Friday, November 30, 2007

Looking for Peace and Quiet

So, I decided to try out the wonderful portability of my laptop. I sneaked out of the house tonight and went to Panera (where they have free WiFi) to do some writing in relative peace and quiet. I walked in, ordered up a nice big chai tea latte, and sat down to write. Now really, why do I even need internet access if I'm writing? All I need is a Word document, right? But no, the way I write is - write one page, then IM someone. Write a few more sentences then play a game (or twelve) of solitaire. Write another paragraph and then see if my friends want to play Canasta for an hour or two. Yep, I get a lot of writing done that way.

So anyway, I'm sitting here at Panera and behind me is a table of like 400 teenagers. At least that's how it sounds. Who'dve thunk that Panera was a teen hang-out? They're all talking really loudly to make sure that everyone can hear how cool they are. After all, they're teenagers and they know everything, of course. I mean, I knew everything when I was a teenager. I knew everything and my parents were decidedly stupid. I'm not sure when that changed, but my parents have actually become pretty smart now. Wise, even. I, on the other hand, have lost intelligence daily since my kids were born. Just yesterday, my son informed me that I was wrong and that 25 degrees is not cold. It's warm, he corrected me when I told him to put on a coat so he wouldn't be cold. I used to know this stuff.

Or like this morning when Clay was on all fours kind of walking around on top of the toy box. He said, "Mom, what am I?"
I replied, "You're silly."
"Noooo! Mooom! I'm not silly! I'm a dancing pig!"
Well, of course you are. I guess I'm the silly one.

So anyway, my reason for getting out was to
1. try out my laptop and be all cool-like sitting here typing away in this restaurant, and
2. get away from the noise and interuptions and distractions in my house.

However, as I pulled into the parking lot, my cell phone rang.
"Mom, I was playing on Webkinz and now I can't click on anything. What do I do?"

So much for getting away.

I sat down and started typing and before I'd even finished my first paragraph, an IM popped up.
"Hi Mom. "Whatcha doing?"

Would it be bad to log off and ignore them?

Five minutes later, another IM...
"Mom, how do you turn the computer off? This game isn't working right."

Meanwhile, 800 more teenagers have showed up here. I think it's time to pack up and go back home. Either there or to the airport. ;)

P.S. I just realized that tomorrow is December! Eeeeeee!


Lucille said...

Hey Dawn - Good for YOU for getting out. Might as well before the storm of 07 hits, right? This storm better produce they way they are playing it up - it is like SWEEPS week for the weather guys!

Figures - my one night OUT with adults is tomorrow and it will probably get cancelled!

Oh well - back to what I was saying - I'm glad you are MOBILE with your laptop. I'm not. Sometimes I drag it to another room but that's about it!

I had no idea Panera was the hip place to be for kids! Better than the malls I guess. :)

Hope you won some Solataire and got a few pages done!


suburbancorrespondent said...

You know, I bet Tolstoy hung out in the Russian equivalent of a Starbucks and played word games while trying to write War and Peace. And Hemingway! He was sitting there at Paris cafes and eying all the pretty girls while he wrote, right? So you're on the right track.

Sharon said...

I just love ya Dawn. I am so totally there with you and you speak my language. I pray that the Good Lord bless you in all that you do. Keep writing!


Manic Mom said...

SOOOO Funny cuz the other day I snuck out of the house too and I thought it would be cool to go to Noodles and Company to get something to eat by myself before I went to get my hair cut and colored.

WHO the heck knew that kids like noodles?!?!?! I called a friend, and she was like, "Are you at a party?" I was like, "NO! I wanted to go somewhere quiet!"

I chose the wrong place too!"

I think we might need to sneak into ... let's see... hmmm... churches... nah...

LIBRARIES!!!! No one's gonna be hanging out in libraries!

Sue in Dallas said...

Congrats on getting your laptop! You've been told about getting a wireless mouse, which is a great idea. Now I'm going to tell you what I wish someone had told me before I spent three weeks using only my laptop because we were traveling. If you're going to do a lot of typing, get a simple USB full-size keyboard to plug into your laptop. Three months and a diagnosis of bursitis later, I am still taking Alleve twice a day and discovering how many things you need your shoulder for you never knew you needed your shoulder for!

I hope telling you about my pain can save you from having any yourself.

Nicki said...

Are you in O'hare with your laptop yet? Next time turn your phone off;)

janel said...

You might as well try the french toast bagel while you're at Panera. Well worth braving the 400 teenagers.

Lynn said...

So what does it mean when I started laughing when I read the subject of today's blog? I have 6 kids,'s amazing I even knew what those words meant!

Anonymous said...

may i suggest the book, a gift from the sea. its a nice read...

Heidi said...

A dancing pig--I love it!!

Marta O. Smith said...

Hi, Dawn. I'm a regular lurker here and get such a kick out of your humor. And I agree with Sue in Dallas. Get a full size keyboard to plug in to that laptop if you plan to do a lot of typing. (Did you know your carpal tunnel goes from your wrist through your elbow and all the way to your shoulder? I do NOW.)

Anyway, this year I'm inviting my friends, family, and all my favorite bloggers over to visit my blog to see my musical advent calendar. (It's cheaper than sending out Christmas cards.) It starts on December 1 and runs through Christmas Day.

ACB said...

OMG Webkinz!! My 5 year old loves Webkinz...and I will secretly admit, I have one too. But it's just because his friend bought him one that he already had. Yeah, that's it. Not because I wanted my own room to decorate or anything. Really. LOL

Sleeping Mommy said...

Silly woman, I thought you realized that there is no escaping one's family these days.

Ah teenagers...I'm so glad I don't have to hang out with any of them for another 7 years.


All moments remembered said...

LOL!!! I soooo know what you are talking about! There is NO such thing as really getting away!!

I would just like five minutes to scrapbook these days. I run my scrapbook store but never get to use all my goodies because LIFE is so busy and when it is not so busy it is busy! You know they say some day when our kids are grown and out of the house we will be BORED STIFF!! I think I can handle some down time. :)
Hope life is going wonderful for you Dawn! I think about you often when I am about to ring my childrens necks! LOL

Rick said...

Welcome to the world of the "Way Too Connected."

I recommend deleting the IM program on your computer and no more "Moooom!" will be popping up on your computer screen.

valerie said...

just wanted to say hello and a big thankyou for brightening my day for the last few days spotted a link to you on a friends blog and have been chuckling ever since


Kristeenascrafts said...

If you love distractions, try It's perfect for that, and has a wide variety of stupid games. I should be working right now, but I'm learning that one of my favorite distractions is your blog. I love your writing style!

Karen said...

Next time try Starbucks. They've got better Chai Tea Lattes anyway. Maybe the teens haven't discovered them yet.

Patty said...

I wonder if your mall is one of them that now has the teenage curfew, where no one under 18 can be in the mall without an adult after 6 pm, and thats why the teenagers are hanging out at Panera?
Yum Panera.... We don't have one of those around here, or at least not close enough to have me going, even once since our move here 2 1/2 years ago.
The children thinking the parents don't know anything just gets worse as they/we get older. My 14 yo is sure that DH and I are the stupidest things on the planet most days.

Bald Headed Geek said...

I feel your pain. My wife and I took our collection of little heathens--I mean, KIDS--out for dinner last night. And, because having four isn't enough (I know, I know, I'm an amateur compared to you guys!), we invited another couple out with their kids, too. I would have had pity on the waitresses who had to deal with us, except for the fact that the waitresses also had to service a table right next to us with (no exaggeration) 28,934,723,948 teenagers. Okay, maybe I'm off by one or two, but I'm close! They made enough noise to drown out a jet engine (only the sound wasn't as soothing).


gggarden said...

Dawn-I know no other way of asking your permission to mention your name and blog name in the intro to a blog I am planning...I'm calling it "Barely Controlled Chaos"-which aptly described my life. May I link you the blog once I get it started?

I have recently been intrigued with blogs. The introduction was a slow process…following family members through their journey of life…keeping informed of travels, adventures, life’s changes. It reminds me of my best friend, who for years wrote me on a daily basis as life separated us. We lived for the mails arrival! Some letters were just a page or two, a note to let us know we were thinking of one another. Others were incredibly long…I remember a twenty something page letter. Separated by a mere 3,000 miles at this time, we rely on computer technology to communicate today…and she’s the reason why I became interested in blogs! Well, not entirely, she just started it. She sent me a copy and link of Dawn Meehan’s blog, “BECAUSE I SAID SO”. I’ve become a fan of both Dawn’s blog and of blogging in general. Once again, the reason behind this is my friend. Dawn’s blog reminds me of when this friend and I first met…of what our life was like anyway. Barely controlled chaos would be descriptive.

It was nearly thirty years ago when we met outside a college supported day care center, dragging huge bags of newly purchased books with a barely four year old kid in tow. Some sort of instant bond occurred between us. She was divorced, two kids, working part time and going to school…starting over. I also was divorced, , but living with someone, had two kids and was returning to school. In a sense we were starting over. Our friendship has lasted nearly 30 years! We’ve endured the pains of another divorce (both of us), loss of a child (hers), joys such as the births of grandchildren (she has one, I have seven), another marriage (mine)…basically all of our adult lives have been shared together. I need to dedicate this blog to her. Life without her would have been very dull and lonely!
So…here I am…ready to go…enjoy…or not!


Sherry said...

Hey there girl. I just love your blog. Wow, aren't teenagers a pain! I tell my kids to never become teenagers. :) LOL

Mary said...

I use my laptop in my mini-van. It's the best retreat! I sit in the back seat with my laptop and get a lot done. I also take naps in my van.

You just have to find a parking lot that has lonely parking spaces in either the sun or the shade, depending on the weather.

Good luck and let us know when you buy a nice mini-van!

My Semblance of Sanity said...

I found myself in a Panera - kidless the other day. I had a babysitter for the baby while my older two were in school so I could run some errands on a rainy day w/o hauling him around.
I did my errands rather quickly b/c I was in the speed mode we are usually in so we don't hit WARP TAMTRUM before leaving the check out lane...
So, I had some extra time to kill before I had to go home....PANERA!
But, b/c that wasn't part of my plan, I didn't have my laptop, a book or a magazine with me so I ejoyed my food and then looked around for about 5 minutes and left...BEST LAID PLANS!
Hope you didn't go RIGHT home! A good place to write is Barnes & Noble, ya get the writer "vibe" there! ANd some killer chai!!!!

Veggiemomof2 said...

Silly girl! If you want peace & quiet, you stay home & send the rest of the family to Panera! LOL

Mabunny said...

Yay for you being able to get out by yourself! Sounds like fun , I get to do it tonight, while hubby stays home with semi-sick kiddo.
What website do u play Canasta on? Please let me know, I LOVE Canasta and haven't gotten to play much , can't find anyone that knows how to play, so I just play on my Hoyle card games.


Bungalow Mom said...

Hi Dawn, I don't know if you've seen this before, but I wanted to pass it on to you. It's hilarious. If we could say everything that we needed to say to our kids in less than 3 minutes, just think of all of the extra time we'd have to ourselves!!! Enjoy!

Brenda said...

I always say "You can run but you can't hide." Bathroom, Panera Bread, coffee shop. doesn't matter. They find you.

KellyJean said...

You crack me up. I can't wait until you have three or more teens in the house. The early teen years aren't too bad and... one teen isn't too bad. I've got 15, 17 and 18 year olds right now. I started a blog in November since this is the first year with all of them in school in ten years. On Thursday I had a post and because my kids read my blog... I thought I'd be slick and post some of what is really going on in our house in a paragraph that I told the readers would be removed at 2 pm before I went to get the kids from school. Well... I got a surprise comment from my 17 year old who checked my blog from the lab at school. So busted!!! I removed it right away and paid her $10 not to tell her brother and sister what that paragraph said.

Yeah, I'm a real good mom.

Elaina said...

LOL! Being so accessible can be both a blessing and a curse, for sure. Thank God my kids aren't old enough for the computer yet, although, my husband is!!!!


WendyK said...

Too funny! It is great that you got out, even if you didn't get away lol. Now how is it that she can figure out how to IM, but not how to turn off the computer, sounds like a reason just to talk to you lol. Hopefully you had fun without screaming kids!

~Jenifer~ said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I was so surprised to to see that you visit "jailed" I know that you are so busy with all the other 10,000 things that you do. As for buying a crate for the kids just let me tell you it is great no I do not put the kids in (even though the thought has occurred). Just put a blanket over and instant cave and they go in willingly (yeap just like that) it can also be a rocket ship, racecar, or anything else that their little minds can come and sometimes that can be good or very, very bad. By the way my Doberman has outgrown her stupid puppy stage so she no longer uses it anymore unless she scares company. She is red and looks like the dogs from the "Resident Evil" video games the Hell Hounds ( her name is Ember). Anyway again thanks again for visiting and I will keep reading.

By the way as popular as blogs have gotten over the past couple of years you would think that spell checker would not flag it anymore????

VanDerHoekArt said...

Aw, come on Dawn, you know that once you find a quiet place to write it will be too quiet. Kind of like when a New Yorker goes to the burbs and can't sleep because there are no sirens or honking horns.

But, if you must...I agree with one of the comments posted here, try the library.

Anonymous said...

Ok, and tonight I have to say, do you sleep only 3 minutes a night?!? (I guess I'm really "asking", aren't I, as I used a question mark.) How do you manage 7 kids (you know what I mean here ;o) ), write a post virtually every day - and an awesome one at that, write a book... and procrastinate as you say you do? (My procastinating consists of reading all the great blogs out there.) But how can you play all these on-line games and still write the quantity/quality you do, AND take care of your family? You're a wonder!
Keep it up - you're my daily entertainment.

Anonymous said...

I take my laptop to the kids adventure play. Unfortunately they haven't twigged on to the fact that wireless internet would have parents in there by the bus load so I can only do other stuff, but I can have a coffee and at least an hour while my youngest runs around like a banshee.
As for supervision, I'm tuned into his screams, yells and 'I'm really hurt' cries so react as a parent should when necessary!

Big Pumpkin said...

LOL!! I'm like that too, can't focus on ONE task at hand. I always have to do a few things or it'd be too boring! have six kids.....try flying to the next planet for some peace *smile*

Jen said...

Kids! You can run, but you can't hide.

iowaguy said...

Bungalow Mom had the perfect link to what should be your theme song! I loved the YouTube mom song she sent you the link for - it was perfect!

I do agree that Panera isn't the best place to go but they do have good food and drinks. Starbucks is good but the one by my house doesn't have free Wi-Fi. One suggestion I have is a local restaurant with free Wi-Fi especially if you hit it between 1:00 and 4:00. It's their slow time - they'll get you what you want, check if you want refills & get them for you, most have some sort of music playing in the background and most of the time you will only run into people like you looking for a little piece and quiet. Plus - if you get a little hungry you can try one of their desserts that you wouldn't usually get if the kids were with you but always wanted to!! That one was taught to me by my mom!! :o)

You are great! Keep up the good work and I can't wait for the book!


Jen and Erik said...

Too funny. As a first time mom I am just starting to really get this. Just wondering what you plan to do for your Christmas card. With SIX kids...I cannot imagine! I had a hard time taking a picture of one. :) Here's the picture, in case you are interested:
It only took us 57 pictures to get this one!
I enjoy reading your blog,

Katherine said...

I have a fool proof way to stop your kids from IMing you. You need to start IMing them-- "James! Get off that computer and do your homework. I'm watching you!"

They'll cut you off so fast! (yes, I know Clay is too young but I can't remember your older kids' names! CRS hits again.

Becky said...

LOL on your son IMing you.

Just start assigning random chores. That'll learn him, lol.

Loved the posting, Dawn. Your sense of humor always makes me smile (or snort). Have a blessed day!

Adrian said...

I personally think Instant Messaging and any form of texting is one of the major banes of modern existence. It basically gives anyone you know free license to interrupt you any time they please at all hours of night and day.

I've banned it from my computer completely with no apologies. Oddly enough, you can't actually delete the program because it's so ingrained into the whole Windows Suite, but I keep it disabled at all times. The annoying thing is that the only place I have to hassle with it is at work, where I'm REQUIRED to have it active at all times - argggh! Oh well, I haven't given my husband or kids the address for that one, so at least it's only my boss and cow-orkers pestering me.

Donna P said...

Your post about finding everything under the sun to do BUT type your column struck a note with me. I am currently enrolled in an online college, and until recently had the husband, step-son, daughter, 2 yr old grand-daughter and new baby all under one roof....4 rooms total. Talk about never getting work done! Now that I have quiet, a friend I have made in Georgia that is taking classes also, we both always find reasons to wait til the last minute to do assignments. As we speak she is supposed to be working on a assignment (well, so am I), but needed an icecream and watching hero's break. It must be a mom thing, we are always going in so many different directions that to sit and concentrate on one thing just can't be done!

SarahDragon on said...

I have found that writing without internet access causes everything to take much longer, since I am constantly going to and to double-check everything while I type up the first draft of my book, and do some editing in the process...

Things like, when Microsoft Works Word Processor is telling me that a word does not exist or is misspelled... 9 times out of 10, I am correct and it's the program that's wrong, but I just HAVE to check!! and hauling out the outdated paperback dictionary & thesaurus is just too much hassle : )

Good luck on your book; I can't wait until it's published : )

Leila said...

No, you are not abnormal. I am in the computer lab in my school and this person next to me is driving me crazy with her crunching. That is one of my biggest pet peeves. How many chips can she chew at one time?

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