Saturday, March 31, 2012

I Mowed the Lawn Today

We're still working on the house.  Some days it seems like the end is nowhere near as close as it was just a few weeks ago, but I know we're making progress.  We just have some fairly big projects right here at the end.  The house has to be painted.  We have to level the foundation.  We have to paint the kitchen, repair the carpet in the hall, and clean like our lives depend on it.  That's really all that has to be done before we put the house on the market; it just seems like everything is taking forever.

My perspective may be a bit skewed.

Anyway, since Oz was busy powerwashing and painting trim and working on other bits and pieces around the exterior of the house, I volunteered to mow the lawn.  I haven't mowed the lawn in forever.  We have a riding lawn mower, so it's not a tough job, and I love to mow.  I just haven't done it.  This is usually because either Oz or I has to keep an eye on the offspring while we're mowing because if you look up the word shenanigans in the dictionary, you'll see a photo of my children nearby.  They are imps.  However, M1 was in a particularly benevolent mood today because I promised him that he could have some time on his Kindle if he behaved.  And he didn't want to do anything to screw that up, because it's been nearly a month since he's had any real electronics time (again, see shenanigans, especially those carried out at 3 a.m.).

Oz got the mower out of the shed, and I set to work.  It takes about an hour to mow our entire lawn because of obstacles like trees and a wishing well and a garden plot, and that hour can be incredibly therapeutic.  While I sat there and baked in the sun (my summer tan is slightly evident after today's work), I could think about things.  I don't even remember what I thought about.  I waved to the neighbor who was coming back from a horseback ride.  I waved to our horse lady who was coming back from a different ride.  I'm pretty sure I was singing to myself at one point, something I did all the time back when I was 14 or 15 and mowing was my job.  The one thing I did NOT do was worry about the kids.

And you know what?  That was therapeutic, too.  It's nice to be back in the saddle... er, lawn mower seat.  Oh, whatever.  I may have to do this more often.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cell Phones, the Library, and the Trust Issue

M2 had an audition for her school's talent show today.  It's the first year the school has had a talent show, and even though auditions were supposed to be spread out over two afternoons - yesterday and today - I suspect 3/4 of the kids who wanted to participate were trying out today.  Because we have other stuff happening on Tuesdays, we were part of that bunch.

And because we go to the library on Wednesdays, M1 was out of library books to read and very quickly got bored waiting for M2.  He sat patiently on a bench outside the tryout area for about 15 minutes before he looked at me and stated very clearly, "I'm going to go climb something if I don't get something to do very soon."

He paused.

"Can I get my books and my library card and walk to the library??"

And once the idea entered his head, it of course gained momentum.  And once it gained momentum, he got very, very excited about it and was absolutely convinced that this was the proper course of action and that I should let him walk to the library all by himself.  It's not far.  It's a residential area.  But the 'helicopter mom' part of me internally shrieked at him, 'OMG WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!? OF COURSE YOU CAN'T WALK TO THE LIBRARY BY YOURSELF!!!  DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY CRAZY PEOPLE ARE OUT THERE???'

And I said, "No."

But then I started thinking about it.  He's 9.  When I was 9, my family moved from our minuscule town in Kansas to a rural area in Oklahoma.  The day after we moved in, a neighborhood girl showed up on our front porch.  She lived one street over, at the end of the street (our streets were all dead ends; I lived at the beginning of our street).  By the time fourth grade ended, we walked back and forth to one another's homes fairly regularly, without supervision.  

Even when I had been in Kansas, in third grade, I would visit friends' homes and we would walk to the convenience stores nearby.  Or we'd visit the park.  In other words, it may be 20-something years later, and I can't let him do exactly the same things that I did, but I still had some freedom by the age of 9.

It was at that exact moment that I realized why homeschool kids might need cell phones.  I had never really given a lot of thought to the idea of getting a cell phone for M1.  I totally get it for kids in public school, because heck yeah I want to know if the school goes on lockdown or something else happens, but my basis of argument for M1 had always been, "He's with me all the time.  Why would he need a phone?"  

Today, I got it.  He won't always be with me.  He'll want me to bug off instead of hang out during his classes.  He'll want to walk to the library - and it won't be impractical.  He'll want to go somewhere with his friends and not borrow their mom's phone when it's time for me to come pick him up.  In other words, soon enough, he'll become more independent.

All that flashed in my mind after I told him, "No" to walking to the library, and I realized that I was staring at a kid who was starting to push the envelope, just a little.  He never even would have considered walking to the library a year ago.  Now?  Well... yeah.

So I walked into the room where M2 was still waiting to audition.

"I'll be back in a few minutes," I told her.  "I'm taking M1 to the library, and I'll be taking your books back at the same time.  How many books do you want me to get for you?"

"Four," she told me, "and remember I wanted one on teeth, please."

I told her I'd do my best.  Then I drove M1 to the library.  He wasn't thrilled about it, but he didn't gripe.  So when we walked in, I called him to me.

"I know you're disappointed that you didn't get to walk here by yourself."  He nodded.  I continued.  "Did you know that the library allows 9-year-olds to be on their own in here?" (They do... they have a policy clearly posted.  And the librarians there know us fairly well, so they know to whom he belongs.)

His eyes lit up, but he kept quiet.

"Would you like to stay here and quietly read your books while I go back to the school and wait on M2?"

"Yes!!" he shrieked in a stage whisper. 

I nodded.  I told him to behave or else.  I watched him check out his books and go park himself near the library fireplace.

And I left.  When I got back to the school, M2 was second in line, and it took about 15 minutes before she was done, approved for the talent show, and we were in the car again.  Not too long, really, but it still felt like an eternity to me.  When we got back to the library, M1 was still in the same chair.  He turned when he heard me approach.

"I turned around every time I heard footsteps," he explained as he gathered his books to leave.  "I didn't want to miss you."

I had to smile.

"I thought about disobeying you a couple of times, like going to the back tables and hiding or trying to walk back to the school.  But I decided that would be bad because then you'd never let me do this again."


"And I want you to trust me."

And the heavens opened.  And angels sang.  And I thought, 'Maybe he's not entirely brainless.'  But if he wants to do this regularly, he's going to need a cell phone.  Maybe when he's 10.  He's still just a baby, after all.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Learning to Shut Up

I'll admit it.  I'm not very good at shutting up.  I enjoy having the last word in an argument.  I'm also not very good at letting things go.  I totally have a Type A personality and like everything to be 'just so.'  (In other words, I like things my way or the highway.)

I'm also raising two children who are very much like me.

In a lot of ways, I'm glad that they're strong-willed and have specific ways that they like things and that they don't take crap from anyone.  On the other hand, it's going to be a complete PITA to parent them when they are teens.  M1 is already taking those first baby steps toward a full-on teenage brattitude, and I know darn good and well that if I don't start preparing NOW, the next, oh, 10 years of my life could be sheer hell.

So when, a couple weekends ago, Oz suggested dropping me off at the bookstore while he took the kids for breakfast, I agreed.  Mostly because M1 was displaying behavior that would have caused an apostle to lose his temper (especially John, but I'm getting off track here), but also because it had occurred to me that there might just be a book out there that could help me get through these teen years without completely losing it.

And I found this:

I'll say right now that if you can't handle reading, imagining, or dealing with profanity, this is not the book for you.  If you want a book that provides a Christian perspective on parenting a teen, this is not the book for you.  But if you're in the mood for a sarcastic, witty, and perhaps a tad overdramatic book about how to react to teens, this is a decent guide.

Things I like:
1.  I like the way the author imagines actual conversations and inserts a teen's 'thoughts' into the work.  It reads smoothly, and I've laughed out loud several times.  While there may be some overdramatization (unless you have a really dramatic teen), the points are well-made and effective.
2.  The tools that he demonstrates are simple and hopefully effective.  He opens the book by stating the obvious:  We're not allowed to beat our kids like parents in generations past did, yet we're expected to turn out the same quality of child.  How does one do this?  And he goes on to suggest ways to do so.  Realistically.
3.  He admits that nobody is perfect.  He allows for those days when you really can't handle one. more. sassy. comment.  He admits that there are times when parents are going to change their minds in the middle of an argument just to shut the kid up.  It's mightily refreshing to get an author who understands that nobody's perfect.  Including himself.  Like I said, he's realistic.
4.  He attempts to imagine many different scenarios.  Boys, girls, at home, in public, in the car, at school... he covers his bases.  There are entire chapters dedicated to school, sex, electronics, etc.

Things I don't care for quite as much:
1.  The overly dramatic tone.  I have never met a teen who would repeatedly tell their parent to eff off.  I'm sure they're out there, but for heaven's sake.  And I absolutely dare my child to ever call me a bitch to my face.  I understand why he ramped up the drama - so that parents of children who fit that description won't feel like theirs are over the top - but sometimes I just want to roll my eyes.
2.  The 'wait until later' approach.  In other words, pick one small battle at a time - such as saying 'no' to a request or giving the child a chore to do - and deal with anything else, like disrespect, name-calling, etc., later.  While I like the idea, I'm not entirely sure of its practicality.  With a child who will snipe at everything and who has very limited windows of calmness, it seems like a good recipe to pick fights 'later.'  I'm not sure what an alternative answer would be, though, because he also makes a good point that dealing with these things 'now' will also escalate matters.  So this could just be something I don't like simply because it's a tough pill to swallow.  See Paragraph #1 in this blog post.
3.  The perspective on sex, drugs, and drinking.  Again, I know why the author did this.  He did this for the same reason that he uses profanity - to help parents who are dealing with it feel like they aren't alone.  But the author assumes throughout most of the book (except in the chapters about these specific topics) that teens are drinking, having sex, and probably smoking pot.  I find it a little unrealistic.  But again, I get it.

So overall, I'm happy with the book.  The things I don't like are pretty minor when compared to the things I do.  I know it isn't a guide for all parents and all situations and all things, because each family is different, but it's a good starting point.  And for now, that's what I need.

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Baby

My baby.  My little M2.  I love telling her birth story because she decided to come into this world three weeks early, bound and determined that she was coming out RIGHT NOW.  

But I'll spare you those details.

Oz and I had considered several names for her, but there was only one that seemed right.  When we told our mothers what we had decided, they hated it.  My mom remembered a girl from her college with that name who was abrupt and took no crap from anyone; my mother-in-law had similar reasons for disliking our choice.  But Oz and I didn't care.  And once M2 was born, everyone saw that the name fit her to a T.  Is she a little abrupt?  Perhaps, sometimes.  She takes after her mother that way  Does she take crap?  Oh, heck no.  Is she aptly named?  Yes, unless M2 decides that she's Freya that day, which is a whole other post.

Tomorrow, this little imp turns 7.  It seems like only yesterday that she was a tiny little 1-year-old sitting on the front porch...

... or a 2-year-old who desperately wanted her hair long enough to be in a pony tail...

... or a 3-year-old who begged to have earrings and all her hair chopped off...

... or a 4-year-old who couldn't wait to be in school ALL DAY EVERY DAY so that there were lots and lots of people to play with...

... or a 5-year-old going on 15 with enough attitude to stick her hip clear into the middle of next week.

And now, of course, she's my 6-year-old.

She's sweet and charming and funny and empathetic and oh, so smart.  She loves animals and anatomy and art.  She loves reading, playing her violin, and being outdoors as much as humanly possible.  Her moods are as changeable as ever, but even when she loses hope that there is such a thing as a positive tomorrow, a few cuddles from Mama can still make things just a little bit better.

Happy Birthday, M2.  I can't wait to see what the next year brings, and no matter what, I love you always!

Monday, March 19, 2012

My 500th Post

According to Blogger, this is my 500th blog post.  I didn't realize that fact until I logged on to type this, but I think it's fitting, because I like big, round, noticeable numbers.  Also, it's 2012.  I don't believe in the so-called Mayan Apocalypse, but I do believe that this year will be memorable for a couple of reasons.

First, I turn 30 in less than a month.  Speaking of big, round, noticeable numbers, there's one.  I'd like to get my weight down to 150, which is also a big, round, noticeable number.  I'm only 10 lbs. away, so it's technically doable as long as I quit eating Totinos and Ben & Jerry's at 10:30 p.m.  Y'know, things like that.

Second, M2 comes home this fall.  When that happens, I will no longer be a private school mom.  (I've never been a public school mom.)  I will officially be a full-time homeschooling mother.  I'm excited.

Third, we will be moving, and I don't plan to do so again until I'm old and wrinkly and gray.  We have to get lucky and catch the market, but I think we'll do okay.  This is sheer optimism speaking, of course, but I'll take whatever universal vibrations I can get.

Finally, I think this year will be memorable for the animals and people who "shuffle[d] off this mortal coil."  So far, I've lost a cat.  The gerbil is on its way out.  It's been in the corner of its cage since M2 and I cleaned it a couple of days ago, and it hasn't eaten or made a nest, and I haven't seen any evidence that it's drunk anything or used the bathroom, either.  Moving to the bipedal family members, Oz's grandmother and stepfather have been in and out of the hospital several times this year; his mother has been in twice.  My dad's dad is in very poor health (in a nursing home) and my mom's mom may be losing vision in her good eye.  Even if nobody actually passes, all the dominos are being set up to tumble, one after another, and I'm trying to make peace with that.

I won't borrow trouble, though.  No matter how bleak the outlook, I think the overall vibe of this year will be positive, and I don't want to lose sight of that.  2012 will definitely be a stepping stone, a time when I'll look back and think that this is when everything started.  And I'm okay with that.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

And Then I Checked the Mail...

It's a good thing that it's Spring Break.  I have too much going on to be teaching school this week!

I mentioned that the real estate agent had come by and given us a list of things to do, including have someone out to look at the foundation.  The inspector showed up last week and subsequently sent us a report saying that we need to have extra piers added to the back of the house.  This is problematic for two reasons:
     1.  We're not sure that's really what needs to be done. Quite frankly, Oz and I question the entire report because it says that he checked the structural beams in the attic, and we know for a fact that he didn't open a single attic access point (there are three in the house).  I dunno, maybe he can do that from the exterior.  Not sure about any of it.  But we shall see.
     2.  We have a septic tank that is buried not too far from where the piers are meant to be added.  This means that heavy machinery and tons of digging aren't even a remote option in that area.

So there's that, which is frustrating, but there has been plenty of good happening around here, too.  Oz and I got a weekend to ourselves while the kids were at my mom's.  We met friends for dinner both Friday and Saturday nights and got half of the laundry room painted.  On Sunday we volunteered at a 5K race since Oz's company was a sponsor.  We served free green beer.  We had the popular booth, as you can imagine, and my hands were green for days afterward.  The kids got long overdue haircuts this morning.  I took more stuff to storage and a giant box of clothes to Goodwill.  We met friends at the park on Monday, and M1 got to meet a boy his size and one year older.  They got along splendidly.  I'm sure we'll see them again soon.  M2 got her own library card.  We even went to the DMV and were pleasantly surprised to discover NO LINE.  We were the only customers in there.

The heavens rejoiced.

M2 also got a new violin:

It's a half-size.  She'll have been playing violin for three years this summer, and this is her fourth instrument.  I'm grateful that we have a shop in town that believes in quality instruments AND in giving lots of credit for instruments that come back in good shape.  This time around, we actually saved some money over renting because she used the instrument for almost a year!  I'm hopeful that her 1/2-size violin will last her quite a while.  If only she'd quit growing.

M1 needs to quit growing, too.  We had an allergy appointment yesterday, and they measured his height.  He's grown nearly two inches since he was last measured a couple months ago, and I know he's not done yet.  I know this because he's eating like a horse.  Yesterday for lunch he ate three corn dogs, steamed peas, yogurt, and two clementines.  Then he sacked out in the car on the way to swim.  After swim, he insisted he was starving again, so I took him to Sonic and he ordered an entire meal.  And ate it.  And yes, he did eat dinner, too.  Today I took them to a local burger joint for lunch and ordered him a double cheeseburger.  The teen behind the counter gave me a skeptical look.  "You know that's a whole half pound of meat."  "Yes," I said, "and have you ever seen him eat??"  He polished off the burger as well as most of his large fry order but did concede that he probably wouldn't be hungry until dinner.  Oh, and speaking of the allergy appointment, we found out that M1 only has a couple more months of injections left before he hits his maintenance dose.  That thrilled him, since the thicker serum has really been bugging him lately.

So all of this has happened just since Friday.  And yesterday, since Oz wasn't coming home until late, I checked the mail.  

I shouldn't have done that.

I received a jury duty summons.  For the one Monday in April that M2 is out of school.  I sent the form back requesting excusal on the basis that I am M1's primary educator, but I'm not holding my breath.  I will probably have to suck it up and go in.  I just hope I don't have to sit on a jury, because I really, really do not know what I would do about the kids.  Tuesdays mean allergy shots, swim lessons, and violin lessons as well as school, and Thursdays aren't much better, and there really isn't anyone else who can teach the boy-o if I'm out of touch.  I understand that jury duty really isn't convenient for anyone, but still.  We'll see about that, too.  I sure as heck don't have time to worry about it this week - there's too much going on for that!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Today I had my last parent-teacher conference for the foreseeable future.  It went well; conferences for M2 usually do.  During the course of our discussion, M2's teacher mentioned that she'd heard that M2 would be homeschooled next year, and she wanted to find out whether that was true or not before confirming or denying anything to the other kids.

I respect that, and of course I told the teacher the truth that we do plan to bring M2 home.  I admitted that I wasn't 100% sure that it was the best decision for her, but it was the best decision for me and probably for M1 as well, because he gets nearly as stressed out with our schedule as I do.  I don't know that we'll necessarily slow down when both kids are home, but it might make the days a little easier.

The teacher, in turn, told me that M2 was going to be very much missed by her classmates.  I'm sure that's true.  M2 will miss them, too.  It is one of the drawbacks to bringing her home.  Even if we attend the functions that the school holds throughout the year, it still won't be the same for M2 as seeing them every day.

That being said, I think bringing M2 home is still the right choice overall.  She's been begging for harder work from the teacher for a while now.  She brings home beginner cursive worksheets, and she and one other student have been working ahead in math.  (The same other student also goes to second-grade reading/spelling with M2.)  When the teacher told me her reading fluency level today, she commented that it was "second grade... actually, above second-grade level."  M2 hasn't brought home math homework in weeks because she makes the time to get it done at school.  Clearly the child is motivated and needs to be challenged.  We've been lucky that this year her teacher is willing to push her; there's no guarantee that will continue to happen.  It might.  But it also might not.

Actually telling the teacher that we're leaving made it all sort of final.  Before now anything that had been said was pure speculation.  After we return from Spring Break, it won't take long before M2's classmates - and the rest of the school - are aware that she won't be back, even if it's only a vague thought in their heads.  The chairperson of our PTA equivalent sent out the agenda for the April meeting this week and mentioned elections for the committee next fall.  I'm currently acting as vice-chair; I'll have to decline any nominations that come my way this time.

A part of me is going to miss going up to the school.  I've been up there almost every day since 2007, when M1 started at the preschool.  I've been a homeroom mom, substitute teacher, field trip driver, and vice-chair of the school committee.  I've seen a lot of these kids grow from itty-bitty teeny-tiny things to the 'big kids' they are now. M1's class will be in fourth grade next year.

It's a new chapter I'm stepping into.  I'm not afraid of it, and I'm not going to change my mind (especially once everyone finds out about it, because I'm stubborn like that), but it's definitely going to be different.  There are good and bad points to every major decision.  I can only hope that the kids will understand some day.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What To Do?

What do you do when a child's handwriting is awful?  I'm not talking about a little bit crooked or things that are misspelled - those things are age-appropriate and can be fixed with time.  I'm talking about handwriting that is barely legible - what my elementary teachers would have called "chicken scratching."

M1 probably has dysgraphia.  Handwriting is and always has been difficult for him.  We're working on cursive, and he sort of likes it, but he sort of doesn't because it's still writing.  For now, though, he still has to turn in work, and half the time I can barely read it.

We've worked on handwriting consistently since he came home three years ago.  We use Handwriting Without Tears, and he knows how to write properly.  He simply won't do it.  A lowercase 's' often looks like a backward 'c' because he won't put the top curve on it.  Lowercase 'n' and 'h' could be twins more often than not.  The list goes on and on.  If he misses a letter in a word, rather than erase and fix it he'll try to squeeze it in, even if there isn't space.  He doesn't leaves space between words or sentences.  Letters are all over the place, even on paper that has the dotted line down the middle to help keep things even.  If the space is available, his writing is HUGE - this is becoming a real issue with regards to math, where it's often hard to pick out his answer from the chaotic math problems scattered around the page (yes, I do provide him with separate paper to do these on, but he won't use it).

I let him type when he can, but that's a painfully tedious process yet, too, so for now that really isn't an option.

What would you do?  I need ideas, because I'm about out.  Right now I'm making him copy the really bad stuff over again, but that adds SO much time to our school day, depending on whether he'll focus or not (the focus issue is another part of the puzzle here... I really wish I could put him back on Vyvanse!).  So what do you think?  Tough it out till he's fluent at typing and/or cursive?  Make him keep copying the worst stuff over?  Just get over it?  I will not write everything (many reasons for this, not the least of which is that M1 needs to work on his capitalization and punctuation issues), nor is oral work always an option, so I really need something that might stick.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Question of the Day:

"If you didn't have to obey the laws of physics... or any other laws... what would you invent?"

M1 posed this question to me while chowing down on his not insignificant lunch of half a rosemary pork tenderloin, a huge slice of bread with butter, a cheese stick, and approximately a pint of strawberries.  He's also complaining of pain behind his knees.  I suspect growth.

Anyway, back to the QOTD.

I had to admit I hadn't really considered what I would make if I didn't have to obey any sort of law, physical or otherwise, but apparently M1 had given this some serious thought in the 30 seconds of silence that had preceded the question.  When I answered that I really didn't know, he gave me the following options:

Option 1:  Build a bedroom that was voice-activated and could morph into anything he wanted.  So if he wanted a space shuttle, for instance, all he would do is say, "Space shuttle," and it would change.  And then he could go anywhere almost instantly (because, of course, there are no laws of physics applicable here) and find extraterrestrial life.  And if they were hostile, he'd fight them with his finger laser.

Option 2:  Create organic Legos so he could build any pet he wanted.  I had to admit this one was pretty cool, until M1 followed up with a desire to see if he could recreate a few dinosaurs.  Which led me to wonder how many other elementary-aged kids would do the same thing.  We'd probably create our own demise with this invention.

Option 3:  Create a wormhole maker that could fit in his bedroom.  "Something like when they jump into the picture on Mary Poppins but better."

What would you make if you had no laws to obey?

Monday, March 5, 2012



... the cat, Pepe, has gone to Never-Never Land for felines.  The Great Catnip Patch in the sky.  Whatever you want to call it.  I was there with him through the entire process, and the vet agreed that it was time.  His body temperature was low, signifying that he was shutting down already, and he'd lost 2 lbs. in two months, which is a lot for any cat, let alone one that was only 6.1 lbs. to begin with.  I am at peace with this.  It was sad, but he is not hurting any more.

... Oz and I busted our humps this weekend to get stuff done around the house.  We cleaned, decluttered, and otherwise worked our tail ends off for the realtor to come today.  I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at the list she gave us of things we still need to do, but I think that is because I'm still coming down from a weekend of work.  The list really isn't all that long.  We need to patch the carpet in a couple of spots where the cats have clawed it, we need to touch up paint in a couple of rooms and fully paint a couple more (including the laundry room, which had nearly been on my to-do list already), and we need to get someone out to look at the foundation.  Other than that, we just have to finish cleaning (steam clean the carpets, scrub the light fixtures, etc.) and decluttering.  So it's not a horribly long list.  It only seems like it.  Still, I wish I felt a bigger sense of accomplishment.  Selling a house is stressful.  I want it to be done already.  I'm quite sure I'll have several good cry-fests before it's all over with.  And hopefully I'll never have to do it again. :P

... the kids are going to visit my mom this weekend.  It's been so long since they've spent the night anywhere but at home that I'm almost giddy at the prospect.  Of course, Oz and I are talking about doing the aforementioned painting this weekend, but who knows.  It's very tempting to be lazy.

... M2's school has a lice breakout.  Two kids were apparently sent home today.  The school receptionist/nurse gave everyone else the all-clear, but I'm paranoid now.  Part of me wants to keep M2 home for the rest of the week on principle.  She has Friday off anyway since that's the start of Spring Break.  This is tempting, too.

... it is March.  Since when did 2012 get permission to go by as quickly as 2011?  I don't like this.  Nobody asked me.

Friday, March 2, 2012

So proud of my lil' dude

Do glasses come equipped with maturity?  I just want to know.  Because what has occurred in this house over the last couple of days is nothing short of miraculous.

M1 loves his glasses.  They're technically reading glasses, but his ophthalmologist assured me that if he wanted to wear them 24/7 it wouldn't hurt his vision because the only prescription in the lenses is a bit of a prism.  So he wears them constantly.  *I* think they make him look young and adorable, but *he* thinks they make him look older.

And, well, if he looks older, he also thinks he should act older.

He was being difficult for a while today.  After the third or fourth reprimand, I sent him to his room for the rest of the afternoon.  Since it was already about 4:15 p.m., that wasn't too long to begin with, but the exile was made even shorter when Oz and I had to gather up the kids so we could take our very first load of boxes to the newly-rented storage unit.  (For the record, I've done a fairly decent job of keeping the house clutter-free.  If we didn't need the square footage - an office for Oz and a school room for the kids and I - there would be no reason for us to move.  It's nice that storage isn't the problem!)

After we got home, I asked M1 to clean up his room.  I expected that he wouldn't be particularly keen to do that, but to my surprise, he calmly agreed.  And not only that, but he then went and did it.  AND... he came out in the middle of it (to return some glue to his art box) and apologized for having been disobedient.

I was so shocked, I don't even remember what I said.

I've talked to him time and time again over the years about taking responsibility, being respectful, and treating others the way you want to be treated, but I thought it would be one of those things that wouldn't sink in until he was out on his own, if I'm honest.  I'm sure this is a fluke and I'll eat my words in a week or two.  But if I'd known that all it took to start the process was a pair of glasses to make him look older, I'd have bought him a fake pair years ago!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The End

So.  February is over.  And with the end of February, I know several folks besides myself who were hoping that this year would slow down.  I told a friend of mine the other day that by 12-21-12 (which is, ya know, the end of the world and all), the world won't necessarily end, but we'll all be so sick and tired of the drama and the never-ending crap that we'll all just throw our hands up and walk away.  Mass exodus to the closest cruise ship that goes nowhere and never comes back.

Tequila manufacturers should start preparing now.

I don't think the year listened, though, because here it is, March 1, 2012, and my house is in a state of chaos that it hasn't seen in... well, at least 10 years.  I know, because it's been almost 10 years since we moved in.

And now, here we are, starting to pack up again.

We aren't going anywhere officially yet.  But tomorrow Oz or I will be headed to the storage facility to rent a unit, and I've already begun hoarding boxes and packing superfluous junk into them.

It's not all junk.  There are baby books, photo albums, holiday decorations, and other sundry items that I would actually cry if they went missing.  But I don't need five tablecloths (thanks, Grandma) and three sets of napkins.  The kids play with Play-Doh maybe twice a year.  I don't need fall curriculum until... well, August anyway, if not necessarily fall.  These things can be packed away.

Pepe, circa 2005
The end is also nigh for the Old Man Cat.  I thought it was bad a few months ago when he was the Stinky Death Cat, but no... that wasn't bad.  Well, ok, it was bad.  But it wasn't as pathetically bad as it is now.  Two days ago, he reached a new low.  I'm pretty sure he's no longer able to use the... er... feline facilities... with any grace, and he's tracking nasty little paw prints all over my floor.  Which means that any furniture he climbs on is also contaminated.  Which means he's not grooming himself.  And he's lost all the fight that he used to have when *I* groom him.  He just lies there like a limp mat and kind of moans a little.  It's really, really sad.  He's not eating well, not grooming himself, not using the bathroom... *sigh*  It's time.  I hate making these sorts of decisions, but I called the vet's office this afternoon and made a 9 a.m. appointment for tomorrow.  I'm pretty sure I'll go in with an animal and come home without one.  He's been a sweet, sweet boy for the few years we've had him, but he looks nothing like the cat in the photo above.  Which is another clue.

My house is filthy.  Dirty cat paw prints... dust everywhere... boxes piled in front of the living room closet door... M1 can't find his swim jammers OR his kick board (his goggles got schlepped to Pennsylvania with his grandfather. I'm grateful we had a secondary pair AND they're willing to mail the original ones back to us)... M2's closet has vomited Perler beads and articles of clothing that she stashed instead of putting them away... even the tablecloth is disgusting.  I lack the energy to deal with all of it.  Right now I should either be cleaning or be in the back yard putting a fresh coat of Rustoleum on the storm shelter door, but I have absolutely zero motivation.  Did I mention the realtor is coming on Monday to give the house a once-over and decide what else needs to be done and what the place might be worth?

Spring Break and summer are looming large, too.  The swim coach is incredibly excited about summer plans, and sign-up for those events starts next week.  The violin teacher is discussing the spring concert and asked me on Tuesday to help M2 get a solo ready.  It's a brand-new song.  We shall see.  M2's birthday is later this month, too, and I only started gift shopping this week - usually I'm done by now.  I need to get invitations for the party sent to her class next Thursday since that's when Spring Break starts (they get two weeks off), and oh yeah, I can't forget that she has to build a leprechaun trap that involves a simple machine.  (For the record, a simple machine may or may not be simple to build when you're talking about something that needs to be disposable.)

The end of this week, month, year, decade cannot come fast enough.  I'm ready for it all to be over.

Pass the Cuervo.