Thursday, October 29, 2009

why run when you can do the work for me?

A while back, I sold the bike trailer that Blake and I had used a few times to a co-worker. Blake was now on a bike of his own (training wheels off next year? I am a VERY lazy biking teacher!), and I wanted to get it out of the garage.

Just got this from said co-worker. His friend's dog doesn't have any impairments, but, like the rest of us, LOVES wheeled travel when it's an option.

Monday, October 26, 2009

then i'm going to make a "jump to conclusions" mat and wear 37 pieces of flair to express myself

Ok, now what? Seriously. WHAT?

The day started off innocuously enough, and nothing major went awry, unlike yesterday. Rob and I were playing with Blake on the bed when we were all still waking up, and one playful push rolled the kid one too many times, right off the bed and into the small, metal, sharply cornered nightstand. It's a miracle he hit the back of his head and not his face. It's a miracle it didn't open up in a big mess of a bleeder. It's a miracle we haven't been called into the authorities for the plethora of new bruises on our careless and clumsy son who has unfortunately carelessly clumsy parents. But that was yesterday.

Today? Today, I have not discovered that any of my immediate family is in danger of disease, pestilence, or warfare. I have not lost a major body part or expensive dear item. It's just been an oddly offbeat day where lots of little things went wrong. So here are my boos (boo hoos?) for the Monday:
  • The weird pain in my back that makes it hard to move certain ways. Not sure how I got it, not sure how to fix it, made working out impossible, and I have to save the money I'd otherwise spend on the chiropractor on...
  • Fixing Blake's glasses. I got in to pick him up from gymnastics, and the teacher said, "He came without one of his lenses, right?" Um, NO. No, he did not. So the teachers and Blake dutifully walked the floor, trying in vain to find the small clear piece of plastic that had jumped out at some point during class. We don't have a back-up pair and will now be forced into buying one earlier than we'd planned, simply because any setback in our treatment of his amblyopia is a bad deal. We'll patch him constantly for as long as it takes to get the spare pair, then send his originals out to both update the prescription and get a new lens in there.
  • Trying to get three small children to nap when I only have two possible rooms to put them in. Blake skipped his nap in favor of the twins getting one, which means I'll now be skipping the Dave Ramsey class tonight in order to get him in bed at a reasonable hour because we'll both be endlessly grumpy at 10:00 pm if I don't. Turns out a four-year-old can't really sleep on the couch during the daytime with Mom in the corner on the computer. Who knew?!
  • Hoping to work efficiently and cleanly today, only to get kind of stuck on a small bit of administration stuff that took all my time, so I had to try (HAH!) to work while everyone was awake and playing.
That's about it. Like I said, nothing big. I babysat the twins today, so maybe the added ARGH factored in with the added noise and irregularity of the day. Can't really tell. What I liked about today (because I have to be fair):
  • Hearing Smith tell Mason, "My back hurts. Bad." Just like I'd told him mine did.
  • Hearing Blake tell me, "Just ignore it, Mom. Just ignore it," when the boys were tuning up over a toy and I was trying to talk them down off the ledge. Just like I'd told him when they had been intentionally teasing him in the "Yes, it is." / "No, it isn't" kind of way.
  • Having the same person who called me to account for my temper encourage me to control it in ways that are truly gentle and convicting and convincing.
  • Having the missing lens be on the side we'd have to patch anyway, so at least Blake can kind of see out of the eye that needs it most.
  • Griping about my day to my friend in "my way" and having her laugh and tell me how funny I am. Even when I'm a whiner, I can still laugh and get a laugh without it being a bitter one.
  • Rob's new job jitters were really awfully adorable this morning. I still have to call him (at work, since he's still without a cell) to see how it's going.
  • Deciding that I can maybe make it to the video portion of the Dave Ramsey lesson, then leave immediately thereafter to preserve both Blake's rest and my commitment as much as possible without too much sacrifice on either end.
  • Pumpkin butterscotch cookies with a cup of tea. Because at least it's not beer.
See how I'm learning?!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

sometimes being an editor is more in what you do NOT say or do

I have a rather thin skin at times. Criticize my parenting, and I can casually and effectively silence you by sharpening my tongue on your unwitting foolishness and think nothing of it. Pick at my personality, and I can shrug it off fairly easily, because I know me: I'm not for the faint of heart.

However, the author who mentioned - not to me directly, but in a forum attached to an article he wrote and therefore to the public - that his article was edited liberally and that he couldn't hear his "voice" as well as he'd intended had no idea that my dearest wish at that moment was to punch him hard in the neck.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

keeping me wildly off-kilter and not sure how to respond

Get some popcorn. This is a long post, but I don't want to make it shorter because it's not as good a story!

Yesterday was a weird day. We slept in (Rob gets Mondays off, and I don't have to work until the afternoon), enjoyed a leisurely breakfast together, and proceeded to go about our business.

My business was doing the dishes and paint touch up. I have had white spots of spackle throughout the house for WELL over a year. I got around to filling nail holes, but, uh, not around to anything beyond that. The house looked like a teenager who'd left their acne medication on their face, then went out in public. It was still functional, but it wasn't pretty. And to think it took less than an hour for me to fix it... I'm embarrassed that I left our poor little place in such a state for so long!

Rob's business was finishing the repair work on our bathroom ceiling. When we first got married, we replaced the bathroom fan/light (original one was TERRIBLY noisy and awful), but the downside of bathroom fan replacement is that you always always always have to cut a new hole in the ceiling. They do not have any sort of standard so that replacing a fan/light is like replacing a switch cover. Because that would make sense and be easy. Thankfully, there was some leftover tape from the Spokane drywall work, and a small tub of mud was easily gotten. The only thing left was sanding and texturing yesterday, which is dusty, smelly work. Using spray texture is kind of like sniffing Magic Markers. Now all that's left is paint touch up, so the bathroom should be done in about a year, if my time table is any indicator.

Blake's business was singing the two phrases he knows from Enter Sandman while constructing grids and buildings of blocks, Lego guns, and Lincoln Log cabins.

We tidied up in the garage as well, figuring out where to put things so that it didn't feel so crowded, deciding what we could trash and what we'd sell. We're trying to complete our first baby step for the Dave Ramsey class we're attending: put $1000 cash in the bank. One of Dave's suggestions for how to do this is to sell so much stuff that the kids think they're next. Blake joined us and alternately found cool old toys in Rob's boxes or dodged between our legs in order to trip us up or pestered us to ride his bike in the garage because all the boxes, the ladder, and the various other things we'd pulled out seemed more like an obstacle course than a barrier to biking.

We found a nice coat of Rob's that I cautiously agreed to wash (rather than dry clean), in the hopes that it would remain the same size while becoming wearable again. He checked the pockets, I got the water ready, and we tossed both that coat and the one he'd worn while cleaning in the wash.

Side note: Rob applied for a sales position (formal title: Product Advisor) at Vann's in the hopes that he'd have a more regular hourly schedule, could avoid delivering in the Bozeman winter, and could bring our income above the poverty line so that we might one day be able to buy a house with a yard and maybe have more children... all while knowing we could feed them real food rather than teaching them how to graze (which would save us the cost of a lawn mower, but I think I'd rather have the mower than a family of goat-kids).

He made it to a second interview and was asked about his long-term plans. He'd been clear that delivery was simply a short-term path to provide for his family, but was by no means a career. However, he could see investing himself in "product advising" for a longer period of time, because it involves a few things he loves: people, electronics, and the puzzle of what will fit best with what a customer wants and can afford. This surprised me, mostly because I have always thought of my husband as a videographer, and one way or another, we were going to really try to make that work (regardless of how long he might have to put it off until video got going in Bozeman). I think it surprised him too, but he was genuinely excited about the prospect of getting the job, and it wasn't hard to back him up. His boss, D, was going to give him a call yesterday afternoon to let him know.

At 6:00, I realized we hadn't heard from D and asked Rob if we'd missed a call while out in the garage. He said he didn't think so, but couldn't find his phone to check. I called it, and when the call went straight to voicemail without me hearing the dulcet tones of Rob's ring for me ("sci-fi," which sounds like an old-school alien movie soundtrack), I asked him if he'd left it in his coat pocket.

OH, SHIT. In the pocket of the coat I'd thrown in the wash? I darted to the washing machine (not yet to the spin cycle) and grabbed through the water until, with a sinking heart, I felt the hard rectangle that indicated Rob's phone was now cleaner than mine, inside and out.

A mere week ago, Rob had updated his iPhone beyond what his cell carrier could service (because Apple and AT&T are an evil monopoly on that cool gadget and make it very difficult for non-AT&T users to have a working one). We thought he was royally screwed, until he figured out how to unlock it... and all was right with the world again. He had his favorite toy, it worked, and we didn't have to cough up for a new phone.

Well, now we do. It would have been better to wash MY phone, because I have a backup, and I'm the one who is so uptight about cleanliness. Rob emailed D and let him know the new number to call (mine) and was then promptly informed that he got the job.

Wait, what?!

HE GOT THE JOB! He starts next Monday! Praise the Lord for answered prayer!

We're still bummed about the iPhone, disproportionately so. Why is it that a short-term painful thing can outweigh a long-term big huge blessing? Ah, well. Evidently we can't be pleased. And we're in the market for a Cell-One-compatible phone, since, barring an act of God, we can't afford another iPhone because Apple (and everyone else) is awfully proud of the little buggers.

I don't know what the job will mean for our Thanksgiving and Christmas plans (we might be forced to stay so close to home that we don't actually leave it), nor when we'll make it to our next baby step (paying off all debt other than the mortgage), nor if anyone will ever buy the Spokane house that is showing well and reduced in price again...

But my husband has a job he thinks he can love... our son wants to be the lead singer and guitar player for a Metallica cover band and regularly tells us how much he loves us and how beautiful I am... the rest will fall into place eventually, right?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

that's what he said

(in regards to a question a cartoon bear asks the viewer)
R: Why didn't you help him?
B: Because I'm not in the T.V.

And he knows what to do.

A: Do you know how many hairs you have on your head?
B: Tons.
A: Jesus knows the EXACT number. Do you know how many that is?
B: Sixty-nine?
A: It’s probably more than sixty-nine.
B: Yeah. Seventy-nine.

B: You’re really good at that. (I was singing)
A: Thank you, Blake.
B: You’re also really beautiful.
A: Thank you, Blake, that’s very kind.

In case you hadn't noticed, my son's favorite number is sixty-nine. He wants sixty-nine brudders and sisters (owie!). He wants sixty-nine brownies for dessert. Any time he has to guess a number, that is the first one out of his mouth. I'm not sure why he's so fixated on it - it's certainly not something Rob and I joke slyly about (IT'S NOT!), so I'm guessing it's just one of the numbers they hit when counting at preschool that caught his fancy.

Also, to my great relief, he understands that the sixty-nine brudders and sisters he's requesting will not, in fact, be OLDER than he. I was worried he'd be disappointed when they started arriving too young to play Legos and Star Wars and Wolverine. I actually asked him whether he thought his brudders and sisters would be older or younger, and he thought a bit, then said they'd have to younger, because they have to be babies first.

Now how do I go about making two his favorite number?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

for the twilight girls (and boys?)

MAN, this is good. Compellingly sums up (and names, which I wasn't quite able to do) my biggest beef with the Twilight series. READ IT!

Molly pointed me there, via a three-part series on mercy and her handsome hubby (HH). That's a good read too.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

that's what he said

A: I'm pretty cool.
B: No you're not.
B: You're amazing!

B: This isn't the way my mom does it. Can you please do it the way my mom does it?
R: Nope.

R: In spite of what I'd like to claim, we can control it. (regarding toots)

(upon waking from his nap)
B: Mom, can I have double snacks?
A: What does that mean?
B: That means two. (holding up two fingers in front of his sleepy eyes)

I made that awesome thing for you cuz you're fancy and have mad skills, like I do. And when you do fancy things, I will give you a prize!

A: Legos!
B: You get to play with me! But don't mix up what I built only for me. You can make your own awesome stuff, and I will help you built you something. Cuz I can built you something really hard. It's a lot harder than you might have guessed.
A: Welcome back from your nap.

Just cuz I'm a smart-thinkin' handsome kid!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

the weirdest part is where i didn't over-react

In early August, both Bozeman and Spokane had scorching record temperatures (it seems but a memory now that there is a rime of crusty snow and ice on the ground here), and we drove to Spokane for a friend's wedding. This was during the "DO NOT DRIVE" phase my CR-V eventually grew out of, with the help of several hundred dollars of repairs and a good spanking, so we drove the 4-Runner. This is the same 4-Runner that we agreed could wait to get the A/C juiced until next summer, mostly because my comfort is more important to our family, and we had spent all our money on my car, as it should be. This is also the same trip where I got a little frisky with a bee.

We sure know how to have a good time!

The wedding began at 7:00, the driving directions indicated that the event took place about an hour and a quarter from a certain exit on I-90, and I neglected to take all this into account when getting B and me ready to go. We left from Rob's folks' place at about 5:30, thinking we'd be a little early. By the time I reached the exit mentioned in the directions, it was 6:15. I had left fresh as a daisy, but in the heat, was quickly melting. I hadn't realized just how far everything was, so had not thought to bring a DVD player for Blake, who quickly grew bored out of his mind. And we drove. And drove. AND DROVE. Turns out this wedding isn't in Spokane at all. Not even really in the area. It was actually more in Pullman, Washington, which is easily two hours from Spokane proper.

I realized that Rob and I had driven near the wedding, but not close: it was like someone from Spokane coming to Bozeman to stay, only to realize the wedding itself is in Billings, except that Billings is connected to Bozeman via 75 mph interstate, and we were on a two-lane highway with maximum speeds of 65 mph, in a borrowed truck sans A/C that couldn't really pass anyone except on the downhill sections, because Rob had left early in his truck to video the "getting ready" parts of the wedding. As I came to this realization, I first got mad (I'm hot, sweaty, and clearly going to be very late, with a boy who is good-natured, but only SO interested in rolling wheat fields, and who is also prone to heat stroke)... MAD. Like, how dare she have a wedding so far away and not mention it?! Oh. Wait. She did mention it, kind of. Then I got sad. We were going to miss a large portion of the wedding we drove all this way to see. Then I got super-pragmatic. I found radio stations to jam out with Blake to, figured that fretting over the timing wasn't going to get us there any faster, and that we could enjoy ourselves once there, whenever the hell that would be.

We finally drove past a huge red barn set back from the road. It was clearly the scene, since I could see a confection of a wedding gown in white standing next to a man in black, in front of a host of people. It took a great deal of self-control to not honk wildly out of relief and acknowledgment. "YOU'RE GETTING MARRIED! I'M SO EXCITED AND NOT BEHAVING INAPPROPRIATELY AT ALL!!! WE'RE FINALLY HERE!"

As we found a parking space (not in view of the wedding itself), I opened the door of the truck to hear "May I be the first to present to you, Mister and Missus...." And I clapped and whistled and grabbed Blake, and we snuck over to blend in with the crowd. We had perfect timing! We got to enjoy the party without me having to wrangle Blake through a hot and sticky time of sitting still and being quiet, PLEASE don't ruin this lovely day for this lovely couple, and if you loved me you would HOLD STILL and WHISPER and maybe even STOP TOOTING.

Looking around, it was clear why the couple had chosen this location. A old barn, converted for events, was the centerpiece. In front, there was a large gazebo-like stage area with tiered grassy steps for placing folding chairs. Beyond the gazebo, a large hay field (and the highway, but it was far enough as to be a non-nuisance), and to the right of it, a koi pond and spacious lavendar garden. It was unequivocally gorgeous.

Blake gravitated immediately to the pond, where I heard a large splash. I darted over to instruct him that while he could toss the small pebbles from the path in the water, those big rocks were there on purpose. I then had to define the word "landscaping" and told him firmly of the consequences should he continue to rearrange it. He was blissfully absorbed, I got to visit with friends we never see, and the reception began in earnest. Despite arriving at 7:30, which is usually Blake's bedtime, I decided we'd stay until at least 9:00, just because it had taken so damn long to get there, and we were going to live it up!

At about 8:30, during the dimming of the day, I looked over from my conversation to the pond, where I noticed that Blake's nice shirt looked quite a bit darker than it ought, and that he was wiping water from his eyes. Walking over I saw he was saturated from head to foot, with a nervous boy of about eight or nine hovering near him.
"What happened?" I asked as I calmly removed his shoes and wrung out his socks.
"He tried to jump to that rock," said the boy, pointing to a flat stone about a foot from the side of the pond. "And he fell in. And he knocked over the statue," he finished, in a manner suspiciously helpful and relieved. He then ran off.
"Is that what happened, Blake?"
Eyes full of tears that never quite fell, Blake told me the whole story. Turns out this boy had stepped from bank to stone, then stepped back. Blake, wanting to be big too, tried it. Thing is, a step for a boy twice his age is a bit of a hop for him. And while he got to the stone just fine, he lost his balance. Trying to regain it, he flung his arms around the small statue of a boy fishing that was also on the stone... and they both went in. He told me he wasn't scared at all because of his swimming lessons, and that he'd gotten out, but that he was sorry about the statue and being all wet.

It was still very hot, so the wet wasn't a big concern. I thought I'd fish the statue out and set it back up, since the pond wasn't more than a few feet deep, but it was so dirty that I couldn't even SEE it. I decided I would just tell someone in charge that it hadn't been stolen, but was lying safely on the bottom of their nasty pond, while the bamboo fishing pole floated around on the surface. We borrowed a dry shirt for Blake, and his discipline was to stay at our table for the rest of the evening.

He was fed a steady stream of cake and sweets by our tablemates, passed out into a sugar coma on the (two-hour) drive home, and decided the night was a resounding success. I didn't hit a deer or get a ticket while driving unfamiliar roads in the dark at 11:00 p.m., so I guess I agree.