Category Archives: For Better or Worse

#6 – Suspending Reality

My son brought home a book from the school library. I’ll admit I don’t recall the title, but the gist of was about a girl on a school trip to the farm and the relaying of what she thought of it to her mother, which started with how dull it was.

Her mother then listens incredulously as her daughter tells her how there were pigs that got on the bus because they were looking for corn; and how the kids were throwing eggs at each other, but then ran out of eggs so they started throwing corn (hence the pigs on the bus). There was the boa constrictor that one of the classmates brought along on the trip, and how it snuck away to scare Mrs. Farmer and got left behind. However, the boa’s owner wasn’t the least upset since a pig remained on the bus and now that was his pet.

…and here were the thoughts going through my mind:

  • Have you ever been hit with an egg? I’ve seen what it does to car paint (it shatters it), and one of the characters takes a freshly laid egg to the face.
  • Same with corn. Corn on the cob. DRIED field corn. That’ll leave a mark. Or take your eye out. Or both!
  • A boa constrictor. Really?! Yep, and one so big in the pictures that it took four kids to carry it off the bus. Where were the parents the morning that kid got ready for school? How did he sneak that thing in his backpack? And the teacher? She didn’t notice or care that it was on the bus?? Another picture of the boa shows that he clearly had eaten something. It might have been one of the pigs that got on the bus (sidenote: who’s going to clean up that mess? Sidenote #2: there was a bus driver, why didn’t he prevent that?!).
  • The boa was last seen crawling into the clothes hanging from the clothesline which is where Mrs. Farmer made the surprising discovery and started her screaming. She didn’t scream when the kids were throwing her chickens’ eggs; she didn’t scream at the kids when they started hurtling corn; she didn’t make a whimper when the pigs crowded onto the bus. Oh, no. She finds a snake in her laundry and she loses her ever-lovin’ mind.
  • Boa Boy traded his snake for a pig and is bringing it home on the bus. I see bacon and sausages in his immediate future, as well as some time spent in his room, grounded until he turns 18.
  • And finally. . . can you say lawsuit, lawsuit, lawsuit!

I notice idiosyncratic details that make me lose focus of the bigger picture, which is that of pure entertainment. Another example: I was watching Nip/Tuck and one of the patients who was recovering from surgery used her bedpan (with urine in it) to clobber one of the doctors. Bed pan? Who the hell uses bedpans anymore? Wouldn’t she have had a catheter?

Am I crazy for noticing that shit?

I have a friend who hints for me to hit the road and see Disney. I think her advice is sound, but of course with things the way they are, I may find myself deeper embroiled in bitter stew before I can go on a quest to find my inner little girl. But methinks I better find her soon before I hear the words “curmudgeon” to describe me (to my face), and before I chase the kids off my lawn with a broom, or worse yet – before I reveal to my son that Santa and the Tooth Fairy aren’t real. For anyone who has used Santa as an threat incentive to improve behavior; or used the amount of cash the Fairy will leave behind once some pesky baby teeth are pulled as bribery motivation, you will know that such an announcement would be parental suicide.

When did I get so jaded? Is this normal aging or is being a fun hater collateral damage for someone like me who is trying to put a rough four years behind her while keeping a fingernail grip on sanity?

#4 – I need permission to clean up after you??

Last night while Sparring Partner was preparing supper on the grill, I was helping out by either keeping the kids out of his way or saving my sanity by picking up after my husband in the kitchen. “What?! It’s no big deal if a little (raw) chicken juice drips onto the floor? Why are you such a harpy? Sheesh!”

I noticed three dish towels sitting next to the stove on the counter, and since they are supposed to hang on the stove door’s handle less than an arm’s length away, I reached for one in order to put it away.

Too late I realized that something was wrapped up in it. A plate. It hit the kitchen’s ceramic floor with a horrible splintering crash. Luckily both Doodicus and Aitch were on the other side of the room, but Aitch was quick to make a bee-line to investigate. Sparring Partner scooped her up while I brought over the broom and dust pan.

I asked him why the plate was wrapped up in the towel, and he answered that it was going to be used to put the bread rolls on. Fine. OK. Stupid, but whatever. It was an accident. But before I could even finish that simple thought, Sparring Partner angrily said that before I start moving things around in the kitchen I should ask him what is up with it, as in, does it have a purpose before I go about screwing up and shattering more dishes willy-nilly.

The self-deprecating and brief moment I held was gone. Because I didn’t confirm with him the purpose of his messes, I had somehow brought this upon myself – in so many words. That it was entirely my fault. Was he seriously trying to tell me that before I can wipe off the stove of splattered grease and food, I need to make sure he’s not saving it to flavor his bacon the following morning? Or before I can throw away the half-eaten banana that was started for Aitch that morning and now sprinkled with a handful of gnats, I have to make sure he’s not saving it for the world’s smallest banana cream pie? Or in the very rare occasion he actually hand washes a pan but leaves it sitting on the counter next to the sink, I need to make sure he’s not using it as a paper weight for his paycheck? And the insanity just spirals and spirals out of control…GAH!

After several terse words that may or may not have included “you’re out of your ever-lovin mind if you think I need permission from you to clean up your mess!”, we both understand that it was an accident that could have easily been avoided. We’re still crazy about each other. Some days the “crazy” isn’t so good.

To be fair, I need to remember to tell you the story of how I went freak-city on him over a couple of empty rolls of toilet paper.

Bring out yer dead!

The last time I dressed up for Halloween, Carter was President. I shit thee not.

I think once or twice since then I might have sported a headband with kitty ears on them and may have even gone so far as to line my eyes just a ta-a-ad darker (but hey, it was the 80s-90s…who would notice??), but I was too self conscience to get into dressing all out.

This year I was inspired by a no-sew costume I saw in that evil purveyor of crafting, Martha Stewart’s Halloween magazine.

Evil. Pure evil. If I had a half dozen lackeys making sure my glue gun was not only in a place I could find AND use, not to mentioned stocked with glue sticks, I could seriously take her. Instead, you can find me covertly glueing odds and ends at the kitchen counter because it’s granite and the glue easily picks off of it. That is, when I can find the stupid glue gun and wrestle the last remaining glue stick from a cobweb in our basement that may or may not have been bedazzled.


Here’s me holding Aitch with Doodicus at my side. Sparring Partner was unable to dislodge the broom stick that was up his butt and get into the holiday and festoon himself.


And just for fun, while I was editing my photo files, I found this one. I don’t even remember taking it, but considering that Zombies are huge right now, it seems fitting to add it.




Sparring Partner and I are what some would refer to Latecomers as it applies to starting a family. He was over 35 when our oldest was born. I was over 40 with the youngest.

The situation is not all that unfamiliar to either of us since my mom was in her late 30s when she had me and Sparring Partner’s mother was 40. And while not unfamiliar, it has created a bit of fission within my husband’s family. My in-laws have great-grandchildren OLDER than Aitch, who is their youngest grandchild. Their second-to-youngest grandchild? That honor is bestowed yet again on our family as that would be Doodicus.

To put it another way, out of the 11 grandchildren, only two are under the voting age. Obviously they are our two.

Sparring Partner has a couple of siblings who seem to think that since he lives the closest to his parents that he should be at their side at a moment’s notice. They don’t understand when they come in from out of town, why we don’t want to go out to dinner every night they are here, which means getting home from work in time to put everyone back into one vehicle and getting home later that night just in time to put everyone to bed. Forget about baths or homework or laundry or cleaning up.

Just this past week Thursday we went out; Friday they all came to our house for supper; Saturday night we went out. Last night? They were going to do supper at the SIL’s home. We told them thanks, but no thanks. I’m sure that by declining the invitation, we were criticized our seeming ungratefulness.

I have to give props to Sparring Partner, who when on the receiving end of an eye-roll from one of his siblings after a similar incident, responded, “You had your turn to raise your children. It’s my turn now.” I think they forget that while he’s the youngest in the family, he most certainly isn’t their boot-scraper and going to take their shit anymore.

We both love our families, extended and otherwise, but right now our priorities lie with who we tuck into OUR beds under OUR roof. And if we feel we are being spread a bit thin in trying to make EVERY one happy, we know that while there’s other family around to take care of our parents, no one else is there except Sparring Partner and me to PARENT our children.

Set the table, please.

Well. I guess this means that as long as Aitch (My daughter’s blogname from now on. I’m sorry if you think I’m blatantly ripping off another “H”‘s nickname, but I’m not. I’ve been calling my daughter Aitch long enough now that sometimes it’s the only thing she’ll respond to.) is awake, I can’t be hiding away tap-tapping on my laptop’s keyboard.

Don’t you love how ambivalent Doodicus is to it all? “A baby crawling on the table? Where? Oh that…that goes on ALL the time around here…”

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There are times when it really is OK to turn your back on your kid.

My husband, Sparring Partner, is an easy mark for door-to-door salesmen. Before we got married, an Electrolux salesman came to our tiny 900 sqft house, which had nothing but refinished hardwood floors, and sold him a horribly expensive canister vacuum (which we do still have as a matter of fact, and prefer to the more recently purchased Kirby – again via a door-to-door salesman).

Stick a lollie on that man’s forehead, please, and lick. When you get to the center, you’ll probably find yourself a gooey blob of a tootsie roll.

So I wasn’t surprised, albeit a bit pissed, when he bought into The Total Transformation. You know, the one that advertises with, “Are you struggling with a child who is disrespectful, obnoxious, or even abusive towards you?”

Do children actually come in other flavor but disrespectful and obnoxious once they reach a certain age?

One of the discs we got was 5 different ways to stop an argument.

First, let me interject, I’m not trying to sell you on anything, OK? Don’t click the red “X” yet.

Doodicus is a master argurer. It’s exasperating! Some of the things he says would be cute if he were still three, but now? He’s a flippin’ know-it-all. For example, he asked me this morning what time was it in China. Hell if I know, so I said that would be a good question to ask his teacher. However, he might want to look at the globe in his room for the name of a city in China since China is a large country, as big as the US, I told him.

No, he said, it’s larger.

How do you know, I ask.

I just do.

*silent screaming in my head*

Maybe you’re still thinking, that’s kinda’ cute. It’s not when this is the type of crap he pulls on us allllllll dayyyyyy.

Or how about this one. You’ll love it since it’s a return of the bath-argument.

Me: “It’s getting late, you need to get in the bath.”

Him: “I’m going to take a shower,” as he heads to our bathroom.

Me: “Dad’s in the shower, you need to use your bathroom.”

Him: “I don’t want to use my bathroom. I’ll just use your tub.”

Me: “No. You will use YOUR bathroom,” and I turned my back on him.

Him: I don’t want to! I’m going to use YOUR bathroom, not mine!”

*silence* *back still turned*

Him: “OK…I’ll use mine…*”

(*Hand to God, that’s what he said.)

See what I did there? I turned my back on him, or “escaped”, the term the CD uses. Doodicus isn’t stupid. I was clear about what he needed to do and where. I could have let him continue to drag me into an argument, and thus giving him the upper hand in it since he was clearly leading me deeper into his nonsense.

It’s a simple tip I’m sharing with you. I know some of you have your own little Caesar Doodicus on your hands. Give this a try (tell him/her what their responsibility is at that moment and walk away – escape. Do NOT re-engage!), and see what happens.

So far, it’s been one sales pitch that Sparring Partner has bought into that hasn’t bitten us squarely right on the ass. That’s not to say I don’t have a lovely story to tell you about a more recent purchase that I will hold over his head for at least the next 30 years, since it clearly has been one of his worst.