Saturday, November 24, 2012

Power to the She...indeed.

The Holiday Season is upon us!  Jingle bells ringing, lights a hanging, Whitney Houston's voice rings out on the local radio station that plays Christmas music 24-7 from Labor Day to March 31st ("KOSI 101, Home for the Hollllllllidaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyssssss"), like a sassy version of the Ghost of Christmas Past.  Yes, despite my best efforts to maintain Halloween year round, it appears that I can't stop Christmas from coming.  Which seems odd, since it's a balmy 59 degrees here in Colorful Colorado right now. 

My mom recently came to visit (or rather to be forced into the kitchen as Thanksgiving slave labor).  The day after Thanksgiving, my dear husband (who LOVES said local radio station) was making a delightful breakfast of pannycakes and whistling along to the Pointer Sisters "All I Want for Christmas is Yoooooouuuuuuuuuuuu!"  I must have been visibly cringing and frowning because my Mom commented to our girls (but mostly to me), cheerfully, "Oh, girls!  You're mother will get over being a Grinch yet!"
 Hmmmmm.  I'm pretty sure that translated to, "Katie, don't you love Jesus and want to celebrate his birth?"  Sorry Mom, but you didn't even scratch the surface.  If only I could light a lil' chocolate cup-cake spiced with Frankincense and Myrrh, and call it good, then I would.   And in case you're wondering how that would work:

Then add a chocolate cupcake.

Anyway, I just deteeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssst the mass commercialism.  Not to mention the self-induced holiday stress.  Aaron's birthday is the 14th of December.  Christmas is the 25th.  Mine is the 27th.  By the time mine rolls around I want to get on my bike and ride myself someplace warm and sunny...however long it takes to get there-...with a bottle of red and white wine in my water bottle cages.  My family is welcome to tag along,'s not entirely necessary and if they can't keep up...well, so be it.  

*Obviously I've put a lot of thought into this scenario each and every year.

I'd say many of us mommies feel this way.  Unless you are playing for the other team.  The team that is responsible for 99% of the stress.  Hanging lights after Halloween, setting impossibly ridiculous standards for classroom parties as the dreaded tyrant "Room Mom", baking cookies who's heads stay on when you fashionably ice them, sending out the perfect cards...on time, the annoying list goes on and on.

Those kind of women.  You know who you are.  We are most likely not good friends, but I appreciate your efforts.  Sometimes.  

Anyway, I was juussst getting a taste of all this the night I was shopping for Thanksgiving dinner preparations.  I was frustrated at all the cinnamon, spice and everything nice being thrown at me TWO DAYS BEFORE THANKSGIVING in the stores.  But then a blessing.  Something to truly be thankful for.  I arrived home and started unloading the groceries and there on the counter, Aaron had left me the mail before going to bed.  Yes, there it was.  Right on top. 

The December edition of Athleta. 

Oh, joy of joys.  Some of you know of the merriment I take when shredding the pretentious descriptions of catalogs page by precious page.  For example, I don't get J Crew, but recently a friend posted a pic from the page and threw me the challenge of writing it's caption on facebook.  I immediately dropped everything and responded with glee.  

Photo: Ok,  Katie Macarelli,  we need a caption! 

"For the Jackie O girl who's on the go in Colorado: get ready to walk around, carrying skis that clearly don't fit you in a diva-like state. Our Glittens allow you to experience the joys of frostbitten fingers while looking quite savvy for a mere $30. But it doesn't stop there. Are you tired of your bulky ski coat warming you up and protecting you adequately on the slopes? We are too! Freeze your ASS off with our sassy tweed ski-coat. Priced a little bit naughty but a little bit nice at $198. And finally. In order to really walk around like you've never even BEEN to Colorful Colorado, squeeze yourself into what we promise will be the least comfortable pants you'll ever own: our Pixie Jodhpurs for $148. Add up this lovely ensemble (not including the socks) and you could have bought a ski pass, my sassy, ridiculous friend! But then again, the plan was never to ski in the FIRST place, now was it! (Hand over mouth as you giggle seductively)."

My favorites are overpriced items with ridiculous backgrounds.  The more expensive, outlandish and preposterous, the better.  Athleta is by far my favorite to chastise (which is funny since my favorite wardrobe pieces are actually from Athleta--on clearance of course). 

December is coming soon.  Today when Aaron gets back from his ride, we are...digging out the Christmas decorations.   I will do my best to fight the plump-pear-bottomed Grinch that resides on one shoulder. I'm going to try and pay more attention his doe-eyed, side-kick pup, Max who sits on the other.  
It will take all my power.  Some might will take "Power to the She".  

Therefore, I'd better energize myself.  Let the rant begin...

 Page 5. Powder Jean $328

Because everyone wants to look their finest when they are holding Yoga poses on the jeans.  "Seven pockets to shash your stuff".  Crimany.  That's a lot of stuff.  They make it sound like I'm going to be out there more than 1.2 hours (which is about all our family can take).  

Page 8.  Stoked Sweater $98

Raise your hand if you've ever felt under-dressed when you're getting dropped off on the slopes by helicopter!  Me! Me!  This "fun jacquard print" will solve that straight-away!

Page 11. Cabin Fever, a combined outfit for a mere $346

If you've been "off the grid" for a touch too long, ordered a crap-load of overpriced items, got in a fight with your husband over it when he voiced concern and then took a shovel to his head, you'll need this sleek, yet warm outfit when you carry his body from the cabin and proceed to bury it in a snowbank!  *Shovel is temporarily out of stock.

Page 16. Sleigh Ride!  From head to toe:

-Pistil Parker Cap $34
-Sequoia Tunic $128
-Knit Denim Slim Trek Pant $89
-Olukai Kalia Boot $250
Total: $501

This skinny-leg pant will stand up to the challenge of you hopping on your horse and riding away from the creditors that will surely be chasing you come December 26th!  

Page 32. Weekender Maxi $108

Seriously.  Can we let the Maxi-craze just wither out and die like it's supposed to?  "All in one outfits" sounds a lot like the phrase, "Giving up".  And again, if it's not entirely flattering on the Athleta model, I shudder to think how this would look on the average woman.  Not pretty.  Not pretty at. All. I can look frumpy for a lot less than $108. 

Page 36. Amani Sweater $118

Upon completing your $20 Hatha Yoga class, don't get chilled while you meticulously roll up your bolster in a perfect lunge.  This "open wrap sweater with a handkerchief hem" will definitely one-up that other suburban mom who thinks she's "all that".  And if it doesn't, then you can take it off and hog-tie her in the back room where they store the extra mats and leave her for dead.  

Page 47. Cocoon Cozy Sweater $98

Perfect ff you're that other suburban mom who thinks she's "all that".  When you find yourself hog-tied in the back room, you can thank us for being quite cozy in your cocoon within a cocoon!

Page 53. Tinker Tank and Kickbooty Pant $52 $79

When you feel like throwing your hands up in the air and screaming, "All RIGHT!  YOU WIN, Bastards!!!!", do it in STYLE!  Your yoga class will forgive you if you do it with just the right print.  Might we suggest "Port Wine" (on model)?

Page 66. Bindi Layer Tank $64

If this picture appeals to you, you clearly do not have enough to do.  Perhaps you should sign up to be the head "room mom" of your child's 2nd grade class!  You can assign the other moms ridiculous craft/game ideas for the upcoming holiday party with plenty of support.  
*Stand not included. 

Page 70. Wind Warrior Tight $98

As a mom on the go, you won't even have to worry about the incontinence birthing 2+ kids surely gave you. Put our stretchy, wicking, Velocitek fabric to the test!  If you'd like to venture out to hurdle some rustic fences, go for it!  When you pee these pants, their breathable CoolMax crotch gusset will quickly dry and be begging for more!

Page 81. Snow Stomping Good Time!

Smartwool Cuffed Beanie, $28
-Seamless Twist Hoodie, $89
-Snow Stomper Skirt, $89
-Seamless Twist Tight, $54
-Sorel Joan of Arctic Boot $150
Total: $400

Your hair too, can blow with reckless abandon as you shove the snowshoes you don't know how to wear in a stranger's old hollowed out kayak.  Your thighs will be flashy, fun and chafe-free thanks to our next-to-skin-fit and mid-rise tights.  The mini-skirt is bafflingly bulk-free so you can run away in style from the strange, old, creepy, woodsy guy who resides in the cabin just over your shoulder--your shoulder that's encased in anti-odor Meryl Skinlife, of course, for supreme performance! 

Page 89. Snowplow Sweater $118

Even your DOG will be impressed and more than a little jealous when you sport our classic zip-front, snow-flake-motif sweater on your ru-hu-huns! (superior giggle).  She'll WISH she had real arms and legs and not four legs so she could sport those raglan sleeves for mobility!  Sorry, Layla.  You have 4 legs and our sweaters don't fit you!!!!!  

Okay.  That fully gave me my fix.  

We can rock this merry season, my Grinch sisters and brothers.  Let us not give into the ridiculous notion of commercialism but find a healthy balance that will keep the magic alive for our kids and ourselves.  I don't know, maybe don YOUR snowflake sweater and go frolic about.  And I challenge you to do it without the hefty power-stretch, polartec, merino-wool price-tag.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner

Today is Wednesday.  We move into our "real house" on Friday.  If I were Southern or maybe a Southern-Baptist, I might follow this up with a quick, "Thank'ya Jesus!" (with a mini 'raise the roof' motion to accompany).  But I'm not.  We're Episcopalians--a touch more private and reserved.  So I will just say it in my head and perhaps whisper it like I do when I narrowly avoid being crushed by a car on my bike.  

And that's what I feel like.  This move, this summer, it was like our entire family narrowly avoided being crushed by a car...or rather, an entire FLEET of cars. Wait. An entire fleet of Escalades. 

What would that look like? Well, the pain starts at $63,170.

We made the first of our dreaded Double Move on July 2nd.
 How a double move signals it's arrival. 
And from there, the roller coaster began.  

1. We had a contract on a Victorian house built in 1871 on 12th st.  This was at the top of our price-range, great location but it needed a lot of work.  A LOT.  Still.  We hunted it down through an expired listing and it seemed like it was going to work.  The inspection proved otherwise. It failed everything.  Every.  Thing.  As in: not really livable.   The guy doing the inspection told us "I would not buy this house. I've only said that to one other person in 20 years of doing this."

We were back to square one.

2. We found a place East of Hwy 93.  In view of our new Elementary school.  It was a short-sale, which means it may have taken 6-8 months for everything to go through.  It was gorgeous.  But HUGE.  Spacious doesn't really explain it.  More like cavernous.  This went against one of our main goals in moving in the first place; to DOWNSIZE and to be within walking and biking distance of almost everything day-to-day.  So the ginormousness didn't settle with any of us.  BUT. It had truly spectacular views off the back deck overlooking Golden and Lookout Mtn. The house was really amazing and very modern and right at a doable price-range. So in an effort to just lock it in, in case nothing else came along, we went under contract with that one.

And we kept looking.

3. We found the perfect town-house on 8th street. And when I say "perfect", I mean it. 

  • just a few blocks from the library and creek on 10th
  • our church is on 13th
  • biking and walking distance to the Elementary school by path and sidewalks 
  • on the lower end of our price-range
  • and the perfect size--right in the middle of the size of our first house and our last  
  • not too big, not too small
  • a rock climbing wall in the basement-seriously
  • little front yard for girls to run around in
  • and about 2 blocks from the rec-center and Lion's park

We love it.  All of us love it. We ditched the short-sale and are set to close and move on Friday.  

There are many things I am looking forward to.  Some of which surprised me.  Like wanting to use a real dining table again instead of our grotesque card table.  The very sight of this table irritates me on a level that is truly frightening. 

Also.  I hate the sinks here.  I'm not sure why, but I clean them obsessively. Although, I stopped doing this as of yesterday in an effort to distance myself and focus on what really matters: getting enough caffeine in my system to kill a small horse (or a pony, if you will, but not a dwarf pony, because I think those things are creepy).   

Our poor espresso maker that a dear friend gave us for Christmas a few years back, has also been displaced.  I didn't dare put her in either of our two storage garages, but there simply was no room for her in this shanty of a kitchen.  Yet, I still needed her presence.  So.  Here's where she's been all summer.  

That's right.  In the bottom corner of our pantry.  A shell of what she once was: the reigning queen of our previous kitchen, dare I say, our HOUSE even.  Sure, we didn't use her powers every day, but even the coffee maker that we use sometimes 3 times a day, knows she is a mere second best.  This is but a metaphor for the entire move in general.  I feel like a tired queen that got shoved in the pantry holding up boxes of EmergenC.   Only it was more like the queen  who must battle dirty hippies in our town-house community that chain smoke and strum (poorly strum) ukeleles.

So it is with great joy that I will be packing up the queen today.  Dusting her off and finding her a place of honor at our "real house".  She will reign again.  Because despite the summer of uncertainty, we DID dodge the Escalades and nobody.  NObody puts baby in the corner.  


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

We're Gonna Move

On Easter we started seriously considering attempting to move.  It suddenly clicked.  We wanted to be back in the town we loved. Immediately we broke out the Pros/Con list. Please click the link below to really get yourself in the mood for this list.  

Pros for moving to Golden:
  • It's where Aaron and I first met.
  • It's where we lived for almost 10 years--feels like home.
  • It would be closer to family.
  • We'd be intentionally downsizing.
  • It's where our church is (that we don't go to enough).
  • More biking/walking opportunities.
  • It's got that happy, "outdoorsy" feel we all LOVE.
  • Prospect of making new friends and meeting new people.
  • And lastly, (this is just a guess), more coffee shops per capita than any other city in Colorado. 

Cons for moving to Golden:
  • Showing your house is a detestable experience. 
  • Moving is a gruesome, apoplectic experience.
  • We would be moving from a ginormous dream house to what will most likely be a shanty.  
  • That shanty will probably more expensive.
  • The girls will have to change schools.
  • Loads of uncertainty.
  • Leaving good friends and good neighbors.
  • Sore backs.
  • Not even a full summer to enjoy last summer's landscaping oasis. 
  • The possibility of not finding a new house therefore having to live in my in-laws' RV for the next 3-5 years. 
 It was quite a decision.  But in a few short weeks we'd decided.  We would go for it.  And just like was on.  On like...well, not like Donkey Kong, because we never had that game as kids.  Maybe more like "On like Zaxxon,"  

You may be asking yourself, "Why the nonsensical twist of a good phrase? Zaxxon?".
a. We DID have that Atari game.
b. I was awesome at it, JUST like I'm awesome at staging a house.
c. I find it just completely hilarious that "The object of the game is to hit as many targets as possible without being shot down or running out of fuel—which can be replenished, paradoxically, by blowing up fuel drums".  -Wikipedia 
d. It was also one of the first video games to display shadows, to indicate the ship's altitude above the surface.  Take that you stupid Gorilla. 
e. I also simply hate when people say "It's on.  Like Donkey Kong."

So like many things in our lives, we decided to choose the path with the MOST resistance and rally the family to move.  And just like Zaxxon, I feel like the object is to hit as many people as possible  with house fever without being shot down ourselves or running out of fuel.  Although stressful, this has seemed much easier this time around in that we didn't have to tile anything, our girls can make their own beds and this house is fantastic.  None of which was the case the last time we moved.  

We shined, mulched, touch-upped, lost our tempers with each other and our kids, and planted pretty purple flowers.  I even resorted to baking cookies right before the showings.  Because that's just S-M-A-R-T.  I used my mom's recipe from my home-town church cookbook (which is a future blog in and of itself).  

And I only burned them once.  Which to be fair, we found out as we were packing for a weekend of camping and mtn. biking that we had a showing in less than 45 minutes.  

Just like Zaxxon, many times I needed to refuel.  This meant maybe one or two (or...more) of the famous Rose Dobler chocolate chip cookies and/or iced coffee.  Because yesterday was the hottest June 4th on record and we had two showings.  
Notice in the background the artful, yet whimsical display of lemons and limes, the fresh cut irises and how SHINY everything is??!?!!?  SOOOOOOO SHINY!

Yes.  Two showings and hopefully our last.  13 days on the market, 17 showings, 5 mowings, 7 batches of cookies, 6 iced coffee's later and we were under contract as of 5:30 a.m. today.  That was right about the time when I was shining my bike headlight into my sister's house Morse-code-like.   Lynette and her girls just arrived from Kazakhstan (I KNOW.  It sounds like ZAXXON) for the summer. Giggling maniacally.  Coincidence?  I think not.  

The girls and I later went into Golden to see them for lunch. Not sure how everything will trickle down, but I definitely felt like we were refueled for at least the day.   No showings, no stress, just coffee, giggles and summer. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

17 Crafts to Make with Tape

If our family had it's own game of Pit, it would contain only 3 hot commodities:

1. Coffee
2. Peanut Butter Panda Puffs
3. Tape

Wha?  Huh?  Not familiar with the classic Parker Bros. game of Pit?  Well, let me and my friends at Wikipedia educate you:

Still not sure how it looks when played?  Here.

The first family commodity is self-explanatory.  Coffee.  It needs little hype.  If we have coffee in the house, the world keeps turning.  If someone hogs it or we are out completely, I turn into that creepy girl from "The Ring".  The sun is eclipsed, my hair gets greasy, I walk with an unnatural gait and I start pushing people into wells.

The second commodity is quite possibly the best cereal I've ever tasted in my life.  Peanut Butter Panda Puffs.  Discovered when Bella was 4, in our pantry ever since.  Every person in our family loves it.  It's a touch expensive, but it's GLUTEN FREE! None of us are gluten intolerant, mind you, but that's beside the point.  It's also heavy on the environmentally-happy scale.  We as a family, are Panda experts!  I know all there is to know about their cuteness, habitats and the mean people trying to squash them into a gray blur of fuzz.

But the third item.  The third item seems to be out or missing 364 days out of the year despite the fact that I buy it in bulk at Costco every week.  Okay, that's an exaggeration.  I've priced it out in bulk at Costco, but the simple fact is I can't justify buying the Scotch-brand (a.k.a. "Purple rich people's tape") when I know that my girls are going to do things with it like "tape up the Barbie to make her a mummy!". So...
  • Tape is always on my grocery list.  It's a staple like, "apples" or "milk".
  • When I'm riding my bike and thinking deep thoughts, "We are out of tape," will pop into my head at least twice per ride.
  • Daily, DAILY you can hear the phrase uttered, "Where's the TAPE?"  with a little annoyed edge of emphasis on the last word.  
And really, WHERE IS IT?

Yesterday I needed some tape.  Each Friday when the girls bring home their school folders, I like to take the new week's spelling words and TAPE them next to their breakfast place-mats for easy memorization. I also like to tape my kids to their chairs in order to ENSURE the memorization process works.  Kidding.  I would never do that. It would be a waste of a precious commodity.  Aren't you paying attention???!!  But the "why" is not important.  It's never important.  It's really just the WHY NOT?  As in why can't I use it when I want and/or need it?  And of course the tape was missing.

"Where is the TAPE?"  I asked aloud, to no one in particular.  Again, it's the same voice I use when I ask, "Who drank all the COFFEE?!"  Or "Who ate all the Peanut Butter Panda Puffs and left the EMPTY BOX in the PANTRY?!??!"  It's a voice that my family has learned to hide from in silence.  So I went on my daily process of elimination scavenger hunt for the 17 missing rolls of tape.

Come along.  Let's take a tour, shall we?  And let's start with where the tape is NOT. 

It certainly wasn't in "the drawer" next to the chap-stick and the glue-sticks--which have their own story of mistaken identity and mayhem that will have to be covered a different day.

It wasn't in "the homework bin" where the girls have their own personal stash in order to not take MINE.

It wasn't at the top of the steps where there was something sinister going on with "Baby" that involved costume changes and torn up "to-do" lists.

It wasn't in Gabby's room...although to be fair, I wasn't really going to set foot in there to find out.

It wasn't in Bella's room. And I have to say that I suspected her all along.  She got a new "American Girl" magazine with the following headline, "17 Crafts to make with tape".  What??!?!?  What kind of article is that?  And seventeen?!  I mean, I'll give you one or two, but seriously.  17?  Thank you, American Girl.  What's next month, "17 crafts to make with your mommy's earrings and coffee beans!"? But it really wasn't there.  Bella's taken on a new obsession with a clean room--which I'd show you, but she made me promise no pictures.

It wasn't on "my side of the office" with a plethora of art supplies and anything else you might need for a sudden Armageddon. 

Well this was baffling.  UNTIL.  I turned just a quarter turn to Aaron's side of the office and there it was.  Two.  TWO rolls of tape just lying by the wayside all sad and mildly dejected.  Not even being USED!  What does he need tape for?  He's an engineer!  I'd be surprised if he even knew HOW to use it...unless he read the March/April edition of American Girl magazine.  This commodity is not really for all four of us.  It's mainly a 3/4 family commodity.  And to have 2 rolls, so haphazardly strewn about was just an insult to the 3 people in the family that NEED it. 


I quickly scooped up the two rolls, put one in the girls homework bin.  The other?  I hid it in the empty coffee can, in the cabinet above the microwave.  The same coffee can that I hide my chocolate.  The good chocolate that friends give me and I refuse to share with the other savages in my family. 

Is this what I've become?  A grown woman who hides tape and chocolate in an empty coffee can from her family?  Yes.  And I'm perfectly fine with that.  Feel free to stop on by for a cup of coffee or a bowl of Peanut Butter Panda Puffs.  But if you come a knockin' for some tape, I will back away, closer to the microwave, guarding my precious stash and mumble something like, "I know we have some tape somewhere.  You should check the drawer."

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Precioussssssssssssssssssss

It is a well known fact that I hate Winter.  Everything about it, really.  And I kind of resent all those people who say with stars in their eyes, "Oh, I just LOVE winter!"  I'll bet they're the same type of people who say, "I LOVED being pregnant," or, "I just LOVE newborns."  Both of those things, I could appreciate, but they scared the snowflakes out of me.

Do you know how many horror stories I read/movies I watched regarding pregnancies before getting pregnant?  Rose Mary's Baby was a real downer.  I just woke up every morning thankful that I didn't live in an apartment building in New York, because that would have put my already over-active imagination into maximum over-drive.

And newborns.  I still have PTSD when I hear a newborn goat-cry at King Soopers.  Makes me put both hands up to my chest to see if I need to nurse one side to even the ladies out.  Winter is much the same way.  Yes, I know it makes little sense, but I associate the same scary feelings that I had with pregnancy/newborns with Winter.  Proabably because Bella (our first) was born on November 4th.  I don't really remember anything until Valentine's Day.  That February 14th it rained, while I was out for a walk with Bella in the stroller.  It felt and looked like Spring and I literally fell to a park bench sobbed with relief.

Over the weekend I got a hefty dose of Winter.  Friday night we went to the Old Golden Christmas where we participated in a candlelight walk in 18 degrees.  In my perfect world, it could still snow when it's 50 degrees.  18 was sick.  I, of course, lost my gloves somewhere on the main street of Golden (probably in front of the Ace Tavern). Hurt cold. The kind of cold where we all had to put on our big-girl pants (aside from Aaron) and just decide to do it.  Gabby's fur-lined coat almost caught on fire multiple times, as did the highly flammable Strawberry Shortcake scarf circa 1979 that was mine as a child.

But we survived.   We stayed the night in downtown Golden for kicks, had breakfast and then came home to make a snow cave out back with the girls.  I ended the day in the basement on my bike trainer bitterly pounding out a raging cadence on my bike as if I could ride my way to Arizona or Spring--I'm not picky.

But if I thought this was bad, I was in for a treat because Sunday proved to be much, much worse.  This year in an effort to force the love of Winter into me, we've gotten a family pass to Eldora.  We had planned on skiing on Sunday.  Why not?  I mean why-hi-hi-hi not?  We have a PASS!  I still don't think I properly recovered from Friday night.  I woke up like a petulant toddler when I looked outside and knew it was cold.  Just knew it.  This was confirmed when I saw the temperature.  It was 9 degrees.  9 DEGREES.  And what made me even more bratty was when I realized in bed that I had used the last of my half-n-half in my Friday coffee and had forgotten to get more.

This wouldn't be a big deal for the average person.  But as I've gotten older, I've definitely become ingrained in my precious (said in a Gollem voice) routines.

Gollem's Precious

I LOVE to read the paper and drink coffee with the perfect amount of half-n-half and sugar.  My newspaper subscription ran out again over Thanksgiving, now I was out of half-n-half (which renders my coffee useless and gross) and it was 9 degrees and we were going skiing.  FOUL.  FOUL.  FOULEST of crank.  I should be a grown-up and either be able to adapt, or just NOT LET MY SUBSCRIPTION and supply of half-n-half run out.  I did neither and now my family was going to pay. 

The car ride up was one word answers from me when Aaron would try to engage.  We stepped outside and I was shocked.  SHOCKED with how cold it really was.

The day went down from there.  At our picnic lunch in the lodge, I kept looking at the price board tracing with my eyes how much coffee would be.  Fantasizing.  I almost cried at the thought of going back out.  Walking back from the lodge to the lift, it was now 5 degrees, and I couldn't get my scarf up over my face with my gloves, ski lanyard, helmet, holding my board and Gabby's skis.  What happened next was straight out of a Clark W. Griswold's how to book.

I dropped my snowboard and yelled through the wind and snow to Aaron (who had now lost patience with my sour grapes attitude), "JUST KEEP GOING!  I need to fix my SCARF!"

"NO!  We'll wait."

Uh-oh. In an effort to "ski together as a family,"  Aaron will often try to "wait" on me.  Honestly, this just made me angrier.  I'm sure he wished he hadn't. 

I dropped Gabby's skis and started playing with my scarf.  I couldn't get it wrapped around my face.  So my first instinct was to take my gloves off.  This lasted 4 seconds.  I yelped with pain, put them back on, got the velcro stuck on the scarf, started fighting with the scarf like I fought with my older sister in middle school.  Slapping the air and punching half-heartedly, further tangling myself.  I was muttering and I think I even kicked and stomped a touch.  Not my finest hour. 

Aaron just shook his head and started plodding on with the girls following miserably behind. This was their mother.

Two feeble runs later, we were on our way home.  Aaron was not talking to me. 

Later, after I'd given it considerable thought, I approached him, still wearing a coat, two pairs of socks, a hat and a scarf inside our house.

"I'm sorry.  I didn't bring my A-game today."
"That's one way of putting it."
"It was really cold. You know I hate the cold."
"You made that clear."
"I also didn't really have any coffee this morning and didn't have the paper to read on the way up."
"I made coffee, there was plenty."
"Well, yeah.  But...there was no half-n-half."
He hollered up the stairs, "Girls!  Mama is going to the store right now to get half-n-half, or 'her precious'.  Anyone want to go?"
"NO THANKS!" (they both called in unison).
Looking back at me he said, "Order that paper tomorrow.  Are you going to wear that coat all night?"
"Maybe.  I'm still cold.  Sorry."
"It's okay."

So I went to the store last night, ordered the paper this morning and was hustling around doing the laundry this morning with a spark in my eye, and a whistle in my heart.  Suddenly I got a Gollem-like feeling that someone was messing with my precious.

Aaron is working from home today.  "Surely not," I thought.  "He wouldn't".  I was on the stairs with the laundry basket.I yelled down to Aaron who was in the kitchen, "Hey!  I am still planning on drinking more coffee, so don't throw it out."

Often times I won't get to my coffee until at least 10 when I've really earned it.  I was so so looking forward to it this morning--the self control that it took to not pour it into a trough and snorkel in it was epic.

"Uhhhhh.  You're kidding right.  Didn't you have some?  There's no more.  In fact, honey.  I really had to force that last cup down just because I didn't want it to go to waste."  12 cups.  GONE.

I dropped to the ground with the laundry basket spilling all over and screamed, "NOOOOOOOO!!  MY PRECIOUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!  Baby, WHY?!?!?!?  WHY??!?!?!?!?"

"Sorry," as he came back up the stairs and stepped over me delicately.  "But you can make more later.  At least you got your half-n-half and paper, right?"

Better stake your claim ladies.  Or at least make enough on weekends and days the hubby works from home.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Witch Barbie Got Scalped

Bella has recently turned 9, but it seems as if she's stuck on fast-forward and is now a ripe and rowdy 13 year old.  Sassy with a capital Frassy. The sassier and surlier she becomes, the more coffee I tend to drink.

This morning I easily consumed at least 6 cups of coffee.  Real cups.  Delicious cups.  I realize now, that perhaps it was over-kill.  In addition to making me feel very productive, it also apparently sharpened my senses and my tongue.  So while I was putting away some skiing stuff, Thanksgiving sleep-over items and some remaining Halloween straggler items, Bella came up and asked me to put her Barbie's hair in a "nice, tight twisty bun, because she is a teacher."  I took one look at said Barbie, narrowed my eyes and said, "Oh, my.  Did you cut her hair?  Of course you did. SHE LOOKS HORRIBLE."

Now, I was stating the truth.  She truly did.  I'm pretty sure she was a Halloween Witch Barbie with an orange and black streak that now was missing--starting at the scalp.  As was a large chunk of her hair on the underside of her head.  And many, many layers were gone in... all sorts of areas.  I couldn't care less about the cutting. I kind of hate Barbies.   But I DID care about how the conversation progressed.

"....No.  No I didn't cut it."
"Well, doggone, honey.  Of course you did.  It's obvious."
"...I don't know who did that and she DOESN'T LOOK HORRIBLE."
"Um...I beg to differ.  I DO know who did and she really does look horrible.  I mean if I took a chunk of my hair from here (and I grabbed a chunk) and here (and I grabbed another) and I whacked it off, I would look horrible too."

It was at this moment that Bella's upper lip began to tremble.  She grabbed the Barbie from me and said very stiffly:
"Okay.  Thank you for your help. I'd like to go now.  I didn't do it and she DOESN'T look horrible."

Then she retreated to the sanctuary of her room, closed the door and began to sob quietly.  So I waited for about 10 minutes and went in to apologize for hurting her feelings.  She still denied that she did it in a way I HATE which is to say, "I don't remember IF I did it.  It's been like this for MONTHS!  I have a SISTER, you know.  She may have done it."

"Hmmm.  Yes, you do have a sister, but no, she didn't do it. We both know this.  I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings, but honestly, I've cut enough doll hair in my life to know a thing or two about this.  It NEVER works out.  Never.  It will NEVER look as good as you think it will when you get the idea to cut it.  And just so you know, this also applies to cutting your own hair, which I also have done and REGRETTED many times in my life."

She was lucky I didn't go into telling her how supportive undergarments will also be an immense let-down and a regret should she ever decide to buy and wear them at any point in her life.  And that prom will suck.  Why must I ruin?  Why must I lecture a teachable moment away?  Why must I take these minimal consequence learning opportunities out of my child's child-hood.

Plus, I still use a hot-glue gun to repair holes in my jeans, so I really can't judge, now can I?

The lying makes me grumpy, but then again, it's the end of November.  The upcoming holiday frenzy makes me grumpy.  The sudden lack of daylight makes me grumpy--it's all gray outside and...coldish...and gross.  Which is why I tend to over-caffeinate.

Besides.  The overt ugliness of the Barbie's hair will most likely teach her more than my lecturing.  Natural consequences only work when you don't lecture them down the drain.  The lying will most likely take care of itself through natural consequences as well.  Like the missing hair from ugly, scalped Witch Barbie, a lie can never be hidden.  She'll learn that too. 

Tomorrow, perhaps I'll lay off the coffee a touch.  Or at least not try to match her, cup for sass.  That's a contest that no one can win. Plus, maybe it's best that I don't have "Spidee senses".  In fact, I'm pretty sure that sometimes as a mom, it's best to just go glassy-eyed and not worry about the details.  Witch Barbie wasn't "all that" to begin with.  In fact, she was sort of trashy.  Now she just looks like the really popular girl from "Sixteen Candles" after they cut her hair out of the door.  Talk about natural consequences.  No one lectured that girl, they just watched her stumble down the steps. 

Less lecturing, more stumbling, and maybe decaf--my mantra for tomorrow.

Send a friend a postcard to show you still care and you need to get together for coffee to discuss your dysfunctional children. 

Cranky Mommy's Decaf Postcard

  Decaf style.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dreaded Timed Math Test Mansion

Once upon a time before I was a cranky mama, I was a happy, well-adjusted, patient 4th grade teacher.  I adored this job.  Loved the kids, read-alouds, recess, science units, all of it.  Well, mostly all of it.  All of it but the homework.  Such a waste of God-given time; creating, assigning and grading.  I mean really.  Teachers hate it, parents hate it and kids hate it.  It was only a matter of time before that trifecta hit our house full-force.  Now I'm a former teacher who hates it, a parent who hates it with kids who hate it. 

I would never spread this crank rhetoric to my kids aloud. That would be foolish.  So I complain to my husband instead.  And at this point I have little to complain about.  Kindergarten was rough, but the amount of homework has actually subsided now that our girls are 2nd and 3rd graders.  So now it's not necessarily the homework amount, but the nightly practice of the dreaded timed math tests.  Or DTMT's, as I will now refer to them.   If this were a movie, it would open like this:

"Timed Math-test Mansion"
(you'll never get out alive)

*Ominous thunder and lightning open around a haunted dilapidated mansion.  Shot pans into two filthy, emaciated little girls in a dungeon, pounding out their math facts on a dirt floor with sticks.  In the background screams and moans are floating down the hallway of "the kids who didn't pass".  

Bella: "Mama.  What is 14-6? Mama?!  I know you know.  Why is this so HARD?"
Gabby: "Shhhh.  I need to CONCENTRATE!"
Bella: "It would be great if this was done and I could read.  Just read, read, read, readreadread...or do cursive."
Gabby: "BELLA!  SHHHHHHHHHH!  I can't do this with you TALKING and talking and TALKING!"

*more thunder and lightning and sounds of rats scurrying.

Suddenly you hear a faint raspy female voice from the cell next to the girls:

Mama: "Girls.  Just think about it like two sets of apples.  There are 14.  Seven in each pile and then you take one from one pile and give it to another and ....mmmm.  Apples. Wait.  What was I saying?  Just finish the sheet of problems so we can leave this EVIL PLACE!"

Aaron has a very different take on math.  Being an engineer, he would.  I was a theater major.  Yes.  A theater major.  I took a self-paced set of math classes at CU thinking it would be easier.  It wasn't.  I took several of them over.  Yes.  I failed self-paced math. 

Aaron: "Well, I don't understand the stigma behind math.  It's the one subject where there is a right and wrong.  It's not like you don't know what's on the test.  Or the answer.  You study. Mystery solved."


So last night we went to watch and cheer for Aaron at a bike race.  Being a school night, we took our homework.  This consists of a tote bag with the following:
  • snacks
  • water
  • coffee for me (5 o'clock, shmive o' clock)
  • a clear plastic pocket that holds the DTMT's (100 problems)
  • two dry erase markers
  • an old sock to erase between practices
  • reading folders
  • books
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • glue
  • and a razor blade to slit my wrists when things go bad on the homework front
Well at about lap one, things did in fact go badly.  The dust from the course set off Bella's allergies into a full-blown sneezing fit.  Which she and I found hilarious.  Gabby, who was working on the DTMT's, did NOT find this funny.  She scowled as she fired off, "Bella!  STOP SNEEZING!  I'm trying to do my MATH!"
"Well, I can't (sneeze) help it (sneeze)!"

Next, Aaron "rolled a wheel".  Which means his tire came off his wheel and he crashed.  He was also none too pleased and now his facial expression matched Gabby's.  Things went from bad to worse and soon Gabby was laying down on the blanket in the fetal position.  I was just reaching for the razor blade to slice and dice the math sheet (Not my wrists!  Studies show that women just don't do that outside the bathtub because they view it as too messy.), when the race finally ended and we called it quits.

Later, as I was putting Gabby to bed, the tears flowed and it turned out she had a really bad day.  It was kind of like the scene in Goonies where Chunk is confessing to the Fratellis all the bad stuff he's done and crying and sobbing.  

Only she hadn't done anything, she was just really sad that the DTMT's had been moved up two days early due to field day and she had done really badly (in her eyes).  And she had to sit by the mean kids.

How do we get out of this horrid Mansion?  It's truly an old black-and-white episode of the Twilight Zone.  I envision Rod Serling just sitting on our steps narrating the whole damn mess night after night.  

Aaron has sort of taken over on this.  I think he's worried that I've passed on my crappy math skills to the girls in vitro.  Which may be the case.   Either way.  From now on, I'm keeping a pot on hand night after night until we move onto the next, sub-floor of the mansion...Multiplication.

*cue thunder and lightning as Rod Serling narrates the questions below:

Do you need a magnet to hold up last week's failure of a test, thereby rocking your child's self-esteem?

Or perhaps something to carry it all when your homework isn't at home?