Friday, February 28, 2014

He's Such a....Boy

I just made my second trip upstairs to wake the Man-Cub for his day. My first attempt was met with a nonchalant wave of the hand and a sleepily mumbled "I'm up". When he didn't appear at the bottom of the stairs after what I considered a reasonable amount of time, I trudged back up to his room, where, my second attempt proved successful.

And, by successful, I mean that the Cub rolled over onto his side, lifted his leg slightly, farted, and chirped "Now I'm up!" before dissolving into a fit of giggles.

On the bright side, he is in the shower right now, so, I guess he really was up.

On the darker side, it is apparent that I am raising an animal. I hope his future wife can forgive me.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Scholarship Applications Will Be the Death of Me

The Teenager has been frantically working on applications for college scholarships, which, shouldn't involve me, yet, it does. Of course it does. I want her to feel confident in the essays she must submit, so, I have been proofreading for her. She has done a really good job and I am proud of the effort she has put forth, regardless of the outcome.

Now, if there were only some way to convince her of that. Instead, she is a balled up coil of angst; certain that her best efforts will fall short. I swear, it's like she thinks her college education is going to put us into the poorhouse, which is a ridiculous thing for her to worry about.

Only I'm allowed to worry about that.

Anyway, the applications are signed, sealed, and ready for postage, so, at least we can take a small breath before turning our attention to planning the grad party, ordering the grad announcements, and preparing ourselves to let the first bird fly the nest.

On second thought, maybe I would rather stress over scholarship applications after all.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dear February, Thanks For Not Being Such a Bitch This Year

I can't believe that February is almost over; it went by so quickly this year. I'm sure my perception is skewed somewhat by the fact that I actually slept through every night this month, as opposed to not sleeping at all the past several Februarys (Februaries? How does one create February, plural?), but, frankly, I don't care; I can finally say that I didn't completely detest an entire calendar month and that feels pretty damn good.

In addition, the weather here in Petticoat Junction has been really nice the past few days. So nice, in fact, I almost busted out the open-toed shoes. Almost. Instead, I opted to wear short sleeves as a way to slowly ease myself into the spring spirit. Plus, I didn't want to jinx myself or to give Mother Nature a reason to smite me for my hubris, which, we all know she will if I get too cocky with the polka-dot espadrilles.

And, I can't have Mother Nature smite me with an early-spring snowstorm because I am planning to drive to Denver the second weekend in March to spend some quality time with my girls. I need that Girl Time, and, while I am totally willing to drive through a blizzard to get it, I would much prefer nice weather.

So, I will continue to wear my winter wardrobe for just a titch longer as I eagerly await the start of a new month. But, I won't be cursing the current month as it takes its' leave of us, and that's a huge improvement for me.


Monday, February 24, 2014


The Teenager's birthday appears to have treated her very well. She enjoyed the state wrestling tournament with her father and Katie, she was generously showered with gifts by friends and family, she got to blow out the candles atop a mound of red velvet cupcakes, and she was surprised with banners and balloons and streamers adorning her room upon her return from Denver.

I'm glad she enjoyed the day and I hope she enjoys every day of the year to come. She deserves it.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

To Apply, Send Resume to: Blind Box #5, Cloud Nine, Heaven

Eighteen years ago, today, I took a job for which I had no experience, no training, zero qualifications, and a bare minimum of knowledge. I had had nine months to prepare for the position, but, could locate no training manual to study. I spoke to several experts in the field and each one assured me that there was no such manual, I was simply going to have to wing it, cross my fingers, and hope for the best.

Eighteen years later, I realize how sound that advice, which sounded so crazy at the time, really was. I winged it. I crossed my fingers. I hoped for the best.

Along the way, I tried skills that had worked in other jobs that I held; I listened patiently, I spoke clearly, I practiced consistency, I applied humor, I organized, documented, and when necessary, I re-evaluated my tactics.

But, mostly, I crossed my fingers. I hoped for the best. I prayed.

And, eighteen years later, I realize that this job, this parenting gig, was the career I was meant for, all along. It has defined me as a person, given my life meaning and purpose, and, brought me more joy than any person-in any job-has a right to have.

The job started out with some pretty fantastic raw materials....

...and we ended up with a fantastic finished product...

So, I guess you could say that I am rocking this parenting gig. But, between you and me; I give most of the credit to the prayers.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Beauty Care Gone Horribly Wrong

This morning I sliced the back of my leg open with my razor while attempting to shave the back of my thigh. The cut bled profusely, staining the water into pink rivulets that circled the drain, along with my last shred of my dignity.

Luckily, Hugh is out of town so he was spared having to see me attempt to stanch the blood with toilet paper bits, which, resulted in nothing more than a trail of blood soaked toilet paper bits  meandering down my leg in a gory conga line.

Once the bleeding finally stopped, I was left with the stinging pain of the wound, which, increases with the friction caused by my jeans and by the pressure created by sitting on anything more firm than a couch cushion. Several times today I have winced, only to be asked what was wrong by some well-meaning person, who; really did not sign up to hear about the gaping wound lurking slightly underneath my right butt cheek, but, who got to hear about it, anyway.

I joke about giving up shaving as I get older, but, if this incident is any indication of things to come, the joking could turn serious, fast.

You've been warned, Hugh.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Back on the Hamster Wheel

The Man-Cub started baseball practice yesterday. Technically, it was a voluntary batting practice, but, we all know the truth; "voluntary" is code for "get your butt to baseball practice if you want to be on the team", which, the Man-Cub does.

On another "voluntary" note, I have a meeting of the senior class grad party tonight. I have agreed to be on the decorating committee and Hugh is going to be in charge of security. We are playing to our strengths, clearly.

Later today, Hugh, The Teenager, and Katie are heading to Denver for the state wrestling tournament, where Hugh will be officiating and the girls will be stalking cute boys. This leaves me and the Man-Cub to our own devices for the remainder of the week. I have a feeling our time will include house cleaning and laundry. Oooh, ahhh!

And the wheel goes round and round...

Monday, February 17, 2014

(Almost) No Teenagers Were Injured in the Making of This Post

The Teenager's birthday party this weekend was a huge success despite the fact that most of the kids hadn't been roller skating since they were in elementary school, if ever. And, by "if ever", I actually mean that most of the kids had never, in their entire lives, been on roller skates. Like, ever. How does that happen?

I spent my entire youth on skates. And, yes, this was the heyday of bell bottoms, frizzy perms, disco balls and Xanadu, but, still. In fact, most of the birthday parties that I can remember attending as a child and young teen included skating, whether at the roller rink in Mount Pilot, or, on the sidewalks that lined the lawns in front of my friends houses.

When I was in college, roller blades became all the rage and my love of the roller skates translated beautifully to zipping about on my in-lines, a hobby that I continued, periodically, even as I was raising my young family.

So, chaperoning fourteen novice skaters at a roller rink was an exercise in restraint, worried that my laughter would wreck the delicate feelings of those precious babies.

Or, not...

The kids spent more than a little time on the floor and they didn't seem to mind it. Then, once they finally got the hang of it, they did fairly well, circling the rink for the better part of two hours before we left the rink to snack on red velvet cupcakes and hot wings.

And, no one was injured. Unless you count a few bruised tailbones, which, we don't. Because that's how we roll. Get it? Roll? Ha! I slay myself!

Anyway, I think The Teenager enjoyed her day. And, since she doesn't officially turn eighteen until Sunday, she felt free to act just as immaturely as she wanted. As one does at the roller skating rink, doncha know?

Hey! Did you notice how easily I just glossed over the fact that my first-born is about to turn eighteen? Clearly, I'm coming to terms with her impending adulthood.

You know, today.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy Belated Hallmark-Created Holiday!

Another Valentine's Day has come and gone. I celebrated in a number of ways, including finally sorting through the goodies left in my mailbox at Day Job. In addition to the numerous sweets, stickers, and magnets that my co-workers placed in the box; I was the lucky recipient of a condom. Because, when you work in an office with people who spend over forty hours a week working with at-risk youth, condoms become a staple in the office supply closet.

Hugh spent Valentine's Day officiating at the regional wrestling tournament, so I took the kids to dinner and a movie. The Man-Cub and his friends watched the new version of Robocop while the girls and I saw the remake of Endless Love (now with 90% less cheese!). Remakes of crappy eighties movies are apparently a thing, now.

That said, Endless Love was a lot better than I expected, and, I had an enjoyable evening in the company of some very sweet Valentines.

After the movie, I frosted the red velvet cupcakes that The Teenager requested for her birthday party and called it a day. While it is hardly the most romantic Valentine's Day that I can remember, it was a very nice made-up holiday, regardless.

And, now, I am off to prepare myself, mentally, for the task of supervising eighteen teenagers at a roller skating rink. And, to eat red velvet cupcakes. Tune in later for a scintillating description of how a middle-aged woman, who has no business (whatsoever) attempting to recreate her Glory Days by doing the Limbo on roller skates, possibly breaks a hip. Because that could totally happen

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Series of Observations

After spending four hours in a courtroom today, I have arrived at the conclusion that benches in a courthouse are equal in comfort to church pews. Also, I am grateful that Catholic services, while they always seemed to last forever, did, in reality, end after an hour.

Also, I was actually expecting the judge to turn us loose by intoning the phrase "Go in peace", which, didn't happen.

In addition, the courtroom experience could be vastly improved by the addition of wine, which, as I recall, we did get in church, and, lastly, if my clients spent a few more hours with their butts in church pews, I would probably spend less time with my butt on a courtroom bench.

That is all.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Time Marches On

The Man-Cub and I had a meeting at the school earlier this evening. The meeting was with the Cub's academic advisor and the purpose was to determine the classes that the Cub will be taking next year, his sophomore year of High School. The child isn't even finished with his freshman year and we are already planning for the next step. Gah.

In news of a similarly depressing note, Hugh finished our taxes and they are now in the capable hands of our accountant. Hopefully, she will have our return prepared early next week and I will finally have the necessary information with which to tackle the FAFSA application. I am giddy with excitement.

That was sarcasm, in case you missed it.

On a brighter note, I accomplished a lot at Day Job, today, and, it felt good to see all of the check marks on my To Do list. One of the items on the list was to research the effects of marijuana on ADHD so that I might have some scientific evidence on which to base an argument that I will be presenting to a judge in court, tomorrow. Day Job is never boring, that's for certain.

What is boring is the current state of prime time television; the Olympics is hogging up all the airtime and I miss my favorite shows. Ok, I miss NCIS-LA and it isn't even on the same channel as the Olympics; it's still in re-runs and that sucks, so; I'll blame the Olympics if I want to.

Valentines Day is on Friday. This month's  Fun Club activity at Day Job was the construction and decorating of individual mailboxes for each employee. We will spend the rest of the week placing Valentine cards and treats in each box, to be opened on Friday. The activity took us all back in time, to our elementary school days, and has been one of the most participated-in activities that our committee has held so far this year.

Did I mention that Day Job is never boring?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Content Heavy and Picture Light

As promised, today's post will include a lot of verbal diarrhea and no pictures. You're welcome.

So, I pretty much covered the winter formal in yesterday's post. I will, however, mention that I really, really enjoy my kids' friends. I especially like the fact that they all feel comfortable enough in our home to help themselves to pizza and sodas from the fridge while standing around the kitchen island, gossiping and joking around with each other. I don't think I will enjoy the quiet in my house once both of the kids have left the nest. But, I'm not thinking about that right now.

Once the kids left for the dance, I had a couple of hours to recoup my energy before they returned for round two of pizza, sodas and kitchen conversations at which point I excused myself and retired to my bed, where I kept an ear out for the kids until they eventually all went their separate ways.

Sunday morning, I got up early and hit the kitchen for a marathon red velvet cupcake baking extravaganza. Which, makes baking cupcakes sound so exciting! It was not. The cupcakes turned out beautifully, however, and, are now in the freezer, awaiting a dousing with cream cheese frosting later this week.

While the cupcakes were baking, I was cooking several different dishes to stock the fridge with for the week, which will make my evenings a lot less stressful.

Then, I did a test run of table decorating for my Spring Luncheon table, making notes of items I still need to pick up.

As is the case every Sunday of my life; laundry was running on a constant rotation throughout the day.

Throw in payroll for the hardware store, general housekeeping, and, kitchen clean-up following all the baking and cooking, and, my day was complete.

I'm actually looking forward to going to work today, just for the rest and relaxation.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Picture Heavy and Content Light

The kids enjoyed last night's masquerade winter formal at the high school. I enjoyed visiting with the parents of one of the Man-Cub's best friends while the kids dined on pizza before the dance. Then, I enjoyed the relative peace and quiet of the house while everyone was gone (Hugh was in his office working on our taxes, as well he should be).

Here are some pictures of the kids before the dance. I would write more but, today has been a very busy and productive day and I am ready to finally pour myself the glass of wine that I had hoped to enjoy last night, before realizing that I was too tired to lift a glass to my mouth.

Tomorrow's post shall be content heavy and picture light to make up for this post, I think.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Weekend Plans

I remember when planning for the weekend used to include a trip to the liquor store for a bottle of something tasty, a quick dash to the grocery store for chips and dip, and, an hour-long deliberation in front of the closet over what outfit was most likely to make me irresistible to the opposite sex. Ah, college...those were the days.

My plans for this weekend include baking red velvet cupcakes for The Teenager's upcoming birthday party, cleaning the house, picking up pizza for the teenagers who will descend on my home Saturday evening to prepare for the annual Winter Formal, re-cleaning the house, possibly working on The Teenager's scrapbook since graduation is a mere three months away and her books are still three years behind, and, restocking my freezer and pantry, both of which I managed to practically empty during The Great Pantry Purge of 2014.

My life, it is so exciting!

Oooh, off topic: I am watching The Today Show and Matt Lauer just mentioned something about a gulag (being in Sochi for the Olympics and all), which made me thing of goulash, which made my mouth water. I just happen to have the ingredients for goulash in my pantry; looks like goulash for dinner!

Back on topic: Hugh's plans for the weekend include working on our taxes, which need to get done, like, yesterday, so that we can do our FAFSA application for college financial aid. As you can imagine, this topic has been giving me stress for quite some time, and, my mental health will be much improved once Hugh (pulls his shit together) completes the task.

Obviously, the kids' plans include attending the Winter Formal, which features a masquerade theme this year. We spent the past several weeks cobbling together the kids' outfits and masks, and, I am relatively confident that they are ready to go.

Once they leave for the dance, I plan to run a tub of hot water, pour a glass of wine, light some candles, dial up a mellow playlist on my iPod, and relax in the relative peace and calm of my bathroom.

Which, while not nearly as exciting as a Saturday night during my college days, still ranks high on my list of damn good plans.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

There Is Safety in Numbers

Yesterday, a friend posted to Facebook the desire to rescue her child from school for the sole purpose of building a snowman before the snow melted. I jokingly replied that she was welcome to use the copious amounts of snow in my yard since I was only recently bemoaning the lack of desire that my children currently display when it comes to building snowmen; my yard, it was lacking a joyous tribute to youth!

My friend and her young son took me up on my offer, stealthily sneaking onto to property to build me not just one snowman, but, an army of snowmen.

It was awesome, and, I wish that I could capture just how awesome in photos, but, alas; I am not that talented.

I am, however, completely safe from hordes of zombie snowmen, thanks to my very own personal army.

Also, Hugh is going to be picking rocks out of the lawn well into the summer.

It's a small price to pay for our well-being.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Mental Debris

I have no rational thought for this post, so, it is going to be yet another hodge-podge of random, disconnected thoughts, comments, and musings. I bet you can hardly wait to read it.

1. An old friend recently told me that I look just like Julia Roberts in her new movie, and, I wasn't entirely certain that it was a compliment. I mean, I haven't seen the movie yet; it could be the difference between people telling you that you resemble Charlize Theron...

...and people telling you that you look like Charlize Theron in that one movie she made...

BIG difference.

So, I Googled the trailer for the new Julia Roberts movie and am relatively confident that my friend meant it as a compliment. Also, because I asked the friend to clarify and was assured that it was meant as a compliment, because; I am emotionally secure like that. Plus, my dad has been comparing me favorably to Julia Roberts for as long as I can remember; he is clearly delusional, much like my friend.

2. In addition to the Super Bowl (more on that later), Sunday was Groundhog Day. The damn rodent saw his shadow which means that we will have another six weeks of winter. Last night it snowed, so, the rat wasn't lying. I hate that weasel.

3. So, the Super Bowl. Yeah. Poor Broncos; it's like they didn't even show up for the game. That is all.

4. It's only Tuesday and I am already jonesing for the weekend.

5. I made meatloaf for dinner last night, using an ancient can of breadcrumbs that I found during the pantry purge. I didn't eat any of it because I don't really like meatloaf but the family gave it rave reviews. Stale breadcrumbs are the bomb, apparently.

6. I am on day 48 of no repeats workday wardrobe. It's been fun putting together new outfits but I am starting to eye the spring and summer items in my closet with envy. I am ready for nicer weather and fewer layers. Thanks to that damn rodent, I realize that I won't actually be wearing those items of clothing for quite some time.

7. The Teenager turns eighteen in less than twenty days. We have planned her birthday party for the weekend after this because she will be in Denver for the state wrestling tournament on her actual birthday. The party is going to take place at a roller rink in Neighboring City and I have agreed to pay for The Teenager and eighteen of her closest friends.

8. We have started the planning process for The Teenager's graduation party, and, as I think I have mentioned here previously; we are hiring a DJ and renting a bouncy castle. Thank goodness we will be splitting that cost with several other families because, we have graduation announcements to purchase, a cap and gown to buy, and you know, college to pay for.

9. I have never felt more broke in my life, and, once upon a time, I had to rummage under couch cushions to cobble enough money together to purchase a bottle of liquid dishwashing detergent.

10. Ok, we aren't that broke. It just feels like it.