Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Family GPS

   It appears that I am the family GPS. “Mommy, can I have my Pokemon Book, my dog pen, my slippers, my hat, my ‘you name it’ ?” I have no goddamn clue what my girl did with most of her possessions yet somehow I am expected to know where they are. My husband’s questions just begin with “Have you seen my.....?” but are otherwise the same. I don’t have the house memorized at any given time. In fact, if it weren’t for caffeine, it’s a miracle I leave the house with pants some days. 

  Through some miracle, mommy radar works remarkably well. Nine times out of ten, I find the missing item and nine times out of ten, it’s almost right in front of the searcher and doesn’t take more than two minutes of looking.  
  Like a bee trying to fly out of a closed window, I keep harassing the farm animals in my home to put their crap where it belongs. I have this insane idea that if you keep something in the same place all the time you won’t have to hunt for it. Why do that when you can just ask Mommy?

   My spouse isn’t much better, in fact, I’m convinced that’s where she gets her “handicap”. My husband is a dedicated purchasing manager and he is amazing at his job. The man not only purchases but finds things for a living. I have heard him time and time again handle things over the phone. He will give elaborate directions that Ray Charles could follow and I am certain that although I have never set foot in his warehouse, I could find whatever doohickey he’s describing. 

  The problem is he shuts down when he gets home. We’ve been in our house for about 10 years and he can’t find his ass with both hands once his car hits our driveway. I live with Captain Oblivious and his sidekick, The Messmonster. 

   I get that in any home there are some things that just sprout legs, like scissors or those “cheater” glasses. It’s the other things that “go missing” that have me scratching my head. “We have a shelf for the keys, that’s where I’d put them.” “Whaddya mean you can’t find the leftovers? Are your eyeballs open??!!” It’s also where I find the hunted for items that mystifies me. I’ve found the remote in the powder room and some items, like his name badge wander the whole house.

   My father, it turns out, had the right idea in one respect. He would say, “Don’t know, don’t want to know”. This was originally meant to apply in cases when my mother would ask him to do something. I think I need to follow that example, just to see what happens. The problem is that a part of me already knows what would happen. My husband would just go out and replace whatever the missing thing was. I find this to be an annoying waste of money, although it usually flushes out the hiding item into the open. Maybe I should hide the atm card first before I test this theory.

   There is also the option of asking annoying questions like “Where were you when you last had it?” and “Did you look where we keep them?” until the seeker decides to leave me the hell alone.

   Perhaps my biggest problem is that I seem to be the only brain in my house that thinks belongings are to be taken care of rather than strewn. It’s also a small house, people can’t be leaving their crap all over the place like a trail of breadcrumbs in case they get lost. It just feels that way. When I’ve gotten really frustrated, I’ve busted out my pointy hat and a trash bag and anything left undefended on the floor was history. I wasn’t expecting to have to do that to my spouse.

   I admit that sometimes I lose things and I am by no means organized. I just try to keep my belongings in logical places. If it takes ten seconds to put something back and that would save you a half hour of looking why not do it? I know, you can just ask mommy.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Small Victory

   Recently, when faced with yet another joyful episode of getting our daughter ready for school, I found a way to fix my problem. Upon approaching the body, I checked the clock. Luckily, there was enough time to execute my plan. I climbed into her bed and grabbed one of her books. As I began to read, I enlisted her help with the story. “Nellie waved to the kids from her boat.” I picked up a dead arm and waved it. “Then cousin Allistair waved back!” I picked up the arm again and this time I said, “Helloooooo!”. “Dan walked up the beach.” I horse clomped up the back of the body. It starts giggling. “The wind was blowing hard.” I grab a clump of blonde hair and wave it around. “Ok, Ok, I’m up!!” Darn, I thought, I didn’t get to the rain storm. Guess I’ll have to skip the cup of water. Score one for mommy, finally.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


  It’s time to go poke a bear with a stick, again. This always puts the extra fun in a Monday. Part of the problem is that it’s all my fault, or mostly anyway. My little girl is every inch her grandmother’s revenge and getting her ass up for school is frequently too much fun for humans. My little apple not only didn’t roll far from the tree, I’m lucky it even fell off the branch. Our morning routine could best be described as some warped rendition of beat the clock for the deaf. I am constantly repeating myself louder and louder. “It’s time to get up.” “We gotta get moving!” “Will you get up already??!!” 

   Tuesdays are still painful. Wednesdays and Thursdays are better but by Friday we’re back to ugly since it’s been four days of shoveling our butts up. I’m grateful her majesty is not fussy about what she wears although I try to give her a choice of two things. That’s at least one small advantage of her not being fully awake. I also don’t have to chase her to brush out her hair. She saves that crap for the weekends.

   In a way, I feel sorry that I can’t give my eight year old coffee. The problem is, she’s like an old fashioned plane.  Once she gets her propeller going, she’s off like a shot, it just the wind up that takes a lot of work. Caffeine would cost us dearly later, I’m sure. Mommy, on the other hand, can’t even enter the room without at least a half a cup consumed. I completely understand the hostility I get, too. I don’t expect happiness in the morning, but I’d settle for cooperation. One morning she rolled over and I’d swear she farted at me.

   I suppose it’s good that she’s not one of those happy first thing farmer kids who get up ungodly early. I don’t think I could handle that. The polar opposite, I guess, is preparing us for the teen years. I’m theorizing that this part of the morning can’t get worse. If it weren’t for the snoring I could draw a chalk outline in her bed. The alarm clock is completely ignored. We need a better clock to be sure. I haven’t looked online but if I could find something that say emitted a SWAT team yell, or a howitzer, it may help.

  When I was a kid, I watched a cartoon in which a coyote’s bed stood up and threw his ass out. In our case, it would take some hydraulics, I think, a pantload of money and maybe even a bigger room. Then there’s the matter of breakfast, or to dream the impossible dream. I have tried smoothies but got really sick of our little food critic giving me the thumbs down. In desperation, I have had to resort to powdered breakfast drinks and oatmeal cookies marketed as granola bars.

   The never ending sugar battle has forced a few concessions in order for me to hang onto my sanity and more of my hair. I read a lot of labels and use half packets of drink mix but the main objective is to get something in that tummy before school. It doesn’t matter how cute she is, tired and hungry turns her into an even bigger hemorrhoid to deal with. Her teachers don’t deserve that.

   I am baffled as to why this kid does not do bananas. She climbs like a monkey and occasionally smells like one, so why not eat like one? They are also good for you, portable, and require no cooking. God forbid we get off that easy. I can still manage peanut butter once in a while but I have to try to remind our girl to wash her hands after eating it if she’s going to school. They treat peanut butter like nuclear waste at her school but at least we’re not the ones dealing with the allergies directly. That’s a whole separate hell we are lucky to dodge.

  So, dear reader, how do you get your kids up in the morning? I’m open to suggestions aka I’ll take all the help I can get.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Still more lessons

    It’s been getting tougher as time goes on. Homework is the child equivalent of death and taxes. Resistance is futile, unless you’re Polish, then it’s genetic. “Why do I have to go to school at all?” “Why can’t I just stay home and play video games?” “You don’t need math for video games!” Our worldly eight year old has some how convinced herself that she has amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience far beyond her parents. I’m told this comes with the territory. 
   Every day after school, I ask our girl if she has her homework. Frequently, I check the backpack (trust but verify). Once she has had a break and a snack, the harassment campaign begins. It’s not so much the getting her majesty to sit down and actually start it. It’s the dragging out 12 math problems into the equivalent of a doctoral thesis that makes mommy want to drink herself into a stupor, sometimes by Tuesday night. My grown up brain can’t understand why just putting this crap in the rearview so we can move on just does not compute to my offspring.
   The other bonus wrinkle is the endless redirection. I’ve said many times that it feels like you’re dealing with an overcaffeinated squirrel. This kid has a talent for distracting herself with nothing. When there is nothing around her but just a table, a chair, a pencil and paper, that tablecloth had better not be fuzzy. She will have pencils battle erasers, sing songs about how homework is stupid, and suddenly she’s absolutely starving. Is duct taping someone’s ass to a chair illegal?
   I have about a fifty fifty shot at being able to do something else like make dinner or doing dishes but as often as not, I’m the homework gestapo. 
  My husband is blissfully unaware of this. On the rare occasions when he is forced to feel mommy’s pain, it’s almost a drama contest. There’s a monumental effort on both sides. For a person with a college degree, we sometimes have to explain what our third grader’s homework requires. What’s almost funny is that he will tell me about how difficult the whole process is as if I was not in the next room and had never been through this??!!   
   ‘My God, she’s a huge pain in the ass!’ ‘Welcome to my world, Sherlock!’ (Not that I’m bitter or anything.)
   It would be really helpful if we could somehow collaborate on the problem since the homework is only going to get uglier from here. We haven’t even scratched the surface of studying, research papers, presentations or other herculean feats. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m guessing the best way to handle things without too much alcohol is to eat our elephant one bite at a time.
  This is going to be as much fun as forks in the eyes but unless we hit the lottery, my options are pretty limited. This kid is going to have to grow up to support herself, which for now, at least, means a decent education. I have also learned the hard way not to ignore study guides. The first time one was sent home, I figured we had enough to contend with and that anything that even smelled like extra homework was too much hassle.
   I’ve often said, my daughter is in school but I’m the one getting educated. We ignored her first math study guide. Fortunately it took only one epic bomb of a math test to end that practice. I have to sneak that stuff in small doses on days when there’s not a lot of homework or before bed on the weekends. I’m about to find out if this tactic will work, another test is coming soon. 
  If I could only figure out how to get pokemon into her homework maybe she would stop complaining although I’d settle for cooperation.