April 28, 2021

a short post: quotes the fam is stuck on lately

These are a few odd actual conversations/remarks or potential conversations that have made us laugh lately:

Months ago, Mini admitted to me that she thought that 'Hyundai' was plural for Honda. As in, a person would use that word if there were more than one Hondas in view. Now when I see a Hyundai, I smile.

The health club recently announced that if you're working out intensely, then you're allowed to work out without your mask. This made Tank realize that this new rule COULD lead to the following  . . . "You don't look like you're working out intensely, get your mask back on."  How embarrassing would that be? Exercise types might have their own definition of intense, right? Anyway, the possibility that someone working at the health club might need to speak this way to a patron who they think is breaking the rules, made us laugh.

Mini just discovered that Tank rated
 his father on Google. Two years ago.
We never knew. Mini chimed it too.

"You've touched me before,"
- A former patient of Coach's was at Easter Sunday mass. When the gentleman and Coach attempted to shake hands or slap one another on the back or have some kind of physical contact while masked, their arms/hands sort of stuttered mid-air. Awkward. The former patient uttered the above phrase. 

Translation:  you can shake my hand, I've been your patient and you've laid hands on me. Instead it came out the above way. Obviously not well thought out. Since we are a goofy bunch, we've adopted this quote as a new family favorite. 

"I'm all yours, Tim. Do whatever you want with me." My caddies say this ALL THE TIME. Credit for coining this phrase goes to a club member. Apparently the guy is goofy and socially awkward. According to my caddies, most of the members cannot stand him. Tank compared him to Michael Scott. This member approached the caddy master, Tim - the most sarcastic guy alive, and said the above. Tim froze, contorting his face to deliver a squished up 'EWW' look. My caddies enjoyed this moment immensely. 

Note:  'Michael Scott' of the golf course is also obsessed (according to Mini -the boys tend to agree) with our family. He told Mini that he thinks Coach and I are raising great kids and that he'd like to meet Coach and I. She thinks this 'we're great' thought stems from a greatly exaggerated story Lad told him years ago about how he (Lad) helped out the member's kids at the pool when they were being picked on.

Um, the guy can't be THAT goofy, if he thinks we're great - right? When I suggest this to my caddies, I encounter eye-rolls.

Anyone have a fun quote that only your family gets, or that has been generated by the pandemic?

April 26, 2021

Lad update: Tuesday evening

Sorry this is longer than I intended. 

The arrangement:  if Lad wants help with his toll debt ($3,500, in case you missed that post. We gagged a little, too), then we requested he sign off on his hippa. We also required him to complete the bloodwork that the neurologist requested in July. 

Lad FINALLY got the bloodwork done in March. The head CT from July came back normal. 

The first time he tried to get his blood drawn, the order was too old, or something. That led to a rant by him at us, well namely -me, because I was home.

With Hippa signed, I called the neuro. Was he conducting a legit neuropsych eval? He wasn't. Long story short:  we got Lad to see a new therapist over the summer. He suggested Lad see this neuro Dr. for testing. We crossed our fingers hoping for answers, but since he's legally an adult - we were in the dark. Now we feel like that testing wasn't what Lad needed. Frustrating, and PRICEY. 

In early April, I called the neuro's office to set up a follow up visit. He was booking into late June. Come again? 

Why not ask our family doctor, Dr. B, to review the bloodwork? His office is where Lad had the blood drawn, because it was closer than the neuro. Dr. B was involved early on in this nightmare. He reached out to Lad when things were really hairy and suggested family therapy. Since Lad didn't live with us for 5 months, that didn't happen. 

I emailed Dr. B: 

#1. The neuro wasn't doing a neuropsych eval. 

#2. Lad's behavior has improved considerably - still have concerns. 

#3. If this was stress related and NOT a personality disorder, what happens the next time he encounters stress? 

#4. Would he meet with us, review the bloodwork, and hopefully urge Lad to get the neuropsych eval. 

Dr. B emailed back:  call his office, get appt for the last virtual visit of his day. Tuesday, the 20th at 4:45 worked for all 3 of us. 


Lad:  Big day, we're gonna find out what's wrong with my blood.

Me:  I don't think they're gonna find anything. Dr. B might suggest different testing. (me hinting, hoping he'll be open to what Dr. B suggests)

**side note: When Lad had the toll place call me last month so I could work my magic and get them to lower his bill, I shared with them that Lad was having 'issues'. They suggested we supply them with paperwork. 

I told Lad that if the doc felt he was struggling with something, it might help us in the toll battle. Sometimes it feels like we're playing Jedi mind tricks, taking baby steps. We prefer a doctor to come up with a diagnosis, but WOW - harder than one would think. 

Several weeks ago, Tank got in an argument with Lad and accused him of having a personality disorder. That got really ugly.** 


The virtual call happened an hour late. I had 15 minutes until I had to drive Curly to basketball 30 min away. Other drivers weren't available.

Dr. B:  bloodwork normal. Still Lad wondered what this or that meant. I was pressed for time. Wanted to get to the point. I asked Dr. B if he thought neuropsych testing was appropriate. I mentioned that while we've seen improvement, we want to be sure Lad doesn't run into similar struggles.

Coach informed Dr. B that when Lad came home Feb. 1st he admitted to us that he's always felt like everyone was out to get him. 

Lad felt blindsided. And I hate that. There's no easy way to get a doctor to HELP US. 

Lad:  I was raised to think everyone was out to get me, because that's how my Mom's always felt. 


My parents' favoritism stung. Plus, not gonna deny my middle child syndrome - my sisters are besties and my brothers are practically Siamese. Not the same as thinking 'everyone is out to get me'.  

I bolted from the room to drive Curly. I HAD ENOUGH. I called back, "Yep, always someone's else's fault." 

While in the lot at b-ball, I had to call a friend who works in my eye doctor office about a contact lens issue (silly story later). She could tell I'd been crying. I ended up sharing the saga through tears for over an hour. Of course there was no Kleenex box in the car. 

I had no appropriate photo for this post, but this is chipper. I've unearthed a non-scratched Irish music CD for the minivan. How does one NOT speed when jamming to this upbeat music?

Dr. B suggested family therapy. So we can sit and listen to Lad lie? Project? Blame? Coach and I have seen a therapist who specializes in DBT therapy, which is what we think Lad needs. We started this before he came home Feb. 1. Wanted to learn how to communicate with him, how to help him. Lots of talk about validation. What we really want:  have Lad work with that therapist. How? 

At every turn, I try. This doctor? That test? Hope for this. See if he'll agree to that. Set up boundaries and insist he respect them. Take a few steps forward and then encounter a set back. 

We told him we'd help him deal with his tickets, but he never gave us the ticket or court date. Now the court date is next week. Guess whose fault it is that we don't have a plan in place, or a lawyer? Mine, apparently. 

Believe me, he's so much better than he was. Not tormenting everyone. Functioning. Still, his perception is off. Not accepting responsibility. Doesn't recognize his need for help. Daily life is fine, some unpleasantness, but we don't feel like prisoners in our own home as we did over the summer. It's when we attempt to introduce help that we still believe that he needs that he bristles.  

I wish we'd cancelled Dr. B when he was going to be SO late. The rushed appointment caused more harm than good. It's ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE to get all 3 of us to be available. I hated to reschedule. 

Hoping family therapy works (first, finding a time that works, then hoping the therapist has x-ray vision and can see truth, etc.) It's my only hope, Obi Wan. (not literally, because he's our son, and we'll keep trying till he gets the help he needs).

April 21, 2021

(parking, part III: best of the bunch) later that night . . . parking instructions, from Ms. Clueless. SERIOUSLY?

A few hours after my run in with the cops over our parking-lot-like driveway, I drove Curly to basketball. It's 30 minutes away and the practice lasts an hour and a half, so it's one of those "I'll just wait here in the car" kind of situations. Welcome to my world of silly-to-bother-driving-home activities. 

I needed a nap anyway. So, after parking in the lot of this recreation facility/health club place, I reclined my seat and snoozed. 

A bit later there was a knock at my window. I was a little disoriented. I sat up worried that Curly hadn't been able to find her team. Had they moved to a different court and after 25 minutes of searching, she decided to come and ask me for help? Enough time had passed that this would've really been strange, but hello sleepy brain fog. 

There was a teenage girl standing between my car and hers. I fumbled for my keys so I could roll down my window. Um, what happened next still baffles me. She told me that I shouldn't park so close to her car. Huh? I nodded after she dribbled a few  more flighty sentences about side-swiping. I gave her a, dismissive wave, like "I GOT IT." 

I imitated her little lecture over the phone to Delilah when I got home. Delilah found my voice-over for this flighty teen very effective. I share my version of events with you now in the below video, and you can thank Delilah for the inspiration: 

Note to self:  Get Curly some new markers.

Casting crew eliminated these toys from
the filming, but we thank everyone for their time.

A moment later after she drove away and I'd inspected my parking job and I was a tad more coherent, I realized that what I really wanted to say was:


and . . .


The crazy thing is that about 5 minutes later, she drove BACK into the lot. This time she drove to the entrance of the building and parked by the front door. I assume that she forgot something in the building. Like a few brain cells, or maybe the rest of her mid-riff sweater (I'm joking - I'm fine with teens dressing in the current fads, I mean I wore knock-off flowered jammer shorts in 1985. Far from revealing or anything, but it's 2021 so whatever). 

I considered getting out of my car and walking over to wait for her by her car when she dashed inside so when she came back I could explain that cars park next to one another all the time and side-swiping is not really an issue if you pull in and out of your spot properly. I refrained. 

But, I will look for her white jeep next time I drive to basketball. Given the opportunity I WILL park next to her and politely explain why it isn't really necessary to inform people with LOTS of driving experience how to park. I will also encourage her to get more practice if parking near other vehicles makes her uncomfortable. 

That's me, friends, just correcting the world one clueless person at a time. It's a big job. Please alert me here of any clueless types you would like corrected. I'll do what I can. 

April 20, 2021

(parking, part II): I'll tell you where you can park that car, Mr. Po-Po

Officer friendly appeared the other day at my front door AGAIN. I've lost track of how many visits this is. This officer seemed fresh (not like he made a pass at me, more like just got his badge). He brought a more senior dude along. I gave them my usual, DOING THE BEST WE CAN TO KEEP THE CARS FROM BLOCKING THE SIDEWALK. PEOPLE ARE IN AND OUT QUITE A BIT. FOUR CARS LIVE HERE.

This is a photo of part of the chalk message I wrote a
 few weeks ago (um, need to buy Curly more chalk)
to whoever feels the need
 to call about our car blocking the sidewalk. 

I also launched into my rant about what I think of neighbors who would call and complain. I'm starting to think though that this isn't neighbors calling. 

A friend is an alderman for the city and she said it's an ordinance (which the officers reminded me of) and they are cracking down. Do cops drive around and try to enforce this dumb rule? I guess I should be grateful that there is very little crime in our little city. Our po-po have so little else to do. If that's the case why does the city employ SO MANY uniforms? See, I'm familiar now with the whole force as I get a different guy visiting each time. I'm assuming no one comes back for a repeat visit because they don't want to deal with Lady Cray-Cray. 

I told the fuzz that we'd move the flipping 'offending' car. As they walked away, Mini told me that she'd parked so that there was still plenty of space to walk around the car without leaving the sidewalk. 

Well. Hold. The. Phone.

This was from one of the initial complaint
days, but there is still space to walk on the sidewalk. Right?

I raced outside and sure enough, a 700 lb person COULD walk past the car without stepping off the sidewalk. The boys in blue were still walking to their car. I pointed out to them (and demonstrated by walking freely with my arms held out to my sides) that Mini had parked the car in order to make the sidewalk accessible. 


That's when I thanked him for that newsflash and then I pointed (knowing full well that my mother taught me not to point, but blood boiling and all) to Mary Ann's house across from the curb of which he spoke. 


Get the popcorn, because not a moment later Mary Ann walked out of her house, without her broom - too bad, because it would've been nice if she'd demonstrated her special powers. 

Mini moved the car and said she saw Mary Ann speak to them, but Mini's x-ray hearing (is that a thing?) wasn't turned on and she had no idea what the conversation was about. 

I came across this photo from the summer - look TWO cars in the way of the sidewalk. We could use the street parking more, but we are on the corner (see above curved curb), and there's a fire hydrant directly across from our driveway. That leaves us with the space that Mary Ann has requested we NOT park in. Of course there is no law against it.

I assure you that Mary Ann doesn't call to complain about our cars blocking the sidewalk. She never walks on this side of the street. She's incredibly self-involved. If you need evidence of that, I can supply you with many links to many posts detailing her self-centeredness. There's no way our sidewalk would be worthy of a complaint from her. It just doesn't impact her. 

Our city's motto is:  (INSERT NAME OF CITY), a nice place to live.

Coach came home moments later. He's like Lenny and Squiggy with the well-timed entrances. He JUST missed the badge-carrying peeps. I told him that I'm going on the Next Door website and announcing that our town is NOT a nice place to live. Take that, city. Time to come up with a new catchy slogan. 

Fire me up, will you?

Oh, and here's a thought. What if the po-po starts hanging out in the high school parking lot and directing traffic? That might be time well spent. 

April 19, 2021

(parking, part I) Less alarm calling from the parking lot, please. Plus: Where's Mini?

This week:  3 short/short-ish posts, 3 days in a row, all related to parking. The Wednesday one being my fav. Get excited . . . 

Last week Coach told the kids to drive the red minivan to school. He planned to take the kids' 'nicer-than-what-my-folks-drive' Kia in for an oil change. 

Translation:  the kids would be rocking it out to Neil Diamond. 

We actually just drove a distance in the red minivan on Saturday and we dug up a few more CDs. Most were scratched. Some were scratched so badly that the car spit them out without even attempting to play them, as if insulted that we'd asked. Other artists sounded  hilarious with the added stutters or long pauses between syllables. We were dying. Imagine James Taylor with an unintentional almost rap like twist to his songs. Some things should not be combined. James and rap are two of them.

Ever wonder what we're up to? Entertaining ourselves with stuff no one else would find funny. 

Coach ended up not having time to get that oil change. He and I had an important zoom call. Before it ended he had to bolt for a dentist appointment. 

Coach typed into the chat line that he'd tune in from the car for the last few minutes while driving to the dentist. Then, Tank called my cell. I ignored it. He persisted - 3 more times. 

I finally answered:  ON A ZOOM, CAN'T TALK.


Me:  Is everyone OK (while telling the zoom people I had to go).

Me:  Have you called the police?

Tank:  Should I? 

He was parked in the school lot. Mini's friend's older sister, a senior, backed into him. Hard. The damage was not the slow, love-tap from backing up kind of damage. Still, I told him NOT to call the police. I figured her folks would rather pay out of pocket. 

I called Coach, who said:  I heard from zoom. 

It was like Big Brother was watching. He drove by the school and looked at the car before the dentist. It was drivable. The trunk still opened. No broken tail lights. We ARE blaming the broken radio on this fender bender. KIDDING.

Maybe this is typical parking lot damage?
I expected more of a dented bumper.
Can I get a collective sigh for how we manage
 without one of our fleet while it's being repaired.

We informed Tank that he could've used less alarmist verbiage. He was parked not moving, and not at fault. 

A few years ago someone hit the parked minivan. They drove away. We never got the car fixed and I wasn't sure if we should repair this. The car has 144,000 miles on it. It drives great, but it's BYOT (bring your own tunes). Coach wants to get it fixed. While they're at it - figure out the radio, PLEASE. Lad's dealership will do it for a discount:  $900.

Anyway, Tank was steamed:  Who does this? Learn how to drive. 

Reg was in the car and commended Tank for not losing his cool with the girl even though while he was inside the car he slipped into rage mode. I'm thankful no one was walking between the cars. The girl said she thought someone was going to hit her from the front, so she backed up in a hurry. Her mom told me:  I SAID, WELL TRADITIONALLY YOU LOOK FIRST. 

My kid:  The school lot is a dangerous place. 

*I was unaware. Now my blood pressure increases at 3:00 pm daily. 

We were relieved that the kids drove the minivan that day and not the Kia. The girl's mom said that the girl was mortified because everyone at school knew. Well, yes - it happened in front of half the school, plus I have three word-spreading kids in attendance.


At the end of the basketball season, Mini messed up the time for her game. Another player's mom called me. "UM, IS MINI THERE?" 


This mom:  The entire team is waiting for Mini at the high school. She's 30 minutes late. *The bus needed to leave.

Me:  Tell the bus to drive. We'll get Mini to the away game. *Simultaneously screaming upstairs to 'space-case' that she was about to miss her playoff game. 

Tank (walking in after hanging out with Max):  Where's Mini? A girl on her team (the one whose mom called me) snapchatted Max to ask him to ask me where the hell Mini was.

Me:  Yeah, she almost missed the game. Never looks at her phone. Thought the game was at 7 pm. It was at 2 pm. (Tank:  eye roll).

Reg (walking in from somewhere):  Um, is Mini at her game? The guard on her team (a freshman) snapchatted me to say that the bus was waiting for her.  

If you're a Shenanigan or you know a Shenanigan or you bump the Shenanigan's car, you can run but you can't hide. 

April 14, 2021

birthday flop

I have 15 minutes before I have to drive Curly to basketball. This is a new basketball travel league. Her other season finished, and her coach invited her to join this one. It's far, but when we went to check it out I was blown away. It's real basketball. The girls are serious. The play is intense. This is where she needs to be. 

Please sweet baby Jesus, let this girl get a b-ball scholarship to college.

I can't help but think, maybe she'll see the light and decide to drop Irish dancing (which will never give her a full ride, or a partial). In order to accommodate this team, she's doing dancing every OTHER Thursday night, instead of every Thursday night. Baby steps.

I fear know Mini's Monday birthday was less than spectacular. Her tutor for the SAT had to move their normal appt time from Sunday to Monday. Mini didn't tell her it was her b-day. The SAT test required by the school was on Tuesday, so she wanted to squeeze another tutor session in Monday night before the test.

Thanks to that SAT test, only juniors attended school on Tuesday. Translation:  both Tank and Reggie enjoyed a chill Monday night since they 'd be home doing asynchronous learning the next day. Poor Mini would've loved to stay up late and have some fun on her b-day, but alas . . . the SAT and all. 

Tuesday the boys just had assignments and prerecorded lectures to listen to at their leisure. I recognized that leisure and I cashed in on it. 

Reg supervised when I went for my 35 minute run. Then I played Memory with a couple of 2.5 year olds, that's not irritating, thanks for asking. Well, it isn't when you only lay out 12 cards. I know, brilliant. 

I showered and assigned Tank lunch duty with the 2.5 year olds and Reg lunch with the 8 month old. I raced off to get my allergy shots. Remember how I have to sit there for 30 minutes to make sure I don't die? Well, I was glad to get it done during my 'work day.' 

When I came home, Reg had only given the baby Cheerios on her tray which she tossed EVERYWHERE. Literally. He was like MOMMY, LOOK AT THE FLOOR. And then he laughed that teenage laugh. Fortunately I got home before the baby starved since he neglected to give her anything but Cheerios. Not complaining. I was honestly surprised all 3 kids were in high chairs eating. Wearing bibs.

The boys went to the health club, and when they came back and everyone was taking a nap, Tank and I went to Costco. 

Translation:  Tank begged me for stuff and pushed an extra cart. I ordered him to put a case of waters and some other big stuff in his cart. I caved and bought a few things he wanted. Having him help load the car was worth the price of a white cake filled with mouse cheesecake filling . . . that I can't eat.

Last week, Mini applied to be a student ambassador and made it to the interview round. She interviewed on Friday. The student ambassador attends board meetings and presents ideas, etc. (I'm fuzzy on the tasks involved). It promised to be a really cool experience. She said the interview went well. She got an email on her birthday that she didn't get the position. 

She literally took these cropped, stretchy pants off of me the night before the interview because I said I thought they would be perfect with (my old) jacket. She was like "OH, THESE ARE NICE. I MIGHT NEED TO KEEP THESE." And it occurs to me that I haven't seen them enter the laundry room. Must be on the floor of her room. Coach came into our room to go to bed and looked confused. I was without pants while snapping this photo.

She didn't expect to get it, so there were no tears or anything. There were speech club kids trying for it, and some of the brightest bulbs in the school. Still. That sucked.

Also, one of her BFFs has a b-day a few days before Mini's. They celebrated over the weekend. This family is more of the 'go-all-out' variety for birthdays, so . . . well, we kind of suck. I think it's more painfully obvious with their birthdays being so close. We suck even more on a weeknight:  Coach worked late, Curly had dancing, and Mini had the SAT tutoring and homework, etc. 

Run of the mill, but it's what she requested.
 Yellow cake, chocolate frosting.

I did make her favorite dinner. I don't make it often:  gluten. It's a crowd pleasing recipe from Beth (Hey, Beth!) called Mozzarella Pesto Chicken in a crockpot. I might have messed up the name. The fam rejoiced at Mini's choice. Plus I made a cake. 

Still, weak. I felt a  16 candles-ish vibe even though we didn't forget (and she was turning 17), we just didn't knock it out of the park. Oh, and I think she was unimpressed with the two pairs of shoes that I got her VERY much marked down. She sort of knew about one pair in advance, but I bought them a while ago so she forgot. 

Today after the SAT her friends took her out for lunch and gave her a Comfy. She  really wanted one, so . . . super excited.  

Anyone want to share a lousy b-day experience? I feel we are doing our kids a service by keeping the bar low. Did you grow up with high b-day expectations? I did not - hello, 5 days after Christmas and 3 days after the king's b-day (aka my brother Pat). *

And yes, this took more than 15 minutes to write. 

April 12, 2021

More of my strengths: being bossy, laughing at us, & loading the dishwasher

Recently I posted about my strengths, I forgot to include my most obvious:  I'm a rock-star at potty training. I trained Wilhelm, technically speaking. Well, speaking is the issue, in fact. 

He struggles to speak when he has to go. At his house he says POTTY in order to alert people that he needs to go (or so his mother claims, Mini has babysat in their house and never heard him say potty). He can say the word here too . . . just not when necessary. 

Welcome to my daily frustrations. Pour yourself a Mike's Hard Lemonade, it makes things easier.

I leave the light on in the bathroom. I've taught him to take off his pants, climb on the toilet, and straddle it backwards when he has to go. He resisted this skill-set of independence, but I persisted. Score one for me.

Typically, he holds on to himself or slaps his butt and dances around at the border between the family room and kitchen while whimpering. He requires eye contact, an inquiry (DO YOU HAVE TO GO?), and then an invitation:  GO, combined with hand motions, pointing, waving, nudging. 

I prefer:  "I have to go potty" spoken by a kid racing to the toilet. Apparently that's asking too much from this kid who CAN speak. I'm still working on convincing him that he can cross the kitchen/family room border (just call me Biden) enter the previously off-limits kitchen and dash into the bathroom without my blessing. When you gotta go, just go! (for the love of all things holy). 

Wilhelm must have a craving for Taco Bell, he 's all about making a run to the border. (Just not crossing it).

*I thought I cracked the code - showing him this video after the fact and INSISTING that he doesn't need to wait for my go-ahead. "Silly Wilhelm, tell him JUST GO TO THE POTTY." 10 minutes after my tutorial, he started pacing again.

In the meantime, I've started training the other 2 year old. What can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment. Truly, I dislike chasing 2.5 year olds around when they stink and they deny it.

He doesn't have the same communication refusals difficulties as Wilhelm, so I anticipate once he starts to figure it out - he'll alert me of his need to go while he not only makes a run for the border, but crosses it.

At pick up today, his mom admitted that he won't go on the potty for her. Um. I guess you can say I'm bossy.

Let's pause a moment to consider my retirement party:  "Let's honor Ernie, she potty trained my kid," - it'll be a short speech. 

At the risk that this theme is starting to sound like a screwy resume . . . Finding humor in things that run amuck here is another of my strengths.

I mentioned recently that Coach was teaching an online class. It was only like 4 weeks or so. By the time we were all on our best 'shh - he's teaching' behavior, the class had wrapped up. Prior to our evolved best behavior stretch, things happened.

Coach set up a child's table for his laptop in our master bedroom. It had the best blank wall with minimal clutter for his background.

Oh, and let's be clear . . . he DID turn on his camera this time, and volume, and everything else that was necessary to, you know, teach. 

The night of the first class, Mini got out of the shower, wrapped herself in a towel, and walked downstairs. I think she was retrieving something from her laundry pile on the couch (sorted by me while changing diapers, making dinner, and sweeping the floor, because as I've established I'm a super hero laundry sorter).

Tank: (yelling) SHE'S NAKED! SHE'S NAKED!

I think Tank was startled to see her 'almost' naked in the family room, so he decided to be an ass. I was in the study and when it dawned on me that Coach was teaching, I bolted. From where I was, I couldn't decipher where the shouting came from. Was this happening upstairs right outside my bedroom? I was relieved to find a dripping Mini and a hysterical Tank in the family room. I doubted Coach's students heard about our 'nakedness'. 


Another night, someone stunk up the kids' bathroom upstairs. Steps away from the master bedroom where Coach was teaching. There were some accusations along the lines of 'WHO TOOK A BIG DUMP IN HERE AND DIDN'T TURN ON THE FAN?' 

I don't recall the wording, but this time Coach had to apologize to his class for the 'disruption.' This time the students were chuckling. 

Gotta wonder if maybe Coach wishes he had left the camera/sound off again. 

I'm also a super-star dishwasher loader. My people, who aren't tuned into how to conserve space when loading, roll their eyes at my obsessiveness efforts. 

Both dishwashers filled. Reg sitting in the background at the snack bar between the kitchen and family room. My kids are good at leaving their dishes on the snack bar. They assume the dishwasher maniac will clean it up for them.

It's amazing when all the bowls are in the same place how
 much more space there is for EVERYTHING else. Weird, right?

Note how close the island (blue, top right of photo) is to the open dishwashers. A constant source of shin bruising. A mistake by our dumb contractor's dumb daughter. The crack in the quartz is just across from the dishwashers and we've talked about shortening the island to make it easier to walk, and to eliminate the crack.

What skill-set do you have that might look odd on a resume? Also, 17 years ago today we welcomed a baby GIRL to our otherwise male-dominated family. I've been happily shopping for girl clothes ever since. Happy birthday, Mini!

April 7, 2021

learning new words while repetitive lyrics overplay in the background

Mini and I were driving recently. Always the best time to find out what's going on. 

Please imagine us in our red, slightly-beat-up minivan with Neil Diamond playing in the background. Why, you ask, is this what we need to imagine? Well, because the car radio is broken. 

The CD player still works. Thank goodness for small favors. The other day Coach lowered the car window and the radio kicked back on for about 15 seconds. Life is  full of surprises. 

I do love Neil, but I also love to not lose my mind and THE REPETITION might kill me. It's an easy fix. I just haven't remembered to dig up more CDs for the car. Maybe I'VE JUST BEEN FEELING BLUE NOW AND THEN, or been drinking too much RED, RED WINE. Or maybe I've been distracted thinking about my old friend, WHEN NO ONE ELSE WOULD COME, SHILOH YOU ALWAYS CAME. I could go on, but I'll stop there. You're welcome. 

Mini and I were talking prom, prom-posals, etc. It dawned on me:  I always thought Mini and Tank might end up at his senior prom since she's a junior. You know, his friend needs a date and Mini is lots of fun, etc. This year they're only allowing seniors. One more covid bummer.  

The plan is to host prom at the Lincoln Park Zoo downtown. Basically an outside affair. No building utilization. And HOPEFULLY no rain. Duh. Because there isn't a tent. So, I guess we don't even go there in our minds or we end up like the Ghostbusters with the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Guy. An invitation to torrential downpour. 

The other option is to host it at the high school, outside. The seniors insist they will not attend if it's at the high school. Lame, is the word. 

Speaking of words, Mini taught me a new word. Backing up the bus, she's good friends with some of the senior girls. These 3 girls (Jen, Bea, & Tess) also happen to be part of Tank's group. When Mini shared some of the 'news' with me, I asked how Tank handles it that she's in-like-Flynn with these girls. Apparently, they agree to not acknowledge her relationship with them. Whatever works.

Anyway, Tank may or may not be going to prom with Tess.

Backing up further . . . I was invited to hang out with a group of moms at a restaurant after halftime last Friday (we just started football. Tank was on Homecoming court - introduced at half time of game). It's a long story, but the mom 'Eileen' who texted me the invite is someone I was once close with. Our kids lined up in age quite nicely. Her daughter, Bea, is Tank's age and they are now friends in high school, so is Mini. Eileen's husband and Coach got along great. 

Tank's cartwheel, that he calls a somersault.
There's a reason behind why he did
this when announced on homecoming court.
More later, but as usual . . . goofy.

I eventually realized that Eileen is wound incredibly tight and is a control freak, paling in comparison only slightly to my sister, Ann. About 8 years ago, I allowed distance, even before it was a cool covid habit. We'd recently transferred out of Catholic school, so it was natural. No harsh words spoken, just SPACE. For reference, Eileen and Mary Ann - good friends. 'Nuff said?

I was surprised when Eileen texted me. I didn't know who the other numbers belonged to in the group text. I like to be social, and I don't mind living on the edge in order to be social . . . since it's been so long. Living on the edge as in, who are these mystery women I'll be hanging with?

Eileen texted in the group:  Carol and Wanda will meet us there.

So I knew two names. Mini and Tank were curious to see how it would go, knowing  Eileen's bossy demeanor can get me riled up. They were also anxious to see who the mystery moms were. 

The evening was fun. I knew Carol because her son played sports with Lad. The other four women didn't know me, but they do now. I'm not shy. At one point, mid-story, I came up for air and Eileen told everyone:  Ernie always has the best stories.

Making a mental note to share one of these stories here soon (do I say that a lot and then forget to deliver? Feel free to scold me /remind me of how I'm leaving you hanging)

Mini was waiting up when I got home. She wanted details. How's that for role reversal? I told her I met the moms of the other 2 girls she's buddies with who are also buddies with Tank. (already knew Bea, Eileen's daughter).


*It was almost April. I'm still clueless about what month we're in. I'm blaming covid, but could it be brain freeze due to overplaying of Neil Diamond?

Mini:  Cross your heart and promise not to breathe a word, obviously. Tank DOES have a date. He's going with Tess.


Mini:  YOU DON'T GET IT. (shock) LIKE, FIRST THEY TALK. THEN THEY KNOW THEY'RE GOING AND THEN HE DOES THE PROM-POSAL LATER. (sometimes I'm glad I'm old and I've already lived this stuff because it's way more complicated now).

So, holy digression - Mini and I were driving  and she's telling me about guys in her grade (not Tank's grade) who are just weird and how one of them really liked Tess. "When Tess tried to get this weird guy to leave her alone, he was BUTTHURT." 

That's the whole point of the post, just took me awhile to get here. I'm trying to keep you all abreast of new words. Mini kept repeating it, as I was confused. She was irritated and told me, LIKE HIS BUTT HURT BECAUSE SHE DUMPED HIM EVEN THOUGHT THEY WEREN'T DATING. 

Me:  I understand the two words, just never heard them combined like that. 

A show of hands, who misses high school? When Tank asked how the night was, I told him there was prom talk. "Do you have a date?" - to which he said no. A show of hands, who thinks Tank is going to prom with Tess? Who loves Neil?

*edited to add:  I dug around in the car and found a scratched CD of Paul Simon (You Can Call Me Al, one of my favs) and the other Neil disk. It was a 2 disk set and this newly found, also scratched, CD is the better of the two. Life is good. 

April 5, 2021

closets, dizziness, puffy eyes, and a spill worth crying over

I slept 9 hours last night (writing this Good Friday). We're hosting my side for Easter on Saturday afternoon. As in TOMORROW. I've been busy. Understatement. 

Marie will be in town for her 2nd vaccine. The weather:  dry and in the upper 60s, so we can be outside. This is good news. I don't need the inside of my house to be perfect, but I don't know how to host without cleaning. The house is weeping with joy at the unexpected attention. 

My consolation for not going out of town for spring break was that I'd get a lot done. I MAY have set the bar a tad too high, wearing myself out. After such a good night sleep, I woke up dizzy. Rather than doing my workout first thing, I'm on the couch with my laptop. Hoping to do a low impact FB video later. 

I hoped to write a ton, and to clean closets. The eliminate portion of my goal was accomplished. Tank and Reg's room:  top on my list. Countless times I've told begged them to toss stuff. Apparently they're incapable of managing this simple task without their mother sitting in the room saying:  DO YOU WANT THIS? TRY THIS ON. PUT THAT IN THAT PILE. It was a daunting task, made enjoyable by their willingness to participate and their appreciation of my time. 

Could my dizzy feeling be attributed to a not-so-obvious cold? The tots all had a horrendous cold. Tank and Curly caught it. Reg and Coach complained of a scratchy throat. It reminds me that next year when things are 'open' these little guys are going to fall prey to all germs. Can you imagine? I cringe. 

I escaped the cold, I think. This after wiping countless noses and washing my hands like 75 times a day. No joke, because I'm also potty training. Gluten for punishment. I wonder if I caught a less intense version of this cold, since I've been blowing my nose a bit more than normal. Since starting shots, I've not noticed allergic issues so I feel I can rule out allergies. Plus I haven't been outside much . . . it was 35 degrees here yesterday. 

That didn't make me wish we'd driven to Florida. Who needs rest and relaxation on a beach when you can get rid of several garbage bags of clothing? 

Also, the last few days I've woken up with crazy puffy eyes. Reaction to my version of 'the cold'? According to Tank it looked as if I hadn't EVER seen the light of day. 

Oh, another accomplishment . . . cleaning the garage. Does this feel like a task that shouldn't fall under the Ernie umbrella? We just cleaned the garage over the summer when I inadvertently played Plinko on Coach's head. Unfortunately people leave stuff in the garage. Like MORE shoes and clothes. Huh? Tank was thrilled that I unearthed his wireless speaker in a big bin of baseball bats, mitts, and mouse poop. Why are we leaving nice items in the garage? 

I'm grateful Coach drags the garbage bins to the curb each week, but when things fall out of the bins or when he runs out of bins . . . he leaves garbage behind in the garage. I gently mentioned this issue. He didn't receive my observation well. I'll just need to become more dedicated to gathering the garbage remnants myself. That's what I need - more to do. 

I strained my back while working out, or cleaning the garage, or crouching over mountains of clothing. Hard to pinpoint. Then I tackled much of the food prep yesterday. I intended to start earlier, but by the time I got going 

it was 5:15 pm.

I made over 60 cookies, bravely fighting off offspring who dip into the batter. I chopped and browned five onions. Cooked 2 lbs of broccoli. Made a pot of GF substitute for cream of chicken soup. Cooked over a pound of bacon (I made 4 lb of bacon the day before but realized I needed more for Sunday's breakfast casserole). Finding space in the fridge afterwards, cleaning up the mess, and dealing with people needing the microwave to heat up leftovers while I worked was fun. 

In the middle of everything, I picked these corn kernels from the garbage disposal ONE.AT.A.TIME. Curly dumped them in there when cleaning up from a sleepover the night before. I almost lost my mind.

Hours in, I was tired. My back REALLY hurt. I was wearing decent shoes, but NOT my most supportive shoes. 


As soon as I said it, I thought:  TELL HER NOT TO SPILL THE GREASE. But I didn't get the words out in time. Yep, my daughter, who proves time and time again that she has no business in the kitchen, spilled hot bacon grease all over the hard wood floor. 

*The day before when I made 4 lbs of bacon, I needed to take Curly to the dentist. Mini agreed to finish cooking the bacon in the microwave. She did cook it, but she failed to put the lid on the bacon microwave pan. Hello, splatter.

Rather than enlist her to help me (she'd been meeting with her tutor for the SAT from 6:30-8), her energy was devoted to UNSUCCESSFULLY cleaning the grease off the floor. It might be easier to move. She tried many different techniques, but this morning we have a built in ice skating rink. At a loss. 

Mini trying to get rid of the grease.
Mind-losing situation #2.

The rest of my family was watching Netflix. I finally let out a giant sigh. Coach looked up from his recliner (he'd worked a long day) and asked:  ARE YOU OK? 

Me:  NO, I'M NOT. 

It was 9 pm. He urged me to sit down, but I'd hate facing the clean up later. This wasn't the kind of clean up kids assigned to kitchen duty could handle. A few bodies appeared and pitched in a bit so that I could finally collapse on the family room floor in a face-plant. Curly rubbed my feet. Then I rubbed hers. 

Did I mention that she got braces earlier in the day and much time was spent trying to find her soft food and keep Motrin pumping through her veins? My baby. While leaving the ortho, I got a text from the mom who had the lice scare a month ago. She'd immediately taken her girls to a professional to be sure they didn't have it. Well, now one of her girls has it. Not the one that Curly hangs with, but still. 

Please dear Lord, do not let lice nest in my daughter's heap-o-hair. 

I told Coach that I'm taking Saturday off. The day of the gathering. I will get my vaccine at 11:30 and then I will sit in the sun till family arrives. (Two hams will be in 2 crockpots, other crockpot cooking sweet and sour green beans, rice broccoli in the oven, potatoes peeled in advance boiling on the stove).

Coach:  I'll pay to see that. 

Translation:  I'm hoping his payment will be in the form of him doing all the last minute stuff. Hey, I'm happy to call out orders from my reclined position on the deck. 

I'm feeling like this is a long, boring, laundry-list of nothing interesting. It sounded so much more entertaining in my dizzy-today brain. Sorry. 

If you have rid-of-grease-spill remedies, please send as I assume we will still be skating across the floor by the time you read this.