Saturday, February 21, 2015

Knowing that now is the time that I should say "thank you"

When we're kids, we express our thanks in many ways beyond the traditional words..."thank you."  When we're adults, we do the same, except we often first start with the verbal expression, especially as it becomes somewhat second nature, just like we answer "I'm fine" automatically when prompted with a "How are you?"  At least I do.  Rightly so, I find myself more often internalizing the reasoning for many of our rote "thank you"s that I've expressed before.  Now, I get it

Our older daughter has the flu.  I almost sent her on to school yesterday but remembered that it's just Kindergarten, and if she was someone else's daughter and that parent sent her to school to cough all day beside my child, I'd be a little irritated at that parent's lack of thought.  So she stayed home, and that was the right choice as she progressively wore down throughout the morning and just bottomed out in the early afternoon.  But I think we caught it early enough to miss the worst of it; now both girls are on flu suppressants, and today was a step back toward normal.

But that's not my story here.  This all has capped the boy's first crazy-busy week that always happens when a new track season starts.  For what it's worth, the bulk of the nursing has been at my hands, and I keep thinking about the "back when" moments.  Back when I was a kid, I remember my mom taking care of me when my throat was on fire.  Back when I was a kid, I remember gargling with salt water and sucking on a Sucretes.  Back when I was a kid, I remember that my Mom took the day off of work to stay home with me, and we watched TV in the afternoon.  Back when I was a kid, I remember crying the angry sick tears of yuck and frustration. 

However, back when was not really the right time for me to say "thank you" to my mom for all that she dealt with when I'm sure I was a whiny little bugger.  I hope that I did say "thanks" when she brought me some Sprite or another blanket.  I hope that I gave her a hug when I was feeling better or snuggled with her to let her know that I needed her right at that very moment.  But I think that now might be a better time to truly say "thank you" for taking care of me all of those times, leaving me with memories that guide my current understanding of what to do when your kid feels gross, and generally just dealing with the weariness that comes from tending to the sick among us when the rest of our day doesn't stop because of it. 

And to my friend who unexpectedly called me with a bit of information to pass along, thank you as well.  You asked how we were, and I forgot for a quick second about feeling the weary frustration of having a child who feels justifiably rotten and my 3-day bout of cabin fever.  We really aren't all as "fine" as my glib answer implied.  But the truth in that response is best saved for another day as well.

Friday, February 20, 2015

It started like blah and ended like better blah

Good gravy on toast but this day had all the makings of being wretched written all over it.

There was the plague that beset Squiddgles the Elder and kept her home all day yesterday promising more of the same, including some frantic, woe-is-me, I-shall-never-breathe-or-stop-coughing-again weeping at 10:00 last night.  And 2:24.  And...5:15.  Hello, 5:15 a.m.  My daughter thinks that this "is almost time to get up."  I think this means scoot your feverish little bum over and let me lay beside you and CAN WE PLEASE TURN THE BRIGHTEST NIGHTLIGHT IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD OFF SO THAT I CAN PRETEND TO SLEEP FOR ANOTHER 45 MINUTES?!  But "it's scary" without the nightlight on.  But, I'm here.  She begrudgingly accepted my terms.  Also, her pillow bites the big one as far as my pillow preferences go, but she likes it, so...

Then there was the prospect of having to take 2 children to the grocery store on a busy Saturday morning because Friday was falling apart rapidly.

It was falling apart because I finally just called someone to PLEASE COME FIX MY DISHWASHER WHICH IS NEEDIER THAN EITHER OF MY NEWBORN CHILDREN EVER WERE.  Seriously.  And while it feels good to have someone come and fix it, it also means $$$ and putting plans on hold from 9:15-whenever, which gets me all tense like every time.

And I acquiesced and let Squiddgles the Elder stay home again 'cause really, I'd mentally shoot daggers at any other parent who allowed their child to sit beside mine in an enclosed classroom all day when their child sounded like death warmed over.

BUT THEN!  School delays happened, and when deciding between schlepping groceries outside to my frigid car by myself in air so cold that a polar bear walked by my window a few minutes ago or schlepping groceries outside to my frigid car with two children and their twisty car seat straps (curse you thick gloves) in air so cold that no amount of hot chocolate is enough to warm me up *and* the possibility of snow (in inches), I chose to get the goods by myself.  And it feels good to check that off ye olde liste. 

AND THEN!  Our dishwasher seems to be under warranty still.  There was one memorable month when a) I was starting my second maternity leave and not receive a paycheck, b) we sold a car and bought a different one (for more money), and c) we bought a primo dishwasher cause after you burn through two in seven years, you start to question your choice in the cheapest of the cheap.  Now that primo dishwasher came with a primo warranty that makes me love it a little more.  (That is, as soon as I get over hating it for making me babysit it every time I use it...every day.)

AND THEN!  Squiddgles the Elder just squirreled herself into a nest of blankets and recliner while Squiddgles the Younger amused herself as only she does and I got a modicum of things accomplished...namely cleaning.  Not to boast or anything, but it was something of a banner moment in my day.  I'll probably feast off of that self-proclaimed glory for several, several days.

AND THEN!  Good songs kept coming on over Pandora while I fixed up a few bits of grading.  Keeping on top of things is ever so much more enjoyable with the likes of Keane and Carolina Liars. 

AND THEN!  I deviated from my norm and brewed a cup of peppermint tea.  And as always seems to be the case when I make peppermint tea, I found myself both drinking it quickly and also wondering why I don't drink it more often.  It's enormously pleasurable. 

AND THEN!  I have leftover pizza planned for dinner tonight, and there's purt near nothin' more blessed than having Friday night dinner all done.  And it's pizza.  Win to the win-win.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I love my 5-year old.

The boy is singing at our church's Ash Wednesday service tonight, which the girls and I ditched in favor of creature comforts like not venturing forth in the Arctic-esque wind and not forcing two end-of-the-day tired children to sit respectfully through and/or participate in a church service at 7 p.m. on a weeknight with no hopes of a children's sermon or a staffed nursery.  So I put the girls in their beds tonight, which first meant reading and snuggles in my bed cause they tend to be twitchy little squirrels and we needed some place a) fairly comfortable, b) warm and c) spacious. 

Books were read.  Songs were sung.  The clock read 8:01.  Squiddgle the Younger started in her nightly debate about the merits of being deposited in her bed versus "I think I'll just stay up a wee bit longer...say another hour or two?"  Squiddgle the Elder quickly shut her down with a timely "Let's just go to bed."  Matter of fact and decisive--signs of a true older sibling.  And like a true younger sibling lemming, Squiddlge the Younger promptly rolled off her side of the bed and trotted to her room. 

And who wouldn't love to spend more quality time in their bed when it is in the warmest room in the house, is ten times larger than you are with a memory foam mattress, has an uber soft handmade afghan and a crazy amazing handmade quilt, at least 20 stuffed animals, and a feather pillow?  Delicious comfort for a kid who has a bit of a raspy cough and chapped hands.  That's the epitome of a 5-year old pity party.

She was deep sleep snoring in less than 10 minutes when I peeked in to see if she was still awake to let her know that she has a delay in the morning.  (Squiddgles the Younger held up her end of her one-sided nightly conversation with _______ (your guess is as good as mine) for about an hour per her normal.)   

I love my 2-year old.

It's just me and The Little during school hours, and this kid (this kid!) understands how to play on her own.  It's everything I expected The Older to do and found myself bewildered when she has never latched onto that notion.  (Okay, sometimes.  But rarely.)  The Little likes to drag her art table to the middle of the floor and pile it high with a varied assortment of plastic foods and drinks for "a picnic."  She found me (I need to hide better?  Not really...I regularly sneak entire chocolate chip cookies a mere five feet away from her.) sitting on my bed and announced that "The picnic is ready!  The picnic is ready!"  (Nothing says home cookin' like a plastic hamburger with sides of plastic french fries, plastic pizza, plastic oranges, plastic apples, and plastic doughnuts.  And who decided that the pineapple should be green?)  But "The picnic is ready!" was accompanied by the tell-tale "Dance of the 2-year Old."  (They don't teach this dance in ballet.) you need to go potty?  "Um, yes."  Scamper down the hallway.  She's very matter of fact.  And, she's a multi-tasker because she takes care of business and promptly reminds me about the upcoming picnic festivities before she's even all put back together.  Naturally.  Some things just stay on the mind.

Except they don't 'cause we never played picnic.  I wasn't even done washing my hands before she had moved on with a new idea.  So I moved on as another room.  Somewhere in the ballpark of 3 minutes later when The Little was seeking out my picture-making skills (I'm laughing as I type that), I wasn't in my bedroom anymore and the panic (!)...the warbly alarm (!)...the anxiety was immediately evident in her voice. 

Let's review, shall we?  Our house provides the setting for a real-life game of Sardines.  Hide & seek is eminently challenging.  We 'aint got nothin' on a Cracker Jack box.  And she lost me.  For about 3 seconds.

Do you know how long 3 seconds is to a 2-year old?  A veritable lifetime.  Do you know how long 3 seconds is to a mother?  A bite of chocolate chip cookie.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

On this day after Valentine's Day day

I'm keeping a theme going in this post and the last.  Didja notice?  I did, so let's all humor me and say you did, too.

I want to share how my day went yesterday.  (Because it was that amazing.)  (Just wait until you read more.)

I was rudely woken up a few minutes before 6, by choice but still...rude, so that I could whip up some waffles for the wee ones.  Silly girl the elder still thinks that this is an acceptable wakening time.  So one day, I gave up my warm bed solitude and made waffles and cut them into hearts because dedication to my Valentines.  And I just finally splurged for the $1 set of heart-shaped cookies cutters.  I may have also cut a cooked slice of bacon into an arrow to pierce said heart waffles.  I heart breakfast food.  And I heart silly girl the elder.

I also snapped at silly boy the husband when he laughed cause I made two cups of coffee yesterday morning before 7 a.m.  Don't laugh at me before the sun sheds its beautiful rays upon my smiling face.  Or at least wait until I'm smiling before you begin laughing.  Fair is fair.

Then I scrapped all plans on doing anything to my appearance to indicate that yesterday was anything other than a Saturday.  So yoga pants and my favorite gray sweatshirt (complete with mysterious spot, I found later in the day), sketchy ponytail, and no make-up.  There you go, Valentine.  That's what I look like, and by now, you've figured that out.  So, let's celebrate reality a little.

'Cause truth be told, we're really not into the forced holiday happenings of Valentine's Day.  Cool if you are; I think it can be really sweet.  But romance has never been something that I've spent much effort on in my life.  The boy gave me flannel sheets for reason I-don't-know, and I give him props for that.  I set out on a crusade to celebrate my loves with fattening, cream and butter laden foods interspersed throughout the day. 

Those sheets might be going back to the store.  I can't decide if flannel sheets as well as a down comforter and my sweatshirts that I sleep in for 9 months of the year might be considered overkill in a house that dips as low as 68 degrees at night.  Then again, since I've hit my 30s, my circulation has already started what I'm perceiving to be a downward spiral.  Maybe the boy just doesn't want my cold feet on him unexpectedly anymore.  Nothin' says lovin' like cold feet on a cold night.  I'll lift a heart-shaped cookie (we had those too) for cheers to that.

Friday, February 13, 2015

On this Valentine's Day Eve

Let's talk about a couple of important things here as we enter into this Valentine's weekend.  (According to our oldest, she is very excited for the holiday today--Valentine's Day Eve.  Otherwise known as the-last-school-day-before-Valentine's-so-therefore-the-ubiquitous-Valentine's-party-at-school.)

First: my hair.  It's a big old wig of nothingness.  Too fine and slippery to hold any shape.  To prone to tangles to wear down comfortably every day.  To limp and flopsy when it's short.  In short, it's completely forgetable, and I have no skillset to do anything with it myself.  It doesn't matter the length; I never feel comfortable with it.  I would skim it off down to the shortest of the short except that I fear it would not even withstand the spunky, spiky look...and that would require hair product to maintain, with which I have never had luck.  Right now, it's as long as it has ever been, and I still can't do anything with it.  It falls out of my attempts at bunning it.  It slips free of a braid.  It get's snarly at the ends because of this wretched thing called wind.  I also have the patience of a tomato as far as styling it.  So there you go: a no win-no win situation.  (And for all of those encouraging thoughts in parenting magazines that "Your hair will achieve a beautiful luster and thickness when expecting!"  I defy you.  Clumps of hair fell out and it was nary a day more shiny than the last.)

Second: blind date with a book.  Our local library is one of my go-to spots around town because, you know, one can't make excuses to get coffee at their local java joint every day (can one?).  And in February, the library sponsors this jiggy little promotion to "blind date a book."  Friends, I got a $50 gift card for my favorite local sushi place last year through this promotion.  You can bet your clicking chopsticks that I'm reading as fast as I can manage right now.  Sure, it's a bit of a slog-fest cause I keep choosing some real losers (Is this what it's like to actually go on blind dates?  How depressing.).  So far this month, I read an absolutely horrible memoir about some dancing coach or other who has what must be an atrocious reality show (wretchingly horrible but a quick read), I've returned a book that I already read, worked my way through a book on buried treasure (decent) and am trying to be interested in a romance called The Love Dog, which has alternating passages from the point of view of the dog...the dog.  Are we so low on story ideas that this gets published? 

Third:  pitchers and catchers report to spring training in one week.  Finally, a bit of warm, happy thoughts.  It's been a rough couple of weeks (e.g. months).  My team is in rebuilding mode this year, and we might be mediocre, but I'm steeling myself that we'll be lousy.  And no one wants to be lousy, especially 162 times a year.  But they're still my team, and as long as the Cubs continue to be a disaster and the Yankees continue to be an overpaid bunch of has-beens, then the year won't be a complete loss.   

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Over the river and through the woods to Grandma's house, I went

If there ever was a time when I wished very much that I could live-action blog, it was this past Saturday when I spent the day with my maternal grandmother (my only living grandparent).  I wasn't sure what to expect as I hadn't spent any extended amount of time with her ever just by myself.  And if you don't take things too seriously, the day was delightful.

I pulled into her driveway at 10:30 on the button.  She was at her mailbox checking to see if there was anything even though "I don't normally get anything on Saturdays."  She would go back out a few hours later to check because "You can never tell when the mail will come." 

The first words out of her mouth were "I didn't think you was coming."  Because it was 10:30 (read: You're late.). 

I called my mom about as soon as I got there to ask a quick question, and was told that Grandma would want me to take her to Rural King, the Dollar Tree, and the Goodwill.  And, "You'll know that she'll want to eat at McDonald's, don't you?"  Yes, I know.  As soon as I hung up with Mom, my grandmother walked back in probably unaware that I was talking to Mom and said "Well, I was thinking we'd go to the Rural King, then stop by the Dollar Tree and Goodwill.  You can drive."  My mom...she was spot-on. 

Rural King is simultaneously confusing and highly amusing for me.  I'd like to say that it's just this way in southern Indiana, but it's not.  Heightened, yes, but 

We were price checking packets of pea seeds in Rural King.  $1.79 is too expensive.  My grandmother had already been out to her garden with her shovel to check about working the soil.  In mid-January.  Jumping the gun, a bit?

We forgot to check for seeds at the Dollar Tree.  I did find some canned beans there, though (which we could not find at Rural King).  Unfortunately, they were only "light red beans" and not "chili beans" as requested.  We didn't buy any.  I did help Grandma find a new word search book, though.  Channeling her inner Goldilocks, we found one that was not too big and not too little but juuuust right. 

I also found out that my grandmother eats a lot of junk food, judging by the amount she bought and comparatively the amount of healthier options that she outright dismissed.  Applesauce?  Not on your life.  Sour cream and onion chips?  Yes, please. 

When I'm 88, I want to eat like she does if that means that I eat whatever I darn well please with nary a thought about nutrition.  At some age, it just seems like you earn the right to eat however you want.  Though I enjoy fruit and veggies a plenty, I might well forget about them some day if it means I can eat any form of bread and potato chip as much as I want.  My grandmother seems to have figured out how to prioritize.

I brought her some soup, some mini muffins, sugar cookies, hot chocolate, and homemade marshmallows.  She still bought a large package of faux-Oreos.  And then I ended up making her an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies before I left.  She proceeded to eat one or two, practically straight off of the pan as I took them from the oven.  Apparently, she's averse to screamin' hot chocolate chips because "Of course, they're the best when they're right out of the oven."  Apparently, we have different understandings of what that means.

I helped Grandma find a "dress jacket" in the Goodwill.  She was looking through the size 10s and 12s before I suggested that she look through the smaller the 4s as she's definitely "old lady slender."  She responded with "Well, I guess this is my size then" and took that size 10 jacket down to try on.  And bought it.  Well, then.

Grandma defied expectations and decided on Arby's for lunch, whereupon we ran in to her Sunday School teacher (!) and his wife.  We talked about the weather again (snow was in the forecast).  This was about the 3rd or 4th time that we'd been through the weather since I got to her house about 2 hours before.  The night before, I told the boy that "I have no idea what Grandma and I are going to talk about."  Thanks be to winter weather.

But you know what, we spent a few minutes in silence on the way back to her house, and it was comfortable.  I knew Grandma was tired, and it feels good to know that she was ready enough to sit in companionable silence with me.  That's a level of comfort that should not be taken for granted.

I tried to get Grandma to ride with me in my car, but she was having none of that.  But she also told me that she can't read the gas gauge in her car, so that was all it took for me to shove her seat back and fold myself into the cramped driver's seat of her car.  I don't know how a 4-door sedan can feel like a mini-compact, but I guess when you're as tall as a 10-year old, you contort your seat into unexpected positions in order to see, which leaves the rest of us feeling claustrophobic.  Also, the heater in her car works quite well, I assure you. 

She bought her car brand new 15 years ago (I checked), and it only has 49,000 miles on it (I checked that, too).  Unheard of.

She usually spends less than $100/month on groceries for herself.  I can't fathom that.  That would open my budget up to purchase that giant sticker faux-tile backsplash that I found at either the Rural King or the Dollar Tree.  Six of one...