This week I have really been struggling with trying to find something to write about. It's a classic case of writer's block.
Usually, when I'm working on the weekly blog, I rely on a memory or an event that makes a good story.
But this week, nothing.
Nothing wants to take shape.
I usually like to work with music playing, so first I try the oldies station I love. Today, the familiar tunes I heard as a child do nothing.
I then switch to the soft rock station, the one my husband Joe has nicknamed, "WIMP -- Wimp Radio.
Joe's a Dead Head and a fan of Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. He'll tease me about my love of Celine Dion and The Carpenters.
How did two people who have such different likes and interests join and make a family?
When I first me Joe and he told me he spent the first two years after college following the Dead, I thought he was joking.
I actually laughed.
He wasn't kidding.
How could this nice, mild-mannered guy in a suit be a Dead Head?
Obviously this relationship could never work. I thought of this as I listened to him tell me all the places he traveled just to attend concerts.
I was a choir nerd in high school. I like Frank Sinatra and Dan Fogelberg. I love Broadway show tunes. What would I have in common with a Dead Head?
Twenty two years and three children later, I guess we found a few things to talk about.
With no music on I can hear the incessant ticking of Joe's alarm clock. Tick, tick, tick, that and the occasional tapping of my keyboard is not helping.
Nor is the noise my children are making trying to get my attention, while pretending to let me have time to work.
"No don't do that Tom, Noooo. That's silly Tom," six-year-old Peter says to his older brother.
"Mommy, did you think of something to write about yet?" says Tom.
He is very sweet and is trying to entertain he brother and sister, but I also know he too wants my attention.
"No. Please guys, let me work." I croak out, my throat still sore from the cold I can't shake.
"Tom, you're talking too loud. You're hurting my ears," continues Peter.
"Mommy. Tom is pretending to be a dog. He knows I hate dogs. Make him stop it."
"Tom don't pretend you're a dog. You're freaking Peter out," I croak out in a louder voice.
"Please guys, knock it off, I have nothing to publish today. Please help me out. I help you when you have a problem," I say as nicely as possible, hoping to employ a small amount of mommy guilt.
It's not working.
I start thinking about the fact that I really don't know why dogs freak out Peter so much. Poor thing. When we went trick-or-treating this year, a very small dog greeted us at one house and Peter ran down the driveway screaming.
He wouldn't even take the candy from that house.
"Mom, I do not like dogs," he said very loudly.
"Yes, Peter, I know that."
"I love dogs."
"Yes Lizzy, I know you love dogs."
That was most of the conversation as we went house to house this Halloween. Now that Tom is an official teenager, he was way too cool to go out with his younger brother and sister. Forget about mom. He did his trick-or-treating with his friends.
It was just me and the comedy duo of Peter and Lizzy. They were so funny this year.
It will be so sad when even they no longer want to trick or treat.
I still have to think of something to write.
Who knows what the dishwasher will do if I don't publish a post each week? Perish the thought.
Now I hear Lizzy pretending to be a frog. I probably should check on them and make sure the house is still standing. Having the door closed might not be such a good idea.
I look back at the screen.
I still can't think of anything to write about.
The noise is getting a bit louder. Lizzy is now pretending to be a princess.
Peter is trying to get her back to reality.
"Lizzy... Lizzy... Lizzy... Car 54 where are you?"
I start laughing. This is the phrase that I have been using with Lizzy since she was a baby. For some reason whenever I say, "Car 54, where are you," she will usually snap back and respond, "Right here."
It's funny and sweet to hear Peter employ the same technique to reach her.
Listening to the the three of them playing, I feel grateful that they are such good kids. And entertaining.
I think back to the times my own sisters and I would play and fight trying to occupy ourselves when my parents were busy.
I stare at the blank computer screen willing myself to write something.
The phone rings.
I think about not answering it, but I decided it may be a welcome break from looking at a blank screen.
Hearing my own dad's voice on the other end of the phone is a nice surprise.
I can't believe he's going to be gone for three weeks.
I call for Tom because I know that as much as I may miss my dad, Tom is really missing him more.
My father is close to all his grandchildren, but he and Tom have a special bond. I'm glad that they both have each other. It's sweet to see.
Tom has the biggest smile on his face.
I'm glad my dad's escaped the New York cold for the Florida warmth and some fun with his two cousins, but I'm going to miss having him around.
Living only six blocks from my parents has turned out to be a real blessing. But my mother still works, so it's my dad that I see most days and turn to in a crisis.
It will be a long three weeks without him.
I'm alone with my computer again.
Tom, Lizzy, and Peter have gone downstairs to watch a movie.
Okay, I've got about 15 minutes before they start bugging me again.
Back to looking at a blank screen.
I wish I could think of something to say.
Writer's block is not fun.