June 19, 2018

it felt like a gift

Well, where have I been?  I planned to post something yesterday until I ran into:  basketball camp chauffeuring, a few hours at the pool in 90+ degree heat (which is when I thought I would blog, but I ended up shopping for flights to take Ed to visit colleges Labor Day weekend AND to see Lad play water polo), brought 4 kids to the ortho, dragged all kids along to Tank's dermatologist appt,  I raced home so Tank could get a ride from a teammate to his evening basketball games, drove to Irish dancing in the opposite direction, drove back the other way to Tank's bball games, which were followed by Ed's two b-ball games.  I get home at 10 pm.  EXHAUSTED!!!! 

So the jury is still out on whether I was successful in giving Coach an awesome Dad's day.  Coach raised the bar pretty high for Mother's Day.  That put the pressure on me to give him an equally enjoyable day.

I hopped out of bed when Coach's alarm went off at 5:30 am.  He was planning to drive the caddies to the course.  'I'm up, I'm up!  I'll drive them,' I whispered.  I wasn't up, but I faked it pretty well.  I woke up the 3 youngest caddies.  Lad and Ed were able to sleep a little longer and arrive at the course closer to 6:45 am.  Seniority has its privileges.

This is where the garbage cans and recycling bins
 usually sit.  I forgot to take a photo
before I dragged them out to the driveway. 
You get the idea.
While Coach worked out, I decided to surprise him and clean out the garage.  Temps were expected to be in the mid 90's in Chicago, so I mentally committed to doing part of the garage.  I convinced Curly to help me.  She wasn't over-excited, but she pitched it.  Having all 5 siblings caddy this year, vs just the 3 oldest boys in recent years, is a new thing.  Curly is adjusting to waking up on the weekends and being the ONLY kid in the home.

Gross.  Disorganized.  Frightening.  Just a few words to describe our garage situation.  Despite space for 3 cars, we can only fit 1 car in the garage at the moment.  Enough said?  Curly and I hauled a ton of stuff out onto the driveway and began to sweep.  The garbage cans and recycling bin area alone was a sight.

Now that I fixed the garbage can area,
I can't WAIT for garbage day. 
The cans are all overflowing
because I found lots of junk to throw away.
Thanks to the heat,
our garbage smells HORRID!
Coach was NOT overjoyed to find us dripping in sweat and covered in grime when he came home from his workout.  I gathered that this stemmed from his belief that we shouldn't have been out there in the heat.

Or perhaps he was feeling guilty that I am always the one that takes on this nightmare job.  Maybe that’s wishful thinking on my part.  Like- if he feels bad, then maybe he will handle it next time.  

We started at 9 am.  After 2.5 hours, there was a noticeable improvement.  The rest will wait for a cooler day.  I think Coach was also annoyed because I kept popping my head inside to say, 'Are we done with this?  What is this for?'

Cleaning the garage is somehow my duty, but it is NEVER a priority.  That explains why it builds up into a filthy disaster area.  The people I sit for enter thru our garage to drop off/pick up their kids.  It is downright embarrassing.

Oh brother.  Bikes, building supplies,
kiddie ride-on toys, 2 lawnmowers,
more bikes, about 20 balls.
I ordered a bike rack to park them in and a
ball rack for the wall between the garage doors.
Coach insisted that he wanted to get a few things done around the house in the morning.  Later in the afternoon he was looking forward to chilling out while watching golf at home.  He only visits the pool for short stretches.  With the intense heat, he anticipated hanging at the pool for a bit.

While I was finishing up in the garage, Coach dared enter the kids’ bathroom.  He installed a new fan a few weeks ago and he needed to paint the drywall that he had patched.  Well, that was a big mistake.  Talk about a buzz kill.

There is much more order here,
but I am still on a mission. 
When the bike rack gets here,
the bikes will have to be parked in it.  

There is an old Thomas the train table
 on its side on the left that I 
think I will relocate to a
storage room in the basement.
Work in progress!
He was fuming when Curly and I came in and started packing the cooler for the pool.  He shared with me that he had stumbled upon empty soap boxes scattered on the counter, dirty clothes littering the floor, and worst ever - he discovered a full bag of bathroom garbage stuffed inside the cabinet.  Sound familiar?  That would be Tank’s work.  Ask him to do something and he will find a way to do it half ass.

I know I’ve mentioned my disgust at the difficulty our offspring has in cleaning up after themselves in their bathroom.  Not just here on this blog - but I have moaned, cried, sulked, screamed, and fumed about it in Coach’s presence.  Did he thing I was imaging it?  Faking it in order to excersize my lungs?  Since it was Father’s Day, I chose not to state the obvious with a comment like:  ‘What else is knew?’  I was already in hot water for cleaning out half of the garage.  

Is this making sense to you?  I think things improved as the day went on.  How can a tidy garage not force you to think things are looking up?

June 16, 2018

The blind leading the blind

Yesterday I dragged myself to the eye doctor.  I hate having my pupils dilated.  I hadn’t been in about 3 years.  I can’t see without my contact lenses, and I am quite a sight in my glasses.  So I figured it was time to have a new prescription if necessary.  Sometimes those contact lens ordering online places get all snippy about whether or not you’ve seen an eye doctor in the last few years.  The nerve.  

Reggie is slightly nearsighted.  Three years ago we got him two pairs of glasses that he mostly wore at school to see the board.  I haven’t seen either pair in over a year.  He claims he wore one pair a bit at the beginning of this school year.  That can’t be verified.  I had his eyes checked and got a new prescription so we could get him some new glasses.  Fortunately, his vision hadn’t really changed.

Our appointments started at 3:00 when traffic wasn’t a problem.  Just before 5:00, we were getting on I55 with half of the rest of the population of the Chicagoland area when we saw something unusual.  

The ramp I was on was just beyond this point.
  My Mom later told me that she heard that
cars were backing up down entrance ramps.
 I was like, 'Yeah, I was one of them!'
Cars were backing up down the exit ramp that we had just hopped on.  We were merging from 355 to I55 by way of a long, snakey ramp.  I could see my future traffic compadres on I55 from the ramp and sure as my eyes were majorly dilated, traffic was at a dead standstill.  Swell.

I watched as a couple of cars backed up all the way to the previous expressway and scooted between high speed cars in order to exit at an alternate spot.

A sunny day is a person with dilated
pupils biggest enemies.  I had my
book in the car and would've been OK
passing the time reading, but I couldn't
 see the words with my pupils the
 size of grapefruit.
Reg and I sat there.  It was a very sunny, beautiful day.  I don’t own sunglasses.  Weird, I know.  I don’t like to wear shades.  I was grateful that I had remembered to take the free rolled up fake sunglasses simulation thing that the eye doc hands out to patients with dilated eyes.  I am sure I looked hilarious to fellow drivers.  That didn’t bother me.  I considered it a necessary evil.

I called Coach.  He hadn’t heard about the situation on I55.  I tuned into the news on the radio.  It mentioned right away that there was an accident on I55 that shut down all 3 lanes.  Serious injuries.  Avoid I55 at all cost.  It was like a parking lot.  Coach was prepared to drive the girls to dancing, if I didn’t make it home in time.  

I hated to hear that there were injuries.  I couldn’t help but think about what would have happened if Reg and I hadn’t stopped to chat with the receptionist after our exams.  She is Eddie’s good friend’s mom.  Maybe we would’ve been further along on our trip home?  Maybe we would’ve been right in the thick of things?  Just an unpleasant reminder that things can change in an instant.  

I asked Reg if he would help guide me as I backed up about a mile down the exit ramp. He was sitting on the front seat wearing the kid cardboard sunglasses from the eye doc.  He was all in.  It was like the blind leading the blind - or at least it looked that way.    I’m sure the two of us in our plastic disposable shardes was a reassuring sight to the other stuck drivers that we passed as we reversed past them.

The exit ramp was quite spacious and I had enough room to pass the 20 plus cars that were now stacked up behind us.  It was curvy here and there, so I had to adjust my steering wheel from time to time.  Reg called out once, ‘OK you are getting kind of close over here (to the guardrail).’  I used my mirrors because turning around made the whole situation seem kind of daunting and freaky.  

This was one of those days that I was super grateful that I was driving the red minivan verses the ‘great-white’ (our 12 seater Chevy Express former airport shuttle).  We joke that the minivan is our version of a sports car.  

Other cars had reversed down the ramp ahead of us.  I really wanted to just do a 3 point turn and face the wrong way to drive off the ramp in the forward position.  A few of the cars we passed opted to go the face first route when we were done.  A car behind me REALLY struggled to reverse.  This guy was zigging and zagging all over the place.  He was making me a nervous wreck.  

I was glad when my maneuver was complete.  It turned out fine, but I would not recommend driving a mile down a long, winding exit ramp with MAJORLY dilated pupils on a bright sunny day.

June 14, 2018

an interesting sisterly exchange

A quick update.  The raccoon video that wasn't working on my 'No way!' post is now linked to the story.  Rather than making you look back, you can kick back and watch the sound the coons made here.  And the rescue here.  You're welcome!

The other day I told the girls that we would run to the mall and try to get Mini a new bathing suit after dancing on Wednesday.

The weather wasn't great on Wednesday, but it was the only chance I had to take the tots I sit for to the local pool before I began my summer break with no babysitting duties.  (rejoice).  A quick trip to the pool counted for our final field trip.

Curly and Mini were done with school and they were up for the excursion.  Mini stretched an old one piece over her super tall frame, but never bothered to remove the shorts and t-shirt she wore over the suit.  Curly was my only helper who got a little bit wet.  She watched the tots in awe and asked me:  'How can they stand to get wet when the water is SO COLD?'
Mini was happy to splash the boys, but was hoping not to get too wet.

After pushing nap time to the limits, we raced home to get the tots to bed.  Hours later we bolted to the dance studio where the girls had a one hour private lesson.

Walking into the studio, the girls were sharing a secret.  I noticed Mini trying to tell Curly something that she clearly didn't want me to hear.  What the heck?!  'What's going on girls?'  They just shrugged at me innocently, 'Oh, nothing.'

After dancing we arrived at my favorite department store and both girls announced that they had to go to the bathroom.  I pointed them in the direction and looked at a rack of clothes nearby.

We started our bathing suit search in the children's department.  Honestly, shopping in the juniors department for a bathing suit frightened me.  If we were looking for a bikini, Mini might find something in children's.  She is skinny and tall.  No chance a one piece would work, but a bikini is very forgiving when it comes to height.

We grabbed a couple of size 16 suits for Mini.  Curly found a bikini marked down low enough that I told her she could try it on.  Every year I end up buying her one new suit.  I know from experience that some suits that pass the end of season test will end up with elastic that stretches, but doesn't bounce back.

I sent the girls into the fitting rooms while I asked at the register whether or not a suit we loved might be available in a bigger size at another location.  It wasn't.  Damn.  I could hear the scary junior section with the ruching-in-the-butt-crack bikini bottoms calling my name.  Whose idea was it to draw attention to butt cracks with elastic gathers there?  WHO?!

I found the girls in the fitting room.  They both had on a suit for my inspection.  I was starving for dinner and had warned them that we had to move fast.  I was checking out the fit of Curly's suit when I realized she wasn't wearing her underwear.

I gasped and snapped my head to face Mini, who I assumed knew better than to let her little sister try on a suit without underwear.  Curly quickly took off the bottoms.  'Sorry Mommy.  Good thing we are going to buy this one though.'  True, no one would have to try on a suit my kid just violated with her bare parts.  Still!

I continued shaking my head and talking to Mini about the mediocre suit she had on.  Out of the corner of my eye I realized that Curly was putting her little running shorts back on . . . minus her undergarments.  What the Hell?!  Why the aversion to underwear?!

'Where is your underwear?' I hollered.  Curly shot Mini a look.  Mini bit her bottom lip, and then spilled the beans.

'OK, I made her give me her underwear.  The baby was napping in my room after the pool.  When I changed out of my bathing suit for dancing I couldn't go back in my room, and my underwear was in there.  I was wearing the running shorts with built in underwear, so I didn't think it would be a big deal.  I forgot we were going bathing suit shopping.  I told Curly to give me her underwear so I could try on suits.  I didn't know she was going to try on a suit, too.  I didn't want you to know that I wasn't wearing underwear.'

Curly stood there shrugging.  'That's why we both went to the bathroom when we got here, because Mini was making me give her my underwear.'  This was the last explanation I expected.  Like, the LAST.

Never.  And I mean NEVER, did I swap underwear with one of my sisters.  For starters, neither of my sisters could have handled that.  Can you say:  wound tight?  I just shook my head, but mostly felt like I was doing something right to be raising a couple of girls who would fork over their under garments in a public restroom for one another.  Right?

'Girls!  What in the world?  Is this what you were whispering about on our way into the dance studio?  I am going to tell Katie (their college kid dance teacher, who loves them),' I teased.

Yes, this was the top secret conversation that was occupying them as we walked into the class.  'Oh, Katie already knows.  She was like what in the world are you two buzzing about during your lesson - so we told her about the underwear issue.'  Figures.

Well, we eventually hit the juniors section.  Yowza.  As I have previously mentioned, we located a couple of bikini tops but have struggled to find a matching bottom.  I thought the skimpiness of the offerings was going to be my biggest hurdle until I realized that locating a matching/coordinating  bottom might be even more challenging.

On the car ride home I heard the following dialogue in the backseat.  Curly told Mini, 'You still have to do it!'

Mini, 'No, I don't, because she found out.'

Apparently, Curly only offered her underwear in exchange for Mini taking her rotation to clean up the kitchen.

Twice in one night I realized how smart my girls are.  You rock, Curly.  Never offer your underwear for nothing.  Wait, what?  I settled the ordeal.  'Mini, it doesn't matter that I found out.  Curly gave you her flipping panties.  You are taking her kitchen duty.'

Curly, sighed:  'You can just do the kitchen one time for me, not two.'  Ah, sisterly love.  And just like that, it was all settled.  Except for the bathing suit dilemma.  Mini still needed bottoms for the graduation pool party on Friday.

June 12, 2018

'Not out yet.'

I had texted Lad before leaving Curly's field trip asking for an update.  The red minivan was still in the shop, so the morning had been a fiasco.

We had to wake up Lad, load the tots in car seats, and drop Ed and Tank at high school.  Then I dropped Lad at Coach’s work to grab the car from him, because no one had been awake at 5 am to drop Coach off at work.  One of us would have to come back to pick him up after he was done treating patients.  My last stop was dropping Theo at preschool.  All this to be sure that Lad had a car to take to the golf course to caddy.

I was asking for an update from Lad after I grabbed Theo from preschool, because I was anxious about the afternoon driving.  I explained to him multiple times that I hoped he would caddy early and be done in time for the car to be returned to our constant-driving-loop-rotation.  I pulled around the corner and saw that the kid car (the one with the recently replaced ENGINE) was sitting in the driveway.  Just after I put up the garage door, Lad returned my text inquiring how the caddy situation was shaping up. 

‘Not out yet.’  

Yeah.  As far as I can tell, a caddy can’t accomplish getting out, if said caddy doesn’t first ARRIVE AT THE GOLF COURSE. (BTW 'getting out' is caddy talk for being on the course with a loop vs waiting in the caddy shack hoping for a loop.  It doesn't apply to a kid who hasn't driven the AVAILABLE FRICKING CAR TO THE COURSE.)
This is what it SHOULD look
like when a caddy leaves the house
 -  I snapped this on a different day
when Lad was driving Reggie.
  Lad knew I was sneaking
up on him to take a pic,
which is why he is flexing.
Good times, all day long, folks.

Laddie was a tad surprised to see me.  He was standing in my kitchen.  Half asleep.  In his underwear.  I was dumbfounded.  What?  In the world?  Why hadn’t he gone to the course?  He had been out with his buddies the night before (as usual), so apparently sleep was a priority.  Working to make money, not so much.  This is a kid that used the 'emergency only' credit card we gave him at school to fund lots of groceries/nights out to the tune of $851 - in the month of May alone.  Yeah, you read that right.


Lad mumbled something about the caddy master (yes, that is a legitimate position at a golf course) texting him to come around 1:00.  IT WAS LIKE 12:35.  It is a 15 minute drive to the course and he was clearly not ready to leave the house. I asked to see the caddy master's text.  Suddenly the phone -that he had just used to text me the three magic words that set my blood to boiling ‘Not out yet’ -couldn’t be found.  

All of a sudden I realized that I would need to drop him off at the course, so that our only other functioning car wouldn’t be stranded over at the course with him all afternoon.  ‘Well, I am going to have to put these two kids back in car seats.  I will follow you to the high school and we will leave the car there for Eddie.  Then I will drop you at the course.’  

Since I didn't think to snap a pic of my confused son in his underwear in my kitchen (you're welcome), I am sharing an exciting picture of typical caddy gear.  Towel and hat.  I now have 5 caddies so there is lots of  caddy gear in my mudroom and multiple, rank, Kelly green polo shirts in my laundry room.  God forbid one of my newbie caddies touches an older brother's favorite caddy towel.  What I'm saying here:  I'm living the dream.
Lad wasn’t fond of this plan.  Too bad.  I shuffled around and got the kids back in the car.  This little rendez-vous would delay nap time.  The time of day when I get my shit done.  Grumble, grumble.  Mr. Not-out-yet started hemming and hawing about how I was making him late.  Me!?  Late?  What was he worried about all morning - clearly not about being LATE.  He couldn’t find his shoes.  Claimed he couldn’t find his phone, but I saw it in his back pocket.  He moaned about our stop at the high school to drop off a car.  

Once he hopped in my car after leaving the unlocked car with a key under the mat for Ed, he started griping.  Apparently the stop at the high school to drop a car off to a more responsible family member was slowing him down.  He might be late for the loop that the caddy master was planning to give him.  Seriously?  He swore twice in front of Theo and Carter. 

I may be the queen of cussing, but I manage to keep it clean around my young charges.  Believe me, I could think of several 4 letter words I wanted to toss out there in Laddie's general direction.  Instead I cranked the radio and tuned him out.

The drive to the course felt like eternity.  Much like what our summer will begin to feel like if this kind of shit keeps up.  (So far we haven't run into issues like last summer.  It is early yet.  Need a refresher?  Click here here and here,).

June 10, 2018

when feeling guilty, crash

OK, so this happened a few weeks ago, but there were other more pressing topics that needed to be shared firstHello, raccoons!

This pic was supposed to go with the 'Notes from the Nuthouse' post.  In my haste to get ready to host the grad party for Mini and first go to Indianapolis for an Irish dancing competition, I forgot.  Check out the cute bikini top that doesn't show too much and fits perfect - now guess how hard it is to find a bottom that looks right with it AND isn't too skimpy?  On Thursday it became my life's mission.  

Another forgot-to-upload picture.  Not that you can't imagine what an empty bottle of Jim Beam looks like hidden in a pantry.  I pulled the buried bottle out a bit for the pic.  It was almost unnoticeable thanks to the jar of cashews.  Still unsure why Coach chose to HIDE this empty rather than toss it.

Back in mid-May:  I guess the first few days of Lad being home were like the calm before the storm.  I knew it was coming.  I was bracing for it.  After a few days, it hit the fan.

I was feeling guilty about missing out on being a chaperone on Curly’s field trip.  Last year I agreed to chaperone a field trip for her, but later backed out when I realized I double booked.  In the fall, Geraldine had asked me to babysit on a Friday (a day I don’t normally sit) in far-off-distant January.  I agreed, and then it fell off my radar until after I had promised Curly I would go on her field trip.  There were tears.  I felt ill.  

Looking back and knowing what I know now about Geraldine, I wish I had just told her I couldn’t sit that day.  Even at the last minute.  My kids should always come first.  I did volunteer to help during an in-school field trip later in the year, but it was a short afternoon and not the same as wandering around a museum with Curly and her friends.

Curly had another field trip May 18th to a place called the Naper Settlement and the weather looked awesome.  Think Williamsburg on a smaller scale.  There was an old school, a mansion, a blacksmith giving demonstrations, etc.  

Even though I told Geraldine at the beginning of the year that I wasn’t interested in swapping days because it gets too confusing, she still sent me her end of year (when things are crazier than ever) list requesting that I sit some weeks from Tuesday till Friday vs. the usual Monday - Thursday.  I begrudgingly agreed.  I am NOT babysitting for her next year - are you starting to figure out why?  Oh, there's more.  Much more.  But the end is in sight.  Not close enough, but in sight.  

Curly and Carter exploring
the Naper Settlement. 
It this cute or what?
I didn’t agree to chaperone the field trip, but as the day approached I decided that I would just crash it.  I packed a lunch for Carter and I.  Then I drove to the settlement.

Our timing was perfect.  The class had just walked thru the gates and we slipped in behind them.  I hadn’t told Curly about my plan and she was thrilled.  Her teacher, who is quite chill, was glad we opted to tag along.  We stalked her group until we had to haul ass back to pick up Theo at preschool.  Carter walked around holding Curly’s hand part of the time.  Curly didn’t mind the attention.  Once the preschool pickup was complete, I headed home.

That's when the fun-with-Laddie began . . . 

June 7, 2018

Life in the nuthouse in a nutshell

I am exhausted.  Possibly too tired to write in complete sentences.  Just to keep you in the loop, I am going to share some bullet points regarding what has hit the fan today.  Operative word: today.  All in one day.

Background:  We are hosting Mini’s 8th grade grad party at our home on Sunday, June 10th.  (If you are in the area stop by.  I am making mostaccioli again.  We know what that means.  Loads of leftovers).  Last weekend I attended my 25th year college reunion.  So fun.  Friday (tomorrow) I drive to Indianapolis for Irish dancing.  Staying over in a hotel.  Driving home Saturday late afternoon -the instant my last dancer walks off the stage.  Lots to do to prepare for Sunday.

Mini ended up getting invited to a graduation pool party for tomorrow afternoon.  The party is at the same time that we are supposed to be in Indy.  She opted to skip the competition on Friday.  I can’t get my $60 registration fees back, but that’s OK.  We have a very prosperous money tree in our yard.  Still going to Indy, because she and Curly will dance on Saturday.

If you look carefully you
can see the handle of the
measuring cup sticking
out of the coffee mug. 
No idea how I saw that.
I woke up and spent a bit of time submitting our mind-blowing kitchen story to a news program to see if the news group wanted to expose our contractor for being an unreliable shiest-er.  Not sure if they will call me back.  We do have running water, etc. so I imagine there are more desperate stories than ours.  Update to follow.

I decided to make pumpkins bread for the party.  I always make lots so when my kids eat half of what I bake, there is still enough for the party.  Tank recently unloaded the dishwasher.  When he doesn’t know where things go, he sticks them in weird places.  Imagine my frustration when I searched high and low for my measuring cups.  I have 2 sets, but had no 1/2 cup, and only one 1/3 cup and one 1 cup.  How is this possible?  Tank had no idea where he put them.  Finally I spied a 1/2 cup in a coffee mug on a very high shelf.  Life with Tank.

I whipped up pumpkin bread.  Stuck 3 loaves in the upper oven and 3 loaves in the lower oven.  Then Mini and I raced out the door.  Bikini bottom shopping and Costco.

Last night I took Mini bathing suit shopping.  She has a bikini that probably still fits her, but we can’t find it.  Also missing:  her cover-up and Curly's cover-up.  I feel like maybe we misplaced a bin, but 3 items don't fill a bin.  Where the Hell did those things go?  No one warned me that teen bikinis aren't bought as a package deal.  Bottom line (hee hee - get it?):  found a great top, but not a decent bottom.

Quite the resiliant little recipe if
 it can cook way too long and still be edible.

Is this what they call a super food?
We ran to Macy's to look for solid bikini bottoms that didn't have the dental floss thing happening.  On our way to Macy's we called Lad and told him to take the loaves out of the oven when the timer beeped.  We secretly called Curly and asked her to make sure Lad did this.  We failed to mention that both ovens were being utilized.

Raced thru Costco.  Got home and found that 3 loaves of pumpkin bread were still in the lower oven.  It was still on.  They cooked for an extra 45 minutes.  No lie.  The kids found them still edible.  Have at it, I said.  Just keep your paws off the 'good' loaves for the party.

Lad and I got into it because I thought it would've been less of a big deal if he had turned the oven off.  He said he tried.  'I hit a bunch of buttons.'  I admitted that it wasn't his fault.  I wasn't clear about the 2 ovens.  If the oven doesn't turn off though, maybe a phone call is necessary.  These kids call me for the stupidest shit.  But not 'how do you turn the oven off?'  I guess I should be relieved that the house wasn't burned down.

Lad lost his cool because he got an email saying his prerequisite wasn't accepted for a summer school class that he HAS TO TAKE.  So frustrating because I told him a million time several months ago to get registered.  Anyway, he swore like a sailor in front of the little guys I sit for.  Then he took a car to drive to the school and take an aptitude test to see if he could get in the class.

Oh yeah, this was my last day of babysitting for the school year.  Praise the Lord.  In my spare time all week, I have been printing photos and sticking them in an album for the two boys I am not watching next year.  That is a whole other story.  Relief doesn't begin to cover it.

I found out later that while Mini and I were running errands, Lad and Tank had an altercation.  Tank's face bears the evidence of this nonsense.  Lad was supposedly ticked off that Tank was sucking down a juice box.  I do try to get my offspring to avoid drinking the juice boxes I have on hand while they are SITTING IN THE HOUSE.  Get up and pour yourself a glass of juice.  I like to reserve juice boxes for times when we are on the go.  I didn't ask Lad to police his brother though.  Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

I texted Coach when I found an empty bottle of Jim Beam in the pantry.  I was super surprised when he texted back that this was his doing. Seriously?  Is there something I need to know?

In my spare time I ran to a few more places in search of a better fitting bathing suit bottom in the right shade of green.  If Mini didn't need to wear it to this confounded grad party tomorrow, I would be much more chill about it.

Coach and I were out Wed night at a pizza place celebrating the end of an era.  His office coordinator is leaving after 15 years.  So earth shattering.  Nevermind his need for her in his business, she occasionally drove my kids places and always ran intel for me as needed, ie:  'Coach told me you guys were going to Scotland.' (Back when I wasn't sure he understood the travel associated with the World Championship qualifying round his office coordinator shared this useful tidbit with me).

Two other leftover boxes from
last night.  One contains the
lame salad.  The other held
one remaining regular pizza slice.  

My GF pizza box was totally gone.
Anyway Coach said there would be salad.  I had barely eaten anything all day (this was Thursday, still busy).  The salad consisted of iceburg lettuce - barely broken off the head.  They tossed a bit of tomato and cucumber in for good measure.  I ordered gluten free pizza, which is something I haven't had in over a year.  I took home the leftovers.

Just like the pizza.  No one fessed up.
This afternoon I didn't have time to make myself a salad for lunch.  I decided I would have a piece of my leftover pizza.  It was gone.  No joke.  One of my mean-spirited, I-must-eat-everything-in-sight teenage boys ate it. 

Later - I discovered gum, or toothpaste, or Airheads candy or something equally gross and sticky on my family room carpet.

I am sure there is more, but I am worried that I might collapse and hit my head on my keyboard.  Oh, Lad squeaked out a passing grade on the aptitude test so he can take the calculus class that he needs.  Of all the things that needed to go right today, that was the one I would have voted for.

June 5, 2018


The release of the raccoon drama took place on Thursday morning.  Thursday night just before I went up to bed, I pulled the shades down in the kitchen.  Coach was in the family room.  I turned to him and gasped.  ‘Oh no!  There are raccoon babies running around on the deck!’  Coach’s mouth fell open.  ‘Just kidding!’ I teased.

Friday I wasn’t babysitting.  I was getting things done.  My hope was to sit on the deck in the sun for a few minutes.  I doubted I would last much longer than that since it was roasting out.  I knew I had to pick Laddie up at the golf course around 2:45, so I slid open the door to the deck around 1:30.  (click the sentence below to get the link to the you tube video.  Ah technology!)

I had no idea what this sound was!

I ducked.  It sounded like a flock of crows had landed on the roof.  I stuck my head back out.  The sound was coming from under the deck.


Mr. Raccoon was NOT a Mr. afterall.  Holy crap.  There were babies under the deck.  They were screaming in agony.  Oh NO!!!!  I texted Coach at work:  ‘This is not a joke.  There ARE baby raccoons under the deck.’  I texted the boys next.  Eddie texted back:  ‘You are going to Hell!’  Ed isn’t even one of my animal lovers.

I tried to coax them out.  I put some blackberries and a bowl full of milk and another of water near the opening to the underworld of the deck.  Nothing.  I poured some water between the wood slats in hopes of offering them relief from the heat.  Eventually I decided that they must have been so small that the only thing they wanted was to nurse.  

It made for an exciting afternoon.  I once again called the conservation place and left another message (they had called me back when I was dealing with the mother on Thursday morning- but I had already deposited her at the forest when they called).  This time when they called back, they admitted that they would charge $275 to get the babies out.  If we were able to get them out ourselves, they suggested that we bring them to the same place where we left the mother in hopes that she would find them.  

When Lad and Tank got home they got a broom and a tennis racquet.  We could walk around on the deck and track where the loud-mouthed babies had moved to.  They never took a break from the whining/squealing noises that were cutting thru my nerves like sharp raccoon teeth.  

Just before I had to leave to drive the girls to a private dancing lesson, one of them made an appearance at the opening.  Curly saw it and motioned us over.  We weren’t fast enough, and it crawled back into the abyss.  Eventually the boys, Coach (who got home just as I was leaving), and our friend, who hasn’t met an animal she didn’t care deeply for, managed to collect all four raccoons from under the deck.

(click the paragraph below and you will find a link - click the link and it will bring you to a you tube video of the raccoons being rescued by my boys and our friend).

Our friend had contacted a rescue.  The rescue thought dropping the babies off at the forest in a box was a bad idea.  They said if we could get them to the rescue, that they would care for them.  

Lad wore gloves and gently placed the tiny critters in waiting shoe-boxes.  With the lids taped shut, our friend drove them to the rescue.  The rescue thought they were about 5 weeks old.  Only one of the four had their eyes open.  

Throughout the rescue, I was calling and texting for updates from the girls’ dance studio.  I wanted to see pictures.  I was begging someone to take a picture for me.  Lad, my wise-ass, texted me this:  
Our raccoon puppet that is still in a bin in our basement.  I  may lose shit in our house from time to time, but who are we if we can't locate a raccoon puppet in the blink of an eye?
Prop used by Laddie.  My very own comedian.

Cute for sure.
Cute can be disguised as troublesome though.  I know, I have teenagers.
I do wish that I had a photo of Lad imitating mother raccoon noises and shoving the puppet near the deck.  I witnessed this odd scene moments before I left for dancing.  While I was gone, Tank was apparently playing mother raccoon noises over his Bluetooth speaker near the opening of the deck trying to lure them out.

They are cute, but I am quite glad they are gone.

Coach swears that he heard raccoon noises early the other morning.  I am hoping that he was mistaken.  For now, the raccoon saga ends here.

Don't worry.  Contractor from Hell stories will soon follow.