August 26, 2020

an un-good-bye, fake stuffed animals, and e-learning benefits

Ed left for college.  I expect that he'll be home sooner than desired, but I sincerely hope he gets to stay.  We were so busy that people blanked or didn't get the memo on what time he was leaving and they didn't get to say good-bye.  Just more evidence that we rarely fire from all cylinders and it isn't just mail that slips into that giant crack we seem to gingerly step over in day-to-day life when we remember its presence. (not literally, we don't actually have a crack in our floor, well the kids' upstairs shower started leaking into the kitchen AGAIN . . .  well now I am just way off track).

Um, Coach was one of the family members who neglected to say good-bye to Ed.  He left to workout and when he came back around 8 am . . . 

Coach:  Is Ed ready?  

Me:  Um, he left at 7 am.  

Coach:  What?  Oh.  Shit.  I guess last night he did say he was leaving at 7.  It just didn't register.  

Meanwhile the three high school kids have started e-learning, and as Beth recently predicted in my comments that has created material for this-here blog.  

The second day Mini texted me from her bedroom demanding that we get better internet service.  She was glitchy.  Is it just a coincidence that it rhymes with bitchy?  Asking for a friend.

We're at the top of the line with internet, having already upgraded.  We own these little internet boosters and have them placed around the house.  Since Mini unceremoniously threw a sleeping Curly out of their room to e-learn, I told her to carve out a corner on the first floor.  "Plus better internet service on the first floor too, so you're welcome."

Mini adopted the dining room table for her study spot.  She dislikes the dining room chairs though, so she pulls the upholstered chair from the living room into the dining room.  Probably scratching the hell out of the floor, and in the process she's inadvertently unveiling all of the wrappers and uneaten food items that Tank typically hides under that chair.  

Tank goes to the store for me sometimes and I let him pick out cookies before we left for Michigan.  So it should come as no surprise to you that I found a sandwich bag filled with Nutter Butters under the chair recently.  He doesn't even bother to deny it, just claimed he didn't want Curly to eat them all.  As if.  

That chair is usually 'off-the-grid'.  If Coach and I start to converse in the kitchen about something top-secret that only our pay grade is cleared for, then I first bop my head into the living room to see if a kid is camped out in that chair.  I don't think they sit there hoping to eavesdrop, but one never knows.  

Not drawn to scale, but you knew that.  I started to explain where the secret chair is in relation to the kitchen, but a picture seems so much easier.  Oh the things I have found under there over the years.  Sorry I didn't do a better job demonstrating Coach and I standing at the island talking.  We don't usually stand so close to each other to speak. 

Anyway, on the 3rd day of e-learning (uh oh, I feel like I could easily slip into that Christmas song about 5 DIAMOND RINGS here, while substituting the words . . .  don't worry, not feeling THAT creative tonight), Mini came rushing into the family room.  Curly and I were camped out over the double boppy pillow feeding and burping twins and trying to guide their spit onto the 5 bath towels spread all over the floor.  

What child labor laws?  Nothing like training a child in a life skill, is what I always say. 
Somehow  housework lessons do not get as much dedication.

Mini:  Quick.  I need a stuffed animal for my Peer Buddies class.

She fumbled a bit.  I held up Fifi, the 5 month old twin.  She is less likely to spit as the other twin, and as an added bonus she LOOKS just like a stuffed animal.

Me:  Here, take Fifi!

Mini:  (giggling uncontrollably, which is generally her reaction any time she sees Fifi.  She  raced back to the dining room)  Oh, so this is NOT a stuffed animal, but the next best thing.  This is Mrs. Noodle's kid.  (Mrs. Noodle teaches at the high school).

Mini's computer:  LAUGHTER and APPLAUSE, ETC.  

Curly handed me Mimi, the spitting twin.  She ran to the dining room to see the zoom class's reaction.  Peer Buddies is a PE class.  This class involves upper-classmen assisting students with special needs.  No idea how they do much of anything on a zoom call.   

So, after our first day with the twins, Curly told the mom when she came to pick up that Fifi reminds her of the hamster in the Disney animated movie:  Bolt.  I sort of cringed when she said this not knowing if a mom ever wants to hear that her kid looks like a cute hamster, but the mom was like, "Oh, I'm not familiar with that movie."

Bolt hamster photo, thanks Disney Fandom.

The next day, the twin's mom showed up and told Curly that she googled the hamster and that she could not stop laughing because her baby looks SO VERY MUCH like the hamster in Bolt.  

Me:  (Dabbing away beads of sweat on my forehead, relieved that this woman was OK with my kid telling her that her baby looks like a chubby hamster).

Other than faking babies as stuffed animals, which is what I assume most teachers consider  a teaching moment, there are a few other benefits to e-learning:

1.  More time with my children, because is there ever enough of that?

2.  Rather than getting frustrated that a kid has left for school and left the milk out, or dropped a wet towel on his/her bedroom floor, or neglected to load a bowl in the dishwasher, I can just CORRECT the situation right then and there.  If you doubt that I will walk into my child's learning space and embarrass them on a zoom call to holler at them to get their dirty clothes out of the upstairs hallway- then you don't know me as well as I thought you did.  

EXPLANATION (EVEN THOUGH THIS CANNOT REALLY BE EXPLAINED):  it is a HALLWAY, not a bathroom, or a bedroom, no idea why one would change there - or what one would do that would result in dirty or clean clothes being strewn about.  It's also a small space, a mere two steps lands one in the laundry room.      


edited to add:  After I drafted this post, I walked out to the kitchen at 9 pm and hollered to Coach . . . 

Me:  So, did I remember to text you to tell you Ed got to school OK?

Coach:  No, but he texted me, so I knew.

Curly:  WHAT?  Ed left for school already?  When?  I didn't even get to say good-bye.

Mini:  I know.  I just found out he left too.  

What a difference a year makes.

Do you know anyone who looks JUST LIKE a cartoon character?  Would you ever tell them so?  Any guesses on the e-learning pitfalls that will follow in a subsequent post?


Charlie said...

Omg hilarious Ernie! Never a dull day in your crib!! PS Isn’t it 5 gold rings?! I went to a Christmas wedding once where each table had a number to sing and we sang the carol with each table standing up each time it was their turn - and yep we were on the 5 gold rings table! Hilarious when you’ve been making the most of the pre-dinner cocktails! 😆

Nicole MacPherson said...

I wouldn't personally tell anyone they were like a cartoon character but someone once told me I was like Jane in the animated Tarzan and I can't help but think it wasn't super complimentary! Ha! Good for you for looking on the bright side.

Kari said...

I think it's pretty funny that half of you didn't realize one of you didn't go away to college. THAT IS SCREENWRITER GOLD. That makes me think of the opening of Caddyshack for some reason. Probably because Danny has a huge family. That is the only comparison.

I have never seen Bolt but I will take your word for it. I need to see it now though and we just dumped cable today, so I will have to look it up on Amazon or maybe it's on Netflix. I feel like Ella may have already seen it but if not, she may love it.

Amy said...

When my middle-stepdaughter left to spend time at her Mom's this summer, it took a week or so for two of her siblings to realize it. SMH. And when the youngest was an infant, she looked just like Jeff Dunham's Walter puppet when she was upset! Love that the one baby looks like the hamster! LOL!

Ernie said...

Charlie - I almost named my blog 'never dull.' So true. And you are right, 5 gold rings! Look at me, upgrading the rings with a bit 'o bling. That wedding activity sounds SUPER fun. Such a great idea.

Nicole - I think there are far worse cartoons to be compared to than Jane in Tarzan. She is a good looking cartoon character, for sure! I am assuming that e learning is going to require a bit more work no the student's part this year, but I admit that I am hoping that Curly still has time to work as my assistant.

Kari - It was funny how Ed just sort of slipped out. I texted him about Curly's confusion -and he didn't respond for two days, which is when I texted and demanded a reply because it became obvious he either lost his phone or was in a ditch somewhere. His response: Um, I mean I was packing for days. Didn't people see me? I was like: Curly was probably at dancing. Since there is unexplained clutter at any given time in our house, no one questioned the growing number of bags and boxes in the kitchen. We do have many Caddy Shack like stories. In fact I wrote a bunch of stuff about caddy experiences last fall and never posted them. Going to add them to my upcoming posts. Get excited.

Amy - That is crazy - a week? Curly is rough with the chubby twin, like gets in her face and rolls her around a bit growling and makes her giggle and then she approaches peanut baby like she is a delicate piece of crystal, and talk to her in real sweet tones. Chubby twin is a riot, but watching Curly interact with her is nothing short of hysterical. Curly cannot be in her presence without busting a gut. Good times. Hope she has time to work with me despite e learning! Ha.

Beth Cotell said...

Seriously, your house is what TV sitcoms are made of! And I am very glad the mom agreed that her baby looks like a cute cartoon rodent. Sounds like this mom is a keeper!

Someone once told me many years ago that I looked like Stephanie (the fat cheeked kid) on Full House. I was annoyed at first but had to agree that there was a strong resemblance there.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Well you did it again....made me belly laugh at your families antics.
The girls realizing 12 hours later that their brother left the house for college? Using a real baby instead of a fake animal for class studies? This is the stuff sitcoms are made of.

I LOVE your kitchen, house, secret spot drawing! I didn't realize you and coach were 'talking in the kitchen' becuase it looks like you're making out. Hey, I remember your beach/kissing picture!

Laughing about the chubby hamster and the Mom not caring; she's a realist. Lolo's max looks like the squirrel from Ice age. ;)

Ernie said...

Beth - The only way our home could be a sitcom is if cuss words could be accepted. The mom IS a keeper. She is super chill and has a good sense of humor. She taught Ed AP Calculus when he was a senior and she randomly asked him in class one day: "So, your mom babysits for teachers, right?" So my kids are my little daycare reps. Um, in college I was told MULTIPLE times that I looked like the girl on Growing Pains with glasses. Tracey Gold. Only when I wore my glasses. I had long curly hair, too.

Suz - The family would crack me up all day long if they cleaned up after themselves now and then. Asking too much? Honestly, I am not sure Tank and Reg knew Ed left until days later. But they didn't mention being out of the loop. Tank probably knew, because he is tight with Ed. Reg lives in his own world. Lad shares a room with Ed so he knew. Oh my gosh, this stuffed animal baby is SO animated and fuzzy hair'd. Hilarious that you noticed that I drew Coach and I making out. Based on the kids' reaction to our surprise beach kiss, we do not make out in the kitchen while leaning on the island often enough. Hee hee. Max DOES resemble the squirrel in Ice Age. So funny.

Kara said...

Oh! I need recommendation for signal boosters, because that has become a NEED in our house. Four people fighting for the signal during the 9 AM - 3 PM hours. Sometimes I have to log into our router and kick off the extra devices (that shouldn't be on during those hours anyways). We do have some weak spots, and need better coverage, so if you have a tried and true booster, I want to know about it.

Anonymous said...

This post! So good! Can’t tell you how often you made me laugh! Thank you Ernie. I needed this dose of happy. You are a gem lady! (I also love that you upgraded the five golden rings to diamonds! I’m picturing a lovely stackable set... suitable for a big anniversary ;-)
- Maddie

Ernie said...

Kara - Hmm, I am not sure where we bought the thing we are using to boost hte internet and I cannot promise that what we have is the best thing out there. The name on it is eero. I think it helps a bit, but I think what helped us the most was switching to xfinity. You are way more tech savvy than me, I would have no idea how to kick devices off of a router. It that even English?

Maddie - So glad to hear that our chaos and confusion entertains you. If I had the time, I could write posts of this variety daily: Coach losing it over someone using his towel, what time are you getting who and do I have a car today, and the girls fighting over who gets to hold with twin baby. I keep little notes jotted everywhere about the stuff I need to share, but inevitable something else comes along. 5 diamond rings . . . subliminal, perhaps?

Kara said...

Six Children should equal six diamond rings, if that's your thing!

Ally Bean said...

Laughing here [as usual]. I like your eavesdropping spot, penciled in so that we know that you are on top of things. Love point #2 in your brief summary of benefits to e-learning. Smart thinking there, Mom.

Ernie said...

Kara - I have learned not to hold my breath when it comes to jewelry. Not really Coach's area of expertise. That was my Mom's favorite gift to receive, but over time I realize I am not all that into jewelry. Funny how it was sort of conditioned in me to desire that, because Mom always made such a fuss over the gifts that Dad gave her. I think I would prefer a vacation. One where we have enough counter space in the bathroom to relax about our contacts.

Ally - It is funny, but I believe only Tank and Lad have utilized the eavesdropping spot, although when I think about it - maybe they are the only ones loud and clumsy enough to be caught. Yes, this e-learning is helping unload my dishwasher and wipe down counter tops. One more reason the kids cannot wait to get back!

Bibliomama said...

Pets and babies are gold in zoom classes, so nice call. I would also not be insulted if someone told me my baby looked like the chubby hamster from Bolt, although to me he looked more like Winston Churchill. Matt had a baby brother when he was ten, and he was way more proficient at baby-tending than I was, so I agree it's a great life skill to pick up early, although Matt wasn't overly happy about it at the time. And Ed probably appreciated the lack of fanfare, unlike in our family where every person's departure requires everybody to get out of bed and bestow multiple hugs and stand waving on the front step until the car is out of sight.

Ernie said...

Ali - Winston Churchill, aim high over there. It is true a hamster baby lookalike is not all bad. She is a roly poly bundle of fun. I think my boys are going to be very baby-versed and might be a bit bossy with their future wives, like: "Looks like he doesn't want to eat because he needs to burp. Oh, support his head." Last year when Curly sobbed uncontrollably and hung on to Ed for dear life when he left, I did my best to keep that story on the down low, since there was no crying when Lad left.

Not sure you read my Mirror, Mirror post from early August, but it reminded me a bit of Eve and the urine sample. One of the funniest mom-moments, Girls-unite stories of my entire motherhood thus far. No pressure. Hope you are caught up on your sleep.