Friday, March 10, 2017

Word of the day: exercise

Exercise: (n) activity requiring physical effort, carried out especially to sustain or improve health and fitness or just if you enjoy being tortured.

It's Friday.

It's pay day.

It's bonus day.

It's a good day.

What? Why are you looking at me like that?

Oh, yeah. You don't recognize me, because I haven't written a post in a hundred million years. My bad. Whatever, I'm back for now.

So like I was saying, it's Friday. D is at baseball practice, M is at her friend's house, B is playing video games and J decided he wanted to go to the rec center to play basketball with his buddy like he does several times a week. I'm all for these children getting out and being active, so off we went to the rec center. Right before we turned in his buddy called and said the basketball courts were closed, but he wanted to know if J would stay with him and his dad to work out in the gym. I was like, whatever, I just wanna go home and eat my sandwich.

J said, "No, mama, you have to come in and sign a form saying it's ok for me to work out because I'm not 18 yet." I cringed hard at that, knowing that I in my braless state with Nick Nolte mug shot hair should probably not be seen in public, but again, whatever. I went in and filled out and signed the form as quickly as I could, but right when I turned to leave the lady at the desk called out, "Wait, you have to stay and go through orientation with him."

I slowly turned around and suffered through that moment of horror when you see or hear something terrifying and for a split second time stops and the world ceases to exist and in a stupor you wonder what fresh hell you are in. Kind of like the time when my brother and I were little and our grandmother made Sloppy Joe's and we both realized mid-bite that she had put raisins in them. Raisins! WHO DOES THAT?

Anyhoo, that's what happened to me tonight. I had that slow motion "oh god no" moment because not only did I have to actually step foot in the rec center building rather than just dumping my kid out while my truck was still rolling, but then I had to GO INTO THE GYM AREA PLACE WHERE THE WORKOUT MACHINE DEVICES AND THE SWEATY ATHLETIC PEOPLE LIVE. OH GOD NO. OH GOD. WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS?

I think I blacked out for a minute because the next thing I remember, I was standing next to my kid and his friend and his friend's dad in this foreign, scary place listening to a gentleman say a lot of words, none of which I really paid attention to but you can bet your ass I kept cutting eyes at my kid to make sure HE was listening with the respect this gentleman deserved. The man gestured to a large metal device, saying, "This one does blah blah blah, see the diagram here? It shows in red that it blah blah blah so you know how to whatever and stuff." My kid listened raptly, while I stood wistfully thinking about my sandwich. This went on for ten or so minutes when (and ok, I'm not gonna lie, at this part my heart actually swooned a little) my boy thanked the man for the orientation and stuck his hand out so he could shake hands. I wish I could say my heart swooned because my kid was being so polite and grown up but really it's because I recognized that the handshake meant the orientation was over and I could go home to my sandwich. I bid my child and his friend and his friend's dad adieu and bolted out of that place like Satan himself was chasing me (which he pretty much was).

I'm in my safe place now - my corner of the couch, ensconced in my Vera Bradley blanket with naught but crumbs left on the plate my sandwich was on and a nice stiff glass of whiskey and Coke beside me. I wish I was the person who actually looked forward to going to the gym, but at this moment in my life I am not that person and tonight was scary.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Word of the day: inanimate

Inanimate: (adj.) not alive, especially not in the manner of humans and animals.

So, about that whole 'running out of gas in my own driveway' thing I told you about in my last post...

My driveway is like 1/8 of a mile long. Or 1/3. I'm not good at math, so just imagine a long driveway here. I drive down it and up it three times every morning, since I have one kid in elementary school, one kid in middle school and two kids in high school. Three schools, three busses, three treks down the driveway for me. Monday I did this on auto-pilot like I do every other day, then came back to the house to log in to work. After husband woke up and had some coffee so he could become a human again, he left to run an errand but instead of driving away like I expected him to I saw him trudging back to the house with a lovingly resigned look on his face, which I was about to discover stemmed from the fact that I am not a master of the obvious and he thought I had once again missed a Really Big Thing. He asked if the Yukon was running ok when I took the kids to the bus stop. I thought he was referring to the fact that the truck has barely started for about six months until the battery finally crapped out and we had to replace it a couple weeks ago, so I told him it started up just fine, no worries. He looked at me and said, "Babe, are you sure? Like are you really sure it was running and driving ok?" I confirmed once again that it was in fact running wonderfully and he just shook his head and told me I should come outside, where I immediately saw that the back right tire was so flat that the truck was essentially just sitting directly on the rim. There is no way I could have driven on that and not noticed it, so I squatted down to see what the issue was and saw an ENORMOUS nail sticking out of the tire all willy nilly. All I could think was, really? Really?? I have seriously managed to not only run out of gas in my own driveway but also to catch a flat there too?

My husband was like, well, no big deal. Since there doesn't happen to be a spare tire on the Yukon at the moment he said he would just pull the one off of his truck and use it. I don't know if newer cars have this but our vehicles are both 16 years old so there's this little lockbox on the back bumper next to the license plate into which you insert the car key to release the lock on the spare tire. He immediately realized that this plan wouldn't work because the bumper on his truck wasn't the original bumper so the key he had didn't work and the next thing I know he's out there beating the life out of his bumper and that lock (and his poor hands) with a rubber sledgehammer thingy, to no avail. My poor Yukon is still sitting outside looking like it has a bad set of hydraulics on it, just waiting for a day when our schedules actually coordinate enough to allow us to get a new tire.

That's not even the real story here. That was just an odd follow up to the previous post that I totally wasn't expecting.

The real story is the loud noise I heard as I sat at my desk working on Tuesday. It was super windy out so I just thought something had gotten knocked over outside or the porch swing had bumped into the side of the house as it tends to do when the wind is overzealous. Probably 45 minutes later the husband went to get some water and noticed that there was no water pressure, so I called the water company to see if they knew what was up and they came out to investigate and said sorry y'all, unfortunately this issue is on your end, not ours. Heaving many sighs and muttering even more expletives, my husband suited up in this awesome white one-piece outfit thing that he got from Wal-Mart that made him look strangely like an Elvis impersonator and went crawling around under the house, a feat I will never ever be able to accomplish because spiders, and he discovered that the loud noise I heard was the water line to an outside spigot bursting and water was spewing everywhere. Definitely not worst case scenario like I was so worried it would be, so we just asked the water guy to shut our water off until hubby could fix it the next day.

Operation Fix The Water Line: I was instructed to stand outside the house next to one of the vents closest to the line that was broken so that my husband could shout out the plumbing supplies he would need to fix the issue and I could write them down so he didn't forget anything. I begrudgingly paused my episode of Chopped and went outside like a dutiful wife to assist him. He started yelling out things such as "3/4 to 1/2 inch T!" and "3/4 inch CPVC!" and "two 3/4 inch female to female couplers!" (which naturally caused me to summon my inner Beavis and Butthead and giggle 'huh huh, female to female couplers, huh huh'), all the while I'm yelling back to confirm what he said and asking him how it's going, just trying to be supportive and sound like I knew what I was talking about. The horse next door neighed really loud and I looked over at him and realized all at once how incredibly strange I must have looked to my neighbors at that moment - there I am, standing outside in my pajamas yelling at the side of my house, nodding emphatically and taking copious notes of whatever it was the house was saying to me. Now they probably think I talk to inanimate objects and as much as it pains me to admit, they're not entirely mistaken about that. It's just not normally the outside wall of a house that I choose to talk to.

After having to venture back outside several more times to talk much more covertly with the hubs, the pipe was magically fixed, the water was turned back on and my spawn returned home from school quite relieved to actually be able to relieve themselves in a civilized manner, and that's all I have to say about that.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Word of the day: salesman

Salesman: (n) A person whose job is not to sell you the things you need, but to sell you the things you don't want.*

There are times when being a little (ok, a lot) weird comes in handy.

Yesterday was one of those times.

We moved last summer from our 1450 square foot home on .18 acres to a little bit bigger house on almost 6 acres of land. Our driveway is now long enough that I can get up to about 30mph while driving on it, which I love doing even though my husband rolls his eyes every time he sees me gleefully racing up the driveway. Because that driveway is so long and because we now live directly on a state highway with a 55mph speed limit, I drive the kids down to the bus stop in the mornings so they don't get mowed down by some moron who is so determined to get to his destination that he can't be bothered to stop for the bus when it's picking up my kids (something that happens on almost a daily basis). A few weeks ago, my husband used my vehicle to go out of town for the day and when he got back I failed to notice that the truck was on E. I drove my boys down to the end of the driveway to wait for their bus and were were sitting there chatting away when my truck officially ran out of gas. Just shut right off and sat there at the road like a big dirty white beached whale. The ensuing process of having to find the gas can and take my husband's truck and cut through my neighbor's yard (since my truck was blocking the exit of our driveway) and get gas and not have a temper tantrum at the gas station when I couldn't get the top of the gas can off and then fill up my truck and drive both vehicles back up to the house in the 24 minutes I had before I had to log in to work was quite an ordeal, and it has made me overly paranoid about never letting my truck get that low on gas again.

Which brings me to yesterday.

I took my daughter with me to the grocery, and I asked her to remind me to get gas before we headed home. She did not fail me, and when I pulled into the pump at the gas station I noticed a gentleman walking from pump to pump hocking some sort of car cleaning products. My heart sank. I am awkward and weird in normal situations, but for some reason dealing with salesmen brings out the absolute worst level of awkwardness and weirdness in me. So I was like, shit shit shit, how do I avoid talking to this man? I know! Captain Weirdness to the rescue! I whisper-yelled to my daughter to hurry up and do something strange to deter the man from coming over to us. She immediately yelled something at me in a British accent, to which I responded by also yelling something in a British accent, and then we pretended to have an argument about her wanting to go to a place (the name of which she got from a random receipt she snatched off the floor in an attempt to assist me in achieving my goal) and I very sternly yelled at her to be quiet! Stop disrespecting me! She fell into a fit of giggles and continued arguing in a British accent and we smacked each other's legs in a gentle display of domestic abuse, and out of the corner of my eye I saw the salesman eyeball my vehicle with extreme wariness and then - hallelujah amen - he veered off to the SUV at the pump next to me and avoided us altogether. Success!

Apparently, my extreme aversion to salesmen makes it easier to seem like a British woman having a domestic dispute with her child at a gas station in middle Tennessee than it would have been to have to say, "No thanks," to a stranger trying to sell me something I won't know how to say no to if I allowed him to get his hooks in me.

My goal accomplished, I high fived my amazing daughter and we headed home giggling about our adventure and reveling in our shared trait of being really, really strange.

The end.

P.S. Richard, you can stop bugging me now.

*disclaimer: I went with the Urban Dictionary definition here, not because I want to disrespect any hard-working folks who earn their living in sales, because that's not my intention. I went with the Urban Dictionary definition simply because I am so incredibly leery of my unpredictable response to a salesman that it seemed to sum up my mental image of a salesman in a more accurate way than the good ol' Webster's definition I usually use.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Word of the day: crustacean

Crustacean: an anthropod of the large, mainly aquatic group Crustacea, such as CRABS because that's the only one that pertains to this story.

Hi, we haven't talked in a really long time, so how about we have a conversation about crabs?

Every once in awhile during the elementary school years, the kids get to study certain forms of animal/plant/insect/crustacean life. They have butterflies, millipedes, crabs, frogs, yada yada yada, all kept in aquariums or tanks in their classroom and I can only imagine the teachers pretty much give up trying to keep their attention focused on anything other than those creatures. They study about them, watch their actions, learn their habits, and have a grand old time. Roundabout the Thanksgiving holiday break, the teachers send out permission slips for the stupid gullible parents to sign if they'll allow their child to bring home some of the creatures so they don't die a sad, pathetic death in a classroom devoid of children, noise and farts.

I decided this year that I would be one of those parents. I made it through three other kids not bringing home any creatures, except (if memory serves correctly) the one time I allowed a millipede to come home and it only lasted about six hours before it was gently placed (thrown) into the woods behind our house. Because, gross. Anyway, I figured what the hell. May as well have something to keep boy spawn 3 occupied during the days when he's not in school, seeing as he hounded me non stop for about two weeks to sign the permission slip. I had the option of fiddler crabs, millipedes or frogs. I picked crabs. Actually, I signed up for ONE crab. A couple days after I turned the form in, boy spawn 3 informed me that it would actually be TWO crabs. Ok, whatever.

Fast forward a week or so and the teacher informed the kids that the creatures would be going home with their designated owners the following day. Excitement abounded! Chaos ensued! My cousin and her friend were staying with us for a few days during this time period, so it totally figures that boy spawn 3 would burst into the house after school on Crab Day, launch his backpack onto the foyer floor, rush into the living room (where my cousin and her friend were chilling) with his fists raised triumphantly in the air and bellow, "MAMA!! I HAVE CRABS!!"

He has crabs, y'all.


The next day, hubby took boy spawn 3 to get a bigger tank because he did NOT come home with one crab, or two crabs. He came home with five crabs. He named them Mastercrabs, Mrs. Claws, Shelbea, Pearl (after hubby's beloved UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl) and Crabby. The crabs are super cool, but a little creepy because they look a lot like spiders and also the boy crabs have one ginormous claw and it's like a reverse baby hand on a grown man and it's just not even ok.

Hubby and BS3 left for the store to spend way too much money on crab supplies, and maybe 10 or 15 minutes after they left I started hearing a weird noise coming from somewhere in the house. It sounded a little like Rosie hacking or choking on something. No big deal...the dog eats everything that doesn't eat her first so I figured she got a hair in her throat after finding an old bread crumb in a corner or something (not sure why we have bread crumbs in corners, but humor me here). A couple seconds went by and suddenly a very dark ominous light bulb went off in my brain and a vision of that fat little dog eating up all of those crabs popped up like a horror film on a full sized theater screen and I hollered for girl spawn to find the dog. She sprints to her room where the crabs were living and starts hysterically screaming, "SHE ATE THEM!!!! SHE ATE ALL THE CRABS!!!!" and I'm running up the stairs just praying and praying that Rosie didn't actually eat them, imaging the look on BS3's face when I have to tell him that his beloved crabs were gone, and I drop to my knees after shooing the dog away from the tank and girl spawn and I both start frantically searching through the tank. We find one crab...two crabs...three crabs...four crabs...five crabs...but no food. My ridiculously obese dog had fished through the tank only to find the food - some apparently delicious plankton - and ate every last piece of it. Thanks be to the sweet precious all-knowing baby Jesus, the crabs were intact and burrowed into the sand trying to avoid the jaws of the monster that was rooting through their habitat in search of sustenance.

$340 and a lot of panic later, we have five healthy crabs that are still alive, scuttling around a large aquarium, eating very smelly food and doing all of the things that crabs should do.

The moral of the story is - having crabs is way more exciting than I ever imagined it would be.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Word of the day: confession

Confession: (n) a revelation about a person's private life or private thoughts.

Today I'm going to share with you a dirty secret I've been keeping for about 16 years now: I am completely, totally, utterly uncomfortable with and weirded out by Mother's Day. There. I said it. I, a mother of four, dread when Mother's Day rolls around.

It's not that I don't appreciate the gestures, I suppose. I enjoy the Mommy Muffin days at school with my younger kids, where they write cute little papers about how old I am (740), how much I weigh (96 pounds - oh, how I love that), what color my eyes are (purple), and what my favorite food is (ALL OF THE FOODS). That's sweet and cute and a great excuse to get my kids all sugared up out of their minds and then leave them at school for the teachers to enjoy.

The cards, flowers, random gifts, chocolates, etc...those kinda make me uncomfortable. Like I really don't feel like I deserve them, because I already know I'm loved. I already know I'm appreciated. Even if I get frustrated and gripe and moan and act extremely bratty when I have to share my candy, I still know how much my spawn love me, and they know how much I love them. I already get little kiln-fired treasures from the kids throughout the school year, even from my high schoolers, much to my surprise. I get to carefully select my favorite pieces of artwork that they bring home each week, and even more carefully throw the rest of it out when they are all sound asleep and have no chance of busting me while I bury the papers deep, deep in the trash.

Truth be told, all I'd really like for Mother's day is for everyone in the house (husband included) to turn their clothes right side out before throwing them in the hamper. Oh, who am I kidding...before they drop them on the floor wherever they happen to be disrobing. I feel confident in saying that I've spent a solid year of my life doing nothing other than turning clothes right side out. I'd love an evening to myself at the house. I'd love to have someone spontaneously clean the bathrooms.

However...however! It means so, so much to the kids to do those things for me. They want to show their appreciation in that way, because that's what the radio and TV and stores tell them they should do, so Mother's Day will be spent with me getting lots of hugs, lots of love, yummy chocolates that I'll end up sharing with everyone, and for that one day I will wash every item of clothing whether it's inside out or not, and they can decide if they want to fix them when they get ready to put them on. Except D. He'll just wear them as is and roll with it like nothing's out of the ordinary.

Off to do laundry. Happy Mother's day to all of my mom peeps, step mom peeps, aunt peeps and those who offer motherly counsel and love to the people in their lives who need it. Much love to each and every once of y'all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Word of the day: cake

Cake: (n) an item of soft, sweet food made from a mixture of flour, shortening, eggs, sugar, and other ingredients, baked and often decorated. Cake is frequently consumed in frightening quantities by people experiencing high levels of emotions. Not that the author of this definition would know anything about that.

Hi guys! Remember me?

I'm back...

My fat little dog Rosie has gotten even fatter and no less little here lately. She's on very expensive diet food that has over the course of several months helped her to gain several pounds. I am FED UP with listening to her rant and rave like a lunatic through the house for hours upon hours because she wants us to feed her, so I took M and D with me to PetSmart and we picked out a cushy dog bed and a crate in which to place Rosie when she's being a butthole. Hopefully this will make her understand that we are only going to feed her in the morning and at night and she will magically drop some weight and become the Chihuahua she's always dreamed of being! I'm pretty sure part of the problem is that Granny always fed Rosie bits and pieces of her food no matter how often we asked her not to, and now that Granny's gone Rosie doesn't know where the snacks have gone and she's letting us know she doesn't like it. Also she's a greedy pig.

After an exhilarating trip to PetSmart which included looking at lizards and snakes and begging for chinchillas and cats and goldfish and the cute little angry looking finches and glow in the dark rocks for the aquarium that we don't even have, the three of us stopped off at Olive Garden for a quick dinner of pasta and sodium. The place was oddly busy for 7pm on a Tuesday night, so service was a bit slow and that gave me plenty of time to chat with the kids about why we weren't getting a snake.

Eventually, our food arrived and we all feasted on it like piranha on flesh (ewwwwww, that was a really gross analogy!) and at one point D got kinda quiet and started to look uncomfortable. I asked him if he was ok, and he casually waved a chicken finger in my general direction and stated, "I don't know how to tell you this, but I HAVE TO GO NUMBER 2 RIGHT NOW." Ok then. I sent him to the bathroom, then sat back down with M and waited for him to come back. Waited, waited, waited...waited...finally got a little concerned and headed back towards the bathroom right as D came marching out. He very loudly announced, "Man, I pooped for so long that I got to hear an entire song while I was in there!" I didn't even bother to look around for reactions from the people nearest to us. Just held my head high, walked back to our table and finished our meal.

I ordered dessert to go and didn't let the kids get any and I am now gorging on my black tie mousse cake in the comfort of my own home, in my own pajamas, in my comfy recliner. I'm not blind to the fact that I ate dinner until I was stuffed to the gills, then came home and ate yet more food that I didn't need to eat, directly after I bought a crate with which to discipline the overweight dog that won't stop begging for more food after she's already eaten plenty. I can see the irony. Y'all don't have to point it out.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Word of the day: catharsis

Catharsis: (n) the process of releasing, and thereby providing release from, strong or repressed

This is a story I don't want to write, but I feel the need to do so anyway.

We've had Granny with us for two years. I'm not going to lie and say that it's always been pleasant and awesome and easy, because it has definitely been hard and frustrating and exhausting at times. She can be unrelenting in her insistence that your way is wrong and in fact there is no right way unless it's her way, but she'll never come out and say that. She'll just gently nag you about it until you have no choice but to do it her way or lose your mind. To quote one of my favorite books, it is a bit like being bitten to death by a butterfly.

Granny got sick two weeks ago. She started complaining about stomach pains around 9 p.m. on Saturday night, and after an hour or so of debating we decided to call an ambulance to take her to the emergency room. I went with her and sat in the ER for many, many hours while they tried and failed and tried and failed to get an IV in her because her poor old veins just couldn't handle the pressure of a needle without collapsing. Eventual diagnosis: pancreatitis.

For a person of decent health who is not 93 years old, pancreatitis is incredibly painful and hard to recover from. For Granny, it was bad. Very bad. After 10 days of minimal to no improvement, she was transferred to a different hospital for potentially more in depth treatment, but by that time she was so weak and so tired that she opted to discontinue any treatment in lieu of coming home to rest comfortably until it was her time to go.

She has been at home for two days, waiting out her time; we have hospice coming by every day to check on her, and my mother-in-law (Granny's daughter) has come to our house to stay so she can be near her mother at all times. We've been told Granny may not even last as long as this Monday, four days before what would be her 94th Christmas celebration.

When my husband and I were at the hospital talking with Granny to help her decide what she wanted to do - not what we wanted, not what her daughter wanted, but what SHE wanted - more than one person borderline fawned over my husband and I about how AMAZING we were to take care of Granny, how LUCKY Granny was to have us, how WONDERFUL it was to see family taking care of family, things of that nature. Please understand: I don't share that to brag. At all. I share that because it was so uncomfortable for me to hear those things. I wanted to push the words away; I didn't want to hear them or acknowledge them, nor did I have any idea how to respond to them.

The truth is, it's been a very hard two years for me. I've not always been patient with Granny; I've not always been gracious about helping her; I've many times had a little temper tantrum in my closet, away from prying eyes, because I just needed a break. Having those bouts of emotion made me feel like such a brat! How dare I be so impatient and frustrated with a lady who has been more of a grandparent to me than anyone else in my life? How dare I be so ungrateful for a woman who has been a faithful and loving great-grandparent to my four kids, all of whom she cherishes beyond measure? I don't know how, but I certainly dared to do both of those things and more.

So, I don't want credit. I don't want ONE. MORE. PERSON. to tell me how wonderful I am for caring for her. I don't want it. My husband can have it; my husband deserves it; he is certainly as patient and unrelenting as his grandmother when it comes to doing what he needs to do for his family without complaint. I just want her to end her days as peacefully as is possible under the circumstances, surrounded by the big and little people who have adored her throughout their entire lives, and all I can pray is that she knows I love her, now and always.

We love you, Granny Nell. We love you forever.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Word of the day: giggle

Giggle: (v.) to laugh lightly in a nervous or silly manner.

Yeah, yeah...I know. It's been awhile. Sorry about that.

There have been a lot of things going on lately, not the least of which involves me wearing pajamas an awful lot of the time and lamenting the fact that I don't have a job where I'm required to use a magnifying glass. Also my boys started high school, my daughter won her student council election and my youngest son has yet to swear in third grade, blah blah blah. Things of that nature.

On to the real story here. Our old dog Jack was out of food yesterday, and of course we didn't realize it until it was after bedtime, so I changed out of pajamas into real clothes and went to the grocery to get dog food. I also grabbed some dryer sheets and Cheez-It Snack Mix while I was there, in case you were wondering. I meandered sleepily to the check out line, reading up on important Facebook happenings and checking out Instagram pictures on my phone while I waited for the person in front of me to finish paying. Another person got in line behind me. It was very much like any other shopping trip and I wouldn't even bother recounting the tale to you if it wasn't for the very unexpected and startlingly loud fart that rang out from the arse of the shopper in front of me while we were waiting in line.

I'm 35 years old now, and you would think that I'd have some sort of control over my reaction to a fart, but you would be wrong. I started giggling the kind of giggle that I knew could quickly spiral out of control and into full blown church giggles at a moment's notice, so I tried to talk myself down and took a moment to look around and see who else was laughing. Apparently I was the only immature child in line, and oddly enough the fact that no one else was acknowledging the very smelly elephant in the room made me laugh even harder. By the time the gassy fellow was done with his order and it was my turn to pay, I was hopelessly consumed with uncontrollable laughter to the point that I was crying, and I was the only person who seemed to find any of this amusing, which of course made it even funnier. A vicious cycle, I tell you.

The main reason I'm sharing this is because, well, SOMEONE LOUDLY FARTED IN THE GROCERY STORE CHECKOUT AISLE. That's it. That's all. That's the only reason.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Word of the day: whatever

Whatever: (pn.) used to emphasize a lack of restriction in referring to any thing or amount, no matter what.

It's Sunday night. One of the last weekends left before school starts and our schedules go apeshit for the duration of the school year. 

Right now my living room is a cacophony of sounds, mostly originating from a WWE Pay-Per-View that my husband and boys are enjoying, two dogs wrestling with and barking at each other, Granny trying to talk on the phone and my daughter alternating between climbing door frames and trying to rip out two loose teeth so she can earn money to go to Laser Tag with a friend this week.

Let me add, I told her I would pay for her trip to Laser Tag. She still feels as though she has to remove those two teeth TONIGHT, despite the fact that the tooth fairy most likely doesn't have the standard payment of a gold dollar per tooth available, which really puts me -- err, the tooth fairy -- in a bind. 

I'm in my room watching Food Network. I want to say it's quiet in here, but it's not. Not only can I still hear the noises coming from the living room, but Rosie has stopped wrestling with Jack and is asleep at my feet, snoring loudly and farting ever so softly as if to assure me that she's still there. 

Dinner was yummy tonight. Pan fried catfish, hushpuppies, white beans simmered with bacon and onions, potato salad and cole slaw, all served with tartar sauce and a side of gluttony. It was super yummy and overtly Southern and it actually satiated the masses that live in my house, so I call it a win. WIN!

School will start in two weeks. I'd like to tell you that we've had an amazing, fun-filled, action packed summer, but we haven't. We just haven't, and I'm ok with that. What we have had is time. Time to relax, time to recharge, time to sleep in and be a little lazy and stay up late playing Monopoly, time to be together without rushing to this practice or doing this homework assignment and just kind of flipping the bird at all of the responsibilities that come with 'real life'. It's been a luxuriously lazy kind of summer, which I suspect we all really needed.

That's all. That's it. I just felt like saying all of that. I'm gonna go eat ice cream now. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Word of the day: klutz

Klutz: (n) a clumsy, awkward or foolish person.

Mornings before school are pretty typical with my two youngest kiddos. I groggily roll out of the bed while they hippity hop their hyper asses all over the house, doing everything but getting dressed and eating breakfast like they ought to. No one should be that energetic two minutes after climbing out of bed first thing in the morning.

After much prompting and several empty threats, M picks out precisely the right outfit, making sure to catapult several of her discarded choices all around her room. She then primps and does her hair eleven different ways before deciding she'll just wear it down like she does 99% of the time. D sits on the couch in nothing but boxer briefs, fiercely grasping his beloved Pokémon cards and growling at anyone who dares to come near them. The dogs go totally out of their minds waiting for me to take them out and feed them. We run out of maple syrup and have to call our wonderful neighbors to borrow some. The neighbor kid graciously brings the syrup to our door, my little ones excitedly answer the door, and my dogs giddily barrel their way out the door. That doesn't actually happen like ever, but today it did, and I was not prepared for it.

We live on a pretty busy road, so the dogs could easily get hit by a car in their frantic rush to find and eat all of the cat poop in the near vicinity of our house. When I realized the dogs were out, I dashed out the door and started uselessly yelling at them and chasing them all up and down my yard. After slipping in the wet grass no less than four times, I finally caught up with Jack, the bigger of the two dogs, but I caught him by the tail and apparently he does not like that. He let out a vicious growl and barked his displeasure at me, scaring the kids, but I finally managed to get him by the collar while laying in the wet grass. Yay me! I stood up feeling quite proud of myself, but not realizing that I was standing on the edge of my pants, so I kind of totally pulled my own pants down in full view of the aforementioned busy road. That was awesome. I then fell three times while trying to wrangle the dog and pull my pants up, but I got that wretched beast in the house and ran back out the door to capture Rosie. She disdainfully stared at me while she peed in our garden and I seized the opportunity to snatch her up and set her little piggy butt inside the house.

Then I rushed back in the house praying that the grilled cheese I was making M for her lunch wasn't burning, which thankfully it wasn't, and I was panting like cray cray and my legs were shaking and I looked at the kids and said, "I'm not much for exercise before eight in the morning." D snorted and replied, "Yeah, like you ever exercise." Unfortunately, I couldn't really get mad at him because he is a hundred and fifty percent correct in his sarcastic musing.

Happy Tuesday. May your morning not be filled with dogs trying to eat cat poop and kids making fun of you for your sedentary lifestyle. That is all.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Word of the day: grasshopper

Grasshopper: (n) a plant-eating insect with long hind legs that are used for jumping, producing a chirping sound and terrifying little girls.

I usually don't post stuff like this, let alone actually write a new post three times in the same week, but Granny asked me to because it's too cute to pass up and Granny is almost a hundred years old so I figured I should probably indulge her.

This is my girl M. She's so tiny in this picture that I feel like it's ok to post it here. She had just woken up from a nap and her hair was so spectacular that I felt compelled to snap a picture, and eight years later I sure am glad I decided to capture that particular moment in time.

This is my girl's rock. She was four years old when she made it in her class at our little Baptist church's preschool. I mean, obviously she didn't actually make the rock, but she used it for a project of sorts. The class was discussing the nuances of David and Goliath, and her teacher asked each child what they were afraid of and then wrote that fear in permanent marker on a rock. On the back of the rock a sentence was also written that emphasized that with God's help, the child could be brave in spite of their fear.

My girl's fear: grasshoppers. Oh, how I laughed when I read that, but I know that her fear was legitimate. When she was tiny, like barely walking, she loved all creatures. Spiders, beetles, mice, bumblebees, worms, birds...any small creature that was alive, no matter how creepy or crawly, she loved it and wanted to play with it. Then came that fateful day when she was about 18 months old and she spotted a grasshopper sunning itself on our sidewalk. Off she went after it, clapping her tiny hands and shrieking with delight through her pacifier that she loved and from which it took me what felt like a hundred years to wean her. She captured the grasshopper and gently cradled it, holding it close to her face to examine it and talk toddler gibberish to it. That's when The Event happened - that grasshopper launched itself from her hand and landed directly on her tiny nose. It took her about three seconds to realize that the grasshopper's little legs felt awfully scratchy and foreign and she started screaming bloody murder while trying to get it off of her nose. After that happened she was outright terrified of all of those creatures with whom she had previously been so enamored. She was so scared of moving creatures that she was even horrified by bubbles, which I imagine to her little mind probably looked like some mutant flying insects. It took years for me to be able to blow bubbles without her sobbing hysterically.

Now that she's almost ten and her fears center more around girls being cruel at school, friends ditching her for no apparent reason, tornadoes and the horror surrounding my recent seizure (a fear, I might add, that I would trade my eyeballs to remove from her memory), I'm thankful for that time in her life when her biggest fear was to have a grasshopper unexpectedly latch on to her nose. And bubbles. Don't forget those evil bubbles.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Word of the day: hoarding

Hoarding: (v) the excessive collecting of items, along with the inability to discard them.

So apparently I was wrong about it being spring in my last post. This morning as we stood in the driveway watching our kids at the bus stop, my neighbor and I had to put the hoods up on our jackets because it was snowing. SNOWING! I'm still sunburned from the 82 degree weather during D's baseball game this past weekend and today it's snowing? As D would say, what the deuce?!

I figured a cold snowy/rainy day was as good a day as ever to tackle the dreaded cleaning out of my kids' rooms. My three boys share a room, which basically just means it always smells like farts and dirty socks, but it was fairly easy to clean. Some gum wrappers, some video game controllers, some Airsoft pellets. Okay...a LOT of Airsoft pellets. I never want to see another Airsoft pellet again in my life.

My daughter's room was a whole different story. Good lord. I really don't even know where to begin, but I guess I should explain that she is a very dutiful child who tries her hardest to do what she's told. She organizes her things and makes little to-do lists and creatively stacks her pillows and stuffed animals on her bed and she's the only one of my kids who faithfully puts her dirty clothes in her hamper.

That being said, we get to the crayons. The stickers. The Post-It notes. The scarves, the wonder loom band thingies, the headbands, the books, the pictures she's colored, and worst of all...the nail polish. Dear god,  the nail polish. I've been in this weird loop the past two years or so where I'll buy a new nail polish color I like and I'll use it once or twice and then I'll lose it. So I go buy another color I like and use it once or twice and then I lose it again. Turns out, I wasn't losing them. My daughter was stealing them and hoarding them in random containers and drawers in her room. I present to you the evidence:

All of my purples, my reds, my clear coats, my sparkly colors that I can never fully get off of my nails no matter how hard I try. Ugh. No telling how much money I've spent replacing all of these nail polishes. I guess it goes with the territory of having a daughter, though, and if that's the worst thing she does then I suppose I'm ok with it. Plus, she writes random notes like the one in the picture below. I have absolutely no clue what it means or what it could be about, but it made me giggle like crazy.

In conclusion (...I feel like I just wrote a paper for a high school English class), it is cold outside, boys fart a lot, and girls will heartlessly steal your nail polish without once considering your poor delicate feelings. Also, today is my brother's birthday, so in case he's reading this, happy birthday to the best brother a girl could ask for. I love you.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Word of the day: reality

Reality: (n) the world or state of things as they actually exist,
as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.

It's that time of year again when the weather has finally taken its Prozac and stopped being completely unpredictable. It's time for cookouts, and for sitting out on the back patio watching the squirrels torment our dogs, and for our teenagers to have to mow the lawn every week despite their totally predictable and full-of-bad-attitude protests.

Last night we went to a cookout with some friends. I will preface the rest of this story by saying it wasn't my finest parenting moment, but I'm not gonna lie, I laughed about it. A lot.

On the way to our friends' house, D overheard us talking about something we didn't particularly want him to hear, so naturally we tried to use some redirection to take his mind off of our conversation. Knowing full well that he's played on a trampoline before but hoping to distract him by letting him know that these friends had a trampoline, my husband asked, "So buddy, have you ever played on a trampoline before?" And D clapped his hands excitedly and threw his hands in the air and blurted out, "Hell YEAH, are you kidding me?!"

There was a frozen moment in time when all three of our jaws dropped and the husband looked sharply in the rearview mirror at D and D realized what he said, and in a much more subdued voice he offered, "Ummmmm, I mean beep yeah, I've been on a trampoline." S and I looked at each other with wide eyes...and then he cracked a huge smile...and that was it for me. I grabbed the extra jacket I had brought and covered my face so I could laugh hysterically without D seeing me.

Go ahead, judge away. I know this isn't the first time I've posted about him using expletives, and it probably won't be the last, and I'm honest (and medicated) enough to admit it. It's not really funny, and if my other three kids did it I'd probably smack their mouths (if I could reach teenagers are pretty tall, ya know). There's just something about being the baby of the family that allows D to get away with way more than anyone else, but ultimately he is a sweet, well-behaved, loving child, so I guess I'm willing to overlook certain things he does. Particularly if they make me giggle like a stoned hyena.

Happy Spring, everybody. Or should I say, hell YEAH, it's finally Spring!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Word of the day: kindness

Kindness: (n.) the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

Dogs are cute, right?


My husband S keeps telling me we don't need another dog, and although deep down I know he's right, I really want another dog. A little one, to be exact.

Last Saturday evening I was to attend the wedding of my dear friend Alexandra and her adorably wonderful fiancé, David. The only problem for me was, the wedding was to take place in a field, and I didn't have wedding-appropriate shoes that would make walking through a field possible, so I went shoe shopping Saturday morning in hopes of remedying this situation. S was out with our teenage sons cutting up a tree that had fallen in my mother-in-law's back yard during the last ice storm, so I packed up my two youngest kiddos and headed out. I found the most perfect pair of gray knee-high boots that were stylish AND had completely flat soles, which was just what I needed for the wedding. Since the store was offering many buy-one-get-one-half-off sales, D got him a new pair of tennis shoes, M got her a fabulous pair of bright pink flowery flip flops, and I got a black and white pair of Sperry flip flops in addition to the boots. Yay for new footwear!

We stashed our shoe boxes in the Yukon and I waited while the little ones put on their new shoes. Have you ever been shoe shopping with little kids? I'm not sure they know that you don't have to put the shoes on immediately after purchasing them. Mine have always wanted to wear their new shoes out of the store, so I guess this time I was lucky we at least made it to the car first. Once the new shoes were on, the three of us started walking towards the bookstore that D had been begging me to visit.

On the way to Books A Million, we couldn't miss the fact that the PetSmart located in that strip mall was sponsoring a dog adoption, so of course we had to stop and check out the doggies. M and D and I gravitated towards these two little sibling mutts called Happy and Honey that were in a cage at the front by the parking lot. I don't know what kind of dogs they were, but lord, they were adorable. The kids and I giggled and squealed with glee and reached in to pet the dogs and ----

---- the next thing I remember was rolling over in a hospital bed to look into the eyes of a woman I did not know or recognize. Or, more precisely, I stared blankly at the blurry shape of a person because for some odd reason I was not wearing my glasses, which meant I couldn't actually see this person. The woman must have seen the confusion and fear in my face because she immediately grabbed my hand and patted it reassuringly and told me that my kids were ok, that I had suffered a grand mal seizure outside the pet store, and that my husband was on his way and would be there shortly. I'm pretty sure I started crying and tried to ask her questions that my addled brain couldn't seem to form.

Her name was Shannon.

Shannon was a nurse who happened to be at PetSmart that Saturday. She later told my husband that she didn't actually see me fall, but she heard the awful sound of my head hitting the concrete and immediately jumped into action. She rolled me onto my side until the seizure subsided and she kept pressure on the gaping wound at my hairline that was gushing so much blood that the police would later have to use kitty litter to absorb all the blood from the concrete, and she made sure my poor terrified kids were safely handed off to police officers. When the paramedics arrived, she packed up my shoes and my broken glasses and opted to take time out of her day to ride in the ambulance with me to the hospital, and she stayed there for what I'm pretty sure was a few hours until S got all of the kids dropped off at home and made his way back to the hospital. She chatted lightheartedly with me about youth football and Facebook and other mundane things, and although I really don't remember much about that afternoon, I remember feeling so soothed and calmed by this stranger's presence.

Fast forward two CT scans, a blinding headache and some terrible nausea later, S arrived at the hospital and at some point Shannon left and went back to her regularly scheduled weekend. The doctor used three staples to close the cut on my head and informed us that I had fractured my orbital bone and my zygomatic arch (for those of you like me who have no clue what those are, it means that I had fractured my eye socket and my cheek bone, and we later found out that I had a basal skull fracture near my temple as well). The doctor then gave me a shot of some wonderful narcotic that provided blissful relief from the unbearable pain I was experiencing.

Eventually I was released from the hospital, and I missed the wedding I had ventured out to buy boots for in the first place. My poor, poor children were so scared - God, how my heart hurts knowing I caused that fear in them - and I tried so hard to reassure them that I would be ok, but I was rather saturated with blood and had been forbidden from showering that day lest I reopen the wound on my head, so I'm not sure my words did any good given my appearance. I do know that I laid down and slept for about 48 solid hours, only waking to throw up and take whatever pain medicine I could keep down, and finally on Tuesday I groggily rolled out of bed and used Krazy glue to fix my glasses (it worked!!) and started asking questions to try and figure out what the hell had happened to me.

Thankfully, I was eventually able to track down the lovely Shannon so I could send her a small but heartfelt token of my gratitude for her extraordinary kindness. I was so bummed at the thought of not being able to thank her. The world is a better place because of people like her, and she deserves to know it.

Eight days later, I'm still not cleared to go back to work, and I'm once again on the dreaded-but-necessary six month driving restriction. For now, I'm trying to enjoy this time off work and let my battered brain get some much needed rest. My words still aren't flowing the way I'd like them to and my memory is almost comically bad, but hopefully with time things will get back to normal. Even more hopefully, I can't wait for my face to stop making crunchy noises when I chew. The muscle that opens and closes my jaw is evidently attached to one of the broken bones in my face, and the sound it makes when I chew is horrifying. That noise alone makes it easy to stick to the liquid/soft diet I'm on for the next three to four weeks. #creamofwheat

In the meantime, I've found some adorable little dogs to follow on Instagram. They're so cute, y'all. Sooooooo cuuuuuuute.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Word of the day: pest

Pest: (n.) a destructive insect or other animal that destroys crops, food, vodka, etc.

I was telling my friend Philip a story today at work and at one point I noticed that his eyes were kind of glazed over and he finally just shook his head and said, "You are so weird." And I immediately perked up and said, "Ooooh, I should blog this!" And he immediately said, "Dear God, please don't."

Naturally, I am blogging it.

I have ants. Not in my pants or at my desk at work, but at home. I've lived in this house a little over ten years and never had a problem, but some invincible mutant Tennessee ants have recently invaded two spots in my house - the kitchen sink, and my bedroom windowsill. In our attempts to eradicate them, we've tried, in no particular order, a pest control company, bay leaves, cinnamon, vinegar, peppermint oil, Windex, electronic thingies that plug into the wall and supposedly emit a sound that repels ants (IT DOESN'T WORK), and ant poison (which I'm convinced just beefed them up and increased their libido and made them come back in exponential droves) and honestly you guys, I'm just not sure what to do.

So, I've started talking to them, which is what I was telling Philip today.

There seem to be two different kinds. They are both small black ants, but one variety has stripes on its butt. Or its thorax. Or whatever the anatomically correct name is for the striped butt part of the ant. When I hole up in my room to avoid the craziness of my family, I generally bring a drink with me, and I generally set that drink on the windowsill that the ants have claimed as their home away from home. Because my drink consists of vodka and Sprite, which has a considerable sugar content, it draws the ants sugar.

Turns out, ants really like vodka! Y'all, I've turned these ants into alcoholics. They get in my drink and I just sigh and fish them out and scold them..."you silly striped ant, you know better than this," and I watch them on my finger as they rear up and wave their little feelers at me and then, depending on my mood, I either squish them or let them go. I always feel bad squishing them. Like, did I just murder Kenny? Or Joanne? What if a group of ants at their little colony is grieving the discovery that Bruce will never come home again?

I don't know what else to do with these pesky ants except to talk at them. I have another pest control company coming out this week to try yet again to get them out of my house, but until then, I guess I'll just keep on chatting them up. Heyyyyy, ants. Hey.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Word of the day: substitution

Substitution: (n) the action of replacing someone or something with another person or thing.

Tonight I get to do my first guest post on someone else's blog! I've been a nervous wreck waiting for her to post it, because writing for someone else is very different from writing for your own blog. If you'd like to check it out, click here for my guest post on my dear friend Kimmie's amazing blog, That Girl in the Wheelchair.

I hope you enjoy!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Word of the day: blocked

Blocked: (v. tr.) to stop or impede the passage of or movement through; to obstruct

Ok guys, here's the real deal.

I'm irritated with myself.

I'm frustrated beyond belief with my stupid brain.

I have encountered the worst writer's block I've ever had, and although I admit that I am not some famous author upon whose shoulders rests the devotion of millions of (or even thousands...or hundreds...more like teens, or maybe three) readers and that there is just not some huge need for my writing in this world, it still chaps my ass to be stuck like this. I've been writing for as long as I can remember, even way back in the day when I actually had to *gasp* pick up a pencil (.05mm lead, thank you very much) to record my nonsensical ramblings, and to experience this kind of mental drought is irritating beyond belief to my writer's soul.

I have sat for months staring at this blog, hoping I could find something to write about that might catch the interest of at least a few of you, and I haven't been able to think of a thing.

I'm just blocked.

I'm sorry.

I will try again soon, and I will leave you with this:

I love BMWs. I love them so much. They are my vehicular soul mate.

Sometimes I injure myself when I try to make my bed, and sadly I'm not even kidding.

Opting to pay for towing coverage on my car insurance was quite possibly one of the best grown-up decisions I have ever made and I highly encourage every single one of you to do it. Seriously. It's like three bucks a month and it will save your ass when you least expect it.

For some very confounding reason, the majority of the traffic on my blog comes from Russian websites. Some of them appear to be medical in nature, some of them are actually games on the Apple App Store developed by Russian computer programmers, and some of them are most definitely Russian prostitution websites, which absolutely floors me because for the life of me I cannot figure out what it could be about this blog that would entice someone who is looking for a prostitute in Russia.

So, that's about all I've got right now. Good night. Or, good day. Or happy Friday/Saturday/whatever day it is in Russia, because chances are that's where you are if you're actually reading this.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Word of the day: reminisce

Reminisce: (v) to indulge in enjoyable recollections
of past events.

I had a moment tonight.

I dropped M off at her friend's house for her very first sleepover birthday party with explicit instructions to perform no gymnastics because I would prefer no more broken bones this weekend. I took the brother of the birthday girl back to my house to sleep over with my teenagers, with whom he is good friends, so that he wouldn't be the sole boy in his house with a bunch of sugared up tween girls, because let's be honest, nobody wants to go through that.

I headed to Taco Bell to pick up dinner, as that was the food place that all of the boys in my house could agree upon. It was about 6:30-ish, and being the middle of October, the sun was just starting to set. I love this time of day. It's all hazy and beautiful and shiny and the orange/pink hue from the sun reflecting on the clouds reminds me so much of when I was a newly-graduated teenager and I and my roommate would just be getting ready to go out for the night, except that in the middle of the summer it would be around 9 p.m. when the sun was setting like that.

The roommate and I would spend a crazy amount of time doing our hair and our makeup and picking out just the right clothes in the midst of giggling and talking about what we would be doing that night. I will add that the shorts I used to wear will certainly not be worn by my daughter as long as she's living in MY house. (oh my God, did I really just say that?) (yes, I really just said that) (sigh). Then we would head out to 'cruise'...and all was right in the world. We were free, not yet old enough to really feel the weight of adulthood, but legally of age enough to go out and get ourselves into all the trouble we could think of. And boy, did we think of it.

A lot of those nights, we would roll through a drive-thru to grab a bite to eat before meeting up with friends, and I can remember so many times of us waiting on our food with the sun setting just like it was tonight, our music blaring on her 12 inch JBL's, laughing at the dumbest stuff and just generally being carefree and excited to have no parental boundaries by which to adhere.

So, tonight as I sat in the drive-thru, I turned my music up a little and smiled...and then turned my music up a little more and smiled a little bigger...and by the time I got to the window to accept my food from what was surely just a toddler, it hit me right in the face that I was ordering $33.40 worth of food for my teenage sons and their friend, not getting ready for an exciting night out with MY friends, and the toddler was laughing at my blaring music and calling me "Ma'am" and basically insinuating that she would gladly sign me up for a Hoverround so I could make my way around the nursing home where I belong.

That was my moment. An in-my-face reminder that even though I'm still 14 years old in my head, I really and truly am a 34-year-old wife and mother driving an SUV I have to jump to get into buying obscene amounts of food for teenage boys that tower over me and most likely have the exact same mentality that I do. I don't know if any of you understand what I'm trying to say, but now I'm gonna go peek my head in the boys' room and maybe laugh at some fart jokes with them and then probably fall asleep in my chair because it's Friday and that's what Fridays are all about nowadays. Naps. Oh...who am I kidding. Every day is all about some naps if I can manage it. #naps

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Word of the day: strength

Strength: (n) a good or beneficial quality or attribute of a person or thing.

This Saturday was a fairly normal Saturday. The husband and I slept in kinda late, rushed around making a meal to take to some folks who just had a baby, then went on to D's baseball game where his team suffered an 18-3 blowout, but where D also received the game ball for two awesome hits he made during the game, so we left with smiles on our faces and headed home to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

I dropped my daughter M at her friend's house one street over from our house and then ran to Publix to purchase a $4.95 filet so I could recreate my new favorite dish of steak and eggs with home fries that I had recently eaten at 55 South in Franklin. I knew I could make it at home for much less than the almost $16 price tag at the restaurant (not that I minded paying that at the time, of course) (also it's football season now so going to brunch on a Sunday with my husband is a no-go, so instead of pouting I decided to try making the dish myself). I spent nearly an hour making two batches of Hollandaise sauce (the first of which broke) before searing the filet and cooking two eggs over easy whilst frying up some potatoes to create my replica of this restaurant dish.

My mouth was watering as I grabbed my plate of decadent food, some Sprite and my cell phone to head into my room so I could hide from the boys and eat my food in peace, but before I could even make it out of the kitchen my cell phone rang with a number I didn't recognize. When I answered, there was a man on the line telling me that M had come to his house with another friend (the one whose house I dropped her at originally) to play with his daughter, a fellow classmate from school, and in the course of being Olympic gymnast-wannabes, M's hand had inadvertently been injured and that I should probably come get her. I glanced longingly at my plate of food and let out a very, very big pouty sigh, then got in my Yukon and went to pick up M. The second I saw her hand, I knew my delicious lunch was going to be replaced by a trip to the urgent care clinic. My husband confirmed that her hand was not ok so I and my hysterically crying M made our way to the walk in clinic. Diagnosis: two broken fingers. Pointer and middle on her right hand. After several hours at the clinic waiting on a pediatric radiologist from Vanderbilt Children's hospital to read her x-rays, they "buddy taped" her fingers up, wrapped her hand in a splint, put her arm into a sling and then sent us on our way with some pain medicine and instructions to go see an orthopedic surgeon first thing Monday morning.

I feel like if it were me with those broken fingers, I would be laying in the bed crying and cursing gymnastics forever and taking as much pain medicine as was medically safe. My sweet daughter, on the other hand, has put me to absolute shame. She is such a bad ass. No joke. Her hand is grotesquely swollen and bruised and her index finger, the one that suffered the worst break, is all crooked and weird looking. What did she decide to do? She decided to train herself to write with her left hand so she wouldn't get behind on any of her school work. She sat in her room cheerfully singing along with the music on her tv's music station, practicing her alphabet and writing words that started with each letter of the alphabet and proudly showing me her progress. She smiles and giggles and talks non-stop and just goes about her day like nothing is wrong.

The mother of one of the girls M was playing with when she got hurt showed up today at our house with the cutest cupcakes and two very sweet, heartfelt cards, which made M feel like a million bucks and treated her and our entire family to some delicious homemade confections.

None of my kids have ever had a broken bone, so maybe this is par for the course. I don't know. I'm of the mindset that any hangnail or paper cut I get is most definitely life-threatening and may require surgery and/or amputation and I probably need to discuss in great detail the anguish I am suffering with everyone from my co-workers to the cashiers at the grocery store. To see this tiny little 55-pound wisp of a girl happily bouncing around with two terribly broken bones is a lesson in humility that I didn't ever want, because it means my daughter is in an awful lot of pain, but I would do well to learn from it. Not that I will be any less of a baby the next time I bump my elbow, though. IT HURTS. YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW.

M, you are my hero. I love you. Rock on, sweet girl.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Word of the day: school

School: (n) an institution for educating children.

Hello everyone! I know you have all been waiting on bated breath (ON. BATED. BREATH.) for me to post again, and tonight, I shall try not to disappoint.

I went to Parents' Night at the middle school of my oldest sons B and J tonight. Seeing as how they are in eighth grade and I haven't actually been to a single school event during their middle school career (yes, I'm aware of how good a mother that makes me seem, but it's the truth), I thought I should go. We met in the gym and got lectured by various people and then the principal for thirty minutes while sweating profusely, perched upon bleachers designed for kids who are probably bigger than me but whose tailbones (hopefully) haven't endured the birth of four children and so therefore I was somewhat uncomfortable but determined to tough it out because surely at some point the admittedly very dedicated sounding principal would stop telling me how much better she did on the ACT than I did and how her mother would smack her if she didn't address her as "ma'am", right?


Next, we were dismissed to attend the daily schedule of our children in 10 minute increments. Enter first period, which for both of my boys was gym. The highlight of that ten minutes was when the guy coach said he basically spent gym periods smelling the stench of dirty socks and then the girl coach retorted by saying she spent gym periods smelling ass, which made me guffaw with laughter until I realized she said Axe (as in Axe body spray), which was a major bummer after thinking that the coach just straight out said our kids need to wash their collective asses more thoroughly.

Since gym is the only class the boys have together, the husband and I decided to split up. I went with J and the husband went with B. I shuffled along with a bunch of other parents and a handful of kids, getting jostled about by people bigger than me and trailing behind my energetic, bouncy son who was making his way through the hall quite a few steps ahead of me (only because he wasn't wearing high heels, thank you very much) and just generally feeling borderline panicky at the flashbacks I was having to my own middle school years.

Enter second period, which for J was a social studies class. Dude...I'm telling you what. If my classrooms looked like they do now and if my teachers were as passionate and invigorated as the teachers I met tonight, I would have done a hell of a lot better in school.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA - Who am I kidding?? Whew. That was funny. I always was and probably always will be an absolutely horrible student. I'm far from stupid. I just don't like being told what to do.

Seriously though - the classrooms had ambience. There were quirky lamps of different sizes scattered throughout each classroom and only one of the classrooms had the overhead lights on, so in the other rooms the combination of the relative darkness combined with the light from the lamps created such a warm, inviting environment in which to learn obscure educational information. In one room there was a well-worn leather couch, leather armchair, and even a kitchen table and chairs in the corner. I can't tell you how badly I wanted to sit at that kitchen table to have a spot of tea (even though there was no tea available) and listen to that teacher talk about history like it was the most exciting, novel subject ever discovered. The whole room was that inviting. Each classroom had its own color scheme and accompanying funky decor, and most of the teachers didn't even have formal desks. I was enchanted, truly, and I will ask you to please pardon the somewhat geeky fact that I just admitted I am enchanted by middle school classrooms. I can remind you of just how gangster I am if need be. #gangster

Kids these days have a very Facebook-esque website that they are encouraged to join and on which they can keep up with their assignments and post questions just like status updates and everyone has their own little picture attached to their comments just like Facebook and the teachers get on every night for a short period of time to chat with the kids and encourage them. J's science class had these remote control-looking thingies that were used as buzzers to select the answer they want when the teacher asks a question, and the results are instantly displayed on the screen so she could see as a collective group how many kids were getting it and how many weren't. Super, super cool, man. I was beyond intrigued. Despite poking some fun at myself a couple paragraphs ago, I would like to think that my entire school experience would have been very different if my surroundings had been anything like what my boys are lucky enough to have today. Not just the physical decor, but the amped up teachers who obviously had a genuine passion for the subject they were teaching - I was just blown away tonight.

Keep it up, teachers and administrators. Keep it up. Y'all are rockin' it out of the hizzouse.

P.S. I chided J about the messiness of his locker...but if I'm being honest, my lockers always looked much, much worse than his. I gotta keep him on his toes though, right?