Sunday, September 17, 2006

Well, I just can't seem to stop, can I? I'm going to make a serious effort not to mention toilets even once in this missive. I need the challenge.

We're hoping that Rachel has turned over a new leaf, but we're not counting on it. She was confined to her room at various times this past week and made to repeat ad nauseam the 3 rules: obey Mommy and Daddy, always tell the truth, and don't put things in the potty (darn, I blew it already); this approach only yielded mixed success, unfortunately. Part of the problem is that she may not have perceived it as the punishment it was meant to be. Seems I forgot that I had hidden the Halloween candy in her bedroom closet. That kid was having a party up there.

Anna is still in school, but the road seems a bit rockier. She tried out for the school play (Stuart Little) and wasn't accepted. I explained to her it was a compliment that she wasn't picked to be a mouse, or a bird, or a cat. She didn't fall for that. I didn't make her day any better by announcing that she couldn't go ice skating that evening with all her new school friends because she was being rude to me and Larry all week and we just weren't going to take it anymore. She worked on homework all weekend and seems a tad burned-out; but I keep reminding her that going to school is worth it. To me, that is. I love watching her realize that I'm not quite the evil taskmistress she had made me out to be. Let her get mad at someone else for a change. I'm enjoying my vacation.

The little boys are happier, too. Now they can sit around all day and pick their noses without Anna yelling at them. I've given up on the whole thing; just so long as they don't rub it on the furniture, that's all I ask.

I can't believe I just typed that. I'm in bad shape.

Larry took me out on a date tonight. He wanted to check out some Peruvian chicken place a colleague had recommended. Whatever - I don't care, as long as I'm not cooking it. So we pull up and it looks to be some South American version of KFC. Larry insisted on going in and was wanting to try it out anyway, but I put my foot down. Some advice to guys - if you're trying to do something special for your wife, a restaurant with paper crowns for the kids does not cut it. I would think most grown men would know that, but apparently not.

Larry may just have been befuddled because of his financial difficulties. Apparently, our phone company got confused and sent our fully-paid-up account to some debt-collecting agency in Minnesota. Larry got to talk to a very interesting gentleman there who had seems to have spent his formative years working for a loan shark. And I thought everyone in Minnesota was nice. I'm going to tell Garrison Keillor on him. Larry did manage to straighten everything out with Verizon; but the 10 hours he spent doing it must have taken its toll on his brain function (see above paragraph).

I lost my head at the Farmer's Market on Saturday and bought 2 bushels of apples. It seemed like a good idea at the time. So we've been making apple crisp and applesauce all weekend and trying to figure out what to do with all the peels and cores. Anyone out there have some livestock they need to feed?

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

There are some weeks that defy description, that simultaneously beg to be written about and overwhelm the would-be writer with too much material. And,yes, this was one of those weeks. Where to start? Anna's first day of "real" school? Her best friend's advanced case of head lice? The eggshells in the basement bathroom toilet? I just don't know....

Anna fairly leapt onto the school bus for her first day of 8th grade, made several dozen friends, learned how to sit around and wait, and missed the bus on the way home. I graciously picked her up and, instead of inquiring as to how her day went, bluntly informed her that we were going home to "treat" her hair and hopefully not have to shave it off. I don't mess around. I hate insects. Hopefully, if she had caught it, we nipped it in the bud. All I can say is I really didn't need the 10 extra loads of laundry to do this week.

And speaking of bugs....how about those ants? Any time I wasn't smearing louse-smothering lotion on children's heads or washing bed linens, I was vacuuming up ants in the kitchen and laying down bait and spraying the outside of our house. That is, when I wasn't cleaning up raw egg from the basement bathroom floor. Seems that Rachel took our saying, "Do not ever enter this bathroom again" to mean the opposite. She took downstairs a dozen eggs to stir around in the sink (and some margarine to spread on her play toast). She decided to use the toilet as a trash can (mind you, she had to break the lidlock on the toilet to do this). Of course, she wholeheartedly denied everything (actually, she suggested that Susie did it). And...well, never mind. I don't even want to talk about it. We comfort ourselves with the fact that at least she isn't setting small animals on fire. Talk about grasping at straws....

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Well, I can't let a week go by without bothering you folks. Actually, it's been pretty eventful around here. Larry and I came to the startling realization that if we sent Anna to school this year, she wouldn't be able to glare at all of us all day. She has expressed interest; so we figured she may as well see what it's like in 8th grade, so she can make an informed decision for high school. We checked out the school website for information on how to register her; unfortunately, it was full of indecipherable jargon along the lines of "actualizing your child's educational experience" and "areas of interaction," which is not helpful when you are simply trying to figure out who to talk to in an office full of bureaucrats. These people make Soviet apparatchniks look customer-driven. Actually, I'm not sure they are real people. What are those things called, avatars? I think the avatars just sit in for the real people - the real staff is at Starbucks, drinking lattes and inventing more educational-ese. Anyway, we managed to sign her up once, twice, and finally, after the third time, they got everything right. Anna is unspeakably thrilled about going to school and being in the company of other girls 7 hours a day. Of course, we haven't really told her everything. When I commented that she would be stuck on the school bus for half an hour every afternoon (we're actually only a 7-minute drive from the school), she said, "That's okay - I'll just get some of my homework done then." Some things are better to learn about on your own, aren't they? The pinnacle of our week would have been attending the new students orientation, but we arrived late and missed the school cheer. We picked up her schedule there (which we had to fix yet again) and bought a gym uniform (shorts and t-shirt - hey, they don't make the girls wear those goofy outfits anymore). Larry reprimanded me for making fun of the Civics teacher on the way home from the orientation. Is it my fault her name rhymes with "lobotomy"? And remember how when we were kids, it seemed the teachers dressed weird? They still do. Really. Apparently, we still aren't paying them enough to enable them to afford a full-length mirror at home.

Anyway, this should be an interesting year. Theo has redoubled his schoolwork efforts, to prevent our putting him in school too. Susie is walking everywhere now and enjoying it immensely. No one has put anything in the toilet for a whole week (I mean, except what belongs there). Larry took Brian and David on a 1-night camping trip and they had a blast.

You know, I love that word "avatar." Very useful.

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