Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Math=The Debil

Problem 1.

Child A has a volleyball game in a town 45 miles Southeast of Petticoat Junction. Child B has a football game 45 miles Northeast of Petticoat Junction. The towns are 40 miles apart. Game B starts at 4:00. Game A starts at 5:00. How much hair will the Parents of Children A & B pull out while attempting to make it to both games?

Problem 2.

Chelle needs to make Gatorade Knox Blox for 42 volleyball players and 31 football players. The recipe calls for 6 cups of Gatorade. The recipe will need to be quadrupled to make enough Knox Blox. How many children will complain about the Knox Blox being fruit flavored instead of (insert flavor here)?

Problem 3.

The Teenager needs a dress for Homecoming. Dress A costs $98. Dress B costs $198. Dress A must be ordered online for an additional shipping cost of $12. Dress B costs $198 but is available locally. How many additional dollars will Chelle have to pay in probable marriage counseling if she caves in and purchases Dress B?

Math is hard.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Define" Blood Relation"

A while back, a meme made it's way around Facebook; the meme asked whom on your Friends list you had known the longest and, blood relations didn't count. I didn't participate in the game because I'm not cool like that. Also, I couldn't decide which of two of my friends deserved the designation, Phoebe or Melis, both of whom I have known since grade school.

This weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting both women for two days of reminiscing, laughter, Girl Talk and frank discussions about the state of our economy and the misfortunes of the human condition by which I of course mean; the price of good denim vs. cheap denim and just what makes reality show contestants so pathetic. For the record, we arrived at no set conclusions.

While we were solving the world's problems from the comfort of the front porch (answer: wine), our children were perfecting their mad chalk graffiti skilz on the driveway and, I'm pleased to report; Phoebe's youngest son is totally ready for his audition for the inevitable sequel to the recent Smurf movie.

Also, between four inquisitive boys and one adorable tomboy, a plethora of wildlife was discovered-and captured-in our yard. This includes, frogs, Leaf Bugs, Praying Mantises (Praying Manti? I have no idea), Rolly-Pollies and, the neighbors' cat, the latter of which was returned to its' rightful owners with a stern lecture from the Man-Cub who was quite dismayed at the discovery of a fairly gnarly wound on the poor animal's thigh.

Because the weekend gathering was planned around a Jeans Party (Melis is a consultant for Vault Denim), we of course tried on about a zillion pairs of jeans between us and I have arrived at the following conclusions:

-It is far more fun to shop for quality denim from the comfort of one's own home than from under the harsh lights of a department store dressing room.

- Wine makes the process infinitely more bearable (and, humorous).

- Teenaged girls look good in everything, the bitches. Not really (ok, sort of).

- Also, I have the best friends in the world. I have long suspected this but; it's always nice to have your theories proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. 

Before the weekend was over, The Teenager and I owned awesome new jeans, Jana, Melis and Phoebe had bonded like Super Glue and The Teenager had managed to pawn her hamsters off on Phoebe's children (Thanks for visiting our home! Your parting gift is a cage of rodents. You're welcome!).

We did not, however, manage to answer the question of whom I have known longer, Phoebe or Melis.

Additional research on the matter may be required.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Just When You Think It's Safe to go Back into the Park

During my run in the park yesterday, a snake slithered across my path and, I would dearly love to tell you that, when faced with the snake, I calmly slowed my pace and changed direction in order to avoid said reptile. In reality, I screamed at a volume not heard since the Von Trapp family yodeled it's way over the Swiss Alps, increased my speed and hurdled the snake in what could hardly be described as a graceful maneuver.

Not graceful at all.

Happily, there was no one present to witness the event.

When I got home I told Hugh about the incident, fully expecting a degree of sympathy for the trauma caused to me by the experience. Instead, he doubted the veracity of my statement about the snake being roughly the size of a python which; sort of made me wish there had been a witness there to back up my claims, preferably a witness who shares my near- pathological fear of snakes.

Oh, wait, that would be my husband.

I love how brave he is from the safety of our home. Also, I feel the need to point out that he refused my offer to let him accompany me to the park today.

Gee, Hugh, I wonder why?

The snake was like this only much, much bigger and, um, less flat. Or, bloody. I wish it had been flat and bloody. Also, I have no idea how the Von Trapps kept up that level of volume; my throat is killing me, today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Two Days In and the Homework is Already Kicking My Ass

Geometry is the Kryptonite to my super hero powers and, just between you and me; I don't think The Teenager will even use the knowledge gained from learning the cross sections of a cube for any purpose in her adult life. Except for the inevitable day that her teenager begs for help with his/her geometry homework, I mean, obviously.

It's insane. (Unless of course, the cross sections of a cube are important to your daily adult life in which case; I am sorry if I have offended you. Also, I hope you get paid really well.)

Next up: tearing my hair out over pre-algebraic formulas and a deepened relationship with Google Earth and it's wonderful maps of obscure Middle Eastern nations.

As you might imagine, I am simply giddy with excitement.

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day of School and Already There's an Idiot in the Drop-Off Lane

At least we had a nice weekend, although; it feels like we spent most of it at the school. Oh, wait, we did.

Friday evening, The Teenager asked me to take pictures of the volleyball team's first Team Building Activity; an hour (or two) of slip n' sliding on the quad. I'm not sure what volleyball skills can be garnered from sliding across a soapy sheet of industrial plastic but, the girls didn't seem to mind.

You would think that the girls would have had their fill of soapy water at that point but, that didn't excuse them from showing up for the carwash fundraiser on Saturday.

Between the volleyball and football teams, over two hundred cars were washed (I'm guesstimating but, based on the lines that backed up for blocks the entire day; it's an educated guess) and a great deal of money was raised. It goes without saying; the kids had a good time.

While The Teenager was busy scrubbing the inside of door panels (her appointed duty at the carwash), Hugh, the Man-Cub and I made the pilgrimage to the hot dog-lover's Mothership.

The Cub got a free hot dog and an Oscar Meyer wiener whistle. I'm not even going to mention how disturbing I find the wiener whistle. Not. Even. Going. To. Mention. It.

Sunday, the kids and I headed to Neighboring City for school-clothes shopping where we made out like bandits because, and I did not know this but; there are amazing deals to be had when one waits until the absolute last minute to purchase school clothes. All those years that I spent shopping well in advance of the first day of school seem so foolish to me now. Oh well. The kids both came away completely outfitted with clothing from Aeropostale and Hollister and I didn't spend over $200.

You heard me.

They both looked pretty awesome when I dropped them off this morning.

Not quite awesome enough to take the sting out of having to sit behind an idiot in the drop-off lane but, we can't have it all, I suppose.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lessons From the Garden

Remember all those sunflowers that I didn't plant in my garden this year? Yeah, they would like to say hello...

...and to remind you that some of life's greatest pleasures are unplanned; that certain surprises can be a thing of beauty....

...and, that if you dig really deep and are tenacious enough, you just might end up being the brightest thing in someone's garden.

Whether they planned on you or not.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Anyone Else Happy it's Friday? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

This has been a very long week and, yes, I know that it only had seven days like any other week but, still. Looooongest seven days, ever. Except for the two days comprising the weekend, naturally they went by quickly. Oh, and Tuesday's Porch Night, that went too quickly, also. Rest of the week? Loooong and slooooow. But! It's Friday again and, with school starting on Monday, you can rest assured that I won't be bitching about what a long week it was this time next week.

In news related to the relative longevity of the past week; The Teenager made the Junior Varsity volleyball team. This accomplishment comes on the heels of a five-day try-out period that left her exhausted, bruised, battered, swollen, sprained, grouchy and elated (depending on the day) and we could not be more proud.

The child's first activity as a member of the team will be to participate in a car wash being held tomorrow at the High School. The car wash is a fundraiser for the football and volleyball teams and Hugh and I have done our part to support the teams by spending $20 on tickets to have our cars washed after which I have promised to take the Man-Cub to Pixley to see the Oscar Meyer Wiener-Mobile at the Hellmouth or, as the more colorful members of local society call it, the WalMarts. Classy!

Also, yes, the Wiener-Mobile. The jokes, they practically write themselves.

After The Teenager is finished waxing on/waxing off, Karate Kid style, and the Man-Cub and I grow weary of making giant wiener jokes, we are going to Neighboring City to shop for school clothes. Because school starts Monday and we wouldn't want to wait until the last minute or anything.

Then, I will resign myself to the fact that, while this felt like one of the longest weeks,  ever, the rest of the school year will be set to hyper-speed with my children racing ever faster toward adulthood and that, my friends, will teach me not to bitch about the little things.

I am still really happy that today's Friday, though.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Porch Night: The Movie Edition

You know I'm having a good time at an event when I forget to take pictures and, judging by the dismal number of pictures from last night's Porch Night; I had a really good time.

I credit Hugh with making the event a success; he spent hours on Monday night setting up the screen (a white sheet hung on the wall, although, we have now decided that an actual screen might be a wise investment for future movie nights), suspending the projector from the ceiling and running wires for the surround sound system as well as putting the finishing touches on the nostalgic popcorn cart that I bought especially for the event (but that I swear we will use at the hardware store to make the purchase seem slightly less ridiculous) and rigging up a system of blackout curtains to eliminate the light from the streetlamps from diminishing our enjoyment of the movie.

And, you know, there aren't many husbands who will go to such great lengths to make a party successful for their families so I'm pretty grateful for his efforts. Also, I see a lot of cucumber salad-making in my future, among, you know, other things. Just to show my appreciation, obviously.

But, back to last night; just under twenty people gathered on the porch for burgers, hot dogs and a viewing of Soul Surfer which I chose because it seemed like a safe bet (given Hugh's and my recent track records for choosing absolutely stellar movies to view with our children, you can bet your ass I consulted with Jana on the appropriateness of the movie selection. She gave the movie a solid thumbs up). We also popped popcorn in the above-mentioned popcorn cart as well as munching on movie candy, candy that no one was required to pay an exorbitant amount of money for the privilege of eating.

It was a good night and a fun way to celebrate the end of summer despite the fact that none of us particularly wants the summer to end. But, heyyyy...maybe Hugh can rig up some sort of heating system for the porch and we can have movie nights year-round.

I should probably get him crackin' on that. In which case, I'm going to need a lot more cucumbers.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer's Last Hurrah

The kids start school exactly one week from today. When they were younger and I worked at my old job, I kind of looked forward to the start of school, to the regularity of the schedule and to the predictability of the day but, now; not so much. We have just had such a nice summer and, with The Teenager being a Sophomore and the Man-Cub going into seventh grade, I kind of feel like life has been set to fast-forward and I don't like it.

In an effort to preserve as much of their childhood as possible, we spent the weekend engaged in a few time-honored activities guaranteed to bring out the kid in anyone; late night star-gazing from the atop a car parked in a field and a long day of fun on the lake.

Friday night, we poured a thermos of hot chocolate, bundled up in sweatshirts and ventured out to Jana's where the girls climbed atop the above-mentioned car and stretched out on a mattress that Jana had thoughtfully provided for them. The boys, being, well, boys, climbed to the top of a nearby out-building and watched the show from there while Jana and I (the menfolk were otherwise occupied and, to be honest, not exactly interested in staying up to all hours of the night watching shooting stars. Their loss) pulled out a couple of patio chairs, put our feet up, leaned back and enjoyed some lively discussion while watching the meteors, courtesy of the Perseid Meteor shower, streak across the night sky.

I found the night quite magical. The meteors were entertaining, the weather was surprisingly warm, making the layers of sweatshirts unnecessary, and; having the chance to listen to my children and their friends giggle together in the warm night air while spending time with my own dear friend was something that I won't forget anytime soon.

Of course, the late night did make getting up early to hit the lake the next day a bit of a challenge. But, you know, we are troopers.

The rest of this week will be filled with other activities aimed at taking my mind off the fact that mah babies are going back to school next week. Tomorrow night, we are hosting a very special Porch Night, featuring movies on the porch and, I am really looking forward to finally using the video projector that Hugh bought me for Christmas.

And, speaking of movies, if all goes well, we will hit the drive-in this weekend for the last double-feature of the summer. Then, first thing Monday morning, I will be back in the kitchen, making the Man-Cub's box lunch, the first of several hundred that I will be required to make over the course of the school year.

I really prefer sandwiches eaten on the boat. Le sigh.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In Which I Contemplate Sneaking Vegetables into Cupcakes

For dinner last night I prepared a marinated pork tenderloin with roasted beets and green beans and, while one might think that roasted green beans would be less than tasty; one would be wrong. Roasted beets are likewise delicious and, since both the beans and the beets came from my garden, the meal was certifiably organic, my sweat being the most questionable thing sprayed on the plants all summer long.

Not that I tried to spray the plants with sweat; that would be gross.

And now you are totally picturing me standing in my garden, spraying my plants with sweat. I am so sorry.

Let's move on, shall we?

Anyway, in addition to the beets, beans and pork, we also had a side dish of sauteed squash and peppers, also from the garden. Then, since it was like, a theme or something, I also made a cucumber salad (guess where the cukes came from, go ahead, guess) as well as a green salad. It was like, Gardenpalooza in my kitchen. I am, as you can probably tell, quite impressed with my prowess in the garden this year.

Now, if only my offspring would, you know, eat the vegetables I worked so hard to grow. As it stands, The Teenager will pick at the beans while the Man-Cub actively gags if required to try a taste of anything not of the leafy variety (lettuce, I'm talking about you). In addition, both children appear to require massive amounts of Ranch dressing in order to choke down any produce not ending in Y (strawberry, cherry, blueberry, raspberry, ) and I ask you; where did I go wrong?

Really, where?

Monday, August 08, 2011

They Really Should Serve Juice and Cookies at These Things

Today I went to the school to open a vein register the children for the new year. Once we tallied up the fees for special courses, activity cards, yearbooks, sports and a new gym uniform, I was lucky to escape the office with a drop of blood left in my entire body any money left at all. At least I didn't pass out; that shit is embarrassing.

***Side Rant***

How is it possible to lose a PE uniform? A uniform that a child is required to wear every day of the week? That has to be hard, right? Especially considering that the child was required to leave the uniform in his, or her (although NOT BLOODY LIKELY), PE locker except for when it was being laundered which, never actually happened because the child in question, "forgot" to bring the uniform home for that weekly washing, anyway. Now, how could that uniform just disappear?

Oh, obviously walked away on it's own, no doubt due to the lack of weekly laundering. I get it, now. Never mind, let's get back to our previously scheduled program...

****End Rant***

Anyhoodle, the kids are now officially registered, Hugh and I are officially broke and I am inexplicably craving orange juice and sugar cookies.

And, also, wondering why a certain child never actually bothered to tell me that his (or her, although not bloody likely) PE uniform had up and walked away from his locker last year.

Maybe I'll just go ahead and pass out, anyway.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

On a Less Infuriating Note

Despite the actions of a few wanna-be criminals, we are having a fabulous summer; too bad that comes to an end in just slightly less than two weeks, when the kids return to school, I return to the drop-off lane and the weather returns to frigid and dreary.

Ok, ok, the weather will still be nice for at least a few months but still; two out of three.

In the meanwhile, I am documenting the many things about the summer that I love and will miss once Old Man Winter does rear his frosty head and, chief among those things is my garden.

My tomatoes have practically taken over the garden, providing a bounty of red and yellow fruits. I am most especially pleased with the heirloom Brandywine plant that produces large slicing tomatoes. The smaller Roma, grape and yellow pear plants are a delight as well and, not coincidentally, I have discovered a number of recipes using fresh tomatoes; my current favorite involves orecciette pasta, fresh basil, a couple of cloves of garlic, a combination of yellow pear and grape tomatoes, olive oil and perlini (very small balls of mozzarella cheese).

Also, for the first time ever, the garden has managed to produce cucumbers which, I happen to detest. Hugh, on the other hand, is in hog heaven with the creamy cucumber salad and the marinated cucumber salad and the cucumber slices. It's nice to see him to happy.

The garden has even managed to make the Man-Cub happy; his carrots are coming along nicely and he has been eating strawberries for weeks, now. The strawberries also entice The Teenager into the garden which is like a summer miracle, in and of itself.

Aside from the garden, I have been enjoying quiet time on the porch. In the morning, I like to drink my coffee while watching the hummingbirds drink from the feeders and, in the evenings, I light the citronella votives that line the railing and watch as the birds return  for dinner. This is the first year that I have had hummingbirds and I really enjoy watching them and listening to the different sounds they make; it ain't all humming, come to find out.

Of course I have enjoyed our time on the boat, our visit to Mayberry, and numerous other summer activities in which we have partaken and, it goes without saying, I have enjoyed the sunshine but, all good things must come to an end, I suppose.

On the bright side, I do enjoy the kids' autumn sporting activities, the colors of fall, Halloween and the smell of the smoke from wood stoves on brisk October evenings so; there is that to look forward to. And, once the temperatures drop a bit, I'll be able to run outdoors without feeling like my lungs are on fire.

Glass half full, yada, yada.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

An Open Letter to an Unknown Jackass

Dear Unknown (for now) Jackass(es) who threw a rock through the window of The Teenager's new car while on a spray-painting spree around Petticoat Junction last night:

How stupid are you? Wait, don't answer that; you would have to be pretty damn stupid to throw a rock through the window of a car belonging to a policeman, especially a policeman as doggedly determined to solve every crime that comes his way, no matter how long it takes, as is my husband.

Pretty damn stupid, indeed.

Also, committing your crimes immediately following a torrential downpour that left half the town covered in a fine film of mud, well, that was especially stupid; your size twelve shoe prints just provided that doggedly determined policeman with his first clue as to your identity.

Factor in the small size of the town, the fact that kids like to talk and the additional fact that there is a relatively small pool of wanna-be thugs living amongst us and; I'd say you will be outed in less time than it takes my neighbors to scrub your "gang signs" off their fences.

Granted, once my husband and his co-workers find you (and, they will, oh yes, they will), you will claim innocence by virtue of circumstance; you are from a poor family, your parents are addicts, you never learned any better, etc., etc., etc. Well, guess what? The judges in this area don't care about your circumstances, in fact; they have arrived at the conclusion that overlooking your misdeeds due to your pathetic excuse for a homelife is no longer a practice that is in the best interest of the citizens of our community, in short; they are eager to impose the maximum sentence available to them for your crimes.

I hope you make friends in Juvie.

Really, really good friends, if you catch my drift.

Yours truly,
The woman whose husband is going to track you down and throw your pathetic, jealous, lazy, ignorant, loser-ass in jail.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Be It Ever So Humble...

Mayberry was very good to us this past week. The children were thoroughly spoiled by their grandparents (late night television viewing, daily made-to-order breakfast, a visit to our favorite diner where the meal included a cinnamon bun roughly the size of a dinner plate, round-the-clock hugs and kisses, you name it) and we enjoyed the numerous activities that Mayberry has to offer...

Watching the parade with friends...

Carnival rides...

Swimming in the old swimming hole...


...and golf.

Of course, the kids weren't the only ones who enjoyed the time; I got a chance to run on an entirely new trail. I got to revisit the places of my childhood and to reconnect with the people who helped me to make some of the best memories of that childhood. I also got to get my drunk on with The Girls and that is a treat that can never be underrated.

Oh, and there were cowboys. Cute cowboys.

But, all good things must come to an end and our trip was no exception. Plus, there was a certain someone at home who was looking forward to our return which, is why, when the kids and I got home yesterday evening, Hugh greeted us at the door with dinner on the stove. He also had seven days of beard growth on his face so, either he missed us terribly or our presence is solely responsible for keeping him on a routine of daily hygiene. The spaghetti was good, though.

And, as much fun as we had at my home in Mayberry, I would be lying if I said that it wasn't good to be back at this home. Also, how lucky am I to have two places that I can call home? Pretty lucky, indeed.