Saturday, March 27, 2010

I'll have what he has

Over the past 12 years there have been many times I've looked at our son and thought "Yup, that apple fell off my tree". However, in the past year there has been an increase in the number of times he has done things that make me think he's from a completely different orchard. Perhaps the reason he seems so different than me at times is simply that I was never a preteen boy. He certainly makes it look a lot easier than being a preteen girl ever was! Now I can only speak for myself, but wasn't the whole point of being 13 to be an advertisement for worry and embarrassment?

My marching orders for my son's entry into middle school in fifth grade were summed up as follows: Make sure he has boxers--nobody wears tighty-whities at the middle school...done. The next order of business was the right socks--no show, low-cut...done (most of the time unless there was a laundry snafoo). THESE were the big issues to contend with?! It was fine to jump around like a lunatic, as long as he had the right socks and undies! I was even allowed to still hug him in public...jackpot!

I kept thinking he just hadn't "grown up" yet. I was bracing myself for what I'd been told was that inevitable day when he'd "change". Oh sure, I've learned in my rookie time as a mother to never throw the life preserver overboard because the sailing seems calm, but I am starting to think he has become what's to be...himself! I am overjoyed, and filled with envy. The day I watched him get ready for hat day at school by donning the jester hat he got at Wintuk, I thought "I wish I had half an ounce of his self-confidence". When he watched me freak out last week because none of his dress pants fit (less than an hour before we had to leave for his orchestra concert), as he calmly tried on a pair of my pants that I threw at him, I thought "I wish I had an ounce of his 'I don't give a damn!'" I was relieved to find him amused by my poor planning whether it be no dress shoes that fit-he wore mine to the December concert; or, no dress pants that fit-he wore mine to the March concert. He was not phased to learn that he'd had his shirt on backwards for a good portion of his day ("Not all day Mommy, just since second period.")

He surrounds himself with people who seem to accept/enjoy him for who he is. Can you imagine if we all figured that out before we were teenagers? I so enjoy watching him and his friends interact; but not for feelings of nostalgia as this is a whole new show from the one I recall. I can't remember a single facet of my being that was was all so painfully (poorly) thought out. Again, maybe it's just me, or maybe it's a girl thing...or some cosmic combo of both.

There is a girl (who will be 10 in 13 days...the countdown is on the fridge) sitting across the room from me, and right now her giggle cracks us up. She dances around here as if nobody is watching. I am pretty sure that within the next few years she will be hurling apples at us, and they will be falling all over the place!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Is it funny yet?

I had one of those Mondays this week that completely erased any fond memories of the weekend that had just been. In the midst of it I thought, "Well, maybe there is a something here that I could turn into a humorous blog entry!" Then I thought, "No...too soon." Well now that I have caught up on some sleep, successfully put out some other small fires, and made it to another Friday...I am ready to share.

Sunday 8:45 p.m. - Things started going astray when one of our dogs was trailing blood from an undisclosed location. (Reason #512 I will never understand who I thought was going to be living in this house when I chose a light berber carpet.) Further investigation showed nothing that couldn't wait until morning, or in other words, he didn't soak a towel in 45 minutes (I am not a vet, nor do I play one in my blog).

10:00 p.m. - I decide to be proactive, and go to bed early incase I am awakened for any reason that night.

Monday 2:00 a.m. - A visit from my daughter (I say "my" because I was the only parent she was concerning herself with at that moment.) with a tummy ache. We chatted in the bathroom for a bit reminiscing about the hot sausage calzone that was overloaded with cheese that I had fed her for dinner. After such rousing conversation we tried to settle ourselves into half of the bed...where we laid awake until around 4:00. We pretended we were comfortable most of the time, but she did express her concern at one point that "It looks like Daddy has a lot of room over there." Yes, and he was also sleeping too soundly to concern himself with our situation and resulting real estate complaints.

5:00 a.m. - A visit from my son with a headache. He looked perplexed by the sleeping arrangement as he watched me try to catapult myself out of the middle of the bed without disturbing anyone. I crept downstairs to get his him some medicine, careful not to wake the beasts in their crate (I was not prepared to look THAT situation in the eye, or anywhere else). I offered to hold the wet washcloth on his forehead for a little while, if for no other reason than to have a place to hang out...certain that my spot in my own bed had been absorbed. At 5:30 I realized I should be near an alarm clock, so I crawled across the bottom of my bed to sleep.

6:30 a.m. - I took a shower, fed and walked the dogs without any incident (but Fozzie dog did seem pretty uncomfortable)

7:00 a.m. - Son comes downstairs all set and ready for school! (Things are looking up!)

7:15 a.m. - Daughter comes down ready to go. I mentioned she could go back to sleep for a bit...nope, but within 5 minutes she was crying over breakfast at the thought of missing school.

7:40 a.m. - I left (as there was nothing here to do--she said she was just tired..."OK, so rest for 90 minutes") took son to school and went to work--got there at 8:20.

8:40 a.m. - I got the call that our daughter would not be going to school because she was tired, so I left to come home (as my husband could only stay homeuntil 9:00).

9:50 a.m. - Vet appointment. I will spare you the details incase you grabbed a quick snack before hopping on the computer, but will say they involve nasty words like "shaved", "gland" and "ruptured". Usually dogs let you know long before the situation gets this bad. I can't imagine why the vet would think I was neglectful: I took a break from their heartworm meds for the winter, Foz desperately needed a bath, haircut and to have his nails clipped. The vet said he didn't want me to get bit, but I could try putting a warm washcloth on Foz's issue...thanks, but I can think of even more reasons that doesn't interest me!

10:30 a.m. - Arrived back home and I do believe Fozzie's look here pretty much sums up how the three of us felt...

The phone only rang 3 times while we were trying to nap that afternoon.

At 2:30 Tuesday morning, my daughter came to visit with a few tears in her eyes because, she was worried she MIGHT get a belly ache. I decided the best approach would not be to jump up and down on my bed screaming what I was afraid I MIGHT do. I tucked her back into her own bed and turned some music on for her. I went back to my own bed, where I couldn't sleep, and read for an hour because, well, because I was afraid she might bet a belly ache, I guess!

Times like this don't really make me laugh out loud right away, but they do make me smile. These are some of the times that most clearly define who I have become over the last 12.75 years...a mommy...warts (more like bags under my eyes) and all! It's like those children on the playground who so proudly display their band-aids and tell the tales of where each boo-boo came from. For every story each of my gray hairs has to tell, I have a laugh line that can tell a better one!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Easter is coming...dust bunnies unite!

My mother and I have been trying to figure out which of us should host Easter this year, and incase I win (or lose--depends how I feel at the moment), I want things to look nice. I asked her to stop by yesterday to give an opinion on some changes to decor I was trying to make around our house. I say trying, because one of the rooms in question was full of furniture all too heavy for me to move very far. I thought it would be lighter if I emptied all drawers/shelves, but no such luck, so I kind of rearranged things-part way while I waited for the Man of Steel to get home.

So, Mom stopped by, and our walk-thru went kind of like this..."How do you think that chair looks? Well, I mean if the file cabinet wasn't blocking the doorway and the foot of general crap wasn't on the floor." And, "How does that shower curtain look? You know if the sink was clean and the kids didn't have their jammies strewn about?" Or, "How about if I move those shelves in the living room to a different wall? Um, right after I take care of the displaced rocking chair from an earlier project. Oops, and don't look into the dining room because I have some things to pick up there!"

The look on her face was priceless by the end of the tour, as it was not her best poker face. I'm pretty sure her internal dialogue was something like this..."What I don't like is where you've chosen to put all of the dust. Do you not own a tool with which to clean your kitchen floor? Maybe you should plan on having Thanksgiving as it might take you that long to clean up this place!" And last, but not least..."Thank God you and your resulting clutter aren't junking up my house anymore!"

I am on my way to her house now, and you can be sure that I am going to pack up a few dust bunnies to fling on her floor when she's not looking. Maybe I'll bring some of our laundry to liven up the bathroom floor...better yet, I'll just put it in her hamper and hope she doesn't notice it...until it's clean!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Where's my agent?

I was just listening (I should say hearing) American Idol from last night and Kei$ha was on...who the hell let her out, and worse yet, onto the national stage? How much money is she making to sing a song called "Blah, blah, blah", with lyrics that don't get much more in depth? Why didn't I write that song? I think my nine year old might've written something similar!

Not long ago, I found my treasured book of poems I had scribed in the high school/college years. Now after I ran across them, I had a couple of days where I had to go underground to come to terms with the embarrassment. You see, all of those poems were not only written about people, but most of them had been given to those people. Obviously, at the time I figured I was doing them a favor because when I hit the big time, they would each have a signed dated "original", and could say they knew me when. When what? When I was nearly insane and ridiculously engulfed in a drama bubble. Oh my gosh! My best wish is that none of these people share the pack-rat trait that I have, and that those scraps of paper have been in landfills since the early 90's. Then I found the one that was written for my best friend's yearbook...Oh no! She probably still has her yearbook. I thought I was embarrassed looking through my own yearbook at the disparaging comments people had written about various other classmates. What if I run into those people, and they ask to see my yearbook? Things happen...not really those kinds of things, but you never know!!

I was also struck by the extent to which I was clearly pouring my heart out in my works of art. Was I even getting out of bed in the morning? I guess they weren't written daily, but is it any better to see the span of time though which my angst stretched? I guess postpartum depression and housework really weren't that bad, as neither ever drove me to pick up my pen and paper. Scream into a pillow-yes...trying to find something to rhyme with "laundry"-not so much (but I think "quandary" would work if I forced it).

Now as ridiculous as some /most..ok, ALL of my masterpieces may seem, I can assure you that none of them had verses consisting of the phrase "blah, blah, blah"! Does she write her own lyrics? If not, have I got a book of them for her! Or maybe I could pull together some old Halloween costumes to wear, find some dudes who can almost carry a tune, use the preloaded chords on Lily's keyboard, and hit the stage. You know it'll be all pitchy in spots, but I could do my thing Dawg!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Computer illiterate

It is with much trepidation that I bring myself back in front of a computer, but I need to jump back on the horse that threw me (stupid expression--I would run away so fast from a horse who threw me). I was typing a report for work (I like to say that because it almost makes me sound important) on our hand me down laptop (oops, lost my importance). I was typing in an email to send myself, because I don't think the computer has a word processing program on it--beggars can't be choosers! Notice I said "I don't think"? I, in no way, want to imply that I really know anything about said computer, and the AV club president here said "Yeah. probably not anything on there, go ahead with the email"...good enough for me. So I was well into my document (another word to make me look terribly busy) when I hit SOMETHING-by accident- and...POOF! I did not randomly click on something. I clumsily hit some random button on the keyboard. There was no "are you sure you want to delete this?" common courtesy inquiry. Just, "oh, heres a new screen you might enjoy, and we've hidden the one you were working on". No amount of help from my in-house staff could bring that baby back.

Note: I was a little offended a couple of weeks ago when I was impatiently trying to navigate around on a different blog service and was told "You'll just click on anything!" OK, so maybe I pressed a ridiculous number of icons in a short time, but it was made to sound like I was out on the street trying whatever drugs were put in front of me! I usually operate under the assumption that if nothing new happens on a computer screen within 3 seconds of my selecting something, I should select something else!

Back to the report (or lack thereof)...I found myself trying to perhaps exaggerate just how much I had done to elicit an amount of sympathy commensurate with how I was feeling, while at the same time keeping it real just incase he was able to retrieve what had disappeared. He did end up having to pull the sheet over the departed, and break the news that it was never to return.

By that time, I was already at the stove. When one thing goes wrong, I sometimes (ok, almost always) have to go accomplish something else...sooooo, I was making something to bring for our lunch meeting at work tomorrow, and some tollhouse bars. Not only do I have something to show for myself, but if I don't feel better, I also have something fresh from Nestle and me, certain to provide comfort (and cushioning). Do I find this whole process sane? Not necessarily, but it's how I currently roll.

With the success of my house smelling like yummy baked goods, I needed to find something to do to keep me from sticking my face in the molten melty goodness............aha, nobody was on the main family computer, so here I am!

Now I noticed yesterday that something was going haywire with the font size on my blog here. I tried to fix the most recent post so that you wouldn't need a magnifying glass to read it, and once I did that all other posts shrunk and the new version of the one I fixed could be read across the room. With each subsequent attempt, something else would get out of whack, so I gave up (blaming it on the same computer that ate my hard work). I estimate that about 10 people currently read this blog, so I didn't have to worry that I was sending huge masses of people away to discuss my lack of computer know-how. Then I saw the comment questioning the font size issue...I could've played it off like I meant to do this, but I decided to come clean...Nope, it is not my intent to have older posts look like they are shrinking away!

It is my intent to do the rough draft of my report with paper and pencil tomorrow--kicking it old-school!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Well there I was at 7:00 am all set to devote an entire day to my "to-do" list. I have Fridays off, but had spent the last three either fleeing the scene of my messy house, or entertaining children. I started crossing things off the list before the kids even left for school. I was dismayed to not have written "clean bedrooms" on my list, as that seemed to really eat up a chunk of the morning...time spent with nothing to cross off when finished...I hate that! There are no parades, no slap on the back, for a job completed (well done or not)-just the thrill of getting to scribble out whatever's been accomplished.

At 12:09 pm the phone rang. My friend was letting me know that she was free. She was just going to run to the grocery store. Wait a minute...I see grocery store on my list--hot diggity! She arrived 6 minutes later to pick me up. We were headed to a Wegmans less than four miles from our usual Wegmans, and the anticipation was mounting!

I should mention here that my friend tore some ligaments in her leg, and just zumba'd thru the pain for about a she has a cast up to her knee, and crutches, waiting to see what kind of healing she can accomplish. (The walking cast didn't do much, but her strife is a tale for another time...and, in my opinion, probably her own blog!)

Last week we went to WalMart, and she used one of their motorized scooters. I was in for a bigger treat that day though, as she flung her newly borrowed "knee scooter" out of the van. Four wheels, two brakes, handle bars, and a padded knee rest. What could I say, other than "Oh my! Are you sure you don't want to just go with one of the scooters they have here?" I guess I was just envious of her kick-ass wheels, and that she was going to have all of the fun...comments, and odd looks too!

I reacted to this change of grocery stores as if I'd been let out of somewhere on a day pass (I guess in a sense I had). This place was awesome! We were so impressed by the set up, and how the foods were displayed! We were buying things because they were easier to see, and more appealing (better lighting). Our store has a lot of lean over and rummage style cooler cases, but this store went the extra mile and put things on shelves. The freezer section was all cases with doors--bright shiny and clean. Sparkly food! What was wrong with us? Maybe going to the grocery store as an outing just feels better with a friend and instead of as a chore. I was buying things I've never even bought because, well, I don't know...I could see them better, and she was buying them! I hope my family likes pierogies--heck I hope I like pierogies.

It was in the frozen food section that a woman gave my friend a look that I would have thought better used when seeing a three-legged dog...a little too much pity for a cast (and a kick-ass scooter)! It took a lot of restraint to keep me from saying "Really? Are you sure THAT is the face you intended to make?" Most of the other people we passed (especially men) regarded her, or at least the scooter, as some kind of marvel. They felt a need to comment on the great idea. We think they were under the impression her husband whipped this little contraption up, and were jealous they didn't think of it themselves. When I almost closed a freezer door on her arm, she told me I wasn't very nice to the handicapped...I told her she wasn't very handicapped.

We enjoyed the store so much we had lunch there, and then wandered thru produce again!

My parcels and I were delivered home at 2:30, ready to get back to work (and with something crossed off the list)! A good friend knows that even if you claim you are going to do housework ALL day, at some point, you need to be rescued!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I used to feel a bit inadequate in the fitness department because I was not a jogger/runner/jostling body type. Then I decided that I was ok with just being able to carry full laundry bags up and down the stairs without getting winded. (Note: I have been an underachiever since way back........find my school guidance counselors, they'll tell you!)

Now it seems every time I go on Facebook, another friend has signed up for this year's Iron Girl. I did not get the memo that this was to be the next "phase"of our lives..."Mothers of ten year olds must go the distance!" Oh no! Even if I started with baby steps and did manage to haul myself onto the elliptical EVERY day, it would appear that I hadn't done much in comparison. It would be ridiculous for me to take these women's goals as threats to my own physical fitness! I know that sane people would only sign up for such a thing for themselves and for their own personal satisfaction, (as opposed to just trying to make couch potatoes look bad). But it still drives me crazy, and the reasons why don't make me look like any less of a lunatic...

Number one: I wish I WANTED to do it! I wish I could fashion a goal for myself and then muster up the strength and grit to do it.

Number two: I wish I thought I COULD do it! It seems that the physical strength pales in comparison to the mental game of it all.

At dinner last night, our cousin was mentioning how he was realizing he wasn't a swimmer and that would pose a problem at the triathalon he signed up for. WHAT?!?!?! I have to agonize before I sign up for a 2 hour workshop, and some people have the capacity to register willy-nilly for a TRIATHALON?!?! He got the idea from our other it's a family requirement now as well?! Great!

Is there a parallel in the cooking world that I could partake in? Some sort of a bake 2 cheesecakes and frost 100 cookies while a roast marinates and cooks. My domestic chore olympiad training is running at full steam! Phew!

One of the posts I read indicated that the Iron Girl event was almost filled up...hallelujah!! Later, I read two posts that the ten year old daughters of said Iron gals were signed up for their first Iron (little?) Girls. Then my eyeballs fell out...(and my pants button popped)! My husband just got of the elliptical....grrrrr...I need a cookie!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Multi-tasking, really?

There have been so many times over the past few years when I have made reference to my ability to multi-task. I have heard many other women join the call as well. Today I realized that I am not so sure most parts of my "multi" really qualify as tasks, and that I'd really like to spend some quality time devoted to ONE task.

I can walk and chew gum at the same time, hell I can even throw in a conversation, but is that really multi-tasking? I can talk on the phone and fold laundry, but what is really getting accomplished there besides the folding (unless we can count therapeutic chatting as a goal). I have also noticed that some of my efforts have even less appeal when they occur simultaneously. Case in point: The other day I was running to unclog the toilet, while I was making dinner. In all fairness, the person who reported the situation did say I could go unclog it "when I had a chance", apparently there was no immediate danger...according to THAT person. I really needed to check things out myself, and if I was going to go all the way upstairs, might as well just tend to the matter. But I was making dinner!

I am not exactly looking at my "to do" list and grouping items that can be accomplished at the same time. Instead, I am looking at something I don't really want to do, and trying to find something moderately pleasing to do in conjunction with it. This brings me back to wondering what counts as a task?

The dictionary I have defines a task as: 1) A piece of assigned work and 2) A difficult or tedious undertaking. An example of my ineffective multi-tasking with regard to the first definition is that I TASK three people in this house to do things--none of which get done...then I am left with the "difficult and tedious undertakings". I don't want to do one tedious task, let alone try to master completing several of them at one time!

I also had to concede today that there are limitations to multi-tasking, as I could not return a phonecall, walk the dogs, and go to the bathroom at the same time. Would you believe taking myself to the bathroom ended up being the last thing I did on that list?! The phone message promised a surprise, and the dogs looked pathetic, so there I go (or not).

So it seems that I am not multi-tasking, but could better be described as constantly interrupted or endlessly distracted (these sound far less productive). There are many things around here that I would like to do, but they lose some of their appeal when I realize that I will not be able to focus solely on the matter at hand. Interestingly enough, I rarely get interrupted when I am vacuuming, but getting out scrapbooking supplies is like putting out the "come on in, we're open" sign.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Beyond chicken soup...way beyond.

OK, so I was laying on the couch (finally), when I heard the cries coming from the snack shack (pantry). Oh, I recognized the voices as belonging to the Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Clouds (complete with pecans AND caramel) whom I had been ignoring. They would not SHUT UP!!! The germs trying to invade my body heard them too, and it was all over. The germs were all like "get us one of those and we'll leave, we promise!" I had no choice but to open the door. There they were on the top shelf. I was on a covert mission, as our son was sitting at the computer right next to the shack. I managed to rip the protective seal, undetected. Clouds...that makes them sound lite and airy...almost free of calories and fat!! Many times when I am about to indulge, I like to check things like serving size, calories, etc. Next comes the rationalization portion of the program...well a serving size was two "clouds", and I was only going to have one--just 95 calories--they're probably part of Nutri-system! Then I took a bite, and quickly checked...OK there are only 6 servings in the container, so if I had to eat them all, it would only be 1140 calories...phew! I always like to know the worst case scenario! I did stop at the one, but the others winked at me as if to say "you'll be back!" I just hope the next voice I hear is from the orange resting in the produce drawer!!

Chicken soup?

Oh yuck!!! You know those times when you just feel it coming...the cold? First, I almost fell asleep at my kindergarten volunteer post (but I thought maybe it was just trying to coax letter names out of the fourth victim of the day). Next comes the realization that your throat is a bit scratchy. Then you reach to pick something up and all of the bricks in your head shift forward-very quickly...ugh! But the most painful part is realizing that it's 3:00 in the afternoon and phase 4 of the day is only 30 minutes away!!

Would it be wrong to send the 9 year old to pick up the 12 year old? They might be more alert than me! Can I call in sick to dinner (more like the preparation of)? Perhaps not, but at least I can make chicken soup! In the meantime, it is "feed a cold", correct? I'm pretty sure if I start feeding it now, I can ward off illness completely. I don't want to make the germs angry by waiting until dinner to feed them.