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.