June 29, 2018

what's with the eye twitch?

I have developed an eye twitch.  I would assume it is stress related.  Summer stress.

Ah, summer.  It used to mean no schedule.  Racing up to the pool whenever possible.  Meeting up with friends.  Now it is all about shuffling cars and trying not to forget to pick people up from their stuff and begging (I do mean BEGGING) people to put their shit away.  And then there is everyday nonsense such as:

This (to the left) fell out of the fridge yesterday.  Reg opened the fridge and it fell out.  This Ninja jug was half full of protein/fruit smoothie.  I make a batch for breakfast daily and any kid that has already left the house helps himself to some later.  I thought Ed (the family health nut who lives for his protein shake) was going to explode when he found the broken container.  Reg cleaned it all up.

I was out buying a gently used quadruple stroller for my babysitting adventure in the fall.  I can explain.  I feel like I have been promising lots of upcoming posts.  Hey, something to look forward to, right?  Well you might have to remind me what I was supposed to tell you.

When Reg called, I was driving home from the city with the stroller in the back of my 12 seater-former-airport-shuttle van.  Reg called me to confess about the broken Ninja jug.  I couldn't keep my eyes open on my drive in the rain with the huge stroller that filled most of the rear window.  I was so tired, I missed my exit.  Ugh.  I didn't even have the energy to get upset about the Ninja jug.  I got home and in less than 3 minutes I ordered a replacement jug on Amazon for $23.  And I told Ed to relax!

Why am I always so damn tired?  I laid down Tuesday evening at 4:30.  Coach was taking kids to the swim meet.  People, I woke up at 7:30 AT NIGHT!  I know the house was quiet, but still!  Who takes a 3 hour nap in the early evening?  My sleep has been officially thrown off all week.

Anyway, I didn't blame Reg.  The fridge can sometimes be very full.  A little jostle and something is going to go flying.  He must have done a good job cleaning it up because I haven't been sticking to the floor.  So, there's the silver lining.  I suspect he was afraid of getting in trouble with me.  Kind of like Mini being afraid of getting in trouble with me over the lack of underwear thing.
one of the many
uses of rice

Do you know what this is to the right?  It is a giant bag of rice being used to dry out Lad's phone after he dropped it in the hot tub at the health club after his workout last night.  Fingers crossed that the rice will save his phone and absorb all the water from the phone.  The phone was purchased in mid May.  At Walmart.  Cringe.  Don't get me started, and don't make me go back there.  It is too soon!  That's right, his phone is only a month old.  Note to self:  buy more rice.

Shown here:  four of the six cups. 
What is so bad about yellow?
  I think he just likes to get a rise
out of me.  I will win this, damn it.
  If I have to pack the other glasses/mugs
 in boxes and hide them in the
basement.  He likes to use HUGE
 cups that people brought home from sporting
events when they ordered a drink. 
Those things don't fit in the dishwasher.

I recently ordered colored tumblers from Amazon.  These 6 cups come in 6 different colors.  And they fit in the dishwasher.  Perfect.  Just what we needed.

Coach is a kitchen nazi.  He can't stand it when the kids use more than one cup.  My plan was that if everyone had their own color cup, then they would remember which cup was theirs and they wouldn't just grab ANOTHER cup.

Lad REFUSES to use his yellow cup.  I think he was asleep when the other kids called dibs on colors.  Early bird gets the favorite cup color, I guess.

It is a chore to pull the minivan
 into the smaller space.
Talk about tight.
There will be a bit more space
once the last pieces
 of wood get moved out of the garage
when we are sure that the builders
(different builders - yep, I still need to
 update you on that.  It's a doozie)
 don't need all of it to complete the kitchen.
And, there goes the eye twitch again.
I literally hid all other cups, mugs, and glasses the other morning.  The only cup left in the cupboard was the yellow cup.  Lad had no choice.

But he found the coffee mugs.  Of course.  No one drinks coffee in our house.  Or tea.  His coffee mug was in the sink this morning.  He had used it for his morning protein shake.  Of course, he left it in the sink.

None of them can load anything in the dishwasher during the day.  It is going to be such a long summer.

I used to love summer, but my kids are making messes, demanding rides, and acting taxed when I mention expectations.  I may have a twitchy eye, but hey -at least we can park two of our three cars in the garage again.  Even Coach was impressed with my garage efforts.

June 27, 2018

update on the awful family drama 6 months ago, AND an endoscopy

Today is June 25th.  I know, I know, it is really June 27th by the time you are reading this.  I am scheduling it to post in the future.  Does that make you feel cheated?  Well, I apologize but my options are limited.  I am going to be in Orlando for National Championships of Irish Dancing soon.  I decided to get some writing done tonight, or I would have several days with nothing posted. 

Today (well, June 25th) Laddie turned 20 years old.  We celebrated last night (the 24th - are you confused?) because everyone was going in different directions on Monday night.  I whipped up a crowd pleasing dinner of  Honey Mustard Chicken and mashed potatoes and green beans.  Then I served the gluten eaters a Costco cheesecake. It looked dreamy.

I was stressing a bit, so I was a bit of a grouch.   Full disclosure.  I was barking at people to put their stuff away and clean up after themselves.  The usual.  When Coach hollered, 'What now?' . . . as in 'what could one of our darling children do to set me off AGAIN ' while I dished out dinner, Lad added to the drama with his two cents.

He griped that I shouldn't have called the gang to dinner if the plates weren't ready.  It is true, kids were sitting waiting to be served.  Imagine?!  How inconsiderate of me.  I have a habit of cutting up all the meat and then tossing various portion sizes on plates.  Curly likes to graze all day and never has room for a full meal.  Anyway, it is sort of a silly practice since the big boys all eat at least one chicken breast each.  The other issue I was trying to explain as the hungry lot sat there and stared at me is that we don't have enough knives for kids to cut there own meat.  I need to remedy that situation.  Soon!

Lad directed a more detailed critique of me to Coach, 'There's always an issue and she's always negative.'  So, that put a damper on the dinner and my festive spirit.  Do I need to mention that it sucks the life out of me to have them sit around and watch me do EVERYTHING?

I was especially annoyed by the shoes laying around, the plates from earlier meals not handled, and the caddy towels tossed here and there.  These kinds of standard messes make me come unglued today in particular because in the morning (the 25th) I was going to my doctor's office for an endoscopy.  Later in the afternoon I hoped to be perky, because a new family was coming to meet me to see if they want me to babysit for them in the fall.  I was unsure of how I would feel after the procedure, and I didn't want to be trying to get the house cleaned up while groggy.  It's hard enough to clean up the house while not being groggy. 

Anyway, since it is Laddie's birthday I wanted to update you on a situation between Laddie and my Dad.  You remember, right?  The Christmas gift with a stinger included. 

Apparently after mass Saturday night, my Dad flagged Lad down.  I missed it because I needed to chat with someone, and I followed her out to the parking lot to ask her something.  Coach later told me that Dad said to Lad, 'Lad, I want to take you out sometime soon.  I want to apologize.' 

Coach's former office manager, who we miss terribly,
threw a party because she is moving from
 this building with an awesome view of the city.
Coach and I went out that night.  Wonders never cease.  We went downtown to Coach's former office manager's apartment.  She was having a rooftop party.  It wasn't until we were there that Coach turned to me and asked me if I had heard what Dad said to Lad.  What??  Are you serious?  

What do you know? 
Coach and I were out late enough
for the city to be all lit up.
 Just a couple of crazy kids.
I am not sure how receptive Lad will be to my Dad's invitation.  The other kids, who witnessed it, said Lad shrugged and was like 'whatever.'  I am hopeful that Lad will agree to go to lunch with him, and that he will be ready to accept Dad's apology. 

I know my Dad didn't mean to hurt Laddie, but the fact is that he did.  The man has a tendency not to THINK.  The impact was pretty obvious.  My heart is happy to know that my Dad is going to try to straighten out the mess.  I am sad that it took 6 months.  I am guessing that it really started to hit home that Lad is home from college but won't greet my Dad.  He wouldn't sign the Dad's day card that I bought for my Dad.  The rest of the kids hopped in the car when I went to wish my Dad a happy Father's Day.  Lad was noticeably absent. 

In other news:  my endoscopy went well this morning.  I am glad it is over.  Whoever put the tube down my throat had some serious skill.  I didn't even have a sore throat.  See, I am not always negative.  I am thrilled that my throat isn't killing me!  Last time my throat hurt for days. 

I was told I couldn't drive today.  I have been ordering people around to have them drive here and there all day.  I might pretend that I have an endoscopy more often!

June 25, 2018

begs the question, 'Were you raised in a barn?'

Mini now has a phone, since she graduated 8th grade.  Thank you, Walmart. 
I went into the family room to snag her phone and just snap a photo of it with the new case that arrived today.  I should have ordered the case back when I bought the phone - before it even had service.  Wasn't thinking that far in advance.  New phone already has one crack in it.  Anyway, how perfect that the two sisters were curled up on the couch looking at different kinds of dog breeds on Mini's phone.  Perfect picture and I didn't even pose them!  Pure as the driven snow.  Mini will make a great babysitter.  Damn it.

I reminded her Wednesday that she should text the woman, Tootsie, that she just started sitting for.  Previously, Tootsie was texting Mini indirectly thru me.  I had explained that Mini would have her own phone soon.

I suggested Mini text Tootsie something like:  'Hi, Tootsie!  I have my own phone now.  I wanted to touch base with you to see what time you needed me Saturday night?'

Tootsie responded right away.  'Oh sorry.  Since I hadn't confirmed with you, I asked my mother-in-law to babysit Saturday night.'  What the Hell is wrong with people?

Maybe she forgot that she had asked Mini to sit.  Regardless, now that Mini texted her to ask what time she was needed, Tootsie should realize that Mini was planning to babysit.  Mini certainly wouldn't have just imagined that Tootsie and hubby had a wedding to go to.  I felt that Tootsie should cancel the grandma sitter.  Duh.  It isn't Mini's fault that Tootsie is flaky.  She should honor the job that she offered Mini several weeks ago.
See - the job was clearly marked
on our dry erase board.
 I did not add it just for the sake
 of my blog - swear.  I wouldn't do that to you.
  I may have wiped off Tootsie's real name.
 If she flakes on this though, she
 deserves a fake name like Tootsie, right?

I was there when Mini met Tootsie.  Tank mows their lawn.  We chatted.  Mini met the kids.  Tootsie asked her for 2 dates.  Mini looked at me, her walking calendar.  I confirmed that Mini was available for both dates.

Mini babysat for the first of those two dates two weeks ago on a Saturday.  June 9th.  (getting home from an Irish dancing competition was a little dodgy, but I made it happen.  More on that later.  Promise).  Tootsie and her hubby were very generous when they paid her.  Mini told me that when they dropped her off aftrerwards, she said, 'See you on Saturday.'

So Mini said 'Saturday,' when she should have said 'see you in 2 weeks on Saturday, June 23rd.'  She didn't have her walking calendar handy.  Still, that was her friendly 14-year-old reminder that she had an upcoming job with them.

I feel the need to write a book titled:  'Rules for Hiring Babysitters.'  Remember Geraldine and her 'cast a wide net' issue when hiring a sitter?  What is with these people?  Were they raised in a barn?

Is it me?  I feel like it just comes down to manners.  Plain and simple.  I may swear like a sailor, drive like Mario Andretti, and struggle to keep my home tidy, but I understand babysitter hiring etiquette 101.

June 23, 2018

I never intended to keep someone from lunch break

Most people haven't heard of
Walmart Family Mobile. 
They are the lucky ones!
Mini has received her first cell phone.  Not sure if I have ever mentioned the extreme frustration involved in using Walmart as a cell phone provider.  Walmart Family Mobile - a great budget option, if you can handle the stress involved if you EVER REQUIRE ANY FORM OF SERVICE FROM THEM. 

I hate shopping at Walmart.  Why would having a phone plan thru Walmart be a good idea?  I mean, it is very cheap.  I try to remind myself that if I only have to deal with Walmart personnel once a year, then I can handle it.  Fingers crossed.  (Really the 'service' we get thru Walmart makes me do other things with one finger in particular, and it doesn't involve crossing).

EXAMPLE #1  (oh, there are many - but I will limit it).  Last summer when Laddie once again required a new phone, I bought a new phone for myself, too.  At the dreaded Walmart.  My phone was a few years old and had started forcing me to remove the battery and blow on it a few times before reinserting and trying to power it up.  As they say, it was time. 

Somehow when they swapped out our phones, they removed our phones (and Ed's too) from auto pay.  Translation:  every month our phones (not Coach's) would shut down until Coach had time to get online and pay our phone bill.  After SEVERAL months of Coach begging them to reinstate all the phones to auto pay, I took the bull by the horns.  I made one phone call.  I unleashed every four letter word known to man.  Phones were magically hooked back into the auto pay system. 

When I ran into Walmart in mid May to purchase Lad's new phone, I opted to buy Mini a phone at the same time so I didn't have to return a few weeks later when she graduated.  I left her phone in the box and inactive until after graduation.  I am a stickler for consistency.  If her older siblings didn't have a phone until graduation, then she wouldn't get one any earlier.

EXAMPLE #2:  No one at the phone counter ever knows what to do or how to do it.  The real reason I didn't activate Mini's new phone was that the Walmart employee was on the phone forever asking the 1-800-number-peeps if we could add Mini to our family plan (I was going to activate it and keep it in my closet until graduation because I didn't know that they could activate it remotely.  Thought it had to be in the store.  Thank goodness for small favors).  Ultimately they said, 'No, we can't add her phone.  You already have 5 lines.'

I decided to shop around for other plans.  If I found a better deal, I would return the phone to the dreaded Walmart building and jump ship.  Nothing came close budget wise, so we called Walmart back and they said we COULD add another line - Mini would just be on her own plan with the same family discount as the rest of us.  Huh?  Then what was the big deal?  You get a different response every time you talk to someone.

I'm bouncing around here, but I think it is because I haven't eaten lunch.  Been driving kids all over the place all day.  I am going to be grouchy with all of them until I accomplish something that is important to me, so please bare with me.

EXAMPLE #3:  So back when Lad and I were in the store in mid May, the first person that we spoke to when Lad and I approached the phone counter had a mini panic attack right before our eyes.  She was melting down because it was 11:58 and she HAD to clock out by noon or she wouldn't get her lunch break.  In addition, she would get in lots of trouble.  Really?

I hate how Walmart treats their employees.  I have read 'Nickel and Dimed.,' have you?  Oh, the horrors.  Information about when an overworked, underpaid employee takes a lunch break should never be the customer's concern.  This woman scurried off to her lunch break mumbling to herself and looking like a frightened animal that was being chased.  She did this while I was in mid-sentence about our phone needs.  Lad and I were left alone and bewildered at the cell phone counter.  FOREVER. 

I recognize that my parents think I am a little nuts.  But then I reminded myself that they didn't have to deal with cell phones, teenagers with cell phones, cell phone bills, lost or broken cell phones, etc.  (well, in fact they STILL don't deal with cell phones because they refuse).  They also didn't have  crazy, confusing, expensive, inadequate health insurance either.  And college tuition for their kids was borderline affordable.  They can tell me to relax and stop cussing all they want.  They don't realize how easy they had it back in the good 'ole days!

June 21, 2018

unwelcome discoveries in my newly acquired domain

Last night I think I actually dreamt about the fact that today was garbage pickup day.  I know you are envious of the exciting life I lead.  Trust me when I say that the inside of my house could use some attention.  For now, my focus is still on the garage.

Maximum capacity!
Good-bye florescent bulbs that were
 just begging someone to knock them
over so they could shatter in the garage.
Coach was ticked at me this week.  When he tried to bring the kitchen garbage out to the garage, there was no place to put it.  Yes, I admit to being a horrible person.  I cleaned out as much of the garage as I could on Father's Day.  You're welcome! 

Since it wasn't Dad's day anymore when Coach was griping about our lack of an empty-ish garbage can, I didn't hold back.  'Yes, you are right.  My mistake.  Shame on me for locating various crap littered around the garage and THROWING it away!  Life was much better when we had junk scattered all over the garage.'  I mean REALLY??!!!!

The cardboard Amazon boxes that the new bike rack and some other large delivery came in this week were put to good use.  I emptied the kitchen garbage that 'wouldn't fit' in the garage by tying the bags shut and stuffing them in these cardboard boxes.  I put them on top of the overflowing garbage cans.  I guess Coach thought that would irritate the garbage man, so he hauled the two cardboard boxes to where he works.  He put them in the dumpster there.  Hey, whatever it takes.  Besides, so much better than saving garbage and waiting until next week. 

It is pouring rain here.  Pouring.  I went for a run this morning, since I was up bright and early anticipating garbage day.  I was soaked, but managed to be showered and poised in my bright pink dry-fit yoga dress (because it would dry quickly) with my umbrella waiting for the garbage man. 

When I tried to organize the Bermuda triangle area located in the no-parking-zone of the garage on Sunday, I stumbled across 4 bags of yard waste.  Huh?  Shouldn't those be left over near the garbage cans ready to be dragged to the curb? 

I asked Coach this morning why they hadn't been put out at the curb with the other trash.  Coach thought yard waste could only be collected on certain days.  Oh.  Still, I think it was a good thing that I relocated them to the garbage area rather than the great abyss.  How else would someone remember to take them out on those 'certain days'? 

I wandered around the garage a little while I waited for the garbage man.  I planned to ask him the truth about yard waste days.  This isn't my domain, but sometimes if you want something done right, . . . you know the rest.

While I poked around, I spied a couple of burned out fluorescent light bulbs leaning up against a wall.  Coach had just replaced those in the basement storage room.  And this will serve as exhibit A answering the burning question of why the garage looks the way it does.

The garbage truck man pulled up to find me holding an umbrella in one hand and the fluorescent bulbs in another.  I asked him if it was acceptable to put them in the trash.  Yes!  Wonderful. 

Get this:  he asked me if I had any yard waste.  Apparently he was strictly the yard waste guy.  I had to wonder if I was perhaps still dreaming?  Why yes, I have yard waste.  I explained how I had recently made it my life's mission to clean out and organize the garage and that my husband was confused about when to unload our yard waste. 
This is the wall where the garbage cans and recycling
 bins hang out.  Note the huge pieces of board resting up
 against the wall.  Why?  The crazy thing
is that we had a dumpster for over 6 months.
Wish I had thought to toss the boards then. 
You know how you stare at some stuff
long enough it barely registers anymore?  

I raced up to the house and called in the door for Reg to help me, but when I turned around the garbage man WAS IN MY GARAGE GRABBING THE BAGS HIMSELF!

With the yard waste bags gone, I could now sweep out the maggots that were squirming around on the ground.  Gross!!!  Like I said, not my domain.  I decided to be thorough and move the pieces of drywall and plywood that were propped up against the wall where the garbage cans sit. 

Coach keeps mouse traps behind the garbage cans.  One of them ended up getting tucked behind the pieces of board.  There was a dead mouse in the flipping trap.  It had been there for a good, long time. 

Guess what?  Those huge pieces of board will not be allowed back in my garage.  Just what I need - another area of the house to try to keep clean.

June 19, 2018

it felt like a gift

Well, where have I been?  I planned to post something yesterday until I ran into:  basketball camp chauffeuring, a few hours at the pool in 90+ degree heat (which is when I thought I would blog, but I ended up shopping for flights to take Ed to visit colleges Labor Day weekend AND to see Lad play water polo), brought 4 kids to the ortho, dragged all kids along to Tank's dermatologist appt,  I raced home so Tank could get a ride from a teammate to his evening basketball games, drove to Irish dancing in the opposite direction, drove back the other way to Tank's bball games, which were followed by Ed's two b-ball games.  I get home at 10 pm.  EXHAUSTED!!!! 

So the jury is still out on whether I was successful in giving Coach an awesome Dad's day.  Coach raised the bar pretty high for Mother's Day.  That put the pressure on me to give him an equally enjoyable day.

I hopped out of bed when Coach's alarm went off at 5:30 am.  He was planning to drive the caddies to the course.  'I'm up, I'm up!  I'll drive them,' I whispered.  I wasn't up, but I faked it pretty well.  I woke up the 3 youngest caddies.  Lad and Ed were able to sleep a little longer and arrive at the course closer to 6:45 am.  Seniority has its privileges.

This is where the garbage cans and recycling bins
 usually sit.  I forgot to take a photo
before I dragged them out to the driveway. 
You get the idea.
While Coach worked out, I decided to surprise him and clean out the garage.  Temps were expected to be in the mid 90's in Chicago, so I mentally committed to doing part of the garage.  I convinced Curly to help me.  She wasn't over-excited, but she pitched it.  Having all 5 siblings caddy this year, vs just the 3 oldest boys in recent years, is a new thing.  Curly is adjusting to waking up on the weekends and being the ONLY kid in the home.

Gross.  Disorganized.  Frightening.  Just a few words to describe our garage situation.  Despite space for 3 cars, we can only fit 1 car in the garage at the moment.  Enough said?  Curly and I hauled a ton of stuff out onto the driveway and began to sweep.  The garbage cans and recycling bin area alone was a sight.

Now that I fixed the garbage can area,
I can't WAIT for garbage day. 
The cans are all overflowing
because I found lots of junk to throw away.
Thanks to the heat,
our garbage smells HORRID!
Coach was NOT overjoyed to find us dripping in sweat and covered in grime when he came home from his workout.  I gathered that this stemmed from his belief that we shouldn't have been out there in the heat.

Or perhaps he was feeling guilty that I am always the one that takes on this nightmare job.  Maybe that’s wishful thinking on my part.  Like- if he feels bad, then maybe he will handle it next time.  

We started at 9 am.  After 2.5 hours, there was a noticeable improvement.  The rest will wait for a cooler day.  I think Coach was also annoyed because I kept popping my head inside to say, 'Are we done with this?  What is this for?'

Cleaning the garage is somehow my duty, but it is NEVER a priority.  That explains why it builds up into a filthy disaster area.  The people I sit for enter thru our garage to drop off/pick up their kids.  It is downright embarrassing.

Oh brother.  Bikes, building supplies,
kiddie ride-on toys, 2 lawnmowers,
more bikes, about 20 balls.
I ordered a bike rack to park them in and a
ball rack for the wall between the garage doors.
Coach insisted that he wanted to get a few things done around the house in the morning.  Later in the afternoon he was looking forward to chilling out while watching golf at home.  He only visits the pool for short stretches.  With the intense heat, he anticipated hanging at the pool for a bit.

While I was finishing up in the garage, Coach dared enter the kids’ bathroom.  He installed a new fan a few weeks ago and he needed to paint the drywall that he had patched.  Well, that was a big mistake.  Talk about a buzz kill.

There is much more order here,
but I am still on a mission. 
When the bike rack gets here,
the bikes will have to be parked in it.  

There is an old Thomas the train table
 on its side on the left that I 
think I will relocate to a
storage room in the basement.
Work in progress!
He was fuming when Curly and I came in and started packing the cooler for the pool.  He shared with me that he had stumbled upon empty soap boxes scattered on the counter, dirty clothes littering the floor, and worst ever - he discovered a full bag of bathroom garbage stuffed inside the cabinet.  Sound familiar?  That would be Tank’s work.  Ask him to do something and he will find a way to do it half ass.

I know I’ve mentioned my disgust at the difficulty our offspring has in cleaning up after themselves in their bathroom.  Not just here on this blog - but I have moaned, cried, sulked, screamed, and fumed about it in Coach’s presence.  Did he thing I was imaging it?  Faking it in order to excersize my lungs?  Since it was Father’s Day, I chose not to state the obvious with a comment like:  ‘What else is knew?’  I was already in hot water for cleaning out half of the garage.  

Is this making sense to you?  I think things improved as the day went on.  How can a tidy garage not force you to think things are looking up?

June 16, 2018

The blind leading the blind

Yesterday I dragged myself to the eye doctor.  I hate having my pupils dilated.  I hadn’t been in about 3 years.  I can’t see without my contact lenses, and I am quite a sight in my glasses.  So I figured it was time to have a new prescription if necessary.  Sometimes those contact lens ordering online places get all snippy about whether or not you’ve seen an eye doctor in the last few years.  The nerve.  

Reggie is slightly nearsighted.  Three years ago we got him two pairs of glasses that he mostly wore at school to see the board.  I haven’t seen either pair in over a year.  He claims he wore one pair a bit at the beginning of this school year.  That can’t be verified.  I had his eyes checked and got a new prescription so we could get him some new glasses.  Fortunately, his vision hadn’t really changed.

Our appointments started at 3:00 when traffic wasn’t a problem.  Just before 5:00, we were getting on I55 with half of the rest of the population of the Chicagoland area when we saw something unusual.  

The ramp I was on was just beyond this point.
  My Mom later told me that she heard that
cars were backing up down entrance ramps.
 I was like, 'Yeah, I was one of them!'
Cars were backing up down the exit ramp that we had just hopped on.  We were merging from 355 to I55 by way of a long, snakey ramp.  I could see my future traffic compadres on I55 from the ramp and sure as my eyes were majorly dilated, traffic was at a dead standstill.  Swell.

I watched as a couple of cars backed up all the way to the previous expressway and scooted between high speed cars in order to exit at an alternate spot.

A sunny day is a person with dilated
pupils biggest enemies.  I had my
book in the car and would've been OK
passing the time reading, but I couldn't
 see the words with my pupils the
 size of grapefruit.
Reg and I sat there.  It was a very sunny, beautiful day.  I don’t own sunglasses.  Weird, I know.  I don’t like to wear shades.  I was grateful that I had remembered to take the free rolled up fake sunglasses simulation thing that the eye doc hands out to patients with dilated eyes.  I am sure I looked hilarious to fellow drivers.  That didn’t bother me.  I considered it a necessary evil.

I called Coach.  He hadn’t heard about the situation on I55.  I tuned into the news on the radio.  It mentioned right away that there was an accident on I55 that shut down all 3 lanes.  Serious injuries.  Avoid I55 at all cost.  It was like a parking lot.  Coach was prepared to drive the girls to dancing, if I didn’t make it home in time.  

I hated to hear that there were injuries.  I couldn’t help but think about what would have happened if Reg and I hadn’t stopped to chat with the receptionist after our exams.  She is Eddie’s good friend’s mom.  Maybe we would’ve been further along on our trip home?  Maybe we would’ve been right in the thick of things?  Just an unpleasant reminder that things can change in an instant.  

I asked Reg if he would help guide me as I backed up about a mile down the exit ramp. He was sitting on the front seat wearing the kid cardboard sunglasses from the eye doc.  He was all in.  It was like the blind leading the blind - or at least it looked that way.    I’m sure the two of us in our plastic disposable shardes was a reassuring sight to the other stuck drivers that we passed as we reversed past them.

The exit ramp was quite spacious and I had enough room to pass the 20 plus cars that were now stacked up behind us.  It was curvy here and there, so I had to adjust my steering wheel from time to time.  Reg called out once, ‘OK you are getting kind of close over here (to the guardrail).’  I used my mirrors because turning around made the whole situation seem kind of daunting and freaky.  

This was one of those days that I was super grateful that I was driving the red minivan verses the ‘great-white’ (our 12 seater Chevy Express former airport shuttle).  We joke that the minivan is our version of a sports car.  

Other cars had reversed down the ramp ahead of us.  I really wanted to just do a 3 point turn and face the wrong way to drive off the ramp in the forward position.  A few of the cars we passed opted to go the face first route when we were done.  A car behind me REALLY struggled to reverse.  This guy was zigging and zagging all over the place.  He was making me a nervous wreck.  

I was glad when my maneuver was complete.  It turned out fine, but I would not recommend driving a mile down a long, winding exit ramp with MAJORLY dilated pupils on a bright sunny day.

June 14, 2018

an interesting sisterly exchange

A quick update.  The raccoon video that wasn't working on my 'No way!' post is now linked to the story.  Rather than making you look back, you can kick back and watch the sound the coons made here.  And the rescue here.  You're welcome!

The other day I told the girls that we would run to the mall and try to get Mini a new bathing suit after dancing on Wednesday.

The weather wasn't great on Wednesday, but it was the only chance I had to take the tots I sit for to the local pool before I began my summer break with no babysitting duties.  (rejoice).  A quick trip to the pool counted for our final field trip.

Curly and Mini were done with school and they were up for the excursion.  Mini stretched an old one piece over her super tall frame, but never bothered to remove the shorts and t-shirt she wore over the suit.  Curly was my only helper who got a little bit wet.  She watched the tots in awe and asked me:  'How can they stand to get wet when the water is SO COLD?'
Mini was happy to splash the boys, but was hoping not to get too wet.

After pushing nap time to the limits, we raced home to get the tots to bed.  Hours later we bolted to the dance studio where the girls had a one hour private lesson.

Walking into the studio, the girls were sharing a secret.  I noticed Mini trying to tell Curly something that she clearly didn't want me to hear.  What the heck?!  'What's going on girls?'  They just shrugged at me innocently, 'Oh, nothing.'

After dancing we arrived at my favorite department store and both girls announced that they had to go to the bathroom.  I pointed them in the direction and looked at a rack of clothes nearby.

We started our bathing suit search in the children's department.  Honestly, shopping in the juniors department for a bathing suit frightened me.  If we were looking for a bikini, Mini might find something in children's.  She is skinny and tall.  No chance a one piece would work, but a bikini is very forgiving when it comes to height.

We grabbed a couple of size 16 suits for Mini.  Curly found a bikini marked down low enough that I told her she could try it on.  Every year I end up buying her one new suit.  I know from experience that some suits that pass the end of season test will end up with elastic that stretches, but doesn't bounce back.

I sent the girls into the fitting rooms while I asked at the register whether or not a suit we loved might be available in a bigger size at another location.  It wasn't.  Damn.  I could hear the scary junior section with the ruching-in-the-butt-crack bikini bottoms calling my name.  Whose idea was it to draw attention to butt cracks with elastic gathers there?  WHO?!

I found the girls in the fitting room.  They both had on a suit for my inspection.  I was starving for dinner and had warned them that we had to move fast.  I was checking out the fit of Curly's suit when I realized she wasn't wearing her underwear.

I gasped and snapped my head to face Mini, who I assumed knew better than to let her little sister try on a suit without underwear.  Curly quickly took off the bottoms.  'Sorry Mommy.  Good thing we are going to buy this one though.'  True, no one would have to try on a suit my kid just violated with her bare parts.  Still!

I continued shaking my head and talking to Mini about the mediocre suit she had on.  Out of the corner of my eye I realized that Curly was putting her little running shorts back on . . . minus her undergarments.  What the Hell?!  Why the aversion to underwear?!

'Where is your underwear?' I hollered.  Curly shot Mini a look.  Mini bit her bottom lip, and then spilled the beans.

'OK, I made her give me her underwear.  The baby was napping in my room after the pool.  When I changed out of my bathing suit for dancing I couldn't go back in my room, and my underwear was in there.  I was wearing the running shorts with built in underwear, so I didn't think it would be a big deal.  I forgot we were going bathing suit shopping.  I told Curly to give me her underwear so I could try on suits.  I didn't know she was going to try on a suit, too.  I didn't want you to know that I wasn't wearing underwear.'

Curly stood there shrugging.  'That's why we both went to the bathroom when we got here, because Mini was making me give her my underwear.'  This was the last explanation I expected.  Like, the LAST.

Never.  And I mean NEVER, did I swap underwear with one of my sisters.  For starters, neither of my sisters could have handled that.  Can you say:  wound tight?  I just shook my head, but mostly felt like I was doing something right to be raising a couple of girls who would fork over their under garments in a public restroom for one another.  Right?

'Girls!  What in the world?  Is this what you were whispering about on our way into the dance studio?  I am going to tell Katie (their college kid dance teacher, who loves them),' I teased.

Yes, this was the top secret conversation that was occupying them as we walked into the class.  'Oh, Katie already knows.  She was like what in the world are you two buzzing about during your lesson - so we told her about the underwear issue.'  Figures.

Well, we eventually hit the juniors section.  Yowza.  As I have previously mentioned, we located a couple of bikini tops but have struggled to find a matching bottom.  I thought the skimpiness of the offerings was going to be my biggest hurdle until I realized that locating a matching/coordinating  bottom might be even more challenging.

On the car ride home I heard the following dialogue in the backseat.  Curly told Mini, 'You still have to do it!'

Mini, 'No, I don't, because she found out.'

Apparently, Curly only offered her underwear in exchange for Mini taking her rotation to clean up the kitchen.

Twice in one night I realized how smart my girls are.  You rock, Curly.  Never offer your underwear for nothing.  Wait, what?  I settled the ordeal.  'Mini, it doesn't matter that I found out.  Curly gave you her flipping panties.  You are taking her kitchen duty.'

Curly, sighed:  'You can just do the kitchen one time for me, not two.'  Ah, sisterly love.  And just like that, it was all settled.  Except for the bathing suit dilemma.  Mini still needed bottoms for the graduation pool party on Friday.

June 12, 2018

'Not out yet.'

I had texted Lad before leaving Curly's field trip asking for an update.  The red minivan was still in the shop, so the morning had been a fiasco.

We had to wake up Lad, load the tots in car seats, and drop Ed and Tank at high school.  Then I dropped Lad at Coach’s work to grab the car from him, because no one had been awake at 5 am to drop Coach off at work.  One of us would have to come back to pick him up after he was done treating patients.  My last stop was dropping Theo at preschool.  All this to be sure that Lad had a car to take to the golf course to caddy.

I was asking for an update from Lad after I grabbed Theo from preschool, because I was anxious about the afternoon driving.  I explained to him multiple times that I hoped he would caddy early and be done in time for the car to be returned to our constant-driving-loop-rotation.  I pulled around the corner and saw that the kid car (the one with the recently replaced ENGINE) was sitting in the driveway.  Just after I put up the garage door, Lad returned my text inquiring how the caddy situation was shaping up. 

‘Not out yet.’  

Yeah.  As far as I can tell, a caddy can’t accomplish getting out, if said caddy doesn’t first ARRIVE AT THE GOLF COURSE. (BTW 'getting out' is caddy talk for being on the course with a loop vs waiting in the caddy shack hoping for a loop.  It doesn't apply to a kid who hasn't driven the AVAILABLE FRICKING CAR TO THE COURSE.)
This is what it SHOULD look
like when a caddy leaves the house
 -  I snapped this on a different day
when Lad was driving Reggie.
  Lad knew I was sneaking
up on him to take a pic,
which is why he is flexing.
Good times, all day long, folks.

Laddie was a tad surprised to see me.  He was standing in my kitchen.  Half asleep.  In his underwear.  I was dumbfounded.  What?  In the world?  Why hadn’t he gone to the course?  He had been out with his buddies the night before (as usual), so apparently sleep was a priority.  Working to make money, not so much.  This is a kid that used the 'emergency only' credit card we gave him at school to fund lots of groceries/nights out to the tune of $851 - in the month of May alone.  Yeah, you read that right.


Lad mumbled something about the caddy master (yes, that is a legitimate position at a golf course) texting him to come around 1:00.  IT WAS LIKE 12:35.  It is a 15 minute drive to the course and he was clearly not ready to leave the house. I asked to see the caddy master's text.  Suddenly the phone -that he had just used to text me the three magic words that set my blood to boiling ‘Not out yet’ -couldn’t be found.  

All of a sudden I realized that I would need to drop him off at the course, so that our only other functioning car wouldn’t be stranded over at the course with him all afternoon.  ‘Well, I am going to have to put these two kids back in car seats.  I will follow you to the high school and we will leave the car there for Eddie.  Then I will drop you at the course.’  

Since I didn't think to snap a pic of my confused son in his underwear in my kitchen (you're welcome), I am sharing an exciting picture of typical caddy gear.  Towel and hat.  I now have 5 caddies so there is lots of  caddy gear in my mudroom and multiple, rank, Kelly green polo shirts in my laundry room.  God forbid one of my newbie caddies touches an older brother's favorite caddy towel.  What I'm saying here:  I'm living the dream.
Lad wasn’t fond of this plan.  Too bad.  I shuffled around and got the kids back in the car.  This little rendez-vous would delay nap time.  The time of day when I get my shit done.  Grumble, grumble.  Mr. Not-out-yet started hemming and hawing about how I was making him late.  Me!?  Late?  What was he worried about all morning - clearly not about being LATE.  He couldn’t find his shoes.  Claimed he couldn’t find his phone, but I saw it in his back pocket.  He moaned about our stop at the high school to drop off a car.  

Once he hopped in my car after leaving the unlocked car with a key under the mat for Ed, he started griping.  Apparently the stop at the high school to drop a car off to a more responsible family member was slowing him down.  He might be late for the loop that the caddy master was planning to give him.  Seriously?  He swore twice in front of Theo and Carter. 

I may be the queen of cussing, but I manage to keep it clean around my young charges.  Believe me, I could think of several 4 letter words I wanted to toss out there in Laddie's general direction.  Instead I cranked the radio and tuned him out.

The drive to the course felt like eternity.  Much like what our summer will begin to feel like if this kind of shit keeps up.  (So far we haven't run into issues like last summer.  It is early yet.  Need a refresher?  Click here here and here,).

June 10, 2018

when feeling guilty, crash

OK, so this happened a few weeks ago, but there were other more pressing topics that needed to be shared firstHello, raccoons!

This pic was supposed to go with the 'Notes from the Nuthouse' post.  In my haste to get ready to host the grad party for Mini and first go to Indianapolis for an Irish dancing competition, I forgot.  Check out the cute bikini top that doesn't show too much and fits perfect - now guess how hard it is to find a bottom that looks right with it AND isn't too skimpy?  On Thursday it became my life's mission.  

Another forgot-to-upload picture.  Not that you can't imagine what an empty bottle of Jim Beam looks like hidden in a pantry.  I pulled the buried bottle out a bit for the pic.  It was almost unnoticeable thanks to the jar of cashews.  Still unsure why Coach chose to HIDE this empty rather than toss it.

Back in mid-May:  I guess the first few days of Lad being home were like the calm before the storm.  I knew it was coming.  I was bracing for it.  After a few days, it hit the fan.

I was feeling guilty about missing out on being a chaperone on Curly’s field trip.  Last year I agreed to chaperone a field trip for her, but later backed out when I realized I double booked.  In the fall, Geraldine had asked me to babysit on a Friday (a day I don’t normally sit) in far-off-distant January.  I agreed, and then it fell off my radar until after I had promised Curly I would go on her field trip.  There were tears.  I felt ill.  

Looking back and knowing what I know now about Geraldine, I wish I had just told her I couldn’t sit that day.  Even at the last minute.  My kids should always come first.  I did volunteer to help during an in-school field trip later in the year, but it was a short afternoon and not the same as wandering around a museum with Curly and her friends.

Curly had another field trip May 18th to a place called the Naper Settlement and the weather looked awesome.  Think Williamsburg on a smaller scale.  There was an old school, a mansion, a blacksmith giving demonstrations, etc.  

Even though I told Geraldine at the beginning of the year that I wasn’t interested in swapping days because it gets too confusing, she still sent me her end of year (when things are crazier than ever) list requesting that I sit some weeks from Tuesday till Friday vs. the usual Monday - Thursday.  I begrudgingly agreed.  I am NOT babysitting for her next year - are you starting to figure out why?  Oh, there's more.  Much more.  But the end is in sight.  Not close enough, but in sight.  

Curly and Carter exploring
the Naper Settlement. 
It this cute or what?
I didn’t agree to chaperone the field trip, but as the day approached I decided that I would just crash it.  I packed a lunch for Carter and I.  Then I drove to the settlement.

Our timing was perfect.  The class had just walked thru the gates and we slipped in behind them.  I hadn’t told Curly about my plan and she was thrilled.  Her teacher, who is quite chill, was glad we opted to tag along.  We stalked her group until we had to haul ass back to pick up Theo at preschool.  Carter walked around holding Curly’s hand part of the time.  Curly didn’t mind the attention.  Once the preschool pickup was complete, I headed home.

That's when the fun-with-Laddie began . . . 

June 7, 2018

Life in the nuthouse in a nutshell

I am exhausted.  Possibly too tired to write in complete sentences.  Just to keep you in the loop, I am going to share some bullet points regarding what has hit the fan today.  Operative word: today.  All in one day.

Background:  We are hosting Mini’s 8th grade grad party at our home on Sunday, June 10th.  (If you are in the area stop by.  I am making mostaccioli again.  We know what that means.  Loads of leftovers).  Last weekend I attended my 25th year college reunion.  So fun.  Friday (tomorrow) I drive to Indianapolis for Irish dancing.  Staying over in a hotel.  Driving home Saturday late afternoon -the instant my last dancer walks off the stage.  Lots to do to prepare for Sunday.

Mini ended up getting invited to a graduation pool party for tomorrow afternoon.  The party is at the same time that we are supposed to be in Indy.  She opted to skip the competition on Friday.  I can’t get my $60 registration fees back, but that’s OK.  We have a very prosperous money tree in our yard.  Still going to Indy, because she and Curly will dance on Saturday.

If you look carefully you
can see the handle of the
measuring cup sticking
out of the coffee mug. 
No idea how I saw that.
I woke up and spent a bit of time submitting our mind-blowing kitchen story to a news program to see if the news group wanted to expose our contractor for being an unreliable shiest-er.  Not sure if they will call me back.  We do have running water, etc. so I imagine there are more desperate stories than ours.  Update to follow.

I decided to make pumpkins bread for the party.  I always make lots so when my kids eat half of what I bake, there is still enough for the party.  Tank recently unloaded the dishwasher.  When he doesn’t know where things go, he sticks them in weird places.  Imagine my frustration when I searched high and low for my measuring cups.  I have 2 sets, but had no 1/2 cup, and only one 1/3 cup and one 1 cup.  How is this possible?  Tank had no idea where he put them.  Finally I spied a 1/2 cup in a coffee mug on a very high shelf.  Life with Tank.

I whipped up pumpkin bread.  Stuck 3 loaves in the upper oven and 3 loaves in the lower oven.  Then Mini and I raced out the door.  Bikini bottom shopping and Costco.

Last night I took Mini bathing suit shopping.  She has a bikini that probably still fits her, but we can’t find it.  Also missing:  her cover-up and Curly's cover-up.  I feel like maybe we misplaced a bin, but 3 items don't fill a bin.  Where the Hell did those things go?  No one warned me that teen bikinis aren't bought as a package deal.  Bottom line (hee hee - get it?):  found a great top, but not a decent bottom.

Quite the resiliant little recipe if
 it can cook way too long and still be edible.

Is this what they call a super food?
We ran to Macy's to look for solid bikini bottoms that didn't have the dental floss thing happening.  On our way to Macy's we called Lad and told him to take the loaves out of the oven when the timer beeped.  We secretly called Curly and asked her to make sure Lad did this.  We failed to mention that both ovens were being utilized.

Raced thru Costco.  Got home and found that 3 loaves of pumpkin bread were still in the lower oven.  It was still on.  They cooked for an extra 45 minutes.  No lie.  The kids found them still edible.  Have at it, I said.  Just keep your paws off the 'good' loaves for the party.

Lad and I got into it because I thought it would've been less of a big deal if he had turned the oven off.  He said he tried.  'I hit a bunch of buttons.'  I admitted that it wasn't his fault.  I wasn't clear about the 2 ovens.  If the oven doesn't turn off though, maybe a phone call is necessary.  These kids call me for the stupidest shit.  But not 'how do you turn the oven off?'  I guess I should be relieved that the house wasn't burned down.

Lad lost his cool because he got an email saying his prerequisite wasn't accepted for a summer school class that he HAS TO TAKE.  So frustrating because I told him a million time several months ago to get registered.  Anyway, he swore like a sailor in front of the little guys I sit for.  Then he took a car to drive to the school and take an aptitude test to see if he could get in the class.

Oh yeah, this was my last day of babysitting for the school year.  Praise the Lord.  In my spare time all week, I have been printing photos and sticking them in an album for the two boys I am not watching next year.  That is a whole other story.  Relief doesn't begin to cover it.

I found out later that while Mini and I were running errands, Lad and Tank had an altercation.  Tank's face bears the evidence of this nonsense.  Lad was supposedly ticked off that Tank was sucking down a juice box.  I do try to get my offspring to avoid drinking the juice boxes I have on hand while they are SITTING IN THE HOUSE.  Get up and pour yourself a glass of juice.  I like to reserve juice boxes for times when we are on the go.  I didn't ask Lad to police his brother though.  Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

I texted Coach when I found an empty bottle of Jim Beam in the pantry.  I was super surprised when he texted back that this was his doing. Seriously?  Is there something I need to know?

In my spare time I ran to a few more places in search of a better fitting bathing suit bottom in the right shade of green.  If Mini didn't need to wear it to this confounded grad party tomorrow, I would be much more chill about it.

Coach and I were out Wed night at a pizza place celebrating the end of an era.  His office coordinator is leaving after 15 years.  So earth shattering.  Nevermind his need for her in his business, she occasionally drove my kids places and always ran intel for me as needed, ie:  'Coach told me you guys were going to Scotland.' (Back when I wasn't sure he understood the travel associated with the World Championship qualifying round his office coordinator shared this useful tidbit with me).

Two other leftover boxes from
last night.  One contains the
lame salad.  The other held
one remaining regular pizza slice.  

My GF pizza box was totally gone.
Anyway Coach said there would be salad.  I had barely eaten anything all day (this was Thursday, still busy).  The salad consisted of iceburg lettuce - barely broken off the head.  They tossed a bit of tomato and cucumber in for good measure.  I ordered gluten free pizza, which is something I haven't had in over a year.  I took home the leftovers.

Just like the pizza.  No one fessed up.
This afternoon I didn't have time to make myself a salad for lunch.  I decided I would have a piece of my leftover pizza.  It was gone.  No joke.  One of my mean-spirited, I-must-eat-everything-in-sight teenage boys ate it. 

Later - I discovered gum, or toothpaste, or Airheads candy or something equally gross and sticky on my family room carpet.

I am sure there is more, but I am worried that I might collapse and hit my head on my keyboard.  Oh, Lad squeaked out a passing grade on the aptitude test so he can take the calculus class that he needs.  Of all the things that needed to go right today, that was the one I would have voted for.

June 5, 2018


The release of the raccoon drama took place on Thursday morning.  Thursday night just before I went up to bed, I pulled the shades down in the kitchen.  Coach was in the family room.  I turned to him and gasped.  ‘Oh no!  There are raccoon babies running around on the deck!’  Coach’s mouth fell open.  ‘Just kidding!’ I teased.

Friday I wasn’t babysitting.  I was getting things done.  My hope was to sit on the deck in the sun for a few minutes.  I doubted I would last much longer than that since it was roasting out.  I knew I had to pick Laddie up at the golf course around 2:45, so I slid open the door to the deck around 1:30.  (click the sentence below to get the link to the you tube video.  Ah technology!)

I had no idea what this sound was!

I ducked.  It sounded like a flock of crows had landed on the roof.  I stuck my head back out.  The sound was coming from under the deck.


Mr. Raccoon was NOT a Mr. afterall.  Holy crap.  There were babies under the deck.  They were screaming in agony.  Oh NO!!!!  I texted Coach at work:  ‘This is not a joke.  There ARE baby raccoons under the deck.’  I texted the boys next.  Eddie texted back:  ‘You are going to Hell!’  Ed isn’t even one of my animal lovers.

I tried to coax them out.  I put some blackberries and a bowl full of milk and another of water near the opening to the underworld of the deck.  Nothing.  I poured some water between the wood slats in hopes of offering them relief from the heat.  Eventually I decided that they must have been so small that the only thing they wanted was to nurse.  

It made for an exciting afternoon.  I once again called the conservation place and left another message (they had called me back when I was dealing with the mother on Thursday morning- but I had already deposited her at the forest when they called).  This time when they called back, they admitted that they would charge $275 to get the babies out.  If we were able to get them out ourselves, they suggested that we bring them to the same place where we left the mother in hopes that she would find them.  

When Lad and Tank got home they got a broom and a tennis racquet.  We could walk around on the deck and track where the loud-mouthed babies had moved to.  They never took a break from the whining/squealing noises that were cutting thru my nerves like sharp raccoon teeth.  

Just before I had to leave to drive the girls to a private dancing lesson, one of them made an appearance at the opening.  Curly saw it and motioned us over.  We weren’t fast enough, and it crawled back into the abyss.  Eventually the boys, Coach (who got home just as I was leaving), and our friend, who hasn’t met an animal she didn’t care deeply for, managed to collect all four raccoons from under the deck.

(click the paragraph below and you will find a link - click the link and it will bring you to a you tube video of the raccoons being rescued by my boys and our friend).

Our friend had contacted a rescue.  The rescue thought dropping the babies off at the forest in a box was a bad idea.  They said if we could get them to the rescue, that they would care for them.  

Lad wore gloves and gently placed the tiny critters in waiting shoe-boxes.  With the lids taped shut, our friend drove them to the rescue.  The rescue thought they were about 5 weeks old.  Only one of the four had their eyes open.  

Throughout the rescue, I was calling and texting for updates from the girls’ dance studio.  I wanted to see pictures.  I was begging someone to take a picture for me.  Lad, my wise-ass, texted me this:  
Our raccoon puppet that is still in a bin in our basement.  I  may lose shit in our house from time to time, but who are we if we can't locate a raccoon puppet in the blink of an eye?
Prop used by Laddie.  My very own comedian.

Cute for sure.
Cute can be disguised as troublesome though.  I know, I have teenagers.
I do wish that I had a photo of Lad imitating mother raccoon noises and shoving the puppet near the deck.  I witnessed this odd scene moments before I left for dancing.  While I was gone, Tank was apparently playing mother raccoon noises over his Bluetooth speaker near the opening of the deck trying to lure them out.

They are cute, but I am quite glad they are gone.

Coach swears that he heard raccoon noises early the other morning.  I am hoping that he was mistaken.  For now, the raccoon saga ends here.

Don't worry.  Contractor from Hell stories will soon follow.