Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sick Kidlets

Our kids have been truly fortunate to have avoided any serious ailments thus far in their lives. Each has only had one previous bout with the flu...that is until now. Last night, I was up literally all night with my son. I found myself saying, "it's OK sweetie" and "get it all out" in my most soothing voice. I was patting his back and dashing after cool washcloths. All while trying not to get completely grossed out. Sickness is ugly! And, it smells.

This morning, I e-mailed my boss to let him know I would be out tending to the kids and then I went to work disinfecting our house. I spared no cleaning product! I scrubbed and wiped and rinsed and mopped. I did a job that would find favor with any HazMat team. I killed all stray germs with vengeance. Angry that they made my kids sick.

And, I cuddled. I took turns holding and rocking the kids. My daughter is on the mend but both kids are currently in competition over which one is the most sick. My son says he trumps my daughter because he "threw up eight times last night and you didn't!" Oddly, I remember doing this same thing with my brother. Like it is a badge of honor knowing exactly how many times you tossed your cookies during the night.

As the day has worn on the kids have gotten a little more sparky. Their eyes are lighting up. Their conversations are more animated. They are more mobile. That is not to say that they won't collapse in a heap if the sibling is getting even an ounce more attention. Me? I am just worn out! The hubs? He is actually sick also. He had to fend for himself. I called out the digits for phone number to reach our doctor and he made his own appointment (a first in our years of marriage!). So he is at the doctor and then has a short grocery list...saltines, 7-Up...

I think tomorrow the tribe will be much better. Not batting a perfect score but definitely back up at the plate.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I have been up early these past couple of weeks to get to where I need to be for work. I have caught up with my favorite morning radio show. The latest topic of morning conversation has been bullies. Ah, bullies. I caught myself reflecting on my first encounter with a true bully.

Her name was Irma. She was in the eighth grade and I was in the seventh. For whatever reason, Irma decide early in the school year that she did not like the look of me. She wore a black beret everyday. It was rumored that she burnt most of her hair off a few weeks before the start of the school year in with a home perm gone bad. She called me a "rich, little white girl." Well, she had the white girl part right but that was about it. I was 12. I didn't work. I had no money. Any money I did have was from my parents and they certainly were not rich. We were not destitute but I remember my mom buying "Sugar Snacks" in a bag as opposed to "Sugar Smacks" in the cereal aisle.

I didn't really fear Irma until I saw her in action. I was walking to my locker one day and heard a commotion behind me. I turned to see my first, and last, girl brawl. Two girls where throwing fists at each other. When one girl proceed to knock the other to the ground and ram her head into the concrete. I saw that the dominate attacker was Irma. I stood frozen, watching as male teachers rushed to pull the two girls apart...or rather, pull Irma off the girl she defeated. My bones felt weak and my blood ran cold. It was at that moment that I feared Irma.

I told my mother about my fears and she said, "Bob and weave. Get a good punch in and then run like crazy." Was she serious? Bob and weave? I decided to consult a higher authority on the topic and went to my brother. He was a bit more helpful telling me to "go for her eyes" and "kick her in the kneecaps". But, he ended with the same advice as my mom, "After you do that, run like the wind!"

Somehow, I made it through the school year without getting pummeled. I still remember my mom dropping me off for school on a day we had to dress up for pictures or something. I was feeling like a nerd in a most unattractive tea-length skirt, nylons, and flats (I surely do not miss fashions of the 80's!). As I hopped out of the car my mom called after me. I peeked back in and she said, "If Irma comes after you, throw those silly shoes off so you can run faster!" Um...OK. I will do that after I bob and weave a bit.

Irma may have been the first bully but she certainly hasn't been the last. I met other bullies in high school and even professionally. I have run into bullies years after the fact and they look surprisingly weak and unhappy. I no longer fear my bullies. I no longer wonder how fast I can run in the opposite direction. My dear hubs once told me that he sees bullies as weak people who try to dominate, intimidate, or put down another person because they are afraid. Often, they are afraid of being picked on themselves. I don't fight my bullies. I don't throw verbal barbs at them. I don't mock them behind their backs in hopes they don't turn and see me. I just ignore them. Actually, I pity them a bit. How sad to be so unhappy that you have to pick on people as you work your way through life.

That said, I am not sure how I will react should one of my children ever be bullied. My years in school were a lot less violent. I will certainly take it seriously and I know that bobbing and weaving isn't likely the answer. I don't think running is the answer either. My Granny (my amazing great-grandmother) always told me, "Pretty is as pretty does." But she also advised to never lie down and take anything. Maybe the answer to defeating bullies is a combination of both. Stand up for yourself without resorting to bullish tactics. Watch your words and your actions (and, OK, sneer just a bit as long as the gesture isn't seen!).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Death of a Dryer

This weekend, our dryer went kerplunk. It continues to tumble clothes with all its might, but it no longer sucks in the propane to heat itself up. The dear hubs pulled the beast away from the wall and hopped down in the space behind it. He found himself standing in a gooey mess. And, I had a moment of recall..."Oh yeah! I remember a bottle of detergent that tipped over a couple years ago...gosh! I didn't know that much poured out. Wow. What a mess, eh?" Uh-hum. The hubs disassembled the thing and tinkered and tugged. And, for a few moments we had heat...and then again, there was none.

Well, we had plans to head to the hardware store anyway. With our tax return, we planned to buy a new barbecue because our current one is almost rusted through on the underside. And, we needed to buy some lumber to continue work on the kids' clubhouse (which is going to be a sight to behold). So, we added a dryer to the list. And, I told the hubs, we might as well get a pair since the washer has a tendency to spit oil on our clothes from time to time.

Armed with limited knowledge we headed to Lowe's. Good golly these things are expensive. We stuck our heads in machines made by Maytag, and Bosch, and Whirlpool, and Samsung (don't they make stereos?). Things clearly have changed since we bought our last set just over five years ago. Now everything is about energy savings and efficiency and water conservation. And, most everything loads from the front and sits on a stand. The stands cost extra (to the tune of $500 extra) so needless to say, we skipped those. I am not too good for a bit of back breaking laundry thank you very much! There were shockingly few dials...mostly buttons and a few with gauges. There were some with timed start delays. There were features for dry cleaning and washing silk and wool. There were some with a function labeled "sanitary." Shouldn't all loads come out in sanitary condition? I expect that when our washer and dryer arrive the instruction book will look something like an encyclopedia.

We settled on a middle-of-the-road set that has "sport" in the name. It can wash up to 12 pairs of jeans at once which should really be like 24 pairs of kids pants right? We do a lot of washing around here so anything that can compound the loads is cool in my book. And, I am hoping the set arrives soon because we are going hillbilly with the dear hubs' boxers drying in the back yard right now. We were told our new washer and dryer will be delivered on Thursday and, with all its nifty features, I expect it will make us dinner that night too...maybe something on the barbecue.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter was delightful!

There was much hunting of eggs at Auntie's and at home...

And, then there was dancing...joyous dancing...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting!

Mitchell has found his niche! His loving Karate...or actually Seieido...lessons. And, when I asked Miss Ellie if she wanted to take ballet or Karate she screamed, "Karateee!" So, Master Johnson will have another student in a year or two.

We hoped that Karate lessons would boost Mitchell's confidence since he is a shy guy. I have seen positive changes already. The fundamental lessons and discipline of the sport seem to be a natural fit for Mitchel. He does have Samurai warriors in his ancestry so maybe it is in his genes. And, I did have a grandma that was a bulldog! Whatever it is, I am so happy to see Mitchell coming out of his shell!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Poor Fashion Selection

It is spring right? In the spring I usually switch out my warm clothes for the lighter fare in the bin in the garage. My children have larger wardrobes than me but our tiny closet forces me to separate our attire by seasons. The dress code for work is business casual though, I admit, I take liberties with the casual part. So, being spring, I found myself working today in a near-sheer black top - that my modest self wears a black tank underneath - capri pants and little prissy flats. I say prissy flats because they make my size 9's look smaller and daintier. I had no jacket, no other slacks to don, no other shoes to sport aside from my running shoes and even I can't go that casual! I was also 150 miles from home.

So, I left the hotel and bristled a bit at the chill in the air. I found a black sweatshirt in the car that I thought I could wear just until I got myself to work. Well, work for me is largely outside. I call on college professors and that has me daily traversing campus. I got to campus about the same time as the storm clouds. I spent the next few hours hunkered under my umbrella and racing from building to building. Here is the thing, when the rain is coming in sideways, an umbrella is little help.

By 1:30 I was soaked to the bone. I looked like a drowned-rat...wait, I looked like a LAME drowned rat. I was the boob in my frilly spring gear when I should have been making tracks in wellies and a raincoat. And, unfortunately, my hair always betrays me. It there is something amiss in my world, my hair will rat me out. Somehow, the sideways rain drops flatten my fine, thin hair into a style seen only in the back of fashion magazines where they put a bar across the woman's face to conceal her identity.

I had to throw in the towel. I had to call it a day. I hauled my soaked self to my car and made a beeline for the hotel. I am dry now but my hair is still suffering traumatic effects. I hope the sun shines tomorrow since another pair of capri's is waiting in my suitcase!