Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tagged by Eryn...

My first tag! I'm so excited! Eryn posted the following rules, so I'm posting them first:

Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.

Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.

Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

Let them know they are tagged by leaving comments on their blogs.

1. I am deathly afraid of possums. That appears to be the only furry thing in the animal kingdom that freaks me out. In the non-furry category, I only fear cockroaches, so the whole possum thing is weird. When I go to Nichole's house, I do a thorough check before I get out of my car because I once saw a possum near her yard. None of this is to say that I wouldn't rescue one, but I would do it with fear, loathing and trepidation.

2. While I'm on the "deathly fears" category, I'm also afraid of balloons. Sadly, I'm not kidding.

3. I was once on a panel for the community college I attended when I was 16, wherein I was quizzed by George W. Bush for some time about the fact that I was homeschooled. This is only a random, weird thing because I forgot all about it until reminded by Sol, and even then I kept denying it. Memory repression? I remember EVERYTHING, and yet I have only the vaguest recollection of this.

4. I have ten or eleven cats. Only seven of them are in the house. I don't find this odd, but I figure some of you might.

5. For our third anniversary, my husband gave me a sheep. And I was happy about it. I always wanted one, so I could sheer it and learn to spin. (Plus, their just so cute!) Unfortunately, it turned out to be a meat sheep. And a ram. Neither of which worked well with my plans for urban farming. He had to go live on a farm. A REAL ONE, PEOPLE! We didn't eat him, although Chris was all for that.

6. My husband and I obsessively watch "So You Think You Can Dance" during the summer, and call in to vote. We have predicted the winner fairly early, if not immediately, in each season.

7. I eat raw potatoes. On purpose. Sometimes when I'm hungry, I just go peel one and eat it.

There you go. If you didn't think I was strange before, I'm sure you do now! And if you still don't think I'm strange now, you should be aware that you're probably strange, too. Now, for the tags.

1. Andrea
2. Beth
3. Brooke
4. Christina
5. Amy
6. April
7. Halcyon (if she has finished moving and has her computer working)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A brief tribute to my husband...

And it's only brief because, let's face it, I should be doing laundry or de-furring the couch cushions, or some other useful form of housework right now. Chris doesn't get much face-time on my blog, and I'm not really sure why. He's the backbone of my very existence. He can fix almost anything, including me when I break. He's my best friend and my partner in crime. And he did something so unusual, I feel that I must write about it. My husband has spent the last several evenings untangling yarn for my knitting pleasure! Let me 'splain.

Chris has never really approved of my knitting habit. He thinks it's a little weird for someone my age to knit. In his defense, his mom wasn't the "crafting" type. He's come to accept my strangeness in many other areas of life, but we've had to agree to disagree about knitting. This could have something to do with the amount of space my yarn "stash" is taking up in our very small house. One of my recent stash purchases was two coordinating yarns to make myself a fancy shaw. One is a lovely, fine angora, and the other is a soft, synthetic ribbon yarn. I've been dying to get started, but life gets in the way. There are just too many baby gifts I need to be working on! I feel guilt!!! I finally got out both hanks last week to make them into balls so I could get started. The angora fibers kept sticking together, so Chris offered to help me by holding the hank while I rolled the ball. This was breakthrough number one. We finished that ball in record time, and I got out the ribbon yarn. Unfortunately, the stuff is so slippery, I couldn't get it going, and I ended up with all 300 yards of it in one gigantic, knotted mess. If it were up to me, this probably would've gotten put away for "later" and become one of those projects that I won't ever finish, but refuse to throw away. Chris, however, has patiently sat on the couch every evening since and untangled the yarn. After at least ten hours of work on his part, the tangle is down to the last fifteen or so yards, the best I can tell. And he's still working on it, even though he doesn't approve of knitting or yarn, as a rule. THAT is love! And also breakthrough number two. And for the record, this didn't turn out "brief" at all. Thus, proving I am my father's child! Any of you who have every sat through one of his "brief sermons" and have the pressure sores to prove it will know exactly what I mean!

Monday, April 28, 2008

One of the oddest phone calls I've ever made...

Tonight, on the way home from Wichita, I had to make a very odd phone call. Two, actually. The first was to Chris. It went something like this:

Me: "Hey, Honey, who would you call, hypothetically speaking, if you noticed a cow standing in the middle of the highway?"

Chris: ...(long pause) "I guess you'd need to call "*55" for Highway Patrol."

Me: "Do Highway Patrol officers pick up rogue cows?"

Chris: "No, but they do know who to call to get them picked up." ...(another long pause)... "We're not really talking hypothetical, are we?"

Me: "Nope, gotta go call the Highway Patrol!"

Chris: (as I'm hanging up) "Do NOT bring the cow home! Did you hear---"

So I called the Highway Patrol hot-line. The dispatcher answered. I explained my conundrum about the cow. She replied with, "Is it brown?" It was, so I assume that she'd seen it too. She said someone was on the way to remove it. It didn't look like it wanted to be removed. I didn't tell her that. Then I hung up and laughed until I nearly hurt myself.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Catbird Seat

But not in a literary sense. I recently refilled the bird feeder that hangs outside my kitchen window. Then I opened all the windows. This is the result. The cats all make this funny chattering noise with their teeth as they stare at the birds outside the screen. It's highly entertaining. To me, that is. To them, it's highly frustrating.

Not the best photos, I know. Something about all the sticky fingerprints on the lens of the camera (see previous post) caused them to be a little foggy. Plus, I couldn't get an angle that showed the bird feeder along with Moses and Meanie.
Also, this is where I found Moses when I went into the bathroom this morning to take my shower. I think he believed he was being inconspicuous. I always fling him out of the bathroom before I shower because he likes to sneak up and attack me as I'm washing my hair. Please note the one evil eye shining through the shower curtain. "You can't see me! I can see you, but you can't see me!"

"Darn it! Foiled again, and by my own tail!"

Photography by Timothy

The other day, my camera was missing. Because I know my children well, I checked Timothy's room first. He is a magpie; if he sees it, he steals it. Sure enough, there was my camera, on his dresser. I grabbed it and ran outside to take some pictures of the boys. A couple of hours later, I was inside and decided to look through my pictures to see what I'd gotten that was worth keeping. Directly in front of the pictures I'd taken that afternoon was this:

And this. Hmm...this looks like Timothy's bed. A LOT like Timothy's bed. With no sheets. When did I take that?

When I saw the Elmo slippers, it became obvious that I didn't take these. Because I would've remember taking random shots of a toy barn, a toddler bed with no sheets, and some Elmo slippers, right?

This would appear to be the front of the tv. Someone's been very busy with my camera!

Following in the footsteps of his Aunt Dre, photographer extraordinaire, Timothy had decided to do some artistic shots. For effect. Or would it be affect? I never could keep that straight.

Anyway, at various points on my camera's memory card, I found over a hundred pictures taken by Timothy. A friend has suggested having some of them blown up and framed for his bedroom. I just might. (Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, there are normally sheets on that bed. It must've been a Thursday, laundry day, when he stole my camera. I feel the need to say this because it's bugging me that someone might think I'm a bad Mom who makes her kids sleep on bare mattresses. And, in case anyone is wondering, I seem unable to type "sheets" today, and I keep typing "sheeps" instead. This could be because Timothy is standing beside me yelling "SHEEPSHEEPSHEEPSHEEPSHEEPSHEEP" for absolutely no apparent reason. Or I could just be weird.)

Wherein I am once again set up by a preschooler and my eldest wears the pants in the family

Two stories for the day. First, on the way home from school, Timothy was babbling on, as usual. He does this so much that I can answer mechanically, as I may have mentioned before. I find that I follow his orders very well. So, when he told me, "Laugh, Mama!", I laughed. This laugh was apparently too fake for him, so he came back with, "No, not like that, like Hahahahaha!". I tried again, and again he wasn't thrilled with my efforts. Finally, since the situation was actually starting to amuse me, I laughed long and hard. Without missing a beat, he piped up from the backseat, "What are you laughing at, Mama?"

Second, a case of not putting two and two together. These days, I find myself lucky to be able to put one and one together, so clearly, two and two is beyond me. I vaguely recall Gabe telling me a few weeks back that he put on some jeans to wear to school and they were too big and too long. I had just bought him some new ones that I found on clearance so I thought nothing of it. I just told him to stick them in the back of his closet to save for next winter. At about the same time, my favorite Levis had disappeared after laundry day. If you've seen my closet, and I sincerely hope you haven't, you'll know that this house does not contain walk-ins. They're more "wedge-ins". Chris and I share one. And I like clothes, too well, if not too wisely. In my poor vague brain, I kind of assumed my jeans were shoved to the back of the closet, and that's why I hadn't seen them lately. It was only today, as I did the winter to summer clothing switch in Gabe's closet that I discovered my jeans, rumpled and crammed on a hanger, in the very back of his closet. Looking back, I can only assume that this was a laundry day when I had to work in the evening and had asked Chris to help by putting the jeans away when they were dry. He has often complained that it's getting harder to tell my clothes from Gabe's. Truly, Gabe and I have matching t-shirts from last season's soccer, and if they aren't both in the laundry together, even I have to think hard about whether I'm folding mine or his. I guess it's time to get out the sharpie and start labeling everything!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Incompetence in the Medical Profession: A Rant

When it comes to dealing with medical office workers, I am nothing if not patient (no pun intended!) and kind. After all, I used to have their job, and I know how bad a day can be when patients yell at you for things that you can't fix. I've noticed lately, though, that my kindness seems to be resulting in my getting the worst possible service from these individuals. For instance, yesterday the optician's office called to tell me that Gabe's replacement lenses were ready. He gets one free replacement per year on our insurance, and being a small boy, he always needs it. I was told over the phone that I could come by today and pick them up. I told the person on the phone that I could bring Gabe in after school, and I asked if I needed an appointment. She told me that I didn't, and that I could just drop in after school and they'd "pop the new lenses in his glasses". Yeah.

Today I went there after school. I should mention that this place is ALL the way across town from us. I use them because, with Gabe's wonky prescription, it's important to go somewhere that really knows how to fit kids. They also take our insurance, and our next door to our pediatric ophthalmologist. I walked in and told the receptionist we were there to pick up new lenses. She asked our name and went to the back to have a whispered conversation with someone. Then she came back and asked if I would like to drop them off and pick them up tomorrow afternoon. NO, I WOULDN'T. You see, he's nearly blind without these glasses and will need them to see between now and then. Then some asshat comes out of the back office to try to sell me a second pair of glasses, for situations like this!!! At this point, I'm trying hard to keep my composure and be polite. I patiently explained that our insurance covers one pair per year, that by the end of the year, the prescription has changed or the glasses are too worn out to keep as a back-up, and that I don't have $400+ to spend because they are stupid and incompetent. Ok, I left out the stupid and incompetent part. And then I left without the new lenses, after being told that they would be ready in two hours if I'd care to wait. I did give the receptionist a message for management, after assuring her that I know none of this is her fault. I told her to be sure someone in charge knows that I don't appreciate how bad the service is when they're not making any money off of us, and that the thousands of dollars they make off of my family each year should be enough to insure some decent service, if that's how it works.

All this has caused me to come up with a brilliant plan. Here it is: I'm going to start billing these people for my wasted time! For instance, in this case, I spent an hour commuting to and from the place, and probably spent $10 in gas at today's prices. So, my studio charges $25/hour for my services as a Pilates instructor, therefore, they owe me $35! Now, let's calculate who else owes me...

Dean McGee Eye Institute, because of the five or so hours I spent on the phone, preauthorizing an electoretinagram for my son when you were too stupid to figure it out, and for the ten or more hours I spent on the phone, fixing your billing mistakes even after the insurance company patiently explained to you three times how the procedure should be billed, you owe me $375. Let's make it an even $400 for the rude collections letter you sent me when I refused to pay you for something the insurance had already paid.

Dr. Cyrus, you owe me...well, I'm guessing at least $1,500. This is for the endless hours I've spent sitting and waiting for you to come see my sick kids, often two hours of waiting per appointment, for numerous phone calls I had to make when your stupid nurses didn't refill my child's colic medications, for having to drive to your office twice to have labs redone when you wrote the orders wrong (and yes, I'm charging you extra for my son's blood, which you had to draw twice), and a special bonus for the nurse that told me I'd just have to drive my son to Baylor, since they're the only lab in the country that could do the genetics test we needed to determine his type of albanism.

There, I feel much better. Now I can go back to being nice and polite to the people at our various doctors' offices. I assure you I'm not a homicidal maniac, and you're not going to see me on the news tonight. I also realize they won't pay these bills. But it will do me a lot of good to send them!

I spoke too soon!

Light spring rain it was not!!! Some very loud storms rolled through last night and resulted in none of us getting very much sleep. Of course, lately, sleep has been a little hard to come by around here. Timothy has recently taken to sleeping in the drawer under his bed. At 10 o'clock every night, he gets uncomfortable with the drawer divider in his belly, wakes up and can't figure out where he is, at which point he starts screaming. Since he's not fully awake, it can be difficult to get him out of the drawer!

Last night, at 10 o'clock on the dot, we heard a resounding thud that shook the house. Then we heard screaming. For a change of pace, he actually slept in his bed, but I guess he's out of practice because he fell out. At 11 o'clock, he was finally settled back in. At 12 o'clock, the storms began. We've tried really hard lately to get him to stay in bed during storms. It is Oklahoma, after all, and he's going to have to get used to them eventually. Last night, after the first clap of thunder, I heard a faint but escalating, "oh, no, Oh, No, OH, NO, OOH, NOO, OOOOOHHHHH, NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!". I gave in and went and got him. We spent a couple of hours snuggling on the couch. Timothy defines "snuggling" as "under the same blanket, sharing the same pillow, with one party thrashing wildly as if he or she were having a seizure". I'll give you one guess who was thrashing. And a hint: It wasn't me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It's raining, it's pouring!

May I just say that I love a gentle spring rain? Not a torrential downpour with high winds and tornado sirens, but a nice, steady rain with just a little bit of thunder and lightening. It's doing that right now. I have all the windows open and the breeze through the house is pleasant. The mud that my sons tracked through the house when I called them in out of the rain is not pleasant. Oh, well, you can't win 'em all!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Strange, exhaustion-induced dreams

Ever since I started commuting to Wichita on Mondays, I have the weirdest dreams on Monday nights. I think it's because I'm so exhausted from getting up at 3am, driving to Wichita, working all day, then driving back. Here are a few examples of what I dream when I'm exhausted:

The first week I went to Wichita, I dreamed that Chris was having an affair. Unfortunately, I didn't remember this dream until late in the day. What resulted was a day of being angry at him for no real reason, and doing a lot of unnecessary shouting. When I remembered the dream midway through the afternoon, I called him at work to apologize and explain. Lucky for me, he understands that it's perfectly normal for members of my family to be mad at their spouses for affairs the spouses had in their dreams. So he was amused. And very apologetic for cheating on me in my dreams. I have a good husband.

Another week, I dreamed that Andrea had a baby without telling any of us. She named the baby "April May" and we all learned about her birth via birth announcements. In my dream, the baby was born between the last day of April and the first day of May. Apparently, there was an in-between day. I thought the name was the prettiest name I'd ever heard, and I was a little jealous that I hadn't thought of it. When I told my sister about this dream, she pointed out that it was a little surprising that she didn't name the baby "Applejuiceorangejuicegrapejuice", like she did the doll she had when we were little. And she promised to tell m
e at least a month in advance if she were going to have any babies. I have a good sister.

Last night, I dreamed I had a mustache just like my father's. Most of you know that my father has a lovely mustache, and has had it since I was a year old, except for a brief and unfortunate interlude when I was eleven, wherein he shaved it and I refused to believe he was really my father until he grew it back. In my dream, I had this mustache, and everyone was trying to talk me into shaving it off for a change of pace, but I didn't want to because I don't like stubble. I can explain the origin of this dream, because right before
bed I was reading "Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit", wherein the main character grows a questionable mustache. And also, a lot of people have given me opinions about what I should do with my hair over the last week or so. Since I still haven't made a decision on my hair, I'm adding a poll to my blog, so you can help me decide. I don't promise to honor the result of the poll, but I'll do my best. And I'm keeping the mustache, no matter what you think!

I have a good Dad!

Weekend in Pictures

Pictures as promised! And just so you know, the computer did indeed go down again today, which is why I'm just now posting these. I have discovered that the following things make my internet connection stop working:
1. Rain, the chance of rain, someone mentioning rain within a four-mile radius of my computer.
2. Wind. Any wind. Even a slight breeze.
3. Snow, sleet, hail, tsunamis or any other conditions that could result in moisture in the air.
4. A cat horking up a hairball on the modem. Oh, wait, I think that falls into the third category!
Since any or all of these are apt to happen at my house in any given day, internet connections are spotty, at best. Anyway...
Had I lived a century ago, having strapping man-children would have made me the envy of the neighborhood. Since most of us no longer live on farms and require male offspring to help run them, I've decided to become an urban farmer. This past weekend, we planted the crops.
The boys enjoyed planting so much, it is questionable whether any of the "crops" will have a chance. Gabe might or might not have planted the seeds a little too deep. And Timothy watered so copiously, it's a good thing Gabe did plant too deep, or all the seeds would certainly have been washed away. Poor seeds. They think we're experiencing another Noah-esque flood. I just made up "Noah-esque". It's not a real word.

In a few weeks, we should have lots of pots full of beautiful flowers and herbs. I hope.

Timothy took up a new hobby over the weekend, while we're on the urban farmer theme. He is big into cat herding. He runs through the house, chasing the whole bunch of them and giggling madly. They don't seem to enjoy this nearly as much as he does. They've been looking for new places to hide from him. Since Meanie is a little obsessed with shoes, here is where I found him Saturday evening, after I put on my uncomfortable shoes (see next paragraph!). The box says it all. He looks as if he thinks it should say "Y-me?"

On a completely different note, Saturday night I was Nichole's "date" for the Sip for Sight event. I wore very uncomfortable shoes. There were over 60 different wines, and we did our best to sample them all. There was also lots of food from fabulous local restaurants. We had so much bruschetta from TiAmo's, I spent most of Sunday trying to get rid of the garlic smell that followed me in a pungent cloud. In other words, a good time was had by all. Oh, and I got invited to join the Tulsa Wine Club! And that was my weekend!

Monday, April 21, 2008

30 Down, 270 To Go!

Due to recent complaints by certain Geezers I know, I am choosing a slightly darker blue for my text tonight. Because I have news. Exciting news. As of today, I am 10% done with my Pilates equipment apprenticeship!!! Yes, I have officially completed 30 of the 300 required hours. I will do a happy dance tomorrow. Tonight I am too tired to do anything (other than drool a little). And tomorrow I will post new pictures. If the internet doesn't break between now and then. That is all.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Choking on fumes!

What is it about spring that causes me to suddenly and obsessively clean my house? I don't claim to be a good housekeeper. I feel that "good" is a relative term. If you've spent much time in the 9th Ward in New Orleans (post-Katrina!), my house may look lovely in comparison. So when I speak of being a "good" housekeeper, I must refer back to the way I was raised. And let me tell you, I was raised better than this!!!

I started scrubbing the cabinet doors in the kitchen. The dirt had more dirt under it. Under that dirt was stains. Under the stains was more dirt. How did this happen to me? I remember my childhood. I don't remember our house ever being this filthy. Of course, my mother had far more sense than to ever purchase a house that had white cabinets, floors, appliances and trim. And she had more sense than to produce TWO male children. I should probably give my father some credit, too. After all, it was his "X" chromosome that made me who I am today. Anyway, I cleaned for two solid hours. The result is that I now realize I need to clean some more. In order to protect my few remaining brain cells, I had to open some windows. The fumes were starting to get to me. When the dirt started shrieking shrilly as I wiped it off, I knew I needed some fresh air. So I opened the windows, and now gale-force winds are blowing through my house. Outside, in my neighbor's yard, a squirrel is clinging for dear life to the branches of an oak tree, trying to avoid being blown to Kansas. I'm going to have to shut the windows. And quit cleaning the house before it I find anything I didn't want to know about!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I have boys...

...And they look all cute and innocent. Especially when they're playing in the back yard.
Well, not entirely innocent. They are boys, after all. Their primary goal as such seems to be to shoot projectiles at...anything. Each other, the cats, their mother's behind...and once I came out and found the dog entirely coated in silly string.
Then they come inside and expect me to do their laundry. Have you ever seen such grass stains in your life? There isn't enough Shout in the universe!
They also like to eat chocolate pudding pops. This is Timothy asking for another pudding pop. He is trying very hard to convince me that he didn't get to eat his. Uh huh.
Of course, after they take baths, they're not so bad. They do cute things like play Candyland and wear cats as headgear. I suppose I'll keep them. Not that I have a choice. There's only a two-week return policy on them, from what I hear, and they don't start smelling like wet dog until they're at least two years old. By then it's too late.

Weird things that happen during (and after) Pilates

We have established the fact that I teach Pilates. And because it's me, weird things tend to happen during Pilates. I thought I should share a few, based on the fact that a bunch of them happened tonight.

1. A rogue window washer once appeared in my morning class and refused to leave until he got paid. Since I was the only employee there and he was a huge, stinky window washer, I had to get up during class and take him out in the hall, where I informed him in no uncertain terms that he could either leave and come back when someone who actually had money was there, or I could have the police come and haul him off. He left. But for a moment there I wasn't sure he was going to. And he didn't look like he wanted to join the class, or I'd have offered.

2. Sometimes really weird people come to my classes. I won't elaborate in case they're reading, but some of them are a little eccentric. Ok, I will elaborate. Tonight a lady came in fifteen minutes late, went and changed, then stuck her head in and said she had decided not to stay. Because her eyes were dilated. This struck me as odd. It struck me as odder when I was told by one of my students that she came to a class earlier in the week and refused to remove her cowboy boots. In case anyone is unfamiliar, Pilates is usually done barefoot.

3. Last week the alarm went off in the church we're renting space from, and none of the emergency contacts would answer their phones so I had to wait for the police, who told me that it was probably the lightening that set it off.

4. Tonight I was attacked by fire ants. While teaching. On my mat. They crawled all over me and gnawed on me. It wasn't fun. Oddly enough, no one else had ants on their mat or around it. THEY DID EXIST, PEOPLE. IT'S NOT IN MY HEAD. But the ants got in my hair, and thus, on my head.

5. The UPS man keeps coming in during class and making me sign for things. And I don't work for the church in any way shape or form.

6. People with dogs keep coming and watching us through the window. The dogs lick the window. It's quite distracting. One guy sat and picked petunias out of the pots outside our window.

7. Last but not least, today I was on the phone with my good friend, Nichole, as she was driving home from work in OK City. She saw a guy on a motorcycle so loaded down with junk it that you couldn't see any of the actual bike. He had a dog on his lap. Not a little one, either. Doing 80mph down the turnpike, on a bike so loaded down it was swerving, with a dog on his lap. Here's the kicker. Tonight, on my way home from work, I saw this guy. And his dog. A hundred miles and six hours after she saw him. Weird, huh? I called her and she was very happy to hear the dog survived. Neither of us cared that much about the dude, but we were concerned for the dog's welfare. That's how we roll 'round here. Oh, great, now I'm channeling a gangster!

Signs of Spring

Spring is arriving slowly this year. Nevertheless, the flowers are blooming and we're beginning to see signs that we might eventually get to put away our winter coats. Our neighbor, who doesn't actually live next door to us and is, now that I think about it, not a neighbor on those grounds, has lovely tulips. He's not using them, so we like to borrow them to take pictures of the boys. His house is the most interesting color of mint green with black trim. Kind of like mint chocolate chip ice cream, if mint chocolate chip ice cream were overgrown and had a toilet in its backyard. Now I'm hungry for ice cream and I want to move to a better neighborhood. As usual, I digress.

My children are cute, even if I do say so myself, and I do. Timothy likes to dissect the flowers that he picks. Gabe likes to have his picture taken.

Jack has spring fever, and it makes him dart outside every time the door opens. Someone forgot to tell him he's a house cat. Maybe to him, "house cat" means "a cat who guards the house". He does that a lot. We think if anyone tried to break in, he might attack. Just ask my sister. She swears when she house-sat for us, he made her show some id at the door. And once, he dragged her out and told her to quit bothering the ladies, after MaKinsie hissed at her. True story. Dorothy Gish. (If anyone gets that other than my family, please let me know so I'll know you're as strange as we are!)

Some of you may be freaked out by this, but we were all highly gratified when Trevor, our tree frog, came out of hibernation and resumed his quiet life in my kitchen window. We were slightly less gratified when we realized that he hibernated in the potted herbs, which I brought in for the winter. Oh, well, the cats didn't eat him and he probably enjoyed the warmest winter he's ever had.

We've been out working in the back yard, and Boris is dying to join us. Unfortunately, he really loathes our dog. So he chooses to hide between our neighbor's shed and the fence, and stare through the honeysuckle vines at us. Stalker. Peeping Tom. Hahahahaha! Oh, wait, we had him neutered.

Here's a shot of Timothy smelling the tulips. Cute, huh? In truth, though, he smells everything, so this is less cute than it seems. He smells hedges, cars, the dog...pretty much everything. I guess what I'm saying is I enjoy spring because smelling flowers is far more normal than smelling cars.

Last but not least, my favorite picture of the series. They've gotten so big. How'd that happen?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My sons are strange, part deux

Because I thought this would amuse you, my loyal readers, I will tell you some things that have recently happened 'round these here parts. Don't know where the hick talk is coming from. Last week was Dickens, this week I'm channeling a very ungrammatical redneck. Go figure.

First, Gabe has recently decided to declare a "Cat of the Day" and give said cat a parade in his or her honor. To do this, he puts the cat on top of his head, with the poor beast's back feet on his shoulders and front feet hanging over his forehead. He then marches around, singing loudly. It is a special song that he made up, and it changes depending on which cat has earned the "Cat of the Day" award. The fact that he has now twice been scratched on the face by annoyed beasts has not dissuaded him in the least. It has led to my having to answer a lot of questions posed by random strangers, along the lines of, "Do you breed tigers in your home?" or "What got a hold of him?" I can only assume these people don't have children. Or possibly that my children are far weirder than theirs.

Timothy, meanwhile, has a new favorite movie. He found my copy of the movie "Nadia" and has been watching it over and over in his room. This brings back memories. My sister, Dre and I used to watch this movie until we nearly drove our parents insane. We knew every line, every gymnastics routine...and Nadia was our hero. For those of you who are uninitiated, this movie was a made-for-tv story of the life of Nadia Comaneci. It was made in the early 80s and contains overly dramatized bad acting of all varieties. Our dad recorded it off the Disney channel when I was about seven or eight. Anyway, toward the end, as Nadia's life starts to come unglued due to the pressures of being the world's best gymnast, she has a terrible fight with her best friend, Teodora, and then tries to commit suicide. Not to worry, I'm not letting Timothy watch anything shocking. I actually didn't realize until I was an adult that she's trying to kill herself. You just see her stare at a coffee cup, then she collapses. If I recall, she tried to drink cleaning chemicals or something. I looked it up once. So Timothy enjoys these highly dramatic scenes, and likes to re-enact them in his room. It goes something like this:

Timothy (playing Nadia): "I wish they would leave me alone!"

Timothy (playing Teodora): "I will be HAPPY to leave you alone!"

Timothy, standing in doorway (playing Nadia): "I don't need you! I don't need anyone! Go on! Don't be my friend! DON'T BE MY FRIEND!!! Timothy slams his bedroom door loudly. He then collapses on the floor by his bed.

Timothy (playing Nadia): "Help! Help me! Somebody help me! Heeeellllpp!"

I have tried hard to catch both these instances of my kids being weird on video, but as of now, I've been unsuccessful. Which is too bad, because it's really funny. Just don't tell them that! Is there any hope of them growing up to be normal people, I wonder? Nah, just look at me!

My sons are strange...

In their defense, Boris started it. As you can clearly see, he was messing with their sidewalk chalk while they were busy drawing.

See? Innocently drawing, oblivious to the rainbow-pawed kitty on the porch, who was chasing the sidewalk chalk and batting it around, presumably for no other reason than the fact that it rolled.

Then Gabe had an idea. Gabe is always having ideas. "I know!", he shouted, "Let's color Boris!"

It should be noted that I did nothing to stop this. I feel that the kids and cats should settle their differences among themselves. Within reason. If too much bloodshed ensues, I will intervene. Possibly. If I'm not in the middle of a row of knitting or anything. But for the most part, I ignore. Ignoring is my favorite parenting technique. This could explain a LOT. Boris doesn't look very happy with my parenting techniques, does he?

The finished product, a cat of a different color! Several different colors. I wish it had showed up better in the pictures, because he was really quite noticeably colored. You can kind of see it in this one. It did wear off in a couple of weeks, so all's well that ends well.

Before and After

Our resident dog-in-sheep's-clothing, Buster Brown, went for his spring haircut today. Here are the pictures of him from a week ago. I assure you he does have eyes. You just can't see them.

Poor dear, he looks morbidly obese in his winter coat. In fact, we were just discussing whether or not he needed to be put on a diet. We concluded we should wait and see what's left after we had him sheared.

And here he is today, in a dramatic "after" shot. I'm thinking he doesn't need that diet.

In fact, I'm thinking if he needed to join a doggy witness protection program, he has a ready-made disguise. Can you even believe it's the same dog??? Which reminds me...Hey, Mom, remember that one time you got our dog shaved when we were kids and she looked so different that you thought it would be funny to tell us she got hit by a car while we were at school and you got us a new dog? Remember how we all cried and howled? That was mean! I was traumatized!

Unless, of course, it really was a different dog and you changed your story to stop us from howling and crying. Did our dog die or not? Now I'm confused. And still traumatized. Maybe this is why I feel compelled to rescue animals. It's all your fault, Mom! And in twenty more years, I'll call and apologize for this, after one of my children blames me for their neuroses! Nevermind, it's not your fault! Forget I ever said that!

Friday, April 11, 2008

When multi-tasking goes wrong...

Did you ever find yourself wondering how you got there and what it all means? Not in a thoughtful, existential way, but more in a perplexed and confused way. I had that experience last night.

Chris was working late, the boys and I had been to martial arts and were rushing around trying to get chores done before bedtime, a typical Thursday night. Well, not typical because lately I have ten times more to do than I have time to do things. Thus, the multi-tasking. I started off gathering the trash because the pick-up is Friday mornings. The next thing I knew, I was standing in the kitchen, scrubbing the counters and wondering why the trash was yet ungathered. It took some thought, but I was finally able to retrace my steps. Here's how it went:

1. While pulling the trash bag out of the kitchen trash can, I saw some sippy cups that I'd thrown away because they were old an leaky. This caused me to remember that I'd seen a sippy cup in Timothy's bedroom. I thought I'd better go get it and make sure it wasn't leaky, and therefore, ready to go in the trash.

2. The sippy cup turned out to be ok, so I went to the sink to rinse it. While at the sink, I noticed a lot of gunk around the faucet. This, of course, needed to be cleaned with Clorox wipes. Which would then need to go in the trash, before it was taken out because I'm a strange little perfectionist. Off I went to the bathroom to search for the Clorox wipes.

3. In the bathroom, I was leaned under the sink looking for the wipes, and I noticed that the floor around the toilet was disturbingly disgusting. I have boys. So I decided to wipe that with the Clorox wipes while I was at it. Then, I took the wipes to the kitchen.

4. As I was wiping the faucet gunk, I noted that the counters were really awful and covered in crumbs. I realized it had been ages since I moved the bread box and canisters to scrub behind them.

So that is how, half an hour later, I found myself scrubbing counters when I had not yet gathered the trash. It's really no wonder that my children find me amusingly simpleminded! Just look how easy it is to distract me with some simple faucet gunk! In retrospect, I probably shouldn't share this story, since it gives a realistic view of my terrible housekeeping skills.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

As my brain cell gently weeps...

Nope, unfortunately that wasn't a typo. I have but one brain cell left, and it's very lonely. I'm discovering that my recent lack of sleep is rendering me...dumb. Conversations around here go something like this:

Me: "Hey, Chris, you know that stuff that's made from milk...?"

Chris: "Butter?"

Me: "No, it's moldy..."

Chris (incredulously): "You mean cheese?"

Me: "Yeah, that's it!"

Chris: "What about it?"

Me: "Nothing, I'm making the grocery list and I couldn't remember what it was called."

The question I have is this: When I get some sleep, will my brain cells return? Could they be on vacation? And if the one remaining one leaves me a "Dear 'Lista" letter in the meantime, will I suddenly become blissfully happy, unaware of my own lack of a brain? Let us hope so. On either count. Because I don't care if they come back or the last one leaves, as long as I stop walking around feeling this DUMB!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Wherein Moses Got His Comeuppance and Timothy Ate His Weight In Pop-Tarts

Can you tell by the title I've been reading too much Dickens? No? Well, I haven't read any lately, but I'm in an odd mood so thus, the title.

The boys are enjoying the spring weather. We had a lovely weekend and they spent a lot of time playing outside. Timothy especially enjoyed creating a mud lake with the hose, then taking off his shoes and wading around in it in his socks. As he explained to me, "He didn't want to get his shoes dirty." Perhaps, in retrospect, there should've been a little more supervision. This resulted, on Sunday night, in a pair of boys so filthy that it required a LOOONG soak in the tub to loosen the grime. And this is how Moses came by his comeuppance. While Timothy was soaking in the suds, I took advantage of the time by cleaning the bathroom. Moses was fascinated by the entire process. As I scrubbed the toilet, he kept batting at the brush. It's a wonder he didn't bleach himself. Eventually, he got bored with toilet cleaning and decided to sit on the edge of the tub and try to figure out what Timothy was up to. It should be noted that none of my other cats are that dumb. Sure, they'll all line up to watch me take a bath, but they're all far too smart to come anywhere near Timothy when there's water involved. Moses had just settled into a comfy spot on the tub's edge when Timothy noticed him and yanked him in. I consider my sock yarn to be avenged. Of course, I had to clean up the water everywhere, but it was worth it. On a side note, I was a little amazed that the water in the tub was a lovely shade of brown when Timothy was done soaking. He was THAT dirty! I had to run clean water to rinse him.

The second part of this blog is unrelated to the first, but a little funny. Since yesterday was Monday (OK, that was dumb. I'm sure none of you live in a cave and therefore, you already know it was Monday!), I was up at 3 am to drive to Wichita for work. I get very little sleep on Sunday night, usually about 3 hours, so I'm exhausted when I get home Monday night. This was compounded by a giant storm system that was rolling through yesterday evening. I raced it home, and then we spent the night listening to tornado sirens and wondering if we were going to wake up in Oz. This morning found me dead to the world. While I was snoozing, unaware, Timothy decided to help himself to some Pop Tarts that Mom bought yesterday as a treat for Gabe. When I woke up this morning I found shredded foil packets all over the house. A quick call to Mom revealed that Gabe had only had one of the Pop Tarts. And they were gone, all gone. Which means Timothy ate an entire box of Pop Tarts, minus one, his cereal, a banana, and still greeted me this morning with "Can Timofee have a snack?". I should've given him a stern lecture but I was too tired. And hey, if you can't eat your weight in Pop Tarts when you're in preschool, when can you?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Posts I've been meaning to get around to and haven't...

Here are some pictures of Spring Break in Hico with Halcyon and her family! There are many more adorable pictures that I would like to post, but when I try to flip them the right way, my computer keeps making veiled threats about "permanently destroying images". Either my computer is evil or I don't know how to use it. Could be either. So, above you see my boys at the Texas border. This was Timothy's first trip to Texas.

As you can clearly see by this picture, Halcyon and I have a lot of kids between us. Ok, ok, she gets most of the credit for this, but in my defense, mine tend to be far noisier and more rambunctious than all of hers combined. There are no pictures of Deet, so you'll have to imagine him off to the left of the above photo. I have the picture, but it's sideways.
The kids enjoyed the playground a lot. It was one of those great, old-fashioned playgrounds that still has a merry-go-round! Why the fuddy-duddies these days think it's not ok for kids to spin in circles until they are sick, and occasionally fly off and/or get dragged by the toy, I'll never know! My kids thought it was the most fun they'd had in a long time!

Here is a picture of my boys plus Miss Sophie. She is so very adorable, I had an evil plan to hide her in my duffel bag and sneak her out of the house when I left. Unfortunately, Halcyon knows me very well and kept all girl children small enough to fit in my duffel hidden until I was all loaded up and ready to go.

Here are Gabby and Timothy in the recliner. Timothy liked Gabby a lot. Since she is a very experienced big sister, she didn't seem to mind.

Last, but not least, here is Turkish the cat. He enjoyed Gabe's sleeping bag a lot. He also enjoyed a certain sock monkey, even more than he enjoyed Gabe's sleeping bag. However, since I haven't figured out how to post video yet, that's one incriminating video that won't be seen today.

So, these pictures show the kid section of the trip. What they do not show is the fun Halcyon and I had after the kids went to bed, watching silly movies, talking about old times, knitting up a storm and cooking yummy things. Again, she gets the credit for the cooking. When I cook, things tend to explode. Anyway, a good time was had by all. I miss you, Halcy! Should we make this Spring Break thing an annual event?

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Day the Sock Yarn Died...

Moses the Cat did a BAD, BAD thing today. While I was away, he crawled into my tote of knitting stuff and grabbed a skein of sock yarn. Then he mopped the floor with it, flung it about, generally annihilated it, and to add insult to injury, ate some of it. The worst part is that I have a sock started with this particular yarn. Which means that, should I ever manage to finish a complete pair of socks, I will have one normal one (well, as normal as I can knit anything!) and one fuzzed up, cat-gnawed one. Darn him. I'd beat him severely but he's asleep on my feet, purring his furry head off, and I hate to wake him. He's keeping my toes warm. He'd better glad he's so cute!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Is the universe playing an April Fool's Day prank on me???

I made myself a sandwich just now, but before I could eat it Timothy needed to go down for a nap. I carefully hid the sandwich from Moses, who would have certainly devoured it before I got back, and now I can't find it! I've looked everywhere! If I weren't relatively alone in the house (there are cats and Timothy here) I would assume Chris was playing a prank on me. At this point, I would be happy to find an empty plate as proof that a cat ate my sandwich. It would prove I'm not going insane. It would prove that I did indeed make the sandwich in the first place.

It should be noted that while I was typing this, Moses found my can of spicy V8, knocked it over and drank it. It's looking a lot like one of those days from where I stand.