Tuesday, September 30, 2014

500 words about water bottles, you are welcome

The kids used to take juice boxes to school.  This was working fine until two things happened: First, the big kids' new school won't allow them to throw away their trash at lunch, only compost, so that when they come home and you open their lunchbox you are faced with the full weight of your hippie transgressions in the form of that single-use, non biodegradable, non recyclable drink container of the devil.  Second, the little kids' school frowns upon giving Satan's fruit nectar to children so I was spending two thousand dollars a week on milk boxes for those two.

And then honestly I just got sick of buying juice boxes and making sure we had enough juice boxes, and storing juice boxes and one day I just decided to stop buying them and instead bought four stainless steel thermoses for them to take either milk or water to school.

WELCOME TO THE UPPER-MIDDLE CLASS, CUPCAKES!  (oh wait, you can't have those either)

We had two blue thermoses, a purple one, and a red one.

I was going to buy three blue ones and a red one, but that didn't seem progressive enough.

The first day I sent whole milk in the red one for Mary, skim milk in the purple and one of the blue ones for James and Wes, and water in the last blue one for Charley.

Somewhat predictably, after school that day I was left with a red one, a purple one, and a blue one.

Naturally I blamed Charley because he sometimes loses things.

So for a couple of weeks Charley didn't have a drink at school.  Occasionally I sent him one of our "B Water Bottles" with the sheriff department logo on it, made completely from baby seals and BPA.  But usually he just didn't have a drink.  I told myself that this was a natural consequence for losing his thermos.  I mean.  They go to the water fountain it's not like I'm asking him to complete Ironman without water.

A couple of times Wes complained about having the purple thermos so I tried to send that one with James.  This is important later.

I made a mental note to replace Charley's thermos on an upcoming store trip and moved on with my life because ain't nobody got time for lunch thermos drama.

But then the other day I was washing out the lunch stuff and noticed that we had:

A red thermos.

A blue thermos.



Well that is puzzling.

I said to Ryan: "Something weird is going on because I SWEAR we had red, blue, and purple, and the other blue one was lost."

I was emphatic, perhaps more emphatic than a milk thermos inventory issue would warrant in a normal person, but he was unconvinced.

"I KNOW we had a purple one because Wes freaks out every time I send it in HIS lunchbox so I have to remember to give it to James!  And now we have NO PURPLE and instead we have the BLUE ONE which was MISSING."

He did not understand my zeal for the truth.

Fast forward ANOTHER week.  I get everyone home from school.  I dump all of their lunch stuff in the sink.  I eat a handful of Oreos.  I get them started on homework.  And then I turn to the sink to wash the lunch dishes.






IT'S A MIRACLE!!  What was lost has been FOUND!!

And by that I mean the second blue one!  Which apparently disappeared into another dimension for several weeks only to mysteriously REAPPEAR IN ONE OF THE KIDS' BACKPACKS.

This still does not explain where the purple one went and then ultimately returned from.

What I suspect happened is that the missing one made its way home and back to every family at the school with our fairly common last name, only to return each time, return to lost and found, and then it finally, stealthily found its way to Wes's backpack.  I should have tagged it like an endangered spotted owl.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

This is kind of inappropriate

I think today is going to be a good day.  It didn't seem that way during the morning "routine" which is like a cross between a NASCAR pit stop and cage fighting in its tendency to bring out all of our worst impulses--me: yelling, empty threats, them: shoe resisting, shirt resisting, pants resisting, bagel resisting, screaming, screaming, and more screaming--but later, once everyone had been wrestled into their respective cars and perfunctory haveaniceday kisses delivered, we both collapsed into our respective driver's seats relieved that at least Gauntlet Number One for the day had been overcome.

Mornings: they're light on warmth and tenderness and high on efficiency.  We've tried it both ways.  The outcome is always the same: nobody wants to go to school/work.  So we make it quick like a bandaid.

Then we turned on our cars and both our radios were tuned to the same station, which was playing Justin Timberlake's "Sexy Back."

Now.  I know some of you have been wondering how we get four unwilling children out of their beds and into their schools every morning.  I will tell you.  We have found inappropriate dance music to be extremely effective.

The other day I got James to eat an ENTIRE APPLE by cranking up Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" and dancing around the kitchen like a moron.

So Ryan and I were sitting in our cars this morning when we heard the song that made the term "Wardrobe Malfunction" a thing.  And we looked at each other.  And smiled.  FIRST SMILE OF THE MORNING.  And we CRANKED THAT TRASHY SONG UP LOUD.

And all six of us danced in our seats until the song was over.  Charley and Wes cut it up in the back seat of Ryan's car.  Mary bobbed her cute little rear-facing head.  James did the full on "Elaine", thumbs in the air.  Ryan and I did our best aging suburbanite Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake routine (while still seated in our minivan and sensible sedan, respectively).

It was a delightful start to the day.  For us.  Possibly not our neighbors, but we've long stopped caring what they think of us and they've long stopped wondering aloud when Ryan's going to replace his beat up car and when we're going to maybe take the scooter/empty juice box/toys/underpants off the front porch and start behaving like respectable adults.  Still, hearing "I'll make you whip me if you misbehave" issuing from my open minivan windows at seven AM was probably not how they were expecting to start their morning commutes.

But the whole family left LAUGHING this morning, instead of arguing, scowling, complaining, and/or sobbing inconsolably, so I call it a win.

But I'm definitely going to get a note from someone's teacher today.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dinner smells gross and my car is nearly out of gas. Not a metaphor.

Big day for me. First, after spend the whole weekend getting ready, and grading, and grading some more, and planning my class for several hours, and staying up until after midnight G-R-A-D-I-N-G (seriously, whose idea was it to assign a weekly writing assignment to FORTY THREE STUDENTS? OTOH, there was some comedy GOLD in that first batch. Like the kid who attributed the phrase "There is nothing new under the sun," which is from Ecclesiastes in the Bible, to a scientist working for the American Meteorological Society in 1959. You laugh so you don't cry) and getting stuff ready for today around the house, class kind of SUCKED today.

I planned to do this demonstration during class that would require four students to take data for ten minutes, then four other students to come up and take data for ten more minutes. That part went well, if not a bit awkwardly because ZERO PEOPLE wanted to volunteer and I had to threaten to turn on club music and have a five minute dance break to loosen them up just to get the first four people out of their chairs. So that was an unorthodox approach (It totally worked on James this morning, however when he wouldn't settle down and eat breakfast and I blasted "Fancy" from my computer and sang "Eat your apples!" instead of "I'm so fancy!" That song is totally stuck in your head right now, you're welcome).

Even more awkward was the moment I thought "Hey, I can either lecture while those students are taking data and they will miss that material, OR we could all just sit around staring at each other which is weird." Ultimately I chose something in between, which was AWFUL AND WEIRD. And THEN, the data came out totally freaking BACKWARDS from the way it was supposed to, so I just stood there looking at the screen like "Huh. Not really sure what to say about that. How about I talk sideways about it for fifteen minutes and ask if they have any thoughts forty-seven times? Class ended twenty minutes early and I felt like a moron. But at least I'm pulling down eleven cents an hour.

Fresh off of the "I suck at teaching" wave, I showed up to Charley's teacher conference at 1:25 only to find out that OOPS! 1:25 was actually the END TIME FOR THE CONFERENCE YOU WORTHLESS SKIMMER. But it was OK because though the teacher needed to get back to class, the assistant principal, with whom Charley is fairly well acquainted, also needed to talk to us. IT WAS NOT A POSITIVE CONVERSATION. Silver lining: made it allllmost back to the car before I had a giant purse-throwing tantrum then drove off without saying goodbye to Ryan.

I did not know where to go because I have to be back at school at 3:30 for Wes's conference and I didn't want to go back to my office, so I came home. When I walked in the door I was greeted with the delightful smell of a Major Crockpot Fail ongoing in the kitchen. I tried to make minestrone soup. It smells like two tomatoes went to CrossFit and then caught on fire. I think I am going to throw the whole thing in the trash and have wine for dinner.

And now I have to get ready for tomorrow morning's meeting with my TA for the spring, which means finding the textbook I plan to use and reacquaint myself with the table of contents enough that I sound sort of intelligent tomorrow, which we now know is NOT ONE OF MY STRENGTHS.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I am writing this under duress

It's been a while, you guys. I'll tell you what happened: Ryan went out of town during my first week of class. Uh huh. Thankfully my parents swooped in to the rescue. WE RAN OUT OF DRAWER SPACE THAT'S HOW MUCH LAUNDRY WAS DONE ALL AT ONCE. That has, uh, never happened before. In fact you wouldn't know the kids HAD dressers by the look of the upstairs hallway. They also straightened the garage and created a That 70s Show-esque living area for the kids and their cohort out there, cooked dinner multiple times, and gave the kids SO MANY BATHS. Everything is super clean around here. Or it was until I was back in charge and then pbbbbbth. It was a fun week. And it wouldn't have been that way without their help.

Before Ryan left on Sunday he went to urgent care and was diagnosed with strep, making him the third family member on antibiotics in four days time. He came home to find me completely overwhelmed and suggested to the boys that they take me out to a special breakfast instead of going to church. Fighting through an hour-long worship service only to go home and go it alone for the next seven hours until bedtime was making me kind of despondent. Breakfast was the perfect suggestion.

About twenty minutes in we realized that we hadn't taken the kids to a waiter restaurant in a long, LONG time. AND IT SHOWED.

Wes turned his muffin appetizer into a cupcake with frosting made of straight butter. Mmmm delicious.

Mary drinks out of a straw cup just like a person now. I find this hilarious.

Not pictured: My eggs benedict or pomegranate mimosa. It was a good way to start the day.

Monday afternoon Charley came home complaining of a stomach ache and nausea and finally admitted to SWALLOWING A DIME. I only halfway believed him but our pediatrician's nurse said it would be best to go to the emergency room because based on his symptoms it could be causing a BLOCKAGE.

I believed him more when he almost hurled in the xray room and even more still when the xray popped up on the screen and THERE WAS THE DIME. The doctor said it was past the danger zone and would pass naturally so in the end we spent a hundred bucks for Charley to lie in bed watching TV and enjoying freshly warmed blankets for a couple of hours. That's about what we pay for his therapy, though, so we'll just call it an extra session. On the way home I told him to let me know if he noticed the dime in the potty and he said "Why, do you need it back?" and I said "No, we can find ten cents an easier way" and he said "Five cents" and I corrected "Ten cents" and he said "No. Five cents." And I asked him "WHAT THE HELL KIND OF COIN DID YOU SWALLOW?! THE LITTLE TINY ONE OR THE BIG THICK ONE?" He couldn't tell me and I almost called the doctor because he had emphasized the smallness of the dime SO MUCH that I was worried the larger nickel could have been more of a problem. In summmary: I did not call back. The coin has not been reported. I am not interested in knowing the details thankyouverymuch. MOVING ON.

Bright side: My friends are stinking HILARIOUS. Facebook was a funny, funny place for a couple of days during DimeWatch2014.

Mary's teacher gave her PIGTAILS!!

Attempts to recreate this look have been unsuccessful. Baby girl's lucky she has a cool aunt who lives nearby.

Charley has been a DELIGHT with the younger kids recently. Today Mary crawled into his lap and put her head down. SWOON.

Ryan took the kids to a barbeque place near their school for breakfast tacos this morning as a treat. I asked Charley if he's gotten his usual potato egg and cheese taco and he responded "Yeah, with a side of spicy chop!" Then he told me he could smell the smokey barbeque place smell on his clothes all day and it had made him happy every time. My little Texan!

After dinner Wes went to choir and the rest of us went out front to enjoy the absolutely frigid ninety-five degree weather by playing catch. It's NOT A HUNDRED! FALL IS COMING! I feel like we should prepare some kind of pagan Equinox festival. Anyone know where I can buy a large wicker cage? Amazon Prime?