October 31, 2017

relocation fun

(Microwave update:  the microwave wasn't broken - a blown fuse was the culprit.  Thought I'd share a bit of good news in case the renovation updates are wearing on you.)

Never thought we'd see the day . . . but here it is - time in our kitchen remodel to refinish the floors on the first floor.  We had to be out of our house yesterday at 8 am.  

I've spent weeks preparing.  Emptying end tables.  Packing up china and crystal.  Relocating STUFF from our study closet.  Moving our temporary kitchen to the basement.  Wanting to pull my hair out.

Of course the crew struggled to pinpoint the day in advance when they would begin the floor.  Late last week they let me know that they could begin this week.  Initially I had hoped that they would kick us out of the house on a Friday, because I don't babysit on Fridays.  Plus the weekend.  But I elected to get it started on Monday rather than wait four days.  No progress for four days - we are too anxious to get this project done for that nonsense.

It was a busy weekend.  Coach and Eddie went to Iowa with friends for a football game on Saturday.  I was thrilled to attend back to back Irish dancing competitions (aka a mind-blowing, time-sucking weekend) with the girls.  Translation:  we weren't home enough to wrap up the packing.  

On Sunday I asked Coach to move furniture into the family room and get the boys to pack a bag to stay at my parents' house.  He and Eddie shoved whatever furniture they could lift into the carpeted family room.  There was still plenty to do when I arrived home from an exhausting day of dancing.  No one had packed a bag.  Shock.  

(sorry I have no new pictures, but I can't add pictures to my blog from my ipad - weird and annoying but true.  Working off my ipad while I am displaced from my home. Use your imagination to grasp all this stuff minus the furniture and the joy of packing it up).

I was beyond tired Sunday night, but I pushed myself to deal with endless piles of crap abandoned after the tables, the piano, and the chairs were yanked out of the room.

My clearing-the-floor project was unpleasant already, so I was overjoyed when Coach started moaning about moving out of our house for 3 days.  It IS true that we intended to vacate the house for a few days in the summer in favor of floor refinishing, but the stars did not align.  Translation:  the renovation work didn't start as scheduled.  Our summer jaunts that were supposed to double as time away for the floors to get refinished didn't double as anything.  

While I was at dancing, Coach brought Reg over to play at our friends' house.  They are also going thru a house makeover.  Coach informed me that his buddy claimed that they would not be leaving their home at all - it was a stipulation in their contract.  Now Coach was looking at me like moving out temporarily was a choice.  I tried to explain that maybe our friends had a tiled entry.  Never-mind his buddy's wife had already told me that they were indeed leaving their house this weekend.  

This led to Coach implying that maybe we just shouldn't have done this project to begin with.  Seriously?  We've been without a kitchen for about 9 weeks, and NOW he acts like this is a mistake.  Because he spent an hour moving furniture?  Because we had to relocate to my folks' house around the corner for 3 nights?  

Honestly, at least my parents' house has a functioning kitchen.  Their home also seems to be devoid of mounds of clutter.  Translation:  I don't want to leave.

Until things got really interesting . . . 

October 29, 2017

administration = 0, good guys = 1

As I mentioned, I was preparing to go to parent teacher conferences at the high school when the Halloween dance jumped up and said 'Boo!' right in my face.  

Reggie wanted to dress as something that would compliment his friend.  Since I wasn't home the  night before, no combo costumes were mapped out.  Great!

I was trying to eat my breakfast, but I started offering him some ideas:  Chewbacca, leprechaun, or Elmo?  No, no, and NO!  These costumes all reside in the basement storage room.  He explained that no masks were allowed, so that would eliminate Chewey right off the bat.  I made that costume (with no pattern -as many of my more creative costumes were made) for Eddie when he was in kindergarten.  The only part of the costume that would work for Reg was the mask.  No mask, no deal.

Anyone could pull off this cookie -
 Reggie wansn't feeling that 'sweet.'
Back when Mini was Cookie Monster, I made a soft sandwich board looking cookie.  Curly dressed as the cookie.  She was about 3 years old.  That costume can easily be worn by a full size being.  Reg was playing a cool customer.  He barely blinked.  Just stared straight threw me like I was practicing being invisible for Halloween.  12 year old boys often make a tough crowd in these parts, how about in your world?  Are they all full of  'Great idea Mom, you rock!' sentiments?  Or stone face, trade-my-mom-for-an-upgrade pouty pusses?

Anyway, I had to jump in the shower, so I left him pondering the choices I had made.  I don't know about you, but taking a shower often brings me clarity and great ideas to boot.  Today was no exception.  

I hopped out of the shower and ran into Mini's room to drag her always-tired butt out of bed.  'Hey, I need you to get me the Tank's cap and gown.'  Of course.  I forgot, she had mentioned her plan to wear a cap and gown to the dance.  She was going for an easy, quick change after school.  

Is it just my kids, or do your kids NOT get their shit together the night before either?  Wow, I'm full of questions today.  Again, mother wasn't home when they went to bed, so here we were . . . scrambling.  

My mom-radar was sharp this morning.  I felt the cap and gown's presence in the laundry room.  I started moving stuff around and opening cabinets and there it was.  Hooray for me!  As I headed back downstairs to deal with Mr. What-Should-I-Be, I tossed the cap and gown (that Tank never actually wore) to Mini.  Well, I tossed it in the general direction of where her bed should be.  The girls' room is in such disarray they could've moved furniture and I wouldn't be any wiser.  

Just before I left the sty, I pivoted.  'Hey, Mini!  Grab the boxing gloves and put a sign on your back that says Tank Shenanigan.'  Mini actually bounded out of bed.  She loved the idea!  (you have to click the link to find out why Tank never wore the cap and gown).

Impersonating a brother like Tank rocks!  Update:  Mini came home from school and said a teacher eventually told her to take off her costume.  He sited props.  So no masks, no weapons, and not no props?  Odd because every other student was allowed to wear props.  Pretty sure the administration just didn't like it.  I didn't expect them to.  
'Hey, Reggie, I had a great idea in the shower.  Why don't you dress as a caddy?  Your buddy could be a golfer.'  Reg agreed.

At this point, I should've been wearing a super-woman costume.  With my conference schedule looming, I raced around and collected a caddy towel, a caddy hat, a caddy shirt, and a pinny.  I swiped a sweater vest, Irish cap, golf glove and khaki pants out of Reggie's closet and stuffed those in a bag as well just in case his buddy wanted to join him.  Mini emptied out a small golf bag for him.  We assumed a golf club would be considered a weapon.  No weapons, no masks - kids today have it kind of bad at times.  

I think my most accomplished feat was locating BOTH boxing gloves from the basement.  You understand - we are living out of boxes, surrounded by dust, and nothing is where it belongs.  

Reg was a bit annoyed that his costume wasn't 'funny,' since Mini's was going to get some laughs.  I encouraged him to grab Eddie's old full-size cast out of his mudroom locker.  'You could be a one-armed caddy and we could put a sign on your back that says Eddie Shenanigan.'  He liked the idea until fumbling around with an over-sized cast that had been sawed in half.  He ditched the Eddie impersonation and went with the straight up caddy.

Tank, who had no school because of conferences, woke up.  In true Tank fashion, he asked Mini to thank him for the costume inspiration.  

(Perhaps you can read this post a few more times out of consideration for the fact that I accidentally DELETED it AND the one prior and had to start over.  Ouch.  The original post was too long - my specialty.  So I decided to split it in half.  I screwed up - I think we can safely blame the ear piercing sound from the floor installers.  Nothing like watching your work disappear and breaking out in a sweat even though the flooring people have the heat turned down to 65. Good thing I have nothing to do, like, um- I don't know, pack up the first floor and all the food we need to take to my folk's house on Monday when we have to leave our house for 3 days.  Good times).

October 27, 2017

floors refinished and Halloween - SCARY!

I've been a bit distracted lately.  I've been shopping online for kitchen tables.  The options are endless.  Have you ever gotten sucked into something online and then wondered what happened to the day?  OK, two days, but who's counting?  I'm glad that Coach doesn't read this, because then it might be tough to fake my daily accomplishments.

In my downtime, I'm trying to pack up the first floor.  It's like we are moving.  It feels like an impossible task, but they are about to refinish the floors.  Curly keeps pestering me that I don't have any Halloween decorations on display.  I snapped at her yesterday, so I was feeling bad when I woke up this morning and I yanked this pumpkin guy out of storage.  She doesn't get that I am trying to find a place to put EVERYTHING without adding to the clutter.

I shouldn't share this glimpse into our utter chaos, but I feel compelled lest you think I was exaggerating.  The living room couch is covered in the coats I yanked from the cedar chest before we removed it from the study.  I kid you not, moments after I took this pic, a floor 'guy' started sawing the floor to make room for the flush vent covers.  Dust EVERYWHERE.  Winter coats all whitish.  My eyes are burning.  If you look carefully you will notice the pumpkin man standing in the middle of the table.  It's like he's the Mayor of Mayhem.  Hope you're happy, Curly
I still have to finish up Curly's Halloween costume.  No big deal, I just need to carve out the time.  She plans to dress as Big Bird or Oscar the Grouch for Halloween at school on Tuesday.  Those costumes are a bit clumsy and won't work for the activities we have this weekend.

Years ago the fantastic four:  Tank, Mini,
Reggie, and Curly dressed as Sesame
Street characters.  Now Curly just picks
her favorite.  Reggie takes a pass
on these awesome costumes that I
spent hours crafting.  I'm over it.  Really!
Mini's Goldilocks apron.  A work in progress. 

The girls are Irish dancing in two back to back competitions this weekend.  Fortunately the contests are close to  home.  Tomorrow's event is called a Halloween Feis.  The dancers dress in costume, but they need to choose something that works for dancing.

When Curly was very young, I made her a Goldilocks costume.  I made the apron and ironed lettering on the front that read:  'I 💗 porridge.'  I sewed little buttons that were made in the shape of little bears down the front of it.  With her blond curly hair, the costume was a big hit.  This weekend Curly is reprising her role as Goldi.  She needed a larger apron.  I ordered one this time.  Duh.  I just need to get around to ironing on the letters.

I attended a jewelry party last night.  It was great to be out and be social.  Before I left the house, I needed to change my clothes because I was covered in dust.  The workers had sanded the drywall yesterday.  Ah, progress.

When I am out on a school night, I find that the crew is going to wake up the next morning and have 'issues.'  Sure enough, Reg woke up pouting this morning.  He didn't know what costume to wear for the junior high's Halloween dance.  The dance was after school today.

This is the study.  It's all the last minute
shit that never has a place to begin
 with and I can't decide where
 to stick it.  My master plan is to
pack it and then unpack it and stare
 at it some more. 
That should prove very successful.
He did mention the costume dilemma yesterday afternoon, but I was distracted trying to pack up the study.  I needed to make up for lost time when the body snatchers possessed me and I got sucked into furniture shopping online.

Part of his problem was that he wanted to coordinate a costume with one of his buddies.  I was unaware that our landline doesn't function when I am not home.  Is that a thing at your house, or just mine?

I was racing around so that I could get to the high school parent teacher conferences on time this morning.  Reg wasn't loving the idea of dressing in one of the amazing costumes that we have in the basement.  Our storage room resembles Jim Hensen's workshop since it houses the many creations I've whipped up over the years.  Even if he didn't go that route, I felt like he had plenty of good options. 

In the end, it was my last minute costume suggestion for Mini that was sure to get some attention at the junior high dance . . .

October 25, 2017

getting heated

This morning I woke up early and worked out in one of my more rigorous fitness classes.  I was sweaty, exhausted, and home by 7 am.  Coach was at work early, so I was running the show:  making lunches in the makeshift kitchen in the dining room, waking kids up, keeping other kids quiet, dealing with the tots that got dropped off, begging Tank to quit screwing around with the tots and get ready for school, missing life with a full-size full-functioning kitchen, etc.

I finally decided to make my own breakfast when there was a lull in the action.  This lull is otherwise known as the moment when I can chill because Tank has officially left the building and is on his way to school in a car driven by Ed.  This was a momentous occasion.  Ed hadn't threatened his younger brother with bodily harm for moving too slowly.  AND I believed that they would arrive at school without running the risk of Tank being awarded yet another tardy.  One more tardy and he will have a Saturday detention.  Sigh.

Ah, breakfast.  I was famished.  I set up the tots to chow down on their food in the junior chairs (still utilized by my 9 and 11 year olds) at the kitchen table.  I descended the basement stairs with a gallon of skim, since the basement fridge in our mini-kitchen only had 2% (in addition to some really foul smelling broccoli, almost an appetite killer, but I was REALLY hungry.  My early morning classes have that effect on me).  Mini was in the shower.  That girl needs lots of assistance to get out the door in the morning.  As hungry as I was, I opted to heat up a breakfast sandwich for her BEFORE I prepared my oatmeal.  Is it wrong to hope that some day the kids will look back and recognize me as selfless and not just mouthy and loud?

OK, so I get that this doesn't LOOK appetizing,
but these breakfast sandwiches are the bomb.
I make these amazing breakfast sandwiches (which I have been meaning to write about - so check back for a breakfast sandwich post).  I chiseled one portion from the mound of breakfast sandwich-insides since they were all huddled together in the freezer.  My plan:  heat up the ham, egg, veggie, and cheese portion for her.  Then jog upstairs and make an English muffin in the toaster that currently resides on the dining room server.  (Note:  jogging totally unnecessary considering I had already worked out, but such is life with eating arrangements on multiple levels).

Ah, my oatmeal.  I require gluten free oatmeal.  My freak-meal requires a whopping 3.5 minutes in the microwave.  Torture.  I convinced myself that I could survive the delayed breakfast, while I defrosted Mini's meal.

I was pouring my dry freak-meal into the bowl when the microwave stopped.  Mini's sandwich hadn't even begun to sweat.  The microwave had literally given me less than 5 seconds in its final spin. 

I only borrowed this towards the end of summer, so there
wasn't a huge attachment.  Still! 
This box was feeding me and keeping me sane. 
I was pleasantly surprised to discover
that it made a great baked potato.
I opened and closed the door to the huge, elderly microwave that we borrowed from my sister.  No lights.  I hit the control panel buttons.  No power.  I unplugged and re-plugged.  NOTHING!!!  NO!!!!!!

Mini had other options.  I informed her of the dead appliance, and she shrugged.  A bagel would suffice.  Lucky.

My breakfast includes freak-meal followed later by the insides of a breakfast sandwich minus the English muffin.  I was so hungry.  I can eat Cheerios, but I practically require the entire box to feel full.

My food wasn't heated up, but I was.

October 23, 2017

road blocks like metal poles and modems

I arrived home from my adventure to New York with Tank and Reggie late Saturday night.  Knowing I would be tired on Sunday, I didn't set out to accomplish too much.  I DID plan to get something done though.

What was I thinking?

I mentioned to Coach before I left for the airport on Thursday that the internet connection was becoming a headache.  I could get online, but I could expect to lose that connection without warning.  CONSTANTLY.  It was definitely annoying.  I suggested that it might be time to replace our modem.

My general feelings about computers and
how to make them function properly.
First of all, the fact that I can even locate a modem and turn the power off and on in order to get online is nothing short of a miracle.  When I'm not flipping the modem off, I am literally flipping the power source off and on.  It usually works - the power source thing, not my obscene hand gestures.

Sunday morning, I used the computer a bit before Coach got started setting up the new modem he bought.  I didn't have time to post anything, but figured I'd just do it when he was done.  How long can it take? 

Since he was busy taking one for the team with modem setup (which included wires and plugging things in and hooking things up - yuck), I became the available kid chauffeur.  I gladly drove Reggie over to his buddy's house to avoid computer stuff.  I wasn't back 15 minutes, before I got a call that Reggie was getting dropped back off at my house.  He ran into a pole.  This was a new one.

Reggie and his friends decided to spin around 20 times and then run as fast as they could towards a pole at the park to see who could get there first.  Sounds like a great plan if you are 11 . . .  and stupid.  I guess being 11 and acting stupid goes hand in hand.

Reg won the challenge.  I can't say I'm proud.  His win may not have counted because the side of his face collided with the pole.  He laid on the couch with ice on his face and fell asleep.  I was a bit concerned that he might have a concussion, but he wasn't dizzy and didn't feel like he was going to throw up and his pupils matched one another.  This kid gave himself a concussion when he was 3 1/2 by building a tower out of toys and small furniture in the basement, scaling his creation, and falling off of it.  On his head. 

Coach is more of an expert at doing a concussion assessment because he is a physical therapist, but he was now on the phone with AT&T.  The modem installation wasn't going well.  When Coach finally surfaced, he was surprised to see Reg sleeping.  I reminded him that our trip to New York was exhausting and Reg was probably tired. When I took the ice off of his face, he woke up.  We sent him to nap in his bed.  We agreed to wake him up in a bit, so that he could watch his flag football game . . from the sidelines.  No playing.  Bummer.

I took a nap too.  Despite getting a good night sleep in my own bed the night before, I was still exhausted.  Shortly after my snooze, a frustrated Coach called me into the study.  It was my turn to take the reins in the modem nightmare.  Coach had to prep dinner that he was going to grill.  AT&T decided that there might be a problem with our line. They are scheduled to come out to the house on Thursday to check it out.  In the meantime, Coach attempted to set up the modem and was on the phone with Netgear.  He was super frustrated.  I couldn't believe that this was still dragging on.

Was hoping to shop online -
this setup screen wasn't what I had
envisioned staring at for HOURS!
I won't bore you with details, but here a few interesting notes:  the person I was on the phone with told me to call AT&T back because they must have given Coach the wrong login and password.  She was correct - wrong password.  When I called Netgear back with the right password the woman instructed me to hang up so she could call me back.  She never called. 

The next guy had me try a zillion things.  No luck.  I passed the time while we waited for screens to update and pages to open by shopping for a kitchen table and chairs on my smartphone.  Browsing the web for furniture had been on my list.  I had hoped to have access to a larger screen. 

Two hours later, he suggested that I go back to the store and trade the modem in for a new one because it must have been faulty.  Seriously?  Coach kept asking why the basic setup instructions that came with the modem wouldn't work.  We both suffer from extreme cluelessness when it comes to computers, but we were following all of their instructions. 

I hung up with our 3rd Netgear consultant and drove Tank to a meeting.  Coach raced to Best Buy to swap out the modem.  We had planned to drive Reggie to his basketball clinic, but he admitted that he still didn't feel well enough to play a sport.  (Side note:  Reg has NEVER passed up a chance to play a sport.)  This was the last clinic in the not-so-cheap series.  Between Coach and I our frustration level was measuring off the charts.  An explosion was imminent. 

Coach called Netgear back.  The new modem wouldn't connect the traditional way.  Hours later, he joined the kids and I in the basement where we were watching our back logged 'America's Got Talent' show.  Coach shook his head.  He was able to get the modem working.  It had literally been an all day nightmare project. 

I no longer felt focused enough to write something to post on my blog.  By the look on Coach's face, Reggie wasn't the only family member who felt like his face was smashed into a metal pole
- albeit figuratively. 

unusual nap time interruption

The question the construction worker was asking me didn't initially raise any red flags.  I had just put the two tots down for naps and I was changing into a sun top, because I planned to sit on the deck, soak up some rays, and read my book during nap time.  

I heard the younger dude of the dynamic duo call up the stairs, 'Um, do you know where the main shutoff valve is for the water?'  The sun . . . it was beckoning me, but I left my room and jogged down the stairs to show him where the valve was in the basement.  

These two electricians had been there all day wiring the new kitchen.  It didn't dawned on me that electricians don't typically mess with water.  Operative word here being 'mess.'

The young guy followed me down to the basement.  I had just learned where our main water valve was located.  How handy!  I felt like a grown up, a homeowner . . . wise beyond my years.  'It's in the back of the storage room,' I was explaining . . . that's when I heard it.  It sounded like a waterfall in my basement.  I glanced around but didn't see the source.

As I rounded the corner there was the older guy electrician standing on a small step ladder.  His hands were inside a gaping hole in the ceiling.  He was attempting to keep the water from pouring thru the ceiling.  An impossible task considering that they had accidentally broken a pipe.  Not a pipe that operates with a trickle.  Nope.  A serious pipe that apparently moves or holds lots of water.  

I rushed into the storage room - pointed to the valve in the corner and then turned my attention to the newest feature of our recently finished basement:  a splash pad.  

Stack of white towels - storing them is
 annoying but they saved the day.
While the kitchen has been under construction (for 8 weeks, but who's counting?), we have been operating out of the tiny but functional basement kitchen.   It's functional, if you count the absence of a dishwasher a way to function.  (8 WEEKS, friends, 8 WEEKS - and no end in sight!)  I suppose our dish washing chores are minimal considering we are relying heavily on paper/plastic products, but any cooking and bam, the whole damn sink overflows with pots, pans, and Pyrex.  

In order to dry all of the clean dishes, I spread towels on the table.  We have an obnoxious supply of white towels.  I have never purchased a white towel, mind you, but Laddie's swim team involvement has led to a ridiculous inventory of mismatched whitish towels.  I should probably bring a stack back over to the high school one day . . . when the basement is done and we no longer need towels for dish drying.  (Ha, I just said 'basement done' as if that is a thing).  

Displaced bins housing floating legos and guys.
So when our basement sprung a leak that afternoon, I scooped up the handy/stolen towels and tossed them to Mr. Waterworks.  The bookshelf directly below the flowing water took a direct hit.  Bins housing legos and plastic princesses collected water making it look like a scene from 'the Lego Movie' when the main characters escaped near disaster by stowing away in a double decker lego couch.  Cool.  Legos are swimming in my basement.  

It killed me.  Summer had just ended and I had just washed a bunch of beach towels, but I raced upstairs and grabbed these clean towels.  I handed the pile to the electricians and backed away slowly. 

It was a bummer, but I would NOT get roped into cleaning that up.  I knew I would end up washing the towels, AGAIN.  The sun was waiting.  The boys' nap time might include a short snooze for me on my lounge chair.  I would need to rest up anyway - because soon it would be time to wash dishes again.  

October 19, 2017

birthday Shenanigan style

Yesterday was Eddie's 17th birthday.  It marked week 8 of being without a kitchen while the kitchen is under construction.  It was also the first night that we went out to dinner as a family during our kitchen-less state.  This amazing feat was accomplished because we have a small kitchen in the basement.  I am very anxious to be done creating meals in this small kitchen.

We don't eat out often, so there was a level of excitement.  The night was very typical for us.

We chose Chilis because we had a coupon for $5 off.  Last week Coach and I ate out.  Together.  Alone.  We hadn't been out alone in awhile.  I don't even think we went out for our anniversary because that was the day we loaded everyone into the Great White and drove to Boston.

Anyway, it just so happened that a Tuesday worked better than a weekend.  We had no soccer, no dancing, and no work.  Bingo.  We sat down and Coach noticed that the menu stated that kids under 12 eat free on Tuesday nights.  The kids were home eating Chicken Cordon Bleu.  They love that 'dinner' - I use the term 'dinner' loosely when I refer to the frozen stuff that I shove in the oven before I head for the hills.  It was tempting to run home and grab Reg and Curly so they could eat out for free.  Instead we said we'd do it again another time.

Eddie's birthday landed on a Wednesday.  Wednesdays are insanely busy around here with activities, plus Coach works until around 9.  We opted to celebrate a night early.

We don't usually eat out for birthdays, but we made an exception.  We sat down and realized that the kids eating free only worked if the kids ate off a kids' menu.  Curly was fine with it.  Reggie ordered off the real menu.  This gang I'm raising doesn't mess around.  They have serious appetites.  Coach waited until after our order was placed to share his disgust that Reg didn't order off the free menu.

It was like an episode of the body snatchers.  Where was he when the ordering topic was discussed a bit earlier?  I requested that Reg take one for the team and go track down our waitress and change his order.  He wasn't happy about it, but he did it.

Before we ordered the Chilis staff sang happy birthday to a kid at another table.  Ed glanced at me, and informed me that they better not sing to him.  I had no intention.  We tend to draw enough attention without a singing fiasco added to the night.

We were nearly done with our meal when the waitress asked us if we drone a dodge caravan.  Yes.  Oh, because someone left a car door open on a red caravan in the parking lot.  Cool.  We could see our minivan from the window and the sliding door on the far side was indeed open.  Sweet.

Before we ordered Reg and Curly played with this little black mini computer looking thing that sat on each table.  While we were waiting for our bill, Coach grabbed it.  'I wonder if we are supposed to pay for the bill on here.  Maybe that's what is taking so long.'  Mini had to be at Church for a meeting about Confirmation at 7 pm.  Our early dinner was starting to push the envelope.

Coach found our bill.  He was confused.  There was an item called 'molten' that was $7.95.  At first he thought that the kids had racked up a charge for playing games on the stupid table computer.  Then he started asking if someone ordered something called 'molten.'  There were already charges for 7 entrees so it didn't make sense.

Just then our waitress appeared.  She had apparently heard me tell Eddie to order what he wanted since it was his birthday.  She was carrying a plate of cake and ice cream with several forks stuck in it.  Fortunately she hadn't alerted the rest of the staff that a singing telegram was necessary, so we were able to walk out of the restaurant without limping out on broken limbs.

Coach asked her what the extra charge was for.  'Oh, that's for this birthday cake.  Your bill isn't ready yet.  I still have to take the cake off the bill.  It's complimentary.'  Mystery solved.  We all exhaled jointly - particularly Reggie and Curly, who feared that they were responsible.  Perhaps I should say mystery devoured, because my kids dove into that thing with true Shenanigan style.

I'm hoping it's the age, but Eddie tends to dislike most of his siblings except for the two youngest.  He also dislikes dessert or anything that isn't ultra healthy.  He required one bite of cake before he shared it.  When the free-for-all erupted, he was more than a little outraged.

Last night, on Eddie's actual b-day I served a frozen pie in my former Burger King booth in the basement.  I'm trying to empty out my fridge, and I had no idea so many frozen pies were just hanging out in there.  We ate in shifts, opened gifts long after bedtime, and posed the kids for a photo while holding up a poster of Laddie from his senior year football season (school issues them to varsity athletes - we aren't the life-size-poster ordering type).  Kids complained about sitting close to one another for a photo, and I begged Tank and Reg to review what minimal amount they were packing.  I am taking the two younger boys to New York today to see Laddie.  He has 3 water polo games.  It should be an adventure.
Mini is his main target for teenage, eye-rolling, we-can't-be-related angst.  She asked for his criticism though when she tried to accomplish shoving a four-bite sized forkful in her face . . .  and missing.  It was her turn to sample the cake, and she apparently feared that was the only opportunity she would have to taste it - or quite possibly to taste cake ever again in her life.  Evidence that she is my daughter.   She is the one I fear for the most if celiac disease becomes her reality.

I begged Ed to stop berating her, but I looked at Mini and said, 'Seriously?'

Coach paid the bill - and gave the two youngest the stink eye because there was a small charge on the bill for their game playing.  The car ride home was festive as everyone imitated Daddy, 'What is MOLTEN?  Who ordered that?  Is this for that game thing?'  Just what this family needs another quote.


October 17, 2017

Can't wait to be finished with the refinishing

The house renovation project is approaching the next phase.  It's hard to believe that the kitchen will begin to look like a kitchen and not a barn with exposed beams and no insulation.  With the plumbing, electrical, and heating/AC work complete, they are about to hang the drywall.

I have been told that after the drywall is hung, the hardwood floors will be next.  Our entire first floor is hardwood flooring.  Despite the popular trend to expose all hardwood, our family room has a very thick carpet over the hardwood. (I wonder how many times I can squeeze the word 'hardwood' into this paragraph!)  I LOVE carpet.  What's better than a cozy room with carpeted floors?  Call me old school.  Call me outdated.  I've been called worse.

Please understand, there is not enough space on our furniture for all of our family members to sit.  Bodies strewn across the floor while we watch a movie or a sporting event is our norm.  Great carpet is paramount to our family's comfort level.  Never mind carpet absorbs sound.  The Shenanigans are a loud breed.  Trust me.  

I've been freaking out a bit about getting the floors refinished - not replaced, just refinished.  Everything on the first floor needs to be moved into the family room, the mudroom, the downstairs bathroom, or the garage.

I look around and my eyes bulge out when I realize how much crap we pulled out of the kitchen cabinets.  It was deposited in little boxes, in piles, or spread across the dining room table.  Everything is on display as if we are hosting a flea market of shit no one wants to buy.  
This is just the stuff that was in my kitchen desk.

Our  makeshift kitchen in the dining room.

The task of shuffling the kitchen cabinet explosion along with EVERYTHING resting on the floor in the study closet, the junk in the living room end tables, and the breakable Waterford in the dining room china cabinet gives me a wave of panic.  People - I do not panic.  It is not my thing.  I may swear a blue streak because I am blessed with an Irish temper, but I am not prone to panic.

Lad's room with temporary additional seating.
Boxes full of kids' artwork, favorite school
papers, and believe it or not - hair. 
I often tuck hair into a baggie with the date
after a first haircut, but it is just so damn
hard to throw away Curly's beautiful
locks after a haircut. 
She's got enough to create a wig someday.  

Study closet - floor space cleared . . . no small task.

The contractor hasn't been able to pinpoint a date when I need to clear the floors.  I have been begging for a date.  Without concrete information, I am fearful of a last minute 'get out' request.  Will they do the floors on a Friday, when I don't babysit?  I've warned my Mom and Dad that we will most likely show up and hope to hunker down at their house when we get ousted from ours.  Mom was less than excited.  My folks live a few minutes away.  We haven't stayed with them since Laddie was a one year old and we had a few weeks 'layover' between our condo selling and our newly purchased first house being vacant.

Shower working to store my photo albums plus!
The end of last week and part of the weekend was devoted to the shuffling process.  My first floor shower, which is rarely used (unless we are all attending an event like Christmas mass and no one thought to allow enough time to stagger showers) has taken on most of the photo albums from the study closet and the living room end tables.  I have a ton of photo albums.  If some wise-ass turns on the water in the shower-turned-storage-unit, I will lose my mind.

I'm gradually tackling this overwhelming job.  I would rather not just toss stuff around only to stick it right back where I found it.  Whenever possible, I am organizing and eliminating.  Reggie asked when the floors were getting done as he lugged memory boxes filled with kids' school papers to the upstairs hallway.  'I think in a few weeks,' I informed him. 

He was outraged that we were ALREADY starting this project.  Clueless.

October 15, 2017

spare flute #2

I know this place is a chain,
 but just in case you had never
heard of it - this is a legitimate music store.
I am feeling like a bad mom because
I have no pictures of my kid participating
in marching band - so all you get is the
 music store letter head.  
We ended up securing a loaner flute for Tank after he busted his hours before a busy marching band weekend.  Coach picked up the loaner flute at Quinlin and Fabish on his way home after work and met Tank at the high school just before the home game started.

We watched the game, and scanned the band members during the half time show.  Short kid with glasses, short kid with glasses, short kid with glasses, tall kid without glasses who towered over the short kids with glasses.  Tall kid was playing a flute . . . aha, there's our kid.  When we met his at the car later, Tank described the crazy, chaotic band room after the game.  

At home I gathered some snacks for Tank to pack in his drawstring bag.  The next morning at 5 am this freshman had to report to the high school for a band trip to Northern Illinois University.  I gave him $20 for food at the concession stand.  Tank set his alarm and I set mine.  

Ungodly early the next morning, my alarm went off.  Tank's didn't.  He had set it for pm instead of am.  I reached up into the top bunk and shook him awake.  Tank couldn't remember where he put his bag of snacks.  Eventually, he found it.  Coach decided to drive him - I crawled back into my bed. 

I was still awake when Coach returned.  He was shaking his head.  Tank had forgotten the cash I gave him.  Fortunately the stars aligned and Coach who could be voted 'most-likely-not-to-carry-cash' had cash in his wallet.

After I got a bit more sleep, I stumbled down the stairs and discovered that I had a text message.  From Tank.  'I got here and opened my flute case and my flute isn't in it.'

WHAT?!  Who does that?  Who wakes up before 5 am, misplaces their snack bag momentarily, forgets to bring his cash supply, requires a parent to drive him to the high school, and drives for hours to a destination WITHOUT A FLUTE!!!!!!

I called him.  He explained that in the mayhem after the game the night before, he put his flute on a shelf.  Before they left for the college visit that am, he grabbed it but apparently never loaded it into the case.  Now he was a long way away with no instrument.  Again, with the flute shortage. 

A friend had informed me the day before, shortly after Tank's initial flute issues were resolved, that her daughter's flute was in storage until the next daughter began lessons.  I could borrow it anytime.  Neither of us expected my flute begging phone call to happen so soon. 

I texted Tank and asked him to ask the other band members if anyone's parents were coming out to the game.  I really didn't want to spend my Saturday driving out to NIU and back.  And believe me, I was comfortable with this nightmare turning into one of those life lessons for Tank.  If I could work out the logistics, fine.  Otherwise he was going to have to suffer thru a long band event with nothing to blow his hot air into.

Sure enough, Tank learned that neighbors were driving out to the game later to watch their son who was also in the band.  

Here's part of a band email - looking for volunteers.  Standing outside in questionable weather doesn't thrill me, so I hesitated to volunteer for outdoor snack distributor during half time.  I mean Lad just retired from football.  We have kids in Irish dancing, water polo, swim team, basketball - all indoor sports.  Notice a trend?  I do NOT enjoy dealing with the elements to cheer on a kid, even if I am crazy about my kid.  We do still have soccer players and golfers, but high school golfers don't expect me to follow them around a course.  It didn't occur to me that Tank's band involvement would land me back to the bleachers at dreaded football games until the first home game.  Foiled!
I picked up borrowed flute #2 and approached our neighbor's house.  It was still early.  The husband got in his car and saw me wave to him.  He thought I was just being friendly -perhaps on a morning jog.  He looked a tad startled as I continued to approach his car - as if I was threatening his personal space.  Did I mention-it was early?  Apparently too early for me to be acting as if we were about to have a friendly neighborly chat.

I do bake cookies to thank people,
but I think Tank is the one who owes
 the thanks here!
Since I hadn't bought tickets to attend the NIU game, I had glossed over those band emails.  (As it happens, I will do just about anything these days to not have to read an entire band related email).  I was unclear what time the game was supposed to start, so I didn't know if this neighbor was departing for NIU at that particular moment.  Nope, he was just dropping a younger son off at a boy scout commitment.  They planned to leave for the college game around noon.

I texted Tank and let him know their ETA.  I informed him that it would be his job to locate them - not the other way around.  He believed that he would only miss one practice, but would be able to participate in everything else.

I tucked my cape back inside of my purse until the next time Tank's executive functioning problems interfered with life and I needed to play the hero.  Oh, and Tank had suggested in one of his text messages that I bake cookies for Mrs. Neighbor.  Really?  I should bake them cookies.  I feel like maybe I had done enough.

He texted me a few hours later.  'Can I text Mrs. Neighbor and ask her what time they are going to get here?'  Without hesitating, I texted him back: 'NO!'  

October 13, 2017

unbend this

Tank is our first kid to participate in high school marching band.  Eddie referred to Tank's choice as social suicide.  I know there are great kids in band.  I'm hoping Tank finds a group of great kids to befriend.  I told Eddie to zip it, because, hey - to each his own.

So, being a newbie band parent, I was a little surprised this summer to discover that Tank was expected to attend band camp.  Mandatory.  Yikes.  That was tough.  Tank runs a landscaping business and caddies during the summer - not to worry, he finds plenty of free time to eat mountains of food and leave wrappers, half eaten items, and dirty socks EVERYWHERE.  He wasn't excited to miss money making opportunities, but he was committed to the band.

Imagine my surprise when the emails from the band started filling my inbox.  Fun.  I had no idea that there were fees that needed to be collected.  Band parent booster club fees.  Funds for food during band camp.  There were band shoes that needed to be purchased.  They suggested the students look thru a box of used band shoes.  I laughed.  Doubting there were any size 15 band shoes floating around, I wrote a check for new shoes and begged Tank not to lose it.  

A few weeks after school started I learned that Tank needed to attend a band competition.  An entire Saturday blown.  Ouch.  Fortunately he relieved Coach and I from the duty of watching the aforementioned band competition.  So, this kid isn't all bad.

On a Friday afternoon a few weeks after Tank sacrificed his Saturday to compete with the band, he texted me from school.  'I dropped my flute during practice and it's bent.  I need it this weekend.  Please come and get it.  Take it to be fixed.'

It was true - he did require a flute.  This was hours before the kickoff of a weekend chock-full of band events.  I didn't even know where to take it.  I texted back, 'Can you still play it?'

'No.  It got bent.'  Yes, you mentioned the bending part, but can't you just bend it back?  I didn't actually type that.  I thought it though.  I didn't know if a place could fix a bent flute on the spot.  Can they just bend it back?  Can I just bend it back?  That might save a lot of trouble.  In the end, I thought best to borrow an unbent instrument and figure out a repair later.

My brother (click here to learn about my brother and his Irish music background, and well -more) explained that his concert flute was way too old for Tank to use.  He usually plays his Irish wooden flute.  He suggested that Tank ask his band director for a loaner or a spare part to substitute for the bent part.  See, I don't do 'instrument' talk, so this made sense to me.  I texted Tank to try that angle.  

Eventually I texted Ed, aka Tank's after school chauffeur.  I told him to drive Tank to Quinlin and Fabish.  We rent a fiddle from there, but I didn't realize until I did some investigating that they repair instruments - even those that they don't rent out.

Ed was overjoyed with this assignment.  He vented at me about how this flute ordeal was cutting into his Friday night plans.  It was 3:05. 

I'm a bad band parent - I don't even have a photo of my kid playing in the band.  I have no photo of the bent flute -I'm guessing Eddie would'be been happy to oblige if I had asked him to photograph the broken instrument before he dropped it off to be fixed..  This music stand and music books in our basement are the only evidence that I have to prove I have a kid who plays flute.  
The boys came home from the Quinlin and Fabish store without a flute.  Not surprising - the store kept Tank's to be fixed -  no on the spot repairs.  The band director didn't have a spare flute, so he tossed Tank a piccolo to borrow for the weekend.  Tank opened that case and gave it a whirl.  I begged him to put it away and NEVER, EVER make that kind of sound in my presence again. 

The home football game was a few hours away and Tank was supposed to march with the band.  The next day Tank was scheduled to travel to Northern Illinois University with the marching band to march during half time. 

If we didn't come up with a flute, maybe Tank couldn't attend the NIU event?  What a pity that would be . . . Coach and I were expected to get him to the high school at 5 am to allow the buses enough time to get to NIU.  Maybe I wasn't cut out to be a band parent.

October 11, 2017

Tank - visiting the dog house, his favorite hangout

As I mentioned the other day, Tank made me late for Reggie's soccer game.  I rarely watch an entire soccer game, but that's not the point.

Perhaps my need for organization in the kids' bedrooms stems from the current disaster area status of our first floor.  If you read my blog regularly, you know that order is not a standard in our home.  Dealing with a small bump out and a kitchen remodel has brought our state of disarray to a whole new level.  (even though this level was a choice we knowingly entered).  While I am wired to handle chaos and messy surroundings, this kitchen project has tested my tolerance . . . big time.

It's been hard to vacuum the kids' rooms lately.  The process of dumping clean laundry on the floor and picking thru it as one dresses in the morning has been perfected by my 14 year old son, Tank.  Unfortunately, he is not alone.  The others cover their tracks better.  Once I hound Tank about cleaning his room, he collects the mixture of clean and dirty laundry from the layers on the floor and tosses it unceremoniously into the laundry room.  I hate preparing to wash clothes when they are already folded.

I insisted that Tank be present while he and I sort his clothes into piles of:
     A.  clothes that no longer fit (a growing pile, since he is now 6 feet tall)
     B.  clothes he no longer likes
     C.  clothes he intends to wear

Complicated?  I think not.

Believe me, I had plenty of other ways to spend a Saturday morning.  At every turn, Tank disappeared from the room.  I ordered him back.  This task couldn't have been easier for him.  I held up items and asked whether it was A, B, or C.  In return for my time and effort, Tank rolled around on the floor moaning as if I was preparing to remove his internal organs thru his nose.  The thought crossed my mind.

Reggie was in their small room sorting his own clothes at the same time.  This may not have been the most well planned organizational system ever, but I was hoping the three of us in one space could kill two birds with one stone.  Perhaps the word 'kill' is a poor word choice when referring to time spent cleaning up my boys' room.

I was busy folding shirts into neat stacks, when I heard Reggie mumbling to himself.  'What's the problem, Reg?' I asked.  'I just had all of my clothes right here in a pile on the floor and now they are gone.'

Tank was sitting on the floor looking at his phone.  Um, hello?  I opened one of Tank's overstuffed drawers.  Low and behold, there was Reggie's pile.  In an effort to 'be done', Tank had scooped up everything on the floor and stuffed it into his drawer.  Right under my nose!  And my children wonder why I am a screaming lunatic.

Anytime I sent Tank to another room, he failed to return.  'Tank, go put these two sweatshirts in your mudroom locker.'  I repeated the direction multiple times.  Our house isn't that big, but he did get lost.  When Coach and I hollered for him, he claimed he was hanging the sweatshirts in his locker just as he was told.  How could that quick task turn into a 15 minute project?

I know - so distracting it's hard to  notice the two sweatshirts
tossed on the chair in the upper left corner.
Oh, I discovered the answer the next day.  Tank had obviously gotten sidetracked by food.  A common disorder among teen boys, I suppose.  Still- unacceptable!  Both sweatshirts were tossed on the floor in a corner of the dining room - where we currently have a mini-kitchen setup due to the construction.  They landed no where near his locker.

I begged Coach to get in Tank's face.  My threats weren't registering.  I needed reinforcements.  Coach got upset.  Tank moved a tad faster.  'Tad' might be too generous a term.

Reg wrapped up his portion of the clothes (now that they had been removed from Tank's over-zealous clutches) and raced off to his game with Coach.
He obviously hasn't opened this drawer since
our  my work.  It's too neat.  Cold
weather is coming and sadly, he will
 eventually open his long sleeves drawer.

Tank's portion of the job wasn't quite complete when he announced that he needed a ride to the high school.  The marching band was attending a performance at a college a few hours away.  Last I heard the band members were expected to report to the school at 1:30.  It was noon.

Apologies for not taking a before pic. 
This is a few weeks later -
Reggie's shelves are neat and Lad's are a little
messed up, but nothing crazy. . . yet!

I could've signed up to have 'reminds' sent to my phone in the form of text messages from the band director.  I passed on that opportunity.  Tempting as it was.

I had no other information to go on.  Tank insisted that the band director decided that they needed to leave earlier.  Looking back, I probably should've asked to look at the departure change text that he claimed was on his phone.  Instead, I dropped Tank off at the high school and headed over to Reggie's game.  Late.

That night when the bus was incredibly late returning from the band event, a neighbor (not Mary Ann - so many Mary Ann posts, it was hard to choose which to highlight here) texted me.  She receives the band 'reminds' and she got a text that the bus was going to be later than anticipated.  We owed her a favor, so I offered to bring her son home when we got Tank.

That's when I thought to ask her, 'Hey, did the bus really leave around noon today?'  Nope.  The band bus departed at 1:30 as originally planned.

Yep, that's right.  My snake of a son would rather sit in an empty school for over an hour than assist me in organizing his closet and drawers.  OK, so he's not a snake.  He's a dog . . .who loves the doghouse.

(As an aside, tonight I picked Tank up from his work on the school's play - he is doing technical stuff.  Our conversation made me think that perhaps my blog should be re-titled 'Life with Tank' . . . stay tuned for more Tank stories in the near future).

October 9, 2017

Which coach is my Coach?

I got to Reggie's soccer game late yesterday - thanks to Tank.  I have no problem arriving late or even missing some of my kids' sporting events.  It's the way it goes.  I wasn't fuming over being a tad late.  Tank WAS in the dog house though for what he did to make me late.  When I arrived just after the first quarter, something odd happened.

I couldn't identify which of the coaches on the sidelines was Coach.  Coach is coaching Reggie's soccer team.  He is coaching Curly's team as well . . . thus the title assigned to him for my blog.  In the morning I attended Curly's game.  I didn't really remember what Coach was wearing, but it was a bit breezy out in the morning and he had been sporting a navy jacket.

I typically sit in the bleachers and chat with other parents while managing to stay tuned into Reggie's action on the field.  I rarely shy away from a social opportunity, and I'm always glad to see another parent that I enjoy talking to during the game.

I was describing Tank's latest infraction to another parent.  When I glanced across the field, I paused.  There was another man standing on the opposite sidelines near the other coaches.  I hesitated, because I thought I had already identified Coach as the tall, skinny guy talking to a few kids further down the field.  Now this other tall, skinny guy caused me to do a double take.

The other mom who was learning all about life with Tank commented that the other team's coach was built an awful lot like Coach.  They both were wearing khaki shorts and a tan baseball hat.  The one that we thought was the other team's coach was wearing a navy jacket.  That was what was throwing me off.  I thought for sure that he wasn't my husband, but Coach had been wearing a navy coat that morning.

This field is hardly an Olympic size stadium.  We were sitting on standard bleachers not far from the sidelines at a field behind a local junior high.  The row of family members sitting in portable chairs was about 10 feet in front of us.  Hey, if bleachers are available I don't bother to pull a portable chair out of the trunk of my car.  I mentioned that I get there late frequently, right?  Not worth the effort to pull out a chair.  Besides, the chairs that we own are falling apart.  It takes a good deal of concentration to prop up the poles in the right corners of the broken down arm rests so that the darn thing doesn't topple over.

AND I was wearing my contact lenses.  I can't be trusted to operate a motor vehicle without my corrective lenses or eye glasses.  Arriving to the game at all would have been a Mr. Magoo caliber small miracle, if I managed to leave the house without contact lenses.

So there we sat, trying to decide which coach I was married to for 21 years.  Just as I decided that the guy in the t-shirt with no jacket was my hubby, the whistle blew for half time.  That's when the 'other coach' approached Reggie and started pointing around the field giving him soccer tips.  Now that was a new approach to coaching.

Then my mom friend alerted me that there was another coach on the sidelines standing closer to the opposing team.  Wait a minute.

Then the mystery coach in the navy jacket started to walk along the sidelines.  His mannerisms were very similar to Coach's.  By now other folks sitting in the bleachers had started to weigh in on which of the similarly dressed, tall, thin men was my husband.  Navy jacket coach continued to walk around the field towards us.  Another dad called out, 'Hey, isn't that your older son?'

OK, not my best art work.  I was obviously too lazy to grab a soccer ball from the garage, so my version is a geometric nightmare.  My apologies.  My kids had no school today, but the kids I sit for were here anyway.  It was 80 degrees out.  Tank had a doctor's appointment.  The kids had friends over.  I made a quick trip to the grocery store.  I used the gas grill for the first time ever.  I whipped up my infamous 7 layer taco dip for a Chicago Bears Monday night football block party.  I did a few load of laundry.  AND I've been without a kitchen for about 7 weeks.  Days like this the blog suffers.  I contemplated making Coach and Ed dress in their matching clothes and posing for a photo, but that was NEVER going to happen.  Oh, and I must note that no one in my family wears a baseball hat at this weird angle.  Artist interpretation - or just crappy drawing, you decide.  Wow, this caption is almost as long as an entire blog post! 
I bust out laughing.  I was slightly embarrassed.  Eddie was the dude that was dressed similarly to Coach, built the same, and carrying on with the same mannerisms.  Aha!  It made perfect sense that he had pulled Reg over for some added instruction.

That morning when Ed headed to the golf course to caddy, he informed us that there would be a 27 hold tournament.  I didn't expect to see him for hours.  Apparently, the caddy master asked him to caddy for a group that was teeing off before the tournament began.  Since he finished early he decided to come and watch a few minutes of his little brother's game.

If Ed hadn't been wearing the navy jacket, his Kelly green polo shirt that he wears as his caddy uniform would've tipped me off.  Ed is thinner and a tad shorter than his father, but I hadn't noticed just how similar Ed is to Coach now that Ed has reached 6 foot 3.  Coach is 6 foot 4.

Ed and Reggie are cut from the same cloth to a point of ridiculousness.  Now, I see that the Ed/Reggie real-live action figure is crafted exactly after their dear old Dad.

Tank, on the other hand, is most often associated with resembling his father.  If he had escaped his dog house and attended the game, he could've made the game of 'Guess who is who' on the sidelines  even more interesting.

October 6, 2017

Am I a parent standing in a forest?

glimpse of my list - not written in invisible ink, mind you!
Something is happening- or, I guess a better way to put it is that NOTHING is happening.  I mean, I guess this has been the situation for awhile.  Judging by the lack of response I get from my offspring, I fear that I have become invisible.  Perhaps I'm disappearing, but my scale tells me otherwise.  Could it be that only the neighborhood dogs are able to hear my voice?  I doubt it, since my voice is anything but high pitched.  So, I'm left to wonder . . . WHY CAN'T ANYONE HEAR ME?

Of course my issues are limited to my home.  When I am at the grocery store or my workout classes, those around me have no problem interacting with me.  They converse with me and manage not to ignore me.  Interesting.

Am I alone?  Do you also hate being tuned out in your own home?

Over the last 24 hours I feel like things have escalated.  Last night when I left to drive Curly to dancing, I left a list on the kitchen table of a few things I expected the kids to do.  I delivered audible, verbal remarks to accompany said list.  I arrived home and was instantly frustrated.

recycling overflowing - ignored by Ed.
Eddie had NOT taken out the garbage, or put the sheets back on Curly's top bunk.  I wash sheets on Thursdays (OK every other, sue me), so I washed the sheets yesterday.  I made a point to put the sheets back on Mini's bed myself.  When I climb the stairs multiple times a day, Mini's unmade bed is the first thing I see.  I am obviously NOT a neat freak, but I feel like it would take her less than 10 seconds to toss the blankets in the general direction of the pillow.  Instead, what I normally see is a giant tangle of sheets and blankets and quilt in the middle of her bed.

Mini's unmade, but better than normal bed
I have shared a bed with Mini before during a hotel stay, AND on those occasions I have feared for my life.  Knowing that she is a tumultuous sleeper, explains why her bed is always in such disarray.  Still, when I put her sheets on her bed I try to tuck the everything super tight and urge her to stay in the sheets so the morning routine is simple.  Futile effort.

At 9:30 pm after I arrived home from dancing, Eddie had to put the sheets on the top bunk for Curly even though Mini (who has an injured foot at the moment and didn't attend dancing class) was already sleeping in the bottom bunk.

This girl likes her sleep - what can I say?  She is her mother's child.  I typically make her breakfast and prepare her sack lunch for school in order to speed up Sleeping Beauty's morning routine.  Once high school comes, I will officially retire from being Mini's personal assistant.  The point is, how can she not have 10 seconds to toss her blankets across her bed when her other morning tasks are minimal?

This morning she told me her bed was made.  Imagine how annoyed I was when I saw that it wasn't actually made.  I noted that it did look better than most days, but still!  I had to pick her up during lunch for a doctor's appointment for her foot.  I glared at her, 'The bed?  You said you made it.'  She shrugged, 'Oh, yeah, but it didn't look as bad as usual, so I thought that counted.' 

Tank was supposed to unload the remaining Costco shopping boxes like cereal and paper products from the back of the Great White van.  After I hollered at Ed for no sheets, no garbage, I yelled at Tank and ordered him to get up off the couch and unload the van. 

The next morning when Coach left for work, he discovered that the garage door was left up all night and the light was on in the garage.  Way to go, Tank!  Later that afternoon when I opened the cargo doors of the van, I discovered that much of the Costco 'big stuff' that I had asked Tank to unload was still in the car.  SERIOUSLY?! 

Mini was supposed to organize the mud room - truly a tall order.  I've been trying to get kids to commit to what sweatshirts they want to keep in their locker for a few weeks.  In addition to the mud room, I requested that she link kids with hoodies and then get hoodies hung up in lockers. 

I practically tripped over the mounds of sweatshirts -divided into piles- but still on the front hall floor unclaimed.  No one is really utilizing the mudroom right now because the house is under construction and it is off the beaten path, so my front hall looks like a bomb went off.  Always.  Mini did tackle the mudroom.  There was evidence of this by the laundry basket size (oh, she didn't grab an empty laundry basket and fill it - let's not get carried away) pile of discarded clothing in the work-in-progress kitchen.  She had collected socks, boxers, shorts, t-shirts, and every other kind of clothing you can imagine . . . from the mudroom. 

Tank asked me recently if I knew where his t-shirt went from his Washington DC trip.  It could be anywhere.  Literally.  Nothing would surprise me.

I guess I need to hand out more punishments rather than tax my vocal chords any further.  No one is listening and the louder I shout, the more devoted my offspring seem to become at tuning me out.  What is the saying, 'If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?'  Is it just me, or do you feel like, 'If a parent tells a kid to do something but no one bothers to listen, is the parent standing in a forest?'  If that is the case, you don't want to be in the forest with me when my Irish temper kicks in - because I will push a tree down.  The end of my rope has been reached.