August 30, 2015

And . . . I raise flies

As a mother of six busy kids, I wear many hats.  My life is a juggling act.  I credit my ability to handle anything that comes my way with three things:  #1.  I've been gifted with a decent sense of humor.  #2.  Thanks to my creative side, I often think outside the box which comes in handy when problem solving.  #3.  I have a low tolerance for boredom.

The kids keep me on my toes, and I am always looking for new ways to best utilize my time.  I'd like to find a way to cash in on our daily active-kid-adventures because this clan seems to thrive on keeping things interesting.  Perhaps a book deal focusing on the impulse-control-lacking-constant-motion of our family is in our future. Friends have suggested I look into starring in a reality series.  Knowing I wouldn't have editing privileges and recognizing that there would be a multitude of 'bleeps' necessary to air our show, I've chosen not to pursue this angle.  Not to mention, I have very little interest in being associated with the likes of other image-damaging reality shows.

Recently I discovered a new hidden talent though.  It's unfortunate that this will not translate into a prospective work-from-home career option.  Believe it or not, I am able to multitask while I drive the kids around.  Don't worry, this doesn't involve texting and driving at the same time.  Nope.  It's so much simpler.  I can drive and hatch new flies from maggot larvae at the same time.  Yep.  I know you're jealous.  A fly farmer.  Guessing there isn't much of a call for that, but take my word for it - I would be successful at it.  I was darting around town the other day dropping kids off at dancing class and picking up Eddie from soccer practice when it happened.  He and I ran to the mall to accomplish a few things before we had to be back at dancing class.  We picked up a quick lunch for him and I purchased a few smoothies for the dancers as a special treat.

It wasn't noticeable at first.  A lone fly darted around inside the minivan.  I lowered my window at a stop light and shooed it out.  Over the course of the next few minutes several other flies entered the scene.  I was trying my darnedest to keep my attention on the road while Eddie and I swatted and swished at the flock of flies that were appearing left and right.  After awhile we realized this was no fluke.  Somewhere in the car there had to be a pile of wriggling maggots transforming into flies in rapid succession.  Trust me, I was not transporting a dead body.  While we didn't think to count them initially, our best attempts proved impossible.  If I had to guess, I would say our offensive friends numbered somewhere in the ballpark of 40-60.  We were outnumbered.  It was like a bad joke someone was playing on us.  Each time we rid ourselves of one pest, another appeared on the dashboard taunting us to react.  And react we did.

It dawned on me that there had been a bad mini van smell recently.  It had never been identified, but it seemed to have cleared up.  Naturally (literally).  Gross.  Gives a whole new meaning to 'stow and go' seating.    We did give the car a visual check a few weeks back when the smell surfaced, but we never located the cause.  I suspect that whatever mangy meat source helped produce the fly infestation, it must have fallen below into the cargo storage area set aside for conveniently stowing the seats when necessary.  I recognize that stow and go isn't meant to serve as a trash bin, but I'm not confident that the offspring grasp this.  Out of sight, out of mind?  Only temporarily.  

Eddie moaned uncontrollably.  He was able to swat at flies and point the blame finger at his younger siblings simultaneously.  "How could they be such pigs?" he wondered aloud.  I did my best to assure him that he was no where near exempt from leaving food, shoes, books, and a million other various messes in our car.  I don't clean out the car very often, because I feel my job is to drive it and collect my belongings when I exit the vehicle.  Why can't everyone else get on the same page?

Thankfully we weren't involved in a carpool on the way home from dancing that day.  That would have been the ultimate dose of embarrassment.  Besides, I don't think with all of those flies, I could have fit any additional passengers.

August 9, 2015

Boobie trapped bedroom

Back in 2015 when the basement was under construction, I found Reggie's ability to branch out and create a basketball court in my bedroom a pain in the neck (or forhead) . . . .literally.

If the constant pounding i.e. dribbling from upstairs wasn't enough to make me call foul, then I believe the following justified my use of other 'f' words:  tripping over miniature balls left around 'the court' aka my room, reconstructing multiple laundry piles that may or may not have been utilized as steps to launch players closer to the hoop, and darting from the shower only to discover a heated game blocking the path to my cluttered closet.

Shortly before the basement was complete, 9 year old Reggie entered the family room with his friend sheepishly peeking out behind him.  My first thought was it must be time for a snack if these guys had suddenly surfaced.  Then I stopped folding laundry (I chose to fold in the family room since my room was off limits for me during play dates) and looked at their faces.  Score a three pointer for Mommy for recognizing the guilty look right off the bat. 

I asked if they broke my lamp.  My little sports fan stammered out the situation while he constantly wrung his hands - hands that clearly ached due to the lack of a ball to bounce.  Apparently, a ball got stuck on top of Coach's chest of drawers.  It's a tall chest of drawers, so naturally Reggie scampered up to retrieve the ball. 

The entire solid piece of furniture fell over.  I couldn't believe it.  How lucky that these guys weren't crushed under it!  How lucky that Reggie's friend was standing there, so I couldn't crush my 4th son with my bare hands. 

Coach lifted the furniture back into place when he got home.  A nearby door jam was scratched and a  picture frame was knocked down.  Luckily, that was all.  Just when you think you don't have to worry about furniture falling on your offspring.

We grew more and more desperate for the basement to be finished, and a few weeks later Reggie hosted another friend.  We started off at the pool, but all good things must not end -so the kids begged to have their friends back to the house.  The girls' time was spent dressing dolls and building rubber band bracelets in their disaster-area bedroom.  Naturally the b-ball court was populated by the boys.

Later that night I tiptoed into my room.  I was feeling along the wall for the light switch when I bumped my forehead on a foreign object.  Unusual - since by this point I felt like I knew the way to my bathroom blindfolded. 

I was surprised to be met with resistance when I attempted to push open the bathroom door.  It finally budged a bit as I shoved it really hard.  Why was it such a challenge to change into my PJ's?  I finally flipped on the light switch I had been fumbling for. 

A basketball hoop was fastened to my bathroom door.  Thus the forehead bump.  Why not?  In order to keep the door from swinging open during a key play, an ottoman and a desk chair were stacked up IN MY BATHROOM behind the bathroom door.  I struggled to fit into the bathroom with the crowded furniture. 

As I hauled the ottoman over to the other side of the room, I saw it.  There clipped onto my wooden plantation shutters was the second basketball hoop.  Of course.  The team needed a longer court to make things seem a bit more accurate.  Using the main bedroom door and the closet door to position the two hoops was obviously unacceptable for our 'I'd-like-to-push-the-envelope' Reggie.  The bathroom door facing the wooden shutters offered a much lengthier, more realistic court. 

I wondered how they dealt with the queen size bed in the middle of the room.  By the looks of the bedding, they had just played thru.

I announced that no more friends could be invited over until after the completion of the basement.  This decision was met with unrest from the crowd.  Perhaps a bit of additional pressure on Coach would lead to (dare I say) a finished basement sooner as opposed to later. 

August 2, 2015

Please belive me, I'm here to take the S.A.T.

Laddie scarfed down two English muffins with scrambled eggs, melted cheese, and slices of crisp bacon.  He grabbed the sharpened pencils, enormous calculator, and his per-printed registration ticket from the kitchen table.  He made a snide remark about the choice of photo that appeared in black and white at the upper corner of the ticket.  I insisted that he pack a protein bar in his pocket despite the fact that he doubted he would be hungry.  I reminded him to leave his phone in the car.  Coach and I wished him luck as he drove away towards the high school where he would take the A.C.T. test.

It reminded me of the last time that I took the S.A.T. test.  I was a senior in high school.  My brother, Shane, was a junior.  Stupid over achiever.  He had registered for the same test.  I know there was another teenager with us, but I don't remember who it was.  I think it was one of Shane's friends.

I drove to the test in the next town.  We approached the check in table and Shane moaned a little.  "What?" I asked him.  "The sign says you need to have your drivers license.  I left mine at home, because you were driving," he explained.  My mouth dropped open.  How does a kid show up to a college entrance exam without his I.D?  "And you are supposed to be the smart one?" I muttered.  He flashed a nervous smile.  "Follow me," I ordered.

When I reached the table, I showed the woman my I.D. and my little slip of paper that had come in the mail.  I smiled at the woman as she checked me in.  "I'm hoping that you will recognize the family resemblance that my brother and I share, and allow him to take the test.  He forgot to bring his license because he wasn't driving.  Here is his entrance ticket."  The nice woman looked at the addresses on our tickets, she glanced at my license.  To my surprise, she directed us to the testing room. Bullet dodged.  Phew.  I gave Shane a you-owe-me look.

Shane chose a seat behind me.  Shortly after we sat down he tapped me on the shoulder.  "Can I borrow a pencil?" he whispered.  I thought he was joking, but since he wasn't I handed over one of my #2's.  Unreal.

As I loaded the dishwasher this morning with the egg-crusted frying pan, I tried to imagine this scenario happening under present day test taking regulations.  It wouldn't happen.  No matter how awesome and creative the extraordinary older sister acted.  The over-achieving, clueless younger brother would be denied entrance to the exam.  Of course in the present day version of this same situation there would be a panic stricken kid texting his parents to request that they drive over to the testing location with the necessary I.D.  Isn't there a joke about how a student would automatically score a certain number of points just for putting his name on the answer sheet correctly?  How about points for arriving with the necessary paperwork, I.D., and calculator?