Archive for February, 2010


Splintered

February 27th, 2010 at 8:46 am » Comments (1)

Today… there’s three different practices for two different sports for two different boys and one awards dinner for two different boys who are assigned seating in two different sections. Meaning. Two parents must go. And also meaning. I’m still in bed, writing this, instead of getting up and facing the Way Too Athletic Saturday.

If it were MY athletic sort of Saturday, then I’d be out of bed already.

Question: How do you get a splinter in your FACE?  Specifically, left cheekbone area, kinda in the middle. I haven’t been rolling around on any hardwood floors. (ok, a little, but just playing cars with Seth-4yr in the dining room and I know I didn’t use my face.) I haven’t been smushing my face against the fence. So how does that even happen? It was a dark wood, 1/4 inch long, fully stuck right into my face, not the convenient sort of splinter that hangs out on one end so you can just grab and go. More of the sort that gets real comfortable and embedded. Or. Real uncomfortable.  However you want to look at it.

It bothered me so much that after removing the splinter, I carefully placed it on the lid of a moisturizer so I could think about it. Such an oddity needed to be preserved and archived for future study. And then a few minutes later I forgot about it and needed moisturizer and I don’t know where it went.

One time I got a mysterious splinter right between my two front teeth. Also unexplained, since I am not a toothpicky kinda girl. Or a “let’s chew on some two by fours” kinda girl.

No. I am the sort who will sit in bed with a laptop and talk about her odd splinter history rather than get up and face the Way Too Athletic Saturday.

I’m keeping my face away from the baseball bats.

Well. That’s probably a good idea anyway.


The Plane Crash Did NOT Help Matters…

February 24th, 2010 at 5:54 pm » Comments (5)

Am so tired I can’t stand it. Stupid, wannabe intruders can do that to a girl.

And then there was the whole Caden-6yr  Nose Injury thing. Caden-6yr throws himself right into Life, with very little regard for personal wellbeing. Not that it was his fault. This time. But it usually kinda totally is.

So last night was Parent Group – where parents all over have a group therapy session on the phone and online with the kids who are in the same program as Kim-15yr. Juggling kids, dinner, bedtime, and an online therapy thing is never easy, and worse if Mike is out of town. But it’s also a weekly thing, and totally doable. After dinner, I check on Caden-6yr and Seth-4yr and compliment how well they’re doing in the bath and look! no water on the floor! Thank you, yea, good job guys, etc!

{WARNING: WATCH OUT. IT GETS GROSS FROM HERE ON OUT.}

I’m barely back to the kitchen when the crazy hysterical crying begins. It’s BOTH of them. By the time I get in there, the bathwater is red with gallons of blood. Maybe not gallons. But definitely quarts. {Note: Mike is the parent who should always be around if there is blood, vomit, or would-be intruders. That’s just ideal. All of those make me really unreasonable. But, oddly, of the three – I’m best with blood.}

Seth-4yr did not really appear to be bleeding. But he was hysterical. Caden-6yr was covered in blood from his forehead to his bellybutton. It was IN his eyes so that the white parts? Were red. It was pouring from his nose, and gushing from his mouth. It looked like the sort of movie I do not watch specifically because I hate seeing stuff like that.

I grabbed a bright red towel (bright red towel – great for such times – always need a few in Caden-6yr’s bathroom just in case) and started mopping it all off. Seth-4yr nodded yes when I asked him if he was just scared. The three of us held hands all the way to the living room and I finally realized the source was Caden-6yr’s nose.

Of course it was. The child’s nose could have a blog of its own.

Anyway. Seth-4yr had managed to fly a metal airplane straight up Caden-6yr’s left nostril and do great damage. I squeeze the nose and use the special mommy voice that sounds really freaky but is really falsely calm and high pitched. It’s not a choice. It just comes out like that when I see blood. And it could be worse. Screaming could come out. But instead my eyebrows go way high up until my face hurts and this oddly calm but really NOT voice comes from who knows where and says all sorts of reassuring platitudes that I don’t really believe or think at the time. What I really believe and think at the time is more like, “DEAR GOD ALMIGHTY HE’S A LITTLE BOY AND THAT’S A LOT OF BLOOD. MULTIPLY THE BLOOD STILL IN HIS TINY BODY PLEASE. NOW! AND THANK YOU. AND I NEED MY MOMMY.”

Seth-4yr feels REAL bad about the whole Shove an Airplane Up a Nostril Thing, and gladly gets the phone so I can hang up the online, on the phone therapy session with Kim-15yr’s peers who are on speakerphone REAL LOUD in the kitchen because I just. can’t. handle. it. right. then.

The bleeding stops. I send a text to my mom that reads: “Bloody Emergency. Caden. Nose. Should b ok.”

I take pictures with my phone and send them to MIke with a similar text. I’m pretty sure that the nose is bruised, but unbroken THIS TIME, but last time it was broken I thought that, too. And I was really wrong. So I need another opinion.

Still holding the nose with the red towel, I use the crazy calm voice and call my mother, who did not respond to my text. I ask her to come over. I give few details. The crazy calm voice alone tips her off. She was there during the first Caden Nose Incident, and the next one after that, too – and she recognizes the signs.

Seth-4yr finally chills out and provides all the sympathy and comfort he can.  Eventually they’re both tucked in.

I check the motion light in the backyard, still very aware of the wannabe intruder and his possible return.

I’m very edgy.

Mom stays awhile, and I’m SO glad.

Later, i let Duke out. And because I’m so edgy, I let him out, lock the door behind him, and then watch him.

I never do that. And I wish I had, a few times.

Because he goes out to the edge of the concrete and stares into the darkness and puts his tail between his legs and won’t move. For five minutes.

And it freaks me right on out.

Surely he doesn’t do that every night? What’s with that?

Finally he does his thing and comes back and I lock the door behind him and set the alarm on the house and try not to think about blood. Or Duke’s tail between his legs. Or how the online Parent Group went, since Kim-15yr was supposed to talk and i missed it. Or the footprints of the person who jumped over the fence. Or if he’s coming back. Or what it would feel like to have an airplane fly up my nose.

I can’t sleep. Because of all the things I’m trying not to think about.

At 2 in the morning Duke needs to go out again.

He lets me know he needs to go out by walking around quietly and jiggling his collar just a little. He isn’t demanding. But I know what he means. And I’m ignoring it. I canNOT handle turning the alarm off and watching the tail between the legs thing for five minutes and all of that. Because it was scary enough at 10:45. And it would be worse at 2 am. Much worse.

So I whisper to him, “Duke, baby. Just this once, you just go ahead and twinkle on the carpet. ‘Kay? And I won’t blame you at all. I’ll clean it up tomorrow and you will not be in trouble. We are NOT going outside tonight. I am NOT opening that door.”

He laid down and went to sleep and left the carpet alone.

I was so glad.

Today was one of those days I just wanted to wrap the kids in bubblewrap (so that they can still breathe) and make them sit on big, fluffy pillows.  And not move. And not get hurt. And not play outside. And kiss me a lot with their sweet, non-bloody faces.

I wanted a really, really boring day.

It pretty much happened.

And everyone’s bored to pieces.

And safe.

So I’m happy.

And tired.

But really, really grateful.


The Snow Mystery, Part 2

February 23rd, 2010 at 10:50 pm » Comments (3)

Part 1 can be found here.

Okay. Well. I sorta was 95% sure that there was a real good explanation for the big footprints in the snow. Like, maybe one of the kids put on really big boots and ran around out there this morning when I wasn’t looking. Those kids. They’ve done stranger things.

Or.

I don’t know. One time I was walking around the neighborhood and some dogs got out and I put them back in their yard. I knew where they lived. So I was in a backyard unauthorized once, just doing the good deed of returning a couple of yappy dogs. Okay, fine, I did it so they wouldn’t come yap near our house.  But you get where I’m headed with this.

Except.

I asked all the boys separately if they had gone outside and made footprints larger than mine. They believably claimed innocence.

So I went back outside and looked around some more, before they totally melted away.

I discovered a few more facts:

1. the footprints appear outside the fence.

2. and REAPPEAR inside the fence, indicating someone jumped over. A big fence. Right on over it.

3. the person walked around, coming to the windows.

4. this?  these RIGHT HERE?  These are the footprints that instantly changed my mind about why it’s perfectly okay to have a gun. These were right outside the window of one of my kid’s rooms.

5. I’m a big believer in the 2nd amendment today.   BIG. I might join the NRA tomorrow.  Or buy Nerf guns. Or something.

6. The Dummy With The Big Feet picked a really bad time to do this trespassing business. Any other day and I never would have known. We don’t have snow that often at all here.

7. Finishing this little update seemed like a good idea. But now it’s 11 pm and I have freaked myself out all over again.

This was not a good idea.


Snow Mystery

February 23rd, 2010 at 2:37 pm » Comments (3)

Facts:

1. In the backyard there are lots of very big footprints in the snow.

2. The snow fell yesterday evening.

3. Footprints in snow appeared since yesterday evening.

4. No one with big feet has been in the backyard.

5. No one with small feet has been in the backyard.

6. Just the dog. Who has 4 feet. Which looks different in snow.

7. The poop picker upper people do not come on this day.

8.  Mike – who has crazy big feet – is not in town.

9.  Huh.

10.  #9 is not  a fact. Oops. But oddly #10 is.

11. I  just went and took pictures of the footprints and stomped around like Nancy Drew trying to figure it out.

12. Came up with nothing.

Whoever it is with the big feet, please go away.

UPDATE: Oh dear GOD, I just remembered that my mom said Seth-4yr told her this funny, imaginative story just this morning about how no one in the house had any clean underwear today (not true! put away three thousandy pairs just last night, thanks, Seth-4yr, makin me look bad). He said that the Underwear Guy came in a green and white truck and gave us all clean underwear this morning.   I wonder if he came in the back door. I wonder if he had big feet.

I need to go wake up Seth-4yr and grill him.


How I’m A Freak Around Normal People, Part 9,823.

February 21st, 2010 at 2:58 pm » Comments (3)

This morning i woke up to THREE little boys in the bed plus a very large cat who wanted me to notice him. The only ones missing were the husband and the dog. Thank goodness. About the dog. Not the husband. The husband was on his merry way to Minnesota, and the dog was snoring on the floor, with no interest in being on the bed.

1. Seth-4yr is making up for his previous lack of ear infections. Now. A lot. Let’s just cram it all into one weekend and be efficient.

2. Poor baby. When he’s really hurting, he sticks his tongue out when he cries. That is hard to do. Go ahead, try.  He’s done that since he was tiny.

3. He hates to cry and almost never will, no matter what.

4. It might be because he’s so bad at it, what with the tongue technique thing. But that’s okay.

5. Caden-6yr is all about the word, “embarrassing.” STILL. Everything is, yaknow.

6. And very few of his examples actually ARE embarrassing.

7. I would know this key difference. A couple weeks ago there was an incident where the neighbor from across the street came over as I was sitting in my truck opening mail.

8. I didn’t see him coming. And if I had, I didn’t think he’d just all, OPEN THE DOOR. He was being nice. My truck battery was dead, and he thought he’d help.

9. Did you know you can get deeply discounted lingerie from victoria’s secret if you don’t mind the really bright colors that are always in their online clearance?

10. I love discounts. I also love two shades of hot pink leopard.

11. Not when I pull it out of a large envelope and suddenly am in a highly inappropriate mini-scene starring the Neighbor Guy I Hardly Know who just opened the truck door out of the TOTAL BLUE, where’d that guy come from anyway, doesn’t anybody knock anymore, and there I am holding deeply discounted lingerie in two shades of hot pink leopard.

12. This, Caden-6yr, is called… embarrassing.

13. Neighbor Guy had a sudden coughing fit before we each said hello and tried to ignore the leopard.

14. Mike thought this was funny when I told him later.

15. I still don’t.

16. And he doesn’t understand my social anxieties. If he did stuff like that, he’d have social anxiety too.

17. Or no. He wouldn’t . But he probably should.

18. I have told myself that Neighbor Guy probably forgot all about that. But if there were only a handful of things I knew about someone, and one of them involved two shades of hot pink leopard, it would be really hard for ME to forget that about that person.

19. But I’m thinking that’s just me.

20. Take that little online shopping tip at your own risk, ladies.


Duke: Film Star, Extraordinaire.

February 16th, 2010 at 5:38 pm » Comments (0)

One day last week there was a message on the answering machine from a company wanting to use our backyard in a television commercial. Mike thought this was a great idea.  I did not. I thought this was crazy. And, also? That’s the sort of message that totally reinforces my commitment to never checking the messages on the answering machine in the first place.  But Mike called them back and agreed, since he’s the one without a phone phobia and he liked the whole crazy idea and all.

Our backyard is… pretty awful. I mean. The space is lovely. Huge, great for playing sports with 3 boys – it’s PERFECT for that. And it looks like we’ve been doing exactly that. A lot.  It’s a large expanse of dead grass and a ton of kid toys and various balls and not much else. There’s a table that has seen better days and enough chairs for thirty people. Even though I don’t know 30 people, much less ask them to come over. My efforts at landscaping, and the original professional attempts at landscaping make some of the edges of the yard pretty. In the summer. But that’s it.  And this isn’t summer.

So why would a company want to film a commercial in such a place as this? I guess because it’s a big yard. And they’re in the ‘clean it up and make it look better’ business. Not that ours ever actually looks better. But it is cleaner. It’s a business that comes once a week and… picks up the dog poop. Yeah. There ARE companies like that.  And they need to film their commercials somewhere. And we do have poop out there.

After that phone call, I began to wonder what such a commercial would look like. Would they clean up our whole backyard FIRST, including the grease spot on the patio from the Christmas fried turkey (if that doens’t make sense, just ignore it, it’s a TX thing) that would NOT come up despite my scrubbing it forever with Dawn?  Because I could really like that. Maybe that would work out well.

Or would they come scatter MORE poop, for greater effect, and then clean it up while the cameras rolled? If so, would it be real poop or fake poop? What would fake poop be made of anyway, and if it were real poop, but not from our dog, couldn’t THAT cause problems? Like, dog territory issues?

Today the company called again, asking if today was okay. I didn’t ask any of my questions.  Or mention the turkey grease. “Yeah… but I’m trying to get a kid to take a nap, so I won’t really be available, and by the way… do you want the dog out there?” Yes. They did want the dog. They were thrilled I offered the dog, since they had only requested the yard.  I was thrilled I wouldn’t have to talk to people or get near their cameras.  Or their possible buckets of extra poop.

I hung up and called my mom. “Wanna see Duke’s big showbiz debut? It’s in a few minutes.”

“Uh.. I think I’ll skip this one. But I’m sure he’ll be a natural.”

“That’s gross, Mom.”

She laughed and added, “Well! I’m sure whatever they need him to do, he can produce!”

Ew. Bye.” I hoped they wouldn’t try to get him to poop on film.

They arrived and I let Duke out. He barked once. The dog NEVER barks. Once every few months, maybe. It was not a good sign. He got better. Charlo, the cat, looked on from his vantage point on the footstool.

He could not believe the scene unfolding outside. People petting and oohing over Duke and walking around with scripts and cameras. Charlo is beautiful. And he knows it. It was extremely offensive to him. He’s been waiting for a camera crew to show up for years, and today one finally did and they had the wrong pet. It was crushing.

Out of pity, I should have thrown him out the door and said that the littlest turds are his. I mean, they’re not. That would have been dishonest AND bizarre of me, but it really would have made his day.

Duke did well, and posed and looked all pretty and chocolatey and did not poop. They didn’t seem to want him to.

And after they left he looked dejected. Here he is, all ‘come baaaack! I can do more!’

And there’s the table that has seen better days. It looks like it has a bellybutton. It does not. That’s where I left the giant umbrella up during a windstorm and the thing snapped off and left a jagged, awful stump that could kill a kid, so I sawed it off and now it looks like a bellybutton. Charming.

I opened the back door and Duke ran in, triumphant.

Charlo gave him a mean right hook when he came in. He does that, when annoyed.

And he was really annoyed.

This afternoon, I told Caden-6yr and Seth-4yr all about it. Caden-6yr was horrified over the exploitation of the dog. “I do not feel good about this. Duke is our dog, and I don’t like it that they filmed him. What he does in our backyard is private.”

“You mean, poop?”

“No. WhatEVER he does. Those are his… his… details. Private details.”

I was as stunned at his phrasing as I was at his sentiment. I glanced guiltily at my laptop. Hmm. Public knowledge of the details of the dog’s life is wrong… I wonder if I’ve ever mentioned this website… and how I write about the details of the kids’ lives… huh. Well. That’ll be a fun revelation one day.

He mentioned his new favorite word: “Embarrassing.”  Caden-6yr is all about the word ‘embarrassing.’ He thinks Duke will be embarrassed if he ever sees the commercial. And depending on the camera angles and potential close-ups on his poop, I can see Caden-6yr’s point.

But he seems really okay with it for now.

He was going for soulful. Soulful, mixed with a little ‘check out the bendy thing I can do with ankles!’

Charlo had to be held like a baby and assured of his numerous star qualities.

It was kinda hard to photograph, since he was so close. And depressed. But you get the idea.



Hair. Snake. Snow. Bath. More Snow.

February 11th, 2010 at 2:39 pm » Comments (1)

Despite the phone call at 6:30 this morning, and other factors, it’s a REALLY good day.

The recording on the other end of the line said, “School will start on time today. Please press 1 to hear this message again.”

I didn’t.

But maybe I shoulda.

Because it was 6:30 in the morning, I didn’t wonder why that phone call was made, either. 45 minutes later I woke up enough to think that looking out the window was a good idea.  There was some snow, but not bad.

Yes. Here, if it snows, sometimes you get a recorded message on the phone at 6:30 telling you to take note!  it’s all okay and life will go on as normal. Isn’t Texas great?

I wish the rest of the nation could have snow days like we do them here. Some of y’all have had some really awful snow days. I know. I’ve read your blogs. I worried about you and prayed for you. And if you’re one of those, maybe you should click away until June or something because my snow day is sweet.

I immediately had to cut back on all nonessential morning routine items in order to try to get the kids out the door, allowing for extra slow drive time. (This would have not been necessary had I really understood the gist of the whole warning message and taken. a. note.)  On the nonessential morning routine items list is Taming The Crazy Hair. It takes a while.

And failure to complete the necessary Taming steps ensures I have a real good impersonation of a tumbleweed on my head. Same density, color, shape, size. And all day I SEE it because it’s so huge and constant and it mocks me. Ha Ha! I’m a tumbleweed. In WEST TEXAS. Ha! Get it?

It really isn’t very funny, but it thinks it is.

So the hair went crazy and we were still a little late to school, but no one was taking names. It’s like that here. Snow? Oh my gosh, we prayed for your safe arrival and no of course don’t worry that you’re late. (Yes. That really was said by an angel of a teacher today. She also didn’t mention the tumbleweed. Don’t you love Texas? )

Later, my mom  invited me over to try out her bathtub.

Maybe that doesnt sound like your usual invitation. It’s not a usual day.

In recent years, the bathtub industry has apparently done brilliant things with little bubbles and waves and tiny jets and self drying features.  (the tub dries itself, not the person.)  My mother’s bathtub is my new best friend. If you’re antisocial, yes, your best friend CAN ba a bathtub. A bathtub not your own, even! I will visit and spend quality time with it often. It was like a massage made especially for people who don’t like strangers touching them. And without the hands. And with water. And bubbles. And a big green toy snake that Seth-4yr thought I’d like.

It was a perfect suggestion for today.

The bath, not the big green toy snake.

But that was sweet, too.

Snow falling outside. Mike and Kim-15yr en route from lands afar.  I never wanted to get out.

Seth-4yr stayed and napped there. And I’m here. Ahhh. That’s mom-luxury.

Snow outside, and inside the cat and the dog are napping by the fire in the fireplace.

Snow day,  Texas style.


So I’m Not Her. OR Her. Whatever.

February 8th, 2010 at 2:40 pm » Comments (5)

J-Mom has moved out. She took her cat. (of course.) LaLa, my sister, came to unpack her and may never get to leave thanks to the weather and the mystifying inability of the airport to fix some persistent technical difficulties. But that’s okay. We like her, and she can stay.

Duke is hardest hit. He loves my mom, in his big quiet dog way. Whenever I come home now – without her –  he looks at me like, “Oh. Great. You’re not HER.” And then he stomps off to pout about it. That’s getting old. I told him that women really hate that sort of vibe. The ‘you’re not HER’ vibe, and the stomping and the pouting. But he didn’t care.

Her new house doesn’t have a fence yet, so he can’t go visit. If this keeps up, I will put up that fence mySELF just to get the dog to stop it.

I put up a fence once. For a dog. With my dad. QUITE enjoyed the experience and could totally do it again.

I wish I had time this week to just whip up a good fence. But I managed to sign up to help or do unnecessarily complicated things for THREE Valentines parties and no, I don’t know what I was thinking. No one ASKED me to just be crazy like that. Two of the parties are at the same time. And? Not at the same place.

And I’m getting a late start on the ‘write your name on the Valentines’ project. It’s always best at this house to start that really early , like April.  That way,  they just have to do a couple a night and then they’re all ready. What usually happens is I totally forget and then make the sweet babies write their names 9000 times until they’re all cramped up and crying and begging for bed. Or that’s how it seems.

All in the name of love.

Also in the name of love. Kim-15 yr is coming for a visit. She’s trying to decide if we’re a good family for her to live with in the future.

No pressure or anything.

And, to make things just a bit worse,  she’s really mad at us.

Don’t know why, this time, but we’ll get the details tomorrow.

Her big issue is actually similar to Duke’s. The ‘oh great. You’re still. not. HER. ‘ thing. “Her” being the biological mom that I cannot be.    And that’s okay.  That’s understandable.

So I’m not ‘her.’ And I can’t cook. These things are definitely not in my favor. But I make up for it in other mom-like ways like helping with too many school parties, and making Valentines  SO MUCH FUN YOU’LL HATE IT AND WHY IS MY NAME SOOOOO LONG, AND OW WITH THE HAND CRAMP MOM.

But maybe she’ll visit and decide it’ll work and is worth trying.

You don’t have to do the sign-your-name-Valentine- Torture when you’re 15 anyway.


Ethan-9yr. Being Ethan-9yr.

February 4th, 2010 at 7:53 pm » Comments (1)

Ethan-9yr, on why he spouted off unsolicited study goals in the car – SHOCKING me – and then promptly forgot them upon arriving home: “I saw this Lego piece on the floor outside my room and I’ve been looking for it FOREVER.”

I wait.

So he goes on. “I was overwhelmed.”

Keeping a straight face, somehow, I wait.

“Overwhelmed with… with… thanksgiving.  And gratitude.”

My mom manages to not say anything, or laugh. I’m grateful for that, because I know that if I can just keep my mouth shut, Ethan-9yr will keep talking, and when he gets like this, it’s really too funny to interrupt.

Caden-5yr pipes up and says, “Thanksgiving and love. Yes.” He nods sagely, in an effort to help his brother.

I look back to Ethan-9yr, who says solemnly, “Mom, I was just overwhelmed with thanksgiving to the LORD for finding this Lego.”

It’s getting so thick I slip right off the chair and laugh in a mom-puddle on the floor.

“WHAT? It’s good to have gratitude! MOM!”

I can’t focus on gratitude though, because I’m on the floor, laughing. Where maybe I’ll find a Lego and become so overwhelmed with gratitude and thanksgiving that I forget all about my lofty ideas of creating an edible dinner and finishing the laundry.

Ah, Ethan-9yr. The Lord is good.

I’m pretty overwhelmed with how He gave me you.


Not Your Online Drugstore

February 3rd, 2010 at 1:27 pm » Comments (1)

For those of you who are way too interested:

I do not sell accupril. Don’t even know what it is. No idea where you’re all coming from, but go back there. Leave me alone.

(I’ll be cheerier tomorrow. Promise.)