Monday, December 31, 2007
The boys and I spend days getting ready for this special time. And our actions do not go unrewarded. Our house oozes with the fruits of our labor, as you can see:
Finally, the day comes. I watch excitedly as John rolls the containers of trash and recyclables to the curb. Should we leave milk and cookies for our early morning visitors? Nah, the squirrels would get them. I go to bed almost giddy and find it hard to drift to sleep.
As the sun begins to peek through my windows, I hear the sweet roar of the trash truck motor growing louder as it approaches my house. I spring from the bed and press my face to the glass, hoping to get a glimpse of my morning’s hero. The hiss of hydraulics cues the trash can lift, and before I know it the lift has effortlessly hoisted our cans and dumped their contents into the bed of the truck. Our cans are gently returned to the ground, empty of all but the stench, and I am left staring at the vacant containers with the echo of the truck’s motor in my ears as it moves on to the next lucky home.
And just like that, it is over. The days and days of preparation have lead up to another event that seems to have vanished with the blink of an eye. There are other trash pick-up days that attempt to rival my favorite – the first trash pick-up day after the boys’ birthdays, the first trash pick-up day after we clean the garage, the first trash pick-up day after the neighborhood Chili Cook-Off. But none fill me with that sense of joy and good-will as the first trash pick-up day after Christmas. So, I wait. Until the same time next year, which comes faster and faster with every passing year.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Thank you, Andrea, for your kind words about my blog and for sharing your life and insights. I enjoy reading your blog and following the lives of you, Tree Faerie and DTTF. This being my first award, I'm not sure what the protocol is, but I am going to pass it on to Angie at Keep Believing. And I'm not just doing that because Angie is one of my best friends. I look forward to reading her blog everyday for the laughs and inspiration I know that it will provide. She is outnumbered too, so I know that I will usually find something about her boys that I can totally relate to.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a bar to have a drink. I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it. Conversation wasn't flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed, but he didn't say much. I asked him what was wrong; he said, Nothing." I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn't upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it. On the way home, I told him that I loved him. He smiled slightly, and kept driving. I can't explain his behavior. I don't know why he didn't say, "I love you, too." When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly, and watched TV. He continued to seem distant and absent. Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. To my surprise, he responded to my caress, and we made love. But I still felt that he was distracted, and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep - I cried. I don't know what to do. I'm almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.
Missed a big deer today, but at least I got some.
Friday, December 28, 2007
"But, it's Christmas Eve!" Spoken by Luke while crying and looking pitiful when Jack wasn't going to let him do something he wanted to do while playing PlayStation Lego's Star Wars. It worked. Jack is such a kind-hearted softie.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
We had a wonderful and exhausting holiday. We've been traveling to see friends and family and friends and family have been traveling to see us. I think I did 20 loads of laundry and 15 loads of dishes since last Friday, with two more rounds of visitors to go. The boys have been running around like Christmas turkeys with their heads cut off. The difference is Christmas turkeys with their heads cut off eventually stop moving.
Jack got the Nintendo DS he asked for from Santa, and Luke got his Roboquad. They are both very happy with their take. Jack, so much so, that he hasn't been to bed before 11:00 pm and has gotten up anywhere between 3:00 am (Christmas Eve) and 7:00 am since last Friday. Can some one teach me how to teach my son to sleep in? Wait, never mind. I know he'll start sleeping in as soon as school starts back up.
Here are two surprise gifts that the boys got:
Can you guess what this is?
I'll end the suspense. It's owl poop. If you enlarge the image and look closely, you can see the bones of the animals that the owl has eaten. The idea is to dig through the owl poop, excavate the bones, and use the guide to identify the little animals that the owl digested. It is gross and demented and the perfect present for boys. Once we excavate, I will post a picture if we get a recognizable animal from the bones.
The boys also got new remote control cars. These cars are the fastest RC cars I've ever seen. Luke barely squeezed the trigger and his car was on the other side of the room before I could stop him. Any toes in his path would have been sheered off. And, because it was chilly and rainy out and because they are boys, here is how they used their new RC cars:
Of course, the jumps weren't always so successful:
Boys and their toys. What are you gonna do?
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
I was in Wal-Mart buying a large bag of Purina for my dog and was in line to checkout. A woman behind me asked if I had a dog........ Duh!
I was feeling a bit crabby so on impulse, I told her no, I was starting The Purina Diet again, although I probably shouldn't because I'd ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I had awakened in an intensive care unit with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IV's in both arms. Her eyes about bugged out of her head.
I went on and on with the bogus diet story and she was totally buying it. I told her that it was an easy, inexpensive diet and that the way it works is to load your pockets or purse with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The package said the food is nutritionally complete so I was going to try it again.
I have to mention here that practically everyone in the line was by now enthralled with my story, particularly a tall guy behind her. Horrified, she asked if something in the dog food had poisoned me and was that why I ended up in the hospital.
I said no.....I'd been sitting in the street licking my butt when a car hit me. I thought the tall guy was going to have to be carried out the door.
Friday, December 21, 2007
"My *enis is cold. Can I say that?" Spoken by Luke who is trying hard lately not to say things he's not supposed to. I'm sure that will change after Santa's visit.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Luke was in the bath tub, and Jack and John were in the living room where Jack just discovered all of the wrapped presents I had placed under the tree. He was trying to con John into letting him open one, and having little luck. When that failed, he moved on to trying to con John into telling him what one of the gifts was. That too failed. So, as a last ditch effort to feel like he had gotten something out of his efforts, he tried to talk John into revealing the content of one of Luke's gifts, proclaiming he can keep a secret which we all know that he cannot.
I don't know about your kids, but mine have an eerie ability to appear completely detached and caught up in something else all the while listening to your entire conversation (which can be sketchy if you are talking about something that really isn't for them to hear.) Luke was singing in the bath tub, playing in the bubbles and splashing during this whole conversation, seemingly unaware of the entire exchange, until he blurted out:
Luke: I heard that!
John: Heard what?
Luke: You said Roboquad.
John: No I didn't.
Luke: Yes you did.
John: No I didn't.
Luke: Yes you did.
John: Luke, I said no such thing.
Luke: Yes you did (getting increasingly frantic and high pitched.) I heard you. You said Roboquad.
John: I'm sure that I didn't.
Luke: Well, you told Jack a secret.
John: No I didn't.
Luke: Yes you did.
John: No I didn't. (See a pattern here?)
Luke: I heard you! You told him a secret.
John: I really didn't.
Luke: Yes you did.
John: No, I said there would be no secretes.
Luke: Well, you said it really quietly.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Well, in Missouri in December we don’t really have to worry about snakes. After several visits to many sporting goods and hunting stores I was beginning to lose hope. One of the workers at a hunting store recommended a boot store that was not too far of a drive. Having learned my lesson and identified a pattern of no snake boots for women in Missouri in December, I called ahead before I made the drive.
Me: “Hi. I’m looking for women’s snake boots or snake gators. Do you have any in stock?”
Store clerk: “I’ve never heard of boots with both snake and gator, but we have snake boots, I think python, and gator boots.”
Me: “Great. I’ll be right over.”
There were several things in her answer that should have triggered doubt. First, no boots with both snake and gator? I wasn’t looking for gator boots; I was looking for snake gators. Next, pythons don’t bite so why would I care if they had python boots? And, if a gator wanted to bite you, some little boot wasn’t going to stop him. None of these things deterred me, so I headed to the store.
When I got there the woman I spoke to walked me to the women’s boot aisle and showed me the snake boots. I’m sure you’ve figured out by now what I was not able to – the woman pointed me to boots made out of snake skin and not boots that were snake proof. I had a little laugh at myself and left the store to continue on my frenetic search.
This whole adventure got me thinking about myself and the way I communicate. My boys often misunderstand my requests to them. I’m ignored a lot, which could be a product of my confusing way of communicating. What I want to say makes perfect sense to me in my head, but may be less clear when the request or statement leaves my mouth. I may only communicate a portion of my request, thinking that the rest of my intent will be evident or known to my boys sense it is perfectly obvious to me. Examples:
What I said: Spit out your gum.
Do as I mean: Spit your gum out in the trash can
Not as I say: Luke spit his gum out. Right there on the ground in the middle of the parking lot.
What I said: Don’t stand like that on the back of the couch.
Do as I mean: Get down off of the back of the couch and don’t stand on the furniture.
Not as I say: Jack changed his position from both feet on the back of the couch with his hands on the nearby brick column to one foot on the back of the couch with his hands pressed against the ceiling.
What I said: Will you find a place for this?
Do as I mean: Find a permanent home for this where we will be able to remember its location and find it, but I won’t have to look at it everyday.
Not as I say: The paper is still sitting in a stack on John’s desk, which is his place for it.
This just goes to show you that you can learn something productive about yourself in doing the most mundane and frustrating of tasks. What I learned while looking for snake boots is that I need to be clearer in my requests and explanations and I will save myself a whole lot of time and frustration.
Monday, December 17, 2007
I approach sledding with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. The enthusiasm emanating from John and the boys is contagious. By the time we get all of our snow gear on, which takes oh, I don’t know, maybe 6 hours, the building anticipation threatens to explode and strip us of the gear we just nearly exhausted ourselves donning. We are all hot and sweaty in our layers by the time we get to the sledding hill, and eager to get out into the cold air.
That’s when the trepidation takes over. I watch the bodies fly down the hill in all directions at speeds you would never think possible from a little piece of plastic or wood not equipped with a jet pack. Ramps are jumped, ditches are skipped, and collisions are barely avoided. The most control a sled affords you is the decision as to where in your downhill plummet you will fall off of the sled, and if you choose not to fall off you are in effect making the decision to barrel into some other poor, unsuspecting sledder.
All in all, this scenario is a boy’s dream. Jack needed no assistance and was flying down the hill almost before we knew what was happening. I hadn’t even had time to scout out the hill and look for the safest spot. I thought the first sled down would consist of me holding onto his sled using my feet as brakes until we made it to the bottom safely. No such luck. I felt helpless as I watched him speed down the hill, bigger and faster sledders whipping past him on their way to sledding glory. He made it safely to the bottom, and then began the harrowing trek to the top of the hill trying to avoid those making their way to the bottom. I felt cheated and robbed of the few minutes of stress relief I thought that I would have between sleds. Getting back to the top of the hill was just as dangerous as getting to the bottom. I was relieved to see John reach the bottom on his sled and then act as a protective barrier for Jack as they trekked their way to the top.
At least Luke didn’t feel comfortable enough to ride alone. We rode together with my feet keeping us at a reasonable speed even as he chanted, “Faster, faster!” I had visions of my first time skiing and the wipe outs ending in "yard sales" that I endured.
It is amazing that, after over two hours of sledding, we were able to leave unscathed. And during those two hours we witnessed no other injuries. This was surprising to me, given that I saw people sledding on air beds, pool rafts, in-ground pond liners, and the frame of a go-kart on skis. These makeshift sleds were all driven by boys, by the way.
I added a few gray hairs to my collection yesterday, but we had a wonderful day and the boys were exhausted when we got home. It was very hard for Jack to sit inside for the remainder of the day and ignore the snow, so before it got dark he and John went outside for another round of play on the small hill near our backyard. Here is what Jack learned when mom wasn’t watching:
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Q: Why can I say “hell,” like “heaven and hell” but I can’t say, “What the hell?”
A: The same reason you can say _enis, like “I hurt my _enis” but not, “You look like a _enis.”
Q: When you first met daddy, he was a stranger right? Then how did you marry him if we’re not supposed to talk to strangers?
A: Beer is funny that way.
Q: Why does it matter how much something costs? Santa doesn’t have to buy anything. He makes whatever you ask for.
A: Well, the price of a barrel of crude oil has gone way up and Santa is working with a high overhead cost trying to keep his workshop heated so he has less money to spend on materials to make the things kids are asking for.
Q: How can Santa live so long and there never be anyone older than him?
A: He eats his vegetables.
Q: Are you speeding?
A: No, mommy never breaks the rules.
Q: Why didn’t dinosaurs eat Adam and Eve?
A: Oh, look, Spongebob is on.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Me: Jack, I’m taking these toys away until you finish your breakfast. If you keep messing around you’ll be late for school.
Jack: But, but, but.
Me: I’m going into my room to get dressed and when I get back in here you better be finished eating.
I left the kitchen to get dressed. When I finished and headed back toward the kitchen, I heard the very distinct sound that a boy makes when pretending to shoot with a laser gun.
Me: What are you playing with? I thought I took all the toys away.
Jack: I’m playing with my vitamin.
Me: Your vitamin?
Jack: See. It's a gun.
Me: Jack, eat your vitamin.
Jack: I’m just trying to have a little fun.
This just goes to show that with boys anything can be a toy.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
(By the way, that hanger has been there since the Carmex Experiment)
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Luke: I do! I do!
Jack: Awww. I wanted to.
(Luke runs into the laundry room to get John a beer out of the refrigerator.)
Luke: Here you go daddy. And you need to know that there are only two left.
John: Thanks, buddy.
Not only do my boys wait on my husband, they give him an inventory. And I can't even get them to put their dirty clothes in the hamper.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
I hope you can help me here. The other day I set off for work leaving my husband in the house watching the TV as usual. I hadn't gone more than a mile down the road when my engine conked out and the car shuddered to a halt. I walked back home to get my husband's help. When I got home I couldn't believe my eyes. He was in the bedroom with a neighbor lady making mad passionate love to her. I am 32, my husband is 34 and we have been married for twelve years. When I confronted him, he tried to make out that he went into the back yard and heard a lady scream, had come to her rescue but found her unconscious. He'd carried the woman back to our house, laid her in bed, and began CPR. When she awoke she immediately began thanking him and kissing him and he was attempting to break free when I came back. But when I asked him why neither of them had any clothes on, he broke down and admitted that he'd been having an affair for the past six months. I told him to stop or I would leave him. He was let go from his job six months ago and he says he has been feeling increasingly depressed and worthless. I love him very much, but ever since I gave him the ultimatum he has become increasingly distant. I don't feel I can get through to him anymore. Can you please help?
A car stalling after being driven a short distance can be caused by a variety of faults. Start by checking that there is no debris in the fuel line. If it is clear, check the clips holding the vacuum lines onto the inlet manifold for air leaks. If none of these approaches solves the problem, it could be that the fuel pump itself is faulty, causing low delivery pressure to the carburetor float chamber.
Friday, December 7, 2007
"Good. Now we can make a mess." Spoken by Jack the morning after our guests left.
"I would totally like to pee in my mouth." Spoken by Luke in response to John explaining to him why we always wash our hands after going to the bathroom. Luke thought that if he pretended he wouldn't mind having pee in his mouth, he wouldn't have to wash his hands.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
In hopes that you’ll lend a hand.
You too live in a male-dominated household
So my requests you’ll understand.
You must be busy keeping all those elves fed,
Looking for lost hats, and keeping things clean.
Honestly I don’t know how you do it;
I’m guessing lots of caffeine.
If you could find a moment to read my letter
And put these gifts under my tree,
2008 will be a much easier year
Living in a ratio of one to three.
I’m not asking for normal gifts this year,
Not for jewelry, clothes, or shoes.
My requests have a more specific goal -
To cure me of my MDH blues.
I would like bathrooms that are always shiny,
And toilets that clean themselves.
You must be aware of the dribbling pee problem
From cleaning up after all of your elves.
Can you bring me cups, utensils, and dishes
That carry themselves to the sink,
Then wash and put themselves away
While I relax sipping a drink?
I also need rubber walls and floors
And furniture, while you’re at it.
I can hose them all down when they get grimy
And they will be soft when my boys’ heads hit.
And while I’m asking maybe you can send
A chef to cook meals in this amount:
One for Luke, one for Jack, and one for John
Hot dogs and Lunchables don’t count.
I know you’re not a miracle worker
But with your help I wouldn’t have to pay,
Cause living with boys is speeding the process -
Please stop my hair from going gray!
And if you can do that you can stop the wrinkles
That living with all boys induces.
And reduce the aches that I feel in my bones
From the boys’ daily bodily abuses.
And it would be nice if I could enjoy a meal
Without the gross factor ever starting.
I can’t remember the last dinner I had
Minus poop talk, burps and farting.
I know you have empathy being outnumbered too,
Yet your face always has a smile.
So my last request is for a year’s worth of patience
And if not that, send me to a tropical isle.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Luke wished on a star a couple of nights ago. He said he couldn’t tell me what he wished for or it wouldn’t come true. Which, by the way, I think is the method some parent came up with years ago as a way to keep from being the bad guy because the parent knew that kids can’t keep secrets. As in, “I wished on that star for a pony.” “Well, honey, you told me the wish so now it won’t come true.” And now I won’t have to buy you a pony.
Anyway, back on point, Luke decided he could tell me his wish.
Luke: I wished for a snake.
Me: Oh, that’s nice.
Luke (being the smart boy that he is, he knows that the star will need a little help getting him his snake): “So can I get one.” I hate Jiminy Cricket.
Me: I don’t think so, sweetie.
Luke: Wail, wail, wail, cry, cry, cry.
Me (when wailing subsided): Do you know what snakes eat? They eat mice. And you love mice. You would be really sad if you had to go to the pet store to buy mice only to bring them home and feed them to the snake.
Luke: I don’t want a snake anymore. Whew!
Luke: How about a bird? Ahh, jeez.
Me: Well, birds poop everywhere.
Luke: What about a puppy?
Me: I don’t think Shasta would appreciate that. She’s really old and a puppy will want to play with her and it would make her mad and she wouldn’t like the puppy and wouldn’t like us for bringing a puppy home.
Jack: I know what she feels like.
Me: What do you mean?
Jack: I’m older and Luke’s like a little puppy and sometimes he just bothers me.
Luke: Ruff, ruff.
Jack: Hey, little puppy. (Giggling) Stop trying to lick me little puppy. (Petting Luke on the head) Good little puppy.
Luke: Ruff, ruff. Crisis averted.
Monday, December 3, 2007
I know I’m biased, but I think the boys look pretty darn good. Especially considering that the visit to Santa was a spur of the moment decision while we were at the mall, they were dressed like orphans, and we are currently going for the record for the longest time between haircuts .
So what did the lady dressed like an elf taking the picture of my boys ask me, perfectly seriously and within earshot of Jack?
“Is that the best the older boy can smile?”
Ummmm. Things I wanted to say:
“Where’d they find you? The elf reject store?”
“Oh, goody. Another graduate with a degree in Working-With-Kids-For-Mean-People-That-Don’t-Like-Kids.”
“Well, he’s been really sad since we told him Santa was a sham.”
“Hey older boy. Come over here and kick this lady’s a**.”
What I did say – nothing for fear that if I opened my mouth one of the above, or worse, would escape.
What John said – “I think they look beautiful.” And he was right. Take that, cranky elf lady.