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December 11, 2019

hotel manners, naps are golden, & a rare-treat

When I woke Mini to get showered and ready for Curly's big day, she told me that there was lots and lots of loud nonsense out in the hall that disrupted her sleep.  Curly and I had the noise maker in our room.  Poor Mini.  She was exhausted.  She said that a mom in the next room was talking on her cell on speaker phone after 11 pm.  She said she was essentially shouting.  On the other side of us, men were having crazy loud conversations well past midnight, and kids were running up and down the hallway.

This is the hotel hallway - this
 room had two dancers
 and our room across the hall
 and down had Curly's
 sign on it.  I am guessing the hotel
management loves us. 
At Irish dancing competitions, the girls get signs from their friends (typically older dancers from their dancing school) cheering them on and wishing them luck.  They hang the signs on their hotel doors.  As we left our hotel room, I made a note of who was sleeping in the rooms on either side of us.  Hey, Reese from Louisville - we will hunt you down where you sleep at the next competition.  We will knock on your door at all hours.  You've been warned.  (I kid, of course.  Kind of.  Only because last names were not on the little signs, not because I would not retaliate.  In my world sleep is a coveted commodity and people who are stupid enough to be careless in hotels should sleep with one eye open).

Between my middle of the night starvation issue and Mini's misbehaved hotel neighbor issue, we were TIRED!  Since Curly had a hard time falling asleep, I let her sleep an extra 15 minutes from the original plan.  I had some extra time worked into our schedule.

When we saw a small window between Curly's 2nd and 3rd dance rounds, we bolted back to the hotel to rest.  It was like a 10 minute walk.  We had to be back for Curly to hear which dancers were recalled (Are you catching this lingo?  Starting to feel like you could hang at a competition and know what was about to happen next?  You're welcome, cause I am confident that is a life skill you always dreamed of having).  

This was our meal the night before Curly danced -
see her hair in the little poof ball pony tails.  She is
sitting weird because her leg tanner
 is not dry yet.  Are we still friends after
I tell you all the nutty crap we do for
 this 'authentic' past time.  We were
watching The Wedding Singer. 
Living large here.
I whipped up lunch for the girls, who sat there and willingly allowed me to hobble around getting them things.  

Me:  Who said crackers?  Yogurt?

Curly:  Oh, I wanted the crackers.

Me:  Do you want Gatorade or vitamin water?  Mini can have one piece of leftover pizza - Curly wait till you are done dancing and then you can have the rest.

Mini:  OK, can you get me a spoon for my fruit cup?  

Me:  Oh, I found another cheese stick.

You get the idea, right?  My brain hurt from sheer exhaustion.  I was dying to lie down.  By the time lunch was consumed, we had 16 minutes before we had to be back at the venue.  Curly parked herself in front of the TV in the living room and woke Mini and I up 16 minutes later.  I think I slept about 9 minutes.  It felt wonderful, but that rested feeling wore off faster than you can say "I need a REAL nap!"

I fluffed my suffering hair and limped back to the venue.  I did not ride a bike that morning, because hello - 5 am wake up call.  So the knee was about as big as I had seen it.  Mini stayed back to finish her nap, because Curly was going to dance at the end of the next round anyway.  I burned with jealousy as I watcher her roll over and get cozy.  Cozy!

After Curly's set round, we saved seats at the awards area and made our way back to the hotel.  Our room keys (plural) would not work, and I got housekeeping to let us in.  People!  I called the front desk.  They apologized.  I asked them about whether or not they were going to give me a night free for the smoking issue, and they said they were.  It had already been removed from my bill.  

Room service - practically unheard of for a
Shenanigan.  Please note - I did make the girls
 clean up after that meal.  Easy - because everything
 was disposable.  I could not handle being
awake for another minute.
The girls and I had chili packed in the fridge for dinner.  I called room service and told them I had two fee meal tickets.  How long would it take to get room service?  30 minutes or less.  I was all 'Let's do this,' and my traveling buddies were fully on board.  Shock.  We ordered and I removed my sweater so it would not get wrinkled this time.  I thought the food would take 30 minutes and I NEEDED to sleep.  

The instant I fell asleep - like less than 10 minutes later, Curly burst into the bedroom to tell me the food had arrived.  I fumbled in the dark and ended up putting on a dark brown sweater inside out.  The girls just about died laughing as I settled up with room service dressed like a bum.  I ate my salad and ONCE AGAIN laid down.

This time I think I slept about 30 minutes before the girls woke me up so we could go back to the venue and prepare for awards.  That 30 minutes was glorious, people - GLORIOUS!  

Guess what is NOT good for a hair day that started out on the good side?  Multiple wink-and-a-half naps followed by a decent nap.  I looked like I needed to borrow an Irish dancing wig, but hey -at awards no one fought with us for our seats.  So, there's that.  

What is your worst hotel experience?

December 9, 2019

is that a microwave in your pocket or are you just trying to burn this place down?

(see previous post to get caught up to speed, or just decide to be a tad clueless while reading the rest - choice is yours!)
Our tucked away microwave is on the
bottom of the towering tower of bags on the right.
  Still hidden compliments of the polar bear blanket.



I called the front desk and wrestled the not-microscopic microwave into the canvas bag before the hotel employee arrived.  They offered to swap me into a king room, but I was not willing to share a bed with Curly.  Not interested in dealing with a thrashing 11 year old, and I still wanted to steer clear of germville.  Their solution:  a guy wielding more God awful Fe-breeze and a promise that the next day they would have housekeeping do an ozone treatment while we left the room.

Saturday I woke up having slept great.  It took me a minute to register where we were - until I inhaled.  Oh, that's right.  A Marlboro factory.  Our big plans: walk to the venue to show Curly her stage and buy the program.  That was it.  We just wanted to chill out - IN THE ROOM.  

I called the front desk to let them know we would be leaving so they could start the ozone deal.  I once again struggled with the burdensome but life-saving microwave to hide it in the canvas bag.  They weren't sure how long ozone-ing would take, so I strapped half of our belongings (iPad, DVD player, books, etc) to my arms and we walked the 3 blocks to the venue with the girls.  Oh, I should mention that I rode the bike in the exercise room for about 8 miles that morning.  That helps loosen my bitch knee, but trust me when I say the damn thing is far from healed.

Two hours later the hotel called my cell.  "Hi, can we go back to our room yet?"  Well, they didn't realize that housekeeping could not do an ozone treatment unless the room was unoccupied.  Why had they waited two hours to tell me this?  My frustration was bubbling over as if it had been over-heated in a contraband freaking microwave.   

Photo credit:  Curly Shenanigan aka
prankster extraordinaire. 
I decided to show this gem
and just convert the flabby, pasty-white
 fleshy parts to a fake blue
 sweater with my magic ink.
This time the manager said she could put us in a different queen room.  The thought of re-packing and moving made my limbs ache, but my nasal passages argued that they could NOT tolerate the smoke smell.  The girls were a little like, 'Whatever, it isn't that bad,' until we got back to the room.  We walked in and they both covered their faces:  "OMG it smells so strong of cigarette smoke!"  They had yet to leave the room prior to this singular outing.  Now they were happy to leave.  

Someone agreed to come up with a cart to help us move in 20 minutes.  The girls put their things in their bags and then enjoyed the Harry Potter marathon.  Curly suffers from that oh-a-TV-is-on-I-cannot-function syndrome.  Ugh.  She did manage to snap a photo of me unloading the fridge into the cooler.  I would share it with you, but I HAD TAKEN MY SWEATER OFF BECAUSE I WAS DRIPPING IN SWEAT!  Use your imagination.  

Curly pointed out to me (while still sweating
 and sans sweater, that this sign SHOULD have
 been posted in our first room.  It is a no
smoking sign.  This quick photo opp involved
 me pausing in my fridge stocking duty
while grumbling:  Oh, don't worry girls. 
Don't get up.  I got this!
The lady with the cart showed up and gave me two $25 vouchers for the restaurant.  The girls' eyes got real big.  I was like 'Hello - food was prepared and packed and lugged here, AND we are on a tight schedule.  We will not be dining out.'  Besides, I really felt the hotel should be giving me a free night off of my bill.  What kind of housekeepers think a stinky-ass room can be perfumed and then given the all-clear?

The new room was even bigger.  Even more space to set up an itty-bitty microwave disguised as a decent sized microwave that had now been set up and taken down more times than I could count.  

My Irish dancing mom friend told me that her mom is a smoker and that even if she does not smoke in a room, she can leave a pretty powerful odor.  Really?  


December 6, 2019

cigarette smoke and debatably small micro in the (Galt) House

We once again stayed at the Galt House while in Louisville for Irish dancing Thanksgiving weekend.  Nice hotel.  I guess.  

I decided to save some money and not valet . . . until I drove around the parking garage in search of a vacant spot and decided it might be easier to convince Curly to quit dancing than locate a spot.  I surrendered the additional $8 a night for the valet service.

This was our gear.  The microwave is hidden
in the canvas bag under the blue
blanket with the white polar bears on it.
Keep in mind that we were traveling with a VERY full cooler on wheels that threatened to rip my arm off if I dragged it for too long without stopping and, hey - I have somewhat impressive upper body strength.  I also packed my brand new 'tiny' microwave.  At .7 cubic feet (?) or whatever, let's just say Best Buy employees can label that small, but I am here to tell you that in the year 2019 there is still no such thing as a SMALL microwave.  

The Bellhop brought us into our room, which was a suite.  Similar layout to Embassy Suites, but bigger.  In case my worst fears developed into a reality - plenty of place to camp out in the large bathroom should Mini and I started vomiting.  

It is these kinds of things that a Mom who has 'been there' thinks of, especially under the current puke-possibility circumstances.  About 7 years ago, Mini puked every 12 minutes all night long.  I was in St. Louis in a hotel with the 4 middle kids for an Irish music competition.  The bathroom was standard issue aka small.  She slept on the bathroom floor all night.  I didn't sleep, which made the drive back to St. Louis a scary, death-defying activity.    

Anyway, the Bellhop gave us some weird speech about which lights to turn on first in the morning based on the light-bulbs that were being used.  Some would be super bright and we would not want them on in our 'zombie mode after just waking up.'  My guess:  he missed his calling to work in a hardware store.  It was odd, but just the kind of thing Curly could not stop imitating every time someone switched on a light.  

Before he left, Curly pointed out the smell.  I smelled it too.  It was NOT GOOD.  It may have been cigarette smoke, but someone had sprayed enough perfume-ie Febreeze to hide the odor of elephant dung.  So who knew?  I asked Mr. Light-bulb if this was a smoking room.  "Nope, this is a smoke free hotel."  I could have figured that one out considering microwaves translate to fire hazards to them for God's sake.

I had to pee.  Bad.  I wish I had demanded another room at that point, but I didn't.  Instead, Mr. LED left.  I peed and set up the microwave and made dinner.  My headache returned with a vengeance.  I assume it was from:  1.  per-Thanksgiving cooking and baking, 2. packing , 3. skipping sleep with a puking kid, 4. stress.  I was thrilled that I thought to pack cans of soup for Curly, who was bummed that she didn't get to eat my sloppy Joe's.   

I unloaded three days of food into the fridge.  I decided to put ice in the cooler to cool the applesauce,  juice boxes, and water bottles that didn't fit in the fridge.  After leaving the room for a minute to get ice, the overpowering smell of cigarette smoke hit me in the face.  I moaned.   

December 4, 2019

bouncing back - literally, sleep vs puke, all good


I last left you in a sort of panic because it was Thanksgiving night and Curly was puking.  The girls and I were leaving for Louisville the next morning for Midwest championships of Irish dancing.  (I am not counting the 'Low Hanging Fruit' post because I wrote that in advance of all the impending dance drama so that you would have something to amuse you while I was in dance-mom mode.)
This is Curly's hair AFTER she takes the little
ponytails out that are needed to attach the pain
 in the neck wig.  Working backwards with
 my photos here, but this poor girl and the bobby
 pins and discomfort of wearing a wig all
 day.  Guess who would be happy
 if she gave it all up tomorrow?  

Well, I am back.  With stories - of course!

So keeping Curly out of school Monday and Tuesday kind of blew up in my face when the preschool kid I sit for showed up with puke germs festering somewhere in his mouth under his more-annoying-than-you-can-imagine lisp.  

Yes, I am mean but I am also a mom whose son, Tank, started speech therapy before he was 2 years old, because he could not speak.  This was more drastic then what this kid has going on, but still ya notice these things as a parent.  How do you wait until preschool to recognize that NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THE HELL YOUR KID IS SAYING?  When I interviewed the mom last spring, she told me that her kid would be going to preschool in my district for free.  He 'just barely qualified' because of his speech.  Um, the school district was being polite- trust me here, he MORE than qualified.  Does it sound like someone needs to consider a job change?  I digress.

Curly bounced back from Pukeville in record time.  I handed her a sandwich baggie stuffed to the gills with cheerios as we piled into the minivan.  She was relegated to the very back row of seats in order to not breathe on Mini and I.  She was also armed with a bucket, a book, a blanket, a pillow, a DVD player, Gatorade and vitamin water.  Imagine my surprise when we arrived in Louisville that evening and I told her to bring the bag of cheerios up to the room.  She had already eaten them ALL!  I was shocked but decided that was a good sign.

Later when we were in our room, she ate half a can of chicken noodle soup, some rice, and an applesauce cup.  When it was time to leg tan her, she could NOT stand still.  *Insert my own eye roll here and I will not blame you if you insert your own eye roll as well.  Judge away, peeps.  It is the nonsense that sucks the fun out of this little OBSESSION my kid has with Irish dancing.*  She was Irish dancing in front of the full length mirror.  Leaping across the floor.  Practicing her fancy footwork.  Then I knew:  SHE WAS BACK.   

Mini and I did not end up puking, which was a huge relief.  The night before a big competition is historically a night when sleep eludes me.  Stress kicks in and I end up with few z's.  Honestly the more years that dancing suck the life out of me I spend at these competitions, I realize it is NOT worth the lack of sleep.  This year I promise I really was not that stressed.  I was bound and determined to sleep because a day with sufficient sleep under one's belt is SO MUCH MORE pleasant than one without.  I reminded myself that Curly was well prepared and she was feeling better.  Still . . . 

I crawled into bed at 8 pm.  It took awhile to go to sleep.  Once I did, Curly woke me up.  More than once.  She wanted me to know that she was still awake.  I finally pulled her into my bed gave her a vigorous back rub and sent her back to her bed.  I told her under no circumstances was she to move or look at the clock.  She WOULD NOW SLEEP.  Damn it.

I woke up to pee at 1 am.  I struggled to go back to sleep because I was so hungry that I could have eaten an entire turkey.  Crap.  I tiptoed into the room where Mini slept on the pullout and dug around for some trail mix that I knew was in one of the bags.  I did this with no lights and I succeeded without waking Mini.  I sat in the bathroom and munched on trail mix while reading my book.  I kept wishing I was sleeping, but I reminded myself that it was better to be reading and snacking in the bathroom than puking and intermittently sleeping in the bathroom.  I eventually slept again for about an hour before my alarm went off at 5 am.  Time to make the donuts get the dancer ready.  

Have I mentioned how much I detest this weekend?  Tune if to find out about how she placed and our crazy room and how much fun it is to travel with a microwave.  

December 2, 2019

low hanging fruit, bite me (no, not you), happy Thanksgiving


The night in question is August 10th,
which happened to be our
 23rd anniversary.
 Coach was away teaching
a class, but he sent me
 this fruit.  Get it?  So it isn't low
 hanging, but it is fruit.  Fitting?!
This is something else I found in my drafts that I never posted.  This took place just before Mini went to Ireland back in August.  

'Low hanging fruit.'  I am quoting a girlfriend who tossed this gem out over the weekend.  Given the situation, she nailed it. 

Remember Mini's music competition in Ireland with my brother Pat?  Pat and his family spent 3 weeks in Ireland in July.  Before they flew across the pond, we were in Vancouver for 10 days.  Not lots of overlap to conduct State-side (is that even a thing - I think it sounds important, so I am leaving it in, but feel free to weigh in on my proper or improper use) band practices. 

Once Pat was back in town, he gathered the kids for a weeknight practice.  He told the kids (I was not in the room) that he would like to organize one more practice before the competition in Ireland.  He asked Mini is she could make this proposed practice Aug. 10th. 

The 10th was the same day that my sister, Marie, had tentatively organized a family outing to the White Sox game.  I had not heard anything else about the game since the initial group text.  Was it still in the works?

While driving to Pat’s house on that weeknight, I called my mom.  Mini and I listened via Bluetooth as my mom explained that she thought the interested White Sox peeps were planning to attend the game on the 9th vs the game on the 10th.  A switcheroo, if you will. 

So . . . when Sean asked Mini during the weeknight practice if she was available for a practice on Saturday she said, ‘I think.  I will have to check with my mom.’  Yes, it is true.  I not only keep my own schedule but I am blessed with super powers that allow me to track everyone else’s schedules, too.  All hail the memory-keeper.

A few nights later, Marie called me to say they were still going to the Saturday game, who wanted to go?  I knew nothing about Pat’s possible band practice, because Mini had not mentioned it.  I confirmed: ‘Three youngest kids want to go.’ 

Then Pat texted the entire ceili band group.  Final  practice on Saturday evening around 7:30 pm.  Practice conflicted with the Sox game that was now back on the 10th.  Oh shit.  

Mini voted to skip the practice to attend the game.  I texted Pat that she was going to the Sox game and would not attend practice.  Apparently he-who-had-once-been-part-of-the-Sox-game-plan had baled. 

The next night Pat called me.  Another family (blessed to be unrelated to us) with kids in the band (plural ‘members’ – in case you didn’t catch that) was not able to make the Saturday practice.  He was going to reschedule to Sunday at noon.
 
He proceeded to ask me why Mini had told him that she could attend a practice on Saturday night the 10th if she planned to go to the White Sox game?

1 – Because she is 15 years old. 
2 – Because her Nana had just told us that the Sox game was moved to Friday the 9th.
3 – Because she told you she needed to check with the boss, I mean her mom. 

Oh look, another unrelated photo.  This is low
 hanging, but not fruit.  It is a bee made entirely
 of legos.  I saw it recently at the Children's
 Garden at the Arboretum where
I took the kids I babysit. Ha - I was looking 

for this photo to post with my birds and bees
 post, but I was really intent
 on finding a hair-cutting 
photo and I COULD NOT.
MOST IMPORTANTLY:  Why are you bothering to nitpick Mini and her scattered schedule keeping abilities when YOU HAVE TO CHANGE THE SCHEDULE ANYWAY DUE TO A FAMILY WITH MULTIPLE PARTICIPANTS NOT BEING ABLE TO ATTEND???!!!!  WHYYYYY?

When I described this debacle to my friend, she classified my existence as low hanging fruit.  If the label fits AND if your brother is an ass, then what is one to do?  I guess, if I am low hanging fruit,  all that is left is for me to say:  BITE ME.


AND WITH THAT I SAY 
HAPPY (belated) THANKSGIVING!  



I hope that you will share a nutty family anecdote so that I feel better about my goofy sibling(s).  


November 29, 2019

if the truth hurts

(This story might only make sense if you read the previous post - sorry for being a pain in the butt).  

Tank resurfaced at 3:20.  He looked like a truck ran over his face.  He told me he had been asleep since 12:30.  Uh oh.  I took his temp every 20 minutes.  He was supposed to babysit for Geraldine AGAIN that night directly from church, but this time just for the two boys.  He was going solo, and I had no one that could sub for him. 

As I waited for the temp to spike, I cut my pumpkin bread to bring to the Oireachtas party the girls and I were attending directly from church at 6:30.  Then I glued some stones on Curly's dancing dress.  We had to let the dress down for Too-Tall so there was a row with no stones.  All my years as a dance mom (a term I hate), I have never glued stones on a dress.  I was not sure I knew what I was doing, but rather than obsess over it, I dove in and I was done in under 10 minutes - without ruining the dress!
Not sure you can see the E600 glue
I had on my fingers, but
 happily it came off better than super glue.

I was washing the glue off of my hands when I heard the dreaded sound every (category #2 above) mother fears:  Tank was puking.  It was 4:45 and mass started at 5:00.

Me:  'Ef, ef, ef, ef ,ef''  You get the idea.

I texted Mini, who Coach was picking up from a group project and taking straight to church.  Ed is home from school, but he took Reg to a different travel game really far from home because the team needed Reg to play up.  I wondered if Mini would say she would babysit in Tank's place, but instead she had the brilliant idea of calling her BFF.  BFF agreed to sit for Tank.  

And a sigh goes up from the crowd.  'Ohh - pretty!' 
(and pricey and I will probably not be able to sell it
when she is ready for a different dress.  Have I
mentioned how much I adore Irish dancing?)
After mass, I texted Ed instructions to open windows, spray Lysol, and wipe down surfaces when he returned home from Reg's games.  After the party with the girls, I came home and found Coach sitting in his recliner.  He had gone to some of Reg's far away games after he taught his RE class.  I was anxious as a category #2 mom and asked him what he had cleaned and what Ed had cleaned.  He didn't know what Ed did.  Ed was now out with friends and he didn't respond to my text asking what else needed to be cleaned.  

My current besties.
I got busy cleaning and wiping stuff down while also sharing my frustration with Coach that he was just sitting there.  I wanted him on the same 'no germs allowed' plan as me!  I almost blew a gasket when he admitted that he let Reg go to bed in the room he shares with Tank, the one where Tank napped for 3 hours that day.  Coach got up and moved Reg into Lad's bed because Lad comes home on Tuesday.  If I am not home, why is no one required to utilize their brain cells?  

(Note:  Coach did text me the next day from Reg's OTHER travel games while I was jogging between Curly's dancing class, the store for vitamin water for Tank, the mall, and then Curly's travel b-ball game.  OK, not jogging, because the knee STILL SUCKS.  Anyway, he apologized for not finding out what Ed had cleaned and then cleaning the rest since he beat me home.  I know this text was sent because he wanted me to cut his hair.  And probably other hopes.)

I stayed up another hour and a half scrubbing and wiping and airing out the downstairs.  I sprayed Lysol in all the kids' rooms while they slept -which they sleepily scolded me for.  I went to bed and wondered if I missed anything.  Then I thought, 'Oh, I didn't wipe down the dishwasher handles.'  Rather than get out of bed and do that, I reminded myself that Reg would NEVER open the dishwasher.  

1. He would never voluntarily load something.  

2.  If there was nothing clean, he would go with a paper product.  

My house was in a bit of a shock.  Never had it been scrubbed so hard.  Multiple times in the same night.  You know the thought process that we are supposed to be exposed to some germs?  Well, typically I live by that motto.  My kids should have the most impressive resistance levels known to man.

As of Monday morning 11/25, no one else has gone down with the pukes.  Tank only got sick the one time.  I will deal with forever being labeled as 'dance mom' since I kept Curly out of school today (writing this Monday) and tomorrow.  If the truth hurts!

edited Thanksgiving night to add:  I kept Curly out of school Monday and Tuesday.  The preschool kid I sit for was not quite himself on Tuesday.  When the mom came to pick up his sister (he leaves after lunch on a bus for preschool), she told me that she had been called by the school to come get him. He had a fever and was throwing up, AND HAD BEEN IN MY HOUSE FOR THE ENTIRE MORNING WITH CURLY.  

I reassured myself that he was mostly in the basement in the morning while Curly was on the first floor.  We opened all the doors and windows and sprayed every room, and wiped everything down.  

Just before we left my sister's house tonight, Curly said her stomach hurt.  We assured her that she just overate - typical Thanksgiving ailment.  She came home and threw up 30 minutes later.  She felt SO much better-we decided she just had over eaten.

She threw up again around 9 pm, and then we knew the truth.  We leave tomorrow for Louisville.  I assured her she will feel fine by Sunday.  The question is will I get it or will Mini?  

As if I didn't already dread this weekend enough!




November 27, 2019

two kinds of people

As Thanksgiving approaches there are two kinds of people:  

1.  those preparing food and getting excited to spend the holiday relaxing with family, and 

2.  mother's of Irish dancers

(after spending more time than I care to admit trying to upload a video of Curly dancing, I give up.  It looks like it should work but it doesn't not play when I try to play it.  Maybe once the post is up it will work?  If you would like to see it, you can go to my you tube channel:  Ernie Shenanigan.  Clip is called 'Curly dancing').  That sound you here is me thumping my head against the wall.

Unfortunately, as you know, I fall into category number 2.  Curly dances in Midwest championships on December 1st in Louisville.  Therefore, instead of fussing over food and shopping lists, I walk around armed with hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes and constantly repeat to my kids:  'WASH YOUR HANDS!'

Curly CANNOT get sick right now.  No sirree.  I live in fear of this scenario:  Curly gets sick right before she dances and is unable to perform well at the competition and ALL THAT HARD WORK ends in disappointment.  At all major dance competitions, a few dancers will puke on stage - either nerves or illness.  All the moms cringe and wonder, 'Did she get any on the dress?'  Remember last year when Mini got sick?   She wasn't dancing, but was planning to come to cheer on Curly.  

In Vancouver, (remember - we went there?  You will recall the excessive posts about that trip, unless you are new here or were in a coma.  Too many to share links:  but if you go back to late July or August you will undoubtedly bump into a couple dozen) Curly missed qualifying for World Championships by one place.  Again.  No worries, she can qualify on Dec. 1st.  She has qualified every year at the Midwest Championships or Oireachtas (if you want to trip over the official title and try to pronounce it - go ahead with your wanna-be-Irish bad-self).  Still, stress.

We are in basketball season.  Suffice it to say:  busy.  I am extra busy because I plan/hope to make food for the boys (none of which are attending Louisville) staying at home, meals for the college kids to drag back to school with them, and vitals for the Louisville contingent.  Note:  we are staying at the same hotel that does't have microwaves in the rooms and caused me GREAT STRESS last year

Saturday:  Mini played half of the varsity game and then played half of the sophomore game a few hours later.  Tank was supposed to babysit for Geraldine (whose kids I used to sit for:  think chia seeds and no naps and the suggestion that I lock kids in the car in the preschool parking lot to walk her kid into school.  We parted ways - just not on the same page, but remain friendly).  Curly was going to go to her house to help Tank. Ger was taking two boys to the movies - only leaving a newborn at home.  Really:  Tank was just there as an older kid and Curly was handling all things baby.  

Tank started a new job on Wednesday, and texted me Friday to say he was desperately needed for that job on Saturday morning so he now COULD NOT babysit.  I asked Geraldine if she could drop babykins with me and Curly.  Would she be OK with babykins attending Mini's game with me?  Yes.  

Tank dodged a bullet there because as per usual I was ready to strangle him.  

As punishment for shirking the sitting commitment and being sort of 'who cares' about it, he had to wash the kitchen floor.  Between Mini's two games I baked cookies while Coach drove off to watch Reg play travel ball 25 minutes from home.  I saw Tank return from his job.  After Mini's second game where she made the winning shot in OT, I got busy and kept asking everyone if they had seen Tank.  Nope.  

As often is the case, there is more.  Any guesses on how this ends?  


November 25, 2019

meatballs or bust, kitchen for Xmas, and oddest hotel room feature EVER

(our pink eye suffering protagonist is sitting in the car on the way to the grocery store with Coach while visiting Lad at school.  Up to speed?)

Me:  Why don't I make Lad some meatballs?  Let's text him and ask him if he would eat them.  He could put them in his freezer.  (Please note:  my mind working in mom-mode despite the searing pain in my eyeball.)  

Coach:  Oh, his phone is dead.  (Do you remember this cropping up before people?  Can you say history repeating itself?)

Me:  @#$&*@!#**?!

Guess what's fun?  Wandering around an unfamiliar grocery store searching for vitals with one hand hovering in front of your bad eye.  Coach likes to stick to a list.  I like to improvise, thus my very well fed, happy family.  So, I bought a small frying pan to potentially speed up my self-appointed meatball mission.  I could not ask Lad what his kitchen was furnished with because of the dead phone. 

We got back to his place and I got set up to start cooking the meatballs.  His next game was not until 8 pm.  When I was done, we planned to go eat lunch.

Prepping my space.
Me:  Do you have a frying pan?

Lad:  No.

Me:  Good thing I bought one.  OK, I just need a bowl.  (Don't have one)  Spatula (Don't have one)  Fork?

Lad:  (envision him pulling open a drawer showing disposable plastic ware).

Me:  Oh.  OK, then.   

Coach was a little like:  'That took a long time.'
 Really?  Who stood there making the meatballs
while her eye was on fire?  All I asked was the
occasional photo for m'blog.  Sorry to inconvenience. 
OK, rant over.
I made three pounds of meatballs.  Thankfully, I bought ground turkey.  The  little disposable trays were deeper than the ground beef trays.  I mixed the ingredients in the tray and stirred them with the fork in the newly purchased frying pan.  I started switching out the fork frequently when I noticed the first fork melting into my delicious meatballs.  I suggested he feed that first melted plastic batch to his roomies.  Joking.  

Mission accomplished and I am pretty sure that I managed not to drip any pink eye tears in the food.  We divided the meatballs up and stored them in his freezer so he could pop out a tiny tub of them and have a meal.  

Once we learned that this kid had no BOWL - or ANYTHING for that matter, we hatched another plan.  We dropped Lad off at his unfurnished kitchen place and drove back to the bazaar hotel.  He had to get to the pool early for warm-ups, etc.  We wanted to rest at the creepy hotel, but first:  TARGET.

Weirdest hotel room EVER.  I did take a video, but I don't think any of you will want to watch a 28 second tour of my hotel room.  Wrong audience.  Plus the bed isn't made in the video because I didn't think to take movie when the room was made up.  I am standing in front of the bed here.  See the purple doors?  Not only are they somewhat transparent, they OPEN and lead to the bathroom.  Not an entry way - just a view over the sink.  WHY??!!  There is no tub in there, so not like a guest hopes to soak in the tub and watch a movie with the sly purple doors slid open.  
Coach was all about doing this shopping thing fast and I was really interested in relaxing at the hotel with my ugly eye closed, so I was not about to argue.  We purchased all kitchen necessities in less than 30 minutes.  We sprung for a microwave and a crockpot.  Box of plates and bowls.  Silverware.  Cups.  Box of pots and pans.  Dish soap.  Hand soap.  Kitchen towels.  Cutting board.  Pyrex.  A kitchen without Pyrex makes me shudder.  Just saying.  

Here is the view from the bathroom sink
with the door slightly opened.  You can
 see my dress laid across the bed and in the
background if you squint you can see Coach
 crouched next to the bed plugging in his phone.
After Lad's senior game (where friendly parents tried to shake our hands and introduce themselves until I repelled them with my ugly eye and instructed them to keep their distance), we walked him to the rental car, popped the trunk, and I hummed jingle bells.  Merry Christmas, Lad!

To clarify:  both his roommates are from Serbia.  He lives in a different arrangement off campus than he did last year.  We never knew that he and his roomies had no kitchen stuff until we saw it.  You know what they do have?  Mice.  

At one point, Lad said to us:  'I didn't know it was going to be so hard for you to find a hotel room.  You could have stayed in my room.  I have the biggest bedroom at my place and I have a futon.'  

Check this gem out.  Walking into the foyer -
 there is the front desk.  A balcony where
 people at a wedding are hanging out, and
there, my friends is a photo
 of an odd old couple.
  Front and center.  Is is Ma and Pa Kettle? 
No clue, but guess who became motivated
to secure a hotel room at a popular name
 brand hotel for graduation?  You guessed it!  
We did have a tough time getting a hotel room.  One of the hotels informed me that this was because of some government meeting that was taking place in New York.  Regardless, no way in HELL I would have stayed at his place.  Hey, thanks for the offer though.  

I told Lad how to make chicken taco meat in his new crockpot.  This is getting lengthy so I will not go into detail about the countless phone calls after we returned home asking for instructions on how to make this crazy-ass simple recipe.  When he wanted to start the crockpot late in the day, I suggested he hold off and start it by noon the next day. He then asked if he should re-freeze the chicken meat that he had already thawed.  

I looked at Coach and said, 'Maybe this was a mistake giving him access to a kitchen.  I see food poisoning in his near future.'

Please share when you comment, and you know you will - what is your easiest, (preferably healthy) recipe that you make in the crockpot.  I need to hook this kid up.  So much cheaper to prepare the occasional meal in his own kitchen.  

Meanwhile, I plan to whip up enough meals for both Tank and Eddie to take some back to their respective campuses.  At least I no longer threaten to drip pink eye germs in their food.  






November 22, 2019

My fall (as in the season): think pink

Warning:  this is gonna be a long topic, but I will chop it up for you based on each injury being discussed.  No, I did not physically fall (thank goodness for small favors), but this FALL was epic for moi. 

I am going to start out of order (and just like that I think of my math teacher in high school who died far too young), because I have a recipe request from all of you - but that will not show up until the next post because this got crazy long and I am doing a cut/paste job so we stay friends.

This fall marked Laddie's senior year season playing water polo out east.  Several weeks in advance, I looked at the schedule with Coach and we chose which games we wanted to attend.  Coach has a harder time committing because of work, etc.  I have an easier time as it comes naturally to me to craft ways to jump ship, escape the loony bin, ditch the disaster area, etc. 

Great pants but crappy eye.  If you
did not read how I scored these
 pants at a deal, you should.  Not
 many of you did,
so here is your chance.
This was senior
 game.  I am holding the flowers
 they give the moms and standing
 next to my kid in the speedo.
I was going to attend three different weekends - one with the whole gang, one just Curly and I, and one solo.  Yea me.  One of my visits would be to Lad's senior night.  I booked the necessary flights. 

Coach decided less than two weeks before the senior night game, that he might want to tag along.  That sounded perfect to me, save the fact that I now needed to pawn off our lovely younger four kids on people who once considered us friends.  No prob - I got busy and the pawning was complete.  Then I baked myself into a tizzy, because people are owed treats for this!

I made a mountain of meatballs right before we left.  I find meatballs labor intensive, so I do not whip them up all that often.  Well, that dinner was met with rave reviews.  I told the kids that when they were allowed re-entry to our home Sunday afternoon via key from my mom, they could heat up leftover meatballs for dinner.  Coach and I were not landing until around 7 or 8 pm.

Thanks to Coach's last minute booking, we flew to New York from O'Hare about an hour apart - but we landed at two different airports.  Coach rented a car at Laguardia and then came to get me - a few hours later at my airport.  On the way home, we both departed from Laguardia - I left a few hours earlier than him.  I landed at O'Hare, got a cab home, and then hopped in the car and drove to get him at Midway.  Yep.  That happened.

I assume I picked it up on the plane,
but Coach insists that you get it from
 poop so he blames changing diapers.
  I constantly wash my hands though.
 I am sticking with the airplane and
subsequent time hanging out at
the airport. 
Not gonna lie, it sucked.  
I ended up being incredibly grateful that Coach came along.  I could not have maneuvered around in a rental car on a bright sunny day trying to glance at the GPS with . . . PINK EYE.  Of all things!  I don't think I ever had this, because I swear something so insanely painful would have stuck with me. 

We woke up Saturday morning and hit the workout room in the hotel before we went to Lad's game.  While on an elliptical my eye started to tear like CRAZY.  Then the burning.  Then I considered scraping my eye out with a spoon.  As he drove to the game, I googled.  Oh, shit. 

We watched that first 9 am game (well, less watching for me and more blinking).  I kept going out into the quiet hallway to call my doctor.  They agreed to call me in something which saved us hanging out at urgent care during our visit.  It also saved me from swearing like a sailor into the phone in desperation mode and thereby forcing me to find a new doctor when I returned home.


Lad played Harvard on Sunday.  It was his last game of the weekend, and we were thrilled that he scored a goal - first of the season.  It happened in the 4th quarter.  Super sweet.  This picture is of Dr. Oz.  See him in the pinkish button down?  His son plays for Harvard and he was guarding Lad when Lad scored.  Just saying.  Too bad this wan't our early morning game on Saturday, because I could have tapped Dr. Oz on the shoulder and asked him if he had any pink eye drops on him.  I would've too, you know it!  Timing is everything.
I managed to survive the 30 second intervals of piercing eye pain for several hours till God's sweet nectar in the form of drops saved me.  Coach and I hit the grocery store while Lad went to watch film with his team.  Coach had procured a list from Lad while they watched Lad's girlfriend play in a softball tournament.  I stayed in the car, reclined, begging the drops to work some magic.  

Off to the grocery store, which gives you time to consider what easiest crockpot recipe ever you will suggest for my college kid.  Um, this adventure is not quite over.