Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Birthday To Us

Dear 16,

Wow, are you young. I’m going to use your youth to excuse all the stupid stuff that you are doing. I’ll forgive how you are throwing away all the potential that you have to be a really good student because, after all; we do eventually make it to college. I’ll even forgive the rather crappy choices that you make in boyfriends although, if I could reach back through time and shake you, I totally would. I can’t however, excuse your –sometimes rather shabby-treatment of our parents; karma is a major boomerang and, now; I am paying for what you threw out into the universe. That kind of pisses me off.

P.S. The stirrup pants-long sweater combo that you so love is actually making a come-back; who could have guessed? Also, you might as well enjoy all that crap you love to eat because your metabolism will never run as high as it does right now. I kind of hate you for that.

Dear 19,

College not all it was cracked up to be? Bumming over the poor choices that you made at 16, shall we say, in boyfriends, perhaps? Relax, a wonderful thing is about to happen to you; you are going to meet Girls who will become some of the most important women in your life. They will open your eyes to new experiences and, more importantly, to new possibilities. When they come knocking at your door on a cold winter night, bearing a bottle of Kaluah and a carton of ice cream; open the door. The friendships forged this night will be far more valuable than the blender you destroy in the process of making those Kaluah shakes.

These new friends will, however, fail to give you any good advice whatsoever regarding your choices in wardrobe and cosmetics, in fact, they will shamelessly enable and encourage your love of the acid wash denim, blue eyeliner and gigantic mall hair; this is perhaps their only collective flaw. Thankfully, you all get over it and have nothing but the old photos to remind you of your folly; photos which will become the centerpiece of many future drunken laugh-fests over what dorks you all were in college. Thanks for that. And, thanks for opening that door.

Dear 22,

I told 16 that this would happen and I’m pretty sure that 19 saw it coming; first heartbreak sucks majorly. On the bright side, you have friends and family who love and support you. Your parents will never say “I told you so” although, they could. Your friends will comfort you with alcohol and enough salt water taffy to drain the oceans and, in the not too distant future; will introduce you to the one person on the planet who could possibly restore your faith in the male race but, I’ll let that be a surprise.

The next year is going to be one of the most challenging of your young life. Career? Love? Finding your place in this big world? It won’t come easy. Fear, insecurity and doubt will be your constant companions but, the path, the right path, is already laid out for you. You can’t see it but, you’ll know it when you step upon it, I promise. In the meantime, take care of yourself.

Oh, and buy some pretty underwear; you’ll thank yourself for it later.

Dear 25,

Holy crap, you’re married. And you own a home. You are, like, an adult. Yes, I know; how the hell did that happen? First things first; stop freaking out. Breathe. If you will recall, you chose this; you did not wake up one morning to find yourself shanghaied onto the Good Ship Matrimony although, I admit, sometimes it will feel that way but! You and Hugh will grow into this and you will actually turn out to be pretty good at adulthood and, after some practice; good at your marriage.

Don’t laugh, I’m serious.

Plus, in just a couple of years, you get to become a Mom. You’ve always wanted to be a mom and you, my friend, are going to rock at it. Oh, sometimes you will despair and often you will question why you ever let that sperm anywhere near your precious egg but, for the most part; you are going to thank the heavens for the two little miracles that come your way.

Oops, spoiler!

Dear 30,

Oh, honey. That weight that you feel on your heart, on your shoulders, in the pit of your stomach; it will lift. You have to hold on. Adulthood is hard, parenting is a challenge and sometimes you can’t control the things that go on around you, you just can't.

You will weather this storm and you come out on the other side stronger for it, in fact; I’m still kind of in awe at how strong you turn out to be. Totally makes up for all that stupid shit you pulled from 16 through 29.


Dear 35,

Put. Down. The. Donut.

Step away from the fridge. Moooove on over to the salad bar and get your ass in gear; you are far too young to let yourself go like this. Having children who are growing up at a phenomenal rate, a demanding job and a home that is in the thralls of a three-year remodeling project are not excuses to become a sedentary lump of goo. Challenge yourself, reward yourself, find yourself again.

You can do it; you do do it, I promise.

Love, 40
(Who is currently at the Mall, shopping on Black Friday for the first time in her life because; apparently she didn't learn a thing from you guys)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Visions of Thanksgivings Past

As we gather around the table this year to celebrate our blessings with my extended family, I look back fondly on one particular Thanksgivings that was….um…a bit more humble than that which we are currently enjoying here at the Barbie Mansion.

Thanksgiving 2004. Hugh, the kids and I are on our own as both sets of our parents are fulfilling obligations at the homes of our siblings. Our own home is in a state of chaos and disarray thanks to The Remodeling Project from Hell, which has been going on since 2002.

Our kitchen, such as it is, is in no shape to handle a traditionally cooked meal so; we have opted for the Thanksgiving Feast in a Box, offered by our local supermarket chain. The turkey is dry, the mashed potatoes are instant and the store has forgotten to include our pumpkin pie. But, we are together and, with just a little bit of effort, we can see the potential in our home.

After all, when we bought the house in 1999, it looked like this.

There was not a lot on the market at the time, at least not in our price range and, the house was in a good location, close to the hardware store and the schools so; we considered it a “fixer-upper” and signed on the dotted line.

After some tender-loving care and a little landscaping, the house looked like this.

And, we made do with the tiny kitchen, tiny bedrooms and non-existent living room for a couple more years before starting the Remodel from Hell.

During the remodel, we lived in rooms that looked like this:

And, while I suppose there is something to be said for walls you can see through; it was still a bit taxing on the nerves. The children, however, delighted in the project and, why wouldn’t they? When their friends came over, they got to throw hammers through walls. They got to graffiti the floors, walls, and ceilings without fear of punishment. They got to sleep on mattresses on the floor and, depending on which room we were working on at the time; those mattresses moved all over the house.

Hugh always made sure that I always had my own bed to sleep in; granted, we moved it five separate times but, I never slept on a mattress on the floor. And, I tried vainly to retain some sense of normalcy in our daily lives, destroying two vacuum cleaners in the process but! I had a semi-livable space to occupy most of the time. You know, as long as you didn't look up.

The outside of the house was no picnic to look at, either

but, amazingly, our neighbors still talk to us.

And, ultimately, we got this:

I cannot express how thankful I am for it every day of my life. Not to mention my gratitude for the man who built it all with his bare hands. It may have taken three years to accomplish but, we didn’t go into debt to do it and our marriage survived, no thrived, during the process. When you take all that into consideration, one Thanksgiving dinner eaten in a dining room consisting of walls that have been torn down to the studs just doesn’t seem all that tragic.

I am still a little pissed about the pie, though.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Over the River and Through the….You Know the Drill

So, in just a bit, Hugh, the children and I are hitting the road for the trip to my sister’s house. I’m looking forward to spending time with my parents, sister, nephews, niece and brothers-in-law as well as to hitting the mall on Black Friday with my dear friend, Melimel.

I’m looking forward to the turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie and to not really paying attention to what I eat for a day.

I’m looking forward to my birthday on Friday. I never really worry about turning another year older and, as the women in my service club said yesterday as they feted me with a cake and a gag gift of Monster energy drinks (since I’ll be sooo much older and lacking in energy); turning 40 is a milestone that must be marked. I’ll tell you what, if I age half as gracefully as the older women in that club; I’ll consider myself lucky.

And, I am lucky; I have a lot to be thankful for and I get the privilege of spending the day typically set aside to count our blessings with the people who matter the most to me.

I could not ask for more.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It’s That Kind of Day

I woke up twenty minutes earlier than usual this morning and thought “cool; now I’ll have more time to relax before work”. The universe heard my proclamation and thought “oh, hell no”.

Minutes into my bathroom routine, The Girl implored upon me to blow-dry and braid her hair which took up ten minutes of my extra time.

The Man-Cub then informed me that the cat had puked on the carpet downstairs, the cleaning up of which took an additional five minutes of my extra time.

As I was wandering around our bedroom in my underwear, searching for something to wear, Hugh gave me The Look, the one that couples have for telegraphing that they want to spend some “Special Adult Time” together and I was all Hell to the No because I only had five extra minutes left and damned if I was going to waste it on Wii bowling.

Well, what did you think I meant?

Anywaayy, my coffee filter split at the seam and I ended up with grounds in my café au lait, I thought I had one last packet of oatmeal for breakfast but, alas, did not and, the jeans I planned to wear are suddenly too big on me (I know, cry you a river) and thus make me look like I am carrying a load in my backside.

I’m starting to think that getting out of bed early was a curse; you can bet I won’t let it happen again.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It’s Beginning To look a Lot Like Christmas

Friday night’s Holiday Festival went swimmingly although; I don’t think the club made quite as much money on the auctioned items as we did last year. The bids weren’t going very high and several items still lacked any bids at all when I left the event at 7:30. Unless people really started up the bidding wars after I left; we are looking at lower profits. On the other hand, sponsorships averaged last year’s numbers so, we may do ok and, you know, we all had a good time. I really enjoyed chatting with some of the women whom I hadn’t seen in a while as well as my boss from Old Job.

The rest of the weekend was busy, busy, busy.

Saturday, I spent the majority of the day setting up my porcelain village. It looks great and really got me into the whole holiday spirit even though I still think it is insane that the local mall welcomed Santa’s arrival Friday night; the hell? It isn’t even Thanksgiving yet.

While I was toiling over miniature houses, Hugh and the children were cheering our High School football team on to victory; the team is now headed for the State championship and, if the universe aligns just right and Hugh can find someone to cover the police shift that he was scheduled to cover this Sunday; he and the Man-Cub will be able to see the game which is being played in Denver this Saturday where, coincidentally, we will be spending Thanksgiving.

You follow?

Good. Moving on.

So, Saturday night, I dragged my tired ass to the neighboring town with Hugh and the children to attend a birthday party for a friend of ours. The party was held at a bowling alley and, while I am not the world’s worst bowler, I am certainly not the best. I made a good effort, though.

The Girl, being a twelve-going-on-thirteen-year old, initially refused to bowl and, once she noticed that, horror of horrors, the Vice Principal of her school was also there, the refusal became adamant. For like, five minutes, at which point she donned her fancy rented shoes and joined the fun, handily beating said Vice Principal and earning the reward of being able to raid his candy cabinet today. Twelve-going-on-thirteen-year-old-girls are apparently swayed by the sugar, who knew?

Yesterday, I worked on more Christmas decorating and then, while Hugh endangered his health and welfare by stringing lights on the rooftop; I took the kids to see Twilight because I had to make good on a bribe that I offered them in order to get them to pose for yet another round of pictures (Emily wants a framed photo of the kids for Christmas). They were fairly good sports about the whole thing although; some of the pictures would lead you to think differently.

Anyway, the movie wasn’t bad but; I liked the book better.

Today, I am back to the work grind and, this evening, I intend to decorate the Christmas tree so that I have one less thing to do when we get back from Denver on Sunday. As I said, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here.

But, at least I’m not hosting Santa.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Now I Know Where Hitchcock Got His Inspiration

I ran out of birdseed this week and just haven’t had a chance to get to the store. Now, there are about twenty-five sparrows sitting in the tree outside my window and they are looking at me. I guess I better get to the store today for fear that, tomorrow, there will be fifty of them and they will be plotting their assault on my home rather than just giving me crusty bird looks from the tree branches.

Tonight is the club’s Holiday Festival. I need to put together the appetizer plate that I promised to take as well as finding something vaguely appropriate to wear; I’ll be flying solo this year since Hugh has to work for the Police department. Afterwards, I have promised the children that we will pull the boxes containing my porcelain Christmas village down from the attic so that, tomorrow, we can tackle the chore of setting it up. I know it seems early but, with us going to Denver for Thanksgiving; it makes sense to get a head start on the decorating.

The rest of the weekend will be taken up with routine chores and the local High School football game; our team is in the running for the State title and one of the qualifying games is being played at home. Hugh and the children are planning to attend the game while I run errands and generally avoid the mass pandemonium caused by football fanatics in our small town, not that I don’t have team spirit, go Pirates! Whoo. I just have a lot to do.

Like, buying birdseed to feed the hungry mob currently amassing outside my window; fifty of the little bastards by tomorrow might be a rather modest estimate by the look of things.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It’s Official, I’ve Broken up with My Foot Doctor

Yes, he was willing to fondle my feet, yes he gave mad props to whatever shade of the OPI I happened to be wearing at each appointment and, yes, he was somewhat easy on the eyes but good, God; those orthotics he prescribed for my plantar fasciitis hurt like a mutherf*^%&er.

And, while the plantar fasciitis healed and I no longer have any heel pain or foot pain; I have had nerve pain in my leg since I started wearing the tools of SATAN orthotics back in April or May. And, it isn’t even the same leg that had the plantar fasciitis so, clearly; my body was meant to be unaligned and you know, unique. I’m not meant to have the gait that normal other people have and I needed to get rid of the orthotics in a big way.

So, I ditched them. I haven’t worn them in over a week and the heel pain has not returned. The nerve pain in my left leg has abated and, wonder of wonders, my balance is better; I no longer resemble a drunk when I do my workouts.

I’m still trying to find something to be grateful for every day this month and, if you don’t think that not resembling a drunk is something to be grateful for. Well, we might just have to have a drink together you are crazy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chivalry Lives

As I dropped the Man-Cub off at school this morning, another car pulled up behind us, a little girl got out and, immediately I recognized her as the Object of My Son’s Affections; the daughter of a family that we know through her older sister’s friendship with The Girl and whom the Cub has had a crush on since the third grade.

Before I pulled away, I watched the Cub join the girl, take her backpack from her, grasp her hand, walk her to the door and then; hold it open. The gesture was so sweet; I swear I felt cavities forming in my teeth.

I am so grateful for the kindness that boy shows to people. I’m thankful that he appears to be a gentleman and I’m glad that the Object of His Affections seems to be a nice kid, as well.

Granted, if I were a different person, the type to look at the negative rather than the positive, I might worry that I’m going to be a grandma before I hit fifty but; that’s not how I roll.

I’m rather grateful for that, too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Trapped Like the Donner Party but, At Least We Have Food

As I shut the garage door this morning, after dropping the kids off at school, the spring on our automatic garage door broke, essentially trapping my car inside. Hugh had not left for work yet so, his truck was trapped as well. Apparently, we aren’t going anywhere until the garage door repairman can get here to save us.

Trapped in the house all alone, together. Whatever shall we do? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Oh, Hugh just reminded me that we actually live three blocks from the hardware store and that I can walk to work, it is a beautiful morning, after all.

I would kill him now but I’m too lazy to clean up the blood.

Which reminds me of a conversation I had with my mother-in-law last week.....

Emily: Chelle, do you have some extra room in your freezer?

Chelle: Why? Do you need to hide a body?


Emily: No, I just wanted to put a turkey in there; they go on sale today and I don’t have any room in my freezer, why would I want to hide a body?

Sometimes, I just don’t think she gets me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Good Thing She Was So Cute

Today is my sister, Barbie’s, birthday. Thirty-eight years ago she displaced me as the baby of the family and stole that role for herself. She took over my room, my toys, my parent’s attentions and, later, my clothing, cassette tapes, and fancy banana clips (what!? Banana clips were all the rage). If she wasn’t such a good person, I might have held those things against her. As it stands, I'm eternally grateful that she "disrupted" my life all those years ago and I can't imagine my life without her in it.

Happy birthday, Sis!

Our weekend was productive, I managed to take the photo for our Christmas cards and I even got the order for the cards placed; I should be addressing envelopes in a matter of days. Yikes.

The children were, um, somewhat cooperative this year but, not until after I abandoned my first concept for the picture which included the dog and some rather extensive poses and which was, quite frankly, a pipe dream the equivalent of attaining world peace, anyway.

The picture we ultimately ended up using took all of five minutes to capture, including the short drive to the location I wanted to use and everyone was happy. Sunshine! Rainbows! Unicorns! Yay.

In any event, we are done with that chore for another year and I can cross it off my Holiday To Do list. I can also cross off Shop for the Distant Relatives and Wrap Presents because, with the exception of gifts for Hugh and the children, those chores are done as well. I’m starting to feel almost smug about the whole holiday season which means that a massive head cold, stomach virus, leprosy, or bubonic plague are just around the corner, ready to derail my locomotion.

In fact, I think I felt a tickle in my throat just as I typed that.

Yes, I'm certain I did.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Wow, This Week Just Flew By

I can’t believe it is Friday, already. I’m glad it’s Friday, I just can’t believe how quickly time flies.

The weekend is certain to fly by as well and that is a bummer for sure. Tonight, The Girl is attending a dance at the Middle School. Hugh is on duty for one of the regular police officers and he has threatened to attend the dance which, as you can imagine, is just what The Girl wanted to hear. I assured her that I can distract him with a home-made apple pie and she seemed to take some comfort in that. Also, apple pie….mmmm.

Tomorrow, the kids are going with me to the local bank to set up for the Holiday Festival. My service club members have managed to put together 152 items for auction. Among the items are fifteen six foot Christmas trees, a number of nine foot trees and even more four foot trees, all of which are fully decorated in varying themes. We also have wreaths, garlands, centerpieces, gift baskets and stockings stuffed to the brim. With any luck, we will sell the items for as much money as they are worth and will net around $14,000 for our service budget. Of course, in today’s economy, we realize that we might fall short of that goal.

Since returning to the club, following my leave of absence, I have thrown myself into the fray with as much enthusiasm as I have ever felt for the club and its mission. The fact is; the club does an awful lot of good things for our community including providing scholarships to local graduates, books to under-privileged children, Lifeline units to the elderly and a number of other services. I’m proud to be part of the effort and I’m grateful for the other women in the club who work as hard as they do to raise the funds necessary to continue our good work.

I’m also grateful for the friendships that I have made since joining the club in 2002 and for the opportunity to leave the hardware store for a couple of hours every Tuesday to attend our weekly meeting because, sometimes I need to get away from that place.

Oh, wait; did I just say that out loud?

And, did I mention that I’m very grateful that today is Friday?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And So It Begins

XM satellite added the Holly channel to its line-up this morning. Carols have been playing over the speakers at the Hellmouth since the day after Halloween. Our town’s Public Works department has been instructed to start hanging the Christmas lights and, last night; the Man-Cub presented me with a Christmas wish list as long as my arm.

The mad holiday rush is, as they say, on.

Last year, due to the job change and the general chaos that it created, I was less Miss Merry Christmas and more Ebenezer on a Bad Day but, thankfully; this year I am feeling far less scrooge-ish and far more energetic and I know we are going to have a great time.

Jana and I have already informed the husbands and the children that we will be going caroling this year, reactions to this statement were mixed:


The Man-Cub-I can play my trumpet (um…I’m not sure that Mary Had a Little Lamb is quite the song we are going for but, thanks for the offer)!


The Girl-Oh god! What if someone I know sees me!?

Chris- No. Just, no.

Obviously, we are still working out the details.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Grateful That It Wasn’t Worse

There was an incident in one of our local High Schools yesterday; a fourteen year old boy slashed the throat of a seventeen year old girl whom he didn’t even know. The boy, who was not a student at the school or at any school in the district, was arrested minutes after the incident. The girl is recovering from the surgery that was performed immediately following the attack and the school did an amazing job handling what could have been an even bigger tragedy.

One of the women from my service club happened to be at the school at the time that it happened and she said that the kids’ response to the attack and to the immediate lock-down that followed was nothing short of amazing. She said that, once the lock-down was announced over the intercom system, the students moved with practiced skill and she was left standing alone in the hallway less than a minute later. One of the administrators was then kind enough to show her to a classroom where she joined the lock-down and she had nothing but praise for the school, the staff and the students in the minutes that followed. Her surprise at how little chaos there was, given the situation, was evident.

The school is not the high school that our kids will be attending when the time comes but, since we reside in the district, our kids have been practicing the same lock-down drills since they started school. On the one hand, the need for such drills breaks my heart-when I was growing up, we had fire drills and bus safety drills and that was pretty much that-but, after yesterday, I am so grateful to live in a school district that has given such a high priority to the safety of our students.

Yes, one obviously mentally ill person managed to get through but, in the big picture, my feeling of security for my kids while they are attending our public school remains pretty solid and I am grateful that I can say that.

The victim of the attack is expected to recover and her family is encouraging the community to pray for the family of the boy who attacked her; he obviously needs help and maybe now, he will get it and, while he does, he will be off the streets and unable to attack another innocent person.

The school personnel and students are being praised for their handling of the situation as is the local police department. There are counselors on sight at the school to help any student who feels the need to talk to someone and that opportunity is also being made available to the students-like mine-at neighboring schools within the district.

When you think about how much worse the situation could have been, you really do have to count your blessings as well as those of your community.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kiss a Veteran

And be grateful for the sacrifices that they made to ensure our freedom; I know I am.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thank God for Imitrex

I got a right lovely migraine headache on Saturday, the first one that I have had in a while. I blame The Girl and all her young and snappy pheromones; not only are they screwing with my cycle but, now they are triggering headaches and I am most displeased. Once we get into the rhythm of cycling together, we should both feel a lot better.

If you are reading this and you happen to have an X chromosome, you are asking yourself, what the hell is she talking about? And, I love you but, I am not about to explain it to you-try Google.

Perhaps it was also her pheromones that caused such discord between The Girl and her brother all weekend. As it was, I spent a vast majority of my time interceding in turf wars, mediating disputes over toys and television rights and breaking up wrestling matches once negotiations inevitably broke down. Sunday evening, I finally helped draft a temporary détente and as of this morning, the siblings are like peas and carrots, once again.

If it wasn’t the pheromones, perhaps it was something in the water and, maybe they could both survive on tomato juice and Gatorade from now on; hmm, it’s worth investigating.

When I wasn’t acting as the Secretary General of the U.N. or writhing in pain from the headache, I was working on the centerpiece that I got suckered into making volunteered to make for my service club’s upcoming Holiday Festival. It turned out a lot better than I had expected and, while it isn’t to my decorating taste, it should sell. Not for much but, it should sell.

The festival is a week from Friday and I have also been roped into offered to make hor’dourves for the evening. I have a tried and true recipe for a cheese spread; it is popular with the men who attend the event and it is relatively easy to make compared to the bacon-wrapped-garlic-dipped-shrimp-on-a-skewer-etc. hor' dourves that some of the more talented and ambitious women make. I am nothing if not lazy (as we have covered times too numerous to mention).

I am not, however, too lazy to finish my Christmas shopping and, I am proud to say that, with the exception of Hugh and the kids, I am done. Done. Done. Done. I still have wrapping to do but, that is one of my favorite parts of the process so, I’m actually looking forward to it. I’m grateful to have a place in my home where I can set up the wrapping table and work on the project at my own pace, without having to store everything away between wrappings and I’m grateful to have two children who-despite their inability to share a remote control-are willing to cooperate on wrapping projects.

On the other hand, Christmas is the season of miracles so, maybe that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

Now, if The Girl could just keep her pheromones to her damn self, we would be all set.

Friday, November 07, 2008

It’s a Right Hullabaloo of Gratitude

Number one, it’s Friday! That right there is something to be grateful for. Also, I lost three pounds this week after losing nothing last week; my fear of a plateau was misplaced, apparently and thank God.

In addition, Hugh didn’t lock The Girl in an ivory tower yesterday after getting yet another phone call from the school-yes, another phone call from the school-I think we are 0-7 for weeks without a chat with the principal and I am not happy.

But, as I said, Hugh handled it far better than I, in fact, his punishment (writing an apology letter) fit the crime (being insolent and disrespectful to a teacher) and he went a step further, promising The Girl that, if it happens again, she will write another letter and SHE WILL READ IT IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE CLASSROOM, apologizing to the class for disrupting their learning environment as well as to the teacher for being disrespectful.

And, he delivered this punishment in a matter-of-fact way that totally bowled me over. There I was ready to rip her belligerent ass right out of school and sentence her to hard time with the nuns and he comes up with something so brilliantly diabolical; I got hot just listening to him. Plus, my punishment plan totally paled in comparison to his, I mean, the threat of public embarrassment trumps knuckle-rapping nuns any day of the week as far as Middle School girls go.

Oh, we also grounded her from the phone, the computer and sleepovers with her friends for two weeks (that’s FOURTEEN DAYS, Young Lady! according to Hugh’s very explicit terms) and we got to proof-read the letter to the teacher before she delivers it.

To say the child took it all very well would be a vast understatement and, this morning, she was cheerful as could be when I dropped her off at school. Clearly, our parenting skills are so far advanced, we should get a medal.

Or, it is the calm before the storm and we will one day find ourselves on the business end of a bullhorn, begging her to abandon her life of hermitage and rejoin society again.

And still I am grateful for having the opportunity to parent the child.

Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

At Last, a Little Down Time

With football and volleyball seasons finally over, I am enjoying my evenings again. There is no rush to get somewhere, no hurried dinners comprised mostly of left-overs or convenience foods and no major stress over finding an extra half-hour to nag the children until they get homework done.

Instead, I have been cooking again. The kids have time to play games after their homework is finished. I started re-reading Twilight while drinking a nice glass of wine. I have soaked in the jet-tub three out of four nights this week and I haven’t lost my shit with Hugh or the children once- not even when the children allowed Rowdie to chew up one of The Girl's summer flip-flops although, while we are on the subject; it snowed around us yesterday-what in the world are flip-flops doing out and about in the house this time of year? Not to mention being anywhere near the dog who is, let's face it; quite fond of chewing on thongs.

And, by thongs, I mean flip-flops not, like, thong underwear or anything.

Um, not that I have thong underwear just laying around the house for the dog to chew on, I swear; my thongs went the way of the garbage bin the minute I quit Old Job.

To recap:

-I love watching the kids play sports that they enjoy but, damn, I am grateful for this unscheduled time.

-The Girl had probably outgrown those flip-flops, anyway so, I am grateful that we didn't lose a good pair of shoes.

-I no longer work at a job that requires me to wear dress pants thus creating a need to wear thong underwear, thank God.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Knew That Spider Was Trouble

The night before last, as the Man-Cub was preparing for bed, I heard him urgently calling his sister to his room. Once The Girl got there I heard her squeal like, well, like a girl and I had no choice but to investigate.

What I found when I got to the room almost made me squeal; in the tarantula habitat were not one but two tarantulas. Two.

The thought that Tank had spontaneously reproduced a twin was so damaging to my psyche; my mind auto-piloted its way to its Happy Place simply for its own protection…rainbows, butterflies, unlimited amounts of pink frosted donuts with no caloric consequences….and I was still disturbed by the sight.

Luckily, The Girl realized that Tank had merely shed his exoskeleton and had not spontaneously reproduced like a freaking Tribble nor had he cloned himself in some diabolical arachnid science experiment. Whew! Dodged that bullet!

I am grateful that: I managed not to have a stroke, not to have bad dreams that night and not to immediately throw that fucking spider right out the front door.

Which is probably a blessing because, I mean, what if he did have diabolical cloning powers and he then came back with reinforcements? Huh? It would be really hard to find something to be grateful for amongst all that mess.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Grateful, Day Four

After viewing the lines outside the polls this morning; I am grateful that Hugh and I voted early. While I did have to stand in line for a while with The Girl, since voting was an assignment for her Social Studies class; the line for Kid’s Voting wasn’t nearly as long as the line for the adult voting and we were through it in no time at all.

On the subject of voting; I’m grateful to live in a country where we-the people-decide who will govern us. We may not always make the best choices, we may not always have the best candidates to choose from but, we have the opportunity to make that choice and that is a lot more than people in other countries can say.

Of course, I’m not exactly grateful for the recorded phone messages interrupting my dinner, junk mail items crowding my mailbox or the nasty rhetoric thrown around on both sides of the campaign but, that’s almost over now, too. Thank goodness.

While I am in such a grateful mood, I should also tell you that I did a new exercise workout yesterday and I am extremely grateful to have made it through the thing without throwing up.


Hey, this whole month of gratitude thing isn’t going to be nearly as challenging as one might have expected!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Just to Show My Appreciation

Halloween was a blast for both the kids and the adults. Our Trick-or-Treating excursion netted the kids each a huge bag full of candy and we didn’t even venture that far-just around our neighborhood. The weather was gorgeous, warm enough for the kids to wear their costumes without jackets and for Jana and I to enjoy the evening without carting a thermos full of Irish coffee.

Oh, we carted the thermos, anyway; we like Irish coffee.

And, we laughed a lot, like usual. One of the biggest laughs we got came from the illiterate children of our small town who identified Kaley not as Pippi Longstocking as she was meant to be but as “that girl from the Wendy’s commercials”, the hell is up with that? Do these children not read the classics?

I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to read them as a child and that I then read them to my children; they may not have been totally interested in the adventures of Pippi or Laura Ingalls Wilder or in the sleuthing abilities of Nancy Drew but, by God, if they see a Halloween costume featuring a girl in bright red braids that stick out hither and yon, at least they know she isn’t shilling for a hamburger joint.

Speaking of things that I am thankful for; it’s November! The month that we recognize and celebrate our blessings, in light of which I have challenged myself to spend each day recognizing at least one thing in my life for which I am grateful. I’m calling it my Month of Gratitude and I have challenged the kids to try it as well.

This morning, the Cub informed me that he is grateful for the time change because it is light outside when he goes to feed Rowdie. The Girl is grateful for her friends, a common refrain that I anticipate we will hear quite often this month. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

I’m grateful that I have a husband who indulges my desire to celebrate holidays in a Big Way. He worked his bum off to decorate the house for Halloween and it was a huge hit with all the neighbors and with the Trick-or-Treaters. Most men would scoff at the notion but not my Hugh, he dives in head-first and, for that, I am truly grateful.
And, of course, let's not forget Irish coffee. Irish coffee is a blessing all it's own.