Showing posts from September, 2007

Home Improvement (or, Why I'd Rather Be Napping)

I am moving to some other country which honors the tradition of the siesta. An afternoon nap would be just the thing to prevent my afternoon headaches. Add to the headaches Rachel talking on and on and on in that high-pitched voice of hers that zings right through my brain like an icepick, and you've got a recipe for insanity. You have to worry when you catch yourself holding your 5-year-old daughter by the shoulders and saying, "Stop talking. Please stop talking. "

Definitely not Mother-of-the-Year material. That's okay. Someone has to make motherhood safe for the less-than-perfect. Right now I am resisting the urge to feed everyone a simple dinner of brownies and apples. I bet they'd still whine about those apples, though.

We had some fun family plans for today. We were going to fetch our canoe from the storage facility where it has been residing, high and dry, for, oh, 3 years and bring it (finally) to its new home at a friend's dock. We were planning…

A Case of Mistaken Identity

I had to rummage through the clean laundry basket in the dark this morning (so as not to wake the baby) ; so, coming out of the shower, I discovered that the only item I had available to cover myself belonged to my husband, not me . Towel wrapped around my dripping hair, I pulled on the offending apparel and scrounged frantically around my room for my own clothing, trying to hurry before my 4-year-old could walk in and ask the inevitable question: "Mommy, why are you wearing Daddy's underpants?"

Underachieving Thoughts

I don't have enough to do, so I spend my spare time googling people I knew in college - see what they're up to. It turns out that they are all way more successful in their chosen careers than I am. (Actually, now that I think of it, I don't have a career.) One is leading some amazing sustainable agriculture program at a well-known state university, another runs his own law firm with his wife as partner (good thing he didn't marry me, huh?), yet another is a dean at an Ivy League university. It strikes me that they didn't waste the money they invested in their education the way I have. It also strikes me that they're not bored enough to sit around googling people they used to know but will never speak to again. Why? Because they have things going on, money to make, important people to get back to.

As for me, well, the kids are in bed, everyone's been diapered, wiped, and brushed for the evening, and my teenage daughter (aka "the Slave") is get…

Keeping Busy

My husband's away, and the 3 oldest kids needed to be 3 different places tonight (what is it about Tuesday nights, anyway?), and I'm a wizard - I managed it. I have yet to manage to get them all back home, however. After getting the three youngest to bed, I even had a little me-time left over with which to scrub the kitchen floor. Then I spent a few minutes foraging through the kitchen for any forgotten chocolate, but I couldn't find any. I spotted some chip dip that looked promising; but, alas, no chips. Who does the shopping around here anyway? Oh, wait - never mind.

And what tune keeps running nonsensically through my head? Carly Simon's "Anticipation" - "Stay right here, 'cause these are the good old days..." Now there is a scary thought.

I will not complain about the weather. I will not complain about the weather. I will not complain about the unseasonably hot, non-autumnlike weather. But I just don't think my kids should be be…

Philadelphia Story

Today we decided to be spontaneous and do a little day trip to Philadelphia (which is, frankly, a little more than day-trip distance from where we live). We had to arrive there before noon, as the Seaport Museum offers free admission until noon on Sundays, and we needed the admission money to pay for the gas to get up there. So that entailed an early morning start, which meant that we had to leave the house in a not-very-tidy state, which I hate. I worry that we'll get killed on the road and relatives or neighbors will have to go into our house to figure out what to do with our possessions and will see what a mess we lived in. I'd die of embarrassment (that is, if I weren't already dead).
A long drive could be pleasant if we were allowed to listen to the radio. But Susie (otherwise known around here as She Who Must Be Obeyed) has decreed that only certain music may be played on our new CD player in the car. It has to have words, and it can't have too much "…

Hell Hath No Fury....

Anna hates me because I expect her to do her schoolwork so she can graduate from high school some day. She started throwing her books around the dining room yesterday just to show me how much she hated me, so I ignored her (as did the rest of the family, all of whom know the drill by now). Unfortunately, no one had briefed David's very sweet little friend Chuck, who I noticed - a few minutes into the episode - standing in the kitchen, clutching his comic books to his chest, eyes darting frantically as he tried to gauge his chances of escaping via the front door. No doubt the studied nonchalance of the rest of us in the face of obvious danger added to his confusion. The look on his face was indescribable (where is that camera when I need it?). I sure hope his mother lets him come back.

Theo, naturally, was glad he had just packed up his stuff for a Boy Scout canoe trip. There's only so much drama one teenage guy can take.

I visited 3 grocery stores today, plus the Farmers&#…

Wild and Crazy

I stayed out until midnight last night. I'm way too old to do that. I had to lie around on the couch all morning to recover. While the house fell apart around me.

So, what made me act so stupidly? Crazy neighborhood party? Or a concert, complete with mosh pit and screaming audience? Perhaps a wild night on the town, bar hopping with girlfriends? Nope, nope, and nope. It was a book signing for the latest book by the rising star of the knitting world. I have seen the future of knitting, and its name is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. That's right - I drove for almost an hour to reach a bookstore where I would have the privilege of seeing in person the woman who gave me the courage to try and knit a pair of socks. Understand, that I had barely knitted anything before that. Oh, there was a lumpy-looking baby hat or two, and some blanket squares which never really got their act together enough to coalesce into an actual blanket. But I lacked the confidence to try a "real"…

Fire Prevention and Kickball Musings

Today I cleaned my oven before it caught fire. I've never done that before. An ounce of prevention, you know....

At Target today we bought a kickball. Again. I believe that makes 10 thousand kickballs we have purchased there. I also bought one of those little pumps that adds air to the kickball so that you don't have to go out and buy a new ball all the time. I think it's our tenth pump. I have no idea where all the other kickballs and ball pumps are. The balls must disintegrate after a certain amount of time (one and a half days, say). And then the pump needles are programmed to disappear, so you can't use the pump on the new kickball which manages to deflate itself on the ride home from the store.

This evening I attempted to have the kitchen clean, dinner on the table, and children scrubbed and smiling before Larry's return from his trip (occasionally I start channeling my inner 50's housewife, only without the cute dress and apron) - but the gods were a…

Raising Vandals

It's taken me a year to get around to spending 50 dollars (an exorbitant amount for us) to attractively frame and mat a poster I found at a yard sale. It took my kids approximately 3 and a half seconds to get their hands on a bouncy ball (not on my watch, I would like to point out) and bounce it right into the picture and break the glass. I was tempted to hang it that way, so it would coordinate with the slipcovers that have been shredded in strategic places by a certain 4-year-old with scissors, and with the pretty lamps I found at Target which now sport unattractively spliced cords (same 4-year-old, same scissors), and with the beautiful maple coffee table which was gouged across the top by my eldest daughter's belt buckle within 24 hours of entering our house. Martha Stewart, eat your heart out.

Did I mention that Larry just installed granite counters in our kitchen, on the assumption that they would be indestructible? I, for one, am not betting any money on that.

Larry …

Chip Trip

What a great day - Larry and I took the youngest 4 to a potato chip factory (I'm sure the people there were glad when we left - my kids ate all their samples when I wasn't looking) and then a hike in the woods at a nearby national park. We saw 2 deer and scared the children by telling them to watch out for bears. For parents, we have a sick sense of humor. I was extra glad to get out of the house, because Anna had misplaced 50 dollars, which made her hate me. Because I wouldn't hand over more money. Hard to follow that logic there. All our attempts to make her more responsible with money backfire. If she doesn't have enough for something she wants, it's because we don't give her enough. If she spends all her money and has to wait for the next month's "pay," it's also because we don't give her enough. I shudder to think of this girl with a credit card.

We ate lots of potato chips today. I mean, ones we actually paid for. They wer…

Wet Cement and Other Hazards

The deck guys have been here for 2 days, providing ample entertainment for all. Considering that they had a sizable audience of young children (ours and the neighbors), it puzzles me why they would pour 7 post holes full of wet cement and then leave without letting me know; but no harm done, as I happened to look out my window in the nick of time. I don't know how we would have extricated my neighbor's 4-year-old twins otherwise. On the other hand, if I hadn't averted catastrophe, at least they wouldn't be giving their mother too much trouble from now on - she'd always know where to find them. Now that I think about it, maybe she sent them over here to play on purpose. With her husband away all week, she may have been feeling a little desperate, don't you think?

I managed to keep Susie napless all day today, which translates into a 7 PM bedtime (yes!). Of course, that means she'll be wide awake by 5:30 in the morning; but no matter - Larry can't e…

Hello, 21st Century!

We have made some progress on the technological front around here, I am happy to announce; my husband bought some thing-a-ma-jig that enables us to hook up our VCR and our DVD player to the TV at the same time. Heretofore, to switch to one machine or the other required being able to crawl sort of sideways behind the TV in order to unscrew some cables from one machine and then screw them on to the other, all while endeavoring not to fall (painfully) onto the numerous Duplos which tend to migrate back there. Apparently, Larry realized that the thing-a-ma-jig cost less than the chiropractic bills (or else he was tired of my whining).

Now I'm hoping that we can actually own an IPod before they are out of style. Although by the time I get one (and figure out how to use it), everyone else will be walking around with some sort of digital chip implanted in their ears. But (bright side) at least IPods should be dirt-cheap by then.

And to all those people whining because they bought an IPh…

Fall and Apples, Hallelujah!

The gentleman who bought our old house has finally given up on trying to use all the apples that the apple-tree-formerly-known-as-ours bears. He turned it over to us. I immediately sent out my crack team of apple-pickers (plus Susie, who I think thought she was helping in some capacity) to harvest what they could. Turns out that was a lot. I had to beg them to stop. We made apple crisp (and gave some to our generous neighbor, of course); I always enjoy making apple crisp, but this year was made even more enjoyable watching Anna sulk the entire time she was cutting up the apples. Now that we're used to her moods, they are almost entertaining. And it's cheaper than cable.

We woke up to sweatshirt weather today, finally. I am so happy to be breathing air that has less than 90 percent humidity. Now if I could just find the kids' sweatshirts, things would be perfect.

We're on our 7th jigsaw puzzle here, and I think we'll declare jigsaw-puzzle season officially ov…

In Memoriam

In memoriam of all those fallen and all those bereaved 6 years ago today - may God grant them peace. And may God grant a swift resolution to all the carnage and suffering (much of it avoidable) that has ensued.

Go hug somebody, okay? It's one of those days.

Straitjacket Saturday

Like that title? I think it's sort of catchy. And I'm certainly ready for one.

Today is Saturday, so I got to sleep in - I mean, if that's what you call lying in bed from 5:30 to 6:30 with the toddler climbing back and forth over you and leaning her elbows in those spaces between your ribs. Larry had to work today, so I wasn't exactly jumping out of bed with excitement over its being the weekend. As a matter of fact, I've been keeping the neighbor's 7-year-old girl hostage all afternoon, just to keep some of my kids amused (heaven forbid my kids should just play with each other, you know).

It's in the 90's here once again (I know, I know, but I just can't get over it, it's September, okay?) and it hasn't rained in ages (as in, I can't even find the kids' rain boots at this point), but there is a coastal flood warning for tonight anyway. I don't get that. Something to do with high tides and new moons. I didn't know those …

Toys R Us

Another 90-degree day (yes, I talk about the weather, but I don't do anything about it). We took a trip to Target (again) so Rachel and Brian could spend the birthday money that was burning a hole in their pockets. And if I had realized how many hours of enjoyment they would get out of a couple of trashy toys, I would have paid for them myself. We came straight home and the 3 youngest left me alone for a blessed 2 hours while they played with their new acquisitions. Let's see....twenty dollars for 2 hours - maybe a little more expensive than a babysitter, but we might get a couple hours more use out of the toys, if I'm lucky. Oh, and I had to shell out 5 dollars of my own to buy Susie a Barbie doll so she wouldn't get jealous. It came clothed in a bikini, but Susie likes her to hang out au naturel. With her little plastic sunglasses on. Rachel's Barbie is a little more dignified, sporting an attractive evening gown (complete with tiara) that isn't even …


You know, anytime someone wants to turn off the summer weather around here and let a few fall breezes blow our way, I'm fine with that. Really.

The only way I can tell we're in September is that the apple tree formerly-known-as-ours is bearing its usual biennial (or is it biannual) overabundance. While we miss being able to use all the apples, it is fun to watch someone else (as in our hapless buyer) deal with all the rotting apples and wasps in the front yard. The 90-degree weather isn't helping the smell much, either. He is looking a tad beleaguered, I must say. Laughing at him takes our minds off the fact that our backyard (now that we've demolished the fence) is starting to make the city dump look good. That shouldn't improve next week when we begin tearing down the deck. Why do things always have to get worse before they get better? Beats me.

Anna still hates me (in case you were wondering). Susie loves me, though, because I haven't bothered weaning…

She Loves Me (Not!)

What Anna (my chronically alienated teenage daughter who used to be the sweetest girl in the whole world and still is deep down inside somewhere) deems to be my fault:

1. When she's tired because she stayed up way too late and then had to get up before the crack of noon
2. Any day that her neighborhood friend is not around to hang out with
3. When she has to go to the doctor because she has given herself a puncture wound while doing dishes
4. Her beloved flute teacher's falling ill and cancelling a lesson
5. That life doesn't consist of doing whatever she wants, when she wants.

I have to work on all that, I guess.

She did like us briefly a few nights ago when she was scared silly by a bat that somehow got down our chimney and was zooming around our living room. Though I must say that her shriek (which woke us up) should have been enough to turn my hair white. Larry took care of the problem, while Anna and I barricaded ourselves in the bedroom. You know, if it's retro …