Friday, February 29, 2008
According to Ten I either 1) had the water too cold, 2) or too hot, 3) or too salty, 4) or not salty enough, 5) I fed her too much, 6) or too little, 7) or the wrong kind of food...and the list goes on. Nevermind that I carefully researched fiddler crab care to the point where I'm almost certain I've earned an honorary doctorate in whatever -ology means Crab Expert. I think it would've been easier if I'd been a boring mom and just said NO when he wanted to bring home dozens of tiny, smelly animals. But I'm not bitter.
I quickly did a "burial at sea" when the kids were asleep, but I knew they wouldn't consider that a very dignified funeral. So this morning when they asked me where she was I LIED TO MY CHILDREN and told them that I buried Veeky in the flower garden near the spot where we buried our cat, Coda, a few years ago. Now they want to know if we can make a headstone and buy flowers to put on the grave? I hope they don't plan to do this every time a beloved pet dies because, Good Heavenly Day we have a lot of pets!
I can tell you one thing though--those are some sweet, sweet boys. Never was there a more beloved crab in all the world.
So, I'm guessing they won't want to go to Red Lobster with me tonight for some yummy crabcakes.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
The boys brought home their report cards today and they both made straight As. Well, Seven made straight Es, which is the primary grades' equivalent of an A. So, I took them to Baskin Robbins for ice cream, because I feel it's important to reward them with food and set them up for eating issues when they're older. Hey, it worked for my mom! Which might explain why I'm on a diet. Again.
They had the Awesome Awards ceremony at school today. Ten received certificates for Perfect Attendance and Academic Excellence. Seven got one for Academic Excellence but he left it at school. (He was sick one day last grading period, so no Perfect Attendance.) He was so funny in the car because he told us that he didn't think he had Academic Excellence (just like last time). I assured him that all Es means Academic Excellence, but he said that his certificate was different this time because it didn't have "those tomatoes on it." I had no idea what he was talking about until Ten said, "Dude, I think those are supposed to be apples."
Anyway, here are the super smart little darlings with their report cards and Ten's apple certificate....
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
He walked in when I was cooking dinner (okay, busted, I was heating up leftovers that Dan cooked last night). Just so you know, there had been no prior discussion of zombies, so this came from clear out of the blue.
Seven:"Hey, Mom, I know how to catch zombies and it's a lot easier than you might think.
Me: Really? Wow. So tell me, how do you catch a zombie?
Seven: Easy. All you gotta do is grab them, then drag them near a volcano, and throw them right in.
Then while we were eating dinner, Ten was complaining about his spaghetti.
Ten: Aw man, marinara. I wanted alfredo sauce.
Me: You should be grateful for what you have. There are some kids who are going hungry tonight because their parents can't afford to buy food for them.
Ten: (mumbling) Well they can have my spaghetti.
Me: Again, sweetums, you should be grateful that you have a hot meal in a warm house and stop complaining. You have a fairly charmed existence.
Ten: Yeah, and I'm lucky because my friends get grounded all the time.
Me: And you've never been grounded in your life, so you really have nothing to complain about.
Seven: (singing loudly) "Li-ife's been good to me so faaaar!"
Yes, my Seven year old is singing Joe Walsh, so clearly I'm doing something right with this whole parenting gig.
Well, their father is, anyway. He's the musician. And the chef.
How do you say good-bye
to one so precious in your life,
so young and full of promise,
a joy, both day and night?
Many are the memories,
and each one shows the love
you felt for this most cherished one
who now has gone above.
God has a reason every time
He takes His children home;
it takes a lot of love inside
to let Him have His own.
Time and faith will dull the pain
you feel now as you part.
Rest assured God knows your grief;
His love will heal your heart.
May God keep you safe and comfort you
throughout this trying time.
And let your friends provide support
that alone you might not find.
Written by Shelia S. Ange from Jamesville, NC
Sorry, I'm uncharacteristically speechless.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Me: Boys, please notice that my car is really clean. I cleaned it out on Friday and I really, really want it to stay that way.
Ten: Well, mom, nobody said you couldn't dream.
I wonder where he gets that sarcasm from? Must be from his daddy.
Conversation in the car this afternoon on the way home from school:
Ten (and nearly all of this conversation will be ALL Ten because he wouldn't let anyone else get a word in): Is that dog on a chain? Oh I hate when people chain their dogs. If I see one more dog chained up, I swear, I'm going to dogsdeservebetter.org like they said to do on Saturday morning cartoons' commercials. I mean, dogs should get the same respect as other animals. You know what? We kill and eat some animals. All animals deserve some respect--the same amount of respect that humans get. Some of the animals we eat, they were just minding their own business, not harming anyone, and we go around eating them.
Me: Like those chickens who became McNuggets?
Glad to know the kid has his priorities worked out.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Right before I left to go out of town on Friday I became a mommy again. About 27 times over.
I brought home four more African dwarf frogs, bringing the grand total number of amphibious pets to six. The frogs are much more comfortable with me now that there are more of them. They used to hide under the floaty grass stuff when there were only two, but now they boldly come right up to the edge of the tank and glare at me with their little froggy eyes as if to say, "Bring on the bloodworms, beeyotch." I guess it's a "safety in numbers" kind of thing.
I also brought home about a dozen millipedes. I'm not sure about the true number because the only way to count them is to dig them out of the dirt and count them with my bare hands while they wiggle. Wow. Did you feel the collective shudder of every woman who has read this blog? I had a full-on, total body shudder the first time I held one--yes, HELD ONE, with all its little squirmy legs--in my bare hands. Now I'm kind of used to it. But Ten warned me that they like to pee on people, so I think my millipede-holding days are over. This picture is pretty close to actual size--maybe even a bit smaller than actual size. They are large! Oh, and did I mention that female millipedes can lay between 20 and 300 eggs in the soil? Yeah! Lucky me, I could be a grandma to hundreds of baby millipedes in a few weeks. Oh joy.
I also brought home a male fiddler crab. Well, the size of his claw says he's a male, but you can't prove it by me. He's spent the last two days hiding in the water with nothing but his eye stalks breaking the water's surface. Come to think of it, that's that Dan does when I have PMS. Except he soaks in a garden tub of clean, hot water--not a a Dixie cup of dirty, briny filth vaguely redolent of shrimp pellets and crab poop. Okay, who am I kidding? There's nothing vague about that crab stank. It's foul. Trust me on this.
This poor guy is so claw-whipped. He's not doing the little clicky noises that the males are supposed to do to let the skirts know they're interested. He's not doing a little crabby dance, waving his big huge claw around to impress the ladies. He's just cowering in his paper cup, praying to the Crab Gods that I'll drop the shrimp pellets into his water so he doesn't have to come out to face the scary female. Great. I have the world's only gay fiddler crab. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Poor Ten so wanted baby crabs. How can I break it to him that his crab is more interested in redecorating the habitat than procreating?
Sunday, February 24, 2008
My brain is fried, I'm exhausted, and recovery isn't something that's going to happen any time soon. And then there's the unpacking. And the laundry. And the homework. Ugh.
While I was off hiking through the soggy woods of West Tennessee (and scrambling over fallen trees from the recent tornadoes and losing the path and having to find my way back to the cabin with nary a bread crumb in sight) my darling husband was at home washing sheets and cleaning vomit from the carpet. It seems that our little Commander-in-Chief decided that a weekend without mommy was the perfect time to work up a really excellent stomach virus. I applaud that decision. Poor Seven. Poor Dan.
But we both fared better than poor Kathryn Lye, the Harlequin editor who was supposed to flying in from Toronto to spend the weekend with us and hear our pitches. First she was diverted to Scranton (which just sounds like something dirty), then they stuck her on a bus for a long ride back to JFK, which had NO FLIGHTS leaving. The poor darling was stuck in NYC with no luggage. She never made it to our retreat and is probably sitting in snowy Canada cursing all things Tennessean.
But, we had a wonderful time with 3-time RITA finalist Tanya Michaels/Michna. She and I enjoyed some particularly rabid fan girl crushing on Jenny Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Phillips and I talked too much and embarrassed myself. What else is new?
More later when I get back into the mommy groove again. I had way too much fun being with grown-ups all weekend.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Seven has been forgetting things this lately. This week he's left his lunchbox at school, left his reading homework at school, forgot his agenda (which has his homework assignments written in it), etc. That's not like him at all, but we went down this road (and are still driving circles on it) with Ten so I'm a little sensitive about this issue. I started out saying, "Oh baby, that's no big deal. We have an extra lunchbox and cold pack." The next day I tensed a little and said, "Well, you're going to miss recess tomorrow because you don't have your work done, but you can do better tomorrow."
By the third day I morphed into Mean Mommy. I yelled at him and made him cry. I should have my uterus repossessed.
In my defense, there's a bit of stress in the house this week. I'm leaving in a couple of hours to go out of town and any Mommy who's ever left home with Daddy in charge knows that there's a little prep work involved. You don't just grab a pair of jeans and drive off into the sunset, even when Daddy is a good man and the kids are old enough to get their own breakfast. Seven has a big project due today and I've been helping him work on it. He had to research a president (his was Jimmy Carter), make a poster about him, write and memorize a 2-3 minute speech about him (which he is NOT allowed to read) , dress like the president, and come up with some kind of visual aid to go along with all of it. He went to Logan's last night and sweet talked the hostess into a free bag of peanuts. He printed little labels about Carter, stuck them on 22 Ziploc baggies, and filled them with peanuts for his classmates. So, of course, I had to help.
Oh, and Ten is lobbying to bring home more frogs, more crabs, and some millipedes from his class. I'm totally okay with that because they're not much trouble and I can take them to work at my preschool, but the logistics are a problem because I'm leaving today and can't go to school to pick the critters up. SO, all that to say, the tension level was high and I snapped at him. And he cried Big Wet Tears of sorrow.
So I apologized, called another child to get the assignments (which Seven remembered on his own once he calmed down and stopped crying), and checked all of his homework. Then he said, "Mommy, is it okay if I draw a picture of you?" Picturing fangs, warts, and all nature of horrific images, I reluctantly agreed. This is what he drew:
Yes, that is a SUPER HERO cape on me, thanks for noticing. Did you notice how the "O" in "mom" is a heart? Pay no attention to the way my head is sitting on my right shoulder. Don't know what that's about. But do you know what he said to me? Ugh. The guilt. He said, "Mommy there's a box around everybody's heart inside their bodies to hold their heart in place and your heart is so big that it's about to bust out of the box. That's because you're such a good mommy."
I should be flogged.
But hey, did you notice how skinny he made my legs look? What a great artist, to capture my image in such a realistic fashion!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I have something to confess that may come as a shock to you. I mean, I'm a fairly coordinated person. I've got pretty good rhythm, for a white girl. I was a pom-pon girl in junior high and high school. I had a cheerleading scholarship to college. (Which ended after an unfortunate tumble from the trampoline during a back tuck stunt when my spotter was paying attention to the pom-pon girls rehearsing a particularly provocative routine instead of catching me and resulted in a sprained ankle--but I digress. And that's not really making my "I'm so coordinated" point, now is it?) Anyway, I'm not the most graceful bird in the flock, but I do all right. Most of the time.
So here's where I start hanging my head in shame. I'm embarrassed to admit this but...
I'm not ambi-nose-erous.
What the heck does that mean, you might be asking yourself. Well, I'll tell you--only one of my nostrils is neti-pottable.
Remember when I told you that I bought a neti-pot to help treat my sinus infection? In my right nostril it's easy to use. I tilt my head at just the right angle, lean forward over the sink, think happy thoughts, and let the contents of my sinus cavities drain merrily into the basin. No problemo.
Then comes the left nostril and all my natural grace leaves the building like Elvis after a peanut butter and bacon hamburger dinner. I sputter. I cough. I gag. I drink more salt water than Kevin Costner did in Waterworld (but I, at least, draw the line at drinking my own urine. Euw! Who thought that movie was a good idea? Give me Bull Durham--with Kevin painting Susan Sarandon's toenails--any day but Waterworld was just wrong on more levels than I can count) . I just can't seem to tilt my head at the proper angle to get the flow going in the right direction--the one that doesn't go straight down my throat when I'm not expecting it.
I envy those neti-potters who can blithely pour saline solution into both nostrils with grace and poise. I curse them while I'm drowning in a puddle of mucus and salt water.
I really do. Show-offs
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
- Number of people in my house who know how to read: 4
- Number of people who wrote "lunar eclipse, 7:43 PM" on today's calendar: 1
- Number of people who remembered to go look at the freakin' moon tonight: 0
- Number of people who think it's hilarious that I found it necessary to write "PM" and the word "lunar" together: everybody, including me. Duh.
- Number of people kicking themselves for not remembering: 1 (just me)
But, NO, I get the guilt. If you also forgot to look out the window or if it's cloudy where you are, go here to see a live webcast of the eclipse. If you want to learn more about lunar eclipses, go here.
If you want to join in the kicking of the Princess, step in line, baby. Take a number. But be prepare for a looooong wait.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Seven auditioned for and won the part of Chicken Little in the First Grade play, Lemonade. He gets to run around the stage in a panic and yell, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling." He's just so excited he could lay an egg. Now I have to find a chicken suit. You know, nobody told me when I was hired for this "Mommy" job that I'd be a Costume Matron. That was not in the job description.
Ten got the part of a Roman Soldier in the Fourth Grade play, Dig It!. He's thrilled about carrying a sword and wearing armor. More importantly, he's glad he doesn't have to be one of the lead roles because he doesn't want the play to cut into his play time.
In other news, I'm now the proud mommy of a female fiddler crab and three African dwarf frogs (gender unknown, but I'm sure they'll be making little froggy babies together any day now). This was also NOT in the job description. I don't remember reading the part about Wild Animal Caretaker. Ten brought them home from school today so we had to stop at Pet Supermarket on the way home to pick up shrimp pellets and freeze-dried bloodworms. Ick. It's a good thing I love that kid!
Oh, and here's a lovely photo of Seven right after his bath last night. He brushed his hair straight back to make it all spikey. Then he walked into the bonus room and said, "Hey! Check me out! I am Spikey Man!"
Warden of the Insane Wing was also not in my job description. Nor was Hairstylist to the Weird. I think I would've remembered that one.
I'm going to go find my contract....
This is what we looked like when we were dating, back in 1989:
Notice that Dan still had a full head of hair. I had enough hair for two or three Southern cheerleaders. And I could still fit into that dress.
Here's what we looked like Saturday night when Ten took our picture right before we went out to eat for our anniversary dinner:
Dan has kind of a statue thing going on and I'm gritting my teeth a little, doing the mommy voice and saying, "Would you just take the picture already?" while we sit impatiently waiting for him to figure out how to work the zoom lens. My hair was still overly curly, but it's from a curling iron and not a perm this time. At least I don't have mega-bangs anymore.
Dan just looked at this picture and said, "My head is as big as your head and all your hair put together. My head is huge. I'm Shrek."
I'd just like to point out that he doesn't take anabolic steroids. Maybe a steroid nasal spray every once in a while, but nothing that would make his head swell up or his batting average skyrocket.
And I should add that my Mommy bought my clothes. And my jewelry. And made my scarf. Hello, my name is Teble, I'm thirty-eight years old and my Mommy dresses me.
Monday, February 18, 2008
My baby lost one of his top, front teeth on Saturday. My baby is disappearing right before my eyes and is being replaced by a BIG BOY! He looks so adorable with his gap-toothed grin. He pulled the tooth out all by himself, with a little side-line coaching from his big brother who told him to, "just pull really hard."
He and Ten stayed at Grama's house for a few hours Saturday while Daddy and I went out to celebrate our anniversary. By the time we got home it was two hours past his bedtime. He'd fallen asleep in the car and was too tired to remember to put his tooth under his pillow. Luckily we have a very wise tooth fairy here at Casa de Princess. She found the tooth on the table where he left it and replaced it with a dollar in quarters.
His other top front tooth is very loose. This kid is going to bankrupt the tooth fairy pretty soon.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Just to show you how romantic I can be (snort!) I'd like to share with all of my loyal readers (both of you) how much I enjoy being married. So here today, in no particular order, are a few reasons why being married is better than being single. And 17 things that Dan is to me.
1) Witness. That way when your kids finally push you over the limit and you snap and yell something like, "How many times do I have to tell you to stop pushing your brother off the roof of the house?" across the back yard for all the neighbors to hear, there's someone else in the house to explain the situation when the cops show up. (They were playing King of the Mountain on their Little Tykes playhouse. Really.)
2)Voice of Reason. Chances are good that when you snap (see #1) your spouse will cling to a tiny little shred of sanity and pull you back from the ledge. Dan is a great safety net.
3) Personal Hygiene. What do single people do when they have a zit on their back?
4) Backup Memory. Between the two of us, somebody is likely to remember to take the movies back. Or give the kids their medicine. Or pay the bills on time. Hopefully.
5) Inside Joke-Getter. Dan knows what I mean instantly when I say, "Hey, it's Tony Randall!" or "Bass Kisser," or "Yes, I want that in a bag!" Because we have History together.
6) Trouble maker. Who else would sit in Sunday School and whisper inappropriate things in my ear? And then laugh when the teacher says, "What's so funny?" and I tell the class what Dan said and I GET IN TROUBLE for saying it when it was HIS COMMENT to begin with.
7) Need Fulfillment. You know what I mean. No need to elaborate.
8) In-house babysitter. When the pressure cooker of my life is too much and I need to GET OUT of this house, he's happy to stay here and entertain the minions.
9) Tax Man. No, not the Beatles song. Dan does the taxes and I do not. Ever.
10) Lawn Boy. One I get to sleep with. (See #7)
11) Homework Checker. Right now I'm okay but in a couple of years Ten's math homework is going to be too difficult for me to do. Then Daddy can check it.
12) "Research" assistant. Especially when I'm writing a love scene. (see #7 again)
13) Birds and Bees Explainer. There's a reason God gave us boys. The only other person in the house who has external plumbing gets to explain its function.
14) Sounding board. The person you can tell all your crazy ideas to so that when you say them out loud you hear yourself and realize just how very close you are to needing meds for the crazy. Or so that he can talk you out of them. Usually, but not always. Like that ill-advised short "Faith Hill 'do" back in 1998. He tried but just couldn't talk me out of that one. Luckily it grew back eventually.
15) Big guns. As in, "Don't make me break out the big guns." Most helpful with auto repair shops, hateful teachers, and really rude bowling alley managers. Dan's not a confrontational guy unless I feel threatened. Then he goes all alpha male and puffs his chest out and defends his woman. Sigh. It's not very politically correct of me, but I LOVE when he does that.
16) Serenade singer. Ever since we met he has sung to me, played guitar for me when I sing, and written songs for me. He can also play keyboard, ukulele, mandolin, banjo, drums, and probably some I can't remember. If I hear a song I like he'll learn it and sing it for me. Which, may I say, is TOTALLY hot.
17) Soul Mate. Because there's no one else on earth I'd rather spend the rest of my life with than my very best friend. The person who deals with the crazy, the PMS, the pregnancy cravings, the numerous rounds of "Does this make me look fat?," and the one who realizes that books are a Need and not a Want. He is my lover, father of my children, and my heart and soul.
I love you, Dan.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
It was my junior year in college right before my last sorority spring formal dance. (I was a big geek and graduated early.) We had talked about getting married and I suspected he'd already bought me a ring, but I wasn't sure. I kept hoping he'd ask me to marry him before the dance so I could have a candlelight ceremony and announce our engagement. Dan was living in Louisville, Kentucky (four hour drive away) and couldn't get away from work to be my date. It was the grand opening of his store (back then he worked for Camelot Music). He arranged for a friend of mine from high school to escort me so I wouldn't have to go alone.
He used to call me every night at 10:00 pm when the rates went down, (this was back in the Dark Ages before cell phones, email, and IM) but all that week leading up to the formal he was calling earlier. When I'd answer he'd say, "Oh, I just couldn't wait 'til tonight to tell you I love you," but really he was trying to get my roommate to answer the phone. He finally got to talk to her instead of me and worked out all the details with her and the president of the sorority. I knew nothing!
Finally the big night arrived and I was miserable. My date was NOT DAN (he was a nice guy, but it just wasn't the same without the love of my life) and I was in the Ladies' Room crying and otherwise feeling sorry for myself. My roommate and two friends came to retrieve me and said, "Come on, it's time to start the music but they're having some problems with the DJ, so we need you to sing a few songs first." (I used to sing at all of our banquets and other events.) So, they pulled me out into the hotel's ballroom, to the middle of the dance floor, where there was a chair facing all two hundred people present. I froze and looked at my roommate. "What's going on?" I whispered. "I don't sit down when I sing! I don't have anything prepared. I can't possibly-"
Then the DJ's voice came over the PA system. "Are you Teble Ann?" he asked me. I just gulped and nodded. "Well, we've got a little surprise for you. You might want to sit down."
At this point the room began to spin. I saw a little red light just off the dance floor and realized that my "date" had a video camera trained right at me. The photographer who took candid still photos at all our events (before digital cameras!! See, I'm OLD!) was frantically reloading fresh film in his camera. Then I could hear my love's voice on the PA singing, "To lead a better life, I need my love to be here..." I looked all around for him but couldn't see him. He was singing the Beatles song "Here, There, and Everywhere" but I didn't know if he was actually there or if he'd sent a tape to cheer me up or something. I sank into the chair while my stomach sank to my feet. It was very weird! Just then my roommate walked up to me and handed me a dozen long-stem red roses in a box (IN A BOX! Just like on the soaps!). I said, "Is he really here or is that just a tape?" The sneaky broad replied, "I don't know; I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Why don't you read the card?" Then she had the nerve to smile and wave her little fingers at me as she backed away.
I pulled the card out with shaking fingers. It said, "I love you Bunny. Will you marry me?" I know, cheesy nickname (long story), but stay with me.
Just then the song ended and all two hundred people politely clapped, still not sure what was going on. Then I heard a huge intake of air as all 200 of them gasped. I turned around to see what had caught their attention and saw my love walk out in a tuxedo. (He'd been hiding behind the DJ's stand with his guitar.) I immediately jumped up to run to him, dumping the roses off my lap in the process. I tried to hug him, but he directed me back to the chair, saying, "Sit back down." Dummy me, I didn't understand, didn't move. "Sit back down," he said again, "I have to ask you something." Okay, then the light went on in my head. I obediently sat and he kneeled (knelt?) before me and took my hand.
He said, "I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Please say you'll make me the happiest man in the world and marry me."
I've never been at a loss for words, but I couldn't speak. I giggled and nodded instead. He pulled out this diamond (exactly what I wanted: small, not too showy, marquise cut, perfect) and tried to put it on my finger, but I'd worn these really long white gloves that came up to my elbow with big funky costume rings over them. I couldn't get the glove off! Everyone laughed while I struggled, then I finally ripped the fake rings and the glove off and tossed it all behind me over my head. He put the ring on my finger and kissed me.
That was April 10, 1990 and we're still cheesy and goofy in love. And today we're celebrating our SEVENTEENTH wedding anniversary.
See? Told you I'm old. But you know what? He's four years OLDER! Yet another reason to love him.
Friday, February 15, 2008
I am cracking up! Dan came home at 10:30 last night with a big bouquet of pink, white, and red roses in a pretty red glass vase. Problem is, he didn't buy them for ME.
I'm still trying to think of a way to tell this story without making Dan look like a jerk--because he's NOT! But this is just too funny not to share. I LOVE this story. This might be one of my favorite Valentine's stories ever.
I'm a very frugal girl. Dan knows how I feel about Valentine's Day and that I would NOT be pleased if he spent money we don't have on flowers I don't need that will die way too soon. So he was very forthright about where these flowers came from. He never tried to pass them off as a gift that he'd bought me. They were from a stalker to a girl who used to work for Dan but has transferred to another store. He called her to tell her that somebody sent her roses and she told him to cut them up and throw them away. So he said, "No, I'll take these home to my wife. She likes flowers but she won't let me spend money on them. She'll like this."
And I do, really. But more than the roses, I love that he saved money and didn't let these flowers go to waste. He wanted them to go to a good home and have a happy ending, not end up in a trash can at the mall. And even more than that, as a writer, Dan knows that I appreciate a really excellent story.
"Hey kids, remember back in '08 when Daddy recycled the crazy stalker's rejected roses...."
Oh how I love that man!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
I'm grateful that I made it through the car rider line and was able to drive to the gas station without incident. I'm grateful that I just happened to have three quarters in my wallet. (Anybody remember when air was FREE?) I'm grateful that the moron pulling the boat on a trailer who was parked RIGHT FREAKIN' IN FRONT OF the air pump finally moved his big arse out of my way before I had to kill him in front of my children on a day set aside to celebrate love.
I'm grateful that, after two unsuccessful attempts, the girl who made a 4.0 in graduate school finally figured out how to put air in her tires. And, more than all of that, I'm grateful that I'm married so that when my husband gets home he can re-check all the tires for me and make sure I did it right.
And I don't care how un-P.C. that is!
For all my Yankee friends who made fun of me over on the Seppie message board because of our snow day: Hey! I never said that it was a lot of snow! I realize that we had maybe an inch of snow. But it was the ICE that made them close schools. The ICE, I tell you. People can actually DRIVE on snow. The school buses can't travel on icy roads when none of our drivers are trained to do so. This is a very hilly region with very few, if any, snow plows and brine trucks. We don't have snow tires or chains. We don't own snow shovels or snow blowers--why would we? It RARELY snows here. This was a special treat. Don't ruin it for me.
Don't tell me about your sixteen feet of now. You CHOSE to live in the Arctic Circle--I did not. We'll be busy laughing at you guys (sorry, Y'ALL) later this year with your "heat wave" of temperatures in the nineties. GASP! Down here we just call that SUMMER. And sometimes spring and fall too.
For all my friends who teased me about being a Valentine's Scrooge: I'll have you know I made a very romantic dinner for Dan last night. The kids and I set the table with CLOTH placemats, crystal candlesticks, the good dishes (even the kids), and played a classical CD. Nevermind that Dan nearly ruined it by coming around to the back to put the trash can away instead of coming in through the garage.
He was still surprised: 1) that I cooked, 2) that I cooked red meat, and 3) that we made everything look all fancy-schmancy. Ten draped a white washcloth over his arm like a waiter (I don't know where he learned that--we don't eat anywhere that doesn't have a kids' menu.) and met Dan at the door by saying, "Good evening sir. May I show you to your table?" The kids thought it was WAY cool to have candles. Little pyromaniacs.
So there. Bite me. Love you. :-)
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
So when I made my To Do list this morning, I was thinking as an over-achiever with OCD--not as a mommy of two little boys. Of course we had to go play in the snow! And then naturally we had mugs of hot cocoa and cookies afterward. Here's Seven all bundled up in 47 layers of clothing------->
<----------------And here's Ten when he first came outside. He was wearing several layers of clothing, but he was way too "cool" to zip up his coat.
Then, of course, Lily had one of her infamous "Crazy Puppy Freakouts" as soon as her paws hit the snow. She ran all over the yard, chasing the children, knocking down the photographer, eating snowballs and chunks of ice. You'd think we'd put crack cocaine in her puppy chow. Here she is in a rare calm moment.
Lily has developed an obsession for a particular tassel. The mother of one of my students made this really warm hat for the boys, but I totally steal it whenever I get the chance. Problem is, Lily tries to attack me whenever I wear it. Here she is trying to eat the pom pom. Ten took this picture of us. Check out Lily's pink tongue. I was trying not to fall on top of her while laughing my head off.
Seven dropped down and made a snow angel.---> What you can't see is how the dog spotted him and raced across the yard and jumped on him the minute she noticed he was on the ground. Of course, when you take boys outside to play in the snow, they make a huge mess. This added to the monstrous amount of laundry I was already struggling to catch up on, but it was worth it. How often do we get snow in Tennessee? Here they are, positively caked with snow, ready to come in. Luckily I hadn't cleaned the floors yet.
On the To Do list, I got nearly everything done. The cookies are made. The pot roast is, well, roasting and filling the house with the smell of dead cow flesh. Can you tell I don't care much for pot roast? I made it for Dan as an early Valentine's gift since I had time today. See, I can be romantic. Because nothing says "I love you" like three pounds of deceased bovine.
The sheets are clean and back on the beds. Well, except my bed because it's covered with clean, folded laundry. I'm waiting for the last load to dry so I can put it all away. I couldn't do next week's homework because the links aren't active yet. Plus, that's a little too over-achieving even for me. I finished the audio book I was listening to (Devil'sCorner by Lisa Scottoline). I haven't been still long enough to read, but I'll work on the book later. I haven't colored my hair yet, but I will after this post.
I did lots of things that weren't on the list, like vacuuming and mopping the foyer and downstairs bathroom. Well, I didn't really mop them, but I wet-Swiffered them, which just sounds like something dirty that you'd pay a prostitute extra to do. I also washed all the rugs in the kitchen, cleaned out the litter box, straightened my desk a little bit, and emptied a few trash cans. Sorry, but I just didn't have time for the whole curing cancer and making peace. Maybe tomorrow.
Even so, it's been a very productive snow day and the best part of it was that I GOT PAID to clean my own house. That so totally rocks.
I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and raced to the TV, just SURE that today the universe would finally provide my much-needed paid day off. And it happened! I had to watch all three local channels list my county in the school closings before I believed it. Then I was far too excited to go back to sleep. I immediately started making a list of all the things I hope to accomplish today while getting paid for it:
- clean the kitchen (including mopping the floor--which I usually skip)
- help the boys bake cookies for their class Valentine's parties
- re-clean the kitchen after they "help" too much
- catch up on all the laundry
- color my hair
- cook a pot roast in the crock pot
- get a head start on next week's homework for my grad class
- strip the beds and wash the sheets
- finish the book I'm reading and start another one
- finish the audio book I'm listening to and start another one
- and, if there's any time left, find a cure for cancer
- and create peace in the Middle East.
Or, as the weather forecasters call it, The White Stuff.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
These kids think that my blog is their own personal stand-up comedy stage. So I said, "Okay buddy, let me hear it." So here is his new joke.
"How do you make seven even?"
Well, it's pretty obvious when you're looking at it, but I couldn't think of anything. Dan and I both said something like add one or subtract one. And finally Seven said, beaming with a HUGE smile...
"No. You take off the S."
He is SO proud of that joke. It reminds me of one of my old favorites.
"Why is Six afraid of Seven?"
"Because Seven Eight Nine."
Thanks, I'm here all week. Don't forget to tip your waiters and waitresses.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Dan was cooking dinner....
Yes, you heard me correctly, my husband was cooking dinner. He's done that A LOT recently so that I can work on my homework. He's a wonderful man. Plus, he wants me to renew my license and get a "real job" so that I can make more money so that we can go out to eat more and he won't have to cook.
So, as I said, Dan was cooking dinner and I yelled downstairs for him to make two cans of green beans instead of just one because Ten lurves him some green beans and last time we ran out. So Ten said, "Hey, that's a great idea, Mommy. Two cans. And I don't mean the bird."
Get it? Two cans? Toucan? Well, it was funny at the time. I cracked up (from my position of being chained to the computer doing homework) so Ten yelled, "Yeah, that was pretty funny. Toucans. Ha! You should put that in your blog tonight, Mommy."
So I did.
Now Seven says I have to write something about him. Geez. Remember way back when this blog used to be about me? What's that? It was never about me? Oh. Well, poop.
Okay, what has Seven said lately? Oh, I got one. Last night we watched a little bit of the Grammy Awards because Mom called to tell me they were playing Beatles' songs and she thought the kids might want to watch.
Tiny digression--what was the deal with the babe in the red dress flipping around, hanging from the trapeze? Interpretive dance or an acid trip? You be the judge.
Anyway, Miley Cyrus came out with Cindy Lauper (Why???) to present an award. So I told Seven that Miley's the girl who plays Hannah Montana. He didn't know that because we're cable-impaired. So he said, "Wow, she's kinda pretty," and Dan said, "Is she as pretty as Rachel?" Seven said, "No way. Nobody is as pretty as Rachel. Well, except you, Mommy."
I need to raise that kid's allowance. Or just, you know, continue to blog about him.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
So, I finally broke down and went to the doctor's office today. Dan made me. He went to work late today so he could watch the kids while I visited the urgent care clinic--which I will never again refer to as "Doc in a Box." They were absolutely lovely to me. I was in and out of there in less than 45 minutes--faster than my regular doctor's office. The itty bitty Filipino grandmother doc who treated me was more compassionate than my regular doctor ever thought about being. She actually patted my back and said, "Poor baby." So sweet. She gave me a steroid shot in the butt and a prescription for antibiotics for my sinus infection.
And, get this, she told me to stop taking Sudafed! She said my beloved Sudafed was not good for me right now. Everything in my sinus cavities is all dried up and solid and so very packed in there that it's a big wad of infected mucousy grossness. She said I should take Mucinex instead because I need guaifenesin to thin all the secretions--not make them even drier. Right now my friend Kathy is shaking her head and saying, "I told you so." Yeah, I know. I never listen.
I've been using saline spray all along so the tiny doc told me to use a neti pot. I keep hearing about these online but I've never tried one. I bought this one by SinuCleanse at Kroger for $10. The video is a hilarious example of really bad commercial acting. But I tried it and, after a few choking, sputtering, near drowning attempts, I think I finally got the hang of it. This one came with some convenient little packets of salt, but it would be cheaper to measure your own. I could feel some of the pressure in my head starting to ease a little bit.
Then I made the mistake of reading Kristin Hannah's new book.
Not a good idea with a sinus infection. Oh. My. Gosh. This is such a sad, beautiful, gut-wrenching, horrible, crappy, awful, wonderful book about friendship. Mom and Grace you should NOT read this. Really. Think Beaches meets The Saving Graces. Everyone else, you'll probably love it but Mom and Grace you really don't want to go there. Books like that make me FEEL so much that when I'm finished with them I feel kind of like I'm on the verge of a panic attack. I have all these really strong emotions and no place to put them. Wow. I need a really silly, happy, fun book after all that angst. But, alas, I have to do homework now. Then I have to go irrigate my nasal passages again. Do I know how to party or what?
Oh, and since someone asked: No, I was NOT mad at Dan when I wrote the Valentine's Day post. Quite the opposite, in fact. I feel sorry for men this time of year because the pressure to be romantic is just too much. I'm mad at the DAY, not the Dan. I gave him full permission to completely ignore the holiday.
If he wants to woo me he can vacuum.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
My anniversary is February 16th. Seventeen years ago that sounded like a really romantic idea--getting married Valentine's weekend. Someone should've warned me that for the rest of our lives our anniversary would be ruined. And here's why:
1) Restaurants are packed. They all have these stupid 2-for-1 specials and they all have cheesy names like "Lovers' Delight" or "Romance and Roses" or "Sweetheart's Special," when what they should be called is "We put together this dinner of mediocre cow flesh and dried out lobster and threw some watered down cheap sparkling wine with it and called it champagne in an attempt to make your girlfriend think you care about her when all you really want is to get into her pants." Thank you. That'll be fifty dollars, plus tip.
2) Flowers, especially the completely unimaginative red roses, are three times their normal price, and everyone is desperately trying to score the biggest bouquets. But here's a newsflash: in four days they'll be just as dead as the cheap cellophane-wrapped dyed carnations you can get at the quicky-mart. For a fraction of the price. And at the quicky-mart you could pick up milk and bread and dishwash detergent, which would probably make your wife much happier than the stupid roses anyway.
3) Kids' Valentine's Cards. Like I need more paper brought into my house that my kids don't want to part with. I already have to sneak their school papers into the trash when they're in bed so they won't see the evidence.
4) Candy. Valentine's Day should officially change its name to The Holiday where New Year's Resolutions Go to Die. Dieters all over the country who have been exercising diligently and counting carbs since January 1 suddenly start scarfing chocolate like there's no tomorrow. Kids are on a permanent sugar high. God forbid your child should get a stomach virus after eating his weight in red-dyed candy at his class Valentine's party. Trust me when I tell you that that red dye does NOT come out of beige carpet. I spent my anniversary last year wrestling with a rented steam cleaner trying to accomplish that impossible feat.
5) Desperation. Husbands who take their wives to dinner out of obligation instead of romance. Wives pathetically trying to pretend to feel the magic when they're really wondering if they'll be home from dinner in time to watch ER and pack the kids' lunches for school the next day. Boyfriends desperate to impress their dates with red boxes of heart-shaped chocolate and goofy stuffed animals. Single girls who start thinking that toothless, pot-bellied, Bubba--the bagger at WalMart with the nicotine-stained fingers who asks his buddies to pull said stained finger when he passes gas--is looking pretty good because even a date with Bubba is better than not having a date on Valentine's Day. Ugh. Better to just stay home and eat a bag of microwave popcorn for dinner and scrub out the bathtub.
6) Hallmark, American Greetings, and anyone who kills trees to print those cheesy cards that will end up in the landfill by March. Especially the ones with glitter. *Shudder* I HATE glitter. Yeah guys, tell your woman you love her by giving her something that gets into the carpet and never vacuums out. But, woe be unto you if you don't get your woman a card, right guys? Poor ba$tards. I really feel sorry for you. I do.
7) Underwear. Have you walked through the underwear section at WalMart or Target lately? Save yourself. Don't do it. The average American woman does not have the kind of figure required to wear those little lacy red thongs with the rhinestone heart in the back. And she shouldn't try. It's not Playboy. And the guys don't escape this humiliation either. Have you seen those pouches? The little black ones with red hearts or kiss prints on the front and nothing but floss in back? My guy is fine, but I don't want him wearing those undies. Ever.
8) Stuffed animals and cheap jewelry with hearts. Thank you, I'm not twelve years old.
9) Valentine's Day shirts, hairbows, and cheesy merchandise which the retailers push on us this time of year. But I will admit to buying myself a really cute pair of socks at Dollar Tree, so I guess I'm guilty of supporting the Valentine's products industry. But the socks are so cute--they're red and pink and white with the word KISS all over them. Oh man, I'm even falling prey to the madness.
10) The idea that romance is something that has to be bought. The Valentine's products marketed to make men feel guilty for not making some kind of meaningless gesture just because the calendar says it's February 14th. It's much more romantic to buy flowers when it's unexpected, just because it's , say, June 11th. Frankly, I'd rather have some help around the house than flowers. Empty the dishwasher and I'll swoon. Mop the floor and I'm in ecstasy. What can I say, I'm turned on by the smell of Windex.
So, Happy Valentine's Day everybody. Guys, skip the expensive perfume and go clean something. Woman, don't be too hard on your man. He's doing the best he can. To quote Tammy Wynette, "Cause, after all, he's just a man." Stand by him. Valentine's Day will be over soon.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Tiny digression: I just accidentally typed "math addict" instead of meth addict. Anyone who knows me knows that THAT was hilarious. I'm so NOT a math addict. Okay, back to the whining...
You have to wait in line at the pharmacy, show your ID, and God forbid you try to buy more than two boxes at once. They will follow you home and smell around for that ammonia meth lab smell--which my cat can tell you they would absolutely find in my garage. Sorry, Rocky, I'll get to that litter box tonight. I promise.
Anyway, I tried to buy some Sudafed at WalMart last night. At about five o'clock. When apparently every last person in the middle Tennessee area decided to leave work early to spend their paychecks. And they all brought their obnoxious children with them. The line at the pharmacy was at least fourteen thousand people long. I decided I didn't need the Sudafed that much. I'd just try the new formula they put out when they pulled all the lovely pseudoephedrine off the market because of all those stupid meth heads.
Yeah, right. You can see where this is going, can't you? That crap doesn't freakin' work!
Does anybody remember Actifed? You know, the one the astronauts used to advertise? It had lovely pseudoephedrine and some kind of antihistamine too and it was manna from heaven for colds. The only problem was, I would get Actifed and Sudafed confused and forget which one caused drowsiness. I mean, you'd think that ACTIfed would be the non-drowsy formula because it has active in the name. Right? Nope. Wrong. Never take that before a geology exam. Trust me on this. The one that sounds like it has the root word for sedate in the name, Sudafed, is the one with the non-drowsy formula. Take that before a softball game and you can leg out a double, even if you're a 5'2" girl with a wimpy swing. I'm just sayin.'
Well, you used to be able to leg out a double. Now you'll just stand in the batter's box, wiping your dripping nose and praying for God to smite the meth heads so you could get your hands on some Sudafed.
Stupid crystal meth. Sniff.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Why does my youngest child get inspired to poop every single time we go out to eat? I guess he needs to get empty in order to make room for the new food? Who knows? All I know is my poor husband hasn't had a hot meal in a restaurant in at least three years. See ladies, yet another example of why it's good to have boys--Daddy has to take them to the men's room while I enjoy my dinner. Hot.
But actually, this isn't a restaurant-only phenomenon. Seven does this at home too, it's just not as noticeable because no one has to accompany him to the potty here. Tonight when Seven excused himself to go to the restroom I said something about how he needed to empty before he refueled. Ten said, "Yep, I think he needed to dump some loot." To which I added, "Yep, he had to jettison some cargo."
Yes, this was dinner table conversation. No, I'm not ashamed. If you don't have boys you just couldn't understand.
Thanks for your prayers. We're fine where I live, southeast of Nashville. Mom and the rest of the family up there are fine too. Wish I could say the same about the residents of Castalian Springs, northeast of the city. Those poor people. Go here to read more.
Please pray for all the families who lost everything. Entire homes were wiped away like they were made of matchsticks. So sad and so scary.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Here's how I play. No matter what is going on in my life, no matter what the problem is, I can trace it back to my adoring husband and make it completely his fault in six steps or less. Usually less, because I'm that good. Sounds like fun, huh? Let me give you an example:
We're out of bread for the kids' lunches. Well, that's Dan's fault because 1) I couldn't go to the store today because 2) Dan worked late. Okay, that was way too easy. Let's try another one.
Here's an example from Monday: I forgot the book I needed for my lesson plans because (1) I was really tired because (2) I didn't get any sleep Sunday night because (3) Dan kept me up watching the Eli Manning show, I mean, the Super Bowl and (4) he woke up at 3:50 Monday morning to be at work by FIVE FREAKIN' A.M. (!!) which means I (5) tossed and turned until my alarm went off at 5:30.
And here' s one more. This one's a little more complicated, so try to stay with me.
I couldn't wear my favorite underwear--the ones with the pink polka-dots (oops, is that an overshare? TMI?) because (1) I couldn't do the laundry because (2) I hurt my back (3) playing air hockey, even though (4) I told my mom not to buy the air hockey table but (5) she did anyway because (6) Dan told her to buy it. So, as you can see, it was CLEARLY Dan's fault.
Is this a great game or what?
But I should add that I love the air hockey table now so Dan was right and I was wrong (but don't tell him I said that). And I did eventually wash my favorite panties. (Yes, I know, still TMI. Deal with it.) Oh, and my back is feeling much better because Dan taught me his physical therapy stretches and he healed me so he's forgiven.
Even though it was totally his fault. ;-)
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Seven: Daddy, did your sister teach you about the Beatles?
Dan: Yep, Aunt Cathy taught me all about them.
Seven: And now you're teaching me all about them. It's like we all keep passing it down or something.
Dan: That's right, we do.
Seven: Someday I'll teach my children about the Beatles. If they're not too hyper.
That's a direct reference to his brother, who can't sit still long enough to sing along with us. He was in the playroom pretending to blow things up and making explosion noises with his mouth.
The song they were singing is one I'd never heard before until we watched the Red Square DVD. It's one of the most beautiful love songs ever, and it's even sweeter to hear it sung by a seven-year-old with his daddy playing guitar. It's called Calico Skies and it was on McCartney's Flaming Pie CD in 1997. Feel free to make clicky here if you want to hear it and see some great pictures of Paul and Linda (who he wrote the song for--before he married that psycho Heather Mills). Or just read the lyrics:
It was written that I would love you
From the moment I opened my eyes
And the morning when I first saw you
Gave me life under calico skies.
I will hold you for as long as you like
I'll love you for the rest of my life
Always looking for ways to love you
Never failing to fight at your side
While the angels of love protect us
From the innermost secrets we hide
I'll hold you for as long as you like
I'll love you for the rest of my life
Long live all of us crazy soldiers who
Were born under calico skies
May we never be called to handle
All the weapons of war we despise
I'll hold you for as long as you like
I'll love you for the rest of my life
I'll hold you for as long as you like
I'll love you for the rest of my...
For the rest of my life
Dan says it felt like a gift--discovering a McCartney song that he'd never heard before. Cool! He gets a gift and I didn't have to go shopping. Sweet!
Saturday, February 2, 2008
But their colds have given me quite a few funny conversational snippets to share with you. Like this one: I picked up a pizza on the way home from the library yesterday. Hey, I was following sound medical advice--Feed a cold, starve a fever. Or is it the other way around? No matter, since one kid has a fever and the other just has your garden variety cold. So I decided to feed both the fever and the cold and I fed them pizza. That's good parenting right there. Feel free to take notes. Anyway, as we were driving home Seven said, "Oh, I can smell the pizza-y goodness." Ten grumbled, "Well I can't because even my good nostril isn't working."
Then later, we experienced a complete attitude role reversal. Seven's fever had crept back up and he was feeling grumpy and out of sorts, he was crying and complaining that he was miserable. I overheard this conversation from their bedroom...
Ten: You know, you really shouldn't complain. There are kids in this world who have nothing. No clothes, no food, no toys, no medicine, no DVDs, no video games, no PIZZA!! We are so lucky.
Seven: (sniffling) I don't feel very lucky right now.
Ten: Did you know there are kids in this world who are penniless? PENNILESS! (I could hear him pick up the piggy bank and shake it.) Just look how many pennies we have. We are so lucky.
Seven: Not feeling the lucky here. (Does this sound like his mother or what?)
Ten: You should name four good things that happened today. That's what we learned in Guidance today.
Seven: Fine. Nothing, nothing, nothing, and nothing.
Ten: Oh I give up.
Then later Seven was telling his brother about how the Russian people were oppressed before the 1980's and Gorbachev and Perestroika. No, he didn't use those words. Gimme a break. He's bright, but he's only Seven. We'd been watching Paul McCartney's Red Square concert on DVD and they talked about how people weren't allowed to listen to Beatles music back in the 1960's. Seven was telling Ten about how the Communist government would put people in jail if they listened to certain music. I thought, Wow, we're getting into some heavy political discussion here. Then Seven said, "And then the Russian president showed up at the concert and in the middle of the song Paul said, 'Come on Mr. Putin!'" and they dissolved into little boy laughter. Because, of course, the Russian president's name sounds like passing gas. "President POOTIN'" they squealed, and giggled repeatedly.
Yep, definitely men in training.