Archive for January, 2009

Beware the angry bird watcher.

Well, someone was in a mood. Someone typed this happy little search string into Google one day last week, and ended up here at my little corner of the blogosphere:

fucking picturee of a damn cardinal

And I just gotta say: Dude. That is some seriously angry Googling.

I’m trying to imagine what it would take to make a person type that into Google just like that. What was it? Some sort of group science project? Some sort of group presentation on the cardinal, and this kid’s job was to Get The Pictures? And he never did it? And his classmates were all like: Dude… did you get the pictures of the cardinal yet? We totally NEED those pictures. This report is gonna suck ass if you don’t get online and get the goddam pictures already!

Did it go on like that for days upon days upon days until the kid finally screamed ALL RIGHT ALREADY! I SAID I’D GET THE PICTURES AND I’LL GET THE DAMN PICTURES!!!!! And then he sat down at his computer and typed in “fucking picturee of a damn cardinal”? (That extra “e” on picture just shows how hard he must have punched the keyboard. That dude was pissed.)

Or was it that just searching for the word cardinal didn’t bring up any good looking birds? Or are cardinals just irritating in general? Did a cardinal flitter by this dude’s window and… well… flip him the bird (I know, I’m sorry) or maybe a cardinal crapped on his windshield, or his head, or WHAT?

Here, look at this picture, and tell me:

cardinal

how does it make you feel? Are you experiencing any feelings of rage or anxiety? No? Are you sure? Because, just look at that son-of-a-bitch. He is totally getting ready to piss you off. That bird is Out To Get You. Just keep your hat on and back away nice and slow.

Fucking cardinals. Always sitting in trees…twittering… and looking so …red.

I’m so mad right now, I could just Google.

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The best kind of snowstorm…

is the unexpected one. The one that wasn’t supposed to happen, or if it was supposed to happen, it wasn’t supposed to amount to anything, but then it did.

Last night and today, we’ve had snow and ice and then rain – the kind that makes the day dreary because there’s no going out in it. And by the time you DO get to go out, it’s all turned to a pathetic, good for nothing slush. And we knew it was coming. The local news and the Weather Channel just couldn’t shut up about this storm. How dull it was, listening to them go on about it, knowing that it really wasn’t going to be such of a much, that all it would amount to was some extra work with a shovel. La-dee-da.

But, a week ago Monday was totally different. A week ago Monday was just supposed to be a slight chance of flurries. The newscasters barely gave it a minute. And Monday afternoon, we got a little flurry. The girls looked out the window and cheered.

“Don’t get too excited,” I said. “This isn’t supposed to last.”

They grumbled. But then the flurry just kept on flurrying. And flurrying. And flurrying. And by 3:30 I had to tell them we’d have to skip karate because I didn’t want to be driving in this. They wailed. But then I told them to get their snow gear on because we were going out into all that delicious snow. And the wails immediately ceased as they scrambled for their boots.

They’d been waiting a long time for a day like this. A day with the Good Kind Of Snow.

sledding1

In fact, now that I think about it,

sledding2

This was the first good snow they’ve been able to play in since we moved here two years ago.

sledding3

I know this because I bought these red sleds for them for Christmas back in 2006, right before we moved.

sledding4

And they never used them once. Until this Monday a week ago, when the snow we weren’t supposed to get turned into the best surprise ever. The whole time they were sledding, I kept hearing Etta James singing in my head: At Last….

sledding5

So, it was funny the next day to hear that song played over and over again because that was the theme song for the President and First Lady’s inaugural dance. I suspect that if they had watched my daughters sledding down our little hill for the first time ever, they’d totally understand why I had that song stuck in my mind. They’ve got daughters, too. I think they’d get it.

sledding6

But the best part about that day was the laughing. I laughed in a way I haven’t laughed in years. I laughed because I saw the joy light up their faces as the sleds picked up a little speed and they were sailing in the gorgeous snowy dusk and I saw in their eyes, in their excited smiles,  that it was better than they ever even expected it could be. I laughed with them, and at one point, I’m pretty sure I was jumping up and down with excitement.

And then, the next day… THIS happened

and it was the icing on the cake. The best kind of icing. The kind you weren’t expecting, but turned out to be exactly what you wanted all along. The kind that was worth the wait.

Do you see what I see?

Here’s a picture I took of my 5-year-old last week:

primer-game11

It’s a pretty good shot, I guess. But nothing spectacular. Except for the kid in the middle, that is. She’s pretty spectacular.

I’d been trying to get her to stand still so I could take a picture of her for my blog, because I wanted to write a post about how much fun playing games during primer lessons can be. (This was a game in which I wrote words on post-it notes and told her to place the word on whatever the note said to. She’s got one on her brain, her waist, and her veins here. We’ve been working on different spellings of the long-A vowel sound.) I wanted to sound sage and wise and all homeschooley and all that, but when I sat down to look at how the shots came out, I sort of forgot all the wisdom I wanted to spout here and got all focused on just how hard it is to get a 5-year-old to Stand Still For Any Length Of Time, and then I got all distracted by the OTHER THINGS in the picture.

What other things, you ask?

What do you mean you don’t see anything?

They’re RIGHT THERE:

primer-game2

1. Okay. This is my kindergartener. Smiling. During Primer. I just want to note this for posterity. Because it rarely happens these days.

2. For some reason, in this picture, my living room looks warm and inviting and big, and somehow just very GRAND. But it’s actually quite the opposite of that. And most of the time, it’s hard to walk in there, because of all the toys on the floor.

3. That coffee mug has been sitting there for about 4 days. I hope no one tries to take a sip of that.

4. A box of Swiffer dust cloths. Makes me look pretty damn cool to have that there. Like I’m Really On Top Of My Housekeeping. Except the truth is, I bought that box of Swiffers in, oh… I’d say 2005. And I still haven’t gone all the way through it. It’s about halfway empty. I did use one or two cloths to dust before my mother-in-law arrived. That was about a month ago, and I still haven’t put the box of Swiffers away after using them.

5. One of the 22 Webkinz stuffed animals we’ve got living in here with us. This one’s name is Chee-Chee. Or Cha-Cha? Pee-pee? Chihuaua? Something like that.

6. This is some laundry that I carefully folded about 4 or 5 days ago (probably while sipping coffee out of that travel mug), and then never did get around to putting away. By the time I manage to find time to do that, it’ll be tipped out of the basket and stepped on and dragged around the floor so that I’m compelled to just wash all of it again.

7. Wait a second. That’s my 8-year-old’s pencil. If her pencil’s over here, then what is she using to do her math sheet? IS she doing her math sheet?

Still…

primer-game11

She’s a great kid. They both are. And primer games really are fun. And I love this picture.  And even though she doesn’t smile like this every day during primer, and even though I sometimes grit my teeth and wonder why I ever decided to homeschool, it’s still worth every reluctant minute.

Because I can’t imagine surrendering that smile to some other teacher. Chances are, some other teacher wouldn’t even notice it.

Better than chocolate. Apparently.

As dinner winds to a close:

8-year-old: Mom, when do you think we’ll be able to take a trip to Egypt?

Me: Um, I don’t know. I’m not sure we’ll ever get to go to Egypt, much as I’d like to.

8-year-old: So, you think maybe it’ll be in 10 years?

Me: No. I don’t know. Like I just said —

8-year-old: Or maybe 5 years?

Me: Look–

8-year-old: Do you think it’ll be more than 5 years or less than 5 years? Do you think we could invite Grandma to come with us? When would—

Me: Okay. It’s now 6:15 in the evening. I have been answering questions since 6:15 this morning. I am now officially closed to any new questions. I am unable to answer any more questions until tomorrow morning.

8-year-old: Seriously?

Me: I can’t answer that. It’s a question.

RegularDad: Hey, I saw on the way home that the new ’09 Corvettes are on the lot now. Mind if I drive over and pick one up?

Me: I can’t answer that. It’s a question.

RegularDad: Okay. Since you didn’t answer, I’m gonna assume that’s a yes. Thanks!

Me: Nice try.

5-year-old: Hey Mom. Would it be all right if instead of finishing all these peas and my salad I just go get a piece of chocolate and have that instead?

Me: No. Eat your vegetables.

5-year-old: Ha-ha! MOM!!!!! You answered a question!!! Ha! HA! HA!

I just stare at her until she starts fiddling with her salad again.

5-year-old: Mom, I wasn’t really asking for chocolate, you know. I just wanted to make you say something you said you wouldn’t say.

Me: So, making me say something I don’t want to is better than chocolate?

5-year-old: Oh, yeah.

Post traumatic holiday stress.

There should be a national law (and I am seriously considering contacting President-Elect Obama about this) that the week after you turn 40 should be a mother-in-law free zone.

One should be completely free to enjoy the dubious moments of hitting 40 — like your 5-year-old announcing it at the top of her very impressive lungs to the entire staff that teaches her karate (TODAY’S MY MOM’S BIRTHDAY AND SHE’S GONNA BE 40!) without the additional impending DOOM that is your mother-in-law not just coming to visit for 4 days, but also coming because she’s got a JOB INTERVIEW at a location LESS THAN AN HOUR AWAY FROM YOU.

And there should be some sort of legislation that would require her to refrain from duplicitous behavior. So that when she says to you and your husband that it would be really nice if you could bring the kids to see her mother, that really all you’d be agreeing to is bringing the kids to see her mother, not to some clandestine Large Extended Family Gathering that you just happen to figure out because she accidentally lets drop that Uncle Johnny will be there too, which leads you to inquire about all the other Great Aunts and Uncles and Various Cousins and Siblings-In-Law that may or may not be getting divorced or finally kicking that heroin habit, or whatever… the majority of whom think that You’re The Crazy One because you don’t send your kids to school.

And I’m not saying that there needs to be an official edict or anything, but it might be worth adding to standard books of etiquette that if you have this sort of situation happen, and you’re nice enough to Bite Your Tongue Till It’s Forked and still let your mother-in-law borrow one of your new turtlenecks to wear on her interview because it’s JUST PERFECT compared to the blouse she ran out and bought at the last minute that wasn’t quite what she’d hoped for but would have to do, and you wished her good luck and smiled as she dashed out for the interview that might land her the job that could possibly put her back within driving distance of you and your children FOREVER, and you also spent the majority of your week watching her play with the kids and keeping an EVER VIGILANT EYE on her so that she didn’t accidentally throw out all your pots and pans while cleaning the kitchen, while your husband — the son of the woman who has suddenly descended upon you and your kids and your house and possibly YOUR FUTURE — went to work all day long every day of that visit, that you should get foot massages from your husband for like — oh, I don’t know — ETERNITY?

Because, all’s I’m sayin’ is: I am the Queen of Exercising Restraint. I continually allow this woman, who once accidentally admitted she wished I was dead so she could raise my children instead of me, to come here and visit, and I don’t make RegularDad take time off from work. And I drink tea with her, and I laugh, and I tell her that it would be Just Lovely if she managed to get a job that would bring her back east to be near us, and I let her cook meals in my kitchen, and I bite my tongue when I catch her cleaning and I let it all wash off my back and then pretty soon, I help her find her things and give her a hug and tell her how wonderful it was to see her, and urge her to come again soon, and I assure her with adequate enthusiasm that we’re all Really Looking Forward To Seeing The Family this Saturday, and the whole time I’m doing that, every bit of my soul is guarded and closed off and I hope it doesn’t show too much.

And I smile and nod when my daughters tell me how much they love their Grandma. And I give them hugs when they cry when she leaves. And I remind myself Again And Again that what she said that time, about wishing me dead, was just One Of Those Things. That she didn’t really mean it THAT WAY. And sometimes, I almost believe it when I tell myself that.

And I hope that the girls never find out that Grandma said that. And I hope that they do. All at the same time.

But here’s the silver lining, the happy ending: There’s a storm coming. Finally. Some snow. My 8-year-old has been pining for some snow. And tomorrow’s the day. The flurries are already moving in, and by morning it’ll be a mess that will last all day and all night long. And tomorrow was the day we were supposed to go to the party that wasn’t supposed to be a party. So after all my mother-in-law’s manipulative maneuverings, we still may avoid most of the CRAZY. At least for now.

Winter, you are So Welcome Here!


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