Saturday, August 30, 2008

Because I Have Nothing Else To Do

I should be cleaning the house. I should be doing laundry. I should be writing out the lists of instructions for the running of my home for the nine days that Hugh and I will be away but, I am doing none of these things. Instead, I am surfing the internet weather sites and growing increasingly panicked at the thought that 1) We never make it to Barbados because of all the freaking hurricane action in the Caribbean or 2) we will never make it back home from the Caribbean because of all the hurricane action or 3) our plane will crash in a fiery accident, damning our souls to a watery grave at the bottom of Davey Jones locker.

Yes, I think too much. Also, thank goodness I purchased the travel insurance when I booked the trip; we might be out a vacation but at least we won’t be out the money.

To take my mind off things, how about I invite you all to visit the brand new blog of one of my oldest and dearest friends. Mel is new to all this blogging craziness and I’m sure she would appreciate a “hello” plus, she's entertaining as hell and you'll get a huge kick out of her antics.

I have known Mel since High School. She dated The Boy’s best friend and, together, we spent many a crazy night making futile attempts at keeping those two under control. We also employed the age-old tactic of telling my parents that I was staying at her house while telling her parents that she was staying at my house when, indeed, we were staying at her boyfriend’s house, where hot-tub parties featured heavily in our entertainment repertoire.

Um, if you didn’t already know that Mom and Dad, I should assure you, nothing happened, we might have been sneaky but we were also prudes (Back me up, here, Mel).

Anyway, Mel is Good People and you would be lucky to know her, I know I am.

With that said, I should probably get back to the business of fretting over my doomed second-honeymoon.

Hey, we all need a hobby.

Friday, August 29, 2008

It Was a Long Day But It Was a Good Day

The funeral went as well as could be expected. The family is holding up remarkably well and I am especially proud of how strong Phoebe is being. Granted, she has always been a strong person but, under the circumstances, no one would expect her to hold it together as well as she is and, I am in awe of her grace and quiet dignity.

Spending the day with four out of six of my best friends in the world was a pleasure, even given the reason for the visit. We did succeed in making Phoebe laugh at least a little bit and our time together, while all too brief, brought us all a renewed sense of peace.

Since it was too brief, we made plans to gather up the husbands and to together again in December. Three of us will be celebrating the big 4-0 between the end of November and the end of December which seemed like as good a reason as any to get together and throw a party.

We plan to meet in the town where we went to college, the town where this life-long friendship was forged in the flame of all-night study sessions, meals consisting of nothing but ramen noodles and whatever we could scrounge up at happy hour at the bar, hours spent bemoaning the lack of proper heating in our apartment and nights spent either consoling one another over yet another break-up or floating on a haze of drunken laughter (please note that I listed the studying first, Dad).

No doubt, the town has changed, our Alma Mater has grown and our old stomping grounds have been converted into businesses we may not necessarily wish to enter but, it’s still a great place to get together. And I can’t imagine celebrating turning forty (I just threw up in my mouth a little) with anyone, else.

They are, as Phoebe’s mom said yesterday, my “forever friends”.

Speaking of great places to go; Hugh and I leave for Barbados on Tuesday. Thankfully, I have the long Labor Day weekend in which to get my shit together because, frankly, I have been lazy and have nothing at all ready.

I need to pack. Can't do that until I decide what I want to take. Can't do that until I do laundry, etc.

Mom and Dad are coming to stay with the kids for most of the time that we will be away, with the exception of the first two days during which the kids will be in Emily’s capable hands. Having our parents in our home with our children while we are off playing in the sand is comforting to both me and Hugh but, it also means that I should probably give the house a good stem-to-stern cleaning lest they think us slovenly.

Also, I should probably hide the porn and the sex toys.

Ha! I'm just kidding!

I already hid the porn.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Soul Prescription

Tomorrow morning, I am driving to Mayberry for the funeral. I’ll be meeting two of the Girls at my parent’s house and, together, we will meet Phoebe and another of our roommates at the church.

I have spoken to each of the Girls more times in the past three days than I have in the last six months and, while we are all looking forward to seeing one another, we hate the reason for the visit.

On the other hand, wise men have said that laughter is the most potent medicine for healing a broken soul and, since we find it almost impossible not to find something to laugh about when we are all together; Phoebe’s soul will be getting a heaping dose of the good stuff.

And hers won’t be the only one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sad Day

My girlfriend, Phoebe, lost her younger brother yesterday. My heart is heavy for my girlfriend and for the rest of her family.

When I got the call, it came from one of our other roommates and, with it; our unofficial emergency phone tree was put into action. I called three of the other Girls and, by noon, we were all ready to support Phoebe in whatever way she needed.

I should note that, it never ceases to amaze my husband how we can, after months without seeing or talking to each other, pick right up like we just hung up the phone or left one another’s side and, to this I say; it’s not hard to stay connected to people when you carry them in your heart, every single day of your life.

And, I do.

I wouldn’t be the person I am if it hadn’t been for the love of these women. I rely on them to get me through the tough times and to remind me of the good times. I need them to point out the flaws in my logic and the honesty in my deeds and I expect them to call me on my bullshit like no other people in the world are capable of doing. I believe that we were fated to be friends, that it was decreed long before we drew our first breaths upon this planet and that we are thus fated to remain friends once our souls depart this earth.

Those very thoughts bring me comfort when I am in need of comfort.

I hope they bring the same comfort to Phoebe. I hope the knowledge that we love and support her will be a soothing balm on her broken heart and that she knows she will smile again, one day, soon.

Because, let me tell you, a day without that girl’s smile is a sad day, indeed.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Et Tu, Brutus?

When the Man-Cub and I were walking to school this morning, we ran into one of his buddies from baseball. Upon spotting his friend, the Cub dropped my hand like it was coated in the plague; I’m sure the tearing and burning sensations that I felt in my chest at that moment were the result of too much spicy pasta sauce at dinner last night and had nothing whatsoever to do with the little bastard’s dismissal of my affections.

I mean, really; I sheltered that child’s body in my womb for nine months. I endured twelve hours of hard labor without drugs, just to get his ungrateful ass into this world. I stayed awake countless nights, treating fevers, cleaning up vomit and changing sheets on the infrequent occasions when he was sick or accidentally wet his bed; there is no way a child of mine would diss me in front of his friend just to prove he was a Big Boy, not after all that suffering and sacrifice. No way.

But, on the off-chance that that was what that was all about; I fully intend to hold every bit of that suffering and sacrifice over his head when the day finally comes for him and his sister to pick out my nursing home.

And, it had better be a damn fine nursing home.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Adapt or Die

Day two of our new morning schedule went well; both the Man-Cub and The Girl were up early again and I made the half-mile walk to school and back in record time. The walk is good for me and I figure I will take advantage of the opportunity to do it for as long as the weather permits.

Of course, my entire schedule will change when the weather does. Then, it will change again once The Girl starts volleyball and again when the Cub starts football then yet again once those sports end so, let’s face it; I am going to have to get used to change.

It’s not that I’m opposed to change, per se; it’s just that I like getting into a routine and sticking with it. I find that I have an easier time sticking to my diet and exercise plans if I have a schedule to follow and, while I am not totally inflexible, I do like to have some idea of how my day is going to unfold.

Speaking of inflexibility, lately I have noticed that my range of motion has become somewhat limited. The work-outs that I have done have left me stronger but a whole hell of a lot less, well…bendy. For instance, I used to be able to do the splits and, while that was a while back (like, um, High School), it would be nice to at least be able to do a deep side bend withoout the fear that I am going to snap in two.

So, I have added a fairly intensive yoga/stretching/pilates DVD to my arsenal and I tried it out for the first time last night. Let’s just say, it’s no small wonder I was able to make the walk to school with the Cub this morning, but! I’m going to stick with it and, before you know it, I’ll be doing cartwheels.

Hell, I might even land in split position.

On the front-lawn of the Middle School.

Because, if I'm going to embarrass The Girl, I might as well do it right.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why Do I Always Get Myself So Worked Up About the First Day of School?

This morning went remarkably well. Shocking.

My alarm went off at 6:15 and I stumbled to The Girl’s room to wake her. Not only was she already up, showered, dressed and ready to go; she was in the process of combing her brother’s hair, her brother who was likewise dressed and ready to go. I’m fairly certain it is one of the seven signs of the apocalypse so, you might want to consider stocking up on the canned goods and bottled water now.

The Man-Cub requested a sack lunch to take to school so I whipped out a sandwich while the kids ate their breakfast and made their beds and, before we knew it, it was time to leave the house. Since it is a nice day, The Girl walked the block and a half to the Middle School while the Man-Cub and I walked to the Elementary School a half mile down the road. The Girl didn’t mind going on her own since, as you may recall, I embarrass her.

When the Cub and I got to school, we met up with several of his baseball teammates and their mothers and chatted briefly before entering the building. Once in the classroom, I introduced myself to the Cub’s teacher and made a quick sweep of the seating assignments to make sure the Cub wouldn’t be sitting near any of his friends, quite a few of whom are assigned to the same teacher. Apparently, this isn’t the teacher’s first rodeo, however, and I was pleased to see that the Cub will be surrounded by girls while his friends are scattered throughout the classroom, also surrounded on all sides by girls. The seating arrangement is so calculated, it’s almost diabolical and, I think I am going to like this teacher.

After settling the Cub in, I walked the half mile back home and am now enjoying the quiet solitude of an empty house. Hugh is already at work and I had forgotten how peaceful school days could be; maybe I won’t lament the loss of summer quite so much after all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We Are Doooomed

School starts tomorrow and, considering the fact that it took a bullhorn blast to get The Girl out of bed at a reasonable hour this morning, I think it is safe to say that we? Are FUCKED.

On the other hand, we attended Back to School night last night and the child was amazingly excited to be there. She boldly introduced herself to her new teachers, engaged in a fairly intelligent conversion with one while her father and I looked on and she screwed up the courage to ask her (rather imposing) band teacher if she could take possession of her flute then, rather than waiting until tomorrow when, as she implored him; it would be snapped up by a High school kid, the horror!

For the record, the (rather imposing) band teacher denied her request so, tomorrow; we fully expect to hear all about how she got stuck with a junky flute and it suuuuucks, Mom! Also, for the record, we are not buying her a flute of her very own until she has proven to us that she is in this for the long-haul; instruments are just too expensive. On the same subject; the Man-Cub was lucky enough to be given a trumpet by Jana’s mom so, he won’t get stuck with a junky one at school. No doubt, this will also suuuuuck. You know, as far as The Girl is concerned.

After leaving the school last night, we stopped at Subway for a quick dinner and it was there that The Girl informed me that I, and I quote: Embarrass her. My mere presence is an embarrassment to her and, could I maybe just not visit her school again? Like, ever?

I have arrived at the gates of Hell.

Hope they serve refreshments.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Salt Lake or Bust!

You know you have reached the pinnacle of successful parenting when both of your kids declare you the best parents, ever! And, while they may only be saying that because they are overwhelmingly grateful for the weekend trip that you so thoughtfully provided for them; it’s still a triumph worthy of a mention.

Or ten.

So, yes, our weekend rocked and, I don’t mean just for the kids; Jana and I spent most of the time laughing until our sides hurt (when we weren’t cringing in terror at our respective husband’s tendency to drive on the interstate as though they are NASCAR champions and not mere mortal men fortheloveofgod!) and toasting our good fortune with tiny bottles of wine, purchased at a liquor store prior to crossing the state line because we couldn’t remember if Utah was a dry state or if they sold alcohol and god forbid we be without our wine because, hell yes, we are that pathetic.


After leaving our house Friday at noon, we arrived at our destination in the early evening, ate a leisurely dinner and let the kids play in the pool before calling it a night. This was about as much excitement as they could be reasonably expected to handle after the whole Surprise! We are vacationing with your best friends! announcement earlier in the day.

Saturday morning, following breakfast at the Cracker Barrel, we headed to The Lagoon where we were thrilled to find ourselves among the first in line to enter the park. We got an awesome parking space, right in front of the main gates and, since our tickets had been part of our hotel package and we didn’t have to stand in line to purchase them; were in the park in record time.

From there, the day was pretty much a blur of activity. I remember roller coasters, bumper cars, water slides, an ice cream cone as big as Jana’s head (really!), cruising down the lazy river on an inner-tube while trying in vain to keep my butt out of the frigid water, watching a dragonfly land on the straw that The Girl was drinking from and marveling at how long it sat and seemingly stared at The Girl before flying away, applying sunscreen to small-and some not so small- bodies dozens of times, rescuing our rented tubes from the hands of several small children who seemed determined to abscond with them- multiple times, and-finally- closing down the park at the end of the day.

Needless to say, all five children fell asleep the minute their heads hit the hotel-issued pillows. The adults, I should confess, were not far behind.

Sunday morning, we got up early and ate breakfast at Mimi’s CafĂ©, which I highly recommend. Jana and I had the Eggs Benedict and both plates were cooked perfectly which, if you know your Eggs Benedict, is a tricky thing to do.

After breakfast, we journeyed to the Great Salt Lake where we intended to dip our toes and to let the kids float about in ideal peace.

Our first stop was the visitor’s center on Antelope Island. The kids enjoyed reading about the lake’s unique properties and the boys, in particular, enjoyed viewing the numerous and huge spider webs that were strung between the buildings rafters. The gigantic-ass spiders in the middle of the webs were most impressive as well but, I have tried valiantly to block that image from my mind’s eye so any description I could give would be lacking in detail.

You’re welcome.

Our next stop was the beach area where Hugh, Chris and the kids were quick to change into swimsuits, grab towels, and make for the water. Jana and I had no intention of dipping more than a toe in the water, so we moseyed along, cameras in hand, ready to capture the Kodak moments of our lives, just like a cheesy commercial.

The warm sand under our feet felt heavenly as we made our way to the water; however, as we neared the lake, the sand became less sandy and more salty, so we had to slip back into our sandals. The air seemed to change rather rapidly as well; from a pleasant almost ocean scent to what can best be described as open-sewer-on-a-hot-day. IN HELL.

It was that nasty. But, we soldiered on.

When we were about fifty yards out, plugging our noses and laughing at our squeamishness, Jana pointed out the thick black mud surrounding the lake and deemed it the culprit behind the aroma. It wasn’t until we got right up to the mud that we realized, to our horror, that the mud was not mud but was, in reality, a massive, hovering swarm of tiny flies. Flies that breed on the water, just like the information at the Visitor Center said but in like, living, breathing, swarming color right before our eyes. And, in our hair, around our ankles, in our mouths, etc.

Jana and I did the logical thing, we screamed like a couple of ninnies and busted ass back to the relative comfort of the sand but, not before snapping a couple of pictures of Hugh, Chris and the kids who had braved The Swarm to enter the water just long enough to be able to say that they had done it.


Back on the beach, Jana and I recovered from the experience by downing the last of our tiny bottles of white merlot; all I can say is, thank God for tiny wine bottles.

After the rest of our crew showered the filth salt and sand from their bodies, we headed back to town for lunch and a little shopping before loading up the wagons and heading for home. It was past ten o’clock by the time we pulled into our drive-way and both kids had slept the majority of the five-hour ride home.

Hugh and I fell into a coma the minute our heads hit the pillows and I enjoyed a dreamless sleep; which comes as no small surprise considering the trauma caused by that swarm of flies, I assure you.

Today, I am back to work and, this evening, we have back-to School night at the Middle School. Summer, it would appear, is definitely over.

Thank goodness we rocked it so hard while we had the chance.

So, kids, how do you feel about going back to school?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friends Who Play Together, Stay Together

At last night’s end-of-softball-season BBQ, Hugh and Chris were asked if they would consider playing with the team in the upcoming autumn league; both idiots said yes without a moment’s hesitation.

I hope our Aflac policy is up to date.

On the way home from the BBQ I asked Hugh how he was going to fit softball into his already busy schedule and he assured me that it wouldn’t be a big deal since softball is on Thursday nights and, aside from bowling on Wednesday nights, he really didn’t have anything going on.

When I reminded him that he might not have anything going on but that his children just might (football, volleyball, any of this ringing any bells?), he was duly chastised.

Oh, he still plans to play but, he promises that it won’t interfere with going to the kids’ activities. And, in all honesty, it probably won’t but, I need something to nag him about, don’t I?

While we were on the subject; I asked when it was my night to hang with the girls since he will now have two Man Nights. He thought that Porch Night was my night to hang with the girls and, while that is somewhat true, I also think that I deserve a night out with the girls and, surprisingly, he agreed.

Of course, now that I have the green light to do so, I have to find something to do. I’m thinking about organizing a group of friends for weekly Dinner and a Movie type fun. Or, I might join some of my other friends on their Friday scrapbooking pizza parties. Or, I might purchase an annual membership to our community theater and start attending plays. Hell, I might just do all of the above plus taking an Italian cooking course offered by one of the local restaurants (that was Jana’s suggestion and, by the way, she got the green light for a weekly Girls Night, too); the sky is the limit.

Of course, all that will have to wait a few more weeks until we get on somewhat of a schedule, what with school being back in session and Hugh and I jetting off to the Caribbean and all.

And, of course, today we are leaving for Salt Lake to play at the amusement park with the kidddos. Would it surprise any of you to learn that each of them is most excited about the fact that there is a pool in the hotel? Sure, giant roller coasters, huge wave pools, spinning rides and bumper cars are great but A POOL IN THE HOTEL! MY GOD!

Life is good.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rude Awakening

Hugh and I were awakened at six o'clock yesterday morning by someone pounding on our front door. When we didn’t jet out of bed fast enough, the doorbell started ringing like crazy. Hugh jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes and ran to answer the door while I crouched at the top of the stairs, listening to the commotion below.

The cause of said commotion was a man who was staying in the shack house across the street; apparently, he and his wife had been recruited late the night before to watch the occupant’s children while the mother was taken to the hospital with some emergency illness. Sometime during the night, the children ages 12, 7 and 5, simply up and left the house and, the man was, understandably, frantic.

Since there was no phone at the shack house, and since there is always a police car parked in our driveway, he made the logical decision to come to our house. Hugh called the police chief who arrived within minutes and I went about the business of getting ready for my day.

At 8:30, I took The Girl to the Middle School for registration and the story of the missing kids (who were found within moments of the police chief starting the search) was already THE hot topic around town; of course, now the story went that the kids were 1, 3 and 5 (um, no) and that they were found on the highway, walking to the hospital (once again, no; they were found sleeping in the camper/trailer parked outside of the home). What can I say? It’s like any small town; the gossip is rapid, but lacks accuracy.

Anyway, it was a rude awakening to a new day.

While we are on the topic of rude awakenings, I should tell you that I am starting to fear for my health and sanity once school starts; these children of mine have not gotten out of bed in the morning before nine or ten o’cklock since summer began. The period of time between them hating me for dragging their ungrateful asses out of bed for school and the time when they actually wake automatically on their own is going to be rough.

In addition, I don’t think the Man-Cub has spent more than two or three nights in his own bed this summer, instead choosing to sleep in random places scattered throughout the house, including but not limited to: his sister’s bed, the living room couch, the floor in the play area upstairs, the trampoline, the floor in his own room and the floor in the kitchen (which was the weirdest place of all but, his sister and Kaz were with him so, he shares his weirdness with them). It will be interesting to note how long it takes the child to become accustomed to his own mattress once again.

No matter, the new schedule of going to bed at a decent hour, rising early in the morning and sleeping in appropriate places begins next week, whether the children are ready for it or not. School starts on Wednesday but I might as well start conditioning them to the changes on Monday which means we can all expect a bloody Tuesday in my household.

Speaking of school, the children are officially registered, The Girl has her class schedule (although, it will require some corrections since the counselor neglected to schedule her band class; it’s a minor issue and we have been assured that it will be corrected before the Open House next Monday night) and the Man-Cub knows who his teacher is going to be.

The Cub wasn’t exactly thrilled with his assigned teacher as he is under the impression that the man is “mean” and that he throws chalkboard erasers at kids; I’m relatively certain that is an urban legend, not unlike the legend of Mrs. Wilson’s hidden flask o’ whiskey that my classmates and I heard all about in the eighth grade (although, come to think of it, Mrs. Wilson did spend an awful lot of time with her head stuck inside the top drawer of her filing cabinet, hmmm…suspicious). Anyway, I’m sure the Cub will do just fine even if he does get pegged in the head on occasion.

In other news, we are getting packed and ready to go to Salt Lake tomorrow. Jana and I have engaged in numerous whispered phone calls and we think we have everything ready to go. Luckily, we will see each other tonight, at the end-of-season BBQ for Hugh’s softball team; if we have any last minute planning to do, we can do it then.

In the meantime, I need to head into the store to finish some work. I should mention that, as I write this, the children are still sleeping.

The count-down to Rude Awakening Day Number One has begun.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Dog Days of Summer

-Rowdie and I have entered into a better relationship lately; he tries not to hump every leg that comes within two yards of him and I try not to completely lose my shit over his apparent inability to KEEP HIS NOSE OFF THE FRENCH DOOR FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. I’m still working on it.

-Since I am the first one up in the morning, I am the Hand That Feeds the Dog which, you would think would earn me some respect from the animal but; you would be wrong. We have, however, settled into a comfortable routine; I let him out of his kennel, he runs around the yard like a mad-man, I fill his dish, he runs around the yard like a mad-man, I tinker in my garden, he runs around the…you get the point. When he senses that my gardening is coming to an end, he sits patiently outside the garden gate and waits for me to exit. When I do, I always have at least a couple of cherry tomatoes for him and, if he obeys my commands to Sit! Stay! Lay Down! Roll Over! Recite the Alphabet! he is rewarded with a tomato. It’s kind of cute, actually, and; having him listen to my commands is kind of nice, for a change. I do realize, of course, that once tomato season is over, I’m fucked.

-Last night, the kids and I spent an hour on our backs on the trampoline, watching the Perseid meteor showers. We were a little disappointed, having expected to see a lot more shooting stars than we did but, there is always tonight.

-Hugh took his wedding ring to the jewelers yesterday; it needed to be resized as it no longer fits comfortably on his finger due to him having broken the finger while officiating at a wrestling tournament last year (or the year before that, I forget which). Since the break, the ring has been a permanent fixture on his hand (AS IT SHOULD BE) as he could no longer slide it over his second knuckle. Luckily, while he was working on the yard last month, a combination of dehydration, slimy mud and sunscreen enabled him to finally free himself (the ball and chain around his ankle remain intact) and we determined that sizing the ring a half size larger would be sufficient for him to comfortably put on and remove the ring in the future. Simple resizing was apparently not an option so we are having the ring re-molded, the diamonds reset and the whole thing spiffed up all to the tune of $350 which, according to Hugh, is a bargain considering how much he usually spends at the jewelry store. I think that was a dig at my desire for All Things Shiny but; I let it slide.

-For dinner last night, I made Pasta fra Diavalo which is a spicy pasta sauce that made good use of my garden tomatoes (don’t tell Rowdie). It was delicious and might just be the incentive that I need in order to start cooking for my family again.

-On the other hand, I am lazy so; I wouldn’t count on it.

-But, I’m not too lazy to work out; yesterday I completed a workout DVD that kicked my ass. Today, my ass is pissed and I am paying for it but! I finished the workout so; at least I have my pride. I can’t stand up straight and I walk a little funny but, I have my pride.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Berries, Bodies, Bummers

The weather finally cooperated with us on Friday and we were able to have Porch Night following the Man-Cub’s last session of football camp. Since football camp had been rained out the previous evening and the high school football team doesn’t have a free evening in which to make up the hour; the players and coach graciously gifted each of the kids with a team practice jersey, an honest-to-god team jersey! as the Man-Cub calls it, to make up for any disappointment. It was a really sweet gesture and, frankly, the entire three-day camp cost all of ten bucks; I would have happily called it a donation to the team had we been rained out all three days.

Supporting the home team, that’s how I roll.

Go Pirates! Whoo!

Anywaaay, Porch Night was fun, as usual. Jana and I spent some time going through pictures we have taken so far this summer and psyching ourselves up for the weekend trip ahead of us although, it didn’t require too much psyching because we are both looking forward so very much to the experience. The kids, it should be noted, are still in the dark as to the fact that we are all going somewhere together, instead believing that we are taking separate and wildly divergent weekend trips; can’t wait to see the look on their faces when reality hits.

Saturday was, perhaps, the laziest day that Hugh and I have spent all summer. I got up early to enjoy my coffee and a croissant in peace and quiet, never realizing that I could have enjoyed the same experience had I stayed in bed hours longer since the Man-Cub finally bounced down the stairs at around 10:00, Hugh put in an appearance at about 10:30, and The Girl didn’t rise until almost 11:00.

I pity them all once school starts next week.

Yikes, next week!

Once the family was out of bed we puttered around the house. For the first time all summer, Hugh didn’t have anything pressing to do in the yard or on the house so, he enjoyed his Saturday from the comfort of the couch. I reorganized my scrapbooking supplies and tried to convince myself to get started on the massive endeavor that will be Catching Up on the Kid’s Scrapbooks but, the mere thought of the project overwhelmed me and I joined Hugh on the couch, instead.

Later that evening, we went out to dinner with the kids and did some shopping. On the way home we had an enjoyable little chat about the fact that Hugh doesn’t tell me anything. And, by anything, I specifically mean that he did not tell me that, last week before the Corn Festival, he found a dead body.

A dead body in a van parked behind the liquor store. Don’t you think that, maybe, just maybe, that item would be at least a little bit conversation-worthy? Ok, not a conversation for the dinner table, obviously but, a mention, maybe? In passing, even? I think so, too.

Instead, I heard about it from some people at the store, several days after the fact. The conversation then went something like “Hey, Chelle, crazy thing, Hugh finding that body and all, huh?” to which I replied “UM, what?”


So, I had been giving Hugh a hard time about that little ditty for the past few days and Saturday’s conversation circled back to it:

Hugh: Hey, did I tell you that I found a motorcycle helmet on the road?
Chelle: No.
Hugh: I did. It was a little road-rashed but in pretty good shape, otherwise.
Chelle: Was there, like a severed head in it when you found it? ‘Cuz, that’s just the type of thing that you would forget to tell me about.
Hugh: You are never going to get over this, are you?
Chelle: Nope.

In a sneaky attempt to change the subject, Hugh started pointing out formations in the clouds as he drove. It was a very good evening for cloud-watching; we were able to clearly identify the gopher from Caddyshack as well as Godzilla. Godzilla looked like he was facing off with the gopher, preparing to torch him with his fire-breath so I did a really lame imitation of a badly dubbed Japanese movie, speaking while moving my lips out of time with the words, all of which served to remind Hugh that he married a total freak; a fact he was about to expound upon when his attention was diverted by an extremely loud fart from the backseat.

It was impressive; Godzilla couldn’t have done any better and my freakishness was momentarily forgotten in exchange for a discussion about the Man-Cub’s rare and disgusting talent for flatulence.

Changing subjects (you’re welcome), the kids and I spent Sunday with Jana and the kids. We picked raspberries until we were scratched and bleeding (Jana), our fingers were stained pink from the raspberry juice (me) and our bellies were full-to-bursting with berries (everybody else). I ended up with eight pints of berries for the freezer as well as a couple of giant summer squashes from Jana’s garden (her squashes reproduce like rabbits, unlike my barren plants).

After the berry-picking, we took the kids to the swimming pool and, while they swam, we sunbathed on the pool deck. It was a very nice day and a sad reminder that summer is almost over. Our lazy days, infrequent though they may be, are coming to an end soon.

Which is such a Bummer.

Speaking of which, I have to go to work now. Hey! Maybe I'll hear all about how my husband found like, a dead body in a van behind a liquor store! Oh, wait, been there, done that.

Sadly, no t-shirt.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Last night’s Porch Night was called on account of rain; although the porch would have kept us nice and dry while the storm raged, Jana had some minor flooding going on at her place so we decided to call it.

We're going to try again tonight and, with any luck, the weather will cooperate. If not, we might consider moving the party inside for Movie Night and, either way; we’ll have a good time.

On the topic of of good times, Hugh and I finalized plans for our trip to Utah next weekend, we are going to The Lagoon and, even better, Jana, Chris and the kids will be joining us. We haven’t told the kids yet, preferring to keep it a secret until the moment we pull up in Jana’s drive-way next Friday afternoon; no doubt it will be a pleasant surprise and I can’t wait to see the expressions on the kids’ faces.

Today I get to go to small claims court which I realize has nothing whatsoever to do with anything else that I have been talking about; so sue me (ha, get it? Court. Sue me? Ooh boy, I slay myself). I’ve never been to court before, not even for a traffic ticket so; this should be an educational experience. We are trying to get payment from a customer and, while I doubt we will ever actually see the money, I will, according to Emily, know how to go through the process when the need arises again in the future. Conducting a proper lawsuit is a skill no girl should be without, apparently (write that down, girls, that's some priceless advice right there).

After court, I plan to hit the local Farmer’s Market to pick up some zucchini because, as you may recall, my own zucchini plants are struggling with infertility and, not to be insensitive to their plight but; I would kind of like to eat some damn zucchini already.

And, since no other topic of this post is even vaguely related to another, I’ll tell you that the Man-Cub is considering taking up a band instrument. The High School band director has graciously offered to give classes for the 4th and 5th graders and has given the kids the following choices of instruments: trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, flute, baritone, French horn, or tuba.

Currently, the Cub is leaning toward the trumpet and I heartily approve (he briefly toyed with the idea of the tuba until The Girl suggested that it was, perhaps a tad bit too large for him, a slight understatement given the fact that a tuba could swallow him whole. Also, thank God that drums were not an option because we all know where that would have gone).

He's leaning toward the trumpet because he likes the idea of eventually being able to play Taps at Scout camp (I can think of worse reasons for picking an instrument, I guess), also, he doesn’t like the look of the saxophone (???) and, while The Girl loves her flute, he has deemed it too girly for a boy so, I’m guessing the trumpet will emerge victorious. In fact, I would put money on it.

One thing I won’t put money on is the chance that we will have a dry Porch Night, tonight. The skies are blue right now but my wedding ring isn’t rolling on my finger like it usually does which means that a storm is approaching. It also means that I am getting old and that my fingers are getting fat but, I prefer to blame it on the approaching storm.

Vanity, thy name is Chelle.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Oh, To Be Young and Oblivious

The Man-Cub started football camp last night. He was the smallest kid on the field, you know, like usual. But, while he may be small and god-awful skinny, he certainly has a good attitude about it; he accepts himself better than any adult I know as evidenced by his most recent work of art, behold:

We call it Self Portrait in Pancake. I don’t know of any other artist using pancake as his medium so, the Cub must really be advanced. Unfortunately, he was also really hungry and, Self Portrait in Pancake lasted only slightly longer than it took to get it to the table. At least we immortalized it in photos.

And, I digress. Shocking!

So, while the Cub spent an hour navigating the circuits set up by the High School football team last night, I walked around the track. I managed to get in almost six miles and my legs are really pissed at me today; I have no idea what their problem is, we used to do six miles once a week with my old Board member, the walk should have been easy-peasy. This, I guess, proves that I have really let myself go this summer.

Speaking of which, tonight is porch night and I am baking chocolate chip cookies to go with the bottle of Merlot that I picked up at the liquor store yesterday. For all my bitching about my lack of proper diet and exercise, I am willing to overlook it tonight, after all; we only have so many Porch Nights left before the weather turns cold and all I have to do with my free time is journal every bite that goes into my mouth and exercise until my muscles feel like jelly.

Wow. I can hardly wait.

In the meantime, maybe I can get the Cub to sculpt my likeness in a pancake; mmmmm….pancakes.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I Had a Dream

A nightmare woke me from a deep sleep last night. It was the same nightmare that I have almost every year following Stampede. In the dream, I am being chased down Main street by an evil soul-sucking demon named Smokin’ Charlie. Yes, Smokin’ Charlie. Sure, the name sounds harmless enough, right? I mean, anyone actually named Smokin’ Charlie must be a hell of a guy; everyone’s favorite uncle or something.

Even worse? My Smokin’ Charlie is a parade float. A parade float created by Shriners.

I know! How could an innocent float created by an altruistic group be in any way nightmare inducing? Well, you tell me.

See? Cah-reeepy. Especially when you take into consideration that the giant head swivels from side to side while the eyeballs roll around in cadence with what can only be described as maniacal laughter issuing forth from the belly of the beats.

And he actually smokes that cigar.

How could you not have nightmares? On the other hand, I bet he’s highly successful at convincing kids not to smoke so, score one for the Shriners. I guess.

On a related topic (it is, I swear it is; it just might take me a minute to get there), Hugh mowed the grass in the backyard for the first time last night and, to say that it made him happy would be a vast understatement. Delighted might apply. Beside himself with joy would work. Orgasmic most closely nails it.

And, not only did he mow the lawn, he used the push mower. The push mower, when we have a perfectly good riding mower; his need to be One with the grass was just that overwhelming.

Every time he made a pass by the kitchen window, he would smile and wave and yell "I'm cutting my grass!" which was cute the first twenty times but kind of annoying, thereafter. "Look, I'm cutting my grass!" Seventy billion times.

Which totally explains why, when I finally made my escape from Smokin' Charlie, I was riding a lawn mower.

My brain is a dark and twisty place.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Not To Get All Corny, But....

The annual Sweet Corn Festival drew about 20,000 people to our Podunk town this weekend and I think we served ice cream to at least two hundred of them. The Scouts made pretty good money for our efforts and we wound up with only half the troop getting sunstroke so, I’d say it was a successful fundraiser.

The Man-Cub and I worked our two shifts in the booth which, translated into Parent Speak, means that I stood in the booth, selling Drumsticks and Fat Boys to the masses while the Cub spent his time scaling the free climbing wall which had been graciously provided by the Army Reserve and which stood directly in front of our booth. Such a cool thing in such close proximity was hard to resist for both the Scouts and their siblings and, between the Cub and The Girl, my own children scaled that thing at least fifty times, possibly more.

The other parent volunteers and I didn’t mind, the booth was small and somewhat cramped when we were all in it so; the more time the kids spent outside of it, the more room we all had to breath. As an aside, you know it’s hot when an act as simple as breathing becomes a chore.

How hot was it? Hot enough to melt butter which, considering the fact that butter was used on all the free corn-on-the-cob you could eat, wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you’re looking on the bright side. If you don’t happen to be looking on the bright side, however, I will tell you that the temperatures were in the high nineties all day without a hint of cloud cover much less a cooling breeze and people were getting heat rashes in places that no one wants to get a heat rash.

I was grateful for the fact that our booth was shaded but, whenever I ventured outside of the booth for bathroom or soda runs, the sun was brutal. Luckily, there were a lot of neat vendor booths at the festival and, at one; I purchased a kicky little straw cowboy hat that at least kept the sun off my face, ears and head and, the fact that Hugh deemed the hat “totally sexy” didn’t factor into the purchase at all, I assure you (that hat is totally going with us to Barbados, anyway) so, I was able to avoid sunburn for the most part.

I wasn’t able to avoid a slight case of heatstroke, however. When the Cub and I finished our period of indentured servitude at 3:00, we ran into town to the bookstore and to do my grocery shopping which is when I noticed that we were both less than 100% in the energy department so, instead of fighting the crowds in the Hellmouth, we went out to a nice early dinner, just the two of us (The Girl had elected to stay behind and the festival with her friends and, since Hugh was working security, I felt safe leaving her).

Later that evening, once The Girl was home, we recovered by snacking on the couch (I mean, we ate snacks while sitting on the couch, we didn’t like, snack on the couch, that would be ridiculous. And, hard to swallow. I bet couch stuffing is terribly dry and, as always, I digress…) and listening to the faint sounds of the Travis Tritt concert from the comfort of the backyard porch. The kids wanted to watch the fireworks while lying on the trampoline so, I let them and; it didn’t surprise me in the least when they both conked out well before the fireworks even began.

I woke them up to watch but neither child was interested in doing much more that saying “ooh, ahh” once or twice before declaring themselves so over the fireworks and off to bed they went.

Yesterday, we lazed around the house in full recovery mode and, today, I get to go back to work. Yippee. Of course, we have air conditioning at the store which beats sitting in a hot booth outside so, at least there’s that.

And, it would appear, the summer is drawing to a close. Traditionally, once we have celebrated Stampede with my parents, attended the Corn Festival here, and eaten at least two cases of sweet corn; the summer is over and it is time to gear up for fall, football and back-to-school preparations.

The Man-Cub has football covered; he starts camp on Wednesday night. I picked up some new fall decorations for the front porch while I was in Mayberry and I’m ready to break them out and, we have school supplies in hand.

Hugh isn’t quite ready to let summer go, however. He is planning to take us all to a water park in Utah next weekend; he doesn’t feel like we’ve done anything fun with the kids this summer which, what with all the baseball, tutoring for the Man-Cub and working on the yard, I sort of agree. So, off to a water park we will go and, then summer will be over.

The corn could only last so long, after all.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Is It Physically Possible to Lose 15 Pounds in a Month?

August first, wow. The summer is flying by. Hugh and I have just a month left until our trip which means one thing; holy crap, I have a month in which to get into bikini shape! I have to admit, I haven’t exactly been diligent in the whole fitness/nutrition thing this summer and waayy too many nights on the porch with a bottle of wine and a loaf of French bread are starting to show. I really need to get back on the wagon and see if I can reverse the damage so; Operation Less Jiggly by September commences today. God help me.

Tomorrow the children and I are attending our town’s big shin-dig; the Sweet Corn Festival. The Man-Cub and I will be taking two shifts in the Cub Scouts ice cream booth and The Girl has volunteered to help that is; until she sees a friend from school at which point she will beg to be allowed to run off and play, leaving the Cub and I to fend off the ice-cream starved masses. I’m pretty sure we can handle it.

The entertainment for the this year’s festival is Travis Tritt whom I used to enjoy back in the day when country music still appealed to me and men with mullets didn’t seem quite so…redneck. As it stands now, I am less than interested in attending the concert and will leave the festival following our period of indentured servitude to the Scouts. Besides, I need to get into town to pick up my reserved copy of the new Stephenie Meyer book and there is that whole Back on the Wagon with Diet and Nutrition thing to consider; there is only so much time in the day, after all.

In addition, I can actually hear the concert from my back porch. I also have a great view of the closing fireworks show from there so, no reason to fight the crowds at the park. It will be like Porch Night minus Jana and the kids (who are visiting Jana’s mom at her cabin), the wine and the carbohydrates which, come to think of it, doesn’t sound like Porch Night at all.

Le sigh.