I was working along, yesterday, quite happily. Mondays are always excellent work days—I’ve had just enough family togetherness to make those hours after everyone’s left the house feel serene and calm and full of possibility. I’m incredibly productive on Mondays. (It falls off during the week. By Friday? I’m useless.)

It has become my habit to do several hours of work in the morning before showering. If I’m going to be completely honest, I guess the truth is that I often work until lunchtime, then take a break to eat and shower and, you know, get dressed. Until then, I’m just here on my own, so what difference does it make?

Well, it makes a difference when I forget that the Bug Guy is coming.

My first instinct upon hearing him ring the bell was to pretend I wasn’t home. But the days are getting warmer (yes, already—gotta love winter in Georgia) and my fear of bugs is great. So I attempted to smooth down my hair and opened the door, pulling my bathrobe tightly around me.

“Hi, I forgot you were coming! Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, I work from home, and I’ve just been working all morning, um, let’s just pretend I’m actually dressed and not in my pajamas. Okay? Okay!”

Fortunately the Bug Guy has a sense of humor. “No worries,” he said, “I’ve seen much worse. You’d be surprised. Some ladies come to the door in their slinky little nighties! I dunno what they think I’m there for, I’m just spraying for bugs, you know.”

While that DID make me feel a tad better about my pajamas and ratty robe, it was a little more information than I needed.

* * * * *

Monkey came home from school yesterday and reported that his teacher was very pleased with his haircut. This surprised me, because it aided the hair-in-the-eyes situation not one bit, and she’s always telling me to get the hair out of his eyes. But whatever. I think the haircut happened to coincide with the front getting long enough to stay behind his ears, is all. And some of you asked for a picture, and then I sort of wished I’d taken a “before” picture for comparison purposes, you know.

This is the best I can do: Go take a look at Kira’s Max, who is Monkey’s long-lost twin. Monkey’s hair looked like that. Now Monkey’s hair looks like this. I looked at that picture and thought it seemed really familiar, and then I figured out why. (Don’t tell anyone, but I think they’re related.)

* * * * *

Chickadee came home from school yesterday complaining that I had not packed her enough edamame in her lunch, because she “had to” share it with her two best buddies because they both love it as well. “I hardly got any!” she complained, somewhat put-upon but clearly pleased that she’d been such a star at the lunch table. My instinct was to tell her to save more of it for herself, and that I’m not packing lunch for her whole class, here… but in a moment of clarity I instead opted to rush over to her, feel her head and belly with exaggerated concern, and ask if she was okay, or if maybe she was starving to death. As she giggled over my ministrations I promised to pack more, next time.

* * * * *

One of the things I like about the kids’ piano teacher is that he stresses that parents cannot force their kids to practice. “It’s their job to WANT to practice,” he tells me, which comes in very handy when they haven’t practiced all week and I hear him asking, “Did you practice this at all?” and I get to holler from the next room, “Apparently they didn’t want to practice this week, and I’m being a GOOD MOTHER by not forcing them!” He’s right, of course; I can’t force them, and why would I want to when instead I can embarrass them like that, instead?

We’ve more or less settled into a workable routine, where I often “encourage” them to practice, and then it’s up to them how much time they really put into it. I like it because I feel like I’m doing my part, but it really is up to them.

Monkey is very diligent, spending a reasonable amount of time on his practicing and advancing slowly but surely. The interesting thing with him, though, is that he talks NON-STOP during his lessons, so if you didn’t know how to get him back on task (fortunately, the teacher does) you would think he couldn’t play a thing.

Chickadee has lately learned the joy of cutting corners. I suggest she go practice for a while and she says “Okay, Mama!” and runs off. Two minutes later she’ll reappear. When questioned, she’ll insist she practiced everything. Any further probing leads to an argument (“I DID GO THROUGH EVERYTHING! SHEESH!”) so I’ve been letting it go. The kicker is that the teacher has commented several times that she has remarkable aptitude, but the small problem of being somewhat L-A-Z-Y is holding her back.

“C’mon, now, this sounds like you’ve barely practiced it,” the teacher commented the other day.

“Now would be a good time to explain to my child why practicing for 2 minutes a day isn’t sufficient,” I called out. “Because she’s not hearing it from me.”

He obliged with a quick pep-talk, then flipped to another piece in her book. “Okay, how about this one?” he asked. “Did you practice this one for just two minutes, too?”

“No,” she replied, dead earnest. “I only spent thirty seconds on that one.”

* * * * *

Last night Otto and I climbed into bed and lay chatting in the darkness as we always do. I moved a little closer to him. And then a little closer. And then I put my feet on him.

“OOOOOOHHHHH!” I said, snuggling in as soon as they’d touched his skin, “You’re nice and WARM! My feet are FREEZING!”

Otto was unable to reply, as his face was frozen in a horrible rictus of agony.

“You are the GREATEST HUSBAND EVER!” I continued, flexing my frozen toes and repositioning so as to make maximum contact between their surface and Otto’s calves. “I love you SO MUCH!”

He may have whimpered, at that point.

I gave him a kiss on the cheek, still pretending not to notice his anguish. “So, anyway, I was thinking that tomorrow—”

“I’m sorry,” he managed to gasp, as he fairly flung himself to the far edge of the bed. “I just… I can’t… WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOUR FEET?? Good GOD, they’re like ICICLES!” I tried to sidle back up to his side, but he actually put his legs on TOP of the blankets to keep them free of my icy touch.

I laughed and laughed while he narrowed his eyes at me and said things like “It’s really not that funny.” But it totally WAS that funny.

Eventually I took pity on him and told him what the Bug Guy told me, as a distraction. Because I may be the kind of wife who puts her cold feet on you, but at least I’m not the kind who answers the door naked.


  1. Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck

    Hmmm…as I sit here, working from home in my pajamas and my husband’s bathrobe (its bigger and therefore…warmer?), it occurs to me that at some point this week we have a guy coming to start working on an egress window in our basement. I wonder if its worse to be in a bathrobe and be able to actually answer the door, or be upstairs half-dressed and unable to answer the door when he arrives? Maybe I better just get dressed quick…

  2. Jeni T

    LOL. That freezing feet thing is a constant scenario in our bedroom. My hubby has been out of town & I have been freezing every night because he’s not there to keep them warm! :(

  3. Megan

    Fact. I pick up my poor Children wearing a sweatshirt purchased in 1998 from Banana Republic. Further fact, it says “Varcity” on the front. Only one of my academic colleagues has (upon seeing this – yes, I’ve worn it to work once or twice too) asked me where Var City is.

    Further fact. I was a “talented” violin player who hated to practice and was forced to because my mother had no musical talent at all and always wanted to play an instrument. Boy has that damn violin come in handy! Every time the ability to play Vivaldi’s endless concertos comes up in an interview I bless my mother and her vicarious living.

  4. Sara

    Love that Chickadee.

  5. prophet

    I’m with you, Mir, it “totally WAS that funny!” I have a husband who actually doesn’t mind my cold feet, which [I confess] makes me a bit suspicious of him. . . . I would [however] be the of the hiding persuasion when it comes to unexpected ringers-of-the-doorbell. Why is it that appearing in an all-covering robe feels so much more revealing than, for example, wearing shorts or a summer dress?

    I don’t get it. I imagine it’s because of the implications of being in bed clothing, that screams BED so loud, which I [for one] and you [for another] and everybody else [except for those answer the doorbell naked] don’t tend to want to articulate to strangers.

  6. All Adither

    I think Otto would’ve let you put your cold feet all over him if you were wearing one of those see-through nighties.

  7. Bikini

    My husband used to manage the guys who installed residential security systems. I will never forget when he told me that one of his guys went to install for a woman who opened the door in her nightie, and promptly seduced him.

    And then I realized I worked with this woman, and that she was married.

    That made for some awkward times at the proverbial water cooler.

  8. Karen

    Am I the only one who just wears socks to bed? No problem with cold feet at all. I all for the snuggling, but I’d die if my man tried to rub his feet on me….lol.

  9. Jennifer Morgan

    You know, after the year of hell that we spent in Alabama, the only person I miss was our Bug Guy — and not because I answered the door in a slinky nightie! He was just so friendly, in a charming, Southern, good-old-boy kind of way, and he would spend a minimum of 45 minutes on the porch chatting with me every time he came. I often wondered how he made any money, if he could only squeeze in 3 or 4 visits a day. Now it occurs to me that maybe they build in that extra time for a reason!

  10. Aimee

    Heh… my husband hates my cold feet, too.

  11. Headless Mom

    Headless Dad is the one with the cold feet around here. I know just how Otto feels!

  12. andi

    Quick and easy fix for cold toes (or relief for cramps)… sew up a bag, fill it with feed corn, zap it in the microwave for a few minutes – instant, portable warmth! You can even sew a slipcover for easy cleaning. (btw – these make great gifts!!)

  13. Jamie AZ

    I’ve usually got the cold feet here, too. I start by wearing socks to bed, but then once I’m nice and warm under the down comforter, I have to take them off otherwise I’ll get too hot. Dh didn’t like my cold feet on his calves the other night, either. What’s wrong with these guys? ;)

  14. The Mom Bomb

    My son has the same strategy as Chickadee: figure out the least amount of effort to put in to get by. Yeah, hard work never killed anyone — but why take the risk? I have to admire their logic.

  15. saucygrrl

    I’ve been making it a point to get out of my PJs sooner than I have, oh, say in the last two years or so. But some days you just look up and *WHAM* it’s 1pm and you’re still dressed in a ratty t-shirt and men’s flannel bottoms. It’s amazing.

    I’m impressed that Chickadee is at least telling the truth, I used to tell all my music teachers that I practiced forever and still couldn’t get it… because I’m such a terrific liar I’m sure I fooled them all… (har, har)

  16. Bob

    so I can plan on being disappointed should I ever turn up on your doorstep before noon.

    I guess a robe is better than a mumu, though.

  17. Vane

    I suffer from cold feet too and I hate it because I just can’t go to sleep ’til they warm up.

    BTW, Monkey’s hair looks great :)

  18. heels

    It totally IS funny! (Though my husband wouldn’t agree, either!)

  19. Nancy R

    I’ve been heating up a rice sock on the nights my husband has an evening meeting, and tucking it under the covers to make a warm spot for my tootsies. On the nights he’s home I use his toasty warm leg as well. Last night I put the rice sock in my girls’ beds and they LOVED it. It was great…until the 4yo was in my room at 4am telling me the sock wasn’t warm anymore and I needed to make it warm again.

  20. elizabeth

    Monkey’s hair looks fab!
    I wish I’d had piano lessons when I was young, but that is another rant. I like your attitude about practicing.
    our answer to cold toes is an electric mattress pad. linens ‘n things had a sale recently, cheap-cheap enough to get everyone one. turn ’em on 20 minutes before bed time and mmmm, very nice. as an added bonus the little one loves to turn the lights on. and it helps him sleep past o-dark-thirty. he used to get cold in the middle of the night and crawl in with me with his cold feet. and as soon as he warmed up would be out like a light, but taking up all my bed.

  21. Daisy

    Our “bug guy” is coming today, and I’m home sick. I just got dressed — kind of with that in mind, but I know his wife works with him, and she’s just like me. She’d probably say, “Get back under those blankets and rest!”

  22. Stephanie

    I have the opposite problem, My husband shies away from me at night because I am usually hot enough to practically burn him. He often tells me jokingly to unplug the space heater.

  23. Wendy

    As soon as I read “horrible rictus of agony” tears of pent up laughter started rolling down. The “inject-cold-feet-into-warm-spouse” event happens every night with my husband and now I know *exactly* what to call his facial expression. Ah Mir, you are such the wordsmith!

  24. tuney

    My piano teacher is probably off in the corner of her rest home laughing about all the mini-me’s I now have to tolerate. It’s a wonder I learned anything at all for the minutes- nay, seconds – of practice I put in every week. Certainly wasn’t her fault, poor thing.

  25. kidzmama

    Thanks for the Monkey twin hair pics. I need all the encouragement I can get. Some boys just look cuter with long hair.

  26. janet

    my husband is my personal thermo-nuclear device. he RADIATES heat under the covers. warms feet and any other cold body part :-)

  27. Zee

    “Now would be a good time to explain to my child why practicing for 2 minutes a day isn’t sufficient,” I called out. “Because she’s not hearing it from me.”

    For what it’s worth, practicing two minutes a day every day is usually better than practicing 10 the day before a lesson…. :) But, as you noted, 14 minutes throughout the week makes little progress.

    Chickie sounds like she could use some motivation: a recital in front of god and everybody will often help with that. :-D And barring that, a little healthy competition is always good. As an 11-year-old in “intermediate band” in middle school, I started practicing my flute in earnest after losing the 1st chair to another flutist. Or love, perhaps: my little sister got really motivated to practice her violin after getting a crush on her (much better) stand-partner.

    I got truly inspired to play after my parents took me to the symphony: I fell in love with classical music and after that I didn’t need any other motivation. I find that when I loved the music I’m learning, it is its own reward: “Hot Cross Buns” and “Lightly Row” are not exactly inspiring repertoire… :)

    (And don’t feel bad about being in your jammies until noon – I work at home and do the same thing.)

  28. jess


    I was just writing on my blog about my husband’s being okay with my cold, cold feet a couple weeks ago. He actually ASKS me if I want to put my cold feet on him when he’s all nice and toasty, and he willingly lets me put my feet and hands on him AS LONG AS I WARN HIM first so he knows it’s coming. I don’t know how I lucked out in this department, but I so totally did (*winks*) because I am cold all the time!

    (If you don’t believe me, go check my blog. He even commented that he’s okay with it! Isn’t he dreamy? *sighs*)


  29. Pave.Gurl

    So what I want to know is kinda weird, I guess, but HEY, it’s the webbernets so I am ok with that. There have been eleventy comments about having cold feet – and jess, who (like me) has a honey who doesn’t mind them. But in my household, HotRod complains that my bits and pieces aren’t cold enough, of all the ridiculous things. Has anyone else ever had their partner comment about cold heiney? ‘Cos apparantly, my heiney is not cold enough.

    … and I have never heard such a thing. So, y’all? Will you ask around about this cold tushie thing?

  30. Rachel May

    My dh seems to have forgotten, after six years of marriage, that the warming of various body parts of mine on cold nights (namely, feet and tushie) absolutely WAS in the fine print of the marriage contract.

  31. Member of the Board

    I need to get that showering at noon thing down. As it is, my showers never last longer than 2 minutes, because I always try to fit them in before I take my son to school, and he’s always in the bathroom with me, commenting on the whole enterprise as if I were a specimen at the zoo. But I have this fear of being viewed by the other moms as The Great Unwashed, which would add to all the other ways in which I am deficient in their eyes.

  32. jennielynn

    I do that every single night and my darling husband never says a word. In fact, he regularly invites me to warm up my “toesicles” on him. I love that man.

  33. MaryP

    At first I thought you’d said “the Big Guy”, and was wondering what I’d missed because I haven’t been reading you Every Day this month (for shame!). But, hey, if the Big Guy is coming around, there’s no wonder why you’re in no hurry to get dressed…

    I used to practice my scales with a book on the music stand, and read while I played. It drove my grandfather crazy — and impressed the heck out of my mother. Obviously, mum was right…

  34. Mom101

    Am I the only one a little creeped out by a bug guy using the phrase “slinky little nighties”?

  35. Tootsie Farklepants

    I’m sure my bug guy (yes, I have the same aversion to bugs – there will be none in MY house!) would be surprised to know that I actually clean up pretty good. He’s only seen me in my flannel jammies or housecleaning grubbies, neither of which are a good look.

  36. Fancypants Jenn

    I never get out of my jammies or put on makeup when I work from home. Unless of course I have to take the kiddles to school, in which case I would not be caught dead looking like I just rolled out of bed, which I probably did. Why do I care what the other soccer moms thing?

  37. shannon in oregon

    my feet are ice, too. but i now sleep in socks and i must say, i sleep a lot better.

  38. Erin

    I routinely use my husband’s legs to warm up my cold feet. It’s in the wedding vows. But he also retaliates with mouse hand (ever notice how the hand you mouse with gets cold?) on my side. So, I guess it evens out in the end.

    And I totally love those nights where we lie in bed and talk in the dark about silly things. And I put my icy feet on his warm legs.

  39. Chuck

    My, Monkey does have a thick head of hair, there. Mine was kind of like that growing up but my parents would never have let me grow it out that far. (It’s still thick but there are more and more white ones these days…)

  40. carrien

    OH, I’m dying over the cold feet thing.

    Tell him buy you a pair of UGGS. I’ve not put cold foot to warm husband in several years thanks to the magic of sheepskin worn while getting ready for bed.

    The cure for aptitude+lazy=harder more interesting work. Usually worked when I was teaching piano anyway, kept the kids with good ears from faking their way through the reading.

  41. Veronica

    Is it bad that when I first read about the Bug Guy, somehow my brain substituted Big Guy?

    Yeah, I thought so too.

  42. Amy@UWM

    If my kids and their friends clamored for edamame, I’d fill my daughter’s backpack with the stuff. MY kids and their friends usually clamor something oh so nutritious (and completely forbidden in my house) like Cheese Doodles.

    I need to switch to your piano teacher. Ours seems to think we need to nag my child into practicing because clearly we don’t have enough to nag her about.

  43. The Over-Thinker

    I love it when you write this type of posts–the short stories. They totally remind me of my most FAVORITE parts of Reader’s Digest*: Laughter is the Best Medicine, Humor in Uniform, etc.

    *When I was little, I found a copy of the magazine on the sofa and asked my mom, “So what do they digest? It doesn’t tell you.”

    And Yay! to the Madeline reference. I need to bring out those books again.

  44. Heather in NH

    I love the ” no I practiced that one for 30 seconds”
    That sounds so much like my girl!

    One of my favorite quotes from mine is: ” I’ve been working on homework for 15 whole minutes already!”

  45. Michele

    A comment to the last part of your entry… I swear to God, when my feet start venturing towards my husband, he stops me, then takes a few deep breaths like he’s about to dive into icy water, and then says, “Okay, I’m ready now.”

    The man has to prepare himself for my feet.

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