Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Age Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

For reasons that I cannot quite keep track of, I am alone in the house this evening.


Ya feel lucky, punk?
So tonight I will knit and eat birthday chocolate and maybe even sing along to some music without embarrassing anyone.  I will revel in the fact that I am receiving a "contingent job offer" and that The Mid has offered to publish one of my old blog posts (refurbished and brightened up a bit, of course).  I will consider capitalizing on my run of good luck by buying a lottery ticket or, at least, another "Bag O' Cash" from Cape Cod Potato Chips.

What's more, my master bedroom closet is still a thing of beauty and a joy to behold.  Granted, there are 3 large bins of orphaned stuff that are sitting in my bedroom, but they are NOT IN THE CLOSET.  That is all that matters to me right now.

Particularly since we got rid of the broken closet door and rashly chose not to replace it...you know, sometimes Larry and I are just a couple of crazy kids at heart.  Crazy, idealistic kids...

By the way, you know what sucks about living with teens?  I mean, among other things?  You are constantly aware of how old you look to them. OLD.  You try to get your teen to watch a funny video on YouTube and realize that the look on his face is the same look you had when your parents made you watch Bob Hope with them. You make a joke and see your teen wince and realize that you are now making corny, old people jokes. You pretend that you were sounding corny ON PURPOSE, but you know better. What's worse, your teen knows better.  You have flashes of remembering how wizened and ancient your own parents looked to you when you were yourself an adolescent, and a quick calculation reveals to you that they were, um, YOUNGER than you are now.

Do I need to go on?  You know, it's too late for me, but if I had it to do over, I would have given some serious consideration to sending the kids to boarding school.  Or maybe it's not too late.  Maybe one of those Bags o' Cash and my new job can help pay for some respite from the disdaining looks I receive from the adolescents around here.  Praise the Lord and pass the potato chips, will ya?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Week Full Of Rainbows

Having only 2 kids at home made this week feel like a vacation. It helped that it was only one girl and one boy - that way, I got 8 days off from Rachel sniping at Susie in her You are the stupidest person on earth voice.  I also got 8 days off from saying to Rachel, "If you can't say it nicely, SHUT UP."

And I wonder where she gets it from, huh?

My neighbor hired one of these. I love her.
Adding to the vacation feel was that I inadvertently mooched off our neighbor's nanny - she took Susie to the park once and the pool twice, which was a total win for me and my housecleaning ambitions.  I actually managed to hang up all the pictures, etc., that have been lying around since Larry tore the walls out of the living room in February. Then I went through some bins of extra STUFF that have been floating all over the upstairs since Larry tore the girls' room apart last September. And I even sorted through some of the flotsam and jetsam in David's room, in preparation for when Larry tears the walls out in there (once David leaves for college in August).

Are we seeing a pattern here?  I think so.  It is called, "Larry makes a mess and then I clean it up."  I am not sure whether or not that is a healthy marriage dynamic, but that's what we've got.

I also made it to the pool 3 times with Susie myself, so I'm not being a slacker.  I make myself swim 8 laps (1/4 mile) each time we go, because I like to imagine that doing the breast stroke is going to tone my upper arms.  We all have our dreams, you know.

Brian was forced to do Algebra and end-of-year standardized testing and extra dishes and laundry (see missing siblings, above), so he is extremely eager to escape tomorrow for the relative ease of Boy Scout camp.

And, of course, like most of you, I wasted a goodly amount of time on the Internet, reading Supreme Court opinions and enjoying silly memes involving - among other things - Obama holding a bald eagle and knocking on your door and saying...well, just look it up yourselves - this is a G-rated blog, after all.  It was a fun Internet week, is all I'm saying, okay?

A job? For ME?!

Oh, and yesterday I had an honest-to-God interview for an editing job.  Unfortunately, I won't know until December or January if I actually get the position, so it's a good thing we're not starving, I guess.  I was just so excited - after 2 years of sending my resume out into the ethernet, as it were, and receiving nary a response - to finally receive a response.  I felt like Tinkerbell in Peter Pan - you know, when she revives because everyone claps to show her that they believe in fairies?

Come to think of it, judging from the pictures and excited Facebook comments yesterday, all my gay-married* friends felt that way, too...and all because 5 Justices clapped for them. But, truly, that number should have been 6, Mr. Chief Justice - now what am I supposed to do with that Team Roberts T-shirt I bought on Thursday?

Where is everyone getting all the pretty colored lights, anyway?

*No longer a valid phrase, I KNOW

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

And The Livin' Is Easy...

Well, for those of you keeping track, there are only 2 children living here this week, what with David and Rachel being at Civil Air Patrol Encampment.  Larry and I ended up both taking Susie to the pool on Sunday, which - to parents programmed to perform to maximum efficiency - felt odd and wasteful. "When was the last time we did this?" I asked Larry.  "The two of us taking one kid to the pool, I mean?"

He thought a moment.  "I think it was when you were pregnant with Anna.  Remember? We brought Theo to that indoor pool so you could swim laps, and he cried every time we put him in the water."

Okay, so that was, uh, exactly 22 years ago.  Time flies, eh?

So we attempted to relax at the pool like normal people do, but I think it is going to take some practice.  Then, on Monday, Susie came running inside and announced that our neighbor's nanny had offered to take her to the pool along with her charges.  I started to say that I would take Susie to the pool myself, but then I stopped and thought, Why? The kid's already passed her swim test. "Okay," I told her, "go ahead!"

Does not go well with summer
And there I was, in a quiet house (Brian was hiding, because he was afraid I would torture him with more Algebra), free to actually, you know, accomplish things. So I Swiffered under my bed and put away all my winter clothes (hey, better late than never, okay?), and I even found all the hangers that have been missing since Larry tore apart my closet.  THEN I cleaned 2 bathrooms and - get this - neatened up the linen closet.

Look - unless you've been raising as many kids as I have for as long as I have (and homeschooling them to boot), you just cannot understand how ODD this all feels. No one interrupted me (well, except the Internet, because I lack discipline), no one had to be told to do something, no one got in my way.


Is this how normal people live?  It feels so, I don't know, unpressured. I mean, how do you make yourselves do things, without the threat of imminent chaos breathing down your necks?  And how do you make yourselves cook dinner, when Jerry's Subs has a $6 large pizza special on Monday nights and you only have 2 kids to feed and there's some bagged salad in the fridge?

6 bucks, people - what's not to like?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

52 Is Just A Number, Right?

Today? Is my birthday.  I do hear tell that there is some other sort of holiday happening today, but I am going to pretend right now that I did not have to share my special day.

Larry did himself proud by finally figuring out that my Amazon wish list titled "Gifts for (Your Wife's Name Here)" exists for a reason.  As a result, I got a pile of books to go along with the pile of chocolate that he and the girls picked out at the local Harris Teeter.

Here's the chocolate (and, yes, that Raisinets box does seem to have been breached):

And here are the books:

You will observe that that is rather an eclectic collection, but that is because I'm an interesting sort of gal.  Alas, all these lovely books will have to wait until I finish reading Amy Poehler's Yes, Please! I found that particular tome at the library the other day and have been enjoying it very much.

I don't know why I keep photographing everything with my Ektorp red couch as the background.  It might be because I can't find another clear surface in the house on which to pose things.  I wonder whether Dorothea Lange or Ansel Adams also experienced this problem.  Alas, making great art is never easy.

David departed for Civil Air Patrol Encampment yesterday (he's on staff), and Rachel (a first-year) left today.  I have to say, dropping a girl off for Encampment is different than dropping off a boy.  Boys get out of the car, sling their duffel bags over their shoulders, and head for check-in, after delivering a curt nod of acknowledgement in the general direction of their parents.  Girls, however, cluster together to fix each other's uniforms and jump up and down in excitement and giggle, all of which looks a tad incongruous when said gigglers are wearing military-issue BDU's.  They also hug their parents good-bye with a level of emotion akin to that exhibited by the women and children climbing into life rafts on the Titanic.

It's really cute - trust me.

Larry's waiting for me to watch MadMen with him - I think we are halfway through the first season. I know! We're a little behind (well, 7 years behind, actually, but who's counting?).  Don't spoil anything for us, okay?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Shopping For America

Yesterday? I spent incapacitated.  Some sort of nerve thing-y between my neck and my shoulder got pinched and OMG it was painful.  I spent the entire day popping Motrin and whining.  FUN.

At some point in there, I managed to drag myself and the 3 youngest kids to Modell's to pick up all manner of things they suddenly needed.  We staggered out of there one hour and $175 later (and that was with the 20% off coupon, people), loaded down with swim trunks and T-shirts AND swim goggles for Brian, 5 pairs of black shorts and a pair of regular shorts AND 2 athletic bras for Rachel, plus a pair of fun shorts that Susie scored, just for being there. I can only assume that, prior to yesterday, these kids were all walking around naked.

Behind every cadet is an expert shopper...

Can I just stop and say a word here about camp packing lists?  I swear, I have spent the last week going to the store EVERY SINGLE DAY to pick up items for Rachel's list. And because her camp is not an ordinary one (it's Civil Air Patrol Encampment, a sort of basic training for CAP cadets), it's been a scavenger hunt of sorts for hard-to-find items.  Try - just try - finding plain black shorts for a girl, boot socks, gel inserts for boots and shoes, plus any manner of toiletries and the right amount of underwear, in just one place.  TRY.  I sure did, and I failed massively. As a result, this week we have been to Target (3 times), to Modell's, and to a plethora of stores at the mall.

We're still looking for those boot socks, you know.

My point being that, with all these expenditures, I have singlehandedly raised our national GDP.  I don't want anyone giving Jeb! the credit for it.  I DID IT.  ALL BY MYSELF.

You're welcome.

[Encampment image: New York Wing Encampment]

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Putting Santa In His Place

You know, as jaded a parent as I am, I have managed to take the kids to the pool 4 days in a row. That's 4 times I have endured the humiliation intrinsic to wearing my swimsuit in public, just so my girls could have fun.  I would like an award, thank you.

I am still attempting to reconstruct my bedroom closet.  Larry emptied it so he could tear the walls out, and then the handyman put up new walls and painted and installed some rods and organizers and extra shelves and I had a good, oh, 2 hours of looking at the empty closet and envisioning how beautiful it would be, once I put everything in there properly. But then I went out, and Larry - thinking he was helping - took all the bins he had shoved closet stuff into and piled those bins in the closet.  He also took a bunch of boxes and stuffed them onto the high shelves.  I could have wept. Really.

So the other day I took most of the things out AGAIN and have slowly been sorting and deciding where things go.  Now the bedroom is a mess, with half-empty Rubbermaid bins scattered all over the place.  But hey, the closet looks great!  I've decided that we will NO LONGER use it as a catch-all area for items that have no home.  I'll use David's closet for that, if he would just hurry up and go to college already.

No rush, David! Kidding! Ignore those empty suitcases I just piled in your bedroom!

Yup, we have the cookie jar, too.
In other news, I finally managed to get the last bin of holiday items put up in the attic - you know, things like the Santa salt and pepper shakers and the Santa matroshka doll and the Santa towels from the powder room. They've been floating around the upstairs in a laundry basket for months, along with the Santa cocktail napkins from our New Year's party, because we didn't notice them before we put all the official holiday storage bins away last January.

This is normal, right?  I wouldn't know, since I was raised Jewish.  All we had to put away was the electric menorah, which we kept in the upstairs linen closet.  I guess we weren't very festive, actually.

And...that's all I've got today, folks.  Maybe tomorrow I will talk about the injustice that is having to share my birthday with Father's Day, but not today.  Today I will just sit here and revel in my newly Santa-free home.  I think I've earned it.

[Cookie jar image: Cracker Barrel]

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Kids Say The Darndest Things, Redux

Happenings this week included the dreaded First Wearing of the Swimsuit, an annual event well-documented in these pages.  This year I ordered a veritable assortment of expensive, over-spandexed swimsuit bottoms to try on with the tankini top I had bought a couple of years ago.  You see, I had been wearing a skirted bottom with it, but I was tired of the way it swished around my legs when I tried to swim.  What's more, that tankini top didn't have nearly enough spandex around the midsection, so I was hoping to find a sort of control-top bottom that would make up for its deficiencies.

I know - SEXY.

So! I was pawing through the selection and rejecting things left and right.  Too loose, too long, too high.  In the end I was left with a pair of control-top bikini bottoms - that is, they extended well up under my top, but the part that showed looked like the bottom of a regular swimsuit.  Finally! I thought.  I can look sporty instead of matronly.  I went into the girls' bedroom to more closely examine the look (they have the only full-length mirror in the house).

Susie was there - Susie, the precocious child who has exhibited a beyond-her-years appreciation of the difficulties inherent in middle-aged-swimsuit-wearing.  I twirled in front of the mirror, sizing myself up, trying to pretend cellulite looked sporty. "Well?" I asked her. "What do you think? Is this okay, or is the skirted thing I wore last year better?"

"Welll," Susie said, carefully. Too carefully.  She pursed her lips and eyed me closely. "Do you mean in a swimming way or in a how-it-looks way?"

Sigh. Say no more. I can take a hint, you know.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Those Darn Seasons, Going Round And Round Again

It's late and I need to go to bed, but I am just here to invite you to look over at that "About Me" paragraph to the right (left? no, right - I had to pick up both my hands and stare at them to figure that out, you know).  Notice anything?

They're all double digits.  All the kids.  Susie had a birthday while I was away, so I didn't get around to changing her age until just now.  When I started this blog, only 2 of the 6 were over age 10.  And David?  Look again - he's turning 18 any minute now.

They all used to be babies, you know.  I spent half an hour in the card aisle at Target this evening, looking for an appropriate card for David; but there was nothing that said, "You used to be the cutest baby and now you're all grown up and I have no idea how that happened.  NO IDEA."

In other news, we picked strawberries and made 2 batches of jam today.  Everything is sticky.  There are still strawberries left. No, I don't know what we are going to do with them. I did have a picture to show you, but it seems Brian inadvertently made his photo editing program the default for downloading pictures on to this computer, and I have no idea how to use it or how to get the photo to show up elsewhere.

On the bright side, he does seem to have developed some rather advanced image editing skills.

Well, there's always tomorrow.  Sometime between the dentist and the cake baking and the gift-wrapping, I'll be back, hopefully with pictures...

Monday, June 08, 2015

I Love My Bed

This looks like how we felt the last 8 miles
On Sunday, my fit friend made me bike the Tour de Cure with her again.  That's 56 miles, people. And we weren't nearly as prepared as last year. Toward the end, she said, "Okay, I can tell I'm looking tired. People keep biking past me and saying, 'Doing great! Keep it up!"  3 miles later, she said, "I must look really bad now. Now they're asking, 'Are you all right?'"

I was barely hanging in there myself.  Another rider pedaled passed me with a radio/speaker on her handlebars, blasting out "Shut Up And Dance." The music might have helped, if I hadn't almost killed myself trying to keep up with her so I could hear it.

But my friend and I managed to ride past the finish line, tall in the saddle and smiling, so I call that a win. And then I went home, showered (because not only was I sweaty, but also I managed to pee on my own pants while trying to hover over the seat of a port-a-potty at one of the rest stops), and (finally) lay flat on my back on my beautiful bed, in my beautiful bedroom, for the first time since I had returned from my girlfriend trip to Maine.

For those of you keeping track, that translates into a full week that I was sleeping on our couch.  I decided to ignore Larry, who was hinting around all evening that I should thank him because he put the furniture back in the bedroom - you know, the same bedroom that he insisted on dismantling against my wishes while I was gone.

People, that would be like my slashing Larry's car tires and then waiting to hear his expression of gratitude after I got them fixed.

Not my bedroom, but that's the color
Oh, and in case you were wondering, that bedroom paint color I essentially had to select at gunpoint? It ended up being chosen (after I did my usual stripe-painting) by our handyman.  Is anyone surprised by that? You shouldn't be.  So now I have a master bedroom painted in Benjamin Moore's Kittery Point Green, even though my original plan had been to cover the walls in Revenge Purple, just to bother my DIY-obsessed spouse.

Whaddaya mean, Revenge Purple isn't a real paint color? It should be.

[Tired cyclist image: Free Coloring Sheets]
[Bedroom image: Photobucket]

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Home Alone

I was gone, but now I'm back.  I went away for 10 days with 2 girlfriends, something I have not done in over 23 years. I meant to blog about it the day before we left, but life (and packing) got in the way.

So now I am going to tell you all about it, right? Wrong.  Because first, I have to tell you about my return. I've been back 3 days and have yet to unpack my suitcase.  I have yet to sleep in my own bed (which I was dreaming about the entire ride home, after having spent a week sleeping on soft rental beds and on hard floors). I cannot find any of my clothes, and my house looks as though a hurricane went through it.

It was beautiful, but I'm paying for it now.
You see, back before the trip, when I would mention my plans to anyone, she would invariably say, "Wow, that's great Larry is taking the time off work so you can get away!" And I would agree, yeah, Larry IS a nice guy to do that.

But along about the fifth time this happened, a little thought popped up in the back of my head, a thought that went something like this: Larry is looking awfully cheerful about his week off without me.  I brushed it away, but then - when I made a few suggestions to Larry about fun things he could do with the girls while I was away - I could tell that he wasn't really paying attention.  I started to suspect he had plans he wasn't sharing with me.

Nonsense, I told myself.  He's just distracted.  He's taking off work because he's a nice guy.  He certainly isn't going to use that week I am away to start another crazy DIY project.  That would be insane. Stop thinking that.

I looked like this.
Then, 2 days before the trip, as we were taking a walk, he said, "By the way, while you're away, would you mind..."

And I said, "YES! I DO mind! If you start a question that way, you KNOW the answer!"

"You don't even know what I was going to ask you," he said.

"Yes, I do! You want to rip apart the walls to the master bedroom and its walk-in closet. NO! I don't have TIME to clean out that closet before I leave! STOP TEARING APART MY HOUSE!"

Larry denied nothing, which meant I had guessed right. I swear, I felt as though my head would explode. Larry, apparently, didn't notice.

"I can clean out the closet," he said pseudo-helpfully.

People, this is like having your 4-year-old help you with dinner.  He might get the job done, but it will take way longer and your kitchen will never be the same again.

Larry, attempting to take on the walk-in closet

Desperate, I moved from anger to bargaining. "The laundry room is finally cleaned out.  Why don't you have the handyman build shelves in there this week so it doesn't get trashed again? THAT could get done pretty quick."

"No, I have to get that bedroom wall insulated before summer," said the man formerly known as my beloved. "I can get it all done before you get back.  I promise.  Plus the laundry room."

After briefly considering canceling my trip to put a stop to the madness, I capitulated by cleaning out my third of the closet.  I binned everything up, cleaned out the junk piles in the corners of our bedroom, and left on my road trip, hoping for the best.

So, yeah, here I am, back for 3 days, and it's not finished.  PLUS, when I got home, I had to pick out a paint color for the bedroom, pronto, if I ever wanted to sleep in my lovely Hemnes bed with the extra-firm mattress again.  And we all know how much I LOVE to pick out paint colors.

This luxury was mine, once...

You know how the post-vacation glow can last a week, if you're lucky?  Mine lasted maybe 4 hours, max. I'm feeling a tad ripped off, I am.

So how have you been?  Have I missed anything?

[Angry woman image: imgsoup.com
[Guy with tools image: closet clip art]