This Is Stan

Early in December I had my first encounter with a fan.  It was exciting.  Then it wasn’t.

Sheepdog and I brought all of the kids to have breakfast with Santa at our neighborhood clubhouse.  We go every year, even though the older ones complain about having to wake up early and put makeup and nice clothes on (duh… because everything after November 1 becomes a potential Christmas card photo-op).  Stop your griping and moaning and sit on the nice man’s lap, but anyone who is thirteen or older has to sit kinda off to the side.  Anyway…

The kids told The Big Guy what they wanted for Christmas and we made the ornaments and we ate the eggs and bacon and donuts and we smiled for all of the pictures, so it was time to go.  As we were herding the kids, I saw the new editor of our neighborhood newsletter across the room.  I asked Sheepdog if he would mind getting the kids into the car and told him I would be out right behind them.

I said goodbye to Mr. Editor and thanked him for another wonderful event, but first he introduced me to a new neighbor.  Well, first he told me I was “difficult to edit,” but that is beside the point of this story.  He told me the man’s name and then told him mine, followed by “she writes an article in the monthly newsletter.”

There was a pause followed by recognition.  The man said very nice things, but he didn’t make a lot of eye contact.  I was uncomfortable for a second, but then it dawned on me that maybe he thought of me as an actual writer and this was my first experience with an admirer of my blog, someone I did not know prior to publishing.  For just a second, my mind was whirling with dreams of celebrity and fame and universal accolades and recognition.  At almost the same moment, Sheepdog was finally done gathering our charges and putting on their coats and hats, so he paged me as he headed outside.

“Stacy, I am putting the kids in the car now,” as the door closed behind him.

Still smiling inside my perceived fame bubble, I started to excuse myself and tell the man that it was nice to have met him when he stammered out with palpable excitement, “Wait.  Was that Sheepdog?”

“Yes.  That was my husband.”  Snap back to reality.

“No way!  That was Sheepdog!  I love him.  He is awesome!” said the man, this time with lots of eye contact.

I guess he wasn’t my biggest fan.  Pop went my own fame bubble, especially when he added, “Sometimes I really feel for that guy…”


Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Poems of Procrastination

In homage to those like Keats, Wordsworth and Shelley (and because my kids are all out of my house and off to the first day of school and I’m kind of bored and putting off my workout and other various and sundry chores), I have decided to write a poem.

“An Ode to Summer”
by Stacy Swiger
O! glorious season of unencumbered trotters and limbs – 
How my soul thunders at your sweet smells and irradiated hours.
Why, thou art bursting with vivid comestibles and waterlogged reverie!
The waning of your days is forever married with my ebbing enthuse.
What splendor dreamt by deities in sculpting your essence.

Well, that didn’t take nearly long enough, despite the constant thesaurus look-ups.  Maybe I’ll go a little less formal with a haiku.

“A Haiku Poem About Summer”
by Stacy Swiger
Bare… feet, legs, iCal
Summer is wet, bright and free.
Fall is too leafy.
“And Another”
by Stacy Swiger
Haiku.  “Gesundheit”
Must be the freshly mowed grass.
Where’s the ice cream man?

Kid A = 11th grade, Kid B = 8th grade, Kid C = 6th grade, Kid D = 2nd grade, and Kid E = Georgia pre-K. Mom = sad that summer is over.

I am always bummed that summer is essentially over for us when school starts, even though it is still August.  But I can say that I am happy to get back to writing more regularly.  And I know that the kids could certainly use some time apart from each other.

Just the other day, I listened from my office as I heard Kid E driving his siblings absolutely batty.  He went from one to the next, just nudging and annoying them with his, “Play with me” and “Get this for me”  and “Will someone wipe me?”  Finally I heard that he was left alone in the upstairs hallway, as everyone else had retreated to their rooms for some much-needed alone time.  Never to be discouraged, Kid E knocked on someone’s bedroom door.

Knock, knock.

“Who is it?”

(In his own, undisguised voice) “It is NOT me.  He he he he he he he he.”

Whatever.  It got them to open the door.

Happy First Day of School, my southern peeps.  And to those of you that still get to go to the beaches and the pools and sleep in for a few weeks longer, I hope you appreciate how good you’ve got it.  Enjoy your vivid comestibles and waterlogged reverie.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…



Oh, hello.  I’ll bet you thought that I forgot about you.  Well, I promise that I didn’t.  I have been appropriately guilt-ridden for not properly tending to this blog over the past few weeks (months), but frankly there are six other people who live in this house who have become increasingly demanding lately and they tend to yell and cry right in my face when I ignore them.  This blog just silently nags at me.  What with the squeaky wheel and all, appeasing the natives comes first.  Then I tend to collapse into my bed, exhausted.

I honestly can not believe the speed at which time is passing.  I feel like I’m living in some kind of crazy warp.  Every day I wake up and I blink and it is night.  I am trying to enjoy the little things and live in the moment and all of the stuff that they tell you to do in the country music songs, but it seems an impossible task when complete months are whizzing by me without fully registering.  For example, just last week I went to the bathroom and saw some blood and presumed I was dying rather than believe that four weeks had passed since my last period.  It in fact had, but it felt like there was just no way that was possible.

So I find myself re-adjusting my daily schedule.  I am playing virtually no video games and I hardly even recognize the Atlanta Housewives anymore (Kim’s son is probably in high school now, for all I know).  Santa brought me P90X2 for Christmas (by the way, he and the pleasantly plump Mrs. are on the Biggest Loser this season, which is totally freaking my younger kids out) and I have been working out almost every day as well.  The kids’ sports and activities are back in full swing, as is school (picture me Tebowing for the short Winter Break).  But I love, love, love writing this blog, so I just have to make a few more adjustments so I can fit it back into my daily life.  Or I have to invent some kind of machine that can create more hours in the day.  I should get Sheepdog working on that.

Did you see the game last night? This kid is something special.

I think it was Kid C that noticed me mumbling something one day as I was walking from the kitchen out to the garage.  She was waiting for me in the car because I had to drive her somewhere.  As I climbed in to my seat she asked me, “Did you just whisper ‘BRB,’ and who were you talking to because the door is closed?”

For those of you who don’t text, or live in this century, or maybe still use a Palm device, I’ll explain that “BRB” is short for “be right back.”  And apparently I have been saying it to nobody in particular every time I go out for a while now.  I didn’t consciously realize I was saying it at all.

So I thought about it while I was driving around.  Maybe I was saying “BRB” to the house.  Maybe I was saying it to the people who were inside (although sometimes there were none).  But I’d really like to think that I was saying “BRB” to my blog.  Because I really do miss it.  And in my weird time warped existence, maybe I am just now getting right back.  So here’s to many more blog posts in 2012, and me finding the time to write them!

Also, effective immediately you can find This Is How I Do It at (the “wordpress” part is now unnecessary).  And some of you mentioned that you stopped getting notifications whenever I publish new posts.  Wordpress still can not figure that one out, but you can re-subscribe by entering your email at the top right of any page.  As always, thank you for reading and I hope you are enjoying the peek behind my curtain.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Who’s The Boss?

I feel like I just gave birth.  I am disoriented and exhausted and a little bit sweaty, but I am on a crazy adrenaline high at the same time.  I haven’t slept in days.  I am excited and scared, confident and unsure.

But it is all for good reason… I had an actual writing deadline.  Yep.  Someone asked me to contribute to a local magazine and I just submitted my first article.

First, allow me point out a few things.  From the time I was fourteen and I got my first paying gig at Mister Donut (yes, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. for the 5 o’clock shift and I chanted “It’s time to make the doughnuts” as I put on my uniform and rode my 3-speed to work in the dark) until May 18, 2001, (the day that Kid C was born and the same day that I retired from my last job as a law office manager), I had legitimate bosses who told me what to do, reviewed and oversaw my productivity, and held me generally accountable in exchange for a paycheck.  Since that day more than ten years ago, I have been my own boss.  And while that means I bring home no bacon, it also means that I can pretty much do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it.

Now I could go off on the tangent about stay-at-home moms and the work it takes to run a household and raise a family and the shopping and cooking and cleaning and laundry and child care and shuttling kids around and how much you would have to pay if you hired someone for each of those jobs.  I read somewhere once that the figure was more than $500,000 a year when you calculate it like that.  I mean no disrespect to my fellow stay-at-home moms, but that’s whacked.  It’s definitely some fuzzy math and does not account for the fact that some days I could still be in my pajamas at 3:38 in the afternoon, but as long as I got the kids off the bus and I finally folded the load of whites that has been sitting in the dryer for days and I whipped up something that maybe resembles “dinner,” I did my work for the day.  Now, I don’t do it like that every day.  My point is that it is really nice to be able to slack off every once in a while and not have The Man looking over my shoulder all the time.  And Sheepdog knows better than to complain when I occasionally phone it in.

So, back to the writing thing.  I was asked to write something for a publication that goes out to wealthier neighborhoods in the Atlanta suburbs six times a year.  They don’t have a budget to pay me, but they can give my blog a shout out.  I was/ am extremely excited about it.  After a few e-mails back and forth I learned that I had a week to put together my first article.  It was a little fast, but I was convinced it would be no problem.  Man, was I wrong.

It just sits there blank, taunting me.

I have been writing this blog since March and I enjoy it very much.  In the beginning I forced myself to write every weekday because I had a compulsion to do so.  When the family schedule revved up I chose to write less often, even though I always had ideas whirling around in my head.  I had stories coming out of me that would almost write themselves.  I didn’t always have the spare time to write, but if I didn’t post it was no big deal.  This magazine thing is different.  I have actual deadlines.  For the blog I always had something to write about.  For the article I could think of nothing.  I must have started more than ten different stories and wasn’t happy with any of them.

Plus, I get an editor.  Somebody who is telling me to write in complete sentences, use proper grammar and spell check.  Someone who is not only going to read my writing, but review it and then critique it.  A “boss,” if you will.  No, I’m not handling it well at all.

What if I am no good at it?  What if I can’t find my voice?  What if people don’t like me or my writing?  Sheepdog keeps laughing at me.  He says it is good for me as a writer to have feedback (so true) and good for me as a person to be held accountable (also true).  He reminded me that it would take time to make the adjustments but I would probably figure it all out and have conquered my fears and uncertainty by the third article, maybe sooner.

On the day of the deadline I sat down at my computer and I cleared my head (as much as I can clear my head when all of the kids are home from school for a teacher workday) and opened my blog software program.  And the funny thing was that I just started to type, and it felt good.

Now I am still waiting for the editor to get back to me with notes and I’m sure I’ll struggle with getting back on the horse of accepting constructive criticism, but I look forward to learning and growing and listening to what my new boss has to say about my work.

But I’ll tell you right now – Sheepdog and the kids had better not complain about what I’m serving for dinner tonight.  I don’t get paid enough for that.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…