Monday, April 30, 2012

I Know When to Admit That I'm Wrong. Occasionally.

You know how every married woman who blogs writes a post to honor her husband on his birthday and it is really nice and lovely and makes you think that the dude is a really great guy and that he's married to a stand up chick?

This is not that blog.

Alex's birthday was weeks ago. The reason I'm writing about it now is that his present came last week and it was exciting. Sadly, he was out of town when it arrived, so he was the last one to use it, but the kiddos and I really enjoyed it.

I should back up. Well, I "shouldn't," but I want to and it's my blog so I won't not be backing up for you.

Jack threw up in the hallway at school the day Alex's gift arrived.

Wait. I should back up. (See above.)

Jack gets carsick. Jack especially gets carsick in the morning. Jack has to ride in my car for an hour every morning because of our fucked up driving schedule. Usually he's okay, but sometimes he pukes because of this. I prefer that he do it a block away from the school, but that doesn't always happen. One time I opened the car door in the drop off lane and he leaned out and puked all over the curb in full view of the main office.

Once you puke at school, you are officially persona non grata for that day. It doesn't matter that I know and you know and Jack knows and the whole damn school knows that it was because he was carsick. If a kid throws up on school grounds and an adult witnesses it, you have a buddy at home for the day.*

(*Exception: Quinn. Sometimes they let him stay because he pukes if you, like, cough loudly in front of him.)

Anywho. I drove all my kids to school that day, came home, sat down, and the phone rang. It was my friend, the school nurse. Jack never even made it to class. He threw up right in the hall. You know the rest.

So, Jack and I were at home. We had a brief but intense scuffle over the homework he would have been assigned that day. I emerged with a Phyrric victory.

All of that is to say that Jack was home when Alex's birthday present arrived.

Oh no. I fear I have to back up again.

I bought Alex's birthday present a long time ago. I mean, there is no way on earth that it would have arrived in time for his birthday, but it surely shouldn't have taken as long as it did. See, I bought Alex a hammock. He asked for it and I thought it was the stupidest present ever, but I decided to buy it for him anyway.

The hammock part of the thing came quickly, but the hammock stand did not. Eventually I got an email from the vendor saying that my return had gone through and that my money had been refunded, which was a drag because I was not entirely sure that I could hold up a hammock USING AIR.

It turned out to have been a mistake. "The shipper damaged the package during shipping," they told me, "and just returned the remains to us."

Naturally I wonder what exactly the hell happened to that hammock stand. Remains? Really? I almost asked for a photograph, but the customer service rep was busy helping me re-place the order and waiving the shipping so I didn't want to rock the hammock, so to speak.

So, hammock remains...shift forward...Jack carsick...shift forward...Jack at home...shift forward...hammock stand arrives.

Are we all caught up? Good.

So, after the homework battle was waged and won and the video game reward was presented and used, we needed another activity. The arrival of the hammock stand was perfect. Jack was tailor made for hammock stand unpacking and construction, mostly because it involved lots of metal tubes packaged in bubble wrap.

This is Jack, living the dream.

*I* was less delighted by the contents of the package, mostly due to this:

Thanks, Captain Obvious.

Fortunately, my partner had a gung ho attitude and set to work.

I always think the smallest person should do the heaviest lifting.

We even found a secondary use for the hammock stand.

I almost left it as a tightrope structure.
Couldn't be more stupid than a hammock, I thought.

The next step was maybe even more fun for Jack than the bubble wrap because it involved carabiners and chains, which offered all kinds of shiny metal fun. I'm actually a little surprised that he hasn't since disassembled the thing.

I should buy him some chains for his own birthday.

Jack was excited to be the first one to try out the hammock.

He was delighted. It was even better than chains.

By sheer coincidence, I happened to be taking a photo when Jack and I discovered the back breaking capabilities of the hammock as well.


Evidently there is a balance element to sitting in a hammock.

So here's the thing about the hammock. It has turned out to be maybe the most awesome thing we've ever owned. Jack lies in it and it kind of wraps around him and swings and is in the sun and is sort of the best thing ever for a kid with the exact sensory seeking profile as Jack.

He LOVES it. I'm thinking of replacing his bed with one.

I think that Alex thinks it is all right too. Quinn was so thrilled when he came home. He made me make him a glass of lemonade with ice cubes and a bendy straw to take to the hammock, because evidently that is what you do when you have a hammock.

I've been won over too. Somewhere between snuggling with Jack in the sun and sitting in the thing while Jack asked if he could gently rock it, I decided that we might be a hammock family after all.

Good times, y'all.


  1. Happy Birthday Alex!  

  2. The hammock looks awesome.  I can't wait until we come back to your place (not just for that, honest).
    It's my husband's birthday today.  No-one told me I was meant to write a post in his honour.  Don't tell him, ok?  It can be our little secret.

  3. Has Alex been in it ... at ALL? ;-)

    Also, the 'remains'? Made me laugh out loud, waking my husband. I, apparently, am no more of a catch than you.

  4. A friend of mine growing up had a hammock like that. We used to rock each other in it and try to tip each other out.

  5. What a fantastic thing the hammock is!!! Jack looks so happy!!!
    And Quinn is, of course, HAVE to have a glass of lemonade in the hammock, that's got to be in the meager instructions somewhere...maybe on the back....

  6. Quinn makes me laugh. We had a hammock for awhile. As it turns out, if you leave it out all the time - even when it rains, it deteriorates. But it was good while it lasted!

  7. Freshman year in college a friend of mine (also a HUGE Phish fan actually) brought a hammock to school with him. It didn't need a stand - he just tied one end to the bunk beds in my dorm room and hung the other off the closet hinge so he'd have a bed in my dorm room for when he didn't feel like walking *all the way* back across our (tiny) campus to his room.  He also made himself so at home he hung a Star Wars poster and ended up migrating his entire music collection there by Thanksgiving. I blame the comfort of the hammock. 

  8. I think my son would love a hammock, too. It would be perfect for his sensory needs! I'm thinking the whole replace his bed with one idea isn't so strange....maybe he's sleep in there all. Night. Long. Hmmm....with a glass of lemonade & a bendy straw on his nightstand, of course. :)

  9. If you have a place to hang in, I'm just saying that sensory happiness for one is available. (My spectrum kiddo loved ours until it disintegrated. Seriously considering buying him another one but mounting it in his room, except I think then he'd never leave.)

  10. I'm looking forward to the photo of five hammocks lined up in your backyard!!

  11. Was slightly concerned that the hammock would cause the motion sickness/puke cycle to continue. Was prepared to cringe on your and Alex's behalf. Relieved that isn't how it worked out.... Yet.

  12. Happy Birthday Alex. I would love a hammock, but we don't have the place for it. Maybe our next house... 

  13. 1. I'm crylaughing. "Could be more stupid than a hammock."

    2. Lemonade IS the ideal drink for  hammock sitting.

    3. I waged WAR with my husband when he suggested he put up the hammock that had long been collecting dust in our garage when we finally lived in a  house with a backyard that could accommodate it. Now I'm the one who spends the most time lounging in it.

  14. Happy birthday Alex!  Like Jennifer above, I was wondering if you were going to end with more motion sickness in the hammock.  My partner, alas, can't sit in hammocks b/c of that.  But this is making me think I need to get a hammock stand for the hammock I have in a box in the basement.....

  15. I absolutely LOVE reading your always make me laugh. And you tell it like it is, not necessarily how others want to hear it.  Love you guys.

  16.  A couple of times. Snuggling with Jack.

  17.  I love everything about this story.

  18.  That's a great idea. I have a basement that would work well in.

  19.  That would be so awesome.

  20.  That didn't even occur to me. I'm so happy it doesn't have that effect.

  21. I kinda have to recommend it. And because of your partner's motion sickness, you don't have to share. Win win.

  22. With you with the carsickness problem. We used to measure our journeys by how many sick stops we had to make during it. Going to a Dino theme park along a very windy road was once recorded proudly by our eldest as a 5-sick journey. One of our best. Bet he'd love the hammock though.

  23. Discovered over spring break how much my kid likes a good hammock. (Didn't hurt that it was right by a pool too) But that might be answer to sleeping all night at our house too. Hadn't thought about the sensory factor. Hmm...

  24. Ha ha ha, you make me laugh Stimey. I bought the very same hammock and stand kit, and using Jack's same methodology learned about how quickly my rear lands on the ground.

  25. Okay, those "assembly instructions" made me laugh out loud!  Glad it worked out so well.  :-)

  26. It totally has that effect on me! But I never thought about the sensory calming effects...

  27. I actually suggested last year that I buy my husband a hammock for Father's Day.  He declined and I was very disappointed.  

  28. Wrapping yourself in a hammock is one of the most calming sensations ever.  Even better than immersing your arms in a 50 pound bag of birdseed (one of my childhood favorites).

    Also, your blog is awesome and with this post, is improving my vocabulary... I had to look up a word in your post -- "Phyrric" -- in the dictionary.  

  29. First, very impressed with Jack's skills.  Truly.

    Also, the hammock arrived with 'Instuctions'?  Sorry, I am an editor in my spare time.  So, the instuctions are missing an 'r'. 

    Meanwhile, and completely off topic, I'm thinking of moving from Bethesda to downtown Silver Spring.  Anyone - thoughts?

  30. Sorry for the above remark.  Grammar person here.  :(

  31. Lol!  And not a single picture of Alex enjoying his birthday hammock!  Too funny.

  32. I didn't even miss the "R"!

  33. Yes, well, that says more about me, than it does about everyone else!  Editing IS part of my day job....   :)  

  34.  If it makes you feel better, I fell out of the damn thing yesterday.

  35.  It is rare that I get to use the phrase Phyrric victory, but it is one of my favorites.

  36.  I used to be a copy editor, so I'm right there with you. I found a typo on the cover of Time Magazine once. It was the greatest day of my life.

    Oooh, DTSS! I don't know much about that area in terms of housing, but I bet it would be fun to live there.


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