Three Feet Of Everything, From Snow To Puke

Have I mentioned that this is the winter that will not die?

I couldn’t remember.  I feel like I’ve complained about it inside my head forty-two thousand times, but I’m not sure that I ever made my opinions known in a public forum.

Only when you’re a weatherman, can you do a job completely wrong and still come into work the following morning, because you still have a job.  Our local weathermen let us know that we were going to get dusted with another one to three inches of snow a couple of days ago.  What followed was a fresh foot of snow on Tuesday, chased by another fresh three inches on Wednesday.  While we were outside plowing and shoveling and blowing snow into mountains along our sidewalks, our weathermen were sitting in their offices, having coffee and discussing the end of droughts and the rumors surrounding Scarlet Johansson’s split from her husband.  Those lying weathermen didn’t have a single care that the boy’s car was stuck in our cul de sac, because the two days of glorious sunshine we had last weekend melted the first layer of our winter accumulation, which then froze to our streets.

I hear the Olympic luge team has booked hotel rooms in Small Town, USA, so they can practice here.

Where the ice is fresh.

And where there’s plenty of it.

The new foot of snow on top of the luge run created the perfect storm for cars to go nowhere.  Our cul de sac has just enough slope to it that nothing but an armored tank with chains on its tracks was going to get out.  While the boy stomped on the gas pedal and spun the steering wheel around wildly, Hubs and the cute neighbor boy pushed for all they were worth.  They both have an impressive display of guns beneath their shirt sleeves, yet all the bicep strength in the world couldn’t get the boy’s car to clear the cul de sac and make it out into the city, filled with lights and sounds and obnoxiously slick roads.  Since the cute neighbor boy’s car doors were frozen solidly shut on HIS car, Hubs used my Suburban and its elderly four-wheel-drive mechanism to get the boys to school.

Our superintendent will not sacrifice the education of our students for a little snow.  There are no late start days in our neck of the woods, and a real Snow Day is something that only children from the ’70s whisper about having experienced a couple of times.

This all makes me laugh, because a friend of mine, who lives in Alabama, said a couple of weeks ago that, ON THE EVENING BEFORE THE PREDICTED STORM, their schools announced that they would be closed the following day.  She’s a guidance counselor at a private high school, so she was perfectly happy with their superintendent’s decision to just shut ‘er down.  As in, the schools were already announced as CLOSED, and the storm HAD YET TO HIT.  Clearly, they hold more faith in their weathermen in Alabama than we hold in ours.

They woke up to a SKIFF of snow the following morning, which could only be described as A SOLID QUARTER OF AN INCH, WITH DRIFTS NEARLY THREE-FOURTHS OF AN INCH HIGH, WHERE THE WIND BLEW.

She posted pictures to her Facebook page.

She and her thirteen-year-old son were out trying to use metal garbage can lids as sleds on their sloped yard and their street.

God bless them for trying.

She told us all, through Facebook, that no one knew how to drive in the snow, and that they all felt like the Apocalypse had struck.  Their grocery store shelves were empty, and everyone was hunkered down, prepared to wait things out until June arrived, if need be…

… because of that solid quarter-inch of snow, with drifts nearly three-fourths of an inch high, where the wind blew.

I told her, “Listen.  We were out pushing a car up a hill, in FOURTEEN INCHES of fresh snow this morning.”

She said, “Folks here can’t drive if we get a dusting.  They suffer Driving Paralysis.  We all have to stay home, because we all just skid everywhere and run our insurance premiums up.”

I told her, “BUT NOT YOU!!!  Suck it up and pay tribute to your roots… FOR THE LOVE!!!  You have roots OUT HERE, where it snows real snow!  Get out there and show them that you grew up driving through drifts, and that you know how to turn the hubs on Ford trucks made before Starbucks was invented!  Save your Alabama people!  Get out their in that quarter-inch of snow and get them all some bread and milk from the grocery store!”

She told me to stop talking like that, because their district’s superintendent was one of her good friends, and she didn’t want him to know that she was actually capable of coming into work when the rest of the city was pulling the plug on life.

Not that there’s much need for a guidance counselor at a school where all the kids have stayed home.

Her Yankee ancestors have rolled over in their graves with shame.

In other, non-weather-related news, I told someone at the little private school where I teach PE on Tuesday that our little family has weathered this winter (Pun, intended.) with nothing but health so far.

I believe the exact words that I uttered were, “Well, knock on wood, Hubs and the boys and I have all been healthy, with nothing more than a little stuffy nose on my part for a couple of mornings.”

That was the precise moment when Jesus said out loud in the courts of Heaven, “Knock on wood?  KNOCK??  ON??  WOOD??!!!!!  Did she really just say that, like knocking on a nice farmhouse table that Joanna had Clint build for a new client was what was keeping their family healthy?”

Saying that was almost as bad as moving to Alabama from a Snow State and celebrating their Snow Day victories, when you really should be laughing in the face of all those cancellations, as you showed the city what you can do on an interstate with one-fourth of an inch of snow.

Thing 2 started complaining about a tummy ache at bedtime last night.

This wasn’t unusual, because he’s four, and he doesn’t like to go to bed.  He needs another kiss.  He needs another drink.  He has to go potty again.  He has a tummy ache.

JUST GO TO BED, CHILD!

His level of complaining escalated, until it was on par with my complaining of ALL THE WINTER THINGS, and then he fell asleep at 8:00.

I had thrown back a Tylenol PM after brushing my teeth last night, because I was determined to get a good night’s sleep, so you can imagine my level of excitement when Thing 2 walked out of his bedroom at 10:00, covered in vomit and smelling of death, to announce, “I barfed all over my bed.”

People, he wasn’t lying.

He ate approximately a half cup of plain, naked spaghetti noodles and some plain, naked, grilled chicken for dinner last night.  (Little Man has some FEELINGS about sauces.  Lord, bless him.)  It did come as a giant surprise then, when I found not the half of a cup of spaghetti noodles in his bed, but TWENTY-TWO GALLONS OF LIQUID-LACED SPAGHETTI NOODLES on full display, right smack in the center of his fitted sheet.

The math just didn’t add up.

Eat a half cup of noodles.

Projectile vomit twenty-two gallons of noodles, plus change.

It must be Common Core Math.

After that, the diarrhea hit, and Thing 2 was up every forty minutes (EVERY!! FORTY!! MINUTES!!), all night long with one or the other… or both.  Don’t tell the Great Depression survivors, who scrimped and saved, but I threw away four tiny pairs of underwear AND a fitted bed sheet last night, because the volume of PURE MESS was greater than I could handle without counseling.

Don’t judge.

At 2 AM, I finally remembered that the boy had found an abandoned, already-opened package of pull-ups in the linen closet, when he gutted it and cleaned it a couple of weeks ago.  I was going to pass them along to a friend, who is in the thick of potty training now, but I hadn’t gotten to it yet.  I felt like this was the lone victory of the night, because I put Thing 2 in a pull-up, to save on pitching Spider-Man underwear into the trash bag.

If any of you were awake at 2:00 this morning and witnessed a mushroom cloud of nuclear proportions outside your windows, it was our preschooler’s explosive reaction to being ushered into a pull-up with Lightning McQueen on the front.

Hell hath no fury like a potty-trained kid who turns five VERY SOON, who has been forced back into a pull-up.  No amount of softly-spoken words of THIS IS JUST IN CASE YOU CAN’T MAKE IT TO THE BATHROOM FOR THE FIFTH TIME TONIGHT!  WE CAN THROW THE PULL-UP AWAY AND NOT FEEL ANY REAL GUILT, could overcome his shock at being stuffed into one.

Which, you know, is why I quietly displayed all the fruits of the Spirit last night, at 2:05 AM.

Love.  Gentleness.  Patience.  Peace.

All while I was under the sedative properties of a Tylenol PM and navigating the road between Thing 2’s bedroom and the bathroom 8.3 million times.

Anyway.

The rawness of my hands can attest to how many times I have washed them since 10:00 last night.  I have sprayed and poured Clorox everywhere.  I have washed and even RE-WASHED the four pairs of pajamas that I didn’t throw away last night, as well as the second fitted bed sheet that managed to remain a part of our family through the ordeal, as well.

So…

you know

… that’s what we’ve been up to around here.

How about you?

 

 

The Weathermen Who Fail To Tell The Truth And A Prayer Request

Is this microphone on?

Because I need to go on record and simply state, “This is the winter that will not die!”  I’m not even kidding you; it’s like the Snow Apocalypse keeps exploding all around us, day after day, until the days have become weeks, and the weeks have become months, and I have no idea how Laura Ingalls managed to survive in the one-room school house on the prairie, snowed in with the teacher, with no cell phone coverage or You Tube videos on cats to keep the kids entertained with.  We’re still holding strong over here in Small Town, USA.  We’re still digging out our driveways first thing in the mornings, to get the kids to school, because our superintendent does not believe in compromising education for the sake of twenty-nine inches of snow.

(Or whatever it is.)

(I’ve lost track of that little thing called Total Snowfall Accumulation right now.)

(And I never exaggerate.)

We’re still shoveling and scraping ice off cars; we’re still pulling over here and there downtown, to wipe our windshield wiper blades, because ICE!  ICE builds up on them, and then it’s only by the grace of God that anyone can even SEE where they’re trying to go.  We’re still driving slowly on roads that are every bit as slippery as an Olympic luge run, and… basically… we are all in desperate need of a Snow Day, just to build our morale back up.

Especially considering that my gym floor turned into a massive puddle today, as kids traipsed through in wet snow boots.

We were supposed to get “one to three inches” of snow today, but that was just our weathermen, filling us full of pipe dreams that one to three more inches wouldn’t be that bad, and that SPRING IS PROBABLY JUST AROUND THE NEXT BEND, after this last little DUSTING.

The weathermen lie.

Our one to three inches of snow quickly turned into another new foot of snow, with yet another Winter Weather Advisory chasing after it, because of all the snow blowing sideways and wiping visibility off the face of the planet.

In other words, it’s just all business as usual here this winter.  When that groundhog pops his little head out of his hole in a couple of days, it’ll be to the sound of snowplows and the feeling of frostbite on his nose, which is when he’ll yell, “KEEP YOUR PIPES WRAPPED FOR A WHILE YET, BECAUSE I THINK THERE’S GOING TO BE SIXTY-SEVEN MORE WEEKS OF WINTER.”

I am OVER all the winter.

Bless.

But here’s the thing, people.  There are things to be OVER, which is really nothing more than a bunch of whining and complaining, because scraping ice off your windshield is a hard, first world problem.

And then there are things to be OVER, which are the really difficult things in life, which start with hunger and trafficking and poverty and cancer and wondering if you’re going to be able to pay the heating bill this winter.

And then there are things to be OVER, which are somewhere in the middle.  Tonight, I have a prayer request that’s a little harder than shoveling every single day, but certainly nowhere near as hard as wondering if you’ll be able to feed your children this week.

My sister’s family is going through a sudden season of struggles with their three children.

My fourteen-year-old niece, Cousin L, ripped some cartilage off of her sternum and ribs.  She’s ended up in the hospital this winter, because it WILL.  NOT.  HEAL.  UP.  The pain has been miserable for her at times, and every time it seems like she’s making progress in getting all that cartilage healed up, she’ll suffer something like a plain old SNEEZE, of all things, which will rip it all back to square one.  As in, GLAD YOU WERE STARTING TO FEEL A TOUCH BETTER, BUT WHOA, NELLY!  YOU SNEEZED REAL BIG-LIKE AND RIPPED IT ALL BACK TO SQUARE ONE, SO WHERE ARE THOSE PRESCRIPTION PAIN PATCHES THAT STICK ON YOUR RIBS??!!  She’s had to cut back on her classes in the 8th grade, as the doctor wants her at home, resting as much as possible, to heal.  She’s dropped her elective classes… has gotten a permanent doctor’s permission slip stating that she is never to participate in a phys ed class this semester… has given up choir and Spanish… and she’s going to school for half-days now, just to attend her core classes.

(Sorry, Cousin L.  You may have gotten out of gym class, but ain’t no way you get to skip MATH.)

And then my eleven-year-old nephew, Cousin K, broke his leg plum, dadgum in half last Friday night, while he was sledding.  The good news is that he escaped surgery; the bad news is that the orthopedic surgeon set his broken leg in the office yesterday, and Cousin K convulsed and almost passed out from the pain.  He’s in a cast from his toes to his hip.  So… add a forty-pound CAST to his seventy-pound body, and you have a little boy that my five-foot-two-inch sister cannot easily move around.  Sister’s Husband has been carrying him around the house when he needs to move, while Sister holds his leg and carries IT!  Using the crutches hasn’t been something he can tolerate yet, because the pain of moving his leg too much keeps making him vomit.  He hasn’t been able to tolerate the pain medication very well, either, so he’s thrown up and thrown up and THROWN UP, every time they give him a dose.

And then Sister texted me this morning to say that her five-year-old… Little Cousin H… woke up with a 101-degree fever this morning, and that she’s coughing horrendously.

In other words, my sister’s kids are three for three.  They’re all down and out of commission right now, and she’s just going strong, asking Jesus to keep reigning down his blessings.

Because yes… there ARE blessings in the middle of it.  Her kids are broken right now, but they’re going to heal up, and none of them have anything life threatening.  That’s an enormous blessing.  The torn cartilage isn’t a brain tumor.  The broken leg isn’t a broken neck.  The fever and cough isn’t Whooping Cough.

There ARE blessings.

So… all of that to say… if you’re the praying sort (and I hope that you are), would you mind asking Jesus to watch over my two nieces and my nephew… to bless them with healing and comfort and SOME SLEEP… and that my sister could just have some encouragement and rest, as well?  She could sure use a full, solid night of REM sleep, after she’s been awake, night after night after night, checking kids and handing out pain medication, cough syrup, and kisses to foreheads.

Thank you.

And if you’ll pray for my sister’s kids, I won’t even ask that you pray for us to keep our happy dispositions during Wicked Winter 2017.

It’s Never About The Nail

I woke up this morning at 7:18, in complete confusion as to where I was.  I had just been dreaming that I lived in a house that was two hundred years old, and the roof leaked so badly, I couldn’t find a spot to put my bed when I moved in.  I positioned the bed against every wall in the house and out in the open of the bare rooms, and there wasn’t a single spot where a drip coming in from the ceiling didn’t hit it.

Never mind the stress that I had NO OTHER FURNITURE, SAVE FOR A BED.  I was mentally calculating WHEN COULD I GET A NEW ROOF?

And then I woke up on Thing 2’s bedroom floor.  It was 7:18 in the morning, and I felt like I had slept with thieves on the run, in an irrigation ditch filled with black water.

It’s because sometimes Thing 2 wakes up in the middle of the night, at… say... 2:00 AM.  And then he doesn’t go back to sleep until…. let’s say… 5:00 in the morning.  You know… HYPOTHETICALLY SPEAKING.  He is full of questions and energy and thinks it should be morning, and WHERE IS THE GROWNUP RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING ME A BOWL OF OATMEAL?  NO, WAIT!  I WANT WAFFLES!  UM… NEVER MIND!  I WANT CINNAMON TOAST!!  I guess I grabbed a blanket and two pillows and made a bed on his floor, right beside his bed, at some point last night.

So, you can imagine how the rest of my morning went, because it’s a little difficult to pull off a great hair day when you don’t get up until most of the free world is ready to eat brunch.

Thing 2 was up by 7:45.  He strolled out of his bedroom, after everyone else was showered, dressed and moderately caffeinated, to ask, “Why are all the house lights on?  Why is it daylight outside?  Why is everyone already dressed?”

I shot him the Stink Eye that said, “Listen, Chump.  Mama’s got no business with you this morning, until I have three cups of coffee flowing through my veins!”

I made him a giant bowl of oatmeal with a cut-up banana in it.  He looked at it and said, “I WANTED A WAFFLE!!”  I shot him another Stink Eye, before he commented, “I mean… I like this bowl of oatmeal just fine.”

After his belly was full, I told him it was time to get dressed, and this is where I just say that mothers of girls have nothing to complain about.  I pulled out a pair of sweatpants, which are our kid’s usual preschool uniform of choice, and then I grabbed a T-shirt from his closet.  He wailed, “I don’t want THAT shirt!  I want a HOCKEY shirt!”

In lieu of using real words, I shot him another Stink Eye.  He said, “I mean… PLEASE could I wear a hockey shirt today?  Because I only want to wear sweatpants, shirts with hoods, and hockey shirts now, for the rest of my life.  I’m not going to wear anything else, ever again.  NEVER, Mom!”

I don’t think there’s a four-year-old girl out there whose feelings about her daily outfits are as strong as our son’s.

Thing 2 ended up at school at 8:27.  Since his class begins at 8:30… and since I had gotten up at 7:18 and STILL managed to shower, iron myself a shirt, and get mascara on my eyes and coffee in my brain… I considered this one of the biggest parenting victories of my entire career.

The rest of my day was spent making sure I got my laundry quota done.  I’ve become the very best version of myself this year, as I’ve stuck to my New Year’s resolution of daily loads.  Of course, Thing 2 is going to be powerfully disappointed with me, come tomorrow morning, because the two “shirts with hoods” that he owns are both in the load that didn’t get washed today, and he wore his one and only hockey jersey today.

Please pray for us tomorrow, as I hand Thing 2 wardrobe choices that involve ALL THE CLOTHES HE NOW HATES.

I also got my hair cut this afternoon, and my stylist waxed my mustache off.

There’s nothing that brings joy to the soul so much as walking into a salon looking like Burt Reynolds, and walking out with nothing but a little red skin irritation on your upper lip.  Goodbye for the month, Mustache.

I know that I’m rambling, but I’m going to leave you with this one thing…

It’s not about the nail.

I think maybe I’ve talked about this before here at the offices of Jedi Mama, Incorporated, but Hubs and I just had a gut-busting laugh over this again last night.  I laughed until I cried, exactly like I’d never seen this video before.  Hubs, you see, is a man, which means that when I start talking to him about something, he immediately kicks into the mode of HOW WILL I SOLVE HER PROBLEM FOR HER?  Most of the time, all I want him to do is listen.  Now, Hubs ASKS ME when I start telling him something, “Do you want me to help you solve this?  Or am I just supposed to listen?  Because, without knowing beforehand, I’m going to come up with six different solutions for you.”

God bless our husbands.

Now… if only Hubs could come up with a solution on HOW to get Thing 2 to go back to sleep quickly… then we’d be on to something.

The Weekend

I just woke up from a nap.

A nap that got over with at an hour that is very close to the hour that I actually go to bed, but it couldn’t be helped.  I told Hubs, “Since this is my birthday weekend, I am going to play the NAP CARD today, which means  you are in charge of all the things for a bit.”

As far as naps go, it was just typical, in the sense that I blacked out for almost two entire hours, dreamed in high-definition and techno-color about things like heffalumps and woozles, and woke up wondering who and where I was.  So… you know… it was all just lovely, especially considering that my contacts sucked out every drop of moisture from my eyes and shellacked themselves to my corneas.

On Friday, I woke up older.

I know… I know.  Technically, every single morning that I wake up, I am older, but on Friday, I was SIGNIFICANTLY older, because it was my birthday.  The boys in my life had coffee and gifts for me first thing, because little boys cannot WAIT for presents.  I didn’t open any of my gifts, because Thing 2 ripped all the paper off for me, and exclaimed in awestruck wonder over everything, and then asked me why I didn’t get any fun gifts, like John Deere tractors or airplanes.  Afterward, I dropped Thing 2 off at his preschool, and then came home to the most glamorous birthday of all, in which I emptied the dishwasher, loaded the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher, made beds, started a load of laundry, swept the kitchen floor, and picked up ONLY fourteen Matchbox cars.

Sister took me to lunch on Friday.  We stopped in at a little Mexican restaurant for quesadillas.

Afterward, I came home and did homework with Thing 2.  Lest you think that his preschool is a progressive school for four-year-olds that encourages finding the area of a hexagon before the kids return the next day, I’ll just say that this “homework” is when our kid heaves a dramatic sigh, drops his shoulders in a manner like all high school sophomores do when it’s time to sit down with the books, and whines, “I have to do my homework.”  And then we get out the little workbook where he writes his letters and circles pictures of apples that are bigger than other apples, and counts ladybugs on leaves before he writes the correct number on the line.  Thing 2 actually LOVES his “homework,” and he asks to do it all of the time, but because his older brother sighs and has nothing good to say about homework, so does our little man.

On Friday night, my mom was down with the stomach flu and the boy had to be at the high school to play in the band at a basketball game, so Hubs and Thing 2 took me out for dinner.  It was very quiet and low-key and lovely.  I kept thinking that it had been a very good evening, even though we had missed out on a giant, all-the-family-gathered dinner, like we usually do on birthdays around here.  We came home, stuck our preschooler in bed, and had every intention of watching a movie while we waited for the boy to get home, but then Sister called to say, “K just broke his leg sledding in the dark on the mountain!”

Which is why I was up for a few hours afterward, making sure that all was going to turn out okay.

K and his dad were on the mountain for a father-son weekend at a church camp.  The most celebrated activity of the weekend is the nighttime sledding, because what boy doesn’t enjoy cruising down a snow-packed mountain under the light of the moon and the stars?  Cousin K’s sled of boys made it to the bottom of the hill, where they bailed off their sled, prepared to dash back up the hill for another run…

… until a giant sled packed with boys plowed into him from behind and flipped him five feet into the air.

He came down on his leg and snapped both bones right in half.

The ER doctor was very reassuring, as he said, “This is most definitely a case for surgery.”  Sister is taking him in to see the orthopedic surgeon in his office tomorrow, and then they’ll decide what needs to be done.

And that is how my birthday ended.  I didn’t sleep much at all.  I was awake most of the night, sad that Cousin K was going to spend the night with one throbbing shin, probably not sleeping much himself.

On Saturday morning, the boys and I put together a get-well basket for him, filled with all kinds of things to keep him busy, while he’s sitting on the sofa.  We packed that basket full of puzzle books, fun magazines, candy, Legos, DVDs, and coloring books, and then we hauled it out to him.

The poor kid has a temporary splint on his leg, which runs from his toes to his hip, and he’s been in the hospital gown all weekend, because HOW DO YOU PUT CLOTHES OVER A FULL-LENGTH LEG CAST?

He also thought the bag of frozen vegetables that Sister had given him as an ice pack was hysterical!  He told me that his leg hurt so bad it made him throw up sometimes, but he was so happy, because he didn’t have to do any chores this weekend.  He whispered, “My sisters get to unload the dishwasher, scoop the cat box, and fold clean laundry without me!”

And THAT pretty much sums up what little boys are like.

On Saturday night, we took the boys to Cousin W’s hockey game.

Thing 2 has become a fantastic little skater, and he had a hard time dealing with the fact that we were at the rink to WATCH hockey, and not actually SKATE OURSELVES.  He ended up needing a bag of sour Skittles to ease his broken heart about not being on the ice in his own skates, but he did fine, sitting on a stool, watching his cousin play.

Thing 2 quickly caught on to the fact that hockey is a very NOISY sport last night.  When our home team scored, he beat on the glass like all the other fans did, to help show his appreciation for a puck landing nicely in the net.

W played again this morning, so we went back to the rink, where we got to see him score a goal of his own.

This evening, Thing 2 announced that he’s going to actually be on Cousin W’s team.  He said, “Mom, I’m going to be on the blue team with W, but I’m not going to be the goalie.  Goalies don’t make any scores!”

And goodness knows, this kid’s personality is all about making the scores count.

He smashed his helmet down on his head tonight, grabbed his stick and a jug of foam pucks, and practiced for a solid twenty minutes in our kitchen.  He hit those pucks over and over and over, until all I could envision was me, becoming a hockey mom who drives to games IN BLIZZARDS.

Jesus, be near.  I don’t have it in me to drive in blizzards.  We may need to just play baseball, which is in the SUMMER, when we don’t actually have blizzards.

I sent the video to W’s cell phone, and he texted back, “I’m going to pray for your wood floors!  Raising hockey kids is hard on floors; just ask my mom!”

And that’s how OUR weekend went.  My hardwood floors have suffered about as much as Cousin K’s tibia and fibula did.

There’s A New Aisle For Everything

I have come to the conclusion that one of the reasons I dislike cooking so much is… maybe… probably… most definitely related to… mostly… because I ABHOR (Is that a strong enough descriptive word?) getting groceries.  It just feels like such a giant waste of time to circle the Walmart parking lot like a shark coming up on an extended family of seals, as he attempts to find the plumpest, roundest one.  This issue (the parking lot; not the sharks) is compounded in the winter, because there’s so much snow on the ground right now, no one can see the yellow stripes on the asphalt that tell you PRECISELY where to leave your car.

So… you know… people just leave their Toyotas and their SUVs and their wood-paneled station wagons that were left to them in their great-great-uncle’s will… WHEREVER.  New spaces are created, that are six inches away from the automatic doors, and I think to myself, “Why wasn’t I brave enough to just leave MY Suburban right-smack THERE, in a spot where we all know ZERO LINES EXIST?”  After parking twenty miles away from Walmart’s front doors, I practiced my shocked face in my rear view mirror.  “What?  Officer?  A parking ticket?  I had no idea that there weren’t yellow lines there, six inches away from the doors.  I can’t see the pavement, what with all the snow.”

I think I was pretty good at the shocked face, too.  I think it would have been convincing in the event of a face-to-face with an officer and his pad of parking tickets.

And then there’s the entire process of pushing the cart with the squeaky wheel (because that cart will always be my cart) through aisle after aisle and after stinking aisle, all while trying to maintain your sanity over a little dilemma I like to call, “Where In the Sam Hill Did They Hide the Popcorn?”

Our Walmart just recently rearranged their entire store.  Yes.  The entire store.  Merry Christmas.  Happy New Year.  And now we have a surprise for all y’all, because we are MOVING EVERYTHING!!  You get a headache, and YOU get a headache, and YOU get a headache.

Oprah would’ve been so proud of our Walmart stock crew.

After roaming the snack aisles until I had memorized the location of every bag of chips, pretzels, Ritz cracker box and bag of jalapeno-flavored beef jerky, I finally gave up and informed Thing 2, “Mama cannot find the popcorn.”  You can bet I mentioned this to the next friend I ran into, because I had a bawling wreck of a preschooler in my cart, who was quickly becoming a hot mess over the NO POPCORN issue.  So, when she asked if someone was having a bad day, I let her know that the someone was actually ME who was having a bad day, because HAS WALMART DISCONTINUED CARRYING POPCORN?  Had popcorn, perhaps, been BANNED, while I missed the memo?

Another lady, who was a complete stranger to me, overheard our conversation and said, “I had to ask where the popcorn is now, too.  They’ve put with the soda.  Go to the soda section, and you’ll find it back there on a side shelf.”

Which is exactly what we did.

Because clearly it makes perfect sense to put the microwavable popcorn next to the Coke and Dr. Pepper, instead of next to the chips and crackers, where it has been since Adam and Eve first went grocery shopping at the Garden of Eden Super Center, where all your home needs could be met.  (Just don’t buy THESE apples.)

The rest of our trip went a lot like that, as I backtracked and rerouted and spent an agonizingly long time looking for things that were no longer where they should be, and then I just basically needed to book an appointment in the Walmart dressing rooms, so that I could sit down on one of the tiny benches, lock the door, hang my head between my knees, and breathe deeply without being the recipient of a bunch of worried looks.

I’m happy to report that we were able to secure 88% of our shopping list, popcorn included, before I just gave up and came home.  I didn’t want to grocery shop today anyway, until Hubs reminded me that we were down to the last roll of toilet paper, and that it was sitting pretty at the “three-fourths gone” mark.

Lovely.

You may not have half-and-half for your coffee, so that you’re forced to exist on PLAIN, THIN MILK in your bean water, but when the Charmin is flagged at LAST ROLL STATUS, then it’s time to go in.  Especially when Hubs reminds me that the alternative to shopping for groceries is walking outside and plugging one of the whitetail deer that call our yard their home.  I could never be a vegetarian, but I also don’t need to know that the steak on my plate came from the mama deer who raised a set of twins on the side of our deck to maturity.  HOWEVER, I could probably quite easily pull the trigger on an owl, who finds it HILARIOUS to hoot all night long outside my bedroom window and murder bunnies in my driveway, and put him straight into the crockpot with a little salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.

And it’s a good thing to know that the poultry seasoning is now in the Guns and Ammo section of our Walmart.

Y’all have a blessed weekend.

Snow And Watermelon Bubblegum

It snowed again last night.  And then it just kept on snowing a little bit throughout today, too.

Basically, all of my hopes and dreams of ever seeing green grass again have been squashed, because this is the WINTER THAT WILL NOT QUIT.  Don’t talk to me about global warming and how the polar ice caps are melting, because all the polar ice caps are doing is shifting their locations to Small Town, USA.  I have a friend who posted a picture on Facebook last week of BARE, DRY ROADS, as she and her husband traveled to watch their son’s out-of-town basketball game.  She commented that all a person had to do to see roads that weren’t snow-packed and under severe travel restrictions was to drive South for a few hundred miles.  We all stared at her photo and thought to ourselves, “Yes!  Dry roads exist!”  We were filled with hope, and planned to survive until June on the memory of that single snapshot.  And then we all fired off comments about how summer might possibly be on the horizon, thirty-one months from now.  Even though she was dressed in a heavy coat in the car, I like to imagine that she and her husband stopped along the way to celebrate the Dry Roads Victory with a little umbrella-laced drink.

In other news, I am still in the thick of dropping Thing 2 off at his preschool each morning, and then coming home to start a load of laundry.  I have no idea why I never embraced this Housewife Movement in the past.  Jesus knows that my own mother has tried to talk me into doing just that for at least two decades, but maybe I wasn’t in an emotionally-secure enough spot in my life to actually take up the Small Daily Load of Laundry Yoke yet.  Thankfully, I am now, and we have been able to see the floor in our walk-in closet for days on end.

Not to mention that everyone has the prime pick of the sock drawer.

I feel like I’m the best version of myself, now that I have added I ACTUALLY DO LAUNDRY to my resume.

But now I’m at a laundry crossroads in my life, because, as I was walking around the house last night to pick a few things up off the floor (Matchbox cars, toy tractors, Matchbox cars, Legos, Matchbox cars) before I prepped Thing 2 for bed, I came across SOMETHING strung high and low.  It was bright red, strung from the floor to the sofa and back again to the floor, and smelled suspiciously of watermelon.

It turned out to be bubblegum.

It cleaned up easily enough off the floor, but the sofa suffered some emotional damage, and will never be able to be sold at a garage sale with a tag that reads, “Mint condition.”  I called Thing 2 into the room and asked him, “What is this?”

He had the nerve to actually look at it intently, from all angles, as he turned his head back and forth, back and forth, examining the wad of scraped-up gum sitting in my hand, with a wrinkled brow.

He stared me in the eyes and asked, in a fantastic version of his grown-up, attorney self, a question, which put ME on the defensive, instead of himself.

“Is it Bubbie’s?”

I like to think that my sixteen-year-old wouldn’t string chewed, watermelon gum around and around the living room, but who knows?  I also like to think he would push forward and do all of his history assignments, too, without calculating his grade ahead of time to see which bits of homework could be discarded.

I reversed the roles of prosecutor and defendant in the cross examination, exactly like they teach you to do in law school.  How I know this is beyond me, because I’ve never actually BEEN in law school, but I did seem My Cousin Vinny.  I feel like that qualifies me as a courtroom expert.

After reassuring Thing 2 that it was NOT the boy’s bubblegum, I noticed that our preschooler’s shirt was also covered in bright red strings.

And he smelled a bit like watermelon.

And that… with all the evidence piling up against him… is when he admitted to his crime and took the blame like the man I’m trying to teach him to become.

And that brings us to today.  I still have red gum on Thing 2’s shirt from yesterday.  It’s because it’s a brand-spanking-new Abercrombie shirt.  I don’t know when I’ll learn my lesson, but this is how life goes:  Brand new, brand name shirt that your child looks so cute in?  Mine will stain it seventeen times before lunch.  Threadbare, generic shirt that was purchased at a garage sale for a dime?  My kid could wear it every day for a week, and it would still be untouched with food, dirt, grime, Crayola marker, mud, Play Doh, juice, or bubblegum.  That used, threadbare, cost-me-ten-cents shirt will have a force field around it that repels anything that attempts to come near it.  The Abercrombie shirts and the Ralph Lauren shirts actually cry out to the gum and the grape juice, “Please!  Give us just a little of that!”

I stood at the crossroads, wondering if the effort of trying to get gum out of that shirt was worth it, or whether I should just scrap the whole labor-intensive laundry room scene and just throw it away.

Hubs and I smeared an ice cube all over the shirt, and got the majority of the gum off, but there are still strings of it hither and there and everywhere.  I think my next offensive move will be to put the shirt in the freezer, like Pinterest has told me to do.

We shall see.

Thankfully, these two boys are cute, what with all the shenanigans they’ve pulled in the last week.

IMG_0152 IMG_0154I still have hope that we will do our homework, keep our gum in our mouths, and that bare, dry roads are really going to come again to our land.

Have a good Tuesday 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.