Fall woods

Fall woods

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Good Thing My Husband Has A Wine-Buying Problem

I remember seeing an article a while back that dealt with irrational teenage decision-making and how it is a function of incomplete development in the brain's temporal lobe.  Not this exact one, but something similar.  To the extent I gave it much thought at the time, it was to reflect back ruefully on some of my own boneheaded teenage decisions and thank every deity in the firmament that social media as we know it didn't exist back then to immortalize them.

At any rate, what recalled this to my mind was an example in my own home this evening of what was truly a breathtaking display of irrationality: very much along the "What the hell could you have POSSIBLY been thinking?" sort of line.  To spare the guilty, I'll neither name the offender nor detail the specific incident, but it did make me wonder: back in the days when humans lived shorter lives and teenaged human beings functioned as full adults, how in the world did we survive as a species?  Back in the mists of time, any offspring that did something this dumb would have been eaten by its mother to save the genepool, you'd think.

I did not eat my young today, glad to say.  The only thing keeping me from completely losing my shit was the fact that the sheer idiocy involved actually made me laugh and that the kid managed to remain in one piece.  Not sure how I'll survive the dichotomy of undisputedly smart children doing stupid things for the next 18 years...my youngest is 7 and apparently the brain only fully matures at 25, so there will be a LOT of wine drunk in this house between now and then if this keeps up!  I'll take another, please...




Friday, February 27, 2015

Yahoo Customer Service, You Stink

So, about two weeks ago I noticed that Thing Two's email account wasn't working.  Yes, my kids have email accounts.  They are all tied to mine and I can easily review everything that they send and receive (and I do.  Often.)  They enjoy emailing their grandparents and other relatives and friends, and in Thing Two's case especially, it is practice for him in writing, specifically in holding a thought in his head long enough to type it, short-term memory being one of his weaker areas.

Anyway, it seems that his account has been disabled for no apparent reason.  After a good 45 minutes of aggravation, I finally figured out how to put in a help request.  Now the deal with this is that you can't actually talk to a person.  They send you emails, you answer, and then they have up to 48 hours to get back to you.  It's been almost two weeks, and the issue still isn't resolved: we are still trying to determine that I actually have the right to inquire about his account. "Can you answer this security question?" Okay, 48 hours later: "How about this security question?"  48 hours later: "no, we needed the info from YOUR account, not his."  48 hours later: I get an email saying that my answers are incorrect, except that the account that they are citing is the wrong one.  Get that sorted out, and I start getting emails requesting answers for the correct accounts again.  I live in hope that in perhaps a month or so, I will actually have somebody telling me what's wrong with his account.  Best part is that all I wanted to do was *close it*, and I can't do that without going through this entire ridiculous rigmarole.

Time to switch the whole family to Gmail, maybe??  I know Yahoo is a free email account, but man, I'm getting what I'm paying for here.  Infuriating since they also bombard me with ads at every turn.  Anyone who regularly uses a Gmail account, is it less frustrating?

 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Oscars, Schmoscars

Out caching this morning in 12 degree weather (why yes, I AM nuts...) and stopped briefly at one point to grab coffee at a Dunkin' Donuts.  Some yammering morning talk show or other was blasting from the TV mounted above one corner of the counter, and during the ten minutes I was defrosting my fingers, the hosts were discussing nothing other than who wore what dress designed by whom to last night's ceremony.  Much to the detriment of the sad few unfrozen brain cells I have left, I might add.   

I ask you: who the HELL cares about this nonsense?  People with surgically enhanced faces and starved bodies and too much makeup and (often) really bizarre outfits all dressed up and parading around for the cameras.  And other people who watch hours of this on TV for reasons that baffle me entirely.  And even have PARTIES SPECIFICALLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF WATCHING this spectacle.  I just don't understand it.  

Nevertheless, I'm going to get off my soapbox and return to my cave now...I hear there might be a cache hidden in it.  :)  To each his or her own form of insanity, after all.




Sunday, February 22, 2015

Uncle

“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” ~Carl Reiner

Can't imagine being in Boston right now.  The ground's been white for weeks even here; the sun muted and the temperatures well below freezing for so long that I've almost forgotten what it feels like not to need a coat.  If I could find that groundhog who saw his shadow earlier this month, I'd shoot the damned thing!!




Friday, February 20, 2015

Sunrise Over The Front Yard, Negative Four Degrees


Bloody HELL, it's cold out there.  The handle to the front storm door was actually frozen in place when I tried to go outside to take that picture! Saw the first robin of spring yesterday, at least, and if the dog tries to chase them off again this year she will be in big trouble!


Thursday, February 19, 2015

He Knows Me So Well

It's been a LONG week so far.

Houseguests Saturday to Monday AM.  School holiday Monday (aka Mom referees all day) followed by snow Monday night causing school to be canceled on Tuesday (aka Mom referees all day.)  Wednesday morning Petunia wakes up sick: just a cold but enough to keep her home from school.  By Wed afternoon my nerves are a little bit frazzled.

Text comes in from Himself.  "Want to go to taekwondo tonight?  I should be home in time to watch the kids and I imagine you need to kick something by now."

Love that man.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Both Sides Now

Found out today that Thing One asked a girl to the upcoming dance last week and she turned him down.  (Note to all relatives reading this: he does NOT know that I know, so SHHHH.  Really.)

Having two opposing reactions more or less simultaneously (hence the title.)

1) As the mom of two boys, I want the girls to recognize the courage it takes for a boy to ask them out.  A response of "yes" would be nice unless there's reason to say "no."

2) As the mom of a daughter, I don't want any girl to feel like she has to say "yes" when she'd rather not.  In any situation ever.

I heard about this from a friend with a daughter in the same grade.  The daughter, who is a good friend of Thing One's, was furious with the other girl for turning him down.  (Not to her face, just privately.)  

I admit to having a moment of thinking "my son's a good kid; what the hell is wrong with you, girl?"  What it boils down to, though, is that there's nothing wrong with this girl at all.  She's a lovely young woman, in fact, and her right to say "no" should win every time, no matter how much I love my son.  I just hope for his sake that she did it gently.  Damn, this parenting stuff is hard.  :(



 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Never A Dull Moment Around Here

Freezing cold and windy today, but I decided that I'd try to pick up one cache quickly anyway to keep my daily streak going.  I'd saved one close to home for just such an occasion.  Despite yesterday's snow, the roads were clear and I found the cache quickly; the fun started when I got back into the car and realized that it was stuck!  Not much snow, but it might as well have been ball bearings because the temperature was so low...just couldn't get any traction.  I didn't have a shovel in the car either (note to self: rectify that situation ASAP.)  After a little fruitless slipping and sliding, I gave up in disgust and called my husband.  I wasn't in any danger at all, at least, just annoyed.

Before he could even get into his car with the shovel, however, a knight in shining armor (in the form of a tree service guy who'd been out plowing) stopped and had me shoveled out and back on the road in about two minutes.  Being a damsel in distress sticks in my craw in a big way--it's not at all my usual style--but he was really nice about it.  And I've learned a very important lesson about not parking in snow in really cold weather, even with a four wheel drive vehicle.  All's well that ends well, I guess, and chivalry is in fact NOT dead, even if my knight's white horse happened to be a red pickup truck!


Friday, February 13, 2015

I'm Going To Hell, Part I Can't Even Remember

On my way to the gym yesterday morning, I got stuck behind a *very* slow driver.  I mean 30 in a 45 kind of driver, in an old Toyota.  Unfortunately, the roads around me are often only one lane each way and not configured for passing, so there wasn't much I could do about it.  I wasn't late at least, just annoyed.

Finally, the car turns left at a light at which I am going straight.  As I see the blinker go on, I think, oh boy.  These people were on their way to the hospital.

Then I start to draw up level with the car as it's turning and I'm passing it, and I see that the passenger seat is occupied by a woman wearing very distinctive headgear.  shitshitshitshitshit, it's a nun! 

But it gets worse: over the left shoulder of the nun, just as my eyes flick off her and back to the road in front of me, I notice a familiar face next to her.  The guy is in street clothes, but I've seen him every Sunday for the past few weeks and a couple of other times besides that as well.  He subs occasionally at our church.  Hi Father James: you seem like a decent guy, but may I please introduce you to the gas pedal?

So, to recap: I was mentally cussing out a car containing a priest and a nun who were on their way to the hospital, probably to visit the sick or for some other noble purpose!  Somewhere, there's a lightning bolt with my name on it.  ZAP.




Thursday, February 12, 2015

That Said, If We HAVE To Do This Thing...

I'm going to make it worth something.

We've established that Valentine's Day doesn't mean much to me.  However, my husband does.  The trouble is that he is a very modest man and compliments make him uncomfortable...he's one of those guys who is perfectly happy knowing that you love him and doesn't have to hear it all the time.  So, this morning I had a brainwave and made him a Valentine that is perfectly tailored for him.


It's a standard quart-sized mason jar.  The label says "Because I'm not allowed to say it..."

Inside are several dozen slips of pink, red, and white paper, each of which has something different I love about him written on it, ranging from the large and significant to the small and mundane.  He can read them whenever he feels like it, which will doubtless be when nobody is looking.  :)



  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Valentine's Day Is Coming

Not my favorite day of the year.  So Hallmark-ified; romance as dictated by the calendar and social convention. Himself and I usually exchange cards, but that's about it...it's not a big occasion for us.  For whatever reason, I got to thinking last night about some of the ways that love is shown in my house day-to-day, not just on February 14th.

*He picks the kids up at the gym on his way home from work on Mondays so I can take an evening taekwondo class, even though it means that he is out of the house from 5:15AM to 8PM and doesn't get dinner till 8:30.

*I make sure that we always have burrito-sized soft tortillas and egg whites in the house, since that's his favorite breakfast.

*In winter, he warms up my side of the bed for me so I don't have to get into a cold bed.

*I rub his forehead and that clenched knot he gets at the jawline to help him get to sleep when he's stressed.

*He takes care of putting all fluids into cars and paying the bills.

*I drive to a very remote grocery store every so often to stock up, because it is the only one in the area that carries a kind of soup he likes and his favorite brand of picante sauce.

*He helps to juggle the kids so I can go caching, even though he doesn't see the appeal of that particular activity at all.

*I encourage him to run his weekend-long relay races, even though I don't see the appeal of that activity either.

You know what?  I'd take this over roses and diamonds and an overpriced dinner any day, even though none of it would make much of a commercial on TV.  There's nothing inherently wrong with an annual reminder to appreciate your loved ones, but the gestures that show love and appreciation on days other than February 14th simply mean more to me.









 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Hell Itself Would Probably Freeze Over First

Petunia and I went on a winter nature hike in a nearby watershed this afternoon while our menfolk were at a soccer tournament.  It was organized by geocachers and there are caches in the area, but I've already found most of them, so the highlight for us was walking around the snowy fields with one of the naturalists listening to his comments about tracks and birds and plant life and whatnot.  At one point, he stopped us near an area filled with tall dried-out grasses and picked a stalk that looked like this.


He went on to explain that this bud-like growth is called a gall, and that it develops on the goldenrod plant stem at the site where the parasitic goldenrod gall fly female has injected an egg.  The gall grows with the insect larva and the larva stays within the gall for a full year, wintering inside it by producing glycerol and sorbitol, sugars which act like antifreeze in the larval system.

He then cut open the gall and plopped the small wiggling creature inside (which looked like this) onto the black mitten of a conveniently-located kid for maximum visibility.


Then he asked if there were any volunteers to try EATING the larva, and the KID DID IT.  Apparently it tasted sweet and was very chewy.

This, by the way, is where hell and freezing come in: never is a long time, but I can't envision the scenario short of absolute starvation in which I'd try eating a parasitic fly larva.  Petunia agreed entirely.  Her take?  "Only a *boy* would ever eat one of those...yuck!"  Spoken like a true seven year-old girl.  :)

  



 








Thursday, February 5, 2015

Eerie

Part of the conversation I had with Thing One yesterday related to the fact that statistically speaking, the odds are that several of his classmates will identify as gay as adults.  Purely as a numbers thing.  The point I was attempting to make is that since he has no idea whose feelings he or others might be hurting at this moment with any kind of comment that could be construed as homophobic, that's a really good reason to keep his mouth shut and tell other people to close theirs too.

Just now, I got a text from a close friend whose child is in the same grade at the same school.  Apparently one of their classmates came out to this kid today.  Statistics really don't lie.  I have no intention whatsoever of mentioning this to Thing One, but BOY, am I glad that we had that chat.



    

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

There REALLY Should Be A Manual For This Parenting Thing

The latest in the series of conversations I wasn't planning on having with my sixth grader: what exactly a lesbian is and why it is not appropriate to speculate as to (or otherwise comment upon in any manner whatsoever) a friend's orientation.  Good god and little chickens.  The rule is that his phone must be available for parental inspection at all times, and in his defense, the texted comment in question was incoming and not outgoing.  I took the opportunity to make it a teaching moment. And then I had a very, very large glass of wine.




Sunday, February 1, 2015

But On The Bright Side...

After I got up and stretched out my aching muscles a bit yesterday morning (see previous post) it actually turned into a pretty darned good day.

Petunia's basketball team did well in their first scrimmage ever, although the opposing coach has apparently decided that he is not going to teach his kids about the traveling foul.  (This is the rule that requires players to dribble while moving with the ball: i.e., you may not walk around a basketball court while holding the ball in both hands.)  It got so bad that at one point I actually had to call a huddle and explain to my kids that no matter *what* the other team was doing, they were actually going to observe the rules of the game because they know better!  When they get to real games next year, his kids are going to get a foul called on them every time they touch the ball.  Some of my weaker kids are improving exponentially and my strongest player had a phenomenal scrimmage and didn't knock anybody over this time--his defense is a tad overenthusiastic--so I was really proud.  Love these kids.  They are all first and second graders and an absolute joy to coach.  The icing on the cake was when the awesome second grade teacher at the kids' school (who comes to the school on her own time on weekends to watch her students play because she's just that cool) tracked me down afterward to tell me that she thinks I'm great with the kids.  Considering how great SHE is with the same age group, praise gets no better.

Thing Two had a game right after ours, so we quickly switched sides of the gym and settled in to cheer.  Kid still can't hit a bull in the ass with a basketball (except for free throws, which makes NO sense at all) but darned if his aim isn't getting better...some of his shots could actually have dropped.  He looks better every game.  And he was ferocious on defense, especially with rebounding.  Low scoring game--we joked that it looked more like a baseball score than a basketball score--but his team came out on top and I had one happy boy on my hands.  Grabbed my one cache for the day (streak is currently at 27 days, which is my longest ever by a lot), took the younger two to lunch and then booked it to the school where Thing One's team was playing at 2PM.  The story of my weekends...sports activity to sports activity to sports activity.  :)  Thing One's team also won, and they were playing a bunch of kids who hacked so badly that their star shooter fouled out in the third quarter, so they learned a few things about staying calm when provoked.  (Sadly, they managed that better than your 41 year-old correspondent did on Friday and they are 5th and 6th graders.)  Funny thing was that their coach came over to ours at halftime and asked if kids who fouled out could still play...guess that's how they roll in their town.  Our coach said no, since there's no incentive to play clean ball otherwise.  Kid who fouled out came off crying, and I felt bad for him, but that's a failure of coaching.

Sports finally done for the day, time to redirect focus to birthday celebrating: Himself's birthday is Tuesday but the combination of a BOE meeting and two basketball practices makes that not a good evening to celebrate.  Petunia and I rolled up our sleeves and got to work in the kitchen.  This was the result:

Note the birthday candle in the middle?  :)

Chocolate covered bananas, chocolate-dipped Ritz cracker/peanut butter 'sandwiches,' and chocolate/peanut butter pretzels, per the request of the birthday boy.  Wish I'd taken a pic of Petunia as well...she had chocolate up to both elbows and from ear to ear by the time we finished!