Saturday, July 21, 2007

Like lightning

Last week, I was in a bookstore with my oldest son killing time before we were to go to a midnight showing of the newest Harry Potter movie. 

I happened upon an issue of "Entertainment Weekly" that had Transformers on the cover--it caught my eye.  There  was also a blurb on the front about the latest Stephen King column.   I love those!

Eagerly, I turned to the back page to read it.   It was about the latest Harry Potter book, and he made a point that really touched me.  I can't remember it verbatim, but it was something like this:  '...imagine what it is like for the kids who will be reading the last book, who started reading the series when they were eight, and are now eighteen.  It will almost be like they are closing a chapter on their childhoods when they finish this book.'

As I pondered that, I quickly looked over at where Nolan was standing, lump in my throat. 

Oh.  I hear you, Stephen.

The thing is, we started reading the books when Nolan was seven.  I remember winning tickets to take him to see a sneak preview of the first movie, and at the time, I was pregnant with Audrey.  We have dutifully plowed through the books, and have eagerly waited/attended the movies all along.

Now that Nolan has reached the ripe old age of thirteen, and Audrey is looking kindergarten full in the face, I am well aware of how I mark some of my kids' lives with Harry.

Tonight, Nolan, Ryan, and I braved the crowds at our local bookstore to buy the book at midnight.  We got home, and Nolan and I had our usual argument over who would get to read it first.

I won.

I read faster.

And besides, I paid for it.

I sat the book on my counter while I quickly ran to wash my face and get my jammies, and hurried out.  What did I start doing?  This.

While the book remains on the counter. 

I've been pacing around it, stealing glances at the cover like something is going to reach out and bite me.  I can't bring myself grab it and get started.  Surprise, surprise..suddenly I am not sure.   I don't think I want to know what happens.  

What's going to happen to my boy?

I'm very attached to Harry, to the idea that a magical world such as his exists.  I feel that the books have a lot of the qualities that make a book enjoyable to read; fantastic places, interesting characters, other worlds....

...not to mention Harry himself.  A motherless child, an orphan, mistreated by his relatives and in need of some serious attention?  Sign me up.  My Mom instincts go into such overload everytime his aunt pinches her face in disgust that I can feel my heart ache, my hand itch to slap that woman silly. 

Then there are the movies.

The actors in the movies have grown from children to gangly preadolescents to full-on teenagers now.  Like some crazy movie-biological clock-metronome is synching them, my son and his friends have changed in much of the same ways.  I can scarcely believe that the skinny little boy who held my hand while we waited our turn in line to the theater is the same boy, tall as I am, who sat on the curb listening to his iPod while we waited our turn in line yet again last week.

The time flies like lightning.

And the book waits on the counter, its orange cover glowing softly in the dim light.

I know in my heart that a work of fiction is fiction.  I know that the state of my world is not going to change in 759 pages.  I know.

(deep breath, as I have picked up the book...)

I'm ready.

Friday, July 6, 2007


My husband is really good about getting me flowers for anniversaries, and Valentine's day, etc.

I am really bad about accepting them.   I hate the idea of him dropping a chunk of cash on something that, while thoughtful, appreciated, and lovely, is ultimately going to die within the week.  Perhaps, if we had unlimited funds, I'd be more graceful about it; but until then, I prefer something I will actually use, and not something I'll just watch die.

I know.  I'm awful.  If he happens to do it, and I haven't told him not to beforehand, I am very gracious and I don't nag him about it.  But if I can head him off at the pass, I will.

This week, for example, I sent him an email.  I told him I knew he would probably send me flowers for our big day, but that I would prefer the type of flowers that come in a bottle (perfume) and I included the info about what I wanted.

Again, about as romantic as a box of nails.

Anyway, he surprised me by coming home early today.  We had dropped off the van for an oil change and we were on our way to pick it up.  I joked with him about how I had to run errands later, and said "I guess I'll have to go buy my own perfume."  (Complete with eyeroll and dramatic sigh.  Me and my touch of telenovela for emphasis.)

He starts pulling out his wallet. "What are you doing?"  I asked, horrified that he was contorting in the driver's seat on the freeway.

He opens it up, pulls out a piece of paper, and tosses it over to me.

It's a printout of the info I sent him, the picture and place of where to get exactly what I wanted.


I'm lucky, I guess, that he didn't open the door to the car on the freeway and just push me out.  I know I wouldn't blame him.

I'm extra lucky that he is such a good guy. 

How could I not love that?

I'd get into Satan's Camaro

We took the kids to see the "Transformers" movie on the Fourth.

Some people go on picnics on the Fourth of July, my family escaped to the confines of a super air-conditioned megaplex of theaters.  (Nothing says "American" like an overpriced movie ticket, bladder-challenge sized Coke and a bucket of popcorn so large you could park a VW in it.  Hold the butter, I have standards.) We were in good company, as we arrived an hour before our show was to begin, and only 78 seats were left in the theater.

It's not a good sign, my friends, when the line inside rivals a Disneyland line, and you are the lone adult with your merry band of children.  Mr W was the player to be named later, "I'll meet you there, let me wrap this up" somehow becoming a plot to time his arrival to coincide with the beginning of the previews.  No matter.  The merry band stayed merry, close, and (miraculously) well-behaved.

The movie was fantastic.  The special effects were good, the action was good...

I give it two thumbs up.

Straw holder

Audrey came up to me over the weekend, "Mommy, I have a loose tooth."

Instantly, I start thinking, when did she hurt herself?  Does she have some weird disease?  Do I need to make a dental appt/is it some kind of cavity?

Then I slapped my own forehead--doh!  She's five.  She's supposed to be losing her teeth.  Nolan looked like a jack-o-lantern in kindergarten, now it's her turn.

She's been wiggling it at me for days (eewww, I hate loose teeth) and would not let anyone near it.

Yesterday, she came into the bathroom as I was getting ready for work, and smiled.  A huge smile that was missing a tooth.  "Yay!"  I exclaimed.  "It came out!  Where is it?"

"I dropped it in the hallway,"  she said.  Which explained the noises I'd heard moments before, the mobilization of her brother-troops to look for the Lost Tooth of the Princess. 

We never found the tooth...but the tooth fairy still managed to find her.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

That's one way to wake them up

Audrey asked me if she could go wake up her brothers.  "Sure,"  I said.

I assumed she'd just go in their rooms and shake them up a bit.

"Mommy,"  she called to me, "they won't get up...."

"....Nolan just keeps pulling the sheets over his head so the water won't hit him."


"I'm spraying them with the water bottle."

Oh, no.

"That's some wake up call, sweetie.  Maybe you should give me the water bottle, and step away from the teenager."

Luckily, her brothers took it in stride.

This time.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

What's a girl gotta do to get a little rain?

When I was at work on Sunday, one of the girls I was working with was going on about the weather.  It's that time here where it's so hot, it feels like the top layer of your face gets baked off the second you open up your car door.

The time of year where shade is a premium commodity, and you have to weigh the distance-to-the-door vs. shade-for-your-car vs. time-it-will-take-you-to-shop as you circle the parking lot, watching people wilt as they pick their way across the asphalt.  And ultimately decide that your family doesn't need the toilet paper today, and if you run out, there's a box of Kleenex and yesterday's newspaper in the garage to tide you over.

Anyway, my friend said, "I can't wait for the monsoon."  As if humidity on top of hellish heat would make the days that much more pleasant. 

Yet I found myself echoing her statement.  I love the monsoon, because I dig the thunderstorms.  There's nothing like the sky going from bright sunlight to overcast and angry in 10 minutes; where you are drenched before you make it inside to tell everyone else, "Hey, it looks like rain."  The skies open up, and it's fantastic.  There's another reason why I like it, though...

"I love it when it rains like that.  It reminds me of this one time when me and Mr W were first dating.  We were totally making out in the carport on the side of my house and it was pouring rain the whole time.  It was so cool."

"Wow, that must have been some make out session, if you can remember it that well after all these years," my friend said.

"I finally got the kissing thing right.  And decided it rocked."

I remember that evening pretty well.  It was the best two hours of my life up until that point, and Mr W was as much of a gentleman as a 17 year old boy could be.  Really.

I know, however, if I asked him, he wouldn't remember it.  Not more than vaguely.

And that's okay.

Because I know that even if he doesn't remember all the details, he remembers the sentiment.

Our anniversary is this Friday.

He never forgets that.

Was that a hiss?

You know the deal.  The harder you try not to laugh, the more you laugh.  It might not even be that funny, but you are past the point of no return and close to peeing your pants over something like this:

Last week, I think it was Wednesday night, we were tucking in the kids.  My husband was coming out of the Nolan and Ben's room, and he and Nolan were bantering about something; and Nolan said, "Watch it, Dad, or you will wake up with a snake in your bed."  My husband shook his head, like 'where'd he come up with that?' as I peeled off down the hallway, giggling uncontrollably, as the most ridiculous thought took over.  He looks at me, "what's so funny?"

"Dude, isn't this where you're supposed to hitch up your pants, and say something like, "Boyah, I already sleep with an anaconda in my bed"??"  He snorts, and tries to gesture to me to keep it down.

"Weren't you just on them about their language and the content of the shows they watch?  Like an hour ago?"

I'm still laughing.  He's walking into our room now, and he's shaking his head.  It's dark, so I'm in slumber-party-giggle mode, tired and stupid style.   "How about, "I've got a python..." " 

"Stop it,"  Mr W says, as he is getting a little chuckle going and climbing into bed. 

"Fine then,"  I go on, "It's a garden snake."  "Anna..." "an inch worm..." 

"Get out." 

I couldn't stop chortling.  The kids pipe up, "What's so funny, Mom?" as I walk by their room, setting me off again.



"Goodnight,"  I said as I took a deep breath.

And giggled.

Ok, I'm done with summer

I'm so ready for school to start up again.

Sure, this morning as I cuddled Audrey, I felt a little pang as I know our leisurely mornings are coming to an end; but five minutes ago,when she let out a whine that made me have to peel myself off the ceiling, I was ready to pack her lunch and send her off.

The boys have had friends over since Friday, and while I love all of those friends of theirs dearly, it's nice to return to our usual level of chaos.

Wait till I tell them what time they have to go to bed tonight.

Twenty more days!  Then Mama's gonna par-tay!

(after I'm done shedding a few tears at the kindergarten)