Round Two And Muscles And Homework, Oh My!

It HAS arrived.

Chest Cold Number Two of the Season, and I am not at all happy with it.  You’d think after more than twenty years of teaching PE, my immune system would be as solid as a tank from the Army, but apparently there’s a new mutated virus this year that is winning at attacking me.  With the exception of the fifteen minutes where I drove up to Thing 2’s school to pick him up today, I never left my house.  I stayed home and smeared Vicks all over myself, so that Thing 2 announced, “I don’t like how you smell, and it’s worrying me.”  This is what happens to the youngest generations of 2018:  they’re children being brought up on essential oils and organic vegetables.  They appreciate a good drop or two of On Guard, but the little blue jar of Vicks, circa 1979, is something they’ve never smelled before.

Also?  It should be noted that Thing 2 asked me this afternoon, while watching Back to the Future for the one thousandth time, “Mom, were you ever in the eighties?”  When I told him that I was, the kid had the audacity to gasp and shout, “How are you even still alive, Mom?!”

Apparently, anyone over the age of nineteen is considered to be elderly and in need of geriatric care and funeral arrangements, according to Thing 2.

Anyway.

I’m coughing with a beat that can keep up with the Footloose song, so this will be a short little blog post tonight.  (And yes.  I was alive and well when Footloose debuted, because I’m ancient.)

Thing 2 is concerned about his muscles again, because some boy in his class told him, “My arm muscles are way bigger than yours are.”  Thing 2 came home and flexed the other day and told me, “I think he was lying.  I think MY muscles are actually the biggest in the class.  I’m actually the toughest kid in first grade.”

Our boy suffers from low self-esteem.  Please add him to your prayer chains.

He told me this afternoon, “I need some vegetables for dinner tonight, because vegetables make your muscles grow.  I know this, because Daniel ate vegetables in the Bible, and the guards were impressed at how tough he looked, and that’s why he didn’t eat the king’s food.”

At least he trusts my elderly self to still cook for him, but… sadly… he’s getting a quick and dirty dinner from a fast food drive-thru tonight, because CHEST COLD and VICKS and MAMA ISN’T PRACTICING FIRST PLACE PRODUCTIVITY TODAY.

Also?

Well, there’s this boy:

He’s in advanced placement chemistry and advanced placement calculus… at the same time.  If this big boy of ours is home, he’s at his desk in his bedroom.  He does at least five hours of homework every night, and Mama is getting irritated, because HE’S STILL A KID AND NEEDS TO HAVE SOME DOWN TIME.  And then I remember that mamas aren’t supposed to yell at principals about how busy their smart eighteen year olds are with homework, because their eighteen year olds are the ones who CHOSE to double up on AP classes this year.  This is your life now, Son.  We’ll see you again at the end of May, when you turn those books in and have your first night off in nine months!

Y’all have a good evening.

The Vicks and I are going to call it an early night, because we don’t have five hours of homework to do.

 

 

Cussing On The Radio

Hubs picked Thing 2 up from school this afternoon, because I was subbing for a sick teacher in the 3rd grade at the little private Catholic school, where I teach PE.

(I had to teach 3rd grade science today.  I had to spend the entire afternoon recess, basically using a Cliffs Quick Review, to brush up on things like WHAT IS THE ACTUAL DEFINITION OF MATTER? and HELP ME REMEMBER THE TRUE DEFINITION OF MASS, PLEASE.  It was every bit as fun as you can imagine, if you’re imagining an old mom, quizzing herself frantically, without her afternoon iced coffee, before the four square games ended on the playground, and all the kids came back inside to me and the dry erase marker I had in my hand and science and everything I could tell them about mass and matter and atoms.)

Anyway.

Hubs dropped Thing 2 off at our little Catholic school with me, and then I took him home when I had finished.  On our car drive across town, Thing 2 said to me, “Mom, I heard a really bad word on the news on Dad’s car radio today.”

I said, “What?  People who read the news on the radio aren’t allowed to say bad words!”

“Well, this guy said a really bad word.”

“What did he say?”

“Do you want me to say the word out loud?”

“Okay.”

“Will I get into trouble if I say it out loud?”

“Well… no.  I guess not.”

“Are you SURE I won’t get into trouble?  Because this is a bad word, and I don’t know if I should say it or not.”

“Okay!  I’m sure!  You won’t get into trouble.  I can’t imagine the man on the radio actually said a bad word.  What did he say?”

Thing 2 replied, “He said DEMOCRAT, Mom.  He cussed, and he said DEMOCRAT on the radio.”

I don’t even know what hashtags I should use, nor do I know which wine pairs well with this.  Would it be a red or a white wine for MY KID SAID “DEMOCRAT” OUT LOUD?

Dreaming In Surround Sound And Technicolor

In case there’s any doubt in your mind that I am a bit on the nerdy side, listen to the dream I had last night.

In my dream, we were moving West to settle the land.  It was the year of our Lord, 2018, and we were moving West.  Clearly, my dreaming brain didn’t take into account that we have no more unexplored territory in the West, here in the United States.  No matter.  Dreaming brains are like that.  But, yes.  We were moving West, and we were taking animals with us, and I’m fairly certain we looked like the Beverly Hillbillies meets a circus train, as we migrated.

When we got to the new territory, there were aliens there who had never seen animals, the likes of which we were unloading.  And please… don’t think “aliens,” as in people who are from a different land, because that would be too normal.  In my dreaming brain, these were aliens with three eyes and twelve fingers, green skin and two sets of antennae.  They spoke gibberish and had space ships parked in their garages.  Everyone of us who had just gotten off the train in this new territory was being assigned a class to teach on our animals, and lo!  EVERYONE wanted to teach classes on lions!  And tigers!  And bears!  Oh, my!!  We were all hoping that we would be assigned to a really fun animal to teach about.  Eventually, the teaching assignments were typed out on a sheet of paper, which was then tacked up on a bulletin board, exactly like they would have done it at Laura Ingalls’ post office in Walnut Grove.  We all crowded around to see WHAT ANIMAL WE WOULD BE TEACHING THE ALIENS ABOUT, and there was my name!  And the class that I got to teach was called…

You and Your Pet Ostrich.

I told the lady who tacked the assignment sheet up on the board, “I am supposed to teach about ostriches, and I don’t know anything about ostriches.”  And she told me, “I don’t care.  I’m just here to hang up the list of classes, and I have nothing to actually DO with assigning the classes.”

And then I woke up, which was a gigantic help, because I was about to teach a three minute class, with the entire lecture being, “Please enjoy your flightless bird that lays huge eggs and buries its head in the sand.  There will be no test, because those are the only things I actually know about ostriches.”

If y’all aren’t done reading this blog by now, may Jesus just draw near to you.  The content is ridiculous on most days.

But… what is NOT ridiculous is how handsome my boys are.

I feel like their personalities are completely covered in this picture.

One of them dresses in collared shirts and sweaters, dark jeans and loafer shoes, every single day.  His wardrobe choices cry out, daily, “I am having dinner on the yacht tonight, so please send a valet to park my Rolls Royce.”

The other one wore a black sweatshirt to school today, with black gym shorts over his black Under Armour basketball tights.  He picked out his own clothes and dressed himself, and THIS is how he would dress, every single day of his life, if his meddling mother didn’t interfere and make him wear jeans and a collared shirt to church most Sundays.  His wardrobe choice shouts out, every day, “I’m heading to the gym, for my workout.”

No matter.

I love them both so much, except for when the little one is sassy and when the bigger one conveniently forgets to mow the yard sometimes.

At least they both lead adventurous lives.  Neither one of them will ever be teaching a class called You and Your Pet Ostrich.  Nope.  They’ll both get to teach courses like Shake that Shark and Corral that Cobra.  Don’t mind me, over here with the giant bird who doesn’t fly.

Fun Worksheets

We have a witching hour at our house.

Come to think of it, we’ve ALWAYS had a witching hour, and it’s that hour in the evenings when dinner is in the process of being made… when bellies are rumbling… and when Mama must devote her attention to browning hamburger and onions in a skillet, because Hubs insists we’ll never be millionaires if we hire a personal chef to do that FOR US each night.

(I have news for Hubs:  I don’t think we’re EVER going to reach Millionaire Status, but we have each other, and we have love, and we have Netflix, so it’s the next best thing to having more dollars than we can count, sitting in a bank.)

Usually the witching hour starts with whining.  There is always, always, ALWAYS the whining about how hungry the little people are.  They are SO HUNGRY!  They are so hungry, they are very possibly near death!  Thing 2 could win an Oscar with his dramatic interpretation of a starving child.  Never you mind that there were bowls of cereal and apples and granola bars devoured after school.  My kids can clean a pantry out as fast as a shop vac can suck up spilled cat litter.  The children want a full meal, while you’re cooking, so that when dinner is actually served, they can look at it, smell it a little, and then proclaim, “I’m not hungry.”

They also have NOTHING TO DO during the witching hour, because Mama’s attention is not fully devoted on them.  I swear, our boys get together and whisper, “Look.  Mom is at the kitchen island, dicing carrots and and opening cans.  You go tell her there’s nothing to do first, and then I’ll come through the kitchen and moan about how bored I am.”  I tell these children every evening during the witching hour, “You are welcome to unload the dishwasher.  You’re welcome to sweep the kitchen floor.  You’re welcome to dust the bookcase.”  They always stare at me blankly when I say these things, as they insist they have no desire to learn these important life skills RIGHT THIS SECOND.

And then…

THEN

… I came up with a plan to knock the witching hour to the curb.  It might not work for our eighteen year old, who is already burdened down with several hours’ worth of AP Chemistry homework and AP Calculus homework every evening, but it is working for our little man.  Our little man likes to do everything his big brother does, and that means he likes to do HOMEWORK.  The boy insists that Thing 2 should ENJOY HIS LIFE NOW, instead of begging for homework to gripe about, but our six year old loves a few homework pages when he can get his hands on them.  Homework makes him feel very big and very important and very near being eighteen years old himself.

And… he completes them with every manner of eye rolling and irritated sighing, EXACTLY like his older brother does HIS homework.

A while back, education.com asked me if I’d preview some of the worksheets that they offer and write a blog post about them.  I looked their website over, and I was more than happy to do just that.  Education.com offers an amazing selection of worksheets, and we used several of them over the summer, to stay on top of our HEADED TO THE FIRST GRADE AT THE END OF AUGUST ball game.  We practiced math… lots and lots of math… and all kinds of beginning and ending letter sounds in words, all with worksheets I was able to download from education.com‘s website.

So… when they contacted me about looking at some Halloween and holiday themed worksheets that they also offer, I jumped on it.

And I slapped one of those Halloween worksheets down on the counter during our witching hour tonight, and I told Thing 2, “Here.  Come do this crossword puzzle.  It’s all about Halloween!”  People, our boy actually ditched the Legos to come check it out, and he was so thrilled that it was a crossword puzzle, aimed directly at things he knew.

When I helped him read the first clue — a food you get when you go trick or treating — he practically screamed, “It’s candy!  It’s candy!!  Mom, I know the answer!  It’s CANDY!!”  His enthusiasm was exactly like he’d bet the entire farm and the Ford 150, too, and won the Double Jeopardy!  So, in between stirring frozen Chinese food in a pot on the stove, which I pass off as homemade, Thing 2 used his smallest handwriting to squeeze the letters C-A-N-D-Y into the little boxes.  He managed to read the next clue himself:  What animal has eight legs?  He immediately erupted, in his VERY MUCH AN OUTDOOR VOICE, “It’s a spider, Mom!  IT’S A SPIDER!!!  THIS HOMEWORK IS SO EASY!!!”  And then I helped him spell the word spider, so that he could get it into the little boxes correctly.

And?  Do y’all know what?  The witching hour passed quite pleasantly.  We forgot that we were starving, while dinner was being made.  We forgot that we usually pester Mama at this time, as we whine about our horrible boredom disease, and how it’s the worst case in  history.  And while we were forgetting those things, we had fun solving a crossword puzzle.

Feel free to check out education.com for all kinds of fun, holiday themed worksheets, which can be done in your own witching hours at home.  Unless you’re one of those lucky families, who had no idea what a witching hour actually WAS, until you read this blog post.  If that’s the case, then just keep doing what you’re doing, as you count your blessings that nobody begs for snacks while you’re getting the ice off frozen Chinese noodles and vegetables!

You can find a bunch of educational worksheets for your little people right here, if you’d like to try some out for yourself:  WORKSHEETS.

Y’all have a good Wednesday evening.

Soccer. Painted Faces. Prison Mike.

We started our weekend out early by wearing our sweatshirts on Thursday evening and complaining about the joys of fall soccer in Small Town, USA.  The wind blew sideways, and the rain didn’t really RAIN, so much as it misted on us, like the overspray from a squirt bottle.  It was lovely.  It was just enough to dampen the clothes and the skin, while the breeze kicked and made us shiver and cuss a little.

Thing 2’s soccer team remains undefeated, as those little kiddos kick for all they’re worth.  It also helps that we have a long-legged little first grade girl on our team, who is in Thing 2’s class, who can score four goals per game, with her eyes closed.  We call her our secret weapon, and I can hardly wait to watch her play in the Olympics one day.

Afterward, we had tacos, because what else says YOU PLAYED A GREAT GAME OF SOCCER, SON like tacos from your favorite Mexican hot spot, where all their ingredients are fresh and wonderful?

On Friday morning, we woke up to snow, because God thinks He’s hilarious giving us that stuff… IN SEPTEMBER!  Nothing lets you know how organized you are, until you’re frantically digging through a child’s bedroom closet, looking for snow pants and two matching gloves and boots, as you ask the Lord to PLEASE LET THEM STILL FIT, at 7:30 on a school morning.  I know some moms try these things on in August, and they take inventory of what they’ll need to buy, and they have everything hanging nicely in the closet, but we like to take a different approach.  It’s called the SCREECH ABOUT THE SNOW COMING SO EARLY AND CATCHING YOU OFF GUARD, AND WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE THE SNOW PANTS, BECAUSE SCHOOL STARTS IN FIFTEEN MINUTES technique of mothering.

On Saturday, the little private school where I teach PE had its annual chili supper and carnival fundraiser… OUTSIDE.  I got to work the fishing booth, where children used real fishing poles to flop real fishing line over a blue curtain.  We had an accomplice behind the curtain, who clipped prizes onto the clothespin dangling from that real fishing line, and the kids got to reel in their catches.  What I loved best about working this booth for two and a half hours outside in the cold were (1) that I couldn’t feel my fingers after the first thirty minutes, and (2) the fishing line kept getting tangled around everything, and I was continually trying to unwind it and unknot it.  I looked enviously across the grass at the teachers working the cake walk booth, who got to stand there and put their hands IN THEIR COAT POCKETS, while kids hopped from one numbered carpet square to another, stretched out there on the concrete before them, and nobody got the carpet squares all knotted up.

On the flip side of that, I was quite thankful to only be at the fishing booth, dealing with knotted fishing line, while I watched the teachers on the other side of me run the bowling booth.  I felt the pain in their backs, as they bent over to set up plastic bowling pins sixteen million, seventy-three thousand and four more times.  I wanted to give them little goodie bags filled with tubes of sports cream and bottles of Ibuprofen.

Anyway.

Hubs brought Thing 2 down to our school’s carnival, and let him work the game circuit.  We were blessed when we realized the little punk had won not one… but TWO!!  TWO!!!… real live whistles.  You know… the kind of whistles that a volleyball referee might use.  All the blesses for the PTO moms who thought whistles as game prizes was a fine idea!  This afternoon, Thing 2 came home and we had this conversation:

THING 2:  “Where are my whistles?”

ME:  “What whistles?”

THING 2:  “I won two whistles at your school carnival.  I put them both on my desk, and now they’re gone.”

ME:  “Hmm.  That’s weird.  Are you sure you put them there?  Maybe you misplaced them.”

THING 2:  “I really DID put them on my desk, and I think someone STOLE THEM!”

And that’s how Thing 2 came to be frantically searching all over our house this afternoon, looking for two whistles on cords that he SWORE he left on his desk in his bedroom, because WHERE COULD THEY HAVE GONE?  And let’s face it and be honest here, y’all:  He really DID leave those whistles on his desk, but there is a cap on the amount of whistling a mother can take, before she snaps and resorts to desperate measures while the kids are at school.  The Lord understands, and He is near to those whose eardrums and sanity have both been damaged.

On Sunday, there was church, and then there was a birthday party.  One of Thing 2’s good buddies celebrated the fact that he is officially six now, and his mother throws the type of birthday party I envy:  LAID BACK AND LOW KEY.  In fact, she’s the type of mom who says, “I think it’s fine if they paint each other’s faces,” and so they did, while we sat and talked, because our children were fully focused on their artistic tasks and were not inclined to interrupt us!  That alone — that conversation where no one interrupted us — was worth all the paint we had to scrub off their faces later, and we never even flinched when one of them said, “I’ll just paint your face to look like you’ve been in a fight with weapons!”

After our faces were scrubbed squeaky clean, we went to the movie theater, because let’s face it:  Mama’s OCD couldn’t take her child playing outside in ALL THAT SLOPPY MUD from the weather, which was bound to come indoors.  She needed a LET’S GO DO SOMETHING WHERE THERE IS CONCRETE OR PAVEMENT alternative, so the movie theater it was!  Thing 2 and I saw the show Small Foot, which turned out to be really cute.  It was about a village of Big Foots who didn’t believe in Small Foots (people), because they’d never seen one before, but lo!  One of the Big Foots CAUGHT a Small Foot and brought him back to the village to show off.  The two of us ate our popcorn and slurped our drinks through straws and giggled all the way through it.

And then there was Monday morning.  This is homecoming week at Small Town High, so the kids are all dressing up, every day.  Today’s theme was COME AS YOUR FAVORITE TV CHARACTER.

Folks, I’d like to introduce you to Prison Mike, from The Office!!

Hubs and I think he did a fairly decent job at nailing the costume, as THIS is the real Prison Mike:

“The worst thing about prison was the… was the dementors!”

“What was the food like in prison?  Gruel sandwiches.  Gruel omelettes.  Nothing but gruel.”

Thing 2’s elementary school is dressing up alongside the high school for homecoming week, too.  We found this out at 7:44 this morning, as I unpacked his backpack for the very first time since Friday morning.  There!  There it was, in the backpack!  The little note that said, “Let’s participate with the high school in dressing up every day for homecoming week!”  Some mothers empty the backpacks out in the evenings, when there is time to read all the notes home from school and PREPARE FOR ANYTHING THAT NEEDS PREPARED FOR.  I think those moms don’t live on the edge enough, so I like to wait until 7:44 in the morning to open the backpack for the first time, after a weekend.  That gives us a bit of a challenge, as we scream out, “WHAT CAN WE WEAR??!!”

Thankfully, Thing 2 yelled, “My Peter Pan Halloween costume from Kindergarten!”  Let it be so.  We pulled it out of the closet, and Peter Pan walked out the door for school at 7:48.  I wanted to throw my hands up in the air and call for the judges to score my time.  The downside was simply that there are no pictures of Peter Pan going to school today, for TV CHARACTER DAY, because… well… 7:48… and that old bell rings at 8:00.

Bless, bless, and bless again.

 

Rolling The Pumpkins Home

Thing 2’s class, along with the other first grade classroom in his school, took a field trip to the pumpkin patch today, and I joined them.  It was every bit as fun and wonderful as you can imagine, especially if you’re imagining FORTY LITTLE SIX YEAR OLDS and also SCHOOL BUS EXHAUST.

His beloved teacher recruited as many parents as she could for this field trip, because of the loot and bounty that was coming home.  It certainly helps to have twelve adults with you, when twenty kids are going to be carrying, lugging and rolling giant pumpkins back with them.  Before we left, Mrs. R announced, “If any parents are prone to car sickness, please feel free to drive your own vehicle and follow the bus.”  Um…. Car Sickness is my  middle name.  I didn’t even hesitate to take my free pass and basically knocked three kids over, in my hurry to get to my own car, before that teacher changed her mind.  As it turned out, another mom and I rode together, and we had a lovely time, chatting in an uninterrupted manner as we drove, because we had no children with us!  It was pretty much on equal footing with being at a spa, in a fluffy white bathrobe.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you whose kid went three hundred entire yards out into the monstrously-sized pumpkin patch…

… and then chose a four hundred pound pumpkin.

Suddenly the reason for twelve helping parents became crystal clear, as several little kiddos decided to get as far away from the tractor as they physically could, before they selected the biggest pumpkin they could possibly find.  I let Thing 2 heave that beast along, as best as he could, for a while, because he was having a RIGHT FINE TIME doing it.  He was so proud of his oversized squash, he was nearly bursting straight out of his coat, as he rolled it along on the ground.

And I don’t mean to brag, but my kid passed about four other kids, who were also rolling the blue whales of the patch toward the tractor and trailer, because apparently our Thing 2 possesses some powerfully strong rolling skills, the likes of which other six year olds haven’t fully developed  yet.  I was quite pleased to see that while his classmates were struggling to roll giant pumpkins in a straight line, toward the goal of a John Deere which would pull them back to base camp, my kid rolled his behemoth monster like he’d been drafted straight out of elementary school for the professional Punkin Moving Team.  After he’d made it back to the tractor, he even went back out into the field and helped roll others in the right direction, so we could all make it back to the school before nightfall.

He’s a firm supporter of No Pumpkin Left Behind.

Anyway.

We now have a pumpkin the size of Canada on our front patio, which will more than likely sit there until I scrape its frozen carcass up out of the snow and ice, come Christmastime.

That’s how I roll, people!

 

Forts

On Mondays, we build blanket forts.

Come to think of it, we build blanket forts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, too.

And we use every blanket in the house, because nothing says GREAT FORT like THE SIZE OF ALASKA does.  The downfall to this is that our arm span isn’t exactly wide enough to fold all the blankets we use, so guess who does the folding?

And guess who UNFOLDS all the blankets to build a SECOND FORT twelve minutes after the first one has been picked up?

This is our lives now, people.

Colds And Coughs And Congestion And Closets

Someone posted on Facebook this morning that there are 93 days left until Christmas.  My first thought was, “Is this accurate?”  My second thought was, “WHO has time to sit down with the calendar and count this up?”  Because that person?  I would like them to come do some things at my house.

Namely, laundry.

Because what I don’t have time for is flipping the pages on my big kitchen wall calendar to count out how many shopping days are left.  I’m entirely too busy having anxiety about how we’ll actually PAY for Christmas, as well as WHAT DO YOU BUY AN EIGHTEEN YEAR OLD BOY AS A HOLIDAY GIFT?!  I mentioned this to the boy (the CAN YOU BELIEVE SOMEONE COUNTED THE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS MANUALLY? and not the WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR CHRISTMAS, because I already know what he’s going to say:  a 1960 car that’s a total fixer-upper and doesn’t run, so I can let it sit in the driveway and talk about how cherry she’ll be some day soon), and he told me, “Mom…. There’s this thing called a computer, and I imagine if you asked Siri how many days between now and December 25th, she could spot-on tell you in two seconds.”

And this is why he’s getting scholarships for college.

Anyway.

Apparently there are 93 days left before Christmas morning hits us and sends us all straight to Credit Card debt, but what has ZERO DAYS LEFT before we reach it is COLD SEASON.  I’m not talking about the weather, because Small Town has had a moment of love for us and has decided to keep a gentle, warm fall rolling for a bit yet.  I’m talking about COLD colds.  The type that start out at 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon as a sore throat and then morph into a I MIGHT DIE NOW chest cold at midnight.

Yes.  ‘Tis the season, and I have partaken.  I am celebrating and embracing a lovely chest cold that has left me wanting to just lie down on the floor, because my bed is simply too far away.  I blame a friend of mine who kept texting me last weekend, proclaiming I HAVE A SORE THROAT, and I AM GOING TO THE STORE FOR ORANGE JUICE, BECAUSE I FEEL A BIG COLD COMING ON, and I HAVE SOME SINUS ISSUES HAPPENING NOW.  Even though I didn’t see this friend in person this week, I’m fairly certain that her germs went straight through the phone lines and crawled onto me.

(And another thing the boy would probably say?  “Mom, we don’t actually HAVE phone lines any longer.  We have cell phones and it’s nothing but cell towers and the age of being digital.”  WHATEVER!  I taught that child to use a spoon AND the toilet, which seem PRETTY BASIC, so he needs to cut me a moment’s worth of slack.  Grace.  It’s for all of us.)

(And now I’m wondering if I should show grace and mercy to my friend, and blame my second son for the chest cold that I’m in the throes of.  He did, after all, find a REALLY CLEAN TUBE OF CHAPSTICK THAT SMELLED JUST LIKE A DELICIOUS MILKSHAKE on the playground last week, and we all know the kid USED IT.  He probably kissed me with dirty milkshake Chapstick germs.)

Regardless of the chest cold that plowed into my immune system this weekend with the force of a space shuttle launch and left my voice sounding like a six-packs-a-day smoker, it was all THE SHOW MUST STILL GO ON, because MOM STATUS.  So… I gutted our walk-in closet.

Our walk-in closet has been the stuff that the producers of the Hoarders TV series would love to get their hands on.  Every manner of clothes we no longer wear was shoved in there, along with shoes that have seen better days, and the boy’s Halloween costume from a decade ago.  And if you think it was all hung up and placed on the shelves NEATLY, then you grossly underestimate the Jedi family.  I had two giant Hefty garbage bags of hand-me-down clothes for Thing 2 sitting on our closet floor, which the cat had dug into, in her effort to create a cave in the midst of size 6 T-shirts.  She’d managed to pull a good portion of those little boy clothes straight out of the open bag, so that she could have herself a nice bed to hide in.  I had enough dirty laundry on my closet floor to constitute an intervention, too.

“Hi, Mama.  Come on in and sit down.  We’re here because we CARE ABOUT YOU, and we are overly concerned with your inability to wash the dirty clothes in a timely manner for your family.  We say this in love, as we look at the fourteen loads you have on your closet floor, right now.  Let us help you.  Let us send you away, to a facility.  It’s quiet there.  There will be counseling sessions and gourmet dinners; you can stroll through the flower gardens, and you can focus on the hurts someone has caused in your life to keep you from washing clothes like a normal girl should.”

To this, I say, “Thank you,” and also, “Where do I sign the paperwork?”  Because a lovely estate with lush gardens and casseroles for dinner that someone else made sound wonderful.

So yes.  THAT is how I spent my sick weekend.  I wasn’t in bed, as any husband would have done.  I was upright, mentally yelling at all the kids in my PE classes who came to school last week with coughs and snot, as I created a mess in my bedroom that rivaled the fall of an entire empire by air-dropped bombs.  I had pulled everything OUT of my closet.  By then, it was too late to quit, because WHERE WILL WE SLEEP TONIGHT?!  THE BED IS PILED HIGH WITH THE FALLOUT AND DEBRIS OF THIS PROJECT.  So, I kept going.

And the washing machine kept going.

And the Sudafed kept trying to work.

All the blesses.

The payoff is that I now have a walk-in closet that could actually be labeled by a realtor as A WALK-IN CLOSET.  It’s no longer THIS SPACE WHERE YOU STEP ON EVERY MANNER OF CLOTHING TO GET WHAT YOU WANT.  I have a bare, hardwood floor now, and, people, I swept it clean yesterday.  We have shelves with some space.  We have rods that aren’t crammed full of hangers and wrinkled clothing we haven’t worn since the Reagan administration.

Plus?  CLEAN LAUNDRY.  You know… until these heathens all decide they want to disrobe tonight and wear pajamas, as they toss today’s outfits into the hampers.

The punks were kind of cute today, so I snapped their pictures, before I sent them all out the door to church this morning, as I said, “Mama needs to lie down with her cough for seventeen seconds before the dryer tells me it’s time to fold more clothes.”

It doesn’t take a CSI:  Small Town detective to come to the conclusion that the little one had just washed his hands seconds before his mother snapped this picture.

Yep.  That’s water on the shirt.  Why use a hand towel, when you have a perfectly good T-shirt on?

And the bigger punk?  Well, listen.  He’s going to have to stop hanging out with the cute neighbor boy, because the cute neighbor boy is now labeled as A BAD INFLUENCE.  He challenged the two of them to NOT SHAVE UNTIL CHRISTMAS.

Hmm.  Apparently that’s 93 more days without a razor.

I am not a fan of the beards, and I am REALLY not a fan of one attempting to grow on my baby’s chin as wispy stubble, because then I have to admit that he’s now a MAN.  I offered him $20 in cold, hard, laundered cash to shave it all off this morning, before those whiskers really get out of hand and people mistake him for a relative from the Duck Dynasty family.  He grinned and said, “Ninety-three more days, honey!”I told him, “Then I don’t even have to worry about what to buy you for Christmas, because I don’t buy gifts for beards.”

In reality, I think I’ll just give this child the gift of a LIFE SKILL, and teach him how to use the washer and dryer.  We have 93 days to learn the art of NO REDS WITH WHITES and DAWN DISH SOAP IS YOUR MIRACLE HELPER IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM.

Y’all have a good Sunday.

 

 

We May Catch The Plague, But Our Lips Will Be Smooth

Every afternoon, when I pick Thing 2 up from school, I ask him, “What was something awesome that happened at school today?”  And every day — one hundred percent of the time –– that little man tells me something that happened at recess.  In his world, AWESOME can’t  happen at school, if it’s not happening on the playground, because WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE WHO MAKE ME SIT STILL AND READ WORDS?!

Today was no different.  He loaded up into the car in the school parking lot, and chucked his backpack and lunchbox into the back, with nary a care in the world as to what homework assignments he might be bending up.  I got into the driver’s seat and asked, “What was something awesome that happened today?”

And he replied, “Well… at recess today I found a tube of Chapstick, and it was practically brand new.”

Do you know that sinking feeling mother’s get in the pits of their stomachs, when their sons are drafted for war?  It also happens at times like these, when they have potentially been exposed to germs.  You can bet your very last dollar that the sound that I emitted was a SCREECH, as I asked, “YOU DIDN’T USE IT, DID YOU??!!”

But, in my heart, I already knew.

Thing 2 said, “Well… I… um… I SMELLED it, Mom.  I smelled it for a long time, and it smelled delicious.  It smelled like a milkshake.  And don’t even worry, because I looked at it really good, and it was a CLEAN tube of Chapstick.”

And I screeched again, “Did… you… USE IT???!!!  DIDYOUUSEIT, DIDYOUUSEIT, DIDYOUUSEIT???!!!!!!”

“Just a little, Mom.  But remember?  I said it was CLEAN!”

I don’t know why tranquilizers for mothers during the parenting years aren’t sold as over-the-counter products.  I would have bought THREE of them this afternoon, because YES!  My kid used a CLEAN Chapstick that he found on the playground, that smelled like delicious milkshakes!

Anyway.

Once I recovered from the shock of that, we had a snack… and then we went to Thing 2’s soccer game.

 

The wind blew at hurricane levels, even though we are not in hurricane territory.  It was a biting wind, that let us know that our four days of glorious fall weather could break at any moment and turn into a raging blizzard, the likes of which even the residents at the senior center can’t remember ever seeing before.  The thing about Small Town is that we have six days of spring, followed by a blistering summer, and then we have five days of fall, which is chased off by the onset of winter, winter, winter.

And all that cold winter blowing in will probably end up chapping our lips, but listen!  I know where there’s a perfectly CLEAN tube of Chapstick.

And the bonus?  It smells just like delicious milkshakes!