How Do We Love Thee, Air Conditioning? Let Us Count The Ways!

Do you know this man?

carrier-history-willis-carrier-519x219-070114My guess is that you more than likely do not, seeing as how he was born in 1876.  And 1876?  Well, that puts a person at an age that’s beyond even my own.

Anyway.

That man’s name is Willis Carrier, and I’d like us all to stand up and give him a nice slow-clap, because Willis invented air conditioning.  Willis lost me at that part in his online biography where it states that he realized he could “dry air by passing it through water to create fog,” because that’s entirely too much science for me.  Could I add punctuation to his written theories and essays, and let him know when he dangled participles?  Yes.  I could do that.  Could I contribute anything to lab work, other than to ask him occasionally if he’d like me to make a ham sandwich while he continued inventing fog?  No.  It’s because drying air with a trip through some water isn’t something that I’m familiar with, but let me tell you this:

I appreciate Willis Carrier this week and what he has done for mankind.

God bless central air conditioning, because this week has been hot enough to melt rock.

Anyway.

Thing 2 had his first soccer game this evening, and sadly, I didn’t have my camera with me.  My very full-to-the-brim-with-all-the-pictures memory card wouldn’t talk nicely to my Apple computer, so guess who still has a full memory card that refuses to hold one more photograph?

Yes.  That would be me.  I need to find a nice IT guy to look at my computer and determine why she’s being all grouchy to me when I ask her to do something simple, like HERE.  PUT THESE PICTURES IN THIS FOLDER AND KEEP THEM THERE UNTIL FOREVER.  It’s not rocket science, Apple!

It’s hard to play soccer when it’s 427 degrees outside.  It’s hard to breathe when it’s that hot.  My lungs kept igniting, and the sweat made me feel like I’d just showered in a sauna.

During the first half of the game, Thing 2 was playing defense.  A little girl from the opposing team came downfield, heading right for him.  He swiftly took the ball away from her, turned around with it, dribbled it straight for the other team’s net…

… and promptly scored a point for them.  He cheered for himself and grinned from ear to ear, and kind of did a little celebratory dance to let everyone know that YES!  I KICKED THAT SUCKER IN THERE!

Then… when one of his teammates gently and oh-so-softly kicked the ball across the line, the ref blew the whistle and announced, “Out of bounds!”  Thing 2 must’ve missed that part, because he plowed full force into the ball, stole it away before the referee could get to it, took it on a breakaway clear down the field — the ENTIRE field, from one goal net to the other — dribbled it around his own net, came back into bounds on the opposite side of his net, and BOOM!

He scored again.

There was just that little technicality about how the ball was out of play before he played it.

Rules, schmules.

In the second half of the game, the heat slapped Thing 2 across the face like a horrid enemy, and he asked his coach if he could just lay down in the grass, right there on the field, in the middle of the game.  After he gathered enough strength to sit upright again, with the game going on around him, he picked a couple of dandelions and pointed out that there was an airplane streaking across the sky.  Our boy was SO OVER soccer in the heat.

After Thing 2’s game, we picked the boy up from the golf course, where thankfully he enjoyed working indoors in the pro shop, with all the air conditioning surrounding him, and then we had ice cream for dinner.

Yes.  We did.

WE HAD ICE CREAM FOR DINNER.  I’ll even shout it out in all caps.

That’s what this summer has come to.  It’s too hot for real food.

Y’all have a merry weekend, and don’t forget to celebrate Willis Carrier’s achievements, as you crank your thermostats down to 31 degrees tonight.

A Little Tolstoy

“Ma?  Really!  Could you just give me some quiet for a minute?  My teacher put War and Peace on our preschool’s summer reading list.  I’m only on page four, because I keep giving in to the siren song that the toy tractors on the dirt pile sing to me.  I’ve gotta get this thing read by the end of August!”

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Driving In The Heat

Well.

Our weather was a bit aggressive today.  I was afraid to hit my brakes on the Suburban at stoplights, because I wasn’t fully convinced that my tires wouldn’t just MELT OFF while we were sitting motionless on hot asphalt.

So there was that bit of wicked heat to deal with.  I’m trying to remember winter, when I actually complained about being cold.  I’d like to try it out again for a day.

This morning, the boy had to be at work at 8 AM at the golf course, so I encouraged him to GET OUT OF BED RIGHT NOW!  YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE!  HOW WILL YOU EVER MAKE MORNING CLASSES IN COLLEGE WITHOUT ME?  OH!  THAT’S RIGHT!  YOU WON’T!  THAT’S WHY I’M HOMESCHOOLING YOU FOR COLLEGE!!

Except that’s just my public excuse.  The real reason that I’m going to homeschool the boy for college is because my heart is not going to stand up successfully to having him fly our little nest in three short years.

After much encouragement to just HURRY, HURRY, HURRY, I did get the boy to the golf course at precisely 7:56 this morning.  We are referring to that as a little Work Victory, considering that he didn’t even get out of the shower until 7:35, and we needed eleven minutes for driving.  I’m trying not to be jealous of the time that boys DON’T NEED to blow dry and curl their hair, apply mascara and change out of six different outfits before they settle on one to actually wear.

IMG_6761It was hard, but I managed to get a quick snapshot of my big boy before he grabbed his golf clubs out of the back of the Suburban and left.  He’s helping teach lessons in a junior golf program this week, for little kiddos.

After we left him at the golf course, Thing 2 and I drove back home, where we made a grocery list that was longer than Santa’s list, because we were out of everything, except a package of green onions in the refrigerator that had turned to black slime.

Apparently, someone forgot those.

I’m not pointing any fingers as to who forgot them, though.

Right before we left for the grocery store, a work crew arrived to do some yard work for us.  Mainly, they’re going to do a quick cleanup of our rock beds, which I haven’t had time to do. Thing 2 raced outside to visit with them, because his life goal is to speak to every person on this planet at least once before Jesus returns.  Seriously, that smaller kid of ours knows no strangers; he talks to ALL OF THE PEOPLE, ALL OF THE TIME.

Or really, he just TALKS ALL OF THE TIME.  As in, nonstop.

He. Talks.

Without. Ceasing.

While he was asking fourteen thousand questions on what the crew would be doing today, I looked down in the grass, and behold!  There, forty-six miles away from any water source was an itty bitty frog.  I pointed him out to Thing 2, who pounced on him like a rat on a bag of forgotten Cheetos.  There was much ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the little amphibian, and a proclamation that I WILL KEEP HIM FOREVER, MOM!

IMG_6766 IMG_6763Except, no.  No, you wont.  We have had frogs and toads in tanks at our house before, and the end result is that Mama always ends up cleaning those things at the sink in the laundry room, by her lonesome self, even though the little people make promises to do it.

Thing 2 ended up setting the frog down in one of the work crew’s buckets, as I mouthed the words from behind him, “SET.  IT.  LOOSE!!!!”  Because I’m paying these people, they were forced to listen to me, over the preschooler yammering on and on about, “Keep my frog safe!”

We loaded up into the Suburban then, and off we went…

… for six hundred and nineteen thousand pounds of goodies from Walmart.

The boy was supposed to be done teaching lessons in the junior golf program at 12:00, so it was very refreshing when he texted me at 11:07, just as I was transferring bags of groceries from the shopping cart to the back of our vehicle, to say, “I’m actually gonna be done at 11:30.”

It was not enough time to successfully run home and unload the poundage that I had in plastic Walmart bags… yet it was too much time to drive out to the golf course to wait for him, with cartons of milk and half and half and containers of ham lunch meat baking in the makeshift oven that the Suburban would become, as we sat in the intense heat.

So… I texted my child and told him, “We will be there as soon as we can.  You may have to wait a bit on us.”

And that’s when we drove like bandits in a stolen car, back to our house, where we quickly, quickly, oh-so-very-quickly hauled in all of those bags and threw the refrigerated things into the refrigerator like they were balls being pitched in the Major League.

As we were running back outside to our Suburban, Thing 2 raced off to the work crew and hollered, “How’s my frog doing?”  This was met by the devastating news that the frog had “escaped” (ESCAPED!  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!) from the bucket.  So, you know… TEARS while we drove back out to the golf course.

I took the boy’s work shirt with him, because he had to leave that golf course to immediately go to the other golf course in town, to work the clubhouse desk.  Do you know where Small Town’s two golf courses are?  Well… they are on TOTALLY OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE COUNTY.

Bless.

I just want to know who had the strike of brilliance that it would be a good idea for the boy to work at BOTH golf courses.

In between the two courses, I did stop and buy my boy a sub sandwich, because he was dying of heat exhaustion, hunger and thirst.  I air conditioned him, I fed him, and I bought him the biggest bottle of water we could find, and then I dropped him off at the other golf course in town.

While we were still driving in the car, Grammy called to announce that the bike she and Papa had ordered for Thing 2 had just been delivered by the Fed Ex man.

So we made a stop.

IMG_6769 IMG_6772It was a breezy 102 degrees today, so walking along beside him while he rode his new bike in a nearby parking lot felt refreshing.

My armpits began to melt and what little makeup I had on dripped right off my face.

In other words, I had never looked better.

And then we ended up hitting another grocery store in town, because Walmart had been out of some items I needed.

And then we came home and unloaded.

Again.

And then Thing 2 had soccer practice, which was the equivalent of getting inside a full-body sweatsuit made out of plastic and rubber and the hair of twenty camels, and then marching across the desert, because ONE HUNDRED AND TWO FULL DEGREES, PEOPLE.

IMG_6786 IMG_6791 IMG_6793 IMG_6794After we had sweat ourselves down six clothing sizes at soccer practice, we had to pick the boy back up from the golf course, because we weren’t smart enough parents to decide that our child should apply for a hardship driver’s license, so that he could start driving alone at the age of FIFTEEN, instead of sixteen.

But this kid?

IMG_6744Yeah, he only has six more weeks between himself and that sweet sixteenth birthday, so I’m actually going to cherish these last few, precious moments of driving him all over town, all of the time.  I’m afraid I’m going to blink, and then he’ll be driving himself, in his own car, and gone will be our Car Chats.  I can’t say that I’m looking forward to that.

Y’all have a happy Tuesday night.  May your air conditioners and your ice makers be in prime, working order tonight.

Oh, Those Little People!

“I don’t know, Thing 2. I think that chipmunk saw us. I think he’s a spy for the grownups. I think that chipmunk KNOWS you’ve smuggled two full bags of marshmallows out of camp, under that blanket. I think sneaking off to eat them in the woods is a bad idea now. I don’t think I want to do this anymore!  And our parents are gonna KNOW, Thing 2! When we get back to camp, you’re gonna be dancin’ fast and talkin’ faster — you KNOW how you get with too much sugar!  Our parents will know what we did with the marshmallows!!! THING 2!!!! How can you be so calm about all of this???!!!”

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Laundry And Calves And Teeth, Oh My!

I have reached the point in the summer when I am ready for the boy to get another job.

Not another job, as in TWO JOBS at once, because do you know who would have to drive him double then?  Um, his mother.  No, I’m ready for him to get a job that comes without a specific shirt.

The boy has two blue, Adidas polos now, which are emblazoned with the golf course’s logo, and THESE are what he’s supposed to wear while he’s working.  In the beginning, I was all, “Wow!  Those are fantastic polos!”  It’s true.  Adidas was playing at the top of their varsity game when they created those shirts.  But here’s the deal:  The boy has two shirts for work, and he has worked every single day this week, which means…

… that I am constantly washing and drying and hanging and washing and drying and hanging and washing and drying and hanging those two blue shirts.

In other words, my tendency to lean toward the end of the spectrum where we usually have more dirty clothes than clean clothes has taken an enormous hit, because of all this laundry I have been forced to do, DAILY.  Those shirts aren’t going to wash themselves up, so I might as well wash everything we’ve worn this week with them.

Again.

Yes, I should just teach the boy to do his own laundry, but I have some OCD with that.  Oh, I don’t actually DO the laundry all the time, but when I do, I am a revered and honored  Stain Master, who is somewhat meticulous about soap products and stain removing products and dyed products and smells.  I’m afraid that if I turn the boy loose in the laundry room, he’ll ruin an entire load of his clothes, and listen, y’all.  That kid has grown so much lately, I’ve bought him three entire wardrobes in the past year.  Ruining an entire load of his clothes isn’t in our financial plan right now.

Besides.

While he’s been at work this week, Thing 2 and I have been in the backyard, shoveling dirt into dump trucks and joining friends with Happy Meals at the park.

And then that kid came home and mowed our yard yesterday, AFTER he’d worked.

I think I owe him some clothes washing.

And maybe even an ice cream cone or nine.

Anyway.

While the boy was off running the front desk at the clubhouse yesterday, Thing 2 and I busied ourselves by popping over to his preschool teacher’s little farm.  She has a bum calf named Matilda, who is being bottle-fed right now.

Thing 2 wasn’t quite sure what to think of that calf to begin with.  He was a bit nervous around Matilda.

IMG_9820 IMG_9824After Matilda had slurped down her milk in a very unladylike manner, Thing 2 warmed up to her.  He was chasing Matilda all over the place, while she tried to hide in the tall grass from that busy boy.

It’s safe to say that Thing 2 STARTED OUT nervous around Matilda, but finished with her making the cut for his list of BFFs.

IMG_9825On the drive home, Thing 2 wanted to know when we were going to move to a farm, so that WE could have a Matilda and chickens.  The problems with US having a bum calf that needs to be bottle fed is simply this:  She would become a pet for life, because I would be unable to send her to market.

Ever.

Welcome, dear little calf with a life expectancy of 70 yearsPlease enjoy your time in our barn, where Mama will bring you a jacket when you’re cold and hug your cute neck every single day.  You are here for life, and you will never be going for a ride in the big truck, because we all know where THAT trip takes a cow.

This morning, we continued to celebrate Summer Vacation by taking Thing 2 to get his teeth cleaned at the dentist’s office.

They have a cave in their waiting room, because this is a pediatric dental office.  That means that they REALLY UNDERSTAND kids, and LOOK AT THIS AWESOME HIDEOUT WE HAVE FOR YOU WHILE YOU WAIT!

IMG_6555 IMG_6557 IMG_6558The hygienist collected Thing 2 from the waiting room, and it was off to the races, with bubblegum-flavored toothpaste and fluoride, and a full rundown on how all of her equipment works.  Have I ever mentioned that four year olds ask a lot of questions about stuff like that?

IMG_6560 IMG_6561 IMG_6562 IMG_6564 IMG_6566The little man even got X-rays of his teeth this morning.

IMG_6569And then the dentist came out and gave me the lowdown on those X-rays.

Apparently, our four year old’s permanent teeth are on the brink of coming in.  And, apparently, our four year old’s baby teeth are on the brink of loosening themselves up and falling out.  The X-rays didn’t lie, because the roots on those precious baby teeth are almost fully dissolved, and the exam today showed that the front teeth are actually a wee bit loose.

And by a wee bit loose, the dentist said, “The tooth fairy is going to visit your house before the 5th birthday arrives, for sure.  My guess is that she’ll fly into your home one evening later this summer.”

People!

That man might just have well announced, “And tomorrow, we’re sending your baby to college,” for all the emotional damage his words did to me!  I was a little emotional about the baby teeth being ready to come out already.  The dentist explained, “It’s rare for a four year old to get loose teeth and lose them, but it happens.  His big teeth have decided they’re ready to start pushing through the gums very soon.  He’s got the mouth of a kindergarten kiddo right now.”

So, we left the dentist’s office with a balloon, and then went to get Thing 2’s driver’s license and register him for the draft at the post office.

IMG_6573Y’all, this is my baby we’re talking about!  Hubs and I won’t have any more little people at our house to lose their front teeth, and I’m not emotionally prepared to handle this at such an early age.

Kindergarten?

Yes.

But at four years old?

That’s why God gave grapes to mankind.  It’s times like these when the only thing that will help is a nice glass of wine.

Y’all have a good weekend.  I’ll just be over here, coming to terms with the fact that we may not be able to eat corn on the cob this summer.

Two Dollars’ Worth Of Blue Stickiness

Small Town, USA has added a new vehicle to her streets, and the sound that vehicle makes has everyone running to catch it.

It’s an ice cream truck.

Except, it’s not really an ice cream truck, because it’s a shaved ice truck, which is not at all the same.  I’m not a fan of the shaved ice with sugary syrup poured over the top, so resisting the sing-song bells and music isn’t going to be a problem for me.

(Unless the shaved ice truck has a secret compartment for salt and limes.)

Last night, we heard the truck drive into our subdivision, while we were outside, digging in the backyard.  Perhaps I should clarify that a bit.  Hubs and I were sitting on the deck, talking about how nice it would be to join the civilized world and actually FINISH our backyard landscaping, while Thing 2 was digging in the enormous mound of dirt we own.

Our four-year-old was also using a stick as a machete to cut through the waist-high weeds.

We like to give him the full Indiana Jones experience when he’s playing outside.  It’s a little parenting blessing we’re capable of pulling off.

Now, Thing 2 cannot hear us, from four feet away, say to him in our LOUD parenting voices, “DON’T BEAT THAT GIANT STICK ON THE SIDE OF THE HOUSE,” but he can hear the soft jingle of this new truck in town, from four miles away.  His ears went back, like a search and rescue dog picking up a distant sound, while he tilted his head to one side… listening… listening… LISTENING.

And then he hollered out, “I hear something!  It’s funny music!”

That’s when Hubs yelled, “Oh, my gosh!  IT’S THE NEW ICE CREAM TRUCK!!!”  It’s because Hubs received zero-point-zero grams of carbs on his dinner plate last night, in Mama’s effort to SWING THIS EATING TRAIN AROUND TO THE HEALTHY END, and his stomach still had plenty of room in it.  It’s where the baked potato and garlic bread would’ve gone, had Mama not beat that carb horse deader than the Godfather would’ve done it this past week.

I’m not sure who ran to the house quicker last night… Thing 2, or his still-hungry dad.  They were on a mission to find themselves some money.

Quick!  Search the sofa cushions!  Break the piggy bank on your dresser!  Look on the shelf by Mama’s dryer!  Find us some quarters, Son!  It’s the ice cream truck!

By the time I had produced real paper money for the two of them, who had visions of sprinkles and chocolate-coating dancing in their eyes, the ice cream truck was long gone.  We didn’t let that stop us, though.  We simply loaded ourselves up into the Suburban, and drove that thing like we were Bo and Luke Duke, following the distant strains of music.

giphyWe caught the truck several blocks away…

… and THAT is when we realized that it doesn’t actually sell ice cream, because it is a truck dedicated to the lone ingredient of SHAVED ICE IN A CUP.

It may have been the biggest letdown of 2016.  I’m fairly certain that our faces looked exactly like this:

giphyOn the side of the truck, you can find eighty-six levers, so that you can dispense your own flavors.  Thing 2 thought he had hit the biggest vein of an active gold mine ever discovered on American soil, while his parents were still trying to deal with the fact that there would be no ice cream sandwiches to fulfill their carb cravings.

I can officially go on record to say that Thing 2 is a convert to the dark side of shaved ice covered in goo.

He IS a fan, people.

image1 IMG_2801Our small boy kept shoving his spoon beneath the levers and pouring syrup straight onto it, for a little flavor shot.  He threw those little flavor shots back like he had already been to college.

I think we may be in trouble with this one.

In the end, he chose blue raspberry for his ice.  (His lips were already stained like a rainbow, from the flavor shots he was slamming back at lightning-strike speeds.)  I like to pretend that there were no artificial colors in the blue raspberry… but BLUE, people.

Blue.

We said goodbye to the shaved ice folks, who apparently DO NOT have a secret compartment for salt and limes for the taller kids, and we walked back to our Suburban.

And exactly eight seconds later — just enough time to declare someone a bull riding champion in the world of rodeo — Thing 2 dropped his entire cup of ice and fake blue syrup into the backseat.  Every last drop of that blue goodness oozed across the leather seat and dripped to the floor.  We had the perfect bait for attracting every biting ant this side of the Mississippi River.

Which…

… is why Hubs then explained to Thing 2 that when he hears the music playing loudly out of the shaved ice truck, it means that they are PLUM DADGUM ALL OUT OF shaved ice for the day, so they won’t have any for us to buy.

You’re welcome for that little bit of parenting brilliance, y’all.  Feel free to use it on your own children.

That Time When Cinderella’s Ball Turned Out To Be A Tractor Ride

Today is Tuesday, and do you know what?  It doesn’t even matter!  And… I’m only a little ashamed that I actually KNOW that it’s Tuesday, because we haven’t quite reached the point in our Summer Vacation where Mama has to stop to ask Siri what day it actually is.  We’re so excited about just flat-out LOSING TRACK OF our days of the week; it’s how Summer Vacation is supposed to be.

I think we still know our Mondays from our Tuesdays because the boy has a job, and we kind of tend to need to know which days of the week he has to be at the golf course by 7 AM and which days of the week he doesn’t need to arrive until 10 AM.  Basically, all I’m doing is taking his week-long schedules and punching them into my iPhone, so that it beeps and chimes and whistles at me whenever I need to make sure he is actually out of bed, upright, showered with his teeth brushed, and ready to go gather range balls, sell memberships, book tee times, wash golf carts, and grill the occasional hamburger.

Truthfully, the boy is LOVING his job.  He’s working every part of one golf course, literally from washing the golf carts to working the desk in the clubhouse and even slipping in behind the counter to slap frozen hamburger patties on the grill for hungry golfers who stop in between Holes 9 and 10.  Next week, he’s supposed to start working at the other golf course in town, helping with a little junior golf program.  He’ll be teaching tiny tots how to smack a ball clean off a tee, and he’s looking forward to that.  In other words, he has taken what he loves to do (golf) and turned it into a career.

Or a summer job.

Whatever.

At this point, it FEELS like a career, because he’s working all the time.  Then, when he’s not working, he’s calling me to say, “Don’t come get me yet; I’m going to pop out and golf a quick nine.”

That’s Golfer Speak for, “It’s gonna be another couple of hours before I need a ride, Ma.”  Golfers are not QUICK FOLKS, y’all.  Golf is a slow sport, that requires a lot of quiet ball study and thoughts on, “Which club should I use?” and “Which angle should I take?” and “Do I want a cheeseburger or a Polish sausage when I get back to the clubhouse?”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I tried to convince Thing 2 this morning that we should play Cinderella.  Specifically, we were going to play that part where she puts on an apron sewn by woodland creatures and then scrubs pots and pans and floors and chamber pots and picks up 1,400 toy John Deere tractors and one-point-six million Lego bricks.  I really had no intentions of getting to the part where Cinderella is visited by the Fairy Godmother, who waves her wand and creates glass slippers, because we had A TON of chores that needed to get done.  Time was not on our side for finishing all of them before the grand ball started, and glass slippers are not appropriate footwear when you own a four-year-old man child, who wants you to come outside and watch him ride his bike and then cart him off to the park to play.

Anyway.

Mam stole Thing 2 away, so that she could play with him today.  So, while the boy worked, I dedicated my TIME WITH NO CHILDREN to sweeping the house clean.  I’ve learned that my OCD can only take so many days in a row when we have to kick stuff aside on the floor when we pass through a room, before I snap and cry the Ugly Cry.

I’m looking at you, Lego Bricks.

And you, toy tractors.

And you, Matchbox cars.

And you, dirty laundry.

And also at you, golf tees.  Oh, sweet mercy!  Golf tees everywhere, from the inside of my washing machine to my bathroom linen closet and floors.  I’m so weary-exhausted-tired of stepping on golf tees with bare feet!!

In other words, we have been living like slobs, people.  But, no more.  We have dug our way out of filth and risen to a level where the Department of Family Services will have no bone to pick with us about the state of our living conditions, in regards to CHILDREN IN THE HOME.  I feel like we are now at the top of our Summer Game Plan (the SGP).

Praises.

And being at the top of our SGP means that we can leave the freshly-mopped floors behind and do the fun stuff.

Even though there were no fancy balls, breakable shoes or birds that can run a Singer sewing machine, there was time to ride the REAL tractor this week.  Thing 2 and the boys’ adorable cousin, Miss A, had a blast driving around.  Miss A is pretty much our preschooler’s best friend right now, because she took her hands OFF the steering wheel and let him drive… BY…  HIMSELF.

Yes.  He has bragged nonstop about driving that tractor HIMSELF.  Miss A handed him a gift by letting him do the steering, all alone.  She’s beautifully sweet like that.

Thing 2 LOVES the tractors.

And by LOVES… I mean he LOVES LOVES LOVES LOVES them, times infinity.

IMG_6474 IMG_6476 IMG_6478 IMG_6479 IMG_6480And… FINALLY!  He found an activity where his cowboy boots and hat turned into the appropriate dress code!

Happy Tuesday, people.

 

Summer Vacation, Week One

Well.

Our first entire week of Summer Vacation (which MUST begin with capital lettering, because IMPORTANT and also LOVELY-WONDERFUL-TIME-OF-THE-YEAR) has finished.  One of our precious weeks of freedom is over, and let me tell you this:  It was pretty much wasted on loafing around, collecting our thoughts, and just breathing deeply after the explosion of fireworks that signaled the end of May.

May is the silent killer.  I don’t care what everyone else says about December.  Yes, December really IS busy, and there’s Christmas, with all its decorations to put up and shopping to get done, and then our family likes to add chaos to the mix by having SIX family birthdays that month (Bless!), but December cannot hold a Christmas candle to May.  When May finished up and school let out for the year, we all just took a deep breath and settled ourselves onto the sofa for endless games of Candy Crush on our phones, because we were worn out.

Or maybe that was just me, because I’m the only one in this house who actually plays Candy Crush.

Oh, people.  It’s a ridiculous addiction, and one that a friend even warned me about.  A few months ago, I told her that I’d missed riding the Candy Crush Bus when everyone else was raving about it, and she told me, “Don’t even go there!  Lining up three or more matching candies will ruin your life, because it’s all you will do!”  Of course, I said, “I have no addictions, and this will be no different.”

I’m on a level now that’s even embarrassing to admit to y’all, because YES.  I have traveled so far along the Candy Crush road in the game and knocked out so many of the puzzles and dropped cherries and acorns and wrapped candies into their bins, that I could be labeled as a Professional Crusher.  I’m thinking that this isn’t exactly the status that I’d like to be known for, so I’ve had to tell myself, “Your reign at Candy Crush was a good one, but now it’s over, Sister.”

The first step is admitting you might have a problem.

And that’s when I gave it up.

But!  I should be clear that NEVER was I the kind of Candy Crush gamer where I crazily spent hard-earned American dollars on extra lives and an extra chance to move two blue candies out of the way to solve a puzzle.  No, ma’am.  I spent exactly zero-point-zero dollars on that game.  I won’t lie.  It’s frustrating after you die five times in a big hurry, because you ran out of moves before you solved the puzzle, and then you MUST WAIT for two hours to regenerate those five lives.  I see where you went with that, Candy Crush Creators!  You WANT us to be frustrated after five quick deaths, so that we WILL spend copious amounts of money, buying more chances, so that we can solve the puzzle NOW NOW NOW, but I saw it for what it was worth.

Which was nothing.

I never traded ninety-nine cents for five extra moves.

I became a professional at waiting two hours to gain my five lives back, because the waiting is FREE.

But now, the waiting is over, because I’ve set Candy Crush aside for the summer, and because I was staying up too late at night, trying to knock out JUST ONE MORE LEVEL!

Amen.

What else did we do during our first week of Summer Vacation?  Well, the boy worked.  He’s working at both of the golf courses in town, so my job is to turn on the taxi light in my Suburban when I have no passengers, which signals to the boy, “Mama can now drive you to a golf course of your choosing.”  And then I drive him.  And then he doesn’t pay me any money, like a real cab passenger would do, because that seems to be the unspoken law between mothers and their sons.

Free rides.

After I have dropped the boy off at a golf course, I will then need to return to pick him up, and I did a whole lot of that last week.

And then he has been going to see movies with his friends, and out to dinner with his friends, and golfing for fun with his friends, and over to the houses of his friends, and off to youth group for church with his friends, and THE DRIVER’S LICENSE IN AUGUST CANNOT COME SOON ENOUGH!!  Teenage boys with social lives in full swing require a lot of trips hither and yon, before their sixteenth birthdays strike.

So there has been that.

Hubs and I also rolled up our sleeves and attacked a horridly overgrown flowerbed at the top of our retaining wall.  It was SO overgrown, it sort of resembled a flowerbed in front of a haunted house.  The weeds crept in and grew tall, while the neighborhood deer population crept in and ate my little plants down to stubs over the winter.  The stubby plants didn’t survive, so I dug out their roots and planted new food for the deer to eat, in the form of THESE ARE $7 PLANTS, MR. AND MRS. WHITETAIL.  It’s because I can no longer afford to feed the deer $25 plants.   Their days of dining in my yard are now going from a gourmet, fancy restaurant, to something similar to a gas station hot dog covered in nacho cheese slime, pumped straight out of the stainless steel container.

I didn’t take any BEFORE photos, because I didn’t want to embarrass myself with exactly how bad that flowerbed looked, but behold!  I have a few AFTER snapshots.

IMG_6448 IMG_6446We also had a few play dates in the park last week.  We ate pizza, straight out of a box in the park grass, with good friends one afternoon.  Those are the spontaneous Summer Vacation moments that I love the best.

IMG_6417We also did a whole lot of laundry last week.  I didn’t take any pictures of our mounds of dirty clothes.  You’re welcome.

We power washed the deck, because THAT needed to happen.

Thing 2 declared that this would be The Summer Of The Cowboy Boots and Hat.  He has a blister on his big toe, and he doesn’t even care, because he refuses to trade those cowboy boots in for sneakers.  HE.  REFUSES.  My hardwood floors are also covered with one thousand black streaks from the bottoms of those boots, and I’m trying to breathe slowly and remind myself that kids are only little once, and then they grow up and leave home and never scuff your floors again.

IMG_6460 IMG_6424

IMG_6485The cowboy boots and crushed cowboy hat are with Thing 2, wherever he goes these days…

IMG_6433… even if he’s outside, playing basketball with the neighbor boy, who is home from college for the summer.

We had dinner with friends a couple of different times last week.  We flopped on patios and we sat politely in restaurants, and we talked and laughed and said, “Welcome, Summer Vacation, when everything slows down enough that we have time to do what we want to do!”

I had dates with my boys, too.

Thing 2 had coffee and brownies with me at a coffee house…

IMG_6425… while the boy devoured an entire shrimp basket from a local seafood truck that serves lunch and dinner.

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The boy and I took Thing 2 to see Shaun the Sheep at the theater for an afternoon matinee one day, too.  Our preschooler ate his weight in popcorn, slurped his Sprite and laughed his little head off at the sheep’s crazy antics.

Thing 2 also decided to step out of his cowboy role for a little bit one day.  He traded in the boots and hat for Ninja Turtle attire.

IMG_6387People, it was a good, GOOD week.  We have ushered Summer Vacation in properly, but now…

… well…

… I’m afraid it’s time to take some adult responsibility and clean up the house, because we’re living in something that can only be described as The Seven Dwarfs’ Cottage.

Before Snow White cleaned it up.

Don’t judge.

Happy Monday, people!  It’s SUMMER VACATION!

 

That Night When We Had Ice Cream For Dinner

Our backyard is still unfinished.

As in, we currently have a giant pile of dirt that is embellished with weeds and covered with toy John Deere tractors.  Then we have some dried-out, crunchy-brown grass, surrounded by an oasis of taller weeds, where pheasants feel at home.

In other words, A VAN.

DOWN BY THE RIVER.

Thankfully, our front yard is finished and landscaped, so it tricks folks who drive through the cul de sac into assuming that we have our act completely together behind the house, as well.  But we don’t.  And there’s no swing set or fancy jungle gym for Thing 2 to climb on out there, so he’s forced to go to the city parks, like a commoner.

One night earlier this week, we got a bunch of moms and kids together for a park date.  Park dates with a pack of children ensures that every age group is represented, everyone has a buddy to play with, and no one needs to be hanging off of their mama’s arm, wailing, “There’s nothing to do!”  Park dates like this leave moms free to talk.

And talk and talk.

And talk and talk and talk some more.

Amen.

A giant dose of late evening Vitamin D (through the sunshine) and calcium (through the ice cream) is exactly what we all needed.  The troop hit the park to run through the fountains.  The moms hit the park for Girl Time.

Thing 2 hit the fountains like a Golden Retriever puppy, who has just been released from the car, in front of the Pacific Ocean, on the sand.  He ran a half marathon through those fountains… back and forth, back and forth.  He hopped and skipped and spun himself through the water for nearly two hours.

IMG_9783 IMG_9744 IMG_9747 IMG_9758 IMG_9750 IMG_9755 IMG_9745 IMG_9771 IMG_9774 IMG_9773 IMG_9770 IMG_9786He played a little Russian Fountain Roulette, when he tried to see what was inside of the fountains, when one wasn’t actively spraying.

IMG_9790Cousin H was a bit more cautious than Thing 2 was in the fountains.

And by a bit more cautious, I mean she didn’t dance through them with wild abandon, like a herd of baby squirrels, as some people’s children did.

IMG_9794 IMG_9795 IMG_9796 IMG_9800The kids had so much fun together, zipping through the fountains and squealing and throwing pine cones from the trees at one another.

IMG_9762 IMG_9764 IMG_9767 IMG_9802 IMG_9803Somehow, we managed to get almost all of our troop out of the fountains for a quick picture.

I have no idea whose kid is in the front row, singing his heart out, at the very tip-top of his vocal decibels, while everyone else stood nicely for the snapshot.

IMG_9812Afterward, we dried everyone off with towels and hiked through a small subdivision and over the bridge, so that we could buy ice cream cones at the next park over.

Fountains at one park.  Ice cream at another park.  All in the same evening.  The kids were fairly certain that they heard hallelujahs being whispered from Heaven.

I’ll be honest.  That bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream was Thing 2’s entire dinner.  Nothing says SUMMER VACATION like MAMA AIN’T COOKING TONIGHT; HERE’S A COUPLE OF BUCKS TO SPEND AT THE ICE CREAM SHACK.

IMG_9813Afterward, when we realized that it was already after 8 PM, we decided that we shouldn’t chase ICE CREAM FOR DINNER with RIDICULOUSLY LATE BEDTIME, because we are SOMEWHAT responsible mothers, so we all called it a night.

Thing 2 caught a ride in Libby’s double stroller, with her little boy, as we hiked back through the parks, to our cars.

IMG_9816And then the Hulk and his shoulder muscles insisted that he needed to push that stroller for a while.

Go ahead, Son.  It spells out MORE PHYSICAL EXERCISE, which spells out MORE TIRED FOR BED.

IMG_9817We made it home by 8:45 that night, and Thing 2 was passed out cold in his bed by 9:00.  He smelled like ice cream and sweat and sunscreen and fun.  He had grass in his curls, and he was holding a pine cone while he slept.

And THAT, y’all, is what Summer Break is all about!

Plus?  Well, it didn’t hurt that he slept in until 7:00 the next morning.  We’ve never pulled that off before, but the Lord showed us His favor.

Happy Wednesday!