Buttermilk is Actually a By-Product of Butter. Who Knew?

Before you put on the High Hopes Bracelet for the content of this blog post tonight, let me just assure you that you can go ahead and leave it in your jewelry box.

Or thrown across the top of your dresser, which I’m prone to do at night, until I wake up in a sheer panic at 3 AM, knowing that Cat 2 and her learning disability have probably absconded with whatever bit of shiny, faux jewels I had left there.  Hubs and I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt (as they say in all the crime shows on TV that I don’t ever watch because of WHO HAS THE TIME?), that Cat 2 (who is now called Mayhem) has a rat hole somewhere in this house which is packed to the gills with individual Lego bricks, cheap bracelets, quarters and dimes, used Q-Tips that she pulled out of the bathroom garbage, and plastic bags.  We lose these things on a regular basis around here, and surveillance cameras seem to indicate that Cat 2 is the leading suspect.

Except we don’t actually HAVE surveillance cameras, because of WHO HAS THE EXTRA MONEY FOR THAT?

And there you have it.  Between last night’s blog post and tonight’s blog post, I have just announced to the World Wide Web that Hubs is currently in an enormous city that is a great distance away from Small Town, USA, and we do not have surveillance cameras on the premises.

But what we lack in documented-on-high-definition-video, we totally make up for with Cat 1 and her Attitude of Death.  If you attempt a break-in at the Jedi Manor tonight, we won’t need your face caught on film; your face will be sprawled out on my dining room floor, while your bowels lay in a messy heap right beside you, thanks to Cat 1 and her handiwork.

And Cat 2 will quickly remove your signet ring and Timex watch to store in her secret place.

The reason that this blog post is going to lack things like PROPERLY USED VERBS and CORRECT PRONOUNS and STRONG SENTENCE STRUCTURE tonight is simply this:  Because Hubs was away last night, watching Pirates of the Caribbean at an IMAX theater and rubbing it in to the boy, who simply saw it on the big screen in Small Town, with cheap 3D glasses perched on his face, the boy announced, “Well, I think I’ll just sleep in your bed tonight, Mom.”

And he did.

Let me tell you what sleeping with the boy is like.

Catch a squirrel.  Make sure that it’s not your ordinary, high-strung, very-busy, runs-with-gusto-everywhere squirrel.  Get one with a diagnosis of HYPERACTIVITY SYNDROME.  Then, let him have about four Mt. Dews.  Give him two of the giant Pixy Stix, too.  Make sure he shakes the very last dredges of sugar out of them.  And then…tuck him into your bed and try to go to sleep.

People, Hubs and I have always pitied the boy’s future wife, because he uses EVERY AVAILABLE SQUARE INCH of his bed while he sleeps.  He flops.  He twists.  He throws arms and legs and chins and knees everywhere.  He kicks covers off.  He yanks covers on.  I took a live finger to my eye last night, when he threw an arm out in the name of making himself comfortable in the middle of his REM sleep.  I think that I only lost half of my cornea.

And then my cell phone blared with a text message at precisely midnight, which jerked me awake with FORCE.


Other than seventeen year olds?

It was Hubs.  The text message simply said, “Love you.”

It was very sweet.

My responding text message was not so sweet.  It said, “I love you 2.  Go to bed now.  My phone scared the crap out of me.”

Only I misspelled me and typed ms.

I’m sure Hubs was able to decipher the gist of the message.

When the alarm went off at 6:00 this morning, I felt like I’d just worked the night shift at the zoo, in the raccoon pen.

And all of these words which I have just typed can be put into CliffsNotes by saying, “DON’T EXPECT MUCH FROM THIS BLOG POST, BECAUSE I AM SORT OF TIRED.”

I’ve never been accused of not having anything to say.

So yesterday, I joined the boy in his classroom, because they have been studying the Oregon Trail in depth, and they were finishing the unit by making butter and dioramas and building wooden forts.  Mrs. G., the boy’s teacher, recruited some moms to come in and help, and since I’m never doing anything more strenuous than sitting at Starbucks, according to Hubs, I peeled myself off of the leather sofa in the coffee house and went to see how butter is actually made.

And this is what I learned, people.

I was the ONLY MOTHER in the classroom yesterday morning who had NOT made butter with her child before.  And also?  I felt like it was yet another social split between moms.

Those moms who breastfed vs. those who bottle fed.  Those moms who home school their children vs. those moms who just send them off to public school and hope they survive.  Those moms who only buy organic food vs. those moms who buy Pop Tarts.  Those moms who make butter with their kids on a regular basis vs. those moms who know that butter comes in a tub from the refrigerated section at Walmart.

One of the moms told me, “Oh, I make butter EVERY SINGLE WEEK.  Every week.  Once you’ve made it yourself, you just can’t tolerate the taste of store-bought butter any longer.  I also make my own cheese and yogurt and bread, too.”

I looked her straight in the eyes and said, “I make my own cup of Coffee Mate with a hint of actual coffee in it every morning.  Unless I’ve…you know…gone to Starbucks that day.  But really, that Coffee Mate won’t pour ITSELF out of the jug now, will it?”

So we poured cream into little Mason jars, and we passed them around the classroom, and we shook them exactly like I want to do to Cat 2 every night at about 3 AM.

And listen, people.  Butter eventually happens, and it’s floating on a liquid that is commonly called BUTTERMILK.  I plum had no idea!  I thought buttermilk was simply milk that had gone bad and soured, but which elderly people would still drink if you called it something clever.


The boy shook the jar, exactly like the old-time pioneers did.  I think.

Carter shook the jar all over the place.

Bek had his turn, too.

The kids even had wooden models of covered wagons and forts and log cabins to build, so that they could get a feel for what pioneer life was like.

If by a feel for pioneer life, you actually mean some assembly with a hot glue gun required, right before you get to head to recess.

There were also real dioramas with faux grass and rocks and big sections of sand paper which were ripped into strips to signify the VERY OREGON TRAIL the pioneers traversed upon.  Kellen was quite adept at constructing one of these.

One of the moms who was working on assembling a covered wagon with WOOD GLUE and not the HOT GLUE GUN was having some labor problems.  First of all, her crew of workers had split and left her to get the wheels on the contraption alone.  And second, the wheels wouldn’t GO on the contraption.  Right before she was abandoned by one little girl, the girl said, “I can’t get this wheel on at all!”  And the mom replied, “Well, that’s not the pioneer attitude!  Problems arose every day on the Oregon Trail, and you just had to deal with them and do the best you could.  Let’s try to get this wagon assembled together, shall we?  We’ll just give it the old Pioneer One-Two-Three.”

At this point, I inserted, “Or…you could probably just BUY a toy covered wagon at Walmart for the diorama and call it good.”

The mom wanted to know how my people ever made it out West.

I told her that we waited until the railroad tracks went clear to the beach in California, and then we loaded up our trunks and came out.  And then my people found a Realtor who took us on tours of fourteen different log homes, before we finally settled on one and moved in.

It was something like House Hunters, International.  We called it Little House Hunters on the Prairie.

And believe me, I was incredibly relieved when Kellen’s mother leaned over and told me, “You know, if I had been on the Oregon Trail, I would have been a little white cross on the prairie!”

There was finally a mother who spoke my language, although she actually HAD made butter with her son before.

And yogurt.

And I simply said, “Well, I’ve shared some hardships with MY son, too.  It might not have been butter, but I’ve slept with him in a queen-sized bed before.  I have the scarred cornea to prove it!”

Happy Wednesday night, people.



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