Sleep Deprivation Is Real

I have a problem, which is preventing me from getting any sleep.

My problem’s name is Thing 2.

Every now and then, Thing 2 likes to cycle through a phase that Hubs and I like to call SLEEPING LIKE HELL.

(Can I say that on this blog?  I really do try to keep things at a PG rating here, but our total sleep deprivation sometimes pushes us straight to the threshold of PG-13.  I apologize if your seven-year-old is reading this post over your shoulder and he just saw the word HELL spelled out in all capital letters; there isn’t any polite way to phrase how we are sleeping at night these days.)

Last night, Thing 2 got up at 1:15, but really?  Well, I guess it wasn’t so much LAST NIGHT, as it was THIS MORNING.  1:15 in the morning.  He came blasting into our bedroom, to announce in his loud, outdoor voice that SOMEONE had knocked his train off the tracks, but he was fixing it, and everything should be up and running momentarily, if the passengers could just wait a couple more minutes, and that no tickets would be refunded, because the problem was BEING FIXED.  Naturally, I was jerked out of a dead sleep.  I had been dreaming that a bunny in our backyard had twenty-nine baby bunnies, and I was trying to get them all cleaned up and tucked into a giant bed.

When I got my eyes open enough to realize what was going on beyond baby bunnies everywhere, I saw that Thing 2’s bedroom light was on, and he was — INDEED! — working on getting a derailed, remote-controlled train back on the tracks, and… ultimately… back on schedule.

As an engineer, he’s very dedicated to the customer satisfaction ratings of his passengers.

And I’ll just go on record to announce that it was ME who derailed the tail end of the train.  I tip-toed into Thing 2’s bedroom at 9:00 last night to make sure he was covered up in his sleep, before I got into bed, and my foot bumped a passenger car.  It fell off the rails, and I wasn’t interested in rescuing stranded passengers in a dark bedroom.  I figured getting that lone car back on the tracks was a job that could be done in the morning.

In the morning… when the sun was up and it WASN’T 1:15.

I shuffled into the kid’s bedroom and said, “It’s the middle of the night!  You’re going back to bed!”

He insisted that it was morning, and that he’d really appreciate a bowl of oatmeal, a peeled banana, and a cup of coffee with sugar and cream.  The only thing he DIDN’T ask for was today’s edition of the Wall Street Journal and the TV turned to Fox News.

I got him get back into his bed, where he stayed… WIDE AWAKE… until he finally passed out at 5:30 this morning.

I have no words, except this:

Teaching PE today was a little hard.  We played a baseball / hockey / soccer-combo game today, that was lively and required me to pitch.  (Because really?  A game in 2nd grade PE will last through the entire day and through the entire night, if I let a 2nd grader pitch a baseball where other 2nd graders are required to hit it.  There is not enough patience in a Catholic monastery to get through that.)  Since I was required to pitch all the pitches, while I diligently tried to get out of the way of swinging bats and swinging hockey sticks and soccer balls flying through the air, I never had a chance to lie down in the bleachers in my gym, cover up coat from the lost and found basket, and close my eyes while the children carried on in PE without me.

And also?

Well, it’s why this blog post is short and boring; some of us are going to bed earlier than we usually do at our elderly age!

From Engineer To Barber

Occasionally, I’ll open our pantry doors to discover that food items are missing.

Usually it’s granola bars that are missing, because boys have stomachs which never reach the FULL mark, and granola bars tend to take the edge off, before they can devour an entire pizza later.  But sometimes, what’s missing turns out to be an entire round, cardboard canister of Quaker oatmeal.

And then?  When you hear the train derailment happening in a nearby bedroom?

Well, you can bet the last dollar in your checking account that the train was hauling oatmeal.  And then you can take that last dollar that you bet, along with all the winnings that you made when you slapped it down and said, “One buck on OATMEAL, please,” and you can put every last bit of it towards a second bet.

Who will clean up the disaster?  Who will get the vacuum cleaner out and use Dawn dish soap to wipe the Lego mini figures clean and save their lives, exactly like they do for baby ducks in an oil spill?

It sure isn’t going to be Mama who cleans up the train wrecks around here.

My only regret is that I didn’t snap a picture with my phone when the disaster first struck, which would have shown you the full extent of the cataclysmic tragedy.  The news crew was NOT on the ground, with their cameras rolling, in a timely matter at this news-worthy bit of devastation.  The vans and their satellites and their wireless transmitters and their puffy microphones decided to start recording things after cleanup had already begun, when there wasn’t much disaster left to see.

Clearly, there will be no journalism awards won this time around.

Sometimes, though, the cleanup crew’s foreman will stop to style his hair.

You know, so that he looks extra handsome on camera, since the news crew has shown up with film rolling.

All I can say is this:

If our younger boy ever loses his engineer job over a train derailment and the devastating loss of precious cargo, he could probably make a fortune as a barber with an “as seen on TV” Flowbee.  I’m going to place my bet on him being rather good at wielding a pair of clippers attached to a vacuum cleaner.

If You’re Not Winning, It’s The Worst Day Of Your Life

We just got three big boxes, full of hand-me-down clothes for Thing 2.  One of the boxes held a pair of orange and blue sneakers AND a pair of blue and green sneakers.  I told Thing 2 to get his shoes on for school this morning, and he came out of his bedroom sporting the orange and blue pair for the first time.

“Look, Mom!  These are pretty awesome new shoes I got!”

Yes.  Yes, they were awesome.

I ran to my closet to get my shoes and socks on, and when I came out, Thing 2 had changed shoes.  He was wearing the blue and green pair.

I asked him why he’d changed shoes.  He said, “Mom, I tested out the first pair by running across the kitchen, and man!  Were they ever SLOW SHOES!  So I changed them, and then I tested this pair out, and they’re super fast, so I’m wearing these.  I would be so embarrassed if I went to school in SLOW SHOES, Mom!  That would be the worst day of my life!”

Hand-Me-Downs

Hand-me-downs have got to be the greatest invention of EVER.

Don’t get me wrong; there’s something magnificent about getting a brand new Under Armour polo shirt for your boy, ripping the tags off, and seeing him look so incredibly handsome in it, you want to swoon until someone brings the smelling salts.  But getting a big box of clothes from a good friend’s boys is a whole lot like Christmas.  You get to root around in the box and unearth all kinds of adorable shirts and little pairs of shorts and sneakers that still have enough life left in them to take your kid through an entire summer of playing in the backyard and hiking mountain trails.  I nearly squeal with the delight of a pink piglet in a mud hole when we are handed giant, cardboard boxes full of clothes from our darling friend, Carrie.

We are running a bit of a cartel, when it comes to trading clothes back and forth.  I give Sister the boy’s too-small outfits… the ones WITHOUT collars on the shirts.  K won’t wear  collars on his shirts, and he won’t wear golf shorts, either.  The collared shirts and golfing shorts go straight to Carrie, because her boys DO wear them.  Sister passes the T-shirts and gym shorts and jeans on to Carrie, when K outgrows them, and Carrie adds them all to Oliver and Kellan’s closets at their house.  Then, she passes what six-year-old Kellan has outgrown straight to us.

(Yes, I know.)

(Sometimes even WE need a flowchart and spreadsheet to keep track of what clothing item goes where.)

And then… after the clothes are too small for Thing 2… I pass them along to someone else.  Carrie and I understand the value of being neurotic in the laundry room, which keeps those clothes pretty much stain-free and in good shape for another whole handful of children to wear behind us.

Of course, Carrie and I send one another pictures of our boys in the same clothing, because we’re weird.

See this orange shirt the boy wore to a wedding rehearsal dinner in the summer of 2011?  Yeah…. he was ELEVEN YEARS OLD and a couple of weeks away from starting the 5th grade.  That first child of ours was SMALL.

Carrie sent a snapshot to me of her NINE YEAR OLD in the same shirt.  He’s a 3rd grader.  He’s got some length in his legs that the boy never had.

As a side note, that’s Carrie’s husband.  He grew up next door to us.  He threw snowballs at my sister and me in the winter, peed in the yard when he was eight, and shot pop bottle rockets at us in the summer.

I thought he was probably destined for a life in jail.  If life was a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, he was the Calvin to our Susies.  Thankfully, he met Carrie, who transformed him  into an upstanding citizen!  He’s become a decent sort of fellow now.  I’ve eaten dinner with him as a grownup on his patio, and never once did he spit a mouthful of guacamole in my direction.  Y’all, he didn’t even burp at the patio table!

Wives are amazing.

In our most recent box of hand-me-downs from Carrie, I found this little treasure for that cute Thing 2:

And here’s Carrie’s older boy, Oliver, wearing it several years ago:

See?

Hand-me-downs are bits of money-saving greatness.  They make you sigh, when you see them on another child, as you sashay down Memory Lane and say, “I remember that…”

The big kicker is… when you have just one boy, and you believe that you’ll never have a second child, you tend to get rid of EVERYTHING.  The crib and changing table are sent to a younger niece; the exercise saucer with all the light-up bells and whistles is sent to a nephew.  And all the clothes your only child wore are given away… forever.  We have passed every shirt and pair of jeans, along with all the socks without holes in them, to the boys’ cousin, K.  He wore them, and Sister then sent them on to others.

Lost to us forever.

Except…. in the back of Cousin K’s closet, Sister uncovered a bag of some of the boy’s stuff, which she had MEANT to give away, but which had been hidden behind Playmobil castles and Lego sets and Batman costumes and sticks that were transformed into swords.

She gave the bag to us, and yes.  I almost cried a little.

I think as a mama, women enjoy seeing an outfit worn by all of their kids, and I am no exception.

When the boy was a nine-year-old, he had this green sweatshirt:

We loved that sweatshirt.  He wore it and wore it… AND WORE IT!  We lost the strings out of the hood.  We wore it to soccer games and on vacation.  We wore it in the backyard, at friends’ late-night barbecues, to high school football games and to school.

That little green sweatshirt was well-loved,  It’s thick and heavy, and it’s warm.

In that bag of stuff that Sister gave us, I found that little green sweatshirt that my NINE-YEAR-OLD had worn.  He wore it in the 3rd and 4th grades, y’all.  The boy was never blessed to escape the 12th and 15th percentiles in height and weight.

Well…. our five-year-old, PRESCHOOLER wore that sweatshirt yesterday to golf in, while it was raining.  It was a touch big, and we had to roll the cuffs on the sleeves a couple of times, but I think it’s safe to say that this sweatshirt will be a too-small memory when Thing 2 is a 3rd grader.

Be still, my heart.

This sweatshirt is one of the few things we have left of the boy’s younger years, that Thing 2 can wear.  Of course now… now that the boy is bigger and Thing 2 was born in 2012… I’ve been saving clothes.  And by saving them, I mean they go to Cousin K and Carrie’s two boys, and then they’re going to work their way back to us, for our smaller fry.

People, I can hardly wait!

Spring Break ’17 Is In The Books

Our Spring Break is finished.

While all of our friends went to Hawaii (Yes!  HAWAII!!) and Cancun (Yes!!!  Stinking Cancun!!) and Scottsdale, Arizona and the Grand Canyon and skiing hither and yon and all over the place, we stayed at home.  I may have mentioned that, because we spent our Spring Break funds on a new refrigerator and dishwasher.  Everyone else is straggling back into town, with tanned skin and highlighted hair and snapshots on Facebook of ALL THE MEMORIES, but their Spring Breaks are finished now, too.  And mine?  Well, I’m going to be slamming the new dishwasher door shut for several years yet, and patting it as I tell folks, “My Spring Break ’17 is still happening every single night, after dinner.”

So… who won THIS vacation week, I ask you?!

We have spent our time this week at different parks with friends, at the pizza parlor with friends, at the ice rink with friends, and at Walmart, by ourselves, because nobody really wants to go to Walmart.  Of course, these are the friends who didn’t take a flight to a beach, so we felt some solidarity with them.  We played a lot this week.  I watched four entire episodes of Fixer Upper off the DVR this week, which is more than I usually watch in a month.  My love for Chip and Joanna runs deep, but I’m way behind on their show.  Thing 2 played a considerable amount of hockey this week, we ate a lot of pizza this week, the boy went to a couple different movies with friends this week, and we are sad to see the end of it.

But, we sent our Spring Break ’17 out in style.  The golf course opened up yesterday, and I’ll give you one guess as to who had himself a tee time!  The cute neighbor boy was supposed to play a round of golf with the boy this afternoon, but he texted to say that he’d taken to his bed with the plague, and that the boy should go on and live life without him.  That big boy of ours looked at his little brother and asked, “Want to golf with me?”

Oh, my lands!  DID HE EVER!!  Hubs is down for the count today with another sinus infection, because this is the winter where we cannot shake the infected sinus cavities.  He took his antibiotics and went back to bed, so I joined my two boys in the golf cart, with my camera, because OF COURSE I BROUGHT IT.  We left Hubs home to sleep in a quiet house.

And… because I had chosen to go with the boys… OF COURSE IT RAINED.

We had a great time together, as we shivered in the golf cart.

Here it is, people!  This is the boy’s very first drive, in his very first golf game, of 2017.

His mama clapped like a lunatic for him, as mamas are prone to do, until he shot me a sideways glance and said, “Seriously, Ma.  That was the worst drive I’ve ever shot.  Don’t overclap it.”

As if I ever overclap ANYTHING either one of my boys do!  I clap the proper amount each time, which is LIKE A LUNATIC.

Of course, Thing 2 wasn’t to be outdone by his older brother, so he wanted me to get a snapshot of HIS very first drive of the season, too.

We kept on shivering, driving through the mist, like we were taking a leisurely, Sunday drive in an open cart through an English countryside.  The boys just kept hitting the golf balls… one ball after another… after another…

Thing 2 doesn’t golf like everyone else does, because he adds his own flair to the game.

This is our preschooler, demonstrating his NINJA GOLF skills:

The fine mist just kept going, until we were in a nice little rainstorm that soaked us all clear through.  All I could think about were our friends in Arizona this week, who were golfing in the sunshine and wearing shorts.

Bless.

Thing 2 got his hands on one of the boy’s club covers, which happens to be a stuffed rodent.  He packed that thing all over the last few holes.

Eventually, the boys finished their game, and we went home to hot cocoa.  Hubs and his Sinus Infection crawled out of bed, because he was finally hungry.  He announced that he’d grill pork chops for us tonight…

… right before he came back indoors from the deck and announced that our beloved Traeger grill was not starting…

… which is right before he announced that he felt like the Traeger may have breathed her last.

BECAUSE OF COURSE IT HAS.

OF…

… COURSE!!!

Apparently, this means that all of our Easter basket money, along with all of our Mother’s Day and Father’s Day money, will now be tied up in a new barbecue.

When it rains, it pours.  And when one appliance dies…. I guess they all do.  I’m going to have to get the furnace and the oven and the microwave together for a little meeting, where I basically use my MEAN GIRL VOICE and hiss, “Don’t even think about crashing.”

Have a great Sunday evening, y’all.  May your re-entry into school and work be a gentle one.  May your “Monday morning alarm after a week of Spring Break” be an easy one to take.

Spring Break Monday

If you want to know how my day has gone today, let me just start by saying this one thing:

I spent the bulk of this morning with a bacon bit stuck somewhere behind my sinus cavity, but in front of my brain.  I know that this sounds like an impossible feat to achieve, but, rest assured, I nailed it.

We are at the point in our lives when I stare into the pantry and try to decide what I can make for dinner with a can of tomato soup, a box of cornstarch, and a Costco-sized jar of black pepper.  (Thanks to Hubs’ shopping abilities, we are set on having enough black pepper in this house until Jesus’ return.  If you ever run out of black pepper and need to borrow some, call us; we are your people.)

There were still some leftover donuts on our kitchen counter, from the boys’ breakfast date yesterday, so I ate one.  Normally, I’m not a “donut-for-breakfast” sort of person, because never in my life have I been able to handle a bucket of sugar first thing after getting out of bed.  Candy and chocolate at 3:00 in the afternoon?  Yes, ma’am.  I’m your girl.  Sugar cubes at 7:30 AM?  I’ll have to pass until I get my sugar-legs under me later in the day.

After eating the only maple-frosted donut left in the box, I immediately decided that it was an error in my judgement.  What I needed to combat the donut was some protein.  What we had in the Protein Section of our house was down to a frozen roast, frozen steaks, three eggs, and a package of THIS IS REALLY BACON bacon bits.

The eggs sounded like entirely too much work, seeing as how I wasn’t really HUNGRY after eating the donut.  I just needed a protein-sized SHOT, which is why I threw back a handful of REAL BACON AND WE’RE NOT EVEN KIDDING bacon bits.

And then I coughed.

And that is how one oversized bacon bit came to live at the back of my sinuses all morning.

Clearly, I’m every bit as glamorous as Princess Kate, as I spent the morning sputtering and gagging and blowing my nose thirty thousand times, until YES.  I finally blew the bacon bit straight out into a wad of Charmin.

You’re welcome for that story.  If it has given you the opportunity to say, “I’m so much cooler than Jedi Mama, because I don’t partake in hillbilly shenanigans with my nose, like she does,” then I’ve done my job of boosting someone’s self esteem.

In other, less disgusting news, we spent our Spring Break Monday at the park yesterday, playing with little Cousin H.

After reaching into our shiny new refrigerator, and telling the children, “This is why we can’t go anywhere nice for Spring Break, but, please!  Give thanks for the ability to preserve our food in a chilled environment once again with this beastly, stainless steel Samsung appliance,” I made lunch.

Peanut butter sandwiches for everyone except the boy, who is quite allergic.

As I was cleaning up after The Littles’ lunches, I realized that H had an immaculately clean spot on our kitchen counter.  Every last drop of her yogurt was gone, and her plate looked as though it had come straight out of the kitchen cupboard, from the clean stack.  Thing 2’s spot was a touch different.  Half of his yogurt was slopped all over the counter, there were three chunks of watermelon on the floor, sitting beside a bread crust, and the counter was smeared with peanut butter, strawberry jam and something that might have been a booger.

I think I’ve misjudged this whole HE’S READY FOR  KINDERGARTEN THIS FALL thing.  I have no idea how he’ll ever make it through lunchtime in a cafeteria, without constant, HOVERING adult supervision.

We said goodbye to the boy and Cousin K, who had been in our driveway, putting seat covers on the seats in the boy’s car.

They spent the afternoon hanging out together, being manly and walking the sidewalks of the city… as best as they can be walked, when your leg is still broken in half and you must hobble along on crutches.  They ended up at an ice cream shop with friends, and had a good time without us.

Meanwhile, I took The Littles to the park.

The very first piece of playground equipment that they ran to, after jumping out of my Suburban, was the one with the swamp beneath it.

Thing 2 was determined to dig through that water, straight to the earth’s molten core.  He swung that purple digger around like it was his job.

He also splashed mud and muck and slimy slop all over himself, insuring that his clothing would need to be washed twice in Tide, with a coating of sprayed-on stain remover.  Little H managed to dig without a single spot of mud making its way to her white T-shirt.

Mothers of girls have no real laundry practice.

Also?  I should put this disclaimer in:  THING 2 PICKS HIS OWN SOCKS OUT!  He is convinced that life is horrible, unless he’s wearing tall soccer socks.  Being a member of the male tribe, he never takes any pains to match his tall soccer socks to his outfit.  HE GETS ALL THE CREDIT FOR HIS CHOICE IN SOCKS.

I feel like this next picture could represent Thing 2’s career in bull riding, coming straight out of the chutes with a grin on his face and a determined grip on the straps, while I sit at home, unable to watch the rodeo and nervously waiting for him to text me that he’s still alive. “Nailed it, Ma.  Stayed on fifty-four seconds, and beat the top contenders, who jumped off at eight.  Got myself a buckle and a free cotton candy.”

These cousins had a marvelous time at the playground.  They practiced pumping their legs on the swings, because I feel like five is the right age to announce, “Listen!  Adults are not going to be around all your lives to push you on the swings.  You’ve got to learn to pump those legs and become INDEPENDENT swingers!”  They ran and they climbed and they jumped and they laughed until their bellies hurt.

And then, we took little Cousin H back home, so that Thing 2 could make his 5:15 session of Stick and Puck at the ice rink.

Stick and Puck is when the kids can take their hockey sticks onto the ice, along with three hundred pucks, and play around and shoot until their hearts are content and they’re totally exhausted.

Thing 2 came home last night tired.  And by tired, I mean WE FINALLY WORE HIM OUT, GOOD AND PROPER, with an entire afternoon of aerobic exercise, fresh air, and hockey.  He ate dinner, he built a giant Lego plane, and then he went to bed.  He passed out cold, with his arms thrown wide, and he slept until 7:15 this morning.

Our morning started off perfectly, until I managed to put a bacon bit up my sinuses.

Y’all have a good Tuesday evening.

Donuts In The City

We are officially on Spring Break.  We have friends who are in Hawaii this week.  We have friends who are in Cancun this week.  We have friends who are in Scottsdale, Arizona this week.  We have friends skiing in Colorado, skiing in Vermont and hitting an art show in New Mexico.  We have friends who are simply crossing the state line to enjoy a giant water park with a continental breakfast at the hotel.

And then there’s us.

We’re just over here… still at home… chilling our food and washing our dishes in a real machine.  It’s because OUR Spring Break money is all wrapped up in new kitchen appliances, seeing as how the old ones up and DIED DEAD this month.

All the blesses.

So instead of showing you pictures of our toes in the sand or our skis pointing straight down a powdery slope, I’ll show you this:

My big boy got up late this morning, because he’s a teenager, and that’s what they do when they don’t have school.  But after he had showered, he looked at his little brother and asked, “Hey!  Do you want to go out for donuts?  Just you and me?”

You can bet that little brother hopped up and down with the kind of enthusiasm that cannot be controlled or contained.  My big boy buckled my little boy into his car, and off they went.  They went into the city, and they got themselves donuts together.

Thankfully, the boy texted me to say, “Don’t worry, Mom.  I’m holding his hand on the sidewalks and parking lots!”

I knew I raised that kid right.

And they even sent me a selfie.  The boy sent it to my phone and said, “We’ve got our donut faces on!”

Welcome, Spring Break!  We have needed you.

The Pride At The Watering Hole

Every evening at sundown, the pride makes its way from areas of seclusion, to the watering hole.  They are wary of the two-legged beasts, armed with toothbrushes, as the pride has been chased off and pushed to lower ground by them endless times before.  And yet, for the sake of fresh water, sipped straight from the source, the big cats persevere.  The water the bipeds place as an offering every morning in a bowl is never as good as the life-sustaining, ice-cold water from the motherload.

One Day Closer To Spring Break

It pains me to say this, but we still have to finish out this ENTIRE WEEK, before we can classify ourselves as officially being on Spring Break.  Apparently the members of our School District Calendar Creating Committee asked themselves, “Exactly how late can we schedule Spring Break, without having an uprising?”

The answer was THE LAST WEEK OF MARCH.  It was only by the hair on their chinny-chin-chins that the committee avoided the teachers and students all coming out at night with burning torches, demanding a week of vacation RIGHT SMACK NOW.  Our brains are on actual fire from trying to come up with clever things to do in the gym these days, because WHO CARES?!  We are all suffering from the NEED A BREAK syndrome, and all any child wants to do right now is play dodgeball, so he can throw a ball, with bitterness at Spring Break falling so late this year, at unsuspecting classmates.  Every school district surrounding us has already had the luxury of pointing their fingers at us, as they call out in sing-song voices, “We’re on Spring Break now… and you’re not!  We’re on Spring Break now… and you’re not!”  Thankfully, the jokes going to be on them next week, as we remind them to ENJOY SCHOOL, Y’ALL, while we sit at home in our pajamas, with our coffee mugs, at 11:00 AM.

Maturity has never really been my gig.

In other news, our new refrigerator and dishwasher arrived on the backs of a couple of very strong men on Friday.  They huffed and puffed their way into our kitchen, as I said encouraging, very helpful things like, “At least you can skip the gym this evening, seeing as how you’re getting your workout done right now.”  I feel like these two delivery men were very blessed by my presence, as I made a mountain of small talk during their sweat session.  Would they have preferred to work in silence, with nothing more than grunting and pointing as their form of communication?  I’m sure of it.  As it turned out, they fielded three-point-two million questions from Thing 2 and tried to keep up with conversation from me.  I think they both mentally added another beer to their upcoming St. Patrick’s Day dinner celebrations when they left our house.

But, sweet mercy!  That new refrigerator shines like the Star of Bethlehem has lit her up.  We did the family shopping trip on Saturday at Walmart.  Mid-morning, as it was.  When all the thickest, weekend crowds are in session, as it was.  Don’t ever say that our little family doesn’t live on the edge of danger.  When we came home, I went into OCD overdrive, as I told everyone, “Just let ME put the items in the fridge!  I’m accessorizing it!”  And then I basically told everyone that no one is to ever open the refrigerator doors, except me, because HEAVEN BE WITH YOU, IF YOU ARE THE MALE WHO SLOPS STRAWBERRY JAM OR MELTED VELVEETA ON ONE OF THESE PRISTINE SHELVES!

I think they all took it well.

Especially when they started calling out to me, repeatedly… repeatedly… repeatedly… ad nauseum… “Hey, Ma?  Can you get me a Gatorade?  Seeing as how I can’t open the fridge door by myself and all?”

By Saturday night, I had returned all fridge-opening privileges to the menfolk living here.

Also?  On Saturday?  THE SUN WAS SHINING, AND THE AIR WAS WARM.  In fact, Saturday afternoon looked a whole lot like THIS at our house:

I opened all the windows in our house and sighed.  I told Hubs, “I think winter is finally over.”  I won’t lie.  This has been the longest, most fierce winter since all the blizzards Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about happened.  I tend to thoroughly enjoy a good snowstorm, but after eighty-six feet of snow this winter, I… am…. done.

While Thing 2 was on the back deck, slopping water all over the place, the boy and Hubs were in the front driveway, changing the breaks on Hubs’ Honda.  It was a day for being outside, especially after we had survived the intensity of a Saturday morning at Walmart without losing a limb or our minds.

By 10:00 Saturday night, Hubs and the boy had hooked my new dishwasher up.  We all gathered around it, exactly like families in the ’50s used to gather around a new TV set that was brought home.  The boy took the liberty of adding detergent, Hubs pushed the GO buttons, and we held our breath.  Yes, we were anxious to see technology wash our dishes for us, after so many evenings spent scrubbing them by hand in our sink, but more than that…. we were all wanting one question answered.

WAS THE THING GOING TO LEAK ALL OVER OUR FLOOR AND CAUSE A 10 PM BRAIN COLLAPSE?

The answer was no.

That dishwasher performed her duty well, and she did it QUIETLY.  This was the biggest shocker, after suffering through the past six months with an LG dishwasher that sounded like a space shuttle firing up for takeoff every evening.  It was so bad, that Hubs and the boy took to saying, “Don’t start the dishwasher!  We can’t hear the TV if it’s running!”  It was true.

You couldn’t even hear machine gun fire, sonic booms, or nuclear explosions outside while our old dishwasher was running.  Not being able to really hear the new one is a blessed luxury, but it’s been more difficult to sleep this weekend, without the background white noise we’d become accustomed to for the last several months.  Some families run fans for white noise while they sleep; we ran the old dishwasher.

And then, because all good things usually come to an end, our gorgeous spring weather broke today… ON THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING.  We had clouds and cold and drizzling rain and gray skies, but we still picnicked outside at the park for lunch this afternoon, where we added TREE CLIMBING to our five-year-old’s resume.

And now, we’re just finishing up our evening, whispering, “Come, Thou Spring!”

Or, more accurately, “Come, Thou Spring Break.”

Y’all have a happy Monday.

Appliances And Parties

In case you are wondering how things have been going at our house, I will tell you this:

  1.  I am on my second round of antibiotics, after yet another trip to the doctor’s office, and I feel like there’s now a small possibility that I may have actually turned a corner in Mission:  Quit Coughing.  I mean, really, it’s only been three entire fat weeks since I first started coughing, so it’s time.
  2. Hubs has worked until 1:00 AM twice this week already.  God bless the IT guys, because they’re the only ones who can restore law and order and Facebook to a client’s failing computer system in the middle of the night.
  3. We said goodbye to our dishwasher a week ago, as she washed her last dish and went to be with the Lord.
  4. We said goodbye to our refrigerator last night, as she chilled her last package of honey ham lunch meat and went to join her sister, the dishwasher, in our Lord’s presence.

That has been our week, people.

Yesterday, Hubs announced that he would be working most of the night, because he needed to access a client’s computer system while their business was closed and no one was reading People magazine online.  That was all fine and dandy, because it meant we could have cold cereal for dinner.  While I was putting Thing 2 to bed, the boy left the house, because OLD ENOUGH TO DRIVE and all.  He came back a few minutes later with a Big Mac and fries, because his 5:30 PM bowl of Lucky Charms had worn off.  When I asked him why he hadn’t just eaten something else here at home, he said, “Because the refrigerator is dead, so I assumed all the food was bad.”

Ain’t nothing that will light a fire beneath you more than hearing the words DEAD REFRIGERATOR.  I scrambled to determine the level of deadness that we were dealing with, which seemed to be THE FREEZER SIDE IS STILL FREEZING THINGS, BUT THE REFRIGERATOR SIDE HAS PASSED ON TO THE ETERNAL WORLD.  I frantically texted Hubs, because APPLIANCE EMERGENCY!!  APPLIANCE CODE RED!!!  Hubs texted back that we should look at the breaker downstairs and see if the fridge had tripped it.

I sent the boy to do this, because breaker investigation is really a man’s job.  In other words, I really had no idea which breaker the fridge was actually ON, even though Hubs has assured me that everything is labeled in that giant metal box on the wall.

The boy flipped the breaker, the light in the fridge game back on, the engine fired back up, and it was ALL SYSTEMS FINE, until… you know… all systems weren’t fine again.  Ten minutes later, the light in the fridge was out, and she’d shut herself off again, while her Siamese twin, the freezer, was still fighting the good fight.

We continued this game of flipping the breaker back and forth four more times, before I texted Hubs and said, “Listen!  I cannot stay awake all night long, flipping switches and checking the pulse of this LG refrigerator!”

Hubs texted back that we should get an extension cord and plug the beast into a different outlet.

Husbands are always full of helpful suggestions, when they are not at home, and you’re the one who is going to have to yank the mammoth out of the cavern in the cabinet cubicle to get to her cord in the back.  The boy and I persevered, and by 9:30 PM, we had the old LG plugged into a different room, with a bright orange extension cord running across our kitchen floor.

Thirty minutes later, while I was in bed, asking the Lord to shine His favor upon us and not let the entire house burn down with an electrical issue, the boy announced, “The fridge is dead again.”

Bless.

By 1:00 this morning, Hubs was home.  He examined the refrigerator and pronounced it to be at death’s door.  This morning, he took her temperature and heart rate again and said, “She doesn’t have long for this world.  I’ve consulted other physicians on the World Wide Web, and I believe we’re looking at a compressor problem, and it’s time, honey.  It’s time to let her go and bleed some money out to buy a new one.”

Which is exactly what we did.

Especially after our refrigerator gave up the ghost mid-morning and quit responding to the life support we offered.

We went to Home Depot and spent twenty entire minutes picking out a new refrigerator and a new dishwasher.  These were the exact things I had no desire to be spending my money on this week.

We debated between two different refrigerators, going back and forth, back and forth, until I finally said, “I like this one.”  It was a surplus refrigerator that had been marked down, because they had three in stock and wanted them gone.  It was a floor model.  Hubs dashed off to pay for the fridge and dishwasher, which is when I noticed that SWEET MERCY!  The floor model was dinged and dented beneath all the giant price tags, when the manager tore those off and declared us owners.

Do you know what I didn’t want?

I didn’t want to start a relationship with a refrigerator who was already smashed in a little, when the giant price tag had been hiding her blemish like a big band aide.  I told the manger we’d actually take the other refrigerator, which was in stock in the back, wrapped in plastic and undented.

It only took TWO ENTIRE HOURS to deduct the original refrigerator off of our Home Depot card and charge the second one TO our Home Depot card.  I’m not even exaggerating or kidding in any way.  PEOPLE, WE SPENT TWO HOURS RETURNING A FRIDGE THAT HAD NEVER LEFT THE STORE, GETTING A REFUND ON IT, AND BUYING A DIFFERENT ONE.

It reminded me of Flash and Priscilla, the sloths, in the movie Zootopia.

When we finally emerged from Home Depot, I screamed, “IT’S NIGHT???!!!”

With any luck at all, by this time tomorrow, I should have a refrigerator, without any sticky jam slopped all over the tray, up and running, and I can quit washing dishes like the founding mothers of our country did.

In other news, we threw Thing 2 a birthday party this past weekend.  His birthday was almost two weeks ago, but with everyone in our family suffering from the Black Plague, we postponed a celebration with little kids, because I never believe it’s polite to invite people to party with us and then cough all over them.  As it was, I still felt perfectly miserable on Saturday, and coughed all over our guests.

We invited a pack of Thing 2’s little buddies to our church, where the kids roamed the halls and shot one another with Nerf guns and laser guns.  We had cake and ice cream and cheap punch.  We laughed (and coughed) and talked (and coughed) and had a wonderful time (and coughed some more).

These are some of our baby’s closest friends.

Out of the ten little kids in this picture, five are adopted.  They have been born on three different continents, on opposite sides of the United States, and right here, in Small Town, USA.  These children have all been prayed for… parents have gone before the Lord to beg for these children… they have been adored during pregnancies and sobbed over, as birth mothers and orphanages have placed them into their parents’ arms… and through God’s blessings, they’re all here, celebrating friendship together.  Under normal circumstances, they would have been scattered all over the world, growing up in different cultures and religions and orphanages and families, and yet God has brought them all together.

All together, as close friends.

These kids are our baby’s PEOPLE.  I have begged God to let their friendships continue to run deep… and to run clear into adulthood for them.

I love each and every one of these children dearly.

We did take a pack of Christian kids and told them, IN THE CHURCH, no less, to go forth and shoot one another with the Nerf guns and the laser guns.  There was whooping and hollering and general mayhem.  There was running in the halls and dodging of the bullets.  There were shrieks and giggles and a nuclear, meltdown fit when the birthday boy himself got his last laser light shot out and had to be eliminated.  Don’t ever say that Thing 2 isn’t competitive!

And can we all please take a second to appreciate Vivian June’s passion for fashion, even when she has shown up to a Nerf gun fight?

We all sang to Thing 2, while he sat in front of a vanilla cake, frosted with four inches of EXTRA SUGAR, PLEASE frosting.

There were presents galore, from everyone.  By this time in the party, I was coughing like a lunatic, desperately trying not to fling germs on these precious children.  My friend, Heather, stepped in to run the gift-opening show for me.

That’s what mothers do for one another.

I love this next picture of little Miss Evie, because I finally have proof that my child is not the only one who cannot eat a snack without covering his entire face with food.

By the time we wrapped the birthday party up, the kids were flat-out worn down.

AND…. it was on the evening when we all had to run home and set our clocks FORWARD an hour, taking sixty precious minutes out of our lives forever.

Or at least for the next few months.

Thing 2 went to bed on Saturday night at the old 7:30, which is his normal bedtime, and he slept until…

… DRUM ROLL, PLEASE….

… 9:10 on Sunday morning.

NINE-TEN, Y’ALL!!  Of course, this was the NEW 9:10, which means it really only felt like 8:10 in the morning, but that was Thing 2’s official LONGEST STRETCH OF NIGHTTIME SLEEPING IN HIS ENTIRE FIVE YEARS OF LIFE!!!  Never, ever, NOT EVEN ONCE, had our younger son ever slept so long.

All the hallelujahs!

I’ve heard tale that several other little party-goers also pulled off long sleeps that night, because the ferocious gun battles, with all the running in the church hallways, tuckered everyone flat out.

Y’ALL ARE WELCOME FOR THAT!!  It’s a little public service I like to offer to mothers of young children on the eve of losing an hour.

And THAT, people, catches you up on the Jedi Family.

I’m pretty much done coughing now, because MORE ANTIBIOTICS SOMETIMES DOES A BODY GOOD.  I am on the very brink of being all well.

And by this time tomorrow night, I will probably be opening and closing a refrigerator door, to LOOK AT ALL THE GLORIOUS SHINE AND CLEANLINESS, while my new dishwasher labors away, scrubbing gunk off plates.

I feel like the two hours of paperwork at Home Depot will be worth it.

Bless.