Tuesday, August 30, 2005

It's not like I was dancing on the table

I learned a valuable lesson this weekend while driving to my brother's wedding.

Nothing will make you invoke the name of whatever God you pray to like driving on a two lane highway that curves and climbs at speeds in excess of 60 mph with a carload of kids (6, to be exact).  

I think my hands are still imprinted on my steering wheel from my kung-fu grip.   

When I could tear my eyes away from the road for a second or two, I took in enough of the fantastic scenery to utter "I'm moving" enough times to make Nolan start rolling his eyes at me.   

That wasn't to be the last time he rolled his eyes at me, either.  I managed to scandalize him at the reception by imbibing in non-Mom like quantities of alcohol (which really was just a margarita...a beer...okay, maybe two, if you count the sips I took from Mr W's...and two shots of tequila) AND smoking a cigar (my brother asked me to hold it, so of course I had to keep it lit--it was a nice one, too).  I didn't get drunk, as the margarita was pretty weak (where is Jane when I need her?) and I spaced out the liquor over the course of the evening.   

"Mom!  Is it okay for you to have that?"  "What?" Nolan points to my beer.  "Well, you're driving later, and...."  I cut him off.  "First of all, unless you see me dancing on that table up there" <I pointed to where the bridal party sat> "I'm okay.  Secondly, your Dad and your Tata aren't going to let me drive if I shouldn't be."  At which point Mr W jumped in with "Leave your mother alone." 

Not that he wasn't scandalized himself when he saw me quaff back that second shot.   

Relax, folks.  It's not like I do this everyday.  

I called my Mom yesterday, just to chat.  "I hear you were drinking tequila with your cousins.." "Yes." "..and smoking a cigar." "Yes."  "Your Dad told me."  "Oh, come on Mom...."     

(You know, if I'd known I was going to catch it just for drinks, then I'd have grabbed some asses too, and really made it worth my while.)  

Guess I can do the Saturday Six today, since according to my family, I was in no condition to do it on Saturday anyway.  

Saturday Six - Episode 72

1. What is your current desktop picture?  What made you select it? My current desktop is a blue sky with clouds.  I picked it because I like that image, it's peaceful.
2. A close friend who you consider to be up to date on fashion suggests that you should update your look and offers to pay for a session with an experienced hairstylist you've never dealt with before.  Knowing that it's free, would you go?
This is a toughie.  I've done it in the past, and hated the result.  I'd have to see the work of the stylist first, before I commit to anything that involves causing me potential angst.

3. When you do look in a mirror, what is the first thing you usually look at? My hair, of course, lol.  Then I give my face a once over, because no one likes a  surprise zit.  Unfortunately, even though I'm way past 15, my skin still thinks it is.
4. Take this quiz:  Which Bugs Bunny character are you?
I'm Wile E. Coyote...wait a minute, aren't things always falling on him?  Oh well, he dusts himself off to try again, and I guess that is me, too.

5. What label seems to describe you the best as a whole? Good-natured.  Roll with the punches. (I have to, with my group.)  Friendly.
6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #60 from Stacy: Is there a specific person that you credit with your successes? and HOW did they help you?

No one person--I feel fortunate that my life has been touched by a lot of good people (wow, does that sound like a Miss America answer, or what?)  Between my family, good friends, and teachers, it's hard to pick just one.  I hear them all inside my head, guiding me when I need it.  (along with the other voices....)   Hmmm. Okay.  My Mom.  She always believes in me, even when I don't.  :) Sometimes, knowing that was all I needed to keep at it; even now, knowing this is all I need to take another deep breath and not kill her grandchildren.

Where's my sign?

I'm convinced I'm the target of some kind of karmic retribution. 

I was on my way out late yesterday afternoon.  I put the dogs out, and as the water dish was empty, courtesy of Max, I went to fill it.  Responsible pet owner that I am and all. 

I'm at the water hose, the dish is where it always is.  As I turn the hose on, I notice a huge kink in it, and am bending to get it when at the same time, an incredibly strong blast of water hits me.  In the face.

All I can manage is "oooh" as I blindly reach out to turn the hose off, thinking, wtf?  I know I saw the hose connected...

Once again, I am treated to the sound of my husband's ringing laughter, as he looks out the kitchen window at the whole debacle. 

I get everything turned off, and a closer look at the hose reveals bite marks.  Thanks, Max.  The hose has been converted to a sprinkling chew toy.

I'm totally soaked.  Nothing has been spared.  Once again, my dignity has hit the highway.

I've learned that on my way out the door, I'm not approaching anything that can spew any kind of liquid at me.  At least not on purpose.

Somewhere, sometime, I stepped on the wrong bug.  Somewhere, someplace, this bug must be laughing his ass off.

Or angling to get a better look at my soaked shirt.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Soda fountain

I was heading out the door today, to go to work, but decided to make a quick stop at the store to pick up some milk (okay, soda and popsicles) and drop it off before I went in.

Successful in maneuvering the shopping in 20 minutes or less, I happily pulled into the driveway, where Mr W magically opened the door at that exact moment.  These things, blessed timing, never happen to me.

I turned to open the van door, and a two liter of soda fell out and hit the ground pretty hard.  It landed on one of those little sharp-bastard landscaping rocks, and of course, a couple of small holes were punctured into it.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know what happened next.  Soda spraying everywhere, I'm in a bit of a duh-panic, and I picked up the bottle.

Like my oldest son said, when he heard this story, "And you went to college?"

Wait--the "no way she's that stupid" part comes next.

Not only am I already bathed in Caffeine-free Diet Pepsi, but I decide that I need to loosen the cap (to relieve the pressure, and hopefully stop the spraying).

Yeah, son, I went to college.

The bottle, offended at this other slight, proceeds to almost explode in my hands.  I tighten the lid back down immediately...and realize....

Crap, I'm gonna have to change.  So much for trying to go in a bit earlier than I expected. 

What the hell is that noise?

It's Mr W, choking with laughter.  He's laughing so hard, he's crying.  I'm kinda laughing too, because, well, this stuff always happens to me. 

Laugh, laugh, he's laughing so much, when I shoot a glare his way, he retreats inside, and I can still hear him.

I hate him.  This stuff never happens to him.

By now, I've given up on the bottle.  And my dignity. 

I set it down and reached for a different bag.  The bottle stopped spurting soda about the time Mr W finally got a hold of himself.  When the level of soda was lower than the holes, of course.

To think, I passed organic chemistry once.  And physics too.

You'd of never guessed that looking at me today.  Covered with soda like I'd entered a wet t-shirt contest. 

On the bright side, my hair was spared.  Although I'm sure the soda would have worked as well as that high dollar jar of hair goo sitting on my bathroom counter does.

I'm mock-angry at Mr W, which makes him start laughing again.  "Oh, come on," he chortles, "if that happened to me, you'd be laughing your ass off too, and plopping right down to blog about it.  You know it's funny--"  "It is not." 

But it is. 

I called him later, and I said:  "Being married to me, it's not boring, is it?"

To which he replied, "Not when you do stuff like that, it's not." 

The secret to marriage, it seems, is to be a constant source of amusement for your spouse.

I think it's safe to say I've got that covered.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Whatever you wish, my sweet

Whatever you wish, my sweet.

I'm trying to keep my little princess happy this morning.  She woke up in a bad mood, the kind of mood that indicates she should've slept longer.  Like until noon.

It's gonna be a long day in the workroom if I can't find out why she's a bit off.

If this is a preview of what it's gonna be like when she starts cycling with Mom, then I think I'll just go out back and construct a menstrual hut right now. 

Earlier this week, I decided to start more preschool activities with her.  I figure just running errands, while she enjoys it, is probably not enough.  Then there was the Mom-guilt I felt on top of it, that I used to sit at the table or lay on the floor and color with the boys.  Put some sugar on a plate and outline the letters of the alphabet.  Make paper chains, and decorate the kitchen.

I feel like maybe I've been neglectful Mommy, as I've not done that with her. 

Since she likes to cut, and glue; and while I was coloring at the table with her, she developed an affinity for my deformed butterflies, I thought up a project.  I cut out an outline of a butterfly.  We glued it onto black paper.  I cut out a bunch of shapes, and let her glue them on to the wings for decoration.  I explained how there is symmetry in butterfly wings, but let her put her pieces where she wanted them.  The finishing touch was when I cut a pipe cleaner in two, and we stapled them at the top for antennae.

Now, she is enamored of the pipe cleaners.  She will only take pink ones, and I just had to staple them on a bug she drew.  Only pink.  Apparently, Mother Nature has decided that this is the new black.

And I've decided that slowing down to her speed, and coloring, is the new road to patience.  


More mini me

Before I go on with my list, I have to pimp a journal I've been reading recently.  A funny, funny girl from across the pond named Tilly.  Honestly, I nearly ruined my keyboard with a mouthful of water and an over-exuberant snort the first time I read this entry.  I'm hooked. 

Go, give her a shot.  Her All About Me made me feel like I should never complain about being overwhelmed by the children ever again.  I know a lot of people have made their way to her journal, but if you haven't, tell her I sent you.  And make sure you aren't drinking anything.

On with the list, I stopped at 64...click here and here for the other parts...

65.  I have no grace.  If it can be spilled, dropped, or tripped over, I'm your girl.

66.  Chocolate is my nemesis.  Dark chocolate will get you the combination to the vault. 

67.  I think my hip is permanently shifted to the left, thanks to balancing a baby on it for so many years.

68.  I still do the mom-sway.  Sway, pat.  Sway, pat.  (I found myself doing that to the puppy, that's how ingrained it's become.  I do it at work, when I'm standing waiting for my timer to go off.  It's soothing.  I can't help it.)

69.  I've never been in the snow.  I've seen it once, a couple of inches on our cars that disappeared almost immediately, but that's it.  (in Tucson)

70.  I lived in the same house from the time I was six until I left for college at seventeen. 

71.  I still remember the address.  And our phone #.

72.  I really have too much useless information stored in my brain, but can't always access it when I need it.

73.  If I wasn't a Mom, I'd be a doctor, or playing one on t.v.

74.  I try not to sweat the small stuff.

75.  I learned to swim in college.  I took the class on purpose because I was tired of being afraid to try it.

76.  I'm not very good at it, but I like it.  Thanks to my ass, I'm not in danger of drowning.

77.  But I harbor no ill will toward my ass.

78.  That one should clue you in that I'm even more of a goof when I'm tired.  The giggling should commence soon.

79.  No need to drink, just sleep-deprivation will do it.

80.  But if I'm gonna drink, I'll take tequila.  Straight up, or in a margarita.  Depends on my mood.  Oh, and dark beer (black-and-tan, made with Guinness, of course.)

81.  As evidence for my supreme sense of dorkiness, I have to say that the first time I ate shrimp, I ate the tails too.  Not until I noticed that my future FIL had a pile of something on his plate did I realize something was wrong.  Thank goodness they were little all-you-can-eat shrimp at Sizzler.  My wretched husband still laughs heartily at me over this one.

82.  Lippy (be it stick or gloss)--don't leave home without it.

81.  I'm a steering-wheel Idol.  Sing out loud in the car, much to the dismay of my children, all the time.

80.  I'd like to learn to golf.  Hitting that little ball really, really hard could only be therapeutic.  I'm sure there's more to the game then that, but that is what intrigues me about it for now.

Oy.  Look at the time!  I thought I would finish tonight, but I have a big day tomorrow.  School volunteering, and I'm working in the evening.  So I have to dash.  It's waaaaay past my bedtime. 

Night. :)

It'll be an interesting day

My brother is getting married on Saturday.  I'm trying not to be "whatever" about it.  Especially after my waxing poetic on love recently for the artsy essay.

Ordinarily, a wedding is an occasion everyone looks forward too.  Unless you have that "no one is good enough for my child" streak in you, commonly seen amongst mothers of the groom and fathers of the bride.  Come on.  You know they're out there.  Hopefully, you aren't the object of their "affection."  (I like to tell Mr W that his Mom liked me and we would have been cool, had she lived.  Mr W likes to tell me that she and I would've gone a few rounds by now.  I counter with "but your Dad LOVES me, so he'd come to my rescue."  Mr W adds "I don't think so."  Whatever.  It's kind of a moot point, but I do wonder.)

I'm still trying to get into it.  I mean, his wife-to-be is a nice enough woman.  They have a baby girl together, who is one now.

But he also has an ex-wife, and two kids with her. 

That whole scene, him leaving her (my brother suddenly decides to date--while still married); and ultimately getting divorced, was quite an ordeal.  No, it couldn't have just gone as a clean break, he had to let it fester and become the family boil.

It wasn't pretty, let me tell you.  And even today, a few years later, even though I love my ex-sil and we get along fine, sometimes, there's that awkward silence that I can't smooth over.  (For example, this past Saturday, she was at my parent's house with the kids, for dinner.  We were chatting in the dining room, and Ryan walks right up to her.   "I'm gonna be the ring boy in the wedding."  <earth, just swallow me up now> chirp, chirp... "So, how's work?") 

The awkwardness extends to the new sil-to-be.  Because I call her by the wrong name.  Totally unintentionally.  To her face.  (Hey, I can barely keep my own kids names straight, give me a break.)

In spite of my brother behaving like an idiot, my ex-sil still wants to be around us.  Hey, she's still family.  I treat her as such.

In spite of my brother behaving like an idiot, I still love him.  (Most of the time.)  I miss the easy way we used to get along.  (All of the time.)  I resent him for making everyone's life so much more complicated, and I hate it that I have to weigh most of the things he tells me on the truth-or-bullshit-ometer.  It makes me sad.

I forgive him alot, when I see him with my children, who adore him.  Oh, Audrey was a hold out (I hope this is an indication that she's got an innate sense of men), but he won her over too.  I'm finally coming around again.  Cautiously, like I'm approaching a hungry tiger, though.

Mr W, on the other hand, is still holding a bit of a grudge.  Partially for me, I think.  He's protective.  Partially for himself--my brother wasn't completely honest with him at a point in time when Mr W was trying to help.

So this weekend, we will travel a bit to attend the wedding.  My kids are in it, too.  It's casual, they say.  I'm okay with that.

I take a deep breath, and look around at my some of my friends who are on their second marriage and getting along famously.  Happy.  Still married.  I hold them up as examples in my mind, and tell myself that maybe things will work out for my brother this time, too.  (I'd be lying if I said that the cynic in me hasn't placed a bet, though.)

Sometimes, believing in love isn't enough. 

You have to have hope, too.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I've had it

Mood:  Cranky

Kids.  Kids will be kids, and I shouldn't be cranky about it.

I don't sweat the small stuff, like a spilt glass of whatever.  Okay, maybe I complain a little as I clean it up, but overall, my motto is "it's washable" or "it's old, that's ok."

However, if Audrey lets loose with another screech or crying fit just because she has to wait; if Ryan gives me any more crap when it comes to school; if Nolan or Ben look at me sideways with that "yes-sss" hiss that preteens do; if I hear "honey, I need you to do me a favor" followed by a request that requires a lot of time; I'm gonna snap.  (I'm sympathetic to all their situations, really, I am.  It's just been a long day of jumping through the Mommy hoops.)

I'm gonna go through with my threat to get into the van and just keep on driving. 

I'll call them when I can see sand and water.

Great.  I just realized I forgot to go pick up my tire.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Give in to it

In this world, there are a lot of personal interactions we all have, everyday.  Kids, work, school, friends, family; relationships that we all experience on some level or another.  As I make my way through life, I've grown and changed in different aspects, but one thing remains constant.

I believe in love.

Call me a sap, roll your eyes, sigh in disgust; it won't matter to me. 

I believe in love.

I'm not so starry-eyed that I only believe in the hearts and flowers kind of love, either.  I've been around long enough to see how the ugly side of love can affect people too.  And how that's not always bad.

As a child, growing up, I thrived on the love of my parents, Mom in particular, of course.  My Mom was always telling us how much she loved us.  How we were so very wanted.  It was important to her that we know this, and I enjoyed hearing it.  I carried her love with me everyday, I carry it with me now, and it colors the way I look at things all the time.  You can't help but feel special, like you are destined to do great things, when you have that kind of force behind you.  I am grateful to have it. 

And the first time I held my oldest child, gazing at his perfect face (oh! those little rosebud lips!), gently touching all that newborn black hair, I understood exactly where she was coming from.  And why it was so important to tell me all the time. 

As I grew, I shaped my ideas of love like a lot of young girls do.  Movies and books moved my thinking towards that romantic kind of "will it ever happen to me?" frame of mind.  I had my share of schoolgirl crushes, I sat up at night, giggling with my friends about the possiblities, and I despaired that I might never find it.

I wasn't looking for it.  And yet, there it was.  All wrapped up in an adorable, beautiful gray-green-blue eyed seventeen year old package.  I remember being a bit taken aback under the gaze of such a cute, older boy.  But when he started showing up everywhere I went, I couldn't help myself.  My pulse quickened every time I saw him.

And I've been in love with him ever since.

It's not always a bed of roses.  We go through all the couple stuff everyone goes through.  Occasionally fight.  Usually make up.  Get annoyed, and exasperated, and wonder "What on earth am I doing?"  "How did I get here, and how do I get out of this?"  Yet the thing that holds us together, the spreads salve over any wounds, smooths over the rough spots, is love.  I love him.  When I feel like everything is just going to crap, my thoughts will turn to him.  Often, it's enough to remind me to take a deep breath so I can move on in my day.  Other times, it's enough to make me feel like I'm gonna strangle him when I see him next.  But the fact that I love him remains.

In the middle of the night, as I sweep the cobwebs of the day from my mind, I often find myself standing in the kids' rooms.  Listening to their little snores while studying  their faces.  (Afterall, a mothers' eye documents the passage of time like nothing else.)  As I make the mental progression from infant to preteen, I feel awed in their presence.  They think that as a parent, I wield the ultimate control over them. 

What they don't realize is that in the love I have for them, they are the ones that have the control.

Therein lies the problem with love, I think.  It's hard to give up a piece of yourself, along with the realization that in doing so, you are losing a little bit of control.  That the object of your love will always have a degree of power over you.  A scary proposition, with little or no guarantees.

Give in to it, I say.  Fighting it  will only accomplish making you feel worse...well, maybe you're into that kind of  thing.


I know that there are cynics out there who will scoff at me, who will happily tell me that I'm out of my mind.  Gleefully point out that love sucks, and why bother?  All that agony.  All that destruction.  Hey, you are entitled to your own opinion.  And you have my sympathies as to what made you foster it.

But as for me, I believe.

Shattered glass; or how a jar of salsa can foreshadow your day

Saturday, I grabbed my Mom and we snuck out the door sans kids to go to the store.  I was making tacos for dinner, and we needed to go pick up a thing or two.

I was so enjoying her company and chatting her up in the parking lot, that as I loaded my bags in to the van, I didn't notice I had grabbed three handles and not four.  I saw my error, felt it as I turned with the bags in hand and had that whoooosh sensation accompanied by lightness that I knew meant only one thing.  I could feel it suspend slightly in the air, as if to protest its downward descent, and heard crash-splat! as it hit the pavement.

"Oh, mija,"  Mom said.  "lastima, it doesn't look like you'll be able to save that."

She didn't need to tell me what it was.

Here lies a jar of salsa, shattered and splattered to bits.  Its tart, spicy goodness wasted on the pavement.

I swiped some offending shards away from the tires of the van.  Instead of driving off, I found an employee gathering carts in the parking lot and told them of my mishap, lest anyone else drive through it and make it worse.  

I was surprised and annoyed as I drove away and a feeling of dread wove itself into my heart.  Oh, come on, silly girl, I told myself.  It's a jar of salsa.  You are a big spaz <notoriously so>.  You were due to drop something anyway.  It's not a big deal.  

Yet the feeling of dread would not pass.

Sunday, I'm on my way home from work.  I'm so happy on the road, singing along to my iPod blaring my faves and enjoying my moment alone. 

The car feels funny, like it's shimmying to the right or something.  I initially dismiss it as the bumps in the road or just me being paranoid.  A little further....no better.  I guess I should pull over and check this out.

As I'm approaching the next exit, I look in my rear view mirror just in time to see the outer tire tread on my front tire shoot out from underneath my car like a rotten banana peel.  Well. It appears the mystery is solved.

I'm sitting in the pseudo-safety of the gore point, and contemplating my options.  I'm close to home.  Good.  I haven't changed a tire in ages, and never done it unsupervised.  Bad.  At this point, off a busy freeway, it's not exactly the best time to go for the brush-up in car maintenance.  Bad.  So you know what I did...that's right. 

I called my husband, like a girl, and let him know what was up.  I offered to nurse it to the next exit so he could meet me.  "No, stay right where you are, I'll be right there."  :) Good. 

I realize I should've used the bathroom before I left work.  I'm never making an issue of it with the kids again, I promised myself, if I can make it through this next bit of time without peeing my pants.  Calling Mr W to help me with the tire, I can live down.   Peeing my pants on the side of the road, I could never live down.  Everyone would definately hear about that...four times over.

Ugh.  I hate having to call Mr W on these things.  It's so "the little missus." 

To his credit, and not surprisingly, Mr W loaded the kids up and was there relatively quickly.  He changed the tire, a somewhat amused expression on his face in spite of the heat and my inconveniencing him.  Uncomplaining. 

He's a good husband that way.

Unfortunately, the donut was low.  So I followed him, and we went to the nearest place that had air, where I was appalled to see that air, while free to breathe, is .75 if you want it for your car.  Is it just me, or is that ridiculous?  Especially in light of the fact that usually, those machines don't work, but you don't find that out until you've plugged in your last quarter and are stuck with a dud? 

Mr W and I are communicating across the parking lot in our own sign language, like couples do, and I realize I only have a quarter.  (mental note for next time:  keep some change hidden away from children in glove compartment for emergencies...so you can forget it's there when you need it)  As I go into the convenience store to get Mr W a cold drink and some change, I notice two ladies approach Mr W.  As I exit the store, I feel my heart skip a beat as I notice him helping the two ladies with the wretched machine.

He's a good guy that way.

Once we get home, he deposits me into the house with the kids, and off he goes with the traitorous treadless tire to get a new one.  A few minutes later, he's back.

"They're closed,"  he explains.  "I'd have been back sooner, but I also had to stop and pick up some oil, because you're car is low."  My poor neglected-by-both-of-us car.  A few minutes pass, and I go outside to find him still out there messing with it.  "Start it," he tells me.  We both grimace as we hear a noise that sounds like a can is rattling in my engine.  That car is 14 years old, it's has 186,000++ miles on it, and has served us well.  While I've grown accustomed to its noises and sputters, this one, which has been nagging at me for a bit, sounds like it's a death rattle.  "Turn on your lights, I think one of them is out, and I'll get another when I go back out for more oil."  I do it.  "Turn 'em off!  Turn 'em off!!"  I get out of the car, "what's up?"  as he says, "the light started smoking."  Fabulous.

Stress-o-matic is the button I can see pushed on my husband's forehead.  I can tell I'm in for a delightful day when he stomps on my next words.  "Anna, don't even joke about this right now,"  he gruffs.  Fine.  Let's just wallow in desperate misery, shall we?

Someone pass me some Tylenol.

I know he just needs time to wrap his head around this.  We've had a wacko streak lately, first the van (x2); then the garage door opener went kaput; we came home last night to a slightly leaking toilet tank; he has to rescue his damsel only to find that her horse needs to be shot; throw in the day-to-day craziness and it gets to be a bit much.  

I know he didn't mean it to upset me.  But I still take it a little personally, retreating inside before I start shedding a tear or two.  I left him out there to work it out.

He's a loner that way.

After I recollect myself, I go back outside.  He's on the ground, sorting out pieces...of the new garage door opener.  He's decided to tackle it, right now. 

Gamely, I jump in to help him out.  Hold something here.  Get a wrench there.  Hand me this or that.  You get the picture.

I'm spending the afternoon getting all hot and sweaty with my husband.  Too bad it's not in a more enjoyable fashion.

We make an intuitive team, too.  Just when I sense his frustration, I read the troubleshooting instructions in the manual.  Just when he senses I can't hold the damn thing over my head another second, he lets me know that it's almost over or to put it down.

So ultimately, we get it hung up... then down...  then up... "What about?"  "Try this."  "Move that over..." Curse.  Try again.  Sigh.  "But what about.."  "It says here..."  Finally, 7 or so hours later, after another failed attempt, I hear:  "Call someone out tomorrow.  I have no idea why this isn't working."  We're hot, sweaty, defeated.  But we're in it together.

We're good at sharing the burden that way.

Now, I'm not a superstitious girl.  Much.  (Okay, maybe I am.  You just can't grow up around all those older Mexican ladies and not be.  I'm not as bad as some; I just consider it a personality quirk of mine and call it even.)

Yet, as I sat in the gore point awaiting my knight; as we struggled with our garage door, my mind kept going back to that jar of salsa.  I fought it, because no one really wants to admit it.

Sometimes, a broken jar of salsa is just an inconvenience.

And sometimes, a broken jar of salsa can be a weird portent of the day to come.

Friday, August 19, 2005

A pretty good one

I was going to look up some stuff, like a quote for the day, or a word for today, or maybe my horoscope and post it in honor of my birthday, but I'm just too lazy for that at this point.

Instead, I'll just rattle off some famous people who share the same birthday, and call it even.  In no particular order, here they are:  Jill St. John (wasn't she a Bond girl?); Peter Gallagher (no way he's 50); John Stamos; Matthew Perry (lol); Coco Chanel (guess why it's called Chanel No. 19); Jonathan Frakes (made that Star Trek: The Next Generation uniform look good); Kyra Sedgewick (one degree of separation from Kevin Bacon, and she's just lovely); Kevin Dillon (I think he's my Entourage favorite, he's a laugh); and Bill Clinton (of all people).  

I'm feeling pretty good, considering how yucky I felt yesterday.   Perhaps if I'd succumbed to the tequila call at dinner and had a margarita, I'd be feeling really good, but I opted not to have one just in case we stopped off for ice cream. 

We didn't get a chance, because after a quick jaunt to Target, we had to get home as Mr W had to go finish something at work.  He came home just for me, so all of us could go out to dinner.  And he kept the boys from telling the servers it was my birthday, so he gets extra credit for that.  

My best friend Jenny sent me a really nice flower arrangement, and there's that turtle cake Jane made me on Weds. left to nosh.  Sweet!  

The best birthday gift I got, however, came from a complete stranger.  We were sitting at dinner, just chatting, and this older lady and her companion came up to our table.  "I had to stop and say that your children are just delightful."  And she looked around the table, smiled at us, and left.   

It was still early in the meal, lol, but I'll take it.  She did miss the ballerina floorshow I had to put to a quick stop because Twinkletoes decided to do it right in front of the kitchen door, and almost tripped up a server.  

And yet, it doesn't get any better than that.

You say it's your birthday...

...it's my birthday too....

Today's my day.

(Too bad I still feel a little sick.  Better though.)

I was initially dreading this, but then about a month or so ago had a change of heart.  After hearing a friend's philosophy on birthdays, and how he doesn't care about them nor does he care if people know his age, I've been rethinking it.  Of course, you have to know that this person doesn't look his age at all.  I wouldn't care about my age either, if the first words out of people's mouths after hearing my age were "No way, you don't look it...you look great!"  :p  It's more than that, really, he does have a good attitude about it. 

So, anyway, that day started a shift in my thinking. 

It used to be that focused on all the negative aspects of getting older.  Lamented the dings and dents, and wondered how can I fix that? 

I still focus on that. 

But I also focus on how I've earned all those dings and dents.  They're a part of me.  A stretchmark here, a scar there, that little birthmark on my back, the one on my knee where my Mom used to mark my hems by; they are all there for a reason. 

I just finished reading "The Confessions of Max Tivoli" by Andrew Sean Greer.  He has this great passage, about Alice, his love, where he meets up with her after years apart. 

"I was not saddened by how Alice had changed.  Any of her former lovers might have looked at this beauty grown from fourteen to thirty-two, full of strange and pensive expressions as this one, and felt a watery sadness at what was lost.  But I felt no sadness; I was different.  I knew more than the easy aspects--her eyes, her voice, her joy--that time leaches from the body:  I knew the ominous little cough she gave when she was bored; I knew the smell of the anise seedshe used to cover her cigarettes; I knew the tremble of her three visible vertebrae when an idea stirred her; I knew the  flutter in her eyelids that meant annoyance at some stupidity; I knew the tears that came to her eyes the instant before an outburst of laughter; I knew her quivering night-cries, her bathtub operetta voice, her bitten fingers, and her snore.  The things I knew, the Alice I knew, could not be touched by time."

And it's true, isn't it, the things people love about us are the things that can't be touched by time.  Things like a caring spirit, an easy laugh, a hug whenever someone needs it, how you are grouchy unless you've had some coffee...those around you who love you will always recognize those things about you, whether you are 15 or 75. 

So the number of the years really doesn't matter.  The exterior might need a touch up, but the interior works just as well as it ever did. 

For the record, it's 37.

Happy Birthday to me!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

This shouldn't amuse me, but....

First, I have to say that I didn't need to be in two places at once yesterday evening afterall.  Ryan felt yucky so he didn't go to aikido; I got an appt to pick up Max that'd allow me to make it in time for the big kids class, but Mr W made it home and he took care of that for me.  Hooray!  Sometimes things work out.  Add to it the cake my friend Jane made me (an early bday cake) and my evening was not so bad afterall.

Today, I have a sedated puppy knocked out by my side.  It is from him that I get my source of amusement.

We have a new vet--our old one left the practice, and I had to pick a new one at the same place--and I know he wasn't intending to, but the course of our conversation yesterday cracked me up.  Even this morning, I think about it, and I crack up.

Maybe it's just delirium.  I slept poorly, and have picked up Ryan's bug.  Ouch.  My tummy.  My head.  My beeline for the bathroom.

Anyway, the vet said he'd send home Max with a lampshade collar, and sedatives, because he was very strict about neuters not being too active or licking themselves.  As we chatted and he figured out exactly how chaotic my house can be, he really was stressing the need for Max to be quiet and not overdo it. 

Hey, man, I thought, I don't have a problem with that.  I'll sedate the dog.  But whatcha got for me, dude, because heaven knows I need some quiet and reduced activity.  lol

When I went to pick up Max, we had yet another chat.  He was talking about Max's medications, and, well, going on.  Studies have shown, blah blah, about the pain meds.  Basically, his point was that I needed to make sure Max was comfortable, and not let the pain get away from us to the point he was miserable.  To make sure I gave him all his pain meds, and not quit if he looked/acted ok.  "I can understand that,"  I told him, "believe me, I've had four c-sections, I know you need to stay ahead of the pain or it gets the best of you."  Did he stop?  No-oo.  Studies show this...studies show that...dude, chill.  I'm gonna medicate my dog.  Into a stupor.  If you want, I'll medicate the other dog.  My kids.  Myself.

He did point out he sent home extra sedation meds, afterall.

"Oh, he did fine during the operation, and he had small testicles."

Why do I need this tidbit of information?  Why am I feeling a little insulted on Max's behalf?

"So the incision was small."  I see.  If that wasn't enough, I felt like I had to defend Max's honor, "Well, he's not quite six months, afterall..."  And he goes into "True, but I've seen some that are like this big"  (make a circle with your thumb and forefinger, just smaller than a walnut) "on a mastiff, and I've seen some this big..." (more circle representations)  "and I saw a uterus this big" (switch to index finger) "while some are this small," (pinky) "so you know..." 

Suddenly, I'm wishing I had on a watch, so I could look at it pointedly in a look-at-the-time way.  Give me my dog, you long-winded nutjob, so I can go home; I have to take my kids to their class (I wasn't sure if Mr W had made it home yet by this time.) 

While I can appreciate his concern for my pup, and I'm happy he feels he needs to spend extra time explaining it all to me, which is nice (the knowledge that he'll take his time and not be in/out of the room), I really am itchy to go. 

My appt to get Max was at 5.  It's now approaching 5:40, and I left Audrey napping and the kids all under Nolan's care.  I'm nervous, even though I'm not even 5 minutes away, that I'm gonna come home to a hysterical group.  I don't dare call and risk waking the princess.  I am going on the blind faith I have in Mr W, who said we spoke last "I'll be home as soon after 4 as I can."  I left at 4:55, and he still wasn't there, so you can imagine, I'm a bit anxious.

I'm listening to a lecture on balls, and pain meds; meanwhile my kids could be setting the house on fire.

And I have to say, I wonder if he's so sympathetic to Max's cause because he's a man.  It has to be a bit disconcerting, no matter how professional he is, from a male point of view, to be removing something that is so inherently male from another creature.  Doesn't it?

Or are people so heartless that they would expect the dog to be up and around, all healed, after a surgery like that, in a day?

I'm sympathetic to my little Max.  I was sympathetic to Shadow, after her girlie surgery.  I've always been a pushover.  Kids, pets, they know who's boss.

It certainly isn't me.

Max is on the mend.  He's wearing his collar, not licking himself, and quiet, thanks to the little pills I slipped him this morning.

I'm not feeling well.  Ben is home from school today. (thanks, Ryan) Audrey, is well, Audrey.  She feels fine.  She's chattering, watching Blues Clues, dancing around.

Mr W has been checking on me all morning.  :)  He's a phone call away, so I'm hanging in there.

But Max's medicine is looking better by the minute.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

In the dark

On my knees, in the hallway, I'm thinking....

Oohh, Mr W.  Wow-oww, Mr W.  Mmmm, a little to the left--

I'm holding my breath, wondering how does he do that?


How does he sleep through another episode of vomitus nocturnus?

I was turning out the lights, doing the nightly rounds of "did I lock that door?" when Ryan stumbles into me in the kitchen.  "Sweetie, did you have a bad dream?"  (he's not been sleeping well, stomaches and nightmares, fun fun)

"I have to throw up."  "Oh!  Okay!" I move into high gear, spin him around and start heading down the hall towards the bathroom; half-carrying him and rushing.  No small feat in the dark, considering my lack of grace.

We turn the corner.  I hear the dread 'glurp' sound in his stomach, the gurgle in the throat and instinctively put him down just as he lets it go.  Groaning inwardly, but patient on the outside, I ask him if he's okay; at the same time scooting around the mess and getting him to the bathroom just in time for round two.  (Feel my barefooted gross pain, folks.)

Poor kid.  He's not getting a break in this. 

Poor Mom.  She's not getting a break in this, either. 

I got him squared away, back in bed, and went to clean it all up.  Which puts us back at my hallway scene; where I'm taking care of business.

Mr W slept through it because he's had a couple of long days at work.  Fair enough.  I know he's tired, and can hear his not-so-gentle snore as I mop it up.  A very reassuring sound in the middle of the night, I have to admit.

I did make another mad dash to the bathroom about 30 minutes later, for Audrey.  Never knew I could jump out of bed, scoop up a little one, and make it to the bathroom that fast!  Thankfully, it was a false alarm, a couple of dry heaves, and she settled right back down afterwards.

Hey, I'm Supermom!  Able to leap small puddles of puke in the middle of the night!  lol

I was feeling like Supermom for a brief bit this morning.  Got the kids up, to school on time, in spite of my own bout with "just five more minutes" and the bath I had to give Max.  After dropping them off, we got Max to the vet (he weighed in at a healthy 47.6 lbs, lil piggie) and came home.  I made Ryan a dr appt, and then it hit me, as I replayed the vet's receptionist's voice in my head... "call us at 3 and we'll set up a pickup appt for you between 5 and 7."

I'm double booked.  Kids have aikido at the same time.

Whoops.  I'm not Supermom.  That's okay, it's too hot here for tights.

It appears I'm gonna have to activate the powers of the Wonderfriends...  :) 

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Mini me, Part 2

This may be short and sweet.  I just let the dogs in, and Max, is well, frankly, a mess.  The picture is a mere representation; some days, he's much worse, some days, he's just dirty at the paws.  Some days, I'm bathing him before 7 am.

I put him out in the morning, with a sense of dread...and amusement.  He has so much fun, how can I begrudge him digging in his water dish?  Even if it means dirt in the house, and pawprints all over the place.  (The Swiffer WetJet and that little vacuumy Swiffer are what keeps me sane, even if I can't keep the floor clean all the time.)

His cohort, Shadow, gets pretty dirty too, but nowhere near as muddy as Max.  She's a little more refined, I guess.

Right now the thing that Max does that amuses me the most is charge--he runs up to me, and as he approaches, turns his head and plants his shoulder squarely up against my leg.  Like a linebacker.  A friend of mine assures me that I won't like it when he does it and he weighs 80 lbs.  However, I feel like I should grant him one more day of glory, for tomorrow, it's snip, snip.

Let's see, I stopped at 52, I think.

53.  I have a tattoo. (inside rt ankle)

54.  I want another one.  (Guess where.)

55.  I'm a Leo. 

56.  And my tattoo is of a lion, but not because of #55.

57.  Steve.  Joe's okay, but...

58.  I like watching cartoons with my kids.  (Teen Titans is my current favorite.  And Plankton, that little megalomaniac, what's not to love?)

59.  The Mom gig is awesome most of the time.  Awesomely hard.  Awesomely challenging.  Awesomely loving.

60.  At times, the Mom gig is lonely. 

61.  Just when I think I can't love them any more, I feel my heart shift and make room for the overflow.

62.  I have moments of cuteness in my day that would make your heart ache.

63.  I have moments of frustration in my day that would make your head ache.

64.  I live for these moments.

Mini me

I'm sitting here, pondering the silence.

Of course everyone is sleeping nicely in their beds, not a peep out of any of them.  I'm home alone.

If my husband was home, however, about to make his move, then of course, everyone would suddenly be wide awake, needing a drink or getting up to use the bathroom. 

Forget birth control.  Just have a couple of kids, and you'll be lucky to see each other naked ever again for longer than it takes to get reacquainted.  Lol, trying is half the fun.  Or half the battle?   

Where was I?

Oh, I was about to attempt the list.  The about me list making the rounds a couple of weeks ago. (again)

Here goes:

1.  I'm a small town girl. 

2.  It's a part of me, even though I don't live there now.

3.  I'm a decent cook.  (No, I'm a good cook.)

4.  If you come over to my house, I'm gonna feed you.

5.  I have one brother who is 2 yrs younger than I am.

6.  No one can aggravate me or make me laugh faster than he can.  Not even Mr W.

7.  Cake.  Not pie.

8.  Ice cream, always.

9.  Learned to twirl a baton when I was three.

10.  Twirled in high school.

11.   Even fire.  (Two of them.)

12.  I still do it sometimes in my backyard.  (but no fire)

13.  One of my first memories is in Spanish.

14.  I'm fluent. 

15.  But I wish I could read/write it better.

16.  I always wanted four kids. 

17.  Surprised that I actually had four once I realized how much work one can be.

18.  My best friend is someone I've known, officially, since I was 8.  (Hi Jenny)

19.  Some of my best friends growing up were guys.

20.  Tomboy.

21.  And still a girly girl.

22.  I've always had a pet.  Usually, a dog.

23.  I like to run. 

24.  Fireworks fascinate me. 

25.  I like to read.

26.  I did pretty well in high school.

27.  But college was a shock.  Little fish, big pond = big adjustment.

28.  I still graduated. 

29.  It took 5 years.  Or so.

30.  Microbiology.

31.  I was pregnant my last semester.  (Nolan born two weeks after I finished my last final.)

32.  Mr W was my first boyfriend.

33.  Mr W was my only boyfriend.

34.  I like to think I had a few secret admirers.

35.  My first kiss was a disaster.

36.  I've got that down now.

37.  I'm a night owl. 

38.  But the kids have made me a morning person.

39.  Nursed them all.

40.  Heehee, but the girls have held up well. <imho>

41.  Sometimes, you gotta wear the A-list undies under your tshirt and jeans.  Keeps 'em guessing

42.  I call my Mom every day.

43.  I like being this age.

44.  But I still feel like a teenager.

45.  Ahem, the hormones run rampant.  In a bad/good way. 

46.  I smile.  Alot.

47.  And most of the time, I laugh too loud. 

48.  I'm very loyal.

49.  Overprotective.

50.  If you are my friend, you know it. 

51.  I wear my heart on my sleeve.

52.  I wish I didn't.

I have to stop now.  It's late.  I'm tired.  <yawn>  And he's home.

Just a few things

Mood:  tired

I'm still hanging in there.  Thought I'd be passed out by now, but nooo-oooo.  Mr W isn't home yet.  He went in today, for a bit of OT, and true to form, got into the inevitable complicated crap he always gets into.  If there's a nutjob within a two mile radius of his cop car, that's the car he just happens to stop.  It never fails.  The man attracts wackos.

Um, wait a minute.  I better qualify that. 

The man attracts wackos...at work. 

Anyway.  When I picked up the kids at school, Ryan sits up front, grasps my hand, and announces:  "I have some good news, and some bad news."  Not a good intro, but he gets points for effort.

He got in trouble today, and a 'behavior' ticket got sent home with him.  For the love of God, he's in first grade.  A bad behavior ticket?  Please, I'm praying, let it not be for him dropping his pants, or nudity.  Please.

Phew!  He's in trouble for not keeping himself under control, and dancing around to the music instead of listening to his teacher.  Fabulous. 

How can it be that I have the tiny dancer on one hand, and a politico on the other?  (Nolan has announced to me he wants to run for Student Body President.  Considering that for the last 5 yrs, he's done everything to lay low imaginable, I'm surprised.  And jazzed by this new outgoing side of him.  Go, boy!) 

It's a bit aggravating telling Ryan once again that his teacher means business.   But I can't help but dig the whole deal, the different natures of the kids, the changes that come overnight.  (I'm hoping Ryan gets over it soon, though...)

Speaking of overnight changes, I finally decided to help Nolan out in regards to the onslaught of body odor I'm sure we will have to endure soon. I still can hardly believe this, but I bought my baby, my firstborn, some Axe bodyspray.  Now, after he showers, we definately know it.  You can smell him all over the house; and he's been a little too zealous in his application, if you know what I mean. 

"He is not overdoing it," I told Mr W last night.  "It fades, it's not that strong forever."

"Did you not see the cloud that came out of the bathroom when he opened the door?"  Mr W pipes up.

"Oh, ok, maybe you're right."  Cough, cough. 

Well, at least he smells good.  And now I have an excuse to spray the aisle at Target, before making my selection. 

"Security to aisle five..."

Cough, cough.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Fog lifting

Because I was up with a sick girl last night, and still trying to get my bearings on today; not to mention stay awake....little ones, they bounce back, it's Mom that needs a nap.

I'm gonna hit the ground running (okay, walking fast) with the Six.  And maybe write some more. 

I am one pair of socks and a bra short of a full laundry load today, so bear with me. 

(Today's disclaimer:  Sleep deprivation makes me giggly, and goofier than usual, so consider yourselves warned.) 

Saturday Six - Episode 70

1. A reader to "Men's Journal" recently wrote about technological innovations, stating that there isn't any gadget he couldn't live without:  "To see how vital technology is, spend a few days in the backcountry without your phone, pager, PDA, laptop, cappuccino machine, or MP3 player.  You'll emerge cleansed and refreshed."  Could you go a whole week really roughing it with no modern conveniences? Yup.  It's only a week, what's the big deal?  Would you want to? Sure, I'm game.  As long as I can bring some books along.

2. What is the most you've ever paid for a:
    A) Shirt
    B) Pair of Shoes
    C) CD or Album
    D) DVD
    E) Book
    F) Vacation

I am a sale girl.  If it is prohibitively (sp?) expensive, then I don't need it. (Not that I don't like nice things, mind you, but I am a practical girl...I don't need a $500 shirt to wear to the park, just so Audrey can wipe her face on my shoulder.) 

I will splurge on CDs, and DVDs, because we all need entertainment...and books I get at the library, usually, unless it's something special and I just can't wait.  With all these things, though, you usually can find them at a lower price.  Isn't that what Amazon, Target, and Walmart are for, lol?

Vacations are another story.  This last jaunt to Disneyland was more expensive than usual, but totally worth it.  Let's just say it was high enough to make me pause, but not so high that I started to laugh and say "thank you very much" to the operator when I was booking it (ok, in the $1500-2000 range, and it included all our tickets for four days to both Disney parks, 3 nights/4 days at a D. resort hotel; it was a good deal :D)

3. Looking back at the answers to#2, which one was the most foolish?

At the risk of sounding obnoxious, I usually don't feel any purchases are foolish, because I'm very conscious of the budget. If we don't need it, I don't get it. (With the exception of kid extravagances, of course!) I'm a SAHM, for all practical purposes, I don't have it to throw around, lol.  So for now, I'm careful.  The mortgage has to take precedence over the Manolos. :)  (Sigh.  I sound like a tightwad, but really, I'm not.)

4. Take this quiz:   Which snack food are you? I'm offended, I think.  I took the quiz, which says I'm a donut.  Let's make the most of this one:  a nice round, chocolate-frosted, filled Krispy Kreme.  You pick the filling, lol, it's all good.  (Hmm, I don't think I was supposed to feel a little dirty, after that quiz, was I? <g>)

5. There are three wells:  Love, Beauty and Creativity.  If you could only drink from one of them, which would you choose and why?

Creativity.  If you're creative enough, you can find a way to make the other two happen. 

6. If you were another person, do you think you would be friends with the person you know as yourself?

I think so.  I'd want to know who is that crazy chick with the kids that follow her like ducklings?  And what is that stain on her shoulder?  She can't be a day over 29....  (:p) 

A twilight zone moment...

Oookay.  I'm a bit confused.  I know I stayed up late last night, with an entry....I read comments about it this morning...

And it's gone.

Poof!  Vanished...grumble, grumble....

Last night, when I was doing the entry, my "other journals" list was gone.  Now, my "other journals" list is back, but the entry is gone.

An alternate j universe out there somewhere, or just one of those AO-Lalala tricks I've heard so much about?


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

But this is my job

Once in a while, this part-time work thing gets me down.  I appreciate every day that I am able to be here, with the kids.  It's what I do, and I'm grateful to be here for the moments, large and small, that move me. 

But part-time work means part-time pay, and as a result, I've got the household accounts down to a not-totally-perfect-but-it-works science.  Like anyone else, I manage, and no one's running around naked.  (Not unless they want to--and you may not believe this, but I just looked over because something caught my eye, and there was Audrey, running around, without a stitch on her.  Really.)

It's just that when something comes along, and throws things off, like say, the two semi-costly van repairs last month, or whatever that's due to break breaks, neccesitating replacement; and I have to get creative with my system, it sends me into a tailspin.  Needs vs. wants.  Wants vs. needs. 

I want to have a stress-free month. 

I need to have a rich relative....hmm, how do I put this delicately?... leave me an inheritance.  <lol>

What I'm getting at is that I start to feel bad about only working part-time.  I know that if I were working full-time, things would be easier.  So I start to mope a bit, and plot all kinds of crazy ways that I could be in two places at once.  And I sigh, and tell Mr W how I am dropping the ball.

He, of course, is fabulous, when he's not getting impatient about hearing me go on about this again, and exasperatedly tells me the the work I do around here, while it doesn't actually pay, is important nonetheless.  That it's okay.  That I need to knock this shit off, and get out of the way, because the commercial's almost over.  <Hugs>; and move on, "it'll work out."

He's right, of course.  (Oh, and look, I admitted it in print.  Isn't that against some wifely code or something?)

I was kinda busy last week, and so I couldn't dwell too  much on feeling low, even though it's been weighing on my mind as of late.  Seasonal fiscal guilt, so to speak.

As usual, the kids put me in my place.

Perspective came to me on Friday, when Nolan came to the van, and he was laughing.  Apparently, I was the topic of conversation among some of his friends.  "Mom, D. thinks you make the best chocolate chip cookies in the whole world.  I asked him, "so, if I held one over your head right now, you'd roll over like a dog for it?" and he said yes!  Isn't that funny?" 

<You know, I always knew I liked D.>

I looked around the van, at all the people that were so happy to see me, and I snapped out of it.

This is my job.  They think I'm good at it.  They're happy.

It'll work out.

Once again, I've lost a few days

I had a couple of folks tease me for lack of entries, so I am here to explain myself. 

*No, I haven't been 'resting' at the institution of Mr W's choice.

*No week-long jaunt to the spa.

*No lottery-win-funded whirlwind tour of the globe. 

Nope, what has kept me away from my writing entries and j-hopping has been that time-honored classic:  shame.

See, the kids have been back in school for almost two weeks now.  And I've promised to turn over a new leaf for them, and um, get them to school on time.

I must confess at this point that at the end of our last term, I was absolutely horrified, and amused, that the two big boys had, ahm, well, um,  I think it was 12 (or was it 13?) tardies on their report cards.  All of them pretty much my fault.

Between being a soft touch, and letting them sleep in as late as possible; and waiting for them to finish eating instead of hounding them with the "hurry it up, you have five minutes" (Mr W's approach); and ahem, my early morning surfing the net, the kids were always late.  Oh, sure, I could play the "you try getting all these kids ready and out the door in time" card, but really, only Nolan and Ben were needing to be out the door at the same time, and Audrey and Ryan could come along in pjs, no need to dress them...afterall, I'm in my pjs, why shouldn't they be?  No, really, it was all me making them late, so I decided this time out to try harder, for them.

Which means no before-school online time for me, because "just a sec, I'm almost done" turns into "holy shit, is that  the time?!!" as I scurry for my keys and rush them into the van.

The school is at the end  of my block, too, it's not like I've gotta fight traffic to get there.  "Mom!  Watch out for the jr high kids crossing the street for their bus!!" is about as bad as it gets.  (Or as good, depending on what  entertainment value one can get out of watching a 7th grader dive for the curb without messing up their look.)

I'm trying.  I've done well so far.  I had one false alarm, and it was due to the bell ringing early--not my fault.  I'm proud of myself, and them, because I've been getting them up earlier, and things have been moving much more smoothly.  If I don't count Ryan, who rolls over, cracks open an eye, and murmurs "one more minute, please, Mom" with the practiced skill of a 16 year old.  (Yup, that first grade can be a toughie.  He needs his rest.  Of course I cave.  But only for one more minute.)

Yet on the horizon, there's a window opening up...

I'm signing up Audrey for preschool soon.  A couple of days a week, for a couple of hours.  Yes, you read it right, I have to write it again, just to make myself believe it:  a couple of hours, two days a week, without any kids.

I'd say that I'm gonna be sipping lattes at the local coffeehouse discussing books with some handsome young man; or that I'll be carving out some "me" time (snort); but I know where I'll probably be...

and this might shatter my jet-setting image, but I'll probably be:

cleaning house; or I'll be helping out in the big kids classrooms; or I'll be working on our Art Masterpiece prep.

And really, that's okay.  Anytime I can get some work done at the school, that doesn't involve chasing down a toddler, trying to use a threatening "inside" voice, is time well spent. 

(Oh, but I'm sure I'll find some other things to do every now and then--afterall, two hours alone would be terrible thing to waste...)

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Step away from the lunchboxes...

I have to go to Target this morning.  I'm trying to find a way to keep myself away from the school supplies....

because I am a school supply hoarder.  Fanatic.  Wacko.

Before school started, as the big day approached, each afternoon I'd search my mailbox for the letter from the school with tidbits of news and the object of my affection:  the supply list.  Of course, I realize that once in school, the teachers all have their individual requests, which will entail another trip.  And I don't mind that at all.

This year, when I went to buy the supplies, I was held in check by my big gun:  Mr W.  You see, if I need to go pick some stuff up, and don't want to stray from the list, he's my best defense.  Not only will he look at his watch 6,000 times as he patiently waits for me to get the stuff, subtly reminding me that it shouldn't take an hour to pick out a box of pencils; but he will hold the boys at bay, allowing me to grab one child at a time to get what they need from the list; as well as give me the "I can't believe you are hesitating about the color of scissors" look that reminds me I'm being ridiculous.  He uses that man-logic of "he wants that lunchbox, buy that lunchbox" drowning out my "but this one is on sale at Walmart, I'll get it there."  Real men don't drive around to save 2 bucks, I've discovered. 

Today, he won't be with me, and I'll be along with my nemesis:  the three year old who really wants to be a 'big girl' and go to school.  The same child who has her own lunchbox (two points if you can guess what kind) even though she's home all day.  Well, she does need some new markers....

All those pens, pencils, Sharpies, post-its, pristine notebooks...

Calculators, rulers, staplers....

Binders, folders, lunchboxes....

Crayons.  Ah, the sweet smell of the new box of crayons. 

I'm feeling a little giddy.

Some women collect shoes, or purses, or both.  I collect pens, markers, and notebooks.  I'm prepared for any classroom emergency, and then some.

Psst!  Got Sharpie?

Monday, August 1, 2005

And here's where it's gonna get ugly

Okay,  sometimes, it's not all sunshine and light around here.   I was reminded of this as I was reading a friend's recent entry, about how she was jealous, resentful, and wanted her husband's freedom, and I had a flashback to the last two Saturdays.

Now, before you read on, and think I'm married to a lout, I have to say, he's not.  He's a genuine good guy.  He helps me out quite a bit, it's just sometimes, I have to wonder, do I really need to nag him about the things that need to be done around the house while I'm gone? Things I may not be finished with, but he could finish? It can be frustrating...

I was annoyed within sight of the kitchen Saturday, because I came home from work, and opened the door to dishes, hungry kids, the same three piles of laundry in the hallway, and wet dogs that tracked dirt/water into the house when I let them back inside (so I had to mop, too, within minutes of walking in.)  He was in our bedroom, reading.  Drowsy.  And the previous Saturday, when I'd called him on the stack in the sink, he had the gall to say he didn't do the dishes because "I've been busy entertaining your kids."  Excuse me?  MY kids?  So Sat evening, in the middle of my getting things in order brouhaha, I told him to say something along the lines of "you are the household champion" because I did all that, and kept the kids entertained.  Everyone fed, everyone happy.  You know, what I do every single effing day, with one hand tied behind my back, and just as few hours of sleep under my belt as he's had

Then there's my job, where my supervisors, while they are pleased to see me, act like I'm a second-class citizen because I'm not there, or they have a view of me being inconsistent in my attendance (partially true in the past, due to Mr W's accident/surgeries, and work schedule, but not so much anymore).   I suck it up, because I work part time to live the dream, so to speak.  Who cares if it means any aspirations or goals I might have about my work stagnate and eventually disappear?  S-U-C-K it up, girl, and btw, don't forget to pick up some milk on the way home.

And I can't complain tooo much about someone resting on their days off when they work more than 40 hours a week to provide for us.  I'm grateful for it.  I realize he needs to rest.  I encourage it.  I -dare I say it- spoil him quite a bit, because I'm a good wife that way.

But that doesn't mean I don't wish I could just go, say, hey, I'm going to go to work today, and not have to worry about who's minding the madhouse.  I'm going to lunch with my friends.  I'm going shopping, be back later. 

Freedom is so not freedom if you cart the three yr old along, is it? 

The last time we discussed this, of course, because he's a man, he ranted back, and tried to come up with a solution (not a great one, but he gets credit for the effort).  "Dude,"  I said, "I just need you to listen.  I'm not trying to fight.  Our situation is the best solution at the moment."  I just wanted him to hear me, and appreciate my take on the issue.

I know I accepted this position with open eyes, open heart, and that it's not fair to any of us to want to shift midstream now; work more, and Mommy less.   He is awesome to me, and it's just this little bit of a hiccup that pushes my buttons, that when I come home from work, I'm not able to just sit; but when he comes home from work, or is off, then the rest of us leave him in peace, and he isn't expected to do anything else.  My fault?  Partially.  But he's a grown-up.  I don't think I could sit, in good conscience, and watch him run around like a chicken with its head cut off as he did umpteen little tasks right when he walked in the door from work.  So why can he sit and watch me do it? (besides hoping he's gonna get a flash?) 

He made it up to me on the Sundays after.  I came home a week ago Sunday, and he was in the middle of a cleaning-the-blinds frenzy, a task I've put off for far too long.  Yesterday, when I got in, he was in the process of feeding the kids, and had just come in from Lowe's because we had a faulty light switch, so he took all 4 of the rugrats to the store, got it, priced some ceiling fans for me, came home and fixed the switch. 

Sigh.  I guess I can cut him some Saturday slack, when the rest of the week, he rocks.

Besides, ultimately, it's all about balance, not who took the garbage out last.  Sometimes, I lose sight of that when I'm peeling the Fruit Rollup off the floor for the 10th time in a day. 

And it's about appreciation for the end of the day, when it's quiet, and I can look at him, realizing that sometimes, it's good to put that irritable energy to use.

How's he gonna reload?

The other night, I got to witness another installment of "boys will be boys."

Nolan and Ben were wrestling, which is a common enough occurrence here in the Casa de Testosterone, but I was treated to a twist.  Ben was laying (pinned) on the floor.  Nolan was semi-squatting with his rear end pointed at/above Ben's head/face.  Straining.  Oh, yes, you read that right. 

"Looks like I'm out of ammo," he said, as he straightened up and walked away.

I hesitated to think about what he'd do to reload, so I shifted the tostadas to the next night, just in case.

I'm happy to report that he was, at the time of the incident, completely dressed.  (In case anyone was wondering)

And now that the "ewww" quota for the evening has been met, I can do the Six.

Saturday Six - Episode 68

1. What was your favorite childhood movie?  When was the last time you saw it?  Disney's "The Jungle Book".  I haven't seen it in a long time.  But I love it and can still hear the music in my head.  ("Oh I'm the king of the jungle....")

2. Who is your worst enemy at the moment?  (First names only, please.)  Why is that person your enemy?  
 Sheesh, I don't know...me.  If I have to pick someone, I'll pick myself.  I'm my own worst critic.

3. Which one of the following annoys you most when you encounter a new blog?
    a. Constant grammatical errors.
    b. Constant spelling errors.
    c. Contrived "street" language.
    d. Too many "nothing happening today" entries.
Judge not, lest ye be judged...but b & c, not that I've ever bin guilty of them, aight?

4. Take this quiz:   Which alcoholic drink are you?
Here I was angling for "tall, cool glass of water"; not alcoholic, but enticing nonetheless...Boring, boring, I'm a cocktail.  An umbrella drink, for goodness sake; in a big, pear-shaped glass.  Ugh. 

  5. What is the last thing you said to a person face to face?  "Wake me up when you get home."  Who was that person? My husband.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #59 from Debi:  When you shower, do you ever think of the Alfred Hitchcock movie, "Psycho?"   Ha, like my overactive imagination ever needs more fodder.  Of course I do.  Especially if I'm in a hotel.  Although, with the frequency of interruptions I get while I shower, I think that the man-chick with the knife would have to take a number and get in line. 

Speaking of showers, I have an early round of stinky kids to deal with, so I'd better say adios, goodnight, until we meet again....