Monday, January 19, 2009

Nothing Like Heavy Labor

On a snowy day, there's nothing my boys like better than bundling up, plunging out in the fluff and hauling ass down the back hill on their snow tubes. Well, that's what they usually like to do. However, after Rob filled Max's head with scouting ideas and igloo-making plans, Max's outdoor plans have changed lately. He marked a prime spot for me to shovel a snow pile that would "settle and be sturdy for a snow house". He began the project, digging at the snow like a dog just finding a long lost ham bone. I stepped outside to shovel the driveway clean, only to be instructed on what had to be done next in his plan. I obliged and plowed the snow over to his pile. I let them dig at it for awhile as I finished up the end of the driveway. Then, just to be a sport, I went over and showed them a few techniques to carve it out with the shovel. At that point, they both stood up, brushed the snow off their pants and placed their hands on their hips. They turned into directors with a vision and I was the laborer. "Just, dig in there a little farther so I can actually sit in it". "That's it, and clean up that pile you just knocked down". "Hmmm, maybe you better stabilize the other side, too". "Hey MOM, you made mine fall down, get over here and fix it". "You made Max's good and mine bad, I can't fit in it." After finishing the driveway and digging as much as I felt would appease them, I tromped inside and left them to enjoy their masterpiece. No sooner had I closed the door and removed my gear, when they were at the door, herding in saying they were bored now and coming in. I guess what I'm left wondering is, what was more entertaining for them? Directing me like a puppet or making the snow house, only to abandon it for the toys in the house?

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Amazing Mother/Son Fainting Duo!!

As I was laying on the couch in the basement yesterday, moaning in pain and sweating beads of cold sweat, it occurred to me that I may have passed on an undesirable trait to my eldest son, Max. I'm a fainter. He's a fainter. We are fainters.

It all started yesterday as I was sitting cross legged on an end table in the basement, watching Rob hang drywall. I am not the most poised person usually and could in fact be labeled in big bold letters "hopelessly clumsy". I wasn't concerned with this issue as I was perched on the end table downstairs. It's a sturdily-made hulking wooden beast of a bygone era we thought would be just the right touch in our basement/family room. Anyhow, as I was chatting away, I noticed the seat under my uhm, seat, was swaying backwards. In a cartoonish, slow-motion fashion, I flapped my arms in great sweeping circles, convinced that this action would surely reverse the tipping backward effect. It did not. Had I simply tipped over backward, things may not have been so bad. Girlfriend can take a fall (I already told you, I'm clumsy, didn't I?). However, our exercise machine, the Great and All-Powerful Elliptical, was situated just behind me. In my crash backward, the small of my back cracked down on the machine and caused blinding, drooling pain. Yes, I was indeed drooling. I hunkered over, only to come to seconds later to the blinding pain, Miles trying to ride me like a horse thinking it was some great fun game, and Rob losing his cool, yelling at Miles, kicking the dog away from me and peppering in frantic profanities. I passed out again and came to with Rob yelling at me "CAN YOU MOVE?!". Yes, but I don wanna. "CAN YOU FEEL YOUR LEGS!?" Ya, stop yelling at me, willya? "I THINK YOU MAY NEED TO SEE A DR." Oh, no, I have rehearsal this afternoon, then a skin care party, I just don't have the time. Oh, and not another bill right now, either. Yikes. Eventually, I made it up and over to the couch, where I iced my back and sipped some water and listened to Rob talking to his sister on the phone (she's a nurse) about how I should stop fooling around and be careful. He hung up the phone and mentioned about how Max had the same issue last year a couple of times. Oh Yeah! I thought.

Last Fall Max's class when to the wildlife sanctuary in town and were handcrafting some birdhouses. As he swung his hammer, he missed the target and hit his thumb. Having the same pain reflex as me... he fainted. The hammered thumb wasn't really all that bad. The concussion caused by his faint was. It meant a trip to the Dr., then to Baystate via ambulance. Very exciting business for a six year old. And then in the Spring, after a fall on the playground, he was on his way to the nurse's office for some cleaning up, when the whole situation just overwhelmed his little self and he went limp next to the teacher assisting him. After this, the school nurse and I discussed. Max is now an official "fainter" in the school's medical records and she now knows, if Max gets injured, watch out!

So, there you have it. We are an odd little pair. The "Oh-n0-it-hurts-I-think-I-may-just...hey-what-happened?" mother/son duo. You may want to document this in case we ever visit your home sometime, too.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

All Hell Breaks Loose On Saturdays

Monday through Friday we are on a tight schedule in the morning to get breakfast, take showers/tubbies, get dressed and ready for the bus. Our little system usually works quite well, and the down time that's left gets used up peacefully; quietly watching a quick episode of Sponge Bob, or playing a video game, or setting up matchbox cars all over the hallway for an unsuspecting parent to step on, and rather ungracefully skate into a wall, leaving an array of ugly bruises and sore feet. Sure, there may be small quarrels over the t.v., or who gets to use the laptop, or what to wear for the day, but they're usually small and smoothed over easily enough.

Saturday blows in like the stink from the sewage treatment plant on a windy day. While I look forward to Saturday all week, it never fails to arrive like a kick in the ass. I wake up to Miles screaming about something that doesn't meet his expectations (his choice of breakfast, someone else watching a television program, the dog chewed his Lego's, he peed his pants and a parental figure is insisting on him changing his clothing). Max is heard in the background complaining that there's nothing to dooooooo and he never gets any time on the computer, and Miles is bothering him. This usually prompts an argument between the two in which an action figure who goes by the name of "Red Power Ranger-with-the-missing-hand-because-Sammy-chewed-it-off-and-ate-it-then-pooped-it-out" is used as a weapon upside the face. Someone wails. The other retaliates by karate-chopping his brother with one of the many "play" swords we have kicking around this house. The other one wails. Meanwhile, we discover the pile of poo that Sammy the dog has left because it's Saturday and we didn't get him out first thing in the morning like usual. And by "discover", I mean someone has stepped in it.

All this is happening while that first sip of coffee is being consumed and we're trying to clear the fog from our brains. I have decided that the easiest thing to do is lock our children in their own rooms until I feel like letting them out. It actually worked quite well for us this morning. Sure, there were some tears initially, but in all fairness, they were both crying already. I have no pangs of sympathy for them, their rooms are stocked full of interesting toys, books, video games etc., with no one else to bother them, take their toys and get into what they are trying to do. However, it's at this moment of solitude that they suddenly realize they sure do love their brother and feel bad about that black eye and do, in fact, want to play nicely. They will exit their rooms with a renewed sense of familial love and may even hug their sibling affectionately before launching into a new battle over who gets to watch what show and sit in the choice sofa section.

By this time in the morning Rob and I are already perfectly annoyed with our children and thinking about if there are any pressing chores or errands to do that will extract us from their presence. It's just something about Saturdays, always so pleasantly anticipated, so hard to wake up to.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Oh, how times have changed.

Two weeks ago, I was a chaperon on Miles' preschool class field trip to Cook's Orchard. Although Max has had many field trips since starting his schooling, I was never able to be a parent volunteer because I had my little Miley. Well, seeing as how little Miley is now getting on to be school-age, I can now tag along. The day was sunny and crisp and perfectly fall, and we all loaded onto the big yellow school bus. This was wildly thrilling for Miles, and I felt a strange flashback to high school climbing up the steps. We settled into a seat (Miles kneeling to see over the seat, and me, with my legs twisted sideways and my knees crushed into the green plastic seats.) and even I felt a twinge of excited anticipation and the bus rolled out. I was chatting with Miles about the bus, and how "awesome" it was when I noticed this above the front window.

Now, I sure as hell don't remember that from high school. I know it's been around eleven years or so, but c'mon, it's only been eleven years or so!! Do bus drivers nowadays really have a big problem with bodily fluid? I know, I know, we have to be careful in this day and age. It just gave me a laugh, is all. A funny little choked-in-the-back-of-your-throat kind of laugh. The kind where you look around at all the other adults on the bus and think "How can they not notice this??". I took this shot and passed my camera to my friend Jen, who smiled and shook her head (probably thinking I was a lunatic or a sicko). Am I the only one who thinks this is creepy??

Saturday, October 04, 2008

On Sanding Spackled Walls...

When your intentions are to help a friend out with fixing up their new home, don't get all gussied up before hand. There's just no sense it. Or, is there?

Since starting my own Mary Kay business, I have determined that the best way to peddle my wares is to be beautiful 24/7. That entails waking up each morning, cleansing, moisturizing and becoming beautiful (not sure how? just ask!). This readies me for the task of making breakfast, or waiting for the bus with Max, or walking the dog. 'Cause darn it, you just never can tell when someone will see you and you may or may not have an opportunity to hand out your business card. And girlfriends, ain't no one gonna buy beauty products from a haggy momma who hasn't gotten perttied up. Seriously, it's a fear of mine that one of my many friendly neighbors will stop by on a walk and we'll get to talking and there I'll be all crusty-eyed and rumpled. SO, I've made a point to put make-up on each and every day (barring sick days, of course) as a way to feel fabulous and to represent. Today was no different.

At 10am, I was showered, blow-dried, and done up with no where in particular to go. I had scheduled today to help a friend move, but they pushed their plans back a week because they weren't ready yet. As I looked around at more laundry to be done, and my kids bickering, I declared we were going over to see if we could help out. So, Rob and I brought the kids over to entertain their kids and offer ourselves up as helpers for the morning. Our first assignment, sanding the living room walls. I said, "no problem!", grabbed a block and some sand paper and went at it. After about 15 minutes another helper came in to see the progress, took one look at me and laughed. People, when someone takes a look at you and laughs, that's not good. There are plenty of times in my day when I act like an ass to get people to laugh, but this wasn't one of them. I looked bewildered at Rob, who gently informed me I was covered in white dust. I thought that was obvious, we were sanding spackle. Apparently, though, I was really going at it, and as the dust settled all around me, it settled perfectly on my make-up. My face was perfectly powdered with white, seeing as how my Mineral Powder Foundation in Ivory #2 had set the perfect foundation for spackle dust. Annoyed, but determined to be productive, I plugged away and finished up. Then I shook myself out outside and rinsed my face clean. After a quick assessment, I established that I was still presentable, and went to scrape out nasty old bathroom caulking.

Most people don't feel glamorous digging moldy old caulk out of a bathtub, but I felt fairly sure I looked put together doing my dirty work. After finishing up my work and calling it a day, I returned home with Miley while Rob and Max went off to a Cub Scouts function. We've walked the dog, eaten our dinner and Miley had his tubby. And you know what? I still look fabulous!

At this point in the day, with no plans of going out, I feel fairly safe in cleansing my face, applying my night solution and moisturizer, and hopping into my pajama pants for a hot night of watching Spongebob Squarepants. Whoot!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Farewell to a Friendly Fish

Monday morning started like any other. The dog pooed in the living room. Miles awoke and demanded "cereal and JUICE." I surveyed the pile of papers, work, school notices and other stuff on the counter and made mental notes to deal with said crap after my coffee. I took a sip of my coffee and the next time I got around to it was cold and I dumped it. I convinced my eldest beast that he needed to get his shower done so we weren't rushing at the last minute. I was packing eldest beasts snack when Miles mentioned Plop was sleeping funny. I glanced over to the 10 gallon tank on the counter and saw, in fact, that Plop was indeed sleeping funny. Funny being upside down, slightly folded in half. I sighed and tapped the glass. I took a deep breath and told Miles I thought Plop might be dead. "Yeah, he sure is dead", Miles agreed with all the casualness of someone noticing the time and temperature at the bank. Miles' main interest was in what we would DO with Plop. I was relieved that apparently Miles was a (heartless) 3-year-old who could care less about the family fish. After all, what had Plop done for Miles lately?? I steeled myself for the real drama, though, when I had to break the news to Max. Max chose Plop out of all the gold fish at PetCo. around three years ago, named him with absolute certainty, and overfed him regularly during those first few months. (After that, no one gave a poo about Plop, but me and occasionally Rob, who cleaned the tank, fed him daily and fretted over the cat's glutinous attention to him.) That morning was like stepping into a Meryl Streep film, with dramatics and emotion flowing like a waterfall. Upon breaking the news to my nearly 7-year-old softy, his face crumpled, his throat emitted a high-pitched squeak and then, he threw himself upon the floor and sobbed for a good three minutes. After that, he quelled his tears and began asking a myriad of questions about Plops feelings, his spiritual whereabouts, his extended fish family in heaven. I answered to best of my 6am cognitive ability, and we decided to have an impromptu fish farewell ceremony. We scooped Plop from his watery grave, laid him in and old nail box made of cardboard and picked a tree-sheltered spot down by the shed to lay Plop to rest. With the exception of Rob, who was dapperly dressed for work, we were the sight in our pajamas. Well, technically Max was dressed in what we have affectionately titled his "Hugh Heffner" robe which is his preference to pajamas. Plop was laid to rest, his tank was emptied and stored away (YAY, counter space again!!) and that was that. It wasn't until later in the day I noticed the shovels hauled out of the shed and the pile of dirt. Miles, my outdoor adventurer had decided he wanted to take a look at Plop and check on him. We had a brief, but firm chat about not EVER doing that again.

Plop was a good pet. He was friendly. He never complained. He always greeted me with a smile and a wave of his fin. He never scratched my furniture or my children. He never pooed in my living room. I didn't have to walk him, or even touch him for that matter. He was with us for approximately three years and he was, indeed, a good fish.

Friday, June 27, 2008

When Animals Attack

It's 4:30am. Wee Beast is stirring. After told that it's still night time and he needs to go back to sleep, he informs me that he wants to be awake and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I snort and say "later". Given the option of staying in his own bed, or snuggling in ours, he opts for our bed. Upon arrival, he locates Sammy the dog, snoring blissfully in his spot in the middle. Wee Beast is delighted and lays his head on Sammy the dog. Sammy the dog snorffles and scoots down the bed some. Wee Beast scoots down the bed some and lays on top of the dog. I inform Wee Beast that he needs to be quiet and be still if he wants to stay. He lays down. Then he sits up and begins to play with the dog. Again, I inform Miles of the guidelines and he lays down. Then he sits up. Then, he abandons the bedroom. At that point I fall asleep, assuming he's finding some toys to entertain himself with.
It's 6:30am. Husband informs me Wee Beast has found himself a snack and directs me to Exhibit A. This box of graham crackers was found in Wee Beast's bedroom. In order to survive his hunger pangs, he literally ripped open the box and consumed many many crackers. Interestingly, he has not asked me for breakfast this morning.
It's 8:00am. I am wondering when Wee Beast will pass out from sheer exhaustion. Hopefully he will, so that this cycle does not continue. I'm just glad he wasn't hankering for the pork chops in the fridge.... shudder.