Sunday, August 30, 2015

Memories, 100% Cotton

And we're off and running into the school year. The kids' first week went great! Claire was delighted by her uniform each morning (I used to be sad that our public elementary school required uniforms because I have such fond memories of first day of school dresses, but we have both been very pleased by all the skirt/skort/jumper combos Claire is so preppy and adorable in them, I love it) and loves Kindergarten as much as we all expected her to. Landon is doing great of course and Cora is rocking the toddler room at Montessori. I thought she'd miss us after spending so much quality time together on the trip, but no, I had to literally drag her out of school one day last week.

James always closes the swim school for the first week of school which I love because he picks up the kids each day at 2:55 when the bell rings which makes me feel all old-fashioned and stay-at-homey. Sure, it's not me at home, but still, it's a parent picking them up and bringing them home and supervising homework and divvying out snacks. Of course, in reality they mostly go with him to the pool he manages in the summer and swim while he cleans things, but still, it's a nice way to ease into school, and I get to come home to dinner already made which never happens anymore in this version of our life. It's lovely.

We interviewed a TCU student on Saturday who will start picking up the kids from school this week. I am SO excited about this. Previously Landon did the school's aftercare program which he loved and we liked because it was easy and super cheap. But now with two kids in school, it costs nearly the same to pay a nanny to do pick-ups and, most important for me, I will have someone who can take them to activities when needed. Until now, I've just had to get to work at the crack of dawn or take annual leave to shuttle everyone around while James is in the pool all evening. We live less than 5 miles away from everything we do but there have been days I'm in the car for 90 minutes. Cora is dragged to all of it and no one is starting dinner and I'm usually still in the heels and a dress I've been wearing since 6:30 a.m. and it's why I deleted every email letting me know the fall soccer registration deadline was passing by. Oops! But now, we have Tara who will drop the kids of at swimming at 4:45, and on non-swimming days, I'll just pick up Cora and come home to Landon and Claire! They'll already be there! This is very exciting.

On Saturday I randomly decided to clean our closet. It's like a disease. I keep mine pretty well weeded, so I decided tackle James's section instead. He had about 30 dress shirts, all of which he's had since before we were married, none of which he wears in his current career. I have suggested donating these things before, but even though he lives in t-shirts and workout shorts and we have MANY discussions about not wearing t-shirts to parties and other events, he really likes nice clothes. He just never wears them. So I removed 75% of his clothing for him and then turned to his dresser, something I've never gone through at all. I found a receipt for the Kate Spade purse he bought me for Christmas in 2011. At least 30 unpaired socks. All the swimming t-shirts in the world. Khaki pants he's never worn and never will. A single pair of non-jersey shorts shorts I bought him in 2004 before we were even engaged. He got home from the pool to find me surrounded in his clothing and sighed. The time of reckoning had arrived.

The swimming t-shirts were the worst. Now I understand that Texas Swimming owns a large and special place in his heart and I have provided a giant plastic tub for him to put all the precious things he never actually uses or looks at but have Texas Swimming printed on them. We filled the tub back in 2005 before we moved to Chicago and it has at least 30 t-shirts in it. We have faithfully moved that tub from apartment to house to house and in our garage it sits. Apparently his drawers have been housing the rest of the collection. Forty-seven more. 47! They are all precious snowflakes and we spent several minutes per shirt talking about the memories, laughing, crying, and saying goodbye.

To twenty of them. The other 27 are being stuffed into the bin. Someday we'll be retired, living in a one bedroom condo surrounded with swimming t-shits. A few of our conversations:

Me: Ok, you have five of these and they're identical. Pick one.
James: But I got one each year I was on the team!
James: The memories are different.

Me: This one just says "Texas Swimming" with nothing else, it gets donated, right?
James: But I got this one at freshman round up the night they got us all drunk!

Me: This one isn't even for a year you were on the team yet.
James: But it's the first shirt I ever got with Texas Swimming on it!

James: But this one is for Olympic Trials!
Me: Fifteen years ago!
James: And it's made it this far!

Me: This isn't even UT, it's your high school club team!
James: Oh, it's a collector's item for sure.

I tried to explain the memories aren't taken away with the shirts, but he remains unconvinced. Twenty-seven more shirts now live in our garage. But his closet does look nice and I'm very proud of it. And excited to finally buy him some new clothes. I've tried in the past but he insists he doesn't need anything. Now he does. He needs clothes bought in this decade.

The whole weekend was lovely. I did some erranding (more plastic bins were needed for the closet, of course; plastic bins forever!), did some cooking and lots of reading (new book post coming soon but I am OBSESSED with the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. 6 books in 7 days, no sleeping, fried eyeballs, kind of obsessed). The kids played and played. James worked and mourned his t-shirts. We grilled chicken and veggies for dinner and then, in our endless quest to help tire Landon out before bed (he is a like a puppy, giant feet and all) James threw the frisbee as hard and far as he possibly could while Landon sprinted after it. Over and over and over again.

I helped by sipping my wine from a safe distance on the porch and yelling out encouragement. There was a nice breeze and the temperature dropped below 90. It was a lovely lovely way to end the weekend and start the next week.


  1. Have you considered a t-shirt blanket? you and ship them off and have them converted into a quilt/picnic blanket. I've saved mine to do just that, but havent gotten around to it. So in the meantime I am just like you with a bin of swimming tees.

  2. Someone beat me to the blanket suggestion! I have a friend who did it with her dad's race shirts and he loved it.

  3. Umm, there's a spelling mistake there which may be a freudian slip (about being surrounded by T (I think you meant) "shirts" in a condo.

  4. In addition to the blankets: T shirt shopping bags!

    Have you thought about offering them as prizes at the swim-school? Or giveaways with a Brick? Does James do motivational speaking in schools? Or listing them on Craig's list - one T shirt is not so useful as 20. Or running a great Project Runway style competition.

  5. Love, love, love Ilona Andrews. I recommend her new series that starts with Burn For Me. Also, you may like Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series. It's a little darker, but equally addictive.

  6. I have to echo the statements about making a blanket with all the shirts. I have a quilt from special church camp shirts from HS and college. It is my favorite blanket and it was a great way to keep all the shirts and their memories knowing that I actually wasn't going to wear them anymore.

  7. Ditto on the T-shirt quilt. A friend made one for her daughter's HS graduation with all soccer Ts. I am saving my son's XC Ts to do the same.

  8. I admit I seriously cracked up when I saw the picture of him sitting in the middle of his swim shirt. My husband did the same thing to me! He pulled out all of my old synchro shirts and sweat shirts, sat me down in the middle of them, and made me sort, fold, discard, and put away ALL OF THEM. There were...oh, many many many.

    In short, I'm so glad it's not just me.

  9. T Shirt QUILT! He can share his memories with everyone while the kids cozy up in the quilt!

  10. T shirt quilt! It's what I did with my (high school) swim shirts and sorority shirts. Lovely warm memories.

  11. Oh my gosh, this is so so so so so my husband. I made him read this out loud. What's worse is that my 4 year old is even WORSE. She made me take a picture of a broken miniature ironing board I was throwing away (that she'd never seen before) because she was afraid she would forget it. #surroundedbyhoarders

  12. Yep! I came to say T-Shirt quilt, too. My mother in law makes them for us. but, I'm sure you could find someone on Etsy.