Fifteen years ago today my little guy was born. He was rather late, biding his time, apparently waiting for the coolest holiday to come around. Early Halloween morning I went into labor and after a night of pacing in my hallway, taking fitful "naps", and squeezing Dave's hand harder than he thought was possible, my little guy finally showed up. And not so many hours later, when day turned to night and our doorbell began ringing repeatedly, Dave surprised neighborhood trick-or-treaters with a glimpse of our hours old little one.
Have to say that Halloween was all treat that year.
I scare easily. My whole family knows. They used to follow me around and try to scare me all the time. It was awful...I got all twitchy and stuff. Anyway, they've stopped...at least for now. But it turns out I don't even need my family to scare me. I don't even need other people at all. Turns out I just need my own goofy self.
So, here's what happened. This morning I was going to run our little robot vacuum cleaner so it could do a mediocre job of vacuuming while I was gone. I found a couple of kitten rattle ball toys on the floor, so I put them on the stool in the bathroom to keep them out of the way, and shut the door. "Click" the vacuum started, and I left.
Well, eight hours or so later I got home. I decided to do a little bit of way neglected laundry. I got a bin, went into the bathroom to check for dirty towels, found one on the stool, picked it up, something rattled. "A FREAKIN' RATTLESNAKE'S IN HERE!!!!" I thought. I jumped. I shrieked. I saw the two little rattle balls. I felt silly.
Sigh...Halloween came a day early for this wimpy girl (who happens to have slightly cleaner floors now).
Each and every morning I'm the first one awake. I slither out of bed, very gently make my side (not great...it's totally dark, after all), grab my glasses, slink out of the room, begin closing the door, and every day...every day...Hazel comes up beside me and gleefully wags her tail.
"BAP, BAP, BAP, BAP, BAP!!!!!" That happy appendage whacks the wall.
I hardly ever win anything. Really, it's quite rare. But recently I won two totally different, totally amazing online art classes...one that focuses on dreams and the other is a season pass to a bunch of different awesome classes. I'm so honored and excited!! You'll likely see some changes in my upcoming pieces as I dive into trying new things, thinking new thoughts, and exploring new mediums.
OK, so what's funny is that ever since the dream class went live, I've been remembering my dreams. Usually I wake up, go about my day, and am unfazed by my dream life. But these days I wake upconscious of what I've dreamt, more often than not.
And, by golly, they've mostly been about school. Just like when I was a kid. And, by George, they've mostly been about forgetting something or getting something terribly wrong. Really like when I was a kid. Only adult style...as in, "I'm the teacher now." Here's a taste. Note: please only send me your interpretations if you think my dreams indicate that I'm brilliant, amazing, and wonderful. None of that crazy lady stuff, deal?
• My former student was actually my age, but still looked four-years-old, and I had to give her a ride to San Antonio because her feet wouldn't reach the pedals.
• My classroom was actually in a basement, with no supplies, steam hissing from pipes above, and parents dropping their children off seemingly unconcerned.
• Oh, and yes I did wear my pajamas to school. Not traumatic at all, just comfy, thank you very much.
And it was Journey. Now I am a child of the 80s, after all, so of course I still manage to hold on to at least fifty percent of the lyrics. I start singing along. The kid hates it. I decide that today, just today, I'll not make a sound. But I am going to act out the song as best I can.
Little guy: "You're hurting my peripheral vision, mom."
And throwing caution to the wind, I kept it up for the whole song. I figure on Monday morning I'll schedule an appointment with his optometrist.
I've come to the conclusion that my big guy is actively engaged in daddy training with all this kitten care. He's had to deal with all the predictable body fluids, the spazzy behavior, the being woken up at all hours of the night, and the expenses of food and doctor bills.
He's even getting the safety part down.
Me, upon going to his room: "I neeeeeeed the kitten."
He handed Tommy to me.
Big guy: "I had to move all the thumb tacks from the bottom of my bulletin board to the top because Tommy kept pulling them off and chewing on them."
Me: "You're a good dad."
I'm thinking that my someday grandchildren will have chosen their dad well.
I have an otoscope of my very own. Seriously, second only to a thermometor, it's the most awesome parent medical supply ever! Anyway, the little guy felt like his ears were funny, so he asked me to take a gander. Right ear was a bit funky, but I could see that healthy little eardrum bright and clear. Left ear, well, nothin' but funky wax. No sign of the eardrum at all. Ew. So I called the doctor's office and made an appointment.
Now, a little side note. My little guy is famous around here for not hearing me...so he says. I always suspected, and then accused, him of well, basically lying. So maybe, just maybe, he was right and I owe him a big 'ol apology.
Well, we went to the doctor. The nurse flushed, and flushed, and flushed, and flushed, and flushed.... That right ear was stubborn! After flushing even more she got what looked like a teeny tiny lighted spoon. She dug right in and....
Skip to our ride home - this is a courtesy skip, you don't want to know why.
Me: "Do you think you can hear better now?"
Little guy: "I think I just hear weirder."
Me: "Yeah, I bet your ear is feeling pretty wacky about all that."
Little guy: "I guess."
Me: "So do you have any homework?"
Little guy: ignore
Me: "DO YOU HAVE ANY HOMEWORK?"
Little guy: "I don't know what you're saying."
Yup, thinking an apology is not in order after all. Goofy lovable kid!
I took Hazel for a walk/run last night. Yes, I'd looked at the weather forecast. Yes, I got my east and west wackbirds. And yes, the big band of rain caught us.
Now it wouldn't have been such an issue if the beginning of the walk hadn't been so wacky. You see, my kid followed us out the door.
Little guy: "Catch mom."
Me: "No, I'm heading out, I don't want to lose the sun."
Little guy: "Just catch once and throw it back."
I gave in and caught, then threw back. It was a bad throw.
Little guy: "It has to be a good catch and a good throw, mom.
By now we're half way down the block because, yes, I did keep walking s-l-o-w-l-y.
He threw again. It went to the left of me. I kept walking.
He ran and grabbed the ball.
Little guy: "No, wait! Catch!"
He threw again. I caught. I threw, beautifully I must add. And he caught.
Me: "OK, see ya!" And Hazel and I ran off.
About fifteen minutes later the sky got dark, scary, and lightningy. And then it rained. I didn't mind a bit. I rather loved it. But my glasses seriously need windshield wipers. Hazel? Well, every bit of the walk/run from then on was simply wrong. Water landing on her - wrong. Running through muddy puddles - wrong. Mom insisting that she keep going when all she wanted to do was stay in a dry spot under a tree - wrong.
We got home and the little guy came out of his room.
Little guy: "You got all wet, mom."
Me: "Yup. You think my send-off had anything to do with that?"
And then he smiled and gave me a hug. I might just suggest a game of catch tonight.
The other day the boys and I were challenging each other to eat pickled jalepeño slices. Me? No problema. Big guy? No problema. Little guy? Problema grande.
He took one slice on a fork, delicately put it on his tongue, slowly began chewing, swallowed it...and then the steam started coming out of his ears. He turned a bit red. He got up. He drank water. A lot of water.
Me: "You may want to get some milk, or maybe eat some tortilla chips, dude."
Little guy, upon looking in the fridge: "I'm gonna eat some whip cream!"
Glug, glug, glug....
Little guy: "I don't like jalepeños."
It's a funny thing. When I was pregnant with my big guy, I could not get enough spicy foods. And when he was little he'd eat salsa like it was chicken noodle soup. Seriously. By the bowl, people. When I was pregnant with my little guy I could not tolerate spicy foods at all...which is so not me. My little fetuses were serious dietary dictators who had already determined what they liked and didn't like.
Every morning I eat my yogurt. And every morning my dog, Hazel, patiently watches me. And every time I finish scraping every last bit I can get out with a spoon (and sometimes a finger tip), I hold the container out to her.
And she opens her mouth. She closes her mouth. She turns her head side to side. She looks at me. Now, I'm thinking, "Goofy one, why don't you just grab the edge?" She's thinking, well, not what I was thinking.
Hazel opens her mouth wide...wider...widest...and takes hold of the yogurt container ALL the way across its opening. Mind you, it's not some baby Yoplait container, no way. It's a wide rimmed sucker, but she manages, goes off to her bed, settles in, and blissfully cleans it out.
Now this all worked fine, although wackily, until I deviated from my usual shopping plan. I was at a different store and my favorite yogurt wasn't available. I was going for second best, but they only had the half quart size. So, I got it.
For days on end Hazel would watch me, hope in her eyes, as I dug into the HUGE container, ate my bit, and put it back in the fridge. Disappointed she was. Until the last day when I finally finished it off. That sweet girl of mine, who never wavered from her beside-me anticipation, was finally rewarded. I held out the HUGE container. She opened her mouth. She closed her mouth. She turned her head side to side. She looked at me and thought, "Yeah, I think I'm gonna just grab the edge." And off she went to blissfully clean it out.
I was telling my kid that I admired him. It was a short-lived feeling.
Me: "I thought it was so cool that you wanted to go to the homecoming game, and you were fine just being dropped off there, and you totally knew you'd find friends to hang out with. I never would've done that as a kid."
Little guy: "Yeah, mom, you were shy. You still are."
Me: "You think I'm shy? I guess so. What makes you think I'm shy?"
Little guy: "Well, when you fart in public and I make a huge deal of it, you get upset."
A brief pause as I took a moment to ponder.
Me: "Um, that's not because I'm shy. That's because you busted me for doing something publicly inappropriate."
Little guy: "Yeah, well you're still shy."
Me: "Unlike you, I always at least make sure they're silent."
Little guy: "Uh, that's how you know I'm not shy."
The little guy and I were driving to Trader Joe's (Yay, they finally made it here!!!) the other night. He loves playing "Guess what Music this is" with me. For some reason he pulled up a list of songs that had won awards, Oscars and such, and was playing a bit and expecting me to guess it right away. Well, it turns out I absolutely don't suck at that. I was rockin' about 75%.
And then a tune came on that I knew from my very core. A tune I even used to play on the piano. A tune I had to start singing...loudly...as soon as I pulled into the parking lot.
Me: "Oooh, I know this one!!!"
Little guy: "What is it?"
Me: "So many nights..." I crooned.
Little guy: "What's the name of the song, mom?"
Me: "I'd sit by my window..."
Little guy: "Mom..."
Me: "Waiting for someone to sing me his song."
Little guy: "Um..."
Me: "So many dreams I've kept deep inside me..."
Little guy: "God..."
Me: "Alone in the dark, but now you've come along."
Little guy: "MOM!!"
Me: "I'm getting to it! And...here it is, kid...you light up my life..."
Me: "Hey, I was just getting rolling."
Little guy: "You won the game, mom. It's over now."
Me: "Oh," as I got out of the car. "You give me hope..."
Little guy: "Do you want me to stay with you in the store?"
Me: "OK. I'll stop. Let's play again on the way home!!"
My bike had a blow out. Not the usual kind. No. This time it was the seat. I'd like to think it had nothing to do with it having suffered undue pressure, and instead had everything to do with the abuse of leaving it locked up outside in the elements...all...the...time.
It was a lovely seat. And I'm going to process the loss right here, right now.
My seat and I had traveled many, many miles together over the past few years. She was always kind to me. Filled with some sort of combination of foam and gel. I will miss her terribly.
OK, so now that that's done, and since she's dead and clearly not listening, I can go ahead and say that I've already replaced her. My new seat is a sleek, younger model. And, quite frankly, I got a little embarrassed when I read its packaging.
"Love channel...to relieve pressure on sensitive tissues."
"Comfort zone...reduces pressure in key areas."
"easy to maneuver"
Feeling relieved that I asked a lady sales person to help me. I mean...awkward, right?
I'm a list girl, heart and soul. I have a "to do" list on my fridge. I have a "to do" list on my desk at work. I keep a running shopping list for five different stores on my phone. That last one makes me feel super high tech.
And what I love even more than the actual lists is the crossing off part. Just this afternoon I was loving this process...out loud.
Me: "I made the call about the blender. I reconciled the checking account. I cut the pineapple. I finished making the tea. I made the rice. I'm exercising right now."
Dave: "You're talking out loud."
Hmmmm...me thinks he wants me to add "talking out loud" to my daily "to do" list. Can do!
Oh, and now I can cross off "write blog". Woo hoo! This girl is pro-duc-tive!
So the big guy delayed his move-out date by a month. You know, saving more money. It's a good thing. It's just what you want to hear your responsible kid say. Mostly...until I get all self-absorbed and all, that is.
Course I had my itch to do some furniture moving going strong. And there I was, left with all itchiness and no scratchiness. A couple days went by and then my genius husband said, "Let's rearrange our bedroom." I think maybe he was feeling the itch, too.
Well, super excited I was! And a little sceptical. Our bedroom, in spite of the fact that it's the "master" bedroom, is quite small. And our bed, in spite of the fact that both Dave and I are on the small side, is a king size. Our bedroom is, quite literally, a "bed" room. Well, a bed, two chests of drawers, two tiny bedside tables, a small chest for holding a very small blanket, a chair, a dirty clothes hamper, and a shoe rack (our closet is so small that we can't even keep our shoes in there). Between my side of the bed and my chest of drawers there was no more than an eight inch gap to walk through. I did it sideways. Hence my excitement.
So given the challenge of rearranging our things we dragged out the tape measure to see if it was even possible. It looked to be so...so the bed was swiveled 90 degrees. The chests of drawers moved. The bedside tables repositioned. The hamper relocated. The shoe rack found a new home. The tiny chest ended up in a perfect little hide-away spot. And the chair was given the boot to the living room (where it's fabulous, by the way!).
And I tell you what, I feel like an actual grown-up. I have solid twenty inches to walk on my side of the bed. I can even open my drawers all the way.
At forty-six I'm livin' large and livin' the good life, people!
...and waiting only two-and-a-half months till the big guy moves out to his fabulous grown-up place.
Our big cat, Pug, officially has a little buddy. He wasn't looking to have a little buddy. He doesn't even really want a little buddy. But having a little buddy is what's been forced upon him.
Now, the poor old and amazing guy has put up with a lot. We're constantly bringing critters into our home. What does Pug do? Well, he universally snubs them. The dogs? Disgusting, but over time barely tolerable. The rats? Delicious-looking...and really rude of us to bring such yumminess into his house and keep them in cages. The guinea pigs? "I bet they taste like chicken." The hamsters? Well, sadly, Pug did find out that they, or rather one one of them, tasted like chicken.
And now he's had a kitten, Tommy, thrust into his world. A world where he clearly reigned as king. What does he think of Tommy? "If I ignore you, will you go away?" But does Tommy ignore him? Not a chance. Tommy is the sweetest little stalker that ever was. If Pug is hanging out on a chair at the table, Tommy is right there on a chair next to him. If Pug is walking through the house, Tommy is just a few steps behind. If Pug is eating, Tommy is sure to be within inches. That last one never goes well.
Yup, Pug officially has a little buddy.
P.S. Pug isn't really sad like this picture would imply. I think he's just too proud to admit he's thrilled. But maybe his crown is just a hair crooked these days.
I love the whole key fob concept. It's quite fabulous. Especially with my car as I only have to have the fob in the car with me to make the car go. No hunting for a key in the bottom of my purse. No key in the ignition. I totally loved it, that is, until yesterday.
I was sitting in the house happily painting, and BEEP! Hey, was that my car? I walk out to the carport. BEEP!BEEP! Hmmmmmm....BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!
OK, weirdness. I go back in and get my keys...go back out and push the lock button. BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!BEEP! I push the unlock button. BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!BEEP! OK, serious weirdness.
Side note: People going to the ACL fest are streaming by my house at this time, likely wondering what the crazy lady is doing locking and unlocking her car over and over and over and....
I go back in and sit at the table. BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!
Nope, not gonna go back out there and try to solve this. Nope.
Dave gets home. "Maybe it's my broken fob to your car." (Somehow Dave's fob got beat up in his pocket. All the buttons are broken off. The thing looks pitiful.)
The fob hangs on our key hanger thingie...and it definitely looks like it feels guilty. I grab it, go out, lock my car...BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!...unlock my car...BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!BEEP!...go back in and take that fob of ill refute to a far-away corner of the house.
Last night I went to a friend's house to feed her cat. I went into the screened porch and squatted down to open the can of food and dump it in the bowl. The house cat ran right over to me, happily accepting some scratches.
Rustle, rustle, rustle...
I stopped moving.
Rustle, rustle, rustle...
I looked to my right and saw movement.
Rustle, rustle, rustle...
...and the cutest, furriest, stripy-tailed-est teenage raccoon came right at me. And then he stopped. He looked me up and down. I looked right back.
The cat gave the raccoon one sideways glance, looked at me with, "Oh, yeah, he's my friend" eyes, and started eating. The raccoon and I did quick risk assessments. I passed...he kept coming right toward
me. In my eyes, the furry little guy didn't pass...I decided leaving was my best
My wimpiness aside, it's lovely to live in a world where cats and raccoons can be BFFs.
So here I was, sitting at my kitchen table this morning. It was still pitch black outside and everyone was still asleep. Everyone except for the dude driving by in his truck, that is. I heard him drive by, slam on his brakes, put it in reverse, and then park.
I moved the curtains over just a bit and peeked out the window. There the truck sat, directly in front of a neighbor's house, headlights on, engine running. Our neighbors aren't there these days as their house is currently a construction site with all the amenities. The truck sat, and it sat, and it sat.
I went into my laundry room which had a better view of where the truck was. I pulled the blinds down just enough to look outside. The truck still sat. And then I noticed the port-a-potty door opened, a guy walked out, got in his truck, and drove off.
I've been trying to get into this guy's head all day. Was he just driving along needing to "go" and had a hallelujah moment when he saw that port-a-potty? Could he really not wait till he got where he was headed? Why on earth would "going" in a port-a-potty, which must've been squid ink black inside, be preferable to just finding a bush?
Ya, I don't get it.
Oh, and whoda thunk I'd be blogging about port-a-potties twice in one week? Not I, but there ya go.
I'm feeling a little guilty. Darn little, actually. You see, my oldest is likely moving out around the new year. He'll be taking the entire contents of his room with him...which leaves an EMPTY ROOM! I suppose I should be feeling the sadness of a parent whose child is moving out of their home, but being the awful person I am, I can't help but make plans for said empty room.
Our house is small, so space is definitely a premium. I happen to be an artist (you knew that), and I have a lot of stuff that goes along with that. So far I've managed to organize messily kept my supplies in a very small section of our living room...and our kitchen table is my workspace. It's a drag for all concerned.
So, space will soon be available! I close my eyes and I can see the art space that room will become.
P.S. I will totally miss my kid living here.
P.P.S. I will absolutely totally miss my kid's kitten living here.
P.P.P.S. Please don't tell my kid how utterly and completely excited I am.
Oh, and P.P.P.P.S. Every time I imagine that room I see graffiti on at least one wall.
Last night I got home from walking our dogs. It was almost dark out. Dave was gone. Both boys were in their rooms with their doors shut. It was peaceful bliss as I tip-toed around, wanting to keep the silence I so cherished around as long as possible.
I quietly got some water. I quietly sat at my computer. I quietly pulled out my work. I silently began typing.
...and then I sneezed. "Aaaaachooo!"
Now, I know I'm a girl and all, but I seriously man up when it comes to sneezes.
And I kid you not, within seconds of sneezing, both of my guys came bursting out of their rooms.
Little guy: "That sounded like food."
Big guy: "You're home, can I have something to eat?"
There I was, minding my own business at the playground, when WHOMP! I rubbed my head as I looked down...then up.
(Um, why do we always rub our heads when they get bumped?
Never really helps, right?)
Two large nuts on the ground, squirrel in the tree above. And I'm quite sure I heard him laughing. I took a step back to get out from directly underneath him and more nuts came cascading down, this time partially chewed. I moved again, more nuts. I moved again, more nuts!
I'm quite sure that squirrel was out to get me...and wondering just a little bit if he knew the scorpion I smashed the other day, and was looking for vengeance.
I think I have to chalk it up to age that Dave and I are both super excited about this new bran muffin recipe I just found. We seriously love them! And what's even better is that I make them in my mini-muffin tin so they're yummy and cute!
And what made it more exciting was that the recipe amounts were all metric, so a conversion calculator was my best friend. And it called for buttermilk, which I never, ever have, but I figured out I could make a substitute myself with milk and vinegar. And I changed the recipe to substitute a banana for the sugar. And there are raisins and apples in them, too!!
These are exciting times, people! Math, science, and regularity all from one particularly delicious food item.
My yard without a lemonade stand looks nekkid! I think this is the first time in about ten years that there's not a lemonade stand in front of my house during the Austin City Limits Festival. Apparently being almost fifteen is too old. And being eighteen is WAY too old.
But...when it all started, and the little guy was four and the big guy was eight, they'd hold up signs and enthusiastically shout to passers by.
"Ice cold lemonade!!!!"
My little guy would run down a house or two and try to talk folks walking down the street into making a purchase from his big brother. My big guy would hold down the fort managing the money and distributing the bev's.
It's funny when a tradition finally goes by the way-side. Funny, nostalgic, and totally appropriate. Those little salesmen will be missed this year, I'm sure. Feeling super glad that I still have one of their signs from the first lemonade stand ever.
I was reminded today (you don't want to know how) of something Dave taught me many, many years ago. So long ago that it was actually when we were dating...perhaps about twenty-three-ish years to be exact-ish.
I'm pretty sure we were in Sears and we were looking for the first of many Archie Bunker-type chairs that we'd have in our house. We sat on them. We leaned them back...we're all about recliners, you see. We debated their durability. And we considered the most important thing of all, their resistance to flatulence.
And, my friends, let me share the tidbit of wisdom my boyfriend at the time taught me.
I've finally figured out why my little guy seems to think that "In a minute" actually means, well, up to an hour...at least!
You know how when you're a kid time seems to take for-e-ver. It's an eternity to do a three-minute empty the dishwasher job. It takes a million years for the school year to go by. And the time between birthdays, Christmases, whatever is somewhere in the gazillions of hours/days/years.
So, I suppose it's no wonder that this is how our daily conversation seems to go.
Me: "Do you have any homework?"
Little guy: "I dunno."
Me: "When will you know?"
Little guy: "In a minute."
Me: "As in sixty seconds?"
Little guy: "I dunno, probably longer."
And he makes no move to move an inch...for at least the fifteen minutes until I got around to writing this.
I think if I'm patient and wait a thousand years he'll get over it. But for now, I think I'm gonna go give him a "minute" long hug.