It Takes Wisdom To Know The Difference

It Takes Wisdom To Know The Difference

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Punishment For My Sins

Thing Two has just started learning to play the trumpet.  Oh, the enthusiastic bleats and moans and dying-cow noises; the dog runs for cover every time he picks it up and the rest of us are wishing that we could.  I understand yet again why my mother made me learn to play all new instruments in my bedroom with the door shut when I was a kid.  Karma is a bitch and what went around is definitely coming it's my turn to be the parent who has to suffer through the initial stages with a new instrument.  I'm sure that both of my parents will find this highly amusing after everything I put them through!

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Chosen Ones

Got an email today reminding me about a birthday party that Thing One is attending tomorrow.  From the other names on the email, I can tell that Thing One's whole posse was invited.  They're a tight-knit crew of eight or ten boys and have mostly been together since kindergarten, although there are a few newer arrivals mixed in.  As I've mentioned before, my family moved a lot when I was a kid.  At the time, I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea of growing up with one group of friends since the concept was so alien to me, although at various points I desperately wished for that kind of stability.  It's funny that I am watching my son grow up with the life I wanted as a kid--living in one house in one town, with all the same kids from grade school through high school--and deeply ironic that he is begging for a passport and wants us to take him somewhere (anywhere!) out of the country!!  The grass is always greener, I guess.  We might not have had much by way of roots while I was growing up, but I sure saw a lot of the world in the course of our adventures.

We've been in this house for almost twelve years and in this state for over fourteen, which blows my previous record for living anywhere (six years or so) all to hell.  As my kids are putting down roots here, so am I.  And I suppose that over time I'm acquiring somewhat of a posse of my own, although in thinking about it, it sure is an eclectic bunch of people.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

Had lunch with four of them today: my "ninjas," some of the girls who do taekwondo with me.  The Indian instructor, an accountant by training.   She's tiny but deadly and an absolute knockout in a sari, although she doesn't wear traditional garb very often.  The Egyptian Muslim instructor, who is also a professor of English and keeps the wickedest, sharpest sense of humor you ever saw buried under her hijab along with her hair.  The Filipina, who runs a YMCA childcare program when she's not kicking ass and who keeps us all supplied with ginger tea from her uncle's Asian-import store.  The Italian-American gym teacher, who runs marathons for fun and could probably bench-press me.  Every one a wonderful, strong, supportive woman.  Oh, and every one a black belt or higher, too...not a lunch table to mess with!  Then there's my two closest geocaching friends, men of 55 and 70 respectively who share my obsession with solving puzzles and finding hidden things and who cheerfully hang off bridges and hike up mountains and wade through swamps with me while doing it.  And of course my best friend B, who has *zero* interest in either martial arts or geocaching but who has my back in every imaginable scenario, loves my kids like her own and can make me laugh till wine comes out my nose!      

If friends are indeed the family that we choose for ourselves, I've chosen well, even though this group might look a bit odd on a Christmas card.  And since I'm not planning to move ever again, they are stuck with me for the duration...hope they're okay with that!  :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Vacation or Trip?

Courtesy of a friend's Facebook page, a few days ago I was treated to a very funny Huffington Post article entitled "Vacation or Trip? A Helpful Guide For Parents."  Go ahead, read it!

In a nutshell, the author argues that any time spent away from home involving your children, a kitchen, another family or relatives is a trip, not a vacation (which by definition involves actual peace, quiet and/or relaxation.)  The part of the article that hit home the most for me??  This paragraph:

What is Your Role in the Family?
If you are the Default Parent
 and/or the Stay-at-Home Parent, you aren't even on a trip. You are on a work trip, and, in a perfect world, the entire "journey to a place" would be a damn tax write-off. The only known and quantifiable "break" you are getting from life is that for about a week you will not have to open and sort the mail. Other than that, it's business as usual.

Yep, that's about it.  I've jokingly-but-not-jokingly told my husband that our beach trips are essentially exercises in moving my standard jobs to places where it is harder to get them done (although it is becoming blessedly simpler as the kids get older, I will say that much.)

At any rate, I was thinking about this today because I just this morning booked an actual vacation for Himself and me!  Just a long-weekend trip to a historic inn in a beautiful mountainous area a few hours away by car, not jetting off to Hawaii or anything, but I can't wait.  The kids will be at my in-laws' that week, so we'll be able to relax and read and eat and sleep in peace!  And considering that we are taking a trip (literally and figuratively) with them the whole week before, we'll definitely be due for a vacation by then.  :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Day 10

My husband left for his extended business trip at the crack of dawn a week ago Monday.  I am happy to report that all three children are still alive and well despite their best efforts to drive me completely batshit crazy in his absence.  At the moment they are 7 (soon to be 8), 9 (sooner to be 10) and 12, but they have this truly lovely trick of descending to the lowest common level when together, meaning that I effectively have triplet eight year-olds as far as behavior is concerned!  (My daughter is mature for her age, which at least raises the bar a little.)  Utterly maddening.  Last night I got a sitter and went out to dinner with friends and it's the smartest thing I've done in the last 10 days!  If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy...truer words were never spoken and this Mama *needed* a night off.

One more week.  Who thinks I can make it??  Given all the wine in this house, it's a damned good thing I never drink alone.  And I REALLY have no idea how either single parents or spouses of deployed service members do this long term, so I hereby offer a most sincere tip of my hat to each and every one of them!


Sunday, July 19, 2015

One Lucky Lady

So, my husband is in the middle of a two-and-a-half-week business trip to London.  He left last Monday and returns a week from Wednesday, 16 days gone in all (but who's counting?)  Fully in keeping with Murphy's Law, Thing One had a soccer tournament both days of this weekend in a town two hours' drive away, by far the furthest from home of the three summer tourney sites.  Oh, and did I mention that it was also 95 degrees outside both days and that yesterday was my birthday?  Was REALLY not looking forward to hauling all three kids two hours each way both days by myself, as you might imagine.

Anyway, into the breach stepped my amazing in-laws.  They live about an hour from us and the tourney site is another hour past them.  They invited us to stay with them for the weekend.  The original plan was that I was going to bring the kids down to their house Saturday morning, leave the younger two with them and then take Thing One to his two games, which would get us back to their house around 9:30PM but at least would not require anyone other than me to suffer through the stifling heat with Thing One.  So, that morning I loaded up the car with dog and dog food and dog crate and air mattress and soccer bags and snacks and sunblock and hats and water jugs and clothes for the four of us and all the other necessary crap and got us all to my in-laws' house, where my FIL promptly informed me that he intended to take Thing One to that day's games himself since he couldn't make today's game.  Then my MIL took the two younger ones to the park, which very unexpectedly (but blessedly) left me with two free hours in the afternoon, which I of course spent geocaching in peace because I could, and hey, happy birthday to me.  :)

We stayed at their house overnight (I should also point out that my FIL, who does all the household laundry there, washed Thing One's soccer uniform for him that night!), and then today my MIL and I brought all three kids to the tourney since there was only one game and I like it when the kids cheer for each other.  Can I tell you how awesome it was to have another adult there to help with hauling all the stuff around and keeping the younger kids entertained?  It was 95 degrees in the shade (thankfully there were trees near the field) and apparently the real-feel temp was 114 in the sun according to some weather app but the kids all survived and Thing One played a good game even though he was hot and miserable.  I was very proud of him for trying so hard under such tough conditions.  We got them all frozen drinks on the way home, tossed everyone into cool showers and then my in-laws took us all out for dinner to celebrate my birthday before we loaded up the car again to head back home.

Could have been a really horrendous weekend, but they saved it.  Pretty sure I used those exact words while thanking them (profusely!) when we left.  They are good people through and through and I am one really fortunate daughter-in-law!


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Things I Do Not Get

The gym to which I belong recently installed lockers in the hallways.  Each one has a built-in combination lock which can easily be set by each individual user for each use.  Very handy for purses, coats, etc that you don't feel like either leaving in the hallway or taking into an exercise classroom with you.  The lockers get a lot of use.


Nobody actually LOCKS them.

They open the door, put their belongings inside, close the door, and leave.  How many times have I opened an unlocked locker only to find it full of stuff?   Many, many times.  This in itself is not a big deal and I can usually find an empty one eventually.  The part I don't understand is why any rational human being would choose to put her (and it is generally her) purse into an unlocked locker (which she could easily CHOOSE to lock, but doesn't) and then walk away from it for an hour plus!

Entitlement?  Obliviousness?  General idiocy?  Hell itself would freeze over before I would leave my purse unattended and unsecured for any length of time (the thought of having to go through all the bureaucratic aggravation involved in replacing the driver's license, credit cards, etc alone gives me palpitations.)  A thief would have a field day at this gym and I frankly can't believe that it hasn't happened already.  Maybe it's just a reflection of the fact that I live in a generally safe, relatively wealthy area, so people just aren't thinking about the potential for crime all around them, but wow.  Just wow.  Call me a cynic, but maybe common sense really isn't that common?


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Well, So Much For THAT Pedicure

What you're looking at below is two large pieces of heavy-duty cardboard (probably two feet in length) held together with packing tape.  This contraption is used as a target for a particular kind of kick called a round kick--one person holds it perpendicular to the ground by one of the shorter ends and the other person kicks it.  It makes a very satisfying *thwack* when struck correctly.  

This is a round kick (image from Wikipedia.)  This dude is getting a round kick to the side of the head, which can actually be lethal if done correctly.  Good thing he's covering up!  Bottom line, this is a very powerful kick, particularly for those (like me) with long legs.

Now, go back to that top picture. See the red streaks on that cardboard target?  Those are nail polish!  You can see exactly where the top of my foot hit the target each time.  Nice little cluster, dontcha think??  I had to repaint both big toenails after class but I don't even mind because this is photographic proof that I am becoming a badass ninja.  :)