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Today's word on journalism

March 17, 2009

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1863-2009

"Can Seattle's oldest newspaper be successfully transformed into a child of the information age? The Northwest is a land of big dreams. With the demise of the Soviet Union, one quipster noted that Puget Sound is now home to three empires still bent on global dominion: Microsoft, and Starbuck's. If the stars align properly and with a quality product, Seattle will show the way to a new model for journalism of the written word."

--Joel Connelly, columnist, in today's final print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

I was a mom for a week, and I did not die

By Michelle Butler

February 27, 2009 | I was a mom for a week. Not just with one child. And I might add not my own, thank you very much.

I had five kids, instantly, ranging from a independent 4-year-old to a 19-year-old who is engaged, so I'm going to claim that I had six kids, since her fiancé was always there.

My mom went to visit family back east this last week, and although my dad, my 19-year-old sister and 17-year-old brother were around, let's just face it -- they needed me, desperately.

I'm the oldest and I've watched my siblings since I was 12 (I'm now 22), but this time was different. This time, I almost didn't make it.

I'm married and so I spent the nights of course at my own home, but each morning, by 8 a.m. I was at my parents' house, and I didn't usually leave until the younger kids were in bed, which was usually 8 p.m. or later.

By the end of the first day, Wednesday, I was so worn out, and I still had a whole week to go.

Here's just a small picture of how that day went. I got there at 8, fed the two children at home, got them off to school, picked up one brother from school, picked up a sister from school, watched her basketball game, wrestled to get haircuts for two siblings, went grocery shopping, cleaned house, and was an hour late with dinner. Whew… and then it started all over again.

I did this for eight days straight, and my days varied between going dress shopping for a wedding, helping one brother get ready for a dance, sending children off to scouts, piano lessons, and swimming lessons.

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to spend more time with my family, but I had just come from a year and a half of being married and since the only thing dependent on me is my gerbils, I've been rather stingy with my time. My husband and I enjoy our evenings watching movies and hanging with friends.

This week, each night I came home, the house was dark and very neglected. During the week, our fridge broke down, and had to be replaced. My poor husband had to deal with it, and that night, the kitchen was a nightmare.

Another thing that was difficult to handle was the amount of food that my "new" family consumed. I struggled going from making dinner for two to making dinner for nine (my husband usually ate with us) and often didn't have enough food to begin with. Don't worry that I made cornbread with cornmeal that had expired two years ago. That dinner ended up in the garbage.

And the grocery shopping! In one day, that household consumed three, THREE gallons of milk!!! I had to go to the grocery store every other day, since we were constantly running out of food.

But by the end of the week, all were happy and still alive, almost. I only almost killed my four-year-old brother, twice. The first was at his swimming lessons. We got there early, and he jumped in the pool, but was staying on the stairs. A neighbor lady sat next to me and we started chatting. Before I knew it, the lifeguard was in the pool, pulling out my responsibility, who apparently can't touch the bottom of the pool. Who knew! The second time, I had run a bath for him, and when I came up to check on him, he was standing up, his whole lower body bright red. Although I had almost boiled him to death, he was only worried that he had gotten sunburn.

When my mom came home last night, I was overjoyed. Yes I love my family, but I was burned out. We all made it through the week, but barely. I said I was a mom for a week, not a super mom. I'll leave that up to the real mom.


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