they do or the quality of our lives would be a mess.

Having said all this, I have noticed so many times how I can put hours and hours and hours (and more hours) of time and energy into listening to a child with a problem or having a late-night chat about big decisions for the future. In comparison, my husband can literally walk through the room (not even stopping to sit down or make eye contact for that matter) and say ONE SENTENCE and my girls just gush about how amazing and wonderful he is. (What am I, toilet paper? I just sat here for 2 hours and gave you my undivided attention. He's been back there watching TV!).

Just yesterday my youngest son received a birthday card from me and my husband. We each wrote a personal note. I put a good deal of thought and time into saying just the perfect thing. My husband maybe spent less than 2 minutes and wrote his part. My son must have liked it because when he opened the card he said, "Oh Dad, how sweet! Aww. I love you!" and on and on. To my husband's credit, he said, "What about your mom?" My son said, "Oh, she says that stuff all the time." (toilet paper!)

One final example is that last year I planned a trip out of town to visit my newly married youngest daughter. It just so happens that my second daughter's birthday was going to occur during my absence. Second daughter was just flabbergasted that I'd leave town when it was her birthday (she was turning 26!). I offered to have the celebration before leaving town or after my return. Not. the. same. I was told. It was sweet that she wanted me there for her special day and believe me I'll never do that again. Somehow, though, I think her dad would have gotten a pass if he had something going on (if the toilet paper is not there when we need it then it becomes a national emergency!).

So what is the Italian connection here? Oh, believe me! I've got one for you.

One in three Italian men sees his mother every day. Seven out of ten unmarried men over 35 live with their parents. The average Italian son spends around 15 minutes a day with his father as opposed to more time with mom because of all the fussing she does over her children, boys in particular since they often live with their parents well into adulthood. In Italy you don't EVER criticize someone's mother, no matter how intrusive and annoying she is (Marie Barone just passed through my mind). In Italy, mothers are somewhat of a holy figure.

All said and done, I guess I don't really mind living my toilet paper mother lifestyle. I like it when my children love on my husband and appreciate him. Being a mom to my children has been awesome and I like it that they are independent (that means I'm probably not Italian). I don't really need them to fuss over me all the time. I know they love me.

So hang in there moms. Squeeze your inner Charmin!

And by the way.....you're not gonna believe this (and I'm not lying)...

I'm out of toilet paper!

Com'è il tempo?

The question of the day (and week) is...

"How's the weather?"

The high today is expected to reach 103 degrees here in Nashville (with a "real feel" temp of 112), and I'm debating on whether to even check the mail today. That would involve going outside for at least 1 full minute and I'd probably have to take another shower. With the forecast over the next week it could be Thursday before I make it down to the mailbox. It is supposed to cool off to a "nice" 99 degrees that day with a possible thunderstorm. If I time it right I can head out when the clouds begin to gather and make it back inside before I have a stroke.

I was not so fortunate to avoid the heat this past weekend, but I had it a lot easier than the men in my family. My son came into town for a few days to work on a fence-building project. The heat was brutal and all the young men and a certain older man (my husband) exerted themselves for a total of about 10 hours in the blazing sun. I, on the other hand, sat under a nice little tent-like shelter and did practically nothing but do some paperwork, babysit cell phones, and offer moral support. I did manage to do a little cooking on the grill to feed this hungry work crew. The heat just sucks the life out of you around these parts and I am now pretty much on life support. Will someone please pull the plug.

All of this has me wondering what the weather is like in Florence right now, and this is what I found out.

The high in Florence today is expected to be 71 degrees. That is about what our expected LOW temp is supposed to be tonight.

This is just one more reason I have to go to Italy.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Leisurely Stroll

A distinctive feature of Florence's skyline is the dome of Basilica di Santi Maria del Fiore, also known as the Duomo (cathedral church) of Florence. The walk from the Duomo at one end of the historic district to the other end (marked by the Palazzo Pitti) takes only about 30 minutes if you are taking a leisurely stroll. The Duomo of Florence is the fourth largest cathedral in the world (after St. Peter's in Rome, St. Paul's in London, and the Duomo in Milan). Construction on the church began at the end of the 13th century and for many centuries has been the symbol of Florence and Renaissance architecture. Woohoo!

You probably think this post is a history lesson. Not really. The most important thing to note about the previous paragraph is the word walk. Apparently, the best way to get around Florence, and many other cities in Italy for that matter, is on foot.....or should I say feet....both of them...two per person.

For a girl who has lived with plantar fasciitis for entirely too long, this is a concern, to say the least. After a year of limping around, I finally saw a podiatrist in December who gave me some inserts to use. They help, but the problem has never completely gone away. This means I have some work to do to heal these dang feet so I can stroll leisurely and gracefully down the streets of Italy. I stopped exercising soon after the plantar problem first appeared and one might say that I am now “carrying around a few more groceries” than usual as a result. There is work to do! This week I have arisen from my sedentary lifestyle! Those feet are screaming at me to lighten the load, and I fully intend to make that happen. Maybe then they will be more than willing to carry me anywhere I want to go in Italy. I finally walked into the YMCA yesterday and took a 45 minutes class that involves some Latin dance moves. Those of you who know me can imagine how ridiculous I look. I ain't got no groove, but I am undaunted (head held high). At least I am rendering service to others by helping them feel better about themselves as they move their more svelt stuff. I always like to help others feel good about themselves. I do what I can.

Duomo, here I come! I just might be that chick who skips right past you on my way to the Palazzo Pitti.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I have $50 more to put into the Italy account!

New total: $94.78