This is me...

This is me...
I'm having a mom moment....

Monday, October 31, 2011

Booooooooo! I'm Missing the Halloween Spirit.....

It's Halloween.  I finally put up a few decorations last night that I found in the garage, but I haven't been feelin' the Halloween spirit this year.  I am crabby.  My husband is sick, which means that I will most likely get solo trick-or-treat duty with all 4 kiddos, we spent way too much money on the pumpkins that we carved because we got them from a charity pumpkin patch, and combined with the costumes and such, Halloween is getting to be as bad as Christmas.  I am in a funk.  And it is Halloween.  I usually LOVE Halloween!  Why have you forsaken me Great Pumpkin??!

I went to get the kids' costumes and was disgusted by how expensive they were this year -- if I spent even just $20 per kid on a costume, that would be $80.  (The costumes were in a special section of the store right next to the Halloween inflatable yard decorations that started at $175 and went up to $400.)  I have a hard time plopping down that much coin for something that they will wear once or twice before it becomes a thing in a box in my garage that I don't know what to do with.  My kids are all so different that recycling costumes rarely happens.  Also, the girls are close in size and the boys are 6 years apart -- so am I supposed to MAKE Lorelei be what Bella was last year?  Am I supposed to hold onto William's costumes for 6 years and hope that Jackson wants to wear it?  I don't think that it's fair to say that the older 2 get to choose their costumes and the younger 2 don't.  So we went with "What do you want to be that is under $15?"

I was also disgusted by the fact that the options for my 7 year old girl were slutty butterfly, slutty pop-star, slutty pirate, slutty witch -- you get the idea.  She's SEVEN.  They had costumes in her size that were not appropriate for any age.  I even saw one that had a padded chest and one that was a Playboy Bunny.  For a little girl.  I know that a lot of people think that this is Halloween and that it is okay to let the kids "pretend" to be older.  I get that.  But I'd rather them be an older witch/pirate/butterfly that isn't going to get propositioned while trick-or-treating.  Then, this morning, I got on Facebook and one of the news stations that I subscribe to had a link up advising parents to check the Registered Sex Offender Website before heading out to trick-or-treat with your kids and I thought "Yes, especially if you have dressed your elementary school kid like one of the cast from Jersey Shore."  (FYI, I do think that it is a good idea for you to check it before you head out, but be sure that you also check as to WHY that person is on the list -- I freaked out the first time that I checked it because there were so many.  Then I started looking and discovered that almost half of them were on there because they had dated a 16 year old when they were 18 or 19 years old.)

Perhaps I have a hard time finding the Halloween spirit since the stores all have their Christmas stuff out already.  It is difficult to feel all creepy and Halloween-ish when the smell of cinnamon brooms is wafting over from aisle 4 and Jingle Bells is playing over the store's speakers.  The way the retail business is going with this whole Holiday thing, we are going to have to start picking out Valentines on January 1st, Easter baskets in February, and Halloween costumes right after the Fourth of July, so that we can start our Christmas shopping in August. 

And what about Thanksgiving?  Do the powers that be in the retail universe not realize that Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July are the ONLY universally celebrated American holidays?  It doesn't matter if you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Atheist -- EVERYONE celebrates those 2 holidays because there is no religious component.  Where's the pumpkin pie?  The fall leaves?  The cornucopias??!!

So far, the best thing about Halloween has been that I can threaten my kids with it.  I told them last night that if they didn't go to bed RIGHT NOW then they weren't going trick-or-treating tonight (which was a total lie because there is no way I was letting those stupid costumes go to waste.)  Luckily, tomorrow I can start playing the Santa card. 

I must now get off of the computer for a bit and try to find my Halloween spirit.  Perhaps it is under that pile of dirty clothes in the hallway.....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hit The Rewind Button

The sad thing is, kids today don't know what the rewind button is.  Kids today have it rough. 

I mean, they are seriously being denied some of the best things about being kids because we, as a society, have them stressed out about all of the crap that could go wrong. 

Think about it, when we were kids, we hung upside down from monkey bars that were installed on asphalt, we drank out of garden hoses, we ran around the neighborhood, unattended by any parent, until the street lights came on.  We got into fights with our friends that may or may not have involved pulling hair, punching, and kicking, but we resolved them ourselves.  If I had gone running to my mommy at every sign of conflict, I would have been labeled a wuss by my friends and my mom would have pulled her hair out.  So today, I am going to take a serious look at why being a kid today totally sucks and why my childhood (and probably most of yours) rocked.

1)  The FDA, USDA, and most other big government agencies didn't really give us much thought.  See, they knew that our parents were adults and therefore trusted them to handle us and what we ate.  No one was concerned about childhood obesity, high fiber, low fat, exercise regimens or any of that crap for kids.  As a result, we got awesome sugary cereals, caffinated sodas, and mind numbing cartoons on network television every afternoon and by 4:00, when they were over, we went outside to play -- unsupervised -- until dinner.  Now the powers that be have determined that sugar is a product of the devil himself and should only be given on your birthday and Christmas and only then after a perfectly balanced meal.  And since they have cut P.E. from every day and recess time is now limited to make room for State Standardized Test prep, kids are not getting much physical activity.  They can't afford to go outside to play because....well...that is part of reason #2:

2)  Speaking of cartoons, ours were better.  If you missed Tuesday's episode it was no big deal because cartoons were fun and ridiculous and had 2-3 characters max and only last 5-10 minutes.  Now they are 30 minute melodramas that run in seasons, have 6 or 7 MAIN characters, a supporting cast, and if you miss too many episodes, then you're lost.  It's like we're grooming kids for grown-up television -- which I guess makes sense since we've got them worrying about high cholesterol and fiber intake by the time they are 6.  What is ironic is that today's cartoons are designed for kids and the Warner Brothers that I knew and loved as a child were initially intended for adults.  The Bugs Bunny cartoons were banned for being "too violent" with all of the shotgun toting hunters who never actually kill anything, TNT loving coyotes who only ever succeed in blowing themselves up, and the anvils -- we cannot forget about the anvils!  All that violence and no death, was deemed dangerous for kids who could not possibly appreciate the irony and sarcasm.  Well they won't NOW because they've been ruined by the realism of today's cartoons.  (Unless you're a pre-schooler.  If you're a preschooler watching Nick Jr. then you still think that the world revolves around you and that everyone and their brother will stop whatever they are doing to focus on making YOU happy.  There is NO violence, ironic or otherwise, because everyone acts as if they've been assimilated and share the same personality.)

3)  We never worried about being grabbed off the street by strangers.  Adam Walsh type incidents were nationwide news for a reason -- they hardly ever really happened.  Sadly, they have become more common, but even now, if you ask any cop (at least any television cop) 90% of child abductions are committed by a friend or family member.  Not that we weren't warned by our schools or our teachers because we were, but kids these days are so freaked out that if I round the corner of the aisle at the grocery store ahead of my nearly 5 year old she begins screaming "Stranger Danger" at the old lady picking out her pancake mix.  I think this sort of ties into the whole shiny happy world that we create for our younger kids -- we talk to them about how dangerous strangers can be and then they watch Nick Jr. and are confused because in that universe everyone is so friendly, caring, and nice.  Then we say "Don't talk to strangers!  Stay where I can see you or someone might grab you!!" and they're like, "Huh?  So I need to make friends and be nice, but I can't talk to anyone because everyone is nice and might take me away from you...what?"  We were cynical little brats and we never would have gone up to a panel van that had "Free Candy" spray painted on the side.  Don't believe me?  Go watch any old 70's or 80's kid movie -- "E.T.", "Bad News Bears", or "Goonies" (for the love of God, if you haven't seen Goonies go watch it right now) and you will see what I mean. 

4)   And speaking of movies, we had teenage fantasy movies like "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" where a kid plays the system to have an ultimate skip day, "War Games" where a kid hacks into government computers, "Weird Science" where two kids left at home for a whole weekend computer generate Kelly LeBrock while wearing bras on their heads, and "Red Dawn" where a bunch of kids take their guns into the hills and fight off the Russian invasion by themselves. Today if they tried to make any of these movies they wouldn't be believable because the school sends an automatic email if you kid is 3 nanoseconds late for class, there are parental controls on computers, and guns?  Really?  For KIDS? 

5)  And there were no commercial free movie channels.  There wasn't even FOX.  You got ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS.  It was FREE.  It came through the arial antena on our parents roof, you didn't pay for it.  And by midnight, they played the national anthem, (or if you were blessed enough to be raised in Huntsville, AL like I was, they played a reading of the poem "First Flight") and then it was static until sometime in the early morning when the Three Stooges came on.  You had national news at 5:30 and local news at 6:00 and then you watched Wheel of Fortune or The Muppet Show or Bewitched or whatever your local stations chose to put on in syndication until Starsky and Hutch or Little House on the Prairie came on at 7:00.  (Central Time of course.)

6)  Later on we had MTV.  Not "16 and Pregnant" MTV, REAL MTV.  They played music videos all day.  EVERYday.  And later we had VH1 where they ALSO showed music videos all day.  I could lay on the couch slurping on a Coke and eating Lucky Charms out of the box saying "Oh I LOVE this song!" all day.  Sometimes the videos helped make sense of the song (unless it was Sting, his videos were always a little weird and had very little to do with the actual lyrics).  I could stay up late on Saturday nights and watch Head Banger's Ball and it was awesome with Lita Ford, and Ozzy Osbourne, and Twisted Sister, and Metallica, and Whitesnake among others. Do they even show videos on MTV and VH1 anymore?  I mean, EVER?  Poor kids, they have no idea what they are missing.

7)  Speaking of music, we had REAL music -- Tiffany and Debbie Gibson were our Justin Beibers and I think they lasted for maybe one album before their flash in the pan careers had them on Celebrity Death Match and The Smoking Gun.  We had The talking Heads, Yes, Run DMC and all the cool metal bands.  Now they have Ke$ha and Kanye West.  It doesn't really seem fair.

8)  The ultimate reason that our childhood rocked was that we had imaginations.  We had wooden blocks to play with  and if you were really lucky you got Lego's.  They didn't come in specialized "play-sets" with special instructions and specialty pieces -- they were plastic blocks,  They stuck together.  We built whatever the hell we wanted to.  Our action figures didn't move on their own or have microchip recorded catch-phrases -- we made them move and talk -- so our play was never limited to what they were pre-programmed to say.  We went outside and played "Ghost in the Graveyard," "Devil in the Ditch," and good old fashioned tag and hide and go seek.  We didn't have ultra hi-def graphics on our Atarii game system -- we had a pixel and two bars and we played Pong, a circle and dots and played Pac-Man, and something that virtually no child today would recognize as a car and played Pole Position until our hands siezed up around the joystick.  There were no "cheat codes" and there was ONE button -- you used it to jump, to fire, as your gas pedal, and to start the game.  OUR generation was the one who imagined all the great crap kids have today and then somehow, somewhere, that same generation forgot that the fun part of playing was making crap up and decided to just give kids ready made games and toys that basically play by themselves.  My grandkids toys are going to suck because THIS generation isn't going to have any imagination. 

Yep, every generation wants the next to have it better than we did, but I think for the first time in...EVER we've gone to far.  We are raising a bunch of pansies who will sit in front of the TV watching serial television and playing on their Playstation 24 game system munching on high fiber, low-fat, protein bars wondering why they are so unfullfilled.  They won't be able to take a joke, because they won't understand sarcasm and irony.  And it will be our fault.  We are robbing them of the only childhood they will ever have.  We need to work on making the next generation MORE like us.  We need to quit coddling them.  We need to treat them more like we were treated when we were kids. No one worried about us, or at least they didn't fuss over us like we do with our kids. We were kids. We were awesome without having to be coached in our self esteem. We had fun without being given a set of rules or instructions to follow. 
And our childhood rocked.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Good News!! I May NOT Be Completely Nuts

I generally embrace my craziness. I wear it proudly with the macaroni necklace that one of my kids made and accuse people who aren't a little nuts of being boring. I mean, you kind of HAVE to be crazy to live with kids unless you are a Vulcan because kids are illogical and insane.  Usually my craziness is a shiny happy place where I can laugh and goof around with my kids, but over the past few months, my craziness has found its dark side.  I wanted to stay in bed and do nothing all day and I felt like everyone was hounding me for things that I wasn't sure I could provide.

Seriously, they wouldn't stop.

So lately I have felt far less than my usual almost happy self.  Like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Something was about to go cataclysmicly wrong -- I could sense it.

I have had to exert great effort to drag my lazy self out of my bed before the sun is up to get the kiddos ready for and delivered to school, I have only done household chores when faced with the possibility of wearing dirty underwear or eating Frosted Flakes out of a coffee mug with a knife, and I have kept the clutter in piles only to keep from tripping over the random crap that the kids leave everywhere.  The cleanest thing in my house for the past few weeks has been my DVR.  Something has been wrong, but I didn't know what it was. 

Special thanks to Allie Brosh over at Hyperbole and a Half where I stole this fitting image.
 I've also had trouble going to sleep like a normal person.  I would wake up feeling exhausted, drag through most of the day, and then perk up around bedtime and stay awake until 2 or 3 am.  Or I would go to bed, but wake up 5 or 6 times because I was anxious about...well, everything. 

So yesterday, I went to the doctor and asked her to figure out what was wrong.

After a lengthy discussion about everything that is going on with me -- the no sleeping, the weird eating, the general lack of motivation, etc.  and a quick review of where I was almost a year ago, we determined a few things: 

1)  I'm depressed.  (Well, duh Doc, I didn't need a medical degree to figure out that part.)
2)  I am gaining weight.  (Well thanks for the info, but this is not helping with issue number one....)
3)  I am not getting enough sleep.  (Again, thank you Captain Obvious.)
4)  Even when I sleep enough, I am not rested and feel lethargic most of the day.
5)  All of these things are related.

And then she earned her money.  She asked why I had stopped taking the synthroid that I was prescribed by an endocrinologist last year.  I had quit taking it because the stupid insurance company had quit paying for it and because I could not tell that I felt any different while I was on it.  This is how the next part of the conversation went:

Her:  "So, you quit taking the Synthroid because you basically couldn't afford it without insurance?"
Me:  "I probably could have, but not every month and it wasn't doing anything."
Her:  "You sure about that?"
Me:  ""
Her:  "Synthroid regulates your thyroid function.  Without it, your thyroid works extremely slow.  You will feel tired all of the time.  Your metabolism will slow down causing weird eating habits and difficulty losing weight.  This 'heavy' or lethargic feeling will make it difficult to get out of bed and get moving, thus making you depressed because you feel unable to accomplish anything."
Me:  "Huh.  So you're saying that I don't need a lithium drip, I just need to get my thyroid back on track?"
Her:  "Well, you might need a lithium drip, but let's focus on one problem at a time.  Let's get you back on the meds -- there is a generic that isn't quite as good, but it's better than nothing -- and then in a couple of months we can reexamine the need for anti-psychotics or, more likely, anti-depressants."

So my problems could be traced back to the stupid decision to quit taking an obviously needed medication because it was too expensive.  The symptoms that I was feeling were compounding one another.  I was gaining weight because I was lethargic because I was fatigued because I wasn't sleeping because I was anxious because I was depressed because I was fat.

She also explained that because of all of the crap that the thyroid problem causes, any and all external events that might be sad or stressful (ie your dad having triple bypass surgery, a death in the family, your home state being ravished by hundreds of deadly tornadoes) effect you 10 times worse than they normally would.  So I am not as much of a loser as I thought.  But my thyroid sucks.  She gave me meds to help me fall asleep and sleep better so that I can get my sleep patterns back to what they would be if I were a normal person. 

So last night, I took the little pill and went to bed and I FELL ASLEEP.  It was amazing.  I didn't get up 15 times to check if the door was locked, to make sure that my kids were still in their beds, to turn on the dishwasher, or anything.  And I slept through the night without getting up to see if it was my turn in Words With Friends, or to check Facebook.  And when I got up today I took my thyroid medicine.  It's effects will take a little longer to realize, but I feel better already.

Unfortunately, she had no pill that would make laundry, dishes, or any other housework enjoyable (that most likely WOULD take lithium), but if I could get myself out of this funk, I think I could do those things.  It won't happen overnight, but better days are ahead.  I can FEEL it. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bella Vita

I complain a lot about my kids.  It is my right as their mother who knows that in a few short years they will be teenagers and they will all complain about me.  But don't think for one second that means I don't love them.  The 7-year old girl is me on steroids.  She is just like I was as a kid.  She is a drama queen.  She loves to be the center of attention.  She is super smart.  And she cannot spell to save her life.  However, since I have since grown up and become somewhat cynical and sarcastic, I love to torment her. 

Bella is too smart for her own good.  Well, that's not true.  But she IS too smart for my own good, and knowing what she's like now, when she's not even 8 yet, I am not looking forward to the teen years.  Do you remember being 7?  You wanted to be "cool" but you were still a kid.  So you'd try to do and say things that would make you appear more responsible, more grown-up, or more mature.  You idolized the kids on TV shows that were just 5-6 years older than you.  You wanted to be just like them.  So I laugh at my child as she tries to "pop and lock" not because she isn't (sort of) doing it right, but because she is not a hip-hop dancing queen.  She will isolate one or two moves and do them repeatedly.  She looks, well, like a kid who is trying too hard.  The other morning, she walked out dressed for school in a tank-top, a mini-skirt, and go-go boots with a hat on and a gauzy scarf.  She thought she was the height of fashion.  To me, she looked like she was wearing a hooker costume.  I looked at her, and pursed my lips in a way that would have made my mother proud and said "No.  Go change your clothes."  Then the wails of "Why not??!!!"  and   "This is COOL, Mom!"  and  "That's not fair!"  started.  I looked her in the eye and said "We will have this argument when you are 15.  Go change your clothes.  NOW."   This is what she opted for instead:

As much as she longs for that "coolness" factor, she is also obsessed with rules.  More specifically, rules of her own making.  Recently, when I came back from helping out my parents for a few days after my dad's heart surgery, I found THIS taped to the cabinet:

I particularly love #5 and #11.  I have no idea where she gets this stuff.  #5 isn't really a big shock though.  She loves her big brother.  She also loves to torment him.  This past Summer, while we were staying in Huntsville, she fell asleep with her notebook in her hand.  I gently removed it, and looked at what it said.  I had to run out of the room so that I would not burst into laughter and therefore wake her up.  I did, however, take a picture for posterity:

I love her ambition -- there were 10 empty spaces on that list.  I really wish that she had not fallen asleep before getting more things down on paper....

Bella loves to make rules, but she also loves to make "Notices" -- these are signs that she puts up all over the house.  There have been signs that warn of grouchy 3 year old brothers, signs to warn of sick little sisters, and lots and lots of signs for the various clubs that she makes up.  However, recently, when we were babysitting a friend's 2 kids, we found this gem taped to the front door (and FYI, she got my phone number completely wrong, so don't even try it):

I have no idea what she is talking about....

So see, as much as I complain about my kids, they are pretty awesome.  And if it weren't for all of them, I'd have nothing to say here!

Bella just saw me proofreading this, and she looked over my shoulder and said (and I quote):  "Mom, why do you make fun of us on the internet?  YOU ARE CYBER-BULLYING YOUR OWN KIDS!!"  What the WHAT??!  Oh the joys of having a Bella in my life!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Yesterday, the girl child brought home a notice from school telling me that my kids had "excessive tardies" and that if it persisted, I would be turned over to the truancy police.  First of all, my kids have been tardy 5 times over the course of 9 weeks -- to me that is not "excessive."  Also, with the exception of one day when I thought they had eye doctor appointments and they were 40 minutes late, and the day after the US Airways debacle when they were an hour late, their arrival times were noted as 8:01, 8:02 and 8:03.  Seriously??!  So this morning as I was still stewing about it, and since it is one of my 2 kid-free days, and since the alternative was to do more housework, I sat down and whipped up this little poem.  I used to write poems and lyrics all the time, but this is my first one in awhile.  It could use some work, but I'm not trying to get it published or anything.  I call it "Everyday."  Hope you guys enjoy it!


The alarm goes off and I hit the snooze
I feel like I've been drinking booze
7 more minutes, and then I'll rise and shine.
Time flies by and the alarm is beeping
Into my head, the panic starts creeping
I look at the clock and I know I'm short on time.

Crawl out of bed wake the kids up
Stumble to the sink and wash my favorite cup
In my world, running behind's the rule.
It's 7:15 the house is a disaster
Tell the kids they need to move faster
Gotta make the lunches for them to take to school.

Brush their hair and get their clothes out
They spill the milk and I try to not shout
I swear there's too much crap piled in the floor.
Grab the sponge and step on some Leggo's
The toaster sticks and I burn the Eggos
At this rate we'll never get out the door.

The little ones are still asleep in their bed
Despite the noise they can sleep like the dead
But they have to move so we can get in the car.
I walk into their room and the smell just hits me
The sheets and PJ's are covered in kid pee
Its 7:35 and I want to hit the bar.

The oldest two are fighting and fussing
I'm just trying to refrain from cussing
As I strip the youngest two down to change their clothes.
Swipe them both with a cloth to kill the smell
This is the definition of mommy hell
Then the oldest child utters the words every mother loathes:

"Hey mom, you were supposed to send snacks
And they're not in my backpack
I brought the note home last week and gave it to you."
Oh crap was that for today?
I try to think of something to say
That won't reveal that I have no idea what I'm gonna do.

My options are limited but I start looking
A glance at the clock says we need to be booking
I toss him the Rice Krispie Treats and hope there's enough.
The 3 year old is running around in the nude
I'm chasing him down but I'm really not in the mood
No one warned me that mornings would be this tough.

We hit the door like the house is on fire
The time on the clock about to expire
As we back out of the drive I see that I'm a mess.
I have no bra beneath my shirt
And the shirt itself is covered in dirt
But my kids are ready for school, more or less.

The school is just a mile away
We'll make it if traffic's light today
But as we get closer I see that the cars are backed into the street.
Bouncing in my seat with aggravation
I glance at the clock with agitation
The kids are shouting instructions from the backseat:

"Let us out we'll walk from here!"
I say, "You'll never make it dear."
(And I know that I'd get reamed out by the school).
The crossing guard keeps stopping traffic
And my language is about to get graphic
Seriously, the guy is such a tool.

Finally we are at the drop zone
I hear the bell ring and in my head I moan
My kids are late again despite all I've tried to do.
They go on to class and take their tardies
They study hard 'cause they are both smarties
And I head home to put the coffee onto brew.

I wash the sheets and bathe the small fries
As much as I really do love all these guys
I need a moment, maybe more but I'd settle for one.
I grab the Lysol and spray the pee stain
Just as the kids clog the tub drain
It's been a hell of a day and its barely just begun.

There's so much to do that its a quandary
Should I do dishes or start on the laundry?
I put on Nick Jr. to keep the little ones out of my hair.
I go to my room and the computer calls for me
Email, blog, and Facebook wait for me to see
What's going on in my virtual world while I'm not there?

I get the clothes on the floor into a pile
Scrub toothpaste off the bathroom tile
Load the dishwasher and find another glass.
3:00 comes and we pick the kids up
Back at the house I make them do clean-up
I look through their backpacks for updates from their class.

There's a note from school, a sort of warning
About how my kids are late in the mornings
And if it's not corrected I'll be turned over to the cops.
For a moment I feel like I am full of fail
Then my snarky side prevails
And I whip out a response that shows I've got some chops.

I tell them why my mornings are hard
And that if it weren't for the stupid crossing guard
We'd make it to school with plenty of time to spare.
I let them know that my temper is short
So go ahead and send me to court
I'll walk in bra-less with Cheerios in my hair.

The judge will note what they fail to see
No one cares for these kids like me
And I'm doing my best to get them on time to school.
At 8:01 they're not really late
In fact, most days that's doin' great
A few minutes grace period ought to be the rule.

The school won't care about the letter
They'll just think that I could do better
And  look down their noses at my defiance of the rules.
I do my best to get my kids there
Despite what they think, I really do care
But I think they're acting like a bunch of tools.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

You Can't Make Me

I should be folding laundry.  I should be folding laundry so that I have somewhere to put the clothes that are currently spinning away in the dryer, so that I can put the clothes that are wet and clean in the dryer, so that I can get one more pile of dirty clothes off of my floor into the washer when that is all done.  All of my hampers are full of clean clothes.  I have 5 hampers.  They each hold about 2 loads apiece.  That is 10 loads of clean clothes that need to be folded.  I have no idea what my family is wearing today because it seems that all of our clothes are in laundry limbo.  After I do that, I should clean the bathroom.  There are 3 different shades of kid's toothpaste on the counter in there and the bath toys are escaping from the tub and spreading out into the hall.  When that is done, I should empty the dishwasher so that I can empty the sink and run it again so that we will have dishes to cook and eat dinner on later tonight.  Then I should pick up all of the toys and put them in their proper place, weeding out the broken ones, the ones missing pieces, and the annoying ones that I want to get rid of and box them up to take to go to Goodwill.  And I should pick up all of the random trash that my kids have strewn all over the place -- the Poptart wrappers, the Capri-Sun pouches, and the 763 pieces of paper that they have made a mark on and throw it all away.  Then I should empty the trash.  After all of that is done, I should dust, sweep, vacuum, and mop.  If I did all of that, I might be able to find the oldest girl's glasses which she swears that she put on the counter on Friday afternoon where they promptly disappeared and haven't been seen since.  Or maybe I'll find youngest girl's backpack.  But I look at all of those things that I SHOULD be doing and I think "I should go check Facebook and write a blog" so here I am.  My house is a mess.  I think if I concentrate hard enough on the computer screen I can ignore it.  So far so good.

I don't like to clean.  I LOVE for things to BE clean, but it is the actual act of getting them that way that drives me to get another cup of coffee and type away at my keyboard while I have one of my 2 kid-free mornings a week.  The task ahead of me is so daunting at this point that I don't know where to start.  I need to clean out stuff and get rid of about 1/3 of what is cluttering up my house and ultimately my life, but there is this nagging feeling that I might need it someday or that one of the kids could use it or there is sentimental value attached to it. 

I visited a friend's house yesterday to drop something off and I walked into the living room and immediately had "house envy."  Their walls were all painted in deep, rich colors, there wasn't a pile of dirty clothes in the corner, there weren't 3 hampers by their couch waiting to be folded, and there weren't any toys anywhere.  My house looks like a crack tenement in comparison.  Then I remembered -- they don't have kids.  There are no 3 foot tall graffiti artists living in their house.  No one climbs their door frames, or the narrow walls in their hallways with dirty hands and feet.  No one starts food fights at their dinner table that leaves them finding dried rice in the corners for weeks after.  No one carries red or purple Kool-Aid into their living room and drips sugary dye laden drops all the way from the kitchen (and what is up with that?  What genius at the Kool-Aid company decided that making a drink mix for kids that stains everything it touches permanently was a good idea?  Did they hire him away from the Sharpie people??)  No one in their house can go through an entire reem of paper in 12 minutes flat by writing the letter "L" on each sheet, therefore rendering it useless for anything else.  No one makes forts out of their couch cushions or plays "don't touch the floor" by walking all over their furniture.  No one in their house licks the TV, there is no peanut butter on their ceiling, and their couch has never been "base" in a game of indoor tag. 

How boring. 

And clean.

And sad.

And wonderful.

Yep.  I looked around that pristine room that looked like it was taken right out of a "Good Housekeeping" magazine and I thought to myself, my kids could turn this place into a dump in about 5 minutes.  They had a glass topped coffee table -- I wondered which one of my kids would be most likely to break it.  On top of that was this large metal bowl with these decorative balls in it.  One look at that and I saw projectiles capable of  breaking just about anything from TV screens to noses.  And the bowl?  Yeah, I'd turn my head for 20 seconds and that sucker would be in the bathroom, filled with water and on its way back out to their suede couch.  They had a shag-like rug spread under the coffee table that although pretty in that setting caused me to have visions over how much I'd have to cut away if my kids ever went near it with a lollipop.  Their couch looked like it had just come off the showroom floor -- no names, smiley faces, or misshapen hearts had been scratched into it.  The whole room was perfect.

For them.

But not for me.  Sure, when I walked in I was a little jealous -- and I still say that the rich burgundy and coffee colored paint on the walls could hide a multitude of sins, but the rest of it?  I need functionality in my home fashion.  (I can't believe that I typed "home fashion" with a straight face)  Just about everything I own was bought used off of Craigslist, was given to me, or came flat in a box for me to assemble from somewhere like from Target.  This is my "disposable furniture."  Someday, after I have convinced my kids that couches are not cleverly disguised trampolines, I will purchase REAL furniture.  The kind that has to be delivered from a furniture store.  The kind where "no stains, rips, or tears" is a given because it is NEW.  Right now, whenever I need to purchase something I have to think like a pre-schooler: "Can I jump on it?  Can I jump from it?  Can I fall off of it?  Can I take it apart?  Does it have sharp corners?  Will it show dirt?  Is it easy to clean?  Will it make a good fort?  Can I make a tent or a train from it?  Could I use it as a weapon?"  But someday, I will be able to purchase things like an adult: "Is it pretty?  Do I like it?  Does it match the other stuff I have?  Is it comfortable?"

So after ignoring the laundry, the dishes, the dust, and the dirt and writing this blog instead, I have discovered the problem with me cleaning.  I am thinking like a pre-schooler.  I can hear my 3 year old in my head saying "I don't wanna clean up!"  and today, I concur.  I don't wanna clean up either.  And you can't make me. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Really Need To Get A Life

I have at least 8 loads of clean laundry waiting to be folded.  My den looks like there has been some act of God tear through it -- cushions off of the couch, blankets on the floor, contents of the toy bins spread haphazardly all over the floor, a gazillion and five pieces of manila paper scattered everywhere, and two preschoolers plopped down amid the chaos watching Nick Jr. completely oblivious to the destruction around them.  The hall bathroom has toothpaste on the mirror, on the doorknob, on the floor, and on the toilet seat (I shudder when I think of how this happened).  But I emptied and loaded the dishwasher this morning and made coffee, so I am rewarding myself with a little writing time.  Despite the fact that I have been working diligently on my "Worst Case Scenario -- Surviving Flying US Airways" handbook, I needed to blog about other drama in my life.  Well, in my virtual Facebook life at least. 

There is a point in every one's life where they realize that they're tired of chasing after everyone, trying to fix everything, and trying to make sure everyone likes them.  When you get there, you walk away.  It is NOT giving up, it is just realizing that some people aren't worth the crap that they come with.  I reached that point this weekend.  I have been de-friended by several people since I joined Facebook -- even by a cousin who I thought was a close friend, but obviously didn't "get" me.  I have been on Facebook for nearly 3 years.  During all of that time, I have never been so offended by any one's behavior that I de-friended anyone....until now.

Bear with me as this story requires a little background information and set-up:  Most of you who read my blog regularly know that I am a HUGE Auburn Tigers fan (for those not in the know, this is a college football team from my home state of Alabama).  The Alabama Crimson Tide is the other state school (and my alma mater).  Both teams are awesome.  In the past 2 years, they have each brought football glory to our state by winning the National Championship -- Alabama in 2009 and Auburn in 2010.  However, Alabama is more popular than Auburn.  That's okay.  Both team's fans are really good at trash talking.  Also, cool and expected with an interstate rivalry.  What is NOT cool, is when either side's fans takes a stance of hate toward the other side, and unfortunately, it happens a lot.  (See my previous post, "Toomer's Corner" about how some deranged Alabama fan poisoned the trees at Toomer's Corner after Auburn won the National Championship last year).  We can also come together and unite for a good cause -- like when there was devastation across the entire state due to a tornado outbreak earlier this year (See the posts ""The Finger of God" and "Toomer's For Tuscaloosa").  Interstate football rivalry is a tricky thing, and unless you are a college football fan, you really won't understand it.  The level of snark between me and my Bama fan friends definitely goes up during football season.  In fact, last year I had to temporarily block some of them because their constant insults.  But, these people ARE my friends.  They generally support me and make me laugh and USUALLY if I say "Hey, not cool -- back off with the insults, they're getting too personal/snarky/mean/etc." then they quickly back off and usually respond with something along the lines of  "Sorry -- I thought it was funny."  Being the only Auburn fan in a family of Alabama fans growing up and attending Auburn's biggest rival, I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to all of the Alabama/Auburn jokes.  Heck, in a bad year, I will even crack a few myself.  What happened with the idiot that I de-friended this past weekend really had nothing to do with football, though.  But that is how it started, and if you ask him, I am certain that he will say that I de-friended him because he is an Alabama fan.  (But seriously, don't ask him -- he's a jerk and will probably attack you.)

This "fight" was so stupid, I just really do not know why it bothers me so much.  I went to high school with this person, but I haven't seen him in 20 years and we weren't really even friends then -- I knew who he was, but we never hung out or anything.  De-friending is something that I take pretty seriously -- I have no real social life outside of Facebook since I became a mom to 4 kids and have a husband who works weird hours, so de-friending on Facebook is pretty harsh in my book. (I am realizing as I type this that I have placed way to much value on my social networking and should probably try to interact with people more face-to-face....)

The person started by attacking my choice in football teams -- something that he did all last season. I am all for a little good natured ribbing, but his comments were not that. They were full of hate and disrespect towards me. I asked him politely, without my usual snark, to keep his opinions to himself and he just kept going. Several people tried to back me up in the hopes that he'd see that his comments were not "all in fun" as he was claiming. Finally, MY HUSBAND (who has posted maybe 6 things all year on Facebook) chimed in. He told him this:  "I'm not one to make a lot of comments. If you unwisely choose to continue this stream, you will not see a response from me. This is the one and only time I will comment. You are right that Ginger is an adult and can handle her own, and she has shown amazing restraint & maturity dealing with your attacks, but I am fed up with this and if this doesn't end now, you and I will continue this conversation if and when we meet in person. It's important to know when enough is enough. You crossed that point a long time ago. It takes a real man to admit when he's are you a man or not?"  (Does my husband totally rock or what??)  The guy's response was the last straw. I love my Facebook friends (even those I have never met) because they lift me up and make me laugh -- I have no use for someone that hateful and negative in my life.  He was looking for a fight.  My original post simply said "WAAAAAR EAGLE!!" because my team had won their game against Florida (a team mutually disliked by Alabama and Auburn fans, by the way).  I had not insulted Alabama.  I had not insulted him or anyone else.  I had simply expressed joy in the fact that my team had done well.  But he took it upon himself to try to pick a fight with me.

I do not like conflict.  I do not like those people who go around trying to start trouble where there is none -- I call them "Pot-Stirrers."  He was definitely stirring the pot.  The worst part was that he didn't see it.  He could not (or would not) see that he was being a jerk.  He just kept running his mouth, digging himself into a bigger and bigger hole with me and my other friends. I wanted to post this for him:

But there is no way to post pictures in your comments section.  It really bothered me.  The more I tried to make him see that I could care less what team he cheers for, that this was about his verbal attacks on ME (and ultimately on my friends who jumped to my defense) the uglier his comments got -- eventually he took a threatening tone by saying "If you want me to get nasty, I can get nasty."  As much as I dislike conflict and try to avoid it, I am plenty capable of holding my own in an argument without becoming a virtual 3rd grader.  I can be sarcastic, snarky, and cynical, but I can also defend my point and be nasty if I feel it is warranted.  But I refrained.  I maintained my cool and kept the snark at bay, but ultimately I had to de-friend him. 

But, me being me, it is still on my mind and therefore it is on my blog and now all of you get to read about the petty, stupid Facebook drama.  Usually posting it here is how I get it out of my system -- it is like the period at the end of a sentence.  Aren't you glad you follow my blog??!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

US Airways SUCKS (Part Two)

I was going to spend my kid-free time today being uber-productive by clearing some of the umpteen dozen shows off of my DVR, but since I am still seriously lagging in the Top Mommy Blog rankings, I decided to go ahead and sit down and bang out the second part of my US Airways horror story.  (That was a subtle hint by the way, but in case you didn't get it, go ahead and click on that brown button on the top right hand side over there that says "Vote For Me On Top Mommy Blogs."  Once their site comes up, you're done.)

So where was I?  Oh yeah, I had FINALLY made it to Huntsville and my dad had his surgery and things were going fairly well for him -- I mean, as well as can be expected after they crack your chest open and mess around with your heart for more than 3 hours.  He was in a room, awake and talking, and even was walking some of the laps around the floor like his doctor wanted.  He wasn't bouncing back like he was 25 or anything, but since he's 66, no one really expected him to.  So on Sunday morning, I got up to go and visit with him and my mother-in-law was going to pick me up from the hospital to take me to the airport around 10:15 for my flight that left at about 12:45. 

That part of the plan went amazingly well and she even took me out to breakfast before getting me to the Huntsville "International" Airport ("International" because it is only international in that you can get to an actual international airport from there).  I got to the airport, went through security, and still had an hour to spare.  While waiting at the gate, I was called to the counter for a new boarding pass.  They just changed my seat -- no big deal.  And then 15 minutes before the plane boarded, I got called to the counter again -- another seat change.  This was nothing to get upset about, I was still on the flight and it wasn't like I was being moved out of first class or anything, just moved around.  When it came time to board the plane, I was in the last "Zone" to be seated.  By the time it was my turn to board, all of the over head bins were full and I had to send my bag below the plane.  A little annoying?  Yes, but no big deal since I had a 3 hour scheduled lay-over in Charlotte (a PLANNED one this time).  When I finally do go to board the plane, I was met with a foul, fishy odor.  It was nauseating and all I could think was how much fun it was going to be to ride in that for the next hour and a half. 

Once we landed in Charlotte, I was told that my bag would be waiting for me on the sky bridge.  So I got off of the plane and I waited.  I waited, and I waited.  Then they told me to get off of the sky bridge because they had to load the next flight's passengers onto the plane.  They said that I should go and stand by the counter and they would bring me my bag.  Finally, after the entire plane was reloaded, this guy walks up from the tarmac and gives me my bag.  Also annoying, but its not like I really had anything better to do and I still had about 2 1/2 hours until my flight home was scheduled to depart.  I walked around the airport, bought a new book since I had read the 4 I brought with me already, and found my gate for my flight home.  After I got all comfy, plugged in my phone, and opened my book, I was approached by the gate agent who asked me to move so that the gate area could be cleaned. I was a little taken aback, because I could not imagine the process of cleaning that require me to move completely out of the gate area.  So I said "Can't they just clean around me?  It's what I do with my kids all of the time, I lift my feet for the vacuum and everything."  Well, he didn't like that.  He pursed his lips and reiterated that I would need to move and take all of my belongings with me.  (Sigh)  I found another gate to sit in -- right across from that one and saw this little bitty woman push a vacuum through there for about 5 minutes and then walk away.  I wanted to go back over there and take up my perch again just to spite that idiot who had made me move, but I was afraid that he might bump me from my flight or something so I stayed put.

Finally, it was time for my flight.  I got to actually take my bag onto the plane myself, but once again I was in the very last row of seats, by the window, and my seat was THE most uncomfortable one I have ever been in.  I do not know if it was the fact that it didn't recline or what, but sitting in it made me feel like I had been caned across the back in a North Korean prison camp.  I know it wasn't just me either because the 2 gentlemen sitting next to me had the same feeling.  Once the plane had been filled to capacity, the captain came over the loud speaker and told us to make ourselves comfortable....because there was "a maintenance issue with the plane" and we were going to be sitting here at the gate for about 2 hours.  A collective groan went up from the passengers.  It was hot.  It was crowded.  And I was sitting in the most uncomfortable row of the plane.  I called my husband and relayed the message about the delay -- this posed a problem for us since I was supposed to have landed at 7:49, when he and the kids would pick me up, we'd drive home, and then get the kids into bed at least close to their bedtime at 8:30.  Now we were looking at a 10:30 bedtime.  On a school night.  Crap. 

While we were sitting there, ("we" being the group of us in the back of the plane) the flight attendants passed out ice water, we all complained about how horrible this was, and we kept shifting in our seats (turns out that the other rows weren't super comfortable either).  A little more than an hour into this 2 hour delay, someone from about the middle of the plane came to the back to ask the flight attendants if we could get off of the plane or if we had to stay here.  "Oh no, you can get off of the plane -- just be sure you take your boarding pass with you."  WHAT???!  They didn't think to mention this when the delay was announced??  Great.  Well, we all were pissed that we hadn't known this sooner, but since US Airways requires that you be on-board 10-15 minutes before departure, and since we were in the very back of the plane and people were standing in the aisle, we decided that at that point it wasn't worth it to fight our way off of the plane and stayed put.  We should have just gotten off of the plane.   At the end of the 2 hour delay, the captain came on again and delivered some bad news.  I do not remember his exact words, but it went something like this:

"Well folks, we had to wait our turn for maintenance to come up here to fix the co-pilot's chair because it was a little uncomfortable.  After they messed around with it trying to get it fixed, the darn thing broke on us (chuckle, chuckle).  Anyways, their gonna try to rustle us up another chair to replace this one, but they said that it is gonna take a minimum of 2 hours and they're gonna need all y'all to get your belongings and get off of the plane while they work on it.  Hopefully, this new chair will be comfortable enough for us to get underway in a couple of hours."

What. The. Hell.  This guy had said "maintenance issue" and we had all assumed that if we hadn't waited for it to be fixed then we could have crashed into a field somewhere between here and Texas.  It was a CHAIR?  A chair that was a "little uncomfortable??" And it was the co-pilot's chair.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that the co-pilot does a lot of stuff in-flight, but if his chair was soooooo uncomfortable that he couldn't sit in it for 2 hours to get to Texas, then did he really even HAVE to come??  Couldn't we grab a chair from the gate area and bolt it down real quick just to get there??  So now, instead of a 10:30 bedtime, my kids were looking at a 12:30 bedtime.  Great.  I called my husband and relayed the bad news.  His response was "I am never flying with you.  You're luck sucks." 

So now we are all getting off of the plane so that they can fix the co-pilot's chair.  Everyone is pissed.  Several of us go straight to the "Special Services" counter to complain. I can hear them droning on and on about how we will have to take it up with corporate, that there is nothing that they can do, that the address for corporate is on the back of our ticket, blah, blah, blah.  Before it is even close to my turn to gripe at the agent behind the counter, I notice the flight board behind them.  Our flight has been given a new gate number and it has a new departure time.  So I head that way, and find a few of my new friends from the plane already sitting there.  I asked them what was going on and they said that they didn't know, they had just seen the changes on the board like I had.  I went up to the gate agent, who looked like Chris Farley minus the sense of humor and cool looking hair, and asked if this was, indeed, our flight to Dallas.  He barked at me that he did not have any information and to just go sit down and as soon as he knew something, he'd make an announcement.  I lingered a moment to stare him down with one of those looks that I normally reserve for children who have used permanent marker on my couch or teachers who have mistreated my kids and retorted with the super intelligent "FINE." through gritted teeth. 

Turns out, they had gotten us a different plane -- one that had an acceptable co-pilot's chair apparently -- and we were allowed to board the flight.  After it was all said and done, we didn't have an additional 2 hour wait.  We only had to wait an hour and 40 minutes before boarding that new flight.  But since we were delayed in taking off by the tower and had a strong head-wind the entire flight, we lost more than half an hour anyway.  My husband picked me up, with all 4 kids in-tow, at about 11:30 and we drove home and put the kids back to bed.  They were, of course, wide awake.  They had not seen me since Wednesday morning and this was Sunday night.  They all wanted to know how Pa was doing and if he liked the cards and pictures they had sent him.  It was after 1:00am before they finally settled down.  The 2 oldest were more than an hour late for school the next day and the 2 youngest slept until noon.

I left the hospital at 10:15 that morning.  I got to my house after midnight.  If I had rented a car and driven myself it would have been cheaper, faster, and more comfortable. But I learned my lesson and I hope that you will all take note of it to save yourselves some stress -- US Airways SUCKS.

By the way, I DID make use of that website on the back of my ticket and sent a letter to corporate complaining about the trip and the way I was treated.  They responded by sending me a $75 voucher to fly with them again.  This might have been a nice gesture if it were possible to purchase ANY flight from them for $75, but its not.  You cannot even upgrade to first class for $75.  So they have sent me a voucher that can only be used if I give them more business and spend more money....I don't think so. Their puny restitution of a $75 voucher isn't even 15% of what I paid for this round trip ticket.  I am writing a response to them about this.  I think I will tell them that they can suck it and that I would rather drive myself or spend extra money to fly another airline than to give them ANY more of my money. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

US Airways SUCKS (Part One)

I wrote the first part of this post on the flight from Charlotte to Huntsville when I was on my way to be with my dad for his triple by-pass surgery.  It is on my mind again today since I finally completed my complaint letter to the airline about the horrible experience.

"I am wedged between a behemoth man and the outer wall of this tiny airplane.  I am in the very last row, so my seat doesn't recline.  The man beside me must easily weigh more than 350 pounds and he reeks of body odor.  If I lean forward towards the window to escape his over-powering stench, I am greeted with the medicinal menthol smell of the cough drops that the woman in front of me is sucking on between her rattling coughs.  Although MY seat doesn't recline, hers does and her head is practically in my lap.  I feel like some sort of contortionist as I squeeze toward the wall of the plane to avoid being pressed into the smelly stranger beside me.  I am thankful that there is no hope for awkward, forced, conversation since the roar of the engine -- which is just on the other side of a little plastic and aluminum -- makes hearing voices other than the ones in my head impossible.  This hell is compounded by the knowledge that this was not supposed to be my flight.  MY flight left nearly 4 hours ago, probably before the deodorant stopped working on this Goliath here beside me.  I know this for sure, because I watched it go. 

This morning, I got to the airport in Dallas more than 2 hours before boarding was scheduled to begin for my flight.  I went through security like a responsible adult and made it successfully to my departure gate with more than an hour to spare.  Unfortunately, US Airways failed.  They failed to leave the gate on time.  They failed to take off on time.  And they failed to make clear -- no, scratch that -- they failed to give ANY INDICATION that boarding for my connecting flight in Charlotte would end 10 minutes prior to departure.  They prostrated about how it was "company policy" in all major cities -- a policy that they had failed to maintain in the city that I had just left.  And as I (and the other 5 passengers attempting this obviously impossible connection) stood there arguing with the rather rude gate agent, two flight attendants strolled past us and boarded the flight.  Yep, the flight that we have just been told that we "missed."  So we watched in a sort of horrified awe as our flight pulled away from the gate without us because we arrived less than 2 minutes late....or 8 minutes before scheduled departure.  We were informed with great apathy that we had been booked on the next flight out -- in 3 hours and 50 minutes time. 

The scene of all of us red-faced, panting, and sweating as we sprinted toward the gate only to be met by an agent with an inflated ego, high on her very limited power, who seemed to take some sick pleasure in telling us that we were too late and who looked down her nose at us like it was OUR FAULT was ridiculous to the point that it could have been a skit on Saturday Night Live.  As she is explaining the US Airways policy about boarding procedures, and the 2 flight attendants stroll past us to board the plane, I asked "What about them?  If there is time for them to board, then there is time for us to board.  We are pretty fast.  We just ran the entire length of this airport with our carry-ons dragging behind us and weaving in and out of pedestrian traffic in about 10 minutes flat.  I'm pretty sure that we could already be in our seats if you'd quit arguing."  She gave me a look of disdain while my fellow travelers nodded in agreement behind me.  I seriously thought for a minute that she was going to deny that the 2 women had been there at all, but instead she looked over her glasses at me and droned out "Ma'am, THOSE are not passengers, they're flight attendants who are essential to the success of this flight."  She enunciated every word like she was speaking to a child.  I leaned in closer to her -- quite purposefully invading her personal space -- and said with all of the malice that I could muster "YES. And WE are customers.  We are essential to the success of your COMPANY."  This, of course, had a far less dramatic effect than I had hoped for.  She told me to feel free to complain to corporate, that there was a website on my ticket and then she walked away like we weren't even there.

Of course, me being me, I went to the "Special Services" counter to deliver a "Special Message" to US Airways. I was met with even MORE rudeness and apathy. Luckily, my husband (whom I had already apprised of the situation) sent me a text literally moments before I went all postal on the chick behind the counter that said simply "Don't get arrested." My fellow disgruntled passengers were there behind me waiting to rip this woman behind the counter a new one about not being allowed to board the flight 8 minutes prior to its departure even though we were only "late" (a debatable fact) because their airline MADE us "late." Obviously there was no way that we were getting on the flight that had just left and we had already been booked on their next flight to Huntsville, so I had actually moved beyond that and now I was pissed about the rude indifference I was receiving from all of the US Airways staff. Seriously, it was so universal that I was convinced that they had held training classes in how to be the least accommodating and most frustrating. 

So now, here I sit in a position that will no doubt have lasting effects on my back, next to a man who smells like soured laundry, and behind a woman who must have TB the way she is hacking.  If I make it to Huntsville in time to see my dad before his surgery, I am not certain that it would be wise to do so without going through some sort of decontamination procedure.  This SUCKS."

Despite their best efforts, I did finally get to Huntsville, and I did get to see my dad briefly before his surgery.  I was right about the back ache induced by the strange position that I was forced into on my flight over -- it STILL hurts.  Everyone I talked to while I was in Huntsville was sympathetic about the horrible flight over and assured me that it must mean that the return trip would be awesome.  Unfortunately, they were wrong.  So very, very, wrong.  Part Two of this story is coming soon....right now I need some Motrin.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

All Things Considered

Two weeks ago, before my dad's heart surgery, I was down in the dumps.  I wanted nothing more than to sleep all day and stay up all night and to pretend that the housework wasn't piling up just outside the peripheral vision of my DVRed TV shows.  I was forcing myself to do the things that I was absolutely required to do -- get up to take the kids to school, make lunches, wash enough clothes so that everyone had underwear and jeans (and to make sure that at least 1 pair of yoga pants was clean.)  I was in a funk.  So the Friday before dad's procedure on Monday that ended up as triple by-pass surgery, I got up and took the 2 oldest to school and then came back home and got back into bed.  The 2 youngest were still asleep.  What was the worst that could happen?

Well, as it turns out, A LOT can happen when you go back to sleep and leave a 3 and almost 5 year old to fend for themselves for half a morning and almost none of it is good.  At some point between 8:30 and almost noon, they woke up and went to get themselves breakfast.  They did not even try to wake me up.  Breakfast consisted of about 2 Pop-Tarts each.  Now, the Pop-Tarts that they opened and ate off of to accomplish this was more like 12, but if you added up what they had eaten off of each Pop-Tart, it DID total about 2 apiece.  They chased this down with no fewer than 7 Capri-Sun pouches and 5 semi-eaten yogurt cups.  All in all not a bad selection for a couple of preschool kids who could've gone straight for the candy drawer.  The problem wasn't what they had eaten, or even the fact that they had opened up numerous packages of things, but it was the fact that they had undone all of the straightening up that I had forced myself to do the night before.  (Notice I DID NOT say "cleaning" as that would imply that great efforts had been made to scrub, dust, vacuum, etc. when in fact it was mostly just putting things away so that I could do some of that other stuff the next morning).

As I woke up and checked my phone for the time and realized that it was nearly noon, a wave of panic hit me.  It was quiet.  Were my kids even SAFE?  Had they snuck out while I was in my apathetic coma??!  Oh crap, what if they were wandering the neighborhood in their pajamas?!!  I bolted out of bed, swung open the bedroom door, and was met with the first indication that the kids were still there -- in the hall bathroom was proof that they had been occupied with destroying my house and not the rest of the neighborhood: A sink full of dinosaurs and other random crap.

As I continued out into the rest of the house, I stepped over empty Capri-Sun pouches and Pop-Tart wrappers until I came to the epicenter of the natural disaster known as my children:  the den.  When I had retired to bed the night before, it had been picked up and ready to vacuum.  Luckily, my kids know how much I hate cleaning and had done this so it would not be possible.

I should have been shocked, angered, or dismayed by their actions, but I wasn't.  I was thankful that this was all that they had done.  Based upon their known sleeping habits, I figure that they had been left to their own devices for approximately 2 hours -- maybe a little less.  There were no holes in the walls, nothing was on fire, they had not left the house, and they had even fed themselves.  And as a result of their self-entertaining, I got to sit down with my coffee and say "Now put that bin back in the cubby and fill the next one.  Don't forget these blocks over here on the stairs.  Remember that you still have to go rinse and dry off all of your dinosaurs." And other useful directions to them while they cleaned up the messes that they had made.  That kept them busy until it was time to go and get their brother and sister from school, and then the 4 of them quickly finished up. 

I do not recommend this type of behavior for any mother unless you want Child Protective Services to take your kids away, and I will not be rolling the dice again any time soon by sleeping in and letting the minions wreak havoc on our home.  But for me, this one time, the results were not terrible.  At least not if you know anything about my kids.  All things considered, they acted like little angels.  At least I got a few extra hours of sleep.