Friday, November 14, 2008

If wishes were horses...

I was being the most terrible mother in the land today.

I made my son eat his soup. Well, I take that back. I told him if he wanted another piece of bread, then he had to finish his Butternut Squash Soup (Yay! Football is over! I remember how to cook again!). There wasn't much. He could walk away from the soup and be done with dinner.

Instead, he cried. And sobbed. And I set a timer.

"I just wish I didn't have taste bugs!"

Add that onto the dog refusing to lick my bowl, and I'm feeling pretty darn good about my cooking right about now.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Twilight Zone -or- How I Thought My Car Was Going To Explode

Sarge went one quiet evening to take the boys to an event, while I was to take the girl child. He went to his truck. It wouldn't start. Weird, but whatever. The oldest child came in to get me, explaining that Daddy needed my help.

So I went to start my car. It wouldn't start either. Only weird because it happened on the same day as Sarge, but kind of par for the course for my sweet and adorable "experienced" minivan.

So we're left with two cars, neither of which work. I do what any girl would do. I call my Daddy. Well, first I had to call my sister, because I didn't have Daddy's work number, but while I was doing that, I ran to my neighbor's house and bugged her to let us use her car to jump start ours. And then I called my Daddy.

Meanwhile, Sarge jiggled a wire or two in his truck and while I was on the phone with my father, his truck miraculously started. Phwew. Never mind, sweet and generous neighbor - just wait another day, and I'm sure I'll need another favor.

So he went on his merry way to his event to go to with the boys, while I was able to walk to mine with our daughter. Settled, for now.

Fast forward a couple of hours, sun sets. We try again, thinking that we've both got to be somewhere tomorrow, and there's no way we're all getting up in the middle of the night to take Sarge to work. And by the middle of the night, I mean six in the morning. It won't start, so we start removing the battery.

My magical father calls again, I lament and whine, he asks a hundred and fifty questions. We reconnect the battery, as he tells me it can't be that dead, don't be ridiculous. But then comes the part where I thought my car was going to explode. I turned on the headlights, just to make sure it's the battery and not the starter. They came on, though dim. I turned them off. Well, I tried, but the lights stayed on. I start panicking now.

I was unable to turn the lights off. Until I could, but then, they were flashing dimly. My poor father was trying desperately to understand what my babbling freaking out gibberish meant and was just trying to solve the stupid problem and get home from work already.

"the switch, it's off, but my lights, they're on. Ahh, I can't turn them off, it just won't work, do I need to get out of the car? Is it trying to tell me to get out NOW? Is it possessed? Should I roll it into the river?" And in my head, I'm deciding which dealership I'm headed to the next day to buy my new Suburban.

But then we reconnected the jumper cables and the thing started right up. I considered leaving it running, unlocked over night and hoping for the best, but alas, I decided to be practical and that my Suburban would have to wait.

And my father? He has a few new gray hairs, and I'm pretty sure he's avoiding my calls for the next little while, just until his heart rhythm goes back to normal. And Sarge's truck? He has to jiggle the wires every time he wants to go somewhere. And to think, that's our reliable vehicle.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Adventures in cup wearing

I am a girl. I am a girl with two sisters. You could say that I lack experience with this sort of thing.

So when we started this football adventure, one of the items that we purchased was a cup. And the underwear that went with it.

We called the cupholder-thingie a diaper. Because that's what the youngest thought it looked like, and well, I thought it was funny.

There was the time that we stayed after a football game to watch a friend's game. The oldest child was removing some of his gear and handing it to me. Until? Until he started to reach down in his pants in the stands. In the stands, in broad daylight, my nine year old child is reaching in his pants. And I knew exactly why, and said, "Oh, no you don't - you are NOT taking that cup out and handing it to me right here in public. It's one thing to hand me your helmet and pads, boy. Don't even think about it."

And then there was the time that it looked like a balloon full of pee exploded all over my bathroom. MY bathroom. Why didn't he use one of the others? Because it was just my day. I'm pretty sure not even a drop went into the toilet. He says, "But Mom, it was hard to manage with my pants and my cup and I just couldn't get it right." Get it right? Are you kidding? My bathroom smelled like an interstate gas station bathroom!

So, yeah, I was pretty excited when I got to wash it and box it up with the rest of the football gear. I'm pretty sure that I'll feel nostalgic toward football season about the time it's sign-ups again. Just like childbirth.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

the most wonderful time of the year

She's on her second list. She says, after ten solid minutes of writing furiously, "this one is more reasonable, Mommy."

Considering the first list contained every single item in the American Girl catalog, I'm thinking that it must be more reasonable. But I doubt it's reasonable.

When I asked her to put the prices next to each item that she requested on her first list, her response was, "But Mommy, Santa doesn't have to pay!"

She just asked what she should put down for item number 54. I think that a discussion about greed may be in order.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sarge:2; Mouse:17

Except that Sarge's are the only two who count. Because he means business. I've avoided the garage today, except for tiptoeing through it to get to my car on the other side one time. Only once? Yes, because the car is now parked out front (the garage is in the back, don't ask, it's a Texas thing and you DON'T want to get me started on that, I promise).

But when Sarge came home from work tonight, he came in with the good news, "Hey, the mouse got lazy (or so fat that he could barely crawl because he'd eaten so much in the last few days) and he's in the trap! What's for dinner?"

So yes, two mice. I wonder if there's any more. I'm not taking any chances. The car's staying in the front, and I'm making the kids go in the garage for me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mouse traps: found

They were being hidden behind the pieces of wood where we thought they were. The mouse has cleaned them twice now, just this evening. I'm thinking that the mousy mastermind is left.

It's a battle of wills. I'm going to win. Although the youngest is apparently rooting for the mice.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Growing up

The oldest child rode his bike to school today. He had a responsibility at school where he had to be there about twenty minutes earlier than we normally get there. We've known about it and have been planning for it for a month or so. This will happen every day this month.

When I got to the school with the younger two, I saw him right away. He was standing at the curb in his reflective vest opening doors and helping kids out of the cars. He was smiling. He never smiles before 8AM.

After I said goodbye to the younger children, I sidled up to him. He couldn't help it - he was grinning. He said, "I want to do that every morning, not just on the mornings that I have safety patrol. Please?"

It was a little bit of independence. Enough for him. Enough for me. Baby steps. It makes me so happy. Almost as happy as it made him.

Monday, November 3, 2008


We recently switched insurance companies for our home and auto. Ordinarily, this isn't very interesting ( I guess - it's only the second time I've ever done it...), until I read my policy.

We qualified for a discount. Well, rather, I should say my minivan did. It qualified for the "Vehicle Experience Discount" Which, I suppose, means that they threw us a bone because my minivan is about to fall apart and isn't worth much. I'm guessing that they're pretty sure that it won't last much longer.

Is that like a senior citizen's discount for a car?

Sarge:1; Mouse:0

We actually called the mouse hunting expert, Green Tractor for advice after the last piece where we just fed the mouse a delicious meal.

We invited him back for seconds. We wedged the traps, I filled them a little fuller, squished all the good stuff in the crevices. And waited.

Sarge went back out, two traps were where we left them. Two were missing. Apparently he looked back to where we were pretty sure the mouse was hiding and apparently found it, because he came in the house and said this:

"Hey, you kids want to see a dead mouse?"

Cheers went up, my blood-thirsty children all waved their arms in delight and excitement to see the dead mouse, even after they were warned about how gross it was.

I sunk in my chair, not wanting to be asked.

They all came back in, the children totally calm and collected. I asked, "was it gross?"

The middle child, the same one who begged us to see a dead prairie dog in the road in South Dakota, BEGGED, said, "Nah, it wasn't gross at all. He just looked like this!" She proceeded to lay on the floor, on her side, legs and arms stiff out in front of her, with her eyes closed and her tongue sticking out to one side. Her younger brother nodded in agreement that her positioning was good.

Sarge came back in and told me that I shouldn't use the trash can between then and Trash Day. And that there was a little trail of blood that I should either avoid or ignore.

But here's the thing. We left the other three traps in the garage on the floor, unset, while we decided what we should do with them, if we should throw them away or save them for a mouse-y day or set them again, just in case. We both remember where the were.

They're gone. Missing.

I have a feeling that we're not done yet.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


There is still a mouse in my garage. Whether it is the one that we put in the trash can or his friend, I don't know. All I know is that the mouse is smarter than me, and all of my feelings of kindness and mercy are going out the window.

We cleaned the garage on Friday, as the mouse droppings were multiplying and the sonic noisemakers weren't effective. So we got to cleaning up. We uncovered the mouse. He ran. And hid. We uncovered him. He ran. And hid again. I was entirely useless, as my husband ran around the garage with a shovel in one hand moving things and shaking things. I'm sure it would have been funny to see, but I couldn't see much with my hand over my eyes while I was screaming.

We gave up after the garage was clean, but he was hiding in a stack of wood that I have for making cornice boards. Mercy? Going out the window. We set the mouse traps. Four of them. Peanut butter with a bran flake topping.

Not two hours later, I made Sarge go check the traps. All four were still set, but licked clean.

Mercy? Gone.

We reset the traps. More peanut butter, squished in the nooks and crannies with a bran flake topping. Replaced them.

This morning? We can only find three clean traps. I have to assume he took the fourth as a trophy to his pile of friends living in my garage.

I'm going to come after him with a shovel myself if this keeps up.