Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Got a call today from the black belt who teaches two of the three weekday morning taekwondo classes.  The woman who teaches the third has other commitments and needs to give up the Friday AM slot, and the powers that be want ME to consider teaching that class!  Holy crap on a cracker.

Don't get me wrong: I love to teach. It just doesn't seem like I should be anywhere near ready to run a class on my own yet, though, since there is so much I'm still working on myself.  (Yeah, I'm my own worst critic, no shock there.)  My next step is brown, and traditionally brown belts do teach, but that's not standard in our program.  We'll see what comes of this, but wow.  Best compliment I've received in months, anyway!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Hopefully It Is Not Just Me

My kids are home for the summer.  I believe I've already mentioned this once or twice.  (hahaha)  They are wonderful children, truly.  However, not one of the three inherited what we used to delicately call the neat-freak tendencies displayed by many of my maternal forebears.

My house is the living embodiment of the second law of thermodynamics* on good days, defined as days in which I am making a concerted effort to keep things at least reasonably tidy.  On not-so-good days (defined as days on which I have other things going on--quel horreur), there are toys strewn here and dishes piled there and laundry is scattered on the floor around the laundry basket instead of in it and papers are multiplying like rabbits all over every flat surface and dust bunnies of dog hair are rolling across the floors like sagebrush across the wide Western spaces and it all suddenly hits me and I become a crazy woman because I can't handle the mess for one.single.additional.second.  Today was one of those days.

As I was attempting to bring order to my domestic entropy, Himself looked at me and said (in an effort to help, honestly): "There are four of us in the house who make messes and only one who cleans.  It's going to be messy.  It's not a big deal, just try to ignore it."

Oh, were it just so easy.  I tried to explain to him that once I hit that tipping point, until there is once again at least some degree of order around me, it's very stressful.  I suspect that a practitioner of the Eastern arts would say that my qi is unbalanced at such moments--I certainly feel it up in my chest instead of down at belly level where it belongs.  I can handle a certain amount of mess for a certain period of time, but once I've hit my limit my nearest and dearest need to either help me clean or get the hell out of my way while I do it, since there will be no peace until then!

I think it's a control thing rather than OCD, since at no point in the last 11 years has everything in this house actually been 100% in order.  There are clearly limits to what I can control, but I'm still fighting the good fight...not aiming for perfection by any means, just trying to prevent a complete descent into chaos.  Which, as anyone who knows anything about physics will tell you, is a completely pointless exercise!  Sisyphus, anyone??

*I.e., its state of disorder will always increase over time

Sunday, June 28, 2015

What Does Love Look Like?

This.  This right here.

The class writing assignment was to pick a person, any special person, and fill in the blanks on the page.  Of all the people in his world, Thing Two chose his little sister Petunia.

My sister

Her hands are like the warm sun
Her hair is like a sheep's wool
Her face is like a soft stuffed animal
Her voice is like a bird singing in the morning
Her smile is like a happy dog

Whatever you may think about some of the comparisons, this was written (voluntarily!) by a third grade boy about his second grade sister.  As a mother, it just doesn't get any better than that.  I melted when I saw it, and you had better believe that I will be keeping it FOREVER.  And then some.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In Which Thing One Makes A Discovery That Rocks His World

In the course of a conversation this afternoon, I told him that I got engaged in college*, long before I met his father.  It's no secret, but it was news to him.  Once we sorted out that I hadn't actually been married before--his initial misunderstanding--he was more okay with it, although still rather shocked.  I think he believed that Himself and I had been together since the beginning of time, to the extent that he'd given it any thought whatsoever.  His SOP is to go off and think about things and then come back with questions days later, so we'll see what bubbles up later in the week as a result.

I've told all of my kids that their choice of a partner in life is pretty much THE most important decision they'll make.  (It's a lot easier and less destructive to change your mind on anything else.)  Consequently, it seems like a good idea to occasionally note that brains and kindness and integrity and the like should also be high on their list of spousal requirements before they get to that stage where hormones kick in and physical appearance is the only thing that matters.  I was trying to explain to him that for most people it takes a while and some trial and error to figure out what they need in a partner and what they can't handle, hence the dropping of the bombshell.  Luckily for him, since he's not quite 12 yet, he can safely blow me off with his trademark preteen eye-roll at this stage of the game, and he does.

(NB: on a related note, I read somewhere that you should always watch how a date talks to their parents, gas station attendants, shop clerks and restaurant servers, too: it tells a lot about who they are.)

*A long story, but it should tell you something that EVERYONE I knew was relieved when I broke it off.  Ouch.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Love This Kid

When I opened my bedroom door this morning, I discovered one of my large kitchen whiteboards propped against the banister at the top of the stairs.

For the benefit of all those unused to reading the handwriting of seven year-olds, the translation:

Dear Mom,

I made your coffe for you.
It is waiting for you in front of the coffe machine.  Is 8:00 Decaf okay because that was the only kind of coffe open.  


P.S. I also put the milk you like in the coffe.
P.P.S. It might be a little cold now so I suggest putting it in the microwave

She was bound and determined to get my day off to a good start by having my coffee ready for me.  I put it in the microwave as instructed (that kid cracks me up!) and it was lovely.  Such a little sweetheart!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Change Of Scenery

See the new pic up top?  Yeah, decided that the old one of the waves had to go and finally got around to dealing with it.  In case you were wondering, views like that are one of the main reasons why I geocache.  Anyway...

Just realized that my husband will be out of town more this summer than he's in town.  Work stuff, not even remotely his fault.  Still...gonna be a long couple of months.  Seems like that whole approaching-the-onset-of-puberty hormone thing has been a struggle at more houses than mine, judging from the stories I'm hearing from other sixth grade (excuse me, rising SEVENTH grade) parents...must just be the age.  For a legitimately good kid, he seems bound and determined to send me round the bend.  I tend to get a bit testy when my youngest acts older than her two big brothers put together!  Third, fourth and seventh grades next year...wow.  Time, it flies.

So, the goal for the summer...keep them all busy.  Very busy.  Books and camps and soccer and swimming and playdates and trips (they'll be out of town most of August.)  Isn't there a quotation about idle hands being the devil's playground or something?  (NB: just looked it up [of course I did] and it's "workshop," not "playground."  Whatever, close enough.)  It's a fine line...I do want them to have downtime, but left to their own devices two of the three kids would play video games for the entire freaking summer, and that is just not going to happen.

There are a couple of neighborhoods in our general vicinity where the parents can actually let the kids play outside.  Unsupervised, even.  They run from house to house and the parents keep in touch via text.  Sounds great, but sadly we live on a very busy main road and the only way for any of the three of them to safely get to a friend's house is via car...no free-range parenting here, unfortunately.  About the closest I'm going to get to that is dropping Thing One (and his cell phone, for contact and emergencies) off at the town park when he wants to hang out with his friends.  

Sounds like it was a lot easier to be a summer parent in the 1970s.  Really.



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Are We Done Yet?

Half day tomorrow, then school is out.  The likelihood that my sons will survive summer vacation is currently low...I'm fried from all the regular end-of-year craziness (plus, who in their right mind would start evening practices for summer soccer teams Monday of the last week of school?? --GROWL) and those two knuckleheaded dingbats are doing their collective best to tread on my very last nerve right now.  They have it down, I will give them that...the bickering and roughhousing has been refined to an art form.  My communication with them this week is in large part back to the same simple commands I use for the dog!  SIT.  OFF.  OUT.  It's amazing how well those instructions work on small(er) two-legged creatures as well, although the dog still listens to me better than any one of the kids does.  And of course, entirely in keeping with Mrs. Murphy's Law, my husband is out of town this week for work.  And a good chunk of next week as well.

On the bright side, my tomatoes and peppers are growing nicely, I've finally gotten the pool in the backyard clean and open for swimming,  I'm rapidly approaching 3000 cache finds AND I've successfully learned 12 of the 16 (!) self defenses at my new taekwondo belt level (all variations on really nasty and effective wrist locks) so there's that.  Pazienza.  {deep cleansing breath.}

Ending with this because it made me laugh.  A dork, you say?  ME??  Never.  :)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Takes One To Know One

As the designated Caretaker Of All Things Pool-Related at our house, yesterday I had to bring the hardness of the pool water up a bit.  The product used for this has to be thoroughly dissolved in a bucket of water before being added to the pool, since combining this chemical with water triggers a chemical reaction that releases a lot of heat (i.e., something that you don't want to have happen while the chemical is sitting at the bottom of the pool on your vinyl pool liner.)

As I passed Thing One in the kitchen on my way outside, I asked him if he wanted to come see an exothermic reaction.  He cheerfully followed me outside and marveled at how hot the outside of the bucket got while I was stirring the foaming mixture in it with a broom handle.

Then he looked up at me and told me that he was glad I'm a nerd!  Gee thanks, kid.  :)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Creativity At Work

It was a big deal when Thing Two finally learned how to play imaginatively...his early language problems made that really difficult for him.  He was already seven or eight at the time and was dragged into it kicking and screaming by his little sister, who was *not* taking no for an answer.  He was going to play with her whether he liked it or not...those two have always been thick as thieves and she has been a godsend for him socially in so many ways.

Anyway, I came across this scene today, and it made me laugh.  Clearly those two have been at it again.

What are we looking at, you ask?  One of their unholy hybridizations of toy sets: in this case, Angry Birds Star Wars figurines (originally intended to be catapulted at stacked blocks in a real-life imitation of the computer game) 'holding' trays of treats from Strawberry Shortcake's little plastic bakery.  These two have made up a game that they call the Angry Birds Job Game, and apparently the birds have recently been selling desserts in my front hall.  :)  

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Enough. Enough Freaking Already.

There are two weeks left in the school year.  Less than that, really, if you note that several of the remaining days are half days.  This is it, there ain't no more.  Or much more, anyway.  The year's pretty much done.

Except that weekly reading logs still keep showing up in Thing Two and Petunia's homework folders.  (For logging the reading they are supposed to be doing every day at home hahahahahaha yeah right.)  As do current event article report forms and speech homework and G&T homework.  For the love of all that is holy, WHY??  Yes, I get that it may be close to the end of the year but school is still in session and teachers feel the need to make the most of the remaining time.  Really I do.  But at this late stage of the game I just don't have the energy to be that totally-on-top-of-it mom anymore.  The way I figure it, I'm happy that the kids are going to school in clean clothes with reasonably healthy packed lunches and with their regular homework done.  Maybe it's the after-school schedule this spring that finally broke the camel's back, but after eight weeks of the juggling effing nightmare that is having a kid playing baseball and soccer at the same time (never mind the rest of the stuff that kid is doing or what the OTHER two kids are doing!) I'm tapping out.  Done.  Fried.  Baked.  And hell itself will freeze over before anybody in my house plays baseball ever again.  See this foot??  It just went down hard.

Those reading logs may or may not be going in tomorrow morning.  Life as we know it probably won't come to an end if they don't.  And if it does, at least I won't have to do any more current event worksheets!!


Friday, June 5, 2015

A Little Bit Obsessive?

As I've mentioned, the school year is winding down.  Not too many more days before the kids are home for the summer and my battery-recharging time during the day becomes curtailed severely.  Got the belt test out of the way, at least: going to be harder to get to daytime martial arts classes during the summer, for sure.  I've also been looking at the geocache map, trying to figure out what I want to try to find before summer and what will just have to wait till fall, the patience of smaller children (and my tolerance for putting them in higher-terrain situations) being rather limited.

Earlier in the week my usual caching partner hit 2000 finds, which is a big deal.  To mark the milestone we drove about 60 miles each way so we could bag the oldest cache in the state, which involved a hike up a decent-sized mountain in pouring rain but at least we found the blasted thing.  After the fact, I was reminded of an section of my cache map that's been bugging me.  Perhaps you can guess why (see below.)

The smiley faces represent caches I've found (and this area is actually surrounded by a much larger sea of smiley faces.)  The blue dot is one I haven't yet found because on my previous trips to the area I didn't meet the requirements for logging it.  Requirements for these 'unknown' caches can vary widely, but this particular one requires you to have previously found ten of the oldest fifteen geocaches in the state before you can claim it.  Being the rule-following sort that I am, on previous trips I just bypassed the spot, but after bagging the oldest cache I went back to the list to see how many other oldies I had.  Of the top fifteen, I had five.  Several days of targeted effort later, I now have nine.  Will hopefully bag the tenth on Monday, knock this blue dot off the map on Tuesday, and then not be annoyed every time I look at this section of map anymore.  Or maybe I should just take up knitting!!


Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Dichotomy Is Alive And Well

My kids can't wait for summer vacation...less than two weeks to go. I, on the other hand, know that I'm in for it with all three home all summer. The cooking, the cleaning, the refereeing...oy vey.  Battening down the hatches and praying for patience already!!  


I had a lengthy conversation with a man from Zambia this evening.  From his accent when we exchanged greetings, I could tell that he was Afr...