Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Nobody's Sock


The mysterious lone sock found in my laundry.
Typically, during laundry time, one sock that belongs to a pair of socks mysteriously goes missing. It happens to 100 percent of everyone who both owns socks and does laundry. On the rare occasions when all my socks pair up during my laundry-folding chore, I feel celebratory. Then I toast my success with a glass of cabernet sauvignon. Sometimes it's cabernet franc or zinfandel, but you get the picture. 

However, as they say — "they" being the elusive group of wisdom seekers who said, rather than wrote, much of what we quote —there is a first time for everything. 

During my last laundry catch-up adventure, after having folded all my pants and shirts, piled up all my underthings for which folding would be futile, and paired all my socks, there was one sock left over. What made it different from all the other times was that this sock was not my sock. It was a boy sock.

Faced with an alien stray boy sock, I did what most parents of a certain age with a smartphone do. I snapped a picture and sent an SMS to the grown son that lives upstairs. 

"Is this your sock?" I captioned the photo.

"No," was his response. Well, that made sense. The sock really wasn't his style. But he had finished his laundry just before I'd started mine, so it stood to reason it could have been a stray that stuck to the drum and then dislodged when introduced to my jeggings. 

Next, I asked my college student, who'd done piles of laundry just a few days before in preparation for returning to campus after the holidays. 

"Is this your sock?" I queried once more with the image. 

"Not mine," he replied. I was surprised, because, while the colors were not as bright as most of his foot wear, I thought it might have been one of his business-dress socks. I thought it could be from a pair he selected during those times when he had to wear a suit and neon yellow and green would be less than appropriate.

Lastly, I decided to ask the one who lives a few towns away in the outer reaches of the county in the condo he bought close to where he works. Or, as the younger generation describes it, the condo he bought to finally free himself of the drudgery of living at home after college.

"Is this your sock?" I asked, doubtful it could belong to him. 

Although, he did do laundry when he was visiting during Christmas weekend. I was surprised he brought laundry, as he owns his own washer and dryer. He explained, however, that it was cheaper for him to use our utilities. At least he has and sticks to a budget. 

"Nope, it's not. But when can I pick up that couch you said I could have?" was his response. 

After suggesting the next weekend for the couch pick-up, I sat perplexed. Hubby was in his recliner during the entire ordeal. He had been the first to deny sock ownership.

There the sock sat alone for days on the coffee table. How did a stray sock that belongs to no one end up in my laundry?

I'm not sure if it was the fact that he was tired of looking at it, or if he had genuinely not recognized the sock as his when the mystery began. However, one day, as we headed to the den with our gourmet homemade, empty-nester, healthy, low-carb meals, Hubby surprised me.

"You know, I think that is my sock." Then he picked it up and took it to the bedroom.

"Seriously?" I thought to myself, the words ricocheting off the sides of my brain. I said nothing. I put my plate on a high shelf where our bubby wubby doggies couldn't reach it, and then headed back to the kitchen for a glass of dry, red wine. 

It was partly celebratory — the sock mystery was solved! — and partly the need to soothe the frustration. Then again, had he recognized the sock as his evening I found it, I wouldn't have had an excuse to communicate with all my boys.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
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Copyright 2017 Michele Bare

Thursday, October 27, 2016

7 Reasons I Voted Early


7 Reasons Why I Voted Early | Navigating Hectivity By Micki Bare
My 2016 sticker for voting!
There is a thrill that accompanies waiting until election day to vote. Waking up early, heading out to your designated polling station, waiting in a very long line for hours, being late to work, enduring bladder cramps because if you head to the restroom you'll lose your place in line — you know the drill. 

I used to love the excitement of voting on election day. But as I grew older and my life grew more hectic, the excitement dissolved into intense stress. Now I vote early. Here's why.

1. It is less stressful. As I said, there is no pressure to get to work on time, the lines aren't as long, and I won't miss out on voting if I have to leave and come back the next day. I don't go on the first or last day of early voting, because of the crowds. Rather, I find an odd time, usually mid-morning, during which crowds are likely low at the same time my schedule is less hectic. 

2. Someone on Facebook pissed me off. Yes, I admit I let someone's stupid, asinine post get under my skin. Basically, he told those who don't support his candidates not to vote. One of his "friends" then posted in the comments, "...or procreate." This upset me greatly and motivated me to want to vote as soon as possible. What was even more disturbing was the fact that this was an educated person who is well-respected in the community — or should I say "was" well-respected. 

3. I like to be early. When I show up for a hair, doctor, work or any other kind of appointment, I have to wait at least 15 minutes because I arrive so early. I get this from my father, who was always early enough to snag the first parking place at a major event — I learned to stow snacks in my pockets, as this also meant it'd be forever before it was time to eat again. 

4. I like to be done. I do not like tasks hanging over my head. I love the feeling of accomplishment. I make lists so I can strike through what I've completed. Being done gives me a rush almost as great as that first cup of coffee.

5. The parking is better. This year, the early voting poll nearest my house was in a large, old shopping center with tons of parking. It was easy to access and I had no problem finding a place to park. When I was done, I slipped right back out. It was gloriously accessible.

6. There is less harassment. There were no candidates or candidate representatives hovering outside the polls during early voting — at least not where I voted. I did not head into the polls with pockets full of magnets, post cards, stickers, emory boards, pens or other junk-drawer fillers that have no shot at swaying my vote. Rather, one of the business owners in the shopping center was handing out free one-week passes to his gym. I couldn't think of anything more appropriate to give voters during this year's election. 

7. The feeling of hope lingers. Rather than packing all the excitement into one day, I have a couple of weeks to draw out the euphoria one feels after having voted. I tie that feeling to the glimmer of hope that those I supported just might win as I mute campaign commercials and toss campaign mailbox fillers in the recycling bin without giving them a glance. I liken it to celebrating one's birthday for an entire birthday month rather than just one day.

Whether you vote early, like I did, or you wait until Nov. 8, please make time to vote. Regardless of who you support for each office, you should always exercise your right as an American and vote. 

And if you do wait until election day, you can think of me while you're waiting in line wishing you hadn't had that second cup of coffee. I'll be having a less-hectic day as I watch it all from afar. I might even be watching from the gym as I work off election year stress — for free. 

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare
Writing Samples

Copyright 2016 Michele Bare

Monday, September 19, 2016

Chocolate Flavored Drink Lifts Panthers to Win


Yoo-hoo for the Panthers | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Our "lucky charm" game day soft drink
helps Cam and team win games.
There will be many iterations of analysis to explain why the Panthers won yesterday against the 49ers. While we heard about the heat and humidity factor during the game, as well as who was connecting with whom and which players were having an off day, you have to know by now there is more to winning a football game than how well the players played.

When you listen to the commentators and read what the sports writers have to say, you are only getting half the story. The journalists, you see, are merely reporting on the athletes. And we all know it takes more than highly paid, muscularly fit athletes to win games. It also takes dedicated fans.

And that is why I must apologize to our beloved home team, the Carolina Panthers. To understand where I, as a fan, went wrong, I must take you back to last season.

During my youngest child's freshman year in college, he started football season with a case of Yoo-hoo drinks and a dream. That dream was to see the Carolina Panthers make it to the Super Bowl. They were on a hot winning streak and, a year ago, my son was sure they could make it all the way to the big game.

Around game three, my son called me in a panic. "I'm out of Yoo-hoo!" he exclaimed. While most college kids simply cry out for more money, my child was in desperate need of more Yoo-hoo. Why? Because he began associating the chocolate flavored soft drink with Panther wins. 

After that call, our whole family got into the Yoo-hoo spirit. When the Panthers played, we wore our team gear, put our chips and salsa in Carolina Panther blue bowls and broke out a case of chilled Yoo-hoo.
Pups in Panthers Jerseys | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Our pups don Panther gear on
game day now, as well.

For the record, we were out of Yoo-hoo during that heart-and-soul-crushing loss to the Falcons.

We did, in fact, have plenty of Yoo-hoo on hand for the Super Bowl, but I'm guessing there were other fans who fell short on that frustratingly sad evening.

But I digress. During the 2016 season opener, my youngest child was busily toiling away in class while we watched the game against Denver. We had no Yoo-hoo in the house. I wasn't even wearing my Panthers t-shirt. 

Blame it on it being a busy weeknight game, our hectic lives — it doesn't really matter. Bottom line, we were a disappointment to our team. We let them down. Say what you will about what the players might have done wrong that evening, they were clearly not fully to blame. I am deeply sorry.

Even as the final seconds drifted off the clock in Denver, I knew what had happened. Therefore, when the 49ers came to town, we were ready. We had a brand new case of Yoo-hoo just for Sunday's game. I baked cheesy ranch chicken bread balls. We even bought our dogs Panthers jerseys. And, as you witnessed, the Panthers pulled together for the win. 

While we suffered one loss at the beginning of the season, the rest of this year can still be as magical as last year. But fans, we need to keep our heads in the game. Your family's secret weapon might not be Yoo-hoo. Maybe it's a special appetizer or the particular seats in which you sit around the big screen.

Whatever your ritual, make sure you prepare for and do it, religiously, every week for our Panthers. They can't win alone. They need us. So what do you say fans? Are you with me? Are you committed to making this another magical Panthers season? 

#KeepPounding

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the associate editor of Piedmont Parent and author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor
View Micki's pics on Instagram @mickibare

Copyright 2016 Michele Bare