Archive for 'Humor/Disconnected Miscellany'
I fell off.
Fell off the earth, I guess, so to speak.
Once you stop writing, the inertia to return is stifling.
I’m sure some of you have experienced this, but ceasing to write has been so odd for me since writing was integrally therapeutic for me. My focus needed to return to saving money, dealing rare books, and finding ways to budget all the while raising the children, the dog, the guinea pig, an ever- expanding giant millipede, one flatulent hedgehog, the dwindling minnow collective/Borg, a stoic Japanese fighting fish, and a now terribly fertile crayfish gleefully adopted from a third grade science class.
“She” gave birth yesterday, so my time has been spent attempting to separate the nearly microscopic offspring into separate tiny habitats (read old Tupperware) before she gobbles her perilous progeny mercilessly.
So today I had a birthday party for Jesus event for Sue’s class and the children immediately flocked to the pantry where all the pets dwell. One of the mothers wandered in there, looked at me in a troubled yet intrigued way, and asked, “So what all kinds of creatures do you breed in here?”
“Breed! What do you mean?” I asked. “I’m a hedge fund manager. These pets are just a hobby.”
She left the pet room and poured herself another cup of decaf in my thrice-used Spode Christmas china.
It’s just a snapshot.
I’ve got more.
Please meet “Lily,” Edward’s new pet Hedgehog.
It all started last Spring when Edward discovered Craigslist and the “Pets” section; he perseverated on various pet possibilities until he decided that the hedgehog was the perfect pet! For the next eight months, he became an expert on hedgehogs, hedgehog breeders, laws related to keeping hedgehogs, etc.
Sorry I’ve been absent for so many days. Just over here imagining the moments ahead….and oh, the moments we’ve had!
Apparently third grade is a grade of projects done in the home. With no further adieu, I bring you the glorious, the spectacular,
BUTTER PAT EYE PIG!
This project is designed to teach proper placement of the continents which renders unfortunate Antarctica as a blue pig scrotum.
Edward told me about this project just as we were going to bed the night before it was due, so he hastily colored the continents and placed them in their respective spots on this pig friend.
Does anyone else find the eyes somewhat creepy? Do you find his smile authentic, or is something far more sinister going on here?
(Mrs. Bear might even find him a tad zombified.)
So the rest of the story finds E running out the door the next morning, gluten-free bagel in hand, casually dripping a swathe of butter right onto the pig’s eye since the all-important project was left in the middle of the kitchen floor. Edward casually wipes off the butter, scoops up the pig, who now boasts a rather rheumy, glowing eye, and runs off to school.
Imagine my horror upon opening his backpack later that afternoon to find the pig crammed inside!
“I did not put him in there! I promise I turned him in!!” a frightened Edward screams.
“Look at his eyes,” Sue chants, “Just look at those eyes!”
At this point, I’m rather miffed. I do not like to be part of continent pig projects period, much less at 8:45 at night only to have them not turned in. Still, Edward swears he has no knowledge of how the pig got back in his backpack.
And I believe him.
I believe we are into week three with our medication trial for Edward, and I had to quote verbatim from the marketing materials for the title of this post! My husband and I have had so much fun mocking the pamphlets and checklists provided by this pharmaceutical company. I’ve never seen such complicated marketing packets and reminder stickers–all in soothing beach-tone colors of blue and light tan.
The medication promises “manageable mornings,” “assignments accomplished,” and “drama-free dinnertime.” The materials encourage us to “notice the little changes, write them down and celebrate the improvements.” There are photographs of a little boy enjoying board games with his sister while his parents smile adoringly. He smiles ingratiatingly at his mother as she prepares his breakfast, his backpack packed and jacket already on–clearly ready for a productive day at school.
We’ve been running around the house for the past three weeks occasionally lapsing into a faux reverie where we claim to be “imagining the moments ahead” when Edward will not interrupt me while I’m talking with a doctor to tell me that hedgehogs are extremely prone to cancer, or when he will actually remember all of his homework materials so I do not have to bribe a custodian to allow me entrance into the school to retrieve them every other day.
All sarcasm aside, we have seen a certain amount of calming in hyperactivity with the use of a very small dose of this medication. Specifically where we used to witness loud, screaming tantrums when the soccer team lost, we now see quiet sobbing. Where once we experienced shrieking and wailing at the threat of turning off a video game, we might see a fist pounded quietly into the carpet and a wry face, but otherwise a rather mild reaction.
It reminds me fondly of a Temple Grandin talk I went to last Spring where she spoke about gifted software developers with Aspergers who would quietly retreat to their cubicle when upset or overwhelmed. Her point was that they had learned how to manage their emotions in a socially appropriate way. I suppose I see this medication helping Edward do just that, and my hope is that this new reaction to adversity will become more ingrained for him and therefore a part of his coping skills.
In the meantime, I will continue my quiet reveries…
We find ourselves well into our second week of school, and I’ll have to say that this year is so much better than last year I can actually breathe! Last year we were living with my brother and his family, homeschooling Edward at my brother’s kitchen table and trying to find a house because we had just left our all of our dear friends in South GA and moved to Middle TN.
What a difference a year makes.
Still, mornings are challenging with our group. We all like to sleep late, drink copious amounts of coffee before we can focus on anything whatsoever, and all require complicatedly different breakfasts with multiple tinctures and vitamins.
Today our morning began with the sighting of an enormous centipede in the middle of the kitchen floor!
Now it’s not like we eschew bugs in any way–we do have a giant pet millipede named “Mills”–but something about waking up to such a large insect prior to the ingestion of a single milligram of caffeine is unholy.
I immediately called for the boys in a loud (and apparently freakish) voice that summoned the whole family from their slumber, and was not the best way to begin a school day. Their frenzied tromping, not surprisingly, frightened the creature and s/he slithered under the toe molding.
We banged, knocked, blew, and shoved makeshift shivs into the space in an effort to coerce the fellow to emerge.
No such luck.
H even grabbed my hair dryer and tried to root him out.
S/he could not be moved.
This did not leave a lot of time for the preparation of gluten-free toast without crusts, soft-scrambled farm eggs or slightly undercooked grits. (One child likes the “grits crunch.”)
Repeatedly running back in to the foyer to see if the ‘pede had emerged was also a time-waster.
Still, we made it to school on time and we should have a topic to write about during journal period. Maybe our writing will even be legible today! Who knows?
It was just a centipede morning.
Tomorrow we meet Edward and Joseph’s teachers for the new year.
I NEED MORE TIME!
I said I would go through the Greek and Latin vocabulary book with them over the summer. I even made color-coded index cards.
We learned three words. I hopes these words and their derivations are what my children encounter when they take the PSAT.
Instead or learning Greek and Latin, we:
Fed dead white mice to rather large Caiman crocodiles at a local reptile store.
I intended to organize my house, structure our days and create nifty chore charts.
Learned that it’s not that difficult to sleep in a damp swimsuit and coverup two, or even three, days in a row since then all you have to do is pop up in the morning, brush your teeth, grab a Rice Krispie treat, and head for the pool or beach. Such a time saver!
I planned to lose 12 pounds and finally fit into a two-piece swimsuit for the first time since Edward was born.
Instead, I created a self-portrait of myself at the beach as a “shadow” or “shade.”
I think I look like a Sleestack.
I intended on teaching my children that the most quiet, patient fisherman always catches the most fish.
Instead we learned that sometimes the loudest, most active fisherman catches the only fish…
Like it or not, school looms…
A ten-year-old may ignore the start of stomach troubles and insist on consuming a Number 5 Mexican combo to impress his 11-year-old friend. Later, in the wee hours of the morning, this same boy, might run for the bathroom, sailing over ten feet of carpet and his sister’s giant wooden doll house, yet not making it to the bathroom before a Mexican eruption takes place throughout the room.
(Come to think of it he does look a little peaked here.)
This vesuvius might lead a weary mother to scream into the night, “This will never, ever, ever come out of the carpet! It’ll have to be ripped up! There’s no hope! No amount of steam cleaning can get this up! I don’t know why I ever agreed to buy a house that had carpet again!”
This mother will then need to sheepishly apologize to her ten-year-old for Mexican fest throw-up blame.
The next morning, this same mother may reluctantly rent a steam cleaner and proceed to spend seven full hours steam cleaning not only the upchuck room, but also every other wretchedly carpeted room in her home.
She might overzealously attack the playroom, vacuuming up gallon after gallon of muddy, play dough tinged soup. Exhausted, she may proclaim the entire house spotless, and go to bed at 8 pm.
The next morning, however, she may awaken to a troubling, moldly smell emanating from the playroom. She may rush to Home Depot in a panic, be told that she has soaked the carpet pad and will need to rent an industrial sized dehumidifer as well as several oversized fans in order to have any hope of drying out the carpet pad.
As directed by the Home Depot professionals, she may spray a mold deterrent product all over the carpet and work it feverishly into the carpet pile using her bare hands. She may discover this is an effective way to remove her own fingerprints, and may spend the next several days with band aids covering each raw fingertip.
In a fit of anger over the destruction of a rather complicated artifact out of floam, an irrationally impulsive 8-year-old boy might “accidentally” shove a plastic throw-up bucket on his five-year-old sister’s head. (The bucket was rinsed out, but still!)
(The above is a reenactment.)
If this boy does such a detestable act, he will most likely find himself locked in his room, Mead Composition journal in hand, with a command to write ten legible sentences in cursive detailing why his actions were wrong. He could possibly miss a coveted trip to an agricultural museum and a promise of actual goat milking.
(Below you see this child convincing his sister to push him around on her “princess choo choo” while he simultaneously consumes a Rice Krispie treat and balances a hard wood floor sample piece my husband brought home after I told him the carpet would never come clean.)
While locked in his room, he might write the following:
“I dumped a box that Joseph barfed in on Sue. I’ll never do that again. Now I’m in big trouble and have to write sentences. Right now I am on #4. This is my best handwriting. This is also hard. The words that I am writing are a punishment. I’m missing my lunch. I can’t think about anything else to write. I’m starving. This is my last sentence.”
I haven’t even started writing about the goat milking…..just wait!
I decided today was the day to try to do something about the troublingly stained champagne-colored carpet in my dining room.
Yes, dining room.
Who puts carpet in a dining room, you ask? Well, the person who owned this house before I did. She had three young children, too, so I’m not sure what she was thinking but this carpet is nasty.
I even thought about pulling it up and painting the subfloor a distressed white but I took a gander at the subfloor and it is far to splintery for my household.
So I settled in this morning with a fresh white cloth and a brand new bottle of carpet cleaner. It was actually quite peaceful. I listened to talk radio and tried to catch up on current events, as relaxing as that could be in this day and age.
I was well into my project, faithfully scrubbing away at a deeply set-in spaghetti sauce stain when Edward shot past me at record pace, a panicked look on his face as he screamed,“Ohhhh noooooo! And it was a permanent tooth, too!”
I actually kept spraying and blotting. I think I was giving myself a moment to compose my thoughts and prepare to meet a ten-year-old missing one of his two front teeth.
I mentally calculated how much some sort of dental implant might cost, along with the knowledge that most dental insurance plans don’t cover cosmetic dentistry.
I could hear Edward in the background wailing from his self-imposed exile: “A permanent tooth! A permanent one. They don’t grow back! Aghhhhhh!”
Then I remembered some rule about putting knocked-out teeth in milk to preserve them for a possible re-implantation and realized I had to face the truth. I hurried over to the playroom where I found Joseph and Sue on their hands and knees searching through carpet and wailing, “It’s got to be here somewhere!”
Joseph stood up, clutching his mouth, and delivered the news with a hopeful look, “Only part of it is gone. It was a permanent tooth, but part of it is still here, and the other part is in the carpet somewhere. I think.”
He jumped back down and dutifully continued to sift through the shag. I knelt down next to him, steeled myself to the possible blow, and asked him to open his mouth. To my utter relief, only a half-moon shaped chunk was missing from one of his lower middle teeth.
A sharp shard poked forward to be sure, but it was nothing like the horror I had imagined.
I smiled. He looked afraid.
“If I find the piece, do you think they can graft it back on?” he asked, hopefully.
“I’d just like to hear the story, if you please,” I said calmly, fully expecting the dreaded word “wrestling” to be front and center.
Joseph began sheepishly, “Well, I was just sort of wearing these boxing gloves…”
“I don’t need to hear any more.” I countered, my confidence building as I imagined the scenario.
“Well, it was his head that knocked into my mouth.”
Isn’t it always?
We’ll be visiting the pediatric dentist in the morning to find out what can be done. In the meantime, the dentist warned us that further wrestling, roughhousing or consumption of crunchy foods could make the situation worse, or cause the jagged tooth shard to impale the lip.
A few hours after the event, everyone was eerily quiet. I hunted them as I typically do in these situations and found them piled on Edward’s bed…reading the Bible together.
They are good.
This odd stench casually began to emanate from Sue’s room last week. I figured it was some food morsel left behind, searched halfheartedly a few times, and came away confused but not overly concerned.
This week, however, the smell grew to such proportions, I couldn’t stand to even walk by her room. I sniffed and sniffed to no avail. I took 345 babies, stuffed animals, Barbies and Polly Pockets out of countless baskets and nooks. I found nothing, and still the smell was horrifying, might I say, other-worldly!
And then, while sniffing along her bookshelf, I whiffed something that almost caused me to lose my pancakes:
Harmlessly cute, eh? A simple mouse crafted out of a rather unusually-shaped red potato as part of a preschool craft.
A craft that was created in March, and has sat on a child’s bookshelf since then…slowly rotting and festering until rheumy potato juices dripped down the shelf into a pool of microscopic Polly Pocket shoes and jewelry.
Yes, it attracted some small whitish worms.
I just can’t talk about it any more.