Lyrical Laughs

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Six degrees of my sister and Martha Stewart

You’ve heard a little bit about my sister before, and the fact that we are nine years apart. For the most part we lived very separate lives as kids. Except for singing together (and washing dishes while singing, which made our parents insane when they were watching television in the next room), there wasn’t much we had in common until we were both adults with families of our own. Once that happened the age factor disappeared.

I may have also pointed out that I have not one stitch of craftiness in me. That’s because my sibling sucked it all up before I was born.

My sister can paint, design, make beautiful jewelry, and have perfectly coiffed hair and matching ensembles at all times. She is a fantastic cook and has been the consummate holiday host over the years for countless family gatherings. She even made my wedding dress.

It’s just not fair.

I don’t do any of those things other than whipping up a pretty good meal. That ability was, thankfully, passed down from our mom to both of us, though I have had my share of kitchen mishaps.

I did sew a pair of pants once when I was in school during what was called Home Economics back in the Stone Age of my youth. The inside seam somehow got sewn to the outer side. And paint? Forget it, unless you’re talking about painting a wall – and even then The Spouse (i.e. The Obnoxious Perfectionist) is apt to paint over an area that I just finished.

My hair is almost like a science experiment, or a toss-up between windblown and “What the heck is that?”

Yes, we have come to find more in common as adults, but there is still one major way we have never been alike.

My sister has to be six degrees or less from Martha Stewart.

Maybe you’ve heard of the Six Degrees of Separation, the theory that we are all no more than six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world. Of course, there is also the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, the theory that you can name any actor and they will be six degrees or less to the Footloose alumnus. I tried it. Kevin Bacon knows everyone.

I am convinced on the day of her birth my sister was showered with a Martha Stewart-esque aura. I would entertain the idea that they are somehow related, but that would mean I should also have a tiny flicker of craft-worthiness, and….well, NO.

Bearing in mind this knack my sister has for all things coordinated, I asked for her assistance in preparing for First Born’s upcoming wedding shower. During my recent visit to Connecticut where much of our family still lives, I took advantage of her warehouse membership to consider some food options for the day. We went together to the hall where the event will be held, measured tables and discussed the setup. I left for my trip home with complete relief, knowing things would fall nicely into place.

The next day I realized I couldn’t find any of the three lists I had been scribbling bits of information on while my sister rattled off recipe ideas and decorating suggestions. I’m not entirely sure I could read my own handwriting even if I do find them anyway.

Now I have to either dig through the recycling (did I leave them on the kitchen table, aka Area 51, which gets recycled in bulk?) or call her up and ask her – what did we decide for the size of tablecloths? Where are we putting the dessert? Should I bring my coffee pot?

You’ll notice there is a lot of “we” involved here. It has become a joint project because I really doubt I could have pulled this together without her input and vision. She just has to be within six degrees of Martha Stewart. And I, my friends, am closer to six degrees of Jimmy Stewart.

My amazing sister and I must balance each other in what we excel at and what we may need a little assistance with. I’m not sure what area I could possibly assist her in, but one of these days I’m hoping she asks me for help and I can come through with glorious results.

In the meantime, I will be in the recycling bin.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Only morning people spring ahead

This weekend is the start of Daylight Savings Time, or DST. It’s that time of year when we have to take the bad (in this case losing a precious hour of sleep) along with the good (gaining another hour of daylight). Some people don’t adjust well to this event. I am married to one of those people.

The Spouse is a good natured guy for the most part. When it comes to sleep, however, he is definitely not what you would call a morning person. During the week my idea of a late night is staying up until 10 p.m., mainly because his radio alarm clock begins wailing at 4:50 a.m. and, thanks to his hand slap on the snooze button, will remind him nine minutes later that it’s shower time. Even though those alarm make it feel like we’re waking up in the middle of the night, somehow my mate manages to stay awake each evening until at least 11, which I cannot fathom. I need a minimum of seven hours sleep in order to not be dangerous around sharp objects. Still, even on my groggiest days I am much more awake than he is in the morning.

On weekends Spouse will often make up for his Monday through Friday resistance to rest. So while I am normally up by 6:30 or 7 a.m. on Saturdays, he will snooze until 9 or 10. When Sunday rolls around he gets to hide under the covers until 8 or so when I jostle him to start getting ready for church. That’s when it’s going to hit him that he’s lost an hour of sleep this weekend. His body and his alarm clock, which he'll probably neglect to change the night before, will say that it’s only 7 a.m. and his wife will be pummeling him with a pillow to get his butt in the shower.

You can pretty much rely on at least one or two folks to come straying in about three quarters of the way through the church service because they didn’t get the “spring ahead” memo. If you don’t watch television, listen to the radio, surf the internet, read a newspaper, or leave your house, I can see how it would very easy to miss the announcement. How bizarre it must be, to believe you’re arriving at your destination on time or even early, only to discover you’re actually almost an hour late. I'm sure I've done this at least once in my lifetime, but I've managed to block it out of my memory so I can happily ride the river of denial.

I came across a bit of history regarding DST, which was first used in Europe, and has had its ups and downs (or aheads and backs) in the United States since its implementation in the early 1900s. From 1945 to 1966 states and localities were free to choose when and if they would observe DST, which sent bus and train schedules, along with the broadcasting industry, into a tremendous tizzy. If we were around back then, I imagine Spouse would have demanded that we move to a place where they NEVER made him lose an hour of sleep again.

As for that good natured guy I have lived with for the last 30 years, losing an hour’s sleep is possibly one of the top three things he dislikes most about March, the others being mud season in Maine and his birthday, which hasn’t been as much fun since I made him stop giving me his Home Depot wish list. However, he is a huge fan of longer days, so I guess it balances out once he gets over the initial shock...

and slips a nap in Sunday afternoon.