The Big Fishing Party

I won’t lie.

On Sunday afternoon, I had more loads of laundry to do than the family of sixteen with the broken-down washing machine.

Not that I actually know a family of sixteen people whose Maytag has given up the ghost, but… if I did… even their load-total wouldn’t have held a candle to  mine on Sunday.  I feel like I am a genuine disappointment to my mother in this area, who has always encouraged me to just do a single load every day… or even a single load every OTHER day… because that’s the way of organized people.  And the truth is, I WANT to be organized, but then other things get in my way instead of laundry, and heaps of dirty clothes are just kicked to the curb.

Or even just kicked further back into the walk-in closet, because OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND.

On Sunday afternoon, the game Word Chums on my phone got in front of the laundry, and I couldn’t see any of the dirty jeans or filthy T-shirts, because LOOK!!!  I just tossed the word JOURNEY down, hit the Triple Word tile, annnnnnddd I managed to smack the J down on the QUADRUPLE-THIS-LETTER’S-POINT-VALUE tile.

It was a moment of sheer magic, and now I feel like I should just go ahead and admit that YES!  I have some nerd tendencies, because I clapped over those 134 points against my opponent.

Eventually I was able to pull myself away from reworking letters to create high-dollar words, so that we could go visit our friends, Mike and Stacy.  They have ponds on their property, which are well-stocked with rainbow trout, and they were hosting a bit of a fishing party.  I’ve never been much for fishing, because it involves being terribly quiet and sitting still.  I can do the sitting still part, but eventually my brain gets very tired of not talking to anyone, while I stare at my unmoving fishing line.  It’s about then that I go in search of Hubs and ruin his fishing hole by disturbing the trout with ALL THE WORDS.  Thankfully, Stacy’s idea of a good fishing party is, “Let’s let the kids fish, and we can chat a lot on the banks, because who cares if we frighten the fish away with a lot of talking?!”

She’s exactly my kind of fishing companion.

Of course I took my camera, and here’s the first catch of the evening, which Thing 2 was fascinated with:

IMG_3060 IMG_3062After that, the kids reeled fish in pretty much as quickly as they could get a line thrown out into the water, because BITING, BITING, BITING!  I don’t consider myself a professional judge of fishing statistics, but had someone said, “Let down your net,” I’m rather certain that they would have pulled up the harvest of a lifetime on Sunday evening.

IMG_3066 IMG_3070 IMG_3071 IMG_3079 IMG_3089 IMG_3082 IMG_3085 IMG_3086 IMG_3088 IMG_3091 IMG_3101 IMG_3095 IMG_3096 IMG_3104 IMG_3106I spent most of the evening trying to keep our toddler from FALLING INTO the water; Hubs and I took turns running interference on him, because he was determined to swim.

IMG_3067And then, because Stacy has nine (Yes!  Nine!!  And less laundry than I have!!) children of her own, she knows when distractions are needed.  She and her husband are smack in the middle of some big construction, so she simply said, “Come.  Follow me.”  And that’s exactly when Thing 2 and I gave up pretending to fish, and went to see all the tractors and heavy machinery that Stacy had to show us.  The lure of the water was no longer even on our younger son’s horizon, because JOHN DEERES EVERYWHERE!!  And also, DIRT!!!

IMG_3116 IMG_3122 IMG_3118 IMG_3120 IMG_3124 IMG_3125 IMG_3128 IMG_3129I’m honestly not sure that Thing 2 had ever been happier than he was exploring all of the heavy machinery Sunday night.

Afterward, we went back to the fishing party, which was still in full swing, as kids were quickly filling up coolers for dinner.

IMG_3110 IMG_3111 IMG_3114I have absolutely no idea how I managed to capture a picture that makes it look like everyone was attending a sad funeral.  The kids had a blast… everyone laughed all night long… but look at this shot:

IMG_3107I promise, there was laughter.  These girls may have been mourning the rainbow trout who were on ice in that red cooler.

IMG_3132 IMG_3134And THIS girl!  I will confess my sin of coveting her glorious mane of curls!  Honestly, I think she fears me now, because I’m constantly asking her, “Can I please just touch those soft curls once more?”  If I could pick my own head of hair, I would want this one.

IMG_3147 IMG_3149I don’t think she’s ever had a bad hair day in her life, and her curls are nothing short of PLUM DADGUM AMAZING.

Thing 2 spent a substantial amount of time throwing rocks into the pond, but even his baseball-style pitches didn’t prevent the others from continuing to reel in an abundance of trout to grill for dinner.

IMG_3137 IMG_3141IMG_3153 IMG_3159 IMG_3157 IMG_3161This is exactly where the photos end.  The fishing party didn’t end here, because it kept going strong until the rainstorm moved in and made everyone run for cover, but — exactly as we had predicted would happen — Thing 2 fell into the pond.

And he was soaked clear through…

… which is why I stripped him down to a diaper, only to have him sob, “I so cold!  I so cold!”  Thank goodness someone invented You Tube, so we were able to watch Donald Duck and Chip and Dale on my iPhone in the car, out of the cool breeze.

Yes.  I should have been a fully-prepared mom who packed extra clothes for the toddler, but listen:  I didn’t.  I didn’t even think about them.

And?  If I had?  All of our extra clothes were probably lying on my closet floor, waiting to be washed, anyway.

So Monday morning rolled around, as it usually does after a good weekend, and I knuckled down.  I was very determined to wash forty-six loads of dirty clothes, until I reached into the boy’s bathroom closet… into his hamper… and pulled out the pair of jeans he wore on Sunday.

Those would be his very best pair of American Eagle jeans.

The jeans he fished in.

The jeans he gutted fish in, people.

The jeans that were apparently coated in bits of fish guts.

There are no words to explain it, y’all.  I yanked those jeans out of the boy’s bathroom hamper, and I dry-heaved like I’d been to a fraternity party and stayed all night.  I gagged and heaved, heaved and gagged, until my stomach muscles ached.

Thing 2 kept yelling, “You okay, Mommy?  You okay?”

NO!  NO, I WASN’T OKAY, BECAUSE FISH GUTS!!!  FISH GUTS THAT HAVE BEEN ON THE JEANS OVERNIGHT!!!!!  FISH GUTS OVERNIGHT!!!

I dry-heaved all the way downstairs to the laundry room with those pants.

I gagged so hard while I was adding Tide to the washing machine, I had to go out into the family room and suck in great big gulps of fresh air.  I had to give myself a pep talk about, “You can do this!  You can get those jeans into the Whirlpool!  You’ve totally got this, Girl.”

I went back into the laundry room, where I heaved so hard, I have no idea how I didn’t throw up.  This caused me to run back into the family room.

BREATHE THE FRESH AIR.  BREATHE THE FRESH AIR.

I did another pep talk to myself, and then nearly bawled.  I wanted to call Hubs and say, “I can’t get the boy’s jeans into the washing machine!  Please come home and help me!  PLEASE COME HOME!  IT’S AN EMERGENCY, HUBS!!”

Somehow, I gathered enough courage to go back into the laundry room.  I held my breath so long, I thought I’d pass out, but I got the detergent into the washing machine.  I shoved those jeans inside and slammed the lid shut, before I ran back into the family room to breathe again.

And that’s when I started to laugh, because Y’ALL!  I had conquered that pair of American Eagle jeans, exactly like a warrior!!  I had come out a winner!!

The ending of this story is that I didn’t accomplish any other loads of laundry yesterday, either, because?  When that pair of jeans had finished washing?  I threw the lid open, added MORE Tide, and washed them again… JUST… BECAUSE.

And then I washed them a third time.

So sue me.

I wasn’t about to pull them out of the washer, until they’d gone through three entire cycles of WASH THE GUTS OUT OF THIS LOAD.

Literally.

Hubs and the boy grilled the boy’s catch last night for dinner.  Normally, I love fish.  I could eat fish every day and be a happy girl, but I couldn’t even look at those trout fillets on the platter yesterday, without wanting to dry-heave again.

I just had cauliflower for supper, right after I gave the boy a lecture about NEVER, EVER PUT JEANS WITH FISH GUTS ON THEM IN YOUR HAMPER AGAIN, BECAUSE IT WILL KILL ME DEAD, AND YOU WILL BE A MOTHERLESS CHILD.

Other than the jeans, though, it was one fun fishing party.

May The Fourth Be With Your Ice Road Trucking Crew

Just because no blog entitled Jedi Mama would ever be complete without a little May 4th humor…

11159475_10204274539879892_2717904070541645142_nIt kind of lightens up the fact that we had a little Ice Road Trucking at our house today.

IMG_2778I only managed to photograph about one-sixteenth of the actual cargo.  All of the tractors and car carriers were loaded down with ice cubes, too.  My giant mug of ice water, that was sitting on our kitchen island, was silently spreading across the hardwood floor, preparing itself to leak into the basement and make me wish that I’d thought flood insurance was a good idea, so I didn’t hang out with my camera for very long.

And then, when I took Thing 2 to preschool this morning, he pointed to the armrest of his carseat and announced, “Look, Mommy.  I set my big booger right there for you.”

He really IS my favorite toddler in all the world.IMG_2715 IMG_2933Happy May the Fourth, people.

Our Piano Man

So we certainly had a lot going on this weekend.

Namely, the horse that I picked to win it all at the Kentucky Derby managed to get second place.  Since I have no familial ties to that second place winner, I was able to be completely overcome with excitement for the real winner and his trainer.  I wanted to jump up and down with them there at the end, and shout, “You won!  You won!”  And then I wanted to make my way to the winner’s circle, too, and have some flowers placed in my own arms.  I’ve said for a hundred years now that if I ever win the lottery (that lottery that I never actually play), I’m going to buy a horse ranch in Kentucky and raise Derby winners.  Hubs claims that I don’t know anything about horses, so this might be a problem, but listen:  The same jackpot that buys me that ranch will also hire me a real good trainer, who DOES know his way around horses.  My job will be to walk out to the stables early every morning with my mug of chai tea, so that I can check in with that trainer… see what he has lined up for the horse’s exercises that day.  And then I’ll visit for a while, before I announce that I really need to go get on the riding lawn mower and knock the grass down a bit, but I’d extend an invitation for my trainer and his family to join us for some of Hubs’ barbecued ribs on the back porch later that afternoon.

I think that’s how they’d do things on a horse ranch in Kentucky.

They’d probably also make their own potato salad from scratch, and not count the deli as an option, so I’d need to check into that, too.

And then… how about that new royal princess?  I came in with the second place guess there, too, which seemed to be the theme of the weekend, because I was predicting that little Prince George would get a baby brother.  My biggest admiration, though, goes out to Princess Kate, standing on the steps of the hospital some twelve hours after having pushed a baby girl out, looking exactly like she’d been away at a spa, before she came home to pick up the baby from the stork.

Twelve  hours after I gave birth (which was a C-section with very limited anesthesia, as I jumped during the insertion of THE NEEDLE and managed to redirect all manner of numbing goodness away from the spot where the doctor would be cutting), I looked like a bloated whale on a beach, who was in the throes of an allergic reaction to an IV antibiotic that involved hives the size of Canada.  I came with a PG-13 rating that day, because young children needed parental permission to gaze upon the scariness that was me.  My hair hadn’t seen the hot rollers… my lips hadn’t seen the peachy gloss… my ankles, which were the size of trees that they cut tunnels through, weren’t bedecked with high heels.

It just makes me admire Princess Kate a little more, and wonder why the Holy Spirit meets with her whenever she does her hair, while He lets me struggle with limp locks that don’t hold a curl for all the gold in Alaska.

And then, that child that I birthed with very little anesthesia and a whole lot of crying to JUST STOP!  STOP CUTTING NOW!  I DON’T WANT THE BABY OUT!  I QUIT!, had a piano recital yesterday afternoon.

I may have admitted here on the blog a time or nineteen that the boy is incredibly talented on the piano.  He gets none of his musical talent from me, because I played the violin for six years and managed to never understand how to incorporate a sharp or a flat into what I was playing.  The grave disappointment of my instructor was a testimony to that fact.  And Hubs is the one who was asked by his high school band teacher to please put his trumpet up and leave class NOW, because Hubs had shot too many bugs through that trumpet at the girls sitting in front of him.  Hubs admits that he took band because of THE EASY A, and then it turned out that he nearly flunked the class, because he lacked passion or the willingness to actually practice.

Hubs and I were both musical failures.

Thankfully, that generational sin stopped with us, and the boy can play the piano exactly like one of the great composers from ye olden days.

We did have a little disagreement on what he was going to wear to his recital.  His piano teacher had stated that there were to be no jeans, so I pulled a lovely pair of just-handed-down-to-us-from-the-cute-neighbor-boy slacks out of the boy’s closet.  They were from American Eagle, and they were a lovely shade of baby blue that PERFECTLY matched the shirt the boy was going to wear.

In other words, they were VERY FASHIONABLE.

The boy took one look at them and said, “No.”  There was much drama about how HE DOESN’T WEAR COLORED SLACKS… JUST BEIGE OR BLACK!!  There were comments of I’D RATHER DIG MY OWN EYES OUT WITH SPOONS THAN BE SEEN IN PUBLIC IN PALE BLUE SLACKS!!  Scarlet O’Hara couldn’t have held a candle up to all the outfit drama that the boy put forth yesterday afternoon.  He accused me of wanting him to dress like Liberace.

It was a pair of awesome, pale blue pants!  There wasn’t a single sequin or embedded jewel to be found!  He wasn’t going to sparkle on stage under the lights!

In the end, he wore the shirt with a pair of khaki dress slacks.  The baby blue pants from American Eagle have been folded up, with strict instructions to PLEASE DONATE THESE TO A GIRL SOMEWHERE, BECAUSE NO BOY WOULD EVER WEAR THEM.

Thankfully, our cute neighbor boy knows great fashion when he sees it, and he’s willing to walk in that great fashion and wear cool pants.

IMG_2990The boy played alone on stage, but he also played in a trio with his piano instructor and our friend, Katie.  They were amazing together!

IMG_2977 IMG_2980I think my kid is an amazing piano player; he definitely has a gift there, and the two piano teachers that he’s had over the years have done a wonderful job of bringing out that natural talent of his.  Just listening to the boy play makes me wish that I’d taken music a little more seriously when I was a young teenager.

Here are a couple of videos of the boy in action.  The first one is the piece that he actually played in his recital, while the second video is one of him working on a new song that he hasn’t quite memorized yet.

I could have spent my days on the ranch in Kentucky, playing the piano for my horses, right before I boiled my own potatoes for a nice, not-bought-from-the-deli salad.

Y’all have a lovely Sunday evening.

That Day We Golfed In The Freezing Air

Well.

It seems that I managed to take a short vacation from blogging, but that’s probably because I had a real-live coffee date this week with a good friend, and a real-live date with Hubs, and (AND!!) I managed to see two entire, full-length feature films at the cinema with another darling friend and Hubs and plenty o’ buttered popcorn, so clearly all of my words for the week have been used up.  I may have talked quite a bit, because that’s more activity than my social calendar has seen in the past twenty-two years.

I think Hubs was just glad that I’d had some Girl Time this week, because it ultimately means that he doesn’t have to listen to me chatter away quite as much in the evenings, when  he’s trying to focus on Playoff Hockey That Doesn’t Involve The Avalanche.  Because as much as PHTDITA isn’t as exciting as Playoff Hockey That DOES Involve The Avalanche, we still have to take it pretty seriously around here, because WHO IS STEALING STANLEY’S CUP AWAY FROM HUBS’ TEAM?  We have to find out.  And apparently we have to cheer for anyone who is playing Edmonton.  Or even Detroit.  Or maybe it’s Toronto.  Dallas?  I get them all confused.

Y’all, the only thing I care about on TV is Fixer Upper, and what outfit Joanna Gaines is wearing, and whether or not she and Chip exposed some shiplap above the fireplace.  Also, it seems like a no-brainer that Hubs and I should move to Texas and buy a house for CHEAP DOLLARS, where I would become Joanna’s BFF.  She would come over for coffee and let me know that YES!  RIP THAT SHEETROCK OFF AND LET’S SEE THE SHIPLAP UNDERNEATH!  And then she’d point me toward some great throw pillows and an antique cabinet.  I also feel rather certain that she’d help me cut up a nice wedge of cheese and artfully arrange it with a bunch of green grapes on a wooden cutting board, which we would put smack-dab in the center of the kitchen island for decor.

And… it doesn’t snow much in Texas, so I feel like this would just be a win-win.  My elderly self is SO OVER snow.

Anyway.

On one of the chilliest, dampest afternoons recently, the boy asked if he could go golfing.  Apparently the words CHILLY and DAMP do nothing to detour the determination of a PGA Hopeful.  And, since Thing 2 and I are always up for a good FREEZE YOUR BUNS OFF TIME, we made the poor choice to bring JUST JACKETS, rent a golf cart, and accompany the boy, as he golfed his way into one of his lowest scores yet.

I won’t lie.

I was wishing that we lived in the Texas sunshine that afternoon, but the time with both of my boys together, in a golf cart, was nothing short of precious.  The three of us had so much fun, especially when we realized that Thing 2 really IS quite interested in showing us his left-handed golf moves.

Never mind that he kind of combines golf with hockey, rugby and cage wrestling.  Our toddler managed to turn his golfing session into a full-contact sport that got his heart rate up good and made him beg for a Gatorade.

IMG_2842The thing about being fourteen years old is that you adore driving anything with wheels on it.  This means that when your mama rents a golf cart, because she owns a driver’s license and can legally secure one, as long as she promises not to drive and drink too much wine on the course, you will steal the driver’s seat plum away from her.

And then you’ll have to fight your three-year-old brother for it later, because apparently the driving gene is strong in the male child.

IMG_2846The boy managed to whip out one of his lowest scores yet, regardless of the wind and the damp, leftover remnants of an afternoon rainstorm, while I clapped wildly for him.  Hubs and I have learned that golf is a very quiet sport, where no one waves giant, foam fingers with shouts of enthusiasm or shoots T-shirts out of a cannon to celebrate a good drive from the tee box, but I felt like ON THIS PARTICULAR DAY there was no reason to be overly quiet.

We were one of just two golfing parties on the entire golf course.

Obviously, the chill and the damp scared everyone but the boy and Jordan Spieth away and made them all hole up in Starbucks, until the sun came back out.

IMG_2845 IMG_2850 IMG_2851 IMG_2854 IMG_2855 IMG_2856 IMG_2858 IMG_2859

Thing 2 is an enormous help on the putting green, as he immediately yanks the flag out of the hole for his Bubbie.

IMG_2860 IMG_2862 IMG_2863And never mind that the clubs were a bit too long for his short arms… Thing 2 showed us that he can whack a golf ball much like a hockey player does in a good face-off.

IMG_2870 IMG_2872 IMG_2873 IMG_2875 IMG_2879 IMG_2900 IMG_2901 IMG_2903 IMG_2883 IMG_2885 IMG_2887 IMG_2890 IMG_2904 IMG_2897 IMG_2922And then, when we were all chilled clear through to our bones, I tried to get my numb fingers to fish my Suburban keys out of my pocket, so we could head for home, where we started a fire in the fireplace and ate giant burritos from a little Mexican take-out hot spot in town.

And we called it a very good afternoon.

Y’all have a happy Tuesday.

Jackpot!

This morning when I read the news online, there was an article entitled SIX SIGNS THAT YOUR SPOUSE MAY BE HIDING MONEY FROM YOU.  Of course I wanted to read that little gem, because WAS HUBS STUFFING DOLLAR BILLS INTO HIS SOCKS AND  NOT LETTING ME GO TO STARBUCKS AS MANY TIMES AS I COULD EACH MONTH?  And also, WHAT IF HE WAS HIDING ENOUGH CASH THAT WE COULD BE SITTING ON A BEACH RIGHT NOW?  I was determined to find out.

The glitch came in the small fact that my computer guru husband has completely disabled every single advertisement from ever being seen at our house.  When I clicked on the link for this article, there were too many ads involved, so it was blocked.  Granted, I didn’t have to suffer through sixteen seconds of a commercial for Mercedes Benz, but it also meant that I will now have to live out the rest of my life, never knowing the signs that my husband may be hiding money from me.

(Also?  When we watch Hulu?  We don’t get any commercials any more.  Thanks to Hubs’ ingenuity and the fact that he feels violated when he is exposed to commercials he can’t skip, we now have twenty seconds of NOTHING between our show segments.)

Anyway.

Later this morning, I had to take my old booklet of checks out of my checkbook, which was no longer really a booklet of checks.  All of the checks and deposit slips had long been used, and I’d been waiting by my mailbox for this next order of checks to arrive, because SOMEONE DIDN’T ORDER THEM IN A TIMELY MANNER.  But really, I wasn’t concerned, because HELLO, DEBIT CARD!  What do we even need checks for any more?  So I pulled the little flap of thin cardboard out of my checkbook, which had once been a booklet of checks, and… AND!!!… three twenty-dollar bills came out with it.

People, I found sixty bucks in cold, hard cash in my checkbook, that I don’t even remember putting in there.

Obviously, Hubs should disable his BLOCK ALL THE ADVERTISEMENTS AT ALL TIMES bit of technology and watch a little video called SIX SIGNS THAT YOUR SPOUSE MAY BE HIDING MONEY FROM YOU.

Of course, this led me to do an entire search of every pocket, crevice and hole in my checkbook, to see if I’d hidden other big bills from myself.  Sadly, sixty bucks was it.

But listen, Hubs… I’ve apparently been hiding sixty dollars from you… and also from myself.

Then, I was having some computer issues this morning.  Apparently, my Big Mac completely vaporized my desktop and left me with a generic photo of ocean waves and a button saying HERE.  USE SAFARI.  I KNOW IT’S NOT YOUR REGULAR SEARCH ENGINE, BUT IT’S ALL YOU’RE GETTING TODAY.  OH, AND YOU NO LONGER HAVE ANY BOOKMARKS, BECAUSE I TOOK THE LIBERTY OF WIPING THOSE ALL CLEAN FOR YOU.  HAVE A NICE DAY.  I suspect that the fact that we now block all advertisements at our house MAY have something to do with this.  I called Hubs on the phone about it, and he gave me a seventy-six digit code to insert in some spot, and then told me to add oxygen to the flux capacitator and my head almost exploded.  This is why I simply told him, “Don’t worry about it; you can just look at it tonight.”  Because?  Have I ever mentioned that fixing computers is not an area that I feel comfortable in?

Imagine my surprise when Hubs came home at 1:30 this afternoon to look into the issue of DISOBEDIENT COMPUTER, and found (AHEM!!!) his wife sound asleep on the sofa, while his toddler napped.

And… it wasn’t just a case of, “Oh, sorry.  I must’ve dozed off there for a couple of seconds.”  Nope.  It was a full-on, black-out type of nap, that involved drooling and a severe bedhead, and me kind of fumbling with my phone nearby to check on THE DATE.  Like, was it still 2015?  Did we cross over into May while I was sleeping?  In my defense, though… I’VE BEEN REALLY SICK THIS WEEK!

I’m sure that all the reasons why Hubs thought I would make the perfect wife for him in 1995 were revisited today.

SHE HIDES MONEY FROM HIM, AND SHE PASSES OUT ON THE SOFA WHILE HE’S AT WORK.  Yep.  That girl there is THE RIGHT GIRL kind of material; I should put a ring on her.

In other news, Thing 2 went to preschool today.  The kids in his class painted pictures of the earth, for Earth Day yesterday.  Since he doesn’t go to preschool on Wednesdays, they let him paint his earth today, so that he could finish the project with the rest of the class.  When I asked our toddler if he’d painted today at school, he said, “Yep.”  I asked, “What did you paint?”  He told me, “An egg.”  I said, “An egg?  Your teacher said that you painted the world.  I think you painted the earth.”  Thing 2 just shook his head and said, “Mine was an egg, Mom.”

He’s obviously getting our money’s worth out of his preschool education.

Earth.  Egg.   Whatever.

Anyway.  If he looked like a little punk in the pictures on yesterday’s blog post (And yes… yes, he did.), he looks like a sweet little bundle of yumminess in these snapshots, which I managed to pop off before he left for school this morning.

IMG_2823 IMG_2826 IMG_2827Y’all have a great weekend, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you, too, manage to find some real dollar bills that you once hid from yourself.

The Car Wash

The Toddler:  “Please don’t let my personal desire to run and jump and slide outdoors in the sunshine get in the way of you lying on the sofa all day, with your bag of cough drops and your box of Kleenex and your fuzzy blanket and that little pot of Vicks that makes me gag whenever I smell it.”

The Mom:  “How about a compromise?  I’ll take a cup of hot tea and my cough drops to the deck, and you could play out there for a while.”

The Toddler:  “We could be at the park, but no!  The old gal sounds like she should be balancing a ball on her nose at Sea World, and she has me washing my trucks in a bucket of sudsy water at home, like I’m an under-appreciated day laborer or something…”

Twenty minutes later… after the sopping wet clothes were stripped off and the toddler was buck naked on the deck, as only toddlers can get away with…

The Toddler:  “Okay!  That was WICKED FUN!  When can we have a car wash like that again?!  When, Mom?  WHEN??!!  What else can I wash with this big yellow sponge?!”

Score another point for Team Mom, even though her team has been down with the plague.  That girl still has it, and she just moved up a notch closer to that coveted, golden, Mother of the Year ’15 trophy.  See you at the finish line, Other Mothers Who Don’t Host Car Washes On Your Decks!

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The Cough Heard ‘Round The World

The conclusion to last week’s cliffhanger, of the Black Plague having resurrected itself in our home once again, is this:  I ended up so sick, all I could do was sit there and do the Ugly Cry.  Somehow, that seems like it could be a scene in a good John Hughes movie from the ’80s, but it’s the honest truth.

The chest cold moved into my face with the gentleness of a ninja warrior on crack withdrawals.  My sinuses throbbed, my head throbbed, and the glands in the back of my neck felt like they’d been crushed by the Incredible Hulk in a metal vice.  My teeth ached, my jaw ached, and my ears itched as if they’d suffered through a fight with a field of poison ivy and come out the loser.  I was in the throes of The Cough Heard ‘Round The World.  I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat.  When my mom called me early on Saturday morning to see how I was doing, I started bawling on the phone and couldn’t even quit.  JUST PULL IT TOGETHER, GLADYS was something that I was incapable of.

Four minutes later, my mom was at my house to help out with Thing 2.  She did my laundry, she swept my floors, she bought us some groceries, and she made us a giant pot of the best homemade chicken noodle soup of ever.  She put me in bed with a humidifier and a bottle of cough syrup, and, later Saturday afternoon, when I decided that I was merely hanging on by a thread, she drove me to the walk-in clinic.  Half of the clothes I wore to the clinic had been on my body when I got dressed on Friday morning, and I didn’t even care.  I simply flapped my hand around my body for the universal sign language of THE WHOLE THING and informed the doctor, “I’m kind of a living wreck here.”  Eventually, that doctor pronounced me DOWN WITH A RAGING SINUS INFECTION (you think?) AND A BORDERLINE EAR INFECTION (whatever that means, but at least it gave me some explanation for all the itching in my ear canals).  I came home with a bottle of antibiotic pills that are almost too big for a horse to take, and began to wonder how badly I’d damage things if I straightened out a wire coat hanger and scratched my ear drums with it.

And here’s a solid word of truth:

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Sometime this weekend, all the bacteria of the plague leaked into my left eye, which is why I now resemble a red-eyed zombie.  I have no white left in my eye; it’s all the red color of a raging forest fire.

In other words, SUPER MODEL MATERIAL TODAY.  I kind of look like someone who others would walk wide circles around, just to avoid on the sidewalk.

The boy’s chest cold stayed in his chest… and then he got better.  As his mama, I’m thrilled that he recovered quickly and didn’t have to endure the apocalyptic sinus infection like I have done, but I’m also a bit jealous that he’s NEW AND IMPROVED now.  Meanwhile, I took a shower today and was so physically exhausted, I might as well have just run back-to-back marathons.  The exertion of finally washing my hair made me cough like a nine-packs-a-day old woman.

And THAT, people, was our weekend.  Or at least it was MY weekend.  The boys baked cookies and went to the park with Mam.  Hubs did a little work at his office and then watched some hockey, which he chased with reality shows involving stagnant swamps and the people who live and fish there.  And then he took a nap.

Here’s hoping that the antibiotics kill every germ I’m harboring, and that they do it fairly quickly.

Y’all have a merry Monday.

The Return Of The Dark Plague

On Tuesday, it was eighty degrees here in Small Town, which made us all want to crank our underground sprinklers on and eat grilled hamburgers outside on our decks.

On Wednesday, it was twenty degrees (with that windchill).  It snowed and rained, rained and snowed, and blew wind like we lived in a tornado belt.  There was indoor recess at school, because we’re of the notion that kids who aren’t soaked with freezing rain and chilled by strong winds will function better during math class.  I played dodgeball in the gym during recess.  The kindergartners and 4th graders took on 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades, and I’m here to tell you that the cheating was as thick as a good wildfire tends to be.  It was exactly like True Pandemonium in my gym, because FIFTY-SIX KIDS IN ONE GAME OF DODGEBALL!!  The art teacher walked through the gym and whispered in my ear, “I have a blender in the art room for paper mache projects.  With a little soap and water, we could be in the business of making margaritas in six minutes.”

It was extremely tempting, but I think the school board actually frowns on margaritas before 3 pm.

With the onset of winter weather again, I managed to catch a Level 9 Chest Cold.  I came home from work yesterday, chilled to the bone.  I was coughing like a performing seal at Sea World, and I couldn’t hear out of my ears.  (Whether that was from the pressure of drainage or the result of indoor recess still remains to be seen.)  I walked in our front door at 4:00 yesterday afternoon, pushed the button to start a fire in our fireplace, and set up camp on my sofa for the rest of the night.

(Yes.  We can build a fire with the push of a button.  It’s what gas and modern technology have brought to us, and I’m ON BOARD and SAILING STRONG with it.  Hubs thinks it’s completely un-manly.  He thinks fires should only be started with logs and crumpled paper and pine needles and calloused hands and unreliable matches.  However, he wasted no time at all last night setting up his own base camp in the living room, in front of the blaze, so I think he’s come to accept that girly fires are just as wonderful as the ones Jedediah Smith built.)

Instead of the post-indoor-recess margaritas, I enjoyed a NyQuil nightcap last night, and went to bed, coughing up a lung.  Thing 2… BLESS!!  HIS!!  HEART!!… slept straight through the night, in an act of compassion for his sick mama.  This was nothing short of a miracle, because our THREE-YEAR-OLD is still not a reliable sleeper.

When the boy got out of bed at 6:30 this morning, he walked into my bedroom and coughed up his own lung on my floor, as he announced, “I think I’m sick.”

I wiped our calendar plum clean for today, which was a genuine shame, as I had two (!!) coffee dates scheduled.  Because?  Coffee twice?  In one day?  With two different friends?  Yes, please; I’ll take it.  The boy missed his soccer game, because I couldn’t envision him running down the field, while he sounded like a barking seal.  I put corn chowder in the crockpot this morning, because SOUP!  It’s the food of the sick soul.

And that, people, is how our home has become infiltrated with yet another round of the Dark Plague.  So far, Hubs and that cute toddler of ours are hanging on as the healthy half of our family, while the boy and I have spent the afternoon together, sitting under blankets in front of the fireplace and sipping tea like a couple of elderly nursing home residents.

And then Hubs came home and asked us if we were burning up the baby robin eggs outside, because IS THERE ANOTHER NEST ON THE FIREPLACE EXHAUST VENT?  Let me tell you, I felt like a baby bird killer, because I had plum forgotten that a family of robins has built a nest on that fireplace exhaust portal every spring for the last several years.  I was sick with dread, as I envisioned little, blue hard-boiled eggs and a tearful set of robin parents with broken hearts.  It was with a heavy heart that I went outside to peek, and GLORY, GLORY, HALLELUJAH!  Hubs removed the nest over the winter, with some hopes that the birds would find a safer address to raise their family, and it must’ve worked.  Our fireplace exhaust vent was nest-free, and I feel liberated from a horrible crime.

Anyway, if you need us, we’ll be over here at our house, under the influence of NyQuil and essential oils… or at least HALF OF US will be.  Have a merry weekend, and stay healthy.

That Time I Went Shopping Without Leaving My House And Realized I Still Know All The Words To Hank’s Best Songs

Do you know what I did all day yesterday?

The answer would be LAUNDRY.  As in, loads and loads of laundry, until I pretty much just decided that I was going to weed through our closets like a feller buncher on speed pills and pare us all down to four different outfits, and no more.  The end.

Of course, that was right before I remembered that my friends, Deb and Jackie, had just gotten back from a major, thriving metropolis with an entire classy-style, paper shopping bag from a Ralph Lauren outlet store, which they had handed over to me at church on Sunday morning.  It’s because they were shopping in the big city on Friday, and they kept texting me photos of LOOK WHERE WE ARE NOW!  And WHERE WE ARE NOW turned out to be RIGHT IN FRONT OF THIS MAJOR PRICE REDUCTION IN ALL THINGS RALPH LAUREN FOR TODDLER BOYS, and that is how we came to spend the next thirty minutes swapping photos of DO YOU LIKE THIS SHIRT?  IT’S JUST $14, MARKED DOWN FROM $49, which I followed with LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, FAINT!

So now both of my boys have new shirts, which were secured for cheap American dollars, hanging in their closets, so I might have to loosen the laundry reigns a bit and give each of us eight different outfits.

I’m telling you… virtual shopping with the use of smart phones and friends in outlet malls is going to be an idea that catches on like fire in a haystack.  My only regrets are that Jackie and Deb haven’t tried to do my grocery shopping that way yet, where I sit at home and read a book, and they text me snapshots of canned refried beans and ask, OLD EL PASO BRAND, BUSH’S OR ROSARITAS?  And then I would text back, STOP BOTHERING ME WITH ALL THIS NONSENSE!  JUST BUY SOME BEANS AND FINISH UP MY GROCERY SHOPPING, WHILE I SIT HERE AND DO NOTHING AT HOME.

In other news, the boy has been working feverishly with two of his buddies on this video presentation project for their advanced history class which involves them tethering every electronic device that we apparently own to the big screen TV, where images from a video game are being captured and recreated to tell the story of a gory battle.

This is a lot different than history class in 1983, when we used a shoebox and some clay to make a crude diorama depicting the Persian Wars.

I have continued to do my job of supplying them with every manner of non-nutritious, after school snacks, as I keep Thing 2 from venturing down the stairs and hollering out, “Hey, Bubbie?  I need some popcorn!” right as the big boys start recording their voices in the video to explain why this well-decorated knight is hiding in a bush outside a drawbridge.  Apparently, none of these 8th graders think that a toddler’s voice demanding his fair share of the snack bowls is a good thing to have recorded in the middle of their narrative.  So, in my efforts to keep the little man very quiet, we have spent umpteen hours in the past two afternoons upstairs, watching You Tube videos together on the iPad.  Of course, the only videos that we get to watch are documentaries on cement mixers, impact hammers, monster truck accidents, and train derailments, as Thing 2 wants NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with home videos filmed by college girls who know how to do good hair, and who can show me the ins and outs of securing the best messy bun of my entire life.

The only other thing worth reporting tonight is that I got a rock in my sneaker while I was outside, doing my time as the recess lady.  (Our little private school is small and poor; we don’t have the luxury of teacher’s aides and paraprofessionals who can cover recesses.  All of the teachers get to do that, which is fine when it’s 80 degrees outside, like it was today, but which is an entirely different matter altogether when it’s 12 degrees and snowing sideways out.)  Anyway, I didn’t stop on the playground to take the rock out, so I kind of kicked my foot back and forth in a dozen different directions, trying to shift that little pebble somewhere else, so that I wouldn’t feel it like the sting of a thousand needles, which is what it had become.  And that’s when I started singing a little song from a hundred or more years ago to myself.

“I’ve got a rock in my shoe, my jeans are cutting me in two.  My underwear’s too tight; my clothes don’t ever fit right!”

It’s Buck Naked, by Hank Williams, Jr., and I put all the blame on my lifelong BFF, Theresa, for that song being stuck in my head this afternoon.  She introduced me to that song one night during our senior year of high school, when we were very busy driving back and forth, up and down, back and forth, and up and down again on Main Street, waving at every other teenager who was out that night doing the exact same thing.  I’d never heard the song before, but BUCK NAKED!  It was perfectly scandalous, and Theresa had sucked me into a world of questionable lyrics.

“Buck naked, in my birthday suit.  Buck naked, and I don’t give a hoot!”

I’m pretty sure that we completely wore the Born to Boogie cassette tape out in the stereo of my 1982 Honda Accord, while we kept ourselves hydrated with giant sodas from the gas station at the far end of Main Street.  I’m also fairly certain that we solved the world’s problems that night, as only best friends can do when they’re together in a car, laughing hysterically at some dumb song and talking nonstop.  I’m also pretty sure that we drove by the houses of the guys we had crushes on a dozen times that night and that we also ended up at the OPEN ALL NIGHT LONG restaurant in town, for cheese sticks dipped in marinara sauce, as we joined fourteen other friends at a table.

That was the good old days, before anyone could do any shopping with mere snapshots over a cell phone, and no one had any idea that video games could be captured onto a video camera for a history project.  That may be because video cameras were the size of Volkswagen bugs and required a strong shoulder to support them on, and because nobody was interested in footage of Pong or Q-Bert.

Y’all have a merry Tuesday night.