8.31.2011

Monday Morning Mayhem

As I mentioned previously, the car Mickey drives to work needs brakes.  We have to drive him to work if we need the other car.  He has to be there at 8:30.

So.

Monday morning, I was out bright and early. We participate in a homeschool co-op and the last several weeks, I was squealing up at the last second frazzled and unprepared.  But not this week. I was up earlier, looking better, and getting ready to be more organized for what I am calling my "planning period".  Even with taking Mickey to work, I was going to meet 9:00 with both guns blazing.  HUZZAH!!!

Until I hit the bottom of the stairs.  Mickey was on his way up and asked me if had noticed the car parked at the end of the driveway.  Um, what?

Yes, indeed.

Someone had parked a really nice dark blue Honda Civic with tons of stupid stickers, ACROSS OUR DRIVEWAY.  I have seldom seen such a masterful parallel park in all of my life.

It was decided that I would call the police non-emergency.  It was about 7:50.  I figured that before the car arrived the person who probably planned to be gone before they could be a problem to the resident of this house, would appear and the car would be gone and I would have to explain to the cop.

No.

The cop came and immediately called a wrecker.  He checked with all the nearest neighbors, there being no reason to poll every house on the block.  The cop had to call dispatch to confirm the arrival of "his" wrecker.  Twice.

I kept thinking someone would come racing out in sock feet with bed head, "SORRY!!!  Please!  OH, I am So Sorry!!!"

Nope.

We went screeching out of the driveway (well, not really, the cop was still there) at 9:05.  NINE OH FREAKING FIVE! 


I am later than ever to co-op; less organized than I have been yet.
When we got in the car, one of the girls said, " I recognize it.  It is "two-doors-down's" friend."  WTH!!!  I am afraid of "two doors down".  She is newly single, mother of two, parties like an animal on non-custodial weekends.  And she is angry*.

Well, apparently, another neighbor was working from home and noticed people looking at the ground in front of my driveway.  Looking back and forth up the street.  Back at the ground (What?  Like aliens came and took your Civic?)

So he went outside.

(Funny Funny Neighbor)

FFN: Y'all looking for something?

2DD: I parked my friend's car here last night. (Your friend's car? Heh Heh. You got your friend's car towed.  I bet s/he'll be stoked.)

FFN: It was blocking the driveway.

 2DD: I know, but there wasn't anyplace else to park. ( True, except for the completely empty half block in front of the minivan you parked behind.)

FFN:  The family who lives in that house needed to get their kids to school this morning AT 8:00, so they called the cops.  They were here for more than 30 minutes**.  I am surprised you didn't hear all the racket.

We're still scratching our heads.  Drunk? Lacking I.Q.?  Lacking common sense?  Or so stone cold selfish, that fully possessed of all average to above average gifts of reasoning, and unimpaired by strong drink, she parked illegally in front of a driveway containing a vehicle...because she felt like it, and expected us to just happily wait until she was ready to start her day before we started ours?

She looks older than 13, but you never can be sure.




 *I tried to introduce myself when she moved in.
Me: "Hi, I'm Maggie. I live in that house." 
2DD: "Okay.  My child has water on his shirt, I really need to get him cleaned up."

She stole my next door neighbor's garbage cans.  The neighbor took them back.  She took them again and put them inside the fence--a separate, on-going, low-rent, mini-drama.

**This neighbor had an approximate time frame.

8.27.2011

Randomized:

Good Moroning,

I have had a couple of hours to sip coffee and look at blogs. Did I write then, while I was alone? Well, of course not. I am going to do it now with a child saying mindless things just to make sure I am unable to complete a thought, and that I don't forget he is in the room.

Speaking of Random...

Our a/c has a problem. We know what the problem is, but we have no idea if it will be a hundred dollar fix or a thousand dollar fix.

The little car needs brakes. NEEEEEDS. Brakes. Mickey downloaded a DIY video. There was one for our exact make and model of car. I haven't been in an auto parts store to purchase brake pads since 1986. I am a little scared of what it will cost.

The girls started their second co-op yesterday. We have one on Monday, (all three kids have "classes" ) and one on Friday(just a high school co-op). More on this later. But. For right now, suffice to say, I will not lack for humorous posts. Like the one about why my daughter came home from her first day of co-op with the nickname "PDA girl". From the boy her sister has a crush on. Who another friend has called a "Perv". When I have a humorous thought about this, I'll get back to you.

There is so much that needs to be done in my house; I don't know where to start. It looks like a...a...uh. I am grossed out and truly truly afraid.

Speaking of Random. It is almost the King of overused words. I don't just say this because I just graduated two middle schoolers. I realize my grammar has gone to the dogs, I am headed to the special place in Hell reserved for people who begin sentences with contractions, and next to "run-on sentence" in the grammar handbook is a wanted poster with my picture on it. And yes, I do realize that I tend to "chase rabbit trails" and "gather wool". A bit. Still, random doesn't mean distracted. And it doesn't mean sloppy. It also doesn't mean "out of left field". It is a mathematical term.

While I am here. Passion. Passionate. Attention: Twenty-somethings, passion, by definition, must have an object. To refer to someone as a 'passionate person', is to refuse to define why they appeal to you. I think you are trying to say that they are emotion-driven...and you like that. Additionally, the word 'passion' is not a synonym for favorite or preference. Likewise, 'to be passionate', is not the same thing as 'liking'. I am sorry to tell you that you are not, in fact, passionate about dark chocolate. It is your favorite food; perhaps you are willing to die for it, but that is not a passion, it is an illness.

And just one more thing. Those of us older than you grew up with the word, passion' being used to refer to lust gratified'. So when we hear you talk about your passion for 'little chiffon roses you can pin on your tote bag or sweater', we are laughing on the inside. When we learn that you are proud that your child is so passionate. We know you are trying to be positive about her tantrums, but for a split second, we are horrified that you don't know her well enough to actually describe her.

Ahem. I swear I am almost finished. Amazing, I know.

NO. IT ISN'T.

Everything is not amazing. If everything is amazing, nothing is. My beautiful daughters got into the habit of over-using adjectives, eventually describing my Regular Monday Spaghetti Sauce as "AMAZING". Now, while I will admit it is REALLY REALLY good, it is just grocery store brand, jar sauce jazzed up according to time and resources. I think Gordon Ramsey would agree, our family traditions are precious, and comfort food is what it is to you, but 'amazing' is a word to be used with caution.

Over such things as: microwave popcorn, candy Bars, anything on 'adult contemporary' radio stations, your friend's new haircut, movies we watch on our small analog TV, lunchboxes or their contents; it is perfectly fine to say, "I really like this..."

Space Travel is amazing. Running the 100m in 10.49 seconds is amazing.

Amazing when over used, becomes... just alright.

8.25.2011

Writer's Workshop: Only Ten?

Mama Kat knows me too well.

I just love "Farm Food".  Someday I hope to live on the farm again.  Until that beautiful dream becomes a reality there's always...



BACON: HOW DO I LOVE THEE? LET ME COUNT THE WAYS

1) I love the way you taste, Reduced Sodium Grocery Store Label.

2) I love the way you share your good taste with everything you touch.

3) I love the magic that happens when you bring out the best in our shy friends, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and toasted white bread.

4) I love the humility with which you adorn the side of the breakfast plate, allowing eggs, hash browns (scattered, smothered, and covered), and orange juice to shine.

5) I love that you have supported the humblest souls, the poorest of our forebears through lean times.  That if I were less lazy, I might research which of the greatest men and women of our Nation's history may have been brought up with you as a cornerstone of the provision they received.

6) I love that you are a part of my earliest memories of early mornings.  The best part of being an early riser, was having Grandma and Grandpa to myself.  I climbed up to the breakfast table to oatmeal, and toast.  And there you were.  Grandma prepared you. Grandpa served you. You, in turn nourished my small body, because they fed my little soul.

7)  Fat is an important part of the diet, for the nervous system, the skin and hair, and digestion.  You give me all the fat I need, and more. I just love that.

8)  Thank you.  So much.  Whenever you are in the kitchen, you leave the best part of yourself with us.  You give seasoning to several ethnic dishes we love, giving a richer flavor than the clear "better" oils.

9)  There is something to be said for a food that doesn't argue its innocence, but proudly stays true to who it is.  Apologize to no one.  You are historic, common, delicious.

10)  I would eat you on a train, in the rain, in the car, at the bar, with a mouse, at Waffle House. I pledge allegiance to Bacon, O' glorious breakfast meat!!!


I am not comfortable with how much I enjoyed writing prompt #2 "Ten Reasons Bacon is Awesome" for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop

8.20.2011

Stupid.

My last semester of college was an utter freaking disaster.  A couple of things rose out of the ashes of that mess.  First, was teacher(who taught in the school where the catastrophe took place), whose kids were in the Sunday school class I taught.  She waited about a year, then took me aside and said, "None of that mess belongs to you. It wasn't your fault.  Move forward and teach. Allow God to use that in your life."

The second was a fellow student teacher, who was a grad student in special education.  And she was blind.  As a bat.  For reasons that remain unclear, this woman lived alone and drove.  A car.  Her house was a biohazard.  But of course, she had no idea.  She was a great cook and would bring me food(that I was unable to eat once I saw her kitchen).  She had a cat that was about a million years old and needed to be put down.  But of course, she couldn't see.

Her graduate work was in creating a culturally neutral I.Q. test.  She needed a variety of volunteers from all sorts of backgrounds; which criteria, I apparently fulfilled,.  Several days, during my planning period and lunch, I took a different portion of the experimental test.  One afternoon we went to her house and did the WHOLE of the WAIS-R*. She looked at me and said, "Why are you studying education?  You could do anything you wanted to do."

When I was in 7th grade, I told my mom I was thinking of trying out for cheerleader.  She said," Go ahead if you want; that doesn't have anything to do with me.  I don't know how you are going to pay for uniforms and fees though."

When my high school Drama I class was putting on Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, I was cast as Gwendolyn.  I asked my dad to come to the performance.  He said, "Naw.  I won't be there."**

His mother took all the girls in the family to Hawaii.  Except me.  And on a visit to her home just prior to the trip, she reminded me, "Don't expect me to bring you anything, either."

 I've seen the pastor gasp like a fish out of water, "Why can't you believe God loves you?"

...'cause I'm stupid.






*Because it wasn't an official administration of the test (I didn't pay someone with a license to administer it, I guess), my results aren't official.

**Sort of in the man's defense, he isn't known for flowery speech.  When his wife was going in for a double mastectomy, he said, "Their gonna cut her breasts off."  Gee.  I got off easy.

8.19.2011

It's That Time of Year, Again.

~ This is a PG rated post for refernces to the existence and/or non-existence of certain literary and traditional persons.~

    I always knew I would teach my kids a certain way about Christmas, Easter, and the deciduous teeth (ask your dentist).  My mom used the Santa Claus to be mean to me and my cousin got his heart broken on the playground by the other kids when he was 10 (-ish).

   So then God in His Infinite Humor...

The girls have always done the opposite of what I expected, with my BS in Family Relations and Child Development and personal study of same with emphasis in Home Education.  We thought in our "We-aren't-parents-yet-but- we- know" thing that Santa took attention away from Jesus, created a spirit of greed in the holiday, and risked that your kids will think you are a liar generally.  Before you get mad...keep reading.

We always told them the guy in the red suit was named Santa Claus is a character we all pretend about... Shoot, I can't even remember how we worded it.  At any rate, the Christmas they were three, they pointed to all the images of St Nick and called him..."the snowman."

Fast forward about 3 years.  We are coming home LATE Christmas Eve from a party at the pastor's house.  Acorss town.  45 minutes from home.  The girls watched the lights going out in the grocery stores and gas stations.  They began to be worried about where their lame mom and dad were going to get the presents.  Mickey assured them that he would run down to the Texaco and get Christmas tree air fresheners and paper funnels and snicker bars.  Panic ensued as the girls realized Christmas was in jeopardy.  They didn't want THAT for Christmas and if they did, the gas stations were all closed.

The next morning, imagine their surprise to see bicycles and new coats and watches and goodies and...

Fast forward several months, I overhear from the backseat.

Type A:  Of course, there is a Santa.

Sister: No, Mom and Dad said.  They know.

Type A: There is too; think about it.

Sister:  No, There isn't. Mom and Dad wouldn't lie.

Type A:  On Christmas Night when we were coming home, everything was closed.  Then, in the morning, all that stuff was there. That did not come from the gas station.  And  mom never went anywhere.  There has to be a Santa.  They couldn't have pulled it off.

Sister: Hmm.



The kids are back in school.  Before you know it, stores will begin slipping in the Christmas stuff around the edges of the Halloween stuff.  Keep the magic alive.  Don't make your kids manufacture their own.

~I am Sharing My Awesome @Momma Made It Look Easy


Momma Made It Look Easy

8.18.2011

PMM: Yes, I Do Too Have Them

I wrote this post and never posted it before I took a little blog break over the summer.  I am linking up today with Pround Mommy Moments at The Daily Dribbles


TGIF...

Last night, my husband got a text begging for people to come out and help to decorate for a wedding.  Mickey and the girls left here just before 8 in the evening and returned around 11:30.  Everyone had been encouraged that the MOTB would be at the church at ten this morning and would accept all the help she could get.

Ahem...

SOME people...who haven't dragged out of bed until as late as 9:30 in the past four months, were out at 7:15.  To ask if they could go help with the wedding preparations.

Yes, if you get all your chores done.

(Or if you sort of get your chores done.  Because whatever you do will be more than you usually do, and I will drop you off and get to clock out as "fairy wish granter", and you will be constructively engaged in a real world activity.  Puh.  Try NOT to go.)

Somewhere in the midst of all the choring and checking and unnecessary time spent in last moments of middle school pettiness...I realized how proud I am of my kids.  They can step up. 

I dropped them off as soon as we could get them there.  Their chores were done, and let's be serious.  We've got to get this couple married, here.  Small Fry and I ran errands.  Then we swung back by the church gym to them up.  The Bride saw me coming down the hill and stopped to thank me for sparing the girls today.  Her mother stopped and hugged me and thanked me and a distant relative thanked them profusely.

FOR HOW MUCH WORK THEY DID, HOW HELPFUL THEY WERE, AND HOW ORGANIZED THEY WERE.

Don't thank me.  I didn't have anything to do with it.


The gym looks...not like a gym, really.  If you squint.  But still really nice.

~it looked amazing by the time they were finished.~

8.17.2011

Everybody on the Bus. We're Going Back to the Old School.



THIS is my exactly favorite time of year.  I love the smell of new crayons and the feel of new clothes. I love the process of  choosing which baby animal will adorn folders and the all important...backpack.  Maybe because life is so complex, these simple decisions are like a comforting sweatshirt on an early October day.

Hard on the heels of  'Back to School', comes Labor Day, the ceremonial threshhold between Summer and Fall.  Football season provides the background music to the (finally) cooling temperatures and the turning of the leaves from green to brilliant red and gold...

~sound of record scratching~

In a world where handwriting is disappearing from the curriculum and there are metal detectors in even the primary schools; back to school isn't what it once was.

In our house, we aren't just going 'Back to School'.  We are going back to 'The Old School'.  Join us if you will...

TEN WAYS TO GET BACK TO THE OLD SCHOOL FOR MY KIDS AND BOTH REMAINING BLOG FRIENDS

1. My Children, you will be learning to do your math with a pencil and paper.  You will not whine to me that computers do that now. You have to learn it.  The world may end before you use it.  That'll be a shame. Wah wah wah.

2. As I said before...handwriting instruction is no longer a part of the curriculum in some areas.  Don't you wish you lived there?  Someday, when you write sticky notes in your office, the administrative assistant will know you want him to pick up a dozen roses. Rather than pick his freakin' nose.

3. You have to make the grade. There is one right answer in Math. Spelling. Science. When there isn't just one, I know when you are thinking and when you are farting around.  Sucks, right?  No, not really.  Because when 'right is right', you know where you stand.  Your grade then belongs to you and has nothing to do with whether your teacher likes you or not.

4.  You still aren't getting a phone.  When you pay for it, you can sit and text, "kk", on your own dime.  Until then, the decision is mine and when you can "remember" to do your chores (Yes, I am on this again) I might trust you to take care of a $250 device with a $50/month bill.  Puh....

Moving on.

5. You are going to dress like you have some self-respect.  You are not going to wear skirts or shorts so short that if you fall down, bystanders are no longer innocent.  You are not going to wear shirts that look like you found them stuck to the street.  You are going to be clean, neat and presentable.  Oh, and no black fingernail polish.  It looks like you slammed all your fingers in the car door.  Yes, I know EVERYONE else gets to dress like a prostitute circa. 1981 (or Dracula).  I know.  That's why you are so lucky to be here at the old school.

6. Manage your money. Stop buying gum.  Daddy buys gum. You may not live here when you are thirty.  Please get a bigger life goal than getting a job so you can go to Dollywood.

7. Remember.  If you hate me for a little while everyday, I am doing my job correctly.  Roll your eyes and slam doors, but remember...I don't care.  Knock it off the hinges.  The women's clinics, juvenile courts and morgues are filled with young ladies whose moms are cool*.

8.  I will monitor heavily what you watch and who you hang with.  I am not from The "children-are-wise-and-make-good-decisions-if-you-just-give-them-the-freedom" School. I am from The "the-hell-they-will-ask-me-how-I-know" School.

9.  It is not as if we live like Amish people here.  Believe it or not.  Your entertainment is not my main assignment.  Your character is.  Yeah.  If you think that makes your days look bleak.  Imagine if you were me.

10.  I am comfortable with the order of authority.  I am comfortable with protecting you from the rampant skankiness in the world, and your own stupidity.  I am comfortable with you not being comfortable with being different from everyone else.  This is why children have parents.  More and more I see, that though you are taller than I am, you are really still children.  I am still the parent.  You get to be the child for a little while longer.  Enjoy.


Enjoy the Old School.




*We happen to know a young lady and her mom...  It's not if; it's when.  She's younger than my girls.

I know sometimes children do things, because "it seemed like a good idea at the time."  And it has nothing to do with the parenting they've rec'd...(see #8).





8.15.2011

Whazzat Smell?

I don't buy goat cheese.  Or Feta.  Or a lotta different kinds of peppers.  Green, jalapeno, green chilies, banana peppers are about my full repertoire.  I don't have any arugula.

To read ANY magazine (well, probably not Penthouse), you would think that the modern American family sits down to dine on these things every night.  No wonder y'all need Dec*ptively Delic*ous, although, I think blending up blueberries and hiding them in the spaghetti sauce is missing the point of both blueberries and spaghetti sauce.

I know, my kids are probably blending up the feta and slipping it into my coffee.

See.  When I put it that way it sounds stupid. 

My girls eat everything.  They like almost everything I don't serve at home -- greens, fish (help me Jesus, the only way I can choke down fish is with a chicken plank chaser), feta.

I didn't train the boy.  The school of freaking hard knocks did that.  He loves everything except coconut (maybe I'll grind some up and hide it in his onions and mushrooms).  I guess not getting to taste all that much of anything until you were 18 months and then eating orphanage food will make you a bit of a weird sort of foodie. He eats very slowly and when his sister made comment, he said, " I want to enjoy the food!"

My grandmothers were both great cooks.  As a new wife I found out that my husband thought "hot dogs" was a dinner entree.  I thought I would pass out from gladness. I read cookbooks obsessively.  I can make up my own recipe for a thing by cobbling together the ingredients I have and three or four different recipes for what I am hungry for.  I am currently obsessed with Master Chef.  Money is tight.  I went Aldi on Dec 31 of last year and didn't get to go again until some time in February.  We ate three meals a day without going out to eat.  The limitations forced me to kick it up a notch.

Which brings me to this.  For the duration of the blog break, and maybe before, I have been thinking of a series or a weekly little bit of something called, The Ghetto Gourmet. For everyone who respects what brought them this far. For everyone who is tired of their food magazines going to the dogs.  For me.  To get it off my chest now and again, the emperor has no clothes.  I am feeding them good tasting food and they are eating it.  I don't have to blend up their pepperoni and hide it in their grilled tilapia with a balsamic reduction.

Let me know what you think and what is for dinner at your house tonight.

It is 5:45, and we're having spaghetti.  No blueberries.  No feta.

8.14.2011

True Fact: Our First Date

I just realized it was our second date.

I had just moved into this little duplex.  There were three of them in a row.

He brought over great big thick pork chops, corn on the cob, and his little grill.

We sat inside and talked and periodically went out to check on the food.

Neither of us had a lot of practice grilling.  I don't remember what we talked about.


We had been married about 2 years when Mickey learned what happened next...

We went out to look at the food.  As we stepped out the door, I casually glanced to the right.  There in the glow of the back porch light, two doors down, my neighbor was feeding her cats. 

I nearly swallowed my tongue.

In excess of 6 feet tall, bigger than most men.

She was tiptoeing into her back door.

Completely nude.



....Tiptoeing, by-the-way, is no substitute for a shirt and pants.