Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Maybe I'll try olives next

Who's seen Mouse Hunt? For those who haven't, it's a super cute holiday movie about two brothers who inherit a really old house from their Father, but it's a wreck and they have to fix it up so they can get rich selling it.

Too bad there's a mouse living behind the walls, and this little furry creature manages to evade all traps and the brothers' (and Christopher Walken's) efforts to catch him only end up bringing the house to the ground.

I have this very mouse living underneath my kitchen cabinets. It is neither super nor cute in this holiday season.

I have been on a quest to catch this mouse (and all of his friends) for more than 2 months now.

It all started one Sunday evening. There we were, relaxing in front of an episode of Homeland (which is stressful enough), when out of the corner of my eye I see movement in the dining room.

There he was...evil thing. And to make it worse, that little brownish-gray creature was doing dances on the hardwood floors no more than 30 feet from me.

UGH

Immediately, I leave Richard on the couch and head to the grocery store for traps.

I set those things all over the kitchen and entrance to the dining room and was absolutely certain I would have myself a mouse by morning.

Nope.

Fast forward a few weeks and we all came home for the evening to discover one poor mousy soul who had met his match...but it wasn't the one I saw.

Okay okay that's progress. We'll just leave the traps out and eventually we'll get "the one", right?

No mouse.

Fast forward a few more weeks and I could hear him chewing his way through something underneath the kitchen cabinets. It got so loud that I found myself yelling "PIPE DOWN!!" when I was trying to hear the news on TV. Just like having another kid in the house.

Now he's a resident.

Fast forward another week and I realized that there was a significant space between the fridge and the cabinets, which were hollow underneath, so I set a trap right there....I'm getting this mouse!

The very next day.....

I'll tell you what you can do with that trap....

I was clearly losing the battle against this creature. Thanks for the lovely dryer lint nest, Mr. Mouse.

Not being one to give up easily, I checked all the traps to be sure they were set properly and continued to wait.....and wait.....

The chewing had since stopped so I thought that maybe we got lucky and he found another family to torture, when just two days later, I was sitting on the couch and once again spotted this little turd scooting around the dining room.

Now it's on, little mouse.

I ran into the kitchen and loaded 4 more traps with gobs of peanut butter, totally confident that by the next day I would have that mouse where I wanted him.

Next day...no mouse.

Is he the only mouse on the planet who doesn't like peanut butter??

Maybe we should just keep him as a pet.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I don't get it

So.... quite a while ago I took notice of something that other parents do all too often and, having kids myself, I just don't get it AT ALL. I saw it again just this morning so I'm feeling the need to complain about it.

Why would anyone in their right mind let their kid COVER the back seat windows with stickers?

Those cars are everywhere....and all you can see as they drive by you on the highway is a back seat window with little teeny white splotches all over it, some unsuccessfully torn off leaving that lovely adhesive (read: concrete) behind.

Why?

What made this all so much worse for me was the car I saw this morning...a not-at-all cheap Mercedes with tinted windows and (ugh) STICKERS on this inside of the window. I mean, I get that your kid it at that perfect height while sitting in a car seat, but what's wrong with giving him/her a toy to play with, preferably one that doesn't involve adhesive...or how about just look out the window, kid. You might see something crazy. I see crazy shit all the time.

My kids have never had the urge to put stickers on the window. They would just put them all over themselves and their clothing, which would end up in the wash...and then the dryer...and we have some great worn-in sweatshirts with adhesive "stains" on them (I swear, it doesn't come off)...but NOT the car windows.

The occasional Cheerio in the impossible-to-access spaces between the seat and the seat belt buckle?Yes. Stickers? Hell no.

I don't even like going through the effort to scrape off my county registration sticker and replace it with a new one every year.

This is the only car sticker I approve of


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday? What holiday?

Here we go again. This time of year is always a bit of a nightmare considering all the crap we have to cram in between Halloween and New Years. And everyone hates each other by the time it's all over.

Just like last year, we're insanely busy and everyone is all cranky and completely over it. And THIS year, it's like Halloween barely happened and Thanksgiving was just the day we drove all over the place to eat too much...and then stayed up til after midnight so we could go get the Macy's coffee table we've been stalking for months. (Damn thing wasn't on sale. Fascists.)

Enter the Christmas season. Not only have I not purchased a single gift for anyone other than myself (relax, I bought myself a new blender) but I have no clue what the kids want.

Two nights ago I asked both kids to get with it and write their letters to Santa. This was just after the Macy's red mailbox commercial came on, to which they replied "there's no way that mail goes to the North Pole, I'm sure it just sits in the post office".

Punks.

I know my kids are almost 11, but Santa was the LAST mythical being they believed in so it would be a bummer if they decide not to now. They know the Tooth Fairy is just Mom trying to sneak a dollar under their pillows (busted) so I'm certain this is just another thing to question.

Alexander told me the other day he has "doubts about all this Santa stuff".

So back to the letters....Clifford managed to scratch one out right then and there, which I could barely read so I'm planning to ask him to rewrite it, I think it included a Pocket Bike, so....NO, and Alexander just asked for "a wonderful Christmas".

Where's your list of crap???

I hate this age. Too old to ask for Tonka trucks and believe a collection of garden gnomes put them together and had a fat man drop them under the tree...and too young to move out of my house, get jobs, and be happy with an unwrapped bottle of vodka.

Lose/lose.

And let's not forget their birthday is 3 days beforehand. At least I don't have to plan any elaborate parties this year, thanks to all those Cs.

Monday, November 19, 2012

How to grieve like a 5th grader

Report card time is officially upon us. This middle-of-November annual ritual of finally seeing how things went at school during the first quarter can go one of two ways....

"You made honor roll?? Sweet, let's party elementary school style"

Or

"Mannnnn the holidays are gonna suck for you"

This year being the kids' final year before they have to be all responsible in middle school, I've been extra diligent about following them around the house hounding them about doing their homework and making sure their assignments were completed and turned in. I've been stressing this for months.

"If you don't fill out your reading log, your teacher won't know you actually read, and you won't get a job and you'll have to live in a box."

It was working....for a minute,

The problem is (if you can call it a problem) my kids are very bright. They ace most of their tests and score incredibly high on those crazy aptitude tests and SOLs that I completely bombed when I was a kid. They just hate the extras. Extras being actually filling out the reading log to PROVE you had your nose buried in The Hunger Games for the last hour. So the extras, the EASY stuff, didn't get done no matter how many times I reminded them.

So about two months ago I warned both of them that I knew they would be easy-ins for the honor roll if they would just keep up with the simple stuff like reading logs and using colored pencils in your Science notebook because your Science teacher is a little nuts and a regular pencil just doesn't cut it....and oh by the way, if you don't get all As and Bs like I know you should, privileges are gone for the entire second grading period.

That includes no iPods, Wii, TV, birthday party. I've been warning them almost daily. They assured me they were fine.

This is where the 5 stages of loss come in.

Today report cards came in. Clifford: C in Writing, Alexander: C in Reading and a C in Science. (Damn colored pencils).

Peace out, privileges.

So after the initial "I'm terribly disappointed" conversation where I was certain I could guilt them into trying harder, I reminded them of the dreaded consequences for not making grades. And this is what I heard.....

"But what do you meannnnnn???????" (Denial)

"You can't take away our birthday!! Who would do that?? That's so meannnnnnnn!!!" (Anger)

**I considered chiming in at this point to explain that the Mayans have managed to do that job for me this year since the kids' birthday falls one day after the calendar supposedly ceases to exist, but I held onto that one. For the time being.

"But 3 whole months?? What if we do chores, what if we behave?????" (Bargaining)

.....Silence.......... I think this is the Depression stage.

They're both downstairs right now not making a sound. Alexander had his head in his hands with the meanest look he could possible conjure up when I walked past him earlier so I'm hoping that by simply leaving the room they'll both move on to the Acceptance stage and we can still eat dinner without any incidents.

We'll see.

I'm super mean (according to them) and this may end up being somewhat of a punishment for me....but I warned them.

I should probably sleep with one eye open for a little while.




Friday, November 16, 2012

And just like that...it's gone

Snarky kids get things taken away. I keep telling mine if they don't stop running their mouths and being generally nasty toward each other and everyone in the house I'll start to take the really big stuff away.

Lately it's been a week of TV here, no iPods for a month there, writing "I will not yell at my mom" 100 times, none of it seems to have real impact. They just holler louder and I just drink more wine.

Enter the end-of-soccer-season party at Johnny Rockets.

This party was one of those where the other parents on the team thought that having the party the same day and time that soccer practice was originally scheduled would be a fabulous idea. Unfortunately it was from 5-6 on a Wednesday requiring me to leave work early to grab the kids and get them to this thing, so not very convenient, but still doable. AND to pile it all on, the kids had a "come see all the crap I've been working on in school" night later that same evening. Ugh.

I'm pretty sure all this impending excitement was the reason for Clifford's well-timed meltdown that morning. Alexander had the same meltdown just a day earlier so there was either a full moon, or the kids were just being little turds. I leaned toward assuming it was latter.

So the morning of the party as we were all attempting to get ready for school and work, as if that isn't difficult enough, Clifford decided to open his mouth. From the moment he cracked an eye he was in a crappy mood and made everyone aware.

I couldn't even tell you what the actual problem was, aside from a case of "pain in the ass kid" but after the 47th nasty comment came flying out I blurted "HEY! You know that all I have to do is stay at work today instead of leaving early and taking you to the soccer party."

You would have though that just the idea of the party disappearing would have made the kids shut it, but no.

He kept on and I made the grand announcement that there would indeed be no party. So there.

Clearly they don't believe a word I say, let alone believe I would ever follow through with such a threat....that is until I didn't pick them up.

At about 5:15 the calls started to come in, which of course I let go to voicemail. Sad and very pitiful little voice messages from Clifford asking me if I was "still planning to pick him up".

Nope. Not til 6:00 little man.

I finally got over to the school which was already packed full of other parents prepared to wander the halls looking at all the crap their kids were doing in school, and down the hallway I see Alexander. All puffy-faced and red-eyed with a look of shock that I could actually NOT pick them up for the party.

After explaining that there was no party because behavior was bad and that his behavior actually WAS crappy the day before and no, everything doesn't reset the next day, I spy Clifford....angrily kicking his lunchbox down the hall.

"Told ya I would follow through. Next time maybe you'll listen to me when I tell you to knock it off."

 I also made it clear that if they melted down over this then I would also take away the arts thing so they had better watch their butts.

I think they finally got it. Maybe.

Until the next time when they decide that no punishment in the world could deter them from beating the crap out of each other in the living room.

Wine......

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Everyone likes surprises

Unless of course it's a surprise shot at the pediatrician's office.

It was once again well-visit time for the kids and since we were already home bound due to the election, I thought to schedule their check-ups for yesterday.

Naturally, the most frequently asked question from either of the kids is "do we have to get any shots?" and the answer is always "no". I can't remember the last time they had to have a shot. They definitely opt for the flu mist, so that alleviates any doctor visit anxiety automatically, but most of their vaccinations were done years ago. So no shots.

Well, apparently you can't go into 6th grade without a shot of something called TdaP. Couldn't even begin to tell you what it's for, but the doctor just blurted out "oh, they need a TdaP shot so they can go into 6th grade next year blah blah blah..."

Clifford got a somewhat concerned look on his face, but managed to man-up and decided to be "okay" with it. He wanted to tough it out. Good man.

Alexander, on the other hand, was sitting on the exam table and proceeded to curl himself into a ball tight enough for me to actually go bowling with him and dissolved into a pile of tears and "I'm about to be marched to my death" anxiety.

"No no no NO NO NO NO NO, YOU SAID NO SHOTTTTTTTSSSSS!!!!!"

What followed was a series of "I can't do this"s and "I WON'T do this"s and despite my best efforts to use calming statements like "hey, Clifford will go first and he can tell you all about it", he was a mess. He cried all the way through his exam with a look of terror on his face. 

Begging and pleading, unfortunately (for him) to no avail.

Cut to the poor nurse coming in with the little tray of stuff, which included the dreaded death needles, along with the flu mist.

Considering Alexander was experiencing a psychotic break and had stuffed himself into the most remote corner of the teeny exam room, we opted to take care of Clifford first. Flu mist...check. Super easy. Shot in the arm...he took a deep breath, closed his eyes preparing for the worst, and just like that it was over. Nada. Hooray.

He immediately tried to convince Alexander there was nothing to be concerned about, but that worked about as well as if he had said "oh hey, it's gonna feel like someone just pulled your arm off".

We got Alexander back on the exam table, managed to get him to deal with the flu mist....and now it was time for the physical restraining.

I've had to do this before, like when the kids had to have their blood drawn for allergy testing a few years ago (that involved me, Alexander, 4 nurses, and we all broke a sweat).

So, I pulled him off the table, bear-hugged him attempting to reveal his left shoulder while the nurse, God bless her, was just as calm as can be and through all the screams rivaling that of a 1970's slasher film, got that TdaP in that arm of his without skipping a beat.

The SECOND she said "see? all done", Alexander spins around and through tears and a face full of agony looks at me and says "mom, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry....It didn't hurt at all and I was expecting it to feel like the shots I got when I got stitches".

Ahh, the beauty of the guilt trip.

Of course I said it was fine and he no longer has anything to worry about since he now knows what to expect when it comes to shots. All was well with the world again.

Until today when he got a fever from that TdaP shot and had to be snatched from school.

Anxiety reset.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Stolen grapes taste better

How do you turn a long weekend into a really long weekend? Throw a hurricane on it.

It was time once again for my pesky birthday. This year, however, I managed to win the title of "Megan's Plus 1" to her friend Neil's wedding in San Francisco.
Don't have to ask me twice.

So we were off. Off to spend 2 days in Napa and 2 days in San Francisco. Delightful.

We arrived without incident, snagged the rental car, and headed up to California wine country. It was beautiful. A tasting here, some cheese there, we stomped grapes, we got souvenir shirts, we took great pictures. Perfect weather, couldn't ask for a better time.

I even stole grapes to bring back for Richard because they tasted better than any other grape he's ever dragged me to Korean grocery stores to buy.

Two days later we were headed back down to San Francisco for the wedding. By the time we sat down to dinner I had a voicemail from United informing me the flight back was cancelled due to the crappy hurricane that was about to pound the East coast.

We knew it was coming. We'll deal with it tomorrow.

The next day, after wandering the city for a while, I waited on hold for about an hour and finally got us rebooked on another flight....3 days after the original one.

Well, looks like we're makin' this a longer trip. Whoopsie. Sorry, Work, you won't be seeing us in the office for a while.

Meanwhile, back at home, Richard was dangerously close to throwing himself in traffic because the kids were nuts, school was being cancelled, and I was about to miss their first Halloween since they were born.

But we still had those grapes on ice. I was proud of us.

Thankfully we could get a friends and family discount (thanks Kim!) at the airport Marriott, even though it meant Megan having to pretend to be Kim's mom. That's what it said on the form, it must be true.

Time to check into hotel number three.

We extended the time on the rental car an extra day so we could take a day trip south to see what's what and we found ourselves in Santa Cruz for an entire afternoon. It was there I decided sorry kids, but I'm just going to have to move here. It was gorgeous.

We stopped in Cupertino on the way back to thank Apple for forcing us to spend all our money on their stuff. Considered stopping at Facebook to give that Mark Zuckerberg a smack in the face because his mobile app sucks, but decided against it.

Instead we ditched the rental and spent our last day bumming around the airport Marriott watching hours of HGTV and hurricane coverage eating all the snacks we bought. Snacks for stranded people, they're the best kind.

We stopped posting pictures of awesome weather on Facebook because all our friends on the East coast dealing with the hurricane were getting pissed off. It was the least we could do after all the devastation the Northeast endured.
Thoughts and prayers to my peeps.

The stolen grapes were still all cozy in the hotel room fridge. And at that point it was my mission to get those things home still looking like grapes and not just a bag of mush.

The flight home was actually on time, which we considered a small miracle, but was leaving from the international terminal so it was highly likely we were going back to Washington by way of Shanghai. We were on a plane so we were happy.

Delays aside it was a great trip and getting stranded wasn't all that bad. Especially since it was in the SFO airport Marriott.

Now on to the kids' Halloween candy-induced diabetes.

Fun times and a great birthday!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Foot-eating babies, and other weird Halloween crap

This past Saturday Richard and I took the boys up to the Blockbuster-Video-turned-Halloween-store place so they could pick out their costumes. Normally they just page through the free magazines that show up at the house, pick something and I order it. This year, we decided to actually do some looking around at all the Halloween nonsense that's for sale out there. And there's a ton.

Most of the stuff is typical Halloween crap that jumps out at you from behind bushes or mannequins with disgusting, bloody faces and dangling eyeballs, but I noticed one thing that made me stop and actually take a picture.

Huh? Apparently babies will eat their own feet on Halloween
Gross.

Of course I had to text it to Megan. Her response? "WTF"

No clue, but I wouldn't be able to sleep knowing that thing is anywhere near my house.
I guess it's just some random "creative" guy's idea of something super gross for people to buy, throw on their porches, and gross out the neighbors. I bet that thing would be stolen more often than all those baby Jesuses in those public Nativity scenes.

No thanks, I'll stick to the happier Halloween stuff.

So back to the costume search.

The kids have been talking a lot about something called a "morph suit". And just like every other year, I have no idea what they're talking about until they either show me a picture or can articulate exactly what it is they want me to buy.

Apparently it's just a full body suit, mask and all. I guess the best way to describe it is it's sort of like one of the Blue Man Group outfits. Sort of.

I let the kids roam the store a little and Clifford decided to settle on this little gem of a "morph suit"....

??????????????????

So you're morphing into a bowling ball this year? This should be fun.

Alexander chose the regular slim-fitting morph suit with the skeleton features, but only because everything else was sold out.

Now the kids can effectively take the neighborhood by storm as a very convincing skeleton and his rolly-polly sidekick.

I predict some injuries this year.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I'm a genius inventor now

Is it weird that I think the only thing that's missing from my shower is a shelf to hold a glass of wine? I don't think so either. I'm inventing this...patent pending, y'all!

I decided to start running again. Not from the cops, but for exercise. Obviously to get back into shape, but also so I can run from the kids and actually get away. Those little turds are quick.

So today when I finally struggled through another run, I was naturally a sweaty mess and needed a shower afterward, and since I now work out in the evenings my shower landed about 30 minutes before the boys were supposed to go to bed.

There I am, enjoying my blazing hot shower, reveling in basically the only time and silence I truly get to myself throughout the day and I hear *knock knock knock Mom? Knock knock knock Mom? knock knock knock MOMMM???*

Just like Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, only more annoying.

"Oh my God, WHATTT????? I'm in the showerrrr!"

"Ummm when you get out of the shower, can you tuck me in?"

"Yes, Alexander" and I know it's Alexander although I can barely hear the kid, because he's my momma's boy. Clifford could give a shit.

You know, when your kids are infants you manage to squeeze in a shower every 3 days when they finally go to sleep. When they're toddlers you decide to just skip showering all together because there's too much of a chance the kid could flush himself (or his brother) down the toilet while you're in there.

Never did I know that they would be almost 11 years old and I would be hearing *knock knock knock Mom? Knock Knock Knock Mom? I don't feel welllll....

"Ugh...go lie down!"

Internal dialogue: I have a glass of wine on my bedside table, I wonder if I should ask Alexander to just hand it to me while I'm in the shower. He definitely would.....nah, Dr. Phil wouldn't approve of such parenting. Never mind.

"Go to bed, Alexander, I'll tuck you in, I promise."

End of glorious shower.

Tomorrow night I'm taking that glass of wine in there with me.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We're starving, open the trunk

Since yesterday was Columbus Day, the kids went to their all-time favorite place, the dreaded back-up daycare, so they were understandably in an awesome mood by the time I picked them up.

Unfortunately, what has turned into somewhat of a tradition became a bit of a nightmare yesterday. The daycare is on the first floor of a big office building so naturally there are some amenities for the people who work in it. One such amenity is the convenience store/dry cleaners/cobbler/last-minute gift card retailer. EVERY time the kids end up in back-up daycare I feel bad enough for sending them there to break down and buy them something from the little store.

Damn holidays....the store closed at 5:00, I picked them up at 5:45, kids were super pissed.

Of course the sudden realization that they couldn't each get a giant bag of Skittles for being forced to endure such torture all day sent them into a frenzy.

"Whattt?? It's closed?? Why didn't you pick us up earlierrrr?!?!?"

Little snots. I had to WORK.

Thankfully I had taken the time to do some grocery shopping right before picking them up, so as we walked to the car I made a case for the random bag of tortilla chips in my collection of groceries in the trunk to be a suitable replacement for the giant bag of Skittles. They didn't really buy it but ate them anyway.

That at least kept them quiet for most of the drive home.

I have to say, though, I can't ignore the fact they're totally too old for this place, even if they're too young to stay home. The "teachers" give out little sheets for each kid describing what they did after their parents dumped them into their own personal Hell. My kids are old enough to at least fill some of it out themselves. This is Clifford's:

Next visit, I'll try to get evidence that the fort is actually bigger

And if that isn't enough of a clue, over the weekend Alexander made the grand declaration that he knows the Tooth Fairy isn't real because he busted me digging his tooth out from underneath his pillow. The last tooth he lost was easily 8 months ago. This kid can keep a secret. But I digress.

On top of the kids being stuck in a daycare they hate, upon picking them up the center director was very willing to share with me how patient Clifford was to sit perfectly still and not freak out when the smaller, clearly more annoying kid sitting next to him during story time was poking him in the ribs. 

Next dreaded back-up daycare days are in a little more than a week. I have a feeling I may have to buy their cooperation this time. I might have to cough up more than the Tooth Fairy.

Monday, October 8, 2012

And then there's the dreaded back-up daycare

The kids will turn 11 this December. So naturally they think of themselves as perfectly well-adjusted adults who wouldn't possibly require supervision of ANY kind. Makes sense, right?

Each school year I always find myself mildly blown away by the sheer number of teacher work days, report card preparation days, school holidays on the school's calendar. And since the kids attend an after school program that only operates when school is in session, I am in a position to come up with an alternative solution.

Enter the corporation-sponsored back-up daycare.

Not far from where I work there is a daycare center where for about $30 a day I can unload the kids on some poor, unsuspecting and likely unwilling sucker. The kids HATE it. And sadly despite my efforts to strategically place all of my vacation days around these school closure days, the monsters have to endure this place about 11 times per year.

Don't get me wrong, this place is awesome. It's the only option I have on these days when school is closed besides hiring a ridiculously expensive nanny, or just letting the kids stay home by themselves to burn the house to the ground. Mom's gotta work, kids, or we get to live in the car.

This particular daycare wasn't so bad for a few years, but now that the kids are getting older they are literally counting the days to when they turn 12 and are technically "too old" to be enrolled. Unfortunately, they're right. Those smart little farts know exactly what the deal is so I can't even attempt to lie about it.

So I have one more year (ish) to come up with a solution that doesn't involve a backup care program that "has nothing but babies and little kids". Thus the reason the kids would rather chew their own arms off than go.

I do feel badly for them. I don't really remember much about being almost 11 years old, but I'm certain I thought I was ready to get my own apartment by then. So it's become very obvious to me that I will soon have "tweens" on my hands. Tweens who think they are at least 25 years old and are wayyyyy above the dreaded back-up daycare.

Maybe I can get them jobs.....

Monday, October 1, 2012

What's the matter with this kid?

The kids are either being secretly poisoned by friends of theirs, or I have two kids with very delicate immune systems that like to cause trouble at the worst possible times.

After the little salmonella incident I've noticed that these two seem to be a lot sicker than they ever have been in previous years. We would go more than a year without so much as a snotty nose, and now I've got pukey kids.

Last night, about an hour and a half after falling asleep, on a Sunday night, before having to be at work in the morning, I hear "MOMMMMMM!"

I go stumbling down to the kids' rooms and see Alexander hovering face first over the toilet telling me how he was "terrified" he was going to start throwing up again. After all, the last time was no picnic.

I, of course, did what any reasonable and exhausted mother would do...I tried to talk him out of it.

"Nooo you're fiiiine, you just have an upset stomach....c'mon, let's go back to bed."

Alexander wouldn't dream of going back into his room unless he was armed with the bathroom trash can so I emptied it out and tucked him, and the trash can, into bed.

No lie, 2 minutes later the kid was throwing up and I'm thinking "Againnnnnnn???? what's wrong with this kid???"

That began an hour of me watching Alexander carefully hurl into the bathroom trash can, so as to not get any on the floor like last time, and the whole time I'm going down the list of things he had eaten during the day.

"Did you eat anything weird?"
"No."
"You were at Carter's for a while today, did you eat anything weird there?"
"No."
"Seriously, what did you eat that was so orange??"
"Carrots, Mom, jeez."
"Well, I don't get it."

After that hour, Richard took over and things settled down after a few more dry-heaves.

So gross.

This morning it was like nothing happened. Alexander felt perfectly fine and besides not feeling comfortable eating breakfast, was otherwise his normal self.

I still don't get it. The only change I've made since the kids came home from their summer away was to try to get them on this Gluten fee/Casein free diet, which is supposed to make you feel better, not worse.

Maybe it was the Casein free/preservative free deli meat that he thought would make a great sandwich on Saturday, but decided not to eat til Sunday. Jury's out, but the deli meat will go in the trash for good measure.

Time to start Googling.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chasin' crickets

Tis the season for those horrifying camel crickets. They make their way through the teeny cracks in the foundation and take up residence in the basement.

There, they wait in silence to scare the CRAP out of you by leaping in your direction when you inadvertently get too close. They're DISGUSTING. And they're all over the basement. YUCK.

I tell the kids, if you can catch them they must be flushed because I'm convinced once they get evicted, they just move back in when you're not looking only to be discovered when you're dragging a 47lb basket of dirty laundry down to the washing machine. Light goes on....HOP!

Vomit.

This morning was such a morning. Richard came up from the basement looking all wide eyed claiming that at least 5 scattered when he turned the light on. The kids immediately went down to try to catch them promising to flush, per my instructions. They were too quick (crickets, not the kids), and then they had to leave for the bus (kids, not the crickets) so all that was left was a bottle of indoor/outdoor bug killin' spray and as much determination as I could scrape together while still in my bathrobe.

I got the job done. And by the way, found a total of ONE cricket, not the 5 previously reported. They're probably doing what they do best- hiding in the sneaky spaces so they can leap out at me when I least expect it guaranteeing a mild stroke. I got one of you, though! Tell your friends.

I'll take crickets over spiders any day, but I would rather have the only creepy crawlies found in the house to be the kids.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Another one to add to the "save for when he's an adult" file

Both of the boys have said some pretty "adult" things in the past, and sometimes those random moments end up memorialized on paper.

Like Clifford's rant about Alexander being a "video game nerd", which was actually submitted as a writing assignment, and Alexander's very impressive essay submitted as his official bid to become a safety patrol.

Well, I found another keeper....Alexander came home from school yesterday with several things in his backpack, which usually means he has more homework than he's willing to admit. Homework is the subject of great meltdowns in our house. Because homework sucks (according to the kids). But I digress.

He fessed up to the math and began to work on that while I rummaged through the rest of the stuff. I came across one of those old-school composite notebooks that they still use for writing and such and on the first page I found Alexander's very thoughtful explanation of what 'poetry' is.

It wasn't the very descriptive statements about what poetry can be, such as "talking about someone or something like what it's doing or describing its colors, its texture, what it's seeing and all that..."
And it wasn't so much how it started:

Okay, pretty straight forward

It was how it ended:

I don't know where this kid learned to wrap up paragraphs, but I like it


Of course it made me laugh almost to the point I gave myself away. He would have thought I was making fun of him when I actually found this very definitive ending to a well thought-out paragraph about poetry to be very creative.

So that's it...that's poetry. Just so there's no confusion.

At least he's clear.




Monday, September 17, 2012

Just sprinkle some salmonella on it

Apparently the universe didn't think my life was interesting enough with 2 10-year-olds, so it decided to take things up a notch this past weekend.

Nana left the building on Saturday morning so we were ALL up at 5AM to say goodbye. Of course when you're 10, you wouldn't even consider going back to sleep after that. So the kids were up.

I, on the other hand, returned from dropping my Mom at the airport and promptly crashed. The kids? Up. And 'up' means sneaking around the house looking for ways to get into trouble.

Over the summer, they kids learned how to cook their own eggs in a pan and for some reason, 'sunny side up' became a favorite, despite pleas from Richard to cook it til it was DEAD. Some time that Saturday morning, I could smell eggs-a-cookin' and after I made sure the house wasn't actually on fire, I left the kids to it. All was well.

A few hours later, we were at the soccer field for the first game of the season...no drama. They won.

Cut to early Saturday evening and both kids started to feel "icky".

Go lie down!

Everything seemed to be fine, but Clifford wasn't hungry at dinner time when I was whipping up tacos, so he abstained. Not really like him. Alexander ate one and everything was fine....

Later on that night when both kids were asleep, I was just about to do the same when I heard Clifford holler about his stomach.

Me: What's going on?
Clifford: I feel like I'm gonna throw uuuupppp.
Me: Well, maybe you should get down from your loft....
Clifford.......VOMIT

Right in his bed. That was nice.

So I drag him out of bed and into the bathroom and headed to the kitchen to get something to clean all this up. No sooner am I down there do I hear one of the kids holler "HE'S THROWING UPPPPPP!"

My first response, thinking this is Alexander I'm hearing is "I KNOWWWWW".

Then I hear Clifford say "NO...ALEXANDER IS!!"

Oh crap.

I ran upstairs to see Alexander hovering over the toilet, Clifford had moved on to the bathroom trash can, and I managed to run through the mess Alexander made on the top two carpeted stairs in my bare feet.

UGH!!!!!

Projectile vomit and crying kids everywhere.

At one point I even screamed "please stop throwing up!!!!!" Of course they looked at me like I was insane, and I was waiting for their heads to start spinning around like that creepy kid from The Exorcist.

At that point I texted Richard, who was out..."Kids are throwing up everywherrrrrrre!"

"It was the eggs...it was the eggs!!"

Ugh, the eggs.

Richard came home and I promptly put him on dry heave duty, which lasted until roughly 2:30AM. I went to bed, but not before I sanitized my surroundings, and my feet.

The next morning it was as if nothing happened. But of course they'll "never eat another egg ever ever again".

Sure...until next weekend.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Shady moms are underrated

This is how I know I could probably get away with poisoning someone....

Not in a "riveting episode of Snapped" way, but in a "kids are giving me shit so I'll work around it" way.

A little history:

The kids finally started school, and it was a bumpy start at best. The two of them, although 10 year old boys, have the attitudes (and the tendency to whine) like 15 year old girls. Squealing and all.

Something happened within the last year. I'm not certain what, but I now have too crabby bitches on my hands. So from the first day of school a week and a half ago til now, I've seen more mood swings and unexplained behavior than can be found in a David Lynch movie.

It's exhausting.

Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, our morning routine has yet to be established with any success. Clothing needs to be put on, breakfast needs to be consumed, ADHD meds need to be taken. And this last part is not negotiable. I couldn't care less if the kids rolled out of the house wearing pajama bottoms and shirts that are 3 sizes too small, at least they'll have their meds in them.

Which of course has been the subject of 7 AM meltdowns lately. I feel really bad for our new neighbors.

On top of all this craziness, I've decided my life didn't have quite enough challenges so I put the kids on a completely Gluten free/Casein free diet. And being the genius mom that I am, I've been sneaking handfuls of spinach into their morning smoothies (which they love). So...HA! Eat your veggies, boys!

This week I decided to take all this deception to the next level by emptying their ADHD med capsules into the smoothies. A few quick stirs and voila! No more bitching at me over not wanting to swallow giant pills.

And just like with the spinach, I'm certain they know exactly what I'm doing. They figured out the spinach trick soon into our smoothies for breakfast ritual and I didn't know that until I was simultaneously trying to make them and shoo the kids out of the kitchen so they wouldn't be on to me. Alexander spits out "hey Clifford, you know there's spinach in there". Thanks, Alexander.

They still drink them. I win.

Now every morning they get their sneaky spinach and fruit smoothies laced with magical ADHD fairy dust before they even get out of bed. My hope is between that and depriving them of real bread and cheese sticks, they'll settle down and I won't have to write apology notes and stick them on the neighbor's door.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First day of school = the firey gates of hell

The kids came back on August 28. That gave them exactly one week to re acclimate, and gave me exactly one week to want to hide in my closet with a few bottles of wine and someone to talk to (other than the kids).

They were very glad to be home and I was very glad to see them. Of course all that change + two very ADHD 10 year olds + a new house + new rooms + annoying rules (for them) = probably some of the worst behavior ever. Mostly from the kids.

Then came the first day of school. We all knew it was coming and we all knew it would be hell. The kids made it very clear they did NOT wish to be back in school or have anything to do with anything related to school, so you can imagine that the closer we got to the dreaded day after Labor Day, the worse their attitudes became. I was hoping for a good morning, but I really know better.

I did my very best to ignore all that bitching and moaning, but it all came to a head between 6 and 7 AM on that Tuesday morning. That's when the devil(s) showed up.

From the words "time to wake up for school" there were nothing but snarky comments about shirts being too big to wear and hair being "fine, so don't touch it" when in fact they both looked like Sideshow Bob from the Simpsons. I'm certain when I wasn't looking there were a few punches thrown and several "shut up"s tossed back and forth.

Everyone in the house was totally pissed off.

So needless to say there was no first day of fifth grade picture. Clifford left the house in a huff and Alexander walked to the bus stop crying.

A good way to start off the school year. Being a mom is awesome.

By the time I got home from work in the evening almost everything was back to normal. This morning was a much better morning to be going off to school, and we now have a SECOND day of fifth grade picture that isn't so bad.

Everyone cross your fingers for a relatively incident-free school year. No more lighting Legos on fire in the boys bathroom, no more hollering nasty remarks at the other kids in the after-school program, and especially no more beating the crap out of each other. (We can all wish, can't we?)

Monday, August 27, 2012

They're coming back

It's been 9 weeks, but the kids are finally coming back. After a summer filled with fun and sun, skateboard parks and pools, and a very unfortunate encounter between Clifford's face and a diving board (he still has all his teeth)...they're coming back.

They would much rather extend their summer of good times indefinitely, but alas school starts in a week and they have to go. Against their will, of course.

I can't believe I will have 5th graders. They will be at the top of the elementary school food chain this year so let's hope they don't let all that status go to their shrimpy little noggins. There's no room in the new house for all that.

Speaking of the new house, it's almost ready for them. In a brief Skype conversation with the two of them last week, Clifford made the grand announcement that he wants the smaller of the two rooms available for himself because it sounded "cozy". Alexander was perfectly fine claiming the bigger room.

Furniture was finally assembled yesterday and Richard and I decided to make a loft out of Clifford's bed to make the room feel more special. I expect a little man cave will materialize in there somewhere. Hopefully the loft stays aloft.

In Alexander's room, he has the good fortune of having the giant leather chair and ottoman that wouldn't fit nicely in the living room. I'm certain that will be a subject of great debate once those two realize what they're each getting.

Let the royal rumble commence.

All in all it was a very nice, yet lightning fast summer. But back to reality we all go. Back to 6AM wake up calls and crabby kids. Back to lunch bags with smashed applesauce in the bottoms that I love to clean out. Back to tantrums about math homework....I imagine my posts will grow increasingly frequent and be filled with recounts of 10 year old shenanigans so stay tuned.

...a storm is coming.



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I thought I was pretty smart

Apparently I'm just like all the other sheep who wander the aisles of Target thinking they're getting a great deal just by shopping at Target in the first place.

I have been proven wrong.

Today I came across this little nugget of info and I immediately wanted to go running back to the store to get the actual discount on every item I've ever purchased at Target...ever. Of course that will never happen and it was really just a very brief feeling that I had somehow been ripped off.

A little history....I suck at clipping coupons, I see something marked down and convince myself that there's NO WAY I'll ever get a better deal so I just buy the damn thing right then and there, convenience is the one thing that drives my purchasing habits. Sad but true.

I watch those extreme couponing ladies and besides thinking they look like complete nutbags for stockpiling their garages with 42 bottles of root beer that they got for 59 cents (like anyone needs that) I just don't have the patience to behave in that constantly coupon clipping way.

I know it could save me money, but the few times I've attempted to use coupons, one notable moment was at Target, the chick forgot to ring them in and couldn't figure out how to "un-ring" me to then credit me for my coups. The line was building, people were staring.

TOO MUCH HASSLE.

So alas I roll the dice and hope the discount price listed on the little label is a fair one.

But according to the article I found, I now have a secret weapon...I'll just ignore the fact that everyone else who read it knows too.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

It's a work in progress, it may never be finished

Ugh..this house.

Since we've moved into the new house, there's crap everywhere. I can't find anything and the kitchen is hardly recognizable. We're still using plastic cutlery just so we don't have to run the dishwasher. And we still don't have plates because I donated the old dishes and haven't had a chance to pick out new ones. It's sad, really.

I don't even really know if everything made it over from the old house. I packed everything, I saw the movers move it all into the house, the old house was completely empty.
But just as socks are consumed by the dryer, things have disappeared. They might be in the house, but there's no guarantee. Parallel universe...likely explanation.

The kids are coming back in a couple weeks so this is my last chance to get my act together and get all those boxes unpacked and find new homes for all the things that need new homes (read: new closets). I don't know how I managed to donate TONS of stuff and throw even more stuff away and I still have crap everywhere.

It multiplied in the dark....like Gremlins.

Speaking of Gremlins, I had better get the kids' furniture together this weekend or there's a good chance they'll come home and be asked to sleep on the floor.

Could be good for them, but I'll do my best to avoid it.

Urban camping? Maybe. As long as they don't set the house on fire trying to make s'mores.

Sadly that's a real possibility.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sunshine, cocktails, and Mexican bacteria

I think the parasites saw him coming. Poor Richard, all barfy from the mystery cultures that managed to hunt him down while in Cabo.

All in all it was a great trip. Hurricane Ernesto be damned. Cabo turned out to be a fine alternative to cancun, just not for those with delicate systems.

I've travelled internationally several times and Richard has not, therefore I'm convinced that my jaunt through the streets of India several years ago gave me a nice dose of antibodies...so I didn't even blink on this trip to Mexico.

We ate the same food, drank the same booze, I felt like a million bucks, and Richard threw up for 2 days. I wasn't exactly planning to spend some of this vacation playing nurse to the otherwise parasitically susceptible.

So while Richard was confined to the room watching The Vampire Diaries in Spanish and inhaling Pepto, I went down to the pool to drench my iron clad immune system in a mojito.

Yum.

He got over it. And as we sit here in the airport in San Jose Del Cabo, he's decided to play russian roulette with his digestive system by coming back from the snack shop with a can of orange Fanta.

He just can help himself.

Maybe the Fanta will kill off the buggies.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

We can't be friends anymore

Dearest Ernesto,
I'm writing to let you know we can no longer be friends. You show up unannounced at a really bad time and make everyone upset and you want us all to just be okay with it. We're breaking up and that's that.

What does it really take to fit a decent vacation in to two otherwise insanely busy schedules?

I'll tell ya, it takes 4 weddings, a household move, many late nights at work, an adolescent hurricane, several F bombs, high speed Internet access, and a few Xanax.

All I wanted was to take a vacation this summer. The kids are in Utah and after devoting all of my time to other people for the past 2 months, I thought the trip Richard and I planned to sunny Cancun would be the perfect way wrap it all up before they come back to yell at me about how dumb homework is.

I was an idiot to think it would all go off without a hitch.

The weddings are done, the move didn't kill us, so all that was left was vacation time. Woo hoo!

Yesterday morning we woke up and turned on the news, as usual, and were greeted by the one jerk who would threaten to destroy that perfect end to the summer....Ernesto.

Although Ernesto was technically a tropical storm, he had great designs to grow up to be a nasty, alcoholic, abusive hurricane and he planned to bust through the Cancun door smack dab in the middle of our glorious vacation.

I just want to sit in a chair and have a little man bring me a really big drink! Apparently that's too much to ask.

The news of Ernesto's impending destruction of our perfect vacation was enough to set off a shitstorm that would take the entire day to sort out. And we were supposed to leave the next morning.

After a few texts from Richard pleading his case to just cancel the whole damn thing, I came unglued.

NO we will not just cancel! We will go somewhere else! There was no way I was not getting my glorious vacation and instead just sitting at home while he worked and worked and worked.

Nope. F bombs.

Finally getting my way and making it very clear that I would not be staying home, Richard cracked and agreed to go somewhere else. (damn right).

Thank God for travel insurance. What a great invention. We got 100% of our trip money back and vouchers for future flights and promptly booked a brand new trip to the part of Mexico Ernesto hadn't planned to punch in the face. And all this came together less than 12 hours prior to departure. I hope we don't end up in Mexican gang territory by mistake.

Today, after all that nonsense, we're on our way to the dry side of Mexico so I can sit in my chair with my big drink. And Richard is finally not thinking about work every 3 minutes (Xanax).

So take that, Ernesto. You lose.

And I will now be a premium travel insurance package customer for life.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I got this...

I am clearly my Father's daughter.

As far back as I can remember, I've been fiercely independent. At times to a fault, but I know how to do stuff. Lots of stuff. My Dad taught me how to take care of myself, and I learned by watching my Mom kick ass on a regular basis.

For instance, I can light the pilot light on a gas hot water heater, I can hook up my own cable, and I can definitely put oil and washer fluid in my car. I couldn't change the flat tire on my car last August because the damn this basically outweighed me, so I called Richard to help me drag that giant thing off the car and into the trunk. We all have our helpless moments.

Not sure where I gathered all these wonderful skills, but I got em. So there.

All these skills have come in extra handy since we have our big move coming up...TOMORROW. For the last month I have been strategically boxing up the whole house and just this evening found myself removing the stands from all the flat screen TVs and putting those TVs in the original boxes...yes I kept the original boxes (thanks Dad, that's your doing).

It's a good thing I'm this talented. After all, Richard has been tied to his desk at work in anticipation of our long-awaited vacation to Mexico on Saturday. We obviously don't make things easier for ourselves by scheduling a week in Mexico only days after a move, which fell days after two back to back weekends out of town for weddings.

I like to live on the edge.

So, in preparation for the movers, who arrive at 8AM tomorrow, I am working my way through the bottles of wine I've managed to collect just so I don't have to box them up. Seems reasonable to me. Who wants to move extra stuff when you can drink it?

All in all, my hopes include a stress and scratch free day...if they can get the sofa through the door. If not, I will be cutting that thing in half. I have friends with chainsaws.






Friday, July 27, 2012

A note about airport fashion (and etiquette)

I'm not a regular traveler. Although I have traveled a lot in my lifetime, it's nothing compared to some of my friends who are on planes weekly for their jobs.

Having said this, I don't consider myself to be a professional. But I definitely consider myself to be a reasonable airport dresser.

This morning as I sat at the gate ready to hop a flight to Boston for my cousin's wedding, I couldn't help but notice all the girls dressed like they were going on a date, all decked out in dresses, heels, and full-coverage makeup. Me? Jeans, t-shirt, lil bit of mascara.

Why do these girls pull out all the stops to go to the airport? I don't like wearing heels when I should be all dressed up, let alone hobbling through the airport dragging all my crap like a teetering pack mule.

Maybe there are lots of available future ex-husbands on planes and I just never noticed.

Now on to the etiquette.

While I was sitting and judging all the heel-wearing ladies, I took notice of a younger guy sitting 3 seats to my left, leaving 2 seats between us. He was all busy listening to music on his iPad which he had strategically placed on the empty seat to his right.

A nice old couple walks through looking for a place to sit and the kid just stared at them like "what, my ipad needs a seat of its own...move along."

Why? Why must people feel they need to take up as much room as possible and force the little old couple to sit on the terminal floor while their iPad rests comfortably on the seat to the right? Jerks.

And of course as I'm balking at this, I glanced to my right and observed the girl 2 seats to my right making her purse all cozy in the empty set between us.

Be decent and put your crap on the floor!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Airfare discount? Not so much....

You know those emails you get from internet travel and airline websites that flood your email inbox, and your brain, with spectacular offers promising dirt cheap flights?

Yeah, they're all a bunch of crap. And no, I'm not really surprised.

I get that they want you to get alllll excited and click on the link and frantically search for your city to see what kind of crazy deal you can get only to find yourself completely disappointed in the end. Well, maybe that last part isn't really their intent, but it happens to me EVERY TIME.

My Mom and I have been doing some research on one-way flights from Salt Lake to Washington DC so she can bring the kids home next month. She sent me a link to an airline site promising "One-Way Fare Sales! Starting at $69! Book Now & Save!". So here we go.

I am fully aware that most of these internet generated emails are complete nonsense, but just once...just once I want to be able to take advantage of one of these "sales".

After digging around in the fine print, I noticed a teeny statement in the rules and regulations....."Offer not available to/from.....Washington D.C. (Dulles); Washington D.C. (Reagan National)..."

WHY?? Why aren't we invited??? Such crap.

Where do I have to live? Apparently I can get crazy and book one of those $69 flights to Baltimore, which would be doable...but I have to be coming from Albany. Not really doable. So irritating.

For now we are stuck with airfare that STARTS at $221 per ticket, each way. I know I live close to the Pres and all, but we don't get invited to the same parties. I know you're shocked.

Dear airline peeps,
I sincerely appreciate the on-going effort to offer discounted airfare to the people of Albany and still make some money so you don't have to file for bankruptcy, but please consider those of us in the Washington DC area, which you have so cruelly excluded like a high school bully would exclude that skinny kid who still has to grow into his ears. We are discount-loving people too, big ears or not.





Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Snip snip SNIP!

He's at it again!! The crazed nail clipping guy across the floor is doing it again and all I can hear right now is SNIP!!

UGH!

It's been exactly 7 days since my last post so this must be a weekly thing. And sadly the only way I will know who the perp is would be to follow the sound and confront him mid-snip. I'm a little afraid to do that. He could come after me with his little clippers, then where would I be?? They have those stabby nail file pointy things. There could be blood. No thanks.

I may have to do some recon and leave a nice, passive-aggressive note. Just like the ones you leave in the office refrigerator when someone eats your Lean Cuisine.

In other news, the womens' bathroom on this floor no longer smells like ferrets. Seems they've worked that out.






Tuesday, July 10, 2012

You have your own bathroom...USE IT

After being away for the last two weeks, the kids made it safely from their Dad's in Arkansas to my Mom's in Park City and are tearing it up at skateboard camp. No drama, no fighting, no broken bones. I supposed they save all those things for me. They love me.
It's taken me about a week, but I realize how boring my life is without the kids being in the house telling me they plan to move out because I was so mean and took away their iPods. They provide all the nonsense....

So I will spend this time telling you all about why I think it's NOT okay to clip your fingernails at the office.

I can't believe people are THAT busy they can't do this at home. On two separate occasions today...TWO different people who sit within earshot of me....'snip....snip...snip...SNIP'. There was so much snipping, I was convinced the perp had moved on to his toes.

GROSS.

This is not socially acceptable. Save it for your bathroom....and don't get me started on the office bathroom. That's for another blog post on another day. For now I'm wrapped up in the 'snip snip snip'.

ew

I am now going to gracefully throw Richard under the bus....sometimes trimming your nails (as a guy) is just one of those things you forget to do as you're getting ready to go somewhere and the next thing you know, you're in the car and digging around in the glove compartment for the nail clippers that your well-prepared girlfriend (that would be me) thought to have in there in the first place. It used to happen all the time, not so much anymore. He's evolving.

But why do guys do it at work, at their desks, where unsuspecting 'snip snip' victims have to be tortured? Shame.

I sincerely hope I can instill in my boys that one should save the snipping for one's own bathroom. The ladies will appreciate it, I promise.

And the ladies aren't off the hook at the office.
Next up? 'Ladies who treat the office bathroom like a Port-O-John at an outdoor festival that's been going for 7 days'.

Stay tuned



Monday, July 2, 2012

Well this is a first-- for me anyway

Ah, summer. It's hotter than hell and the weather is completely crazy. And I've never seen weather as crazy as Friday night's freak 'hurricane-like" debaucle.

With the kids off in Arkansas visiting their Dad, Richard and I have all this free time to do things like go to dinner, which we thought was a great plan for a Friday night. Since we live within walking distance to a nice collection of restaurants, we decided to hoof it....until we realized it was 102 degrees (really) so we called a cab.

Dinner was nice...we wandered about for a few hours and at about 10:30 or so, decided it was time to head home. Knowing we weren't really able to get a cab, we decided to walk.

That was a really great idea until we got about 5 minutes or so up the hill, the sky opened up, winds began to whip around (we found out later they were up to 91 miles per hour) and Richard looked at me and said "turn around and RUN!". I would have sworn it was a tornado, but apparently it was just some freak storm with winds so sudden and so strong that it was throwing trees into peoples' homes...and we were out in that.

The next few minutes are a bit of a blur, mostly because I could barely see a foot in front of me due to all the debris flying at me and all the dirt in my eyes. This is how I'm going out? I'm gonna be taken out by a flying tree limb? Auntie Em, it's a twister! No, I'm hauling ass to the nearest shelter...which turned out to be a condo building with a garage door that was stuck open.

Amen for that, but as soon as I turned the corner, my foot caught the curb, I rolled my ankle and basically FACEPLANTED into the concrete. Richard had to come back and get me. It was awful. There was screeching.

Once we were in the garage and away from whatever it was that was ripping trees out of the ground and throwing them around, I was able  to remove all the dirt from my face, and the leaves from my hair, and to survey the damage to my foot in the dim glow of the emergency lighting. Didn't look terrible, but it wasn't great.

We eventually made our way out into the rain when the winds had settled down and stumbled upon some friends who were able to get us home. Sheer luck.

Now we have no power and we've had no power since that night. I have really gnarley bruises, and it's hot. So hot that we've sought refuge at the mall (along with the rest of the powerless universe) and have stayed with incredibly generous friends THANK YOU PAT AND KRISTA!! and found a hotel that wasn't completely sold out....and now we have this....

RIP refrigerator contents...you will be missed

UGH

So now we wait. The power companies are saying it could be through next weekend before all power is restored in the area. At least I will no longer have rotting chicken stinking up the house. That was gross. And Richard and I are getting pretty good at living like nomads, that's a skill, right?

I can get a jump start on cleaning out the fridge since we still have to MOVE....better than taking a tree limb to the face.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Magnets and meltdowns

I'm writing this post on my phone so apologies if it reads like one really obnoxious run-on sentence your 8th grade english teacher used to snarl at......Well, today is the day. The day I spend what seems like a century in the air on airplane after airplane to get the kids down to visit their Dad in Arkansas. This has been a summer ritual and although it's grueling, it's worth spending a little bit of extra time with them, even if it IS in a small metal tube in the sky with a bunch of strangers, most of them smelling socially acceptable.  So let's start with the magnets. Some of us at work have this thing that if one of us travels anywhere, no matter where, your ass better be bringing back magnets for everyone else. The tackier the better.  Considering I'll be in several airports today, I have been instructed, in no uncertain terms, to have Arkansas magnets ready for dispersement as soon as I get back into the office. It's only right.  That about covers the weird magnet ritual. I'm pretty sure Megan and I created that monster.  Now on to the meltdowns. No trip would be complete without considerable bouts of screeching and crying, and it all began when, last night, I informed the kids that since they didn't get all As and Bs in their final quarter in school, a warning I had been spouting out for months, they would not be able to take their iPods on the trip....which lasts the entire summer.  You would think the idea of having to actually spend an entire summer without their noses buried in a little screen not talking to anyone or each other would be enough to jerk a knot in their butts and make them work a little harder on those grades. No dice. So the poop went down last night when they realized I actually wasn't kidding and those damn things were not going on this trip.  Since there were lasers shooting out of their eyes, I grabbed a glass of wine and sought refuge on the front porch so there wouldn't be any injuries. I immediately texted Megan (standard operating procedure) Me: "I'm on the porch with the thunder. I figure it's safer. I'm letting them calm down without me as an audience. Usually works faster." Megan: "They'll be singing a different tune when you drop them off." Yeah, we'll see. In the mean time I was making myself scarce for my own safety (and sanity). Things eventually settled down and since we didn't end up scratching each others eyes out, we headed off to the kids' "last night of whatever they wanted", which happened to be Chuck E Cheese.  That's okay, I didn't mind feeling like I needed to bathe in hand sanitizer while I was there watching small children run around like wild animals touching everything with their grubby little paws, but you can bet your ass I was resentful when we got there and they were out of beer. Regardless, the kids had fun and that was the point.  As I probably should have expected, they were delightful at 4am when we had to leave for the airport. A proper send-off indeed.  There were a few "I'm not going!"s (the hell you aren't, get in the car) but we made it in time despite all that unnecessary drama.  Flight 1....check.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Send me a smoke signal next time

Elementary schools have it bad these days. Funding is being cut, programs are disappearing, times are generally tough. I have the utmost respect for all who take on a career in the school system, it's a downright battle!

But it begs the question.....why are there reams of paper being sent home just to tell me that the kids have a class picnic or basketball camp is available over the summer?

Every week the kids get flooded with flyers. An information delivery system that is, in my opinion, completely overwhelming. I can't keep up with all the communication. And mostly because it comes in a form that is too easily left crumbled at the bottom of a 4th grader's locker with a 3 week old peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (He told me he ate it).

One such flyer actually made it home on time. One telling me that the 4th grade orchestra was playing the opening of the 5th grade graduation ceremony. So with both of the boys participating, I thought I was at the top of my "I've got it covered" game with their specified outfits all laid out, I planned to go into work a little late so I could witness this glorious event as requested, and I was fully prepared to take all the video I possibly could. Once again, as requested.

The flyer said the performance would be from 8-8:20 AM and I was to have the kids to school for rehearsal at 7:30.

The day finally rolls around and we were actually all on time. Total shocker, really.

I walked the kids into school, which was already filled with troll-sized people, we'll call them children, all lined up against the walls outside their classrooms ready to go in and start their day.

Sidenote: the elementary school smells alarmingly similar to a barnyard on a very hot day in late June. Make a note of it.

Once we managed to find the orchestra teacher, and it being after 8:00 by this point, I asked why the kids were still wandering around and nothing was happening.

"Oh, the time changed to 9:00, I sent the first flyer, then changed it and sent another one."

And by 8:00, I really mean 9:00

HUH?

Seriously? I've received 47 emails from this same orchestra teacher about events in the past so why couldn't she just send an email? Where was this new flyer? CLIFFORD!!!

I had to leave. I wasn't able to stick around for another hour so I had to ask the kids to understand. They did, or so they said.

I don't understand why schools so strapped for cash have no problem killing thousands of trees for this stuff. Email me! Just do it. That's what people do now. We even have phones that can access email, just in case you missed that recent advancement in technology.

Why is the education system so far back in the dark ages? Time to catch up.

I know I'm speaking for just my kids' school and there are schools out there that are way more advanced, I just can't understand why a school that has new Apple laptops for every student in the 4th grade can't email to tell me when I need to send the kids in with a contribution to the 4th grade class picnic.

Instead I had Clifford tell me, on the morning of, that there was in fact a picnic and he was supposed to bring a bag of chips.

Sorry little man, the barnyard will have to remain chip free for today.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Quality time with the kid

Clifford and I needed to spend some time together so I thought hey, this is the perfect time to take a mother/son field trip to the dentist.

Poor little guy....not the best about flossing, so he ended up with two cavities that required filling. So I pulled him out of school and off we went to the dentist.

Naturally, he was very concerned that he was being marched to his death, but after a great deal of "no...no...no...no...it doesn't hurt at alllll" from me, he settled down. Not believing a word I was saying.

Thank goodness for dentists who are fabulous with scared-ass kids, because he was feeling much better by the time we got to this point.....

Can I get some of that?

He was a total trooper and was feeling so great with all that vanilla scented gas that he barely moved the whole time. I checked to be sure he was still breathing and demanded regular thumbs ups from him. It was all good. He didn't die on the table like he thought he would.

After all was said and done he was pumped full of pure oxygen to sober him up, so I don't have any "wasted kid" videos to share on YouTube. Maybe next time. I was disappointed.

As we were leaving the office, Clifford made it clear that he was hungry and since we were told there weren't any "you can't eat for 57 hours" rules, we took off for Chick-fil-a.
Mmmmmmmm chicken and picklessssssss.

We sat outside so we could watch all the planes fly overhead on their way to Dulles Airport. We ooo'd and aaaah'd when the international flights came around. He could of course rattle off the names of the planes like he was working for Boeing. I was just like "hey, there's a big one".
Lame mom. I need to study up apparently.

While we were headed home, I realized that I had been wayyy too busy lately when Clifford says from the back seat "mom, I had a good time today". It was a humbling moment.

Clifford, next time I promise you don't have to have two cavities filled for us to watch the planes fly overhead.



Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's never too early for a career in law enforcement

Maybe THIS will keep him out of jail....right?

A few days ago Alexander made the grand announcement he wanted to become a safety patrol for his 5th grade year. After all, he'll be at the top of the elementary school food chain, might as well.
Our county throws 6th graders into the middle school lion's den so no better chance to take advantage of your senior status....before you're once again considered a bottom-feeder by 7th and 8th graders.

Being the "you can do anything, just stay out of trouble" mom, I absolutely encouraged him and agreed to sign his permission form.

Part of the application process required Alexander to write a paragraph stating exactly why he wanted to become such a prestigious elementary school figure.

ANYTHING can happen here. I will protect you.

Clifford also intended to apply to be a safety patrol but in true Clifford fashion, he turned in his application a day late so he can't start his official safety patrol training until school begins again in September. He's okay with that.

Alexander, on the other hand, has been granted his very important role as elementary school safety patrol, along with the bright yellow safety patrol belt, which he wears continually to let everyone know that he is in fact in charge. (Official badge to be handed out when school starts).

I feel safer.

With great power comes great responsibility (thank you, Peter Parker) and I'm totally using Alexander's new responsibilities as leverage to get him out of bed in the morning...THE PEOPLE NEED YOU! MOVE IT!

Monday, June 11, 2012

I can blame others for my 'Office Space' moment

For those of you who have seen 'Office Space' you will likely recall, with great detail, the scene where they all go out to the middle of a field, having stolen the office printer that never seemed to work, and they beat the crap out of it with a bat. Everyone needs to type of stress relief....especially me.


This almost happened today



Lately I've needed to print several things on my home printer. Things such as baseball and concert tickets, and paperwork required for our new home since we are now moving....so things of relatively high importance (at least to me, the kids don't care).

The printer, the poor, abused printer, has been sitting in the bottom section of a crappy computer desk and has been used primarily as a foot rest for the kids when they use the computer. Totally my fault, I know, but I never found a good place for it and it was never used all that often.

Until recently. And only when I need to print important things, does it decide to crap out on me.

For days I've been trying to hand feed paper into that thing only to have it spit it out, get stuck in the middle of printing, or just do nothing at all. I have had words with this thing on several occasions and I'm fairly certain I'm going to die a whole year early from the stress.

Fast forward to today, when I'm once again cursing at the printer because it wasn't cooperating. All of a sudden, an entire piece of paper gets stuck in the middle of this thing and that was it. It wasn't budging. It was the kind of paper jam that you can't grab from either end so you end up wanting to throw it off the roof in the hopes of getting a shot at removing it.

By some stroke of luck, I managed to pull open the cover to see the very edge of this rotten piece of printer paper and I started pulling.....and I ended up pulling out all the little tiny pieces of an entire cracker. A CRACKER.

%$&@!!! KIDS!!!!!

Not only was it being used as a footrest, but it was also a catch-all for every crumb from every cracker/cookie/Cheerio/Cheez-It that had been consumed without permission in front of that computer.

The upside...I got the damn thing to work after exercising my sweet sweet Dust Busting skills.

In the end, the house paperwork was submitted as planned and I didn't end up throwing that crappy printer with crackers in it across the front yard.

I can't wait until we pack that thing up and out falls an entire cheeseburger.

Monday, June 4, 2012

It's the summer of l'amour

And so begins the wedding season.

I love weddings. It's a great excuse to get dressed up and go be an adult every now and then. This summer, I happen to have FOUR and this past weekend was numero uno.

Let's see how much I can cram into one weekend, shall we?

Friday I drove the kids down to their grandparents', and although they enjoy seeing their grandparents, they knew I was basically shipping them off so I could attend events all weekend. They got over it.

Saturday I had an appointment to see a house, since we now have to move, and then I had a bridal shower, which was lovely but I had to leave early for the wedding (so sorry Nadia, I love you!)

And that kicked off a little bit of drama.....

Not only did we have to get into Georgetown very quickly, but we couldn't get a cab to pick us up on time so we hopped in the car and headed East....only to hit what could easily be described as the worst traffic I've seen on a Saturday in Georgetown. There's no way we were making this wedding. There were expletives involved. Lots of them.

We managed to get a parking spot and, after my worst parking job ever, literally RAN down the very crowded sidewalk, dodging tourists (so sorry! Welcome to our city!) only to find that this glorious wedding happened to coincide with A Taste Of Georgetown, and it was on the same street.

So there we were, sprinting through police barricades and tents, trying not to break a sweat...or fall down...or injure others.

Thankfully, we squeaked into the church with only moments to spare and we didn't make total fools of ourselves (this time). Phew!

The wedding was beautiful and the reception was nothing short of stunning. THIS was the view...

Seriously....
And to prove I didn't just pull that little gem off the Internet, I got one with the bar in it.

If you need me, you can find me here
In the end, it was definitely worth all the running around, expletives, and sore feet to be a part of this wonderful day.

Congratulations Conor and Nicole! You can count on us to come to anything you invite us to. :)


Friday, June 1, 2012

Mean kids...eventually mean adults. Or imprisoned adults, time will tell

Yesterday after picking up the kids from their after school program, I managed to convince them they still had to go to soccer practice, so after some poking, I got them out the door.

Now for a little background: This is the kids' 3rd season playing soccer for the same team. They've done very well and I sincerely hope they stick with it for a while. This season, however, there's a new kid on the team...the same kid who happens to spend most of his free time bullying all the kids at school. 

Joy.

Almost immediately there was drama. Practices are particularly challenging with the kids taking shots at each other by way of name calling, kicking, and some seriously dirty looks. Prison-rules soccer. 

My boys are on the sensitive end of the scale and haven't been dealing that well with it. I've been telling them to ignore this kid, but it's turned into a pain in the ass...my ass. 

So back to yesterday...the kids had gone over to the field for practice and I was just sitting. Something I don't get to do all that much without the sound of "mom mom mom mom mom mom mom mom " in my ear, so I was enjoying it. About half hour into practice I got a call from an old friend. We were talking about the kids and all their shenanigans when Clifford bursts through the door in tears.

"It's HIM again...he won't stooooppppppp!!!"

Alexander followed shortly thereafter and they both were beside themselves. 

"Okay, gotta go handle a bully..see ya later, bye"

I got the kids calmed down a bit and we all walked over to the soccer field. Of course the bully is just going about his day like nothing happened and he didn't send two kids running from the field crying. I'm sure he was enjoying every moment.

And the worst part is, the kid's mom was there the whole time. Seriously? Manage your bully. And keep him away from my kids. 

I gave him some appropriate "you're a twit" dirty looks, but they seemed lost on him. of course. 

Today's 4th grade bully, tomorrow's 'guy everyone hates at the office' guy. He's got it coming. 
Keep your Powerpoint presentations away from him. 

I made it clear that this kid just wants to get a rise out of the boys and they should tell him to stuff it the next time he says something to either of them, which I know will be before long. 

So irritating. To be continued.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sick kids, dinners out, and unexpected phone calls

...and not necessarily in that order.

I was really hoping for a nice, boring Memorial Day weekend. Just some time to putter around the house and take the kids to the pool a few times before every weekend for the next two months is occupied by invitation-only events.

Alas...no dice. I didn't stand a chance.

Friday was relaxing, but that's where it ends.

Saturday was pool day. And pooling we did go. Now everyone has too much sun despite the thorough and frequent application of SPF 70+. Later on, friends came over for a BBQ and a drama-free good time.

Sunday was also quiet. I had dinner plans with girlfriends and Richard was headed out with a friend so the babysitter was called. And I'll bet she regrets THAT one now.

Everything was going juuuust fine. I was enjoying my girly time when 10:30 pm rolled around and I got a phone call....."house phone". Never a good sign at that time of night.

On the other end was Clifford, and in a desperate tone he says "MOM! Alexander is throwing up LIKE CRAZYYYYY....and it really stinks!"

Really? He couldn't do this when we were all just sitting around doing nothing on Friday night?

Fine...so I talked Clifford off the ledge, got more information, came to the conclusion there was a mean-ass stomach bug in the house, and headed home to relieve the poor babysitter who was dealing with the carnage.

Ana-- you're a trooper. Please promise to not be scared away. You're my only hope for sanity......

Once home, I did some serious bleaching and managed to get Alexander to sleep after a few solid heaves.

Richard texted and promised to take the overnight shift. Done and done.

So then we have Monday.

That morning, after confirming Alexander was fully recovered, I noticed that I had a missed call from my landlady, who I adore. The problem is, she NEVER calls so I was instantly a little nervous. Were we too loud out on the patio Saturday night? Nahhh, can't be, despite Richard thinking he's young enough to stay up til 4am and not hate himself the next day.

So I call....the following is what I can remember, it was that traumatic....

Her- "Helloooo! Happy Memorial Day! I wanted to tell you that I was able to get a job in the DC area and we'll be moving back up so I wanted to give you notice."

Me (inside voice)- NOTICE? WHATTT? NOOOOOO!!!!

Me (outside voice)- "Ohhh, wow! That's wonderful! I would appreciate the summer to find a new place to live....."

Her- "Absolutely!"

Me (inside voice)- KILL ME

So now, after a wonderful three years in a house I love, we have to move. Completely unexpected, but understandable as she and her husband have 4 grandchildren here that they deserve to spoil completely rotten, as only grandparents can.

The house-hunting has officially begun. And I'm determined not to rip the kids from the school they love, although they're convinced we're about to become homeless.

I think we'll be okay, kids.

Although my news is very surprising and requires me to tack on a whole-house move to my otherwise packed summer schedule, I can't complain one bit on this Memorial Day. Those who have served and currently serve this country deserve that attention.

Cross your fingers and toes in the hopes that someone in the neighborhood is willing to rent their property to this insane brood.

We could use all the help we can get!



Thursday, May 24, 2012

How young is too young?

After spending a lot of time thinking about Alexander and Puppy, it dawned on me that I would much rather have a child who hangs onto a stuffed animal far too long than one who is carrying around a functional iPhone at the age of 10.

Seriously? These kids are 10 years old and they have SEVERAL friends who have iPhones and email accounts. Who's emailing them, their grandparents? And these are the same kids who I now have to put their phone numbers into MY iPhone contact list so I know when my kids are calling me from the playground.

This doesn't sound right.

iPhones are expensive pieces of equipment with really expensive service carrier bills behind them. How are these other moms okay with this? I, for one, refuse.

I say the longer kids can just be kids the better. I lived for a very long time without the wonders of modern technology at my fingertips whenever I wanted it. I think it's made us all really impatient, with myself falling into that category, unfortunately.

Having said this, I will NOT be one of those moms who throws her kid an iPhone. Ride your bikes instead, little guys. Maybe go nuts and break out the skateboards. Just don't expect me to buy you a phone when you're only 10. I was in high school before the cell phone was even invented, and in graduate school when the Internet was invented by Al Gore (I love that story) and I'm totally fine!

Old, but fine.

NO, I never actually owned one of these