Thursday, September 30, 2010

Famous Kids

Today I was almost reduced to writing about the mushroom I found growing in my backyard. I am that low on material since my little muses shrugged on their backpacks and headed off to school. It's a problem. Fortunately, I didn't spend my whole day today sitting in front of my computer, thus no fungi for you.

Today was the year's first Wall of Fame ceremony. Usually the Wall of Fame is for kids who achieve a certain level on their monthly school assessments, but the first one is for all the kids who completed their summer homework packets.

Sam and Jack were both on the Wall of Fame this month. I took nothing but bad photos of them during the actually ceremony, so all I have to present to you are the photos I took of their Wall of Fame mugshots that hang on the wall (the Wall of Fame as it were) in the hallway of the school.

Lest you think I'm strange, I'm not the only one who was taking photos of the photos.

Sam was on the Wall of Fame, not just for doing his summer packet, but he also earned the citizenship award for his class. So now he has a certificate with his name and the word "respect" on it. Every time he gets all insolent from now on, I'm going to wave it in his face. I might start carrying it with me at all times.

During the ceremony, Sam spent a lot of time focused on the girl sitting to his right. Like, a lot of attention. Like, interested-in-girls a lot of attention. The scandal here—other than the fact that Sam is but a wee baby and shouldn't be noticing girls yet—is that the girl sitting to his right was NOT the girl with whom he exchanges phone calls.

I will keep you posted.

Jack, per usual, was thrilled to be on the Wall of Fame. He earned it too. He worked hard on that packet. At some point near the end of the summer, I kind of tried to plant a seed in his head that he didn't actually have to do the summer packet if he didn't want to, but he insisted on doing it so he could be on the Wall of Fame, so we had to super buckle down to get it all done.

Honestly, between that summer packet and ESY, he worked harder than anyone this summer.

Get a load of those eyebrows in that mugshot. His eyebrows have always been one of the cutest parts of him.

I was naturally very proud of my two older guys, but I think the best part of my day was when I ran into Quinn. He wasn't eligible for the Wall of Fame because incoming kindergarteners don't get summer packets, but I did run into his class when it was marching down the hallway in a little line.

I waited until he saw me, while wondering if I was going to completely blow his little mind. The stages of recognition that his face went through when he saw me are almost indescribable, but quite possibly the best thing I've ever seen in my life.

Each stage (La, la, la, la, la, I'm walking in a line...—>There's an adult standing there.—>I know that adult...—>Hey! That's my mom!—>What is my mom doing here?—>Oh, right. She's here for the Wall of Fame.—>I need to immediately hug her!) registered for a split second until he ran out of line to give me a hug. It was adorable.

So, yeah, I had to give up a couple hours of my precious time to hang out with my munchkins at their school, but it was well worth it. In fact, it makes me itchy to start volunteering. I like hanging out with the kids at that school. Especially mine.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Time Hoarder

So it has been almost exactly a month since all three of my kids have been in school full time. This means that I have about six and a half hours of time without my kids each day.

I have to say that I've really been enjoying this time. It's not that I don't love spending time with my kids, but it is so much easier to be present and engaged with them when they are with me when I also have some time without them. I am excited to get them off the bus in the afternoon. I look forward to their arrival at home.

Wanna hear a secret?

Some days I even miss them.

I am still getting used to having my six hours. I jealously guard each minute of it. I don't want to waste any of it. I had to go to the post office today and I could feel that half hour slipping out of my day. I have an appointment tomorrow that takes a while to drive to and from. I am already resenting it. I don't like wasting my valuable alone time with annoying errands.

I am hopeful that this time hoarding eases as I get used to having it. I think it will.

I do know that I have been getting a lot done. I feel like I am just catching up with all of the stuff that I let slide a little and now I'll be able to start working on some of my bigger projects. I work from home at night and I've been able to shift that to work from home during the day, but I'm still trying to figure out how to fit everything in without having to do so much at night or on the weekends.

Plus, I have to figure out how to routinely clean my house and exercise daily. I also haven't started volunteering at the school yet. My big goal, however, is to not take on anything new. So far I'm doing well at that.

Probably the best thing about having time during they day is that I've been going to sleep before midnight almost every night. This is a huge change from my days of staying up until 2 a.m. almost every night. I feel lots better.

It's not enough time though. There is still never enough time.

The addition of six kid-free hours though? It's good. It's so very, very good.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dipshit Friday: The You're Glad You're Not Our Pet Edition

Welcome to Dipshit Friday, where I tell you something embarrassing about myself. This is different from every other day of the week because I put a fun little button to the left there.

Feel free to grab the button and play along on your own blog!

Today I'll be telling you about something terribly funny that Alex and I did to our dog in October of 2000. October 31, 2000, specifically. You might be aware that October 31 is Halloween and that the year 2000 was a time before Alex and I had children—human children, that is.

What do you do with kids on Halloween? You dress 'em up. What do you do with (furry) kids who can't talk back and object to what you dress 'em up in? You put them in embarrassing, albeit adorable, costumes.

 Just look at her jaunty clown cap!

The neighborhood children found her hilarious. You know, after she stopped barking at them. I feel that the joy she got out of greeting porchful after porchful of kids made up for the abject humiliation of the costume itself.

She should really just feel fortunate that they don't make giant red clown noses (or shoes!) that fit dogs.

I do feel that the blame for this Dipshit Friday lies not on me and Alex (him: "That was one of the stupider things we have done. Not the stupidest, but..."), but rather on the enormous pet industry that produces all of these costumes. Because, frankly, it is nearly impossible to resist a dog costume that has those little blue pompoms on the front legs.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Query and a Link

Does anyone else feel like it's a major victory when you unexpectedly run into someone you know in public and you're not doing anything embarrassing?

Because I do. My standards are ridiculously low for myself.


I have a cold and feel kinda crappy. I think it has  a lot to do with my kids having gone back to the germ factory*. I'm going to go wallow in a pile of blankets and used tissues, but before I go, I will send you off to rediscover The Junk Pyramid and my first new post there for a long time. Call it The Junk Pyramid 2.0.

That is all.

* school


Edited to add: The above situation didn't actually happen to me in the last few days. It just occurred to me that after I run into someone I do a little mental rundown: Did I know who they were? Were my clothes appropriate for leaving the house? Did I make an idiotic joke? Were my kids throwing a tantrum at the time? Was I picking at any skin abnormalities or orifices*? You get the point.

* orifi? orifae?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Lizard That Ate Jack's Shirt

I don't know why I continue to ask Jack how school was every day when he gets off the bus, because everyday he says the same thing: "Awesome."

Well, maybe it's just because I like hearing "awesome."

Regardless, today I asked him how school was and he said, "awesome." But then his eyes drifted to the side and he said, "Yeah, except for in math."

"What happened in math?" I asked.

He answered, "Ms. B brought a lizard and it nibbled my shirt." Then he unzipped his sweatshirt and showed me his t-shirt collar, which had been ripped about half way off his shirt.

I'm going to give you a warning here: Don't fall for Jack's lies.

That lizard? Well, last year the gym teacher brought it to school and it nibbled one of Jack's shirts then. The lizard has also made more than one appearance in my home, nibbling not just on Jack's shirt, but on one of my curtains.

I have a feeling that the lizard looks a lot like Jack. Also that it occasionally transmogrifies into a pair of scissors.

Usually the lizard doesn't need scissors though. If I send Jack to school in clothing with a tiny hole in it, that hole will get ripped over the course of the day to a gaping tear...

What? You don't send your kids to school in clothes with holes in them? (Is this like the time when I revealed that it had never occurred to me to put a napkin in my kids' lunchboxes? Honestly, I could use a social skills group myself.)

Jack is pretty insistent about the existence of the lizard (and where he came up with that, I do not know), but he was at least able to admit that if I were to ask his teacher about the lizard that she would not necessarily back up his story but would instead say "Maybe."

I think, in fact, that she would probably do what I do, which is pretend to be stern and try not to let Jack know how hilarious he can be.

Unfortunately, I think he knows.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hey, Look! It's the Crazy Cat Blogger!

Yeah, I know. I was all, "I'm done writing about my cat for a while." Turns out I'm a big fat liar.

I took Izzy to the vet last Friday and her bloodwork is much better than it had been. I think she's doing really well. I mean, the vet is still filling out her insurance papers by giving her a 2/5 on her "body condition score" and keeps answering the question, "Was this accident or illness fatal?" with "not yet," but I think she's doing well.

It's like she's going out of her way to stab me in the heart.

Anyway, things are going well with the medicine and fluids I have to give her. Except, well, there is this medicine that the vet gave me that I was supposed to replace with an over the counter version when it ran out, but it turns out that the over the counter version is mint flavored and when I told the pharmacist that it was for a cat, he was all, "Well maybe the cat will like it and, hey, my girlfriend has a tattoo kinda like yours. Let's talk about THAT instead."

The pharmacist can compound the medicine with chicken flavoring (Aside: anyone else think it's funny that the pharmacist has chicken flavoring?), but he needs a prescription. Until I get that prescription, poor little Izzy is going to have minty fresh breath.

Izzy really has been enjoying her special canned food, although she is still not hale enough to notice that she sometimes eats it four inches away from a cage of mice.

Izzy and her tiny black and white doppelgรคnger.

I only feed her there sometimes and that is only because when she came home from the vet hospital, she hunkered down in the corner of the kitchen counter behind Mouse Town. It was weird.

Now she wanders around all over the house, which is great because I think she feels better, but is bad because I can't leave regular cat kibble out for Denali, my other cat, hereafter known as Hungry Angry Cat.

I can haz my goddamn fud?

Today the two of them kept me busy keeping them away from each other's food. They both seemed hungry and I was working, so I put their respective bowls of food on the ground next to me.

Wow. Denali is two times bigger than Izzy—AND blends into the carpet.

The only problem was that Denali kept trying to eat Izzy's food and Izzy kept trying to eat Denali's food and I had to keep picking up food bowls and putting them on my desk depending on which cat would show up and meow at me.

I can haz Stimey as my bitch?

Seriously. The cats just went from being the easiest little beings in the house to the most labor intensive. Stupid lovable animals.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Good Thing My Kids Are Smarter Than Me

Oh, hi. It's possible that you've noticed that my kids all went off to school and left me with nothing to write about. Would it be completely irresponsible to yank them from their classes and homeschool them so that my blog doesn't wither and die?

Okay, so I'm not that desperate yet.

Not to mention that I got to go on a field trip and to back to school night yesterday, so now I have something to write about. Hooray!

Do you know what I have to write about? This: Third grade is fucking terrifying. I've been through all these cozy preschool through second grade back to school nights and volunteer days and all of a sudden I looked up and noticed that Sam is in a grade where he gets A's, B's, and C's instead of O's and S's and RLPV's or whatever the hell indecipherable grading system they use in the lower grades.

Sam's math teacher mentioned that she drops the lowest weekly quiz grade and I was all, "Quiz? Grade?"

Because, I'm sorry, but I only have little kids. My kids aren't old enough to go to a class where they are graded on their knowledge and have to take state assessment tests in March and eventually go to middle school and, HOLY CHRIST, I AM NOT READY FOR THIS.

I am also the mom who was like, "So I know my kid has Teacher J and Teacher M, but I'm not sure which one teaches him math and which one teaches him reading." My friends had to extrapolate for me based on their knowledge of the teachers and their ACTUAL conversations with their children to tell me who Sam had for what.

I am an embarrassment to the public school system.

In real news, though, Sam's teachers seem cool—especially his reading teacher. I loved her attitude and the teaching philosophy that she shared with us. I can't wait to see how Sam's love of reading could evolve with this teacher leading him.


The meetings for Jack and Quinn's classes were at the same time, so I stood awkwardly in the hall at the start of the evening, swiveling my head back and forth before I chose to go to Jack's class first.

Consequently, I missed the first half hour of Quinn's back to school night, but did manage to show up for the second half. Unfortunately, the second half was full of information I had already heard before and the first half was full of brand new information about how the kindergarten classes are completely changing the way they are teaching this year.

Oh. Whoops. You have chosen poorly.

There is some fancy phrase for what they are doing, but it's on a piece of paper in the other room and I think all y'all know me well enough to know that I'm not walking all the way in there to get it, nor do I remember what it was called.

I do, however, remember the word "integrated," meaning that they are teaching a topic through all the subjects. I'm assuming that means when they're teaching about, say, butterflies, they will read stories about butterflies in reading, draw butterflies in art, count butterflies in math, and flap around like butterflies in P.E.

Or some less lame example.

And, honestly, that is just a guess. Like I said, I'm making this up in my head because I have not yet mastered the physical ability to be in two places at one time.


All of this brings me to Jack's class.

Stop. Deep breath. Big smile. Knock on wood.

Jack is rocking school this year. Something is clicking with that boy. Every single day when he gets off the bus, I ask him how school was, and every single day he says this: "School was awesome. School is awesome every day."

The only real problem seems to be that his little buddy T, who is also autistic, "bosses" him around. Now, I'm guessing that T's bossiness stems from his autism, so I get to have the terribly ironic, we-need-to-be-understanding-of-kids-who-are-a-little-different talk with Jack.

Jack is loving his teachers, his teachers seem to really get and appreciate him, and everyone generally has good things to say about him. I am so happy with what is happening with Jack. Somehow we found a good staff, sensory, self-awareness balance and it's working. Maybe that will change, but for now I will take it.

His grade took their first field trip yesterday as well, which I was able to chaperone because—guess what?—all of my kids are in school! We went to a butterfly exhibit at a local nature center. We had a really fun time. Jack was way into the butterflies.

Twelve days down, one hundred sixty-eight to go!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Officially a Hockey/Soccer Mom

Evidently my kids suck at sports, but, holy hell, they are so cute doing them.

And, really, it's not fair to say they suck. They're just new to these particular sports. For instance, Sam had his first soccer game of his life on Saturday after only three practices.

I wasn't at the soccer game because I had to take Jack to his social skills group, but by all reports (i.e. Alex's synopsis), those three soccer practices haven't yet paid off. But he does look very handsome in his uniform. This was the closest I could get to making Sam smile for a photo. According to him, soccer players don't smile.

There's no smiling in soccer.

I say give him a couple of weeks to get his confidence up and he'll be great. Or if he's not, he'll keep having fun and that's all good. Sam loves sports and I am so proud of him for all the good effort he puts into them.


I was on hand to see Jack's first hockey practice. Mostly because no one else in the family was willing to wake up at 6 a.m. to drag his ass to an 8 a.m. ice time.

I was weirdly nervous to take him. There is a lot of equipment and gear associated with hockey and I was concerned that I was going to do something wrong. I'm not sure what my mind imagined the consequence of a hockey gear fuck up would be, but it was enough to cause me considerable stress.

Turns out we got everything pretty much right, or at least faked it well enough. Jack looked like a real hockey player.

There IS smiling in hockey.

The really great thing is that the hockey program Jack is doing is specifically for kids with developmental disabilities. It's a fantastic organization. I can't quite believe that his interest in hockey and the existence of this team coincided like they did.

Almost all of the gear he is wearing came from a storage locker full of donated equipment that the players get to borrow at no charge. Not only that, but high schoolers volunteer to mentor each player one-on-one every week.

Jack's mentor had his work cut out for him. Jack has only been ice skating once and on Saturday,  managed to fall down even before he got out on the ice.

Then he proceeded to fall down on the ice. Over and over.

At some point he even stopped trying to stand up and just started scooting around on his knees. His mentor, whose name happened to be Sam, stuck with him the whole time. I could see him talking to Jack and encouraging him even from my spot across the rink.

Dude must be cold in those thin sweatpants.

I was a little worried that Jack's first few practices might involve, you know, learning to skate, but the thing Jack has been telling me over and over is that he wants to learn to hit the puck with his hockey stick. So I was really happy to see Mentor Sam let Jack hit a puck back and forth with him.

Look! Jack is standing up!

I'm so proud of Jack. Skating can be a tough thing to learn, but he hung in there for the whole hour. It's a good thing I was able to find hockey socks to cover his legs though (and good luck finding hockey gear in my area, by the way) because he ended up covered in copious amounts of snow.

 The socks fell down after repeated knee scooting though.

Jack was rendered pretty speechless by the end of the practice hour. I think he was exhausted. As he walked into the locker room, Mentor Sam stopped where I was hugging my tiny hockey player. "You did a great job today, Jack!" he told him. Then, when one of the dads asked him if he was coming back next week, Jack gave him a big thumbs up.

Then we watched Zamboni patterns.

When I asked Jack later that afternoon what part of our busy day had been his favorite, he said, "Hockey. When I was with Sam."

I'm really excited about things to come.

One Last Update About My Cat. Exciting, I Know.

Izzy is home! I brought her home yesterday after I spent an hour at the vet reading the giant block of all-caps text on the bottom of my invoice full of instructions for how to medicate and feed her. Then I learned how to give her daily subcutaneous fluids.

In case you're wondering, that means that every day I get to jab a needle under the skin between her shoulder blades until she has a big ol' fluid bubble there. I did it in the vet's office under the supervision of the vet tech and I was awesome at it.

Then I did it at home and stabbed the needle straight through her skin and out the other side.

Fortunately, Alex noticed that I did that ("Hey! It's leaking out of her!") and I was able to fix the situation and properly hydrate her. Of course, this is after it took me, like, ten minutes to figure out how to attach the needle to the tubing.

Seriously. I'm usually quite the competent person.

I'm also pretty excited about the fact that I have all kinds of needles in my house. There sure aren't any curious kids around here who would be excited to find them and stab each other or anything. Enter, locking box.

I'm pretty sure Izzy hates me based on her reaction to all the pills and medicines I've stuffed down her throat and the needles I've jabbed in (through) her. I think she feels better though. I hope she does. So many of you have told me kind success stories of long-living cats with renal failure. My sister also had a very wonderful cat that went through this as well, so I am aware of what's coming.

It super sucks though.

She is still really sick. She is in renal failure and is not totally where she needs to be for maintenance yet. At this point I'm really just trying to keep her alive until her vet appointment on Friday when we'll recheck her blood work. It's very possible that we'll be able to keep her happy for the long(ish) term, but it's kinda touch and go right now. I just really want to make sure that my kids get some good time with her.

I appreciate all your kind comments and tweets. Thank you. I'll let you know if anything important happens with her, but otherwise I think we're just going to keep her here and concentrate on loving her and giving her a lot of nice chin scratchings.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Things Come Out of My Brain

It happens for real.

I meant to post this at the end of last year, but kept forgetting. In lieu of other funny things going on in my life, I think I'll let Jack entertain you.*

First, with the picture above. Please notice that in that drawing, Jack has Lego-man hands. This drawing is actually from last week.

Second, with some school work from last year. Every Friday last school year, Jack had to write a sentence for each of ten spelling words. Reading those sentences on Friday afternoons was sometimes the highlight of my week. Here are a few of them. I've bolded the spelling word and added my own pithy little comments in italics to some of them. (Because I just can't seem to shut up ever.)

Also, some of the bolded words are just my best guess. It's entirely possible that Jack wrote sentences that didn't even include the required vocabulary word. And I certainly can't be bothered to go back and look them up. Plus I can't, because I threw the papers away. Hence the need for this post.


The zombies won't come to MY house.  
Lest you all think we're holding Dawn of the Dead movie festivals at my house, rest assured that this comes from Plants vs. Zombies.

I usually wear formal clothes at night.  
You know, the tuxedo pajamas.

I only have one chance to finish my homework.  

My skin is glossy when it has lotion on it.  

I'm not chubby, I'm adorable.  
I'm both.

Did anyone order a knuckle sandwich?  
Seriously. What did the teacher expect by giving "knuckle" as a vocab word?

I never ever disagree.  
Are you kidding me?

Never ever ever ever disobey.  
Good advice. Jack should look into following it.

I am NEVER dishonest!  
The irony is that this statement is a lie.

I cuddle with my mom.  

My mom has beauty and I love her.  
Oooh! My favorite sentence thus far!

I trust my mom. I love her too.  
No, wait. This one is even better. This is maybe the greatest compliment I've ever received.

Please guess my name if you must.  

Mocking machines copy your every move.  

I need a LONG vacation.  
Next to this sentence, the teacher wrote, "Me too."

I hate subtraction so much.  

I LOVE addition so much. 

Transportation is worst for me.  
Worse even than subtraction?

I realize whiteout is near—it erases pen writing. 
I'm glad to hear that Jack's crucial Whiteout Sense is working.

When Quinn is sick I sympathize with him.  

Mercy Watson is a porcine wonder.  
The teacher let the kids choose the words the last week. This was Jack's choice.

Don't play with fireworks or you will lose fingers.  

Do not play with sparklers or you will get burned.  
It's possible I'm using too many scare tactics with my children.

Argh. I am totally traumatized.  
Sorry, Jack.

* Izzy is doing okay and is almost for sure coming home tomorrow, when I will begin a regimen of meds and sub-q fluids. Cross your fingers.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Izzy Update

You all have been so nice with your virtual hugs and good thoughts about my cat, Izzy. Since some of you have asked, I thought I would update you here. She's still at the vet, although she's been moved from the emergency vet to the regular vet.

Her blood work levels aren't good enough for her to come home yet, so she'll be there until Thursday or Friday at which time I will sign over Sam to pay for her veterinary care. Hopefully they will return him after the pet insurance (hopefully, cross your fingers, did I cross all the T's and dot all the I's?) reimburses us.

She's eating, drinking, and not having heart problems, which are all good things. Hopefully her BUN (blig?) and her CRE (blub?) and her phosphorus levels (gah?) will improve.

There is some hemorrhaging going on, but that's me hemorrhaging money, not anything to do with her.

I hope she comes home soon.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Furry Friends

Sunday morning Alex and I both started to worry about our cat Izzy. She's been a little different lately and both of us have been commenting on it, but for some reason, we woke up on Sunday and both of us had a feeling that we should take her to the vet.

This is Izzy:

I originally named her Isabella, but she wasn't sophisticated enough to pull it off.

Izzy is very important to us and can NEVER DIE. My kids adore her. Jack, in particular, adores her. I wrote about his relationship with her a couple years back, and although she is not as hale as she was at that time, she remains probably the second most important being to Jack, right after me and slightly before Alex.

I had to leave Izzy at the vet on Sunday because she is very sick. She has kidney problems. Severe kidney problems. And she's 14 years old. I'm worried about her. She's getting IV fluids, medicine, and blood tests until Tuesday and then we reevaluate.

Cross your fingers for her. Also, THANK GOD we have vet insurance for her.

Not to be too much of a downer, I will now present to you some mouse cuteness. You'll be happy to hear that I have managed to keep all five mice alive and well.

You may be baffled to note, however, that neither of our cats, nor our dog, seems to have noticed they exist.

I'll excuse this out of Izzy, because she is sick, but our other cat was eating some food on that counter directly outside Mouse Town and didn't notice them—even when Whiskers came right up to the edge and put her feet on the glass to investigate.

The mice don't seem overly concerned about the big animals either. That photo up above? This is what the mice are doing in it:

See how nervous they aren't?

Another thing the mice aren't, is tidy. I clean their cage probably every third day. Look what they did to it in that amount of time:

Also, goodbye to another tiki hut.

There is something about that tiki hut that they all love though. Even though there is a perfectly good structure over there on the left, they all shove their way into the overturned hut to sleep together.

(For those of you with mice phobias, this next photo might skeeve you out. For those of you who like mice, you will think it is adorable.)

All five of 'em.

I think it's cute that they're all snuggled together like that. Although I can't imagine that it's too comfy for bottom-dwellers, such as Gerbil.

Although I bet it's warm.

Here's something that distressed me though. Fresh off of leaving my faithful and loving cat at the vet for two days, I took this photo of adorable mouse feet only to be all, what the fuck are those bumps on her feet?

All my photography eventually woke her up.

Convinced something terrible was going on with my mice, I took to Google to look up mouse paws. Let me tell you, it is extremely difficult to find any good information on mouse feet online. There are lots of search results for computer mice, lab mice, and cartoon mice, but evidently not a lot of information on pet mice.

I did come up with some photos of mice feet affected by rheumatoid arthritis, which I will NOT subject you to, you're welcome very much. So now I'm afraid that my mice have arthritis, but I'm not sure how to get them to eat the Bayer aspirin necessary to combat it. (I'm kidding.) I'm guessing that she's fine (?) because her feet aren't red or swollen, not to mention that she hasn't yet purchased a cane.


Anyway, here is Mouse Town all fixed up:

 I cleaned it this morning and they've already knocked over their brand new tiki hut in an effort to destroy it.

Wish us luck with Izzy. I just found out that her blood work hasn't improved in the past 24 hours, which makes me sad. Hopefully I'll be back with something more amusing than mouse feet and sick cats soon.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Week One

While I've been subjecting you to the Alex and Stimey Follies, it's possible you've been wondering how the munchkins are doing at school. It's possible that you're wondering why I haven't mentioned them in days.

Mayhap you've thought to yourself, "Is this IT? Those adorable children all go to school and now I have to listen to this woman yap on and on about all the non-cute things that happen to her and her husband because she doesn't have any awesome kiddie subject matter any more?"

The answer to that is yes. Yes, you do.

But I'll throw you a bone now and again. A small, cute, munchkin-sized rib bone, perhaps. (Aside: The other day, Quinn, who loves ribs, asked if we had to kill people to get the ribs to cook. After we assured him that no, we don't eat people, it occurred to me that the notion of cannibalism certainly hadn't stopped him from eating all the ribs he could find.)

Anyway. How is school going for the wee ones?

Contrary to what you would expect, Sam seems to be having the hardest time adjusting to school. Not in a stressed out, doesn't want to go to school kind of way, but in an exploding when he gets home sort of way.

He's always kind of been like that. He likes to do everything exactly right, so the stress and anxiety of being good and being on his game all day breaks down the second he gets off the bus. Which, you know, great that I'm his safe place and all, but holy crow, I'm tired of being yelled at.

I'm actively seeking ways to help Sam deal with his emotions. Yoga? Meditation? Child psychologist?

On to Jack. Now, I know I'm jinxing everything by saying this, but Jack is a motherfucking rock star. Everyday he gets off the bus and I ask him how school was, and he says, "Awesome." The school hasn't called me once, Jack seems to really like his teacher, and the stumbles that get written about in his communication notebook are getting handled well.

The only problem is that his bus is still really late. Today it arrived nine minutes before school starts and I just about broke my leg doing a happy dance. That is much improved from pick-ups five minutes after school starts (Tuesday and Wednesday) or two minutes before the bell rings (yesterday). I'd call the transportation people, but that would mean I would have to dig his route information out of the pile of crap sitting by my desk.

Oh, and homework? We've only had two nights of (easy) homework thus far, but I seem to have hit on a plan that is working. I set my iPhone timer for 15 minutes (or whatever) and if he finishes before the alarm goes off, he gets to play games on the phone for 15 minutes, plus whatever amount of time is left on the timer. He's been kicking butt. Plus, he had to fill a "personality bag" with five things that show who he is and he actually really participated and thought about it instead of letting me lead.

Really, it's super awesome, but I'm terrified that I'll go soft and happy and then get hit with the be-all end-all death blow of bad behavior or something. So when you speak kindly of Jack's school experience, do so quietly and with stealth.

As for Quinn? Well he is doing great. Evidently his teacher did a magic trick with a goldfish cracker yesterday and Quinn thinks he is a superhero now. He was all emphatic and "My teacher is the best teacher in the whole world!"

That sounded a little bit unlike something Quinn would say, so we asked if his teacher had told him that. Quinn thought for a minute and said, "Hmmmm...Maybe the first day."

Trick to making your young, impressionable kindergarteners think you're awesome? Tell them you're awesome.

Quinn has been my little sidekick/barnacle for so long now, it's kind of weird not having him around all the time. Little reminders of him come up now and again: when I see a dog that Quinn would love to pet, when I see his blanket crumpled on the floor, when I'm refilling a soda cup at 7-11 and the Quinn-sock I didn't see hiding in the bottom bubbles through the ice and soda to the top of the cup.

Seriously though, he's doing great. He successfully bought lunch yesterday and whenever anyone asks him about the bus, he says that it is "SO FUN!" and, yes, those capital letters are there in his words.

Sadly, the bus stop has turned into a scene from a HUAC investigation. The transportation people are cracking down on kids who are technically in the "walk zone" but who take the bus at our bus stop. This guy showed up yesterday with a stern warning and this morning he was there with his florescent vest, his blacklist, his addresses, and his "Do you now or have you ever lived on the other side of that street?"

There was some naming of names. It was kind of horrible. I feel bad for all the kids who are going to have to walk a MILE to school every day because they live 0.15 miles away from me. I'm also waiting for the time when budgets get cut even more and I will have to walk 1.15 miles to school.


The dog is also unduly upset about the whole situation. I am the dog's person and she is always in the same room as me. However, now that all the children are out of the house, she spends school hours forlornly sitting all alone in the living room near the front door. It's a little sad.

There you have it in a nutshell. Week One has been good. I am fairly certain that seconds after clicking "Publish Post" that my phone will ring with a terrible call from the school, but so far so good, no news is good news, knock on wood, and any other happy cliche you can think of.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's Quite Possible I'm High Right Now

I'm crabby. You wanna know why I'm crabby? Because this morning, when Alex noticed gas dripping out of his motorcycle's fuel line and then poked at it, causing the thing to disintegrate, resulting in our frantic running around for buckets and whatnot, only to succeed in finding them mere instants before the gas tank ran dry, well, that was not an awesome way to start my day.

Also? All the stink molecules and fumes from the spill seem to have migrated directly INTO my house, leaving the garage smelling all sweet and cat litter-y (which I poured on the spill), but the house still smells like a gas station.

I have a headache and am possibly quite high on the fumes—and not in a fun "it's hard to lean against this wall when it's hugging me back" kind of way, but rather in a toxic "I'm gonna go lie down and maybe never get up again" kind of way.

I've combed the area to see if anyone accidentally brought something gas soaked inside, but there is nothing. I don't think it's me because when I leave the house and then come back inside, I am re-hit with the smell. Also I was very careful to not get gas all over me.

Alex was not quite so good with not getting gas all over him, especially due to the fact that he, unlike me, was there for the initial fuel line implosion, and it was probably highly surprising and undoubtedly splashed all over him.

By the time we stemmed the flow of gas (and by "stemmed the flow of gas," I mean, "watched helplessly as the gas all ran onto the floor of the garage"), Alex had to rush to work with no time to re-shower.

I'm pretty sure he has had an extremely unpleasant day, which is the only thing keeping me from calling him repeatedly with my own complaints. I drove him to the Metro station for his non-motorcycle commute with the windows down and air pouring into the car.

"I bet the confined space of the Metro car will be awesome," he said.

I'm just surprised he wasn't arrested on suspicion of being a bomb before he sat down. I was laughing hysterically (gas fumes?) about his potential arrest as he got out of the car with an emphatic giving of the finger.

I wonder how long it will be before his employers send him home or force him into a Silkwood-style shower.

Okay, wait. In the twenty minutes that I've been trying to find a way to end this post (definitely gas fumes), I decided to open up all the windows on the side of the house away from the garage. I feel better already.

Edited to add: Alex and I have been exchanging surly emails all morning. I just got this from him: "When I ordered the spare part to fix the bike, the lady said, 'Look on the bright side, at least you're not on fire.'" She makes an excellent point.