January 22, 2020

50th Bridesmaids style

Well this is much less enjoyable than bouncing puppy rap, until you know the backstory.  Mary Ann and I have the same house # but live on different streets.  Fun.  I am on the corner of the culdesac and my side entry garage faces her house.  We sometimes get each other's mail.  She was texting me to find out if we had a VERY important delivery.  Coach and I were meeting with our financial adviser at our kitchen table, so I didn't respond right away.  Curly was sitting at the snack bar - you can kinda see her arm up on the right side.  Mary Ann came tearing out of her house, checked her mailbox, and then stormed over to our front door and rang the doorbell and grilled the kids (cuz Coach and I were busy in the meeting) about whether or not they saw her package.  This all happened 2 minutes after she sent me a text.  She did not give me much of a chance to respond! 

Full disclosure - earlier in the summer we got a delivery from Amazon.  We don't use our front door much (cuz side entry garage) and we didn't notice the package.  It eventually made it in the house and sat on the counter top waiting for someone to claim it.  I thought a kid ordered a book for school, but it was right after Vancouver and Ed was getting his wisdom teeth out and Lad was getting into trouble with us, so it sort of fell off my radar and got buried (as things on my counter tend to do).  Turns out it was Mary Ann's daughter's book and she was hot to trot that it was at our house for days.  #great-neighbors

So that was the longest caption I may have ever written.  I was saving that pic to accompany my DMV nightmare story that I still have yet to share even though it happened in early August.  I knew this pic required a lengthy explanation.  Look forward to the DMV part of that day- it's literally UNREAL.

Anyway, thank you Mary Ann, aka world's worst neighbor, for that intro to my friendship saga.  (If you are new here and unfamiliar with Mary Ann - I suggest you do a search on the blog for Mary Ann stories.  You will be appalled.  Guaranteed.  Many, many links I could post.  One is titled 'cup o sugar'  - or something).  Aside from Mary Ann, I swear I DO have friends.  

As an aside to my aside, Mary Ann just so happens to be good friends with Cranky, who I highlighted in my last post.  If I ever write the book that I keep mulling over in my head that I call 'With Friends Like These', then you will get a detailed account of their nonsense.  I don't know that they have always been close, but at this point I don't think there is anyone else that can really tolerate either of them and their anal-ness for very long.

My friends are great and I can call them in a pinch and they would bale me out or lend me a cup of sugar, or listen to me rant, etc.  I tend to choose great listeners as friends because I talk a lot.  I would not trade my friends in for anything.  Hello Becky and Delilah! 

Here's the thing.  My group of friends is an eclectic group.  They do not know one another - at least not well,  Most have never met.  They have shown up at different stages of my life, and they rarely overlap.  This goes back to the issue that Coach and I have with couples that I touched on in the previous post.  Like Coach and I, I lack a 'group.'

On the 2nd to last day of this year, I will turn 50.  I am not all that worked up about it - but hell, I just turned 49 so give me time.  Or, maybe I will just shrug it off.  That sounds like a good plan and that is more my style.  

Over the years I have known/heard of people who have done a girls' weekend to celebrate their 50th.  Somehow this has become a thing in my mind.  I now identify my 50th with a destination surrounded by my besties, much like the little guys I sit for who from time to time have believed that a birthday is a place.  Like 'Chuckie Cheese' is a birthday.  

After reading many people's year end blog recaps and their resolutions, I admit to feeling a bit like 'Dang, so many people out there have a group, or people they do things with on the regular.'  People they vacation with, or get weekly coffee with, or celebrate New Year's Eve with.  

I admit to thinking more and more about my 50th birthday as if it were a girls' weekend.  If it were a destination, well then . . .  the closest thing that comes to mind is a scene from 'Bridesmaids.'  Like what would it look like if my friends who have mostly never met all became acquainted on this imaginary birthday weekend.  It makes me think of Ghostbusters when the guys say clear your mind and the one buster can't help but think of the marshmallow man!  

I picture my close friend from 2nd grade.  Marge never married and she is incredibly sheltered.  She is a great friend, and I love her dearly but I think she still cringes a bit if I drop the f-bomb in her presence.  

Then there is my babysitting compadre who I have been hanging out with for the last 3 or 4 years.  She cannot keep her mind out of the gutter, and she cracks me up.  When she comes over with the tots she sits for and I am feeding a fussy toddler, I say 'Put it in your mouth!  Put it in your mouth!' and Becky CANNOT help herself:  'That's what he said.'  It's like an automatic, and I thoroughly enjoy her.    

Then there are other straight laced mom types - some on the quiet side and some that can party with the best of them.  Some might be up for drinking games and some might be more content to sip a glass of wine and chit chat.  

I don't keep in touch with any high school friends anymore, except for Drew one of my high school buddies who lives in New York - he would NOT enjoy a girls' weekend.  My very best hs friend stopped talking to me a few years ago.  She lives out east now and she 'tired' of me and no longer wanted to be bothered with the frustrations caused by my middle child/family dilemmas.  I guess.  She never really said.  That hurt.  To me, those were really not the kind of reasons that you ditch a best friend after 30 plus years of friendship.  

My college friends are scattered all over the country, which is a little odd considering that I went to school in South Bend and TYPICALLY many SMC grads end up in the Chicago area.  Not my peeps though.

I love, love, love my Irish dancing friend moms, but they don't live really close to get together regularly.  They would be a hoot at my 50th destination b-day for sure.  They remain the best thing about attending long, grueling days at dancing competitions.  Bummer that they will not be in Ireland in April.  

I believe similar situations interfered with my girlfriend friendships as they did our couple friendships.  Changing schools wreaked havoc on my social life.  Kudos to Delilah for still keeping up/putting up with me even though our kids have not been in school for almost 7 years, and even though she always remembers my birthday and I have NOT remembered hers (this is the last year of that nonsense though! Watch out October!).

I attribute some of the shifts in friendship to people being busy and being pulled in different directions based on their kids' activities.  As with so many other peeps, they have their stuff and I have mine.  I have also noticed that I see some friends less because their youngest kids have graduated from our high school.  Our high school parenting years will not in the near future.  

Then, of course, there is all of you!  How fun/weird would it be to plan a meetup with blogging buddies?  My 50th is as good a time as any, don't you agree?  Who's in?  

Bridesmaids style 50th here I come!

January 20, 2020

bouncy puppy, 'Isn't this relaxing', & groupless

Even before I knew what I was going to write about, I knew I had to include this video.  Thanks YouTube, and thanks to whoever the brilliant man is that wrote the lyrics to this . . . it makes me giggle uncontrollably. 

So this is a tough topic to write about, not because it is life altering or jarring in any way, but because it is hard to articulate.  The gist:  it is hard to find friends as an adult, am I wrong?  And even harder, perhaps, to find friends as a couple.  Seinfeld was not wrong, people.  

Long story summed up (OK, I tried to be brief but that did not work out really well - shock):  Coach and I have been married for 23 years.  Our first group of friends were couples that we met through his physical therapy graduate school program.  Lots of fun, but then people scattered and moved to different areas/states to start their careers, etc.  I was working as a nanny so I was not harvesting any work friends for myself and certainly not stumbling across any couples to hang with.  

We moved to a house from our one bedroom condo when Lad was 15 months.  Imagine my disappointment when we were surrounded by original owners (houses were built in the late 60's).  We managed to find the one geriatric corner of the neighborhood.  

Back when I only had Lad and Ed, and less so when I had Tank, and more sporadically when I had Mini (you get the idea), I attended daily morning mass.  Yes, I swear a lot, but I do have a strong faith and I did enjoy starting out my day with a good message and time to pray and time to reflect and be centered.  The more kids I dragged to church, the less centered I felt as I attempted to get to 9 am mass on time (and honestly I was probably cussing under my breath at an alarmingly increasing rate - nowadays, the gloves are off - or the concern that my kids hear me cuss ranks low on my list of concerns -  so swearing is my bitch.  I still attend mass and pray - not daily, but four-letter words seem to manage my stress level just fine.  Amen).  

Anyway, I met another young mom at mass who had a son Eddie's age.  I invited her over for a play date.  It went fine.  She was quiet.  I am not.  Good balance, right?  Then I invited Ms. Quiet, her sight-unseen husband, and their one year old over for dinner.  To our home.  Epic fail.  Sight-unseen was all about computers and didn't follow sports.  Nothing in common AT ALL with Coach.  

For reasons I cannot explain other than I WANTED US TO HAVE FRIENDS, we decided to meet them out for dinner without kids.  I am chuckling just thinking about this.  In the middle of dinner when the only sounds were Coach and I scraping our plates because THERE WAS NOTHING TO SAY and we wished for more food to eat to pass the time and fill our wordless mouths - Sight-unseen says:  'Well, isn't this relaxing.'  I guess that was code for 'well, since this sucks so bad I will count it as relaxing.'  

Honestly, it was a glorious cringe-worthy moment that we now share anytime we are with friends.  Lesson learned.  No more hanging with those two.

I ended up meeting young mom friends at the pool or the library story time or the park, etc.  One couple had a girl born days before Lad and a son born days after Ed.  We hit it off and had a blast with them until they moved away.  

Fast forward a few years to when our family included the first 3 boys:  I don't remember how I met Cranky- I think the pool, but let's just say our kids lined up age wise and we got along great.  Our husbands clicked.  We had many fun times, but gradually I started to see the light.  I already have two sisters who like to boss me around or sneer at the way I keep my house, and how I speak my mind, etc.  Let's just say I didn't need a 3rd sister to get in my face.  

Cranky is the most controlling, self-righteous person alive.  (I could dedicate an entire post to evidence, but I will limit myself to a few examples) . . . Cranky went out of town once and asked me to pick up her son, Lil Macho, for his soccer game.  My kids played soccer too, so most likely I was headed to a nearby field.  I got to the house and her brother told me Lil Macho had already been picked up by someone.  I was steamed.  I asked her about it when she returned.  

Cranky:  Oh, I had a couple of different people lined up to give my kids rides places just to be sure they got where they were going.  (*^%*#@#!)

When we put our house on the market, she told me that she doubted our house would sell since we hadn't really 'done much to it.'  I then listed all of the improvements we made.  *I do recognize that she was most likely annoyed that we were moving from the neighborhood.  They had elected to continue to remain in that same neighborhood a year prior when they put an addition on their house.

Over the phone one day, I was chatting with her about how I had yet to get an email from Lad's upcoming little league coach.

Cranky:  Well, are any of the dads in his 2nd grade class coaching this year? 

Me:  Yes, Mr. D.

Cranky:  Oh, yeah, but Mr. D is very competitive.  He will probably only draft kids who have been ranked as #1's on his team.  Lad isn't that good.  He was probably ranked a #4.  You know what I mean?

Me:  (who now recognized that her 'you know what I mean' mantra was code for 'I am overstepping, but I am hoping you don't recognize it as such.')  No, I don't know what you mean.

*The little league teams forced coaches to comprise their teams of so many kids at each level.  No one got to pick all #1's.  

When we yanked the kids from Catholic grade school, we left Cranky behind.  I had already begun to allow space to grow between us anyway, but the school switch helped widen the gap.  Unfortunately switching schools also meant that we started to be left out of social events that we would have been included in if our kids still went to the school.

Mini asked me about this recently.  She wondered if people were mad at us when we changed schools.  Not at all.  It just happened naturally - out of sight, out of mind.  It stung a bit at the time, but I understand how it happens.  I was no longer milling with moms in the Catholic school parking lot and we were certainly not attending the big school fundraisers that served as the social peak of the school year.  It had been fun while it lasted, but now our kids were in the public school and we needed to branch out.  

Branch we did.  We were invited to some very fun Halloween parties, Superbowl parties, pool parties, etc.  We hosted a few hopping St. Patrick's day parties, too.  Ultimately though, we could not hang.  Coach and I are not big in the party scene.  We could not keep up with the drinking and the couples' weekend excursions.  Bit by bit those gatherings started to include younger, new-blood families whom we didn't know, and we often skipped them because we were busy with older kids' stuff like sports and dances and being home while our teens kids entertained their friends, etc.  

Moving out of geriatric land (which we did when Cranky got ticked 12 years ago after Curly was born) did us no favors (well, we love our newer/bigger house and we are in a much better grade school district), because we ended up with the world's worst neighbors.  For real.  The guy across the street is super fun and easy going.  His wife is a monster.  The mom with 3 boys the ages of my 3 middle kids cannot bring herself to say hello to me because 10 yrs ago her son's friend ended up becoming better friends with Tank - she called and screamed at me siting all kinds of weird insults for how I am a bad person.  She needs medication.  No joke.  People fear her wrath and everyone tells me they feel sorry for me that I fell in ill-favor with her because no one would want that.  Then there is the impossible Mary Ann.  Don't get me started.

Anyway, Coach and I both click really well with one other couple that we met after our switch to the public school.  We have remained tight with them over the years.  We have been invited to their lake house with ALL of our hoodlum children.  They are just as busy as we are (although they have more of a social calendar than we do) and we don't get together as often as we would like.  

We are also NOT great at planning.  We rarely arrange to meet another couple out for dinner in advance.  Instead we roll as last minute peeps.  How tired are we?  Who needs to be driven where tonight?  Are there any games we plan to attend?  By the time we think, hey let's invite someone over or out for dinner, etc. the 'someones' in our corner have already made plans.  

Some of the people who have kids our kids ages already had their set 'group' by the time we showed up to our new school.  Then by the time kids land in high school, forget it.  Parents of kids they meet in high school already have parent-friends from their grade schools or sports or whatever.  So that's kind of it really - we just don't have a 'group'.  

This is not for lack of trying.  I have invited other couples over for dinner, or drinks, or dessert - the kids have run around the house or played outside.  Remember the guy that asked Coach when his last facial was and then told me that my (FABULOUS) 7 layer taco dip might be better with jalapenos?  He was lucky not to wear my 7 layer dip facial-style by the end of the night.  

In summary:  we wasted too much time hanging with Cranky and company, we have CRAPPY neighbors (so long as we count the would-be-potential-social neighbors close to our age) - hello Mary Ann, and we missed our window when we switched schools midstream and people already had a solid 'group'.  

Most of the time Coach doesn't wish to be social, because he has been on his feet for an obscene number of hours all week treating patients and TALKING to them too.  (talking is definitely more my 'thing', but I am over here in toddler fun talking gibberish of all things).  

I should just be content to hang with my girlfriends, right?  Well, tune back in and I will share the background on that scene next.  I might even re-post that bouncy puppy video unless you want me to post a photo of Mary Ann.  Wait, that might be fun!

In the meantime, do you have couples that you hang with?  Do you or your spouse tend to NOT want to be social after a long week at work?  Have you found that even though you no longer NEED a sitter, getting out of the house with other couples is tricky because of being busy with your kids' activities/games (insert the dreaded Irish dancing schedule here)?  Do tell.  

January 17, 2020

Who did THIS?, game changer, Dallas here I come!

I did think of one more question, so if you read my last few posts and that format irritated you - have no fear . . . it is just one question.

About a week after Christmas, I gathered all family members and shouted:  'WHO DID THIS?'
Ho, ho ho-ld on - WHO. DID. THIS?

I found my 24 year old Santa in pieces on the end table in the living room.  
Of course no one knew.  Anything.  I have my suspicions, but honestly my little Santa was so fragile (he had been glued before - but only when he was in 2 pieces not 17) that someone COULD have knocked him over and not noticed that they had accidentally PULVERIZED him.  I am not buying that, but believe it or not this post is not about how clumsy and goofy my offspring can be.  

Part of the way there - just the arm
with the hearts on the bend-ie thing.
A few nights ago when my list of to-do's was so long that I feared I could not sleep, I stayed up too late and attempted to glue him.  He looks kinda sad now, but I am NOT tossing him in the garbage.

The background:  My good friends Dee Dee and Corey gave him to me in Dec '96 - the Christmas that Coach and I got engaged.  He proposed Dec. 16th, and Dee Dee presented me with the Santa shortly after.  She was like:  'Get it?  Santa with a heart, because you got your wish for Christmas?'  It was the perfect gift.
He always stood like that -
kinda leaning on one
 foot, so he is back together. 
I just ask you to steer
 your eyes away from the
missing armpit and the
 large hole behind the heart.
 He was darn right
 crumblie and I
 broke him further
the more I touched him.

Backing up the bus a bit further (who is eye-rolling here, cause they were thinking this would be short?):  When I attended a Catholic high school, we were required to get service hours.  I joined the local Leo Club, which was the like the junior Lions Club.  That year a man named Corey and his new bride ran the club.  They were young, hip, and fun, AND he was a professional football player.  It just so happened that year that he was not picked up by a team, or something.  Sue me - I have no idea what the proper jargon is here.  

We did service projects and met every few weeks in the library basement.  Sometimes I would say things like, "I can't come that day, because I have to babysit."  When Dee Dee found out she was pregnant, she walked up to me at one of the meetings and (tilted her head way back, cuz she is super petite and short and always looked really put-together) and looked way up at my towering, frumpy-self and said, "Hey, you're gonna be my babysitter."  

Game changer.  

Corey signed with the Bears soon after (don't ask me the years he played here or there - do I look like Reggie?).  I babysat for them through high school, college, and after college here and there.  I cannot EVEN tell you how great this couple was to me.  Oh, and I just so happened to be CRAZY about their insanely cute offspring.  

My favorite kid quote while sitting for them . . . at bedtime the brother would say his prayers:  'Sweet Jesus make me a gooood boy.'  The younger sister eventually learned the same prayer, but she said it like this:  'Sweet Jesus, make me a goooood boy and girl.'

While Dee Dee was everything I aspired to be, ie:  REALLY pretty, petite, short (physically not possible - I was 5'10"), spunky, with good hair, etc. I was schleppie.  Big time.  I know, I know, it was high school, who wasn't?  No, People.  Someday when we are all having a girls' weekend complete with late night snacks and glasses of wine and staying up all night chatting - I will break out the evidence pictures.  No one can compete with the cringe-worthy-ness that defined me.  Promise.

Anyway, Dee Dee and Corey got to know me.  They would come home from a night out and then hunker down to chat with me.  They listened to me and made me feel important.  If I was to compare Dee Dee to the girls that appeared similar to her in my high school . . . the ones who also made great wardrobe choices, knew how to apply makeup, and had great hair, then I would wonder why Dee Dee seemed to enjoy hanging with me.  She never made me feel schleppie.  It was a mystery to me, but one that bumped up my low self-esteem a few notches.  This couple laughed at my stories and were always interested in what I had to say or in what was going on in my life.  

When I got grounded for NOTHING - topic for another post, Dee Dee was like, "Your folks are CRAZY!  You are such a good kid.  They have no idea how good they have it.  (She was not wrong) Listen, invite a couple friends to my house any night you can't take the 6 week-life-sentence grounding (true - 6 weeks!) and I will get you Blockbuster movies and pizza and Core and I will go out, and your folks will think you are just babysitting.  This might work out really well for me, because HELLO automatic babysitter!"  Plus, they paid me really well.  Bonus.  

When no one asked me to the prom, Corey - who is hands down one of the greatest men I have ever known - said in his southern twang, "Girl, I tell you what I'm gonna do.  I'm gonna take you to that prom and I am gonna tell those young fellas what they are missing.  Just you watch."  

Well, that is not the route I went, but it totally thrilled me that Corey would be ready and willing.  I'm not gonna lie - I played that scenario over in my head a few times of the boneheads in my high school watching me walk in to prom with a football player.  This guy played on the Superbowl team and wore a Superbowl ring for real, and he swore up and down that people who overlooked me were going to figure it out one day.  

Those of you who are curious, Corey is not his real name.  Clue:  he plays the cowbell in the Superbowl Shuffle while wearing a fedora.  Insert, "Can I get a little more cowbell?"

Eventually Dee Dee and Corey would come home and Corey would say, "I cannot stay up this late," and he would go off to bed and Dee Dee and I would talk for hours.  I so needed a connection like this at this time in my life.  

When I went away to college, I wrote them letters- especially the year I studied in Ireland (OK, so I didn't exactly study - again, another post).  Corey once told me I was the most 'letter-writing-est person he ever met'.  I guess my letters were like my blog back then.  Dee Dee insisted that she take me out for my first margarita after I turned 21.  She left Corey with the kids and we went out as soon as I got back from Ireland.  From babysitter, to bar buddy!

The next day we re-did the entire
 for a big lunch because
 Corey's son was also in
 town and available this time. 
Any guess how
 hard it was back then to keep
my house orderly
and clean for one visit, let alone
back-to-back VISITS?
 Well worth it.  This is
Corey's son Bill,
 who is awesome -
hanging out with Curly.
Mini sporting a certain
someone's Superbowl ring!
Shortly after we got married, Dee Dee and Corey moved back to Dallas where they are from.  We have always kept in touch, but have not seen one another much.  

Once when Corey came in town for some speech about 9 years ago, he called me up.  "Hey E, I gotta get over to your place and kiss those sweet babies of yours while I am in town!"  I pulled my grade school kids out of school at noon and made a big meal.  Corey talked football with the big boys who were like 9 and 12 at the time while Reggie and Curly climbed all over him and Tank asked him about the Superbowl Shuffle and Mini asked him to come and see her dollhouse bunk bed.  So fun!

As you read this, Coach and I will be on a plane or will have already landed in DALLAS!  (which is fitting because I currently have a zit the size of Texas under my nose that refuses to die).  Coach is teaching there Saturday and half a day Sunday.  I am going to hang out with my friends while he teaches and the four of us will get to spend time together as well.  I am very busy getting everything ready to a) travel, and b) leave kids behind at friends' houses, but when I sat down to write this

I realized how excited I am!!!!  

January 15, 2020

still feeling like more questions than answers

The drawer looks great with two bigger spaces still
 available after finding a home for the 18 hand
sanitizer containers.
 Just need to figure out what
 to do with the extra crap on the kitchen counter.
 No one said it would be easy.
I finally started the drawer project while I made chicken nuggets for dinner - a dinner I have not served in ions.  I had to drive Curly to dancing and then go back to get her.  Coach usually does the return trip after work, but Reg's b-ball practice got moved to Monday nights, so he now gets Reg.  Question #9:  (posed by my inquisitive and well-informed readers) Since we all know you pushed the envelope to get the drawers done and you didn't allow enough time to get Curly, did you get a speeding ticket?  No, but I easily could have.  

I guess I buy chapstick each time a kid complains
 about chapped lips.  There are lots of
 lips in this house, but STILL!
In my reorganization project, I had to stop and ask myself:  Question #10:  What the hell is with the chap-stick stockpile?  I know the answer - this is what happens when the kitchen gets done, but you assign two different drawers as junk drawers and never take the time to determine what is going to go in each drawer.  Judging by the array of hand sanitizers, we are anticipating an invasion of a flesh eating germ only preventable by a quick squirt.  

The other drawer on the
buffet that will be more
 geared towards kids' supplies.
 Again - loving the room to spare.
While I was digging my way out from under broken toys that I once intended to glue and scraps of paper with cryptic notes on them (maybe those notes were reminding me of the approaching flesh eating germ), I asked Ed to get a few things at the grocery store.  When Coach got home, he started to help me put away the groceries because I had suddenly noticed that Ed's services end when he drags four bags in from the car.  The counters were still cluttered with the junk-drawer explosion and I hadn't noticed the four bags.
This was taken early on in the evening
 when I still wondered if I was going to
make any progress.  We might be able to
 take a cruise with the amount of loose
 change scraped together here.

Coach asked where the applesauce belongs.  The pantry is kind of up for grabs right now which happens when kids on break rummage around for two weeks digging for snacks (and leaving EMPTY bags of chips here and there).  The place where the applesauce goes was occupied by empty bags, so I moved stuff out of the way.  That's when Coach planted the four jars of applesauce on the shelves STILL IN THE PLASTIC GROCERY BAGS.  He was then bent out of shape when I objected.  

I considered putting the applesauce back
 in the plastic grocery bags for this photo,
but the thought of it exhausted me.
Question #11:  Since when do we put the food on the shelves still in the grocery bags?  He became irritated with me because apparently I believe that everything has to be done my way.  Um, WHAT?  Introduce me to one person who leaves stuff in the grocery bags in their pantry.  We have been married for 23 years and neither of us has suggested this was the acceptable way to store food - until NOW!

I woke up today and decided to clean off my bathroom counter top and wipe it down while Coach was still home and downstairs.  Babies were in high chairs and slopping food in their faces, etc. so no one needed me.  I had taken some cash out of my jeans pocket a few days ago that I think I stuffed in there on a recent trip to Costco.  I am confident that it was $60, but not positive.  I grabbed it to put it in my wallet in the kitchen and it was only $20.  Question: #12:  Who helped themselves to my $40?  It was not Coach, which I already figured because he would have told me or texted me:  Hey needed cash, grabbed from bathroom counter.  I have my suspicions, but I am just hoping that I only had a $20 in there.  
I prefer my phone to be housed in the kitchen.
 My bathroom is a safe haven though.

I am excited to be able to remove my charger from my bathroom now that Lad is back at school.  I charge my phone in my bathroom when he is home because he is a charger thief.  One could say that he steals energy, and one would be correct on MANY levels.  I am glad to be done with the Christmas break general question posed by my phone using kids:  Question #13:  Who took my charger?

I wanted to collapse into bed, but I still had high hopes of getting my dry erase calendar updated, so I pressed on in my last day off task-attack.  I made Mini sit at the snack bar and call dates out to me from her basketball schedule.  Question #14:  Where do you play on the 11th?  That cannot be right, etc.

When I did finally crawl into bed at 11 and set my alarm for 5:25 am to go to my workout class, I could not go to sleep.  I was starving.  I tried to ignore it.  Then my bedroom door opened.  It was Curly, she couldn't sleep.  Question #15:  Are you worried about anything?  She was not.  Tough to go to sleep after two weeks of staying up late on a whacky older sibling schedule.  I agreed to rub her back for 15 seconds and then I needed to sleep.

This brings us to this morning when kids had to go back to school.  Coach was home and when Tank AND Mini failed to wake up/didn't set alarms/overslept, he lost it.  Question #16:  (posed by Coach because I don't even bother to ask anymore) How do you not know how to set an alarm?  He and I raced around and packed their lunches and made them breakfast/poured them juice so they could rush to school.  

for real?!
I survived the day with the two one year olds, a 5 year old, and a 6 month old.  I even did a record breaking number of loads of laundry.  At 5:00 I got a text from Tank who went directly to his new after school job at 3.  Questoin #17:  (posed by the indescribable Tank) 'What's for dinner wonan?' Followed by a text:  '*woman'.  I ignored this.  

When I drove Curly to dancing, she read more of Little Women.  Question #18:  (posed by sweet Curly in response to the March sisters in the book who are too poor to get gifts for Christmas) Doesn't Santa bring them anything?

I would already be in bed, but I yelled down the stairs an hour ago to Coach with an important question.  #19:  Can you come up here?  Hurry - the dryer is smoking!  Like literally smoke pouring out of it.  Followed by the ever-important:  Question #20:  Are the smoke detectors working so we don't perish in our sleep?

At the risk of leaving this list on an odd number, I will ask a rhetorical Question #21:  'When can I take a vacation?'

January 13, 2020


On Sunday morning I worked out, then raced home because Coach and I were taking Lad to breakfast.  I walked in and Coach asked me something he kind of already knew the answer to.  Question #1:  Did you take a couple of cartons of eggs out before you worked out and leave them out on the counter

this morning?  No. Um, that means one of the older boys was digging through the fridge for a late night snack and left the eggs out after said digging expedition.  Swell.

Mini had some of the girls from the b-ball team sleepover in the basement so we tiptoed around and Coach made eggs (different eggs) and cinnamon rolls in case they woke up while we were gone. 

Came home from breakfast - Question #2:  Are the sleepover girls awake?  No, they were still asleep in basement.  Um Question #3:  Will these girls be hanging at the house in their PJ's and messy buns when the family shows up to interview me for babysitting later this am?   (they had left by the time I arrived home from church at 11).

Curly, Lad, and I went to mass because the rest of the gang went the night before.  The family that wanted to meet me to talk babysitting was set to arrive anytime between 11 and 12.  It was 11.  I decided I had time to whip up blueberry oat bread, so Lad could take a loaf back to school. 

Lad casually mentioned during breakfast that his computer was not working right.  I will allow you to imagine the look that Coach and I exchanged.  Question #4 'YOUR FLIGHT IS AT 6:30 PM - WHY DID YOU NOT FIGURE THIS OUT BEFORE NOW?'  (Many other question were raised during our breakfast like:  thoughts on what you want to do next year?  Do you have a resume?  When will you find out if your internship has been approved?  How many classes . . . well, you get the idea).

Met potential babysitting people, raced off to Curly's travel game.  Fielded calls from home about available cooler bags for Lad to pack the frozen chili and honey mustard chicken meals in, because he was planning to pack those meals in his checked luggage.  Question #5:  (posed by me to clueless people who could not locate one of a dozen cooler bags) Hello?  Do you people live in my home?  

After Curly's game I hightailed it to Reg's set of travel b-ball games and Curly got a ride home with her BFF's mom.  Lad saw Reg's first game and then Coach took him to the airport.  Coach told me that he tried to print Lad's boarding pass but the printer first printed a 25 page document TWICE - this was something that I struggled to print the day before so these were old print jobs hanging around to be irritating.  I was confused. 

Question #6:
  Why didn't you just call me and ask me if I needed the document?  Why would you let it print?  TWICE. (OK that's two questions, and my fault for racing back to Curly's game with the doc in hand the day prior and not cancelling the other failed print attempts but I didn't know it was still counting those attempts as the real deal, and I wanted to fill out the thing during her game and FYI - I have been called and asked dumber questions like 'Where do we have a small cooler bag for Lad to pack in his suitcase'). 

When Reg's games ended up going longer than we expected, I texted Curly's BFF mom.  Question #7:  Are both Curly and Mini at your house still and if so can I pick them up after all of Reg's games?  Folks we got home at 8:45 pm.  The day was kind of a blur except for the part where we sat and waited for an hour here and there between b-ball games.  Without internet.

Some of the contents of one drawer -
the other was bigger so there was more
but in my rush to dive in and fix this debacle, I
failed to photograph it.  I think most of you will
probably sleep better tonight not having
 been subjected to the horror of it all.
Monday rolled around.  My last day off from babysitting.  I had an agenda.  I wanted to get a couple of kitchen drawers reorganized.  I tried a year ago to tackle this goofy project.  The issue:  I wanted to get little bins to separate pens and scotch tape, etc.  I could never decided just how many bins and what sizes would work in the two drawers.  Enter Amazon.  I ordered a butt load of drawer organizers and intended to do that on Monday.  But first . . .

I did my favorite workout class and dragged Mini literally from her bed because she said she wanted to go with me.  I heard her alarm go off and I heard her turn it off and go back to bed.  There is no question here, because I TOLD her:  I told you not to stay up late and watch the end of that movie, because I knew you weren't going to get out of bed.  She enjoyed the ass-kicking the intense class gave her and promptly went home, showered, and fell back asleep. 

Next I raced off with Reggie for a contact lens fitting.  He got glasses a few years ago to see the board at school, and recently he has started wearing them full time.  I took him before Christmas to get his eyes checked and his eyesight required a stronger prescription which we suspected.  He wanted to get contacts so he didn't have to deal with glasses especially during basketball. 

Side note:  When I was in 8th grade contact lenses were my graduation gift from my folks.  I fainted when the doc inserted one in my eye, and was unable to get them until senior year of high school.  I spent the entire summer before touching my eye and trying not to get grossed out.  I was dripping in sweat when I finally succeeded at the doc office.  

Reg did not like the contact lenses in his eyes.  At all.  He did NOT pass out though.  Question #8:  (posed by the doctor) Do you still want to get contact lenses?  Reg did not hesitate.  NO!  

I felt he gave up a bit too easy, but I didn't want to hassle him.  Coach was surprised and repeated the same info to Reg that I had shared.  It takes time to adjust to contacts.  I suggested sports goggles to Reg.  Hours later, he tracked me down.  Question #9:  (posed by Reg) Um, can you call the doctor and still get me contact lenses?  

I wanted to collapse in the fetal position and nap for an indefinite amount of time.  Even watching his discomfort with the contacts in his eyes made me a little queasy.  I called the office back and I am taking him towards the end of the school day this Friday the 10th the day after his 14th birthday.  I hope we both survive.

January 10, 2020

back to the grind, who is recharged?

Today (Tuesday) was D-day.  My high school and junior high kids went back to school.  Laddie flew back to New York on Sunday evening.  Ed is still home till Saturday.  And the youngsters I am charged with usually Monday thru Thursday got dropped off today.  I am grateful that this week they are all coming Tuesday thru Thursday. 

On Sunday I interviewed another family to possibly watch their baby starting the end of March.  They only need four days a week, but Friday might be one of them.  Needless to say I am underwhelmed to give up my Fridays off. 

Zoo decorated for Christmas. 
' Cause we went to the zoo!
Another family might be interested in Tu/Thurs for their 3 year old, but I suggested they might want to speak to my friend Becky, who also babysits, as she lives RIGHT across the street from their 6 year old's school and they could possible avoid doing before and after care.  Hate to pass up a job, but sometimes ya just gotta say 'Well, this might make more sense.

Neither of these families follow a teacher schedule, so the hours are longer than I prefer.  Mini would pitch in  during the summer to babysit for them.  There is still space over here in my little in-home daycare since that whack-a-doodle messed me up in September leaving me with an opening for the school year, so it would be nice to fill it.  Curly is already nervous:  'What if they end up being weird or the kids are bad?'  It is the chance I take as I just love living on the edge. 

Reg and Curly feeding the parakeets in the
children's zoo.  Note:  Reg is wearing shorts.
  In late December.  Mini was there too, looking
 puffy still from the wisdom teeth ordeal.  Coach was
 also there, and we were trying to decide
when he last visited the zoo.  Maybe 10 years?!
People are weird, as we all know.  And weird-lings have a way of seeking me out.  As an update on the family that did not so much as give me a card for Christmas . . . I have decided that they just don't have their act together AT ALL.  I kind of assumed that before, but this morning I asked their kid with the lisp who is 5 years old what he did over break.  Nothing.  It was record or near record breaking warm temperatures in late December in Chicago (like close to 60, I think) and he DID NOT leave his house - or at least did not leave his house to do anything memorable.

More zoo Christmas decorations.
Zoo?  No.  Park/play outside/stand on your driveway and breathe fresh air?  No.  Library?  No.  Amazing forest preserve nearby with a great indoor facility?  No.  Three of the four of these activities are free.  I know I sound judgmental, and maybe I am - but for the love of God, do something with your kid.  He did mention that he played video games.  Well, then.

When I read them books today, I asked if he had any of the favorites at his house.  I asked what books he likes to have his folks read to him.  He told me he just watches TV mostly, because he likes it better so they don't read to him.  Sad.  His mother is a teacher.  How do you not read to your 5 year old?  That thumping noise is me climbing down off my soapbox.  Of course I have recently outed myself as not being the best advocate of reading as my younger kids have aged, so who am I to throw stones?

Anyway, here we are back in the swing of things.  A few questions have cropped up in the last few days/hours leading up to D-day, some of the questions are unspoken like:  Why does Lad never have his phone charged, and why if his phone is never charged does he often rip other people's chargers from the very place they prefer to keep their charger and then send them hunting for a charger to charge the phone that they regularly and responsibly charge?

It is these kind of riddles that made for interesting family time over break.  I will introduce you to the last few days of break and the questions that surfaced during those hectic days, because I feel like inquiring minds might puzzle over the same questions - but probably not.  Brace yourself, friends.

By the way, I have some very entertaining stories that happened in August or later and even earlier in the case of Curly's haircut from May, but other time sensitive things keep popping up like ping pong deliveries and what happened over break.  I am excited to share this particular poor (as in poor because it keeps getting booted, not poor because it sucks) story that keeps getting bumped each week as I feel like, 'Well, it is an old story, still hilarious, but it can wait.' 

Did anyone have a rough start back to school or jobs or eating healthy after the holidays?  Do tell.