Moving has an expiration date

This is not a bottle of ketchup, this is THE bottle of ketchup. This is the bottle that will travel across the country with us as we relocate because there is no way we will finish it before we move to the East Coast this fall. I refuse to waste this ketchup for the sake of military service. My ketchup did not enlist to serve the needs of the Navy. It is part of our family now.

I can feel my shoulders tense whenever I make the calculation in the aisle of the the grocery…

Photo by Kevin Fitzgerald on Unsplash

Never have dorm room decorations held so much promise

I feel like twinkle lights are having a moment. As I walk in the evenings around the neighborhood, or even look around our own house, I am noticing more strands of lights.

One of my initial stay-at-home nesting instincts was to pull out a strand of lights to hang up. It’s not like the clarrooms that my son or daughter left behind were decorated like the dorm rooms of the class of 2024, but somehow I felt that by draping them over the curtain rod in the kitchen helped set a tone. “We are going to have fun!” …

A few weeks ahead of my 40th birthday, my friend initiated a girl’s trip to the local roller rink, the last of its kind in the area. I penciled it in my calendar for the evening, then she clarified that we were actually going for a 10a.m. open skate for those 21 and up. No competing for space on the hardwood with small kids, birthday parties, or young adults talking about how “hip and vintage” skating was. The rink’s site advertised $15 for rentals and skating and coffee available at the snack bar. …

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There are times when you look at a photo from long ago and if you squint, blurring your vision just enough, it will look like a photo taken today. Lately, people have been sharing their old senior portraits online to show solidarity with current high school seniors who won’t get a traditional graduation.

I glanced at my senior portrait last Thanksgiving when we visited my parents in Michigan. My father still has a copy in his office.

If I close my eyes just so and lose focus a little, I could say that, in general, I still look like I…

Photo by Billy Huynh on Unsplash

I considered myself moderately crafty to begin with, but this quarantine life is pushing me to a higher level I might not otherwise attain once things get back to a general sense of “normal.”

I’ve gathered a garage full of shipping boxes and food takeout containers to have on hand for sword making, fort building, and space shuttle construction.

Currently, I am looking up a how-to for making necklace charms out of bottle caps. On the kitchen table right now there are homemade parachutes for Lego figures, and on the back porch there are painted rocks drying.

We have turned…

Photo by Tina Bosse on Unsplash

It’s more terrifying than you can imagine

On my desk in the garage there is a fresh cup of iced espresso and a glass of water. My computer is open, my notebook is next to me and I am deep into responding to an email when something starts banging on the door of the running dryer from the inside.

I get up from the camp chair that is my office seat and open the dryer to rifle through burning hot laundry. Nothing is there. I re-start the machine. A minute later the banging begins again. This time I can hear the dislodged object spiraling it’s way toward…

Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash

The final frontier in outsourcing basic adult skills

I tried grocery delivery for the first time since the lockdown started. I ordered through an app on my phone and was quickly partnered with Dean, my personal grocery shopper. I always hoped a personal shopper would be picking out Jimmy Choos and not bananas, but here we are.

I was told via the shopping app that I needed to be ready to chat with Dean if he needed help with my order. I immediately felt self-conscious. Chatting with someone wearing the mask while they fill your grocery cart is humbling. It forces you to recognize the privilege you have…

Photo by Doug Kelley on Unsplash

Don’t try this at home

Last year we planted butterfly bushes in the backyard in hopes of attracting Monarch butterflies. We had at least half a dozen caterpillars make it to the big fat stage, only for us to lose track of them entirely.

Any butterflies that resulted from our bushes were in no way alive because of my meddling. I managed to kill off many caterpillars while trying my best to help them. …

The water heater has a sign taped to it that reads, “IDEA MACHINE — CAUTION, ALWAYS HOT!” I put this up because I was tired of people asking me why there was a water heater behind me during video conferences. It’s also a bit of an affirmation, that I am in as much of an actual office as anyone else.

It has been valuable for me to find a space for myself in a small house with two young kids, a space that maintains some privacy when needed and a dedicated platform for my work supplies and desk artifacts. A…

Photo by Salomé Watel on Unsplash

Wrestling with a ball of potential bagel dough was the best arm workout I have had in a month. Like millions of other people, the impulse to make bread swelled in me about as fast as the starter I mixed and left on top of the fridge.

I turned my house into a homestead within the first few days of being a shut-in. …

Lane Brown

Writer, marketer, mom, marathoner. Professional web site at

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