Side Effects May Include…

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As jammed as my days are, you might wonder how the house and yard stay maintained. Well, a lot of the time, they don’t! I’ve already had one neighbor comment on the dead grass :/ I can’t blame her – it does look bad and she’s newer to the area so never saw the dirt hillside I had when I bought the place.

Still, I do sometimes lean on the boys to help out.

This is not a worry free thing to do. I have to take into account the potential side effects of requesting help.
It’s either the delayed, exaggerated, dramatically done & MUST BE ACKNOWLEDGED efforts of the oldest. Or, it’s the eye rolling, utterly lazy, must be guided at every step “efforts” of the teen.
Oldest will eventually do an excellent job on his own once he gets around to starting. He will also make sure I see and hear him do it so that he can fish for the praise early & often.
Youngest will do a decent job once he stops grumbling. He will also follow instructions on how to do things (oldest does things his own way always). He doesn’t need follow up praise, but would rather we all just forget that he IS capable of helping :) Still, if he can half-ass a task & get away with it, he most certainly will!

Of course, I’m always relieved/happy at the end to have the chores done, no matter what grief I may have to experience to get there. But, there are days, when I do think twice or three times about it!

Merry Go Round

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It’s a tree ornament AND a state of life!

Another old classic, though not as old as the mouse. This one has been around ever since we started using white lights in a tree – which I think is pretty much when my parents bought the first fake tree we owned and my mom and I perfected the art of “wrapping” the branches with over a 1000 lights. Yeah, really. It was pretty obnoxious – and very very bright!

This ornament is almost more entertaining in the daylight. What you do is remove one light from a strand and plug in the merry go round instead. And then, it spins. Hence the slight blurring of the black horse. The mirrored bottom and top accents reflect the lights all around it. But, when positioned properly on the side of the tree nearest a window that gets direct sunlight at certain points of the day…it also catches THAT reflection and then bounces light all around the surrounding wall.

Given that the ornament is at least 25+ years old, I am quite impressed that it is still going strong!

Me this week? Not so much :( Started out feeling a bounce back from the cold and other stuff on Monday & Tuesday. Even baked a batch of chocolate cookies to follow up on the first jello spritz batch. But then the whole car sharing with 27 got a little complicated this week and started weighing on me Wednesday. As did the news that my dad had chest pains and was in the hospital. That meant spending Thursday with my mom while we waited for those tests though still with lingering transportation issues covering 27′s work day. He got a ride into work at the last minute, but I still had to muddle through worse than ever evening traffic to pick him up after a long day of sitting around.

Thankfully my dad is OK. Nothing major to fix or surgery needed. Just some new medications he should take to help his heart work more efficiently. It’s not working at 100%, but after bypass surgery and at his age, they don’t expect it to do that. It’s a relief that nothing more invasive than the tests had to be done, that’s for sure!

But yeah, it was a long, out of sorts week and I was very happy to know that today I could have a ‘normal’ day and have my car the whole time.

Yes, I am a super independent control freak who needs to keep certain things in order so that I keep a grip on sanity. Sue me. It works :-)

Oct 23 – All My Children!

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Day one of vacation was filled with many errands and accomplishments. There was also a final debate.

But none of that matters.

Because this happened:

 

Right to left: 16, 27 and 27′s older sister (same dad) and her adorable baby girl. While I have been keeping up with her through Facebook for awhile now, being able to see her in person has been a little more complicated. But in a rare moment in time not only could she stop by for a minute, but 16 was still here too so I could get a picture for 27 with his two siblings. And I have a photo of all my kids who I have parented at one time or another. She even got to say a quick hello to 16′s dad who came by at the same time to pick him up. At one point in all of our somewhat complicated lives, she lived with ex-dh and I for a summer. This was before 16 was born.

I swear I could stare at this picture all night long :-)

Party Pics!

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Here’s my Facebook status from Sunday night:

“Collapsing into bed having managed to pull off a movie and bbq birthday celebration despite the grill master being out of commission. Thank gawd for substitute grilling experts (oh, it was just a *little* fire!) and super easy going friends and family and that last burst of energy (beer) that got me through a complete clean up inside and out. It was a total Triumph of the Single Parent day.” :-)

27 woke up sick on Saturday and it continued into Sunday. Having never worked a grill in my life I was a tad panicked. Then I remembered that one of 16′s (that’s gonna take awhile to write!) friends is also a grill master in training. So then the bigger issue was that I had agreed to drop off the boys to a movie and then pick them up after because I thought 27 would be able to help with shopping/cleaning/setup. Thankfully I cleaned on Saturday. But after dropping off the boys I had to then shop (improvising items along the way), fill up the propane tank and then prep and toss a whole chicken in the crock pot before heading back out to pick them up.

The substitute grill master in training had never done beef ribs before however, the sauce/seasoning that he threw together to coat them must have been good. The slight issue with the lack of beef rib experience is that he didn’t anticipate the amount of fat on the ribs. We also (oopsie) didn’t properly clean the grill from the prior meal cooked on it. So……there was a wee bit of a FIRE while the second batch was cooking. In front of the brand new fence (memo to self – pull the grill away from that a little more!) and some low hanging tree branches.

Oh, another memo to self (and anyone else in the vicinity): a garden hose provides a ready stream of water for dousing a fire. There is one just five feet away from the grill. Perhaps that would be faster than running inside to get the jug of drinking water? Sheesh!

Anyhoo – no harm (other than the crispy black ribs!) no foul and there was still plenty of food and great conversation – mostly directed by the teen boys and their tales of mis-adventure. The beer didn’t hurt :-)

Ribs before charring :->

Chowing down #1

Chowing Down #2

Attempting to hide the evidence of BBQ sauce all over his face….

Nope – can’t hide it kiddo!

Birthday BBQ crew.

 

 

 

 

 

May 20th – Mother’s Day redux

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When you have kids, you have to let go of any notion that your day belongs to you. Best laid plans and all that. Same for cats as we learned last weekend when I had to postpone Mother’s Day dinner plans due to Chip’s little bladder adventures.

However, my idea that this weekend would be easier anyway since 15 is with me and not his dad like last week throwing another complication in the family gathering process was not quite accurate.

The first wrench thrown into Sunday dinner plans was 15 suggesting we switch to Saturday since the previously planned 2nd paintball outing had been moved to Sunday. Therefore he wasn’t sure, nor was he in control of when he would be back from that. That looked plausible at first. 26 was planning on helping his dad with a flooring install meaning he would be away from a couple of days but that was planned for Wednesday so he would be home Sat morning. Then Wednesday became Thursday and then finally Friday morning so there was no way he would be back in time. We went with a late Sunday dinner (7pm is late for my mom :-)) and I crossed my fingers that everyone would be back in time.

Meanwhile I had the afternoon blocked out for the usual long run with the girls and then a circuit class at the park.

15 gets word that they will leave at 7:30 this time instead of 10:30 so now we are even more secure that he will be back earlier so I toy with moving the dinner to 6:30.

Day is planned - now GO!

*bing*

Text from Tanja that her young daughter has a fever so there wont be a circuit class.

Fine. That means I just have the 90 min run at 2pm and so I’ll probably be able to get home and shower before picking up 15. Nice.

Drop him off.

Head back home to resume typical lazy Sunday watching Uppers & Nerdland on the DVR. Make grocery list for planned run to the store after and do more ebook work.

Get call from 26 that he is on his way home. Excellent. Now 15 is my only wild card so I change dinner officially to 6:30.

Head to grocery watching the clock so that I can be done in time to meet the girls for our run.

Putting my shoes on and grabbing keys to go when

*bing*

Eve texting to say they are running late and would 2:30-2:45 be OK?

Fine – 2:45 is pushing it and perhaps 15 might have to walk home from the drop off point if they get there before 4:30, but it’ll work.

I sit down to work on the ebook when

*bing*

15 texts to see if I can pick him up in an hour. Not from the high school, but from the paint ball place! 45 mins away! I call him and find out that he’s out of ammo and pretty wiped out and sunburned and that the other kids were not planning to leave until 5pm – meaning he would have been back around 6 – not 4 or 5! Aack!

(good thing Eve was running late eh?)

I let the girls know I was out for the long run and looked up directions to the paint ball place. I figure I can still get up there and bring him back and then at least go for a short run before I had to get ready for the dinner.

Why was I insisting on running you ask?

Well, the problem is that when I looked at my running activities on Runkeeper Friday night I noticed something. I’ve said I wanted to run every other day this month as much as *possible*. I noticed that I had, indeed, kept that up. I had runon even numbered dates all month. Uh oh. Now that my brain has seen the pattern – it is locked and loaded to make sure I don’t break it! That mild OCD kicking in. Good for keeping me in shape, bad for keeping me sane!

However, I did it – got back home with 15 at 4:00, ran for 30 mins, showered, and was ready to go at 5:45 both boys securely in the car with me without any major rushing or stressing. PHEW!

Of course, I rewarded myself by declaring it was “dessert for dinner” night. I ordered a small dinner salad and then had Oreo Madness. TWO Oreo cookie ice cream sandwiches with chocolate and caramel syrup. Mmmmmmmmmm. But I could only eat 1.75 of them! Dang it! No salad next time – took up too much room :-)

No eclipse viewing for us – we were out at said dinner plus it was May Gray cloudy all around us.

And now, pictures from The Boyfriend who is in Japan for two more days for work. His first time there (he’s usually sent to China). I was happy to see he got to do some sightseeing:

Sumo wrestling

Mt Fuji

Sayonara!

May 12 – And peace was restored

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Mother’s Day is tomorrow, but I am declaring that I celebrated mine today.

26 and I had a great day together (along with the aforementioned friend I took in to work yesterday).

I lounged in bed. The vet called to say Chip needed another day on the catheter. He was clearly feeling better but there was still blood in his urine so he needed to stay another day/night and then they should hopefully remove the catheter sometime tonight or in the morning and once he has peed on his own without issue he can come home.

Once we had that news the day was clear for me to do whatever. So, that’s about what I did! Moved from bedroom to sofa and watched a bunch of shows I had on the DVR. Cleaned a little. Knocked out my website tasks for the day. Read a little. Slept a little. Then the 3 of us walked down to the 56 trail. They continued walking and I took off on a run first heading away from them and then doubling back and meeting them out the other end to walk home. Got in 2.7 miles in 26 minutes. Yep, kept it under a 10/min mile pace. It was getting hard to run at that pace towards the end but still it felt good and at least this time I was running TO run vs running to get away :))

When we got home, 26 started making dinner and just as I sat down for that, Eve texted me to come up there and finish up what we started last night. We got a lot done, and I now have a pretty full task list on my plate :)

Oh yeah, 15 took a practice AP test today. I was actually proud of him for a) signing up and b) not lying about being chosen to have one of the limited slots. I texted his dad around 10:30 (test started at 8) to find out if 15 was as thrilled to be there as I expected. He responded ‘tickled pink!’ I told him that I was boldly predicting that when he got done he would state that it was “a HUGE waste of time!” They swung by here after the test was over to pick up some coupons from me and he marched into the house and said “I still hate you for making me sign up for that! It was pointless!!” I laughed and showed him the text I had sent to his dad guessing he would say something like that….he did (at least) have the decency to laugh at himself over being so predictable in his grumpiness!

Amber is very confused about being an Only Cat right now and is clinging to me more than usual so I am glad I was a homebody today and gave her lots of attention. She misses her buddy despite the way he annoys her when he chases her around. Hopefully tomorrow we can reunite them.

All I really care about is that peace and order was restored to the house and its occupants today. Ah, there’s the merry!

Spare me the mommy wars – please!

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Ugh! Again with the Mommy Wars in the media? Ok, I suppose first we should blame whoever conducted this “controversial study”. I mean really,what’s the damn point? No, I wont look it up to link to it and give it more eyeballs. I find the premise of it insulting enough. Apparently the gist of THIS one is that WOHM moms are more satisfied overall and happier? Anderson Cooper decided to do a whole panel on his new daytime show on the topic inluding featuring a working mom who calls SAHM’s lazy. ((eyeroll))

May I just drop my opinion here that there is NO REDEEMING VALUE TO THIS TOPIC?

Why in bloody hell do people NEED to pigeonhole entire segments of society for no reason other than to make themselves feel better?

GROW UP!!

Here’s the real answer: You know who is happiest? The men and women who are living their lives to THEIR fullest potentials however THEY define that!!

For the sake of this argument let’s focus just on mom’s – but the same answer applies. I know some truly HAPPY and truly MISERABLE women who Stay at Home, Work from Home, and Work outside the Home. What makes them happy or miserable in their roles as moms is all about how happy or miserable they are as INDIVIDUALS on an everyday basis.

Because that is what this is at it’s core – an INDIVIDUAL PREFERENCE.

Let’s say that ALL THINGS ARE EQUAL. That every mom has the financial situation to choose. Every mom has a co-parent (let’s just all let out a huge groan right now about how this whole thing IMPLIES a HUSBAND vs a WIFE as a partner – how limiting!) who would support whichever choice she makes. Her kid(s) have no special health needs and schools and childcare  in the area are FABULOUS!

Given all that….I don’t need science…I know myself and many of my close friends. And I can tell you with 100% conviction that we would all choose different paths! Some of us would choose to work no matter what because that keeps us sane & balanced. Some of us would choose to stay at home because THAT keeps us sane and balanced. Some would choose to do one or the other for just a few years and then switch. Some would work part time during school hours only. Some would work from home. I mean – possibilities are endless when all external drivers are controlled, right? Then it becomes about internal desires. And some of us were born with a yearning to be at home with our kids and some of us were born with a passion for a particular career.

How about we all CHEER EACH OTHER ON and try to do our best to make sure we all have the opportunity to make those decisions for ourselves?

WHY are we compelled to pass judgment? Why must we push one group down in order to prop ourselves up? If you have guilt over your choice or your situation that is YOUR PROBLEM and you don’t get to alleviate that guilt by trying to make out that MY situation is somehow WORSE than yours (and vice versa of course).

Why the fuck do we need some group doing some study on this? What intrinsic value does it provide other than to make one group feel superior? It’s bloody stupid and divisive and a waste of time and money.

I cheer for my friends who find their dream jobs.

I ache for my friend who desperately wants to stay home with her baby, but can’t afford it.

I ache for friends who cannot have children at all.

I cheer friends who decide they don’t want kids.

I cheer friends who are having their sixth child.

I cheer for my friends who always knew they wanted to be married and having babies and staying home with them and who find exactly that.

I cheer or ache for friends no matter what the scenario according to what is THEIR HEARTS DESIRE. Not mine. Not anyone else. THEIRS.

I don’t LIMIT anyone by forcing them into a theoretical BOX.

I would appreciate it if the media, researchers, and everyone else would please do the same.

My favorite pictures from Christmas

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More to come later, but we are truly a goofy bunch as proven by these candid shots The Boyfriend (and I) took:

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You might live with a teenager if…….

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Ripped from my own life

             You Might Live With A Teenager If….

  • The doors in your house no longer just close – they SLAM
  • Your sanity and memory are questioned a dozen times a day…
  • …by the same person who cannot remember to put on shoes before getting in the car to go to school.
  • You hear “GODDAM!” and then THUD and then SLAM and then THUD THUD THUD and learn quickly that you better save whatever you are working on because the router is about to be reset and no one is going to warn you before you hear the “click click” and then the fading THUD THUD THUD and another SLAM as he returns back to his online video game that had stalled.
  • You watch him do a homework assignment, put it in his folder and then into his backpack and two days later see a big fat ZERO in a RED BOX where the grade should be. Why? Oh, you mean the teacher wanted a NAME on that?!
  • It takes a minimum of three visits to his bedroom to get him out of bed.
  • He only showers after he’s made your eyes water from the stench.
  • You cringe as you make him do the dishes. Because you know he *should* help out. So you stick to your guns and make him do it. But, darn it all you really LIKE your dishes and don’t want to have to buy a new set!
  • There is no visible carpet in his room
  • Even the cats refuse to go in there
  • He lives entirely out of his hamper of clean clothes because it would be a menace to society for clean clothes to put way or hung up. When the hamper is empty – it’s time to do laundry again. (you know where the dirty clothes end up in between, right?!)
  • You no longer bother asking “are you hungry?” – you just leave food out for constant grazing.And no, it wont ruin his appetite for dinner.
  • Your kitchen is sparkling clean when you go to bed – and then looks like a tornado hit it when you come downstairs the next morning.
  • There are random holes in the walls.
  • You are quite certain you didn’t get a lobotomy – yet the occupants of the house treat you as if you did.
  • You thank the cell phone providers for unlimited text plans and e-bills. Actually, the postal workers thank them for the e-bills – can you imagine the sizes of those things if they had to deliver them to your mailbox every month?
  • He takes great pride in redefining “lazy”.
  • His friend’s are never referred to by proper names, but rather by their Xbox screen names or whatever nick names they’ve created. Almost all are incredibly rude and shouldn’t be repeated in even semi-polite company. “Fat Ass” is the least offensive one. And it’s applied to a 6’1″ 160lb string bean.
  • You shake your head at LEAST once a day (more often if it’s a weekend day) and mumble “why why why did I have kids?” or “Please, take my teenager – PLEASE!”….or “I *thought* the baby I took home from the hospital was human…?” or (most frequently) “God…I. Just. Don’t. Understand. Maybe a beer/wine/vodka will help”

This list is far from complete. And yes, it is male teen specific since that is all I know. It is also culled from my years with both of them so don’t assume these all apply to the current teen in the house. The now 26 year old had plenty of his own contributions!

Have a great weekend and if you DO have a teen in the house – *clink*