Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Things that are Dangerous


Rusty pruning shears, Spider monkeys, Bathtubs and Toasters (together).
This is the public service section of this blog. I would not suggest combining any of the above with either thin ice, martinis or members of law enforcement. There's no need to thank me, but you may want to print this and put this on your refrigerator as a reminder as we go into the New Year.
Furniture stores are beginning to present a danger as well. They suck you in with all of that upholstery and those little swatches of fabric. I'm also worried that the neighbors will start to clue into my "problem" when they see the truck from the same furniture store again this week. Remember last week when I stormed the store and got my table delivered on Christmas Eve? Yesterday I bought a hutch and a smallish sideboard that will be delivered on New Years Eve. Tim is starting to get worried that I will continue to shop on holidays in the new year.
Stay safe out there.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lots


This Christmas was the same as many others, but different. The same Christmas detritus of paper and packaging litters the house for hours. Then we leave and go litter my in-laws house as well. It's like we're a traveling, tissue paper wrapped, gift bearing, food devouring swarm of holiday pestilence, but without the disease part.
The day was different of course because the kids are older and they look upon us parental types like we're a bunch of fuddy-duddies. They have their own conversations (read: arguments) about whatever strikes their fancy. (Last night the big discussion was about sentencing guidelines for felony drug possession. Seriously!? Can't we just talk about Rudolph?)
Now I'll settle into a week at home. Note: this did not say "a week off of work." I'm not complaining, much. I have a job and a lot of people don't, so I'll accept the minor inconveniences of shushing my kids for conference calls (and removing the cat from the laptop) and the wrap up of year end projects. I hope the calls go quickly because we're finishing Boy Scout merit badges and teaching ourselves how to play the guitar this week. And, I should probably pick up some of the stuff leftover from the festivities before they start again on Thursday.
Lots for which to be thankful. Lots and lots. Now if you'll excuse me, my left hand is sore from all that guitar fingering.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Delivery?


Yesterday, it hit me that I will have 7 people for Christmas Eve dinner and not 6. I think I forgot to count myself.
This was quite a shock. I had washed 6 napkins.
So, now what? The dining table is too small. It has no leaves. We bought it right before we got married and it's been holding court in the dining room since we moved here for lack of any other place to put it or anything to put in its place.
This is not due to a lack of effort. Not a lot of effort, mind you, but I can never decide what I want. Provincial? Stuffy. Country? Casual. Colonial? Too George Washington-y.
I tromped to the basement for my normal "the table is too small solution"- a card table tacked on the end. I was completely non-plussed. This looked awful and I was so totally over the shabby chic. Now what? It's 2 days before Christmas. Tables are big and something that large won't fit in my VW. Nor will the chairs. Sigh. It would be pretty mean to make one of the boys sit in the kitchen alone just to cut out a chair.
I drove to a furniture store and walked in- sullen. I found exactly what I wanted. More depression, why didn't I do this in April? "So," I say sweetly, "any chance this could be delivered tomorrow?" YES!
So, tonight may you enjoy good food at a table that is big enough for all the people that you can cram around it. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Top Secret!

If you repeat any of this to anyone, I swear to you, I will find you. Not only will I find you, but I will place a clothes pin on your nose and I will fill your mouth with peppermint toothpaste. I will wrap you up in toilet paper and chain you to the bench on your front porch. Yes, I will. You will be an example to others.

Now that we have that straight, how are you today? I'm fine and thank you for asking.

I got home kind of late. This is not unusual and the evidence of my lateness (Wendy's burger wrappers) are throughout the kitchen. Wow, did you feel that guilt? Neither did I.

Anyway, in the midst of the wrappers, there was a tin. A Christmas Tin. How cute. I hate tins. What do you do with them? I digress.

The tin was filled with candy and gum. Hmmm. I flashed back to my call home earlier when Andrew excitedly told me that he was the recipient of 6 packs of gum at the candy exchange at school. That's a lot of gum that I'm sure hoping is sugarless.

(Hold on, I will digress again. You thought I was kidding on Monday when I said all they were doing at school was watching movies and eating candy. Hmmm, see why I was miffed?)

So I see the burgers wrappers and the tin full of candy. Suddenly, Andrew appears. Innocently I say, "Hey, what's with the tin?"

I'm sorry dear reader, but I have no idea how, in words to simulate a nearly 13 year old boy being incredibly defensive and goofy all at the same time. It's like a new born donkey on ice skates eating Twinkies while being filmed on PBS. A vision, is it not?

He freaked out and ran away. All I said was "Hey, what's with the tin?" Does that warrant freaking out? We sent his candy for his exchange person in a zip lock bag from Big Lots. We got back a tin-load of gum and candy, all fancy like with ribbons and stuff. I'm feeling guilty, so clearly I am vectoring this back on to my child. (Is vectoring a word?)

A GIRL GAVE HIM THAT TIN.

A girl. I don't know what to say. Girls are yicky. I'm a girl. How do I reconcile that?

Dear girl, that boy is a precious soul. He's not an old soul because he does dumb things, like leave his socks on the kitchen table, but he's still ours. If you mistreat him, I will find you and put a clothes pin on your nose and....

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yawn

I've got nothing. I hate that.

I slept terribly and I got up on the wrong side of the bed. As I've discussed before, I don't know what that means because in order to get out of the wrong side of the bed, I would have to crawl over Tim. This is not practical at 6am.

For some reason, A&P go to school two days this week. If you ask me, and the School Board obviously didn't, this is sandbaggery of the school schedule. They're watching movies and eating candy for two days. What do you learn from this other than laziness? We're not sitting around work watching movies. We are eating four tons of candy.

My shopping is done. I think. I hope I didn't forget anyone. If I did, you're my favorite and I just love you so much that no gift on the planet could properly express my devotion.

Yawn, so sayeth me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Christmas Present

This is not the conversation I expected to have about Christmas. As a matter of fact, in my wildest dreams I never could have imagined this request or how hard it is to fill it... what a wish fulfilling failure I've turned out to be...

Me: What do you want for Christmas?
Kid: I don't really need anything.
Me: True, but there has to be something.
Kid: I need mittens.
Me: DONE!

Until, I can't find mittens. Why didn't I know this in July when I was cruising art and craft fairs? Why don't I have a neighbor that knits? Why don't I know anyone that knits? Come to think of it, I'd be happy to learn if it's possible to drink martinis and knit. So, who wants a scarf next year for Christmas, knitted by a drunken knitter? That's a sales pitch if I've ever heard one.

In desperation, I called my in-laws. Help me, I said. The kid wants mittens. You're old, you have to have an old friend that knits. I can't let a kid down on Christmas for lack of mittens! This is almost Little Timmy Cratchett awful. The kid has everything. No, he has two or three of everything known to man and all he wants are mittens! He'll freeze his digits waiting for the bus in January without a fuzzy pair of hand knit mittens.

Christmas 2009 is now the holiday that may go down in the book as the Christmas where all the kid wanted was a pair of knit mittens and his lousy, too busy mother can't figure that out. I can feed him sushi and take him to see a Jasper James exhibit, but I can't rouse up one pair of mittens! I'm a failure!

And, now, it's worse. The other kid wants them too. Two pairs of mittens. I've got 9 days.

Monday, December 14, 2009

This May Be the Last Time We Save your....

Read on and you'll understand why I have included the picture of the lowly donkey. It has another name that rhymes with Bass, but I'm trying very hard to keep bad language out of my blog. (Disclaimer. I think all that bad stuff all the time. My brain was hardwired to mirror that of any average longshoreman.)

This afternoon, I call home.

Me: Hey.
Kid: Hey.
Me: Anything interesting happen to you at school today?
Kid: Ummmm. Not sure.
Me: No special delivery for you today?
Kid: Oh ya, someone brought me an IPod.
Me: Really. Hmmm. An IPod.
Kid: Yes, actually an IPod Touch.
Me: OK, was it delivered by a gorilla playing a saxophone?
Kid: I'm not sure.
Me: What got delivered to you?
Kid: My violin.
Me: And?
Kid: What?
Me: (Hoping, Praying for a scintilla of dread on the Kid's part when he realized he forgot it.) And when did you realize you needed it?
Kid: Later.
Me: So, your Dad killed himself to drop it off and that's all you've got?
Kid: Do you want to talk to Andrew?

It was at this point, that I wasn't even sure who I was talking to. They sound exactly the same. I started to think it has been Andrew all along, yanking my chain.

Kid: What?
Me: Which one are you?
Kid: I don't want to talk on the phone.
Me: (Silent dog scream inserted here)

I can't tell them apart. Even if I could, the kid that got the violin dropped off seems to have cared more about, I don't know, toe lint, than the fact that we saved his, well, refer to the picture.

Good times, had by all. May tomorrow be another day that ends in Y.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Contained Conspiracy


I have a cabinet.


I have 5000 plastic containers.


I have 4999 lids and never the lid I seek. Never. Dang.


Tonight, I whipped up some spaghetti with leftover beef. This, in and of itself, is almost miraculous. I never use leftovers. But, this was leftover Wagyu beef and I would have been struck down by the leftover gods had I let it go to waste.


Shortly after serving everyone up and scarfing it down, we surveyed the leftovers. By careful viewing of the approximate volume of food left in the pot, I found the perfect container- A beautiful little Rubbermaid #2. Hmmm, where's the lid?


No lid. Sheesh. I got down on my hands and knees. Then I sat Indian style on the floor and rooted around like one of those truffle seeking pigs in the Italian forest. No lid. Really.


Kid: I hide those in my room you know.

Me: WHAT?

Kid: I'm kidding.


I emptied the contents of the entire cabinet onto the kitchen floor. There was not a single Rubbermaid #2 lid. This is a conspiracy.


Kid: My friends come over and take the lids.

Me: Seriously. You're just rubbing this in.


I don't get it. The lids are like socks except I'm fairly certain I don't have container lids static clinging to my pants.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Devil Made Me Do It


Meetings started before 7am this morning and I'm still going at 5:30 pm. I am starting to lose my mind.
I'm not sure I'm still effective because I am starting to want to hurt people with office supplies. (Dear employee, if I am looking at you strangely it's because I'm wondering how I could stuff wads of paper in ...) I think I'll leave that thought to my inside voice.


My assistant accuses me of sniffing white-out. That's got to be better than the rubber cement we spread all over our desks in 5th grade.


Back to the present, I managed to throw dinner in the oven although I was supposed to do it last night for the crock pot. Details!


I think all of this business and year end craziness beyond all normalcy and reason is causing me to lose touch with my children. Andrew told me last night that he wants to be a grape when he grows up. I can only hope he's talking about champagne grapes. Today he reassessed and informed me that he's back on for archeology. I'm glad, but I would have loved him even he was a grape- even a yellowed grocery store grape.


Now that's love, huh? Please excuse me while I undo this string of paperclips that I could probably use to....

Monday, December 7, 2009

This is so Glamorous

I should be in a magazine

5:15 pm Arrive home
5:16 pm Turn on lights (kids sitting in the dark, too worn out from such a long day to turn them on apparently. Poor darlings.)
5:17 pm Assess homework status
5:18 pm Peter runs to bathroom to lock himself in after having negative homework status assessment; Andrew directed to practice cello
5:19 pm Clean up cat barf
5:20 pm Put dinner in pot
5:21pm Get mail, take out garbage
5:22 pm Save burning dinner from overheated pot
5:23 pm Return mother in law's phone call to confirm everyone is a alive (you can never be too careful)
5:24 pm Reassess homework. Peter still in bathroom. Investigate Andrew's disappearance.
5:25 pm Find Andrew. Thought he was to practice cello recital piece. (Note to self: work on communication skills) Reassess homework and re-evaluate overall status upon determining that "done" meant "almost done."
5:26 pm Return to kitchen and feed cat
5:27 pm Relocate Peter and check status of assigned tasks. Claims "done." Locate other previously unidentified tasks and realign priorities.
5:28 pm Andrew checks dinner progress and menu options. Inquires about TV viewing.
5:29 pm TV viewing rejected and reminder given about cello recital
5:30 pm Head pounding, oh wait that's the hallway clock.
5:31 pm Peter appears in kitchen apparently dying of thirst. Reassess homework priorities. Again question communication effectiveness.
5:32 pm Google Dale Carnegie course
5:33 pm Holler at Peter for ignoring instructions, sandbagging homework and leaving juice ring on the counter
5:34 pm Dinner totally burning
5:35 pm Andrew is practicing his cello. No longer question my reason for being his mother. Still questioning where that Peter kid came from.
5:36 pm Recover from mini crisis and reassess.
5:37 pm Husband running late. Good choice.
5:38 pm Peter still avoiding work. Again drinking juice and I'm about a minute away from seeing stars.
5:39 pm Peter requests dinner status and menu choices. Didn't I already say this?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Needlessly Pleased with Myself

(Names changed to protect the innocent- Except for mine) Yesterday...

Dials phone number on document

Them: Member Services
Me: What company is this?
Them: Universal
Me: Universal? You're supposed to be Larry's Super Fantastic Insurance Company- LSF
Them: Oh, well, we're really Universal
Me: So you're not LSF?
Them: Who is this?
Me: (Name and Company)
Them: I am going to transfer you.

I get transferred to a phone tree and give/hang up in self righteous disgust. They're busted- they're supposed to answer LSF on that phone number. But, I'll horse around with that later and I go back to my other work.

Two hours later...my phone rings. I don't answer it because someone is in my office and I'm busy and my assistant is busy. The phone rings again. And then again. Sheesh! Is someone calling me from a prison? Maybe I finally won the cruise from the fishbowl of business cards at the mall, I pick it up....

Them: This is George Jetson, CEO at Universal. Did you call a while ago?
Me: Yes.
George: You scared the hell out of our phone person.
Me: Oops.
George: She was so upset all we got out of her was "Jennifer..."
Me: (Silence- but muffling a guffaw. They never call me this fast. Ever.)
George:... and I figured it must be you. You're the only Jennifer in town that would call and scare the hell out of Customer Service.

Our conversation continued with them apologizing all over themselves for the Universal vs. LSF thing which I can't explain here, because it's a convoluted nightmare mess. Needless to say, I am now a ONE NAME WONDER! Like OPRAH or SHAKIRA or MARMADUKE!

Now if you'll excuse me, my family doesn't care one lick about this and they call me the one word name of MOM and someone wants to eat and said something about clean clothes and needing money. Does this happen to Oprah?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

An Interlude...

I started at least four posts today. The office is maniacally busy until the end of the year. My last project for the year will probably wrap up around the time I start popping champagne corks on New Years' Eve. (Yes, shortly after breakfast.)

I needed something peaceful. The creek along the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park did the trick (see above).
This picture was actually taken on a June afternoon around the Bison Range, but it looks like winter doesn't it? The snow is deceived by the little yellow flowers in the field.

I had this picture on my computer at work forever. Then, I went to work for another company that doesn't allow any pictures. I get to look at security warnings if my computer takes a nap. The napping doesn't occur very often, so there's really no loss I suppose. Between those two mountains is Glacier Park. Cool, huh? I love the little yellow house. I wonder who lives there and if they know that I stare at them and look in their windows.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Overactive Bladder? Underactive Colon?


Every time I ask one of the children to something, do you know where he goes? He goes to the bathroom. He spends hours in the bathroom. He is the only child who does this (Since there are only two of them, that means that 50% of my children torture me with this little game.) It makes me want to scream.


Can I tell you a secret? Sometimes I do scream. This bathroom lock up is so annoying, it makes me sweat and itch just to think about it. EVERY SINGLE TIME I ask him to do something that is not related to eating junk food or playing XBox, he disappears.


Either he has a serious problem with an internal back up, probably requiring the assistance of a skilled surgeon or Fiber One cereal (or both), or it is an evasion tactic. I'm leaning towards evasion. (I would pass out if this kid ever ate Fiber One anything, but I digress. Again.)


Here is how it works..


Me: Hey, it's time to practice your violin.

Kid: OK

Time passes....

Me: I don't hear anything. Where are you?

Kid: I had to go to the bathroom.

More time passes...

Me: Did you fall in?

Kid: Nope, really had to go.

Me: For 2 hours?


This evasion technique, as developed by Kid #2, is so effective it completely subverts or deflects many of the following activities..



  • Room cleaning

  • Dishwasher emptying

  • Dinner table setting/clearing

  • Lawn mowing/raking/snow removal

  • Violin practice

  • Book reading

  • Homework completion

  • Aeronautical design

  • Rocketry

OK, those last two are things that he will probably miss because he's in the bathroom.


And, he's got me right where he wants me...if I yell at the kid in the bathroom I'll mess up his elimination activities forever. Yes, forever.


Is this melodramatic? Oh yes. Now if you would excuse me, I need to go pound on the bathroom door.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Strings of Lights: An Open Letter to Light Manufacturers

Dear Sir/Madam:

Your products are awful, terrible in fact. The strings I bought last year worked perfectly well until I plugged them in again this year. Poof. Nothing. We tested each light. We changed the microscopic fuses. Nothing. They're off to the landfill. Your light strings are more disposable than paper towels, toilet paper and baby wipes.

I went to buy new lights. Several sets, right out of the box, didn't work properly. Half a strand was unlit here and there. I rallied and used the unlit sections to bridge sections of the landscape. I've nearly given up.

The lighted garland for the banister wouldn't even give us a flicker. We've had this stuff for 3 years. Why now? Are you sending your children to college? Paying for your fishing trawler? Laughing in your secret office while stroking your hairless cat?

I've decided that I will only buy decorations at Big Lots. At $5 a box, I can't go wrong. If they blow up after one season, I could really care less. Go on, go feed your hairless kitty.

Sincerely, Torqued in Toledo

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hey Unc

I was thinking about you today.



I didn't see you at Thanksgiving and you won't be at Grandma's for Christmas- not any more. If I close my eyes, I can imagine you're way up in Alaska. You're too far away for that now. Up in the stars, I'd have to go to the backyard and look up high to see you. Above the clouds, floating where I can't perceive you, but nonetheless, imprinted on my thinking and my soul.



You aren't supposed to be gone and maybe that's why I still think of you all the time. You should be here, stopping by for a visit and a beer. The boys remember our last time together at Tony Packo's in Toledo. Do you remember? You came to our house and waited on the porch with a six pack of beer. A&P got quite a charge out of that. I was worried the next day because you left without breakfast, but you told me later you stopped at a truck stop.



Christmas with you was always special. It was so far for you to come to visit. You always bought Indiana lottery tickets and posted the numbers on the board in the back hall by the kitchen- just in case some one won big. The deal included a split of the proceeds, but we never had to worry about that, did we? (Stupid odds).



Here's to a holiday season of joy and wonder as we wait for God's gift to us, but we miss you. I see you in the twinkling lights on the trees and in the snow flakes. My hope is that your adventuresome spirit and joy for living will be with us forever. How did you do it?



Love from Me.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Letter to my Turkey

Dear Fresh, Never Frozen Turkey:

You may be big and scary, but I'm on to you. You may slide around on the rack and teeter precariously on the edge of your roaster, but I'm watching your every move. So help me if you end up on the floor.

The thermometer is like a nanny cam. You can't hide from me and I'll know when the juices run clear because I'm sitting 4 feet away from the oven and have been since 7 o'clock this morning.

I do have a question. Was it necessary for your Amish keepers to stuff your neck in? I didn't need to see that. I think there's soup I could make with that but the thought of it holding up your head was more than I could stomach so thanks for that.

I have at least 14 cookbooks splayed all over the kitchen and we've obsessively read every turkey cooking article on the Food Network website. Alton Brown? Giada? I can't decide who's better. Betty Crocker? To cover or not to cover? Baste? Where the heck is the baster? You're browing too early! What's wrong with my oven? Are my aromatics, aromatic enough? I grew my own thyme. Does that count extra?

With my arms covered in butter and turkey fat, I massaged you with butter just like Julia Child taught me on the poultry episode. She was molesting a capon, but I think this will work. Maybe I should do a good luck turkey dance in the front yard in my jammies.

Alas, everyone has a first turkey. I've cooked plenty of chickens so I will crown you a giant Thanksgiving chicken. Now, for more basting.

Sincerely, Foul Slayer

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Please pass the cranberries...

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful. Buddha

Thank you for boys who leave their socks on the floor, candy wrappers on the couch and the front door wide open in January. JBA

I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose. Woody Allen

Thank you for Blackberries to keep me busy. JBA

It is another's fault if he be ungrateful, but it is mine if I do not give. To find one thankful man, I will oblige a great many that are not so. Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Thank you for cold nights and a husband who dials the thermostat back to 50 degrees. He is warm and cuddly. JBA

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others. Cicerco

Thank you for grocery stores so I don't have to grow my own food because we'd probably starve. JBA

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. Marcel Proust

Thank you for books to read and argue about. JBA

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. Albert Einstein

Thank you for an occupation that allows me to exercise righteous indignation on a daily basis. JBA

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.
Meister Eckhart

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Foul!

I went to meat market to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving. I wanted a fresh Amish turkey.

I ran into the market 3 minutes before it closed at 6:30 pm. I knew they had fresh turkeys because a friend told me to get off my rump and buy one before they were all gone.

The meat market guy was very helpful and he managed to locate an 18 pound turkey. As he wrapped it up, I said "Hey! How long has that thing been thawing?"

He looked at me a bit strange. "It's fresh. Never frozen." Oh duh. "Yes, ma'am."

My poultry folly reminded me of a story told by my very first boss, Doris. Doris was one fierce lady, but that's a story for another day. Anyway, when Doris was first married she went to the butcher to buy a chicken. She asked the butcher to chop it apart (there's a name for that I'm sure, so that she had parts and not the whole chicken. )

As she watched the butcher work, she snorted "Hey, you shorted me some legs!"

"What?" he replied, amused.

Doris persisted. "I may be young, but I know that I'm supposed to have 4 legs on that chicken and you only gave me two. You're crooked!"

The butcher looked at her from behind the counter and started to laugh. It was then that Doris realized that chickens have only two legs.

I wonder if the chicken was fresh, never frozen?

Monday, November 23, 2009

EABNAJT

My stitches came out of my jaw today. Hooray!

The follow up for this Exceedingly Annoying But Now Absent Jaw Tumor (EABNAJT) is aggressive due it's friendly nature. Bummer. Apparently the EABNAJT has a tendency to come back. Tim suggested a trap door in my face to keep easy access for its removal. Fantastic idea.

A button broke in half on my suit this morning. I glued it back together and used tape until the glue set. I felt very handy.

I read "Flowers for Algernon" this weekend. I had never read it before even as an English major. Clearly something was lacking. It is a fascinating read. Tim said it made him sad when he read it once a long time ago. I was OK.

I was not OK at "The Blind Side." Obviously I was in need of a serious catharsis and a box of tissue. I cried all the way through that crazy movie. I had to keep myself from sobbing out loud so Peter didn't think I was a crazy person. (I was sitting next to him and some lady. I didn't care what the lady thought. She was too chatty. If she would have said anything to me I would have said "I am sad because you can't shut your yammering skull cave." I'm sure that would have been appropriate.)

So, even with the EABNAJT, there's always fun around the corner.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Right in the Kisser

Thanks for your patience this week. I feel like I have been conked over the head, dragged into an alley, put in a box and sent UPS to Eastern North Dakota.

So far I've pretty much gone back to work and stopped sleeping all day. I started harassing A&P about school again and I even picked up carry out Chinese food. All of that has left me with zero energy or thought process to post to my blog.

Here's to hoping next week will find me back where I belong. On the upside, I am minus one pesky jaw tumor.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You must be joking

Phone Rings:

Grandma: Hello?
Kid: Oh Hi Grandma.
Grandma: Is your Mom alive?
Kid: Um, I'm not sure.
Grandma: What? You're not sure that she's alive?
Kid: She's standing here. Mom, are you alive?

Thanks, so nice to be noticed.

Door Opens:

Kid: Hey! You're home from the hospital!
Me: Yep.
Kid: Did you bring your tumor home in a jar so we could see it?

Thanks, but no.

Eyes Open:

Me: Hey!
Nurse: Hey!
Me: Where's my blackberry? I have work to do.
Nurse: Oh boy. Not today you don't. You're in recovery.
Me: Drat.

I can work, really.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Please Stand By....

Taking a break for a few days. Be back soon... early next week if not before... promise.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Overheard Daily

As shouting: The bus is will leave without you in 5 minutes
Hollering: You have three minutes!
Pleading: Where are your shoes?
Incredulous: I will not bake 4 dozen cookies for your noon English class today.
Emphatically: You do not have time to make a Josef Stalin costume in the 3 minutes before the bus comes!
Hollering louder: Two minutes people!
Under breath: Don't argue with me about the time. I make this up as I go.
Screeching: Where are you Peter? Andrew I have no idea where your calculator is.
Shouting: Seriously! Are you going to school barefoot?
Pleading: Put on your shoes! How do you have holes in your socks?
Hysterically: 30 seconds! What do you mean you need pencils!? No I didn't buy more erasers.
Conversationally: Have a good day. I love you.

I'd like to go back to bed please.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Family Promise

Once there was a lady who worked in New York. She was a busy marketing executive named Karen Olson and when running around from place to place she passed a lady- a homeless lady- every day on her way to work. One day, Karen gave the lady a sandwich. Karen was overwhelmed by the needs not only of the homeless lady on the corner but of those in her own community in New Jersey.

After the first sandwich, she went to the city frequently with her children to hand out sandwiches. Eventually, in her own community, Karen found that Sunday school rooms, empty all week, could be used to house homeless families at night. Volunteers fed them and helped parents find jobs and keep kids in school while the families got back on their feet.

Family Promise is active in many communities around the United States. You can follow this link here to find them in your own neck of the woods and volunteer to help. A&P have been hauled away from the XBox to help at Family Promise and other places. Just one meal will help.

When there is overwhelming need, it is hard to know where to start. One of my friends always says that we don't change the world alone and we don't have to do it all right now. Start on one street corner, with one lady and one sandwich.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Stuff I Should Know by Now

Apparently I'm still learning...

Do not suck the last remnants of tequila out of the ice cubes in the margarita pitcher.
Do not try to disguise burned toast by scraping off the black parts.
Do not ignore the flashing coolant light on the dash board. It's probably not saying hello just to be friendly.
Sunlight shows dust. Only invite people over at night.
That pile of junk mail either needs to shredded or burned before it falls on someone and causes a papercut massacre.
Insurance companies are irrational nightmares. Get over it.
Peter will not empty the dishwasher unless asked 47 times in a row.
Vegetables cannot be disguised in cookies. It just makes the eaters angry.
One hour parking means one hour parking. (Money grubbing municipality, you know who you are.)
I will never find the other 12 black socks I'm missing. Stop trying to match them with each other.

There should be a manual.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why are you limping?

(Door Slams. Kid lumbers into view.)
Kid: (Emphatically) I HAVE A BUNION.
Me: What?
Kid: My foot hurts and I know I have a BUNION.
Me: Unless you're 50 years old or have been sneaking around in high heels all your life, you most certainly do not have a bunion.
Kid: Well, this foot sure hurts. (takes off shoe and waves foot in front of me.) Look at the part sticking out.
Me: Look on the other foot. I think you have the same sticking out part. It's just rubbing your shoe.
Kid: Nope. I don't think so. (Pauses to think.) It's got to be a hernia.
Me: (stifling guffaw here) It's not a hernia. Seriously.
Kid: But I can't walk and it hurts all the time- whenever I'm awake.
Me: Go to sleep.
Kid: You're not very nice.
Me: You need a medical terminology class.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

GRRRRR

I should print this sign on a t-shirt.

When I was little, my Mom used to call it "Getting up on the Wrong Side of the Bed."

I couldn't figure that out because my bed was up against the wall.

Once, I crawled out the end of the bed to see if that qualified as the "wrong side." It didn't work.

My sunny disposition has been sullied by a list of things to do as long as my arm which in turn is making me mean. Since my mood was foul anyway, I cleaned out the bathroom closet, the hallway closet, the pantry and anything else I could get my hands on. Our trash cans were glorious.

Back to the bears, I should be locked up in a cage with a tranquilizer dart sticking out of my rear end. I may attack for no apparent reason even if I got out of bed on the proper side.

Monday, November 2, 2009

If It Makes You Happy...

Another Monday morning breakfast conversation....

Kid: Hey! Basketball tryouts start right after school.
Me: Good Luck- I promise not to forget to pick you up.
Kid: I'm really good at lay-ups.
Me: Try your hardest!
Kid: I want to make the team so I can have a posse.
Me: Huh?
Kid: I'll be the star of the team and I'll have my own posse. They'll follow me all around. I'll be popular!
Me: OK, aim high.
Kid: Actually, I think I'm trying out to keep the seats warm. Do you think I can still have a posse? I have such nice hair...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Get to Work


Someone needs to rake these leaves....



They do look nice. However, don't come in the house since 50% of the occupants have the flu.






Thursday, October 29, 2009

Avert Your Eyes

Do you see Mr. 92? That's Peter.

The season is over, but Peter LOVED his uniform. He didn't play much, but he LOVED the team. I am so proud of him.

Doesn't that line of boys look cute? I don't think I'm supposed to be looking at that.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

Kids are selfish when it comes to Easter candy, ice cream, pony rides and birthday presents. They are not particularly selfish when it comes to GERMS.

With germs, there's enough for everyone. Even if you're standing behind a door, wrapped in plastic, covered with a Haz-Mat suit and using a can of Lysol as a weapon, there's enough for everyone.

Kid Deux got sick today and called from school in a sheepish little voice for a pick-up. Before too long we were off to ambush the doctor with both kids despite only having an appointment for one of them. Kid Deux said "The doctor will be happy to see me because I have nicer hair." Must you be vain even when you're sick, I implored?

Two hours and two boxes of Tamiflu later, they were ensconced on the couch in blankets, surrounded by Kleenex and inhalers and within reach of a remote and glasses of Sprite.

"I have better hair even when I'm sick, " declared Kid Deux. Addressing his brother he said "You just have normal hair. My hair is Spectacular!"

Seriously, you're sick!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Told You So

One of the boys is sick. This is the one who was kind of sick a few weeks back. It was then that he learned that the normal temperature is 98.6, give or take, and not 95 like he's a snapping turtle or some kind of toad. Therefore, it was with much glee that he spiked a fever and took his temperature today. Aside from feeling too rotten to move off the couch, he seems to have had a pretty good day proving his point. Repeatedly. Every 30 minutes. All day long.

I decided he needed a bath. An entire day of holding the couch to the floor just in case gravity gives out, is rather hard work. So is being lippy while you're sick. This requires extra energy.

Me: You need a bath.
Kid: I'll take it if you fill it up for me and turn on the heater and the TV and get me some Sprite and a big fluffy towel.
Me: grumble grumble
Kid: (peakedly) thanks
Time passes...
Me: There's 6 inches in the tub, stick your wrist in it and make sure its ok.
Kid: Yep. It's fine.
Me: Get in it then. I won't watch.
Kid: I want to wait until it's all the way filled up.
Me: I'm not filling it up. I'll need a loan to pay for the water. And you might sink and drown. Or displace a twelve year old sized amount of water onto the bathroom floor. Just get in the tub.
Kid: I always do it this way. Besides, I have a fever.
Me: grumble grumble
Time passes...
Me: You're not in the tub.
Kid: Ya, it was too hot.
Me: You were supposed to test it so you could adjust the water temperature. You're sitting in a bay window with the lights on, naked, and it's dark outside.
Kid: Oh. Don't say it.
Me: What?
Kid: Just don't say it.
Me: TOLD YA SO! HA HA HA!

That was fun.

Until, he only spent 5 minutes in that giant tub of water.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Marbles Part 4: I wish

I wish
I knew what to say to your family.
I wish
I wasn't so sad.
I wish
you were not sad.
I wish
you could see the bright blue sky and the colored leaves.
I wish
you remembered that Christmas and Thanksgiving and Easter are coming.
I wish
you had called your sister or your mom or your wife.
I wish
you had ten more minutes to think again before you made your choice.
I wish
your choice was not our consequence.
I wish
you could kiss your daughter's cheek on the first day of kindergarten.
I wish
you could walk your daughter down the aisle.
I wish
you had something to look forward to.
I wish
you had more time.
I wish
for strength and prayers for everyone you left behind.
I wish
the shining stars in the clear night sky give you peace.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Marbles- Part 3: Too Many Questions

Why?
How could you?
What for?
Seriously?
Why didn't you call, someone? Anyone?
Was your phone broken? Were you too broken to dial?
Do you know that God never leaves you alone?
Do you know that we still love you?
Do you know that you're not forgotten?
Did you forget about the stuff you loved?
Did you forget that the sun sets on today and gives us a brand new tomorrow?
Is the pain gone?
Are you healed?
What did Jesus say?
Did He give you the hug I so want to give you?
Can you see us?
Do you know that your pain is ours and we would have gladly carried it right along side you?
Why were you selfish that day?
Can you see your mother wearing your cross around her neck?
Can you see us laughing at your 3rd grade picture in the argyle sweater?
Do you see the pictures of your daughter?
Why?

Marbles, Part 2: A List of Things Worth Living For

Bacon
Fried Chicken Drumsticks
Hugs
Crunchy Fall Leaves
Country ham and cheddar cheese on toast. with mustard.
Chocolate Martinis
Christmas presents- even if it's socks
Saturday morning cartoons with someone cuddly
Taxes- always got to remember the taxes
Letters in smelly envelopes with lips
Everyone who loves you even when you're not loveable
Reality TV
South Park
Tomorrow. Just because

Marbles in my head

I have lots of interesting and somewhat disturbing thoughts floating around in my brain. I'll process them and toss them out and around and about. Then, in a day or two, I'll post something worthy of a life, that should be led, with everything you've got, even when you might not think you're up to the task. As an open offer to anyone going forward, if you ever think it's all been too much for you, the walls are closing in and you're thinking of throwing in the towel or turning out your lights, call me first. There's always something to live for. Always.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Why We Bombed the Moon

What to Expect When You're Expecting has been on the paperback nonfiction best seller list for like 300 years. I read that book and it left me completely unprepared. Not unprepared for the baby thing, although I have admitted to letting my kid roll off the footstool once or twice. No, I was unprepared for all the stuff that comes WAY after the kid is old enough to tell you the ottoman is not a good perch for a roly poly infant or that they need to eat every few hours. Whatever, Lucky Charms comes in an easy open box for a reason.

Walking though a bookstore today, I felt underwhelmed, put-out and generally under-served by the book publishing industry (This means you Random House). I can go into a bookstore and learn how to make my own hominy (pass the lye, please) and then dry it in the sun and whack it with a rock to make my own grits. I can get a book to teach me how to raise sheep, weave my own cloth, dye it with onion peels and sew my own root vegetable clothes. I can learn how to read the Bible and speak Yiddish.

But there are no books called What to Expect When your Kid is about to turn 13. If this book existed it would need chapters like "I Hate You Means I Love You" or "Just Because I Throw Up in Your Car Doesn't Mean I Speed Ate 14 Hot Dogs at the Football Game After You Specifically Told Me Not to."

No one writes these books because what happens when you raise boys to be about 12 or 13 is supposed to happen in secret. No one wants to know how it happens at your house, they just want to see the finished product in the shiny, polite Eagle Scout. And, if someone did write this book and someone else who was considering procreation read the book, there might not be any more people. Come to think of it, I bet the CIA would come and take any manuscript away and fire it at the moon so that no one really knows what goes on in houses with 12 or 13 or 14 year olds.

And, I think I finally understand why we bombed our moon a week ago. Someone had the audacity to write a book about how to raise kids to be decent Eagle Scouts but included chapters about all the crap you have to go through to get there and the government took the book and shot it into a crater on the moon to save humanity. Good thing they did so that I can remain as clueless as ever for the next 7 years or so.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lucky, Lucky! Everything Comes with Pancakes!

I spent my formative years in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, not too far from Milwaukee and the locale responsible for my weird accent. It took me until 4th grade to figure out how to spell Wauwatosa or any other Indian type word. Anyway, I loved to watch the TV show "Laverne and Shirley."

I especially loved the L's on Laverne's sweaters and Boo Boo Kitty. At the beginning of every show, the opening song scenes featured a shot of a prominent Milwaukee building. Whenever we drove into the city I used to look for Laverne and Shirley's apartment. Of course, I never found it, but I was pretty convinced I lived about 15 miles from Laverne, Shirley, Squiggy, Lenny and Boo Boo Kitty.

One episode of the show featured the girls in a misguided attempt at waitressing. It had something to do with breakfast because Laverne would walk up to every table and announce flatly and in a way only Penny Marshall could... "Lucky Lucky... Everything Comes with Pancakes!"

This funny sentence or phrase or announcement about carbohydrate laden breakfast food means to me- Hey! Good stuff is about to happen to you! Yes, You! Truly, any time someone offers to give you something for nothing...it has to be good. The only thing that would make it better would be an extra side of bacon, but I think Squiggy was Jewish which would have messed up the plot.

Regardless, today was the kind of day that made me want to climb to the roof and shout about pancakes. It was a good day and good stuff happened. You know why? You make your own luck. You make your own luck by walking into Laverne's restaurant on the day with extra pancakes or by making the right choice or by doing the right thing.

Today was one of those days. I am lucky, I have extra pancakes and I'm looking to pay it forward. Watch out when you see me, if you do. You might just end up with some extra breakfast. And I hope you enjoy it and feel lucky too.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Headlines

I'd like to see a few of these...

Boy Picks Up Laundry, Cites Mom for Inspiration

Boy Does Homework Without Complaining! Mom Needs Immediate Resuscitation!

Boy Eats Leafy Greens- Says "Yummy!"

XBox Extinct!

DuPont Introduces Self Cleaning White Carpet!

Ten Martinis a Week Recommended by Physicians

Vodka Industry Needs Help- Perrysburg Mom Fills Glass

Self Correcting Cameras Shave 15 Pounds from anyone over 35

Boss Says "Yes, You May Dance at the Office on Fridays!"

Human Body Temperature Corrected! It's 96.7!

Levi's Declares All Adolescent Boys Get Free Jeans Until Age 18!

Sock Company Invents Impervious, Magnetic Pairing, Sock!

Blogger Requests No More Use of Exclamation Points!

Backyard Tomato Plants Sprout Cash!

Your Mom Was Wrong! Your Life WILL be EASY!

If You Have Checks Left, Bank says "You still have money!"

Television and Lucky Charms Will Make You Smart!

Perrysburg Mom Has Nickel for Every time Kid Says "You're Mean!" She's RICHER Than OPRAH!

Chef Boyardee Newest Iron Chef!

Mom Says "I Hope You Have One Just Like You!" and It Comes True, Twice!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Are you a fish?

Kid: I don't feel good. I have a cold.
Me: You've lounged around all weekend. Eat something. You're fine.
Kid: I'm not fine. I feel oogey.
Me: Tough. You don't have a fever. Eat something and go to school.
Kid: It's awful. I think I could be dying.
Me: Let's take your temperature
Two minutes pass....
Kid: Look it says I have a fever.
Me: Huh? Really? What does it say?
Kid: 97.5. I told you I was sick.
Me: You don't have a fever and you must have done it wrong. Either that or you're an amphibian.
Kid: No. Human temperature is 96 something.
Me: That would be 98.6- that is the normal human temperature.
Kid: Oh.
Me: Off you go!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pick it up!

The conversation this morning went something like this...

Me: Holy cow, are you OK?
Kid: Yes, why?
Me: How can you sleep so close to such a powerful force field?
Kid: Huh?
Me: Everything you've worn all week is in a pile 4 feet away from your laundry basket.
Kid: Force field- um, ya, that's exactly the reason.
Me: Do you want me to pick all that stuff up so you don't hurt yourself? You've got football practice and a spelling test. I wouldn't want anything messing up your day.
Kid: Well, watch what happens.
(Kid slowly approaches the basket and just before touching it KA POW! He flies 10 feet back and lands on his bed.) See! It's amazing!
Me: Pick that stuff up or so help me....to the moon Alice.
Kid: Who's Alice?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Things That Make Me Mad

I am not an easy person to love. Actually, I'm really rather difficult. I'm opinionated, objectionable, self absorbed, surly and at times talk in a way that would make a longshoreman blush.

I know all this. My husband knows all this. Take a few minutes and feel exceptionally sorry for him for the next 15 seconds. OK, that's enough. He has a whole lot of angry, loud mouthed girl on his hands.

Truth be told, I get paid to be surly and loud mouthed. It's perfect. I love going to work and being opinionated and hollering at people that deserve it. My dearly loved assistant functions as my gatekeeper- shooing people away when I'm in the middle of a "smack down." She shoos them away not because she's afraid I'll eat the next person who comes into my office, but because she's listening to my tirade. I do love her so (and she knows it!) Just for good measure, feel sorry for her for the next 15 seconds also. OK, that's enough.

Now for my confession. I got so mad today- boiling over ready to kick the wall, probably need an anger management intervention mad. Yea, that's kind of mad. This person made me so irate that I wanted to come home and play the song I always used to play in college when I broke up with a boy (yes, they were all boys and there were lots of them and they don't know what they missed and I NEVER waited for them to call). When I played the song, you were out. Flat out, way out. (It's a "Stone Roses" song, I have it around here somewhere. I've never played it since I met Tim.) But today, I wanted to pull it out and blast it over a loudspeaker to make sure that this person knows...

I AM DONE AND YOU SUCK.

I am so done that I hope your license shrivels up and falls off your office wall. Yep, so done. You know why? I don't wait for a week to have someone call me back. I don't wait for ANYTHING. (See, I told you I was scary and self absorbed. Feel sorry for Tim and Michelle again.) I have shown self control and complete professionalism and YOU, yes YOU WHO SHALL BE UNNAMED TO PROTECT YOU, THE NOT INNOCENT, are a big TURD.

I feel so much better. Thank you and come again for a visit. I promise I'll be more restrained.

Isn't blogging just a great way to get that out. *sigh*

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How do you spell that?

I love spelling. I love spellcheck. I love everything about words. I love to use big words and freak people out. When I was a kid there was nothing I enjoyed more than telling another kid "Hey, your epidermis is showing." The kid would look around to see what was inadvertently hanging out while I laughed hysterically. I love reading business letters and emails with mistakes missed by spellcheck. I had an email last week where the writer was going to get back with me about my "corns." She meant concerns.

I'm still laughing about that.

As you are aware, this blog is about A&P and my inadequate, often faulty,misguided and all around shoddy parenting. A&P do not particularly like words. (Note: I did not say they don't have opinions.) They have no particular use for spelling words properly or using them in the correct order to construct a nice, complete sentence, perfect for diagramming with friends. No, they have little use for this or my love of words. My inner English major hollers out in silent pain every time they end a sentence in a preposition. "Were you born in a barn?" I scream.

What to do, you ask? How can you raise them to be straight talking, good grammar utilizing boys so that they don't go to dinner with Queen and say something pedestrian? Test them. Test their vocabulary and cram new words into their heads until they cry for mercy and the XBox. Test their spelling until every irregularly spelled French derived English word or commonly used Latin root is jammed into their heads. It's painful, but someone has to do it. It's not abuse so don't even think about turning me in.

At the beginning of every school year, I let out a fair amount of rope. This rope can be used to mess up spelling and vocabulary for about 4 weeks until such time as I lasso them back in. Last Thursday was "Lasso Day." I am now back in the spelling and vocabulary business at the dinner table. They holler and protest, but mysteriously their grades improve by about 30% within 24 hours.

I can hardly wait until they learn about dangling or misplaced modifiers. Good times.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Prodigal Clothing



Boys go to school. Boys take extra stuff to school. This extra stuff doesn't always make it home. Just like the money I give them. There has to be change. Really. But I digress...In two days, we were missing:


3 sweatshirts

1 jacket

1 pair of jeans

2 pairs of gym shorts

2 pairs of socks

2 t shirts

a violin


This makes me cranky. Given the size of the lost and found box- it's more like a dumpster- at the school, we're not the only ones sacrificing stuff to it. I bet the janitors take loads to the box every night like a Mayan priest approaching an ancient pyramid. "Hoo Ha Hoo Ha. Here's more stuff for your monster sized stomach. Hoo Ha Hoo Ha."
You think I'm crazy. I see torches, dancing the whole bit. Come on, we have no idea what happens in that school after dark. I bet all of Peter's lost 6th grade homework ended up as a sacrifice.


Whenever a boys wears a jacket to school for the first time every fall, I wonder, "will I ever see you again? You were such a nice buy and on sale too." It's cold in the morning so, they wear the jacket. By midday it's not cold and the jacket gets left in science class or on the bleachers or in the hallway or on the bus. I can't explain the jeans or the gym clothes or my change.


Snoopy is dancing because at least some of our prodigal clothing returned to us over the weekend- three sweatshirts and a jacket, some of the gym clothes and the jeans. The violin is not missing (hurrah!). It was left at school so someone could avoid practicing it.

So help me if the violin gets sacrificed. That gives me the willies just thinking about it. Instead I will celebrate the return of the stuff- even the stinky gym clothes- and their escape from the BOX.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Conferences

I loathe parent teacher conferences. There I said it. Is that allowed? I wrote it and didn't actually speak it. I will probably end up on a bad parent list in the teacher's lounge.

I had to go to a parent teacher conference when I was in 5th grade. Mr Zahn. Yep, I remember it. And, I couldn't spell the word "biscuit" and I was very inadequate at my fractions. Well, I'll show you Mr. Zahn, not only can I spell "biscuit" but I can make them from scratch. And you know what else I can do? I can cut that biscuit recipe in 1/2 and make half as many biscuits. Or, if I'm feeling wild I can double it. So, I conquered biscuits and fractions.

I have not conquered being the Mom at the conference.

I go to every conference feeling like an inadequate 5th grader. I hope they give me a break to go to the bathroom and sharpen my pencil.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mama Hari, Super Spy

When I was growing up, I hated it when people came into my room. I had various mechanisms (er, behaviors) to keep anyone I was related to from ever coming for a visit. This mostly involved extreme bouts of crabbiness, threats of violence against myself or others, or sometimes blasting lousy 80's dance music. Come to think of it, I did this at the office today and no one came in. Imagine that.

Anyway...

A&P haven't discovered the sanctuary of their rooms yet. Other than the occasional "GET OUT OF MY ROOM" directed at the other brother, it's a fairly peaceful detente complete with a "cracked door policy." No one ever seems to mind that I've picked up the clothes in the middle of the floor (right at the edge of the basket force-field) or made the beds or whatever. I must admit, I take advantage of this and do my fair share of digging around in drawers and under the beds. The public service announcements on TV implore me to snoop. Who am I to question NBC?

Today, I really wished I was too dumb to dig around in their rooms. You never know what you'll find. Sometimes I find fistfuls of quarters or dirty socks from a baseball game last June. I can hardly tell you what I found. It's so ghastly. You will judge me. You will send me secret letters and comments judging me. I'm horrified, terrified and actually thinking about bringing in some help.

Do you want to know what I found? Is this killing you? Oh boy, here it is. I found...

A shirt that says "Perrysburg Class of 2015." What the Sam Hill is that? 2015 is like 40 years from now. Shouldn't we be living on the moon and flying around in hover cars? Shouldn't I have a robot rubbing my feet and injecting Botox in my crowsfeet while I type this?

2015? Shouldn't I be able to read people's minds by then? Won't we be growing food out of thin air and repairing ourselves with magic wands?

I can't stand it. It's going to be awhile before I snoop again- maybe Thursday.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Less is More

Whilst putting the finishing touches on a familially collaborative pair of science projects the following conversation occurred...

Me: Hey P we have a few extra things let's add them to the poster.
P: Why. I only have to have 8 and I already have 8.
A: (emphatically) I have 12!
Me: It never hurts to go beyond the minimum.
P: Who cares? My grade will be the same if I have 8 or 9 or whatever.
Me: Seriously? You're happy with doing the absolute, least amount of work that you can get away with?
P: Yup. Where's the glue?
A: Did I mention I have 12?
Me & P: YES!
Me: Maybe I could do the least amount possible.
P: What are you talking about?
Me: Under Ohio law, I am only required to get you to school, give you a place to live, some clothes (nothing flashy) and your food (also nothing fancy).
P: What? You're kidding.
Me: Nope. Not kidding. I could start doing only what the law requires starting right about...
P: MOM!
Me: What?
P: That wouldn't be very nice.
Me: So what.
P: How about 10 things on my poster?

My work here is done- for at least the next 10 minutes.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Can I ask you a question?

What happens to twin parent bloggers after their kids turn 4? Where are you? Are you hurt? Do you need assistance? A martini? Did you get a paper cut from the spelling list?



Where do they go? Where are all the parents of tween twins? Have they been abducted by aliens, attacked by zombies? Are they laying on the kitchen floor surrounded by gum wrappers, Best Buy Xbox game receipts and dirty socks? Wrapped in IPod earphone wire so tight that they can't reach their communication devices? This is a CRISIS!

Are they stuck in the pantry after writing a 50 page, 4 day grocery list that includes, but is not limited to, so many carbohydrates it would make you bust out of your pants just thinking about what's on it? (Believe me, I am SO protecting you.)



Where are these people suffering through 7th grade? I see them in the pick up line at school. Do they see me? Or, are they so blinded by math homework, the bandaged finger attacked by the list of irregular spelling words, and stinky football clothes that they can't do anything but drive around town in a stupor?



Are they toiling away in their laundry rooms and sneaking in emails on their Blackberries when no one's looking? Do they forgot they're talking to regular people and say things like " Hey Dude" or "Hey Buddy" to their boss? Or to their kids "SH!T, I can remember what side my gas cap is on!" Or worse, "SH!T, I shouldn't have eaten ice cream for dinner just because those kids begged for it, AGAIN." Or even worse "SH!T, two martinis in the bucket sized glasses are too much to remember Algebra!"



Bottom line, pray with me. There are 49 ba-jillion other middle school, tween twin parents out there. They have no idea that we're looking for them so they can drink the martini I made for them. Oh wait, that's for me....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Who are you?

Overheard at the Junior High...

Football Coach: ATKINS!? Where are you going?
Kid: To practice
Football Coach: ATKINS! You're going the wrong way! Hustle up! NOW!
Kid: I'm going to practice Coach.
Football Coach: What practice, you're going the wrong way!
Kid: Cross Country
Football Coach: OH, you're THE TWIN.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mysteries of the Universe

A&P each have a laundry basket in their closets.

Mysteriously, clothes can only be deposited 5 feet or more away from the basket at all times. An invisible force-field protects the baskets from anyone under 21 stepping near them. I even tried to put the basket smack-dab in the middle of the bedrooms to see if that would elicit increased dirty clothes placement compliance. Alas, the force travels with the basket!

Every night we make dinner.

Mysteriously, no matter what plate Peter is given, he is only able to eat half of the food. Then, the plate and the fork conspire to move the remaining food around the plate in a random fashion so as to appear that more than half of the food is gone. Even more mysterious, this never happens with dessert.

A&P have lots of socks.

Mysteriously, the socks are abandoned, one at a time in various locations. A sock will be orphaned in the family room on the coffee table while another is left to its own devices yards away on the floor of the back hall. Like a reverse Hansel, the socks always lead to a boy.

There's a brand new, beautiful tube of toothpaste.

Mysteriously, in 30 seconds or less it is mushed and mangled. The gooey, minty blue mess extends beyond the sink onto the floor- in the hall. Tim ended up with paste on his suit one day last week and that's not even our bathroom. Weird!

Ripley's must be awaiting my call.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Andrew: Chick Magnet

At dinner tonight, Andrew introduced us to his "signature move."

A: Hey, want to see my signature move?
Me: You've got to be kidding me.
A: Ya, I do it when I come and go into rooms.
Me: OK, what you got?
A: (The move- work with me on this. Twelve year old 7th grader with longish hair and braces with green and blue rubber bands. He leans his head way back, swaying from side to side so his bangs flop back and forth, landing, jauntily, to the right side all while rolling his eyes and batting his eyelashes.)
Me: (In hysterics) When do you do this? Are you trying to attract girls with that?
A: I do it all day and yes, the girls love it. At school I also told everyone that I like short-shorts.
Me: Are you channeling the 70's? If so, I don't need to go back.

He decided to go outside after dinner. On his way out:

A: Everyone watch. I'm exiting with my "signature move!" (head and hair waving)
P: (Chasing him out) I'll show you a "signature move!"

Good times.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Losing My Mind: Bit by Bit

I totally freaked out today. I was clinging to the proverbial parental ledge, so slippery, with my hands smothered in bacon grease, and my bad thoughts all culminating in a big footed monster stomping on my slipping hands while I dangled over an abyss of incompetence.

This almost sounds like a nightmare! It was! It really was!

It happened all in my head. Something like this:

Psycho Me: OMG, H1N1.
Normal Me: Oh please. Everything is fine. They haven't flopped over on your watch yet.
Psycho Me: Doesn't matter ... this is different. Must go buy crates of hand sanitizer and masks and hire a hand washing tutor to keep on retainer. I have to pre-order chicken soup from the Amish before it's all gone.
Normal Me: Stop! You're making me nuts!

So here I was at work, on the phone with the doctor's office, scheduling flu shots and trying to sound exceedingly polite and normal.

Outside voice: "No appointments for 4 weeks? Really?"
Inside voice: DANGER, DANGER. Must bully office into scheduling before sun-up tomorrow.

Alas inside my head the monster was stomping away and Psycho Me was gaining marketshare- rapidly. The lady at the office actually told me to RELAX. Can you imagine? RELAX??? How?

Remember how I let one kid fall off the footstool and I nearly mashed the other one to smithereens when I careened down a flight of stairs? This was nothing compared to the pandemic flu and I am unprepared, completely unqualified and now is when everyone will find out what an incompetent parent I am when my children shrivel up like raisins.

Normal Me slowly returned after a small publicity campaign in my cerebellum and other necessary cranial regions. Normal Me reminded Psycho Me that before I brought A&P home from the hospital I almost bought a Hummer because I was afraid of everyone on the road and surely it would be better to just drive on the shoulder.

I never bought the Hummer. The appointment is in 4 weeks. I have 4 gallon size pumps of hand sanitizer. If you're coming for a visit, bring a mask for yourself and a sedative for me.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Scouting Requirement #1: Brush your teeth!

Put-in-Bay, Ohio. Tents as far as the eyes can see and well over 1,000 Scouts. That's a whole lot of Scouts.

Some Moms went for a visit and to watch the parade of Scouts and bands and other parade type stuff. A&P were happy to see me but unwashed and slimy. Andrew was covered with Oreo crumbs.

Me: Dude, did you brush your teeth?
A: We don't have any sinks.
P: Ya. Didn't need to bring the toothbrush after all.
Me: Yack.
A: It's fine, I'll be home tomorrow.
Me: Seriously, double Yack.
A: Got any gum?

I tried to get him to take the whole pack, but he decided one piece was enough.

I flossed my teeth twice when I got home, just for good, familial, measure.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Karma Stick- WHACK!

Hmmm, who was a few days ago feeling so proud and puffed up like a thanksgiving turkey? Hmmm, what was that about? Was it homework?

So Twin A, the normally responsible child, dashed out the door without a form that had to be turned in today worth a whopping 25 points. Yowch. In orchestra, no less.

Off Dad dashed to stash it in the orchestra room before school starts so he doesn't end up with an F in music.

Worst part is, I bet A is croaking on the bus if he realizes he forgot the form.

Fixing this for him is probably wrong and yet another example of my slipshod parenting. (I only dropped this kid once. although I didn't really drop him or let him roll off the furniture. I slipped down a flight of stairs and managed to still hold on to the baby.)

(On my knees, now) Please make them responsible, please, please, please. (Insert dog like howling and frustration HERE).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Earth is Spinning Backwards!

Glory Be! Count your chickens and pull up a chair, I do declare that the earth is spinning backwards! Yes, indeed, good folks, not only are we whipping around in a counter type fashion, but Mercury is in retrograde! The toilets are flushing the wrong way, dogs and cats are living together in perfect harmony and I'm pretty sure I heard that down yonder, it's raining from the ground to the sky. Yesindeedoodiddilydo!

In honor of these great geologic events, I present to you the REASON. The real, honest to goodness, cause of all of this jumbilification....

Two weeks of school and NO MISSING WORK.

My job is done. Until tomorrow morning.

Amen.

Monday, September 7, 2009

My Life: With Twins

After suffering through my blogging hiatus, not knowing what to write about or how much was too much, I came back here and changed my tag line. It used to say "Comments on my life with twins." Well, duh, they were my comments because it was my blog.

Saying "My Life: With Twins" seemed a lot more specific. If my blog were about nearly nonexistent 18th century sailing diseases my tag line would say "My Life: with Scurvy." Unlike scurvy, I can't eat a half dozen lemons and sleep off my duplicity issues. Twins are a permanent condition.

A&P used to stay right where I put them. They might not have been happy about it, but they were too small to put up too much of a fuss. My first clue that I might have some issues in the parenting department should have been when I let Peter roll off the ottoman onto the floor. He might have only been about 8 pounds, but from then on, he knew he was smarter than me. Really, who lets a baby roll off the ottoman?

A&P are 12, nearly 13 as my mother so nicely pointed out today. A clear difference from when they were 8 or 10 weeks old is that no one seems to want to come help take care of them. No one is calling asking to help at bath time or feedings. No one is bringing us lasagna and making us go take naps. I could really use that lasagna and the nap and the people to come over and explain to my nearly 13 year olds why it's not OK to smack down a bully or get tattoos or listen to music about hookers or have a secret email account or get girls' phone numbers. Each day that passes, I am getting worse at this and considering that I started off dumping one of them on the floor, I didn't have much farther to sink.

Lastly, my love for them is questioned daily. When I am ready to do my own personal smack down, I often say "I am so glad you are here and I love you with the burning passion of a thousand suns." Last week one of them said "Really? A thousand? Why not a million- is that too much for you? And, if you are really the sun then you're burning us up and that must mean that you really want to kill us."

Seriously, who is bringing lasagna for dinner tomorrow night?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I Get It- Now

High school graduation. I could never understand why parents were so psyched about their kids' graduation. People throw big parties and cry and carry on. I've been thinking all along- why? It's just High School. There's so much more- shouldn't you be packing the kid for college or a trip across Europe?

I totally get it now. There are so many days that I feel like a complete and utter failure. The boys can't even pick up their socks or make themselves something to eat. They'd sooner sit around sockless and starving than take care it themselves.

Lest you think it's all despair, there are other days where there's a glimpse of something good. Maybe something sunk in along the line. Flash forward to high school graduation- I totally understand the glee, the big giant cake and the wads of Kleenex. The party is not for the kid- it's for the parents who survived.

On this topic, I always thought 8th grade graduation was kind of dumb too. Especially since stopping at 8th grade won't do much for your long term prospects other than perhaps securing a place on the chicken gutting line at the rendering plant. But that's not what the ceremony is for- I totally see it now- it's for me to celebrate the fact that Junior High will be behind us forever.

I'm calling the bakery and reserving that cake.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Note to the Child whose Butt always gets saved

To You: and you know exactly who you are.

You are a twin and therefore benefit greatly from having a duplicate of yourself roaming the halls of the junior high.

As you are undoubtedly aware, last year, we saved your butt more times than we could count. You were the happy beneficiary of a homegrown class monitor (that other kid) who brought everything home that could be copied for you.

You know what? You're done. That other kid won't pay your electric bill and he won't help you get a job or learn Kirkegaard when I force you to go to schools on opposite coasts and maybe even different countries.

You are taking advantage of a familial situation that no one else has. You know what? You can't do that, so stop it. Someday, when you're not living in my basement, you'll thank me for making it tough on you now.

Besides, I think there are lots of spiders in the basement.

Love, Mom

Monday, August 31, 2009

Is that Appropriate?

Peter had some homework this weekend. He forgot his math book, but remembered the homework. This is progress.

The main project was a "History of Me" project- in any media format he chose. Rather quickly a Power Point presentation seemed to make most sense and then it was off to dig through boxes to find baby pictures. I tried to get him to start the presentation with his ultrasound picture noted "Twin B." He had other ideas as I guess it probably wouldn't be cool to throw in your ultrasound. Whatever.

When the presentation was complete, he set out to find music to go with his slides. I left him alone on ITunes only to return to find him on the verge of downloading a currently popular song. It's a rather catchy, stick to the brain kind of song. However, it's about a prostitute.

Me: Um, I don't think so.
Kid: It's a great song.
Me: It's about a hooker- a woman of ill-repute. Seriously.
Kid: So that's a problem?
Me: For 7th grade Social Studies? Um, ya.
Kid: Oh.

Off he went to school with the silent presentation on the thumb drive- absent the song about the lady who needs to make better choices.

That was a close call...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Mouser

A few months back, I realized that my life lacked something fuzzy.

I don't wear fur and I am not particularly furry. My boys are not particularly furry or fuzzy and would probably object to sitting on my lap. Come to think of it, I would object to them sitting on my lap because they would smush me.

Not only did I lack something fuzzy, no one comes to greet me at the door when I get home. When I get home, there are three people with eyes as wide as saucers staring at me because I am the only person who can (pick two)...feed them... find their socks... fix the broken zipper...turn on the lights...find lost things....make time stand still. I need someone who is happy to see me and who really just needs a pat on the head and someone to shed on.

Enter- the Mouser, or as he is formally known, Duncan Kitty.

He's a happy two year old rescue kitty from the Humane Society. Want to hear the best news? He has not eaten the squirrel (our guinea pig), yet. Besides that, he is very happy when I come home and never, ever asks me to find his lost stuff.

I attached a little collar to him with a bell so I can hear him sneaking up on me. He has objected and I often come home to find the collar on the floor. This morning I noticed that he was appearing and disappearing at will and without my express knowledge. Alas, the collar was gone again. He followed me around while I looked for it without ever letting on that he might know where it is. As of this writing, it is still missing and I'm certain that he did it purposefully to make sure I know who's actually in charge.

Regardless, I have my furry, fuzzy door greeter even if I can't hear him.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

7th Grade- Then and Now

A&P start 7th grade tomorrow. I have several problems with this, not the least of which is that Peter is as tall as me. I need to get a stool and really high heels so I can still appear authoritative even though I know for darned sure I'm not.

In honor of their 7th grade inauguration, I will reflect on differences in my life from when I was in 7th grade and today. Sounds deep, doesn't it?

Then: Lots of clothes and shoes
Now: Lots of clothes and shoes (hmmmm, that's exactly the same except I am pretty sure nothing I currently own has a rainbow on it)

Then: Mean girls suck.
Now: Yes, they still suck, but I just don't care anymore. Chances are, I'm meaner.

Then: A boyfriend would be handy.
Now: A boyfriend would be handy for picking up the kids or giving me cash. However, I'm sure my husband would object. Ho-hum.

Then: Gym shorts make my butt look funny.
Now: Enough said.

Then: Lunch = Twinkies.
Now: Were I to eat Twinkies for lunch I should sooner put one in each pocket (front and back) because that's where it ends up.

That's about all I can remember. In order to protect itself, my brain has eliminated as many 7th grade memories as possible while still maintaining vital function.

Happy 7th Grade A&P!

Monday, August 24, 2009

What do you do with a drunken sailor?

In a more or less quiet moment over the weekend I shouted at my kid...

Me: HEY! What do you do with a drunken sailor?
Kid: Put him in the long boat til he's sober.
Me: That's scary. OK, when do you do this?
Kid: Earl-eye in the morning.
Me: (Hysterical laughter) I used to sing that to you when you were in the tub when you were like 2 years old.
Other kid: Used to? You sing that song all the time.
Me: I'm that predictable?
Kid: Yep.
Other Kid: Yep.

At least they'll have something to remember their childhood- drunken bar songs. There has to be some award I can get for this crack job of parenting I've got going.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Have Two, Call Me in the Morning

After a long day, I'd say one of these is in order.


After two days in the car with your closest loved ones, however misguided the road trip, I'd say two of these is a requirement.


We saddled up to the bar at the Union Oyster House in Boston. We ordered clams and oysters. We channeled Daniel Webster.


When called for dinner, we ended up here... in JFK's favorite booth.





I recall the drink, the clams and the lobster while cooped up in my office or having the following argument...

Kid: why must I wear a bike helmet?
Me: Because thousands of people every year lose one or more of their faculties when conking their skulls on the curb, oak trees or parked cars.
Kid: I am very careful.
Me: Tough. I like all of your intact faculties. Wear the helmet.
Kid: No one else wears a helmet and I look like a dork.
Me: Your brother wears a helmet.
Kid: You hate me. I want a cell phone.

Oh Waiter......

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Where Fraser Fell- 1777


Once upon a time, a girl got married. That went something like this...
Him: Should we get married so your Dad doesn't kill me?
Her: Sure.
Him: I like battlefields and history.
Her: Fabulous. You're cute.
Love blinds and allows silly things like a honeymoon trip involving revolutionary war battlefields. Eventually, A&P got sucked into the revolutionary war battlefield habit, and I am surely the victim.
Flash forward to a week ago- Saratoga Springs, New York- the first victory for the Americans in the War and where Benedict Arnold still had his head on straight.
Him: Hey! This is great.
Her: Yep. Ho-hum
Kid: Yep. Ho-hum
Him: Hey! You're supposed to like this.
Kid: When do we eat?
Other Kid: You're interupting my movie.
Her: Yep.
Him: You people aren't into this at all.
That was a challenge. At our next stop, Andrew and I ran down the path- me on my Monty Python style imaginary horse while belting out The Battle Hymn of the Republic. We happened upon the marker designating the spot where British General Fraser was picked off by an inventive sharp shooting American from a near by tree.
After my lousy pretend shot from 20 paces, Andrew whirled around, moaned, hollered and slowly fell to the base of the monument. "I am shot!" Fraser, er Andrew, flopped to the ground.
Applause!
We clip-clopped back to the car slightly triumphant, Tim shaking his head.
I can't wait to go to Yorktown.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I'm coming back, really

Sorry about the hiatus. I have lots of excuses, including, but not limited to an alien abduction, the growth of some extra toes that had to be removed and a small situation I like to refer to as "the incident." No one was seriously hurt with "the incident" but therapy is needed.

Bear with me, I'm getting my typing fingers out and composing my stories. Thanks for sticking with me.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mom, Can I have Cake For Breakfast?


Kid: Please?
Me: NO
Kid: All I had was applesauce.
Me: That's your fault. The house is full of food. Drink a smoothie.
Kid: I had applesauce. I'll be OK, for about an hour. Then I'll be starving. Can I have cake?
Me: Drink the smoothie, NOW.
Kid: Grumble, grumble, grumble. I told you to get me chocolate donuts.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Laugh Today if You'll Laugh about it Tomorrow...

Now this is some good advice. This is good advice that I need after a 5 minute trip to the grocery to pick up my husband's birthday cake. How hard can it be to dash into a store, grab a cake, some ice cream and tonic water and dash back out? How hard is that when you have two 12 year old's in tow to carry the load?



Oh my, Oh my. Plenty difficult.



Kid: I want these chocolate donuts.

Me: No

Kid: I get hungry at school because I don't have chocolate donuts for breakfast.

Me: You get hungry because you won't eat anything but applesauce for breakfast.

Kid: Cereal is boring and its hard to fix.

Me: Are you kidding me? No donuts.



Thirty seconds pass...



Kid: I want this crab dip.

Me: No, you don't need crab dip. You'll ruin dinner.

Kid: You never let me get what I want you like that other kid better.

Me: Right now, perhaps, because he's quiet. I'll buy you the crab dip the next time people come for dinner.

Kid: You hate me.



Thirty seconds pass...



Kid: I need Little Debbie Snak Cakes.

Me: No.



This continued in a variety of formats and themes the entire time we were in the store. I waited until the car to blow my gasket.



Me: YOU TWO ARE HORRIBLE AND AWFUL INGRATES WHEN YOU ARE IN THE GROCERY STORE. YOU WERE BETTER IN THE STORE WHEN YOU WERE TWO. Of course I never took you to stores and NOW I KNOW WHY. STOP ACTING LIKE URCHINS!



Kid: Geez Mom.



Two minutes pass... pulling into the driveway...



Me: Please get out and get the mail.
Kid: Only if HE (gesturing at the other kid) gets my stuff and brings it in.
Me: Are you joking? You have a book and a toothbrush from the dentist. Carry it! NOW!
Kid: What? I have to carry my jacket, a book, a toothbrush and the mail? YOU HATE ME.



Do I? Too busy laughing to think about it, actually.