Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Week Began in Silence and Ended with a Bang

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Because I now live closer to my parents (4.5 hours compared to 18) my children are taking advantage of summer visits!  This past week, the queen had the opportunity to stay with the grandparents.

There is a seven-year span between she and the teen.  Because of the age difference it is almost like having two separate families.  After this past week, I now know there is also a huge difference in the noise level in our house when the queen is gone.

It was so quiet in our house you could actually hear the constant hum of the refrigerator.  That my friends is what I call blessed quietness.  We all enjoyed the drama free week.

Of course all good things must come to an end.  Mine came crashing down Saturday as the teen, tween, and I headed out on the road trip to pick up the queen.  I’m going to share a little something with those of you that don’t have a teen boy–they stink–in a big huge way.  We were actually in the middle of getting in the car when I remember to do a deodorant check (oh the joys of parenthood).  Of course the teen doesn’t think deodorant is necessary but those of us going to be in close vicinity to him require his using it.  Instead of going for the stick, he whips out a can of Old Spice body spray.  Now, we don’t only have teen boy funk we are breathing a cloud of Old Spice (yet another joy of parenthood).  A huge debate pursues regarding the difference in body spray and old fashion deodorant.  Needless to say, I’m the one who won:  came down to either staying at grandma’s for the next two weeks or hanging out at home alone in his own Old Spice cloud.

As I prepare to make the trip back home with the queen and tween we realize the queen has left behind her softee (baby blanket with more hole than fabric).  The left behind blanket calls for massive sobs .  The sounds of her sobbing were so bad a man riding his bike actually got up by the car to ask if we needed help (really I can’t make this stuff up if I wanted to).

I decide that going back to grandma’s to get Softee has to be better than listening to that for another 4.3 hours.  We pull into the drive way and I realize my dad is still home.  I decide to let the queen go in search of the blanket and I’m going to make another trip to the bathroom (at my age there are never enough stops to use the potty).  The queen goes upstairs finds the blanket and I comment that I can’t find my dad when she comes back down.  She assures me he is upstairs in his room.  I figure I should at least let him know we were there and leaving again.  Here is how this conversation went:

Me:  Hey, Dad stopped by to find Softee.  Headed out again.

Dad:  You’re here at the house? (No, Dad I hooked up a transmitter and am talking to you through the light fixture) I looked for Softee and I can’t find it.

Me:  Really?  The queen just was up there and brought it down with her.

Dad:  The queen was up here?

Me:  Yep

Dad:  Really?  No way!  (The queen had entered my parents’ bedroom, retrieved the blanket, and come back downstairs as my dad was getting dressed.  Somehow he never saw her.).

So here we are on week three of only two children in our house.  Not as quiet this week but that’s okay.  I’m sure more stories will materialize.

What?! Were You Talking to Me?

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There is a golden rule at our house.  It goes something like this, as soon as the hair dryer, vacuum, or stand mixer comes on there will be sudden emergency conversations that need to take place.  My children can go a full day (not that they ever have) and not talk to me or need my assistance but with the push of a button I will have all kinds of attention.

In the mornings when I flick on the hair dryer the world will suddenly be coming to an end.  Not that I can hear the world tumbling down but a shaky crying queen will soon be at my side.  Her situation usually has to do with Pop Tarts or her brother smacking her because, he the tween, wants to get in a few licks while the opportunity is there.

The vacuum cleaner drives them all wild.  The teen has suddenly found a new game…he will tell the tween that I yelled for him and he better find me quick.  Not like it should be hard to find me when the vacuum is running.  The tween will appear out of no where looking really scared (this makes me want to prove how powerful my Dyson really is).  I will have to shut it off to find out that his brother thought he was being summoned.  And, he of course wants to take the opportunity to let me know that they can’t hear the TV downstairs…This leads to the teen changing the channel while the tween is in my pursuit which leads to another argument that I can’t hear.  So thankful for the little blessings.

The stand mixer or even the food processor can bring down the house.  Usually, the stand mixer means I’m baking in large quantity and there may be a spoon or a beater to lick.  Huge amounts of conversations can be needed at this time.  My favorite joy is to be making something that requires powder sugar…a little can be thrown into the bowl causing a huge dusty cloud (beware that the dust cloud then involves weeks of cleaning).  The kids think I may be blowing up the mixer and will run like the dickens.  Oh yes, I have a way of finding my own fun.

The ultimate of the this golden rule is my taking a shower.  Moms have to be sneaky when it comes to this because earth shattering events happen while we are in the shower.  In late spring, I assumed the teen had gotten on the bus and headed to school (anyone with a teen knows, parents are no longer welcome at the bus stop after fifth grade).  As I was just rinsing the shampoo from my hair, I think to myself that I hear the teen shouting like crazy, but that can’t be because he should be long gone by now.  It doesn’t take long for the teen to find me because he has missed the bus (or at least he thinks he has).  He decides I should just jump from the shower into the car to taxi him to school.  Long story short, he found an alternative ride to school and wasn’t even late.  He was however a little put out that I couldn’t hear him in the shower. 

It’s a toss-up, the sounds of heavy machinery or the constant sounds of arguing.  Which will you choose?

I am the Mother of a Teenage Boy

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At some point, that little bitty bundle of joy grows up and begins to prepare for the entrance to high school.  I know, some of you have one of those itty bitty bundles right now and can’t imagine this day will ever come.  But, I promise the day will come, when diapers are a thing of the past.  Sippy cups are unheard of.  Sleepless nights only come from drinking too much leaded Diet Coke past 4 p.m.  And, major melt down fits only occur when dinner is an eat it if you can reach it night rather than a traditional home cooked meal.

This I know to be true, no mom should have to turn 40 and her teen be going to high school the same year.  Something crazy happens to moms who are suddenly 40 and it doesn’t work well for this transition to high school.

As we are preparing for the stroll through those big doors, I have come to the conclusion that there are some things that could make this a better transition.  My idea is to get rid of the teenage girls.  I’m sure the teenage girl moms are feeling the same way about my boy.

Here’s the thing.  I’m a touch me not kind of gal and would really like it if all personal contact came to a screeching halt, especially now.  Just this past Saturday, I was dropping some food off to my teen when I encountered him interacting with his peers.  This sweet young lady was pawning all over my little boy (in my eyes anyway).  The best was how fast she flung herself to the other side of the room when I entered.  The teen hadn’t even noticed I was there yet so I’m not sure how she knew I was the mom but that’s okay because at least it meant she wasn’t touching him anymore. 

Another problem with the teenage girls, the clothes.  Holy smokes ladies, cover that stuff up.  I could really go for shorts that met at the fingertip or long pants (even those that drag the ground because they need to be hemmed).  When I taught, I’m sure my students thought I was the clothing police.   Now that I’m a mom of a boy with hormones and my own hormone problems of turning 40, I could be a whole clothing one woman SWAT team.

So parents of teenage girls, how about some work on modesty.  I’ll work on my son always wearing a shirt in public and showering every day.  If you ever see my teen in public with his underpants hanging out, please communicate that with me immediately.  I’ll be sure to secure some lace to those drawers–after that I’m sure they’ll never see the light of day.

Sounds of Summer

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We have made it through the first full month and one week of summer break.  Seems like we have about the same amount left.  Being home with three kids and a husband working third shift makes the summer seem much louder than it surely is.

Mine goes something like this:

Queen:  I’m going outside.

Me:  Ok, did you put on sunscreen?  You know you need to wear it now because if you don’t when you become a mommy they will have to cut parts of your body off.

Queen:  Mom, you are so gross.

Me:  Just stating the facts.

In the background you can hear the fine spray of some SPF and then you can inhale the fumes.  Something tells me that there will soon be a problem with the exhaust of the spray on stuff.  I’ve recently switched to the lotion (it’s a lot cheaper and makes no noise).

Then, the door will open with a smuck sound and a click.  Every door in our house clicks when it opens but the smuck sound makes you think of being enclosed in an airplane.  For the next eight hours it will be an endless song of smuck and click, smuck and click.  Remember being a kid and your dad would yell, “Pick a place, darn it, in or out, but quit with the coming in and out.”  Oh yes, I’m repeating history at my house too.

Along with the door comes the constant hum of the air conditioner and the distant sound of the ice cream truck.  Both of these I like to refer to as the cha ching of a cash register.

Someday, I’m going to invent a soundless blower and figure out how to install it on our air conditioning unit.  This way, I won’t hear the constant ringing up in my head as the temperatures continue to climb over 100 and the door to the house does the smuck and click.

Of course the ice cream man has to run his route to earn some money, which then causes more smuck and click, and then more humming from the air unit.  As if I can’t hear the mechanical music from a mile away, there has to come a screeching, “Hey Mom, can I buy some ice cream!” Note to those who aren’t at the ice cream truck stage:  You can purchase a box or sometimes two of popsicles or ice cream sandwiches from your local grocer for what it costs to buy one ice cream from the truck. I’ve gotten to where I allow the kids one purchase a month from the truck and just buy whatever is on sale at the store and share with the whole neighborhood.  I’m pretty sure I’m saving enough this way to put the teen through at least his first week of college.

Sometimes the queen can’t take the heat of the day any longer so she comes in to rest.  The resting never lasts long because there is always a knock (so excited I’ve gotten most of the neighbor kids to lay off the door bell) or a ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong.  Did I mention my husband sleeps during the day?  This then causes another smuck and click, a hum from the air unit, and me yelling about the air being on, how much it costs for the air to be on, and did you forget your dad is trying to sleep.

Oh yes, summer can be loud.  In my dreams, I can hear the sound of a big yellow bus rolling down our streets.

Rant About Crafts

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I want to start this with how thankful I am to my grandmother, aunt, great granny, and babysitter who all took the time to teach me how to crochet.  I have enjoyed spending many hours stitching away.

Today the queen and I made a trip to the local craft mega store.  Me in search of some great yarn and the queen in search of whatever she could find for a $1.  We ended up in the pre-boxed craft aisle where there are so many kits and crafts to choose from.  The queen found a lovely weaving kit for $5.99.  Remember making potholders all those years ago?  That was my first enterprising experience.  I would create flyers with order forms (by hand, yes I’m that old), weave up a storm, and sell those crazy potholders for…are you ready for this….25 cents each.  Today this kit comes with the plastic loom, plastic hook (no more metal ones), and 75 loops.  We may have just enough to make one potholder.

Back in the day you could buy a huge bag of those loops.  Today you can buy a refill box for $5.99.  For some reason, it seems a little strange that 75 loops with the start-up materials and just 75 loops should differ in price…guess that BA in business wouldn’t apply to today’s business world.

As we continued to walk down the aisle I found a kit that will teach you how to crochet or knit for $19.99.  Seriously, one cardboard box with manual, hook, and little bits of yarn are going to teach young girls to crochet?  This kit supposedly included enough yarn to make a hat and a scarf (very nice set).  Making a scarf is a great beginners’ project (preferably all in one color) but the kit had at least four color changes.  Then there is the hat.  I’m pretty good with a hook and yarn but hats have a way of making me cuss–just ask my great-niece who is awaiting a matching hat to her sweater–she’s just two months old but may graduate from college before I get it right.  Additionally with a hat, you have to watch the tension of the stitches…too tight and it won’t fit a Barbie.  Maybe it is just me but it seems to me some scrap yarn or a skein of Red Heart is the way to start young ones on the path to needle crafts and for a lot less money and frustration.

We finally make our way to the cash register and the queen begins explaining to the cashier how she is going to make some potholders for her grandma.  The cashier then asks if we would like some information on craft camp.  Of course we would like that information.  As we make our way to the car, I begin to study the brochure to find it would cost $30 plus materials to take a three-hour course on how to crochet a dishcloth.  Come on, you have to be kidding me!  Did you know I can learn to knit or crochet at my local library for free?  Looking forward to late August when I can get some Number 7 needles and a ball of 100% cotton and try my hand at knitting (for free!!!).

We are now on the hunt for weaving loops.  Surely I can find them somewhere in lots of colors for less that $5.99.  Weaving should make for a great activity with temperatures hovering around 100.  Happy Fourth of July!!