Thursday, December 6, 2012

Do you remember when I said that everything would be better when Bri got her license?

Of course, that’s true but … a new question has come up.  The question being how many tires can Bri take out within 6 days?

(Hint:  If you note the question – it implies more than one occurrence.)

Answer:  So far (and I mean that) 3.  One last Thursday and two on Wednesday.

My husband just bought 4 tires and a spare and a rim.  I told him to keep the extra two tires because that way she can blow out 3 more.

And Bri doesn’t just put small holes in tires.  Touch your thumb to your first finger; now open that up an inch.  That was one of the holes in the tire last Thursday.  She ran over something then she drove on it … for miles.  One block from school she and Jacob noticed that the car was tilted.  We couldn’t get the jack under it so we had to have it towed home. 

Wednesday she called again in the morning.  My husband went to look at the car again.  He recreated the accident by following the plastic pieces.  She hit the curb, and then scraped a telephone pole -- taking out two tires and the side view mirror in the process.  Again we had the car towed home.

But on a positive note she immediately pulled onto a side street and parked the car.  And Jacob and she are getting mad tire changing skills!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012


We only had one day to spend in Madrid … a Monday.  Everything closes in Europe on Monday.  So we couldn’t go to the museum we really wanted The Museum of the Americas.  We were excited to see the treasure taken from the Americas but it was closed so we made other plans.  We started with churros con chocolate at La Chocolateria San Gines.  Just imagine a pot of dark, rich, delicious chocolate!  Honestly the best thing ever!

We visited the Royal Palace. 
Image found here.

Elizabeth decided that she wanted a mansion too.

Image found here.

Then we visited San Miguel Market for lunch.  I thought it would be more like the Market Boquería and it wasn’t.  I was a little disappointed.  We finished our day at Reina Sofía because I wanted to see Guernic.  I didn’t love the museum and wished that I’d chosen to go to the Prado instead but c’est la vie.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bri’s Road Test

I’m sure you are wondering why I am driving over two hours away for a road test.  The answer is simple … I live in Massachusetts.


Massachusetts closed down a lot of RMVs (including the one in my town).  Usually I go to the one 30 minutes away, but why would it be simple to schedule a road test in Massachusetts?

I had 3 options.

Option #1.  Schedule through the driving school, pay an extra $165 (after paying over $700 for the classes) for someone to drive Bri to Milford to take the test.

Option #2.  Pay an extra $100 to the driving school for Bri to take the test in our town.

Option #3.  Schedule the test myself and drive her myself and not pay the driving school anything extra.

I chose option #3.  However, when scheduling I checked for anything during the month (any day, any time). 

Within 10 miles … nothing. 

Within 20 miles … nothing. 

Within 50 miles … nothing. 

Within 100 miles … nothing. 

Within 200 miles … oh look, Pittsfield is available.  Ok, we’re driving to Pittsfield.

I am now forced to conclude that the driving school somehow arranged the hurricane.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

On Friday, I went to the grocery store.

Why do I always forget that everyone in New England prepares for every big storm by buying groceries?

Somehow, it surprises me every time!  But as long as I was at the store I figured I should get some extra food as well to make waiting in the extra long line worth it.  At home I unpacked my extra 5 bags of apples, then stared at the gallon of milk, two cartons of eggs and the two packages of tater tots I bought and thought, "when the power goes out, boy will I be grateful for those tots!"

Obviously, I have lost the emergency preparedness skills that come standard in Utah.

School has already been cancelled for tomorrow and you know what else is tomorrow?

Brianne's road test.    Yup, the one that we are driving 2 hours and 15 minutes away to take.  Because why wouldn't there be a hurricane on the one day this year that I scheduled the test?

I don't know who to call to complain about this ... but I know someone who does and I will be calling her to find out who to yell at!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Wrapping dad around her little Finger

A friend of mind told me that there is something about girls and their fathers.  Well, he actually said … And I quote, “my boys, they can drive any old beater car around but for G… I’ll probably need to buy her a pink car.”

I had found a super attractive, almost “antique” car for Bri to drive for the attractive price of $1,000.  My husband asked, “What does Bri think of it?”

I said, “I don’t care.  It’s $1,000.”

My husband responded, “Bri wants a Bug.” 

I said, “This car costs $1,000, what is not to like?”

And so, he bought her a bug that cost a bit more. 

… *Sucka!

*Ok, I don’t really mean that because he is super sweet (nicer than me).  I just didn’t care that the car was not attractive because I never planned to drive it!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Improving My Life By 25%

I am convinced that when Brianne gets her license my life will improve by 25%.  (Which is a significant amount of improvement!)  I would seriously bury a statue of a saint in my yard if I thought that would help Bri pass her road test and I'm not even Catholic!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Taragona was Fantastic

We loved Taragona!  Fabulous food and a fabulous town!  Tarraco was a Roman Provincial Capital so there are a lot of Roman ruins to explore.  There are remains of a Roman amphitheater, a circus, a forum, huge walls surrounding part of the old city.

Image found here.

Check out more pictures of Taragona here.

We walked by a statue of people making a human pyramid.  And a lady tried to tell us that it was going to happen that night but we didn’t speak Catalonian and so unfortunately we didn’t figure out what she was trying to tell us until after dinner when we came upon people climbing down.  Darn it!  We missed it by minutes!

Image found here.

We went to Les Voltes for dinner twice because we couldn’t resist having dinner in the vaults under the Roman circus.

And the kids had been dying to go to the beach since we got to Spain so we went.

In the rarely accessed portion of my brain where I stuff  “not needed information that I read about once,” ironically not far from the “Pick Pockets in Paris” section, is a section on Nudity on Beaches in Europe.  I basically forgot that there are topless beaches.  We, naturally, walked down to less crowded section on the beach and once there I got some wide-eyed, slightly distressed looks from my children.

“Sorry!  Try not to look in that direction?”  I said as I tried to drag my own startled eyes away.  Not that everyone was topless but we were definitely the most covered up family there.  I had Jake and Elizabeth in swim shirts and I wore a hat, even in the water.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wasting Time

I've decided to pick up a new hobby -- reading reviews at Amazon.

13 Hilarious Online Reviews Of Extremely Mundane Objects

Thursday, August 30, 2012

History -- Owned

Timeline of Stress

Throughout the summer:  Bri put off reading The Jungle for AP History but finally finished.

Tuesday: Bri finished up her chapter notes due in history and started studying for her test.

Wednesday morning:  Bri started her junior year. 

Wednesday Afternoon:  I picked up a hyperventilating Brianne.  Between breaths into a lunch bag, Bri explained that she had MRS. WILL for AP History!  The hardest teacher.  That her test tomorrow was not just on one chapter of notes but also the previous chapter’s notes as well.  The chapter from last year – the one she already took a test on.  She said, “I’m going to get a 5 on the AP test.  Last year my friend never got above a B- on a test and got a 5 on the AP test.”  Bri spent the rest of the day studying and quizzing me about Lincoln and reconstruction.

Somehow we ended up talking about how reconstruction was different under Johnson.  And I ended up saying, “After Lincoln was assassinated by vampire sympathizer John Wilkes Booth …”  (And yes, that is exactly what it can be like to have a conversation with me.)  Bri said that she was going to use that in her test.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Where were we? Oh, that's right Spain

But maybe I should detour to Carcassonne first.  On our way to Barcelona we stopped by Carcassonne (it’s not just a game*) for the morning.  It’s impressive!  It’s Europe’s largest fortified medieval city.  

Picture attribution here.

How could we miss exploring a giant castle?  Jacob bought a crossbow, Elizabeth bought two helmets and we stuffed ourselves with French junk food – crepes and paninis so the day was quite successful if filled with French tourists**.

We decided to drive over the Pyrenees Mountains and they are absolutely gorgeous.  I wish that we had planned a river rafting trip or to go on a zip line.  That is the one big regret I have.  I didn’t realize until seeing them how nice it would have been to stay there for a day or two.

Picture attribution here.

*Sorry for the geeky board game humor but I can’t help myself.  Next time we play it Eileen, I will own you!  Because I’ve actually been there now and I’m sure that conveys actual skills - probably through subliminal messages via the audio guide.

** Going during the height of the tourist season might not have been the wisest, or least crowded option.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Drinking down the last dregs of summer

My dad called me today to see if I was still in Barcalona.  It was a subtle hint to post something.

I told him I was still in Europe and didn't have Internet in a desperate attempt to buy myself some time.

The truth is that for some odd reason (peer pressure) I decided to go to girls camp with Bri for a week and for another odd reason (insanity) I decided that we could paint our own house and save ourselves $5,000 dollars.  That is actually true; however, I fear that the defense lawyer I'll require after I strangle  a couple of kids might require that money as a retainer thus I will not end up saving anything.

Monday, August 6, 2012


We drove to Barcalona on Wednesday.  I would never want to drive there because that city is huge!   Fortunately I didn't have to.  My husband did.  Thursday we got up, ate breakfast in the hotel and we went to Sagrada Familia.  It was well worth the wait.  It was beautiful!  And while we were waiting in line a man came up to us and gave us the ticket he'd bought for his family to go up the elevator because he had to leave.  So nice!  After lunch we returned to the hotel for a two hour seista since we were trying to adjust to Spainish customs.  Then that night we took the metro to see the Magic Fountain.  

Friday we walked La Rambla and checked out La Boqueria Market.  It was great!  We bought snacks and two fruit juices each.  Then we drove to Taragona.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Montpellier and On

Before we left Paris we saw the Louvre.  My husband spent a significant amount of time in the Gare de Lyon train station picking up a rental car and trying to navigate through Paris by himself after sweet talking Hertz into renting him a car with an expired license that my nephew David had Fed Ex'ed to him after the pick pocketers stole his current one.  ( I guess renting from Hertz 30 times so far this year has paid off for us!). While the rest of us waited for 2 1/2 hours to see the Catacombs.  (A one timer for me.)

We drove down past Dijon and stayed for the night then we arrived in Montpellier.  Monday we checked out the Coloseum in Nimes and on Tuesday we walked around Montpellier, swam in the pool, did some laundry.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Safety First

Because we are so concerned about pick pockets we decided it would be safest to have a moat. So, my husband found a Chateau with one.  

Bonus - my hand was kissed by a Count TWICE!    It was a little exciting.

Not a bonus (because I don't like Microsoft) but interesting.  Bill and Melinda Gates stayed in the same suite on their honeymoon.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

French Policeman are Awesome

And not just because they are all about 12, yell at pickpocketers when they arrest them, and drive really fast through red lights when it is totally not necessary. (I know it's not necessary because my dad was State Police for 25 years and I never got to ride in his car with the siren blaring.)  Our detective was a hipster - a skinny jean, scruffy beard, tee-shirt, head-phone wearing hipster. My dad has never worn skinny jeans. Scruffy beard - yes (maybe not scruffy). Tee-shirt - yes. Head-phones - I'm not sure but he probably owns enough technology toys to fill half a Radio Shack - I'm going with yes. Sorry dad, but I'm calling it for the French. The skinny jeans alone tip it over to them.  Sad Face.

Anyway, they sent my husband an email on Friday morning to come pick up some of the euros the pickpockets had stolen.  The wife had turned herself in and said she was really sorry.  We got 120 euros back and four dollars.  (Technically, the four dollars weren't ours but obviously came from some American they'd stolen from and there was no way to know who they belonged to so I kept my mouth shut and pocketed them.)

So, down 60 euros but up four bucks - point to the pickpockets
Two nights in jail vs. 60 euros minus 4 bucks - point to us + police
Surrounded by French citizens and old women making unknown hand gestures - point to us
Great story vs. minimum two nights in jail- point to us

We Win.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Full On Parisian Experience

We rounded out our French experience today. Yesterday we visited the Musee d'Orsay, Tuilleries, Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concord. Today we visited a police station and were treated to a chauffeured ride in the back seat of a siren blaring police car. Elizabeth loved it because we went through red lights at a really high rate of speed! We got pick-pocketed today. I'll write up the whole story tomorrow but I'll admit to a certain sense of satisfaction that the man who stole my husband's wallet is spending at least tonight in jail.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Eiffel Tower

We saw the Eiffel Tower today, yeah that was pretty much all we did if you exclude waiting in lines. We got off our flight, grabbed our luggage (I didn't want to check it because the only other time I've ever been in Paris 16 years ago the baggage handlers were on strike)and waited for a taxi. We made it over to the Eiffel Tower in time to join the crazy long line for going up the stairs which was shorter than the extra crazy long line for the elevator. I tried to talk my kids out of waiting but Brianne and Elizabeth were insistent. So, we also waited in medium crazy line to take the elevator to the top (I was relieved that we walked up the second level too rather than waiting for the stairs) and I waited in three long lines to use the bathroom. Brianne decided to show me that not bringing Will was the right choice as we waited in line to go down the elevator from the top by pinching me and saying, No Eiffel Tower," and "bed, sit please." Eiffel Tower sum up. It's a one time-er. The climb isn't that bad even for a fat old woman. If the line is long the first level is as far as you need to go.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


A conversation with Elizabeth while packing.

I said to Elizabeth, "In Europe they dress up more." 

Elizabeth asked, "Should I bring my sombrero?"


"What do you mean dress up?"

 "They wear nicer clothes."

"Please don't tell me I have to wear a dress everyday."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Will's Poetry

Will writes a lot of poetry.  Today's poem:

1.  Let us gather in we all share!
2.  Let us always in a circle care!
3.  Let us always in we all care!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Plans

Subtitle: Thankfully David doesn't know what he's getting himself into.

We, my husband and I, are taking the three children who don't pinch and scream when forced to wait in lines, fly on a airplane, go to museums and walk long distances to France and Spain in a couple of weeks. And my nephew David is flying here to stay with William while we are gone. David, who wants to be a pediatrician (you are welcome future patients and moms!) is going to check out Will's school while he is here and will learn that Will is a rock star in the severely autistic world and will definitely treat patients with special needs and their families with even more compassion and understanding than he would have. (He is already pretty great - as I doubt many 23 year-olds want to spend their summer vacation and birthday babysitting. And switch around summer plans so they can.)

Friday, July 6, 2012

My husband the plumber

I'm sure the reason my husband went to business school was because he wanted to be a plumber. So, It's worked out well for him. I conservatively estimate that he has saved us well over $700 so far this year. The reason? Oh, William + autism + a toilet + trash* = a delightful clog. My husband's new hobby is taking off toilets (aka plumbing). Impressive isn't it? I imagine he talks a lot about his hobby with his co-workers. "Oh, you like to travel?". He could ask, "I can remove a toilet in 1 minute.". I've heard that men like men with skills so I imagine everyone is impressed to hear that. * trash being anything from unwanted crumbled up paper, to sunglasses, to a rubber ball, to a McDonald's toy (Yes, that Happy Meal was totally worth it! Why do you ask?)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Adorable Lizzy

About two weeks ago Lizzy came up to me and said, “Mom, there’s a certain type of shorts I want.”

“You mean a brand?”  I asked in confusion.  Lizzy was wearing her usual wardrobe of an oversized tee-shirt, handed down shorts from Jacob and a baseball cap.

“Yes, Under Armour.”

“Don’t they make swim shirts?”  I asked.

Since then Lizzy has asked me to take her clothes shopping for the first time in her life every day.  Last night we went to Target.  She found six pairs of shorts, four shirts and a bag.  She looked at the total on the register and raised her eyebrows.  “How much did it cost?”  She asked me as we walked out.

“$100.”  I said.

She made an adorably shocked look.  “Well, we’ll just have to hope that they last!”  She said placing her hand in mine.

(This is what she wanted, thank you Target)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Going through the dewrinkle cycle

I went to a Mary Kay Party last week and in a fit of madness bought a $30 anti-aging serum. 

I’m getting old.  I do not have “old man neck”* like my husband yet (well, possibly I do … but you can’t see it possibly because one of my thirteen chins hide it) but the neck is coming.

The consultant was really concerned that she didn’t have the anti-aging de-wrinkler in stock and gave me a mini-sample to hold me until the slightly bigger jar appeared.  I told her I could wait as I had lived without the anti-aging serum for 41 years.

I put it on two days ago and got a zit by my eyebrow the next morning but that is not the reason why I have not put more on.  (I would have to get at least 3 more zits before I would link the two events.) 

I forgot.  Having the little bottle right on my bathroom counter does not remind me.  I will probably have to tape the little bottle to my wrist. 

Unfortunately, I’m beginning to suspect that this serum, like my foray into Weight Watcher territory, might not work if I only pay the money but do not follow the instructions.

*You may call it “old woman neck” if you wish because I am an equal opportunities offender

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Keeping in Contact with my Boy

Will’s teachers set him up with an email address yesterday.  I found this in my email.

Hi mom ,

How are you?

I am at school about to play fun in a box.

I gotta go.
Sent from my iPad

So, I’ll admit to being disappointed not to get anything today.  When Will got home I found this in his draft folder.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie!
If you give a mouse a cookie,
he's going to ask for a glass of milk.
When you give him the milk,
he'll probably ask you for a straw.
When he's finished, he'll ask for a napkin.
Then he'll want to look in a mirror
to make sure he doesn't
have a milk mustache.
When he looks into the mirror,
he might notice his hair needs a trim.
So he'll probably ask
for a pair of nail scissors.
When he's finished giving himself a trim,
he'll want a broom to sweep up.
He'll start sweeping.
He might get carried away
and sweep every room in the house.
He may even end up washing the floors as well!
When he's done,
he'll probably want to take a nap.
You'll have to fix up a little box for him
with a blanket and a pillow.
He'll crawl in,
make himself comfortable
and fluff the pillow a few times.
He'll probably ask you to read him a story.
So you'll read to him from one of your books,
and he'll ask to see the pictures.
When he looks at the pictures,
he'll get so excited he'll want to draw
one of his own. He'll ask for paper and crayons.
He'll draw a picture.
When the picture is finished,
he'll want to sign his name
with a pen.
Then he'll want to hang
his picture on your refrigerator.
Which means he'll need
Scotch tape.
He'll hang up his drawing
and stand back to look at it.
Looking at the refrigerator
will remind him that
he's thirsty.
he'll ask for a glass of milk.
And chances are if he asks
for a glass of milk,
he's going to want a cookie to go with it.

Under the subject Contact.  (I don’t know why) but I made him send it to me anyway.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

And in one of my more brilliant moments

Today I realized I was wearing a nursing top.  Despite the facts that: 1.) My youngest child is ten. 2.)  I’ve owned it for four weeks.

I’ve decided that:  1.) This shirt makes a. lot. more. sense now!  And  2.)  I’m going to wear it anyway.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Umm, tasty!

Sometimes irony is so delicious that you might as well be eating 3 flavors of ice cream, in a chocolate dipped waffle cone ... that doesn't have any calories!

Well, just when I was starting to think that my break with thtudnwmtb was permanent and that all she cared about was whether her alimony check was in the mail or not something happened.  We got a letter from the refinancing company who handled the refinance.  The town was misspelled in the paperwork so they sent us an letter informing us.

But ... wait for it! ... our name was misspelled.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Poem

Gate C22 

At gate C22 in the Portland airport
a man in a broad-band leather hat kissed
a woman arriving from Orange County.
They kissed and kissed and kissed. Long after
the other passengers clicked the handles of their carry-ons
and wheeled briskly toward short-term parking,
the couple stood there, arms wrapped around each other
like he'd just staggered off the boat at Ellis Island,
like she'd been released at last from ICU, snapped
out of a coma, survived bone cancer, made it down
from Annapurna in only the clothes she was wearing.

Neither of them was young. His beard was gray.
She carried a few extra pounds you could imagine
her saying she had to lose. But they kissed lavish
kisses like the ocean in the early morning,
the way it gathers and swells, sucking
each rock under, swallowing it
again and again. We were all watching--
passengers waiting for the delayed flight
to San Jose, the stewardesses, the pilots,
the aproned woman icing Cinnabons, the man selling
sunglasses. We couldn't look away. We could
taste the kisses crushed in our mouths.

But the best part was his face. When he drew back
and looked at her, his smile soft with wonder, almost
as though he were a mother still open from giving birth,
as your mother must have looked at you, no matter
what happened after--if she beat you or left you or
you're lonely now--you once lay there, the vernix
not yet wiped off, and someone gazed at you
as if you were the first sunrise seen from the Earth.
The whole wing of the airport hushed,
all of us trying to slip into that woman's middle-aged body,
her plaid Bermuda shorts, sleeveless blouse, glasses,
little gold hoop earrings, tilting our heads up.

Ellen Bass

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Coming Home

We are flying home today. But I thought I would give you a fishing update. Dada dada .... Half day of fishing 16 Mahi Mahi caught.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Costa Rica

My husband and I flew to Costa Rica for a work thing. I am his plus one. Basically that means that right now while he is at a work meeting I am sitting by the pool under an umbrella and if I want a drink ... There is a waiter three feet away. Because it is a work thing I am ordering room service every morning. Because I love room service and I never get it. In my next life I want to have room service every other morning. (I just tried to post the picture of my breakfast but it didn't work ... Probably because I am technically challenged.) Tomorrow we are going deep sea fishing and Friday we are going on a zip line canopy tour. This trip is of course, all due to my sister-in-law Dawn who flew out to take care of my kids. Everyone was delighted about that (except one of my kids who would have been able to be their dad's plus one).

Friday, April 27, 2012

Patriot’s Day 2012

(11 days late … what’s up with that?)  This year was different because we didn’t go over to my friend Katherine’s house for a bar-b-que because 1.)  Brianne ruins everything and 2.) a good friend was running The Marathon and I wanted to scream her name when she ran past me.

Originally we planned on going to DC for spring break but I signed Brianne up for driver’s ed instead.  I wanted her to both enjoy spring break and get driver’s ed over in one week vs. me driving her every Thursday and Friday night to a driver’s ed class for 2 months.  As a special bonus she got to spend her birthday surrounded by her peers listening to a 70 year-old man talk about driving.  It’s like I reached into her brain, found her ideal birthday activity, then paid a lot money to turn it into a reality!  I’m the Best. Mother. Ever.

So, while Brianne enjoyed spending Patriot’s Day in a small, hot room; Lizzy and I hooked up with the Raskell’s on Rt. 135 in Natick.  The Raskells like to show up to activitiesinsanely early and spend the day.  Lizzy and I showed up at 11:30 … long after the wheelchair and elite athletes had run by to watch the pack.
Lizzy and I helped pass out wet paper towels to the runners, then once they ran out sat down in our chairs to yell out runner’s names and the current score of the Red Sox game.  You could usually tell who the Massachusetts’ runners were because once they realized that Don was listening to the game they’d start shouting, “What’s the score?”

I pretended to be a fan (because I’m helpful) would yell out things like, “No score.  Bottom of the third.”  I sometimes like learning new things and I sort of learned a new language – baseball while watching the marathon.  Tiffanie laughed at me for shouting out the score because in 12 years of living here I’ve never even attended a game at the Green Giant oops, Monster (see more sport’s terminology – between my education at the marathon, having the game on in the background and watching Moneyball, I practically have a Masters in Baseball!).

I even saw my friend run.  I got a text when she was at 10k so I started watching for her I got a sweaty hug and ran alongside her for a couple of feet – which is my version of running the marathon.

But I mostly supported the runners by sitting in a chair, eating pizza provided by the Raskells, drinking cold water and by yelling out the runner’s names* because I’m awesome … and supportive.

*Note.  If you run in the Boston Marathon it is easier to read your name if you write it on your shirt rather than on your bent arm, especially if the first few letters are one direction and the letters beneath your elbow are sideways and you’re moving your arm.  But maybe it’s just me.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Book Review Quiet and Bringing up Bebe

Short and Sweet*

Quiet:  The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking:  very interesting I recommend reading it.

Bringing up Bebe:  I agreed with a lot of what she said.  But of course, not everything.  Surely we could do a better job instilling discipline but I think that it is good for mothers to say home to raise their children if they are able to financially and emotionally.

*Because I just like reading them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My prayers have been answered!

I’ve complained to my family multiple times about their ability to ignore a ringing phone laying one inch from their fingers.  Usually if I don’t get it no one does.  Today the phone rang once then stopped.  I walked out to the living room.  “Who was on the phone?”  I asked Jacob.

“Huh?” He responded not even bothering to lift his eyes from the computer.  I walked over to him and picked up the phone lying next to the computer.  I scrolled through caller ID and saw that it was my dad.  I hit redial.  My dad was still on the line. 

“Who answered the phone?” I asked.

“I don’t know but someone was pushing numbers.”  He said.

I told him that was me then said I wondered if William answered the phone.  He had.  He’d left it on the stair banister. 

Great!  There is apparently one other person who lives with me that will answer the phone … the only problem is that he won’t say anything when he does and that he doesn’t take messages.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Morning Reading List

I like to read the Boston Globe Sunday mornings; in the Ideas Section I found an interesting article Nothing to Fear:  What if the world is safer than we think? by Thanassis Cambanis.  
Quote from the article.  “More people have died in America since 9/11 crushed by furniture than from terrorism,” Zenko says in an interview. “But that’s not an interesting story to tell. People have a cognitive bias toward threats they can perceive.”
I also found two interesting books to put on my reading list.

The Cause: The fight for American Liberalism from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama by Eric Alterman and Kevin Mattson
I have to after reading the opening paragraph of the review. "One need not subscribe to all of the Left’s grandiose ideas for remaking America to grant that it has been largely responsible for much of what is actually best about the United States of the 21st Century (civil rights laws, universal suffrage, environmental protection, the 40-hour work week, food safety). And despite the rhetoric one hears too often, this has not been the work of “Kenyan socialists” (who would have thought Kenya would replace France as the great bugaboo of the right!)."
And Dosed:  The Medication Generation Grows Up by Kaitlin Bell Barnett because it looks really interesting.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Will Hates Voting

This is actually two posts, but I never posted the first and now it's not.

Living in a House of Illness for Two Weeks

Doesn’t that make you want to come over for dinner?  Ok, I’ll plan on Thursday then.

It started about three weeks ago.  I went in Lizzy’s room to wake her up.  She informed me that she wasn’t going to school because she threw up during the night.  The poor girl stayed home until Friday.  On Saturday Will threw up once.  I thought he was better so I sent him to school on Monday.  I felt bad when his school called and said he had a temperature of 100’.  I picked him up.  On Tuesday, Lizzy’s flute teacher got sick and threw up in the middle of Lizzy’s lesson at our house so I drove her teacher home and picked up the flute teacher’s husband from the train station.  On Wednesday Will went back to school.  But Bri stayed home.  And Jacob stayed home on Thursday.  Friday was a school holiday – which was just as well.

William hates Voting -- Probably Because He’s Unpatriotic

The Tuesday that Will was home because he had a fever on Monday I took him on my errands to get him out of the house.  We first went to the local library (That’s what they say on PBS so that’s what Will says.)  I made Will go upstairs with me first so I could look for a book before we went downstairs to the important Dr. Suess containing part.  I wasted his compliant time looking for a movie to watch and he was impatient during my “look for a book time.”  There was some pinching and yelling.  But since the library does not specifically ban yelling but rather focuses on whispering I figure that it was fine.

Will was in a delightful mood by the time we arrived at the elementary school to vote.  I got my ballot and walked over to the booth to mark it.  I glanced at Will in the next booth who was busily marking up the example ballot directions hanging on the wall of the booth.  (He also may or may not have written his name) I tried to stop him but he really wanted to fill in the empty ovals.  I was a little flustered and finished as quickly as I could.  I had Will in one hand and my ballot in the other and stopped at the desk to have me marked down as having voted.  

Will was completely done by this point and started to pinch me.  I used my modified Karate Kid Wax Off move to block him, paired with a “Quiet Hands” instruction.  Something I’ve frequently done in the past but this time it went horribly wrong!  Probably because I was still looking at the people sitting at the desk.  When I twisted my arm away from Will’s talons and brought my elbow around and down, my hand followed and my thumb hit Will forehead.  Usually that would not be a problem … however, this particular day happened to be one of the approximately 17 days per year that I haven’t ripped off my fingernails thus I had something resembling girl fingernails; and my thumb nailed Will in the forehead.  And there was a little blood and there was some crying and there was some apologizing and there was some more pinching.  And I had just told the people at the desk my name and address.  I slunk out of the elementary school pulling my crying 12 year-old behind me and waited for DCF to appear at my door.

But they never came.  I can only assume that someone recognized the Karate Kid Wax Off move as a purely defensive maneuver.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Sunday (Subtitled: Another reason to be sad that you don’t sit behind us at church)

During the sacrament Will crumpled a piece a paper.  He handed it to me with the instruction, “Trash.”  I took the paper from him and put it on the other side of me planning on throwing it away after the meeting.  Will reached around me grabbed the paper, stood up, walked down the aisle, bumped two deacons out his way and ran out of the chapel.  Since I knew where he was going I stayed in my seat.  Two minutes later he returned, bumped the same two deacons out his way made his way back to the pew and sat down beside me.

Later in the meeting, during a beautiful musical number,Will leaned over my lap and started chanting, "I'm cursed, I'm cursed!"  The people in the pew behind us started giggling.  I put my fingers over Will's mouth and tried to shush him.  He just peeled them off and started saying it again.  I looked down at the rest of my family.  Their shoulders were convulsing with laugher which was tremendously helpful because then Will realized he was sooo funny!

Well played Autism, well played!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Daddy Daughter Date

My husband went to his friend’s surprise birthday party Friday night.  Sadly the party wasn’t until Saturday night.*   So, I assume it is still a surprise that my husband showed up.  But there they (Lizzy was his plus 1) were -- at a bowling alley with a disappointed Lizzy.  Needless to say, being who they are and with Lizzy’s first choice of activities unavailable.  (Naturally that would be going to a garage sale because, and I quote, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  And “I like garage sales because I can afford to buy stuff there.”) They went with the second choice of going to a Dollar Store as that is also an affordable option for Lizzy and she can usually get her dad to buy her anything she wants. (Why yes, we are big spenders.  How did you know?)  Lizzy bought me a present of two orange hot pads because she’s thoughtful.  It also continues our tradition of Lizzy picking out presents for me which I then proceed to pay for.  Then they picked up Thai food for dinner.

Lizzy told me that she found to coolest thing at the Dollar Store.  “Mom, they had a dust pan.  And not just any dust pan!**  It was a dust pan with a pole so you don’t have to bend over to sweep it up.”

The following night they returned to the bowling alley where Lizzy proceeded to wipe the floor with everyone in the group.  Here in Massachusetts we play a curious type of bowling called candlepin.  I have no understanding of the rules, why it has rubber pads on either side instead of gutters or why the balls are significantly smaller than the bowling balls you see on TV.  The one time I went bowling here I simply helped Will roll the ball and cursed autism for the difficulty involved.***   My husband reported that Lizzy rolled the only strike he saw the whole night and she rolled many spares.  I am happy to see a future for Lizzy in the Non-Existent Professional Candlepin Bowling League (N-EPCBL) as her lack of interest in reading and learning basic math facts may hinder her ability to do something professionally that requires either addition or an interest in reading.

(* I’m not sure if that was my fault as I might have told him it was on Friday or if it was his fault after all I forwarded him the evite.)

(** I promise I am telling the truth!  She actually said “And not just any dustpan!”  I seriously considered buying her the dust pan just because she said that!  And yes, she's ten ... just unique.)

(***Positive update:  Will has gone bowling a couple times since then, naturally I paid someone else to take him because the first time was sooo much fun, and it is reported**** that he participates and likes it.)

(**** That could be a lie … but I doubt it.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Taking some personal days (Let’s just pretend I posted this in March when I actually wrote it)

One of the hardest things about being a stay at home mother besides the dismal pay and the things you have to clean up is the lack of sick and personal days.  Well, I stuck it to THE MAN*  last week!  I took some personal days in spite of him.  The lack of complaining from THE MAN and the suggestion of leaving for two extra days could have made my act of “sticking it to THE MAN” less satisfying but somehow it wasn’t.  (Ha! Take that THE MAN!  I still win!)

I went to visit my family in Utah sans kids.  Heaven, I tell you.  Although strangely enough I missed THE MAN and texted him so perhaps I am a glutton for punishment.

It was a very different vacation than I am used to for example:  1.  I was not pinched once while on an airplane.  2.  No one asked me to repeat their words back to them over and over again.  3.  I didn’t write one social story the whole time I was gone.  4.  I didn’t take anyone else to the bathroom … ever.

And I did adult things.  I went out to eat with my siblings and their spouses and we went to a play.

(*THE MAN in this case being my husband.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Teasing Cheryl because I’m a little bit evil

I brought the bottled water for our PAC event.  Since it was out the kids asked if they could have a bottle.  I said, “No, Cheryl will get mad at me if you drink any.”  She wouldn’t but I said it anyway.

When I arrived with the water I told Cheryl what I had done.  She drew in a horrified breath and stated, “You give those kids bottled water if they want bottled water.” 

And then I laughed …. an evil laugh. (Because I’m a little bit evil or maybe I laughed because I have figured out how to tease Cheryl.)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Getting Old Sucks

Apparently I have entered the non-stop injury portion of my life.  I barely stopped going to PT for my sport’s injury (because I’m such an athlete) quadricep tendonitis when I mysteriously injured my back in the middle of the day.  By the end of the day I could barely move without pain.  I called Lizzy into my room that night.  “Help me put on my pants.”  I asked her.

“Wa?”  Lizzy looked at me in confusion but gamely helped me when she realized I was serious.  The next morning I still felt bad but not as bad as the night before so I quickly took a shower.  I didn’t want to be in a position of asking my ten year old to help me put in my underwear!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I think that thtudnwytb has missed me

The reason I think thtudnwytb has missed me is that the renters called on Sunday night and said "We’re moving out."  Sadly the lady lost her job and was moving in with her mother in Brooklyn. So, as the best part of our President’s Day holiday we visited thtudnwytb.

It was just like coming home.  Coming home to a pool table, several TVs, a computer, tools, a washer and dryer and about five sewing machines (she worked as an upholster).  We are going to give them a couple more days to pick up their stuff before we decide to leave it in the house as a housewarming gift for the new tenants.

Things I will miss about the old tenants:
1.  Never needing to go over to the house. 
2.  Depositing the rent in cash every month and feeling like a drug dealer.
3.  Sleeping (now I will spend my nights hyperventilating until we find new tenants)

So, as a special treat for the children we went over to the house to clean!  I was concerned that Will would see the house and refuse to get out of the car but it has been so long that he entered the house without protest.  And better yet … he stayed inside!  There was no running down the street to get away from thtudnwmtb.  I was happy about that.

The children were so delighted to help clean and did such a great job that I threatened to leave Jacob and Lizzy at the house until they actually did something.  It was so fun that we went back today and spent another couple of hours.  But I am mostly done -- except for removal of the stuff they left and I’m going to repaint the basement floor.

Admit it … you missed thtudnwytb too!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I picked a good week to miss church

… Or so my husband informed me when I returned home.  The ward choir was making its way up to stand when Will stood up to go with them.  Now it’s not entirely unreasonable for Will to go up with them because I’ve had him sit by me during choir practice.  Since Will LOVES music, I thought maybe he’d like singing with the choir.  And I thought maybe if we started now in a few years he might be interested in actually singing along with a group, using the actual lyrics.  Since currently during choir practice he mostly practices pinching (he’s awesome at that) and asks if he can leave.  

Once, however, he sang along with the Ohhs – though not in tune despite his usually perfect pitch. 

Will never has willing gone up to the stand to sing with a group even though the primary children usually sing several times a year.  So I imagine my husband was surprised and well as concerned when Will stood up and tried to scoot past him.  My husband grabbed Will and held on.  Will finally sat back down.  … Then went the other way … over the family sitting next to us on the pew.  (No children were injured during his escape although some adults were squished.)

My husband followed Will up to the stand, the choir director looked at Will but bravely started.  My husband figured that Will probably just wanted to see the page number of the song they were going to sing and then would be willing to return to his seat but Will walked past the piano to the hymn number board.  There was a gap and the numbers needed to be moved up.  Will fixed it doubtless to the great relief of the congregation.

Later during singing time the children played a Wheel of Fortune game.  Will asked for a capital A.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Being Bullied as a 41 year old

At first I loved going to physical therapy.  I’d lie down on a table and have my knee massaged and ultrasounded (just pretend that word actually exists).  Then things slowly started to change.  At first it was a “just try this exercise” or “ride the exercise bike for 3 minutes on 0 resistance.”  I made excuses for Deb.  “She’s pregnant.”  “She’s probably tired.”  “Give her time,” I thought. 

But slowly it got worse.  I found it much hard to excuse the bridges she wanted me to do.  30!  20 of them with crossed legs!  Last week she asked me to do step-ups!  Step-ups, you might remember, is what caused my quadriceps tendonitis in the first place!  Did she care about me at all?

Finally I’d had enough!  “You’re a bully!”  I stated.

Surprised, she looked at me.  (Probably trying to gaslight me into thinking she’d never heard that before.)  “Are bullies positive and affirming?”  She asked.

“Ok,” I conceded.  “You’re a nice bully.”

She’s probably going to miss me a lot when I stop going to PT.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My daughter has a genetic pre-disposition to being a Chemistry Nerd

After seeing Brianne's grades in algebra II, I have declared that she is no longer a math nerd.  At this time I will submit that she is a Chemistry Nerd because her highest mid-term was in chemistry.  Not being a chemistry nerd (well I can't say that with authority because I never took chemistry ... however, I am still pretty darn sure it's true.).  But she is also a music nerd and as such she hooked me up with The Piano Guys who I will admit are pretty awesome even for none-music nerds such as myself.  So do yourself a favor and check them out!

O Fortuna (because I adore Carmina Burana!!!)

And Star Cello Wars because it's awesome too!

You've probably already seen one of their videos but if you haven't check them out here.

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