Thursday, March 29, 2007

Shut up, I'm thinking!

Over unsweetened tea, in my stolen hour with Fiddlin' Writer, (stolen while the Sons are at tae kwon do) we discussed, among other things (our discussions lean towards the rambling and cool) the challenge of maintaining a creative train of thought, while home with children.

FW misses the dialogs she used to hear in her head, before she was listening to the dialogs swirling around her kitchen. And I, well, I have a narrative that starts, and starts, and starts, and can't get past the beginning in time to turn it into anything more. It's kinda like this (with apologies to DuMaurier)

Last night I dreamt I was at Manderley again.
Blink 182 is the best band ever!
Last night I dreamt I was at Mander
She said I threw a crayon at her head, but Troy throws stuff all the time! I didn't do it! I don't want to get in trouble for something I didn't even do!
Last night I dreamt I was at M
I don't know WHY I just threw up, but fruits and vegetables always make me throw up. It's not the flavor, it's the...the...I dunno.
I need to study French, because I want to move to France. I can already sound like I speak French, hou hou hou Oui Oui.
Last night I dreamt I was at Manderley again.
Last night I dreamt I was, fuck. I give up. Time to do the dishes, anyway.

As Fiddlin' Writer says, motherhood gives us all ADD.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"It's Always Interesting, Talking With You..."

That's going to be Son #1's high school principal's mantra, by the time we're through at that school. But, hey, she sounds like she is genuinely willing to hear my complaints, and will do what she can to help.

Today's discussion:

--kids are still sharing chairs in the "sex in the class" room, though no sex, since that one time last fall. The girl, apparently, has decided it's not a good idea. I wasn't even going to bother with that one, but the principal asked about it, so there ya go.

--a "retarded kid" is punching him during Art, and "you can't hit him back, he's retarded. You'd get expelled for hitting a retarded kid"

--three students in his English class are repeatedly disruptive, loud and distracting, including violently threatening the teacher, with little in the way of consequences, which makes learning an extreme challenge--and teaching a dangerous profession.

Son #1 also has told me that, when he notices kids skipping class to hang out in the lunch room, he has started reporting them to the lunch monitors. Which gets the skippers booted right back to class. Which, in turn, has caused some lunchroom tension. It's West Side Story, in there, with less rhythm.

He says that his History teacher is trying so hard to be accepted by his students that when they lock him out of his classroom, HE apologizes.

And he mentioned to Hubby, last night, that there is a kid in one of his classes who "sits in his wheelchair and does nothing but grind his teeth".

Oh, how I love public school.

But, I figured that 3 issues was enough for one phone call. I'm not going to tell her EVERYTHING I hear, or she'll start blocking my number.

I told Son #4, who will be there in 4 years, himself, that by the time he's enrolled everything will be fixed.

I hope I wasn't being facetious.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Who wants Creme Brulee?

Son #2 has decided that he wants to study French. So we will attempt to sign him up for that, next year, when he's a freshman. After his visit to 8th Grade Transition Fair, he is psyched about the whole high school thing, looking forward to a fine arts focus and French classes, most especially. And trying to erase all thought of math class, because he will be taking Algebra, which has a history of butt kicking in this house.

In the mean time, we went to the library and got some "teach yourself French" books, a Standard Deviants French DVD, and a basic French cookbook. The creme brulee is chilling, and I am crossing my fingers, in hope that at least one of the Sons won't want it. Because I want some. I LOVE creme brulee. And there are only 4 portions.

I guess I should tell Son #3 that creme brulee is French for "vegetables".

Friday, March 23, 2007

Spring Torture Day

This week, the weather is actually nice. The windows are open, the blue birds are in the front yard, the bats have returned to our attic with their little Mexican hats and tequila hangovers.

That can only mean one thing: Spring Torture Day.

Today, I finally shoved the snowsuits in the attic and brought down last year's garbage bags filled with summer clothes. I am forcing the boys to try everything on, so we can stock their closets with stuff that actually fits, find out what they need for summer, and get rid of all the stuff too small to fit my youngest boy. I find this enjoyable. The boys hate it.

I'm the mom. I win.

I think this makes me a great candidate for CIA school.

The patriarchy inherent in the system

Can't you see him oppressing me?

Yes, the Holy Grail spoke directly to me this morning, when I decided I needed to wear pantyhose. Because it looks better with a dress. Because I wanted to look professional for an interview. Because I spend so little time in an office setting, I need to totally immerse myself in the experience every chance I get.

Now, I am back home with pantyhose clinging to my ribs; I am not sure whether I will change, or try to June Cleaver it all day. Might be fun. I do kinda feel like a girl, in this getup.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Comments? What comments?

I am completely hooked on this whole blogging thing. And sometimes I look at my blog and wonder, "why isn't anyone commenting on my blog?"

Well, um, I am an idiot. That's why.

I just switched my blog to the new, non-beta version, and found that 9 whole people had commented...but I didn't know, so nothing got published. I feel much better now, thank you.

And if you haven't already, visit my buddy Andrea's food blog--I will be posting on there from time to time. Perhaps in lieu of eating?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Outsourcing: it's not just for the big corporations

Last night, Son #1 asked for algebra help AFTER 9 PM. I was especially tired and brain-fogged, so we ended up just bagging it. He'll have to ask his teacher for help.

I would love for him to work within my stated parameters: I will help him as much as I can, during the hours I offer him, but not late at night when his adolescent brain thinks it's time to get up and go. He's not really getting that, at all. He thinks I am able to just jump up and do algebra, even when he sees me propping my head up on my hands in a desperate attempt to stay awake until his brothers go to bed. He will understand, I suppose, when he has children of his own.

This morning, a friend suggested the perfect solution: India!

Not only are their call centers open during my sleep hours, they have higher math and English scores than most Americans. I think I will have to research this.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A perfect recipe for cranky

Son #2 is spending the weekend at a friend's house. So, last night I took Son #1 to see 300 (which was great) and this morning, after sleeping in a bit, I spent 2 hours cleaning Son #2's room.

Two hours.

It is not clean.

It is a hell of a lot closer to clean than it ever is when I don't devote a gorgeous Saturday afternoon to it, but it is still ridiculously messy, even after all my efforts. I am disgusted and frustrated and my nasal passages are full of dust.

It is now closing in on 1:30, and as God is my witness, I am not going to work on that room any more today. Or else I will go insane.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

In the interest of flattening these pesky abs...

tonight I did a plank. Yes, 20 seconds only, of plank. Which sounds like nothing, except when you compare it to all the times I READ about planks, or THOUGHT about planks, and did not do any planks at all.

the weather conundrum

Today is the second day of fabulous weather. I threw open the windows, to catch a little fresh air while stuck in the house doing school and housework, and to hear the birds. It was so nice, until the neighbor woke up.

Yesterday, he spent most of the day with his leaf blower. So far this morning, it is a power saw. At least with that one I get the occasional whiff of fresh sawdust, a personal favorite. But, hasn't anyone ever thought, "my house is OK, I don't need to spend the spring working on it, this year I'll let the neighbors listen to the sounds of nature"?

I guess not.

It stinks to be right all the time

Just as I said 10 years ago, the chicken pox vaccine fades over time, leaving vaccinated people vulnerable to a more virulent version, when they get it as adults.

Yes, 100 children died each year from chicken pox, before the shot. But how many more people will get it as adults? If you can't truly eliminate a childhood disease, it's definitely better to get it in childhood.

Soooo glad the Sons got that out of the way before the vaccine became mandatory. Yes, mandatory. This year, when Son #1 re-entered school, he had to provide proof of either natural immunity or the shot. He got a blood test to prove that he'd had chicken pox as a child. If he couldn't prove that, he'd have been required to get the shot, thereby ensuring that he would not get chicken pox before adulthood. As a mother, and as someone who has watched an adult suffer with another childhood disease and its aftermath, I would have to think pretty hard before submitting him to that. Glad it is a non-issue, for us.

But when the grandkids come around, how will they be able to be safely exposed to the virus, so that they can get it young and get over it? By then, almost everyone in the US will have been vaccinated, so they will never really know if they're immune or not. What a mess.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Oooh, thought clouds

Saw this on another blog, loved it, can't figure out how to put it on my blog, but at least you can follow the link...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Band Scrapbook

It was only a matter of time before I started putting some of the pictures from Hubby's band's performances into a scrapbook. You all knew this. And today I finished the latest page. I am up to date on something, until they play again. I shall wallow in scrappy satisfaction.

The family is, as a whole, underwhelmed. Son #4 thinks it's cool, but Son #1 sums up the rest of the world's opinion, thusly:

"Oh, yeah, I wish I could see the Stones' scrapbook. And Ozzy Osbourne? Whenever he's not busy biting the heads off of bats? You just KNOW he's working on the band scrapbook."

I wish I knew where he got that smartass attitude.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Son #2: the Ronald Reagan of Chores

"Ya gotta clean up your messes, guys. If you don't clean up after yourselves, Mom gets stressed out. And if she's stressed out, we'll all be stressed out. It's a trickle-down theory, here, folks. Clean up."

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

"Snow" day

Today Son #1 was on early dismissal, because of snow. Here's a view of the snow, from my front door.

More evil Muslims in Thailand

Anybody noticing, yet? They've lost thousands of people in the past couple of years. Not at war, not hassling anyone, just Buddhists living their lives.


I have already gone through the "I hate you all" weekend, the 3 days of eating anything that doesn't eat me first, and now I am breaking out. I think only a day of crazed decluttering will save my sanity.

Monday, March 05, 2007

my hot tub is coming! Sunday. I cannot wait. Even now, I have a strong urge to lounge in deep, hot water with a damp towel on my face and a clanking pitcher full of icy tea by my side. I am beyond thrilled. Lisa, you are a saintly benefactress and I hope you love your "real bathtub" that is going in the place of the hot tub you're sending my way.

I am also tired, and think I will retire to the bedroom, where I will floss thoroughly, and cream my face with any number of age-defying emollients. Ever have that urge? Like, you want to just keep piling on layers of creamy stuff until your skin declares itself satisfied and refuses to absorb a single swipe more? That's what I want, tonight. The spa experience, writ small.

And then, I shall fall asleep while Hubby watches 24. Because as much as I enjoy 24, I enjoy sleep a thousand times more.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Son #4, rockin' the adorability thing

Son #4 recently discovered meatballs. Homemade meatballs, frozen meatballs, plain or in tomato sauce, he views them all as round, juicy chunks of meaty joy.

Recently, he asked what kind of meatballs he'd been eating--the ones a friend brought over to fill my crock pot while I was coughing up a lung. Italian meatballs, I told him. Just regular meatballs. He said he'd heard of Swedish meatballs, and would like to try them.

I am a child of the 70s poker party culture, with a weakness for fondue, Chex mix and all those other foods that used to get passed around the bar while my sister and I watched from the railing. So, whipping up a batch of Swedish Meatballs sounded like just the thing for a lazy Saturday afternoon.

They are in the crock pot, now, making the whole house smell fabulous. I can't wait.

Son #4 is ready for the meatballs. He wants them. He can smell them. He is eager. But, he is still not really sure what they ARE, exactly.

"Are they really SWEET? Or are they sweet-ish?"

His third option, that they might be from Sweden, is probably just as far off. I think Swedish Meatballs probably were discovered in some suburban midwestern kitchen in 1958. But, hey, come 7:00 tonight, we'll be trying them out.

Things He Wishes He'd Said in School, #1

"If Bush is an idiot, why is HE President of the United States, and YOU are a high school health teacher?"

This has been first in an occasional series of things Son #1 comes home from school to say, out loud, after he's been thinking them all day.

Great Moments in Parenting

Being a mom is mostly a slog. I enjoyed having a 9-to-5 job with measurable goals and a paycheck, and after 15 years I still am amazed that my days are built around housework, driving duties and discussions of the latest developments in Anime.

What I'd love, really, is a visitor from the future telling me that all this is really worth it. That the Sons will grow up to be happy, successful, confident, strong, decent men with tight-knit families of their own.

In the mean time, mostly, I cross my fingers. I hug the Sons. I grade their math work, keep track of their reading lists, sign them up for art classes and tae kwon do, and remind them that the experiments in their science textbooks are NOT optional. I make them eat a carrot, now and then. And I figure, well, I am doing what I can. Which is good, up to a point, but not always reassuring.

This week, Son 1 and Son 2 each came up to me and said something basically tailor-made to help me feel I am maybe on the right track.

"When I have kids, I'm going to send them to school when they're small, and then home school them for the middle years, and then send them to high school. Just like you did. Because I am so glad I'm not like those kids who went to school, the whole way through. And I'd hate for my kids to turn out that way."

I don't know if they'll always feel that way. I don't even really care if that's what they end up doing with their families. But it sure feels good to have two of the Sons tell me they think I've been doing right by them. Especially at an age when so many other kids have nothing but contempt for their parents.

I am one lucky chick.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

duh science of the day

Here's a shocker for you. If you have an illness that makes you ugly, you might be depressed about that. Maybe even more depressed than people who have illnesses that don't make them ugly.

Man, I never would have come up with that one. Never in a million years. So glad we have scientists to figure these things out.