The Sir Axelrod Revelation

Have you ever watched a movie so many times that you could recite it almost word for word?  Have your kids ever watched a movie so many times that you know every word even though you don’t remember specifically ever sitting down to properly watch it?  It’s absorbed by some sort of osmosis as you come in and out of the room doing various chores and tasks. (Don’t start with the “I never use the TV as a babysitter” nonsense… I call bullsh*t.  Sometimes it’s the only way dinner gets on the table.)

Certainly, if the kids have watched it that many times, they must know all the words and every detail of the plot, too, right?  I would think so.  But it seems that all of this time, I’ve given my children’s observational skills too much credit.

(Spoilers follow, so if you’re one if the 15 people who haven’t yet seen Cars 2, you may wish to avert your gaze.)

It was on the way home from a recent trip, during the 150th viewing of Cars 2 that Buddy screamed from the back of the Swagger Wagon:

Wait! Sir Axelrod put the bomb on Mater?!?! That’s crazy!!

In case of booger emergency…

A box of Scotties tissues

A box of Scotties tissues (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Goose and Bear suffer from seasonal allergies, as so many people do.  They are non-stop itching their noses and sneezing.  We go through a ludicrous amount of tissues.  I am equal parts “Cover that sneeze! With your elbow not your hand!” and “Bless you.”

You would think that this mother of 3, who has survived cold season many times and has 2 kids with allergies, would be prepared for spontaneous mucus expulsion.  You would think that, because she always has a complete change of clothes or two for each child in the Swagger Wagon, and an emergency potty, and enough snacks on board to keep the family fed for a week if we were ever to become stranded.  You would think that something as simple as a pocket full of tissues would be a piece of cake.

Then why, oh why, do I find myself digging through my giant 40 pound purse for a tissue, napkin or anything that passes as a tissue in the face of a child sporting a snot web from nose to chin (or worse- nose to chest- ick.)  Why can’t I bring myself to use a sleeve?  Why can’t I just remember to keep tissues handy?  Why have I resorted (on more than one occasion, sadly) to using a panty-liner as a tissue?

And what must passers-by think??

Just kidding… I don’t care.

Only If Someone Is Chasing Me….

That’s what I used to tell people when asked if I “run.”

What follows is a post that I began writing some weeks ago. It was intended to be light, and funny. But then stuff happened, and I’m not getting into that here. You know all about it, unless you’ve been living off of the grid or under a rock. Essentially, I found the post to seem trite and silly and bandwagon-y after the fact. I wasn’t going to post it.

I changed my mind. Here it is…..

I’ve been working on Couch to 5K for almost three years…. If you aren’t already familiar, this is the program (abbreviated C25K) that is supposed to get you from couch potato to a 5K in 9 weeks, or something like that.

The program itself is really quite effective if you stick to it. Obviously, I didn’t. There were enormous gaps in training. I often skipped weeks, even months, so the program cannot be blamed for my exceedingly slow progress.

Finally, this past Thanksgiving, my sister convinced me to register for a 5k “fun run”. I ran it…
That’s a lie. I totally walked half of it. But, it inspired me to register for a few 5K in the spring.

Recently, I ran another 5K… With Frances the dog. She does run with me sometimes… Sometimes as in, once a month on deserted streets, where the only distraction is the occasional squirrel. I’m not sure why I thought that bringing her to a 5K was a great idea. Lots of people, lots of dogs, lots of exciting things to see and smell. So even though she heels relatively well, it was all too overwhelming to expect her to run in an orderly fashion… Anything resembling a straight line would have been grand. My shoulder was stiff from trying to reign her in. Dogs are competitive by nature. Frances believes that if a dog passes her, she is obligated to give chase… Which is great, except that she is attached to a leash which is attached to me… And I am neither obligated nor capable of catching that faster dog. I’m just trying to finish.

Fortunately, as she (and I) tired, it became easier to keep her moving forward at a reasonable speed. We finished. But next time, I’m leaving her home.

So what have I learned about running? All the things that my running friends have said were true. (I recognize that I just lost half of you, the half that are squarely in the “Only if someone is chasing me” category. That’s cool. I get it. I was there yesterday.) When I get to run, my mood is better, my head is clearer,I have more energy and the world seems to be a better place. There’s the added bonus of being fitter than I have been in years. In fact, I can’t find a down side…. except possibly the fact that I get pretty darn grumpy if I miss an opportunity to run.

I won’t break any speed records (ever, I was, quite literally, passed by a guy in a wheelchair being pulled by 2 huskies at my last 5k), and I won’t go any impressive distances (Hey, I only just got to a point where I can run 5k without needing a gurney)… heck, I’m still not comfortable calling myself a runner. I run. I’m not sure when I’ll get to be a runner. But until then, I’ve found something that makes me a better me… at least for now.

If you’re thinking about running, there are a ton of resources available, although my personal favorites are the people I already know and love (my sisters and my friends) and the Another Mother Runner website.

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day evokes images of mom being served breakfast in bed, surrounded by flowers and homemade gifts from her children.  And that is fantastic, but that is not the reality for most moms.  The reality (based on my informal poll of moms that I know) is more of a mixed bag: gifts (homemade or store-bought), meals (breakfast in bed, at a diner, dinner out), some other family activity, and hopefully a respite from laundry and all the other mundane things that occupy so much of our time.

Personally, and I know that I’m in the minority, but I enjoy spending part of the day by myself (this year, I’m kicking it off with a 5k run).  I feel like this is where I’m supposed to write wistfully about how I spend my alone time reflecting on the virtues of motherhood and how very fortunate I am to have my beautiful family.  Except that isn’t what happens.  I do love my family.  I feel extremely fortunate and grateful to have them, but I don’t spend that time counting my blessings.  Moments of solitude are so precious and few, that I spend whatever time I have that day soaking it up.  I usually go to a movie.  No, not some blockbuster that I’ve been waiting for weeks to see.  I go and see whatever happens to be starting at the time I arrive.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  In fact, if it’s an unpopular movie that will yield a nearly empty theater, that’s even better.  Then I spend that hour and a half letting my brain shut down.  I don’t have to talk.  I don’t have to listen (unless I want to).  I don’t have to wipe anyone’s bottom.  I decompress as fully as is possible.

Then, when whatever window of time has passed, I take a deep breath and go home.  I hug my kids, kiss their round faces, and smell their sweet heads (or if they are more funky than sweet, perhaps throw them in the tub).  I set about the business of loving them, and feeding them, and caring for them, only with a little more patience and a lot more gratitude.

Career Prospects of an Under Acheiver

I realized today that I have no marketable skills.

I was updating my résumé, as I  do every 5-10 years (I know I’m supposed to review it every year, but really… who does that?), and I didn’t have any idea what to put on it.  So I thought about my strongest qualities, and started constructing a list to see what could be worked into a résumé.

  • Sarcasm (Who, me?)
  • Cynicism (Well, you know that won’t last.)
  • Professional meddling (And I would have gotten away with it, too!  If it hadn’t been for that professional meddler!)
  • Starting (I am an amazing starter.  If you need something started, call me!  Just don’t expect me to finish it.  Ever.  I haven’t finished a single thing since my children were born, unless bottles of wine and pints of ice cream count.)
  • Video game proficiency (Is there a market for 30-something, mommy, beta testers?  Sims FreePlay, all over it.  Nothing better than tending the hunger, sleep and hygiene needs of virtual people.)
  • Uninhibited truth-telling and complete lack of tact (My husband calls these “conditions” that I have, like diseases.  I call them “virtues”.)

These are not resume material, obviously.  I moved on to accomplishments.  Do I have any achievements that are resume worthy?

  • Birthed 3 children (Not very marketable, as I have no intention of repeating the performance.)
  • Laundry (Ongoing…. and hardly accomplished, as I’m always waist deep in it and never sort by color or whatever.)
  • Quirky cupcake construction (You know, cupcakes shaped like aliens and robots are gratifying to look at, ok to eat, and a veritable time suck to create.)
  • 3-4x a week showers (This is an accomplishment.  I’m up from once a week when my offspring were younger. Go me.)
  • Kindergarten homework x2 (It was an all-nighter, but I nailed it!)
  • All living things in my care still thriving

Well, the last one is something; although I don’t know that it belongs under “Professional Experience”…. maybe it’s better suited for “Objective”.

If you are in the market for a person with my hardly unique skill-set, please contact me for an interview.

Escape to Poo Mountain… Or Happy Earth Day…

Or… Why I should probably supervise my children better.

(Off topic: Who else loved Escape to Witch Mountain as a kid?)

I’m writing more these days, which means more computer time, which means my kids must fend for themselves.

GO. OUTSIDE. NOW… and stay there.

Generally, I sit on the deck and supervise them closely (**muffled laughter**), but today it is cool enough, and my laptop battery is low enough, that deck-sitting wasn’t an option.  Out they went.  And wouldn’t you know?  Miracles do happen and they played outside nicely.  No fighting.  No coming inside every 5 minutes.  No mischief.  No mischief?

They come inside and merrily tell me that they built a fly hotel called FlyTel because it’s Earth Day and “We even built Poo Mountain!”

Me:  Huh, cool. (Totally not paying attention… wait for it… wait for it)  Wait.  What?  You what?

Buddy: We built Poo Mountain from dog poo for our FlyTel so the flies can eat!

Me:  Built it with what?  With what did you touch poo?

Goose:  Gloves!

Bear: (grinning ear to ear) Uh huh! Wif gloves!

Me:  Please place all gloves in the laundry basket, then proceed directly to the bathroom to wash your hands.

**Smiling Earth-friendly children head toward bathroom**

Me: (yelling after them) WITH SOAP!! Wash your hands with SOAP!

**Grumbling children wash their hands with soap**

Me:  Now, let’s have a look-see at your FlyTel.

My children proudly delivered me outside to see this awesomeness:


To book your reservation, call today!

I love that they were thoughtful enough to include provisions for the flies’ education… I bet this wasn’t on your list of kid friendly Earth Day activities.


Science is fun… Sort of.

A friend recently suggested that I attend this local science festival-type-thing with the kids.

It sounded like this when she told me: Oh!  They’ll love it!  They’re into science-y stuff!  They’ll have a great time!  You have to take them!  It’s so great!  It gets bigger and bigger every year!

Splendid, I thought to myself, free entertainment for the kidlings.  Encourage interest in the sciences. Sounds like a win/win proposition.

Most of you already know this about me, but for those that don’t: There are certain situations where I don’t handle myself very well.  These situations include (but are in no way limited to) any venue that is hot, small, or has people.  The recipe for a good time?  Put me in hot, small space that is brimming to the tippity top with humans.  For extra enjoyment, tell me to bring my kids along, so that my misery may be properly compounded by losing sight of one or more children on multiple occasions.

I should have taken the lack of parking and presence of traffic control personnel as a giant red flag, but it was too late to turn back.

All of my belly-aching aside, the kids thought it was fantastic.  They were hot and tired before we had been to even half of the exhibits, but they were excited and interested in what we saw.  They ate marshmallows frozen in liquid nitrogen, watched static electricity bend water, made slime, handled a crazy amount of rocks and minerals and more.

One nature exhibit had a coyote skin.  Goose started petting it, flipping it over, poking it in the nose, and studying it from every angle.  Buddy immediately bristled and asked the poor woman working the exhibit, “What did you DO to him?!?”  She did her very best to explain to him that she didn’t do anything to him, but sometimes animals die and isn’t it fantastic that he left his skin for us to learn from, and so on.  He wasn’t convinced, but his outrage didn’t last long.

You see, he found this hovercraft thing that he wanted to ride.ASML  He absolutely lit up with excitement.  He and Bear both took rides on it.  Goose wanted to stay on the sidelines with me and play with her slime.  Then I realized whose exhibit this was.  Actually, it was the giant display they had up with a map that said “Where is The Netherlands?” that gave it away.

Oh, I know where The Netherlands is, Mister.  It’s a black hole filled with wooden shoes and cheese and tulips and it sucks my friends into it but doesn’t always spit them back out.  And I don’t give a hoot if the cheese is amazing. (Please send Beemster.)

The Netherlands

The Netherlands
(Black Hole Concept Wikimedia Commons)

When the three kids started hanging from me like so many wet sweaters on a drying rack, we called it quits and went home.  So happy was I to be outdoors, that I nearly forgot how unpleasant the evening had been.

The kids are still talking about it.  They can’t wait to go back next year.  Science is great!  They want to learn all about it!  Super fun!  Great event that accomplishes its mission to get kids interested in science!

… which means… that next year… I will have to find someone else to take them, because I would rather be sucked into a black hole than try to navigate a mess like that again.  (Although, I’ll reconsider if I hear that one of the tables is demonstrating the grape fermentation process.)