December 11, 2018

Narcey Cissim's text message

This is our home.  It is not a commercial building that houses a daycare complete with a vestibule.  In the warmer weather, I would occasionally reach into the mudroom past Arrogant (the triplets' dad) or Narcey as they stood their getting kids' shoes on/off, etc.  I would say, 'Just going to close the door, so we don't get a ton of flies in here.'

Hello, McFly?!  Figure it out!  Between our quest to keep the air conditioning/heat  circulating inside and our attempt to keep the swarm of flies outside zipping around the garbage cans in the garage, a propped open door is counter productive.   

The family I no longer sit for drove me nuts.  Coach rarely witnessed the real nitty-gritty nonsense.  He believed me, because he saw their ridiculous parenting style take shape frequently over the three years I cared for their kids.

But this was different . . . a true unwarranted parental explosion.   

We sat there for a moment after Narcey's rant and dramatic exit.  Coach chose to use her behavior as a teaching moment.  'Did you see that?  She was being inconsiderate by leaving the door open.  Mommy basically pointed it out by closing the door.  Then Narcey's statements all started with "I".  "I have been very sick."  "I had a bunch of people staying in my house."  Apparently the world revolves around her.  This is a very selfish person.'

The kids continued to eat their cereal, but nodded in agreement.  I just kept saying:  'Wow!  Did that just happen?'  I assumed at the end of the day, she would walk in and mumble something like:  'sorry about this morning.  I haven't been feeling well.'  Arrogant is usually the one to pick up, so I wasn't even sure she would be there to explain herself.

Instead she texted me at noon.  It was long and wordy and insulting.  Now there were more fingers to point.  It wasn't just that she was sick.  (By the way, she is a teacher working with young kids.  If she was really as sick as she insisted, why was she not calling herself out?  Staying in bed?  Keeping her crazy-ass self away from us?)  Now she lashed out at me for my cluttered entryway and more . . .

I was a tad rattled by this.  Treating her like a child?  Insisting that we needed to talk about this?  How about the blow by blow of which of her children were stepping where?  To me it was so much simpler than that.  I CLOSED THE FUCKING DOOR BECAUSE IT WAS FUCKING COLD.  I thought my response would simmer her down.  'Not an intentional door slam.'  Nope, she wasn't done (see above).

Coach read it and laughed.  'She definitely doesn't want you to treat her kids like they were your own.  If that was our kids, you would have grabbed them by the hood of their coat and launched them into the mudroom.' 

I was confused by the 'treat my kids like they were your own' comment.  Was she requesting my help in getting her kids into my house?  Was it really worth trying to get into her head to figure it all out?  As always with these kinds of situations, there is more.  MUCH MORE . . . 

December 9, 2018

to slam the door, or not slam the door

There are a lot of nutty people in the world.  As luck would have it a decent, random-sample of them manage to cross paths with me.  More specifically, they hire me to watch their kids.  

This morning, I was trying to conduct a makeshift workout in my family room.  I didn’t have much time before the tots started to get dropped off.  Coach was home, so I could have gone to the health club early.  There weren’t any classes that I wanted to attend, and I have not recovered from running 4 miles last weekend.  I opted to stay home, workout a bit in my house, and be here when the kids got dropped off vs. have Coach handle the babysitting kid drop off.  

My makeshift workout includes things like jumping rope, ‘stair’ stepping on the fireplace hearth, skaters, and putting a towel under each foot and doing a mountain climber on the hardwood floor.  Let’s not forget lunges, bicycles, planks, and bridges.  

I should have included some boxing moves, so that I was prepared.

One 18 month old was in the family room with me when I started to wind down.  I could hear the mom of the triplets arrive.  The mudroom opens to the kitchen.  I couldn’t see the mudroom from the parallel family room.  The 3 high schoolers were eating at the kitchen table.  Coach was making breakfast at the island.  The triplets entrance seemed to be delayed.  Eddie shot me a look.  He mouthed to me that he was freezing and motioned to me to close the interior door to the garage.  We live in Chicago.  It was COLD.  My kids were in their pajamas.  

This photo is a recreation.  This is the back
 of Eddie sitting at my kitchen table -
 right where he was that fateful morning.
  In front of him is the family room where
I had no view of the mudroom.  To the far
left is our mudroom and the white door
that you can partially see is the door that
was unintentionally slammed.  Missing is a
 small, frazzled woman dealing with two four
 year olds who typically enter crying because
 they want to get their way and she struggles
 to figure out how to make them
 happy vs. just telling them that life isn't fair.  
What to do when people are freezing and a door is left open?  In my book, you close it.  I leaned into the mudroom.  The triplets mom was standing in the garage dealing with her two 4 year olds that she was about to drop off.  It is always something with them.  They enter in tears because they want to carry a backpack, or had hoped to unbuckle themselves from the car seat, or thought they might open the door themselves.

I said, ‘We have to keep this closed.’  And I closed the door.  I admit the door slammed shut.  Not really my intention to slam it in their faces, but I don’t do anything in slow motion in the morning.  I keep things at a pretty quick pace.  

Narcey (rhymes with Marcy and is short for Narcissism) entered the house a split second later.  She hollered, ‘Really!?’  Then she huffed about how that was not a ‘good morning’.  I just looked at her and said, ‘My kids were eating breakfast and they were cold, so they asked me to close the door.’  

I think she corrected me further.  Then Narcey said, 'I am VERY sick.  I had 12 people sleeping in my house over Thanksgiving!'  Then she said something about how it was only like 30 seconds (that the door was open).  Then, confident that she had shared adequate irrelevant information, Narcey stormed out.  I spun around and faced my family.  They were all frozen in disbelief- maybe a little frozen with the climate of the room, too.

What just happened?

December 7, 2018

why leave it up to a retainer-less, laundry sabotager?!

I assumed Tank failing the rules of the road test was a joke.  Had to be, RIGHT?  Even when Mini texted to assure me that it wasn’t a joke, I envisioned Tank, Mini, and Coach all yucking it up in the car having a good chuckle at the fast-one they had just pulled on me.  

No such luck.  He really had NOT PASSED the ‘Rules of the Road’ test.  He tried to throw me under the bus, (maybe a transportation related joke isn’t in the best taste here) by insisting that I had told him he only needed to know the signs.  Gross misrepresentation of what I said. 

Coach dropped the kids off at home after his nightmare afternoon at the DMV.  Then he drove away.  Where he went?  No idea.  Apparently he needed some space.  I would say that he needed to let off some steam, but Tank assured me that Coach had practically lost his voice yelling at him in the car after the incident.  (And by incident I mean nightmare.)

Mini walked into the house and looked dazed and confused.  It was 4:15.  Her half day all used up  She had wasted it hanging out in the waiting area of the flipping DMV.  Her aggravation was palpable.  

I would never say this to Coach - like EVER, because I suspect that sitting in a waiting room at the DMV for 2.5 hours and having the afternoon end in such frustration was probably punishment enough, but why (WHY?!)  did he not review the material with this kid while they sat there?

Coach did inform me - like much later when he had regained the power of speech - that he HAD asked Tank if he needed to review and Tank said that he didn’t.  Not to beat a dead horse, but who would believe this kid who hides entire laundry rooms full of clothes in order to not get busted for not putting his laundry away?  Long story, but - yes, that happened.

Just went up in Tank's room to snap a photo
of his retainer.  Not in the case.  Shock.  But hey,
 the dirty laundry littering the room in the
 background adds a nice touch, don't you think?
When I asked Tank, and by ask I mean SCREAMED, why he didn’t review, he told me it was because he didn’t have enough space on his phone to download the info or something.  My response:  borrow Daddy’s phone or better yet, ask the people at the desk for a hard copy to review while waiting.

Tank:  ‘Because the lines were crazy long.’  Well, there you have it.  Why wait in line, while waiting?

Tank didn’t originally have an ortho appointment.  A small perk that I enjoy as the busy babysitter that I am is that Coach now drives the kids to their ortho appointments.  Coach said to me one day, 'I don't think Tank has been wearing his retainer!'  Unfortunately, this was true.  Tank needed to be fitted for a new retainer.

Anyway, that's when I realized that I didn't even know my son had a retainer.  It seems twisted, but believe me when I tell you that I celebrated my lack of knowledge here.  LIFE IS GOOD!

December 5, 2018

Will we laugh about this someday?

I interrupt my Irish dancing saga to share a not-so-delightful moment we experienced with Tank before Halloween . . . maybe we’ll laugh about this someday.  According to Coach that won’t be possible.  

Tank turns 16 today.  December 5th.  In case you are interested, he arrived a few days early in 2002 - because the doctors pulled the plug on his womb time that had clearly become a feeding frenzy.  They thought he was going to be big.  No one thought he would be 10 lbs 3 oz though.  Except me.  I knew he was gi-normous. 

Anyway, fast-forward to present day:  he hounded us all summer to register him for driver's ed.  He can't take the preferable class at the high school, because of his schedule.  Tank has to take two math classes because math is a struggle for him.  Imagine how much he loves that.   

Coach and I have dragged our feet on having Tank out on the roads.  I would start to search online for private places to enroll him for drivers ed, but I would switch gears.  Those of you in Illinois, you’re welcome.

When I finally did the math in the fall, I realized that Tank had to hold a permit for at least 9 months before getting a driver's license.  I may be crazy, but I am not crazy enough to screw up my life by having NO teenage driver positioned to assume Eddie’s roll when he leaves for college.

I did my part.  I gathered paperwork.  In excess.  Having taken a kid for a permit with  insufficient paperwork, well - let's just say:  that’s a mistake you make once.

I asked Coach if he would take Tank to the DMV one of the mornings when he doesn't do patient care.  Tank could be late for school.  After attending parent/teacher conferences, I am confident that Tank just wanders the halls or samples the water at various drinking fountains.  Arriving late or ditching his PE class wouldn’t throw off his educational progress by much.  

Coach brought up a good point.  Had Tank studied the Rules of the Road?  I reminded Tank about this minor detail.  I told him he could probably look them up on his phone.  I consider myself fairly organized, but do not ask me to locate a hard copy of the ‘Rules of the Road’ in my house after the booklet hasn't been used for two years.
This is the hard copy that Tank borrowed
 the next day from his golf coach,
 who teaches the class at the high school.

I assured Tank that the test isn't that difficult, it is a lot of signs, etc.  'Etc.' is key here.  If this were a high school English class it would be an example of 'foreshadowing.'  About a week later, he told me he was familiar with the material and that he was ready to go to the DMV.  Coach was taking Mini and Tank to the ortho on their half day, so  I suggested that he take Tank to the DMV afterwards.  

I thought Coach might bring Mini home after the ortho so that she wouldn’t be stuck going to the DMV.  He didn’t.  He opted to go to the DMV located north of the orthodontist office instead of the one that is west of our house.  

I got a few text updates that afternoon.  ‘This place is a zoo.’  ‘Waiting forever.’  And at last, I got a text from Mini:  ‘He failed.  I am so mad right now.’

Wait, was this a joke???

December 3, 2018

keeping the bonus room under wraps

It took a few minutes for Ernie to find a room for us.  I found this a little nerve racking.  Love a little rush of adrenaline. 

'Hmm, not seeing any available rooms.  Are you sure you won't take a room with a king bed?'  Nope.  I wanted two beds.  Mini was prepared to sleep on the floor in a sleeping bag, but I reserved a room with two beds, and I really didn't want to share a bed.  Sometimes I don't sleep great the night before a competition.  I did not want to worry about whether or not I was keeping Curly awake.  At last she spoke words that were like music to my ears:  'Oh, I have a room for you.'

Bonus room!
I asked if I could get a microwave in our room.  I had called in advance, but they had only agreed to put in a request for one.  Turns out they do not have microwaves.  What?  They don't wheel one in from housekeeping even if you have Celiac disease and bring your own food.  Why in the world did the guy that answered the phone a few days prior agree to put one on hold for me.  Where was the one he was holding for me?  Best Buy?

In my desperate attempt to score a microwave, before I realized they they literally do not offer them, I discovered that my name buddy not only shared my name, but she and I both had Celiac disease.  Seriously?!

Regular room.
When the bellhop followed us into the room, I noticed that it appeared that the door to the adjoining room was open.  I was only paying for one room, but I didn't want him to close off the door.  I mean two rooms!?  Come on, how awesome would that be?   We don't have that much space when we travel with the entire family!

View - if you look down you can see a riverboat.
Mini did not pick up on my 'let's keep this our little secret' vibe.  'Oh, what is this over here?  Do we get this room too?' she squealed.  Real subtle, fever girl.  Bellhop boy seemed as surprised as we were.  We soon discovered that this extra room was bigger than our actual hotel room, complete with a wet bar, an additional bathroom, a pullout couch, a TV, AND a walkout balcony overlooking the water, the city lights, and the river boats.  It was nothing short of AMAZING!

Bellhop boy admitted to being terrified of heights - our room was on the 24th floor.  The tower went up to the 25th floor, but the top floor was a restaurant.   He asked if we minded if he peeked out on the balcony.  We were happy to share our new bonus features with him.  He kept one foot firmly grounded inside the room while he checked out our view.

Old picture - taken on my
 old pukey counter tops.
I dished out homemade chili from my favorite travel companion:  my Stanley Thermos.  We celebrated our good fortune at landing this room with a party room attached.  Perfect place for fever girl to sleep.  The space was so big, we decided that Curly could also practice there if the spirit moved her. 

Curly announced that we could have our dance friends back to our room after she danced on Sunday  night, 'If she danced well'.  I corrected her:  'WHEN you dance well.'

December 1, 2018

Black Friday decision: tougher than which mall to hit

I didn't sleep well the night before Black Friday.  My Black Friday would be black for different reasons than mall stampedes.  My mind was racing.  Should I bring Mini to Louisville knowing she had a fever the night before, or should I leave her home?

After I worked out and ran a few errands (including buying a new thermometer), I came home.  Mini had just woken up after sleeping about 12 hours.  She said she felt fine other than a stuffy nose.  Her temperature was normal.  Realizing that often a fever doesn't pop back up until the afternoon hours, I was still not planning to bring her to Louisville to watch Curly compete in the Irish dancing Midwest championships.

At my workout, I had run into a friend who urged me to bring Mini along.  Her kids used to Irish dance, and she knew what a big deal the weekend was.  I explained that I was concerned that she would get Curly sick right before she had to dance on Sunday.  We discussed keeping the girls apart, but how do you do that on a long car ride?

What kind of message is this to give a driver?
 Like your car might blow up because you
 have a faulty gas cap?  I ignored it.  Like I
said, this would be a Black Friday for very
different reasons than those
 shop-till-you-drop types.
A few hours later, it was about time to head out the door.  Mini still had no temperature.  Her appetite was fine.  I borrowed a few masks from my mom, who keeps them on hand for my dad.  He has Leukemia and often tries to avoid germs.  I told Mini that she was coming but that she was going to sit in the back of the minivan.  Curly sat in the front next to me with the window rolled down 2 inches administering fresh air - and by default a cold breeze!

Mini initially tried sit in the row directly behind me.  No way, not the deal I struck.  She wasn't thrilled with sitting in the way back.  She claimed it was gross back there.  Not really an issue I cared about at that moment.

This was not my favorite way to travel, and even with the cold air I still found myself fighting sleep.  I am also not partial to traveling with the 'gas cap' light on.  No idea what my car was trying to tell me, but the gas cap was on good and tight.

This is one of the two
towers of the Galt.  Cool hotel that
consists of two towers that are
 connected by this little
atrium hanging over the road thing.

We checked into the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville, and I decided to valet the car.  We were in a hurry to get over to the venue, so we could watch the awards ceremony that evening.  Some of the older girls that dance at our studio were competing and we wanted to cheer them on.

The bellhop, who helped us with our bags told us he was very new to the hotel.  He scored points right off the bat though by signaling me over to the concierge desk.  He said rather than wait in the long line at the front desk, the concierge would check me in.  The concierge asked for my name.  Before I could answer, Curly noticed that according to her name tag, she was also named 'Ernie'.  How crazy?!

November 29, 2018

what? no 4 leaf clover shoved up my arse?

Late Thursday night (as in Thanksgiving), Mini appeared in the girls' room sobbing.  I was sitting on the floor in their room helping Curly pack.  The girls and I were leaving on Friday for Louisville.  This was the weekend that I always dread.  Midwest championships for Irish dancing.

'I don't think I can go tomorrow.  I think I have a fever.  I have felt lousy all day,' Mini sputtered.

Oh my GOSH!  What the Hell?  Mini was not dancing as she is a newly retired dancer.  (Yes, this was cause for celebration because it cut my Irish dancing bills in half).  Mini wanted to be involved in activities and sports in high school.

Of all the errands I needed to run the morning
we were going to leave town - I never would
 have guessed that a thermometer was going
 to end up on that list.  Damn it.
 What happened to the luck of the Irish?
For those of you who are new here, or if you need a refresher:  I JUST FLEW TO ORLANDO IN JULY FOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS OF IRISH DANCING AND MINI HAD A FEVER.  Then, because I forgot to insert my lucky 4 leaf clover up my ass, Curly came down with a fever the night before she was going to dance.  People, it was a nightmare.  Who gets a fever in July anyway?

So, here I was.  Thanksgiving (which to my unfortunate-self always delivers a Pavlov dog kind of 'oh shit, dancing stress' reaction.  I do so hope that my 'yummy-turkey' mindset will return once all of my dancers have retired).  My brain couldn't even think about the weird math problem necessary to calculate what the crazy-ass chances would be that Mini would once again have a fever as we were preparing to depart for another wig-infested, Irish-dancing-cult-like weekend.

My thermometer broke recently and I hadn't replaced it.  Coach said it didn't matter.  She definitely  had a fever.  She was crushed.  I told her to take some Motrin and get to bed.

Ways to stay awake for a long drive: 
chat with my equally talkative mini-me:
  aka Mini, or chew a bunch of candy.
I stayed up later than I wanted to considering I had to drive the next day.  I packed.  I shined shoes.  I wrung my hands.  A lot.  What to do?  Curly didn't want Mini to contaminate her.  Who did?  I also didn't want Mini to miss the competition.  She loves to watch Curly dance.  She's her biggest cheerleader.  Mini was excited to see her dancing friends, minus the stress of competing.  What good is it to hang out with friends if you feel anxious about dancing?  That's no fun.

From a practical standpoint, I wanted Mini in the car to converse with me and help me stay awake.  Not to mention, Mini often helps Curly tape her shoes.  She has a cell phone and can communicate with me if I need to run a dancing-related errand.  Plus, she is taller than me, strong like bull (OK, that last part is bull.  She ain't very strong), and she can help me carry some of our shit.

I was awake for a few hours during the night worrying about what to do.  What if we left Mini home and she ended up being fever free the rest of the weekend?  Coach texted me Fri morning from work:  'What if she feels fine Saturday and I drive her half way to meet you.'  Now you know it was a big deal if Coach offered to bend over backwards.  I ruled this idea out because I didn't feel right pawning Curly off on someone for 5 hours while I drove halfway to meet Coach.

So, I know what I ended up doing . . . and I will reveal that in my next post.  But I am curious, what would you have done if you were in this tight spot?