Archive for January, 2010

A Brief 4 a.m. Conversation with Seth-4yr

January 31st, 2010 at 2:40 pm » Comments (2)

When I sleep, I like to scoot down away from the headboard to the end of the bed — just enough so that my feet hang off the end. This wouldn’t be noteworthy, except that I’m pretty short and accomplishing this means scooting WAY down. My dad does this, too, but he’s taller and that makes a difference.

Mike doesn’t mind. Even though this means it’s practically impossible for him to have the covers pulled up very high. When we were first married, he’d sit up in the middle of the night and look for me and not find me.

He’s been out of town, and lately I’ve had the not -so-restful joy of sharing the bed with whichever child wandered in. Yeah, yeah, I should take them back to their own beds. The problem with that is then I wake up and the whole point of sleeping is sleeping. So I let them stay.

Seth-4yr is the least accommodating of my preferred sleeping arrangement. He wants to be way up high near the headboard and also remain covered with blankets up to his ears. Which would mean I’d be totally covered, including my head.

I have a thing about breathing. I like it. So that doesn’t really work.

I wait until he goes back to sleep and then yank him downwards by the ankles. Gently. Gently yank the child by his ankles. Surprisingly, this works.

A few mornings ago, it was around 4 a.m. and I grabbed his arm as he started to sneak out of the bed. “Stay,” I whispered.

“O-tay.”  And he curled his hand into mine.

I was almost back to sleep when he asked, “Is it because you do not want to be all uh-yone?”

Uh-yone is how Seth-4yr says ‘alone.’

And that was a sweet question. Hilarious, but sweet, and pretty thoughtful for a four year old. At 4 am.  It woke me completely up, it was so funny. As if.

“Seth-4yr, I would LOVE to be all uh-yone with my feet hanging off the bottom of the bed and the covers how I like them, but I do not want you getting up and waking up all your brothers at 4 in the morning. So stay here, please, and go back to sleep.”

And he did.

And then I ankle-yanked him  - gently – and went back to sleep, too, thinking about how I have probably never been as sweet or thoughtful at such an hour, as Seth-4yr.

Planned, strategic ankle-yanking as evidence.

Clawing My Way Up the Food Chain…

January 29th, 2010 at 4:27 pm » Comments (2)

is WAY harder than any accidental freefall into vegetarianism ever was.  REALLY. Much harder. Not sure this is a summit I can reach. And you wouldn’t really think it would be that way… right? What a not-so-lovely surprise.

So I thought okay. The last foray into Meat Land was a hasty little jaunt without a roadmap. (oh shut UP, I’ve always been bad at analogies, and let’s just call it part of my charm. snort.)

So. I thought okay, salmon… right?  Good idea! Are you with me, there, Geekwif? (Geekwif TOTALLY understands this, and has been there, AND is my hero not just for always finishing NaNoWriMo, but for clawing her way back up the food chain SUCCESSFULLY. I need to be more like her.)

Mike wanted to try a hibachi restaurant that night, and salmon was on the menu, and all of that was going to work out SO well. Yuh huh. That was… hmm. Well. Today is Friday and that was… Wednesday. Yes. And everything seemed to go pretty well.

I grabbed Seth-4yr before he dove headfirst into an indoor  koi pond on our way to the table. That’s always good. And Caden-5yr spilled clear soup all over both of us but that was my fault for flicking ‘fieldgoals’  with him, using a wadded up paper straw wrapper. And then we hit heads. Pretty hard.  Flicking fieldgoals at the table is a dangerous sport.

The hibachi chef came out and made lots of noise and fire and then he squirted water at the fire but sort of unintentionally/totally intentionally squirted it all over my mom and Seth-4yr. And don’t get me wrong – my mom…? VERY funny lady. She has a great sense of humor. But it’s not really the sort of sense of humor that says, “spray me with water and I’ll laugh,” you know…? It’s a lot more refined than that. SHE is a lot more refined that that. (I know, I know. Unlike me, headbutting and flicking paper with the kindergartener. I never said I was classy.) That guy was brave. Or dumb. I was cringing FOR him. But she laughed, and he never had any idea how lucky that made him.

The chef tossed pieces of raw zucchini at Mike, who pretended to try to catch it in his open mouth, but I wasn’t fooled. Mike doesn’t eat vegetables, even if you throw them at his open mouth, and he was probably dodging them on purpose. He caught them in his pocket, though, and that’s more impressive.

The salmon was sweet and I’m not sure quite why. Sugar?  I’m not that big on sweet, but whatever. I had a few bites and gave a lot to Caden-5yr, who ate it until he started finding some pretty big bones in it.  Might I just say…. that was not real appetizing. Before, in my meateating days, it never would have bothered me. But there’s nothing like a few big old BONES in something to remind you of the whole, “HEY! I’m a dead ANIMAL! and these are my BONES!”  thing. And that was gross.

Those few salmon bites…? On Wednesday night? Managed to make me feel quite full and as if i will never need to eat again. It’s been almost 48 hours. Not hungry. Not interested. Not SICK, which is better than last time, but still.  This transition back to Meat Land could take forever.

At the end of the meal the waiter came and Caden-5yr was being a little TOO helpful – trying to overload the guy with things he no longer wanted so that his tray was piled high with various soup bowls and plates, etc. I tried to call Caden-5yr off, but the waiter laughed and said his son is the same way. “You know, whatever I’m doing, he wants to help. Changing the tires, picking up dog poop. Doesn’t matter. He’s there to help.”

I nodded and laughed and stole a glance at my mom, who stopped eating right around the word ‘poop’ and put her fork down. I talked to him about kids and ages and I held it together until he walked away and then slid down in my chair and giggled. Poop is SO not a dealbreaker for me, even if it’s mentioned by a waiter at dinner.

That’s just kinda how it is in this house. Last night, from the bathroom, one kid very matter-of-factly said, “mom? there’s poop in the bathtub with us, and we’re not sure who it came from.” In the tone of voice one might use in saying, “hmm. there is salmon and chicken on the menu and i don’t know which one i’m more interested in…”

I told them which kid it came from – since this seemed a big mystery –  and gave instructions for the cleanup/re-do the bath process. That? No big deal. Although I have no idea how you just don’t KNOW who the pooper is. But whatever. I was on the phone with my cousin, who was all, “EW! Want to call me BACK?” But no. Really. That is no big thing.

The salmon or chicken thing is far more difficult.


Thank you, thank you,  CMerie! She was sweet enough to write about my book yesterday!

A Dog’s Tail with a Side Order of Shredded Cheese

January 27th, 2010 at 1:05 pm » Comments (6)

I picked up a class description list from the community center today, after signing a kid up for a Lego class. Interesting. There’s an ‘Adult’ class called Private Music. Maybe everyone else knows exactly what that means, but I do not. I’m thinking Barry White. I wonder if they get any calls asking for clarification on that one. But whatever.

According to the schedule, you can take your dog to a tea party at the end of February. If your dog is into tea or parties by then. Mine, probably not.

Glacial Lakes Chugas Duke, chocolate-y lab,  is not quite 100% yet. He went to the vet TWICE last week, and is developing quite a taste for steroids, opioids, and the shmushed cheese balls we hide the pills inside. The problem is a simple one. His tail hurts. I mean ‘ow, yelp if he brushes against the wall’ kind of hurts.

My mom took him to the vet first. He was diagnosed (if you can even call it that) with ‘nonspecific discomfort in the tail.’ Um. Okay. He gave us pills he later described as like Aleve for dogs. But it pretty much didn’t help. So after a few days, I took Duke back since he was still miserable and very wary of walls and people and anything that might sneak up on his tail and touch it.

I should mention that I really, really love our vet.  I don’t like very many people. In person. People IN PERSON, not so much. Online people, y’all are different and I’m fine with y’all. But our vet is an IN PERSON sort of person, obviously, and yet I still like him because he’s VERY good and that’s all that matters whenever I have occasion to be there. But he’s very weird.

I hadn’t seen him in awhile, since my mom had brought Duke in before, and I try to avoid being The Grownup Who Has to Take Cats to the Vet. (that grownup’s name is Mike, and I try not to be him, because I’m not very good at it. I’d have to learn to like shooting things, be willing to man up around any vomit-y mess that needs to be cleaned up, talk to people, and also kill spiders. I don’t do any of that. He’s very helpful.)

The vet asks me why I’m there, and then immediately interrupts me and says, “You’re that writer.”

“Mmm.”  Not a real coherent or terribly successful one, but yeah sorta. He always does this. He asked me once ages ago what I do, and for some reason I said that and really why bother I should just say I’m a mom because it seems so much more true, but ever since then he always mentions it.

He leaves it at that, so I go on about Duke and the Yelping In the Night And We Can’t Stand It Tail Pain of  2010. We talk. Duke shivers with pain and nerves. The vet goes into the hall and discusses something with an assistant, and quotes a Steve McQueen line.  He returns.

“Does she know who Steve McQueen is?” I barely know who he is, and the assistant looked to be about 20.

He shrugged and laughed. He is the sort who often says things that no one else would understand, but it seems important for him to do it anyway. And his assistants usually wait it out, smile, and then go about their business.

We discuss the Tail Pain of 2010 more, and he stops me, midsentence. “Wait.” He holds up a hand. “You’re being so demure and polite and that really doesn’t work for me.”

SEE? I told you he was weird. Also? I might need to rethink that cardigan.

I smiled and waited.

He turned away and pulled a black case from his pocket.  He opened it, took out a pair of hearing aids and put them in. “There. Now. As you were saying.”

But right then a pit bull without a collar or a leash ran in and sniffed Duke, who handled it well considering the Tail Pain of 2010, and when the pit bull twinkled in front of Duke, Duke retaliated with twice as much twinkle. An assistant wearing scrubs ran in after the dog, then pulled him out into the hall and directed him away. As she did this, in an awkward bending over, running with arms outstretched motion, her scrub pants seemed to fall and half of her very tanned butt was exposed. I kinda thought this was funny. Duke did not. He thought it was not demure and not polite, and winning the twinkle war with a pit bull isn’t THAT big a win when you’re three times his size.  I was busy wondering the important stuff like how and why is that girl’s butt SO tanned in January?

Anyway. It’s a muscle spasm thing that should stop soon. The new drugs are working. We squish the pills into balls made of shredded cheese. Which is fine except that any time anyone even TOUCHES a bag of shredded cheese for any non-dog-related reason at all, Duke has to come running and stare you down like, “Yo? My MEDS. I think you were going to give me some MEDS, lady. Hurry up, the withdrawals are kicking in.” And then he shakes just to be dramatic.

He did this yesterday when I got out the cheese for making mac and cheese — not his special cheesy drug balls — and he was following me around the kitchen getting more and more impatient. He and I had a brief talk about the value of being demure and polite and having a tan butt.

We agreed he’s got one out of the three, and that’ll just have to do.

A Foray into Cannibalism

January 26th, 2010 at 2:35 pm » Comments (2)

i’m not the sort of vegetarian who likes to say she’s a vegetarian. mainly because i think it sounds stupid.  here in West Texas, let me assure  you – it sounds stupid. Beef is a big deal, and there are bumper stickers to prove it. “Eat Beef!”  If we all need to be reminded to eat more beef , well, the backsides of the local cars and trucks have that service covered.

i’m not the sort who thinks that animals shouldn’t be eaten. I’m married to a hunter. no problem. I’ll even cook it for everyone else. I don’t like it when the dead things drip trails of dead fluids through the house, but that hardly happens anymore. (but when it did, it was quite memorable) And definitely, i’m not a ‘stick a dead head of something on the wall’ sort. That’s why Mike’s office is not in our home. The dead heads go there. And the clients. Who are not dead heads of any kind, but i’m not very good with people either, so it’s best if they all just go to the office.

i wasn’t trying to lose weight. which is good, because i gained 10 pounds and kept it on, thankyousomuch carbohydrates.

it’s an accidental vegetarianism. the accident started 18 months ago when mike gave me a diet book. Ooooh, yes he did, even though he didn’t think I needed to lose weight. Yes, ladies,  he’s sorry. VERY sorry that he ever did that. forgiving…. forgiving….  okay….. forgiven. again.  He meant it in a nice ‘be healthy!’  way.  I read it while VERY sick one day and it graphically described how the body does NOT digest meat.

Nevermind that that’s kinda ridiculous.

I am impressionable.

I was sick.

It was graphic.

And that was the end of my relationship with meat. I didn’t think it’d last. I didn’t WANT to be a vegetarian. (does that HAVE to sound so stupid? And if it doesn’t sound stupid to you, let me just remind you that you are not in West Texas. It’s why I always just say, “i don’t eat meat,” and only if I pretty much have to.  because it sounds like THAT. Here.)  Anyway. I thought I’d get over it and go back. But that book was eerily effective.

However.  Since the whole ‘oh my gosh i had NO IDEA how important knees were’ reality check that has comprised the last 5 months, and watching any muscle tone just poof! vanish into depressing squish and  flab, i’ve grown a bit concerned.  A former trainer of mine (Workout Barbie) really drilled it into my head about protein being the building blocks of muscles and blah. blah. blah.

Combine that with Physical Therapy Guy saying something offhand like, “your glutes are weakening.” Which I of course correctly (and silently, and perhaps dramatically) translated to mean, “Your butt is having a serious monumental crisis and is increasing in flab and squish at an alarming rate and you should probably just order jeans in the next 5 larger sizes immediately because there’s a massive problem here, and i do mean massive,  and by the way all hope is lost.”


I can overreact, in silent yet still dramatic ways.

I ate meat.

Not just any meat.

Disgusting nasty meat product that I cannot even describe in further detail without gagging. But there was a drive thru involved and the word ‘Taco’ was in the name of the place and isn’t that bad enough? Oh! No! No, it’s not because I forgot the worst part! When I got home Mom told me that place had been listed in the paper as having numerous sanitation citations from the health department.

I’m thinking this did NOT help butt flab.  Neither did the intolerance for any food of any kind that followed.  I have no idea why I thought it might help, actually. Why…? Oh yes. Protein = building blocks of muscle. Protein needed for Serious Butt Issue.

The meaty lunch tasted bad. Of COURSE it tasted bad. It probably usually does, but to a plant-eater, it was really bad.  A few hours later I was miserable, faceplanted across the bed, holding my stomach.

Mike came in and asked what was wrong.

I groaned and said, “I made a foray into cannibalism.”

Mike stepped back and put his hands in his pockets.

My mother laughed and said, “No! Wrong ‘c’ word!”

As if it mattered.  When it’s been 18 months since you’ve eaten meat, and you start in that particular, really dumb,  way – carnivore-ism does not really seem that much different than cannibalism. (although that’s what I meant to say)

Today it’s back to ‘i don’t eat meat.’  It’s more like, ‘I don’t eat ANYTHING thanks to yesterday.’

Need to go get the kids from school.

Today..? I’m ignoring the bumper stickers.

This Crackhouse Needs a Princess. And Doughnuts.

January 23rd, 2010 at 5:08 pm » Comments (3)

Part of this is long-time reader, Sara’s, fault.  Really. It is. But mostly the fault is mine. Because I knew better.

Sara has three boys and said in a recent comment that she likes being their ‘princess.’  This made me stop, blink, and re-read. That was a completely foreign dynamic to our 3 boy household. Just to be sure, I ran the concept by the boys.

“So, boys. A mom I  know with three boys said she is ‘their princess.’ Do y’all ever think of me that way?”

Ethan–9yr rolled his eyes but didn’t have a verbal reaction. (smart kid.)

Seth-4yr laughed and said,”NO!” (candid kid)

And Caden-5yr snorted. (sound effects kid, also with great candor.)

“Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. Just checking.”

I thought that was the end of it. But a few days later Seth-4yr realized there might be something to be gained from this. He mighta thought I was petitioning them for princess status, although I definitely was not. Out of the blue he said, “My princess would feed me doughnuts.”

What. A. Stinker.

“Oh. She sounds real cool. Where is she?”

He sighed. Then said, “Just joking.”

But he wasn’t. Which made it so much funnier.  I actually DO feed him doughnuts occasionally, but not if it’s a prove-your-worthiness-and-royalty-woman kinda challenge. Then? Then you get an Eggo, dude.


This afternoon my mom found a piece of paper on the kitchen counter. After careful handwriting analysis, she decided it was the handiwork of Caden-5yr.

We discussed briefly why Caden-5yr was writing the word (in cursive) “CRACK” and how he knew the spelling. I asked for an explanation. “Oh! We were counting the cracks. And Ethan-9yr told me how to spell it.”

“What? You were counting… what?

“You know, Mom. The cracks in the house.”

This wouldn’t have bugged me a few days ago. But as shown in the previous post, I have spent a whole lotta hours on fixing the cracks in the walls of this house. But.  Apparently the boys saw a need, and formed a Volunteer Quality Assurance Team at dawn in order to survey my work  – and that piece of paper represents their findings.

Cracks: 235.

That’s a bad report.

Or maybe it means Cracks, 2 in this wall over here, 3 over there, and 2+3=5.  I don’t know. I didn’t ask.

I DID ask what the next piece of paper represented. A pencil? A rocket ship?


“No, Mom. That’s a house. OUR house.”

“The house with all the cracks? The crackhouse?”

“Yeah. That’s what it is.”


Right. I see that now.

This crackhouse needs a princess toting some spackle and a dozen Krispy Kremes, asap.

Let’s Paint the House, and Do It ALL! WRONG!

January 21st, 2010 at 5:25 pm » Comments (1)

* i know the last post said that the laundry needed to be done and then just a little bit later in the exact same post, ‘at least the laundry’s done.’  I know. And if you understood my brain, or how this house works, or the cycles of ‘doneness’ laundry goes through here, then that wouldn’t seem contradictory at all. and if you read that and actually DID understand that it wasn’t a contradiction, then I am quite sorry because you clearly have laundry like I do AND a similar brain and, well, oh dear for you.

I’ve been painting. The walls were cracked, dented, scuffed, and had a few holes. So with Seth-4yr assisting with joint compound, we got the job done. Or so I thought.

But this morning we were off to a good start. I had Seth-4yr put on his paint jeans. I put on mine. They are a horrifically high waisted pair from who knows how long ago. I have been looking for a chance to wear a certain shirt my sister gave me a year and a half ago. It’s lime green, and in glitter letters across the chest it reads “Dollywood!”  There are neatly spaced rhinestones around the neck and around the hem of each short sleeve.

This is not my particular style, really. Or my sister’s.

At the time she gave it to me, I smiled and thanked her and had no idea when I’d wear it. Perhaps it should be noted that I do not have the necessary sparkly personality, or suggested body type that one might expect of a gal in a bright green, bedazzled shirt with the word Dollywood! across the chest area. Anyway. I wore it. Seth-4yr did not comment.

We discovered, oh so not helpfully, that the huge selection of paint cans in the garage was so so huge because we decided to move all our old paint cans from the last house we lived in. Not our best decision. So if you want to match a beige/cream/neutral of some sort, you also have to make sure it doesn’t match a beige/cream/neutral that we mighta used in our old house. Which is not that easy.

But it IS easier than making sure it isn’t a beige/cream/neutral that the painters we hired a few years back used that actually didn’t match anything at all. It LOOKS like a wall color we have. But no. It’s the Mistake Paint from those painters and it matches nothing. It just makes slightly lighter streaks when you use it for ‘touch ups.’ Just enough so you think it’s perfect, and will look exactly right when it dries. Except that OH NO THAT’S NOT HAPPENING. And there are streaks in the kids’ bathrooms and in most halls, closets, and the stairway now, because Seth-4yr and I were REAL thorough today.

A few years ago when these painters were here and we realized the existence of the Mistake Paint, and its liberal usage throughout the house, I’d had enough. I hated the painters. I hated the paint. We’d been displaced for 6 weeks due to a crazy flood and we were finally back home, but then so were these painters, ‘fixing’ the last details of the house. Those painters were there. All the time. So when we realized they were painting everything wrong, I just begged Mike to let them finish and leave and I promise I won’t CARE that they’re using Mistake Paint that doesn’t match anything. Really, Mike. Let’s not even tell them! Shhh, our little secret! And so we did. And I didn’t care. We repainted over all that ourselves later, and forgot about the whole stupid thing until today. When, once the paint dried, oh my gosh it doesn’t match and why does this seem so familiar and oh no no no no!  it’s the stupid Mistake Paint. A souvenir from the painters.  It wasn’t enough for them to paint everything wrong the first time, they had to leave me their leftovers so i could do it too, years later.

I have no idea if the actual Non Mistake Paint is in the garage somewhere. I’m not looking today.

It’s not a beige/cream/neutral kinda house. We used three different blues, a yellow, and a green today also. We got after it. Years ago we let the kids pick their paint colors. Well, Kim-15 yr and Ethan-9 yr. Caden-5yr got a room in “Las Vegas Yellow” because I was only 99% sure he was a boy and I had to tell the builder what color… and I don’t know why it had to be Vegas. Anyway. Las Vegas Yellow is FROSS all these years later, and now it’s Seth-4yr’s room.  Also? It’s crazy to let your kids really pick their own paint colors. Ethan’s room is two shades of fluorescent green that can make your whole body itch if you aren’t used to it.   And six years later,  nobody’s used to it.

Today I learned that perhaps NONE of the kids have ever washed their hands. Not once. None of them in all their collective years. Their walls are grody. And also? Lots of dirt, grime, crayon, marker, pencil, shoe scuffs, and all kinds of stuff I decided to paint over rather than try to scrub off first. I’m just like that.  It worked. Except in the areas where I used Mistake Paint, and now all that crap is just highlighted.

Seth-4yr just sat down next to me after hurting his hand and crying his head off and somehow that combination caused him to throw up a rice krispie treat all over both of us.  Which reminds me of a brilliant realization I had and have been meaning to share.

All those mothers out there who tell horror stories about labor and birth?  Those stories in no way reduce the number of women who want to become mothers. I don’t know why. But it doesn’t. And that’s fine. That’s cool.  I’m glad I didn’t discover this until after I had all my darling four kids. Because if those mommies had just ONCE told me how many times in the first 5 years of a kid’s life, i would be inadvertently VOMITED UPON, I would have so been done and over the whole parenthood thing so fast.

Don’t worry. I changed clothes earlier.  Bright green rhinestone DollyWood shirt is fine.

A Red Balloon in the Ceiling Fan Kinda Day

January 18th, 2010 at 3:46 pm » Comments (3)

i have a million things that i should be doing right now. Editing a huge stack of manuscript pages. Or laundry. Or breaking up a cat fight in the other room. (but it’s low level hissing, and I’m not that worried yet.)

Instead I am on strict nap duty. Waiting… waiting… waiting until the two littlest boys fall asleep. If I wander off, they sense my distraction and abandon all pretense of ever falling asleep. Yes, they can sense it all the way from in their bedrooms. They’re good like that.

So. I’m dutifully here.

I have passed the time by taking grainy photos with my phone. Apparently, there is nothin much going on here in the living room.

It’s a Red-Balloon-in-the-Ceiling-Fan-Kind-of-Day. Of course it is.  Specifically, Seth-4yr’s red balloon. Yeah. He turned the fan on. Twice. It’s really, really stuck.


Last week there was a teeny, tiny crack in this wall. Some people in this house thought it hardly noticeable. I was not one of those people. It bugged me, that teeny tiny crack. But. Ha! I showed that crack what-for.  It was really bugging me. Now it just screams “I am FIXED. Or, getting fixed, if she’d ever finish this job. And? Did she NEED all that mesh tape and 9 pounds of joint compound? Overkill…?”


This weekend an important discovery was made. Or, a bright red one, at least. Once all the laundry on the Laundry Table  (the kids just laugh if it’s ever called the “Breakfast Table” so I don’t even bother anymore.) was conquered — and I do mean conquered — a bright red Christmas tree was unearthed. It’s not small. At least two feet tall, this Christmas tree. Seth-4yr likes to wear it as a hat whenever it isn’t buried under at least two feet of clean laundry begging to be folded.   Anyway. Here it is.  The January 18, just discovered Christmas tree.  At least the laundry’s done.


Are those kids sleeping yet…? No. Of course not.   A minute ago I went into Seth-4yr’s room and said, “Go to sleep or I take the penguin.”  I didn’t smile when I said it.

He said, “Oh. Where will you take him? He might really yike to go.”

There’s a penguin next to me on the couch now. He really ‘yiked’ this little trip, I think.

And now, onward to the floor. There’s a dog, who really isn’t feeling well. I always thought the dog’s name was Duke. Turns out, that’s his alias. In preparing him for a trip to the vet with my mom, Mike went and grabbed his official “super pedigreed hotshot from South Dakota dog paperwork.” And there…? On the paperwork….? Is Duke’s real name. He was just telling us his name was Duke so we wouldn’t laugh at him. But now I know. And I’ve been laughing. Even though he’s sick. The other Texan hunting dogs would howl if they knew. So don’t tell them. His official name is Glacial Lakes Chugas Duke.  I don’t know who would name a dog that. That is just. not. right. And he’s a BROWN dog, which kinda makes the ‘Glacial’ part seem even worse. Poor baby.

Anyway. Here’s “Sir Chugas:”


Also on the floor, for who knows what reason, a screw and a yellow Lego Man head, sportin’ some shades against the sea of blinding, endless beige carpet.


But hey…?!  I think there’s some nap action going on, so maybe all this is worthwhile.


Well. Maybe not.

Sweat Would Really Stop the Fops

January 17th, 2010 at 8:39 pm » Comments (2)

If I could REALLY exercise a few times a week, I’d be so much more normal. By that I mean the exercise where – no matter what it is – you feel like you’re easily going to pass out or throw up or die. That sort…? That is extremely important to my sanity. Some women need chocolate to feel normal (I used to be a proud member of this group), and some women need coffee, and some women need cute shoes (i’m still there).  For me, it’s sweat.

I have no idea how to satisfy that need without ripping apart the new, delicate acl in my left knee that I’m so grateful for.

No idea how to just be sane, anyway.

And this current version of myself is driving us all nuts. I cry over nothing. Nothing! (Don’t even get me started on REAL issues, which I avoid thinking about entirely, like Haiti. Quick prayers, donations, and then the rest of the time is actively spent trying NOT to think about it. Isn’t that lovely of me? )

I have little energy, little patience, and I’m at that point where I want to call every time I see a truck with a “How’s My Driving?” phone number, and just TELL SOMEONE how the dude’s driving is, already.

I’ve noticed that I really really have need of a car horn, and mine is silent. Broken. And if it weren’t, I’d be all over that horn all the time.

See what I mean?


I won’t be cleared for running or biking (not that I do that yet anyway) or anything for ages. Which was enough to make me CRY last week way too much. I’m thinking water aerobics…? Maybe they’ll let me do that?

But it is January and in this state of mind a swimsuit would surely make me cry, too.

In a pool, no one would notice, though.

Seth-4yr calls teardrops, “Fops.”  And if someone is crying, he will point and solemnly say, “You have a fop on your face.”

In a pool, everyone has water fops on their faces.  Fops of pool water. Can you exercise enough in those classes so that you feel like you’ll throw up…? I don’t know.  My only experience with water classes was taking my grandmother* to hers, but it was geared to adorable seniors in skirted suits and lipstick in shades of red.  It was an unspoken dress code these ladies had, but a strict one: skirted suits in mainly black, red lipstick, short haircuts in shades of gray. They were cute and giggly.

I’m not feeling cute and I’m almost never giggly, but maybe in a pool with a group like that I would be. Where’s my red lipstick…?

* For LaLa, who knows this anyway, but whatever: the grandmother with the physically big mouth that I inherited, not the grandmother with the figuratively big mouth, which i did not inherit. Or so I think, and you probably would snort at. But don’t or I’ll cry. Ha!

Not a Good Place to Hang Your Halo…

January 14th, 2010 at 2:33 pm » Comments (4)

Yesterday afternoon I was awed by the little angel asleep in Seth-4yr’s bed at naptime.  I’m glad I took the time to notice, to appreciate, to watch. I left him there, home with my mom, while going to pick up his brothers. There wasn’t a calm moment again until many hours later. There wasn’t an angelic moment of any kind.

Although, at one horribly ironic point, I did have the bizarre occasion to yell at Caden-5yr to “take a halo off his.. his… twinkle thing!”  It was ridiculous. (all my early delusions of being a mom who would always use correct anatomical vocab went out the window years ago and i don’t even know how or when.)  It was ridiculous to HAVE to yell that across the house.  And really, correct terminology would NOT have helped. “Kindly remove the halo from your penis?” Um. No. That isn’t any better.   It was THAT kind of day.

In case you’re wondering, it was a leftover costume piece from a school chapel program. He was quite an angel that day. He wore the halo in the traditional manner and was fully clothed onstage.

Yesterday, Ethan-9yr was escorted to the car by his teacher. His chin rested on his chest as he walked, and his teacher did not look pleased. It was probably an excellent learning opportunity for him on how the need to be respectful to a teacher should always outweigh a need to be ‘right.’  He’s a bright kid and happens to think he’s always the most informed about everything. And a lot of the time, he IS. But learning how to keep his mouth shut, regardless of being right or wrong, will really help him.

Earlier today I was telling Mike that he totally gets this from him. Mike thinks he knows everything too. (also a bright guy, and usually he does.)  Looking back on that, it could have been a disaster of a conversation, but it turned out well.   I helpfully pointed out how much more likeable he became after I insisted, in our early marriage years,  that I never ever wanted to hear him say the words, “I told ya so!”  Those were favorite words back then. Once Mike gave those up, he became even more likeable. He didn’t really like the parallel in this story, but nodded and said, “So you like me more?”  With big brown eyes just like Ethan-9yr’s.  ”Yeah. I do. Ethan-9yr needs to learn a similar skill here.”    So the yesterday the aftermath of the Ethan-9yr thing involved much crying and talking, letters of  apologies (we’re  big on making the kids do that if ever necessary), and hugs and reassurances about life and character and love.

Also yesterday, Caden-5yr was determined to use a water bottle that came with his new bike, even though it was black and bright green and had the charming word “Painkiller” written on the side, and it was practically impossible to open. Although I DID open it, after he smirked and said his teacher was strong enough to open it at school that day. Hopefully water did not fly all over her and all over her mail, as it did with me. I told him ‘no’ on the non-user friendly Painkiller and went to use the hair dryer on the water spots all over my jeans. He cried his head off while I was gone, my high powered hairdryer drowning out the sounds of kid chaos for those precious two minutes. When I came back, my mom filled me in on two or three more chaotic events that started while I was in the bathroom with the hair dryer, and their status was chaos-in-motion, and needed Mom attention.   Which was too bad, because although it’s really loud – it’s not a bad sort of peace when you’re in a locked bathroom alone, blowdrying your butt. Not bad at all, on a day like yesterday.

Seth-4yr had a few of his own issues and he contributed greatly to a few of his brothers’ problems. Like any good little brother does.

Mike’s last appointment for the day was later than he thought, and by the time he got home I was collapsed on the couch. Two boys were splashing in the bathtub, and I was pretending not to know that they were probably getting the bathroom floor too wet. The other boy was reeling off a million questions about world history that were way the heck over my head, and I hid under a blanket while the settling of Canada was discussed without any uninformed input from under the pink blanket.  Also from under the pink blanket, a text was sent to Mike requesting a Diet Coke.

I think I quit this addiction six times last year. I’ll get around to it again, but not yesterday. And not today.

At least I don’t drink it in a bottle with the word “Painkiller” on the side.



January 13th, 2010 at 2:47 pm » Comments (3)

For Seth-4yr,

Today I picked you up from preschool and you ran out of the classroom, arms open wide for a hug, a huge smile, and all your dimples on display. You hugged my leg while your teacher explained how you’d accidentally ‘had a lot of sand.’  You blamed someone named Jose.

Every day when I pick you up, you want to show me all your ‘work’ before getting into your carseat and getting your seatbelt on. So that’s what we do. It’s too important to wait until we get home.

Your big, chocolate-y eyes barely stay open on the ride home. You’re exhausted from playing, learning, or eating sand that was somehow Jose’s fault. You often eat your lunch while in my lap at the table, and today you were so tired that I held your face up while you finished eating.

Right now you’re sound asleep, napping under a Spiderman blanket and holding tightly to a corner of your pillowcase. Your big stuffed penguin is laying on the floor with just his beak shoved through the crack of the door, on the side with the hinges.

Just so I don’t shut it.

Always thinkin’, you are. (Poor penguin.)

You were mad about nap since you wanted to go ride your new bike. Even though I had to hold up your tired little face while you chewed, you were sure you had enough energy to ride a bike.


For now, I’m just glad you – my last little baby – are sweetly napping and quietly snoring.

This morning, before dawn, I think you ate animal crackers on the couch while the rest of the house slept. There was evidence, little guy. And one cat seemed extremely wet for some reason. I don’t know if you bathed a cat this morning, but it certainly seems as if you did.

You are always full of ideas. Most of them are pretty good ones.

(giving cats baths before dawn is not one of them, though)

I’m going to ask you about that later when you wake up. I wouldn’t be surprised if you blamed Jose.

IS there even a kid in your class named Jose…?