Thursday, October 29, 2015

What is he talking about?

I had another one of those conversations with my teenager today that when it was over, I had no idea what he had said.  Between the mumbling, high tech words, and teenage slang, I'm lucky to comprehend ten percent of what he says.  This time it went something like this:

N: Hey Mom! mumble mumble garbled mumble snap chat and...
M: Snap chat?
N: Yeah and mumble mumble laughing too hard to make intelligible speech...
M: Haha
N: I know! and mumble mumble meme...
M: What's a meme?
N: It's like a mumble insta something app you can just screenshot it on your mumble tech...
M: Hmm. Ok.

Then he was gone.  I guess it was a good conversation because he was giggling and flailing his arms.  It reminds me of an old Far Side cartoon:
The teenager is the human, and I am the dog.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Bad scene at the butcher counter

When I buy chicken at the grocery store, I go through this whole mental flowchart to determine whether I'm going to get it from the butcher or just pick up the pre-packaged ones in the meat case.
Is it the same price either way? It usually is, but sometimes one or the other is cheaper, and that makes the decision for me.
Does the butcher look like he's in a good mood? If I have been teaching algebra to grouchy teenagers all day, I sometimes can't handle one more unpleasant interaction.
Does the chicken look good?  If there's a lot of fat, blood, or other visible grossness, I'll take the other option.

How much chicken do I have time to deal with when I get home?  If I only need a little chicken, I don't want a giant family pack from the meat case that I'm going to have to divide up and freeze.
Do I need butcher paper?  I love butcher paper.  It's thick and durable and useful for lots of things.  

Yesterday, the price of chicken breasts was $1.99/pound at the meat case and at the butcher counter. The butcher looked jolly enough, the chicken looked good enough, and I was feeling social enough.  I only needed two, so I didn't want a big package.  I remembered that someone recently threw away my stash of butcher paper.  So my decision was clear and easy.  I approached the counter, asked for what I needed, and watched happily as he wrapped it in a big hunk of butcher paper.  That's when it happened.

He extended my little package to me, and I reached for it.  There were several other customers close by, and the butcher had a booming voice.  He said, "Here are your two breasts!" Our hands touched as I took the chicken from him right at the moment he made that proclamation. The look on his face as he realized what he'd just said made it clear that it was a very awkward moment for both of us.  I looked down and scurried away without making eye contact with anyone.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

New stage of life

Mike took Noah to an empty parking lot today to get his first experience driving a car.  No pictures of that, because I didn't go.  I took Sarah bra shopping.  A new era has arrived.  I feel old.
 So many cute pajamas at Walmart now!


Sarah and I were looking at an old photo album.  There was an envelope inside the back cover labeled "Negative pocket".  Sarah said, "Is that where you put negative comments about the pictures you don't like?"  I found that I had a hard time explaining what negatives are.  She has no concept of pre-digital photography, so no point of reference. I'm feeling older all the time.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Sarah's entertaining insult of the day:

"You look like a vulture trying to puke, but failing."  Said while I was dancing.

Then she had this to offer Noah after I gave him a haircut: "You look like a Lego figure."

Later, another one for me: "You look like a person not to be tampered with."

A especially nasty one directed at me today: "Your legs must be really strong..." (If only she had stopped there! But no. She continued.)..."because they have to support all that weight."

Monday, October 19, 2015

The evolution of music

In our morning read-aloud, the author mentioned an 8-track cassette.  My kids had never heard of such a dinosaur.  I explained (which is one reason I still read aloud to my perfectly literate children): "An 8-track was what we used to listen to music on before cassette tapes were invented."  Blank looks.  "Cassette tapes were what we listened to music on before CD's were invented.  CD's were what we listened to music on  before mp3's were invented.  I remember listening to a Simon & Garfunkle 8-track repeatedly when I was a kid." They were glassed over by that point, and I realized just how incredibly old I really am.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Taking Sarah to gymnastics

I'm driving to gymnastics. Sarah pipes up from the backseat: "I made an ocean back here!"  I'm used to her random comments, so it doesn't phase me. Eventually I get curious enough to ask, "How did you make an ocean in the backseat?" and she tells me, "I spilled some salt from my pretzels, and then I spilled water on the same spot."

Gymnastics is long, and I am old and tired, so by the second hour, I'm dozing in my chair.  From way down in the fuzziness of sleep, I hear Sarah yelling, "Look, everybody!  My mom's asleep!"  I open my eyes to see her whole team staring at me. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Crazy day

It all started when I butt-dialed the vice principal of the junior high.  I have no idea how it happened. I was sitting on the couch, with the phone in the pocket of my pajamas when I heard it dialing. It wasn't even on! But the v.p. was answering the phone and I had no choice but to tell him I butt-dialed him. He's in my contacts because he's my neighbor.

Fast forward to math.  People were not comprehending what I was teaching, and frustration was mounting.  In mid-sentence, I just stopped, put on headphones, turned up the volume of an Avicii song really loud, and escaped for 4 minutes.  When I came back, there they were, still looking at me, and I felt much more ready to teach.  I wondered if I'm insane, but then I remembered that my junior high math teacher used to throw erasers at us and once pinned one of my classmates up against the wall and yelled at him.  I thought he was insane, but now I totally understand.

So, with insanity still ringing in my head, we got ready to go to Monicals.  The kids each had a coupon for a free 8" pizza that they earned in the library's summer reading program, and we wanted to use them before they expire next week.  As I was changing out of my pajamas into my drab going-out clothes (black tshirt and gray pants with elastic waistband), Sarah yelled from her room, "Mom, I'm going to do something cute with your hair, so make sure you wear something floral!"  I managed to find a floral sweater in my closet, so I put it on over my black tshirt.  She did some twisty thing in my hair, clipped it back with a floral hair clip, and took a picture.

Then she deemed us ready to face the public.  I was driving down Jefferson when a cute gray cat ran right out in front of me. I hit the brakes, and it scurried across the street.  I pulled over to the curb and and parked, while Noah moaned, "No, Mom. Please don't."  I said, "You know I have to have the talk with that poor cat so it doesn't get hit."  He slunk down in his seat, and I tracked the cat down to give it a stern talk while Sarah petted it.  I explained about the dangers of the street, as I always do to cats I see in the street.

Finally, I parked the van at Monicals and reached for my purse. It wasn't there. I left it on the counter at home (my second Alzheimer moment of the week).  Rummaging around in the center console, I unearthed a blank check and rejoiced.  When you go to Monicals for lunch, you order at the counter and pay first, so I set my keys and check on the counter and looked at a menu. The Monicals worker said, "We don't take checks."  My intelligent response was, "Really?" to which she replied, "Really. We haven't since 2008."  I felt poor, hungry, AND stupid, thanks to that remark.  So we did the walk of shame out the door, back to the van to root around for loose change.

Noah found the little coin purse I use for toll change when we go on vacation.  I admit I took pleasure in the fact that Miss Snotty Pants was going to have to count my nickles and dimes.  I fantasized about saying, "Do you know how long this change has been in my van? Since 2008."  But I didn't.

Half the fun of going to Monicals is the placemats. Noah designed his own tshirt in classic Noah style: a plain Cubs shirt with pizza stains and Parmesan crumbs.  There was also a game where they listed lines from a movie and you had to guess which movie.  Sarah read, "We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto" and said, "Oh! I know this one! It's Dorothy!"  I told her that's not the name of the movie, and she said, "Wicked Witch of the West?...Somewhere Over the Rainbow?...Follow the Yellow Brick Road?  Oh, I don't know.  I can't think of it."

Then a song came on that I recognized from my Richard Simmons "Sweatin' to the Oldies" workout.  Naturally, I got up and started doing the moves.  The kids slunk down in their seats.

A little while later, as luck would have it, a song came on that we know from Wii Kids Dance.  I happen to know those moves too, so I got up and worked off my pizza, which caused Sarah to slink down all the way under the table.
Since math hadn't gone very well this morning, I made them figure out how many square inches of pizza we consumed.  (150.72 square inches)
I had a few nickles, a couple dimes, and some pennies left for the tip. I apologized to our server.
I had planned on going to Kroger on the way home, but obviously, we just went home.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cutting out the middle fairy

Sarah has been begging for a gym bag from Justice for months.  She needs a bag for gymnastics competitions, and she doesn't want to use the dusty old ugly one I offered her.  Several weeks ago I found a Justice one at a garage sale, so I snapped it up and waited for an opportunity to give it to her.  She has had a loose molar for a long time, and she told me a few days ago to alert the tooth fairy.  I told her that the fairy was ready and had something good for her this time.  Yesterday, I took her to the mall to do some underwear shopping, and she went to Justice and took up her bag-begging again with renewed fervor.  Finally I told her, "I have the gym bag thing under control."   Tonight, a light bulb went on, and she exclaimed, "I know what the fairy is bringing me!"  Then she started prying and yanking on that big molar with great determination. 
She said, "I'm not going to put it under my pillow because it gets lost and it's a pain.  I'm just going to give it to you."  So I said, "Ok, then I'm going to cut out the middle man and just give you your present myself."

She loves it.

Visit to Trivoli

This is the house where I spent the first 23 years of my life.  The white house right next door was Grandma Opal's.  It was a great place to grow up.
Grandma Opal's house. I know she would be pleased that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren still gather there to eat, play, and work.
Noah and his cousin Elizabeth always like to have a fire in the back yard.
Sarah with cousins Elizabeth and Cacey and their dogs Bella and Powder, walking to the post office, because that's what you do in Trivoli.  
Mike, Noah, and Cousin Eddie playing baseball.
 I took the tribe of monkeys to my absolute favorite childhood hangout.
 It's strange and wonderful to see my very own son sitting on the place where I spent so many happy hours as a kid.  I used to pack a bag and spend the whole day up there writing stories and poems.
 Meanwhile, Mike and Eddie were working on insulation in Grandma Opal's attic.
 Noah and Elizabeth
Aunt Linda, Bella, and Mike enjoying a nice evening.

Friday, October 9, 2015


 The annual roll down the hill.
 Playing spider. 
 Chasing through the hay maze.

 Sarah took quarters this year to feed the goats.
 Noah got a hole in one on this hole!  He ended up with a score of 26 after 9 holes.  Sarah got a 92.

Sarah's haircut

 The before pictures

 Noah read his new baseball card book while Sarah got her haircut.
 Heidi is Sarah's favorite haircutter at Great Clips.
 She has always donated her hair to Locks of Love, but Great Clips is not doing that anymore, so all that beautiful hair got wasted.
 The after pictures.
She had been growing her hair for over a year, but suddenly she was tired of brushing it and dealing with it, so she wanted to get it cut for her brown belt testing that night.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Shower prank

I told the kids I was going to take a shower. They were supposed to be finishing their school work.  I got distracted by my book and didn't get right to the shower.  When I finally got there, I opened the shower curtain to turn on the water, and there was Noah, doing his math in the tub!  He laughed hysterically and said he'd been waiting in there for 30 minutes to surprise me.  He said Sarah had brought him a Starburst and told him it might be awhile, since she caught me reading my book. 

So I kicked him out and proceeded to take a nice peaceful shower.  But then this happened:
The little monsters dumped ice water on me and even had the nerve to film my screaming!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Poor Barbie

We found Barbie in this position this morning. Noah said, "Why is Barbie doing a one-handed pushup with her naked butt in the air?"  Sarah answered, "Well, it's not easy getting Barbie clothes on!"
Later I found her in this position. I asked Sarah why Barbie was hanging off the bench like a monkey. Sarah said she was doing some gymnastics.
Then Noah put her in this position and yelled, "Barbie's got a wedgie!"  Then this conversation happened, which made me laugh but probably shouldn't have:
S: Barbie can't get a wedgie; she doesn't have testicles.
N: You don't have to have testicles to get a wedgie. Want me to show you?
S: No! Oh yeah, I remember. You just have to have a butt crack.
N: And I know Barbie has one of those. I just saw it this morning!

**Update...hours later, I found her like this:
Some people have an elf on the shelf; we have Barbie.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Sarah's drawings

First she drew me.  As she was drawing, she said, "Stop eating and hold your face still so I can draw the bags under your eyes."
 Then she drew beautiful Shadow lying in the sun. She had to put him back in the sun several times.  He was long-suffering.

 She asked Noah to sit for a portrait.  He refused to keep his tongue in his mouth.
 She said she was switching to a darker brown for his skin, and he accused her of being racist.  She said, "I'm Asian too!  A person can't be racist against her own race!"