Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yep, Still Around

I'm not trapped under a rock. My feet are not frozen in a puddle two arms lengths away from my computer. I have some excuses for leaving you high and dry since last Monday. Would you like to hear them?

I have this really crazy job where I fire people all the time. It's pretty draining, but I get to fly all over the place and I'm looking forward to receiving my super triple lithium MasterCard. So, I've been pretty busy.... oh wait. That's "Up in the Air."

OK, truly, we took in a high school student and he needs some extra help with his football plays. I'm good at knowing about football because I follow the SEC. Luckily my husband owns a string of Taco Bells so I never have to cook and I can spend my time with our new family member. So, I've been pretty busy...oh wait. That's "The Blindside."

OK, now I won't fib. I promise. I work in a big building and I have a really great boss and a great staff of writers. But none of these people can do anything on their own and we have a production schedule so I toil day and night in my office, but I'm still looking for love. Hold on.... That's "30 Rock."

Perhaps I haven't blogged because I've been up too late at night watching award shows. But then there's the laundry and the kids that came home on Sunday after not freezing to death at Camp Frozen Fritzel that past weekend. I washed their coats three times and they still smell like a camp fire. I think they rolled in the fire pit. Washing the same thing takes time away from washing my own stuff and holy cow, I really need a wife.

And then Peter got some of his braces yesterday and we had Boy Scouts. I have to follow Peter around to make sure he does his chores because he's incapable of setting aside 34 seconds to make his bed. Surely there is a merit badge for "Do It You Dang Self or Yo Mama dun sellin' you to gypsies."

Somehow no one is making a movie about any of this stuff.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Hero: Lord Baden Powell

While biding my time until I send my offspring out into a cold, wet, frostbitey winter's night later this week, I figured out a way to motivate them. Calm down, the boxing gloves are not the implement of my success. (I just thought it was a nice picture to show that for once, and for about the next 30 minutes until they figure it out, I'm in control!)

Control? What is that? Ever since the day someone told me that there was two instead of one, I've had no control over anything. Until today...

As I've said before, the Boy Scouts are an amazing lot. Yes, they can start a mean fire and splint your broken foot all while identifying deciduous trees. But that Lord Baden Powell guy? He knew exactly what he was doing 101 years ago when he sent his Scouts out on mules to do whatever he sent them off to do. (He may have been trying to see which ones were too lily-livered to come back.) It's all about motivation. So here's the scheme, er, well thought out parental plan I've hatched...

No Driver's License until you're an Eagle Scout. Evil, huh?

We now have all sorts of possibilities including two boys, who were only fairly motivated, but are now, Eventual Freedom Controlled By Mom, Motivated!

Shockingly, they allowed me to spreadsheet their daily chores for the next 12 weeks.

Guess what happened? They made their beds today- FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. (Yes, that's pathetic, but there are some things that are just not worth fighting about when you can shut a door. But now, I have a spreadsheet.)

Then, guess what? They took the trash out - WITHOUT COMPLAINING.

Right now? They are voluntarily cleaning up the basement family room so they can get a gold star on their charts. This is nothing short of miraculous.

Hold your applause. I need to quit while I'm ahead. But, I didn't. They each wrote a letter to their school principal for a letter of reference that they need. Then, they each wrote a letter to our United States Senators requesting their support for relief efforts in Haiti.

If Lord Powell was alive, I'd kiss him, right on the mouth.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

When is Halftime?

My Christmas present from A&P was symphony tickets. However, the kicker was that they had to come along. Peter has been complaining for a week.

Last night's performance was spectacular and joyous and perfect for a cold winter's night. Before I lose you and you think that I've gotten soft on you, I should regale you with my companions actions during the evening. I was seriously afraid that we would witness Peter completely pop a cork.

We survived to intermission without incident. (A&P called it "half time.") I said "Watch the first violinist all the way in the back by the door- the guy with the long, puffy hair." I've never been able to figure this guy out. Over the years of attending the symphony, he's always there and he's always completely clueless. Not only are his bowings completely opposite from everyone else, he uses about 3 inches of his bow and looks like he's a seat warmer. I don't get it because this is a symphony where people get paid.

So, with A&P playing cello and violin respectively over the last few years, I figured they would appreciate the vision of the violin slacker. We were off to the races with a series of nearly silent giggles and snorts. Once that starts, everything else is riotously funny- the old guy who can't stop clearing his throat right in front of us. OK, not that funny, but the other old guy two people away who physically turns and scowls at the choking old guy every time he coughs? Super hilarious.

The soloist with the high forehead and a penchant for ridiculous faces? When you're nearly 13, it doesn't get any funnier than that. We were a mess of stifled laughter. I couldn't look at them. Peter was biting through his lip. This went on for 45 minutes.

I don't have bladder control issues, but I did last night.

As soon as it was over? We kept ourselves in pretty decent shape until exiting the concert hall (Arena, as per A&P) and stumbled across the loud wife of the trumpet player inviting family back to her house for pizza. "What kind of pizza will you eat?" Peter says loud enough for the loud wife to hear, "Pepperoni!" Andrew adds "Get some sausage and we'll be there in 15 minutes!" We crumbled. We were a mess. We burst into the night air like yelping seals.

Then, to top it all off, you know what we saw on the way home? A very nice house on Front Street in our town has the leg lamp from "Christmas Story" in the living room window. Peter said, "I thought this was going to be terrible, but this was the best night EVER."

Merry Christmas indeed.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Can You Repeat That?

On the way home from music lessons last night...

Kid: I think I will be reincarnated.
Me: OK, Bhuddist are we?
Kid: I'm coming back as a bumblebee. A bumblebee named Roger.
Me: Roger? I'm not sure that bees have regular people names.
Other Kid: That's just dumb. You die and you're done. Don't you listen in church?
Me: By done, you don't mean done...
Other Kid: Right, heaven.
Kid: I've decided to be Buddhist and I'm coming back.
Me: Something to atone for? Like the towel in a wad on the bathroom floor?
Other Kid: I'll get it right the first time.
Me: You're even worse with the towel. If anyone's coming back, it's you.
Other Kid: That hurts. Can I have a cell phone?
Me: Seriously. I giveth and I taketh away. And your grades need improvement by Thursday.
Other Kid: I'll get them up. You have no faith in me.
Me: That's ridiculous.
Kid: Roger won't have to worry about cell phones or homework. Did you know they have Prince Charles in a can?
Me: What did you say?
Kid: Prince Charles in a can. You call someone and you say...
Me: You mean Prince Albert.
Kid: Oh.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Camp Alaska

In case you've had the misfortune of following my insanity for the year or so that I've been torturing the world with my thoughts, you may recall the saga of Camp Alaska. For those who are not familiar, you need to know two things. I'm crazy and few things make me crazier than the perceived danger about to envelop my offspring.

The Boy Scouts are a hardy lot. If you are a Scout, you will learn how to rip up your underpants to make fire starter and you'll wander around in the woods for two days to learn orienteering. As a Scout, you also have the opportunity to scare your dear Mom into a deep psychosis by camping outside in Ohio in January with no tent. You get to make your own shelter and try to survive on your wits and beef jerky for 24 hours. And if you do all this? You get a shiny patch. Yep, a patch and the satisfaction that your parents are capable of worrying for 24 hours straight.
Last year, Peter froze his toes together and it was of course, my fault. It was below zero and I had armed both A&P with a mountain of hand warmers. Why, would your toes freeze together if you have plenty of handwarmers to stash in your socks, and mittens and pockets? Because they're HAND WARMERS, not FOOT WARMERS. It says so right on the package. And, had I listened to the child prior to sending him out into the freezing cold, I would have known this. Seriously, my parental license should be revoked.
We have two weeks to prepare for this year's installment of "Am I Really Dumb Enough to Leave my Children Out in the Cold with Nothing But Tarps and Beef Jerky?" Yes, yes, I am.
Last year, I did not sleep. I was frozen in my bed under layers of down and fleece. The heat was cranked up to 78 degrees and I was still frosted right down to my fritzel. Tim spent the night watching the weather station out in Grand Rapids like it was a Red Wings hockey game. Unfortunately the prize was a reading of minus 1 F.
All I have to say is Here We Go Again People. It's going to get kind of crazy around here for a while.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Some people should probably not tweet. (Is that a verb now?) I am probably the type of person that should not. I was thinking today while driving in traffic what it would be like if my stream of consciousness was being reproduced in tweets- kind of like a vehicularly inspired "Ulysses" except I'm in Toledo and not Dublin and I'm not as interesting. (Although seriously, I remember wading through Ulysses. Did anyone actually find that interesting after 1400 pages? I'm just saying.)

All of this tweeting or twittering even made it into the New York Times this weekend with sample tweets. My favorite one asked a question like "Why does my Christmas tree end up on the curb after an eggnog fueled rampage?" I'm paraphrasing, but I distinctly remember the phrase "eggnog fueled rampage." I'd like to have one of those. I'll invite you over to watch if I do.
Back to my original point, here are some things that tweeters or twitter-ers, should not tweet or twitter...
  • "Intestinal disruption caused by week old rotting clams can be easily avoided by not eating week old rotting clams."
  • "I want a divorce!" (Don't you think someone has done this? I had a friend of a friend who had her boyfriend break up with her by fax. So rude.)
  • "You have a booger in your right nostril, Karl." Poor Karl.
  • "Anyone have a spare kidney?"
  • "My porch is overrun by woodchucks."
  • "I have extra guano, anyone want some?"
  • "I'm on my way to therapy for my pyromania! Sorry about the kitchen table, Mom!"
  • "My children are currently in the company of gypsies."

At the end of the day, I'm too boring to twitter. Is anyone really that interesting to give updates every two hours?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Resolution or Two

Now that I am full up of dining room furniture, we might as well use it.

Andrew was dropped on his head. He thinks that our life somehow is reflected in the picture to the left. I don't get it at all. If I make a turkey or a chicken, he insists that it be carved at the table. He's been at this since he was about four years old.
Sunday comes every so often so I said to Andrew a few days back, "Hey, do you want to eat your Sunday dinner in the dining room?" Of course he did. So that is exactly what we'll do and that leads me to my first of two food related resolutions for 2010.
1. We will eat Sunday dinner in the dining room. Maybe not every Sunday, but how about 3 out of every 4?
2. I will have dinner parties. I will throw at least two dinner parties every month. I will invite scintillating folks to eat with us and regale us with stories of their travels to Uzbekistan or ex-spouses or illegitimate children. I'd like to hear it all. In fact, if you've spent time in a Turkish prison and are free on a Friday or Saturday night in 2010, let me know as soon as practicable. Are you an expert on Medieval monkish manucripts? Call me. Are you an expert on Indigineous peoples of the Alaskan Aleutian Islands? Let me know if Friday or Saturday will work.
There you have it. Last year, I was trying very hard not to swear so much. I've done fairly well, except on days that end in "Y."
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get dinner on the table.