Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day before the trip

We're leaving tomorrow for our big summer adventure. As you can tell from this picture, Maggie started her big summer adventure a few weeks ago. Despite spending the entire week getting ready, nothing seems to have gotten done. In an effort to keep the house clean I thought about forcing my kids to eat over the kitchen sink, free of utensils, and dishes, and glasses. It's the way I eat on many days and it really does reduce the mess, but I wasn't sure they would go for it, so in the end I've just been trying to convince them they really don't need to eat more than once a day. I really want to come home to clean house and am willing to do just about anything to make it happen.

Yesterday the kids and I drove to Lakeland to drop our beloved dog, Buster, at our friend's house. I typically don't call Buster my "beloved" dog, but he did get hit by a car last week and so I feel the need to at least pretend I care about him. The car that hit him was going about 25 and slammed right into him. It was not the driver's fault. It was Buster's fault. Well, honestly it was Buster's owner's fault, and by Buster's owner I mean Greg. He's the one who agreed to get this dog one week after I gave birth to my last child. Have I ever mentioned that? Probably just once or twice.

Buster is a runner. That's the reason his old owners pawned him off on us, but we didn't know it at the time. He runs whenever he gets the chance and last week he got yet another chance. It was Anthony's last day of school and there was some chaos going on at the front door and Buster took advantage of it by plowing through Maggie and running like the wind. Then a car hit him and pretty much ended that fun. It was horrible to witness and unfortunately Anthony was with me and saw the whole thing. He cried pretty hard. I don't have any desire to ever hear one of my kids cry that cry again.

But immediately he calmed himself down and asked St. Francis to intercede and lo and behold, Buster was out of the vet's office by 4 pm that afternoon. It should be noted that the vet told us he sees this happen all the time; a dog comes in after being hit, looks okay and then dies within hours. But not Buster. He lives on, so all's well that ends well.

On top of dropping the dog off yesterday, my beloved husband,Greg, gave me a list of other tasks he wanted completed before we leave town. I typically don't call Greg my "beloved husband," but I enjoyed running around doing last minute things all week, so now I am feeling the love for him like never before.

We're headed to North Carolina tomorrow, to spend the night, and then on to Philly for two days to see Greg's brother and mother, then to Albany to see my family for a week, then on to Vermont to see some close friends and then we head back here. It should be fun. We have some big expectations and they better all be met, or I'll have to resort to writing all about it right here on the blog.

See you when we get back!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

end of the school year

Anthony finished school last week. He had an awards ceremony on Tuesday, which he forgot to tell me about until the night before. That sums up Anthony's life. He forgets things. He forgets where he put his shoes, his backpack, his lunchbox, his meter, his pump, his clothes, his homework, his library books. He forgets what he did yesterday, or this morning, or ten minutes ago. Most delightfully of all, he forgets everything his dad and me tell him. He takes the phrase "live in the moment" quite literally.

Even though I had many things going on that day, I made sure to squeeze in the awards ceremony, because honestly, there are some things Anthony won't forget, and me missing that would be on the top of the list.The ceremony was interesting. There was a slide show, which was cute, and then the children read poems, which was not as cute as you would expect, because it turns out that 3rd graders do a lot of mumbling and much of what was said couldn't be heard. Anthony's poem was about bacon. If the slide show didn't stir up emotion in everyone then surely Anthony's tribute to the fattiest food on the planet did the trick. I'm sure I saw people wiping tears away when he was done.

What was most interesting about the ceremony was when the teacher, microphone in hand, announced that she would be singing a song to the children. I immediately grew uncomfortable and wanted to shout out, "wait, I didn't bring a blanket, what am I going to hide under when I cringe uncontrollably?" No offense to the teacher, but I can't help it, I'm a cringer. And the classroom was small and crowded and there was just nowhere to turn if things went bad. The one blessing was that my husband wasn't there to witness any of this. The teacher said she would be singing a song called, "I hope you Dance," by Leann Womack. I've heard this song many times. It is sappy in all the right places and perfect for an end of the year celebration.

She turned on the music and started singing and I decided to do the best thing possible, which was to stare at my son, who was sitting in front of me , so all I could really see was his profile, and what appeared to be much blinking. Excessive blinking is what Anthony does when he is either trying to fend off tears, or make someone disappear. I could tell the blinking was of the first kind. I thought to myself , oh my goodness, how is it possible that two of the most emotionally immature people have managed to raise a young man who is touched by his teacher's singing. Case closed, nature takes it over nurture everyday of the week.

After the singing, which I admit was not that bad, we moved onto the awards ceremony. Because this is 3rd grade they have to pretend life is fair, so all the children received one. Anthony got an award for creative writing because of his exceptionally good writing skills. In an attempt to kiss my butt, the teacher prefaced all of this by saying he got his writing skills from his mother. Remember that note I wrote to her way back about the beer cap? Turns out she must have liked it! Anyhow, the butt kissing worked. Who doesn't like to be bragged on in front of a bunch of other parents?

The ceremony ended, I checked Anthony out of school, and when we got in the car I asked him if he was bit choked up at the singing. He said he was, and that his teacher did an awesome job, and he was really proud of her because that must have been hard for her to do. Sometimes Anthony brings me to the brink of madness. This wasn't one of those times. This was one of those times when I just wanted to stop the clock and enjoy him in all his cuteness.

But alas, life does not stop, and since that perfect moment over a week ago, there have been hundreds of others that have left me near the brink. But thankfully blogging is here and helps me remember all the good stuff.

Monday, June 7, 2010

it's over - finally

Kate's baseball season is over. Finally. Truly. It's over.

Thursday's game was set to be played in Orange City, which is about forty minutes away. Greg came home after work and we all left and were about as cranky as you can expect after getting little sleep. Anthony was especially lovely. He begged not to go to Thursday's game. He ranted on about hoping that Kate's team would lose. He told Kate that softball was the most boring sport ever and he didn't even watch her play while he was at the games, so why should he even bother going. He seemed to take an inordinate amount of pleasure in telling her all of this. It's time like these that my heart melts and I know I'm doing a fabulous job of raising my kids. The one thing he had going for him was that I was too exhausted to make empty threats about all the ways I was going to punish him.

We got to Orange City and it was thundering and lightening. By the time it stopped, the field was soaked, so we sat there and waited and waited and around 7:30 it was determined that since it hadn't rained in Mount Dora we should move the game there. So we got in the car and drove forty minutes back to where we started. I was so tired that none of this seemed insane. The game got under way around 8:30. Kate's team won by a landslide. I wanted to cry great big tears of sorrow over the fact that we had another day of this, but twenty years from now, when I'm gathered around my kitchen table having Thanksgiving dinner with my kids and their kids, I didn't want to have to listen to Kate tell the story of me being hysterically angry over her winning her playoff game, so I decided to go right along pretending that this was all extremely exciting.

Friday night we drove to DeBary and shockingly enough, it rained. And the field was soak and we sat there and waited and waited and I tried not to have a meltdown. Greg looked at me at one point and said, "we're going to feel like idiots in six months when Kate decides she hates softball and never wants to play again." And I said to him, "really, is it really going to take you six months to feel like an idiot over this, because I kind of felt that way on Tuesday when I was driving home at mid-night."

The game finally started at 8:30. And we didn't even have to drive all the way back home to play. The umpire, or as Anthony calls him, the empire, made some atrocious calls which brought a certain amount of excitement to the game.There was absolutely no telling what he was going to call a strike. This fact made Kate actually swing at a ball after it had already landed in the catcher's mitt. If you aren't familiar with the rules of softball, I'll just say that you should swing while the ball is still in the air. Once it's in the mitt, there is pretty much no way you're going to hit it. Greg and I looked at each other in disbelief and then I realized I just needed to be thankful that we were one out closer to a full night's sleep. The girls tried their best but ended up losing 11 to 6, which wasn't bad considering that they were running on fumes and the officiating was the worst I've ever seen. I admit it, for all the insanity of this week, and for all my near breakdowns, I was sad they lost. Kate loves playing and loves being on a team and since I love her, I enjoy watching her do something she takes such pleasure in.

She was ready for it to be over though. On Saturday morning when she woke up, Greg was watching a college softball series and she said "ugh, get it off, I don't want to see another softball game until the fall." And Anthony, who was in the bathroom, but never misses an opportunity to be obnoxious yelled out, "I don't want to see another softball game, ever! And I'm not kidding!" Like any of us thought he was kidding.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Kate's team won their first game on Tuesday, but lost last night and boy did they lose big. The game was in Debary, but due to a potential storm there was a delay 3 innings in, so we all sat around the parking lot and waited for hours and hours for something to happen. Okay, it wasn't hours, but it was a long time. Maggie rolled around in the dirt and yelled, "I'm a whittle piggy, come on mama, you be a whittle piggy, too," over and over, and Anthony begged and pleaded for candy and I tried to pretend I didn't know either of them, but no luck, everyone knows those two belong to me.

Finally at around 9:30, just when I thought I was going to pass out, the officials decided it would be a terrific idea to move the game to Orange City, which is "just down the street" from Debary. There weren't any storms in Orange City and if we got at least 4 innings in, the game would count as an official game and blah,blah, blah, and I could not believe that I was the only person who thought this was a pathetic idea, but apparently I was, so I kept my mouth shut and pretended like I was cool with the idea. I hate to cause a scene.

Greg is working down at Cape Canaveral now and so he met us at the game, which meant that I had driven to the game in my car and unless I wanted to sleep in it, I was going to have to drive my car home. This was making me very nervous. I've been known to nap at stop lights when I'm tired. I go to bed at 9 every night. I no longer drink caffeine. I was so confused and tired that I started to think that rolling around in the dirt with Maggie may not be such a bad idea. At least the dirt in my underwear would keep me awake.

I followed everyone over to Orange City and tried to keep myself from crying. When we got to the field, we sat for another thirty minutes, waiting for lights to come on, at which point the officials gave us the happy and exciting news that the rule book states that the girls could play until 11:30 pm. YEAH! By this point delusion set in and everything anyone said was making me laugh uncontrollably and Jane kept saying, "My mom is really tired, that's why she's laughing like that, she goes to bed at 8 every night," which is a huge lie. I go in my room at 8 every night, I don't fall asleep until 9.

The girls were all visibly tired, dropping balls left and right and swinging at balls that never should have been swung at and they fell apart. Plus, the other team looked like they may have been born at least ten years before our girls. I'm pretty sure some of them had children they needed to get home and tuck into bed. They were hitting everything that got pitched to them and killing the ball. Our girls didn't stand a chance. I knew it was bad when one of the parents said, in a very honest and sincere way, "oh, it's only 14 to 1?"

We got in my car to leave around 11:45 and didn't make it back here until round 12:20. The ride home made my evening complete though. Kate sat up front with me so she could talk about the game. I love talking to Kate because it's like talking to an adult. She is rational and calm and cuts to the chase, but about 5 minutes from home I remembered that she is still only 11. She looked at me and said in the most serious way, "If I'm in the shower for more than six minutes, please come and check on me because I think there's a chance I might fall asleep in there." It's 9 am and she's still sound asleep (in her bed- not the shower).

Tonight we do it all over again, in Orange City. If they lose they are done, if they win they go on. Still not sure which one I want more.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

a few things

I had a lovely birthday weekend. Someone on Kate's softball team invited us to an end of the year softball party at their home. I said we would go but as soon as I said that I started to panic and try and back out of it because I really don't know anyone on the team and I do horrible at parties where I don't know people. I do horrible at parties where I do know people. I'm mostly a homebody, antisocial misfit who likes to talk to as few people as possible, so the whole party scene doesn't always work well. Unless I am getting drunk and causing a scene and then things work out fantastically.

I really didn't want to spend an afternoon picking my lips in front of a bunch of strangers, but Kate wanted to go and so I pretended I wanted to go, too , because I'm kind like that, and as it turns out, it was a lively, eclectic group of people and we ended up staying for several hours and I didn't even get drunk, but I did drink 3 diet cokes, which made me feel drunk, seeing as I never have caffeine anymore. Boy is diet coke just not any good, but even as sickening as it tastes I could not resist going back for more, because once I start doing something, no matter how bad it is for me, I can't stop. I would make a terrific meth head. Anyway, the kids had a blast, I chatted it up with a bunch of very entertaining and pleasant people and the food was terrific (and free). Not a bad way to spend the day.

Sunday was Greg's birthday so we went to the beach and had another fun day. I mentioned to someone that we had gone to the beach and the person said "enjoy it while you can." Now are people really believing we won't be able to enjoy the beach soon? Please. Things are never as bad as they seem. Or maybe they are, but I'm a master of denial, so in my mind, I'm not too worried about an oil slick heading to Ormond Beach. Feel free to laugh at me if Florida is soon declared a hazard, but until then, I'm going to the beach and enjoying myself. I'm not downplaying the sadness of the situation, but I truly can do nothing about it. The people who are supposed to be doing something about it can't seem to do anything about it, so why add to the negativity?

I rode my bike yesterday afternoon and foolishly didn't bring enough water and at one point I was tempted to just go knock on someones door and ask if I could fill up my water bottle. I may have been able to get away with it, because I think I was starting to hallucinate and foam at the mouth and I am sure someone would have felt sorry for me. I rode for two hours and the last 30 minutes were spent with me trying to fend off tears and mumbling things to myself about my sore ass and my lack of water. It was a sorry, sad, pathetic scene. I've fully recovered, so don't be too worried about me. I hope to get another ride in today, because yesterday's was so tantalizing that I can't help myself.

Kate's team made the playoffs so her season continues on for one more week. She was moved up to the Majors last month and it was an adjustment at first, but she is doing quite well and loving it. I hope her team does well. I'm not competitive with my own things, but when it comes to my kids, I'm out for blood.

Seventeen more day until the trip that could end my marriage starts. Two weeks, four kids, one van, one husband, a thousand miles there and a thousand miles back... oh and a wife who never keeps all the ways she's annoyed to herself. It's got happy memories written all over it!