Monday, September 29, 2014

It's A Miracle

Petunia received her red stripe tonight, meaning that she is now eligible to test for her next taekwondo belt, which is Green.  This month's ceremony happens to be tomorrow evening (along with two soccer practices) so we'll have a bit of a last-minute logistical scramble, but it's well worth it. Why?

Kids who have achieved the rank of Green or higher all take class together.  My boys are both already in this class: Thing Two's belt is Senior Green and Thing One's is Blue.  Once Petunia gets her Green belt, she will move up from her current class to their class, and all three of them will be done with class in 45 minutes instead of 90 (her current class meets right before theirs.)  This transition will mark the first time in the history of our family that the after-school schedule actually got LESS complicated and time-consuming!!  Hallelujah.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

NOT A Labor Of Love

Call it a labor of avoiding embarrassment, if anything.

My mother-in-law is coming this afternoon and staying the night so that Himself and I can take Thing One to his first college football game...she'll be watching the younger two.  Spent the morning cleaning my house, since as much as I love my MIL and as easygoing as she is, I refuse to have my house be filthy when she visits!  Or when anyone visits, for that matter. It's a pride thing. 

Problem is that I am the only member of my family who gives the tiniest flying crap if anything is clean or tidy.  I am surrounded by slobs, and it gets OLD.  I am the only one in the house who cares if there are clothes on the floor or gobs of toothpaste in the sink or (my personal favorite) pee all around the toilet.  Why should I waste my time worrying about it if they don't??

Of course, things don't get left that way for too long.  Basic health and hygiene (not to mention the ghosts of my neat-freak Italian foremothers) dictate that things get cleaned, and they do. But talk about a Sisyphean waste of time, since they just get dirty again almost immediately.  It's hard not to be resentful, frankly. 

I used to have cleaning ladies back when I worked, and they came with their own set of frustrations, but I'm wondering if I need to look at that again.  Maybe my kids' bathroom floor will piss me off less if somebody else is cleaning it!!  I love my kids dearly, but love is not what I'm feeling while I clean, '50s tropes be damned. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I Don't Blame Her One Bit

Ran into a friend at Thing One's school last night.  In the course of conversation (don't remember how this came up) she told me about a recent day in which her daughter had forgotten a field hockey stick at home and called the mom to bring it to school.  Mom duly brings the stick in, happening to catch girl at lunch.  Girl, apparently embarrassed by mom's appearance in the cafeteria (heaven forbid), gives mom quite a bit of attitude.  Mom, not being the sort who takes nonsense, and who thought a thank-you might have been nice, calls daughter on said attitude right in front of her friends.

This mom has four of the smartest, kindest, best-behaved and most polite kids I know.  (Apparently girl was having a bad day that day, since her behavior was highly uncharacteristic--probably the only reason mom didn't take the stick right back home with her!)  People often tell her how lucky she is to have four great kids, which pisses her off mightily.  As she puts it, she's lucky that they are healthy, but the fact that they are all well-behaved, decent human beings is the result of years of hard work in parenting and she and her husband want the credit they've earned!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Total Waste (Of Money, And Perhaps Also Air)

As I've mentioned, Thing One is now a middle schooler, which means that he is eligible to play on his middle school's sports teams.  For what I can only assume are liability reasons, students must be examined by their own physician and cleared to play before they can try out for these teams, which seems sensible enough.  You bring a form to the exam, the doctor fills it out, you return it to the school, and Bob's your uncle.

Except he isn't.  Not quite yet, anyway.

Those forms from the kids' doctors?  Those have to go to the school's doctor (not on site; he's retained on contract for this sort of stuff and comes in periodically), and he has to look them over and rubber-stamp them before the kids can play.  Never mind that he has never laid eyes on any one of these kids in his life and wouldn't know them from Adam, and never mind that their OWN doctors cleared them to play...doesn't matter.  The school doc has to approve them too.  And since he was two days late getting back from a business trip and had no covering doc, a third of the kids who wanted to try out for soccer had to sit on the sideline for the first two days of tryouts.  Charming.  Apparently state law requires this nonsense.  (Is it only my state???)

On the third day of tryouts, I called the assistant principal (who is also in charge of middle school sports) and told him very nicely that if Thing One was going to be sitting on the sideline for the third day straight, I would be collecting him right after school and taking him to his piano lesson instead.  Fortunately, that day the doc had finally gotten his ass to school and signed all the forms, so the kid was able to participate for the rest of the week and it wasn't an issue.

So, you may well be asking yourself, why is she bellyaching about this now, when previous posts have already indicated that the kid did make the team (despite missing two of the five tryout days) and is doing well on it?  Good question.

This morning, Thing One dug into his backpack and handed me a pile of sadly crumpled papers, one of which was a form letter from the school doctor confirming that my son is eligible to participate in middle school sports through the 14/15 school year.   This is the second sentence, bold text and all:

"Please be advised that this letter reflects the recommendation of the examining physician, who completed and signed the blahblahblahblah forms submitted to the school on behalf of your son."  So...what this dude is saying is that, although he HAD to review the form before my kid could play, and got paid for it, he's going to pawn the blame for any problems off on the doc who actually examined my kid, since he knows nothing about my kid.  Can somebody please tell me what value this jackass added to the process?

My tax dollars at work.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Picture Of Determination

The big (big!) round bed came with our dog from the rescue organization.  She loves it dearly and it will be a sad day at our house when it finally needs to be replaced.

Had to vacuum the family room rug yesterday.  As is my habit, I picked her bed up off the floor and balanced it on top of the upholstered tea box that sits next to our entertainment center to get it out of the way of the vacuum cleaner.  However, I forgot to put it back after I was done cleaning, and THIS is what I saw the next time I walked into the family room!

Cracked me up.  "Okay, Mom...if that's where you're going to put my bed now, I can roll with it."  Funny dog!

Friday, September 19, 2014


Watching a show about Spain on the Travel Channel and feeling an almost uncontrollable urge to crawl into my TV, away from the world of backpacks and soccer and domestic drudgery and into an infinitely more appealing one of siestas and tapas and exotic accents.

Then, of course, my husband burst my bubble by pointing out the 24% unemployment rate and ongoing economic protests.  Guess a girl can't even dream anymore!  Time to renew my passport,'s been way too long since I used it and there's a lot of the globe yet to see.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Counting My Blessings

The man's comment stopped me in my tracks.  He'd been unlocking his office door as I passed it; he paused to tell me that my smile was beautiful and that it made his day to see a happy woman walking out of the building holding carnations.

One of the bigger breast imaging facilities in town is one floor up from his office.  I was there this morning for my annual mammogram, just a routine checkup.  I hate them with a blinding passion, as do most right-thinking people who dislike pain, but that doesn't mean my butt isn't in there like clockwork once a year anyway.  Every September...a back-to-school gift to myself and my family.  This place does a good job of making an unpleasant experience about as pleasant as it's going to get: among other things, lovely employees, nice warm robes to put over the thin and ugly hospital-gowny shirts, a coffee and tea machine in the lobby, and a bucket of flower bouquets in the changing area.  When your appointment is done, they ask if you'd like to choose a bouquet to take home, a very nice touch.  Anyway, since I had the telltale evidence in my hands, the man knew exactly where I'd been.

He added that he sees a lot of women with flowers passing his office door, many of whom are sobbing, or who break down as soon as they reach their cars or the curb outside.  I was happy to have the whole experience over with and be leaving, but I hadn't taken time to be grateful for my good fortune.

The next time I leave that building, if I am smiling I will NOT take it for granted, I promise you that. Reality check received, loud and clear.