June 30, 2010

If, then

Surveying the hoagie roll waiting on his dinner plate, Andrew asked what kind of seeds were on the top of the bun. I told him they were sesame seeds and never made eye contact because I really didn't want them to become an issue.

He was quiet for a minute and then said, "So, I guess sesame seeds must grow into bun plants?"

June 26, 2010

Keeping the day job

I have often thought that someday I'll quit my day job and embark on some new career that's completely unrelated to the way in which I currently earn a living. I still may. Let me assure you, however, that leap will not be into lawncare.

Mark is feeling much better, but is still under doctor's orders not to ride his bike, do any lifting or engage in twisting motions like those used in swinging a golf club or starting a lawn mower. Our lawn did not get that memo and has continued to grow unchecked in the last week. This morning he mentioned that he was going to need me to help him start the mower so he could take care of the tallgrass prairie we call a yard.

Thinking that was not a good idea, I suggested we contact our backup plan, the college student who mows next door, but we only know how to reach him via e-mail, which he doesn't appear to check more than once every couple of days. Because it's supposed to be hotter tomorrow than today, and then supposed to rain in the evening, Mark felt strongly that it needed to happen today. I tried to walk away from the conversation but it became increasingly clear that I was going to have to bite the bullet and do it myself if I couldn't come up with a better idea.

Fast forward two hours and I found myself in the garage getting a lesson in how to start our mower.

I know you're thinking that I should already know how to do that. You're right. I believe, however, that I last mowed when I was in about the 8th grade, which amounts to about 23 years of water under the bridge. I needed a refresher. Once Mark talked me through the basics of starting it and employing the self-propel feature, he headed inside to hang with the boys and I was off and running. Being a relatively intelligent person in relatively good physical shape I was confident that I could knock out the yard in time to eat a late lunch; that's why what happened during the next two hours was totally surprising.

It wasn't pretty, folks.

I started in the front and side yards and within minutes had ditched Mark's suggestion for what pattern to use. I quickly decided that whatever pattern required the least actual pivoting of the mower would be best. I had also decided that I don't like my neighbor as much as I used to think I did, because he stood in his yard laughing at me and yelled a few encouraging phrases which pretty much made me just want to run my mower up over his feet.  By the time I finished the front yard I had worn blisters on my thumbs and I was bleeding.  So far, things were going great.

I went inside for a drink of water and Mark suggested a break. It might have been the beet red quality of my face that was concering or perhaps my language regarding my neighbor?  Quitting sounded good but I knew that if I didn't go back out right then that it wasn't happening today. When I started mowing it was 88 degrees and at this point it was 90; no time to waste.

I perservered for the next hour, at which point it was 92 degrees and I had mostly mowed the yard. I say mostly because as you'll notice below, if you look carefully, it's possible I might have missed a few spots. I was hurrying.

The things I learned today include the fact that mowing is more difficult than it looks, gloves might have been a good idea, our yard is clearly way too big and whatever genius decided we should place swingsets and trees and trampolines in our backyard should definitely be fired.

p.s. the barb wire stays until the thumbs are healed. 

June 18, 2010

Blog as barometer

I logged on to my sister's blog yesterday and was greeted by a beautiful new layout and design. I was instantly jealous because I've meant, for months, to do something to jazz up the hondo layout, but had  figured I needed Photoshop, which I only have access to at work. Because my parents raised me with a completely annoying work ethic, I just hadn't been comfortable doing that on my employer's time. 

Imagine my delight when I fired up the laptop from home today and was offered access to approximately a gajillion new layout tools from Blogger. To that I say, it's about time! After perusing some options I've settled on this one for today. I anticipate this will change frequently because changing your blog to match your mood has just been made way too easy.

So, yeah. Barb wire. I tried to soften it with the touches of pink. Is it working? The last few days have been the kind that leave you pleading with your children not to grow up too quickly because being a grown up ain't all it's cracked up to be. Or, perhaps I just max out too quickly in the responsibility department and we should hire out that part of their training for the future?

Mark had an outpatient surgery on Wednesday and, with a couple of huge assists from Grandpa and Grandma, the day went well. Then came Thursday, which is when it started to feel a bit like the wheels were coming off the cart. I woke up at 5:30 Thursday morning to the unmistakable sound of a sick creature. My first thought was that it must be Mark but quickly realized that it was the dog. She will hereafter be referred to as the damn dog.

I rushed her outside after one heave on the carpet and thought we had dodged a big bullet. I stumbled back to the couch upon which I was sleeping - so that I could be close to Mark who had chosen to sleep on the other couch for post-surgery comfort - and realized that what I was smelling couldn't be right. It turns out that I hadn't woken for the main part of the damn dog's show, which started on the stairs and trailed throughout our home. Awesome.

It only took about four hours to steam clean the carpet, which is when I got to work on cleaning up the deck where she had continued her puke fest after I put her outside. Mark suggested that I might go walk the backyard to see if we could tell what in heaven's name she had eaten to make her this sick. I didn't find a thing except for the discovery that the previous evening's torrential rains had washed several cubic yards of mulch away from the swingset, into the grass and up against the fence. The day was getting even better.

Enter Grandma, who offered to come help me with the shovel and rake brigade to get the mulch back where it belonged before it washed into the neighbor's yard, never to be seen again.  But? Before I ever lifted a finger I went in the house to check on my patients and discovered that the human one was very uncomfortable and nauseous and the canine one, who was trapped in the kitchen, was wheezing and drooling uncontrollably. That's when I took her to the vet while my mom AND dad moved mulch and kept an eye on the post-surgery situation playing out in the living room.

She only barfed once in the car and I had to drag her inside the office. I left her in their capable hands, telling them I couldn't stay because I needed to get home for Mark. That was partly true but it's also possible I've never been so happy to part company with another living being. We needed a break from one another. I returned home to find that super mom and dad had pretty much fixed the mulch situation, reseated the weed mat that was tangled in the mud and that my dad had gone to buy a few extra bags of mulch to secure the perimeter.  Thanks be.

When the vet called at 5 p.m. to say that they couldn't find anything technically wrong with the damn dog and that I could come get her but that she was still having "loose stools" (sorry) and I would need to go buy her some Pepcid and cook some rice dish for her to eat, I did what any loving pet owner who is staring down the barrel of night two with her post-op husband and a looming t-ball practice. I bought her a night at Spa Animal Hospital. She's being bathed before her return. I hope she enjoyed her stay. She is truly the best last dog we've ever owned. 

Mark is trying to rally this afternoon but it's a little slow going. When you see the barb wire replaced with roses you'll know we're fully back amongst the living.

June 10, 2010

Identity crisis

Andrew's summer camp classroom has been home to a mouse for the last year.  This was the same room in which he spent his afternoons during the school year and Harold the mouse was like a class mascot. The kids loved him and their teacher was a very good caretaker. That teacher has, however, departed to attend veterinary school and their new teacher apparently isn't fond of pet mice and has decided that Harold can't stay.

Andrew got in the car after school this afternoon completely distraught because another family at the school removed Harold from the premises today in a butter container, bound for his new home. He reports that Harold is going home to Grace's house to live in a new cage that is...the horror of it...pink.  It is also rumored to have a picture on the top of a mouse wearing...a tutu. And?  The biggest injustice? Harold is going to have a new name. From here forward he will be referred to as...Cupcake.

Andrew's not happy.

June 8, 2010

What she said

We visited the Life Rocks family in Virginia last week.  We stayed for six days and six nights which felt to me like they whizzed by and possibly felt as though they moved slightly slower for the people in whose house we were staying.  We did double their household population for nearly a week and the youngest of us did bring with him a brewing case of what was diagnosed mid-week at an Urgent Care facility as bronchitis-with-yucky-attitude-and-flaming-fever.

I had fully intended to document our trip when we returned with photos and narrative but it turns out we forgot our camera and were reliant upon Mark's phone.  And?  My sister already did it.  I should really not just link to her work, and had fought the urge for a full 24 hours, but then she went and sold me out as the crappy driver that I am today.  Also, she insinuated that she's a faster learner, so guess what I've learned? Me have learned how to link if me thinks someone else already did me's work for me.

Check out this and this for her rundown.  Go ahead. I'll wait.  When you come back you can read my trip highlights as filler. 

The highlights for me were:
  • Watching a baby girl eat her body weight in "free" blueberries.  (We underfilled other containers to make up for her shoplifting tendencies.)
  • Hearing my nephew tell us that he loves us. It's just something of which you don't tire.
  • Watching the three boys play together in a much healthier fashion than last time they were together.
  • Receiving the full-on tour of Uncle Jeff's jet and squadron and seeing an F-22 demo flight then knowing later that Andrew really did kind of "get" how special that opportunity was.
  • Seeing my sister and Andrew bond over their shared love of collecting shells, rocks, etc. 
  • Riding in my sister's Wave Runner Camry on the James River Bridge. I know she referenced it, but I really can't do justice to how seasick and amused we were by the time we reached the other side.
  • H&M with the girls. Girl time is good.
  • Andrew reading books to the little boys when they woke up too early to come out of their room.
  • Learning that Andrew thought he was the luckiest guy in the house the night that we took T to the doctor because he got to stay home with Aunt Steph and she let him stay up to watch television with her after the little ones went to bed.
  • The fact that the boys watched a DVRd episode of Wipeout, in its entirety, at least three times during the week. 
  • Taking an afternoon nap with Thomas.  Simple pleasures. 
  •  My sister's cooking. She does this thing where she plans whole meals in advance and then begins preparing said meals more than 30 minutes before she wants them on the table. I might have to try it because they were delicious.
  • Riding in the car with Andrew and Natalie and watching them entertain one another in the sweetest way.  It might have been wishful thinking but I'm pretty sure she was saying his name.
  • Riding on a ferry because ferries are just cool.
  • Hearing Thomas and Wyatt discuss whether they believed we would indeed have to drive backwards all the way home when we missed the ferry, as we backed off the bridge lest we get stuck there for the hour wait.
  • Wyatt pledging allegiance to the flag - any flag.
  • Listening to Wyatt correct Uncle Mark's lyrics to "Proud To Be An American."
  • Getting in the car to drive the two littlest boys and learning that when Uncle Mark chauffered  he entertained them by telling stories about his imaginary friend, Bob, who had apparently been a trouble passenger. Bob was, as far as I could tell, a laugh riot.
  • That quiet time after kids went to bed and grownups watched tv, watched movies and generally conversed like grownups do. 
  • A night on the town in Virginia Beach.  If you get a chance to see Damon Wayans, take it. He's funny. 
  • Jeff bathing kids in their skivvies in the front yard. They'll likely never forget it. 
  • Knowing that we get to soak up more Rock time in the next 18 months.
Because we've established that I'm a lazy, slow-learning linker, do go check out the photos we have in the flickr sidebar.  They feature four pretty cute kids if I do say so myself.