Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Plead the Fifth

No more pencils, no more books.
No more teachers' dirty looks.
No more math and history.
Summer time has set us free....

After weeks of counting down the days (and a ridiculous number of seemingly pointless half-days) and jamming in countless end of school parties, field days, and early celebrations of summer birthdays, we finally made it through the school year.  Whew.

The end of the year is so hectic that I relish the lazy summer days--  a fact that would be nice for me to remember when I am signing the kids up for camp.  Here I've been every morning the past few weeks mentally ticking off the remaining healthy/appealing/peanut-free lunches I have left to pack and-- DUH!!!-- I still have to pack lunch.  For camp.   

So, off to the deli counter I trudged.  Begrudgingly, I took a number.  (The deli is like a casino floor in Vegas-- it doesn't matter if it's 8AM or 4PM, there's always lots of action.) 

I should point out that the deli clientele of our A&P is very high maintenance.  No meat can ever be sliced thin enough for this "let me have a pound of the Oven Gold" crowd (never a please or a thank you, natch).  No roast beef can ever be lean enough.  It's brutal.

But today was the topper.

The woman in front of me ordered one-fifth of a pound of turkey.  Like, seriously?  I actually let out a sort of snort/guffaw by mistake.  Maybe she heard me because she clarified.  "I'd like less than a quarter. You know, like a fifth."  What?!  Honestly that has to be a difference of about one slice of turkey (or maybe three paper thin ones) and approximately $.35.  Either way, decidedly NOT worth the confusion it caused behind the counter.

Gosh, I sure hope with all those half days of school my kids still had time to learn fractions....

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Nailed It!

The previous owners of our house left behind a number of things.  Some awesome-- a pop-a-shot basketball game in the basement!  Some clearly inadvertant-- their child's third grade rendering of the sun in painted clay.  Some creepy-- what I thought was a decapitated dog sculpture (turns out it is supposed to look like the dog is digging and it's head is in the hole. Still awful).  Some.... well, Weaselsnob already covered the topic of quirky unmentioned/unmentionable house problems that are invariably left behind for the new owners.

But what our house's previous owners left the most of is nails and nail holes. Sakes alive, did they love them some pictures.   It's as if the Art Marshall came out with a clipboard and told them that one frame per foot is Code.  OK, sure, we're not quite talking the Barnes Museum, but it does seem excessive. And the problem is that-- for my taste-- they tended to hang things a bit too high.  So when I go to use the exisiting hooks or holes (and, yes, I'm lazy enough just to hang my stuff where they hung theirs) my picture is always a bit higher than I'd like.  Which doesn't stop me, but still.

A big hook was left on the wall facing the back stairs.  It was bugging me so I hung a dry erase board there.  I hung it vertically, taking advantage of the (poor) placement of the original nails.

The limitless possibilities presented by the blank, crisp whiteness of the board were too much for my daughter to pass up.  Or maybe she too is feeling the stress of the end of the school year crush.  This morning, on tiptoes, she reached up and created the following:

There are three things that I love about this: 1. "Finish This List."   Is that clarifying the concept of what a to-do list is all about?  OR  is she saying that completing the actual writing of this list is the first thing she must do? 2. "Hug Mommy" appears twice.  I am going to take that in the awesome mushy (and list padding) way it was intended and not in the more cynical  'constantly affirm your love to mommy so you can ask for ice cream with puppy dog eyes' way.  3. "Sometimes shower."

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Note

Today as I was getting my mail from the mailbox I noticed a folded piece of paper sitting on top of the pile.  When I opened it up here is what I found:

I think I may have mentioned before that I am a HUGE murder mystery aficionado - currently reading Louise Penny's fabulous Three Pines series, btw - so, naturally, I am threatened by this anonymous missive.  My husband thinks I'm crazy.

Here's my argument: There is absolutely nothing welcoming about the note.  There is no exclamation point nor is there a name attached.  Why not write, "Love this house!!! Your new neighbors from #12, Joe and Jane Schmo."?  Much nicer.

My husband's immediate interpretation was that the author was not suggesting that THEY loved our house, but rather was issuing an imperative, the "You'd better!" being implied.  Could be.  But, again, without the jaunty addition of an exclamation point, rather threatening: Love this house or what? Or else?!

The person who wrote the note and put it in my mailbox - bordering on a federal offence, ahem - would probably be horrified to think I had interpreted it as anything other than a nice gesture.  Me?  I'm picturing a Glenn Close lookalike hiding in one of the outbuildings and have raised my personal alert level to DEFCON 3.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What She Said

Jen Hatmaker's recent blog about being the worst end-of-school mom ever (if you haven't read it, look it up.  It's a riot) really struck a chord with me and made me feel a whole lot better about my current ineptitude/attitude.  Judging by the fact that 6 of my friends independently forwarded the link to me, I'm guessing a lot of other moms feel the same way.

Our elementary school decided to wait til mid-June to perform an Ellis Island simulation where costumes, family trees, heirlooms and ethnic foods (minus any ingredients that might induce anaphylaxis) had to be produced in rapid succession.  Seeing as NOBODY wants to eat English food and I had two children home sick from school - on consecutive days, natch - I rummaged through the pantry and came up with the ingredients for plain scones. Genius, right?

But my laurels were not to be rested on.  Sifting through the laundry baskets, I realize that I can't actually recall when my children last showered and I'm wondering if being in a swimming pool counts.  At the very least it gets rid of superficial dirt, no?  Nor can I remember when I last changed the sheets on the beds.  I haven't had a chance to go to the drugstore for new foundation so my makeup routine consists of coating my face with tinted Clearasil.  Again, not the worst thing, especially since the stress has not been kind to my complexion.  I wear what I can grab quickly at 6:30am and even when I feel somewhat put together a fashion felony is not far off. For example, I arrived at my daughter's last soccer game of the season Sunday with giant TJ Maxx price tags hanging down my back.  I had left them out to remind myself to remove them, then promptly forgotten.

Long story short I'm a mess and so are my kids but we are in good company.  Kudos to Ms. Hatmaker for giving a lot of deserving people a good laugh at a very stressful time.  Solidarity sister!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Chot Tub Time Machine

It seems to me that a fair barometer of closeness is how many short-hand references and inside jokes you share.  When my father turned 80 last year we made a loooong list of Dad-isms, most of them things that he had only said in earnest once but that had become family classics and, as such, had been repeated often throughout the years.

In our senior yearbook, my BFF and I jammed a long list of one liners and quotes on our ad page just to remind us of all the fun (and not so fun) times we had shared and things we had done. Sadly, though our friendship is still strong and we are still (overly?) self-referential, time has warped our memories of how some of our little sayings came to be.  We know that they are funny, we just can't always remember why.

Which is why I am going to record here for my future self how my kids and I came to call the thing that sits near the pool bubbling full of hot water the "Chot Tub."

Every school day, my son has Chobani's version of a GoGurt-- yogurt in a tube-- for his mid-morning snack.  Each tube has a rebus puzzle that my son's classmates vie to solve (my son checks out the puzzle at home).  One day last fall, this was the puzzle:

The boys at his table were stumped. (??!)  Finally, one of the boys shouted out-- triumphantly-- "READING IS CHOT TUB!!"

To which another boy responded disdainfully, "There's no 'p' in hot tub."

And, we hope, none in the 'ool either.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Market Share

I ran into a new friend, Y., at the grocery store.  She just moved here from California and she is very California.  Or maybe just very un-New York.  Totally laid back, totally glass half-full, and totally a hoot.

In my very New York way, I have taken to wearing headphones in the grocery store.  Because it's Monday morning and I don't necessarily feel like chatting.  Because hearing people talk on their phones (loudly) while they navigate their carts (poorly) aggravates me.  And because I can't abide by the seemingly endless loop of 80's hits (you have to go away for us to miss you, Tommy Tutone).

My headphones and I got a big thumbs up from Y.  She assumed not that I was being anti-social but that I was rocking out and hoped to see a viral video of me later literally doing the "shopping cart" (you've seen the dance floor move-- reach up as if you were taking something from the shelf and then put it in the imaginary cart).  This is not me.

Y. mentioned that the store's set up made no sense to her and that she felt like she always spent half her time looking for things-- naturally, asking for help would be admitting failure.  After an aisle by aisle search she had just finally located the power bars.  By the diapers.  Why?!  We decided that the powers that be must have decided that mothers of infants have no time to eat real meals.

Which led me to think how I might set up a grocery store.  What would my own logic dictate?  Obviously you'd put the buns, pickles, ketchup, and mustard near the hot dogs and hamburgers.  And the salad dressing near the salad fixings.  Paper towels near the watermelon?  Gum near the garlic?  Milk and ice cream right next to every register?  Shout! near the tomato sauce?

Hmmm.  Not very efficient.  I guess I'll defer to the professionals.  Except I'd put power bars near the cereal and granola bars.  Duh. 

We Bought the Farm

Literally.  We bought an old farm, with lots of land for the kids to hoon around on and a couple of mangy outbuilding for the kids to break limbs/contract tetanus in.  It is desperately in need of some love but it is heaven on earth with the exception of one aspect: the wildlife.  I know, as the owner of a "farm" (although it is completely defunct), I should be more open to Mother Nature and all her wonderful creatures but there is a line, people!

I am happy to follow and photograph a pair of wild turkeys zipping around under the pine trees with their 17 little chicks (giblets?) in tow.  NOT so happy to see the coyote.  I love the hawks and the chipmunks, not so much the big black ants, and stink bugs and lady bugs and mice that have invaded my home.  As the saying goes, if the great outdoors is so great, why are these creatures inside the house?!!!

Sometimes, when I think back to our previous house, I think about the bee hive we had in our walls and wonder if they are back now for the new owners to deal with.  I hope not.  But somewhere, I'm sure, the previous owners of our "farm" are laughing hysterically to each other and saying, "I wonder if they've discovered the ____ yet!!!!"