The Sad Remains

My vacuum is officially dead.

I returned home yesterday to find it’s sad remains splayed across the living room.  Apparently it had all but disintegrated when our cleaning lady (or as I like to call her, marriage saver), tried to hoover the dining room.  She just kind of left it where it lay, as if to give it some dignity in death.

It wasn’t the best vacuum.  You had to constantly change the belt, the bags were a total pain to acquire, and there were giant clumps of the electric cording that had been field dressed with duck and/or electrical tape.  Yes, she had seen better days.  But my mother just recently retired my grandmother’s vacuum from the 60’s.  So I have to assume we have either fallen prey to planned obsolescence, or we are just extremely hard on vacuum cleaners.  I could believe either.

So, goodbye vacuum.  You served us well.

The Myth of Paperclips

So I am in a bit of a funk lately…nothing serious.  Just having a hard time getting myself motivated.  Also, it could be hormones since I am racing at break neck speed towards the birthday that shall not be named.

Anyway, when I am in a funk I do what any normal person would do.  I buy office supplies.  What?  That isn’t what everyone does?  Am I again unique (read weird)?

I wish I knew where this obsession came from.  Perhaps I think that if I load up on notebooks, post it notes and binders I will finally finish the first draft of Get Lucky.  Maybe I think that if I buy supplies I will somehow finally organize my life so that I don’t wince every time I open up a drawer or cabinet in this house.  And even though making labels in and of itself won’t organize the Christmas pile in the basement, it might just give me the push I need to get it done.

Part of the allure, I am sure, is that most of the items, on their own, are not very expensive.  A packet of pens here, box of paper clips there, and okay, maybe just one adorable notebook.  In the end you have spent three hours browsing, and managed to maybe spend $30 in the store.  It’s a pretty good ratio.

If I were normal, I would go to the spa, or buy clothes for the kids.  But again I have to live with the curse of originality, and a cabinet full of office supplies.

Am I Crazy?

So, I have been trying to figure out how to get to Honduras this year.

The airlines are messing with me.  And now Baseball is messing with me.

I discovered recently that The Littlest Angel’s very first ever T Ball game (so first ever game in an organized sport) is the Saturday I was supposed to leave for my fishing vacation.  That also means that my Oldest’s first ever pitch ball game will no doubt be the same weekend.

My first thought was “Damn.  I really wanted to go to Honduras this year!”  We would be staying in the most beautiful house ever:  giant deck sweeping out over your private island towards the sea.  I had a really good shot at multiple bone fish and maybe even a permit this year.

Am I crazy?  (Debbie – not because I like to fish on my vacation)

I just can’t see myself lounging on the deck of that beautiful house while my baby is taking his first official swings in a Mariner’s uniform.  I would be miserable.  I might forever regret missing The Littlest Angel’s first trip across home plate, or my Oldest’s first official hit.  Maybe their first official something grand.  I just don’t think I can do it.

I missed Jack’s first home run.  We dropped him off and came back to the game later.  During my absence he hit his first long ball.  I still hate that I didn’t see it.

There will be a thousand firsts in the boys’ lives that I will miss.  I won’t be around when they ask a girl out on a date for the first time.  I won’t be at their first kegger.  If I’m lucky, they will bother to tell me about them; but I assume that I will forever be in the dark about the majority of their firsts.  For some, that’s exactly how I want it to be.

But I can be a part of these little firsts.  They want me to be a part of them.

Everyone I told about the scheduling conflict immediately assumed that I would go anyway.  Any sane person wouldn’t give up 4 days in the tropics to sit through a T Ball game.  Any sane person would watch the video when they got home and tell the boys about how proud they are of them.  Or they would reschedule the fishing trip (oh, if only that were possible!).

But I am not a sane person.  A mixture of maternal guilt, a deep abiding love of baseball, and an even deeper, more abiding love for my boys will most likely keep me Stateside.

Yes.  I am crazy.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Kids Say the Darndest Things

My oldest son’s birthday party was last weekend.  We all went out to the go kart track and burned it up for an hour or so.  Since the timing seemed a little fluid, we decided it would be best to drop the boys off after the party.

I have never experienced a Suburban to the gills with 9 year old boys before.  It was an experience.

At one point they started singing.  And it was so cute.  Not the cherubic tones of their prepubescent voices…but the lyrics.

Here is the song they were singing…make it through at least one refrain before reading on…

So, the young men start with the chorus, but here are the lyrics they sang:

“It’s to late to order fries/ it’s too late.”

I almost peed.  I’m not sure whether or not they think those are the real lyrics to the song, or if they made them up on purpose.  Either way, it’s hilarious!


Things to do When the Kids are Home Sick

So, being trapped at your house for 2 days with a bunch of sick, but not too sick kids, translates to getting much done.  I think I was in a manic phase, because I feel this is a lot, even for me.

Putting up the Christmas Lights

I had already managed to string the ones into the giant tree in the front.  It was a three extension poles taped together nightmare that resulted in a stiff neck.  But when it’s 70 degrees in October, you put the time to good use.  Yesterday, I put a garland around the deck, lit that, and then finished up with the lights on the back gutters.  I can Christmas the shit out of anything.

Cleaning out the Gutters

Yeah!  Work Gloves!  Figured as long as I was up on the ladder monkeying around with the gutters, I might as well get the last of the crispy leaves out of them.  Now they look so clean.  Worthy of Christmas lights.  And I got to feel kick ass!

Dealt With the Patio Furniture

Took the cushions off the chairs and got them into the garage.  Thought about taking up the carpet.  Thought better of it.  Even I, SuperMom, have my limits.

Going Through the Medicine Cabinet

One of my personal favorites.  I worked my way to the back and found medicine that expired in 2006.  Oh yeah.  I am soo on top of things.

Cleaned out the Everything Drawer in the Kitchen

You know that drawer, where you put every weird, wacky thing that doesn’t have a home.  I found a pastry cutter, two meat mallets (yes, TWO), three different kinds of rolling pins, ladles, spatulas, cinnamon sticks, and two salt shakers…one of which had managed to open itself and leave an inch of salt in the back half of the drawer.  Yeah.  Good times.

Made a Taco Pie

One of the best junk foods ever.  Period.  And I even forgot one of the ingredients and messed up the order of another two.

Folded and Put Away a Week’s Worth of Laundry

Hey, it was clean.  That’s what really matters.

Cleaned off the Dining Room Table

If you have ever seen my dining room table, you know what a herculean task that was.

Went Through My Knitting Baskets

Threw out what would never be finished.  Tried to finish some little projects I really like.  Sometimes I wish I didn’t have any hobbies.

Then there was the usual cleaning up after the meals, sweeping the floors, throwing out the crumpled kleenex, fetching drinks and answering bizarre questions (Mom, how do you spell “breasts”?)

So, I guess next time I want to organize the photo albums, I’ll just keep the kids home from school.




Glad This Weekend is in the Books

So, not my favorite weekend.

Two of the boys are battling a virus.  They are coughing so much the house sounds like a TB ward.  I am administering inhalers, checking temps and even had to clean up one round of puke.  Oh joy.  Two separate trips to the Dr.  Two separate prescriptions at the drive thru pharmacy.  They missed one golf lesson, two playdate requests and two soccer games:   the openers for the season.

Since one of them isn’t sick, I have been jumping through hoops and doing somersaults to keep him away from his brothers.  This mostly involves putting every TV in the house on something different…one in the sick room to keep them occupied and quiet, one in the other room so the healthy one doesn’t watch in the sick room, and the one in the family room on for me, to drown out the coughing noises.

To top the roller coaster of excitement off, I sliced my thumb open on the top of the chicken soup can and got a lovely itchy rash from spending to much up close and personal time with the front bushes.  I was washing the windows.  Which gives you an idea of how desperate I was to get out of the house.

I’m keeping them home today, which means missing my reformer class at the gym, and having to reschedule my yearly mammogram.  Not to mention, Oksana, the only housekeeper good enough to impress my mother in law (which means she is the best in the WORLD) will have to trip over us all day because Monday is her day to clean.

I just keep thinking to myself:  someday they’ll be gone and I’ll wish they were here.  Someday they’ll be gone and I’ll wish they were here.


It’s official.  I have now actually scarred one of the children for life.

Ages ago, we had to take all the working parts of the door mechanisms.  It was essential.  We have an old house, and the beautiful door locks were such that the children could lock themselves into the rooms, with no way for me to unlock the door from the outside.  (Well, there was always the shouting method, but the children didn’t always respond to that).  So, while the doors upstairs have door knobs, none of them actually close.

Don’t worry, I’m getting to my point.

So, the other night, my DH and I are doing what married people do when they are bored on a weekend night.  I know, no one wants to think about that, but it is vital to the story.

Since the doors upstairs don’t close, we sometimes take our chances downstairs, especially since the youngest likes to sneak into bed with us.  And we have VERY creaky floors, so we can usually hear them if they are wandering around.

Yeah, I’m sure you know where this is going…

We are in the middle of our grown up time when we hear the


of a Monkey on the stairs.

Our faces blanched, our clothes were thrown on in an instant, and I sent Paul upstairs to see who was up.

The youngest.

With a sly smile he told me that he had been watching TV through the stair railing.  I spent the next hour and a half sitting on the stairs, looking into the living room from every elevation and angle.  As it stands, it seems certain that he didn’t actually see the thing that no child wants to see.  But the thought of it makes me giggle and cringe at the same time.

We all know that our parents did it (at least as many times as there are children in the family), but nobody and I mean NOBODY wants to be a spectator to it.

So, whether it’s true or not, I will choose to believe that he was really just watching TV.

Tomorrow the locks go back on the doors.

Taking the Day Off

It is 1:00.  Two of the monkeys have yet to eat lunch.  None of them is dressed.

I’m taking the day off.

Technically, as a mother, there is no such thing as a day off.  Even if Katharine the Wonder Sitter is watching them, you are still ultimately the one that has to make the decisions at the ER.

But today, I don’t feel like going through all the contortions of usual Momness.  So I am officially taking a mini vacation.  Hey, if the Pope gets to take a Holiday, so do I.

They are playing video games.  They are watching too much TV.  They are doing all the things that I never let them do on weekdays because…well just because there have to be SOME rules in this house.

Now one might think this lack of direct parental involvement would give me plenty of time to get useful work done around the house.

(Sounds of hysterical laughter)

Sorry, so sorry.

(wiping tears off face)

I crack myself up sometimes.

No, the photos will not get organized.  I will not go through the mess in the bathroom cabinet.  I might put the folded laundry away, but that’s as far as I’m going.  Hell, I baked a frozen pizza for lunch, what more do you want from me?

I have found the time to clear out my email inbox, watch a few movie trailers on Yahoo! movies (okay, the New Moon trailer  a few times) and just piss the day away in general.  It’s bliss.

But I can’t stop the voice in the back of my head that keeps saying…”It’s summer vacation.  You should DO something.”

And then I think back to my summer vacations.  We did shit.  We would play outside, watch the odd Tom and Jerry cartoon, go to the pool, run through the sprinkler, walk to town.  Maybe there was day camp in there for a week or two.  But mostly we were left to entertain ourselves.

And I loved summers as a kid.  I don’t look back now and think I should have done more.  They are blissful memories of having nothing to do, which most of us would trade one of the children for now.

Tomorrow we have plans, and the day after that, and the day after that.

But for now, we are taking the day off.

The Little Land Barons

We are what, four days, into summer vacation, and already they are bored out of their minds.  It doesn’t help that it has rained EVERY DAY since school let out.

Today, in desperation, I took them to Toys R Us.  Now, you might be thinking that this was a rookie mistake.  But they wanted to go to the LegoLand in Schaumburg.  I told them I would buy them Legos that equaled the cost of admission to said Legoland if we didn’t actually have to go to Legoland.  I am, sometimes, smarter than I look.

To my shock and awe, while working our way to the Legos, they spotted International Monopoly and immediately started to beg for it.  Please Mommy!  Can we get it?  Can we get it?  

I was unsure.  It is the new one with the credit cards and the automatic calculator.  Where is the learning about math and money?  Would they be getting the full Monopoly experience?

Can I just tell you how much I love the new Monopoly?!?!?

There is no more counting out piles of little money that get lost under the board or tracked all over the living room.  No more “how many hundreds?”  “Is that your pile or mine?”  No one gets stuck being the banker.   Each of us gets a little color coded debit card and electronically get our 15 million in starter funds.

No, I am not on drugs.  15 million…$15,000,000.  Seems inflation has finally made it to the Boardwalk.  Although the Boardwalk is something different now.  And now it cost $4 million.  I choke when I have to pay 100K rent, they don’t even blink.

It goes so much faster, is so much simpler.  They were actually enjoying the game, and every transaction didn’t take an hour and a half.  I am now a Monopoly convert.  I will never use the paper money version again.

The little barons buy everything they land on.  No exceptions.  Except the littlest.  He buys nothing but utilities and transportation companies.  He likes to save his money.  If their attention spans ever make it through a whole game, I expect he will win handily.  

Once they were bored with the game they took the cards and the “bank” and set up a store in the living room.  With, in their minds, functioning credit cards, they bought and sold things from the table display for the rest of the evening.  

They are their father’s sons.