Summer Lessons For An Absentee Blogger

Hey all!

Look, I know I’ve been away a long time, so I’m not just going to stroll in here all blase and pretend that nothing has happened and everything is fine between us. I don’t want to insult your intelligence. But summer was rough. The kids were on me like fleas every second for a snack or to validate their latest Lego creation. As soon as they heard the keyboard tapping they’d descend. The pressure was incredible.

It had been my plan to send the kids to camp so that I might have a minute or two of productivity, but Hubs and I had a minor bank account fiasco wherein all of our money mysteriously disappeared. We were both baffled as to how this would happen. Coincidentally this occurred right around the same time that Hubs’s jeep was miraculously cured of many of its major ailments. Weird.

At any rate, I had to sacrifice any dreams of childless alone time. These things happen, so I decided to abandon all productivity and commit myself to fully enjoying the summer with my children. After all, time is fleeting and they won’t be this small forever. Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth, hide the knives and treasure those little buggers.

You can't hear the kids complaining about the mind numbing amount of pictures Hubs takes but after this Hubs stopped talking to any of us.

Here we are treasuring each other on the highway. Note: Hubs stopped talking to all of us immediately after this picture was taken.

I learned some things in the process–about myself, about life. I’m a better person for it, albeit a better person who desperately needs a hair appointment. For instance:

  • It is physically impossible for me to treasure my children day after day, 24 hours a day without a steady flow of caffeine. Before the summer I had weaned myself off the stuff for health reasons but mid summer I had to weigh the importance of a steady heartbeat against the safety of my prodigies. Heartbeats are overrated.
  • Five year old boys are physically incapable of being quiet. There is a reason that there was never a book called The Diary of Arnie Frank. It would have lasted two pages and then Arnie would have forgotten about the Nazis and gone running down the hall singing at the top of his lungs while beating on a bucket. End of story. Girls know how to tiptoe and use their indoor voices. You could wrap a boy in foam and he would still find a way to shake the walls. It’s what they do.

Note: I sincerely apologize for using the Jewish holocaust with such flippancy. You’d think I was a twenty-something pop sensation.

"By 'mental exhaustion' you mean rehab, right?"

“At least I don’t Twerk.”

  • The more you do with your children, the more they want to do. I can’t emphasize this enough: the key to your child’s happiness is lowered expectations. Providing them with gifts and stimulating activities only gives them unrealistic expectations for the future. Have you ever seen videos of children in third world countries receiving shoes for the first time? They are incredibly happy. My daughter has multiple shoes that she won’t even wear because they aren’t meeting her aesthetic expectations. And for every visit to the trampoline park this summer, I had to listen to ninety additional minutes of “what are we doing that’s exciting today?” and “I want to do something fun,” spoken in a whine and repeated ad nauseam. You know what’s fun? Not working in a sweatshop fifteen hours a day. You’re welcome.
  • The housing market is so filled with foreign investors equipped with psychic premonition and large quantities of cash that a cop and a stay at home mom can’t afford to purchase any single family home this side of Detroit. It’s remarkable really and further proof that House Hunters is a complete sham. I mean come on, a graduate student and an entry-level marketing coordinator are able to buy a beautiful craftsman style home that isn’t tagged with gang graffiti? That’s a fairytale. You want the real story? Follow us as we look at condemned homes filled with garbage and frightened animals, priced just beyond our range.
  • Inability to purchase aside, there is nothing my kids love better (with the exception of an overcrowded theme park) than freely snooping through other people’s homes. Open houses became one of our favorite free activities this summer. If summer had gone on any longer we would probably resort to breaking and entering.
  • The only family vacation we can enjoy without having to sedate Hubs is camping. He is completely relaxed when separated from society and surrounded by dirt, trees and creatures that might carry the Bubonic plague. They are making the ground harder than they used to, which was tough on my delicate frame and after two days of roughing it, my all natural, aluminum free deodorant cashed it in and left me to scare off the bears with my b.o., but other than that, camping was awesome.

Anyway, it’s good to be back. I’ll try not to stay away as long next time.

This picture was taken right after Conor tried to slip under the bar and plummet to his death. Good times.

This picture was taken right after Conor tried to slip under the bar and plummet to his death. You can tell that I’m still mid heart attack.

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Delicate Balance

I live my life in a delicate balance. Most days I can almost manage to handle all of my responsibilities without forgetting a kid on the side of the road or driving off with my purse on the roof of my car, but it’s touch and go. One little extra thing thrown unexpectedly into the mix could cause the whole construction to collapse.

So I’m heavily scheduled this week.  It’s the week before Riley’s birthday. It’s also the week before Conor’s big preschool fundraiser. Today I needed to help set up for the fundraiser and take care of all the things that need to be handled before Riley’s birthday and pending slumber party. Like moving her out of the room she shares with her brother and into the playroom. And then figuring out what to do with the playroom. And giggling 8-year-old girls. And a 4-year-old boy who is tired of being ignored by giggling 8-year-old girls.

My To Do List read:

  1. Tie Tulle To 144 Folding Chairs
  2. Play Musical Bedrooms
  3. Handle Slumber Party Bidness
  4. Everything Else (drop offs, pick ups, homework, meals, baths, creating world peace, etc.)

Then I started my period. With a vengeance. Crap! But I’m 42 years old, I can function while hemorrhaging.

So I altered my To Do List slightly:

  1. Menstruate
  2. Tie Tulle To 144 Folding Chairs
  3. Play Musical Bedrooms
  4. Handle Slumber Party Bidness
  5. Everything Else (drop offs, pick ups, homework, meals, baths, creating world peace, etc.)

Only I forgot to put Conor in a Pull Up last night before bed.

This shouldn’t have been a big deal since he’s been such a rock star about waking up in the middle of the night to go potty on his own. However, when Riley stumbled into the kitchen this morning, complaining that their bedroom smelled so foul that she had to hold her breath, I knew that Conor had gone from rock star to Keith Richards and just urinated right where he’d passed out. He was very thorough. Their bedroom smelled like the stairwell of a parking garage in downtown Detroit.

My bad.

I revised my To Do List.

  1. Clean Everything in a 10 Mile Radius.
  2. Menstruate
  3. Tie Tulle To 144 Folding Chairs
  4. Play Musical Bedrooms
  5. Handle Slumber Party Bidness
  6. Everything Else (blah, blah, blah)

Then Hubs called with a directive, which went a little something like this.

Get your iPhone and activate the Find My Phone application. It’s free. Or not, but you should pay whatever it costs. It’s probably right there under your nose. Or not, but do not rest until you’ve found it. Do this immediately. It’s imperative. Because, (and this is important, so pay attention) if you are robbed of your phone or worse, kidnapped by Mexican drug lords, who remove your battery so that it can’t be traced, the Find My Phone application will enable you and your phone to be traced and found before you both suffocate in the trunk of a car buried in a landfill. Laundry, furniture and even menstruation can wait, but oxygen is crucial. Your brain will die without oxygen! Do it now! Only you can save your and/or your phone’s lives!

I've got to admit that I look cuter suffocating in the trunk of a car than I expected.

I couldn’t argue with him because he was right. My brain would die without oxygen. And so I had to change my To Do List again.

  1. SAVE MY LIFE!!!! SCREW EVERYTHING ELSE!!!!!!!!!!!

By the way, I think I left one of the kids on the side of the road and my purse on top of my car, so if anyone sees them, please return them to me, okay? Thanks.

**Addendum: I stopped for gas, but they couldn’t process my debit card because they were unable to reach their satellite. If they had activated the Find My Satellite application, they wouldn’t have had that problem. For all they knew, their satellite was suffocating in the trunk of a buried car. People need to listen to Hubs.