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Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Night that Wouldn't End...

I hate bedtime. It's like herding cats. The kids are going in different directions and I have to tell them to do something at least 3 times, before it gets done. Right now it is 45 minutes past their set bedtime. The middle child begged me to let him finish his new Lego set (he got a ton of them for his birthday)...the youngest is bugging me because she is "scared" and wants to sleep in big brother's room and big brother is down here pleading with me to not let sister sleep in his room. Meanwhile there is screaming, yelling and door slamming...which drives the dog insane, and he is panting and running in circles...

(photo from web)
The little one peeks down the stairs, "I am washing my face!" she announces..."I have soap all over it!" Okay...that's a new one. One minute later, she makes her way downstairs, "I know I look like a freak" she says, "I can't get the soap off my face!" Oh brother! I take her into the kitchen, get a wet paper towel and wipe down her face, only to find that I am making the soap foam up. "Wow, that's a lot of soap!" I think. I get another paper towel and try again...now she is downright frothy! I take her upstairs, get a wet washcloth and try again...wiping up to the hairline...and see that the soap is in her hair and I have just made it worse. UGH! Now I have to put her in the shower. "Why were you washing your face?" I ask. She starts crying and says, "Because my brother put a booger on my face!"

I find myself once again yelling something I never thought I would say, "Don't wipe boogers on your sister's face!" From the bedroom comes, "I didn't really do it, Mom! I was just kidding!" After getting the little one rinsed off and into pajamas, I went into the oldest's room. "For future reference," I tell him, "Don't even pretend to put a booger on your sister. She is 6 and it will freak her out." I went on to tell him how she went overboard with the soap...we had a good laugh, and he promised he wouldn't do it again...I wonder if I should have added, "Don't wipe a booger on your brother either!"  Oh well, I guess we will just fight that battle when we come to it. I'm thinking the younger brother will be the one to wipe a real booger on his brother...it's not going to be a pretty scene.
(photo from the web)
At 9:45pm, the kids are still not asleep...they are working me for more time with their lights on. It is now an hour and a half past bedtime. The husband walks through the door, just as the eldest is on his way down the stairs. "What are you doing up?" he asks. "I'm getting the dog," he explains. At 10, the poor kid is desperate for a dog of his own. Oh, we have a dog...but he is 14 and crabby. And he's really my dog. Follows me everywhere...which I love...well, except when I am changing my clothes and he stares at me. Makes me think he is thinking, "Good God! You have really let yourself go!" and then I feel so self conscious...

(Yep...this is Maverick...staring at me!)
Anyway, the dog refuses to go upstairs without me, so I have to take him upstairs to sleep on the bottom bunk of the 10 year old's bed. I generally don't allow this, but I feel bad because I accidentally tripped the dog earlier and he kind of fell. (Don't feel bad, Maverick...I tripped and fell down in the playroom yesterday...)

"So how was your night?" asks my husband. "Did you bring any beer home?" I ask. "Noooo," he replies. "I can't believe you left me with no beer!" I say. "Be right back!" he says as he heads out the door. "MOM!" I am being summoned..."Can I have some water?" asks the middle child. "Will you sleep with me?" calls out the youngest..."  This is the night that will never end...It's not like I have anything else to do...just empty out the lunch boxes, start the dishwasher, fold clothes, wash their white "jog" shirts for tomorrow...oh and copy down a verse for the little one so she can try out for the speech meet...yeah...that's not a lot. Forget the beer...I'm making a pot of coffee!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Birthday party...in the RAIN?

It's the middle son's birthday today. He is eight. And planning his party has been so traumatic...for me..  Poor kid hasn't really had a big birthday party...seems like the oldest had big parties from ages one through nine. (opting for a small slumber party last year that caused me to cower in the backyard with an adult beverage.) The kids were so obnoxious that my husband refused to come in the house...he was ready to put them in the car and drive them home...slowing down just enough to let them out in front of their houses!  But I digress...

So this year I thought I would do it up BIG for our poor little middle child. "Invite everyone in your class," I said, feeling magnanimous. "You can even invite the neighbor kids and other kids at school..."...The guest list hit 30 and I didn't flinch. We decided on the big park not far from our house. "Genius!" my husband called me. Park rental: $59.00...LEGO party invitations, complete with a mini figure for the goody bags plus thank you cards...$20 for 10 (x3).  OK...so that cost me $60. Still...I was looking for the least amount of work for me, with the least cost.

I checked the weather forecast...March can be iffy, where weather is concerned. The almanac assured me that we would have a sunny day with 73'F weather. Good enough for me! Invitations went out and the responses started coming in. I was so excited for our boy. He was going to have a big party with all his friends. What better place than the park? They can run, climb on the structures, climb the rock wall...hit the picnic tables where I and the other parents would be sitting...chatting and laughing...watching our little darlings. I would have snacks and drinks for them...it all would be so perfect!

The husband and I watched the extended weather reports every day. One week before the party and the weather forecast remained favorable. And then it happened! What's this? "Chance of rain?" Oh..just 25% chance...that's nothing.  The next day...50% chance of rain. I could feel the slight tinge of worry...but it was OK...I still had 6 days... Every day the report changed..finally vacillating between 70% chance and 30% chance. Other parents and friends started to join in on the weather watch. One was doing the "reverse" Indian Rain Dance...another was singing the rain away. At pick up time at school, they would tell me the chance of rain...all of us pulling for a sunny day!

By Thursday, just three days before the party, the forecast showed heavy rain on Saturday (day before party). "We can't have the party at the park, if it rains all day Saturday," I told my husband. "Sure we can," he said in a positive voice. "No, all the equipment will be wet," I lamented. "No it won't....because I will be there Sunday morning drying everything with towels!" He wasn't kidding. I could see him calculating how many towels it would take and if I would notice all the beach towels missing....He even said he would rake the sand to get the water to drain...(this is a desperate man...)

Having 20-30 kids in our house plus 20 parents...in the rain...is not an option. I can barely stand my three kids and the dog in this house...they get so loud! And there isn't room to put that many people...so stress levels were high as we watched and waited on the weather. I started looking into options...Bounce house place, bowling alley, fitness centers...all were either so expensive for a big group like ours...or 30 minutes away. I didn't want to make our guests drive...and was looking for the most cost-effective plan. (which would be the PARK!) After looking at the prices, my husband said, "you know...I've been walking around the house and I think we can have it here...I will block off a few rooms, put another TV in the playroom and 12 kids can play video games!!"  He looked so proud, having just come up with a solution. I could feel my hands acting independently of my body as they reached up to grasp his neck in a choke hold...

I thought about all the CLEANING, shoving stuff into bags and throwing them into the garage and then having to come up with GAMES and prizes and food. "NOOOO!" I quickly dissuaded him from that idea, ticking off a list of ALL the things that would need to be accomplished (having the carpets cleaned, hand washing the walls, the cabinets, hanging all the pictures that I have neglected to do, cleaning the kids' rooms...it would be nice to see the floor in our daughter's room) and the cost of food, games, drinks, prizes, etc. would equal the cost of going somewhere else. House was off-limits!

By Friday, all the of Saturday's Little League opening day festivities were cancelled due to the impending rain. The forecast showed 100% chance of rain for Sunday and we were running out of time and options. The local skating rink seemed the best idea...My husband asked me to try and convince our young son to postpone the party. "Bribe him with Legos!" he exclaimed. I knew it wouldn't work. Last year, we had his birthday party on April 18th...almost a month after his birthday...I didn't remember that...but HE sure did! He's been talking about it for months..."I don't want my party in April...like you did LAST year!" he would tell me, "My birthday is in MARCH!" UGH...how in the world does that kid remember that? I didn't remember the exact date! I am pretty sure he has a photographic memory...he's still mad at me for the time when he was 3 and I reached out for him as he ran by and accidentally tore his shirt..."Remember when you ripped my shirt? That was my FAVORITE shirt!" I'm sure he will need years of therapy over that one...

With the confirmed guest list at 22 and two days to spare, we booked the local skating rink. The cost is greater, but the stress level is low...all we do is show up with our goody bags and cake! And money...

The kid has had a great birthday so far....breakfast in bed...Don't be impressed...it was a donut. The Legos and video games he wanted...an ice cream cake (his favorite) and dinner at his favorite burger joint...you know the place with the 800 calorie burgers! (great...) The big rain storm has not appeared. It BETTER rain tomorrow...but of course it won't...it would only rain if I booked the park and was set up out there. Now that we are going to be indoors...it will be sunny...I know it. My husband knows it. That is the way it goes for us...so shine all you want, sun...I don't care...what's done is done...I'm going to enjoy the skating rink...we'll try the park for the next party...a summer party...and hope that it isn't 100 degrees out...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Daylight Savings Time + Rain = CRAZINESS

Daylight Savings Time is kicking my butt. After 5 months of school, we had finally mastered the morning routine. It was awesome. The sun, having just risen, would greet the kids as they woke up. No one was grumpy and they would pop out of bed, get dressed and head downstairs for breakfast.  Everything was right in the world...and then Daylight Savings time happened and screwed it all up! Gone are my happy children, replaced by cranky, sluggish, sloth-like creatures, who's whole existence is to make the morning a traumatic experience for all involved. No one wants to get up. Everyone whines. (especially me!) They walk around like zombies, whining that "it's still dark out. It's night time." (Yeah, like I am really going to wake those three crabs up in the middle of the night!)

Not only am I dealing with the time change and all the adjustments we have to make...but it's been raining all week. It is just so delightful to pick the kids up after a day of school...all spent indoors. First comes the complaining: "I didn't get to play outside ONCE today!" Followed by the very dramatic, "Oh...this is what the outside feels like." UGH...I know how this is going to play out...

Once we are home, they are like caged animals. "Please stop raining," I say under my breath. The kids are loud. Talking loud, laughing loud....Loud. Loud. Loud! The phone rings, I grab it and run to the laundry room to insulate myself against the noise. Two...three minutes tops, and I hear screaming...and crying. "Is that crying or laughing?" I ask myself, hoping it's laughter so I don't have to interrupt my phone call. I peek out the door, to see the youngest straddling the back of the club chair, next to an open window, with the window screen in her hand. Panicked and thinking she broke something and not able to hang onto it for much longer, she is freaking out. "Calm down...just drop the screen, you are OK," I tell her, "Just leave it alone." Five minutes later I am off the phone and come out to see the two youngest children climbing in and out the window. Really? What part of this makes them think this is OK? Luckily they were doing this at ground level!

About an hour later, I start to prepare dinner...if you can call it that. Alright...I admit it...when Daddy is not home for dinner, the menu tends to be a bit lax...but mini pizzas and corn dogs are a food group, right? Don't judge... It's the best I can do...the kids are going stir crazy and driving me crazy in the process. It sounds like a herd of cattle, running down the stairs as I hear, "I've got your pants!" and the youngest goes running through the kitchen, laughing like a hyena...followed closely by the middle son in his underwear yelling, "give me back my pants!" ...Curse you, rain!

I send them upstairs and try to regain my sanity. I can hear them up there...they are up to no good. Yelling, laughing...and thumping. "Wonder what that thumping is?" I briefly think, going back to my very complicated microwave cooking. Big thump...shrieking...running..."Mom! Come quick!" I sprint up the stairs to find the little one wailing on the floor. "She hit her head!" says the middle son. I look around the room and can only imagine how this has happened... the couch has been stripped of it's cushions, which are now lined up on the floor like a launch pad. I cradle the little one as I look at the boys..."Were you jumping on the couch?" I ask. "Nooo...we were standing on the back of the couch, jumping off and landing on the cushions on the floor!" Oh, of course...jumping on the couch would have been too easy...We get the little one laughing by saying silly things, I put the cushions back on the couch and say, "No more!"

It's the rain's fault. Next time, I am just going to send them out to play in the rain! The younger kids will love it...the older will complain. But that's OK...I've been having my own fun this week. Every morning, I put out their clothes for school. They all wear uniforms but there are different colors to choose from. My fun game has been to dress them all exactly alike and see how long it will take them to notice. I snicker to myself when they come down the stairs...three triplets. I chuckle at pick up, when we all walk to the car and they are identical...and I am amazed the oldest hasn't noticed, since he hates to be copied. It took exactly four days for one of them to notice..."Hey! We are all dressed the same!" the youngest happily exclaimed. The boys looked at each other and looked at her. The middle son shrugged and looked at me...the oldest one rolled his eyes with a big sigh. "Darn it!" I thought..."there goes my fun!" Not so...today is spirit day and they are all dressed alike...jeans, purple shirts with the school logo and purple and gold hair. Today, it is fun....but come Monday...they will be watching me!

It's all OK...I get the last laugh. My car has a full tank of gas and my bags are packed. Mama is going out of town without the kids!  Good luck Daddy...it's supposed to rain all weekend. I will be thinking of you as I sip a green St. Patrick's Day beer with my best friends. (who are also running away er...taking some time to recharge their batteries...) I will come back happy and relaxed and ready to master this Daylight Savings time thing!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Not a Hoarder...A Packrat!

I think I have hoarding tendencies... I have over 29,000 emails in my inbox...logically, I know I can't possibly read them all... I have a huge basket of unmatched socks...I realize that their mates have gone on to the mystical place on the "other side"...of the dryer. I watched an episode of "Hoarders" the other night, which totally freaked me out. The woman had a nice clean house...but three bedrooms were full of junk. Not gross stuff like cat poop and dead animals...just normal stuff that one might "store".  Every time I watch "Hoarders" I run around on the commercials, throwing stuff out.  I could see myself filling up a guest room with stuff I am storing...if I HAD a guest room...guess I am glad I don't...And I don't think I would take it so far as to fill up a basement, my kid's basement, two storage units and a 9,000 square foot store front...but left unchecked...I might fill the garage... Oh wait..there is no room in there...half of the garage is still full of boxes from our old house...it's been a year and we are STILL moving in.

My sisters give me clothes for my boys...I am storing clothes they will wear in TEN years...Hmm...maybe I shouldn't be keeping bins and bins of them in the playroom closet...having all this stuff to take care of, stresses me out! I used to keep every scrap of paper the kids bring home from school...and then my mom gave me a box of my own schoolwork...and I realized just a few things from each phase of school is enough. I get to share  them with my kids and we can compare handwriting. That's all we need...but I'm still having a hard time parting with stuff...

This isn't new...this has been going on for years...I am the youngest of four girls...my older sister would never let us in her room. Every so often, she would want to get rid of stuff and she would invite us into her room, for an "auction". She would hold up an item and we would bid on it. We were thrilled that we got to go in her room and left with all kinds of treasures, and no money. Come to think of it...I think the same sister is the one who told me.."you need to collect something"...she made me collect salt and pepper shakers. Which I still have...and in Highschool, I had a pig for FFA...so I collected pigs...statues, stuffed animals...you name it.  In the 90's this same sister got my mom and other sisters collecting Beanie Babies. We were so competitive and out of control! Actually...it could have been any sister that started that craze...but I took it to new lengths, trying to get each beanie before they did...I STILL have two large bins of them and just donated 60 of them to the kids' school!

Two of my kids are "collectors"..."I need this for my rock collection," says the youngest. "She collects rocks?" I think. Yep...has a stash of rocks in her room. The middle kid saves every scrap of paper...but not cool stuff from school...candy wrappers! WHAT? The oldest keeps every cherished thing he can get his hands on. If he remembers making it, he wants it. His room is full of projects...Mission project from 4th grade, Pinata project from 1st grade...dioramas, collages...notebooks, binders...you name it. His school Bible is missing its cover and pages are falling out but he won't let me replace it because, "I have had this since kindergarten!"

My bedroom looks like the closet threw up in it. All it really is... is a shrine to the clothes that I will never be able to fit in again. I save everything thinking, "That's really cute. I will wear that when I lose 10 (or 20) lbs." I have clothes that span four dress sizes and ten years. My closet cannot handle the sheer volume of clothes I am trying to hold onto. Let's be honest...I wear the same things every day...there is my "mom uniform":  long-sleeved T-shirt, jeans, flats and a jacket. I have my "workout outfit" (which can also be used as my mom uniform) sweat pants, sports bra, T-shirt and running shoes...and I have my church outfit...which...now that I think about it, is pretty much the exact same thing as my "mom uniform" (except with better shoes)...I bet if I took everything out of my closet, I would just fill up one rack...OR I could lose a bunch of weight and have a whole wardrobe at my disposal...See? That is the way I think. To be fair...I do have my summer mom uniform...capri pants and short sleeved shirts with flip flops. And I have the jackets I wear, the plethora of shoes...(because I hoard shoes) and some dressy outfits as well for the occasional night out, Easter, Christmas, etc.

But really...life would be much simpler, if I just de-junked. That's it...no more. I am going to let things go. No more storing things for years from now. No more holding on to my college books, and stuff the kids no longer care about. I am going to take my life back! Oh wait...what's this...a text from my sister?  Auction? I'M ON MY WAY!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

"Hey Lady...Got Any Benadryl?"

My bug has morphed into a full blown cold. I woke up yesterday sounding like Bea Arthur, by last night my voice sounded like Ed Asner. This morning I have almost no voice, and I can see that the kids are already plotting what they can get away with. I can whisper...but that's it...when I do try to talk, I sound like a squeaky hamster wheel. I had big plans to return some phone calls today...but I don't think that is going to happen...and I feel sorry for anyone who calls me, they are going to think my phone was stolen when all they hear is breathing on my end! Come to think of it...it might be fun to make some phone calls...

The only thing worse than my having a cold...is that now my husband has it!! He sent me a text message from work yesterday: "I think I have your cold now!" MY cold...I can see where this is headed...I tried to tell him that he had it awhile ago and I have just been fighting it off all this time...so really...HE gave it to me! He didn't buy it...and I can see that it's going to be a long weekend, with both of us down...of course we will see what he is capable of, since his illnesses always seem to be way worse than mine. (or so he thinks) He may have a point though...he shuts everything down for two days and gets well...I keep on working and doing all the "normal" things (feed kids, do laundry, take them to school) and I am sick for two weeks...

I got worse after I hit the outlet mall the other day....ran up to use a gift card and stopped to grab a bite at Panda Express. Thought I would try something different and had the "pepper shrimp" rice bowl. I grabbed a table by myself near the window and enjoyed some nice solitude. It was short-lived however, since I was out of town and would have to drive 30 minutes to get the kids from school. The food was spicy and I regretted my choice as I sweated profusely. I could feel my face turning red and started to feel a bit itchy. I tried to turn my attention to people watching...which I always enjoy...but as my face started to itch, I wondered, "am I the one people are watching??" I decided I had enough and stopped by the restroom on my way out. I noticed a large hot rash running down my leg. "What the heck is that???" I looked in the mirror...my face looked blotchy and my eyes were red. GREAT! I got the heck out of there and headed to the kids' school.

By the time I got there, my face was itchy, my head was itchy...everything was itchy!. Could I be having a reaction to shrimp? I love shrimp! I called my sister, who is allergic to shellfish. "Am I having a reaction? I asked. "Sounds like it," she said, "You do realize that three women in your family acquired an allergy to shellfish at your age." DARN IT! I thought I would be spared..."Get some Benadryl," she told me. Where was I going to get Benadyrl? I thought...I'm at the school...oh...yeah...I'm at the school....There are a lot of moms at the school...moms might have some. I saw a friend in her SUV and approached the window..."Do you have any Benadryl?" I asked, "I think I am having an allergic reaction to shellfish." "You do look blotchy and red," she said, "Sorry I don't have any." I moved on...asking random mothers on the blacktop if they had Benadryl. No one did...and I finally gave up...I was starting to feel like hobo looking for a handout.

I never did take any Benadryl...I started to feel better and by the time I got home, the itching had stopped and I was no longer red. Besides, I had to get one kid to karate and drive the other to baseball practice. All I needed was to take a couple of Benadryl and then be too drowsy to drive!

Glad that today is Saturday and we can just lay low. Well, kind of low...we do have two baseball practices today...One down...one to go...Meanwhile I am working on my sign language skills... I have mastered..."No," "Stop jumping on the couch," "Get off your brother," "Come and eat," and "Go use the bathroom." Actually they are all the same sign...a lot of waving, snapping, pointing and shaking my head... Wait...what's this? The husband is off of the couch and outside...mowing the lawn? I thought we were having a competition to see who was too sick to go to baseball practice! What the heck is wrong with him?...doesn't he realize we are SICK?  That's not fair...now I have to get off the couch and get dressed so I can be productive too. I can't have him being "sicker" than me and doing more work...! Bring on the vitamin C and orange juice...watch out dirty laundry...I'm coming for you!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I Can't Get Sick...I'm a Mom!

I'm sick. I have a bug. Sore throat...fever...the usual crud. But usually I get it from the kids...this time I'm the only one with it. I'm the one who brought it home. How is that even possible?  It's an interesting fever...comes on about 5:00pm...kids are home and I need to start dinner...could it be that it's really an adverse reaction to my having to cook? I wonder...

Love that my husband tells me..."Go to Bed!"...Uh Okaaaayyy....as I'm right in the middle of baking two dozen muffins, a load of laundry in the wash, another in the dryer and clothes on the back of the couch to fold. I can't just "go to bed"!  It's funny...when  my husband is sick, he comes home, puts himself in a NyQuil-induced coma and goes to bed. Just like that! I could never do that! Besides, being sick isn't allowed when you are a mom with three kids. My husband helped out with getting kids to bed...I'm not sure how happy they were, since at one point I heard the middle child exclaim, "Clearly, SOMEONE is NOT a kid person!"

Five hours later, I made my way to bed...which was about three hours earlier than usual! Bright and early the next day I hear:  "Take it easy today," says the husband. "Okaaayyy," I reply, going through the checklist in my head of all that I need to accomplish today. Our refrigerator is bare...I'm out of food for breakfast, we are down to the last roll of toilet paper, having to steal it from bathroom to bathroom....Lord help you if you forget it..."I will take it easy," I tell myself, "Right after I get all three kids to school, do the reading with the youngest, hit the grocery store, Costco and Target. Then I can take it easy...."

I get the kids to school (early!) and set off on my "to-do" list. Grocery store was quick and uneventful...headed to Costco and got there before they open. Remembering that I could not find my membership card, I headed over to the customer service desk as soon as the door opened. I told the man behind the counter that I could not find my Costco card. "So you need a temporary card?" he asked. "No...better make it a permanent card...that thing is gone!" I replied...thinking back to the massive search I did, to no avail, the last time I went to Costco. I moved over to the blue screen and smiled for the photo, which goes on the back of the card. "Here you go," he said as he handed me my new card. I thanked him and opened my wallet to place the card inside, thinking that I for sure won't lose this one! Wait...what's that? That looks like...is it? ...No...can't be....UGH...there it is...my missing COSTCO CARD! Well....now I have TWO!

Got through Costco without hurting myself, spending too much money or getting my heels clipped by an overzealous shopper trying to get a sample from the cheese lady. I even picked the right checkout line for once! OK...almost done...I just need to stop by Target for a couple of things...hit Target, load up the cart with the things I think I can't live without and head to the checkout. The lines were long and the people were crabby. As I waited in line, I couldn't help but notice the two women behind me...mainly because they were standing RIGHT behind me. If this lady moved any closer, she would be my conjoined twin!

I hate it when people infringe on my personal space. I tried to edge forward...she edged forward. Seriously? You want to occupy the same space I am in? WHY? I could tell that these two were in a big hurry and were getting very impatient as the woman in front of me pulled out her coupons. OK..I'll admit it...I started to feel a little surly...As the woman's transaction was coming to an end, I struck up a conversation with her. "Excuse me," I said, "How much do you think you saved today with your coupons?" I could feel hot breath on the back of my neck as the woman behind me sighed loudly. "I did pretty well," she answered and asked the checker what her total was before coupons. She went on to tell me exactly what she saved on, how many soaps she bought, how many kids she has, where she gets her coupons, all about the double coupons of Target...and so on..and on...and on... I chuckled to myself as the woman behind me clipped my heels with her toes...she was SO close to me! OK...I more than chuckled...I laughed maniacally in my head. She tried to push me forward by moving my cart..which I was holding onto! I didn't budge.

Finally, the woman in front of me says goodbye and it's my turn! I stand at the counter, next to where the ATM is...and the lady behind me stands shoulder-to-shoulder to me! I turn to stare at her and her phone rings. Darn! Just when I was going to give her my best 'stink-eye'! Now she is on the phone and loudly talks to the person on the other end...and to me...at least I think it was to me, since she was yelling in my ear! I looked over at her friend who was immersed in a gossip magazine...

She hung up the phone and loudly announced to her shopping buddy...and the rest of the store...that they needed to hurry...they were going to go meet their friend soon. This was getting more fun by the minute..."Oh..." I said to the checker, "May I see those towels?...I'm not sure that I want them." She handed me the towels as I touched each one to decide if I truly wanted them. "Yeah...I don't want these after all..." The checker then had to take each towel and return it. I could feel the impatience radiating off the  woman behind me. As I slowly counted out my change, she resorted to foot stomping and started to elbow me.

I mentally thought of all the witty things I could say to this woman...but didn't trust myself and figured it would just come out snarky. After all...I am trying to work on forgiveness this Lenten season and doing random acts of kindness....I wonder if I can count holding my tongue as an act of kindness?
After this shopping trip, I just need to go home, drink some NyQuil and call it a day!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Work All Day...Get Nothing Done...

Why is it, that I work all day at something, yet nothing seems to get done? I used to think I had the ability to "multi-task"...but that was pre-children...when all my brain cells were still intact. Since the kids have sucked the life out of me, I have the attention span of a fly...

Here is how a typical day of "cleaning" goes. I get the laundry going, walk out of the laundry room, see a toy that the youngest has left out...I take it up to her room to put it away and see that the bed is unmade. I start to make the bed, but I can't because she has too many stuffed animals on her bed. I put the stuffed animals in the animal bucket and look around the room, getting all the animals off the floor...books from the playroom are on her bed, so I take them to the playroom...I go to put the books on the shelf, but the bookshelves are a mess, with books on their side or in stacks. I sit down on the floor and start sorting the books, size, genre, age group...oh but there are three book cases, so now I must ponder how I will reorganize them...I see a comforter sitting on the back of the couch and think, "I should put that away"...which then reminds me...Oh yeah...the laundry! I run downstairs to the laundry, put the clothes in the dryer and run upstairs to get more clothes for the wash. I go into the bathroom to collect towels and see toothpaste in the sink...I need to clean that! Spray the sink with cleaner and reach under the sink for paper towels. Curses...none in here...go downstairs for paper towels and notice the dishwasher needs emptying...I start emptying the dishwasher..then the dog needs to go out.

 I let the dog out, turn around and see that I should sort the kids school papers. I start sifting through them, dog wants back in...let him in, see that I was emptying the dishwasher and return to that chore...oh wait...the laundry! Run into the laundry room, see the empty washer...oh yeah...the towels! Come out of the laundry room, see the kids' blankets on the couch. I should really fold those. Go to the couch and start folding the blankets. Oh look, the TV...I should watch the show I recorded last night...Sit down and watch show while folding blankets, a task that takes 3 minutes. Watch hour show...turn off TV. Go into kitchen, see the open dishwasher...oh yeah, I was doing the dishes...start back on the dishwasher...look at the clock...Omigosh! Time to pick the kids up from school!! Worked all day...didn't finish a single task! "SQUIRREL!"

It's sad but true...and the eldest child is the same way...He starts one task...gets sidetracked...forgets what he is doing...I have to remind him every day to bring his spelling book home...and every day he forgets it... I have resorted to putting notes in his lunchbox..."SPELLING BOOK!" It's a toss-up whether it will work or not.  He leaves his band music home at least once a week, which means I have to rush home after drop off...tear the house apart, looking for his music and then tear across town, to get back to the school before band starts.

The middle son loses his jacket every week. He comes home without his jacket on Monday. On Tuesday, I send him to school with another jacket. By Wednesday, he has lost both jackets. Thursday, the first jacket turns up. I spend Friday morning at the school, digging through the lost and found bucket. I never find it in the bucket... But the jacket is usually back in our home within the week. He just doesn't pay attention. One day, he brought home a really nice red ski jacket. It was so warm and new! It just wasn't OUR really nice red ski jacket! I was mortified! Our son STOLE someone's jacket! He took it back the next day and traded it for his...so I am pretty sure his jacket goes home with some kid, only to be found by a mortified mother and sent back the next day.


The little one never remembers her library book. She leaves it in her desk and is so upset when she forgets to bring it home. She has it home for one day and then it is lost. The last library book was lost for two weeks. On library day, I came home from dropping her off and tore her room apart. Where could it be? Neither one of us could remember the name of the book...I just knew it had a green cover...or was it blue? How can she lose a book? One look at her room answers that! It's a disaster. I look under the bed, through her bookshelf, in the closet, under the covers, on top of the covers, under her pillow, in her stuffed animal bucket...nothing. I search her brothers' rooms, the playroom, I even look in the bathroom. Nothing. Then I go and pick her up from school and she shows me the new book she checked out of the library. "How did you get a book? You lost yours!" I ask. "Oh, someone must have turned it in for me...it was at school the whole time!" ARGH!! No wonder I don't get anything done!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

They're Ruining My Bliss!

Oh, how I love Saturday mornings! Knowing that I have the freedom of a clear schedule...OK...so not that clear...two baseball practices and a birthday party...but a  few free hours in the morning...(I'll take what I can get.)
 I woke up to a kid's knee in my back. I used the opportunity to get out of bed before the rest of the family and enjoy a quiet cup of coffee and a good book. I settled myself onto the couch, with the morning sun streaming in through the windows, a warm blanket and a hot cup of coffee...pure bliss!  And completely short-lived...15 minutes later, the youngest comes down the stairs, rubbing her eyes and plops next to me on the couch. Really? She can't get up for school on her own, but on a Saturday she can wake up and come downstairs. Figures!

She wants to play a game with me, but I convince her to give me 15 minutes to finish my book and coffee. She agrees and settles down with a book of her own.  Ahh...I am still in bliss!
Short lived...here comes the oldest...slowly making his way down the stairs. He throws himself into the over-sized chair next to me and starts telling us about his dream. I listen with one ear, and try to concentrate on finishing my book. It's at the climax, totally exciting and what I have been waiting 300 pages to read! And...here comes the middle son. Staggering down the stairs with a frown on his face. He is pouty and whiny...pissed off that he fell asleep last night before he had a chance to watch the movie he picked out. UGH...my serenity is broken.

I give up. I move over on the couch and he squishes in next to me. We are packed like sardines...three of us trying to stretch our legs out and share the same afghan. After listening to to his tirade of just how disappointed and terrible his life is, we settle into a game of  "I Spy". OK...this is alright...maybe not the quiet serenity I was hoping for...but fun to have all the kids snuggling together! Or not...soon the little one is kicking her feet, which are between the middle son and I, trying to get the blanket over her toes...this completely irritates the middle kid and he tells her to knock it off. Here it comes...World War III and I am trapped between them! "Stop it!" I think..."you are ruining my bliss!" I calm them down before they escalate further...and we continue the game. Finally the middle son gets up to stretch his legs as the youngest starts to complain that he is not watching her turn! It quickly escalates into a full meltdown as I tell him..."watch your sister!" He comes around behind me, draping his arms around my neck...and sniffles...clearly he needs to blow his nose. He sniffs again. I don't dare risk him leaving to get a tissue and say, "Hey! Don't drip any nose liquid on my head!" "Nose liquid?" Says the oldest. And starts laughing...The other two join in, "You said NOSE LIQUID!" and the giggling ensues. EEK! Now I know I am in for a sprinkling...I take advantage of the good mood and tell him to grab a tissue and blow his nose. Crisis averted...we give up the game and they look for something else to do.

There is a big tub of dinosaurs next to the couch. (Doesn't everyone keep a tub of dinosaurs next to their couch?) The eldest grabs one and pushes the button to make it roar. "Shh..." I say, "You'll wake up your Dad." PING! I hear the lightbulb over my head light up...They'll wake up their Dad...yes...he should share in all this bliss with me. "Grab a dinosaur you guys...let's sneak up and wake your Dad with them." They all are  game as we go giggling up the stairs, dinos in hand. We creep into the darkened bedroom...to an EMPTY bed! Dang it! Where is he? The bathroom! We can hear him moving around and station ourselves outside the door. They are unable to suppress the giggling and unless he lost his hearing overnight, he knows we are there. The door slowly opens and the kids shove their roaring dinosaurs through the opening, just as he comes roaring out the door! Screams, laughter, shrieks..."RUN!" I say as I lead the way down the stairs.

We run to the family room..."grab a blanket," I say, "Hide!" The kids throw themselves on the large sectional, panicking that they'll be seen,  as I cover them with blankets. I grab one for myself and throw it over my head as we wait. "Here he comes," I tell them. Everyone holds their breath as he walks into the room.  "Ahhh..." he says as he lays down on top of the kids. "EEEK" come the shrieks..."DAAAD!" Blankets are kicked off and laughter and shrieking continue. YES! Their attention has been diverted...can I make my escape?

I might as well forget it. There is laundry to do...baseball practices to get ready for...A birthday present to wrap...muffins to bake, yard work....So much for my quiet bliss...

Friday, March 2, 2012

My Keys are Where?

This morning was a great morning. The kids and I were buzzing right along with an unheard of amount of efficiency! They were dressed and downstairs in record time! Well...the boys were...the girl...she is slower...much slower...They ate breakfast, shoes on...everything in a timely manner. I was even ready to go (if wearing sweatpants, no make up and running a comb through my hair constitutes being "ready"...)

Boys were in the car, I hustled the little one out...after two trips to the bathroom and a forgotten Dr. Seuss book...I grabbed my cup of coffee, spilled it all over the driver's seat, cleaned up the coffee, and got in the car. OH...forgot to grab my keys...went back in, reached for my keys on the hook...no keys. Where are my keys? Must be in my purse. Back to the car, rifle through my purse...huh...no keys. That's odd...OK...back in the house...tear apart laundryroom...no keys. Back to the car...look under the seats...no keys. The kids are getting antsy..."Mom...can't you find your keys? Maybe Dad has them!"  Good thought! I text husband...he calls...says he doesn't have them. After 10  more minutes of my freaking out and rummaging through the house, I give up. Tell the kids go get out of the car and come inside. We are obviously not making it to school in a timely manner. We are late. We are stranded!

The youngest is crying. She really wants to go to school. She is Star of the Week...it's a big deal. She is "line leader"...and they have chapel this morning...she loves chapel. All the singing...it's right up her alley. I feel terrible and I am frustrated beyond belief. What the heck? Today isn't MONDAY! This is a Monday-thing! I am NOT this disorganized! We were going to be EARLY to school! ARGH!!

The kids come in and join me in our "treasure" hunt. "Run your hands under the cushions on the couch," I tell the oldest. "I will look in your room!" announces the middle son. "I am looking in your purse!" says the youngest, as she dumps the contents out on the floor. (no use telling her I already did that...) I look under the couch, under the chair....up to my room...look in the pockets of the pants I wore yesterday. Hmm...I guess they could be in the hamper...I know they are not, but I dig through it anyway. (Wow! I really need to do my laundry...)

I am convinced my husband has the keys. I just know it. They are probably in his car, just sitting there! He may say he doesn't have them, but that is the only logical explanation. I mean..really...like I would misplace them? I scoff at such a thought! He has them and doesn't know it!

We exhaust every possible location and finally give up. Now what? I need to get these kids to school...who can I call? I call my friend and workout buddy, Anne. "I have a huge favor to ask you," I say. "Okaaay..." I can hear the trepidation in her voice. "It's HUGE!" I say. "Alright..." I can feel her fear through the phone. "I can't find the keys to my car and I need to get the kids to school. Can you come get us and take us to school?" "Sure!" she says in laughter. "I'm on my way!" I call the school. "We are having car trouble," I tell the secretary, "we will be there!" "On no! Car trouble?" she inquires. "Yes...you see...if you cannot find your car keys, the car will not start...therefore we are having car trouble!" I explain. "Oh...I understand," she says with a laugh. I assure her that I have called for a ride and we will be there in a half hour.

I take the car seats out of the car and put them on the driveway. I stack up the backpacks and lunch boxes...and we wait for our ride. I continue to look for the keys...frustrated beyond belief! I can't believe that I can't find the keys!! This hasn't happened before! Oh sure....I misplace my keys, my cellphone, my wallet, my jacket...but I always find them. Well...except the time I lost my phone at Legoland...but that was an unfortunate byproduct of an emergency bathroom-run with one of the kids!

Our rescuer, Anne, soon arrives. Big smile on her face, she unlocks the doors so I can load the car seats. She is trying to refrain from laughing hysterically. It's written all over her face. She's a good friend...she holds it in. We load up the kids and away we go! We get to school, the kids unload, we go to the office for our quite-familiar tardy slips. The secretary is kind, as the oldest exclaims..."My mom couldn't find her car keys! We had to call for a ride!" (nice one) She suppresses a giggle and quickly hands out the notes. I deliver the kids to where they need to be and my friend takes me home.

We retrace the last time I had my keys. "I got home, grabbed the discarded uniform (youngest had a play-date and changed clothes in the car) from the car and threw it in the laundry room, put away my purse, hung up the jackets," I explained. "Maybe the keys are on the floor of the laundry room," she offers. "No...I would have heard them fall....WAIT! There is a rug in there...maybe I wouldn't hear them." We go into the laundry room and I pick up each article of clothes, one by one. Nothing under the first one...or the second...or the third...as I lift up the last piece, there are my keys!!

NOOOOO! They were there the whole time?! My husband DIDN'T take them to work? The dog didn't bury them in the yard? I misplaced them? If I had just picked up those clothes, I would have found them and the kids wouldn't have been late to school? DANG! I hate it when it is my fault! Oh well...at least I won't be stranded for the rest of the day, begging friends and family to pick the kids up from school...I have my keys and I know EXACTLY where they are...now, where did I put my phone...?