I should have known better than to trust my work to a teenager. Courtney was my best friend's daughter, and she'd come to me begging for a summer job. Two things sealed the deal: I'd been thinking about hiring an assistant for months, and Courtney told me she'd work for free. She just needed the community service hours for school, she saidand besides, wouldn't that give me more time with the baby?
Well, yesyes it would, and more baby time was exactly what I needed. And more hubby time. More family timeI'd been blessed to get this writing job, but when Courtney clinched her offer with a bribe of her mother's walnut brownies, I gave her my computer password and started to plan an actual home-cooked meal for Denny and me, the first in weeks.
Perhaps I should back up: I write a monthly column for "God's Gals" magazine. The focus of the column is home-y advice with a twist. I'm no Martha Stewart, and I don't know many people who are. It's an impossible standard, so with a little bit of humor and a lot of practicality, I write about having a relaxed and happy home.
But I'm an old-fashioned galI still prefer writing in pencil, on tablets of lined paper. I've also been known to write on backs of grocery receipts, church bulletins, and defunct business cards. Courtney's job would be to enter my writing on the computer, then send it off to my editor. Just for the relief of not having to deal with that infernal Macthis girl would be worth her weight in walnut brownies.
I should have known better.
I had a great idea for a column called "What's the Best Way?" It'd be a series of one-liners, questions about child-rearing, household tasks, marriagewith short, snappy answers. I scrawled the questions on scraps of paper while Paige fingered Cheerios, and on Post-Its as Denny and I watched baseball. When I had over a dozen questions and answers, I gave Courtney a fistful of mismatched papers and my blessing, then took off for the beach with Denny and Paige.
Courtneybless her heart, it's a good thing she's cute, because she's no nuclear physicist. She dropped the papers. And then, because she wanted to get to the mall with her bubble-headed friends, she just typed them upwell, like this. My over-worked editor couldn't reach my cell phone, looked at her deadline, shrugged, and ran the column:
What's The Best Way?
by Tina Kellogg
We women are nurturers and fixers, but too often we go about nurturing and fixing in the most difficult or time-consuming way, just because we think that's somehow best. Here are some common problems in the typical home and family, and the absolute best solution for each of them. Enjoy, ladies!
What's the best way to get rid of a tick?
--Candlelight, flowers, chocolate, and a little hanky-panky.
What's the best way to keep the marriage fresh?
--Sit him on the potty chair until he produces something, then give him candy.
What's the best way to potty train a toddler?
-- Wrap it in tissue paper, and store carefully in a cool, dry place.
What's the best way to keep a fragile Christmas ornament safe?
-- Frequent application of an organic pesticide.
What's the best way to maintain a beautiful lawn?
--Make swirly patterns with a fork.
What's the best way to easily decorate a sheet cake?
--Nasal strips work wonders!
What's the best way to quiet a snoring spouse?
-- Get some cork board and lots of thumb tacks.
What's the best way to make an inexpensive message center?
-- Just flush it and replace it. No one will ever know.
What's the best way to deal with the death of a goldfish?
--Be familiar with their world, but don't try to be part of it.
What's the best way to communicate with a teenager?
--Whip it like crazy with a wire whisk.
What's the best way to make lump-free gravy?
--Drill, drill, drill.
What's the best way to help a child memorize math facts?
--A firm "No" will usually do the trick.
What's the best way to discipline a three-year-old?
--Squeeze its head with tweezers, and pull up firmly.
But you know, some of this advice might not be so badPaige will have to be potty-trained soon, and Denny has recently started to snore
Jan is a Christian who has traveled through sorrow and depression, and has found victory and grace. She dedicates all writings to her Heavenly Father. Check out Jan's website at www.1hundred-words.com
Copywrite Jan Ackerson--2006