Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Salute

I got a call from the school today.  Apparently Landis had been riding in the back of the bus this morning, and was busily entertaining himself - and perhaps other kids too - by flipping the bird to the driver in the bus behind them. 

Word on the street was that he'd informed another student "not to worry" because she (the other driver) couldn't see him. 

But she could.


Which, as one would assume, won him a front-row seat in the Principal's office. 
He explained himself by stating that he was just giving the "Hunger Games Sign" so the driver was probably confused.

That explains it, don't you think?

Because this:

TOTALLY looks like this:
See how easy it is to mistake one for the other?
I mean....good effort though.  I admire his quick thinking while his butt is in the hot seat.  Which is why Mike is the one who has to deal with this.  Because I've been trying all afternoon to stop cracking up about it, but I am totally immature.  And kids flipping the bird is funny.  And I know if he comes at me with the whole "Hunger Games Salute" there is no way on God's green earth that I can keep a straight face.  
Carry on, my friends.  I salute you.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

In The Dog House

Back before I went back to work, I loved this blog.  It was such a fun way to get a little "me" time.  Sit down, look back over the day's events, and process it out over the keyboard to all of my friends who live in the computer. 

Working full time really puts a damper on the amount of time I have to do that these days - as evidenced by the date of my last post, practically 2 years ago.  A lot goes on day to day, and sometimes I think "That would make a really good blog story", but then I weigh out the time it takes to sit down and compose something halfway witty - and ultimately resort to the laziness of condensing it into a Facebook post and calling it a day. 

But that doesn't mean I don't miss these little sessions. 

I do.

So here's a funny little story that was WAY to long for a Facebook post.  (And by "funny little story" I mean it's really long, but funny if you like dogs, and poop, and destruction, and sleeplessness, and the general overall misery of *someone* totally getting what's coming to her.....)  Still with me?  Ok then.  Here we go......

Did I tell you we got a dog? We did.
And then we got another.  Because the instant that little 8 pound Norman got out of the car, I could NOT get enough of him.

I had this little episode that I can only describe as a minor mid-life crises where I wrapped him in my arms, smothered him to my face, and was all:
And Mike was all "Uhhhhhhhhhh........What?"  And then he listed all the practical things he could come up with that would counter my crazy ramblings about the absolute necessity of another puppy. 
Double the dog poop. 
Double the vet bills. 
Double the food. 
Double the walking.
Double the space in the car. 
Double the 80 pounds of dog. 
Double the puppies, for crying out loud. 
And I didn't care.  Wouldn't listen.  Wouldn't hear of it.  Wasn't interested. 
I answered all his statements with a chipper "That's fine."
We were getting another puppy. Period.  I was driven.  And so I made us go back for Oscar.


And Oscar, my friends, is the gift that keeps on giving.  He is a sweet-faced little bundle of fuzzy joy who reminds me daily that practicing a little restraint is not a bad thing.  And that sometime - (yes, sometimes) - maybe you should listen to your husband.  (Bookmark this blog post Mike, because I'm only sayin' it once.)

Norman is generally quiet.  Oscar barks.  Norman sleeps through the night.  Oscar is up at 4:00am trying to explain to us that it's morning and we should be up too.  Norman travels well.  Oscar barfs in the car.  Norman rings the bell on the back door to go outside.  Oscar poops in the dining room.  You get the idea. 

Fast forward to early June.  The dogs are 9 months old, and we're traveling to Ohio for a visit to Grammie and Grampy.  It's just the boys, the dogs and me because Mike is swamped at work.  Oscar has been given his road-trip meds (and by "given" I mean mostly shoving them down his throat  up to my elbow and then halfway wrestling his 80 pounds into submission to make sure he swallows, because I've never seen a dog who hates pills more, or who is SO good at spitting them out if you don't get them in just right) and for the 8 hour journey, all is good.    

We arrive in the afternoon, no worse for the wear and the dogs get a good run in...... down 4 yards to the neighbors who are sitting on their front porch and totally freaked out because two 80 pound dogs are running at them -- (delighted, by the way, to find someone to play with) -- while a disheveled 40 year old and a 12 year old worry wart chase after them.  But no harm, no foul.  We make jokes with the neighbors who seem to brush off their initial panic, and get the dogs back where they belong. 

The rest of the afternoon into the evening goes smoothly and eventually everyone settles in for the night.  I stay up for a while, watching TV and putzing around, and at 11:00pm I let the dogs out to go to the bathroom and then take them downstairs to sleep in the basement with me.

I turn out the lights and get under the covers, but I can hear one of them - presumably Oscar - wandering around the room.  More than once, over the course of the next few hours, the jingling tags on his collar wake me up, so I lean out of bed and peer into the darkness to tell him to "lay down".  

And then, all of a sudden he's right next to my bed - right up against it, practically in my face.  As I'm waking up and trying to get my bearings, he jumps up on the bed, walks over me and lays down.  And as the words "Oscar!  What in the world are you doing?!" are coming out of my mouth, a horrible smell is hitting my nose.  And as I'm leaning out of bed to turn on the light, I asked him.... "Oh my God, did you POOP in here?!". 

The short answer, ladies and gentlemen, is yes.  Yes he did.  The scene that unfolded as the light spread across the room was one that will haunt me for years to come.  Because not only had he pooped in the room...... He'd pooped everywhere in the room.  Including INSIDE my duffel bag.  AND he managed to walk in it - because it was in SO many places - and then spread it to every square-inch of the room while he presumably looked for a place to walk that didn't already have poop on it.  And THEN, with poopy paws, he'd jumped up onto the bed - which - if you remember from the previous paragraph was exactly when I was waking up and smelling bad smells simultaneously. 

So when I tell you that there was poop everywhere....I mean it was everywhere

And did I mention that I'd forgotten to pack pajamas?  That I was only sleeping in my undies?  Because that is also part of the story.  Me, standing there in a poop-filled room, in my undies.  And there was nothing I could put on, because as you'll also recall from the previous paragraph -- he shit INSIDE my bag.  Where my clothes were., yeah.  Me and the undies I was wearing.  That was my only option.

Also.... I couldn't quite figure out how to get the dogs out of the room immediately because lots of the poop was right by the door - which was closed.  And I had to open it, thus spreading a rainbow of poop across the carpet, if I was going to get them out. Not to mention the fact that I had no way to pick up the poop in order to get out the door. 
I had to get out in order to get something to pick it up with. 
But... I needed to pick up the poop before I could open the door. 
See how that works?  And at 3:00am on snippets of broken sleep, that is a hard problem to solve. And there was only so long they were going to stand there among the poo-grenades before things got worse.  

Norman, for his part, was huddled in a far corner pointing at Oscar like "That was NOT ME, man!  It was him!  And I'd like to leave this room now....."

So I bit the bullet and opened the door - poop pile and all - and in nothing but my undies, dragged Norman, Oscar, and his poopy paws up the stairs, through the kitchen, and onto the porch where I left them so I could go about the business of a 3:00am deep-cleaning of my parent's basement. 

After a solid hour and a half of carpet-scrubbing, bed stripping, and multiple loads of laundry containing everything from bed sheets and comforters, to duffel and toiletries bags (because yes, he even managed to poop on the bag that contained my toothpaste and shampoo) I managed a shower, located a clean sheet, sent Mike a text about how OHMYGODIMIGHTKILLOSCAR and settled in on the basement couch.

Sleep was blissful.... for 30 minutes.  Which was when Oscar started barking from the porch. 

I ran upstairs - still in my undies, but grateful for a sheet - and let him outside again as he promptly disappeared into the fog of the neighbor's backyard.  When I caught him - running behind him wearing my sheet - he was busily pooing a pile in the middle of their yard as tall as my knee.  "HOW do you have ANY poop left in you?!" I hissed at him.  "I mean, GOOD LORD, DOG!!!  How much poo can your body hold?"  

All I could think about was getting him out of the neighbor's yard because the last thing I wanted was for someone to come investigate the commotion in their backyard at 5:00 a.m.   Can you imagine?  "Hi!  Don't mind me standing here in a sheet.  And this giant pile of poo?  It's cool.  I'll get it later.  Promise."  

Finally.....  Thank Heavens, finally.... he seemed to have nothing left.  So we wandered back up to the house and I put him back on the porch with Norman.  I stumbled back down to the basement and fell onto the couch where I slept until 8:00.... which is when, even through my slumber, I heard my mom utter the words "OH MY GAWD!"  

If you've ever taken the kids or the dogs to Grammie and Grampy's, and you are awakened by those words, you KNOW it has something to do with what you've brought into their house.  Because they don't wake up and just say stuff like that on a regular basis.  My mom doesn't make it a habit to wander into the kitchen and say "OH MY GAWD, this coffee you made is just fantastic, Bill!"  Right?  There's a tone to those words that you know is all you, and that you know is some giant mess just waiting for you to walk into.              

So as I hauled my sorry ass up the stairs one more time,  I see Oscar playing outside in the yard all by himself.  Which in itself would not be a big deal if he hadn't demolished the screen door of the porch to do it. 

I almost cried.   

Except, that face.  I mean, look at him.  He practically smiles. 

He has no idea how big a pain in the ass he is.  I love that face.  In spite of all his ridiculous antics -- or maybe because of them.  I don't know.   
What I do know is this:  I'm reminded regularly that I just HAD to have him.  But ultimately, I'm not sorry.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.   
(Also, I made sure to leave my credit card on file at my parent's house.)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Soul Supplies

Did you know that you can't find ANY school supplies at 12:30am the night before school is due to start? can't.  I know because I tried. And believe me when I say there was nothing.......And I mean Nothin'.  Not even 1 pencil.  Just rows and rows of depressed looking ransacked isles. Empty and sad.

So I sent my kids to school on the first day with a random notebook each, and nothing to write with.  "Borrow from your neighbor." I told them.  "It's a great way to make new friends....." 
And then I kissed them goodbye and sent them on their way.  
And I didn't even really feel bad about it. 
You know why?  Because we'd just had the best last-weekend-of-summer a kid could ask for.  We'd made a last minute run for the river....  and it was so worth it. 

Earlier in the year I'd gotten my hands on a family cabin at Camp Ocoee -- right on the lake at the end of the river -- and Mike and I were tyring to figure out when we were going to use this thing.  As we scoured the calendar to find a "logical" weekend option, the ones that made the most sense to take were farther and farther away from summer. And that meant farther and farther away from warm weather, longer days and good water releases. 
So we decided to seize the day.  Or, more accurately, the upcoming weekend.  The weekend before the first day of school - a literal "last hurrah" for the boys. 

We loaded the kids up into the car at 7:00pm and drove the 5 and a half hours it took us to get to Ducktown Tennessee - which, in case you're wondering, is as small as the name suggests.  We rolled in at midnight, found a place to pitch our tent, and persuaded 2 sleepy boys out of the car and into their sleeping bags.  And when dawn pushed itself up and over the horizon in the morning, both boys were up, racing around and raring to go.  "Let's go RAFTING!!  Let's go RAFTING!!  Are you ready?! Can we go RAFTING?!"  In fact, they were SO excited, we even beat the water to the put-in.

And that day -- in truth, the entire weekend - was filled with so much excitement, and joy, and frenzied screaming that pencils and erasers and notebook paper seemed unimportant.  And when their cousins and aunt and uncle joined us, the excitement and joy and frenzied screaming was only amplified as we piled more kids into the raft and took off for run after run..... smashing through waves and bouncing over ledges amid shrieks of laughter.

We took side-hikes up Goforth Creek, and the kids busied themselves studying the currents and constructing make-shift rafts out of sticks -- using thin green twigs to tie them all together.  They scrounged the hulls of buckeyes out of the dirt to make little kayaks that they'd send down the small stream, predicting what route each one would take, and what would happen as it hit each miniaturized "river feature". They'd cheer and clap when they were right, scoop their boats up out of the water at the end of the run, and race back up the rocks to do it again.  Gibson engineered his own "undercut" rock feature in the middle of the stream, and then showed us what happens when a boat accidentally runs into one. 
"Mom!" he said, "I know why they can be dangerous....  Here... Watch this..." 
They were all perfect  examples of science experiments, right there in nature's classroom.  No pencils, or notebooks or erasers necessary.

And at then end of each day, back at the cabin (though solidly worn out from the river miles) there was this:

And this....

Which was not to shabby a way to spend the evening. 

On Sunday -- the final day of the best-last-weekend-of-summer -- Jen and the kids and I spent a lazy morning reading books, swimming in the lake, and launching ourselves off the rope swing, while Mike and Chris got a run in by themselves.  Sunday was ticking away and I still had to go to the store -- had to get some school supplies for the boys.  But...well......  it was the best-last-day-of-summer.  So.....  You know.....  (shrug). 

At 1:00, we packed up the cabin, loaded up the cars, and went to the put-in for one more run.  Putting on at 2:00 meant we probably wouldn't be off the river until 5:00.  And then we had a 5 and a half hour drive back to Charlotte. 
"What do you think?" Mike wanted to know... 
You know what I thought?  I thought that the final day of the best-last-weekend-of-summer was not a day to be stressed.  And that we should soak up every last minute of it. 

And so we did. 

And when your 5 year old nephew is bouncing on the thwart in front of you screaming "AWESOME!!AWESOME!!AWESOME!!AWESOME!!" when you plow through the first big hit on the river, and every kid in the raft is yelling "SURF IT! SURF IT! SURF IT!" when you paddle up to the reliable surfing hole, and when your 8 year old is screaming "THIS IS THE BEST MOST AWESOME DAY OF MY LIFE!!!" when you drop them into the final rapid of the day, with all of them crammed into the front compartment so that they can be absolutely and thoroughly drenched with the wave coming over the bow of the boat.........well.... being irresponsible is sometimes the responsible thing to do.  Especially when they look like this:

And this....

And this....

I mean look at those faces......

That weekend was good for my soul.  It was good for Mike's soul.  It was good for their souls.  And at the end of our last-minute-irresponsible-last-weekend-of-the-summer-getaway, they were so full to the top with fun and laughter and happiness and achievement, that even though they didn't technically have what they "needed"... there's not a doubt in my mind that, really?  They had exactly what they needed. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Into the Pride

Here's a good one for you..... 

We went to a party last night.  It was thrown by a friend who has a teenage daughter, and both adults and kids were welcome.  So when we rolled up to the party, we were met by a large pack of teenage girls standing on the front lawn.  We parked, and before we got out of the car, I answered a text I'd gotten from another friend who was on her way.  As we were sitting there, Gibson leaned up and said "Uh..  Mom?  They're all staring at us...."

"I know."  I said. 

"WHY are they all just staring at us?" he asked.

"Because they're teenage girls" I replied. "And that's what teenage girls do."

Gibson contemplated this for a minute and then he looked at me and said "Mom...?  Do they also hunt in prides?"

And after I collected myself from my hysterical fit of laughter I said "Yes they do, honey.  Yes they do..."

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tastes Like Nuthin'

A few weeks ago I ran into someone I hadn't seen in a long time, and she told me that she missed my blog.  And I thought, you know what?  I miss my blog too.  There's something cathartic - and fun, too - about sitting down and documenting the antics of our household.  It's lack of time - not lack of material - that keeps me from posting.  So I got back on here, and HOLY COW, people!  It's been a year.  A full YEAR - almost to the day - since I wrote anything in this space.  And that blows my mind because...honestly? WHERE has that time gone?  Sheesh....

So....let's get up to speed here. 

I guess I'll start with Sam, our family dog of 12 years that we had to put down in January.  He was a big old dopey hundred-and-seven pound lovable yellow lab who was riddled with arthritis and fatty tumors.  He shed all over the house, had horrible gas (like the "this might suffocate you in your sleep" kind), bulldozed down any unsuspecting person who had the unfortunate luck to ring our doorbell, ate your food when  you weren't looking, and was generally a giant pain in the ass.  And I loved him. And I suppose because we loved him so much, it seemed the kindest thing to do for him when he couldn't really walk, get up or down, was in obvious pain, and was losing control of his bowels.  But that didn't make it any easier.

We held a "service" for him the in backyard that included a small bonfire, each of us taking turns reading our own individual "letters to Sam" and a song that Gibson spent days composing all by himself.  His solo was tender and heartfelt and atrociously off-key.  It was hard to keep a straight face and be really serious as he poured out his feelings through his *melody*.  We manged though, because it truly was touching and sweet, even if it did hurt your ears. 

And you know what's crazy?  Even though it's been 4 months, I still pull into the driveway every day and get out of the car thinking I better hurry up and let the dog out before he shits on the floor.  It's like my tires hit the driveway and that motion somehow automatically triggers the thought that slides unconsciously across the front of my brain so that I have to consciously remind myself that "No....I don't."  I guess 12 years of habits are hard to break.


Well...... that was uplifting, no?  I had a few more "life events" that I was going to fill you in, but you know what? As I was writing them out I realized that they aren't altogether very happy ones. So perhaps I'll wait for another time.  Break them up a bit.  Give them to you in smaller doses.  And that way when you're done reading you won't be so overwhelmed with all things sad that you feel inclined to wash down a few Valium with a bottle of wine and go lay down on the couch.  Deal? 

Ok then.

Instead, I'll tell you the story that I told Sarah Beth who, in turn, reminded me that I needed to get my butt back to this blog. 

A few weekends ago, when it was warm and sunny and wonderfully beautiful outside, the boys spent an entire day digging a hole in the back yard.  While I think it's general purpose was pure entertainment, and later determined to be a trap for the random bunny traversing our property, what they've actually constructed is the perfect Parent trap.  I like to refer to it as "The Ankle Breaker."   It's about two and half feet deep, nice and narrow, and in just the right spot (read: completely random) for an unsuspecting 40 year old to fall right into it while preoccupied with something else.  Because who in their right mind - besides any male child between the ages of 6 and 11 - would expect that HOLE to be RIGHT THERE?!    (In case you think - with good reason - that a broken bone is the direction I'm headed with this story, rest assured that this has not yet taken place. But it no doubt will, because we haven't actually gotten around to filling that "rabbit trap" in. And the longer it lays in wait out there, the more likely we are to forget about it, know.... stay tuned.)

No, instead I'm going to tell you about what happened as the hole digging was in progress.  Because hole digging requires overturning dirt, and you know what you can find in dirt, don't you? 

WORMS!  And when you come across approximately four big old juicy earthworms, and you're out in the backyard with your little brother, the next logical thing to do is to dare him to eat them.  All four.  And tell him that you'll pay him $2.00.  Fifty cents a worm!  What a deal! 

Now according to Gibson, this was all Landis's idea.  That he got an eye-full of these worms and was all "Hey Gibson!  Dare me to eat these?"  And Gibson was all "HECK YES I DO!  AND I'll even give you $2.00 so you don't have to do it for nuthin'!"  Or something of the sort....  I don't really know how it went down, or whose brain the idea originated in first.  All I know is that Gibson came into the house and announced that Landis was about to eat worms.  And I said OK and went back to what I was doing in the first place -- which I think was laundry, because I can NEVER climb out from under THAT mountain.  Anway...  I've been momming-it to little boys for almost a decade now, so I was generally unruffled by the worm eating proposal.  I mean, look y'all....  I eat sushi, which let's be honest, probably isn't really any better.  And these worms?  They were obviously organic.  Free-range.  No hormones or antibiotics, right?  I'd even wager that they're lean protein.  Doesn't that make them some kind of certified health food?  Anyway, like I said.......Unruffled.  (Though mildly grossed out when I found out that part of the deal was that he could dip them in ketchup.  I don't know why that makes it worse, but somehow it does.) 

So the worm eating event went down without fanfare, Landis earned his $2.00, and they eventually got back to the business of digging.  And for the record (because I know you're wondering) worms apparently taste mostly like "nothing". And I should also note here that I suspect Gibson may have also nibbled a few just, you know, to see..... 

But my favorite part of the story comes in here:   At the diner table after Mike got home for the evening.
Gibson was practically bursting at the seams to tell his father that LANDIS ATE WORMS that day!  And Mike, who has a weaker stomach than I do, but realizing that we were way past the point in which he could do anything about it just sighed and said "Well Landis...?  Did you at least wash them off before you ate them?"
In response, Landis curled his lip, furrowed his brow, and peered at Mike out of the top of his eyeballs like Mike just asked him the MOST ASININE question he has ever been asked in his short life and  -- I'm telling you the straight up truth here -- said this:  "Of COURSE I did!  I wouldn't eat dirt!  That's GROSS!"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Growing up Google

The other day, Gibson was asking about Heaven.  He and Landis were engaged in some sort of discussion about how things work up there and they needed clarification on something.  So he turned to me and asked "Mom?  Can you see up in Heaven?" 

"What do you mean?" I asked him. 

"I mean, can you see - like with your eyes, the way we can see right now?  Can we see like that in Heaven?" 

"I don't know Gibson.", I told him. "I guess...  But you know? No one really knows for sure what Heaven is like."

"No one?" asked Gibson.

"No.  Not really." I replied into their wide, unblinking eyes.

"What?!?!" said Landis, skeptically. "Not even GOOGLE?!?"

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Isn't that what EVERYONE does with old fruit?

Me: "Landis, I cleaned something disgusting off your walls the other day."

Landis: "What?"

Me: "I don't know.....  But it was gross.  It was splattered up in the corner, near the ceiling.  What the heck was it?  And what were you doing?"

Landis: "What color was it?"

Me: "It was brownish - AND GROSS."

Landis: "Oh yeah....  It was a rotten apple."

Me: "A rotten APPLE?"

Landis: "Yeah.  We found a rotten we threw it up against the wall."

Me: "You found a rotten apple, so you THREW IT AGAINST YOUR WALL?!?"

Landis, (shrugging): "Yeah." 

And he says it with total nonchalance, like "Duh!  Of course I did.  It was ROTTEN FRUIT.  It's what you DO." 

I totally don't get it.  And I can't help but wonder.........Is it my lack of a Y chromosome that leaves me in utter confusion about why that made even a bit of sense?