I hope he’s working on our taxes.
Fingers crossed that he’s finding us a refund.
Thing 2 has a good friend named C. (Clearly, she has more of a name than just C, but I do like to keep ALL THE THINGS very vague.) C is adorable. She’s in Thing 2’s preschool class, and she’s also our neighbor. Plus, her mom teaches with me at the little private school, where I work. C likes little boys to behave politely, and she’s never afraid to put her hand on Thing 2’s arm and remind him, “Remember, we’re not going to get wild and crazy today, Thing 2.”
Last Friday, when I picked Thing 2 up from preschool, he and C were out on the playground, eating snow together. It’s every mother’s dream, people! You send them to school, and they eat the snow that forty other children have trudged through, in THEIR dirty snow boots. Of course I snapped their picture, so that I could send it to C’s sweet mom and say, “Your daughter convinced my son to eat snow off the playground.” Because… you know… it couldn’t POSSIBLY have been MY CHILD’S idea to eat the dirty snow.
They were both smart enough to quit their snack when I stooped down in front of them with my iPhone. There is no photographic evidence that they gobbling up the snowdrifts.
Thing 2 replied, “Well, C said we had to play something NICE, so we were being otters.”
“Yes. Otters. Because otters are nice. But do you know what, Mom? I didn’t tell C that I pretended that MY otter had great big, mean fangs.”
Oh… my, Mr. Otter! What big teeth you have! All the better to eat dirty snow with!
On Monday, Thing 2 and I went into Walmart. We were in desperate need of things like… well… FOOD. We were hanging on by a thread at our house and had gotten to the point where I looked into our refrigerator and pantry, and wondered what I could make for dinner with a can of green beans, some cornstarch, and a bottle of hot sauce.
While we were busy getting the necessities (Cereal! Coffee! Chicken breasts! Half and half!), we took notice of the mass amount of teenagers in the super center, buying roses and stuffed animals.
There’s nothing that says, “Valentine’s Day is tomorrow,” like seeing a seventeen-year-old boy walking around Walmart, with an arm thrown around the neck of a five-foot-tall bear, as he clutches it to his side. Thing 2 and I know that at least six high school girls were blessed with giant teddy bears for the Love Holiday.
Those were simpler times, y’all. Being a teenager on Valentine’s Day was EASY. All you had to do was walk into the store at the age of seventeen, find a white, fluffy, stuffed animal with a bright red nose, gripping a satin heart that said, “WILL YOU BE MINE,” and your shopping was finished. If you actually had a part-time job and made real money, you could spring for six red roses to go with the stuffed animal, and the girl was guaranteed to gush about it to all her friends. And after those roses died? Well, that teenage girl would have hung them upside down, to dry them in a manner that would have done ancient Egyptian embalmers proud, so that they could be preserved in a vase on a bedroom shelf for all eternity.
Or until someone touched one and a dried-up, brown petal crumbled into dust.
If you were THE GIRL, all you really had to do was go to the mall and buy a bottle of Polo cologne. Yes, it was going to cost you the equivalent of a month’s car payment on your 1982 Honda Accord, but could you really put a price tag on WE ARE SOOOO IN LOVVVVVEE!?
Then you get married.
And married people sigh and ask one another, “Do we really need to get each other something?”
Which is when the husband usually responds with, “Um… no. Definitely not. When is Valentine’s Day again?”
This year, I pulled out all the stops for our boys. I bought the boy a gift card to Taco Bell. It’s because I roamed the Walmart aisles so long, my bag of frozen broccoli thawed and started to drip through the shopping cart, and I still couldn’t find anything that just shouted my older son’s name, in the terms of a Valentine’s Day gift from his mama.
He already had a hoard of candy leftover from Halloween and Christmas, that was starting to go stale on a shelf in his closet. After my brain nearly exploded with WHAT CAN I GET THAT KID, THAT DOESN’T COST A THOUSAND DOLLARS, I settled for a gift card.
Taco Bell it was.
I felt lame. I felt like I was losing the mothering game. What kind of mama would say, “I couldn’t find you anything, so here’s a consolation gift card?”
I instantly went from feeling like I had failed in the gift-giving department to feeling like I had just won the jackpot of the coveted Mother of the Year tiara. The boy looked at me and said, “Oh, my gosh! I can eat at Taco Bell and not spend any of my own money there! THIS IS SO AWESOME!! I’m going to treat myself to a Valentine’s Day taco after school today!”
So THAT went well.
Thing 2 was a cinch to buy for. Matchbox cars are one of his most precious love languages, so he got a little car with a car launcher. The launcher set me back six entire American dollars. You insert the car into the end of it, pull the lever, and the car shoots out the other end, does a flip, and (with luck) lands on all four of its wheels and streaks away on the hardwood floors.
The answer was a firm NO. We will not sacrifice our educations to flip cars off little plastic ramps.
And then I picked up some steaks and some potatoes… some salad fixings and a giant loaf of crusty bread… and some broccoli that had once been frozen… and Hubs grilled dinner, while I was at Bible study last night.
Because we’re NOT seventeen any more, I didn’t sacrifice Bible study for Valentine’s Day!
I came home to a fantastic dinner, which we ate late with our two boys. We talked about high school classes and how hard the college-level US History class continues to be. We talked about other high school classes, and how easy advanced chemistry still is. We talked about preschool, and how VEGETABLE and VALENTINE’S are the two longest V-words in the entire world. We examined our salad and classified the carrots, lettuce and cucumbers as VEGETABLES.
I told Thing 2, “And if you’d stayed home from school to flip Matchbox cars all morning, you never would have gotten to learn the big VEGETABLE word and sort fruits and veggies with your friends!”
And THAT, y’all, is how Valentine’s Day panned out at our house. When you’re old, you don’t need a giant stuffed bear to say I LOVE YOU. Instead, I LOVE YOU gets said every day, in the way Hubs makes my coffee every morning, and the way I wash his favorite sweats as often as I can, so he can lounge around the house in them every night. It’s grilling a steak for someone, while she’s at Bible study, or stepping back from putting your mascara on at the bathroom mirror, so he can spit toothpaste in the sink.
However, I’m not going to lie.
I miss the smell of Polo cologne!
I’m running here and there and everywhere today, because it’s Tuesday. And I work on Tuesdays. And I have Bible study on Tuesday nights. And the people at my house still seem to think that they need to eat dinner between my last PE class and my Bible study.
But… I had to show you two of my Valentine’s really quick-like tonight.
Aren’t they stinking cute?!
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. May all of your dinners be cooked by someone else this evening, and may your boxes of chocolates be filled with all the caramel ones… and not those disgusting, fruit-flavored cream ones that drip slop across your chin.
My day started out in the usual way, which included me putting all of my eyelashes into my handheld eyelash curler and squeezing down. The result I was hoping for — as I hope for every single morning — is that my lashes would come out of that big squeeze long and lush and perfectly curled.
Most days, they emerge from the big squeeze still looking stubby and sticking forward like a bad cowlick on a freckle-faced little boy. The picture on the package that my eyelash curler came in, straight from Walmart, lied to me. The pictures seemed to show that I was going to double the volume of my lashes, triple the length, and curl them up in a beautiful bit of glory that would put the Rave home permanent out of business. No matter. I have squeezed my eyelashes in that thing every morning for years now, and I’ve never achieved the results in the package photos.
Clearly, I am one that holds onto optimism longer than I probably should.
This morning, I added a little extra to the eyelash curler, in the form of the my eyelid’s inner corner. I had no idea. It was a complete surprise to me.
And then I squeezed the handle, which is how I ended up sitting on the edge of my bathtub, clutching my eye in pain, panting like they teach you to do in a good Lamaze class, and chanting, “It’s a flesh wound! It’s a flesh wound! It’s NOTHING BUT A FLESH WOUND!” When I could finally breathe again and had the courage to look in the mirror, I was relieved to see that I hadn’t just clipped my entire eyelid off, like the pain seemed to indicate.
Sadly, I think my eyelid held more curl than the lashes actually did.
We had a lovely weekend. On Friday, Papa recruited Thing 2 to do a little shoveling for him, at his office. Recruiting Thing 2 to shovel is like recruiting children to taste-test donuts: Thing 2 is in, with his entire heart and biceps. The kid would shovel a trail from here to China, if he could. Shoveling is his love languages.
Neither Thing 2 nor Papa is wearing a coat in that snapshot, because it was 47 entire degrees outside. Take THAT, Texas, while you’re wearing your ski parkas in temps below fifty degrees and building fires in garbage cans to huddle around.
On Friday afternoon, Thing 2 went skating at the ice rink, and then he joined in on a youth Stick and Puck session. He got to take his hockey stick onto the ice and slap pucks all over the place, while he pretended to be in the NHL. It was a free-for-all, with kids skating everywhere and pucks flying through the air in every single direction. Our preschooler had a blast. He came home exhausted and happy, which is how we like him to be.
Our Friday night included a whole lot of nothing, except pajamas, the DVR, Chip and Joanna Gaines, and Jimmy John’s sandwiches.
In other words, Friday night was exactly like a second Christmas.
On Saturday, we watched some hockey.
We got to see our ten-year-old friends — twins, Sam and Henry — play. Thing 2 beat on the glass with every goal they scored and played tag along the edges of the rink with boys who were in the same, sad, sorry state he was in — TOO YOUNG TO BE ON THE ICE IN A HOCKEY GAME WITH 4TH GRADERS.
On Saturday night, while the boy went to dinner with friends and chased it with an evening of bowling, Hubs and Thing 2 and I continued to hang out at the rink to watch Cousin W and Cousin B play hockey.
Throughout the entire game, Thing 2 kept begging for quarters to put into the candy machine. Throughout the entire game, his parents kept telling him no, no and also NO. Eventually, Thing 2 ditched us and took his requests straight to the Big Guy — Papa. Papa came through for him, in the form of quarters and genuine paper dollar bills, all of which could be inserted into the machine in exchange for sugary treats.
It was everything Willie Wonka intended for kids.
… THIS is what a preschool boy looks like when the machine is found to be OUT OF ORDER, and isn’t accepting money in exchange for Starburst candies.
On Sunday morning, we were back at the ice rink by 7:30.
Yes. You read that right. WE WERE AT THE ICE RINK AT 7:30 AM, ON A SUNDAY.
Apparently, hockey players like to get a head start on the day, exactly like the Army does. And I should clarify that only three of us were at the ice rink — the boy, being sixteen, was still sound asleep in his bed… at home.
We all looked like this on the sidelines:
We cheered for Sam and Henry again, and they produced a win for their enthusiastic crowd again.
Cousin W and Cousin B were back on the ice after that, so we were back watching them push and shove and slap hockey pucks at three trillion miles an hour. I can honestly say that if one of those high school boys was skating toward ME full force, with every intention of slamming me into the boards, I would shout, “OH, MY GOSH! TAKE THE PUCK AND LEAVE ME ALONE! DON’T KNOCK ME DOWN!”
It probably has everything to do with the simple fact that I’d break a hip falling on that ice at my age.
This is a blurry picture of Cousin B, which I took through the glass.
If any of you would like me to show up at YOUR kid’s sporting event, to capture his game with all of my blurry, glare-right-there talent, I would be happy to offer you my services.
When we got home, Thing 2 pulled his hockey sticks and foam pucks out of his toybox and went to town damaging our hardwood floors. The kid shot pucks all over the place and kept yelling, “I’m going to be just like Cousin W! He’s the best hockey player in the whole world!”
I asked Thing 2 at one point how his game was going on Sunday afternoon. He told me, “I’ve scored a hundred goals. I’m kind of a champion.”
We have to work on his humbleness, people.
Also? Well, we found out that when you’re missing your two front teeth, it really IS difficult to eat corn on the cob.
He hates jeans.
I may have mentioned that once or twenty thousand times before.
He asked me today, “Why do you ruin my life with jeans?”
(And the answer is NO. He’s NEVER dramatic.)
I told him that sometimes I’d like to see him wear his nice shirts, which don’t really look all that great with ratty sweatpants or gym shorts.
Thing 2 refers to all jeans as “cowboy pants,” so he made the best of his bad luck this morning, as he chose his own footwear:
He picked his blue cowboy boots and spurs to wear to school with his crappy jeans.
By the time we’d made it across the preschool lobby and to his cubby, where he hangs his coat, so many parents and teachers had commented on Thing 2’s awesome spurs, he was embarrassed. He sat down and yanked his boots right off his feet, as he whispered, “Mom, I don’t want to wear these any more.”
We exchanged them for his snow boots, which I’d brought along with us.
Of course, we had to pull three foam hockey pucks out of the boots before we could put them on, because that’s how mothers of boys roll.
And THAT, y’all, has been our last few days. Have a happy Monday evening.
It snowed again last night, here in Small Town, USA.
Now, I’m not a mathematician who concerns herself with a lot of statistics (Except the lone statistic of, “Put the Sprite down! You’ve already HAD a Sprite today! You do not need two Sprites in one evening! I don’t care if we DO have thirty-three cans leftover from Stomach Flu ’17. One Sprite per day, until they’re gone. BECAUSE I’M YOUR MOTHER AND I SAID SO, THAT’S WHY!!”), but I think our total snowfall accumulation for this winter is… thirty-six… carry the one… carry the three… SEVENTEEN THOUSAND, FOUR HUNDRED AND NINE INCHES.
We have had so much snow, our driveway looks like it was cut through a canyon of snow. Our driveway has WALLS right now. Walls of snow, put there by the snow blower. They’re twelve feet tall and are threatening an avalanche, as we speak.
We have suffered another wave of windchills sitting at MINUS TWENTY-TWO DEGREES.
We have no more room to put snow, after it has been shoveled.
Our hopes and dreams of ever mowing green grass again have been crushed like ants marching along in an elephant stampede.
My mom’s cousin lives in the next state over, and she’s suffering through as much snow as we are this winter. Except, you know, she seems to enjoy such things as SKIING, which I don’t enjoy, because the cold air hurts my face; I really just want to be indoors when it’s ZERO DEGREES OUTSIDE, drinking coffee. She posted THIS to her Facebook page today:
The most amazing part is that our weatherman (And let’s face it? Can he even be trusted any longer, when he says we’re going to get dusted with another one to three inches of snow, which turns out to be an assault of fourteen inches instead?) has told us that we can expect high temperatures of FORTY-FOUR ENTIRE DEGREES ABOVE ZERO tomorrow.
And that’s forty-four POSITIVE, ABOVE THE ZERO kind of degrees!!
Forty-four degrees… after we just had indoor recess at school yesterday, because the windchill was enough to freeze your lungs on contact.
I know forty-four degrees makes Texans think the end of the world is near, as they start buying North Face coats and long underwear online in a frantic frenzy, but forty-four degrees for us… up here in Small Town… will mean our schoolchildren will take their coats OFF at recess tomorrow. We will venture out in nothing but our shirt sleeves. We will marvel over the spring weather. We will buy the COLD DRINKS at Starbucks tomorrow. We will hold hands and jump up and down in the sunshine, and we will laugh over the joy found in knowing that everything will be alright again. Forty-four predicted degrees is going to restore our hope and renew our souls.
… forty-four degrees is going to melt our snow-canyon walls along our driveway and our patio in a big, fat, ugly hurry.
Forty-four degrees, with all this snow, is going to put our town’s two carpet cleaning businesses at DEFCON 1, as this snow gets out of here in a big hurry, straight through basement cracks and gaps, and lands in deep puddles on laundry room floors and on family room rugs, clear across our county. Forty-four degrees is going to take the snow piled up in our backyard and drive it straight into the back of our basement, into our storage room where the furnace is located. It’s going to cause wailing and gnashing of teeth. We’re going to be ripping our sackcloth and putting on ashes, as we gather our oldest bath towels and our antique box fan, straight out of 1982, in preparedness.
… we don’t have hurricanes.
We don’t have hurricanes.
We don’t have hurricanes.
I texted this to Hubs this morning…
I think the Avs are going to turn things around. I think Jesus will be there for them. “He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my
feet skates upon a rock slab of frozen water, and established my steps stance on the ice.”
I think a win is going to happen. Never you mind that they haven’t won a single game in the last eight thousand games they’ve played! With Jesus, all things are possible!
How was your weekend?
I trust that it was better than ours.
And I’m not just saying that because the Patriots won the Super Bowl, which is apparently the biggest letdown that a Denver Broncos fan can face, according to Hubs.
Our weekend was the weekend of nightmares because… after Thing 2 brought the Stomach Flu ’17 into our house on Wednesday night… we all fell victim to it.
Oh, yes! We did!
Thing 2 suffered through the nausea and the vomiting and the horrific diarrhea for 48 hours, until I had myself some significant concerns for his hydration levels. Little Man refused to drink anything, because every time he tried… he barfed it right back up, straight out of his nose, in a precise picture of poise and grace and dignity. I ran to the store for everything I thought might help keep some fluids inside of him: Popsicles, Sprite, ginger ale, apple juice, and the greatest invention to ever come out of the 1970s… warm Jell-O water.
What? Your mom didn’t make you mugs of warm Jell-O water when you were down on your luck and throwing up like Mount Vesuvius in 1978? Nothing felt so good on a sick stomach as a little sugary gelatin, laced with Red 40 food dye and mixed with warm water did.
Thing 2 initially loved his cup of warm cherry Jell-O… and then he puked every last drop of it straight into my lap, right in front of Hubs. Hubs, who handles vomit NOT AT ALL, ran from the room, flapping his hands above his head, crying for help. Never you mind that it was ME sitting in a chair with Thing 2 on my lap, covered in red Jell-O and bile and whatever else came out of Thing 2’s belly THAT time. Hubs managed to get a bath towel from the linen closet and throw at us in the living room, before he had to run to another room and dry heave.
Hubs, you see, is what is commonly called a SYMPATHY PUKER.
If someone pukes, Hubs pukes, too. Hubs doesn’t even have to be sick. If he sees puke, hears puke, smells puke, or thinks someone MIGHT BE puking, Hubs joins in. He can shoot a whitetail deer, gut it, and rip its heart and intestines out without so much as blinking, yet he will die if someone barfs anywhere near him.
Jesus, we lift Hubs up to you; You made him a Sympathy Puker.
By Friday evening, Hubs and I had cancelled dinner plans with friends, because it’s hard to lure a babysitter into your home when your preschooler is erupting out of both ends every few minutes. We said goodbye to real linen napkins, mood lighting, soft music, friends to laugh with at a table, martinis, and not having to say, “Would you sit up in your chair and EAT?!” We called and said, “Thing 2 continues to barf, so we will be staying at home.”
That translated into Mama Will Be Staying At Home With The Puke Fest, While Hubs And The Boy Go Watch The Cousins Play Some High School Hockey.
Before heading to the hockey rink with Hubs, the boy had stopped at Taco Bell with the cute neighbor boy, where they’d laughed and LAUGHED, as they ate an uncountable amount of burritos.
By 11:30 Friday night, the boy was unloading Taco Bell burritos in his bathroom toilet. He was puking for all he was worth, and he COULD! NOT! STOP! He was shooting beans from his nose, and sobbing that his favorite fast food restaurant might be dead to him for the rest of his life.
Hubs put his headphones in his ears, to let a little AC/DC drown out the sounds of puking coming from the nearby bathroom, so that he, himself, might live.
I did what I could for the boy, but… at sixteen… kids are really self-sufficient with their vomiting. They make it to the toilet. They flush the toilet when they are done. They go back to bed. All the boy needed me to do was to pat his back, let him know that Mama loved him, and hand him a glass of water to rinse his mouth with. Oh… and then swipe the toilet with Clorox.
This went on all night long…
… until at 4:00 Saturday morning, I felt queasy.
And by queasy, I mean I felt the Sick Locomotive barreling right down the tracks, headed in my direction, and I was helpless to get off the tracks.
Bless me, but mine didn’t turn out to be the kind of sick that involves puke.
Mine turned out to be… ahem! The OTHER kind of sick, which ladies never admit to having.
Suffice it to say, there was a point at 6:30 Saturday morning, when I wished that our toilet was constructed with handles, so that I could have something to grip and stabilize myself with.
My only thought was, “So this is where I will die.”
I was horrified enough to believe that I should start praying for Jesus’ return, before I actually DID die from the diarrhea.
I could only imagine the shame that I would have brought upon my family, as people would quietly put an arm around Hubs’ shoulders and whisper, “How did she die?”
And Hubs would look away and whisper, “I’d… um... rather not… well... I’d rather not talk about how she died.” Over time, I’m sure he’d simplify his answer to be, “She passed away in a violent explosion.” You know… for insurance paperwork.
The boy and I never left our beds or our bathrooms on Saturday.
I texted the boy to say, “I’m dying.”
The boy texted me back to say, “I’m already dead.”
I texted the boy to say, “My body aches! I have the traditional body ache symptoms!”
The boy texted me back to say, “I think I ripped my chest muscle in half the last time I puked. I think my chest muscle is flapping loose somewhere around my left lung.”
I texted the boy to say, “Just know I loved you.”
The boy texted me back to say, “Just know I’m sorry for lighting small fires in the backyard when I was twelve, when you didn’t know.”
Hubs was still going strong on Saturday with his health. He kept insisting that he was a lot like an Iron Man / Chuck Norris combo, and that he couldn’t succumb to sickness. By Saturday, after having had the stomach flu for 48 hours, Thing 2 was well, and he was ready to eat himself some FOOD. Hubs was kept busy making mac and cheese and supplying him with all the Sprite he wanted, to make up for all the dehydration we had worried about. They watched movies together all day long. They built a fort in the living room. They built airplanes out of Legos. They had themselves a day, while the boy and I slept and ran to the bathroom.
Saturday was my mom’s birthday, so we had to cancel our plans for another dinner out. No one wanted to be anywhere near us on Saturday. I know exactly how the victims of the Black Plague felt.
Hubs put Thing 2 to bed at 8:30 on Saturday night. He then walked into our bedroom and announced, “I’m so sick to my stomach, I may die.”
And THAT, y’all, is how our family spent the weekend.
By Sunday afternoon, we were all pretty much healed back up.
We worked as a family to Clorox our bathrooms. I put Clorox in my dishwasher, to wash all the soup bowls and cups that had been used. I put Clorox in my washing machine, when I washed everyone’s bedding. We sanitized doorknobs, light switches, bathroom sinks, toilets, tubs, floors and the kitchen counters. Everyone got fresh sheets on their beds. Our home was completely fumigated, with the windows thrown open to let in some fresh air and keep us from smelling like an infirmary.
And then we watched the Super Bowl at home by ourselves, because I think our invitations to parties were cancelled when we RSVP’ed by saying, “It’ll be the four of us, and four upchuck buckets.” Apparently, no one wants an upchuck bucket next to the appetizers of hot wings and Lil’ Smokies in the crockpot.
We kept the quarantine in place and the plague at home.
Hubs bought chips and salsa, as well as a take-and-bake pizza, for our private Super Bowl party.
We ate none of it, because we were still in the transition period, where we were tentatively moving from cans of cold Sprite to bowls of hot chicken noodle soup from a can. Baby steps.
Plus? Who wants take-and-bake pizza to be dead to them, because they puked it out a nose? Taco Bell is forever ruined for the boy, so we had to keep the take-and-bake pizza alive for him.
It’s what’s for dinner tonight, since it’s sitting in our refrigerator.
We’ll use it as a meal of mourning, to mourn Hubs’ sadness that the Patriots got another Super Bowl win, while his beloved Broncos had nothing this year. He said the only thing worse than the Broncos not being in the Super Bowl is for the Patriots to take home the Super Bowl trophy and rings.
Or maybe the only thing worse than that would be the Stomach Flu.
Y’all have a good Monday evening.
STAY WELL. Stomach Flu ’17 is hell.