Friday, July 1, 2022

Five on Friday: One Week of Summer

First a little recap . . . 


Big kids aka alleged adults: no jobs
Little kids: no camp
Parents: virtual work

Some travel (to a family beach cottage where we could remain secluded but just . . . elsewhere) and outdoor playdates (wherein I felt like I had to constantly break the kids up from play-wrestling and hugging which were activities that clearly could not happen six feet apart).


Basically the same but with at least some of us vaccinated, doing things like going out to get ice cream or letting friends step into the house to use the bathroom or get a drink felt more possible.


Everything opening back up coincides with changes to our family since the kids are older and in different life stages now. 

Alleged adults: not even living here (!)
Little kids: can hardly be referred to as the little kids anymore. Only one of them is still shorter than me and it's just by a hair. Our youngest son is a rising freshman which means he's booked pretty solid with summer workouts and practices at the High School with his older brother (who will also hopefully be kept busy with a part-time job and behind-the-wheel driving practice though I'll admit I'm more excited by the former than the latter). Youngest has some day camps and a TWO-WEEK sleep-away camp later this summer.
Parents: working and more freedom to take walks and bike rides together and go out socially without having to worry about who's watching the kids.

To summarize, this summer is more normal, but it's a new normal for our changing family. Here's a recap of our first full week:

1. Work for me is less virtual than ever and (lucky, lucky, LUCKY me) includes opportunities to connect with community in so many different ways (and venues!)

Monthly Story Slam at Scout's with yours truly as a host

Back to packing the museum with folks for interesting lectures!

2. This guy might be going to High School in the fall but he still loves babying this ridiculous dog and now he has more time to do it.
I think she likes it.

3. Back to the basics of good old-fashioned summers means eating outside, pool parties with friends and lots of time for card games. 

4. House full of kids on a rainy day felt like the kind of summer day that we've loved for years, including: bracelet-making, video-game playing, cookie baking, shenanigans, chicken-butt competition truce and so many laughs. "New normal" version of this perfect day means they're all old enough to figure out what they want to do on their own, clean up after themselves (with reminders), get along without needing me to break up any fights. Sometimes I really like the new normal.

5. Speaking of summer shenanigans! Actual footage of me pushing my way ahead of my child (okay I say child, and he isbut I would like to remind you he is much bigger and stronger than me and I did ask him to protect me) to get into the house after we (okay, I) threw a rock at one or more raccoons in the garbage can. 

Meanwhile, our older son--who I'd like to inform you is afraid of lady bugs--came home and tried to befriend it. He'd like to make it a pet. Maybe I should be encouraging him to get those driving hours in so he can drive himself for rabies shots.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Five on Friday: These Kids Make Me Laugh

Shenanigans and giggles this past week:

1. Me:  Woah! All I did was shout, "big fat groundhog!!"  and he actually ran away!
16-year-old E: Yeah, Mom, you body shamed him.

2. 12-year-old baby hog: When the baby comes next week can we go to the mall?
48-year-old baby hog Me: Why would you want to go to the mall with a baby?? Unless of course you girls wanted to go to the mall and leave the baby . . . 

Me: Hey I saw Mr. N and he said the basketball coaches can't wait for you to get to the High School in the fall.
14-year-old rising freshman basketball player who is very talented but who also talks a lot of smack: (whispering and looking wistfully off into space) Varsity . . . 

4. Baby hog, AGAIN: Aw, Mom, it's too bad you work Tuesdays so you have one less day visiting with the baby.
Me: I took Tuesday off!
Her: DOH

5. Scene: A quiet weeknight evening at home on the night before the youngest two kids' last day of school. Mom has plans to go out to dinner with her own mother and sisters. She departs the house at approximately 5:30 pm, leaving three practically self-sufficient kids and their highly capable and involved father at home.

Three hours later:
Me: (Nothing)

14-year-old who is, as far as I know, home:

Clueless? Hysterical? Both? You decide.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Five on Friday: Just a Little Giacomo Journaling

Listen, I know what I said about cars being better than Vespas, but I didn't actually mean it.

Even though I've been too busy for pure pleasure riding lately, just regular riding is more remarkable when I'm on the Vespa . . . and by that I mean there's always something to remark on.

Here are some recent memorable moments from the 2022 riding season:

1. You know gas prices are high when . . . 
You think that's bad? The week before it was $8.71!

2.  No free parking spots? No problem.

Sharing is caring! (Don't worry, that's my friend's truck.)

3. Everybody loves a Vespa.

Sorry, Dude, I don't think you can drive this thing with hooves. 
And you probably don't even have a motorcycle license anyway.

4. New reversible rain bonnet! New sticker! 

You may or may not realize that my obsession
with cemeteries has only gotten deeper lately.

5. And, of course, people's reactions are always noteworthy. Recent favorites:

a. The teeny tiny little dude (honestly, an absolutely adorably miniscule child) who started  waving wildly at me and whose face lit up when I beeped

b. You know that thing kids do to try to get truck drivers to honk their horns? There's a gaggle of kids at a bus stop who begin madly pumping their arms when they see me coming. I always oblige--not sure who is happier after this interaction, me or them.

c. So the cemetery obsession thing . . . I recently participated in a veterans' headstone cleaning event  where I met a man who is apparently a bit of a local celebrity in, um, headstone maintenance circles?? 

Anyway, after the event, he was parked on the opposite side of the parking lot from me and I rode over to him on Giacomo to hand him my card (I want to be his apprentice). He was leaning into the passenger side of his pickup truck and turned around to see me . . . and had ZERO reaction to a pink Vespa covered in stickers appearing behind him. Badass. 

Friday, June 10, 2022

Five on Friday: Things the Kids Have Let Me Know That They Need This Week

The end of the school year is always a hectic time but this year feels worse than usual (Is it because the last two years have been calmer? Is it because we are enrolled in too many damned sports? Could it be . . . both?).

To illustrate, here's an actual conversation I recently had with my husband:

Me: I remembered to get the water bottles for the track thing, but I don't remember which track thing is it for, Monday or Tuesday?

Hm: (blank stare) . . . I . . . I have no idea.

Since that's where we're at, the kids keep throwing us fun little chaos curveballs by making insane last minute requests.

Here's a sampling of what they let me know they need, ASAP for the most part, because that's how they roll:

1. Khaki shorts for the banquet tomorrow. "Remember, Mom? I don't have any that fit?" No, kid, clearly I did not remember or you wouldn't be asking me to buy shorts on 24-hour notice.

2. A "bag of random candy" for class . . . for Thursday or maybe Wednesday, can you just go get some today after work?

3. A birthday gift to bring to school for a kid she's never spent any time hanging out with. For tomorrow please . . . "if you're going out for random candy anyway, why can't you just buy something for her?"

Sure, kids, I'll pencil that in right here.

4. Immediate registration for the summer intramural/workouts/soccer/camp thing. Things, plural, actually. Oh also you have to make sure all the online medical stuff is done, too. Did you do it yet?

5. DOUBLE WHAMMY! A party for fifteen of her closest friends, including at least half we've never met or even heard of before on Saturday, the same day her brother would like to have "let's see, the van holds fifteen but there's me and one of you has to drive so can I invite thirteen kids over before the dinner dance and you can drive us all?" 

BONUS ENTRY: Because the hits just keep coming . . . "Mom, the dance? The boys aren't all wearing shorts and Hawaiian shirts anymore. Could you get me some dress pants and shoes by Saturday?"

Friday, May 27, 2022

Five on Friday: Mom Math

We're approaching the end of the school year which means it's final exam time! How good are you at Mom Math? (I do usually try to say "parent" instead of "Mom" but I really, really like alliteration, so . . . Mom Math it is!)

Take this handy quiz to find out! (answer key at the bottom of the page)

1. If Mom makes one large and one small quiche to feed two teenage boys, two parents and one tween girl but then leaves the teen boys home alone for dinner, how much quiche is left for the three other people to eat later?

2. How many seconds does it take for the tween girl to become mortified by Mom car-dancing in the driver's seat when it's only the two of them in the car and they're not even stopped at a red light where people could see her or anything?

3. If there's a task that Mom has been asking the High School sophomore to do after school every single ever-loving day since he was in kindergarten, how many more times will she need to ask him?

4. On any given day, how many toothbrushes can be found in the kids' bathroom?

5.  If the kids are now eleven, fourteen, sixteen, twenty and twenty-one, how many more family meals does Mom need to think up, purchase food for and prepare?

How much more bickering between the 11- and 14-year-old kids can Mom take before her head explodes?

1. One small
2. Three seconds, max.
3.  11 + 180 + 180
4.  The number of kids presently at home plus two . . . except sometimes when it's the number of kids presently at home minus one
5. Infinity. The answer is infinity meals.

Extra credit: No, really, I'm asking you how much more I can take. Because it doesn't feel like much and I'm wondering when I can anticipate the sweet release of my head exploding.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Five on Friday: Five Ways Cars are Better than Vespas

When I was a kid, sometimes my parents just wanted to "take a ride." 

I hated just "taking a ride." I wanted there to be a destination, a reason for the ride. I was thrilled when I became old enough to stay home alone and not have to participate in those pointless trips. 

But now I have a Vespa. 

And on the very nice days, particularly in the early spring when the very nice days have been few and far between, and I have some free time . . . I like to take a ride.

Nice day ✅
Free time ✅
Taking a ride ✅

There's just always something to be grateful for when I'm riding, like how much more I can appreciate the scents of spring (the way the river smells after a rain or a lawn does after it was just cut). I just love everything about riding Giacomo!!!

Except . . . yes, believe it or not, on the ride pictured above I happened to think of ONE way that John Stamos the Toyota (or any car) is better. 

I wondered if I could challenge myself to come up with four more for a Five on Friday list. It was hard but I did it! I figure that in a few short months I'll be back to the car all the time and not taking pleasure rides, so maybe it'll be nice to remind myself of the (very very few) ways that cars are better than Vespas:

1. On that sunny no destination ride, I thought to myself, "Man, it'd be a GREAT day for a nap." I love all manner of naps in nearly any location but a nap in a nice sun-warmed car is tops on my list. 

I can't do that on a Vespa. 


2.  A car horn is way more intimidating than a dinky little Vespa beep. (Sorry Giac, you sound kind of wimpy.)

3. Car trips not nearly as weather-reliant as Vespa trips.

4.  When it comes to food shopping for a family of five to seven (depending on if the alleged adults are around or not) is just really not possible on the Vespa. Unless I wanted to take twenty-seven trips back and forth . . .  ain't nobody's got time for that. 

5. Also, my 150cc Vespa engine can't go on the interstate, so big road trips--not to mention adding multiple passengers--really work better in the four-wheel vehicle. 

Now I am racked with guilt and am going to ride Giacomo ALL DAY today.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Five on Friday: I'm an Asshole Parent Because . . . (Second in a Series)

As I mentioned last week, younger kids provide a constant barrage of insanity:

Not my kid but I did have one not only touch dog poop but then
repeatedly sniff her hand while telling me what she had done.

. . . therefore inspiring multitudes of social media posts. The above example is from this article that points out how these one hundred twenty-one parents are real assholes:

I didn't have a kid try this one but the again, we didn't have goats.
I did have a kid eat cat litter once--with a fork, right out of the box.

The Internet is full of these hysterical, disgusting, relatable examples of ways parents of toddlers are real assholes--doing terrible things like offering children some cheese.  Just awful.

I find myself wondering, what about parents of tweens & teens? Can't we be assholes, too??? 

Yes we can! print by artist Josh MacPhee

Our kids might not be throwing themselves on the ground in protest anymore but that's only because they've evolved. I couldn't take pictures of them when I was a total asshole parent recently, but I can admit my shame and explain their reactions:

1. I offered to treat him to anything he wanted at the super hip local coffee shop. (Reaction: crossed arms, tapped foot, refused to make eye contact with anyone even though he was basically blocking entrance to the coffee shop, generally acted like being there in that moment was the worst thing to ever happen to him.)

2. I asked her to turn her inside-out sweater the right way before going to Easter dinner. (Reaction: eye roll and an "UGH.")

3. His father and I asked him how he did in one of his track events--no wait, it gets worse--AT the track event in FRONT of other people who could SEE us communicating with him. (Reaction: looked around furtively to see if anyone noticed, eye roll.)

4. I wouldn't give her money for no reason when I had already just given her money for no reason a day before. (Reaction: stamped foot, stormed away, acted really pissed off to everyone for about ten minutes.)

5.  I ate the leftover Chinese food for lunch. The leftover Chinese food that I had paid for but didn't get a chance to eat for dinner myself and was left in the fridge after they had all packed for lunch? Yes, that leftover Chinese food. (Reaction: OH MY GOD MOM NO FAIR!)