Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Got me some handy skills

School has started! Here is the mandatory picture of the first day of school. I threw Ethan in there even though kindergarteners don't start for another week.
See how happy they are? Now, nearly a week later, their faces would show a little less enthusiasm but that is why we don't show pictures captioned '7th day of school' etc.

Ike and Mitch have graduated to riding their bikes to school. This is especially important on early-out day (for those not in the loop, this means one day a week getting out 45 minutes early for teacher prep). How I would curse when I had to wake up nappers just to drive the five minutes to school to pick up kids. Throw on the aggressive driving from mommies in the pickup zone and you would find me in a less-than-sweet mood.

So imagine my distress when Ike came home with a flat tire. I quickly reviewed our schedule and knew we were going to be hard pressed to find time for Hub to fix it. Never fear. I'm home all day doin' nothing but eatin' bonbons and watching soaps. I think I can fix a tire and only give up one day of driving the kids to school.

Holy cow. I should have paid attention to Hub all those times he did it. Or maybe I could have called him for instructions. But asking for help is for wussies. So I pulled out from my memory bank the times I watched my dad fix the tires on my purple Fancy Free bike with the cute basket on front. The tools I remember him using were a screwdriver and a bucket of water and the patch stuff. The screwdriver was for pulling the tire away from the inner tube. At least it worked that way for my dad. It wasn't working for me. I made lots and lots of guttural noises and muttered some oaths and Ethan started saying, "Maybe we should just wait for dad to come home...." and I kept on yelling, "No, I can do this!"and I was on the grass wrestling with that freakin' tire and finally I gave up and googled a video on how to change it. Did you know there is an actual tool you can use to pull the tire away from the rim? And it's not a screwdriver?? And Hub had one in his handy little bike kit in the garage? That Ethan had to tell me about? Fast forward hours later and I have successfully discovered there was not even a hole in the tire and we should have just tried pumping it in the first place. And the best part was that I had to drive to school to pick up the boys and left the nut/bolty things on the van bumper and forgot about them. Somehow I was blessed (because I didn't use very many bad words?) and the nuts stayed on the bumper the whole trip. This was a grand experience and I hope to repeat it very soon. But it's early out day tomorrow and we have two functioning bikes so I ain't complaining.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tragedy in Suburbia

Ethan wanted to earn some extra money. He quickly realized that 'earning' money by doing extra work was going to be impossible since he can't even quite finish the chores he doesn't get paid for. So like all smart kids, he decided to try to sell some of his junk in his own private yard sale while hardly lifting a finger.
He chose some nice toys that I quickly made him return to his room, but gladly let him try to sell his baggie of Lake Powell sea shells, a set of Uno cards so tiny a mouse could use them and a squirt gun that doesn't work.

I watched lots of seasons of The Apprentice so I felt very competent in helping him set his prices and think of ways to attract customers....
Like having a cute girl dance curbside in cowboy boots.

Sadly, or luckily for all the moms in the 'hood, this wasn't a day for a lot of foot traffic and I didn't let him go door to door to peddle. We left his stuff outside while he came in for food and play. Awhile later he checked on his goods only to run inside and say, "Mom, Mom! Somebody bought some stuff!" He was very excited but then he said, "They just forgot to leave their money!" Sure enough, his water gun and the Uno cards were missing. The worst thing was that he was also missing a hidden baggy of change. He'd put it under the picnic table in case he had to make change for a large bill (his optimism was so sweet). I honestly didn't mind someone taking a couple toys we didn't really want but to steal Ethan's actual money was a whole 'nother ballgame.
Ethan was sad. But Isaac and I were mad. Isaac made some comments about catching who did it and punching him in the head (violence is often a great solution for a 9-year-old boy). I tried to think of ways it could not be stolen, but for three items to be missing at once was a little too coincidental.
Later I actually saw the stolen water gun in the front yard of a home while going on a walk with Syd. Hub gladly did the dirty work of knocking on the door as soon as he also saw one of the puny Uno cards on their porch (not the best criminal eh?) and we got an apology and an assurance to try to scrounge up the missing money.
The moral of the story is that I love to live in la-la land. Hub is always trying to get me to lock the car, not leave my purse in the car, lock the house, etc... I just don't like to think that anyone would like to commit a crime in my vicinity. And a kid stealing money left unattended in my front yard doesn't have to mean I live in the ghetto. But maybe it means that we don't have to unnecessarily tempt people who haven't yet mastered right and wrong.
This thief was old enough to know better, but he was still a kid. I'll get over my anger and am showing my willingness to forgive by not telling Isaac who it was. I don't want anyone to get punched in the head in my neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Family Vacay without the fun ones

In the span of four days this is what I did: I swept and sprayed out the garage (Ethan's favorite game is putting things behind the car tires so we run over them. Mostly harmless stuff like apples and sidewalk chalk. Harmless, but messy) I cleaned out the wastebaskets. I updated all the scrapbooks. I never made dinner. I only turned on the dishwasher once. I had company over until midnight (so what if it was my sisters?) I did my visiting teaching. I returned two pair of shoes. I went to a baby shower. I registered my kids for school. I got mad at Noelle for stealing candy from the checkout stand at Walmart. I got mad at her again for stuffing a check minus its envelope into the mailbox. I watched The Today Show. I went on walks and only had to fill one water bottle.
All of this happened while my men were doing this:

Yes, I gallantly volunteered to stay home from Lake Powell this year with the two little girls. This meant that everyone on the houseboat could be loud during naptime and there were no toddler tantrums to listen to. Win-Win for us all. Not to mention how much extra packing room there is when you take out all the baby stuff. I felt sad about missing the good times, but I felt really good about missing the bad times with a baby on a hot, overly-populated houseboat. And did you see how much I got done? And that I didn't have to make dinner? (I just gave Noelle her multivitamins and called it good)

And in other news....this here is a picture of our silverware drawer. Ethan was just itching to play and emptied the diswhasher extra quickly this morning.
Me (upon opening the drawer): Ethan, what the heck is this about?
Ethan (in his best 'duh' voice): I empty a lot faster when I do it that way.

Gotta love 'im.