Monday, May 28, 2012

the Graduates

Reckless and Stretch graduated from preschool Thursday night.  Finally.  I suspect that my husband and I felt a little like the parents of those college kids that take like seven or eight years to finish their Bachelor’s degrees because it seems like the girls were at that school For.Ev.Er!

They started there in September of 2008, when they had just turned two.  I only sent them one morning a week, and it was basically so that I could have three and a half hours alone to contemplate the reasons I shouldn’t run away from home, which can be a hard thing to resist doing when you have two two year olds and a four year old.  Not to mention, I was worn out coming off of the previous year of having two one year olds and a three year old and I had pretty much faced that year in a stupor because before that I had two babies and a two year old!

The next year of their preschool life, they attended three days a week until November.  Reckless had a horrible, serious bout with pneumonia that had her hospitalized twice in one month, and the pediatrician recommended we take the girls out of preschool because if she contracted any other respiratory viruses that fall or winter, it could be life threatening.  Stretch hadn’t been as sick, but even though they were awful at sharing toys, they were great at sharing germs.  So, instead of taking a semester off to travel Europe and experiment with drugs, the girls took a semester off to watch cartoons and take steroids.

They made a triumphant return to school in April and finished out the year with their three year old class.  Sure, they only knew A-E and U-Z, but part of an alphabet can get you pretty far on the playground these days.

The next year, 2010-2011, they were in the four year old class and what we thought was their “senior year” of preschool.  Their health, thank God, had improved drastically by the time they were four.  And they’d both nailed down a major – Arts and Crafts.  But, when spring came, the teacher encouraged us to hold off on kindergarten.  She felt that since their birthday was so close to the cut off and they were born five weeks early and one of them was barely going to pass Calculus that year, they’d benefit from one more year of preschool.  She was so right.

We split them up into different four day a week pre-K classes this last year, allowing them to make separate friends, cultivate their separate personalities, and have at least a few hours a day to share germs with other kids, not just each other.  Granted Stretch was so tall by this year that many of her classmates confused her for a teacher’s aide, but that’s okay, she’s going to be a legendary basketball player as soon as we can figure out a way to keep her from running off the court crying.

At this point, they’re more than prepared for kindergarten.  And I’m more than prepared to have all three of my kids in full time, year round, school.  I survived off of one morning a week; I rallied when I had three; I finally saw some productivity out of myself when they were all out of the house four mornings a week, so this six and a half hours a day five days a week thing should have me thriving!  I can catch up on all of the books I’ve been wanting to read, the laps in the pool I should be swimming, the projects I need to tackle.  With that kind of time on my hands, I should be able to launch an effective campaign for the presidency and solve our nation’s fuel crisis!  I guess I’ll see how it goes organizing and painting the office and take it from there.Photobucket

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gym Class Heroes

I think the last time I learned ten new vocabulary words in one day, I was like three months old.  But after my friend M and I spent an hour with a trainer at the gym tonight, I’m speaking a whole new language.  I still speak the old one too though, and that’ll come in handy tomorrow when I have to ask one of my children to brush my teeth for me because I can’t move my arms.

M and I have been pretty serious about working out the last couple of months.  Or what I considered serious before tonight.  We were familiar with the machines and we spoke freely of sets and reps.  Who knew that was the tip of the iceberg?

Our new friend, J, offered to donate his services and help us take off the training wheels and learn how to do a "real" workout.  He offered on Monday night after we had spent the last hour doing what was apparently a make believe workout, that gave us imaginary soreness, and pretend perspiration. 

We met him tonight full of nervous excitement over what we would do and learn, but with a back-up plan of “If this gets too hard, one of us has to fake a serious injury and the other has to drive them immediately to the doctor.”

First up, the bench, the quintessential weightlifting experience.  But, despite my affinity for exercise and trying new things, I’d never been on it before.  The two of us going over into free weights land was a bit like teenagers sneaking into a nightclub with fake IDs.  We totally didn’t belong, but we tried to blend in.  Inasmuch as two confused giggling girls can blend in over there.

J explained good bench press form to us, showed us how it’s done, then took all of his weights off.  I bravely assumed the position and then looked up at my new trainer, wondering when he was going to add my weights.  He smiled and said, “Just try it with the bar.”  I smiled back, lifted the bar, then didn’t smile again for quite some time.  I don’t know how much the bar weighs, and maybe some of you do, but I’d like you to pretend you don’t, because I’m going to estimate it at seventy pounds right now and I need to believe that until my arms stop crying.

Not that they’re crying from just that.  Everything he made us do was extremely hard, and if we ever weren’t making an ugly this-is-killing-me face, he increased the weight and made it harder.  But he didn’t just torture us and give us seizures in our arms.  He also educated us.

He taught us the difference in compound and isometric exercises.  There’s a chance that my ninth grade biology teacher went over that, but I was too busy writing love letters to my boyfriend to notice.  J also taught us about drop sets and super sets.  Before today I was only familiar with twin sets and sunsets.  He explained what it means to go negative, and a few other terms that escape me because I’m in an ibuprofen induced haze.

But my favorite favorite favorite new word that I picked up tonight is “Diesel.”  M and I were telling him how we want to be fit and toned, but not scary looking like some of the women we see at the gym.  And he assured us that he wouldn’t let us get “too Diesel.”  As in Vin Diesel, the action star, an apparent gold standard for males who workout.

I’m a suburban housewife and mother of three that likes napping and frozen yogurt; I don’t think there’s a big risk of me getting too Diesel.  But, I do intend to make that name turned adjective a new staple of my vocabulary.  Like when the pool opens on Saturday and M and I are lounging by it, I will most definitely look over at my tiny friend and say, “Girl, you’re lookin’ Diesel!”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Butterfly C.S.I.

One of the girls got a butterfly garden for Christmas from her aunt.  I thought that seemed like a good gift; I like butterflies and gardens.  Know what I don’t like?  Worms.  Wanna know another word for a worm?  Caterpillars.

That’s how it came to be that my husband took over this gift/project of butterfly farming with the twins.  They ordered live caterpillars and they came in the mail.  I found that unsettling.  I don’t like that we can receive living creatures via post.  What if someone mails us live squirrels or bats or something?  I’ve been checking the mail incessantly, at least once a day, waiting on my school track assignment, so if something’s gonna come flying out of there, I’ll be the victim.

Anyway, all my husband really had to do was open the box and wait.  They came in a ventilated plastic container that had their food.  They crawled around and ate and eventually, as lots of exercise and food does to any of us, they got sleepy.  They made their chrysalis, which is not to be confused with cocoon, apparently, my second grader informed me, because chrysalis is for butterfly and cocoon is for moths.  There was some elementary science mumbo jumbo about pupa that I might’ve tuned out because I still had a dinner to make.

My husband’s one job was to transfer the chrysalises to the butterfly garden after a few days, but before they turned into butterflies.  Today, I was working on something at the computer and saw the plastic container sitting on the top of the desk with two very upset butterflies on life support.  I panicked, had a Silence of the Lambs flash of butterflies being pulled out of people’s throats, then called The Voice of Reason at work.

“What’s going on with the butterflies?  Are they supposed to be in the container still??!!!???”  He started working on some kind of self-defense to explain his oversight in court, but didn’t immediately tell me what to do.  Luckily, Reckless was prepared!  She ran like an ER doctor into surgery, to retrieve the butterfly garden.  We rushed outside, on the off chance they would be able to fly, and opened the plastic container.

One of the butterflies was either dead or catatonic and I didn’t know how to take his pulse to find out which, so I transferred the one showing signs of life first.  I got wrapped up in some kind of sticky spider web type thingy he was caught in and cringed.  (No, I don’t want to know what it really was, and no, I wasn’t totally “wrapped up”, like head to toe, it was just on two of my fingers.)

At the point that I rescued butterfly number one, the three remaining chrysalis started to shake.  And not a little, like it could’ve been a breeze blowing them.  This was more like the seismic activity of an earthquake.  And that’s when I noticed the blood!  I’m not kidding.  I don’t know if it was blood of the ones trying to be born, or the ones that hatched earlier in the day, but I really don’t think there was supposed to be BLOOD!  It kept getting more and more like Silence of the Lambs.

I moved the comatose butterfly, a.k.a. Butterfly 2, into the “garden” and then dropped the shaking bleeding mummy ones into the bottom.  I zipped it up and ran inside to wash my hands.  What had we done?  My family.  Did we order innocent butterflies to slaughter?  It’s still touch and go out there for who might survive.  Reckless, in her limited veterinary training, is working tirelessly to save them and Stretch is periodically going out to wipe Reckless’ brow and get updates for the family. 

My husband and I haven’t handled a fish or butterflies very well, so we definitely shouldn’t be trusted with a dog.  Actually, come to think of it, we probably shouldn’t have been trusted with three kids.Photobucket

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ready for A Killing Rampage

I know you’re supposed to wash delicates by hand, but I had several pair of tights and hosiery piled up from me and the girls and I thought surely, I could do a tiny cold water delicate load in the washer with these and save myself some work.  Some people are just natural born corner cutters.  Well, it didn’t work out.  Now I have a knot situation that a group of trained sailors would tremble in the face of.

That’s not even the first laundry lesson I learned this year.  Which is strange because laundry is one of the housewife things I’ve always excelled at.  It’s not like hearing new tips on gardening, where I have to admit any tip would be a new tip. 

A couple of weeks ago, when my friend’s parents were in town, I was in a discussion with her and her mother about my friend's new Rolls Royce style washing machine.  It’s shiny and beautiful and way smarter than a fifth grader.  I can’t even look my own washer in the eye now that I’ve seen hers.  Her mom was telling me that when she used it, she accidentally set it to the super cold cycle, which she didn’t need to do because she “didn’t have bloodstains on her clothes.”  Huh?

The conversation moved forward without me.  I was stuck wondering if she misspoke and meant the super hot cycle.  If I ever don’t understand something, I ask questions.  Wait.  That’s a pretty outrageous lie.  Sorry.  If I ever don’t understand something that isn’t related to math, science, or computers, I ask questions.

“Why would you wash bloodstains in super cold water?” I asked her.  My friend and her mother looked at me like I asked “Why would you wash your hands?”  Whatever the answer was, it was supposed to be obvious.  I started quickly flipping through blood related files in my head….blood is thicker than water, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” – Thomas Jefferson, Blue Bloods comes on Friday nights at ten?.....A whole Thomas Jefferson quote, but nothing on bloodstains and cold water.

They explained that you’re supposed to get out bloodstains by washing in cold water.  I wondered how they knew that and I didn’t.  Their mothers were better than mine?  Sorry, Mom, but clearly I could’ve been going on messy killing sprees if you’d taught me the proper way to wash clothes! 

Or maybe they just read the stain remover bottles?  Not me.  I read novels and magazines and poetry, but rarely do I read directions.  I should, I guess, because if there’s valuable information like that on there, I need to know.  I’m responsible for Reckless’ laundry.  I threw out her entire outfit after her bike accident, and my husband’s shirt too.  I got mine clean after two washes, but maybe if I’d done the cold water trick, I’d be telling a different tale here.  Maybe it’d be more interesting than a silly blog about laundry lessons.

But hopefully you learned something.  Maybe you already knew not to put hosiery in the washing machine and to get blood stains out with cold water, but how many of you knew that Thomas Jefferson quote?  If you majored in English and minored in History you knew it, and you probably do laundry every day too instead of holding down a real job.Photobucket

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Life In The Slow Lane...

There’s this man, let’s call him Edward, because that’s what his name tag says, and he works at my Target, and I think he’s 114 years old.  When I’m in a hurry or the kids are with me and I don’t want to be trapped in the confines of a checkout with them for an eternity, I usually avoid his line like fractions.  And I’m not the only shopper with that mentality either, because sometimes I’ll be three deep in a line and someone will get in line behind me even though poor old Edward is standing there with a wide open checkout.  He’s a likeable guy, but most of us moms can’t be late for carpool line because we were making a Civil War veteran scan our Lunchables.

But when I’m not in a rush and I’m enjoying a nice serene shopping excursion without the kids, I always look for him.  Because one day, when we’ve established a little more of a relationship, I want to ask him why he’s working at Target.  It’s nice to know that even someone who saw the invention of the automobile, the airplane, the computer, and M&Ms appreciates the greatness that is a Super Target.  But he’s so old and frail and I hate to think about him being on his feet for so many hours.  And I worry that he might fall in with the wrong crowd, like the thugs that round up the carts in the parking lot.  (I’m stereotyping because of their big diamond earrings and baggy pants belted around their thighs, but it’s safe to say they aren’t rap stars or professional ball players, because they wouldn’t have to return carts at Target.)

I don’t think I’m exaggerating Edward’s age.  There are ninety year olds in my church that could definitely pass for his children.  Poor excuses for children if they’re making him work at Target to afford his prescriptions!  Not that I know that’s why he’s working there.  Maybe he just got out of prison himself and the state secured this grocery store job for him like they did Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption.  He potentially could’ve been sentenced to life and when he passed 110, they were like, “Okay, you win.”

I doubt that though.  He’s too nice.  And, for the record, incredibly good at his job.  He’s slow, but methodical about bagging the groceries and then telling me what’s in each one as he sets it on the counter for me, “I slid the Rice A Roni down in here by the Honey Nut Cheerios.”

He can barely lift the bags sometimes and I feel awful even letting him try, because he has bruised toothpicks for arms, but he’s old school where it’s a man’s duty to lift things for women.  So, I let him heft the milk jug and pray that it’s not the last thing he ever does.

It makes me sad to think that he’s most certainly a widower.  Bachelors don’t tend to live past 100.  And his old poker buddies have probably been buried for decades.  Again making him vulnerable for being jumped into that Cart Returner gang.

For whatever reason, I just really want to know why he’s working.  To cure boredom or bankruptcy?  Given his age, I need to get to the bottom of it soon.  I’m almost positive his answer will be one of those two things, but what if it’s something crazy like, “I had to get a second job because my girlfriend’s pregnant.”  Or, “I’m in deep with the Russian mafia and if I don’t come up with ten grand, they’re gonna break my legs.”  In that case, I’d have to point out that a strong wind could break his legs and maybe he should just stay home and rest.

*I know another Edward that’s super old, but he’s a vampire so he held up a lot better.Photobucket