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April 12, 2021

More of my strengths: being bossy, laughing at us, & loading the dishwasher

Recently I posted about my strengths, I forgot to include my most obvious:  I'm a rock-star at potty training. I trained Wilhelm, technically speaking. Well, speaking is the issue, in fact. 

He struggles to speak when he has to go. At his house he says POTTY in order to alert people that he needs to go (or so his mother claims, Mini has babysat in their house and never heard him say potty). He can say the word here too . . . just not when necessary. 

Welcome to my daily frustrations. Pour yourself a Mike's Hard Lemonade, it makes things easier.

I leave the light on in the bathroom. I've taught him to take off his pants, climb on the toilet, and straddle it backwards when he has to go. He resisted this skill-set of independence, but I persisted. Score one for me.

Typically, he holds on to himself or slaps his butt and dances around at the border between the family room and kitchen while whimpering. He requires eye contact, an inquiry (DO YOU HAVE TO GO?), and then an invitation:  GO, combined with hand motions, pointing, waving, nudging. 

I prefer:  "I have to go potty" spoken by a kid racing to the toilet. Apparently that's asking too much from this kid who CAN speak. I'm still working on convincing him that he can cross the kitchen/family room border (just call me Biden) enter the previously off-limits kitchen and dash into the bathroom without my blessing. When you gotta go, just go! (for the love of all things holy). 

Wilhelm must have a craving for Taco Bell, he 's all about making a run to the border. (Just not crossing it).




*I thought I cracked the code - showing him this video after the fact and INSISTING that he doesn't need to wait for my go-ahead. "Silly Wilhelm, tell him JUST GO TO THE POTTY." 10 minutes after my tutorial, he started pacing again.

In the meantime, I've started training the other 2 year old. What can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment. Truly, I dislike chasing 2.5 year olds around when they stink and they deny it.

He doesn't have the same communication refusals difficulties as Wilhelm, so I anticipate once he starts to figure it out - he'll alert me of his need to go while he not only makes a run for the border, but crosses it.

At pick up today, his mom admitted that he won't go on the potty for her. Um. I guess you can say I'm bossy.

Let's pause a moment to consider my retirement party:  "Let's honor Ernie, she potty trained my kid," - it'll be a short speech. 

At the risk that this theme is starting to sound like a screwy resume . . . Finding humor in things that run amuck here is another of my strengths.

I mentioned recently that Coach was teaching an online class. It was only like 4 weeks or so. By the time we were all on our best 'shh - he's teaching' behavior, the class had wrapped up. Prior to our evolved best behavior stretch, things happened.

Coach set up a child's table for his laptop in our master bedroom. It had the best blank wall with minimal clutter for his background.

Oh, and let's be clear . . . he DID turn on his camera this time, and volume, and everything else that was necessary to, you know, teach. 

The night of the first class, Mini got out of the shower, wrapped herself in a towel, and walked downstairs. I think she was retrieving something from her laundry pile on the couch (sorted by me while changing diapers, making dinner, and sweeping the floor, because as I've established I'm a super hero laundry sorter).

Tank: (yelling) SHE'S NAKED! SHE'S NAKED!

I think Tank was startled to see her 'almost' naked in the family room, so he decided to be an ass. I was in the study and when it dawned on me that Coach was teaching, I bolted. From where I was, I couldn't decipher where the shouting came from. Was this happening upstairs right outside my bedroom? I was relieved to find a dripping Mini and a hysterical Tank in the family room. I doubted Coach's students heard about our 'nakedness'. 

Me:  DADDY'S TEACHING. QUIET! 

Another night, someone stunk up the kids' bathroom upstairs. Steps away from the master bedroom where Coach was teaching. There were some accusations along the lines of 'WHO TOOK A BIG DUMP IN HERE AND DIDN'T TURN ON THE FAN?' 

I don't recall the wording, but this time Coach had to apologize to his class for the 'disruption.' This time the students were chuckling. 

Gotta wonder if maybe Coach wishes he had left the camera/sound off again. 

I'm also a super-star dishwasher loader. My people, who aren't tuned into how to conserve space when loading, roll their eyes at my obsessiveness efforts. 

Both dishwashers filled. Reg sitting in the background at the snack bar between the kitchen and family room. My kids are good at leaving their dishes on the snack bar. They assume the dishwasher maniac will clean it up for them.

It's amazing when all the bowls are in the same place how
 much more space there is for EVERYTHING else. Weird, right?

Note how close the island (blue, top right of photo) is to the open dishwashers. A constant source of shin bruising. A mistake by our dumb contractor's dumb daughter. The crack in the quartz is just across from the dishwashers and we've talked about shortening the island to make it easier to walk, and to eliminate the crack.

What skill-set do you have that might look odd on a resume? Also, 17 years ago today we welcomed a baby GIRL to our otherwise male-dominated family. I've been happily shopping for girl clothes ever since. Happy birthday, Mini!


April 7, 2021

learning new words while repetitive lyrics overplay in the background

Mini and I were driving recently. Always the best time to find out what's going on. 

Please imagine us in our red, slightly-beat-up minivan with Neil Diamond playing in the background. Why, you ask, is this what we need to imagine? Well, because the car radio is broken. 

The CD player still works. Thank goodness for small favors. The other day Coach lowered the car window and the radio kicked back on for about 15 seconds. Life is  full of surprises. 

I do love Neil, but I also love to not lose my mind and THE REPETITION might kill me. It's an easy fix. I just haven't remembered to dig up more CDs for the car. Maybe I'VE JUST BEEN FEELING BLUE NOW AND THEN, or been drinking too much RED, RED WINE. Or maybe I've been distracted thinking about my old friend, WHEN NO ONE ELSE WOULD COME, SHILOH YOU ALWAYS CAME. I could go on, but I'll stop there. You're welcome. 

Mini and I were talking prom, prom-posals, etc. It dawned on me:  I always thought Mini and Tank might end up at his senior prom since she's a junior. You know, his friend needs a date and Mini is lots of fun, etc. This year they're only allowing seniors. One more covid bummer.  

The plan is to host prom at the Lincoln Park Zoo downtown. Basically an outside affair. No building utilization. And HOPEFULLY no rain. Duh. Because there isn't a tent. So, I guess we don't even go there in our minds or we end up like the Ghostbusters with the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Guy. An invitation to torrential downpour. 

The other option is to host it at the high school, outside. The seniors insist they will not attend if it's at the high school. Lame, is the word. 

Speaking of words, Mini taught me a new word. Backing up the bus, she's good friends with some of the senior girls. These 3 girls (Jen, Bea, & Tess) also happen to be part of Tank's group. When Mini shared some of the 'news' with me, I asked how Tank handles it that she's in-like-Flynn with these girls. Apparently, they agree to not acknowledge her relationship with them. Whatever works.

Anyway, Tank may or may not be going to prom with Tess.

Backing up further . . . I was invited to hang out with a group of moms at a restaurant after halftime last Friday (we just started football. Tank was on Homecoming court - introduced at half time of game). It's a long story, but the mom 'Eileen' who texted me the invite is someone I was once close with. Our kids lined up in age quite nicely. Her daughter, Bea, is Tank's age and they are now friends in high school, so is Mini. Eileen's husband and Coach got along great. 

Tank's cartwheel, that he calls a somersault.
There's a reason behind why he did
this when announced on homecoming court.
More later, but as usual . . . goofy.

I eventually realized that Eileen is wound incredibly tight and is a control freak, paling in comparison only slightly to my sister, Ann. About 8 years ago, I allowed distance, even before it was a cool covid habit. We'd recently transferred out of Catholic school, so it was natural. No harsh words spoken, just SPACE. For reference, Eileen and Mary Ann - good friends. 'Nuff said?

I was surprised when Eileen texted me. I didn't know who the other numbers belonged to in the group text. I like to be social, and I don't mind living on the edge in order to be social . . . since it's been so long. Living on the edge as in, who are these mystery women I'll be hanging with?

Eileen texted in the group:  Carol and Wanda will meet us there.

So I knew two names. Mini and Tank were curious to see how it would go, knowing  Eileen's bossy demeanor can get me riled up. They were also anxious to see who the mystery moms were. 

The evening was fun. I knew Carol because her son played sports with Lad. The other four women didn't know me, but they do now. I'm not shy. At one point, mid-story, I came up for air and Eileen told everyone:  Ernie always has the best stories.

Making a mental note to share one of these stories here soon (do I say that a lot and then forget to deliver? Feel free to scold me /remind me of how I'm leaving you hanging)

Mini was waiting up when I got home. She wanted details. How's that for role reversal? I told her I met the moms of the other 2 girls she's buddies with who are also buddies with Tank. (already knew Bea, Eileen's daughter).

Me:  SO JEN IS GOING TO PROM WITH MIKE? AND BEA ALREADY HAS A DRESS? LIKE ARE PEOPLE ASKING THEIR DATES ALREADY? DOES TANK HAVE A DATE?

*It was almost April. I'm still clueless about what month we're in. I'm blaming covid, but could it be brain freeze due to overplaying of Neil Diamond?

Mini:  Cross your heart and promise not to breathe a word, obviously. Tank DOES have a date. He's going with Tess.

Me:  WELL, WHEN DID HE ASK HER?

Mini:  YOU DON'T GET IT. (shock) LIKE, FIRST THEY TALK. THEN THEY KNOW THEY'RE GOING AND THEN HE DOES THE PROM-POSAL LATER. (sometimes I'm glad I'm old and I've already lived this stuff because it's way more complicated now).

So, holy digression - Mini and I were driving  and she's telling me about guys in her grade (not Tank's grade) who are just weird and how one of them really liked Tess. "When Tess tried to get this weird guy to leave her alone, he was BUTTHURT." 

That's the whole point of the post, just took me awhile to get here. I'm trying to keep you all abreast of new words. Mini kept repeating it, as I was confused. She was irritated and told me, LIKE HIS BUTT HURT BECAUSE SHE DUMPED HIM EVEN THOUGHT THEY WEREN'T DATING. 

Me:  I understand the two words, just never heard them combined like that. 

A show of hands, who misses high school? When Tank asked how the night was, I told him there was prom talk. "Do you have a date?" - to which he said no. A show of hands, who thinks Tank is going to prom with Tess? Who loves Neil?

*edited to add:  I dug around in the car and found a scratched CD of Paul Simon (You Can Call Me Al, one of my favs) and the other Neil disk. It was a 2 disk set and this newly found, also scratched, CD is the better of the two. Life is good. 


April 5, 2021

closets, dizziness, puffy eyes, and a spill worth crying over

I slept 9 hours last night (writing this Good Friday). We're hosting my side for Easter on Saturday afternoon. As in TOMORROW. I've been busy. Understatement. 

Marie will be in town for her 2nd vaccine. The weather:  dry and in the upper 60s, so we can be outside. This is good news. I don't need the inside of my house to be perfect, but I don't know how to host without cleaning. The house is weeping with joy at the unexpected attention. 

My consolation for not going out of town for spring break was that I'd get a lot done. I MAY have set the bar a tad too high, wearing myself out. After such a good night sleep, I woke up dizzy. Rather than doing my workout first thing, I'm on the couch with my laptop. Hoping to do a low impact FB video later. 

I hoped to write a ton, and to clean closets. The eliminate portion of my goal was accomplished. Tank and Reg's room:  top on my list. Countless times I've told begged them to toss stuff. Apparently they're incapable of managing this simple task without their mother sitting in the room saying:  DO YOU WANT THIS? TRY THIS ON. PUT THAT IN THAT PILE. It was a daunting task, made enjoyable by their willingness to participate and their appreciation of my time. 

Could my dizzy feeling be attributed to a not-so-obvious cold? The tots all had a horrendous cold. Tank and Curly caught it. Reg and Coach complained of a scratchy throat. It reminds me that next year when things are 'open' these little guys are going to fall prey to all germs. Can you imagine? I cringe. 

I escaped the cold, I think. This after wiping countless noses and washing my hands like 75 times a day. No joke, because I'm also potty training. Gluten for punishment. I wonder if I caught a less intense version of this cold, since I've been blowing my nose a bit more than normal. Since starting shots, I've not noticed allergic issues so I feel I can rule out allergies. Plus I haven't been outside much . . . it was 35 degrees here yesterday. 

That didn't make me wish we'd driven to Florida. Who needs rest and relaxation on a beach when you can get rid of several garbage bags of clothing? 

Also, the last few days I've woken up with crazy puffy eyes. Reaction to my version of 'the cold'? According to Tank it looked as if I hadn't EVER seen the light of day. 

Oh, another accomplishment . . . cleaning the garage. Does this feel like a task that shouldn't fall under the Ernie umbrella? We just cleaned the garage over the summer when I inadvertently played Plinko on Coach's head. Unfortunately people leave stuff in the garage. Like MORE shoes and clothes. Huh? Tank was thrilled that I unearthed his wireless speaker in a big bin of baseball bats, mitts, and mouse poop. Why are we leaving nice items in the garage? 

I'm grateful Coach drags the garbage bins to the curb each week, but when things fall out of the bins or when he runs out of bins . . . he leaves garbage behind in the garage. I gently mentioned this issue. He didn't receive my observation well. I'll just need to become more dedicated to gathering the garbage remnants myself. That's what I need - more to do. 

I strained my back while working out, or cleaning the garage, or crouching over mountains of clothing. Hard to pinpoint. Then I tackled much of the food prep yesterday. I intended to start earlier, but by the time I got going 

it was 5:15 pm.

I made over 60 cookies, bravely fighting off offspring who dip into the batter. I chopped and browned five onions. Cooked 2 lbs of broccoli. Made a pot of GF substitute for cream of chicken soup. Cooked over a pound of bacon (I made 4 lb of bacon the day before but realized I needed more for Sunday's breakfast casserole). Finding space in the fridge afterwards, cleaning up the mess, and dealing with people needing the microwave to heat up leftovers while I worked was fun. 

In the middle of everything, I picked these corn kernels from the garbage disposal ONE.AT.A.TIME. Curly dumped them in there when cleaning up from a sleepover the night before. I almost lost my mind.

Hours in, I was tired. My back REALLY hurt. I was wearing decent shoes, but NOT my most supportive shoes. 

I called out to Mini:  CAN YOU TAKE THE BACON OUT OF THE MICROWAVE.

As soon as I said it, I thought:  TELL HER NOT TO SPILL THE GREASE. But I didn't get the words out in time. Yep, my daughter, who proves time and time again that she has no business in the kitchen, spilled hot bacon grease all over the hard wood floor. 

*The day before when I made 4 lbs of bacon, I needed to take Curly to the dentist. Mini agreed to finish cooking the bacon in the microwave. She did cook it, but she failed to put the lid on the bacon microwave pan. Hello, splatter.

Rather than enlist her to help me (she'd been meeting with her tutor for the SAT from 6:30-8), her energy was devoted to UNSUCCESSFULLY cleaning the grease off the floor. It might be easier to move. She tried many different techniques, but this morning we have a built in ice skating rink. At a loss. 

Mini trying to get rid of the grease.
Mind-losing situation #2.

The rest of my family was watching Netflix. I finally let out a giant sigh. Coach looked up from his recliner (he'd worked a long day) and asked:  ARE YOU OK? 

Me:  NO, I'M NOT. 

It was 9 pm. He urged me to sit down, but I'd hate facing the clean up later. This wasn't the kind of clean up kids assigned to kitchen duty could handle. A few bodies appeared and pitched in a bit so that I could finally collapse on the family room floor in a face-plant. Curly rubbed my feet. Then I rubbed hers. 

Did I mention that she got braces earlier in the day and much time was spent trying to find her soft food and keep Motrin pumping through her veins? My baby. While leaving the ortho, I got a text from the mom who had the lice scare a month ago. She'd immediately taken her girls to a professional to be sure they didn't have it. Well, now one of her girls has it. Not the one that Curly hangs with, but still. 

Please dear Lord, do not let lice nest in my daughter's heap-o-hair. 

I told Coach that I'm taking Saturday off. The day of the gathering. I will get my vaccine at 11:30 and then I will sit in the sun till family arrives. (Two hams will be in 2 crockpots, other crockpot cooking sweet and sour green beans, rice broccoli in the oven, potatoes peeled in advance boiling on the stove).

Coach:  I'll pay to see that. 

Translation:  I'm hoping his payment will be in the form of him doing all the last minute stuff. Hey, I'm happy to call out orders from my reclined position on the deck. 

I'm feeling like this is a long, boring, laundry-list of nothing interesting. It sounded so much more entertaining in my dizzy-today brain. Sorry. 

If you have rid-of-grease-spill remedies, please send as I assume we will still be skating across the floor by the time you read this. 

March 31, 2021

Tank owes me

Tank cornered me in my study in January. 

Tank: Jay's family invited me to go skiing with them in Colorado. Late February. Please, can I go? I work really hard. I've saved a ton of money. Come on. Max is going too. He went last year not knowing how to ski and he was fine. 

Me:  (groaning) I don't think so. You only skied that one time in Michigan. Colorado is for big-time ski types. People get really hurt skiing. 

Tank then played 'THE' card:  Ya know, I haven't really had a senior year. 

Really? Low blow. 

Me:  You have to ask Daddy.

Tank:  Why? Can't you just decide and then talk to him? You know he's gonna say no.

Coach finished teaching his class and popped into the study. Coach said exactly what I said in Coach lingo:  YOU'LL GET HURT. NO WAY.

Tank was super disappointed. 

I didn't sleep well that night (not because of this). I was up at 3 am sitting in the kitchen on my laptop waiting to go back to sleep. At 4:30 Coach was leaving for work. I'd looked at  flights: 

If we're going to decide to let him go, we better decide soon. Tank could be booked on the same flight as Jay's family for the return. I could get him on an earlier flight on the way there. He'd wait for them to arrive. Flights aren't too pricey. 

Coach shrugged as he walked out the door and gave me his surrender voice, grouchy tone implied:  FINE. GO AHEAD.

I knew he still didn't want Tank to go and honestly neither did I, but the kid is 18. He HAS saved a ton of money (like $12,000 this school year - since August, not including what he made over the summer) and next year he'll be in college making decisions without running it past us. So . . . I booked the flights. 

I slept a bit more and when Tank came downstairs in the morning acting all grumpy, I acted MORE grumpy. I was TIRED. I waved him over and pointed to the email confirmation from Southwest. 

At first he didn't get it. WHAT'S THIS?

Me, doing my best 'I see your grumpy and I raise you a grumpy level':  WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

Tank was overjoyed. He said that when he told his friends they didn't believe him. *His friends are nice kids, but they don't tend to have the same kind of parental supervision that Tank endures is blessed with. 

Weeks go by. Flights are combined so he's on their same flights. I help him pack. Print his confirmation. Drill into him about the easy hills. Made him promise to check in.

After he landed, he texted. I texted back: Be nice to Hailey (Jay's sister who's 8).

Later in the day, Rachel, Jay's mom sent a group text to Max's mom and me: 

LOOKS LIKE THE BOYS MADE IT. THIS IS THE VIEW FROM THEIR ROOM THAT JAY TEXTED ME. 

I was so confused. Huh? I thought Rachel, the mom, was going. Tank said he was going with Jay's family. Plus Max. This text made it seem like she wasn't there. I had texted 'be nice to Hailey' and he hadn't corrected me to say:

 HAILEY ISN'T HERE, SILLY. 

What was going on?

Mini was in the room. I wasn't thinking. I shared the situation. She practically fell out of her chair laughing. I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. I kept telling her to stop laughing, but watching her laugh made me laugh and that was NOT sending the right message to my next-in-line-to-be-a-senior who might take this as a signal that it is OK to push the envelope. 

Me:  OH MY GOSH. DID I JUST SEND MY KID TO COLORADO WITH NO PARENTS? I'VE BEEN DUPED.

Mini:  (hiccupping from laughing so hard) THIS IS AWESOME. HILARIOUS! TANK PULLED A FAST ONE ON YOU.

Me:  (more to myself than to Mini) Dear God. Daddy. I convinced him to let Tank go.  

I texted Tank: Call me right away. He texted: OK, AFTER DINNER. 

Me: NO RIGHT NOW!

He called. Oh, hadn't he told me. He thought I knew. Jay's grandpa was with the boys. All was fine. He claimed that he didn't initially know who was going. What's the difference?

I don't know grandpa. Are you guys all partying while grandpa is napping? Is this the 'I'll-buy-the-beer' type of grandpa? 

Tank tried some Jedi-mind-trick bull. It went something like:  IF I WAS REALLY TRYING TO TRICK YOU THEN WOULDN'T I HAVE JUST SAID ( BLAH BLAH, NONSENSICAL SHIT), HIS GRANDPA IS NOT GOING TO LET US DO ANYTHING - RACHEL WOULD KILL HIM. 

I told Tank this was NOT what I'd agreed to and that I'd sold it to Daddy, so he better BEHAVE and check in constantly. 

He did check in via text frequently. He later said that the grandpa stayed on the easy slopes with him the whole time. His buddy. 


My kid - far left.
Grandpa, center, or a grandpa they paid to
pose in their photo. Now I'm giving them way too much credit. 

I didn't tell Coach the truth, initially. Once Tank was home and Mini tried to use the info against me:  LET ME HANG WITH MY FRIENDS. I CAN CLEAN MY ROOM LATER. TANK WENT TO COLORADO WITHOUT PARENTS AND DIDN'T GET IN TROUBLE! . . . 

I spilled the beans to Coach. He wasn't happy, but knowing Tank got home safe helped. We were also at his sister's house having an adult beverage. 

How bad does Tank owe me? In my estimation:  more than he knows.

Did you ever pull a fast one on your folks or have your kids convinced you that parents would be there, when they weren't? 

March 29, 2021

March Madness and a mad mama

It's an exciting time of year. March Madness. My people are basketball people. Have I mentioned? They're making up for last year's cancelled tournament by being crazed about this year's games, and their brackets, and upsets, and underdogs, and yadda, yadda, yadda. 

I like basketball too, but I prefer a team that one of my offspring plays on. 


In case you can't tell - Curly makes a 
free throw to tie the game with seconds left. 
We still lost, but it was so exciting.

While they are obsessed about watching b-ball, I am obsessed about getting the house in order. Bad timing:  No one cares about my priorities.  

I emptied the mudroom today. The shoes . . . gowrsh. 

A few weeks ago I gave instructions: park snow boots by basement door. I figured I'd gather them, haul them down to the storage room, and dump them in the appropriate bin. It saved me having to dig boots out of the depths of the mudroom. 

There is a door from the kitchen to the mudroom that can't open or close. Too many shoes are in front of it and behind it. I assume the families I sit for, who enter and exit my house via the disaster-area mudroom, go home and bind their children's feet in hopes they never reach Shenanigan-like gargantuan sizes. 

Tank wears a size 15. Coach and the other 3 boys all wear a size 13. Thankfully both girls are only a 9, like me. 

Side note:  Coach and I don't use the mudroom. 

I walked past the boots that lined the hallway near the basement door for at least a week (I'm busy and they weren't going anywhere) before I decided to delegate the next step. 

Me to Reg:  Bring all of the boots that are on the basement stairs and in this hallway down to the storage room. Put them IN THE BIN FOR BOOTS. Do NOT leave them on the floor of the storage room. 

The other day I found a lone snow boot of Curly's. I handed it to Tank. 

Me to Tank:  Go put this boot in the bin of boots in the storage room. The other boot is probably already there. 

Tank a moment later:  Um, yeah. The boots were just all lined up on the floor OUTSIDE the storage room. They weren't in the bin. I put them all in the bin. You're welcome. And Curly's other boot was down there.

Please note:  Tank, president of the half-ass club, leaves a trail. In order to stand out and shine - well, he'll throw a sib under the proverbial slob bus happily.

I lined up the shoes this afternoon in the kitchen. When the mudroom was clean, I invited kids to put shoes they intend to wear again back under their lockers.

 

Minus boots, it isn't too bad.

Me:  Lad, please come in here and put the packages of diapers back that you knocked on the floor when I told you to get your cowboy boots out of Ed's locker. (I keep diapers in Ed's locker when he's at school).

Lad did it right away. Major progress from the 'WASN'T ME' crap I got all summer (which is great if we don't focus on how he dumped the diapers on the floor in the first place. Baby steps). 

While he was in the mudroom, I almost gagged. 

Me:  Lad, you smell. BAD. Have you showered today?

Lad:  (taking a whiff of his shirt) I do? Hmm. OK. 

He ran off to shower. Before he did, I handed him a bag of used Tupperware that was in his locker from his lunches:  "Handle it." 

I continued to scurry around putting away stuff from the mudroom. Walking through the kitchen, I stopped. The bad smell that I blamed on my oldest son was RIGHT THERE. On the counter was the bag of used Tupperware. Not handled. 

I deserve a bravery award for smelling it. 

When Lad got out of the shower, I let him know he didn't smell - it was his disgusting, rotting, not-rinsed food containers. This time he handled it. He also lit a candle. I was honestly relieved that he wasn't the source of the smell. If his issues are going to include poor hygiene, life is gonna get really challenging. 

Last weekend, I asked Coach if he could put away the tools that littered one section of our bedroom floor. They weren't in my footpath, but STILL. The tools were there since, brace yourself, the dryer died . . . before Christmas. He used the tools again finally to re-hang the door and rebuild the destroyed door jam about a month ago. I felt like maybe it was time to put the tools AWAY. 

Starting to understand what I'm up against? 

And while the kids have been e-learning, I've become a barmaid. What happened to DON'T EAT IN THERE? 

I hollered one night during an impromptu family meeting:  If you think I'm cleaning up after you all, then you have another thing coming. You're in for a rude awakening.

They were bewildered. Not because I wanted them to clean up after themselves. 

Tank, the spokesperson:  WHO SAYS "YOU'RE IN FOR A RUDE AWAKENING"? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

I switched to their native tongue:  

IF YOU DON'T START CLEANING UP AFTER YOURSELVES, THEN YOU'RE ALL CANCELLED. 

They congratulated me with whoops and laughter:  

AWESOME, MOMMY! YOU NAILED IT

They enjoyed my lingo, but missed my point. 

March 24, 2021

sharing my strengths: a catch all, including rocking Hulk's jeans

A few weeks back, I lay half-dead on the couch (tired, not ill. Thankfully). I wanted to go to bed. First, I had to complete my mission:  fold laundry. I called to Reg:  GRAB ME THAT BASKET OF CLEAN LAUNDRY UPSTAIRS IN FRONT OF THE DRYER.  

Reg couldn't find it. I must've moved it. I sent him to my bedroom. On my bed? The floor? Oh, I know - I moved it to the top of the stairs to bring down and fold. 

Nothing.

I was bewildered. There WAS a basket in the family room. Not far from where I lay. Oh, wait a minute. Maybe I already folded it. Yep, that's what happened. I folded a huge load of laundry WITHOUT even realizing it. It's a gift, I've decided. 

I'm counting folding a basket of clothes while on autopilot a strength. Let's combine that with the fact that I'm also able to get BOTH of my socks in the same load of laundry, thereby making sorting a cinch. My children weren't born with this talent. Is it something they will acquire as adults? One can only hope. It continues to baffle me. Where do you put the other sock while you deposit the favored sock in the laundry?

I know that I just managed to escape to Arizona, but as spring break approaches in a few days I WANNA GO SOMEWHERE WARM. 

My next strength is not one that most people would be proud of, but I.Am.A.Pest. 

Coach gave a firm 'NO' when I suggested we drive to Florida, stay somewhere cheap, and hit the beach . . . even for a few days. Despite his 'NO', I spent time searching airbnb and vrbo sites for a cheap place to stay, with a nearby beach . . . or a nice hotel's heated pool that's just begging to be 'borrowed'. Kidding. 

Let's rename this strength:  ability to dream. Preferable to pest.

In my rental search process, I came across some doozies. I almost feel like I SHOULD stay at one of these 'deals' in order to report back. We could call the trip BLOG RESEARCH, right? 

What could be more fun than the 6 of us staying
in a camper? For $50 a night. That can't be beat.
Note:  I hold very little hope of convincing Coach,
thus the title for my saved 'finds':  never gonna happen

I  promise to share updates, but not holding by breath. I think I'm stuck in the chilly Midwest next week.

Becky brought her tots over to play yesterday. It was beautiful out. We hung out on the deck wrangling three 2 yr olds and four almost 1 yr olds. Fashion was not my biggest concern. Mini later told me that she could see me out her bedroom window. She said that she almost hollered out her window:  I LIKE YOUR JEANS. DID THE HULK WEAR THEM BEFORE YOU?

Um, does it sound like it's time for someone to go back to school?

My strength:  taking my teens with a grain of salt. 

I STILL have to write a post about the day Mini helped me clean out my closet. When I pulled out my pile of skinny jeans during the purge, Mini frowned. She said one pair needed to GO. I put a '?' on the tag of the pair that she thought was the culprit. I wouldn't know if this was the bad pair until the next time I wore them. Most of my jeans are JAG jeans, so I wasn't sure which was the offending pair. 

*Yes, the '?' pair is the pair I had on yesterday. 

Technically there is nothing wrong with this particular pair of jeans. They are skinny jeans that just tend to lose their 'skinny' as the day goes along. They get baggy. Real baggy. Especially in the buttocks region. So I look all saggy and loose. Mini likens this to me borrowing jeans from the Hulk. To me, crap jeans are the perfect attire for babysitting. 

I'm also a problem solver. Mini asked if she could e-learn today with her besties. It was the official last day of e-learning. 

*Translation:  my kids are going back to in-person and I'm losing my built in live bodies for when I need to run out during nap time. Seriously, it's gonna be an adjustment. 

The problem? She asked last night just as I was climbing into bed. Bad timing, my mind was already asleep. I had a 2:00 dentist appointment and I needed her to be here to babysit during nap time, so I initially said no. She wasn't happy.

A moment later, I realized:  she could go to her friend's house so long as she was back by 1:40. Only missing the last hour of time with her girls. 

Look at that - my tired, old-person brain figured out a solution. 

Anyone else have a 'strength' that isn't necessarily a strength to the general public? What's your spring break dream? 







March 22, 2021

Unfortunately my vaccine shot wasn't my biggest pain

I attempted a short post, because I love them. I failed. Involved topic. A for effort?

March 13th I got my first vaccine shot. My sis in law, Aunt Leprechaun the doctor, set it up for my brother, Pat (her husband), my sister Marie from Milwaukee, and me. We have asthma. Marie and I were both at 11:30 am. I saw her there. 

I passed Marie's two daughters sitting in her car on my way in. I asked if they wanted to come watch me pass out. I'm the funny aunt, which trust me isn't saying much because Ann and Marie set the bar low. I might out myself as 'aged-before-my-time' when it comes to tech stuff, but lawdy these two . . . Marie is plain old aged. Ann is ultra controlling (remember Dad's 80th gift that I took a pass on being involved in?)

Marie was done before me and texted to say she'd try to swing by my house later. 

It happened to be Mom's 78th b-day. I hoped my siblings (who all live nearby except for Marie) would gather around the same time on our folk's patio to say Happy B-day. I had something to share with them (not as exciting as a move to Hawaii, mind you) and I was hoping to do it once. I didn't want to try to organize it with the 'I have something to talk about' premise because I didn't want them getting worked up. Staggering 'news' leads to head's-up phone calls and side conversations, etc. 

I texted Marie while I waited to be released:  ARE YOU GOING TO MOM'S NOW?

Marie:  GETTING SOME LUNCH.  

I drove home, and wondered if maybe my sisters were at Mom's. I drove by. Mom lives around the corner from me. No cars. When I got home, I called Mom.

Me:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY. (chatter, chatter) DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME MARIE'S COMING BY?

Mom:  SHE WAS PICKING UP SANDWICHES AFTER HER SHOT AND THEN SHE AND HER GIRLS WERE HAVING LUNCH AT ANN'S . 

*insert dagger #1  My thoughts: I JUST saw Marie and she didn't invite me to lunch. One of the daughter's she brought is my goddaughter. I would've loved to get caught up

Mom:  ANN WANTED TO HAVE DINNER WITH US FOR MY B-DAY. SHE WAS GONNA ORDER US STEAKS FROM GIBSONS. I TOLD HER TO JUST USE MY GIFTCARD RATHER THAN SPEND HER MONEY. THEN THE SHOTS GOT SCHEDULED, SO I TOLD MARIE TO JUST COME WITH HER GIRLS FOR DINNER TOO. 

*insert dagger #2 My thoughts:  I'm the only other daughter. If the girls are having dinner with the folks, why not include me? 

Background: My sisters were always grouped together growing up. I was 2.5 yrs younger than Marie, but you'd think it was a decade. My 2 brothers weren't invited. Mom used to host Pat and his kids every Sunday for lunch while Aunt Leprechaun cleaned her house. My rug-rats and I were never invited over just for kicks. In other words, my brothers have their own 'audiences' with the folks. 

I wish it didn't hurt. I DON'T want to care. Really. I'd like to carry on like I GOT MY OWN THING GOING ON AND I DON'T NEED YOU. My sisters annoy me and my folks play favorites, but being excluded sucks.

Me:  OK, WELL I MADE YOU SOME IRISH SODA BREAD, MAYBE I'LL STOP BY WITH IT LATER.

*silly me, I was still considering sharing my news with them and I wanted them in one place. I figured they weren't as likely to call and leak it to my brothers, but I decided against it. My mood had shifted.

Irrelevant pic. It's a GF cupcake aka a little bit of heaven. A woman I know who has celiac sent two cupcakes home with Tank. Photo taken after I inhaled the first one. He works with her and someone gave her too many for St. Pat's day. I needed this!

Coach was standing there during my phone call. I motioned to him that I had a dagger in my chest. He winced. I couldn't wait to get off the phone so I could cry, but Mom likes to ramble, pretending this is all normal family dynamics: 

'WE'RE HAVING DINNER AND DIDN'T INVITE YOU, BLAH BLAH BLAH.'

I hung up and cried for a long time. The kids who were home came running. They were appalled. Not surprised. Reminded me that I didn't need my sisters/ family, etc. Coach hugged me and told me he wished he knew what to say. 

Later we delivered the warm soda bread. I wanted to see them eating and make them feel like the ass wipes that they are. Curly came. Mini and Tank weren't home. Coach needed to drop Reg off somewhere, so they literally popped in and left. We were masked. Mom, Dad, Ann, Marie, and 2 nieces were not. They were schmoozing with Marie's other kids on a zoom. We stayed 5 minutes. Coach made me promise not to lash out. Who knows how many b-days Mom has left? I decided not to ruin it. 

I simply said:  LOOKS LIKE YOU GUYS ENJOYED YOUR MEAL. 

Curly said about 4 times:  WELL, WE NEED TO GET GOING. WE'RE GOING TO CHURCH. (mass is at 5:30 and it was 5:00. Church is 30 seconds away, but Curly wanted OUT OF THERE - she was being my body guard protective).

Things I wanted to say but didn't:  

My kids would enjoy a steak dinner. Let me know when you'd like us to schedule that. 

Hope you enjoyed your dinner, minus the most interesting person in the family. 

How do you sleep at night?

Kiss my ass.

Marie wanted to stop by my house so I wouldn't find out about the 'gathering'. I'm sure Mom called her at Ann's and told her that she'd 'told me' so Marie stopped texting me to see when she should stop by. 

Not sure which is worse:  

1) Mom acting like their dinner plans made sense, or 

2) Marie trying to keep her lunch and dinner plans a secret. 

I can't help but wonder if some of this stems from Ann's dislike of me, because she can't control me - she'd rather I keep my distance. The family generally tries to keep Ann happy. An impossible task. 

The next day Marie texted to ask how Pat and I felt after our shot. I was tempted to call her up and say:  MY ARM HURT, BUT MY FEELINGS HURT MORE FROM HOW YOU CREEPS BEHAVED. I ALMOST picked up the phone to tell her this. Instead, I just didn't respond.

I've said nothing about the 'incident'. Mom NEVER calls me. As a rule, I think she expects her kids to call her. She called me on Tuesday to say the soda bread was great. Perhaps a twinge of guilt? Or just testing the waters to see if I was ticked? Fortunately, I was busy with the toddlers, so I chatted for less than a minute. 

Where to go from here? Suggestions? 

*Remember that talk with my parents last year when my dad blew off our Yellowstone plans and my folks didn't seem to get it. Maybe they're too old to grow or apologize or be called out for lousy behavior. What excuse does Marie have? I was on a road trip Friday and didn't get to meet with my therapist, so relying on you to sub in for her. So much cheaper than real therapy. Lay the advice on me.