Thursday, December 7, 2017

I Haven't Received A Gift From Santa In Years. Trying Out The Squeaky Wheel Strategy. Nothing To Lose!

It's 7:30 in the morning, I've run Ellie to the bus stop, slipping over pre-dawn frozen streets in my Keen's. But gracefully, like a chicken on ice. I've been up since 5:30 doing things like unloading the dishwasher, making breakfast (a hot breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast and fruit, I'd like to point out) and added this morning? Unloading, unstacking, unpeeling everything from the girl's bunk beds in search of Katie's retainer. Oooohhh, I found it. It was way back in the dark corner, where dust bunnies throw raves with used Kleenexes, behind the magazines, the slippers, the dirty socks, bouncy balls, cut up cardboard shoe boxes, and a bunch of other junk I have no idea why they feel they need to keep! Old glow sticks? Why?? They don't glow anymore, children!!

Then, instead of eating my breakfast, I got to spend the rest of the early morning wrestling clean sheets onto the bunk beds.

Remember bunk beds? I never had one, but, oh my goodness, did I covet my friend's. There was no better way to sleep, in my eyes, than 5 1/2 feet up in the air. I was convinced I'd be able to hear the morning chirping of the birds better, rainbows would appear, I'd be hidden from everyone in the house, perched high up on the top bunk of my bed. But mostly, I'd be able to look down on my sister, far, far down on the ground, and say witty things like, "I have a bunk bed and you don't, nah, nah, nah, nah, naaah, nahhh."

But, ever since purchasing a bunk bed for Katie and Ellie, all that magic is gone. And, I'm sorry to say, childhood Martha, but, bunk beds? are stupid. And dumb. And, and....all sorts of bad words I can't bring myself to type. Because, dude, who here has ever changed the sheets on these things? I KNOW! First off, how can the children sleep with all that junk in their beds? Today, I pulled out 12 books, 37 stuffed animals, a skirt, a ball, a plastic toy from some fast food place, 5 magazines, 8 used glow sticks, one slipper and a hanger! Who sleeps with a hanger!?! And then, when I finally got to the whole sheet part... it was like yoga, but, stupider, more like...I don't know-Pilates. Not kidding, it was full on monkey squats* for like, 20 minutes as I waddled up and down that mattress trying to tuck in sheets and blankets.

It's probably safe to say, no one when to school with a smile on their face this morning. No. One.

So, Santa, you want to know what I really want for Christmas this year?

I would like the children to pick up their own junk and throw it away.

I would like the children to change the sheets on their own stupid bunk beds.

I would like the children to quit whining and complaining when I ask them to pick up their room.

Heck, man, Santa? I would like the children to quit whining and complaining about me whining and complaining about their chaotic, befouled, grubby, neglected hole of a room when I have to actually walk into it to fish their retainer out from under the bed with a broom.

And, lastly? I would like a sequel made of "Santa With Muscles" because, when you have a Christmas movie starring Hulk Hogan playing a millionaire who thinks he's Santa Claus sword fighting a guy in an astronaut type suit with a magic crystal broken off from a mine underneath a church, you have the best Christmas movie of all time calling out for a sequel. For reals.



Don't let the one star rating on IMDB fool you.

The whole movie is free on You Tube.

Merry Christmas!






*FYI: Monkey Squats

Thursday, November 30, 2017

It's November 30th And The End Of The Month. This Is The Only Reason For This Post.

I sit down to write. I get up and walk away.  I sit myself down again, and again, I'm up, walking, pacing the house for, like, 30 seconds. I'm not sitting too much longer than that, either. Ellie is in the kitchen, making her lunch. I have nowhere I need to be, nothing I need to do or help with. I just need to take the few minutes I have to sit, to type, to see words appear on a computer screen. But, somehow, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, I can't concentrate. It's too late for coffee, so it's just me, my water glass and a bag of tortilla chips I've secreted under my desk.

This can be slow going. No, that was my passive voice. This IS slow going. And boring. And other words I don't need to type because they're all there, in your head, lined up all neat and organized one after the other. Like a marching band. Or a crossword puzzle.

OK. I'm putting the chips away now. Don't let me have any more chips until I've typed a real thing on this computer.

A couple weeks ago, Ellie's Girl Scout troop participated in a robots class. Guess who was asked to help? I'm serious, they actually wanted me to help these girls program computers to program the robots to draw with markers. Guys? I only know how one of those steps work. (And, yes, it's the markers, that wasn't a hard thing to guess.) I don't know why I agree to these things either. I need a button. A big button. (It has to be big, so people will read it.) That says, "I know as much about computers as your great grandmother". Which will work brilliantly, as long as I start every conversation with, "Is your great grandmother Dorothy Vaughan?" Because, obviously, my button doesn't apply to those people.

Long story set in a library with a bunch of Brownies wielding computers, short, we killed the computer. I DON'T KNOW WHAT I HAD THEM DO! But, the screen, went like, blank at one point. Now, it didn't break forever. Just until one of the teen volunteers could come over and fix it for us, while telling me exactly what I did wrong and how to avoid doing what I did, or something like that. Truthfully? I wasn't listening to her, because I had given up any hope of successfully helping program robots and decided, instead, to take control of the only other item on the table I had any familiarity with: the masking tape.

And no one asked me to do anything different for the rest of the class.

Near as I could tell by their expressions:

the robots totally approved.



And now? 
I eat the chips again. 
Because I've earned them. 
Obviously.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Awkward Conversations. On Halloween. Out Loud. Because It's Scarier. And They Promised Me A Cupcake.

It's three days after October 31st. Which means, if you have elementary sized children, you either successfully ignored all pleas for help at the classroom Halloween party* OR you were tricked into volunteering through an onslaught of email guilt. And the promise of cupcakes.

Guess which one I felt forced to chose the other day?


AWKWARD CONVERSATIONS WITH MARTHA
(Class Halloween Party Edition)
NONE OF WHICH WAS CARRIED OUT IN MY OWN HEAD 
BUT I WAS DRESSED AS JULIETTE GORDON LOW

Obviously.

BECAUSE I WAS PROMISED A CUPCAKE
AND IT WAS HALLOWEEN
ALTHOUGH, LET'S FACE IT, 
THE FIRST REASON WAS THE MOST PERSUASIVE



Conversation #1
Scene: Arriving at the school office. In costume. To eat cupcakes volunteer at the classroom party.
School Employee: (coming face to face with me as they are exiting the office) Your highness! (holds door open, does one of those European courtly bow and scrape things)
Me: (in my, "I didn't think before I opened my mouth" tone) Uh. Noooo. Not a queen. (gestures in turn to Brownie sash and birthday crown) Juliette. Gordon. Low.
School Employee: Um?.?. I...
Me: (walks through door. Thinks. Turns back around. ) Oh! But, you know, thanks for holding the door for me anyway, even if I'm not a queen!

Conversation #2
Scene: In the classroom, next to the q-tip skeleton craft
Other Mom, probably here for the cupcakes too/OM,PHFTCT: And you are...a birthday queen?
Me: Oh, no! I'm Juliette Gordon Low. She was born on October 31, 1860, so today is my birthday, or (chuckle) really her birthday because I'm just dressed as Daisy. (smile)
OM,PHFTCT: (pausing) I don't think I know who that is.
Me: (In my "I learned from the previous conversation not to think everyone will know who I am but that's ok, I can explain it to them" tone) Ohhh! She founded Girl Scouts in 1912, but, one of the things she was know for, was, after going to fancy parties (swirl skirt) she would typically be found fishing (hold up fishing rod) late at night in her ball gown. She was a very interesting woman! In fact, there was this-
OM, PHFTCT: (quickly) Oh! I forgot! I was, I was, supposed to help organize the, um, mummy yarn craft. So, sorry.

Conversation #3
Scene: Near the cupcake table, waiting for the children to fill their plates and leave. So I can eat a cupcake.
Some Other Mom: (friendly, with a smile) Hi! I'm Sally.
Me: (barely glancing up from cupcakes, mentally trying to figure out the cupcake to student ratio) Hi! I'm Martha.
Some Other Mom: (friendly, smiling) How are you?
Me: (quick glance from the cupcakes, so I don't look rude) Good. How are you?
Some Other Mom:  (friendly, smiling) Good.
Me: (caught up in mental cupcake math) Nice. Good to hear. And how are you?
Some Other Mom:  (silence)
Me: (REALLY looking away from cupcakes this time) Ummm. (pause) We already did that part of the conversation, didn't we? 


Eventually I did make it to the snack table.

But, as I looked forlornly and predictably at an empty cupcake platter scattered with crumbs, I thought to myself, "WWDD**?"

And that's when I went fishing.

For cupcakes.

Off of Katie's plate.

Which, in my defense, I offered to give back if I could tell her just one more of my Juliette Gordon Low stories.

But...

she refused.

So I ate it.



*High Five, by the way! Ignore all the glares from all those teacher type readers over there.
**What Would Daisy Do?

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Halloween Costumes For Kids. You're Trying Too Hard.

Halloween is like, three days away, people. Do you have your kid's costumes all ready?

Hahahahahahaha! Yeah...... Me too.

But, in my case, the Halloween unpreparedness?  That's all on the children. Because since the age of two my kids have insisted on making their own costumes. Now, I'm sure you're sitting there, thinking, "*pish* Someone's a big ol' liar with fiery pants hangin' up there on that telephone wire." But, listen, it's true. See, I realize that, in society's eyes, good moms make their kid's Halloween costumes. They plan, they paint, they sew, or at the very least they go to a store and buy them a costume. In August. And I tried to do that! Once. When Katie was all small and such. But she was having NONE of it! She insisted she was going to wear her pink bandanna like a cape and be Super Senorita or nothing! And, well, parenting is all about raising independent autonomous people, right? So I let her. Because that's also what good moms do. (Who might also be a touch lazy.)

Note: I was going to include a pic of Katie in her Super Senorita costume in this post, but, my computer somehow deleted, like, all the pictures from 2009. Which is, like, really bad. I mean, if I had been responsible for those photos, I'd totally wouldn't have lost them. Related Note: This is why computers shouldn't have babies.

But! You?! You are ready to dress your sweet little one in a costume. One made with love, and time, and maybe a wee small dusting of societal pressure. So, this morning, while my children were out into the backyard with cardboard, a couple cans of spray paint and some yarn making their own costumes, I sat down with a cup of coffee and  five four three a decreasing pile of peanut butter cups stolen from the Halloween candy bowl. To search the Internets. For the worst baby and toddler costumes out there. So you can avoid them.



Bad Costume #1:
The Mandrake

This may seem all cute, with that sign saying
"screams not yet lethal,
but may cause extended periods of unconsciousness".
BUT!
Dudes, you've read the books, right?
What happens to them at the end of The Chamber of Secrets?
Yeah.
They kill them.
Maybe we should examine the whole story line before dressing our babies in this costume. Hmmm?
Bad Costume #2:
The Pinata

Do you really want to spend the whole night yelling,
"Quit hitting your sister! There is no candy in the baby!"
Because, you know at least one of your kids will try it. 

Bad Costume #3:
The Bun In The Oven
This costume really should be avoided if you already have children.
Unless human overpopulation is a cause you care about.
A lot.

Bad Costume #4: 
Spaghetti

Ok, yes, it's cute. But,
unless that's real spaghetti,
you know that costume is going to be hanging out
in places you don't want it hanging out from
for a loooong time.
Because babies put everything in their mouths.
And then swallow them.
And they have digestive systems.
That terminate in their diapers.
I may have strung that explanation out a bit too much.
Bad Costume #5:

The Thanksgiving Turkey

What do we do with Thanksgiving turkeys?
Put them in the oven.
What do we not want to do with babies?


Exactly.

Bad Costume #6:
The Candy Machine

Just who is giving candy to whom here?
This costume is way too confusing.
Skip it.

Bad Costume #7:
Two Headed Baby

The emotional imprint alone people...
Bad Costume #8:

The Cannibal

Your kid has a peanut allergy. We get it.
But,
and I say this as a friend,
this is taking that protective parent thing
just a little too far.

You know what being a lazy parent who lets their kids plan and make their own costumes means? 

It means, your kids are way too happily crafting to notice you eating each and every peanut butter cup from the Halloween candy bowl. 

If you hide from them. 

In the basement. 





What's the worst kid Halloween costume you've found?

Friday, October 20, 2017

October And Anne Shirley Can Stuff It

September, that sirenous month full of the first few weeks of school and parental freedom, has lured me in once again, smelling of quiet cups of coffee in the kitchen, sunshine and secret boxes of Chez-Its hidden from the children. Gets me every year. (read next bit in a high pitched stupid whiny voice) I have time! Look! I can go for a run, prep dinner, do laundry, Photoshop pictures of "vomit" from my front yard, cure cancer, end world hunger, cut the children's hair! Whoo! Hoo! There is no end to my productivity!! I have super powers! (insert one of those rude fart noise people make with their lips here) Stupid 1/12th of a Gregorian calendar seductress.

But then comes October, making it's asinine pew pew noises as it shoots down hour after hour of my free time, like one of those duck galleries at the state fair. "Mom, we have some school forms for you to fill out!" "Six pages? For each of you?" pew pew "Would you be interested in volunteering in Ellie's classroom each week?" pew pew "We need weekly volunteer's at Katie's school, anyone available?" pew pew "Hey! How about our Girl Scout troop meets every week!" pew pew "We're looking for a few parents to volunteer at tonight's school..." pew pew  "Mom, are you going to lead my Girl Scout troop this year, too?" pew pew "I can schedule Katie at 10 am on Wednesday with the dentist, but can't get Ellie in until 2:15 on Friday. Will that be a problem?" pew pew

Dudes? Do you know what this means? It means I have to make a schedule now. For my time. Because it's not mine any longer. (I can see all you working parents you know, through the computer screen, with your eye rolls and judgey attitude. Shut up.) My days have been stolen and it's stinky! I mean, no longer do I usher the little children onto the bus in the mornings, go back home and drink coffee, eat secret cheese flavored crackers while finishing up my book from the library, knowing all things that need doing will be done in good time. NooooOOOOoooo. I have to be all efficient. Making a schedule. And other stupid stuff.

And, you know what? I think I deserve a little pity.
.
.
.
.
.
Or empathy.
.
.
.
.
.
Or compassion.
.
.
.
.
.
Or maybe just some commiseration??
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

(collapses over keyboard) 

Fiiiiiinne.  

*angry sigh*

I'll be an adult this school year.

But, I'm not changing out of my yoga pants.

And

each Friday I'm still going to go to the zoo for the penguin's live trout feeding.

Because those penguins are hilarious!

Me and all the preschooler zoo regulars think so.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

My Kids Know More About Jigsaw Jones Than Sherlock Holmes.

My kids loose things. All. The. Time. Shoes, lunch boxes, library books, hairbrush, pajamas, special stuffed animals they simply can't sleep without, water bottles, backpacks.... I'm literally talking everything that they can physically pick up with their own two hands, set down again in a slightly different place, walk away from for like 20 seconds-Poof! *gasp* It's gone!

And, people, there are days, I look them dead in the eyes, when they have asked me to find something for them, and think, "Dude. Are you, kidding me with this? Because, I can't-I can't even-you know what? I'm gonna-I'm gonna-I'm just gonna goooo...pour myself another cup of addiction caffeine coffee and, just, take a beat." And then, I turn to my dealer coffee pot, and pour that cup full to the brim and say, in my best Snow White voice, "Oh, sweetie. It sounds like it's time to put on that detective cap and break out your mad Jigsaw Jones Skillz."

Because parenting through the exploitation of popular children's literature is kinda my thing.

And, yesterday, when I was on my third Jigsaw Jones poured cup of coffee of the morning, I realized that, last week, when I asked you all to play the


Is it Vomit 
OR
Is It Diarrhea? 
Game

I asked you all to play without providing any Jigsaw Jones clues. Which someone pointed out to me on Facebook. Anonymously. *cough*Ginger*cough*


A List of Jigsaw Jones Clues 
About This Picture:


That I Took Of A Mystery Substance
That Showed Up In My Yard
A Week Ago

1. Smell
There was no smell, really, to speak of. Which, could be a red flag for most people, but, see, unlike at least 51.09% of the world's population, I've been pregnant. Twice. And that lack of smell? All it did was bring back, in vivid recollection, the time my friend invited me over for dinner and made bean soup. Not 10 minutes after eating a whole bowl full, up it came. Into the toilet. And guys? It totally smelled the same, and, a detail you didn't need to know, but, must be shared to keep the spirit of every pregnancy story ever told alive, it full on tasted just the same. (I'm telling you it was a really good soup, Edna! Both times!)

2. Visual
Really, this one was pretty much covered in the Snap-Chatted pic above. And, anyone that's parented a child with diarrhea will tell you that, sometimes? You can see aaaallll the bits. (Especially corn.) Yes, even after their food has ridden that twisty roller coaster called the large intestine.
Like looking in a mirror, people.

A scary butt mirror. 
3. Taste.
No.

4. Previous Knowledge
This would not be the first time I'd found weird things in my yard. I mean, sure, it's not a weekly occurrence, but, it happens! I mean, these items can range from an answer to prayer to, well, kinda creepy, really.

  • a cute little kitten who shows up when I enjoy my morning cup of coffee outside
  • a pair of glasses
  • a car radiator 
  • a pair of pants with $250 in the pocket

5. The Lay of the Land (aka) The Inside Straight (aka) The Skinny (aka) All The Cluez Jon Pointed Out When He Got Home After I Yelled, "Come Look At This! It's Gross!" And Dragged Him Back Outside
  • An opened bag of kelp fertilizer
  • A watering can, three feet away, dregs of mystery substance inside
  • Drying water(?) rivulets coming out from main... deposit
  • Jon and the girls planted carrots at the beginning of the summer next to the fence just outside the picture

So, after writing down all these clues in pixels and Javascript, I realize that the world can't really be broken up into two camps: vomit and diarrhea. I mean, there are probably many different Sherlockian deductions one could come to with all this info. 

A Sample Deduction, 
For Illustrative Purposes, 
Obviously

Someone, in the dark of the night, stumbled into our yard, saw the bag of kelp fertilizer left sitting on the deck stairs, and thought, "Kelp. That's seaweed! Duuuuuude! It's free sushi in a bag!" (Did I mention, in my head, this person is, like, really drunk). 

The inebriated person pulls out a spoon (which they keep on their person for obvious ice cream reasons) and begins to shovel the kelp fertilizer directly into their stomachs, through their mouths because this is a believable deduction and doesn't have aliens in it. 

Almost immediately, the inebriated person's stomach yells out, "THIS IS NOT SUSHI!" And projectile vomits into the watering can, sitting just to the left of the not really sushi kelp bag.

And, just like when you were 6 and you vomited into your sister's sand bucket on the family road trip, guilt sets in, and our inebriated friend tries desperately to clean out the watering can using the garden hose. 

It doesn't work, and they scramble off, leaving a big pile of:

in my yard. 


Jon has his own, different deduction, but, let's face it. He left the kelp fertilizer out on the deck. He's cheating. 


Note: In the spirit of fair play and wanting to keep all felony charges off my record, I should probably award all players of the Is It Vomit Or Is It Diarrhea? Game 250 points and send each and every one of you a box of mac and cheese. 

Yes, even if you don't want it, Anonymous. Because them's the rules. And I know where you live! 

Ok. That sounded creepy. Don't worry, Internet, Anonymous knows it's not. 

Probably.

WAIT!
OR!

You can comment on this post! With your own deduction!! And I'll send you TWO boxes of mac and cheese!!!

Or none....

*sigh*

If you insist. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Kids Have Gone To School. I Live In The City. I Can Make A Game Out Of That! (P.S. I'm Sorry)

My kids have gone back to school this last week.

Dudes! The house is so QUIET!

Plus? I can, like, get soooo much done!

For instance, today? I was, like, super efficient and was able to get out in the front yard, do some weeding AND play a round of the game:


Is It Vomit?
 Or 
Is It Diarrhea?


Which, as everyone knows, can only be played properly

With pictures.

Close-ups. 

But classy close-ups. 



Wait, Mr. DeMille, 

I can totally make this picture classier. 

Totes better. 

Ok, fine, I know what you're thinking, "Martha, it's 2017, not 1952,  people don't classy things up DeMille style anymore, you need to Snap Chat that.......stuff."

Really? 

Oh.

Huh. 

I mean, well... sure. 

I guess I could!


How's that? 

Maybe add a filter?


And a frame!!



Step. Back. Willis.

I have the most 'tim-mate idea! Ev. Er.

1) Snap Chat flower wreath,

2) Filter it with a vintage Polaroid look

AND FINALLY

3) A funky camera angle to show that the unidentified crap in my yard doesn't take itself too seriously, you know, in the whole "I just woke up like this" Instagram pic style.

Perfect. 



No. But, in all seriousness, people. 

Is it vomit or diarrhea? 

Award yourself 250 points (YES A WHOLE 250!!!) if you play the game 
PLUS! 
I'll send a box of mac and cheese to the winner!

I'm not kidding.