life on the funny farm

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mystery Trip

Friday I took the kids on a little "Mystery Trip".

Trying to think if I should smash that into something....

Nahh. Nothing seems to work.

Anyway, Friday morning they plodded into the car for me to drive them in to school and they all sat slumped against the windows looking forlorn and depressed. But when I got to the school's driveway, instead of turning left into it, I drove straight on past it. They were all like,
"Mom! You missed the school!"

And I'm all like,
"Oh, did I?"

But then they saw my I'm-up-to-no-good grin in the rear-view mirror and knew I had something up my sleeve.

I told them they could play 20 questions to guess where I was taking them, thinking they would never get it, but Patrick guessed before we had gotten five minutes down the road. Spoil-sport.

Anyway, the big surprise was I was taking them to Luray Caverns in northern VA.

And we had a blast.

They were ANGELS the whole drive down.
We played license plate games. We played alphabet games. We played memory games. We picked a movie that everyone agreed on. It was like a 3D Norman Rockwell painting. I was kind of freaked out, truth be told.

We stopped for lunch at Golden Corral (a place I had been to before but they hadn't) and you'd think they died and went to heaven. Neither the kids nor I have very sophisticated palates and we were like pigs in mud for the pancakes and eggs and cinnamon rolls and bacon and all the other delectable brunch items and desserts. We ate till we were sick.

About an hour later my GPS was telling me,
"Arriving at your destination".

We got right in on a tour that was just starting and spent the next hour or so oohing and ahhhing over all the formations and pillars and drop-offs and of course the oh-so-famous Luray Caverns organ.

Very cool.

Then a little gift-shopping, then I sprung for a run through the hedge maze and then it was time to head home.

That's where the fun ended.

A dispute over a water bottle stopped just short of a full-on brawl in the parking lot. Voices were raised and heads were turned and it was UGLY.

Finally got into the car and got everyone settled enough to drive away but at least half of our caravan was in tears (myself included).

But we put a movie in.
Children began to breathe.
Tears began to dry.
People were both focused and dazed and things seemed OK.

For awhile.

Then we got stuck in traffic.

Lots of traffic.

Around Washington.
Around Baltimore.

What should have been a three hour return trip turned into a five hour torture tour.

Mellow dazed children turned into irritable antsy beasts. They had to pee. They picked on each other, sang loudly when others were begging them to stop, and fought over which game we should play, which movie we should watch, which direction eyes should be pointed, which direction air should be exhaled.

If I had access to a fork I would have stabbed myself in the eardrums.

All my tricks were depleted. Nice Mommy made an appearance till Mean Mommy threw her out an open window.

But even Mean Mommy couldn't quite get the beasts under control.

I have never been happier than when I backed my car into my garage at about 9:30 that night and within minutes crawled into my bed and passed out into a dark coma.

On the trip down to VA I began fantasizing about summer road trips, camping trips, maybe we should think about getting an RV.

But before I surrendered to my coma, I thought,
tomorrow I should Google where I can find dynamite or grenades so I can blow my car up.....

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Doctor Turned Patient

Had to go to the hospital yesterday.

Not to get Fred's medical opinion for one of the kids.

For Fred.

See, James got a dirt bike yesterday. Fred was in the backyard, teaching him how to use it. James was having trouble shifting out of first gear without the bike stalling, so Fred in his infinite wisdom decided to give him a lesson in how to safely shift gears.

No sooner did the sage hop on the bike and get the speed up slightly to shift, then he let the clutch out too fast and popped a wheelie.

I said Fred popped a wheelie.

Yes, that's right.

And the bike went right on over and landed on the ground, pinning Fred's leg beneath it.

He needed help from the kids to get up (I was on my way home from picking Daniel up from school). He needed help to get back to the house b/c he couldn't walk. Got help changing from jeans to shorts (by this time I was home) and saw that the calf muscle on his left leg was hugely swollen and hard as a rock.

And he was in serious pain.

Took him to the hospital where we got him into a wheelchair and escorted him up to his partner's office (no ER slummin' for this doc).

There he got the fun of having all the residents parade on through this tiny office to confirm what they had heard: Boss was in a wheelchair.

We should have strung balloons and streamers from the IV pole of the w/c to make things more festive.

Anyway, Fred will be OK. Nothing's broken. He has a torn gastrocnemius (the aforementioned calf muscle). He needs to keep off his feet, keep the leg elevated, walk with crutches, and use this fancy-schmancy cooling ice pump to reduce the swelling. He's on some hard-hitting pain meds, so he's good. All the docs figured out coverage for the surgeries he already had scheduled and for ICU rounds.

So for now Fred just has to lie back, take it easy, take his meds and keep his leg up while he recovers


And you thought I was the crazy one.....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

OK, so #43

Honestly, this one wasn't my fault. It wasn't even the kid's fault. It was ....


I still can't even believe it myself.

We had gone to Starbuck's after Rosie's soccer game last Sunday. Fred went over to p/u his lunch from his favorite Mexican restaurant. While waiting for his food, he popped on over to the pet store and saw a pen full of rescued puppies. One of them immediately grabbed Fred's heart in its little puppy teeth and ran off with it. Fred actually came over to Starbuck's to get me and told me I had to come see this pup.

This is so not like him, people.

And I came, and I saw, and I held.

And yes, she was adorable.

And yes, I had several other children also holding her and telling me the extreme degree of her adorable-ness.

But even so, I knew we had enough.

But at the same time, I am a huge wuss and would not be able to say no if Fred really wanted her.

So I put forth the lamest restrictions possible:

1) I would not pursue this puppy on my own. If he wanted her, he would fill out the application and anything else required.

2) He needed to make good on his six year promise to install a doggie door.

3) He would need to be an active participant in the housetraining of this little poo factory.

And so, a few short days later, the Rescue Lady came to our house with pup in arms to do a quick and dirty "home visit".
I've had to do home visits for approvals for adoptions, for post placement reports, for approvals for Fresh Air Fund kids and exchange students. Now for a puppy?

Anyway, I guess our house was passably clean that evening. She didn't get her foot caught in any bear traps nor did she witness any of the kids juggling knives or feeding the dogs large quantities of chocolate. So she left the puppy, along with stacks of paperwork and medical records and antibiotics to cure a bacterial infection, in our care. She hightailed it out of there, with our check in her hand, before we could change our minds.

Not that we would. She is (have I mentioned it yet?) adorable. Probably a Lab/Border Collie mix.

Sweet? Oh my gosh.

Fuzzy? So very.

Puppy breath? I'm lovin' it.

Now all we have to do is settle on a name. Fred likes Athena. Athena? A Greek name for an Irish dog? I'm thinking no, but this is his dog. We need a name that will knock him off his feet so he forgets he ever even heard the name Athena.

I like Maggie or Molly or Raven, but none of them is knocking him off his feet.

Also, she has a white star on her chest, so maybe something about a star? Like nova or stardust or twinkle, but you know, something GOOD. So please help me out by leaving an excellent (or even mediocre, just anything, please) name suggestion in the comments for me.

A friend of mine suggested the name Carolina b/c she and her littermates were rescued from North Carolina. From a shelter where they were doomed to be put down THE NEXT DAY! Yikes.

But Fred didn't like the name Carolina.

Since she numbers as our sixth dog, we should probably just name her Six.

Or 43.

When I First Saw You

Don't know if you'll be able to read this (if you have trouble, you can click on it to enlarge it), but it is a poem James wrote for me for Mother's Day.


Uhhhh, yeah.

When I First Saw You

Monday, May 9, 2011

The ABCs of Motherhood

A Aching back. And feet. And hands and legs and groin and boobs.
B Big belly.
C Cankles.
D Delivery. 23 hours. Vacuum. Forceps. C-section. The works.
E Engorged breasts. And let's throw in sore nipples.
F Functioning in zombie mode.
G Giggles.
H Hospitals. For jaundice. For the croup. For appendicitis and the flu and stitches and surgeries.
I Iguanodon. Xenotarsosaurus. Diplodopus. I could identify them in a line up.
J Just because your friend jumps off a bridge doesn't mean you need to.
K Kisses to make it all better.
L Love. Love for their freckles. Love for their toes. Love for their quirkiness, their intelligence, their creativity. Love for the way they sleep, for the frogs in their pockets, for the way she looks in that dress, for the skinned knees and sunburned cheeks. Love for sticky, chocolatey fingers. Love for their forts under the tables, their sleepovers, their games of school and family and doctor, their bike rides and walks to the creek. Love for the homemade cards and concoctions on Mother's Day. Love for how she forgot her lines in the school play, for the tears over school drama, for the crushes, for the crumpled up notes in pockets. Love for his scars, love for her hope, love for her undying love, so much love for them for all they have suffered through. Love for God for bringing all my children into my life. Love for their hugs, their hands to hold, their hair to brush. Love for them teaching me who I am, showing me where I am strong and where I still need to grow. Love for them making me a better person, a richer person, a more capable person.
M Mountains of paperwork and clearances and references and home visits and documents, documents, documents....
N Night manager. Day manager. Manager of schoolwork, chores, manners, bedtimes, hygiene, soccer, gymnastics, skating, music lessons, martial arts, religion, community service.....
O One day you'll have kids of your own and then maybe you'll understand...
P Poo, puke, pimples, piercings.
Q Quiet. I don't understand. What does this word mean?
R Referee. Resolver of all disputes.
S School dances. Make-up and heels. Not ready.
T Texting 25 hours a day.
U Unbounded love for all of them. Born of my heart? Born of my womb? It matters not.
V Veto. Veto those shorts she is thinking of wearing to school.
W Whine. Wine.
X X marks the parallel parking spot he has to guide the car into all by himself.
Y Younger than they think they are. They're not ready. I'm not ready.
Z Zombie (see F, above). But in between the auto-pilot zombie mode times are the richest, most textured and special moments of my entire lifetime. And I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mothers in my life: Moms, sisters, aunts, friends, bloggers. You all make the world a beautiful place!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Two New Notches On My Overalls

I could stretch things and save this post for Farm Friday, but I've got nothin' for today.

No reserves in creativity either, so I'm making do with this.

"This" being that we have two new pets.

That's right. Because we didn't have enough.

Please give a warm welcome to our hamsters Fizzy and Dizzy.

It began innocently enough on Friday afternoon. I took the girls and James out on a few shopping errands. We had a nice dinner out at Boston Market and then went by the pet store for our last errand: buying some small goldfish for our ponds.

As luck would have it, they were out of goldfish.

As luck would also have it, we had to walk past the warm furry pets to get to the cold scaly pets.

And of course, we walked right past a cage with little black and white hamsters sitting up on their hind legs looking for all the world like prairie dogs scoping their surroundings.


We asked the nice man to take one out.

We asked the nice man to put her back so we ould talk things over.

Three of the four kids wanted one. As in each. To be kept in their rooms.

I did my best to talk them down.

I told them to forget the 3 - 5 years life expectancy the nice man mentioned. More like 2 for a hamster. They were setting themselves up for more heartbreak.

I told them they would need to clean the cages themselves. They would need to fill the food and water dishes. They would need to handle them with care. The cute little hamsters could possibly bite if they were handled too roughly or not with enough frequency or if the mood struck them.

They would have to pay for them themselves. This little prerequisite knocked Bella out of the running as she had just blown through about half her allowance on junk at Five Below.

But the other two, James and Julie, still had cash burning a hole in their pockets from the nice people who gave them gifts for completing their church sacraments.

So much so that Julie even decided to spring for a new cage, though our attic probably has enough critter cages to start a small zoo.

So we grabbed a cart and started loading it up. How much stuff could two pocket rodents possibly need? The cage, 2 bags of bedding (b/c James wanted blue and Julie wanted confetti), food, water bottles, wood chews, little houses, treats,hay, and an exercise ball.

There was no room left in the cart for the actual hamsters.

But somehow we managed, and we got our new pets home and settled into their new digs.

The kids were disappointed when I told them they had to wait till the next day before they could handle their new pets so they could have some time to acclimate, but they made it. And last night they took them downstairs to hold and love and cuddle. And in the process of so doing, they lost one.

Yeah. Someone was holding one of them and she got freaked out when she started climbing up her arm and then she dropped her and then she was on the sofa and then behind the sofa and then under the sofa and the kids were frantically running around searching for their new lost pet and plugging up the air conditioning vents and in general just freaking out.

Oh the joy of being a small critter in our household.

And of course I was blissfully unaware of any of this b/c I was on the road picking up one of the other kids from a party.

But they found her and returned her to her cage before I got home and all was well with the world.

I don't hold out much hope for them. Better start saving the shoeboxes now.

Meet Fizzy. Julie's hamster. Got cute?

You know, I'm betting when most people get asked,
How many pets do you have?
they're quick with an answer.
they might say. Or maybe even
Or if the person being asked is borderline crazy, the reply could be something like

Me? I'm beyond normal.
I'm beyond borderline crazy.
I probably fit more into the category of hoarder, because I don't actually KNOW how many animals I have unless I stop to count them out.

Let's see, I have....

(5)I have our dogs Sunny, Sophie, Cindy, Blue and Annabelle.
(3) Our cats Mamfy, Mali and Punkin.
(2) Toad 1 and Horny Toad.
(2) The new arrivals Fizzy and Dizzy.
(1) Nick the cockatiel.
(4) Hermit Crabs I don't care to know the names of.
(2) Rabbits Alice and Minnie.
(6) The goats Elfie, Frex, Tibbit, Crope, Ozzy and Houdini.
(3) The horses Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan.
(14)Our chickens Tizzy, Goldie, Puddin', Chicken Little, Miss Peggy, Elizabeth, Earnestine, Ting, Bam, Big Mama, Mamin, Nugget, Pox and 1 more I can't remember the name of.

Looks to me like that's 42. Is that correct? Someone check my math please.

Yep. Definite hoarder.


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