Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My To-Do List

Things I need to do, in no particular order and on no particular day, just stuff that needs doing soon-ish:

1. Get Oz to dump the entire contents of the attic into my house (well, except for the Halloween stuff) to the point that my living room looks like the North Pole threw up. The dining room won't be far behind. And then the cats and children will dismantle it all.

2. Ponder seating in the living room and debate the merits of having two single chairs versus a loveseat, especially when a bookshelf is factored in. A reading nook sounds uber-cozy. Unfortunately, they don't make living-room-safe fire pits.

3. Buy unscented bath soap for the children. I don't know how it works, but M1 and M2 can both go take a bath or shower, and yet M1 will come out hardly smelling of anything and M2 will come out smelling so strong that it actually gives me a migraine. I suspect the boy may not be using soap, and I suspect the girl may be OD-ing a bit. Happy medium, there is not.

4. Ask myself whether it's worth the money and effort to try to find a Christmas dress for the girl who will only wear it once. Right now I'm leaning toward no. In fact, if I leaned just the tiniest oonch more, I'm pretty sure I'd fall off the fence. I just have to procrastinate enough that OOPSY, we're out of time. Crimes of omission are the best.

5. Buy tickets to go see a local children's ballet performance of the Nutcracker. We have a couple of friends who are performing.

6. Pray that if it does snow next week that it'll snow enough to cancel school. There's nothing good about snow AND school at the same time. It's just an awful combo, and I'm not even talking about the roads.

7. Try to find side-dish recipes that I can fix for Christmas Eve lunch for my mom, sister and brother-in-law, and grandmother. And my family. No gluten, no nightshades, no bananas... and I'm not sure what else. I need to get a list.

Amazing how December gets away from me before it even starts!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Survival of the... Everything

Because it's the Monday after Thanksgiving, which technically makes it part of the Christmas season even though I refuse to decorate my house for Christmas before the calendar actually says December, and because IDAWANNA get back into a school routine because it means waking up at 6:48 a.m. (well, 6:30, but the snooze button and I are bestest friends at 6:30 a.m.), I'm going to rehash my holiday weekend for you.

Thanksgiving was fantastic. The associated colds sucked. M2 came down with it first, a few days before the actual holiday. *I* thought it was just allergies at first and wondered why the blinking Zyrtec wasn't working like it ALWAYS HAS. Derh. You'd think I'd be smart enough by now to be able to discern the difference between allergies and Death by Virus, but no. Anyway, by Thanksgiving Day, she was wheezing and coughing and hacking so much that when we got to my dad's house, I gave her a puff of M1's inhaler and felt horribly guilty when that helped the coughing fit. I then promised her a breathing treatment with the nebulizer when we got back home. I could do this because I have a stash of albuterol that I keep on hand for these things, mostly because M2 has already had two bouts with pneumonia in her itty-bitty life and I really don't need to deal with Round Three. Plus, the pediatrician must have a code for "in bulk" when she prescribes it because the boxes are humongous.

Anyway, I gave M2 round-the-clock treatments for the first 24 hours (round-the-clock meaning that I told her if she woke up coughing to come get me, which meant that she arrived in my room at 4:30 a.m. on Black Friday, which is an even more ungodly hour than 6:30, which is the reason I was parked in my bed sound asleep rather than fighting the galloping hordes for deals on stuff I didn't want or need anyway. But if I had wanted to go shopping, M1 beat M2 to the punch and had poked me at 4 a.m. asking for a sinus rinse, and I told him that I didn't run a 24-hour facility and to go back to bed and that his sinuses would wait till there was daylight and coffee). After the first 24 hours, she started hacking up the good stuff, which I know you want to know, and now she gets excited whenever she starts coughing because she wants to know what color of the rainbow the phlegm will be this time. Her favorite answer so far has been green.

Which all sounds well and good and happy until *I* came down with The Crud, too, which meant that on Saturday when M2 and I were snuggled on the couch under a huge red and green bedset-in-a-bag comforter that we've had for ages and I suggested that we go take a nap in my room instead, and she agreed, that *I* fell asleep and didn't wake up till about 3 p.m. when my bladder gave the warning twinge. Oops. I felt like poo for a good chunk of that day and the next, and now I sound somewhere between Joan Rivers and a frog (is there a difference?), but hey, it's progress.

Oz was a very good husband all week. He humored me, mostly. He hung the wallpaper in the bedroom when it came in (so short of wall art, the bedroom is officially done). He watched the kids and fed them and entertained them when I did my sleep thing. He put up the last of the outdoor Christmas lights so they're ready to go on Wednesday. He even went to his mama's house and helped his brothers hang a garage door. So when he went to Sam's Club for creamer and cat litter for me on Sunday morning and saw The Perfect Christmas/Birthday gift that he's Always Wanted (and it was $81 cheaper than the cheapest price he'd seen all weekend), I let him buy it. And set it up, even though it's not even December yet and Christmas isn't for another 26 days and his birthday isn't for another month-ish after that.

We now have surround sound. It's been highly entertaining. Cats + surround sound = Hilarity Unsurpassed. I put on "Hot Fuzz" because I knew it'd make the subwoofer happy, and when you have a subwoofer on a wooden subfloor, the floor kinda shakes a little. Not as much as in an earthquake, but still. There's a rumble. And when the rumble is accompanied by sirens screaming round and round the room, cats awaken. They sit up straight and their eyes get black, and they become quite alarmed. Some of them will actually go and look out the window and wonder where the H-E-double-hockey-sticks that sound is coming from. Others will sit in front of the speakers and stare at them.

Just like the cold virus, this newness shall pass, but as I sit here trying to avoid the four loads of laundry that four people can generate in three days and sip my raspberry tea with extra raspberry syrup and ignore the boy who is having a horrible rant about having to WRITE, heaven forbid, it's the best I've got.

Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Gift?

I think so.



My novel now has a loose working name. It is called "Two-Faced."

-----

I have also worked up the nerve to offer you another excerpt. I'll need help with this part if I ever get around to finishing the general body of the novel and try to edit it, but for now, this is what I have. The setting is that the main character, Catherine, is now 10. (She was 7 in my previous post.) She is now being admitted to a psychiatric facility after going off her medication and experiencing a severe backslide. She's still quite emotional and is about to meet her in-house therapist for the first time.

-----

I shut my eyes against the din of two people talking at once. It was overwhelming, and my emotions were rising. I couldn't decide whether I wanted to scream or cry. I clenched my hands and gritted my teeth and then realized that all around me was silent. The noise had stopped. I exhaled before I even realized that I had been holding my breath.

I peeked through one eyelid. Regina and my mother were holding stock-still, watching me. My mother didn't look happy; she had her mouth set in its typical line of anger, and every couple of seconds she would shoot Regina a look of daggers. Regina never turned to see it, though. She was holding one hand up for silence, not moving at all. She was just watching me and breathing steadily in and out. I relaxed my fists and unconsciously matched my breathing to hers. My eyes opened, and I faced the women again. Regina lowered her hand and took one last deep respiration. My mother still kept her lips pursed, but she remained quiet.

"Catherine," Regina stated my name slowly and clearly. Her voice was low. She kept her eyes on mine. "I'm sorry that we frightened you. Would you like to finish your nap?"

I kept still and watched. This woman intrigued me with her ability to defuse a situation. I felt calm inside, which almost scared me. I'd never met anyone before who could calm me down so thoroughly and so instantly. Even my own father usually had to go through several attempts before he could reach me through the fog of emotion. Kevin, for all he had been helpful, had never seen me at my utter worst, on the verge of meltdown, ready to damage things and others and myself. Regina was something else. Her tiny frame didn't matter. She was powerful.

"Cather-," my mother started to say, but she got cut short by another abrupt movement of Regina's arm.

"Catherine, I'm Regina Martin," she fully introduced herself this time. Her voice was still low and slow, and I almost had to strain to hear her. "I'm your therapist here at Boyd. I'll be back for an actual session after supper, but I wanted to come by and say hello, and I'd like to know if you need anything right now."

She paused. I felt the silence lengthen, but it wasn't a tense, heavy silence like the one between my mother and me. It was simply silence, a quiet that let me hear the fluorescent lights burning. She meant to wait me out, I thought, so I determined not to answer, despite the growing grimness in my mother's face. Suddenly Regina nodded. "I can see you're doing well. Excellent. I'd be happy to get you anything you need, or if I'm not available, someone else can do it. There are several wonderful members of our nursing staff on the floor at all times, so if you just press this button here" – she indicated the nursing button on the bed – "we'd be happy to help you out. Okay?"

Another deep, patient silence. I wanted her to get irritated, but those dimples never dimmed. How frustrating. Suddenly she nodded again. There seemed to be a certain amount of time that she had set before she nodded, and I wondered how many patients had tested her patience, how many silent children she'd seen and dealt with. Clearly I wasn’t a threat. She could afford to wait. It wasn't like I was going anywhere. She turned to my mother.

"Mrs. Beatty, would you like to wait for Mr. Beatty in here or in the atrium? You'll need to leave at or before 4 p.m., but till then, you're free to be in either location."

I noticed how neatly Regina pinned my mother to one location to another. Boundaries were set, but she tried to make it sound like freedom. I wondered how often she did that, too. I decided to be unpredictable.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Random Factoids

Because it's the night before Thanksgiving, and because I'm avoiding writing the last 5000 words of my NaNoNovel (OK, the last 5K before I 'win'), and because Mythbusters and Storm Chasers are on and I really can't focus on anything productive whatsoever, here are 25 random things about me:

1. My favorite breakfast pastry is a bear claw. This probably has to do with the fact that they're huge. My second favorite thing is an apple fritter, probably for the same reason. I can't process the carbs like I used to, but I can still eat the whole thing.

2. I've never tried to do it, but I am one of those people who, if I work it right, could eat the 72-oz. steak and all the fixin's in one sitting. I have no 'full' sensor. I blame my teen years.

3. I had never tried sushi until a couple of years ago. Now I have a minor addiction to it.

4. I really really really dislike clowns. - I stole this one from my friend Kelley. It's true, though. And I've never even read the book "It."

5. I still have two stuffed animals. One is a blue rabbit Care Bear Cousin. His name was Swiftheart, but he'll always be Swifty to me. The other is a pink calico kitty who is more two-dimensional than three, and there's no stuffing in her neck. Her name is Floppy.

6. I used to be technophobic. Then I married Oz. He cured me.

7. I have a fear of going over bridges and having them crumble underneath me. Doesn't help that I've had (distant-ish) relatives die this way.

8. When I married Oz, I could. Not. Cook. Seriously bad food karma. There are still days that my subconscious reminds me of that, like the day recently when I forgot I was hardboiling eggs and exploded them instead. That is a funky smell.

9. I've never had a cavity. Knock on wood.

10. The whole 2012 thing worries me. I'm a tad paranoid, though.

11. Whenever we did genetics tests in middle school for dominant versus recessive traits, I came up with recessive on all the most common tests. I have blue eyes. My hair is blonde. I don't have a widow's peak or a hitchhiker's thumb. Etc.

12. When New Kids on the Block first came on the scene, I thought Donny was the cute one, but every other girl in my class liked Joey. I still think they're wrong.

13. I used to like acting/drama. Then, in third grade, I had to play a boy in the school play. That killed any passion I might have had.

14. I was once told I would be really, really good at corporate espionage. That made me proud somewhere in the deep, dark recesses of my soul.

15. I like sweeping the floor with a broom. I hate vacuuming. I'd love to have tile and/or wood through my entire house and sell the vacuum.

16. I am a compulsive list-maker, and doing this note is making me ever so happy! (I stole this one from Kelley, too). :)

17. I want to attend a driving school. Not a defensive driving school, a Richard Petty/stunt driving school. I want to be able to do a controlled spin into a parallel parking spot, do synchronized driving stunts for TV commercials, and otherwise drift into a 180 whenever I darn well please.

18. I want to learn to square dance. If M1 takes up banjo like he's contemplating, and if M2 continues to learn violin/fiddle, I could do quite a bit with that.

19. I love sunglasses, but I hardly ever wear them because I can't wear my contacts any more and I don't like driving without glasses on. Stupid double astigmatism.

20. Whenever my mom gave me art supplies/office supplies/stickers, I hoarded them and refused to use them because I didn't believe she'd buy me more. My children do not suffer from this mentality. They held StickerFest 2010 today. My son brought me a paper that had stickers with my name on them and said, "Look, Mom! It's your name!" and I was secretly proud that someone had used them after all these years. I was also a little amazed that the glue still worked.

21. I love thunder.

22. My eyes change color, sometimes depending on my mood or the color of shirt that I'm wearing. (Hey, Kelley, me too!)

23. Even though I only lived in my house in Kansas until I was 9, I can still tell you exactly how it looked, how the carpet felt, and the color of my Crayola crayon alarm clock. I can also still recite the address and phone number.

24. I can hold my own when it comes to belching contests, I have put many a man to shame. :) (This is why Kelley and I are really good friends. Dr. Pepper is the best for belches, btw. I once out-belched an entire room of men during a Super Bowl Party. I've always been one of the guys.)

25. I love Thanksgiving because it's such a chill holiday. Literally and physically. I'm not even cooking this year. I made a cheese ball and am bringing two jars of home-canned dill pickles. Yay for lazy!

Happy Thanksgiving to all y'all in the US of A!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Endodontist

M1 and I went to the endodontist today.

The good news: The tooth won't have to be pulled (at least not right away, if ever).

The bad news: Boy has funky teeth.

The funky news: A little past medical history is in order first. I am missing teeth. My mother is missing teeth. She has a cousin who is missing a TON of teeth. We're all girls. Specifically, all of us are missing our lateral incisors on the top. Those are the little flat ones right next to the big middle teeth. My mother never had her baby teeth OR her adult teeth there. I had baby teeth but no adult teeth. I'm also completely missing my top two wisdom teeth, but that's irrelevant to this blog post, so we'll get back to that another day.

My boy did wonderfully. We got to the endodontist's office, filled out the paperwork, and he got ushered back to a chair. He parked his carcass and waited, and the front office girl/technician came in and took a couple of x-rays. She stared at them and asked if we were 100% sure this was an adult tooth we were talking about.

No, no we weren't.

She stared at it again, went to the endodontist, came back, and shot a couple more x-rays of the space where his other lateral incisor should be (he lost it a few months ago). Pause, stare, consult. She came back in and told us the endodontist should be right with us.

Cool.

The endodontist came in, stared at the photos, and said she was pretty sure that the tooth that was having the resorption issue was a baby tooth and showed me why on the x-rays (it had to do with the roots being fully developed instead of still growing like his obviously-adult front teeth were).

It was about that time that the light went on inside my head, and I asked, "Could he be missing that tooth?? Because I am."

I saw the matching light over her head as well. It all instantly made sense to her.

Here's what we have: The boy is totally missing his left lateral incisor. It simply isn't there. If he's lucky, then his canine tooth, which is HUGE on the x-ray, should go ahead and shove out this lateral that's just resorbing in an odd way because there's really nothing above it to give it the proper shove. If he's not lucky, then the tooth will have to be removed, but I'm not too worried about that right now. Que sera sera and all that... that's a plain ol' dental issue in my mind. The issue is that on the right side, where he's lost his lateral incisor, there IS a tooth bud up in the gums that looks like it's supposed to BE a lateral incisor. But there's no root, and between his canine and his big, honking front tooth, there's not much space for it. So we don't know what this thing is going to do, whether it's going to develop a root and come down (which would look funky if he had a lateral incisor on one side and not on the other) or resorb or just sit there and maybe have to be surgically removed one day. Hence the orthodontist visit potential.

Funky teeth, I tellz ya. At least we're out of there and can play the wait-and-see game for the next six months. Yay for procrastination!

Monday, November 22, 2010

If You Buy a Mom a Bed Set...

If you let a mom buy a new-to-her bed set...

... she might decide that she's really, really sick and tired of staring at green shag carpet in her bedroom.

And if she decides that she's really, really sick and tired of staring at green shag carpet in her bedroom...

... she might make you rip it out on a Friday night...

... to reveal about a ton of dust that contains god-only-knows what sort of crap from bygone eras...

... and gorgeously finished wood floors underneath.

And if she finds that there are gorgeously finished wood floors underneath the really, really ugly green shag carpet...


... she might also decide that she needs a new light/fan combo to go with the color scheme of the room that no longer includes gold...

... and she also might decide that the dark wood paneling on the walls needs to be painted.

And once she gets the new light/fan fixture that no longer includes gold...

and gets the dark paneled walls painted...

and gets new trim put around the floors to hide the ugly edges and new electrical outlets and light switch installed that actually match (instead of the outlets being chocolate brown and the light switch being black with a white faceplate)...

and gets a headpiece attached over the closet door that's been sitting in said closet for years, and gets the closet door rather attached to the floor rather than swinging freely, and gets a new rug that matches the aforementioned bed set...


... she MIGHT... just *MIGHT* be really, really happy with her "new" bedroom.


P.S. We're not done yet. We still have to contend with THIS:

but there's a new red damask wallpaper on order. It'll be in before Christmas. And hopefully there will be wall art, too.

Yummy.

Thank you, dear, for all your hard work, and thank you, too, to my children for putting up with a busy, cranky mommy! Muah to you all!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Story of Tom

My boy hates writing. He has tons of difficulty with it thanks to a significant lack of motor skills.

Or maybe I should say "HATED" and "HAD."

We use a writing program called Writing Strands every other week. On the 'off' weeks, we do basic writing instruction with a simpler curriculum that involves some copy work and simple practice of writing, making the shapes of the letters properly, going over punctuation and capitalization, etc. Since he still occasionally flips letters and is still learning the rules for the other stuff, it works out. But he really likes Writing Strands.

This week, the goal was to write a story. An entire story. He freaked out when he first heard the assignment because OMG lots of words means OMG lots of writing means OMG flip out NOW NOW NOW. Thankfully the book gave lots of parameters when it came to this story. For some kids, that might be too restrictive; for my boy, it eased a lot of the "What am I going to write about???" anxiety. It was perfect. He spent the first day brainstorming about exactly how the story should go. He answered questions about his potential story on the second day and ironed out the kinks in his mind. On the third and fourth days, he wrote and illustrated his story. It is his masterpiece. He's incredibly proud of it, and I'm incredibly proud of him, too.

I now humbly present to you "The Story of Tom," as read by its author. Please enjoy.

video

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sleeping Beauty? Hardly.

My children and sleep have always had an interesting relationship. I suspect that most parents find this to be true, but just for the sake of argument, let me offer a few examples:

When M1 was two (and three and four and part of five), he got up. A lot. We would put him to bed when he got tired, which was (is still sometimes) around 7 p.m., and he would bounce out of bed like a jumping bean on crack until he literally crashed at his doorway, usually sometime around 11. Since he needed (still needs sometimes) about 12-14 hours of sleep a day, this was a problem.

M2 quit napping WAY earlier than M1. He would still nap on almost a daily basis in kindergarten, assuming he was separated from the other kids so he'd shut up for the five seconds it took him to sack out. She hasn't napped since she was barely 2. The days were few and far between when M2's preschool teacher would tell me that they *think* she *might* have slept, though sometimes they weren't entirely sure if she was sleeping or just actually being quiet for a few minutes.

Today, sleep has been an interesting challenge. M1 woke up grouchy this morning. We didn't have anywhere to go today, so when we got back to the house after dropping M2 off - SHE was as cheerful as the Flight Attendant Barbie on Toy Story 2 - I asked him if he wanted to nap. He said yes. He went to his room and tossed and turned for 45 minutes before *I* got sick and tired of listening to him thrash and came and told him to get moving, boy, we got school to do. And he did fine. After we finished our work, he asked if he could get his sleeping bag out of the top of his closet. Eh, sure, why not. He asked if he could put his pajamas back on. I saw no harm in this. He burrowed into his sleeping bag and cinched the top shut (I kept a close eye on this process, by the way) and told me he was a worm and was going to hibernate under the soil for the winter.

Peachy keen, jelly bean, let me know when spring arrives.

Except the worm never did hold still. I finally sent him to his room because again, the thrashing. He kicked and squirmed around in there for 'rest time' and became cranky again by oh, say, 4:30 p.m.

He got sent to bed at 5:30 after a light dinner of a banana and granola. He'll wake up in the morning and want to eat everything in sight, but I'd rather deal with a starving, happy, well-rested boy in the morning than a not-so-hungry, grouchy, tired boy at night.

Then there's the girl. She's back to fussing every evening and bargaining for a spot in my room (read: bed) at night. She had stayed in her own bed for the required five nights and demanded her reward this evening. Didn't ask; demanded. And she didn't want Daddy to tuck her in; she wanted Mommy. She was prepared to scream to high heaven till she got what she wanted. I'm amazed she didn't rouse the boy. She was squalling much like the weather around here. She didn't win, but she's in my room, on the floor (she lost that battle, too), talking to herself. If she sleeps, I'll be content.

The only question remaining is, can I go to bed yet?

Numbers

NaNoWriMo update:

40,269 words.

78 pages.

Nowhere near done.

Methinks this novel is going to take a tad longer than November to finish, although now that I'm started, I'm rather obsessed with seeing it through to the end.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Need HELP.

First it was the orthopedic surgeon for my 3-month-old's extra toes.

Then it was the pediatric ophthalmologist for my 2-year-old's strabismus.

Then the ENT for my 9-month-old's tubes and 5-year-old's tonsils and adenoids.

Last month, it was the ENT again for the Earberry Incident.

Throw in the psychiatrist and psychologist, and I have a plethora of phone numbers in my contact list that aren't in the phone book of a "normal" parent.

I took the kids to the dentist today for their regular six-month check-ups.

M2 came out with flying colors. No cavities, all beautiful, great brushing, yadda yadda yadda.

Poor M1.

The hygienist stuck a small camera (seriously tiny, it looked like just another suction tube) in his mouth and took a photo that instantly appeared on the TV screen at the foot of the chair. There were a couple of dark spots on the back side of one of his front teeth which I just assumed were cavities.

"Is that a cavity?" M1 asked nervously.

"I'm not sure," said the hygienist as she checked the x-rays.

I figured she was just being nice. When the dentist came in, though, she said something about "#10" and "looks like reabsorption."

"An adult tooth?" he asked, sounding rather confused.

He asked if the tooth had recently had trauma (no, not that I'm aware of). He checked it out, muttered something, and proclaimed, "You're going to have to go see an endodontist. This is really rare in kids. [This doctor] is the only one in [town] that deals with kids, which I don't get because they're just little people, but anyway, she's really good, good with kids, good with teeth, really good. We'll get you here number up front. She'll have to look at it to diagnose it, but it looks like the tooth is reabsorbing itself."

Oh, gawd.

So now I get to add "endodontist" to my list of doctors.

Our consultation is next Tuesday. I'll let you know how it goes.

-----

P.S. If you have a second, could you go to this web site (News On 6 Kitchen Makeover) and vote for the photo by elise1mds? I could use a kitchen makeover right about now. Thanks.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Karma. Not My Friend.

I whined this morning. Now I feel like crap.

No, really, my throat started feeling funky about 1 this afternoon. By 3 p.m., when I went to pick M2 up from school, I was seriously glad that I'd done the grocery (and shoelace) shopping this morning. By 4 p.m., I was wondering how early I could get into bed and get away with it, and various parts of my body were starting to ache. By 5 p.m., I'd taken my temperature twice and was getting quite irritated at the thermometer that didn't believe that I felt like crap and kept saying 98.6, which is actually a .2-degree fever for me, but even that seemed low, especially since I was freezing. I thought about not making supper but decided that even a sickie mom could manage French onion soup, so I made that but couldn't stomach the salty smell and passed on actually consuming it.

Oz insisted that I take a shower - he brought me my pajamas, robe, and Ugg boots (that I only wear around my house, thank you very much) and seriously insisted - and is now making me apple cider pancakes for dinner because A) he's wonderful and B) the leftover batter will keep for breakfast in the morning.

Anyway, because I'm hurting, I need something to make me smile.

Here are some tidbits from my slightly insane high-school past that make me giggle.

1. One of my best friends was nicknamed Flexichu. Her birthday is tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Dear!! (Yes, our friends were a tad obsessed with corrupting Pokemon. I had a completely um... special... nickname that I will not be sharing. Yet. Give it a few years.)

2. I had a friend who had a car nicknamed the Moochmobile. The floor of the car was rusted out so badly that if you didn't know how to get in the car just the right way, your leg would go through the carpet and hit pavement.

3. Back when Surge was a very popular highly caffeinated beverage, a friend of mine would hand me a 2-liter, he'd keep one (or more) for himself, and we'd chug the pop (yes, it's pop here, not soda or Coke) as fast as humanly possible. We usually did this in the school bus on the way to football games. We were total band nerds. By the time we reached our destination, we were so hopped up on caffeine, we didn't sit still for the next five hours.

4. I also took blue hair mascara on these trips. There are photos.

5. I also have photos of Flexichu with carrots behind her ears and mini chocolate donuts around her eyes in the school cafeteria. The carrots look rather elven. The donuts were just fun. Yes, we played with our food. We once got in a Jell-O fight with the table next to us. Rumor has it that it took them several years to get it off the ceiling, since said ceiling was probably a good 20-30 feet up.

6. We band nerds also met up at various houses on Friday nights after the home football games. One night we watched "Night of the Living Dead." Hilarious movie. Less hilarious was the fact that the boys snuck out at one point and scared the crap out of us. I'm able to laugh now.

There. I feel a lot better. Memories are therapeutic. Share one of your favorite memories! I'm always up for a good laugh, especially since the kids have dentist appointments tomorrow.

Monday Morning Rant

Sooooooo I'm annoyed. It happens. I'll get over it. It's a piddly thing in the grand scheme of things, this issue, and I am perfectly aware that I'm being petty about it, but I feel like sharing, so you get to wallow in annoyment with me.

There. How was that for a run-on sentence??

M2 has a pair of sneakers. She's had them since early summer, if I remember correctly. They are pink and white, and they came with bright pink shoelaces.

Bright pink shoelaces are against school uniform code, so before school started, I had to find her a pair of white shoelaces. The only pair I could find were for adult shoes, so they were long, but I figured if they became an issue, someone would tell me.

Nobody said a word.

For THREE AND A HALF MONTHS, since the very first week of August when school started, nobody has said a word.

Nobody.

M2 or I tie the shoes in double knots every morning (she can tie her own shoes quite well), and they come home double-knotted every afternoon. Nobody ever said a word. At the beginning of the school year, M2 would say that they had come untied and she had to have help tying them once in a while, but I hadn't heard about that for a while, so I assumed she was just doing it all on her own.

This morning, I got an e-mail from her PE teacher. She was polite about it, but the gist of the e-mail was that she's tired of retying M2's shoes during PE (apparently she has to do this several times per class) and could I please buy some Velcro shoes or shorter laces?

So I'm annoyed. I could care less about buying new laces, assuming I can find them in M2's length, because it'll cost me a buck, two at the most. I'm not buying Velcro shoes because A) they're Velcro, B) finding Velcro shoes in M2's size is tough, and C) cost of laces vs. cost of new shoes, though it's really not about the cost, either. It's also really not even the inconvenience, because there's a shoe store next to the grocery store that I frequent and if there aren't shoelaces of the proper length and color there, I'm sure I'll get to Wal-Mart or Target eventually.

I'm just annoyed that nobody said a word for 3-1/2 months.

On that note, I would like to issue the following public service announcement: IF you happen to have an issue with me, and if you feel that it is eventually going to worm its way up to your mouth and spew out as word vomit in my general direction, please just get it out of your system now. We'll all feel better about it. And I won't have to be annoyed that you kept stuff hidden from me for 3-1/2 months.

Thank you. Have a great Monday!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Carpe Filia

Seize the daughter!

I did just that today. It was fairly impromptu, too, which is the bestest part. I had an appointment to get my hair done today. It was the first time since about June that I'd been able to escape and get my hair done, so I was really looking forward to it. My stylist had texted me that she wanted to do something "different," and since I trust her implicitly with my hair and its odd funkadelicness, I was all for it.

M2, however, had been a cling monster all week and said, "Mom, I want to get my hair cut, too!"

She'd really been looking forward to growing her hair long enough for braids, so I was surprised that she said that, so I halfheartedly told her that she could come, figuring the day would come and she wouldn't mean it.

Au contraire, the girl got up this morning and not only declared precisely what she wanted done to her hair - 3 inches off and chop the bangs, please - but also futher proved her point by trying on two pairs of flip-flops and two pairs of sandals and showing me that all of them were too small. Since this left her with only one pair of sneakers and one pair of dress shoes that she has always whined about hurting her feet, I knew shoe shopping was in order.

She also got dressed up for the occasion of going to see Miss Billie. She put on a brand-new outfit that consisted of a long, mid-thigh-length, cowl-neck sweater, purple at the top fading to black at the bottom, over black leggings. With the tennis shoes, it just didn't look right.

I caved. I told her she could come to get her hair done with me and we'd go shoe shopping afterward.

It was the beginning of something great. Hair first. She was so patient while I got my hair done, it was amazing. Then we hit the shoe store. They were having a buy one, get one 1/2 price sale, and when we found black AND brown boots AND new black dress shoes that didn't hurt her feet AND I found black ballet flats AND we got M1 some slippers and dress shoes as well when he and Oz met us... it was a beautiful experience. Everyone is now shod for the winter.

M1 is wearing size 7 men's shoes now.

I'm not going down that road in this post, though. That I can save for another day, when he outgrows pants.

It was Happy Hour at Sonic, so M2 and I swung by there on the way home. I had $5 in cash, thanks to the contents of Oz's wallet, and I might have blown it all on Cheddar Bites to have along with the drinks since M2 had only had one piece of pizza for lunch and had been such a darling at both the salon and the shoe shop.

On the way home, with M2 in her new black boots and new hairdo and new outfit, it occurred to me that since I also own a purple cowl-neck sweater and black boots, if I put them on, it would be a great "mommy & me" event.

And THEN it occurred to me that my friend Mary might like to come out to dinner with M2 and I and we could make it a girls' night.

It all went beautifully. Mary had had a wisdom tooth removed yesterday, so her mom had her boys, and she hadn't eaten anything all day since she'd spent most of it sleeping while doped up on Lortab, and she was dying to have good food and company. Plus, she was already wearing black yoga pants and a purple sweater! M2 and I picked her up (M1 and Oz got Chinese food and eclairs and "How to Train Your Dragon" while we were gone), and M1 selected Red Lobster for dinner. We got there before the main dinner rush and only had to wait about two minutes for a table. Dinner was delicious (Cheddar Bay biscuits, anyone??), Mary and I got wine, and we all three shared a dessert called the chocolate wave. M2 had to use the restroom during the middle of dinner, and she just ate up all the comments that we got on the way to and from the facilities. She had borrowed a pair of dangly crystal earrings from me (I had put on silver dangly earrings), I had put a black barrette in her hair (and a black headband on me), and so we really did look remarkably similar, and all the comments just made her glow.

She declared on the way home, completely exhausted at 7:15 p.m., that this had been "the best day EVER in my life, Mama."

I do believe we might have to paint our toenails together tomorrow, and she wants to have an official mother/daughter dinner with some of our friends in January. This sort of bonding has warmed me heart and soul. I don't think I ever knew that having a daughter could be so much fun!

Friday, November 12, 2010

I May Have a Problem

Books.

I'm addicted.

My daughter came home from school today and announced, "Mama! My teacher sent home magazines from the book fair!"

In plain English, that meant she brought home Scholastic catalogs. Four of them, to be precise. I have a hunch that if the second-grade teacher had been able to catch her in the hall before she came home, there would have been more.

I am a book slut. I'll sell my body, mind, and soul for a good book. I'm currently working my way through Caesar's "Gallic Wars." I have three more library books lined up on the coffee table, two nonfiction, one fiction, just waiting to be read. The kids and I have a running average of 20+ books checked out from the library, and I'm constantly requesting more.

We don't have a big house. In fact, there is only one bathroom among the four of us. That we can manage to share. However, we have five bookcases. One for homeschool curriculum, one for books the kids share, and one in each of the three bedrooms. We share books, but it's a jealous process.

I have a method to ordering books these days, because yes, I am that mom who can't see a Scholastic catalog without going, "Ooooooooooo boooooooks...." and ordering something. Or 12 somethings. The teachers love me. My method goes something like this:

Step 1: Go through everything with a blue highlighter (this would be the one I hurled at the cats last night) and circle everything I MIGHT even POSSIBLY want. Someday.

Step 2: Add it all up and have a heart attack.

Step 3: Go back through everything with a red pen and re-circle everything that the kids specifically requested or that will actually be useful in the coming months, because it's not like more catalogs won't come home in late January, just in time for Valentine's Day.

Step 4: Add it all up and experience palpitations instead of a heart attack.

Step 5: Narrow it all down one more time to a financially manageable level, get on the web site, and place the order.

Step 6: Somehow still managed to be surprised 2-3 weeks later when the books arrive and the girl has to have help hauling her backpack out the door of the classroom because there is roughly the cargo of a U-Haul stuffed in there.

Step 7: Read.

Ahhh, bliss. It is all worth it in the end, isn't it??

Even if my husband hesitates to give me free rein at Borders.

It's safer for our budget that way.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Timing is Everything

Timing is everything: There's a cricket in my living room right now. Dorian Gray found it first. I don't think it's a particularly bright cricket. My first thought was that it was suicidal, but I think that's a projection from all the writing I've been doing, and I think it's actually got a seriously masochistic streak instead. It hopped all around the living room and is now hibernating in a rolled-up piece of paper that's been stuck behind M1's desk all week. All of Dorian's action, which is odd for him, drew the others in, and now the cats are driving me nuts trying to get at the cricket. I may or may not have chunked a blue highlighter, a red ink pen, and my iPhone cord in their general direction to try to get them to stop without actually A) getting up or B) hurting the cats. I'm running out of painless, lazy options on my end table, though, so eventually I'm going to have to move. Either that or the cricket is going to have to get an actual suicidal streak and come out to be eaten. Which means I'll clean up cricket remains in cat urp later. Decisions, decisions. Mostly I'm just happy for the laugh.

Timing is everything: I woke up with a migraine this morning. I hadn't had one in a long time, over a month, but since my migraines are related to a negative drop in air pressure and we haven't had a good low move through in over a month, and when I woke up this morning it was also drizzly and rainy... it all makes sense. The part that sucked was that I also used up my last migraine fixer last time I had a migraine and hadn't refilled the prescription. Thankfully Oz was here. He also had volunteered to take M1 to his swimming lesson today, so I went to bed, zonked out, woke up, took some Aleve, and then called the doctor and pleaded my case with the nurse. I swing by the pharmacy tomorrow. A Boy Scout I am not.

Timing is everything: I made a pumpkin streusel pie today. Pie. Singular. There were supposed to be two of them. I made two pie crusts. I made a big honkin' recipe of pumpkin pie filling. I filled two pies. I even started cooking them like the recipe said - 15 minutes at 450 - and then took them out to cover the crusts with foil. I went to put the first one back in, and in total slow motion horror movie close-up shot, it tilted. The silicone potholders slipped. And 2/3 of the pie wound up splattered over the inside of the oven door. I stopped. I stared. And I chunked the rest of the pie in the trash can. It's just pie, right? Then I had to work out a way to clean most of the mess off the door so I could continue cooking the other pie. For the record, LOTS and LOTS of paper towels will keep you from burning yourself and will get most of the stuff cleaned up, except for the brownish residue you find later, cooked to the inside of the door like a bad spray tan. The other pie came out beautifully. I want to see the glass half full here.

Timing is everything: I might have committed murder today. It wasn't entirely my fault. The thing DID play dead for two days. It was the last fish in M1's tank, and when a fish spends one day stuck to the back of the filter and one day lying motionless and visible on the bottom of the tank, I tend to think it's dead. It is a fish, after all, and I'm not prone to giving a fish the ol' poke-'n'-prod to make sure it is actually dead and cold and infused with rigor mortis. Since it was the last fish, I told M1 that I would empty out the tank for him while he was at his swimming lesson. I got the siphon. I got the bucket. I started draining the water. I got the tank 3/4 empty when I realized that I hadn't yet removed the fish and that it would be easier to remove if I siphoned it up as opposed to trying to grab it with my bare hands, something my son will happily do right before feeding it to bugs or dissecting it but something I don't find nearly as fun. I aimed the siphon at the fish and watched it schloop up the siphon. Halfway. Then, at the last possible second (I'm trying to work up drama here), the fish jerked around and flew back out the bottom of the siphon and parked itself in the only remaining corner with more than an inch of water. I had to pause for thought before realizing that even if I filled the tank back up and put in a new filter and got the whole thing going again, the whole water cycle was going to be completely out of whack and it was going to actually die anyway, and M1 wasn't home, and nobody would ever know, and HEY! We have chickens!

They appreciated the odd little treat.

If the stupid fish hadn't waited till the very last second, it would still be alive.

Timing is, indeed, everything.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More Fun With My Son

How My Boy's Mind Works, Vol. 32568:

Picture it. M1 and I are in the van today, getting him a haircut, grocery shopping, and going to the bank, and he suddenly announces out of the blue, "St. Nicholas."

Random.

"St. Nicholas?" I query suspiciously.

"Yes. St. Nicholas is Santa Claus, right?"

Oh God.

"Yes..."

"Well, St. Nicholas was alive a LONG time ago. He should be dead.

[pause]

"But if he's Santa Claus, that means he's still alive.

[pause]

"But if he's still alive, then he can't be a saint."

"Right...," I respond cautiously.

-----

The End.

No, really, that was all. He never did press further. But I strongly suspect this is the last year that Santa exists in his world. It's hard to watch him grow, but dang, the logic is amazing.

Laughing on Tuesday

BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

I love my son. He's quirky. He likes to refer to himself as a freak, which cracks me up because, well, he can accept who he is!!! (I have no problem with freaks. I have six live cats and a collection of miniature cats. I'm a freak myself.)

My boy is very much an Aspie. I need a bumper sticker that says "I [heart] my Aspie." He's so much fun. He may not listen, but it's usually because his mind is engaged elsewhere. He's a combination of the new Sherlock Holmes on PBS and Sheldon from "Big Bang Theory." He gets obsessed with science and ending world hunger and building solar-powered or wind-powered cars. (Yes, a wind-powered car. No, I do not have any clue how this would work.) He has very little gross motor coordination. He has no fine motor skills whatsoever. He likes to do spelling upside-down hanging off the ottoman. It's awesome to hear your kid spell the word 'easily' while his face is turning red and his voice is starting to sound a tad strangled. He doesn't like certain fabrics and specifically hates hotel pillows. He's vegetarian and got excited last night when I made him tofu curry with jasmine rice. Tofu. Who in my family *LIKES* tofu?? Bizarro. Which reminds me, he likes "The Far Side" cartoons. They appeal to his sense of humor. So does John Cleese. The Ministry of Silly Walks is at the height of 8-year-old Aspie humor.

He has an addictive giggle.

He has sensory integration issues when it comes to sound.

Usually the SID (sensory integration disorder) is kind of a pain in the butt because it means that he gets easily overwhelmed when we go places that might have sudden, loud noises.

Usually.

Sometimes I play with him, though, because when he is alarmed by noise, his reactions are extreme.

Today, he did two math pages. Why? Because it's the last lesson in the book and he really, really wants to get to the next book. Why? Because it's the next book. It means he's progressing and can *see* the progression. So he did two math pages. He passed them both. After the second page, he was standing in front of me, between the couch and the ottoman, waiting on the verdict of 'pass' or 'redo these and we'll try another page tomorrow.'

The air was thick with tension.

I held the red pen in the air over the page, watching his expressive little face crease with worry.

Then I yelled, "YOU PASSED!!!" at the top of my lungs.

His eyes blew up into huge circles, his arms flailed widly in the air, and he lost his balance and keeled over backward onto the ottoman. In most kids, this would be overly dramatic. In my kid, it's a reaction to sudden noises, and he and I both cracked up.

Teehee.

I can't help but be amused by all this. It might be wrong, but when it all ends in laughter, it sure does feel right.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thanks and Other Stuff

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. I did, except for the part at the end where the time change screwed with my head and made me feel like I was coming down with something. At least, I'm blaming the time change because I'm still a bit off today and refuse to believe that I might be coming down with a cold, and it makes perfect sense to me that setting my actual clock back an hour could mess with my internal clock as well.

The chickens, of course, know no difference between now and two days ago, because for them bedtime is sundown, but it's highly inconvenient for me because LAST week I could take out dinner scraps - carrot and potato peelings, random bits of veggies, eggshells, etc. - but this week, they're in bed by the time I get around to making supper, and there's nothing that'll attract members of the rodent family to my house like food scraps lying around the yard saying, "Eeeeeeat meeeeee."

And I've already stepped on mouse entrails in my house once this year. I do not need a repeat experience.

Ever.

(By the way, anyone local need/want eggs? Locally grown! Free range, if you consider my back yard free range. They're not technically organic, but heck, it's $2/dozen + a carton... any takers, let me know. I have almost five dozen eggs in my fridge.)

OK, didn't mean to digress down the chicken trail.

What I really wanted to say was thank you all who read and responded to the weird little post about my NaNoWriMo excerpt. I appreciate the feedback. You guys are wonderful.

And that is all. Keeping it short tonight. My brain is in a fog.

Stupid time change.

G'night!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sucking It Up

So two days ago I promised that yesterday I would post an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel.

I meant to. I really, truly did. I even picked out the section that I wanted to share, which given the fact that I've only written 12,000-ish words, didn't take long.

But then I chickened out. I've never had anyone read anything I've written outside of a school setting. I know I can put a sentence together in all its grammatical correctness and make it technically accurate, though occasionally I throw phrases together like 'grammatical correctness,' but I know it's made up and am choosing to use it anyway. But you guys read this, so I know that you don't mind that, right? The *real* reason I didn't post it is because I can hear my mother's voice in my head, and she's being my mother, which means that she's going through every word I'm writing and asking, "Is that what your childhood was like? Is that me? Is that you? Who is that?" because she's my mother and she always overanalyzes things.

It's just who she is. I get that. And to paraphrase one of my favorite movies, she's the voice in my head telling me I can do better. But she overanalyzes.

So now, because I have arguments in my head that will never happen in real life, I am trying to negate any arguments by telling myself, "Be the duck." Let it all roll off. Ignore the fears which are probably unfounded, anyway.

And post the blamin' excerpt!

So here it is folks, in all its unedited glory. My main character - the narrator - is writing the story of her life with bipolar disorder. In this scene, she's seven years old and is eavesdropping on her parents through a crack in the door as they debate whether or not to take her to see a pediatric psychiatrist.

-----

My mother's silence filled the room, as cold as the fluorescent light above. She disapproved of doctors, and 'Archer' wasn't a good name in her book, I could tell. She judged a lot of a person's character by their name. That's why I was never allowed to have a nickname. On the first day of school, when everyone got to state their preferred name, I never got asked what my nickname was. The teachers knew. My mother had inevitably gotten to them first.

"Catherine," she'd instruct the teachers. "Not Katie, not Cat, not Cathy. Not Marie, either, because that's not her first name, it's only her middle name. Catherine, and nothing else. It's a good name, and I want her to use it."

I had been the only child in kindergarten whose name was longer than the blank on the paper for writing it. It had taken me months to master the spelling.

My father sighed again, and I heard the chair creak as he leaned forward again and started to turn back to his work.

"I'll make the appointment if you like, Martha, to absolve you of any responsibility, but I don't think being firmer is going to do any good. Look at all we've done so far. She has so little compared to all the other the kids her age, we've been consistent with her since she was born, and still she's angry. No. I'll make the appointment, and I'll take her if need be."

My mother straightened, and I readied myself for the dash back to my room.

"No, Frank," she stated flatly, "Since you insist on this course, I'll take her. You can come if you like, but I want to be there to see this doctor for myself."

My father nodded silently, and I vaulted for my room. When I reached it, I shut the door and slid down against it. My thoughts tried to roll themselves around all I'd heard.

Pediatric psychiatry. Foreign words in the English language, I had no idea what it all meant. 'Doctor' was easier for me to understand, and when I put that together with my mom talking on the phone to Pastor Schulz, I knew I'd be going somewhere I didn't want to go. I didn't like being angry or sad all the time, but I didn't think there was anything wrong with me. True, I didn't have many friends at school, but that was nothing to me. It wasn't like I could bring them home, so I didn't really talk to too many people. I'd play games with them, talk to them if I needed to, and come home. It was a ritual. I sensed somehow that this doctor was going to mess things up.

I didn't like change. I decided I didn't want to go to this doctor, and if they tried to make me, well... we'd see about that.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary...

So I get on here, have a good rant, and then what happens? The next day comes.

And as inevitably happens, after a bad day, there comes a good one.

Almost too good.

You know the kind I mean? The kids woke up happy, which never happens around here especially when it's dark outside, and nobody dashed down the hall to open the other's bedroom door while the other child was in the middle of getting dressed, which is usually what happens and is punctuated by a shriek and "MOM!!!" while the culprit runs giggling back to his room. Nobody tried to kick each other under the breakfast table. Nobody spilled their milk. M2 put MATCHING barrettes in her hair, which is a first in my book. I didn't even think matching barrettes had survived in this house, because she loves to take ONE of a pair to her room and hide it in a drawer or jewelry box or put it in the hair of a purple plastic pony... then she leaves the other in the bathroom where it's supposed to be. Someday I'm going to set up a singles party for all these lonely barrettes. Nobody tried to kick each other while putting shoes on. Nobody tried to kick each other on the way to school.

We got back home, and M1 has been spectacular. He has focused on math, focused on writing, focused on grammar and truly surprised me when he was able to recite half of a long poem that I had asked him to work on memorizing last week but had forgotten to remind him about and didn't expect him to get past the first couplet. He's doing art now, getting frustrated but refusing to give up. He got excited when I mentioned piano because we get to start a new book today. (And of course he's always excited when I say the word 'science.')

I know sometimes I get grumpy. It *is* hard for me to remember that my giant dude is 8 sometimes and that my giant girl is 5. I try not to expect too much of them, but sometimes I get carried away by their size and intermittent bouts of maturity.

I have good kids, there's no doubt in my mind about that. I just get frustrated with feeling like a broken record player. I know I'm not alone, and that makes it better.

Off to piano. He's setting up without me. Even if this good morning doesn't last all day (and of course it won't, because they're kids), at least I have a record of it!!

Tomorrow I hope to share with you a small excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel, if you're interested. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

AAAAARRRRRGH!!!

Thank you. I needed to get that out of my system. November has not been kind to me so far.

First of all, we have NaNoWriMo. I think I'm doing well! I have written about 8,500 words in my projected-to-be 50,000+ word novel. I had more written this morning until the Blue Screen of Death appeared on my laptop and ate my work with relish. I hadn't seen the Blue Screen of Death in a long time. I haven't missed it.

Then we have M2. She's back to the girl she was before all the poo hit the fan back in March or April or whenever it started; I've blocked the date conveniently from my memory. We went to see the psychiatrist yesterday, and when I told him that she was back to baseline, we chatted a bit about the nastiness of the Lexapro and then he said, "So... if she'd been like this all along, you'd never have come in?" "Right." That answer pleased him, apparently, because the invisible wall that had been up before, the one that basically said he was taking me at face value and didn't really BELIEVE me, disappeared. He said we're left looking at three options to explain her behavior:

1. It was all a phase and we'll never see it again.
2. It's all anxiety, but she's one of the odd kids who just react negatively to SSRIs due to age, and if we have to try it again in a few years, she might have a different reaction.
3. This is the upswing in a roller coaster that will eventually include the rages again.

He thinks we're looking at option #3, though he'd like to see #1 or #2. We go back in three months or sooner if the symptoms return.

So there's that. Which is good. Never mind that I still feel like I'm on pins and needles around her waiting for the other behavioral shoe to drop, and when she's at home, she's like a leech stuck to my leg that can somehow make its thoughts heard in my head and doesn't SHUT UP. Today, after violin, we got home and she insisted on coming out to the chicken coop with me to collect eggs, add straw, clean out and refill water containers, get mail, etc. Leech. I love her dearly, but sometimes I need five minutes of silence. Five minutes. An eternity of silence in a mom's world.

M1... M1, M1, M1... he's the one that caused all the anguish today. The boy has. no. self-control. NONE! I don't understand it. I can tell my 5-year-old to go do a simple chore like picking up the toys in her room, and she will go, and she will do it, and it will be done, and more often than not, it will be done well. I mean, she's five, she ain't perfect, but she FOCUSES and she TRIES. That's what counts. The boy... the boy would honestly and truly lose his head if it wasn't attached. I think I've mentioned that next year I'm going to have him dress up as the Headless Horseman for Halloween just so I can watch him lose his head.

And he's sneaky.

And he lies.

And he doesn't CARE, because if it doesn't affect him or he doesn't think he'll get caught, it must not be wrong. I thought kids with Asperger's were supposed to be rule-followers. Where on earth did MY kid come from?? Oh, right... rule-followers as long as the rules make sense to them.

Today, he lost a library book. Not a big deal in and of itself. I thought I'd help him look for it, and in the process I found Halloween candy wrappers hidden in a drawer. He tried to lie and say they'd been there a long time, but it's only been a few days since I've opened that drawer, and they weren't there then. He finally owned up, but he lost the rest of his candy. I told him he needed to clean up his room in an effort to find the book, and when I went to check on him, he was playing his sister's Didj. I confiscated that and gave it back to her AND took his Didj as well. Anyone want it? Now that he has a DS (which lives in my room permanently because of this exact issue), he doesn't need the Didj. It comes with a blue plastic 'case.' I'd be happy to sell it to ya. And ship it. The process went like that for the rest of the evening. I gave him a 20-minute warning before it was time for supper, warned him that he needed to get to work on *something,* because he hadn't done squat, but it wasn't motivation enough. Twenty minutes came (with warnings) and went and he was no closer to being done than before. I told him he had thirty minutes to be at the table, gave him multiple warnings in between, and still nothing. I told him that he had 15 minutes if he wanted leftovers; nil. I started yanking allowance bucks, and that finally motivated him a little bit, but he still lost $5 before all was said and done.

The book is still nowhere to be found. Since it's not due till next Wednesday and I can recheck it online up to three times, I figure it'll turn up somewhere between now and then. No worries. My beef is that I do not have the time to stand over an 8-year-old boy and monitor his every move. When I say don't play the electronics, it means DON'T PLAY THE ELECTRONICS. When I say clean your room to look for a book, I mean that, too! I know he hears me; he can repeat verbatim what I tell him to do. But somehow the words don't make it from the ears to the brain. The brain is simply bypassed for the mouth.

Someone tell me that eventually a synapse somewhere will fire and he'll be able to monitor his own actions. Just humor me if you have to. I just need to know that at some point my son is going to quit stealing and ignoring and lying and will actually be able to complete a string of commands or own electronic devices (including flashlights) without a 24-hour monitor. Because if he can't start following rules and laws and commands, that 24-hour monitor is going to be attached to his ankle.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Prank Love...

October. It's over now, but it brought lots of good times. Helicopters, earthquakes, parties... and, of course, my friend Beth's birthday.

I'll leave it to you to work out how old she turned.

You should also probably know that Beth is pretty much allergic to earth. Here's a rough rundown of her allergies:

Blue dye of any sort (she once gave me blue dishwasher detergent because the residue was making her break out into hives)
Strawberries
Nightshades of any sort, including tomatoes
Gobs of medications (it's a seriously scary list)
Grasses
Trees
Basically anything outdoors...

And...

Most importantly for this blog post...

Mushrooms and ALL tree nuts.

She's also lactose-intolerant, but really, that just makes for Fun With Gas. It won't actually kill her.

Yet.

Anywho, so she had a birthday, and we hadn't properly pranked her yet. She made the mistake of going out of town again, though, so my friends Christy, Sonia, and I put our pointy little heads together and came up with a plan.

First came the peanut- and mushroom-shaped cupcakes. These we delivered to Beth's mom, who is always happy to help us out in our little schemes.

Then we met up at Beth's house and placed small ceramic mushrooms all over her yard. Please ignore Sonia's costume. She was headed to a costume party that night and was meant to be a vampire slayer. In her words, though, "I'm supposed to be a vampire slayer but I look like Lady Gaga."

Hon, you're still hot.

Then we hung our personalized banner on the bushes so that EVERYONE would know it was her birthday.

That's love right there.

Finally, we had the piece de resistance.

We named him Skippy. And since Christy and I were going to a wine "tasting" party ourselves that night, we decided Skippy should come along for the ride.

Wigs are standard fare at our wine parties. Usually the Bubba Teeth get broken out, too, but this year they didn't make it out. A tutu did, though.

Never mind.

Let me now share with you some of the more G-rated moments that Skippy experienced that night.

Some of the party took place outdoors. I dig the blanket.


Christy was rather possessive of her little goober.

She even let him ride on the swing in the back yard!

She was a very proud mama.

By the end of the night, Skippy had survived but was a little worse for wear, having fallen out of a chair once or twice. We put his hung-over self on Beth's porch for her to find. He's a good little mascot.

Happy Birthday, Beth! We love ya!