This Blog Post Will Probably Score A 90%

Before I write anything at all about our weekend, I just thought that I should tell y’all that summer vacation cannot come soon enough for me.  It’s because I’m horrendously sick of digging through the refrigerator every morning to pack a lunch with things we don’t actually have.

Here, Son.  Have a cup of vanilla yogurt.  Will you eat leftover broccoli from last night?  What about six Ritz crackers?  Here’s some salad croutons in a Ziploc bag for you, and you can eat around that mushy spot in the apple.

Plus?  I’m sick of homework.  And by sick of homework, I mean I am coming to dread the words, “Well, Mom, I have to write a paper tonight, and you know how Dad is about writing.”  Which is code for, “Cancel all your plans to beat the reverend at Words With Friends, because we’ve got to write a six-paragraph-minimum paper on overcoming obstacles in the book I just read for class, which is also called the book you’ve never read.”  The boy is taking an advanced composition class, and his teacher is one tough cookie.  Oh, I really like her.  I may even adore her a bit.  She is teaching my boy to genuinely WRITE.  And she’s horrifically friendly, and I’ve decided that I could probably even sit with her at Starbucks for coffee, because… well… she’s just that sweet.  Her downfall comes in the small fact that she teaches 6th grade advanced composition class, but she grades like she teaches a college writing course in a master’s degree program.  The kids in her class have to step it up to earn their A grades.

Case in point.  A couple of weeks ago, the boy was struggling with a paper that he had to write, so I sat down with him and looked at his outline.  And then I told him to wad his outline up into a little ball of garbage and throw it out, because he was on the wrong subway.  I showed him how to outline his points.  I helped him generate ideas for supporting sentences.  And then the two of us sat down in the living room.  The boy was hunched over the coffee table, writing with a death grip on his pencil, and I was perched on the sofa, wishing that he’d had math homework, because Hubs would have been involved in that, while I read a book in the bathtub.

But the boy used his ideas… HIS OWN IDEAS!  THE IDEAS THAT I ONLY HELPED HIM SEE!… and he wrote his own paper.  I showed him some ways to transition paragraphs; I helped him rework sentences that weren’t sound.  In the end, he had an excellent paper, and I was quite proud of how far he has come this year with his writing skills under this teacher’s guidance.

A week later, he came home from school and proudly announced, “Hey, Mom!  I got the highest grade in the class on that paper you helped me with!”  Well.  Of course he did.  It was a good paper.  I asked, “So we got 100% on that thing?”  Because, listen.  I don’t mean to ride the bragging wagon, but I never got anything BUT a solid A on any paper I ever wrote, in any class.  Ever.  The boy said, “No.  We got a 90%, which is still an A, but no one else in our class got above an 82%.  Aren’t you happy about that?”

I felt like I’d been sucker punched.  A 90%?  On an essay?  Good gravy on the potatoes!  I was shocked.  I asked him what the comments on the paper had been, since he’d left it in his locker, along with forty million other assignments from this year.

(I’m glad I won’t be there on the last day of school when he has to clean that sucker out!  There’s going to be an avalanche of notebook paper that slides to the ground and buries the short kids standing nearby.)

The boy hadn’t read the comments on the paper.  He’d just noticed the big, red 90% on the top, and called it good.

I don’t know how I managed to birth him.

For days afterward, I told Hubs, “We got a 90%!  That’s ridiculous!  I want to march in there and say, ‘Listen!  That wasn’t an A- paper, and this is 6th grade composition class!’  What does she think this is, Hubs?  A presidential speech that’s about to be delivered to the country?”

And that is why I’m sick of homework in 702 words.  Reaching a six-paragraph-minimum has never been an issue with me.

So.  Our weekend.

On Friday night, I made homemade tacos.  Thing 2 didn’t nap on Friday afternoon, so I made homemade tacos with my right hand, while I held an exhausted baby on my left hip.  There are many things that I never thought I’d be able to do with just one hand, but look!  I’m an overcomer!  In between tired sobs, Thing 2 would interrupt himself to hold his hand out and whisper, “Hot!  Hot!”

Yes.  Cooking tacos is hot.

On Saturday, I got together with the Katies because listen.  Priscilla Shirer was doing a live simulcast from the East Coast, and we were going to buy it with fifteen American dollars, stream it from the laptop to Katie 1’s television, and sit on her sofa in our pajamas while we took copious amounts of notes.  A couple of nights ago, Hubs went over to Katie 1’s house to get her all set up with the appropriate cables to make her computer speak to her TV.  If there’s one thing that Hubs knows other than math and hockey rules, it’s laptops and cables.  If he can’t find the right cable for you, well… the right cable doesn’t exist.

We were golden, and we decided to meet at Katie 1’s house at 8:30 on Saturday morning, to watch the simulcast on delay.

(Watching it LIVE would have required us to begin at 6 AM.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!)

Katie 1 made homemade coffee cake.  I was so proud of her, because CAKE WITHOUT A BOX impresses me every single time.  Katie 2 brought venti drinks from Starbucks.  I brought snack food items, that were primarily shaped like pretzel M&Ms and trail mix.  We brought our notebooks and our Bibles and our little boards that served as lap desks, because we all like to get our Geek on.  Katie 2 brought her boys; Katie 1’s girls babysat them outside.  Oh, it was gonna be a good day.

And then we experienced what is very commonly called TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES.  The difficulty came in the small fact that when we tried to buy the simulcast online at 8:15, we could load it into the online shopping cart, but we could not hit the CHECKOUT button.  The checkout button grayed itself out and quietly whispered, “I’m indisposed at the moment.”

We tried everything.  The Katies and I are all VERY EXPERIENCED ONLINE SHOPPERS!  This wasn’t our first rodeo; we know our way around virtual shopping carts and checkout buttons.  Katie 2 simply decided that Katie 1 needed someone else to click the buttons, but the checkout button taunted Katie 2 as well.  So I tried.  And I got nothing in response.  We did what every tech support team would ask us first:  We rebooted and we tried again.

And we failed again.

Meanwhile, the kids were running in and out of the house, hollering out, “It’s so hot already.  Can we take our shirts off?  Can we put our bikinis on?  Can we take a picnic across the street?  Can we have apples?  Can we have juice?  Where are the water balloons?  Where are the squirt guns?  Why is it so hot already?”

I’m proud to say that SOMETHING worked for us around 9:45, because the checkout button un-grayed itself.  It turned bright red, and when Katie 1 smacked it, a little message box popped up that read, “PROCESSING YOUR ORDER.”  We had a round of high-fives for ourselves and our technical abilities.  And we had more coffee cake.

And then we entered the simulcast LIVE, which meant that we’d already missed the entire morning portion, and Priscilla was breaking for lunch, because she was on the East Coast, and we were not.

We tried to get it set to DELAY.  We failed miserably.  Katie 1 finally said, “Do you want to call tech support and ask how we watch this on delay?”  Which is like turning to Thing 2 and asking him, “Do you want to just go ahead and phone the technical support team?”  I gasped.  Literally.  Because whenever it’s ME who has to call the tech support number with the telephone, I usually end up crying and saying, “Please don’t talk so fast!  I can’t actually FIND the flux capacitor!  I don’t know what I’m doing!  The computer is whirring really loudly!  It sounds like it might explode.”

Which is probably why Hubs buys the bottles of Excedrin Migraine tablets from Costco.

So Katie 1 called.  And then Katie 2 called after that.

And then at precisely 10:35, we managed to find the beginning of the simulcast, on the delay feature, which is exactly what we’d wanted at 8:30.

By 10:35, the kids had already had an enormous water balloon fight in the yard, changed into their swimsuits, and packed picnic lunches to head to the park with.  The Katies and I were alone with Priscilla and the coffee cake and the now-empty Starbucks cups and our geeky lap desks.

And Priscilla preached us a word on Saturday.  It was worth struggling through all the technical chaos to get to her.

While all of this was going on, the boy met his friend Quinn and his cousin B at the golf course, and spent the day golfing.  Thing 2 hung out with my parents.  Hubs helped his dad with a big building project.

I met up with my peeps at home on Saturday night.  I was glowing from all the SMACK YOU IN THE HEART words that Priscilla had spoken, as well as from spending a day sandwiched in between the Katies on the sofa.  The boy was sunburned.  We had leftover tacos for dinner.

On Sunday, Thing 2 got up FOR THE DAY at precisely 4:51 in the morning.

Four.  Fifty-one.  In.  The.  Morning.

It’s pathetic when you’re ready for your first nap of the day at 6:30 AM.

We went to church.  I told the boy to take Thing 2 into the nursery and to stay with him for a while.  Hubs and I were convinced that this would alleviate Thing 2’s nursery-related stress.

Not so.  Thing 2 screamed like a dying Tyrannosaurus Rex.  He clung to the boy with a death grip and refused to let any nursery worker touch him.  And then he cried so hard, he simply vomited all over the boy.  It wasn’t your run-of-the-mill little bit of baby puke.  It was a full-force, empty your stomach and your colons out of your mouth sort of barf.  The boy was horrified, because it was all over his sweatshirt.

The moral of the story is that Thing 2 might not be ready to be left in the nurseries yet.

On Sunday afternoon, the boy went to a birthday party with his enormous gang of friends, while I took Thing 2 to the park.

And that, people, was our weekend.

Today there has been housework and laundry.  What there WASN’T today, though, was BLUE PAINT ANYWHERE!  Hubs and I are still trying to put that little misadventure behind us.

Happy Monday, people.

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