April 18, 2018

attacking mandarin oranges

Tank is not willing to pack fresh fruit in his lunch for school.  He will sometimes bring a banana, but I have very little confidence that he actually eats it.  His argument is that the fruit is warm or mushy by the time he eats it.   In case you are a mom (and therefore uncool by default) then you must be aware of the trend:  it is dorky to take a lunchbox to high school.  Thus begins the viscous circle:  no lunch box, no cold packs, no fresh fruit (at least for Tank).

My 6 foot 1 freshman isn't a huge fan of apples.  This is ludicrous because his mother buys the most expensive, delicious apples known to man.  The checker at the grocery store frequently asks me if I seriously intend to spend $40 or more on a weekly supply of apples.  I don't mind spending more for something that is wonderfully delicious AND healthy.  Where else can you get that?  If you haven't sampled a Honey-crisp apple - what are you waiting for?

Tank's before school breakfast routine doesn't include fresh fruit either.  His morning consists of us begging him to find socks to wear, to not get 'caught up' with the tots I sit for, and to just make progress in general to be ready on time.

There IS ample fresh fruit available in our house.  Honest.  This kid's lack of fruit intake has been a sticking point with me for most of the school year.

I packed cans of mandarin oranges for our trip to Scotland.  Unlike Tank, I don't like to be without fruit.  While I was in the shopping-for-Scotland mode, I picked up a few of those single serving cup packs of mandarin oranges to see if Tank would take that to school.  My purchase was a big hit.  Tank began to take a fruit cup in his sack lunch.

On Sunday I ran to Costco.  I purchased a case of mandarin orange cups that would be perfect for Tank to toss in his lunch.  Buying in bulk is the way I roll whenever possible.

My mistake was that I didn't open the thick cardboard box that held the 20 plastic cups of mandarin oranges.  I foolishly left the box on the pantry shelf.  Tank struggled to open the box himself.  Mornings around here resemble feeding time at the zoo.  Chaos.  I was only vaguely aware of Tank's 10 second attempt to rip open the box of mandarin oranges.

I mass produce peanut butter and jelly sandwiches most mornings and if I am not careful I lose track of who needs what.  I have been known to gift one kid with two sandwiches and less fortunate kid with none.  The tots I sit for eat PB&J, so I make theirs in the morning while I am making the sandwiches for my gang - then I set them aside in a Tupperware container or an empty bread loaf bag.  Recently I stuffed the tot lunch in an empty bread loaf bag.  When I cleaned up the kitchen I absentmindedly put the bread bag back in the bread drawer.  I enjoy creating little scavenger hunts for myself.  The idea behind the one-time-sandwich-making assembly line is to simplify my life.  Imagine my excitement in searching for the previously prepared sandwiches at noon that day.  Baby crying offered the perfect backdrop for me as I dug thru the trash and shuffled paperwork around on the counter before I opened the bread drawer.

These are the surviving mandarin orange cups.
  My advice on opening the box with a steak knife: 
Don't try this at home, all you impatient kids
out there who are suddenly so
committed to eating fruit you
can't control yourself.
Sorry, I digress.  Just trying to paint a vivid picture of our morning fun.

Before I could stop him, Tank-who wasn't making any progress opening the box with his bare hands and noodle arms- attempted to open the box with a steak knife.  He punctured the side of the box with the knife.  Ed was sitting at the island eating his breakfast, 'What are you doing, you idiot?!'  I grabbed the box from Tank.  Too late.  It was now leaking mandarin orange juice.

I ripped open the box and we found the leaker.  Tank put that one in a plastic bag for his lunch.  I made him rinse the rest of the containers off in the sink and spread them out on a towel.  He also had to address the juice leakage issue that was all over the floor.

I won't pretend that a string of bad words didn't escape my mouth.  It just happens that way.

Later in the day when I accidentally knocked one of the orange cups off its drying perch on the towel (because I wanted to make Tank come home and put them all in the pantry), the lid popped open from the force and it splattered all over the floor.  More of a mess to clean up.  And of course, more bad words.

I left that one off to the side, so I would remember to make Tank put it in a baggie for his lunch.  Curly hopped off the bus and promptly picked up the cup with the compromised lid and asked me if she could eat it.  She, of course, asked me this while she was waving it around at me.  It leaked all over the floor AGAIN.

This is the thanks I get for trying to get my kid to eat healthy.

April 16, 2018

bouncing bleachers: offensive or acceptable?

As I type this, I am sitting on metal bleachers at Reggie’s travel basketball game.  Have you been there?  Not the travel game, but the bleachers.  Agony.  I do have one of those bleacher seats, but I never remember to bring it.    

Coach is out of town this weekend helping teach a class near DC.  He is scheduled to get back around midnight Sunday.  I will be begging for some physical therapy work from him after my time on these god forsaken bleachers.  There must be a better way to seat tall people during a sporting event.  I know, I know, I can always stand - and I probably will as soon as I am done describing this mom to you.  

Reg was supposed to have 3 games.  The tournament is only 11 minutes from home, so when they cancelled the middle game (first I rejoiced) we ran home for a bit.  Nothing like finding time for a grocery run to make my day. 

Anyway, I found a spot on the bleachers just before Reggie’s first game.  I tried the front row because there was no one sitting there, but when I realized that my knees were going to serve as handy chin rest I opted to move up a row.  A mom and her 10 year old daughter sat behind me.  A couple of teenage-ish guys sat far enough down from them that someone could have fit between them.  

Now when I say teenage-ish, I mean I have no idea how old these two guys were.  I do know that they liked to use sound effects in conjunction with their cheering.  Like:  low groaning as a kid dribbles expertly thru a bunch of defenders - when he shoots and scores the groaning is followed by a quick side comment to the buddy- along the lines of ‘no he di-int!’  They wore their baseball hat brims wide and flat and their clothes baggy.  They were too skinny for me to gauge their age with much accuracy.  Could have been college age - I guess.  Or high school.  They were kind of punky looking, if I was trying to classify them.  But I wasn't.  They sort of reminded me of the love interest of the fake sister in the movie 'We're the Millers', if you are looking for a visual.  And if you haven't seen that movie, and you are looking for a laugh - I highly recommend. 

Anyway I was watching the game.  I noticed that the bleachers were bouncing.  Someone was tapping a foot or something.  A bit later the mom behind me leaned over the empty spot next to her daughter where no one was sitting.  She got the attention of the punky guy closest to her, 'Excuse me, excuse me.  Can you stop bouncing please?' 

OK, so she was polite.  Big deal.  I found her request RUDE.  Coach often has one leg that is in constant motion.  So, perhaps I am immune to the annoyance it can cause.  I still COULDN'T believe that she told him to stop bouncing his leg.  This is a public place where people sit.  If you don't like the arrangement - get up and go find a better seat, or stand. 

Yes, I drew her wearing a tiara.
  She wasn't wearing one at the game.
 I'm assuming that she just left
it to be shined by her staff that day. 

The lines around the guy's leg are
supposed to denote movement. 
Cut me some slack.  I sat in very
uncomfortable bleachers
 for a big part of my day.
Travel sports teams are weird.  Since the teammates are not from our school- I don't know who they are.  I also don't know who their parents are.  Eventually I deduced that this woman's kid was on the other team.   I sit at travel games and cheer for my kid.  When I am not cheering, I can't help but people watch.  This game offered some very entertaining peeps. 
After punky kid was told to stop bouncing, he told her, 'Oh sorry.  My bad.'  Then he leaned over to punk buddy, 'What?  Who is SHE?!'  He said it in the same low, cartoon-like, whispery voice that he used when he was adding sound effects to the action in the game. 

Part of me wanted to turn around and agree with him.  'Yeah, who IS she?  What is up with that?'  I didn't do it.  Sometimes I opt not to cause a scene.  This woman must have been a princess somewhere.  People must bow down and worship her.  These punky kids were entertaining.  They were enjoying the game.  They weren't bothering anyone.  A bouncing leg - please.  Oh, she aggravated me. 

I think I would only have considered scolding someone next to me in the bleachers if they were swearing profusely in front of young children.  Not that it would have both
ered my children, because they live with me.  A potty mouthed mother.  If I sit down next to someone with horrible body odor, I don't tell them to leave.  I choose to stand up and go somewhere less offensive. 

What would tick you off enough to tell someone to 'quit it' in the bleachers?  And have you gotten up the nerve to do so?  Please share!

April 14, 2018

Do eyebrows grow back?

Tank and Eddie had an early dismissal on Tuesday.  Slightly early.  They left school at 2:00 and worked out at our top-notch health club.  To be clear, we would never belong to this place if Coach's physical therapy clinic wasn't in the same building.  The club offers Coach (and our family) a free membership - which is why he can NEVER, NEVER, EVER quit his job or piss off the people who grant him the free membership, because that would suck.  It's a pricey place. 

Coach finishes work early on a Tuesday, so he ended up working out after work.  His workout overlapped partly with the boys' workout.  He arrived home a bit before they did.  Because let's face it, the boys are interested in playing basketball, swimming, lifting, etc.  Coach is more into a 1 hour cardio workout, a shower, and being done.

When Coach arrived home, he talked to me for a few minutes.  Then he asked me if Tank had called me.  He followed that up with 'Did Tank send you a picture of himself?'  No and no.  'Wait till you see what he did to his face.'  OK, WHAT?!  Who says that to a mother?

Apparently, Tank was lifting weights.  It is true that I do make fun of him for having noodle arms when he plays basketball. 

After his basketball games I was always like, 'What is the deal with your arms?  You are the tallest kid out there.  You should be out-rebounding EVERYONE.'  Instead if, let's say, an opponent grazes the air particles that surrounds Tank's arm it causes Tank's arm to waiver and wiggle.  He doesn't have the muscles to hold his position and GRAB THE DAMN BALL.  (Don't even get me started on what happens when someone throws their arms up using utter strength and collides with Tank's noodles.  It's mind blowing). 

In case you haven't figured it out by now, it is not a total cakewalk being a Shenanigan.  We are not about to beat around the bush.  We don't overthink giving someone feedback - particularly if they aren't giving an athletic activity their all.  So, I may have suggested that he lift something besides a bag of chips or whatever available junk food he can get his meat-hooks on.  I did not mean to imply that he lift weights without supervision.  Tank can't put his laundry away without supervision.

This is 24 hours later. 
It doesn't look so bad in this photo. 
There is definitely some
eyebrow missing though. 
I tried to rotate this thing,
but this is the best I could do. 
Computer is fighting with me,
and winning.
Apparently, he was benching.  He tried to place the bar back on the stand (Forgive me for not using the proper terminology here.  Other than 'benching' - that word I have heard tossed around by my guys).  The bar was not securely in the stand.  Tank thought it was.  The bar dropped on one side and grazed his face.  Some part of the bar sheered off a chunk of Tank's skin above his eye and thru his eyebrow. 

Coach explained that Tank showed up at his PT clinic just before Coach was going to walk across the hall to start his workout.  Tank was holding a towel to his face that was covered in blood.  Coach dressed his open wound and scolded him for not being more careful.  His office manager, who is like family, got a chuckle out of Coach's lack of empathy.  Coach turned to her and said, 'Yeah, well trust me he isn't going to get any sympathy from Ernie.'

This is true.  I questioned his safety procedures when lifting.  Then I expressed my concerns that his bushy eyebrow would grow back.

Tank on the other hand was very pumped up about going to school on Wednesday.  He was concocting various violent and impressive scenarios about how his face was injured.  I have no doubt that he convinced classmates of something nutty.  I sometimes wonder if he really attends
class.  I imagine that he walks around 'working' the place.  Greeting people.  Joking with them.  And now - showing off his partially missing eyebrow. 

April 12, 2018

not my favorite repair man

The appliance guy came back because the parts he ordered were in.  Just as in the Monty Python movies, there was much celebrating.  Celebrating by family members, because we got chills anticipating ice.

The guy showed up and asked me for the flap door thing that Tank broke off of the interior of the freezer when it still smelled like a new appliance.  I was confused.  Tank broke it.  I didn't still have it.  I threw it away. 

The man laughed.  He laughed a lot.  I frowned.  He informed me that the broken flap door thing had tiny screws in it that he needed to install the new flap door thing.  Why did he find this funny?  This flap door thing offers nothing but aesthetic value to the inside of the freezer.  Even though the part might not be necessary for the freezer to function, I hated to have a part missing this early on in my new freezer ownership. 

He sighed (when he was done laughing at what seemed like my expense).  'I'm not sure I can order the screws for the new flap door.'  If that is the case, why was he laughing???!!!  I instinctively glanced at the garbage bin where I had tossed the door after this guy's last visit weeks ago.  Of course the garbage was taken out several times since then. 

I found it hard not to scream.  If I saved everything my kids broke over the years, I would be featured on some hoarding show.  It baffled me.  He took a picture of the broken door on his last visit, but he never instructed me to keep the broken part.  My new kitchen is more spacious, but I have yet to designate a cabinet:  'storage-for-broken-stuff'.  With this crew, I suppose I shouldn't rule a cabinet with that label.

Then it got real infuriating.  'Well, I need to come back anyway.  I need to order another part for the ice maker.'  How could this be?  I cannot for the life of me remember what else he needed to order.  What I do remember is wondering if anyone had ever threatened to shove this guy into one of the freezers that he was fixing. 

The white piece that looks like a wall
and has 'Thermador' printed across
 it is the swing door thing
 that hides the ice maker parts.
It also hides some of my hidden cookies,
which Tank discovered and in his haste -
broke off the door. Beneath it is ICE. 
Then on Wednesday it happened.  The stars aligned.  My least favorite fix it guy arrived.  Coach came home from work fairly early, so I raced off to Costco because I was starving and in need of groceries.  I slipped away just as the guy started tinkering with the freezer.  I thought it best that I not be in the same building as Mr. You-Threw-Something-Away-And-It-Struck-My-Funny-Bone, because inevitably he would announce that he needed more parts. 

When I got home, I opened the freezer.  A new aesthetic flap door thing hung in place.  So he had no trouble ordering the screws.  Hooray!  Coach told me that he had instructions to empty the ice cubes in the morning.  After that, the ice cubes could be ingested.  I was given these same instructions back when Mr. Joker played a Jedi mind trick on me. 

I was skeptical, but sure enough in the morning . . . ICE.

April 10, 2018

feed me, damn it

Yesterday was one of those days when I just couldn't find enough to eat - or more specifically food that I WANTED to eat.  My workout class was incredibly intense - thus ramping up my appetite.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays I workout crazy early.  At least to me it is crazy early.  Basically any time that interferes with a time that I COULD be sleeping, is crazy early.  Or perhaps I am just plain crazy for working out and forgoing sleep.

The bummer about my 5:45 Wednesday class is that the studio gets very full very quickly.  In order to get a spot on the floor, I aim to get there by 5:35 am. The basketball court where the class gathers on Tuesdays at 6 am is more spacious.

The silver lining when I lost my license for 7 weeks a few years ago is that I discovered these early workout classes.  (A neighbor agreed to drive my sorry ass to workout, but she worked out very early).  Have you not read about all the no-license stuff?  It was one of those things . . . not funny in the moment, but time plus a few blogging posts, and bam - turns out it was pretty comical.  Check it out here, here, here, here, here, and here.  There are layers and lots of stories associated with my temporary loss of driving privileges.

Getting back to my severe hunger mode . . . we did a ladder workout on Wednesday.  The instructor told us to do 25 crunches and 25 push ups and then run a few laps.  She added 5 increments each time and eventually decreased the amount we were doing.  Thus moving down the ladder.  I think we moved back up the ladder too, but everything started to blur.  I mentioned - this was early in the morning, right?  By the time we were done she estimated that we completed 150 push ups.

I am NOT a fan of push ups.  I am also not a fan of instructors that announce 'work at your own pace'.  I am in pretty decent shape, but I was always the last one to finish a set of exercises.  It's not like anyone waited for me to finish, so I was in constant catch-up mode.  Yes, that means that I shaved off a few push ups here and there.  Sue me.

A workout like that is great, except that I can't find enough to fill my pie hole for the rest of the day.  Yeah, yeah - I know protein.  I start there but could easily swallow my kids' entire stash of hostess products.  Total no-no for me.

Since being diagnosed with Celiac disease on a very dark day in May of 2015, I have the occasional situation when I just want to eat something on the 'OFF LIMITS' list.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I will be honest.  It sucked.

I realized late in the day that I hadn't eaten my afternoon apple.  Shoot.  How could I have skipped such a treat?

People, I have early morning gluten free oatmeal loaded with craisins and granola so I can pretend it doesn't taste like baby food.  Then I have scrambled eggs and a grapefruit.  I make a kick ass cob salad for lunch and chase that with a yogurt.  Late afternoon I award myself with an apple.  I was dipping it in peanut butter until that started to show on the scale.  Dinner is usually meat, potatoes, and veggies.
This is now in my freezer. 
I have eaten gluten free pizza before.
 It makes no sense to save the leftovers.
  Leftover gluten free pizza tastes like dirt.

Exciting stuff.  See why I occasionally get desperate for MORE?

Good or bad, while in severe starvation mode I ran to Costco.  They were sampling gluten free pizza.  I generally don't eat gluten free pizza or pasta or anything that isn't gluten free naturally, but I sampled it.  It was tasty and I fell into the Costco trap and bought it.  On Good Friday a few weeks ago, I ate a salad while surrounded by the  awesome aroma of pizza that the rest of the family was stuffing in their faces.  Instant grumpy mommy.

Well bad-mood-from-hating-my-food no more.

Look for this box in
your Costco freezer.
 I don't get any $
 for endorsing this -
 just the satisfaction
that I've introduced
 something yummy
 and healthy to other
gluten free eaters.

Yummy muffin!
I discovered a delicious treat by Garden Lites while loading my cart with $380 worth of groceries.  Banana chocolate chip muffins.  Gluten free.  Amazing and healthy!  They weren't even sampling them at Costco.  I just stumbled on them by my big-girl self.

Eddie is the health food guru in these parts.  He inspected the box and gave me a thumbs up.  He was impressed that one muffin didn't count for like 98% of daily carbs or anything sneaky like that.  I still had the crumbs on my face from inhaling my second muffin in 2 minutes, when I asked for his blessing . . . 'Is it a big deal if I eat like 2 in a day?'  Eddie forbid it.  Damn.
Muffin nutrition label. 
Main ingredient is zucchini.

I mean when you kick yourself for forgetting your apple treat, you know you are just too damn deprived.  Thanks to another blogger (themorethemessier), I have been indulging lately on Senor Rico rice puddings.  Probably not great for my waistline, but it's done wonders for my disposition.

The kids know to keep their mitts off of my stash of generously over-sized 'single' servings of rice pudding.  They cross me and their Hostess supplier will cut them off!
This is a mighty generous portion of rice pudding.
 Not that I'm complaining!

April 8, 2018

cleaning products that are foreign, combined with crew that is foreign to cleaning

I do request help from the other household members to assist in cleaning the house from time to time.  I swear I do.  Are you familiar with the saying, 'If I don't do it myself, . . . ?'

Coach knew that I wanted to return from Scotland and be surrounded by tidy, clean rooms.  This is asking a lot, because our home rarely reaches clean and tidy status when I haven't been out of the country- so perhaps my hopes were a tad unrealistic.

While I was away, Coach took the three youngest boys to Florida for 4 days to visit his folks.  (Four days with his parents vs missing a connection in Heathrow . . . the visitors to Florida definitely drew short straws there.  I'd much rather feel exhausted and in desperate need of a shower in an airport for an additional 7 hours - bringing our travel time to close to 24 hours than spend 4 days with in-laws.  Just saying).  As much as I tried to get the house in perfect order before I left, the boys were still going to live here for a few days while we were gone.  Enough said.   

Just like the good ole days when I was about to head to the hospital to have a baby, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor moments before I left for the airport.

I came home from Scotland last week.  (I promise to go into more detail about that adventure later.)  Coach got home from Florida the night before we returned from Scotland.  He proudly shared with me that he had Eddie clean a few toilets before we arrived home.  Awesome news.  My goals had shifted a bit though.  All I really cared about was going to sleep in my own bed.

The night we landed I walked thru the kitchen until suddenly I was ice skating.  No joke.  I almost went down.  'OK, who spilled something here?'  Coach had a puzzled look on his face.  'How did you know?  I spilled some grease from the rotisserie chicken I bought at the grocery store for dinner.'  A few more days peppered with more impromptu ice skating episodes in that particular spot, and I finally asked HOW he cleaned up the grease.  'A wet paper towel.'  Duh.

Days after our much less eventful return to the USA, I instructed Mini to clean the kids’ bathroom.  It was technically Tank's turn, but he met up with his best friend's family and stayed in Florida when Coach flew home.  Living the dream.

My previous post about the issues I have with the kids' bathroom was written in order to make this post more streamlined and sensible.

Mini claimed to be done with her chore, and I cautiously entered my least favorite room in the house.  First of all, I'm no detective but small wads of toilet paper tucked behind the hand soap on the counter is a good indicator that Mini didn't REALLY do a good job of cleaning the bathroom.  Partial smears of toothpaste offered more evidence of a job not well done.  I was already fuming when I glanced at the mirror . . .

Folks, it was totally fogged.  I'm sorry I didn't snap a photo of it.  It would've been easy to take a photo and not worry about my reflection appearing in the photo, BECAUSE NO ONE COULD SEE ANYTHING IN THIS MIRROR.

Mini explained that there was a problem with the Windex.  Huh?  Since when is Windex at fault for this?  She showed me the bottle she used.  The whole bathroom smelled weird.  Clean, but weird.  The story unraveled and the truth behind Eddie's toilet cleaning and Coach's 'help' in assigning a kid a cleaning task came to light. 

This photo is frustrating me because
I don't think it is clear just how
 neon the 'fake' Windex is on the left. 
The 'Windex' bottle used was tampered with.  Eddie and Coach failed to find one of the 5 or 6 bottles of Windex stored in the pantry.  So they put their pea brains together, and voila.  They poured Mr. Clean - a tile floor cleaner - into an empty bottle of Windex.  Coach claims that they barely added any and that they diluted it with water.  Really?  Please see the attached photo, because this neon shit doesn't look diluted at all.

After the non-diluted concoction was created, Ed used it to spray toilets and clean them.  I'm not really that fussy about what is used to clean toilets - I mean Mr. Clean kills germs and stuff, but they failed to label the new cleaner they whipped up.  AND, Windex might be fine for toilet seats and rims, but I use comet to scrub toilets.  Again, I refuse to complain because a clean toilet is a clean toilet - but I just want to point out that 'Comet' is readily available.  Not sure why anyone felt the need to introduce Mr. Clean in a spray bottle to my abundant supply of cleaners

Here you can see the 3 cans of Comet.  6 good bottles of Windex.  Then front and center is the Mr. Clean floor cleaner alongside the neon Windex bottle that is apparently filled with Mr. Clean.  And hey, why not just pour some Mr. Clean on a rag and clean the toilet that way?  Why did we need to confuse everyone with a mysteriously neon Windex experiment?  

I guess I can also point out here that I have never been one to mop up spilled grease on a kitchen floor with a wet paper towel.  Thus the appearance of the jug of white vinegar in the above photo.  I guess this counts for exhibits A, B, C, and so on to support my case.  Even when they try to help . . . they are CLUELESS!!!!!  

April 6, 2018

top 10 reasons I steer clear of the kids' bathroom

Entering the kids’ bathroom is not an activity I take lightly.  It took a long time for me to come to terms with the fact that if they want to live like undomesticated, uncivilized beings from some low-budget sci-fi film, then avoiding the kids' bathroom (the hall bath) is my best coping mechanism.  

It is better for me if I don’t witness their filth.  It appears in many forms:  
     10.  their mislaid trash (perhaps the tiny, typical-bathroom-sized bin isn't wide enough for them and they regularly miss the target), 
     9.  their poor aim (speaking of missing the target . . . 4 boys, people.  FOUR), 
     8.  their overflowing garbage bin (why they refuse to grasp that they shouldn't empty large items into a tiny garbage pail is way beyond my comprehension.  Often times they clean their rooms - only when ordered multiple times, mind you- and they discard old birthday party loot bags, shoe boxes, mounds of partially used construction paper, broken sport bottles, and 83 wadded up Kleenexes into this tiny, meant-for-bathroom-trash-only bin),
    7.  their toothpaste spittoon competitions (unless there is a more reasonable explanation for toothpaste spit splattering ALL OVER one side of the mirror.  I do recognize that the lopsided spitting issue is most likely related to one culprit, but I have yet to install cameras-this is a bathroom, after all- to determine who this might be.  I have my theories), 
The ledge in their shower . . . 4 of these bottles are empty. 
4!!!  Guess how often they use 'Daily Shower'? 
I refuse to show you the overflowing garbage or the state of the
soap scum.  I have standards.  My children don't, but I do.
     6.  their empties (removing an empty shampoo or conditioner container from the shower stall is sac-religious to our offspring.  There could be 3 or 4 family-size plastic container shoved in the corner of their shower and NO ONE cares  Not proud.  Just saying), 
     5.  their 67 hairbrushes (yes, and only two hairbrush users), 
     4.  their littering of hair ties/scrunchies/bows (again, easily deduced -so finger pointing by the brothers is perfectly acceptable here, but like I've said - their tolerance for junk everywhere is incredibly high, so the boys never complain), 
I admit, this photo was taken awhile ago
- the situation has improved slightly. 
People those are all TOOTHBRUSHES!
 Not sure how clueless Coach and I must
 have been to allow this entire drawer to be filled
 with barely to overly used toothbrushes.
 Since this photo, I have made the
box of spare toothbrushes
 MUCH less accessible to the
 freaky children we live with. 
     3.  their new toilet paper roll -not replaced on the wall, but rolling around in the general vicinity of the toilet, 
     2.  their multitude of toothbrushes - no explanation, (Coach and I both insist that we were allotted one toothbrush when we were growing up, and by-golly it proved sufficient, we struggle with how our kids manage to lam on to more than one toothbrush and NEVER toss out the older one, AND quickly become unable to identify a toothbrush that was once theirs - who are these people and who invited them to live with such civilized parents?)
     1.  and their balled-up dirty laundry - heaps of it (because reaching a forearm thru the laundry room door directly next to the bathroom might show real attention to detail). 

That sums it up.  This is why I rarely enter their bathroom space.  I make them clean it.  It's a 6 week rotation when Laddie is home.  When he isn't, a turn pops up for each kid every 5 weeks.  Everyone has to do it.  I really thought they would start to be neater in general, knowing that in the blink of an eye they would be in there dealing with the grossness.  

Nothing deters them though.  NOTHING. 

April 4, 2018

the ice-man

Last week a man from the appliance store came to inspect the brand new freezer.  It was installed in late December, but hasn't made ice yet.  The contractor (the one who speaks like Gru from 'Despicable Me') suggested forever ago that the plumber should check the water line.  Maybe it wasn't set up properly.  Two months later while we waited impatiently to add ice to our cups of water, he arranged for the plumber to peek at the water line.  It was fine.
Top left:  bags of frozen cookies, directly beneath
 that is where there are little pegs where the
door that Tank broke is supposed to be.
 And at the bottom is our eternally empty ice bin.

So when the appliance guy (that I hesitated to call for 2 months while I waited for our contractor to get the plumber out here to verify that it wasn't his mistake - are you following this?  Think of how exausting this process is AND then imagine drinking tepid water while this was all happening) arrived, he messed with the freezer.

I showed him the small interior door that is supposed to hang down over the ice bin or something.  Tank broke it off when the freezer was less than a week old.  I explained that my 6 foot freshman wears a size 15 men's shoe and NEVER stops eating despite our famine like conditions.  I guessed that the plastic door was interfering with his ability to pillage thru my stash of homemade frozen cookies.  When he stopped chuckling, he ordered a replacement mini-door thing.  Then he told me that the ice would fill up overnight.  We were to toss out the first batch.  After that we could ingest the ice.  Yippee.

I texted Ed who is forever complaining about the lack of ice.  I have bought bags of ice several times, but that isn't really the point.  Chiseling away at ice is a bit of an annoyance when we have a top-of-the-line brand new freezer.

Without glasses of ice water accessible to him, Ed has taken to consuming many disposable water bottles a day.  He doesn't have the genetic makeup that allows him to toss the empties away.  I counted over 25 discarded water bottles littering his room one day.  That is not an exaggeration.  I think I was too upset to snap a picture as I collected his recyclable litter.

The morning after the freezer repair guy was here, I prepared to shovel the ice into the sink to make room for the fresh ice.  There were only a few cubes.  The digital readout was in messed-up mode again.  I called the guy back.  He casually mentioned that fact that he had ordered a new controller for my freezer -as if this was common knowledge.  Why, oh why, did he not mention our malfunctioning controller the day before?

That was cold, don’t you think?  (Pun intended).

April 2, 2018

little red hen and her sub-par bread

Coach likes to make fun of me for shushing everyone when I am baking.  When people walk into the kitchen and try to talk to me or are busy talking to each other loudly, I respond by counting my teaspoons, cups, eggs, etc. VERY LOUDLY.  It is my hope that they get the message.  Don't interrupt me while I am trying to keep track of what I am putting into my masterpiece.  Damn it.  

Coach laughed at me when I did this yesterday.  It was Easter Sunday.  I was making my very awesome and moist Irish soda bread.  It is my great-grandmother's recipe.  I know a lot of Irish people, and none of them have ever eaten Irish soda bread as moist and delicious as this recipe.  It always gets rave reviews.  I can't remember ever messing it up.   

I always double the recipe.  In our house, we can never have enough Irish soda bread.  Besides, I often share.  Two large mixing bowls were positioned in front of me.  I was counting 3 teaspoons of baking powder into each bowl.  

One (normal, whispered tone to myself) . . . Curly entered the room and started to talk to me. . . TWO (slightly louder, as if I was conversing with someone), . . . THREE (a modified shout).  

Coach scoffed at me.  'How hard is it to count to three?'  The rest of our offspring heckled me a bit about my need for silence so I can concentrate on my craft.  Hey, we all have our 'things', right?  My mind is always running.  There are always things I am trying to remember to do.  I have to block out my own remembering in order to give my full attention to baking. 

I felt a bit like the little red hen.  In my version, I am not asking anyone to help me thresh the grain into wheat.  Instead: 'Who will shut the Hell up, so I can bake some Irish soda bread?'  After being heckled, my little-red-hen-self pretends not to share the bread with them . . . that doesn't last long, because I can't even eat the heavenly bread anymore.  Damn celiac disease.   

When I poured it into the pans, I started to doubt whether or not I had messed it up.  It seemed too dry.  My two different one cup measuring cups were in the dishwasher.  Rather than open the dishwasher mid-cycle, I opted to use the large measuring cup that is really more for measuring liquids.  I prefer to dip the cup, and level the flour.  Instead I dumped the flour into the big measuring cup until it was at 3 cups.  

Now I wondered if it the flour was too packed into the cup.  Coach assured me that it would be fine.  If I thought it was too dry, why not add a bit of buttermilk?  What?  Why would I listen to him?  What does he know about baking?  Desperate times, call for desperate bakers to do stupid things, I guess.  There was only about a tablespoon of buttermilk left in the container.  I drizzled a bit in each of the pans and stirred it into the batter just before I popped it into the oven.
OK, I admit.  This picture doesn't
portray the 'messed up' look. 
I need a photo of a good batch of Irish
soda bread to prove how weird this
batch turned out.  I will add a photo of a
 perfect batch when I make more . . .
 in the meantime, use your imagination.
Coach's sister arrived for Easter dinner with her kids.  Her husband was stuck at home working on taxes.  I had teased him the day before while trying to entice him to join us.  I texted:  'Does warm soda bread speak to you?'  The oven buzzer beeped.  The bread was done.  I felt like someone punched me in the gut.  My bread was ruined.  It looked like albino raisin bread.  What the Hell?  

I tried to think back.  I couldn't recall putting the baking soda in the batter.  Had I skipped an ingredient while being heckled?

The bread was edible.  I couldn't sample the weird results.  Coach and Eddie insisted they liked it very much, maybe even better than the original.  Whatever.  I still sent a small plate of the colorless bread home with my sister in law.  With a note attached for her husband:  'Enjoy the sub-par soda bread.'

I wish my little-red-hen self had the last laugh, but I don't find baking mishaps funny.  'Do you want to make fun of me for concentrating on making YOU bread?  Do you want to help me eat the bread that didn't turn out?  Well, go right ahead.'

March 30, 2018

2 approaches to this teenage milestone

I remember it well.  I was in 6th grade.  I wore painfully-thin, white, Peter Pan blouses as part of my school uniform.  One day my Mom announced that it was time for me to wear a bra.  Fortunately I didn't have to be dragged to the mall for a fitting.  Really, there wasn't much to fit.  

I had older sisters, so Mom just instructed me on which bras would fit me.  There were a couple to choose from.  They were readily available in our shared underwear drawer.  My kids freak out about this concept.  A generic 'girl' drawer for underwear, socks, and bras.  Reach in and scoop something out.  Ownership wasn't a concept I was overly familiar with in childhood.

I did as instructed.  Wore the dang bra to school.  After school is another story.  The school year had just begun.  The weather was blistering.  I was a tomboy.  I couldn't wait to get outside to play.  I ripped off my uniform and the bra.  Then I carefully chose a thick red sweatshirt.  I thought I was so clever.  No one knew that I had ditched the bra.  I assumed that the rivers of sweat running down my face and body as I raced around in a sweatshirt on an 80 degree day raised no eyebrows either.  

I have written before about Mini's reluctance to graduate to a non-stretchy, non-pre-teen, non-sports bra.  I searched high and low in the fall for a bra that had a bit more 'meat' to it.  Mini has grown accustomed to the little strappy numbers in vibrant color that overflow her drawer.  I struggled to find something that would fall into the 'I-need-some-kind-of-a-cup' variety verses the 'I-just-need-an-extra-layer-of-fabric-here' version.  

The one that I ordered seemed a tad small when it arrived.  Maybe it was meant for an American Girl doll.  Mini thought it would do the trick.  Translation:  she wanted the conversation to end and this bra fell short of screaming 'Im-the-real-deal.'

As I was packing for Scotland, I pulled Mini aside.  I witnessed her changing and that bra was no longer cutting the mustard.  It was like two triangular postage stamps connected by some very taxed straps.  Let me clarify.  My kid still barely needs a bra, but the need is a tad more present than it once was.  She comes from flat chested stock, which apparently she is - as I have always been - grateful for.  

I think teenage girls are either excited for the next chapter of their life aka 'developing', or they aren't ready to welcome this kind of change.  Mini and my former teenage self fall into the latter category.  Am I missing another category?  Please enlighten me.

While the girls were at dancing class one night, I ran into Kohls and picked up a few 'real' bras.  It is a pity that there weren't any cup sizes that were 'barely A.'  Maybe I wasn't thorough enough in my search.  No time for that.

I made Mini try them on at home.  The first one was a toss up between a sports bra and a bra with a cup.  She rejected it the instant she put it on.  The cup was a bit too generous for her.  The next one was the real deal.  Plain and simple.  No underwire.  Very basic.  She tried to reject that one too, but I told her that we had found her next bra.  Discussion over.  
I've never been so confused that
I thought I should
look like the model on the bra tag. 
Golly, talk about setting yourself up
for a life of disappointment
 and frustration.  

She apparently has a fear that someone is going to accuse her of trying to exaggerate her cup size.  The cup on this one may be a bit spacious for her, BUT it will be perfect in the very near future.  Done.  

She was still trying to argue her point and she called out to me after I marched out of the bathroom.   'But I don't look like the model on the tag!'  Who does?  I informed her that it isn't necessary to be the same size as the model on the bra tag to be considered the correct size.  Then I had a brilliant comparison.  My good friend has a much larger chest than I do.  'Mrs. M is probably a D cup.  I am an A cup.  Just because I am not the same size cup as Mrs. M, doesn't mean that I shouldn't still wear a bra.'

In my rush to clean up the kitchen, I had overlooked the fact that our bra-size heated discussion had spilled over into the kitchen.  Eddie was watching a basketball game in the family room.  'OK, I think I might throw up now.'  Oops, sorry Ed.

March 28, 2018

what we don't know won't hurt us

Several weeks ago Laddie texted me to let me know that he was planning to attend the Eagles Superbowl parade in Philadelphia.  His college is in New York.  Coach and I were both like, 'Hard NO!'  We cited unpredictable winter weather for their 2 or 3 hour road trip and predictably crazy fans as our main reasons for requesting that he not attend.  

Ultimately he and his buddies (one of whom is from Philadelphia) didn't end up going, or that's what he wants us to believe.  I tried to trip him up afterwards by tossing out a text that read simply:  'How was the parade?'  I figured he and his pals still went and he just opted not to tell us.  I remember too well, the 'what your folks don't know won't hurt them' college philosophy.

Lad swears he didn't go.  He said that he and his buddies decided that the roads would be too icy.  Sounds entirely too sensible for a college mindset if you ask me.

Times are different now.  I think it is harder to get away with things.  

Last year when Lad was at school in Iowa, I noticed something unusual on our bank statement.  Our statement lists the details of Lad's college cash account, because that's how we have his account set up.  It makes it easy to transfer money.  I honestly never thought that it would be a way to track his spending.  Just never occurred to me.  There on the paper I could see that he had gotten cash out from a location a few hours away from his college campus.  

Can you say road trip?  I didn't bust his chops for it, because I was a college student once.  I enjoyed my fair share of road trips.

The first road trip I ever took was very early in my college career.  I was a freshman.  I had a cousin who was a freshman at the University of Illinois.  My girlfriend and I hung out with a couple of seniors from Notre Dame.  They were road tripping to U of I, and they invited us to go along.

I don't recall feeling the urge to get away from campus.  We had practically just arrived!  We were far from bored.  Still, we felt road trips and college went hand in hand.  An opportunity to do something fun was hard to pass up.  Plus, we didn't know that many freshman with cars.  

We went along and had a great time.  We stayed with my cousin and met our ride back at the predetermined meeting time the next day.  We didn't have a cell phone of course, so that was how we rolled.  Figuring things out in advance.

I made my cousin swear not to mention my visit, and my parents were none the wiser.  I suppose I could check Lad's bank statements to see if anything was purchased in Philadelphia at the time of the parade, but I think that sometimes what happens at college should stay at college.

My next memorable road trip was my last college road trip.  It was a little harder to pull off without anyone knowing it.  I tried, but did not succeed (more later).

March 26, 2018

unfinished business

I thought Lad's speeding ticket was a thing of the past.  Silly me.

Background:  Lad got a ticket over Christmas break LAST YEAR.  His court date got bumped to June, so he would be in town.  Well that turned into an ugly day.  Remember?  (If you haven't checked out my speeding ticket issues, I invite you to check them out here.  Full disclosure and all).

When he arrived home from New York for Christmas, I looked at him and had a momentary moment of clarity . . . these moments happen less and less.  'Hey, you needed to go back to court over Christmas break and provide paperwork to prove that you took the online class - oh my gosh!  When is that?  Do you have the paper?'

He acknowledged my statement, but brushed me off a bit with 'I got it, no worries' kind of approach.  

Yeah, right.

A week passed, and again I reminded him.  I ended up calling the court house to get the date he needed to be back at court.  I won't bore you with the details of me withholding my discovered info and how I allowed him to find the info himself - even though I had done some homework.  This mindset was met with typical, 'Come on - help me figure this out' panic mode.  It was so delightful that I was tempted to take back all of the gifts I had already purchased for him.  Oops there I go, details I promised not to bore you with.

Anyway, he eventually swore he had a handle on it.  There was some stressing about getting the paperwork off of his laptop because it was in need of repair and he wasn't sure how to print out the document.  Again, Coach and I kept our distance from the nonsense.  Of course I had insisted that he complete the online class before he returned to school in August.  He had assured me that it was taken care of.  Hmmm.

Lad texted that morning when he was done in court:  'I told you I would handle it.  It was all fine and I'm done.  No problems.'

I was trying to focus on the
 'snooze' button.
I'd post some photos
of tickets, letters
 from the court,
 and other interesting
documents - but I didn't
 feel like  digging them out. 
You know I've got 'em
Imagine my surprise after Christmas when the boys were arguing about who was going to have the car the next morning.  Eddie was confused, 'Lad says he has to go to court, but I need the car for practice.  I can't be late.'  
I spun around.  Lad just shrugged.  'Relax.  I just told him that so I could have the car.'  

The next morning I was up early.   In keeping with my New Year's /birthday resolution, I was sitting in the living room praying the rosary.  It was quiet and peaceful.  I was trying to order my thoughts and take stock of life.  The big boys' room is above the living room.  I kept hearing a guttural noise.  Moaning in the form of shouting but wordless kind of shouting only teen boys are capable of achieving.   

I do love this rosary.  Very pretty.  Very old.
  It was my great aunt's.
Finally I raced upstairs to see what in the world would cause two teenage boys who so love to sleep late to be half awake and groaning barely audibly at each other in deep-voice, sleepy-grunt mode.  

Ed informed me that Lad wouldn't turn off his alarm.  He just kept hitting snooze.  

Um.  Why the early wake up, Lad?  You guessed it.  He didn't have the paperwork in perfect order the first time he went to court, so he had to go back that morning.  He was serious when he told Ed he needed the car for court, but he didn't want Coach and I to know.  Unbelievable, but yet - totally believable.  

Thus the rosary.

March 24, 2018

Well, this blows

In case you aren't aware, my childhood hair style left much to be desired.  Using a hair dryer on a boy haircut was never really necessary.

Eventually in high school, I grew my hair long.  Some kind soul, I think it was the hairdresser of the woman that I babysat for, introduced me to a diffuser.  Thanks to Jill, a girl in my senior year homeroom I discovered hair products that were intended for my hair type.  This Jill chick offered me unsolicited advice about moose - it was the 80's after-all.  Fortunately, it wasn't rude 'I-can't-believe-you-wear-your-hair-like-that' advice.   Between hair products and the diffuser, my hair entered unchartered territory.  Normalcy.  

I've used a diffuser ever since.  My diffuser is the same one that my mom shipped to me when I was studying for a year in Ireland after my other one broke.  It attaches to most hairdryers.  

I wish I could remember when I purchased my hairdryer.  It was forever ago.  If I had to guess, I would say that I bought it around 15 years ago.  Over time the back vent thingie filled up with lint and it became less powerful.  The less powerful aspect complimented my gradually thinning hair.  I steer clear of the models that boast:  'fast dry.'  If my hair dries too fast, it resembles a bale of hay.  Not enough high-end hair care products exist to combat that.  

Vent thing that I jammed with dryer lint.  
A few years ago, I stupidly cleaned out the aforementioned rear vent thingie.  The dryer started working on overdrive.  It was like a wind tunnel right in my bathroom.  I panicked and went to the store to replace it.  I gave Mini my old, beloved dryer.  I used the new hair dryer once and hated it.  I quickly went to the kids' bathroom to swap the new dryer for my trusted one.  In the MINUTES that Mini had 'owned' it, she managed to make it her own.  She decorated it with colorful strips of duct tape.  Cute.

No matter.  In an act of desperation, I snatched some lint from the clothes dryer vent and stuffed it inside the rear vent thingie.  Worked like a charm.  Of course now I was the proud owner of a hairdryer covered in melting strips of duct tape combined with lumpy lint inserts protruding out the rear vent thingie.  But, it could still simulate a hair drying experience similar to a toddler blowing barely blowing out his birthday candles - minus the spit.

May she rest in peace . . .with the remaining
bits of colorful duct tape. 
There were a few cracks but she managed
 to function despite it all.
That old trusted dryer broke last week.  It certainly served it's time.  I can't help but mention that Mini had been using it on a regular basis.  And she dropped it.  The next day it started smelling like something was burning.  I'm not 100% sure why she wasn't using the newer hairdryer that I traded with her.  I think it was because she liked the diffuser that was attached to my antique version.  

I bought a replacement on Amazon.  I've used it twice.  It's OK, but it's not like my original.  My original is so ancient the writing has been rubbed off of it.  I believe it was a Conair.  

You wouldn't believe the matches that pop up when I search for a hairdryer to blow dry thin hair.  There are lightweight dryers, fast dryers, shiny-hair dryers.  Where oh where are the hairdryers that barely blow?

That's it.  This definitely blows.  

March 22, 2018

Thanks, Orbitz

Never could I have predicated that I would be able to blog while traveling, but here I am.  No photos, but you will have to use your imagination.  For this story, imagine me with a painfully tired, angry face.  I had some great posts lined up for your enjoyment.  I am going to try to sneak this one into the lineup.

We missed our connecting flight in Heathrow.  The itinerary only allowed us an hour and a half to depart our plane and get to the next plane.  Have you been to Heathrow?  Holy shit!  Not enough time.  Thanks, Orbitz.

Dad walks slow since he was thrown from the horse in Yellowstone a year and a half ago.  OK, slow is an understatement.  Probably wouldn't have made it to the flight even if he was a former Olympic gold medalist in track.  It was like a 20 plus minute walk from where we landed to THE BUS that we needed to take to get to our next terminal.  

The girls and I managed to deplane before Dad.  I ran in to go to the bathroom.  When I came out, I ordered the girls to go.  Mini claimed that she didn’t have to go.  ‘Go!’ I hollered.  A minute later a woman in a British accent started calling out to the crowd:  ‘Anyone for Glasgow?’  I got her attention.  She asked if I was part of the Shenanigan party.  None other than.  

She told us to hurry.  I said, ‘We are, but I had just sent the girls into the bathroom.’  ‘Oh, well you will probably miss it then,’ she shared.  Huh?  I was not having it.  I yelled into the bathroom door and insisted the girls get out immediately.  Curly went, Mini hadn’t.        

As we were racing I noticed that Dad was WAY behind us.  Shit.  We hung back until he caught up.  I told him to walk on the people mover and we walked briskly alongside him on the stationary floor.  At long last we reached the bus that we needed to take to get to our terminal.  The lady who summoned us at the bathroom had provided us with an express bus pass.  We walked up to the bus just as it was closing its doors.  The driver shook his head.  Express my ass.

The next bus arrived a few minutes later.  A short NINE MINUTE but ride later and we were at our terminal.  Oh joy.  When we were on the plane, the attendants handed out forms for people to fill out to get thru customs.  Since we had a connecting flight, the staff assured me that we didn’t need to do it.  Guess what?  We had to fill out the paperwork.  Wishing we had filled it out on the plane.  The clock was ticking.

In order to leave the terminal to go to security, we just had to scan our boarding passes.  The American Airlines employee at O’Hare had assured us that we just needed the one boarding pass.  We wouldn’t need another one for our Glasgow flight.  Wrong!

Another family was literally two steps ahead of us.  They had been on our flight from Chicago, where they sat about 5 rows in front of us.  We recognized them, because their twin daughters are also Irish dancers.  They were told that they missed the flight to Glasgow and that they got the last few seats on the 3:30 flight.

When we stepped up, the man sensed my frustration - probably because I shared it with him.  He instructed me not to stand alongside his podium.  Dad is a little hard of hearing.  He leaned a bit close to ask the man when the next flight would depart for Glasgow.  Mr. ‘Helpful’ told Dad not to get so close to his podium.  Then he pointed out that he was trying to look up the info.

There was only this one guy to help.  Anyone who ran up breathless and in need of a boarding pass required his assistance.  He dropped us like a suspicious piece of luggage and helped the ermegency cases.  I asked someone to get Dad a chair.  We were standing there for probably close to 40 minutes.  A chair was too much to ask for.  Mini was in tears because now she was about to wet her pants.  The only bathroom would be after security.

At last Mr. Helpful shared with us that we could opt to take a flight to Manchester that would then connect in Glasgow landing at 11 pm, or we could take a 5:50 pm flight to Glasgow. Arriving at 7:15 pm.  Back when the lady found us near the barthroom and nonchalantly mentioned that we would miss our flight, she said it was no big deal because flights to Glasgow left like every hour.   I guess Mr. Helpful wanted us to be grateful for the 5:50 flight.  He should have been grateful that I didn’t kick his stupid ass podium down.

We took our boarding passes and the vouchers for 10 pounds that he offered each of us for a meal in the airport.  Mini was now in excruciating pain.  She hadn’t peed since before our flight left Chicago like 9 hours prior.  We had to get thru security to find a bathroom.

We didn’t have to take off our shoes in security, but the man contemplated having my 78 year old Dad remove his.  I pointed out his age and that shoe removal wans’t necessary for Dad in the States.  Mr. Security pointed out that we were no longer in the US.  I think that was similar to ‘Toto, we aren’t in Kansas anymore.’

Once Mini was thru security I told her to go find a bathroom and that we would wait there for her.  Well we weren’t exactly waiting for her.  My bag got flagged, so we were stuck there for another 20 plus minutes.  I ordered Dad and Curly and Mini to go sit down.  I guess it was a ‘relief’ that our flight wasn’t departing for another 5 hours.  My tiny hand sanitizer and contact re-wetting drops should’ve been removed from the bag and set to the side for inspection.  Seriously.  Once again, perhaps an airport of this size should consider utilizing more than one flagged-bag checker.  Insane.

We found a restaurant and ate a meal.  The girls were disgusted that their glasses of milk were served tepid.  Gross.

Our next flight was going to board at 5:10 pm.  Our boarding passes didn’t list the gate.  The computer screen displayed the gate as 17:00.  After arriving at gate 17, I realized that this meant that they would post the gate at 17:00 or 5:00.  That would only give us 10 minutes to get to the gate.  I got a wheelchair against Dad’s wishes and hours later when they posted the gate we loaded him in it and bolted for the gate at lightening speed.  I managed not to mow anyone over - barely.

Here we waited for over an hour to board.  After we boarded we waited another hour.  Mini fell asleep on her tray.  When the attendant woke her up to put her try down, she thought we were landing.  Nope.  Hadn’t even taken off yet. Dad was in front of me (none of our seats were in the same row) and he called back to me, ‘Did you know this flight was making an additional stop?’  He had also fallen asleep.  No Dad not an additional stop, we haven’t even taken off yet.

We landed in Glasgow at 9 pm local.  Seven and a half hours later than expected.  We had been traveling for almost 24 hours.  Imagine how thrilled we were that I had packed my huge Stanley thermos with Italian beef.  It was still slightly frozen.  We didn’t have to go find something to eat or survive on granola bars.  At the airbnb I heated up the beef, tossed some mozzarella cheese on it, opened a can of carrots that I had also packed, and we had a small feat before we slept for 12 hours.  
(Using a former picture of my favorite thermos.  Totally frustrated because I figured out how to get a picture that I took last night of our beef and it appeared on this page, but I tried to move it and it went away and I can’t get it back.  You will have to be satisfied with this pic.  I’ve blogging for a few hours and Mini went back to sleep.  Curly just woke up after 13 hours of sleep and Dad is still sleeping).

March 20, 2018

Aerosol can

I have a post all set and ready to go tonight, but this just in.

I'm at the airport preparing to board the plane for Scotland with my dad and Mini and Curly.  Coach dropped us off at 8 pm. Our flight is at 11 pm.

No sooner had we stepped inside and Dad heard an announcement on the loudspeaker.  It had something to do with aerosol cans not being allowed in either carry on luggage or checked bags.  Mini heard it too.  I guess I was too busy hauling an enormous bag to the 'C' counter, because American Airlines didn't feel it necessary to staff counter 'A' which was right inside the door labeled 'international check in'.

Dad walked to a bench and promptly started digging thru his bag.  He was mumbling about mom packing for him.

I asked an employee what the rule was on the aerosol cans.  They had to be under 3.4 oz.  Damn.  I had one in my checked bag that was 3.5 oz.  Its a color spray for Curly's hair so that it matches her wig color.  Don't get me started.

Anyway I told Dad that his can of shaving cream was probably small.  We got in the line for the counter.  Then he got on his knees and started rifling thru his bag again.  Meanwhile I called Mom.  'Any idea how big this can is or where it is?' I asked. 

Mom always responds to alarming situations by getting loud.  True to form she started shouting that it was like 2 oz. I convinced Dad to get off his knees. 

At the front of the line, he waved us ahead.  'I'll check in myself.  You go ahead.'

'Dad, you're on my ticket.  We are checking in together.' 

Pray for me.

March 18, 2018

5 words I never thought I'd say

This might be the shortest post ever, because I am a bit frazzled about the upcoming Scotland trip.  Lots to do.  In my dreams, I manage to pack AND clean my house before I head to the airport . . . and somehow it remains immaculate while I am away.  I know, I know.  I said, 'dream' didn't I?  I'm not holding my breath.

Preparing for a trip like this after spending the better part of the weekend carting my dancers to St. Pat's shows feels like I am competing on one of those obstacle course ninja shows.  'Let's see how long it takes her to make dinner, cut some Irish soda bread to share with the other moms, attach a wig, play the part of the Sherpa as she drags gear to the car, check to see if the airbnb people in Scotland responded to her email, and . . . watch out contestant with Irish roots, traffic looks challenging tonight.  Will she get to the dance performance on time?'

The weekend kicked off Friday with an early morning appearance on the local CBS news program.  We had to be at the studio at 4:45 am.  I set my alarm for 3:40 am.  Wigs and makeup and elaborate dresses and sparkly socks before sunup.  Brutal.  Fun, but brutal.

Yes, St. Patrick's Day was this weekend.  Translation:  aching backs and sore limbs abound for the parents who sit or stand for hours side-stage craning necks to see the kids perform . . . sore feet and exhausted bodies for the constant-motion dancers.  At least the parents can ease their troubles with some green beer - not an option for the young performers.

A true badge of Irish dancing honor:  owning multiple, outdated Irish dancing wigs. Here on display are two bun wigs and two full wigs.  The brown full wig consists of incredibly tight curls.  That was so the 'in' wig about 8 years ago.  What to do with discarded wigs from forever ago?  Well, I store them in my little dedicated Irish dancing cabinet.  I have worn one for Halloween in recent years.  Perhaps someday I will mount them on the wall near the mini stage in our basement.  I could really get nutty and frame the old, unable-to-sell, what-a-great-investment-these-were dresses that still hang in my closet.
While wig attaching skills are put to the test, the phone battery is overworked to take rare video footage of dancers in action.  If you aren't an Irish dance-mom, then you probably don't realize that audience members aren't allowed to video Irish dancers during competition.  Shows - have at it.  Competitions though, highly forbidden.  There is a fear that one dance school might steal another school's steps.  Just a standard case of how a few nut jobs can ruin it for the rest of us. 

Normally I would welcome the chance to sit and socialize with other parents during the hours-long shows.  Knowing how much I had to get done at home put a slight damper on the 1:00-9:00 pm dancing stint yesterday.  Majority of that was spent in an outdoor tent - somewhat heated, but still . . . this is Chicago in mid-March.

Mini's wig hanging on the back of
a stool in our (still unfinished) kitchen. 
It's not an uncommon sight. 
Curly wearing a wig is sac-religious to me.  She doesn't always wear one.  Just for big competitions, like the upcoming World Championships in Scotland.  The wig people should be modeling their wigs after my kid's head of perfectly tight and bouncy ringlets.  The wigs styles are updated from time to time - just like the pricey dresses.  How else would the vendors make a buck?  At the moment, Curly's wig (the latest style, of course) is much less curly than her actual hair.  Mind blowing.

A few words I NEVER thought I'd say to one of my children:  'Did you remember your wig?'  Really, there isn't enough green beer to get over that bit of verbal vomit.  Despite the many occasions where I see dancers wearing wigs, this old school dance mom has yet to wrap my brain around it.  I'd  prefer that the dancers just sport their own, natural locks.  Curly or not.  I'd also prefer to return from my overseas adventure to a clean house - just more evidence that I am disillusioned and can't accept the reality I am living with.