The Joy of Ironing

Today, I have Tatiana of Wonderland by Tatu as my guest. I have been following her blog for a while and enjoy it very much.

Tatiana graduated from the University of Brighton, UK with a bachelors in Management & Travel and worked as the Sales Manager at her father’s travel agency for 8 years. She left the agency a couple months before her first child was born. Tatiana and her husband N. have two children. The family lives in the suburbs of Athens.

She began blogging last August 2012. Her original intent was to share her crafts and recipes. However, her life took a bit of a turn, and she now writes about more personal everyday topics and finds it therapeutic and cleansing.

In my previous (before kids) life, N. & I worked long hours and didn’t spend much time at home (apart from the weekends). Furthermore, the mess we created in a week was infinitely small in regards to THE MESS my kids create on a daily basis.

I am more than thankful for the cleaning fairy who comes once a week and tries to put my house back together. What she manages to do in 7 hours has earned my complete trust and utter respect. She has magic powers to make my house look impeccable. (By the way, please note if you are a friend feel free to visit us anytime. However, if you are a stranger and would like to be my friend, please schedule your visit us for Tuesdays after 3pm.)

Unfortunately her magic powers (and time) are used up before she has a chance to iron and therefore the much hated housework duty is left to me. I don’t consider myself to be an ironing geek or particularly talented in this field (my Greek grandmother would probably turn in her grave if she could see what I call ‘ironed’). So, I have decided that my time is too precious to waste on ironing everything, except for two things: N’s shirts & the family’s bedsheets (if you are an ironing freak please ignore the last sentence). You get the picture, right?

Woman IroningCourtesy of

Woman Ironing
Courtesy of

Being a stay at home mom and attending to my kids 24/7 has made me reconsider many things. In fact, sometimes I feel like a totally different person. I have matured and evolved as a person and my priorities have dramatically changed. Prior to being a mother, I was ignorant enough to think I had it all figured out because I had three adorable nieces whom I saw and spent time with for a couple of hours a couple times a week. HA! Please feel free to laugh. I couldn’t understand why Alex (my sister) was so absolute in denying me visitation rights when I came down with a cold. ‘So what?’ I thought to myself. Another thing I never understood was that there were times she wanted to flee the house and go do anything other than take care of her kids. ‘How could she?’ ‘They are so adorable’ I thought.

Well, I have stopped being such a-know-it-all considering motherhood bliss. Now, when reality punches me in the face, I often think back. You seem to know everything better up until the moment you go through a similar situation yourself.

I might not work anymore but I feel I am doing a pretty hard job at raising these kids 24/7. When I have to spend Mondays to Fridays practically alone (N. has been working a lot) I overdose on my kids. I am sorry but it is true. I need my time off. Everyone does. Therefore I wait for the weekend in full anticipation like any other working human being. I need to unwind and think of something else other than the kids. I never thought a time would come when I would say these words: ‘Sorry honey, I would rather iron.’

A Family Hike

Last week my family and I went on a hike. Our different personalities come through on our hikes. So, I give you my family on a hike.


SJ (our 6 year old) is not quite your prototypical hiker. He is chunky, tires quickly, and is very content to watch television and play with his trains. He is, however, a good trooper and enjoys playing outside, so he is ultimately game for a hike.

Every time we take a hike I worry that at some point I will be carrying SJ. That was not a big deal when he was three and thirty five pounds but when last weighed, he registered 80 – the typical weight for a 10 year old.

My worries went unfounded. SJ showed great determination and finished the 2.5 mile hike all on his own. He asked to be carried a couple of times but instead gutted it out. In fact he kept repeating, “I am strong I am brave.”  I was proud of my little big guy.


BR (who turns 9 on Tuesday) has never requested we go on a hike, and I am not sure he ever will. Yet, he seems to enjoy the hikes each time. I can imagine him being very into hiking when he is an adult.

At this point the future hiker enjoys finding walking sticks and insists on being first. What a typical first born!

BR moved briskly through the hike. While we took breaks, he never seemed to need one. His one goal seems to finish as fast as possible. Throughout the hike, BR told me repeatedly, “I’m doing things the hard way.” Then he would climb under a fallen tree, or over a massive branch, or through a space that were not meant to be gotten through.

BR leading SJ & me along the trail. Photography credit: Wife


I feel no need to look at the map. I am content to simply follow the trail. I always start our hikes very energetic and think that we are making great time. Then, I am convinced the hike must be longer than what we were told because there is no way it could be taking this long. In fact, on the hike last week, I had SJ looking out for our car 20 minutes too early.

I have the job of facilitator.  I need to make sure BR does not get too far ahead. I need to make sure SJ and my wife are close behind. In addition, I need to be there to provide a hand should one be required.


My wife searches out where to go hiking and is ultimately the map holder. Each hike always has at least one time where my wife whips out the map. I am sure based on the look of panic in her fact that during this moment of uncertainty my wife gives us no better than 50-50 odds of ever finding our way back to the car. I refuse to look despite her insistence and instead ask her afterwards what she learned from the map.

She is also the one who determines when we will take a break (unless SJ demands a drink). This only makes sense as she packs the snacks.

Another one of her jobs – self-appointed – is the photographer. She loves to take pictures and insists on cataloging every meaningful moment, attractive scene that comes along. The rest of us moan about it but then want to see the pictures.

There you have my Swiss Family Robinson. Nature lovers we are. Maybe we should get rid of the car and hike everywhere. Naaah.


The Afternoon Show

As a child, I loved the Three Stooges. I laughed at their slapstick humor. Because I was such a big fan, I read a book about them. While reading the book, I learned that they first began on Vaudeville. For those who don’t know what Vaudeville is as I did not know when I first read it, here is the definition according to

a theatrical genre of variety entertainment popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill. Types of acts included popular and classical musicians, dancers, comedians, trained animals, magicians, female and male impersonators, acrobats, illustrated songs, jugglers, one-act plays or scenes from plays, athletes, lecturing celebrities, minstrels, and movies.

    The Three Stooges Courtesy of

The Three Stooges Courtesy of

I recently wrote about my commute to work ( which includes a ride on a New York City Subway Train.  At the early hour of 6:45, the ride to work is generally sleepy save for a few odd characters.  The ride home on the other hand is much more lively and crowded.

I typically board the A train in the East New York section of Brooklyn at around 2:45. I find a seat and start off with something to read. Typically my reading time is cut short as my eyes get heavy, and out I go. I am traveling through neighborhoods where it would be wise to keep my eyes open and be alert.  Thankfully, nothing has ever happened to me during my naps. By the way, some of the naps have been so sound that I when I wake up, I forget if I am going or coming to work.

When I am awake, I am often treated to a show whose only ticket required is a seat on the train. Now, the performances are very uneven, but I suppose, as they say, you get what you pay for.

I have heard many different musical performances from rap to gospel to R&B to reggae. Some of those performances inspire the line from Billy Joe’s Piano Man – “Man, what are you doin’ here?” and others leave me looking for the gong (remember the Gong Show) to end the performance.

The Gong ShowCourtesy of

The Gong Show
Courtesy of

Is comedy your thing? There is one homeless comedian who I have heard on and off during my commute for many years. He has some funny lines, but many of them have not changed since the first time I heard him. He always ends by asking passengers to clean up as one would expect him to clean up if he visited their house.

Then, you have the fights. Some are verbal and some are physical. While some are into boxing, it is not my style. I worry the fight will turn deadly violent. The vocabulary used during the verbal fights would make a jailor blush.

Then, there is dancing. There are some dancers who could dominate Dancing With the Stars while others look like they are stumbling off a bar post rather than dancing. Every performance ends with a handout and a request for generosity.

Dancing With the Stars Courtesy of

Dancing With the Stars Courtesy of

Of course like any show, there needs to be snacks. Don’t fear there are candy men  regularly walking through the train selling Famous Amos Cookies, Fruit Snacks, and Nature Valley Granola Bars (you know how I feel about those). These guys always have some sort of rap that includes them saying they are selling the candy to make an honest dollar.

Now, there are more types that appear on the train – beggars, fortune tellers, preachers, jugglers, and more.

In truth there are plenty of days when the ride home is pretty quiet save the music from the mp3players, loud and excited school kids, and business men in suits. However, you never know when a show will break out. Vaudeville lives.

SpongeBob Lessons

Things to do.  Limited energy.  You know what I mean. Anyway, the result – my children watch way too much television. The television is convenient.  The children are quiet.  I know, I know they are not chiseling out my bust for the parent hall of fame.

Two weeks ago I mentioned to you about my son’s obsession with Mickey Mouse (Mickey-mouse-questions-and-thoughts) and how it has filtered down to me. I still have some unanswered questions on that front, but I am moving on.  Today, I come to you to praise one of the regulars of my children’s television watching. SpongeBob.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

That’s right I like SpongeBob. Not only do I like him, I think he is a good role model. Let me run down a list of his positive traits.

WORK ETHIC: – Who wouldn’t want their child to have a work ethic similar to Sponge Bob’s? He is punctual. Once SpongeBob arrived late at work. He felt so bad that he started sleeping at The Krusty Krab.  On top of that, he is ambitious. When Mr. Krabs was going to open up a new store, SpongeBob was eager for the promotion. When Squidward got the job, SpongeBob was crushed.

FRIENDLY: SpongeBob is even nice to Squidward despite the fact that this friendship is rarely returned. There was an episode where Squidward was being bullied. SpongeBob insisted Sandy Cheeks teach Squidward karate. Of course, SpongeBob is always there for Patrick. In one episode, Patrick’s parents come for a visit.  Patrick is worried because his parents think he is dumb. So, SpongeBob pretends to be a moron to make Patrick look good.

LOYAL: SpongeBob will do just about anything for Mr. Krabs. In one episode, Pearl, Mr. Krab’s teenage daughter, insists on having a sleepover. Mr. Krabs vacates the house, but he is worried about leaving her alone. So, Mr. Krabs asks SpongeBob to check on the sleepover. SpongeBob does so and in many different guises – including as the pizza delivery guy.

PERSISTENCE: SpongeBob wants to learn how to drive a boat. Unfortunately, he has repeatedly failed his driver’s exam. Instead of giving up, he continues to take driver’s education classes.

RESPECT FOR TEACHERS: (You knew I had to throw this one in there.) Ms. Puff is SpongeBob’s driver’s education teacher. One day Ms. Puff was absent from class and SpongeBob was so disappointed. In addition, whenever Ms. Puff needs something, SpongeBob is happy to oblige.

HUMILITY: SpongeBob was working as a stand-up comedian and bombing. So, he started making fun of squirrels and the crowd loved it. Well, Sandy Cheeks, SpongeBob’s squirrel friend did not like it as others in Bikini Bottom started looking at her differently. So, SpongeBob fights his desire for popularity and instead starts making fun of himself (and everyone else).

Yes, I know SpongeBob can be an idiot and has an annoying laugh.  However, honestly now, tell me aren’t these qualities you respect in others and want for your children? I know I would like to see my children exhibit these qualities. So, though I feel guilty for being busy and turning the television into a babysitter, I feel a little less bad when my children are watching SpongeBob – a real role model.

P.S. You should know that 99% of this was written based on my viewing of the show and 1% was researched to refresh my memory. I tell you this so you should judge me. Go ahead! I can take it.