May 2010 Archives

SG's cousin graduated from college, so we dropped by to wish her well and visit with his family.

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On our way out the door, I remembered to grab my camera, which is happy because we had a really good day.

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We came close to spending the day inside, clearing out closets and cleaning up bedrooms.  Instead SG rescued us and we had prime rib and sunshine and beer and HORSES!  This one is CJ (Captain Jack).

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Look!  More than five minutes in a row with no fighting.  Bliss.

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I get kind of weird about photographing people who aren't my kids, so I mostly have photos of them. 

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And the dog.

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But here's SG and Lex, talking about something.  Probably Lex is telling SG about a show he watched on Hulu.  Something funny.

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And here's SG holding Willow upside down over some horse poop.  Which she loved, of course.

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All the kids rode bareback around the yard, slowly. 

That's one of SG's cousins, D.  Yes.  She really is that tall.  That's one of her horses, Maverick.

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D and her mom, also D, took the kids over to the neighbors' house to meet a couple of donkeys, but I didn't go with.  Instead I sat in the sun on the patio and had a beer next to SG while he worked on a paper for school.  I appreciate being lazy whenever I can squeeze it in.

I think Sophie had a good time. 

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Maverick tried to eat Willow's cowboy hat, which was pretty funny.

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I love SG's family.  They always make us feel welcome and loved, even though I'm bringing along four kids. 

None of us want the weekend to end, especially me. 

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I haven't had cable TV since the fall of 2001. 

So, last month when I signed up for Netflix and they sent us a disc to put in the Wii to make movies and TV shows play on our television the kids threw me a big hero parade down our street.  Or at least they planned to, but then they sat on their butts for twelve days in a row, eating cheetos and watching anything they could latch their starved little eyeballs onto.

Willow, bless her, has fallen hard for King of the Hill.  And I understand her devotion.  For me, it's Weeds, Dexter, and the holiest of holy: Six Feet Under.  She wakes up in the morning and first thing out of her mouth is some kind of bargain about getting ready for school fast so she can watch just a little KotH before school. 

But, she's seven, and sometimes the theme of a KotH episode isn't really intended for seven year olds.  Like last night, the episode she watched was the one where Peggy's large and beautiful feet are discovered by the foot fetish guy who tricks her into making videos where she walks around on pork and beans in her bare feet and it ends up on the internet.  I was in the kitchen making chicken soup and I was watching her watch the show, feeling rather odd about my lack of drive to distract her with something more appropriate.  Can I really be the very same person who wouldn't my oldest kid watch SpongeBob when he was her age, because the characters called each other "stupid" and said "shut up?"

I guess it was still bothering me this morning, because while I was in the shower washing my hair, I was wondering if she'd be telling the other first graders at recess all about foot fetishists and how they like to look at photos on the internet of bare feet walking on raw hamburger, and I was a little nervous about what that might mean for the kinds of playdates that are secretly babysitting and therefore much needed, when I had a thought: I'll bet you, I thought, that when she sees Homer Simpson with a prostitute, or watches Peggy Hill cry when she discovers that perverts are hot for her giant feet, she feels like I do when I watch a David Lynch film (except for The Straight Story, which was 0% pretentiously weird).  Maybe she knows that something is going on that makes some kind of sense to someone somewhere, but whatever it really is doesn't matter, so long as Bobby keeps telling funny jokes.

I mean, honestly, if I thought that one song on the radio all the time when I was little, Afternoon Delight, was about setting off model rockets after lunchtime, then I have to believe that what's meant to go over her head will do just that.  Plus, Bobby goes to Tom Landry Middle School, which makes the 8th generation, born in Dallas, Texan in me cheer.

Look at me, all embracing my flaws!        

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Last Wednesday night all the kids were away for overnights, so I took my sick self over to SG's.  It was late when we were falling asleep, not quite midnight, and he's been so overworked these past weeks.  He was on his side with his back to me and I couldn't sleep so I reached over and rubbed his shoulders to see if I could help get some of the knots out.  It was quiet and still and just a little light was coming in from the window above the bed.  It felt so peaceful, just lying there and feeling grateful for the silence (and SG's extra helping of shoulder muscles, truth be told).  And then the pot pies started in again with the arguing, and I was even more appreciative of SG and the fact that he would never, ever bellow at me to shut up.

The pot pies live in the condo directly upstairs.  They earned their name from SG sometime after their remodel, which involved upstairs pipes leaking through the ceiling, along with them switching from carpet to hardwood flooring, and from regular shoes to what I can only picture is something like this, or maybe this?  But it's not just the loud, wall-vibrating, wine glass-tinkling walking, or even the practicing karaoke over and over and over again.  It's the fighting. 

Sweet dear Lord, the fighting. 

Every single day that they are home together they fight.  They fight at 5:00 on a beautiful Saturday morning.  They fight at 3:30 in the morning, sometimes, any day of the week.  They holler above us as we eat dinner together.  They yell minutes after walking back in the door on a Sunday late afternoon after a weekend away.  She's lazy, apparently, and he's not treating her in the way that he promised her parents he would when he married her?  Something like that.  So SG named them the pot pies.  You've seen The Breakfast Club?  Then you remember, "Shut up, bitch, go fix me turkey pot pie."

SG, he is very, very good with the nicknames.  Me?  I'm demom.  Which is short for Mother of the Demons.  See?

Anyway, we've got a whole stable of pot pie jokes; about how they have closets full of both casual and fancy foil to wear, about how they add parsley for accessories.  Because, really, they are so horrible that you have to laugh about it when you aren't too busy wondering if it's quiet up there because they've killed each other.

There are theories that people and situations come into your life for reasons. Lessons. And, once you've learned the lesson, then maybe that situation, or those people, they will change or move to Cleveland or something.  I'm not a believer in this theory, per se, but maybe that is because I'm not organized enough to imagine the awesome power of orchestration that the universe would have to go through to line shit up like that for each and every human.  You know?  But, just in case the pot pies are a lesson for SG (and me, part-time), I'd like to take a moment to formally let the universe know that I am really happy to not be a miserable person who wakes other people up at 3:00 a.m. all the time, and I appreciate more than words are able to express my own very happy relationship.  Also, I've seen him walking the chihuahuas that sometimes stay at their condo for the weekend, and I have learned that it is funny to see a big dude in beachwear smoking a Marlboro while walking two chihuahuas dressed up in little pink and yellow sweaters.  It will make me laugh every time.  Any other lessons I need to learn from these people, I am happy to learn during some lovely, quiet, reflective time after they have moved away.  Okay?  Thanks!

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Sophie was Amelia Earhart for her wax museum project at school.  All the 3rd graders stood in rows in the cafeteria dressed up as their chosen favored historical figure and the parents walked up to them and the kids did a mini oral report about their person.

It was really loud.  And really 8:30ish in the morning.  But, you know, fun all the same. 

Her 9th birthday is coming up and all she wants in the whole wide world is a cell phone.  So, as we were falling asleep last night I said, Look - there is NO CHANCE that I'm getting you a phone for your birthday.  Let's not let that ruin it, mkay?  I could tell in the dark that she was pouting.  No chance?  I waited a beat.  Not discussing further.  NONE. 

Then I melted a little.  But!  I said, You will get one while you're still in elementary school, because you'll turn 12 (that is the cell phone age of my household) right before you finish 5th grade!  And the boys; Lex got his at Christmas time in 6th grade, and Nate will get his around Christmas this year when HE turns 12.

This seemed to make her happy and we all went to sleep.

This morning while I was making cinnamon toast for the kids, I realized that she's not turning 9 in 2nd grade, which would mean a cell phone in 5th grade, she's in THIRD grade this year, and that means she'll be practically in SEVENTH grade before she gets her phone. 

I'm so screwed.

Anyway.  I'm behind on every single thing in my life.  Everything.  This is how far behind I am on the 64 Colors photography thing:


Sixteen weeks.

SG and I went to pick up some takeout sushi for dinner last week and saw this sign:

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while we were loitering and waiting for the avocado rolls that I had to have. 

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The kids' school districts are doing that (stupid) STAR testing this week.  I remember forcing my mom to buy me Canadian bacon for breakfast once when I had STAR testing.  I have no idea why, but I was convinced that I'd fail if I didn't have it.  And it couldn't be regular bacon, it had to be Canadian.  It's shit like that that makes me not judge when my kids get totally worked up about stuff that seems like no big thing to me.  Even now, recalling it, I'm sitting here thinking It HAS TO BE CANADIAN.  H A S  T O  B E. 

So this morning I made bacon and eggs for my kids and gave them their allergy medicine and tylenol for Nate who keeps having sinus headaches because HELLO springtime in Northern California ahchoo ahchoo ahchoo.  Then, I told them all if they were ready to walk out the door (that's defined by: shoes=on feet; hair=brushed; jacket=on body; backpack=full of things you need for the day; teeth=brushed; lunch or lunch money=on your person) at 7:55, then they could have strawberries and whipped cream.

And, you know, with all that bacon cooking and egg frying (in bacon grease, mmmmm) and salami sandwich making this morning, I was running a little behind.  Are you all ready to go? I yelled from my bedroom.  Yes we are! they yelled back.  Ok!  Then you may have strawberries and whipped cream, but we are out the door at 8!

Stupid me.

At 8 I walk into the living room.  The kids are all watching music videos on You Tube.  Sophie is barefoot and she's got a can of whipped cream and she's holding it up really high and shooting it directly into Willow's mouth.

Suddenly, I am nobody's mother.  I'm the goddamned dorm monitor for my own chapter of Phi Beta Demonic Children.


You have this tiny baby in your arms, or maybe he's bigger and starting to walk.  Still little, though, still not in school.  And people stop you sometimes and they say for you to enjoy this time, because it goes by so fast.  And you know that, so you look at your baby and back to that person and you nod and you say that you know it does; that you know they'll be big in the blink of an eye.  And you do know.  You do understand that. 

But you don't really honestly know it until you find yourself wanting to stop parents with tiny little children, maybe put your hand on their shoulder so they will really hear you, and tell them to enjoy this time because before you know it, they'll be big.  And the parent will kiss their baby on the head and say, Oh, I know.  I know it goes by so fast.  And then you'll smile at them and you'll think, You have no idea.

My kids haven't grown up and left me yet, and it's not that I don't want them to.  It's just that sometimes when my oldest one calls me after school and I answer my phone and hear his deep voice asking me if he can go someplace with his friends, it surprises me.  And I miss things like taking him to the hardware store where he'd talk to anyone who would listen.  I miss him dragging a chair into the kitchen to stand with me while I made supper.  I miss him being little and reaching up for me to pick him up.  It's weird to look up at him.  It's weird that his jeans are bigger than mine and that he's way smarter at math.  It's amazing, watching him grow up, but damn wasn't he just two years old and goofy and sweet?    


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