Golfing With The Boys

High school golf is over.

This means that we no longer have to set our alarms, so that we can get the boy on a 5 AM bus for a golf tournament.  The joy I feel about THAT is equivalent to the joy one would feel when she has an ingrown toenail cut out by the foot doctor.  It just feels better instantly, as the pain evaporates, doesn’t it?  But then the boy threw a monkey wrench into our second day of Golf Freedom, when he announced last night, “I’m meeting some kids at the coffee shop at 6:30 AM.  It’s Jake’s birthday, and we’re all going for bagels.”

So there was THAT to get through this morning, which turned out fine, because I had to teach PE at 8:15 today anyway.  And?  For the record?  I think Jake needs to reconsider things for his next birthday, and just invite everyone out for 6:30 PM pizza.

But yes.  The boy finished up his fall golf season this last weekend, with a trip to state golf.  He played some of his best golf ever there, over the course of three full days, but he didn’t manage to snag a trophy.  No matter.  His mama loves him anyway, and she clapped like a raging lunatic every evening when he texted her his daily golf score.

And frankly, I am thrilled that golf practice is no longer a real thing at our house, because we are all four back at our dinner table.  Between working fifty to fifty-five hours every week at the golf course AND THEN practicing golf after school, the boy became a stranger around here this summer.  I felt like I needed to put mints on his bedroom pillow and leave a card with our WiFi password on it on his nightstand, exactly like we would do for a guest who stayed with us.  We knew we HAD another son; we just never SAW him.  It has been perfectly lovely to have him at our dinner table again this week, sharing about his experiments in chemistry lab and giving us the lowdown on all of his teachers and classes.  Thing 2 has been fascinated with the lab stories, as he asks every night, “Did you blow anything up, Bubbie?  Did anything EXPLODE?!”  And then Thing 2 kind of holds his breath in excited anticipation, because a giant explosion, involving fireballs the size of Chevy Suburbans, is kind of his love language.

But lo!  Not long before school started, the boy and Thing 2 and I all went golfing together, which is to say the boy and Thing 2 golfed, while I rode in the golf cart with them and sipped my lemonade.  We had such a fun time, just the three of us together, hanging out.

Thing 2 has the most interesting golf swing in the entire world.  We’ve decided that what this child plays is a cross between golf, hockey, and ninja kickboxing.

The two of them were chatting, as they approached this green.

THING 2:  “What club would you use here, Bubs?”

THE BOY:  “My putter.”

THING 2:  “I don’t know, Bubbie.  I overshot the green again, and I’ve got one helluva putt coming up.  Is this the type of golf course that frowns on you smacking the ball with a baseball bat?  I need to get a little distance here, or I’ll never make par.”

Afterward, we joined Hubs at his favorite restaurant for lunch, which is the gas station.  Yes… you read that right.  Hubs’ favorite place to eat in town is inside the gas station, where they serve a mean chili dog and grape Slushie.  I believe the term you’re looking for is HIGH CLASS and also REFINED and maybe even THEY MUST VACATION ON NANTUCKET FOR THE SUMMER, IN THEIR VINEYARD VINES SHIRTS.  Clearly, we are your people, and others want to be us.

This went down as a powerfully fine day, minus the fact that Thing 2 had a hard shell taco at the gas station (because taco?  Cheeseburger?  Mini pizza?  Nachos with liquid cheese?  Chili dogs?  They have something for everyone there!), and he wiped his greasy hands on my shirt by mistake.  This shirt is now considered to be my WORK OUTSIDE shirt, as well as my CAMP ON THE MOUNTAIN shirt.

Bless.

Y’all have a happy Wednesday evening.

Spilled Coffee, Spilled Mascara And Lego Trains

My PE schedule changed this year.  Since the dinosaurs roamed the earth, my first PE class has started at 9:15.  I took this for granted with two kids, because I could get everyone up and out the door by 7:45, and then I could breathe a sigh of relief.  I had plenty of time to take my own shower and sip my own cup of coffee in all the silence left behind, after the exodus of the children, and I was never crazy.

This year, I agreed to take a PE class at 8:15.

I know.

I have no idea what I was thinking either.

So now I basically run around the house like a hyper squirrel with a Mountain Dew IV drip on the days that I teach, as I get all the stuff done.  I make the lunches; I set out the breakfasts.  I make sure Thing 2 doesn’t look completely homeless with his daily wardrobe choice.  I rush myself through the shower, and I rush through the application of mascara.  (I’ve learned that this rushing during mascara time is usually a terrible choice, because last week I stuck myself in the eyeball with the mascara wand, and this week I dropped the wand down my face, so that a black trail commemorated the fall.)  I have decided that I have no idea how working mothers get everyone out the door by 7:45.  Who are these women?  Do they get up at 3 AM to accomplish everything that needs to be done before they leave?  I stand in awe of any woman who successfully pushes children and husbands and herself straight out of the front door before the bells toll eight.  As for me and my household, we are going to have to revisit the morning schedule for my PE days, because we are turning into a wide pot o’ crazy over here.

This morning, the boy wanted soft boiled eggs for breakfast, because we have just recently learned how to make them.  Oh, I’ve been able to boil eggs successfully for at least a couple of years now, but last month I saw a recipe for THE SOFT BOILED EGG, which was then dropped onto HOT BUTTERED TOAST, and I said to myself, “I think the party is right there.”  So I  made them one morning (one SUMMER morning, when nobody had to be anywhere on time, except for Hubs, who is fairly independent).  They were delicious.  The following morning, I made them for the boy, because the boy is in love with fried eggs, where the yolk runs free and spreads all over the plate.  He has never been a fan of the BOILED egg, because… well... the yolk is solid.  So, I was fairly certain he’d love this new recipe (*wink wink*).  I made them, and it was true:   The boy rose up, and he called me blessed among mothers.  He complimented me AT LEAST three dozen times on how wonderful his eggs were that day, and then he asked me for “the recipe.”

I simply told him, “It’s a boiled egg that doesn’t stay in the water as long.”

WHO EVEN KNEW?!

Six and a half minutes, in a pot of boiling water, and there you are, people.  Go ahead and thank me now, if this changes your life, because it will change your life FOR THE BETTER.

We have eaten our weight in boiled eggs at the Jedi Manor lately, because soft boiled eggs and hot buttered toast are better than Christmas morning.  Even Hubs has gotten on board with them, which is nothing short of miraculous, because Hubs has always been opposed to ANY egg with a mushy yolk.  If the yolk isn’t pale yellow and hard as a golf ball, Hubs turns up his nose and walks away, commenting that anyone who touches it will develop salmonella.

But one morning, he looked at the boy’s plate of soft boiled eggs and announced, “Those look good.”

Well…

… DUH.

And that’s how I have come to be the egg-boiler in the mornings.  Everyone wants one, except Thing 2, who would rather be stabbed through the gut with a rusty sword than be in the same room with an egg.

ANYWAY.

This morning, there was a lot of rushing and a lot of me yelling out, “Hurry!  Everyone!  Please!  Just… HURRY UP!!”  So… you know… a USUAL sort of work morning for me.  Hubs made me a cup of coffee, because he’s still the romantic man I married, twenty-three years later.  I ran with my coffee to the bathroom, because I had a date with a mascara wand that was going to fall down my face and leave a black trail of horror on my cheek, but FIRST!

FIRST… I had to open the medicine cabinet to get the toothpaste…

… and I knocked a prescription bottle of old eye drops out of the cabinet.

That bottle of eye drops fell straight to its death…

… in my coffee cup.

It landed much like a six year old demonstrating the belly flop at a local neighborhood swimming pool, so… AS YOU’D EXPECT… coffee was displaced (Do you like my smart science term there?!).  It basically exploded out of my cup like a raging volcano, spraying beige-colored coffee and cream all over everything within a twenty-six foot radius.

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy… down in my heart!”

I had to do some happy singing, before I cried over spilled cream and coffee.

And then I got myself to school, and I was even on time, which was a stunning revelation, considering that I had to clean mascara off my face and coffee off of everything and cook runny boiled eggs.

So now… we play catch-up on the blog, because I have been a negligent blogger, but we talked about that last night.

Long before school started… long before we cut the curls off, at Thing 2’s insistence… our second son decided to work toward earning a Lego train set.  I know that YOUR KIDS are all perfect and adorable, so they’d NEVER need to correct certain behaviors, using a reward system, but we found ourselves smack in the middle of that territory.  So… I bought the coveted Lego train set and a package of neon garage sale stickers.

On days when Thing 2’s behavior choices were pleasing unto me, he got to put a sticker on the box.

And when he had accumulated enough stickers, the Legos were his.

I have never seen such a willing student, who was determined to change, because TRAINS and LEGOS are his love languages.  This was the pinnacle of everything that could make Thing 2 happy in life.  We had a couple of weeks of GLORIOUSLY WONDERFUL BEHAVIOR, and Mama was happy.  And Thing 2 was happy, as well, because every neon dot was one day closer to building that train set.

And then…

… it happened.

He had collected enough sticky dots, according to our notarized contract and legal terms.

He set up shop in the living room, which is Grand Lego Building Central at our house.  This insures that there are ALWAYS plenty of Lego pieces for us to find in the dark of the night, with our bare feet.

Bless.

(On a side note, Thing 2 stepped on a Lego brick with HIS bare feet one day about two weeks ago, and bawled his pain to the heavens and the earth.  I felt a little sorry for him, but basically I just relished the chance to shout, “This is why I tell you to pick up the Legos!  Because I’m always the one who steps on them with MY bare feet, and NOW YOU KNOW!!!”  Fortunately, I said none of this, because I am a very mature parent.)

The little man built and he built and he built.

And then he built some more.

He studied instructions.

He cried when one section didn’t work out, and then he recruited his older brother to retrace his steps in the manual for him, until that eighteen year old had found the error.  Together, they dismantled one section and added the missing brick, which made everything line up right.

Big brothers are worth their weight in gold when it comes to Lego help.

By that afternoon, Thing 2 had a train.

And let’s just take a moment to look at those curls.

Sigh.

His mama begged to grow them long, but Thing 2 shut that dream down the week before 1st grade started.  He likes his hair SHORT… and the shorter, the better, as far as he’s concerned.

Which means that a shaved military haircut… at a military school… instead of a Lego set… might work out fine the next time we need to get rid of some unwanted behaviors!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

That Little Faithful Blogger Of Yesteryear

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wasn’t very good at scrapbooking.  It probably had a lot to do with the fact that she wasn’t very good at crafts, because crafts made her need to sit down, with her back against a wall and her head hung between her knees, as she drew in long breaths of air to keep herself from hyperventilating.  (She hyperventilates easily, because she is dramatic, but that’s a story for another day.)  Oh, she WANTED to be good at scrapbooking, because all of her friends were diligently using those crimped scissors to make scalloped edges on THEIR photos, to perfectly preserve their trip to Cancun and the arrival of their new Golden Retriever and the time when their kid was five and lost his first tooth.  She wanted to have a fully-finished scrapbook, too, to whip out at dinner parties and declare, “It was nothing.  Just four hundred and seven hours of labor with the glue stick and $14,000 spent on fancy paper and stickers.”

But the truth is, she gave up on scrapbooking because when her boy was five, she had completed the first four months of his life on acid-free scrapbook pages.  There they were, in all of their full-color glory, with every manner of fancy paper involved.  Four entire MONTHS.  She had documented his birth.  She had documented the first night he slept in his crib.  She had documented the first time he had a bath and the first time he ate baby food and the first time his grandparents held him.  But… the boy was FIVE YEARS OLD, and she was behind enough to make her OCD personality need a nerve pill.  And that’s when it dawned on her:  cutting pictures into fancy circles and asking the Lord for a vision on the layout style for her pages (that would impress the world and get her into scrapbooking magazines) was so time consuming, she would never catch up.

And that’s how the boy became a nine-year-old, who was tall enough for the third grade, and the scrapbook still sat in a basement box with no pages to turn after the page celebrating LOOK!!  HE IS FOUR MONTHS OLD NOW!

So she started blogging, because blogging was all the rage, and WAHOO!!  There is no glue involved and no glittery stickers to worry about!  So while her husband was on a business trip, that girl who was every bit as good on a computer as Martha Washington was, started a blog with nary a second’s help from the husband.

Because he was out of town.

She texted the blog link on her old flip phone, when texting took two minutes for five words, to the man she loved and said, “Look what I have done!”

And that husband texted her back and said, “I am so proud of you,” because emojis didn’t exist yet, so he had to use real words instead of his favorite THUMBS UP picture.  And then he came home from his business trip with a book entitled BLOGGING FOR DUMMIES, which she immediately devoured, because WHAT ON EARTH HAD SHE GOTTEN HERSELF INTO?  But, lo!  She was committed, and she faithfully blogged five nights a week, come the first frost in Hell or high waters in Small Town.  She was determined that this blogging endeavor would not be like the scrapbooking hobby.

And it went on and on for years.  The boy grew.  He lost more teeth.  He grew his hair long; he cut his hair short.  He turned ten and then thirteen and… yes!  Even eighteen!  He got a frog for a pet, he had Nerf gun wars with his friends.  He hosted sleepovers with his buddies; he went to prom.  He got a little brother.  The girl got older, and so did her husband, and there she was… still blogging like it was HER JOB.  Look, everyone!  She had quit scrapbooking and she had quit step aerobics and she had quit her George Foreman grill, but SHE HAD NOT QUIT BLOGGING!!

The little brother grew up.  He ate baby food; he crawled.  He lost teeth; he went to kindergarten.  She recorded it all, right there on the World Wide Web, just like it was her digital scrapbook.  She wanted to write a post about how he slept through the night, but that never happened, because she had taken so much pride in how well her firstborn slept, the Good Lord told her to settle down and see what life was like underneath of her pride, where her second child stayed awake more hours than he didn’t.

And then somewhere along the line, during Hell’s trifecta of great hotness, when it was June, July and August in Small Town and she was sweating like a pink pig the week before Easter, she let a few nights slip on the blog.

And then she let a few more nights slip on the blog.

She was tired.  The younger son was always awake.

The laundry piled up like fourteen people were living in her house and taking all their clothes off for showers.  She wondered how four people could generate so much laundry, and how she could get it to stop.  She suggested they all pick a favorite outfit and wear it for an entire week, but… even though she lived with nothing but menfolk who don’t put too much stock in smelling fresh… they declined her suggestions.  They continued changing clothes frequently.  The laundry baskets grew heavier and heavier, until she wanted to cry.

So… she let a few more nights slip on the blog, because she was waist-deep in mounds of freshly washed socks and T-shirts that all had to be folded, and she was living in a time when she considered getting up at 5:30 on a Saturday morning with the little man as SLEEPING IN.

And then there was dinner.  Every single night, they all wanted to eat, and it was so hot, and she was still folding laundry, so WHY COULDN’T THEY MAKE CAP’N CRUNCH IN A BOWL?!  Though they professed their love of cold cereal, they only wanted that in the mornings, like traditionalists.  In the evenings, they wanted meat and potatoes.  They wanted fruit.  They wanted noodles and sauces and fried this and sauteed that.  They wanted everything…

… except vegetables.

So she let a few more nights slip on the blog.

And then sometimes, when all the planets were lined up just right and the wind was blowing slowly out of the east, she and that husband would find a couple of minutes before the washing machine bells chimed to sit on their deck and drink pineapple rum mixed up right with frozen fruit.

So she let a few more nights slip on the blog.

And now… here it is… the middle of SENIOR YEAR and the FIRST STINKING GRADE, and she feels like she’s back at that old scrapbook page labeled FOUR MONTHS.

But, she is a feisty girl, who has been known to pull her act together before.  Even though she walks through the valley of the shadow of little sleep, she will try to blog.  Even though her sprinklers are currently broken and the lush greenness of her front lawn is being threatened by NO DRINKS THIS WEEK, KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS… and even though the husband keeps sending her to the basement to turn handles on water pipes, but she accidentally turns the handle on the gas pipe instead, because WHERE ARE THE DISTINCT LABELS?, she will try to blog better.  Even though the six year old is still a rotten sleeper… even though one of her cats has done an ungodly thing and… AHEM!… WET on her carpet and caused her to HATE CATS and want to SKIN CATS, because OH, HOLY MOTHER OF SCOOBY-DOO!! THE STENCH!!!… and even though the laundry pile is still obscene… and even though she still has to pack a lunch that follows the guidelines of GLUTEN-FREE AND ALSO DAIRY-FREE, but adheres to the term KID FRIENDLY, every single weekday morning… and even though someone at her house used a ballpoint pen to make superhero signs on a T-shirt that must be dealt with… and even though the toilet in her bathroom keeps running but seldom flushing… and even though she committed herself to helping teach Sunday School to first graders on Sunday mornings, FOR THE ENTIRE SCHOOL YEAR, even though this is not her spiritual gift… she will try to be more faithful at blogging.

Amen and selah.

Opening Game

Well… Thing 2 opened up his soccer season late this afternoon with five shots on the goal.

He hit the goal post three times.

He missed the goal by inches once.

And he was shut down by the defense on his last attempt to score a point for Team Red.

But… even though he didn’t score a goal this time around, our little man played soccer like a professional maniac tonight.  He was all over the field, kicking constantly and not really passing when he should.

I believe that would be… well... #ballhog.

After the game, the little fellow who brought snacks passed out tall plastic bottles full of bright red corn syrup, to celebrate Team Red’s win.  (Yes. We won, three to one.) Thing 2 cracked the top off that drink and slurped it down like a dying man in the desert, as he gasped, “My mom NEVER lets me have this stuff!  I don’t even care that I missed all my goals tonight, because we got RED DRINKS!!”

If that isn’t genuine happiness, then I don’t know what is!

Y’all have a good Wednesday evening.

The Rich, Bold, Deep-Flavored Brownies

After cleaning the pantry on Friday, the boy found a box of Ghirardelli Double Chocolate brownie mix.  It had previously been buried beneath a pile of granola bar boxes, soup cans, bags of pasta, jars of sauces, and two bottles of Mike’s Hard Lemonade, that expired in 2011.

I know.

I should hang my head in shame over that.

Who let’s two ENTIRE BOTTLES of Mike’s expire, after forgetting they’re in the pantry?

On Saturday morning, the boy carefully reached into our pristine, ultra-organized pantry to get the box of brownie mix, so that he and his little brother could whip them up for lunch.  Sadly, their mother rained on their chocolate parade and informed them that lunch would consist of something other than sugar, and that the brownies could be a little post-lunch treat.

Mothers are always so good at ruining a boy’s life.

My favorite part of the morning was when the boy asked me, “Can I use olive oil in the mix, instead of vegetable oil?  Because I threw away  your bottle of vegetable oil yesterday, since it expired last month.”

My boy was asking ME for BAKING ADVICE.

I sort of stared at him, like a deer gazing straight into the headlights of an oncoming truck, and said, without stuttering, “Yes.”

And then I whipped around the corner to quickly type in the phrase, CAN YOU SUBSTITUTE OLIVE OIL FOR VEGETABLE OIL IN A BROWNIE MIX on my phone.  Thankfully, Siri came through and allowed me to continue looking exactly like I knew what I was doing in a bakery, because she told me that I could, INDEED, make the substitution, although the taste of the final brownies might be a little bolder and deeper.

I walked back into the kitchen and announced to the boy, “The flavor of the brownies might be a little bolder and deeper, with the olive oil, but they’ll bake up just fine.”

I like to hide the fact that I really have no idea what I’m doing in the kitchen, and that everything that emerges from my oven is all just done with a lot of WINGING IT and PRAYER and CONSULTATIONS WITH SIRI.

IMG_4988 IMG_4991And really?

Whose kid is this?  The one who dares to stick his tongue out at the photographer?!

IMG_4994 IMG_4996 IMG_4997 IMG_4999 IMG_5000 IMG_5003 IMG_5004 IMG_5007 IMG_5014 IMG_5019In the middle of all the batter-mixing, Thing 2 discovered A GIANT BUG crawling on our kitchen drawers!

Thing 2, being filled with testosterone and the spirit of rambunctiousness, NEVER, EVER overlooks an opportunity to investigate a bug.

Also?

Well, our preschooler does NOT practice a CATCH AND RELEASE program with bugs.  Mostly, he invites them to quickly meet Jesus, which is what happened to this monstrosity on Saturday.

Under the cover of a Bounty paper towel burial cloth, he was buried at sea, with one giant flush.

IMG_5020 IMG_5022 IMG_5024With the capture and burial over with, Thing 2 returned to the bowl of brownie mix…

… and sang his big brother’s praises in a hearty, love-filled voice, when the boy handed over the spatula and said, “You can lick the bowl.”

Is there anything better as a kid?

Licking the egg-filled, salmonella-infused batter off the spatula?

I think not.

IMG_5029

IMG_5032 IMG_5043I fed the boys a hearty lunch of leftover chicken and potatoes, despite their protests for a meal of brownies, and then we went ice skating.

Thing 2 skated 14,841 miles in two hours.  He came home starving.

So, I told the boys, “Why don’t you cut up some brownies for everyone to have, as a post-ice skating snack?”

They happily plowed right into that task.

The brownies were delicious, with a little bolder, deeper flavor than normal.

Olive oil (and Siri), for the win.

The Case Of The Four Missing Assignments

(Tonight’s blog post is a little story about the boy.  He’s read it.  And he gave me permission to hit the PUBLISH button on the post, so that we could share it with y’all.)

Sometimes you have those lazy weekends, where the fireplace and Netflix both run nonstop, while you shuffle back and forth between the kitchen and the living room, IN YOUR PAJAMAS, for hot cups of coffee and popcorn refills.

Or maybe it’s just OUR family that enjoys a weekend of nothingness like that.  Maybe other families are responsible and productive and contributing to society every Saturday or Sunday.

Well, we pulled our weight there THIS weekend.  We spelled Productive with a capital P, and then we sort of decorated it with balloons and streamers, because LOOK AT ALL THE PRODUCTIVITY WE ARE PULLING OFF, IN THE NAME OF GET ‘ER DONE!

It all started on Friday morning.

The boys didn’t have school on Friday, because our semester here has ended, and teachers had in-services around the district.  I was shown the Favor of the Lord on Friday, because OUR in-service at the little private school where I teach was all about science.  Our principal pulled our art teacher, our music teacher, our Spanish teacher and ME, the PE teacher, aside and whispered the words that are every bit as magical as YOUR LOTTO TICKET NUMBERS MATCH THE ONES ON THE TV SCREEN.  She said, “Since you four don’t teach science… I don’t see why you need to be here Friday.  Go forth and sleep late, and please!  Enjoy your day off!”

I assume that she meant, “Sleep exactly as long as Thing 2 will let you on Friday morning,” which turned out to be until 5:50.

Our calendar for the ENTIRE LONG WEEKEND was one blank slate, and we had exactly zero intentions of changing anything.

Netflix and popcorn and pajamas, WE BELONG TO YOU!

Until, of course, I checked the boy’s grades online first thing Friday morning, because I was just checking to see if there was any real possibility of him SOMEHOW getting an A in the Class of Death.

The Class of Death is a college-level, college-credit history class, and I am OVER. IT.  My child, the straight-A student who doesn’t know what the letter B actually looks like on his report cards, has labored like a giant elephant stuck in a mud hole to keep from sinking in this class.

Calculating the mass of the universe is easier than this class.

Bringing peace to a nation divided over the recent election is easier than this class.

The boy studies for his Advanced Placement United States History (also dubbed as APUSH) class for a minimum of two hours, every night.

Monday nights?  Yes.  Two hours.

Tuesday nights?  Yes.  Two more hours.

Wednesday nights?  Well… sometimes they have pop quizzes on Thursdays, so sometimes Wednesday evenings require three hours of dedication to APUSH.

Hubs and I have gone to bed over and over and over, and left our teenager up, sitting at his desk with a book the size of Saturn in his  lap, STUDYING.

The class is hard, the teacher grades hard, and lectures only cover one-fourth of what the tests will cover.

The boy got a big, fat B in APUSH the first quarter, and he was frantically clutching at another B for the second quarter, and WHAT ARE THESE B GRADES???  WE NEVER SEE THOSE!!

So on Friday morning, I looked online, hoping that MAYBE the boy’s GLAD-TO-HAVE-IT 88.9% had somehow been transformed into a 91%, after the 4,000 hours he spent studying for the final.

And that, y’all, is when I saw that we had FOUR (One, two, three, FOUR!!) missing assignments in APUSH on Friday morning, AFTER grades had closed.

You know when you spray a wasp hive with water?  And do you know how the little flying snots come zipping out, ready to slam a stinger into anything that moves?  Well, those wet wasps are capable of showing more CALMNESS than I was capable of showing on Friday  morning.

I talked to the boy, and this is what he told me…

“Mom, I did the math.  I ran the numbers.  I ran them several times, and what I decided is that there was NO WAY I could get an A.  So then I ran the numbers a different way, and I decided that even if I didn’t do the last four assignments, but did FAIRLY OKAY on the final, I could STILL keep my B.  And if I had any intention of doing FAIRLY OKAY on that giant final, then I needed more time to study.  So, I took the time that I would have used doing those last four written assignments, and I devoted it all to studying for the last exam of the semester.  And… guess what?  I did FAIRLY OKAY on the final, after studying like I was trying to pass my medical boards, and I’m still going to get a solid B, even without turning those last four assignments in.”

And WHAT, pray tell, does a parent do with THAT?!

I called Hubs.

He had to tell me to stop talking so frantically and fast, because I was jabbering on faster than the speed of sound.  He couldn’t keep up with ALL THE WORDS being thrown at him, because SONIC BOOMS.

Thankfully, Hubs saw things MY way, which was, OF COURSE, THE RIGHT WAY.  We decided that since the boy didn’t want to do SCHOOL work… then he could do HOUSE work.

Which is why I made a second cup of highly-caffeinated coffee to fortify myself with, before I sat down at the computer and literally TYPED OUT a to-do list that included all the chores I’ve been wanting done, which were also all the chores I had no real desire to DO.

Clean the giant linen closet in the bathroom that looks like it holds towels and junk for thirty-six different families?  CHECK.  That kid’s gonna do that!

Organize the pantry that looks like a grocery store after it had been hit by a tornado?  CHECK.  The boy’s gonna spend some quality time with boxes of cereal and cans of tomato soup.

The list went on and on.

And then, as the boy got busy with his consequences, I finally cooled down long enough to realize that I KIND OF… SORT OF… thought he was brilliant.

BECAUSE WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF CALCULATING HIS GRADE, AND KNOWING WHAT TO THROW OUT IN ORDER TO DEDICATE MORE TIME TO STUDYING?!

Part of me was downright giddy over HOW CLEVER I thought that kid of mine was.  Part of me was really actually QUITE IMPRESSED with what he had done, and how he’d managed to MAINTAIN his grade, minus four assignments.

And then the part of me that’s HIS MOTHER was still freaking out, because HELLO?!  McFly!!!  WE DON’T SKIP ASSIGNMENTS IN THIS FAMILY!!!

In this family, we turn assignments in!

So, I kind of helped him with all the ugly tasks…

… except the linen closet, which he did completely by himself, while I cleaned our kitchen and swept our floors and folded our laundry.

And now?

Well, I have cooled completely off.

Our linen closet is perfectly organized.  Bed sheets, towels, and washcloths are meticulously folded and stacked.  Bubble baths and bath oils are all organized together.  Sudafed and Benadryl and Band-Aides and asthma inhalers are all in one tub, neatly.  The Windex and the Clorox and the Pine-Sol are all corralled in a plastic tub, too.

The closet glows with all of it’s beautiful, perfectly-aligned luster.

Our pantry is even better.

I cannot even tell you how many times I have thrown open the pantry door this weekend, JUST TO STARE.  I gaze, and then I kind of hold my heart a little bit and think, “This!  This is the definition of Beautiful Organization.  My heart will go on…”

IMG_0920 IMG_0921We’ve had burned out light bulbs in all of our ceiling fans, which are sixteen feet in the air, because of this little thing called VERY TALL CEILINGS.  Those burned out light bulbs have needed someone to haul the ladder in from the garage and go from room to room, changing them.  The effort has always seemed greater than the inconvenience of living in darkened rooms…

… until this weekend.

Our house is so bright now, we actually have to wear sunglasses, as we try to adjust to having FULL LIGHTING CAPABILITY around here.

My floors are vacuumed.

My stairs are vacuumed.

Bed sheets have been changed and washed and folded and PERFECTLY PLACED into the clean linen closet.

The boy and I were like well-oiled machines this weekend.

The laundry is done.

The kitchen sparkles.

There are no crumbs on our floors.

Thing 2’s toys have all been gone through and reorganized.

We are ON TOP of our game around here.

Hubs, not to be left out, caught the GET ‘ER DONE bug this weekend, too.  The brakes on his Honda have been squealing, so he and the boy ripped them apart and replaced them.

Hubs climbed the giant ladder and VACUUMED our ceiling fans off, and then wiped them down with wet cloths, after the boy changed all the light bulbs for us.

He pulled the refrigerator out and fixed the waterline that has been giving us fits for weeks.

He dug a blue Lego brick out of our garbage disposal.

And we even squeezed in a lunch date with good friends this afternoon.  We went out for Mexican food, and finally relaxed for a bit, after all of the chores we pulled off.

IMG_0937 IMG_0943 IMG_0958Thing 2 was so happy to spend some time with his best friend, that he got a little rambunctious with hugging her neck and declaring his love for her.

IMG_0949And now, we are facing Monday morning tomorrow as an organized family.

If you’re in the neighborhood, PLEASE!  Stop by and see the glorious work the boy has done on our linen closet and pantry.  Please!  Admire our clean ceiling fans, that were cloaked in dust for the past three years.

And if your own boy ever calculates his grade to determine exactly how much homework he DOESN’T have to do, to still maintain one B and six A’s, don’t be too hard on him.

I’ve decided that it’s a bit of genius.

I’ve decided that sometimes sixteen year old boys get overwhelmed with too much homework, and when we tell them to SAY NO TO SOME THINGS, sometimes they say NO to written assignments.  And granted… that’s NOT what we want them to say NO to, but sometimes the stress of keeping your head above the water in a class that is just flat-out, ridiculously hard needs to be acknowledged.

I love my teenage boy.

I’m proud of that kid, for who he is.

But… from  now on… we are going to say NO to OTHER THINGS.  We are going TO DO ALL OF OUR ASSIGNMENTS, because it’s our responsibility.

Right, Boy?!

We will DO.  ALL.  THE.  ASSIGNMENTS!!!

Y’all have a fantastic Sunday evening.

Well… The Colleges Are Now Breathing Down Our Necks

What I don’t like to talk about very often is that we are now smack in the middle of our sophomore year of high school.  And by WE, I really mean THE BOY.  THE BOY is smack in the middle of his sophomore year of high school, because Bon Jovi, Debbi Gibson and leather bomber jackets are a thing of the past, so I would have no idea how to navigate the hallways of Small Town High right now.  This pretty much translates into the fact that there are now a very finite amount of mornings that the boy will shuffle out of bed to shower and head off to school, while he’s still living in my house.

Don’t even get me started.

And then the boy took that PSAT test this year, just to SEE what kind of score he might be close to grabbing onto when he takes the actual SAT.  He managed to score in the 95th percentile, nationwide.  He got none of his brains from his mother, because all I know how to do is put periods and commas and semicolons in the right places.  I can keep pronouns singular when they need to be, and I can tell the differences between a hyphen and a dash.  I can no longer calculate any enormous, formula-using problem, and the only chemistry I do is adding oregano and basil to a pot of boiling, bubbling broth once in a while.

After his test scores came back, our mailbox started to fill up.

We have college after college after STINKING COLLEGE sending the boy envelopes crammed with pamphlets and letters and COME TALK TO US lines of encouragement.  The boy’s email in-box is exploding with college solicitations, and I basically want to sit down and cry.

WHEN did we go from jumping around the front yard, twirling a light saber with authority, to getting applications for universities?  When we get the mail from the colleges, I simply stand above the garbage can and say things like, “TOSS THIS ONE; IT’S TOO FAR FROM HOME,” and “TOSS THAT ONE, BECAUSE I DON’T LIKE THE LOOKS OF THEIR PAMPHLET,” and “HAWAII?  SERIOUSLY?  HAWAII??!!  It will take me hours of flying and six entire bottles of Dramamine to get to you!  Toss it!”

When the boy walks into the kitchen and asks what I’m up to, I just tell him, “Oh… you know… throwing some junk mail sent from Hawaii away.  Who needs beaches and palm trees, when we have all this luxurious SNOW?!”

He’s none the wiser that he’s being asked to consider Hawaii.  Why would he be?  I’m totally homeschooling him for college, and I feel like it’s my duty right now to shelter him from the siren’s call of sandy beaches.

Anyway.

I had no point in all of this, except to say that the people you considered OLD when you were a young whippersnapper, getting married and having babies, knew exactly what they were talking about when they announced, “They grow up so quickly.”

In other words, the moral of this story is to listen to the old people, for they are a wealth of wisdom, except when they say things like, “No one has been able to replace Lawrence Welk on the television set.”

In other news, I got a pedicure this afternoon.

It was the first pedicure I’ve had in over two years, which means the tools were gathered up from the stable, as my nail technician needed the hoof trimmers.  Thankfully, my nail technician is also a good friend of mine, so we sat and talked and laughed, while my feet soaked in an acid solution that takes forty years of callouses off your feet and makes you feel like you’re twenty again.

My toenails are all an electric pink right now, that pays homage to all the neon in the ’80s.  I felt it was an appropriate color for such tasks as throwing college pamphlets from North Dakota away, because GAH!  YOU THINK IT’S COLD HERE??!!

We wrapped up our day today with a matinee.  Somehow, the memory of the last movie we hauled Thing 2 into the theater to see has become a blur that I couldn’t remember (probably because I blacked out at some point), so I thought we could surely handle another such outing.  The boy and I stood in line to buy our preschooler a little box of popcorn, which was supposed to come with a small candy bar, but which ended up coming with FRUIT CHEWY SNACKS.

The devastation was a real thing, as Thing 2 announced to the teenager behind the concession counter, “I don’t want these!  These aren’t real candy!  I want real candy!”  She assured him that the winds of change were upon us, for health reasons, and the kid pack now comes with artificially-flavored fruit snacks, that have half the sugar as a candy bar.

And then she filled his kiddie cup to the brim with 7-Up.

Bless her.

We saw the movie Sing, and honestly, I loved it.  Thing 2 loved all the popcorn and his soda and the singing.  When the cartoon characters were NOT singing, Thing 2 loved crawling all over my lap and asking big questions, like “When are we going home?” and “Can I buy some real candy now?”

And now!  LOOK AT THE TIME!  It’s pretty much 7:30 in the evening, which means I need to brush a four-year-old’s teeth, rinse the dirt off of him, stuff him into some clean pajamas, and rock him to sleep.

Don’t judge me because he’s nearly five and I still rock him to sleep in the rocking chair EVERY!! SINGLE!! NIGHT!!

This time next month, Hawaii will probably be contacting him, to see if he’d be interested in attending their college on a surfing scholarship.  Time whips by entirely too quickly, and I’ll rock that boy to bed until he no longer fits in my lap.

Y’all have a good weekend.

That Time I Experienced The Early Morning Traffic Jam

Thing 2 had been complaining of an ear ache for the past week, because OF COURSE HE HAD.  We just shelled out ALL THE DOLLARS in November to meet our insurance deductible, with a little trip to the hospital called LET’S PUT ANOTHER SET OF TUBES IN THOSE EARS, so why wouldn’t he complain of ear pain after we had flipped the calendar over to January?

New year.  New resolutions.  New insurance deductible.

His appointment this morning was for 7:30, which might seem daunting to some, but listen:  Hubs and I have reached a point in our parenting career where 7:30 in the morning feels like we should be, at the very least, preparing for a nice brunch, and, at the very most, microwaving some hot dogs for lunch.

7:30 AM appointments do not scare us, because 7:30 AM is not early.  By then, we’ve showered, completely caffeinated ourselves, and been through the horrors of making a bowl of oatmeal for the preschooler’s breakfast, only to have him look at it and announce, “I just want toast with cinnamon on it, instead.”

I woke up at 4:45 this morning, saw the time, and thought, “I should just get up and shower.”

And then, apparently, I dozed off, because the next time I looked at the clock, it was 5:04, and I figured that I really SHOULD get up then, because I have some pride, which includes showering before I take my child to doctors’ offices.

And then suddenly, it was 6:10, and WHOA, NELLY!  Look who fell back asleep, and now look who’s going to have to run like it’s a Presidential Fitness Test in 6th Grade PE to come out looking like a winner, complete with mascara and shoes?

And also… GUESS WHO SLEPT IN UNTIL 6:35 THIS MORNING??!  Yes.  That would be the preschooler.  Clearly, he caught wind that we had an appointment at 7:30, so he decided to just go ahead and sleep, while his mother needed to be up, using the hairdryer and the bottle of perfume.  Don’t worry.  He’ll more than make up for it this weekend, when he gets up at 5:20, because we don’t have to be anywhere.

Anyway.

I’m happy to report that we made it to the doctor’s office at 7:33.

Yes.

I was late.

And it was every bit my fault, because I take Thing 2 to preschool every morning at 8:15.  I leave my house at 8:15, and his class starts at 8:30.  I remain strictly on the far edge of our city limits, as the preschool is only a small, downhill coast from our house.  The left-hand turn for the road to the preschool is BEFORE Starbucks, so I’m not even distracted by the thought of a grande, no-water, extra-hot, no-whip chai latte, until AFTER I’ve dropped him off.

I haven’t been out in a real car at 7:20 in the morning for AGES, because the boy drives himself to school, and I forgot what the traffic in the city is like.

As in, there were twenty-three cars lined up at a four-way stop, taking turns to get through, and I was all, “HEY!  I HAVE SEVEN MINUTES TO MAKE IT TO THE EAR, NOSE AND THROAT DOCTOR’S OFFICE!”

No one listened to me.

Everyone drove like sloths through the four-way stop sign, waving one another on with smiles to JUST GO ON AHEAD, EVEN THOUGH IT’S NOT YOUR TURN, AND WHY DON’T WE JUST LET THE CAR BEHIND YOU GO, TOO, WHILE I SIT HERE AND HOLD UP TRAFFIC ON MY SIDE OF THE STOP SIGN, WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE APPOINTMENTS, IDLING THEIR ANTIQUE SUBURBANS, BEHIND ME?  Normally, I’m all for this behavior, except when I need to work my way through the city in ten minutes flat.

It was with utter shame that I arrived at 7:33 this morning, because all I ever do is drive the carpool lane on the edges of town, at an hour PAST rush hour, and WHAT IS ALL THIS TRAFFIC?!

As it turned out, Thing 2’s ears were declared pink and healthy.  The tubes are still exactly where they should be.  Our beloved ear, nose and throat doctor announced that she couldn’t even detect a single possibility as to WHY HE WOULD BE COMPLAINING OF EAR PAIN.

And then she told us to discontinue using the prescription ear drops she called in to the pharmacy on Monday, to see us through until today’s appointment.  That was nice, seeing as how that tiny bottle was $165.

Is this a safe place to talk about insurance premiums and the cost of prescription medication?  Because one hundred and sixty-five clams for a bottle of ear drops that is the size of a hamster’s tea cup?  I’m pretty sure that Charles and Caroline Ingalls built their entire cabin, and then bought three good horses, three saddles, a milk cow and a year’s worth of sugar and coffee for $165.

So that’s how we started our day.

The rest of my day was spent wearing my robe and holding my gavel, as I played judge to forty-six hundred cases of tattle-taling, while I taught PE.  I don’t know if our barometric pressure has changed, but SWEET MOTHER OF FROSTY THE SNOWMAN!  The tattles were running at an all-time high today at our little school.

Thankfully, the game that I had planned for my classes was a smashing success.  It was new and fresh, and the kids loved it.

I’m pretty sure that I threw my shoulder straight out of its socket, as I threw balls from one side of the gym to the other, hoping to rescue players who had been tossed out of the game, by giving them something to catch to redeem themselves with.

And all of this stuff together?  Well, people, it’s why I’m going to bed at 7:45 tonight, right after I get Thing 2 rocked to sleep.

Oh, who am I kidding?

I would have gone to bed at 7:45 anyway.

It’s how MawMaw rolls.

Y’all have a good Wednesday night.

Life Lately

I feel like I haven’t written a real blog post in ages.

That probably has everything to do with the fact that I haven’t written a real blog post in ages.

Also?  Well, I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve finally taken my mother’s advice.  She’s only offered up this advice for the past twenty years or so.  Clearly, I like to slowly ease into things.  But… y’all!  It’s no big secret that I have myself some Laundry Issues.  And by Laundry Issues, I simply mean that I don’t actually DO the laundry, until the piles are teetering on the brink of an avalanche, and Hubs starts complaining about being down to the single pair of boxers that he hates, which just happens to be the pair he is saving for the Apocalypse.  My mother has always said, “If you just do one small load a day, it’ll be quick and basically painless, and you won’t have to face this mountain of dirty clothes again.”

And, truth be told, my mother was right.

Last Sunday, I did all of our laundry.  I did.  I grit my teeth with a fierce determination, and I ran the washing machine like it was MY JOB, all the livelong day.  And come last Sunday evening, we had ourselves some clean clothes.  Washed, dried, folded, hung… AND ALSO PUT AWAY.  Folks didn’t know what to do at our house, when they walked into their closets to see PRIME CHOICES of boxers, and fresh socks, piled to the heavens in their drawers.

On Monday, I washed what we wore on Sunday.

On Tuesday, I washed some towels and a couple pairs of jeans.

And then suddenly, I was on a roll to keep the laundry baskets bare, and I haven’t looked back since.  So, while all of my friends have gone completely off sugar and are trading recipes for the Whole 30 program in a Facebook group and letting one another know that THIS SPAGHETTI SAUCE has no sugar in it, I’m ready to start a group of my own, where we encourage one another to just keep the agitator spinning and the dryer tumbling.  I envision a group where we can share pep talks and encouraging memes, so that we STAY.  THE.  LAUNDRY.  COURSE.

It has been a week, people.  One full week, and my laundry hampers are still bare and empty.  In other words, I’m writing it down as a Life Win.

In other news, we have been up to all sorts of things, if the photos on my iPhone are to be believed.

Before Thing 2 got his haircut, he (and his curls!) got to help one of his BFFs celebrate his birthday.  Of course, that led to a quick photo opp, with Thing 2’s best buddies.  We took eighteen pictures of the three amigos together, and there wasn’t a single one where all three boys were looking in the same direction.

Apparently that’s a life skill that develops around their freshman year of high school.

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We live next door to some of THE MOST FUN boys around.  The boy and the cute neighbor boy are good friends, who hang out a lot together.  They do manly things, like watch movies with explosions and challenge one another to see who can eat three Big Mac hamburgers in the shortest amount of time possible.

Sometimes, even sophomores and juniors need parental supervision at meal times, because THREE BIG MACS IN ONE SITTING?!  Where in the world were their mothers?

Thing 2 loves our neighbor boys, and they love to hang out with him and teach him how to crawl on his belly through the tall weeds to spy on bad guys.  Over Christmas break, the crew all got together for an afternoon of ice skating.   Thing 2 was SO excited to go with them and feel like a big kid himself.

IMG_0823Speaking of ice skating, I feel like Thing 2 has become a rink rat, who basically LIVES at the ice rink.  He LOVES skating.  He’s fast.  He talks a lot of smack.  And he will skate and skate and skate, until the zamboni driver makes him get off the ice to go home for dinner.

IMG_0861The preschooler has also totally nailed the art of getting a drink without taking his helmet off, all in the name of not wasting any time on the ice.

IMG_0825The little stinker is getting pretty good at whipping around the rink.

And I’m getting pretty good about remembering to warm his skates up for him, instead of leaving them in the back of the Suburban, where the wet shoelaces freeze and make his rink time miserable.

IMG_0845I had a Mother Win last week, when I ordered $14 worth of drawer organizers from Amazon and smacked those suckers into the top drawer of Thing 2’s dresser.  He’s four, and his idea for “looking for a pair of socks” involves him stirring through the drawer’s contents, like he’s stirring an oversized pot of soup.  Instead of blending the oregano with the chicken broth, he gets busy blending the socks right into the superhero underwear, and then no one can find anything they’re actually looking for.

But… BEHOLD:

IMG_0877Socks stay where socks are meant to be.  Undies stay where undies are meant to be.  And the middle section there catches the belts and ties and baby shoes that I will never part with.

Thing 2 had a dentist appointment last week, to get his teeth cleaned.

IMG_0850The dentist chuckled over how many teeth he’s already lost and said, “I haven’t had a four-year-old with permanent teeth already fully in his mouth for QUITE a long time!”

Thing 2 followed up his cleaning appointment by losing his FOURTH tooth the following day.

IMG_4941 IMG_4943AND… he has two more loose teeth, which I don’t expect to hang in there much longer.

The Tooth Fairy, being the forgetful, elderly slacker that she is, REMEMBERED at 7:00, as Thing 2 was going to bed and announcing that he couldn’t wait to get up in the morning and see what the fairy had left him, that she had a preschool fellow booked for the night, and written, IN INK, on her day planner.  Thankfully, the Tooth Fairy has a sixteen-year-old boy who helps her out.  When she handed the teenager some cash for a new Matchbox car, with enough leftover for a SODA from the store, he was more than happy to drive himself to Walmart and pick up the goods.

Hence, Thing 2 woke up the following morning to find a 1940-something Buick Matchbox car waiting for him, which is what happens when you’re losing teeth at the age of four and have no concept of money.

We have spent the majority of January hunkered down and trying to avoid the freezing temperatures.  Seriously, we have had windchills of 20, 30 and even 40 degrees below zero, with real temps of MINUS TWENTY-TWO DEGREES.  It’s ridiculous.

We’ve also had more snow than the North Pole has had this winter.  Small Town, USA has become something of its own Polar Ice Cap.

IMG_0870Hubs took Wednesday afternoon off from work last week, when it FINALLY STOPPED SNOWING, so that he could plow us out.  He and Thing 2 and two of our neighbor men, who also came home from work to get some snow removed, all went to work.  There is  nothing in Small Town that brings people together and shows the goodness of folks than a full-on snowstorm.  People are just willing to work together here, to dig one another out.  Hubs and our two neighbor guys had the four-wheeler with the plow, two snow blowers, and three snow shovels, with Thing 2 bringing up the caboose with his own, pint-sized snow shovel.  By the time I got home from work late Wednesday afternoon, I could drive through our cul de sac without getting stuck, and we once again owned a bare driveway.  Those three guys and a preschooler had completely moved snow out of our cul de sac and plowed and shoveled everyone’s driveways.

IMG_0872 IMG_0873 IMG_0874 IMG_0876On Thursday afternoon, I ended up with the mother of all migraines.

The mother ship crashed.

I took some migraine tablets and curled up on the sofa, with a blanket and the fireplace.  And… somehow… all the angels cleared the way for me, for a restful afternoon.  Thing 2 was, THANKFULLY, ready for some downtime, too.  I put The Lego Movie on for him, and he didn’t even move through the entire show.

IMG_0881By dinnertime, I was fully recovered.

On Friday night, we kicked off our weekend by going into the city, and parking twelve blocks away from the pizza parlor that we were meeting some friends at.

Apparently, everyone had the same idea of kicking their weekend off with a dinner out, since the streets were fully plowed and the temperature was finally a balmy eleven degrees.  We ordered pizzas, the kids played on the video games, and we talked and laughed… and laughed and talked.

Afterward, I tried to take a picture of Thing 2 with his other best friend, Vivi, but they were both a lot more interested in watching a loud diesel truck turn the corner behind me.

IMG_0890These two cuties sat by our fireplace one morning.

IMG_0896And then we spent this last weekend going to one of Thing 2’s friend’s birthday parties at the ice rink.  The boys all skated like madmen and devoured a cake shaped like BB-8, from the Star Wars movies.

We made a Walmart run this weekend, where we basically bought half of the store, as we were out of ALL.  THE.  THINGS.

We sat in our pajamas and had coffee late into the morning.  We watched Zootopia in our living room, with the fireplace running, as a family.  We went to church.  I stuck with my “one small load of laundry a day” commitment.  If it takes twenty-one days to make a habit, then I’m on Day Eight.

And basically, the weekend was all good.

Happy Monday, everyone.

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The Night Herod Feared The Police Boots In Bethlehem

ME:  “What did you learn in Children’s Church, Buddy?”

THING 2:  “We learned about a really bad guy.  He was going to kill a bunch of babies.”

ME:  “What was the bad guy’s name?”

THING 2:  “His name was Herod.  He was a baby killer.  I didn’t like him.”

ME:  “Why was he going to kill babies?”

THING 2:  “Because he was trying to kill baby Jesus.  He didn’t want baby Jesus to grow up and be the king.”

ME:  “Did Herod kill baby Jesus?”

THING 2:  “No.”

ME:  “Why not?”

THING 2:  “Because baby Jesus’ mom and dad went and tapped a policeman’s shoulder for help.  The policeman came and told Herod, ‘If you kill baby Jesus, I will kick you right in the face with my police boots, and then you’ll be really sorry.’  And that’s how that story went, Mom.”

ME:

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