Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Not the only reason for the Season

[Author's note: This is an updated and edited version of an old post, for those of you that like your spiritual talk to not be mingled with profane(?) references to anatomy and whatnot.  If you're one of those folks, read on... and by all means, don't go looking for the old version.] 

I happen to have a certain fondness for religion.  All of them.  Spirituality in general fascinates me.  I know God, and I even think Jesus was a pretty cool guy.  But...

I am not a Christian.  

Nope.  I was baptized and confirmed as a Catholic, but I've never held much interest in the teachings of that particular Church.  It is my belief that more truth about God can be found in the movie Avatar than in any given modern Christian church service.  I would bet, though, that if I started preaching the gospel according to Avatar, some people would get offended.

What if I said that I think that every one of you who thinks hell exists with a capital H and is a place that God will send you if you displease Her are totally mistaken in your understanding of the divine?  Would that offend you?

You see, I have some less-than-mainstream views about God and religion, and I am part of the minority.

I might "preach" freedom of religion, but I have no interest in making you think like me.  I also have no interest in making you feel bad for NOT thinking like me.
My favorite color is purple.  I adore purple.  I can't imagine anyone liking any other color more than purple.  It's truly the most spectacular color in the spectrum.  It just makes me feel good.  If you like blue, though... well, that's okay.  If blue makes you feel good, then that makes me happy, too.  I can celebrate blue with you without feeling like I made the wrong choice when I chose purple as my favorite color.  I can have a blue themed celebration and then return to my purple passion.  Both of the colors exist on the spectrum, and both are relevant and necessary.  I just gravitate to one while you gravitate to another. 

So... What if I want to celebrate the Season just as a special time that has been celebrated by many different religions across time?  What if it's not about the birth of your Christ for me?  People have been celebrating this holiday for as far back as anyone can remember.  The Christians call it Christmas now, but that's just another name for a much older celebration.  

Pagans cut down trees to symbolize the death and rebirth as a tree of one of their gods.  They were doing it long before Jesus entered the picture.  So, you go right ahead and call it a Christmas tree if you want.  If you're Christian and you have a tree up in your house, then it is a Christmas tree. But don't get offended because everyone else doesn't want it to be a Christmas tree.  Don't preach on your facebook wall about all the evil people that are trying to kill Christmas and replace it with the word holiday.

I love words.  As a word lover, I know that holiday is a word that means holy day.  And how can that offend you?

Using the word holiday is meant to be inclusive of everyone's beliefs.  The term is not meant to be exclusive, to take Jesus out of Christmas; it's used as a gentle remind that Jesus isn't the only reason for the Season.  Lets celebrate all the reasons that this time of year is held dear, all the reasons to find joy and magic in this winter celebration.

There's nothing wrong with religion, but it can be turned into a weapon of hate and exclusion when religion, and religious intolerance, is forced on others.

Happy Holidays

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dirty secrets

My last post was a “…to be continued” that I failed to continue.  So, let me start there. 

I put his ass on the school bus. 

I’m sure you saw that coming.  Then, of course, I felt bad about it all day.  However, I would do it again.  I’m all about the tough love.

Anyway… that’s not why I’m here today.  I’m here today because I read a post this morning by a blogger that I “met” when her blog was brand new.  She had a just handful of likes, but I thought she was great.  I read her facebook posts and blog posts on a regular basis, and I’ve watch her popularity soar quickly. 

Meanwhile, my little blog stagnates.  Jealous?  No.  Absolutely not.  “Jennay” over at What I Really Meant to Say is a hoot!  Many blessings to her and her success as a blogger. 

I have been too “busy” to write.  Or so I tell myself.  Which is to say that I do not allow myself time to write because then I will feel guilty that I’m not doing something else.  This has come up before;  it’s a daily thing, really. 

This morning I read the newest post over at What I Really Meant to Say.

Go ahead and take a look.  I’ll be here when you get back.

Done? Okay, so I read that, and I immediately thought: That’s why I’m not writing anything. 

So, I’m going to use Jenn’s blog post as a writing prompt and give these fingers some much needed exercise. 

So, is what you will find if you were to come to my house on a NORMAL day:

We have too much stuff in our house.  Sadly, the two “extra” rooms are right off the entryway.  So, the very worst part of my house is the very first thing you’ll see when you step inside.  One of them is my fault; I have some extra furniture, donation piles, bookshelves, etc. in there.  The other larger room, though, is what shall henceforth be known as the Hotel for Bikes.  There are about 15 bicycles, give or take a few, housed in my former office at any given time.  Many of them like to hang out in the entryway, as well.  We treat our bikes like family around here.  

We have 3 dogs.  We had 2 for a while after our Belle passed away earlier this year, but we’re back to 3 now; Danny thought it would be nice of us to dog-sit.  For 6 months.  He’s got a big heart, what can I say?  She’s not really a problem except that our mastiff tries to attack her several times a day.  Which is really fun.  So, as you step in through the front door into the messiest part of the house you will be accosted by three canine family members that love to make new friends. 

We also have 2 cats.  I hope you’re not allergic.  Oh, and fish, too.  I haven't managed to kill them off.  Yet.  Take a look at the fish tank, it's quite lovely actually.  

Watch out for the vacuum cleaner cords and other random appliances or power tools lying around.  We do try to clean, but we tend to get distracted and/or not put things back where they go when we’re done with them.  A lot. 

We don’t have any carpet, thank God, but that means that the tumbleweeds of dog hair are free to roam around at their leisure.  See above re: vacuuming. 

Little Dog thinks it is his duty to mark his territory all throughout the house.  Please watch out for tiny but lethal puddles of dog pee.  We have resorted to putting a belly band on him to discourage this — when we can find one of them (we have 3). 

Dust.  Lots of dust.  If it wasn’t bad before — and okay, it was — we’ve been pulling out old carpet and scraping up old linoleum, so… yeah.  Dust. 

Don't walk around barefoot.  Three rooms have concrete floors right now.  I couldn’t stand the old floors, and new ones aren’t quite in the budget yet.  Maybe Christmas?  Maybe not.  We’ll see.

All of the walls are dinged or have paint scraped off in various places.  Children are hell on walls, amiright?

My beautiful WHITE microfiber sectional is… no longer white.  What were you thinking? you might ask.  I liked it, okay?  Damn kids… Oh, and the dog peed on it, too, which was a nice addition to the general grime. I did clean it the other day with a steam cleaner, so it's okay to sit on, but it ain't so purty anymore.  

I don’t do dishes.  I mean, I DO do them sometimes, even though Danny thinks I have craptastic dishwasher loading skills and would rather do them himself.  Right now, though?  Our dishwasher is broken.  Broken!  I cannot be expected to cope with that.  I have been avoiding the sink like the plague for 3 days now.  Use your imagination. 

(Danny said he doesn’t understand why I hate to wash dishes by hand.  He gets a sense of accomplishment by performing such tasks.  I said I don’t understand why he doesn’t just do the fucking dishes, then.  He’s not doing them because I’m not doing them.  He’s not doing them because the kids aren’t doing them.  He doesn’t mind doing them, gets a sense of accomplishment even, but HE’S STILL NOT DOING THEM. sigh)

The kitchen counters are a catch-all for every damn thing in this house.  At any given moment you might find anything from dirty clothes to power tools to food left out—sometimes all at the same time.  Also, the cats like to get on the counters and knock over drink glasses—only the ones that aren’t empty, of course.  (While trying to finish writing this, one of the cats actually pawed open an UPPER kitchen cabinet and tried to jump in with the glasses. Seriously, it’s a zoo in here.)

The big pile of trash you see over in the kitchen corner? That’s the recycling.  We’re doing our part, okay?  It turns out that almost everything you throw into your garbage can is recyclable.  Paper, cardboard, hard plastic, soft plastic, glass, metal… Don’t throw it away!  Recycle, dammit!  It gets a little out of hand, though.  By Friday, the recycling bins (yes, plural) look like a mini trash dump site in the corner of the kitchen.  We, as a family of four, usually only put out 2 bags per week of actual trash.  The rest is a mountain of recycling.  I bet the people that have to sort that shit hate us. 

The living room is Command Central.  Currently, the coffee table contains dishes, jewelry, hair pins, headphones, nail polish remover, coupon books, a ball cap, nail clippers, an iPhone wall charger, school work, school reminder notes, a tissue box, a mountain bike race medal, and a paper Spelling Queen crown.  Oh, and the candles and coasters that belong there are there, too, though the tealights have been knocked off the candle holder and not put back onto it.  The lower shelf contains a basket of dog toys, headphones, coffee table books, a tiny dog kennel, and two storage boxes for remotes and game system controllers (which are not in the boxes but in a pile next to them). 

The couch contains, strewn out across it (here, let me move it so you can sit down) a school folder, dirty socks, and another (God help me) fundraiser the Girl brought home from school today.  Also, I don’t have a desk.  Not one that I currently use.  I’m here on the couch, too, laptop stand and all.  The mess that usually clutters up my desk?  Yeah, it’s here next to me on the arm of the couch. 

There’s a wet bar in the living room.  We enjoy a drink every now and then.  We have quite the collection.  As the kids get older, we’re going to have to rethink the blasé display of booze.  For now, though — well, there might be a little dust on the bottles, is all I’m gonna say.

As you move past the bar, politely overlooking that fact that my printer currently lives on the wet bar, thankyouverymuch, you enter the true Danger Zone of the house.

I said that the 2 extra rooms at the front of the house were the worst?  I lied.  The kids’ rooms?  Holy shit.  These two heathens are terrible.  T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E.  There is a constant trail of detritus leading from their rooms out into the hall and out back into the living room.    I’m constantly harping at them to pick up their stuff, to no avail.  In frustration, I kick it into their rooms and shut the doors.  Thus, the entryways of their rooms are generally choked with debris.  It gets kicked back out again when they go in and out, because THEY DON’T GIVE A DAMN. Inside their rooms, you'll find laundry not put away (sometimes as many as 3 baskets), dirty laundry in the floor, trash, toys, shoes, and did I mention laundry?  It's out of hand.

Their bathroom, meanwhile, is toxic.  The cat litter box lives in there, because the cats are the kids’ responsibility.  If they are subjected to the cat mess, they will be more motivated to clean it, right?  NO.  Cat litter in the floor?  No problem!  Tracking said cat litter all over house?  No big deal!  Cat food on the counter, in the sink, and on floor?  They’ll eat it eventually!  And did you know that ADHD and peeing standing up are a bad combination?  The Boy can't stand still long enough to take a piss, so you're likely to find a less than desirable situation in there at any given time.  Don't use their bathroom, m'kay? 

Of course, to get to my bathroom you must traipse through Laundry Central.  You'll usually find at least one heaping basket of laundry in the hall.  You'll also notice that my darling husband almost finished the hallway upgrade (bead board, new doorway moulding), but then he got bored with it and moved on before the sanding and painting happened.  

As you walk through my room, try to ignore the fact that we use our 4 poster as a clothes hanger, that we have painting supplies stacked up because we are—seriously—going to paint that wall one of these days, or that we have an actual massage table set up in our room.  It's great for massages, and I do get them fairly regularly, because my husband is kick ass in the massage department.'s also great for piles of laundry.  Meh.  

Have you ever been backstage at a play?  You know, with the hair a make up stuff strewn upon every available surface in the dressing room, and costumes laying about carelessly?  Yes? Then my bathroom should be familiar to you, as well.  Go ahead and use the toilet, it's clean—please ignore the toilet paper holder that is partially unmoored from the wall, though, and the gaping hole in the sheetrock above your head.  Nothing will crawl out at you.  I think.  Oh, and you're welcome to use my shower, too, though it's maybe less clean.  Also, it's in need of total renovation, so please don't look too closely.  

The weather has turned nicer, we could go out back (you know, where the pool used to be).  Yes, the fence fell during Hurricane Ike, but the back neighbors have a chain link, so it's all good. Yes, it's a mess, too, with construction debris and other flotsam and jetsam that we shove outside.  The breeze is nice, though.  And the cell signal is better out there.  

So... There you go.  I got some writing done, and you learned not to drop by unannounced and expect... much of anything.  Wait, no... expect a glass of wine, a nice chat, a pair of less-than-amiable-to-each-other siblings that may or may not get sent to their rooms more than once while you are here, and a small pack of dogs that will be very happy to see you.  Just don't expect much to be very clean.  

Maybe one day.  But not today.  

I'm going to publish this post despite the fact that my husband might now die of mortification.  Honey, I'm sorry.  Look away.  Most of these people don't know us, anyway. Don't share me on your page, okay?  Love you!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A "What would you do?" parenting moment

He set a fresh, hot cup of coffee on the nightstand next to my head and said, "It's 7:06, sleepyhead."

Dammit.  Why didn't my alarm go off?  

And then I remembered; the day before, I woke up early.  I was up at 5:35 am.  In a burst of pride for being up so early, I turned off my alarms (yes, alarms, plural, because I generally need more than one to wake up).  I'm an early riser, I don't need these alarms!

Then, apparently, I forgot to turn the back on.  

School bus #1 comes at 7:11.  Okay, so that wasn't going to happen.  Making my peace with that, I got up and began my morning routine of ironing clothes, making lunches, and harassing children to get ready.  Thankfully, the Hubs had been busy that morning while I "slept in," so breakfast was a done deal.  

When it was time to drive the Girl to school, it was also time for the Boy to catch his bus.  

Cole, come on!  I'll drive you to the bus stop! 


Cole, are you coming? 


Hello?!  Are you ready for school? 


Giving up on yelling, I went to his room, where I found him...  In his underwear.  In bed.  Asleep.  

Are you seriously going to miss the bus?!?!

He jumped up, frantic but half asleep.  

I can't believe you!  Why would you get up, eat breakfast, and then go BACK to sleep?  What's wrong with you?? 

I told him I wasn't taking him to school unless he was ready in 2 minutes and in the car.  The clock was ticking.  The Girl was becoming frantic that she was going to be tardy.  

The Boy made it into the car (admittedly, with some browbeating by his mother).  As we rounded the corner, we saw his bus about to pull away from the bus stop.  She saw us coming and sat there, waiting. 

Suddenly, I had a split-second parenting decision to make:  Did I put him on the bus, despite the fact that he did not have his shit together, nor did he even have shoes on yet?  Or did I drive him to school after I (attempted to) get his sister to school on time? 

What would you do?? 

Story to be continued...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dearest Children: Seriously, shut the hell up! Love, Mom

That's pretty much the gist of it.  If your interest is piqued, though, read on... 

Dearest Children, 

Your mother does not DO camping.  However, since you seem to love it, I put on my happy face and planned a camping trip.  

I made grocery lists, shopped, cooked food ahead of time to take with us, helped pack up all the food and gear, made arrangements for the campsite and for the dog to board the dog at the kennel, and did lots of other things you cannot even begin to imagine.  

Then, I sat in the car with you for 8 - EIGHT! - hours listening to the two of you fight with each other.  Incessantly.  

He's got more room than me!

She won't stop talking!

He's pushing things over on me!

She scratched me with her nails!

I listened with smug satisfaction as your father pulled off the highway and lost his cool with the two of you, threatening to do things that he would not actually do but doing so in a tone that made you squirm in your seat and wonder if he really meant it.  See?  It's not just me.  Dad yells, too. 

When we finally reached the campsite and it was dark outside, a fact for which you were partially to blame, you were not thrilled about making camp in the dark.  Well, guess what?  Neither was I.  But I again sucked it up and dug in so we could get it done.  

Thankfully, Mother Moon was full, simultaneously lighting the site for us and helping me to keep my patience.  

My favorite part of the evening, other than you, my darling son, doing your best to wake our camping neighbors, was when you, my dearest daughter, sat in a huff on a camp chair and said, I don't like this.  Is it going to be more fun tomorrow?

No.  No, it's not.  Welcome to camping.  

The next morning, after awaking to my hip digging into the ground as a result of a deflated air mattress, I took you to the dining hall to get a hot breakfast even though your dad said we could break our fast with the food in the cooler.  I bought you wristbands so that you could do unlimited ziplining and rock climbing.  

When your father said he was taking you mountain bike riding on the trails...

I settled in to my chair in the shade by the river to read a book and sip a cup of coffee.

When you, daughter, decided before your ride started that you didn't want to go, I sacrificed my serenity to your whim.  

When the boys got back from their ride, you children kayaked while I fixed your lunch, baking in the sun and harassing you about adequate sunscreen usage. 

When your father got back from his solo ride, I put on my water shoes, hopped into a canoe with the three of you, rode down to the kayak/conoe launch, and got mule kicked by you, dear son, as you sprang from the canoe into the water, pouting because you didn't get an oar.  I still have the lovely bruise on my knee from your kick.  

From there, I hiked the river trail to the waterfront with you...

...where I put on a lifejacket, preparing to  jump into freezing cold water while knowing full well I wasn't going to have a  shower or *shudder* a hair dryer available until the end of the day; you chose that moment, son, to scream at me in front of a lot of strangers because your life jacket was too loose and I wasn't helping you out of the water fast enough so that you could find a new one.  I had to put on my mean hat and make you sit out for speaking to me so rudely.  Believe it or not, I do not take joy in this.  It's really pretty sucky to be mean when you're trying to have fun.  

Your father decided the river was too cold and got out as soon as I got in.  

I enjoyed swimming in the river, taking pictures with my water camera of you, daughter, frolicking on the water toys.  

Then you, son, disappeared to ride in a time trial race with your father.   

After swimming in the river, you, my girl, stated your desire to swim in the pool instead.  So, we made our way up the cliffside stairs and decided to hike back to our campsite to get money, more sunscreen, and towels before going to the pool.  

Hiking in my wet shorts caused quite the lovely chaffing issue that I had to deal with later on, in case you were wondering.  

Mother and daughter made the trek back and forth, and we ran in to father and son back from their time trial.  They won 3rd place, and I was there, snapping photos of you, son, with your father on the podium during the award ceremony.  Then, you wanted to go back to the river with your father.  We went to the coffee shop to discuss evening plans over smoothies.  

It was decided that your father would put the chili on the fire to heat while I took you children swimming in the pool, and then Dad would take you back to the river and I would go back to babysit the chili.  

After 20 minutes at the pool, you were a bored boy.  You asked me constantly if we could leave while simultaneously aggravating your sister.  I, in return, asked you, son, if anything ever truly satisfied you.  I'm still waiting on the answer for that, by the way.  

We made our way back to the campsite, where we ate chili and visited with camp neighbors.  Another trip to the river was not to be that evening, but you, son, went and socialized with kids while the rest of us availed ourselves of the bath house facilities (such as they were).  Boys are apparently exempt from showering while camping, from what I gathered over the weekend.  

We went to sleep that night after refilling the deflated air mattress, hoping it would last until morning.  We left you children on the newer, non-deflating mattresses so that you could sleep comfortably.  

We awoke the second morning to a 6am alarm so that you, son, could eat and get ready for your 8am race start.  Despite a progressing lower backache due to the aforementioned deflated mattress, I was there at the starting line, cheering for you and snapping photos as you took off.  

I met you at the finish, greeting you with cold water and words of praise, and I took you to the coffee shop for air conditioning and a snack.  

I was at the start line 2 hours later when your father took off, snapping photos and cheering for him.  I stood with the two of you at the Feed Zone for an hour while we waited for your father so that we could give him ice cold water rather than the warm water they were handing out.  

Then, as requested by both of you, I bought you each a souvenir festival shirt for you to tie dye.  I bought us all a kettle corn snack to share, and then I enjoyed the free beer they were handing out while you tie dyed your little hearts out.    

Your father finished his race, and we decided to make our way back to the campsite  for lunch.  I started walking, while the three of you were to bike back.  I made it back with only you, son, with me.  We ate lunch after waiting in vain for you, daughter, and your father to join us.  

The beer, the lunch, the hot afternoon sun, and the breeze blowing over me and my chair under the shade tree all meant one thing: nap time for Mom.  My lovely daughter and her father were still MIA, and you, my darling boy, were driving me crazy about swimming, but I napped while you kayaked.  I knew we were packing up soon, and, as much as I wanted a dip to cool off, I did not want to travel wearing the river in various unspeakable places.  

When you finally showed up with your father, daughter, after an unplanned and apparently unsuccessful father/daughter mountain bike ride, I was hot and still sleepy.  Still, I began the process of packing up the campsite.  The two of you went off to do more kayaking while your father and I decamped, organizing, reorganizing, loading, and reloading.  

We were hot and thirsty by the time we were done, but the two of you were insistent that we adjourn to the waterfront for more river swimming.  We assured you that you would swim.  We drove up to the main camp area, got rid of our trash, and decided that I would cool off in the coffee shop and read for a bit while Dad took you to the waterfront.  

You followed me to coffee shop instead, though, and started discussing dinner options.  We got drinks and I prepared to enjoy a last bit of quiet time while you went swimming.  At the last minute, you both decided against swimming and opted for a quick trip down the zipline once more.  After I spent a few minutes of quiet time in the coffee shop, you were back and ready to go.  

Later, we chatted about the trip over a lovely Mexican food dinner.  Dad and I both said how much fun we'd had over the weekend.  

When asked if you had fun, you, son, answered, Yeah, except, well… Mom isn't very fun.  She doesn't like to do anything.  For the sake of solidarity, I suppose, you, daughter, piped in, Yeah, it's true.  You weren't much fun.  You know, in the water.  You just swam around and floated and took pictures.  

In case it was unclear the first time, son, you continued,Yeah, you don't really, like, DO anything, ya know?  You just want to relax and read.  That's not fun.  You're not really very much fun, Mom.  

Kids, you know what?  Seriously, shut the hell up!  Either you're not going next time, or I'm not.  

See how much fun you have then.  

Lots of love, 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Some days are like that, even in Australia...

I opened my eyes to a bright but quiet morning. No alarm had shrilled in my ear; I took a moment to savor that.  With school days just around the corner and football season in full swing, there won’t be a lot of sleeping in in my foreseeable future.

My husband was not in bed beside me, but this was not unusual.  Maybe he was riding his bicycle.  Or maybe he was cooking breakfast.  He’s my morning half.  I can handle afternoons and evenings, and I excel at late nights, but it’s better for everyone if I’m not required to be human early in the morning.

A quick look at my facebook feed found my guy and the Girl having a Daddy/Daughter morning at Starbucks.  A ‘Like’ on his status let him know I was awake, and I received a text momentarily asking if I wanted coffee from Starbucks.  Um, yes please.  See what a lovely man he is?

Now, if I could just freeze frame the day right there…

I did get my coffee, but shortly thereafter the day deteriorated into a comedy of errors.

The little dog escaped from the side fence.  This is a not a new trick.  We looked and looked and did not find him.  He did not have his collar on this time, because my sweet Girl bathed him yesterday and didn’t put it back onto him.

I posted a message on our community facebook group, and I started making a sign to post at the neighborhood entrance.  I couldn’t print the sign, though, because my printer wasn’t working.

I’ll leave out the long boring details about deleting and reinstalling printer drivers and whatnot.  But yeah, that happened.

Just as the printer was rolling out copies of the sign, my phone rang.  My first thought was, Of course someone found him after my computer issues were fixed.

He wasn’t found, though.  She had just seen my post and remembered seeing him an hour earlier.  I went to look, but he was no longer there.

We went back home, finished the sign, and posted it at the entrance.

[Remember, y’all, that I have a full time job that had been totally neglected while Operation Find Choo Choo got underway.]

Back to work I went.  For a few minutes.  Then I had to shower and get ready to go to take the Boy to his foot doctor check up.

We made it to the foot doctor on time and had a successful, albeit long, visit.  He can play football!  Yay!

A Strawberry Limeade sounded like just the thing for the afternoon heat, so we stopped in at Sonic.  They gave me a Cherry Limeade, which is not at all the same thing.  I asked for a new drink, and they told me, “Oh, sure, it’ll be right out.”  After 15 minutes, I realized it was not going to be right out.  No Strawberry Limeade for me.

We returned home to gather our gear for an evening family bike ride at a local park.  Sadly, when I got there I realized I had no house key.  Yes, I locked myself out of the house… for the second time this month.  The kids checked back doors and windows for anything left unlocked… no dice.

We were off to Grandpa’s house to retrieve the spare key.  Luckily it is only 8 miles roundtrip to my parents’ house.

Back at home again, and we were in.  I let the big dog outside, and we gathered our things. When it was time to go, I opened the door to let her back in and… ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!  Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum had left the gate open after checking for open doors or windows.  Now both dogs were missing.

The kids got on their bikes and found her.  A giant breed dog wandering around is so much easier to spot than a toy breed.  Thank God.

We were finally on our way.  I decided to shed some aggravation by listening to some loud music and singing at the top of my lungs while driving.  Instead of singing along or even just bobbing his head like the wannabe cool preteen that he is, the Boy held his ears and whined that I was hurting his head.

Whooah, we're half way there!
Whooah, livin’ on a prayer!
Take my hand and we'll make it - I swear!
Whooah, livin on a prayer!

He wasn’t feeling it.  The Girl encouraged him to sing, and he screamed at her at the top of his lungs to shut up.  I found myself pulling to the shoulder of the freeway threatening to kick him out of the car if he behaved like that again.  Then, I told him as punishment we were going to play the song again so that he could sing along.

I think it’s funny that you think I’m going to sing, he said.

Oh, you don’t have to sing this time, I said.  I can keep hitting repeat until you’re ready.  But I’m going to sing every time, m’kay?

He sang.

If you’ve never tortured your kid by making them sing a song they don’t like, I highly recommend it.  It’s very entertaining.

We arrived at the park without further incident and enjoyed some hot and humid family biking fun.  Then, we got back home to a…hot and humid house.  Eighty seven degrees in the house feels fantastic.  The Hubs went to check the AC, and I walked away.  I didn’t want to know if it was broken.

It wasn’t; it was a breaker.  Whew.  I’ve had no AC in the summertime in Texas.  For weeks.  I hope to never experience that little slice of paradise again, thankyouverymuch.

We’ve already experienced a dryer failure that lasted the better part of a month.  They fixed it - just this week - but now it makes loud, grating, humming noises and sounds horrendous.  It does, however, dry clothes.

Our coffee machine has been threatening a revolt lately, too.  The Hubs thinks the coffee maker and the dryer are secretly plotting behind our backs.

[Then, of course, there was the 4th of July Swimming Pool Disaster and it's aftermath with which we are still dealing. Homeownership is fun, right?]

As we stood in the kitchen over a late Crock Pot supper, discussing Big Life Decisions that have us losing more than a little sleep lately, the lights in the kitchen went out.

I think the breaker box is in on the conspiracy now, too.

I’m going to bed before something really big happens.  I hope it’s not big enough to wake me up.  Unless it’s a phone call that someone has found that damn dog.

[I don’t love the dog, okay? But the Girl loves the dog and refuses to get upset that he’s gone because she just knows that he’s going to come home.  He’s 6 pounds soaking wet and has been out on his own all day.  I’m thinking it’s not looking too good.  I don’t want to see the look on her face when she finally gets that, though, so I hope to God someone helps that dog find his way home.]

Wait.  I’m not going to bed.  That work stuff?  Yeah, it’s still waiting for me.  I guess I’ll be up for a while…

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Déjà vu all over again

2 days in a row...? This chick must have all kinds of free time or something.  She's been a real slacker of a blogger this summer.  Writers write.  Right??  But where has she been...?  

Well, that's another post.  I'd like to share with you something special and lovely that happened last week, though.

Remember this post?

When The Boy was in preschool, he complained of a sore foot.  He never complained to me, though.  Complaints were made where maximum reaction would be gained: Grandma.  She relayed said complaints to me, I shrugged them off, and he continued to complain only to her.  This went on for a few weeks, at which point I said with exasperation, There's nothing wrong with his foot!  He's walking, running, playing, and he never says a word to me about it!  So, he started telling me about it.  With resignation, I took him to the foot doctor.  He had a stress fracture in his foot.  He was in a boot for several weeks and then, when the boot didn't help, a full on cast for 6 weeks after that.  (I'll leave to your imagination what a cast on a 5 year old boy smells like after 6 weeks.  I still shudder at the memory.)
Well we déjà vu'd that shit all over again last week.  

I don't even need to retype it, because it's almost exactly the same.  Verbatim.  Only now he's 11 and needs to STOP JUMPING OFF THINGS.  And I wasn't gonna be allowed to let it go 2 weeks.  I took him the next day.

Kablammo.  Cracked bone in the foot.  A little ankle sprain for good measure, too.

But hey, he's in a wheelchair for one of his roles in the play.  So, stage acting in a boot... No problemo.

He sure won't be doing much of this...

...for a while, though.

As I told my facebook friends this weekend:  Saturday morning scrimmages are hot and steamy but still fun when you get to watch your kid play. Saturday morning scrimmages when he's injured and has to sit on the sideline… Not so much fun.

So, I went to the grocery store.  My team spirit isn't that strong.  Sorry, guys.

Injured foot during play performances AND football season... The Boy is WINNING lately.  What next?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

They shine

You're such a drama queen!

I can't tell you how many times that phrase is uttered in our household.

Clearly, my children were made for the stage.

Last spring, they started participating in a local community theater for kids.  She wanted to try out for Charlotte's Web.  He decided to try out on a lark while we were there.  He was offered a part, and she was not.

I may or may not have gotten her a puppy to make her feel better when she didn't make it.  Then, we got a call saying they would like her to be in the play as one of the little goslings.  So, she got a puppy and a part.  (Please don’t remind her father of this, he’s not thrilled about it still.)

I watch them on stage, and I see them shine.  It doesn't matter when they don’t get a big role or that they don't have many lines.  They love what they’re doing.  If you've ever watched your kids play "house" or "school" in their own bedrooms, you might be able to begin to imagine the excitement of a real script, costumes, music, stage lights, microphones, and a live audience.

For their first show, they invited everyone they knew.  And these kids?  They know some people.  Aside from wonderfully supportive close family and family friends, though, no one came.  I watched them as they signed autographs after the show.  They were watching eagerly for familiar faces.  This was, after all, a Big Deal.  For them, at least.  They just knew that everyone would come.  My heart broke a little for them as they realized their friends weren’t coming after all.

The next show was a summer musical, Aladdin, Jr., followed by a spring performance of Jack and the Giant Beanstalk.  Right now they are performing in their 2nd summer musical, Annie, Jr.

The boy had to miss some football practices recently because of rehearsals.  At his next practice, a teammate asked him where he had been.

Oh, I had dress rehearsals for the play I’m in, was his reply.

Who gives a crap about your stupid play?  You’re supposed to be playing football, the kid said with derision.

He's a boy of many talents...

My boy didn’t answer him, he just shrugged and walked off to get some water.

I wasn’t there, but I’m told my mother set him straight.  (Grandmas are good like that.)  If I had been there?  I suppose my answer would have been to tell the kid that Cole “gives a crap” about his play, and that’s all that really matters.  I tend to be a little bit too vocal with other kids, though, so it’s best that I wasn’t there.

You know the scene in A Field of Dreams where the little girls says that people will come?  Ha.

As they continue to take the stage, it is clear they are doing it for themselves, not for anyone else.  Because, aside from grandparents and a special few family friends, people don’t come.

A very wise woman imparted some words of wisdom to me recently: All you can do is show up, tell your truth, and don't be attached to the outcome.  She was speaking in the context of mothering, but I think this is such a powerful lesson that applies to so many aspects of life.

These kids are not attaching themselves to the outcome, they’re just loving what they’re doing.

The girl asked me on Saturday, Who is coming that we know tonight?  I told her that I didn’t think anyone we knew would be in the audience.  It didn’t seem to matter, though.  It didn’t make them not want to perform.  They were going to be there doing something they loved either way.

The people that don’t come?  They’ll miss out on a night of fun.  Us, though?  We were there.  Every. Single. Time.  And, more importantly, they were there, these kids of ours, and they were full of life and lighting up the stage with their fellow actors.

And they were making memories.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Just a peaceful Saturday morning

Ah, Saturday morning... Nowhere to be, nothing pressing to do.

Sleeping in sounds like a marvelous plan.  The girl child is at her grandma's house, the boy and the hubs are going for their Saturday morning bike ride...I'll be home all alone.

Peace, quiet, and solitude on a Saturday morning.  How delicious is that??

6:00am:  His alarm clock goes off.  I ignore it and go back to sleep.

6:15am:  The tiny dog knows they are up and starts whining to be let out of his crate.

6:30am:  They are clattering around the house in their bicycle cleats.  Can't find chamois cream, can't find heart rate monitor, etc.

7:00am:  Laundry happening right outside my bedroom door.  Dryer squeaks like nails on chalkboard.

7:10am:  They continue to come in and out of bedroom, talking to me and turning on the light in my eyes.  Headache begins to develop.  I decide I'm not going back to sleep after all.  Decide to watch Game of Thrones while no one is home. (Kids can't see, husband thinks it's weird.)

Try to turn on show, cannot connect Apple TV to iTunes.  Go to computer, someone has unplugged it. Plug it in, boot it up.  Back to bedroom to watch.

7:15am: Boys leave (finally)!

7:20am: Find my place in the show, settle in to watch show and sip coffee (that the boy so kindly made and brought to me before he left).

7:34am:  Phone rings.  "The boy forgot to take his meds, can you bring them to us, meet us at the Chevron?"


7:45am: Arrive at Chevron.  Sit and wait 25 minutes.

8:10am: Phone rings.  "We're at the Chevron.  You're not here."  I'm at the wrong Chevron.

8:20am:  Arrive at correct Chevron, get chastised for not knowing their route better (even though I've never ridden that particular ride with them).

8:30am: Go back home, traveling behind a dumbass going 35 in 55mph zone.

9:00am:  It's too early for wine, but it's never too early for chocolate.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer blues

The festivities were over.  The holiday had been productive and relaxing, the fireworks show had been oooh'd and aaah'd over, and the wine had been plentiful.  It had been a good day.

All that was on her mind was tucking the children into bed and then, perhaps, getting a little cozy with her husband.

As the headlights hit the house, she saw water rushing down the driveway.

What the hell is that? she asked in alarm.

I don't know, he said, but it can't be good.

They tried to go in the back gate, but the gate was barricaded with detritus from the deck.  Furniture was toppled.  Debris was scattered.  She couldn't quite grasp what was going on.

The pool blew, he said.

Oh, God.

That can't be right.  She had just spent the day, the whole week, really, doing pool maintenance.  This above ground pool thing had seemed like such a good idea at the time.  It had been more work than she had anticipated, but the cool water, the tan she was acquiring, had been worth the time and effort. They'd run into some hiccups along the way...

(As it turns out, it's fine to put your pool equipment on cinderblocks, but you should not put the cinderblocks in close proximity of the vinyl pool.  When kids play, the pool moves.  Friction happens.  Holes ensue.)

But they had just fixed it all up.  She had just finished that day, in fact, with fresh water, a fresh bag of salt, and new mulch around the pool.

She had even, in her optimism, bought hanging plants for outside (and her black thumb be damned).

She had decided that the pool, small and humble though it was, was her new happy place.  Floating in the pool for an hour, basking in the sunshine, was better than a Xanax, better than a couple of glasses of wine.  Floating in the pool was calorie free, and she was getting a nice tan on her pasty white body.  In just a few short weeks, she was asking the pool where it had been all of her life.

Now it had exploded?

There was too much water to deny it was happening.  But there had been too much wine to let go of her denial.

She went back around front and into the house.  As she walked through the living room, she sloshed through standing water.  She found more of the same in the kitchen.

She kicked her shoes off and sloshed to her bedroom, where the carpet squished with water.

The children were asking questions.  What happened?  What are we gonna do?  How did the pool explode?  Dad, why is Mom crying?  

The facts were these:  The aforementioned hole had ruptured.  Spectacularly.  3500 gallons of water rushed out toward their house like a tidal wave, sweeping the patio furniture, pool toys, pottery, pool equipment, mulch, and their grill across the deck.  Mulch stuck halfway up the floor-to-ceiling window was indicative of how high the water had rushed up before it receded.

Friends and family came to help.  Floors were dried.

Carpet was removed.

Sweeping,mopping, and vacuuming went on for days. Sheetrock was cut out so walls could dry.

New insulation was installed.  New sheetrock was hung.  The back deck and yard were put to rights.

All in all, she realizes it could have been worse.


Every day she stares out at her back yard with the gaping hole that used to hold her happy place, and she mourns.  She didn't know she could mourn a pain-in-the-ass above ground vinyl pool, but it left a void.  She's currently looking on craigslist for a replacement.

Too soon? she asks him innocently.

His only response is to looks at her with reproach.

And so, she will drink wine...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Swimsuit dilemma

Ah, swimsuit season.  How I loathe thee.

I have shed some weight lately.  Not as much as I had hoped to by the start of summer, but 20 pounds is no small feat, either.  I'll keep trying.

Meanwhile, I need a new swimsuit.

I was wearing a 16/18.  Not anymore!  That's the good news.

I've been swimsuit shopping twice in the last week.  No more plus sizes for me!  Now, I'm trying on 12s (and even some 10s!).  This is a Big Deal.


Suddenly I realize that I will never be able to buy a swimsuit in a size 10 or 12.

It appears that the swimsuit manufacturers think that only fat girls need bust support.

"Oh, we have bra sizes.  We go up to DD," says the sales girl proudly.

Well isn't that fantastic.  I was a DD in college before pregnancy and breastfeeding took their toll on the girls.  We need to travel a little further along the alphabet to get to where I need to be.

Thankfully, there are some beautifully made bras out there that help to mould your poor, sad, tired girls back into shape.

Seriously, ladies... Most of you are wearing the wrong size bra.  I promise.  A quality bra that fits correctly will do wonders for your figure and your self esteem.  Stay away from department stores.  They are not your friend.

But I digress...

Unfortunately, the same does not hold true for swimsuits.

Bust support is non-existent, even with the suits that proclaim their supportive attributes.

The girls end up either squished flat, oozing out the sides, pouring out the top in a grotesque parody of a décolletage, or just totally distorting the intended shape of the swimsuit.

It's a nightmare.

I found one (ONE!) that would work for me.  It was a miracle.  It was also $135 dollars.  Just for the top.

Back to the drawing board...

I decided to try a local plus size store, thinking I'd have better luck.  They laughed me out of the store.

Girl, what you think gonna fit you in this store?  What are you, a size 8?
Why no, but thank you, you just made my day.
Try Old Navy, they carry your size.

No one seems to fully understand The Boob Problem.

The husband's advice? Wear a T-shirt.

Why yes, nothing says I'm uncomfortable with my body like a chick hanging out in the pool with a T-shirt on.  Sigh.

Disclaimer: The husband says I make him sound like a jerk in my blog posts.  My answer to that?  Wow, Honey, why does it always have to be about you??  Kidding!  Only kidding.  So, just so we're all clear:  I love my husband.  He's a dear, dear man and a wonderful father. There, are you happy now?