Long time…

It’s not that I didn’t WANT to blog. It isn’t even that I didn’t have time to blog. It’s actually very simple: I forgot my password! After providing enough verification to ensure that I wasn’t some other overworked and underpaid housewife trying to post on my blog, WordPress kindly provided me with a new one that looks like a cat danced on my keyboard.   A LOT.

Now I have to figure out how to change it!

So, in the last few weeks we have managed to wrestle greasy sweaty boys into getting their hair buzzed off for the summer, only to hear them protest loudly that they shouldn’t have to bathe now because their hair doesn’t need washing.  When do children grasp the concept of STINK?!?!?!  I’m hoping before adulthood, because I really don’t want to have to claim the high school or college-aged kid that no one wants to sit next to because they smell like a wet towel shoved in the bottom of a hamper.

We have also learned that dish detergent, when used in a dishwasher, provides a wonderful carpet of suds over the entire kitchen floor.  This would be one of those times I questioned the logic of leaving appliances set to run at a time when I’m not around to supervise.  (And where my 13-year-old has been living for the last 10 years since he’s obviously new to the concept of the difference between dish detergent and dishwasher gel).  For those in a similar predicament, a ShopVac works nicely to rid your kitchen of bubbles.

And now, summer is ending and I’m already looking forward to the routine of school while also dreading the constraints on my time and flexibility.  Change is good, though – it makes me appreciate monotony more.

The Curse of the Gifted Parent

Right now, I have the parents of average and below-average students ready to throw things at me… but give me a chance!   All of my four children are the kinds of kids that sail through school effortlessly.  And this, in a nutshell, is the curse.  My children have never has a subject that is difficult, never felt the cold sweat right before a test, or felt the fear of bringing home the test to Mom & Dad to sign.

In essence, my kids have led the easy life.

This is a problem, though.

Ever met the adult that can’t find their way out of a wet paper bag?  Can’t start a task and finish unless they’ve been told EXACTLY what to do every step of the way?  Won’t even try something new because they’re afraid they’ll get it wrong?  Well, meet the grown-up that was once a gifted kid.

I am the mean parent that sets my kids up for failure.  Not because I enjoy seeing them melt down and cry and get frustrated.  But I do set them up to fail so that they can at least EXPERIENCE those feelings.  The curse that I have as a parent of gifted children is that I must channel my inner evil and find something that I know will frustrate them because it’s not something they have any talent whatsoever in.  And then, I must stand over them while they do it, kicking and screaming ALLLLLL the way.

“I hate this!”

“This is stupid!”

“I can’t do it!”

And the tears start…

(Multiply this by four, because I’m fool enough to go through all four of them doing this at once!)

And here I am, telling them they are not ALLOWED to give up.  They must FIGURE IT OUT.  They must have patience.  They must keep making mistakes and then with practice they will get it.  And when it is wrong, I make them do it over.

I don’t do it to be mean (welll….. not really).  I do this because after a while, I eventually hear:
“I GOT IT!”

“LOOK!”

“I DID IT!”

“Woo hoooooo!”

And that is why they are learning to knit this summer.  Because having brains doesn’t really help you when you’re wrestling the octopus of yarn wrapped around your fingers, the needles and sometimes your toes.  Because learning to knit requires concentration, and a whole lot of practice.  And I can keep adding new things into the mix and make them struggle time after time after time.

So if you’re the parent of a child who is NOT gifted, consider that your child will have the advantage over mine.  He or she will have the ability to meet challenges, to work things out, and to perservere.  And when you see your son’s little tongue sticking out the side of his mouth in concentration, or your daughter’s teeth biting down on her bottom lip she’s so focused, be thankful that you have a child that has learned that hard work is what will get them through life.

A Letter to the Editor…

Dear Editor of Life,

Please forgive the typos in this epistle, as I am so tired that I cannot open my eyes.  They are too sore and gritty from lack of sleep and refuse to open.  It does not matter that the sun has gone down, they aren’t following such clues.  They want to go to bed, and they want to go to bed NOW!

They tell me that in order to get healthy and lose weight that I am supposed to exercise eery day.  In between meals and work and laundry, I am wondering what it is that I am supposed to give up – clean clothes, money, or feeding my children – in order to find the half hour per day to do this in?  apparently if I “find the time”, I will have more energy, but that sounds a whole lot like fantasy to me.  I have cut out most of the junk food in my life, and I am constantly “running”, but still the pounds and inches stay right where they have been for five years.  I wonder if “they” realize that keeping a healthy supply of fruits and vegetables in my house requires a trip to the store every third day?

Although, a trip through the store every third day counts as more exercise, and I’m walking up and down the aisle as well as resistance training by pushing the cart around.  And by increasing my water intake to half of my body weight in ounces, I will add a few extra thousand steps to my daily regimen in trips to the loo.  (“Loo” is such a wonderful word!)

Skinny people suck.  People that have never been overweight and never tried to lose weight really make me jealous.  I joke with my spouse that I have three “H”‘s in my life, and I have never been able to tackle all three at once:  Health, Husband, House.  (Notice I ignored my children in there, because as much as I try, they require attention first and foremost and I can’t neglect them.)  I can only spin two plates at once:  Health & Husband (and the house falls apart), Health & House (and then I would need to include a Lawyer into the mix), or Husband & House….. which is what I usually wind up taking care of because it seems to create the least turmoil.

Skinny people really do suck.  I’m not lazy.  I eat healthier than most people out there.  I think I’m going to have to ask all of you to not come visit me for the next six months while I get healthy.  My house will be REALLY messy, because I want to be a skinny person, even if they do suck.

Be CAREFUL What You Wish For!

My husband is what you  might call a “workaholic”.

From sunup to sundown, the man just keeps on working.  He’s white-collar educated and so is his profession, but the man works like an ox.  If you’re one of those women that can’t pry your husband’s backside off the couch, you’re probably wondering if I’ll auction him off to the highest bidder.  But, it’s a CURSE, I’ll tell you!

I will wake up in the morning, all of my saggies being baggy and draggy, stumbling to the coffee pot, and he’ll be unloading the dishwasher while the pot is filling.  He’s late for work nearly every day, but that’s because he’s thinking he can get just a little bit more done on some project before he has to stop and hop in the car.  Weekends aren’t for relaxation, they are for what he calls “doing wood”.  (Get your mind out of the gutter!)

As soon as it looks like the snow has melted below private-part freezing depth, he is out there high-stepping it through the drifts, shoveling around the trunk of a tree and cutting it down.  There’s some male-chromosome reason for doing it at this time of year, but I’d like to meet the person who decided to experiment with Felling as a Winter Sport and shoot him.  From this point in the year until the snow falls to that depth in the fall, he will be out there until long after is wise cutting, splitting and stacking cordwood every moment he can.  It’s Fiber Therapy for him. My friends always ask if there are any trees left in our neighborhood.

The only reason he took a whole week off after his appendectomy several years ago was because it happened the day before we were supposed to go on vacation anyway.  (Before you get any ideas, he was planning on reroofing his family’s cottage while we were there)  He broke his arm and decided that if he fashioned himself a padded bandage, he would be “just fine”.  And no, he doesn’t exactly have a desk job.

So while you think it’s wonderful to have such a hardworking man around, it’s terribly exhausting to be married to him.  He’s a “family” kind of guy, which means that we can work as a FAMILY!   All of this means that my common wish is that he’d just RELAX and take it easy some day.

Aha!  Here comes the wishing part….

He laid on the couch and read the newspaper, cover to cover.  By about the second column of the first article, I was giving him “the look”, wondering if he had a pallor about his skin.   As soon as he laid the second section down, I actually asked him if he was OK.  When he walked from the couch to the bedroom and turned on the television, I had my cellphone in hand and my finger on the speed dial button for emergency services.  And still, after many hours, he has yet to do a single cotton-picking productive thing! My true wish is that he wakes up in the morning and puts on his grubby clothes and goes out to split wood.

All is not right in the world.  I have become accustomed to his aroma of two-stroke motor exhaust and the workboots by the door with his filthy clothes piled right next to it.  Today’s episode of relaxation did nothing but set me on edge.   I am thinking that I am cured of wishing him to slow down, as this is surely a sign of something ominous!

Cutting the ties….

My older children (of 4) are reaching that age where the cord is stretched so far, it’s nearly at its breaking point.  The difficulty is knowing how to cut it gradually and not wait too long and it snaps back and bites me in the behind.  I am the mother of all neurotics.  I don’t trust a soul out there except me, myself, and I – and even one of those three I have my suspicions about.

Yesterday my daughter got a last-minute invite to go to an amusement park with her friend and her friend’s (nearly-as-neurotic-as-I-am) parents.  First words to pop into my head as reply were, “Are you insane?!?!”  But I did what any sensible neurotic woman would do, and I told her I would check with her father first.  Of course, my husband holds no such power over these decisions, I was just trying to find a good excuse for why my completely responsible daughter couldn’t go into a foreign country and mingle with all kinds of unknown people with another set of completely responsible parents…. in a different country…

I really want my children to be independent:  I have taught them to cook, to clean, to wash their own laundry, and many other things.  I really want them to be able to do these things.   I just want them to do it in an environment where I can see, smell and taste their every move.   They can be perfectly happy young adults as long as they walk aruond with a video camera on their head so I can know at a moment’s notice if their shirt is tucked in, if they’ve belched in public or if the beady-eyed-man on the bench is giving them the look.

I really think velcro was made to replace the womb.  Detach when convenient and reapply child to hip when done…. but yet… I think if I wait too long that the shock of detachment might render me catatonic, and they will be so hyped up on freedom, they’ll fritter it away.  I want them to taste of freedom gradually, appreciate it like a fine wine, swish it around and savor the little sip each time.  I don’t want freedom to come down a funnel all at once and make them do stupid things.

So, after much debate, I let her go.  With a text to the other parents admitting I am paranoid and would only allow her to go on condition that she and her friends not be allowed to wander on their own, I acquiesed.   I let her wade in the ocean of independence and get her feet wet.   Then I reeled her right back to me.

G’Day, Mate!

No, I’m not Australian. I’ve never been there, even.  I live in a much colder part of a much less interesting nation.   But I do have a friend that lives in Australia, and she’s got me hooked on saying it.  Maybe you can pretend I’m talking like an Aussie and it might sound more interesting.  Everything sounds cooler in an Australian accent.  (Unless you’re Australian, then I guess American accents are THE thing to hear.)

In truth, my vowels are hard and nasal, and my backyard wildlife tends more to deer and bluejays than koalas and kookaburras.  I have decided to jump on the bandwagon (a few years delayed) and actually create a blog.  I have no idea if any of you will find any of this interesting.  You never know.  I have been told on occasion that I am witty.  Some have even been foolish enough to suggest I create a blog, ensuring me that LOTS of people will read it.  I have no such illusion, I just figure if I type out what is going on in my head, one of three things might happen:

1.  I might save myself some money on therapy.  So far, the sarcastic wit has helped me immensely, but my kids are getting old enough to realize that not everyone’s mother is like me and have started to take three giant steps sideways to prevent people from thinking “I’m with them”.

2.  You might see a bit of yourself in these stories and know you’re not alone.  Or you might just use me as one of those preventive examples and do whatever it takes to not be me.

3.  You might go away and never come back.  Doesn’t matter, I can’t see you anyway.  Really, I can’t see you.

So the facts of my life are that I’m highly educated, highly intelligent, and I have four kids that I decided to leave the working world to raise.  Most days I wonder what I was thinking, but the fact is that I didn’t trust anyone else to raise “MY” kids.  No one told me that with motherhood comes HOUSEWORK, which I loathe.  I didn’t get a Master’s degree so that I could learn the proper way to wipe boy urine off the tiles around my toilet, but there’s the truth of it.  I have many degrees and yet I am still wiping bodily fluids off of many surfaces in my house.

The bodily fluids don’t always belong to people in my household, nor do they even necessarily have to be human.  My dog died last year, so I really thought I was past having to clean up animal messes.  Ha!  I have somehow managed to get caught up on my laundry, so I am down to just the bucket of gross clothes that my husband does yardwork and vehicle maintenance in.  I’m not sure why we bother washign these, they really don’t look any better when they come out.  So, I’m chucking one piece of clothing after another into the washer, and as I do so, out wafts this odor that is halfway between armpit and roadkill, and as I get closer to the bottom of the bucket, it gets less armpit and more roadkill.

Want to know why?

Well, that would be because I HAD roadkill in my laundry bucket!  Now I know why they make laundry baskets with holes in the sides, and why solid buckets are not a good idea.  You see, when a mouse SOMEHOW manages to scale up the side of a slippery bucket that is nearly two feet high, and then he falls in, the baskets with the holes in the side would allow him safe escape to be caught sensibly in a trap on a different day.

My laundry basket, without this wonderful design option, actually trapped said mouse, who perished a most thirst-filled and hungry death.  (Unless he died from inhalation of armpit aroma)  So, after a week or two, Mr. Deadmouse turns into a squiggly, awfully disgusting smelling buffet for the bottom-feeders of the insect world.  And that, my friends is how my husband wound up with two shirts and a pair of jeans thrown right into the garbage without second thought!

Today, I was the EXTERMINATRIX.  Mmmm… get me the conical boustier…

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