I had a talk with Dear Sir. He told me to never blog about blogging and not blogging. He said that this is a rule he has. I never knew this rule, so I will blog about how I should never blog about blogging and not blogging.

All is absolved.

Now that we got that little thing out of the way, I am moving in three days. Dear Sir is home for the week (yes!) and he even says that this week should be fun.

I woke up this morning before seven and ran six miles. I read somewhere that if you drink right before you run, your body is working so much that the fluid never reaches the kidneys, but turns directly into sweat. I tried it because I half way did not believe it. Well what do ya know, I was a sweating machine. It even got in my eyes. I ran for an hour and didn't even have to use the bathroom when I got home. Weird, huh? It's like magic or something.

Well, since I have most things packed I think I will read for a bit.



Mayhem II

There is not much to report, really. I have been a frantic, short-fused mess lately. We have been schooling so we won't be bored, you know? I ironed yesterday, for crying out loud. Why are we so bored? I packed everything. Yep, I did, just about.

We have been trying to empty out the fridge, like I have said before, and so the kids are eating a mixture of cereal and pop tarts for breakfast (oh great, sugar high. I forgot about that) and I am eating oatmeal because I don't want them to cry and cry all morning because I gave THEM "horrid" oatmeal. That is changing when I have more patience and things are a little settled. I know you laugh.

I have pretty much no patience these days. I feel bad. I keep praying that the Spirit will just take over my body and my brain, but I see more and more that I have to make some sort of effort. It is just plain sad. I woke up this morning to snapping again--a snap here, a snap there and I didn't even address it. That is some progress, eh? No, usually I just tune the stuff out and if they are in my FACE, I don't take it. Ok, I am analyzing things way too much right now. All I really see when I open my eyes is cardboard and packing tape. Black permanent marker. "Kitchen Items" "J's Books" "National Geographics" "Glasses" "Kids books"


It looks like all we do is drink, eat and read.

You know, I was talking to a friend runner and he told me that he runs as well (as he is tempted) to pay a sort of penance--to bring his body in submission. I torture myself with it. I love it. The sad thing is that I should run double the time that I do to pay for the amount of patience I lose! Ha ha. I know I am turning Scarlet Letter on you, but I do feel bad.

Yesterday my daughter approached me while I was on the phone talking to the real estate agent. She was covered in orange marker and she said, "Mom, look at me!"

That is how bored they are. Did I mention that if I suggest taking a walk my oldest is back to that old trick of saying that he is too frightened of the bugs to go out. It is getting too ridiculous if I make him. On Monday I just made him stay home while I took the little ones out. I am too physically fit, so I push the kids to walk two miles in order to get to the park, and they are weary and whinning and wimpering, dying for water by the time we get there and I realize that the whole thing is not worth it. "My legs!" "I am going to faint" "I need a drink so bad!"

Thankfully I brought water, eh?

Dear Sir approached me at the dinner table last night and said, "You don't tell me certain things about your day ever. The kids told me the other night when you were out that when you get mad you swerve the car."

"Uh. No, I don't."

"Yeah, that is what they said. You're crazy."

"Well, actually, when I have had enough from them, I slam on the breaks to get their attention."

"That's not good, Rach."

"Works for me."

Yeah, it is perfectly healthy for a mother to slam on the breaks to get her kids' attention. "Do you want to crash and die?" I say. They shake their heads no. They are really quiet and they stop screaming at each other then.

Yesterday afternoon an agent came with some guys that looked like they just came shipped straight off the Microsoft boat to look at the house. I know, I thought I was done with this. The last people that were to contract pulled out. Whatever. So, here I am at every agent's disposal again for the weekend. I was supposed to be out by the time they came, but of course I was not. We were on our way to the library and we were looking for the optical illusions book. My oldest was yelling through the house in a weird way saying that he couldn't find his shoes. It sounded insane. These people were looking through the house at the time.

"I'm sorry it sounds like an asylum in here," I say.

"Oh, that's ok. We like the house. Lots of space."

"What, you have one MORE kid?" the overweight agent woman asks me. She looks around like they are corraling her.

"Oh yeah. I have three. You get REAL thin after awhile," I said. Ouch. I forgot she was overweight.

"Well, maybe I should have a kid!" she said.

Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Blew that one.


No one reads. No one writes.

All of you, if you are out there---I am tired of looking at your blogs with the same old entries on top.

And I shout this from the rooftops of blogdom.

I've had it.


The Last Few Books

Here are the stories, novellas, novels, that I have read of late:

1. The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins

2. The Guilty River by Wilkie Collins

3. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

and I am currently reading The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham.

I am a bit frazzled lately because we are moving in eight days. It is not even eight days anymore. More like seven and a half. I am a little freaked. I have tons of packing done so we are eating odd things to clear out the frige and of course we are eating on plastic plates and drinking out of plastic cups. I am also teaching school while this is going on because there is absolutely NOTHING to do. I am a planner, actually, so I have packed everything except a few games and some toys. The kids are just having complete cabin fever. The house actually echoes.

Dear Sir has a lot of workload at his company so it looks like he is going to be gone a lot this week, which is fine. There is not much to do around here anyway!

My youngest son is currently wandering around the house wailing. I think he can't find a precious notebook or magazine. I don't think I packed it. No, I didn't.

I didn't think I packed the clippers either though when Dear Sir was looking for them. I could go insane hearing this kid wail on and on. It is tweaking my nerves, seriously. We will all suffer the wailing and long fingernails on account of the move. Ok, I better go. It just keeps getting worse. Can't go on...I'm...break..ing....up....


The Evil of Mispronunciation

My oldest always pronounces words wrong. Lots of times when he is reading a particular word out loud he just pronounces the beginning sound and slurs all the other letters together until he gets to the end sound. It is like he ignores the whole middle of the word.

He looked at a Nestle product. He said, "NESS-TULL." (I can almost understand that)

He is studying Rome. "Merk Anondy," he would say (Marc Antony).

He would pronounce "oasis" as "o-ASS-iss."

He does all this so much and it is so common that I just can't even think about it, I am so used to it. Finally, in the car the other day, my youngest son (who is seven) confessed to me that he could not stand it anymore.

"Mom," he said, "I am getting all messed up because T-- keeps saying words wrong. Like when he says 'LAY-TIN' instead of 'Latin', he makes me think of Satan!"


Writer Epidemic---Badness and Weirdness

Miriam, a friend of mine, recommended a book to me called The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham. I thoroughly enjoyed it. So, naturally, on library day I went to get another of his books (one that was short and interesting). I chose The Magician. Apparently this magician is set to be the type that is into some sort of evil, black magic (or magick). I read in the forward by Maugham himself that the book is slightly based on Aleister Crowley, whom he met while in France. He did not like him and did not maintain much of a relationship with him at all. But, this information got me interested. I looked up Mr. Crowley (I knew little of him, but I knew that he was a Satanist or Occultist). What a freak. Apparently he wrote many books, could write identical to Robert Browning and was a sort of a minor poet.

Then I looked up Mr. Maugham. I noticed that in his small biographies that they never state if he was married or not. He was not. He was gay. Let's add him to the list with Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest, The Picture of Dorian Gray), Willa Cather (O Pioneers!, My Antonnia), and others.

Here are some unhonorable home-breakers and live-in lovers, among them: George Eliot (Middlemarch, Silas Marner), Wilkie Collins (The Woman in White, The Moonstone), Charles Dickens (David Copperfield, Tale of Two Cities), D. H. Lawrence (Lady Chatterly's Lover, Sons and Lovers), Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo), F. Scott Fitzgerald (This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby), Dostoyevsky (who I regret to even record--), and the list goes on and on.

Let's see---Henry James was weird, did not socialize and never married. Jane Austen, The Brontes and their seclusions---Hemmingway.

What is wrong here?

At least Thomas Hardy was supposedly faithful to his wives (the first one died). Elizabeth Gaskell was ok--so was Harriet Beecher Stowe. Can you see this bothers me?

What is up with writers? Are they so creative and ridiculous that they have to do ridiculous things?

I realize that I have blogged about this. More proof that his bugs me.


Story by T

My two sons have been writing stories lately about Neopets. I thought I would share with you part of my oldest son's story. I thought it was a riot. Of course, I will edit it some as I go so that all the spelling mistakes will not show:

'A Triple Helping of Clues

Chapter One

Gee had called me again. Just me, Meewa. When I went inside, he came over and said, "A Neopian is robbing so much banks, he's just too famous to be ignored!" When I walked out for the case, I saw two eyes peeking at me and then they disappeared. I ran after him. He gave me the slip and ran off but I found a clue: a torn cloth, a letter, and a hair. First, I looked at the envelope. It ran:


Get to the base immediately. The base is not the ordinary base. This base is at Nooble Mark Restaurant.



Before I read the note, the letter was open. He must have read it---or was it a trap? I went to business. I looked at the cloth. Maybe if I saw the cloth I could find out if it was him. Finally I looked at the hair. A kacheek one. No help, but I know what Neopet it was!

Now! For the Restaurant! '

I like especially how Meewa "got the slip" and I love how when he found the note "it ran:"
It is especially funny that an unknown person who wrote the note ended his note with "Love". When he was reading it to me last night with great animation, he had me laughing. For some reason my son thinks that if I put it on here he will be famous.

Did I ever tell you guys that he loves to read Sherlock Holmes? He is finishing off Doyle's Complete Works right now. It shows!


Mac and Cheese Thump

Awhile back ago I was at Target with the kids. My oldest was looking around in the electronics department and my two younger (the boy and the girl) were with me looking for various things. I remember I had promised my daugter something if it was there---I think Neopet cards or something. I told her I would buy her the cards if they had them in stock. They didn't. So, naturally, my daughter was lamenting the cards behind me as we were walking along, aisle by aisle and pretty soon she could not contain herself anymore and she started just bawling. I remember standing there, looking at her, and being quite embarrassed. I thought for a minute. Finally I stooped down and said to her in a calm, gentle voice, "Now, E---, you have a bad attitude. You need to have self-control. I know you wanted that thing, but you can not have it now because it is not here," etc. etc. Finally she calmed down after a few more promptings of the same effect and she could control herself. As I was walking off with them to another aisle, a lady stopped me out of the blue. I think she almost touched me.
"Excuse me. I just wanted to tell you that you are a great mother---"

"Thank you," I said. For some reason that was the best compliment I could ever receive. Not because she told me I was a great mother, but because she was a complete stranger and I was not especially trying to behave myself. I think about that when days like today come along...

I was just at my favorite store, Trader Joe's, and I could about cry. My oldest was so set on being on his best behaviour, I let him take charge of the grocery list. We were going down the aisle where the mac and cheese was and I prompted him to get a pack or two. I turned around to grab something else while he went and by the time I turned my head again, there was my oldest dropping two boxes into the cart. "Done!" he said.

Then I heard this woman's voice. "Ma'am! Ma'am!" I turned around thinking perhaps she was talking to me (there were other people in the aisle too) and thinking that I must have dropped something. Then I saw her face. She looked like she was going to kill me. She was pushing a cart with a little girl in it. Now, when people do this sort of thing and I am the recipient, usually I am pretty even keel inside. "Excuse me, but your boy there hit my daughter on the head!" She was shouting at me.

I knew immediately what happened. Let me tell you what I thought at that moment before I looked at my son. Her little girl was cute, I noticed that. ---And that is what sent my oldest son over the edge. Whenever he sees a cute little baby (2 and younger) he just can't control himself very well. He tickles them, pets them, and rubs them either on the top of the head, the belly, or the arm or leg. I thought, this lady just thought it odd that he pat her daughter on the head---she interpreted it as vicious or something.

So I said, "Hit?"

The lady said, "Yes, hit. He bopped her on the top of the head with that box!" She pointed to the box of mac and cheese in my cart.

I looked at my son. He said, "I did not hit her." I kept looking at him. I felt really embarrassed.

"Oh, yes he did!" She yelled.
This lady just stood there looking at me like she wanted me to pay her money for her trouble. Her lips were all screwed up and her eyes were about to pop out of her head. She had her hands on her hips. I could picture steam coming out of her ears, she was that angry.

"What are you thinking?" I said to my son.

"I'm gonna die," my son said.

I did not think this woman would listen to me if I tried to explain that my son is autistic, that he does not know how to socialize properly and show manners. He does not know what is appropriate all the time. I did not think that it would be appropriate for me to tell her that he is autistic and that his affection for her daughter was shown by his "bopping" her on the head. The girl was not hurt. When it happened I did not hear her cry, I did not hear one sound. I don't know, maybe I am being ridiculous. I felt that this woman was over reacting.

I did not know what to do. Being indecisive already, I saw that my oldest did not think he was doing anything wrong (since he was showing affection) and plus, I would have to stand in the store for half an hour just explaining to him that people don't like that. I did not know how to get him to apologize---I felt like I would have been taking the lady's time and plus, I had three kids to deal with while this was going on---I just wanted to spontaneously combust into thin air. I stared at my son to show him I was embarrassed and angry at him.

I turned to the lady, who was waiting for me to respond, hands on hips. I owed her something. I felt bad, but the only thing I could offer her was "I'm sorry", and that is exactly what I said.

She sort of shifted a little bit, took her hands off her hips, put them on her cart, and said, "Well, okay." She sort of sleepily turned her eyes to the direction of her now-turning-around-cart and walked off.

Look. I already think that people must think I am crazy with all the kids with me. I am constantly telling them to stand still, be quiet, get off the cart, etc. But after this lady treated me like that, I felt such incredible shame, I can't describe it. I was mad at my oldest for doing that in the first place. But I just felt like I could not even let my son do one little task for me without something going wrong. I wanted to disappear. I felt like the whole store heard it. It was like she was purposely trying to embarrass me in front of everyone around. She was making a scene. She could have done it quietly, is what I think now.

I then resolved that I did not want anymore things to happen so I told my oldest to wait in the car. That is what he did. When we got to the car to put the groceries in I sat at the wheel and cried for a second. Maybe that sounds stupid. Yeah, maybe. But that is what I did.

"Let's face it Mom, you can't take me anywhere," my oldest said.

"You're poor," my daughter said. ("poor" means"sad and worthy of sympathy" to her at all times.)

I thought about the situation for a second. Did she think my son was degrading her and her daughter because she was black? I didn't even think about her being black. Maybe that does not matter in her estimation of the situation or maybe she thought I was some stupid white lady who taught her children to hit black girls on the head with macaroni and cheese boxes.

I asked my son what he hit the girl on the head for. He said she was cute and he was just "petting" her with the box. Of course, I told him what to do, what not to do, and everything else if that situation arises again where he sees a cute little girl or boy. I told him what was appropriate and not. I told him that people see things like what he did as a threat.

I had one more store to go to right down the road from our house so I just dropped my son off at home because he asked me to. I thought it was a good idea for both of us.

Now, what should I have said to that lady? Once my oldest went to the car, should I have tracked her down and explained to her what really happened, or do you think it was useless---that she would not even take that as an explanation and here I would be exposing myself to more turmoil by her anger? When I got in the line to pay I looked over and she was in another line. Her face was upturned slightly in indignation, like she wasn't going to take crap from anyone. Her mouth was set and her manner seemed very defensive. I was sort of glad I did not approach her again. She looked ready to bite.

Give me advice. I will take it. I am really really (still) despondent about this.


"Acidophilus---I believe in it."

There you have a quote from Dear Sir. I say this whole thing because last night my youngest son (he is seven) came into our room and said, "I think I have to barf!" It was 2 a.m. I got up and took him into our bathroom and he proceeded to hug the toilet, whimpering and the like. I had never seen him suffer so much with throwing up. He usually is a real trooper about it. He is the one who could puke in a thimble. I left him for a bit, got the sleeping bag, pillow, barf bucket, acidophilus, pepto, bottle of water, and a cup. By the time I got to him again he had not puked yet. I gave him a pill and then he threw that up. He threw up a lot of yucky stuff. Ok, let's not talk about that.

Once he was finished I gave him another acidophilus pill and a pepto pill. He then slept soundly in the sleeping bag at the foot of the bed. It took me forever to fall back asleep again. I prayed that God would work a miracle and prevent anyone from getting sick and also to heal my poor little boy.

He did not wake up again until morning! Of course, the rest is history and God's miracle in a pill worked again. Dear Sir asked me in an email today if the boy has been eating erasers again. For some reason he thinks that that would make him puke. Ok, maybe he knows more than me, but I just don't think that is possible. This is a constant argument with us--this subject--much like stressing the need to stretch before and after a run.

I don't know. I just give him the pill and it works. You should try it. Let me know how it goes.


Another List of Books

I remembered a few books that I love.

1. The Idiot by Dostoyevsky (This book is rich with symbolism--think Holy Saturday--and worth your read if you like figuring things out)

2. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery (a good friend recommended this book and I really enjoyed it.)

3. Peace Like a River by Leif Engler (if I have to go modern on you---this is so great, I was literally breathless at the last page. I think that is a good description because the book is about an asthmatic boy.)

4. The Samauri's Garden by Gail Tsukyama (I can't really remember how to spell the author's last name and I am not looking it up. It is a great book--a young man is sick and goes to the beach house to get well and gets involved with the life of the house sitter. This book is very poetic.)

5. Anything by Dostoyevsky (mainly The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment)

6. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (I know, Rhett. I just loved this book. It made me love the South.)

7. The Good Earth by Pearl Buck (Pavillion of Women is good too)

8. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (I figured this whole thing out. It makes you feel sick at the end but I have your remedy. Just talk to me when you finish it and you will be right as rain.)

9. Lilith by George Mac Donald (I again, have my own thoughts on this book---I should read it again to refresh my memory. I remember thinking it was great and then my bookclubbers hated it because I fear they thought it made no sense.)

10. Dracula by Bram Stoker (I loved The Historian, too by Elizabeth Kostova)

11. A Daughter of the Land by Gene Stratton-Porter

12. Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

13. The Lord of the Rings by Tolkein

14. Villette by Charlotte Bronte

15. East of Eden by Steinbeck (I also loved Cannery Row---it was hilarious)

16. Les Miserables by Hugo

17. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson (This book is more adult than youth)

18. I love Francine Rivers. Don't judge me. She is a really good writer (in a romance novelist way---she used to be one, actually) and she writes Christian fiction. She is actually the very first Christian writer that I have found worthwhile and is she ever. You have to read her Mark of the Lion trilogy about Rome. It is amazing. She did a lot of research and her story is really incredible. I was pretty much glued to the couch for days. I would say the first two are the best---the third is a stretch.

Happy Reading!


Good Ol' Grant Lee

If you consider yourselves friends of mine and you can access this, please watch and listen. This is one of my favorite singer/songwriters. He is awesome. "Killing a Dead Man".

Snapping Shame

So I went to Starbucks with my son this morning for a coffee. In fact, before that we were at the grocery store to get some water because last night the faucets were spraying out amber liquid. It makes my stomach hurt to think about it, so let's just not talk too much concerning that. All I know is that I was lying down on the bed and Dear Sir was brushing his teeth. He always leaves the water running. The Californian in me always comes out but I supress it. He even teaches the kids to do this. They are very confused because I usually tell them that they should turn off the water when they brush. My reasons make more sense, but oh well. I have confused kids now. I tell you, you must get everything squared away before you have kids. Even when it comes to drinking in water fountains or not. I have learned the hard way.

Ok, so I was at Starbucks with my oldest. We were in line, a monstrous line, and my son was snapping to the jazzy music. Just ahead of us my band's guitarist was buying coffee with his son Charles who is about my son's age. My son and Charles have played a couple of times, but I am not sure what Charles thinks of him. He is a funny kid. He is quiet and has quite a dry sense of humor. I actually love it and find it refreshing. My son says (when Charles passes by), "Hey!" snapping away. Charles looks at him: "Hey," he says. He walks off and gets his fluffy strawberry blended creme from the coffee bar.

Later in the car I talk to my son. "Do you and Charles get along much?" I ask him.

He sips his vanilla drink for a minute. "He's okay. He probably thinks I am crazy."

"Why is that?" I ask.

"He saw me snapping to the music."

"Oh," I say.


Your Favorite Books, Please! Keep Them Coming..

I am really enjoying the book recommendations. I can not wait to get to reading. I need to cut back on running anyway. I am literally getting way too much exercise. Dear Sir keeps saying, "You're going to go running AGAIN!?" I think he is sick of it. He keeps saying that I will end up with a muscular face like Madonna. I really, really don't want that. That is my fear.

I thought that I would post a few of my favorites here:

1. Anything by Thomas Hardy. Namely, The Return of the Native. I highly recommend A Group of Noble Dames if you want a sort of semi-tragic but also kick in the pants comedic read. I loved every page of it.

2. Anything by Wilkie Collins. Namely, The Woman in White and Armadale. I still have yet to read The Moonstone (one of his most famous) because I saw a Wishbone (a pbs kids show with a stupid white dog) that totally gave the whole plot away. I had no idea at the time and now when I think of The Moonstone I think Wishbone. What folly. Collins was one of the very first sensationalists--and if you like mystery it is all there.

3. Till We Have Faces by Lewis

4. Wives and Daughters by Gaskell (this book is so awesome)

5. The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas

6. Our Mutual Friend by Dickens (the Masterpiece Theatre movie on this is superb!)

7. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

8. War and Peace by Tolstoy (I know the size is a little scary, but it is really a good book)

9. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (I just love monks)

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I will finish this later!


Your Input Here

Hey. I wanted you guys to add to my "must read" list. It is not like I don't have enough books to read already, but I really really love to have a list of books to start from (besides my own). And you have to do it because I will be shamed by the number of "no comments" and I will really know how many people really read my blog---NONE.

But that is ok. It's not like my life is that interesting. It is pretty much the same stuff: poop, kids, the fact that I am getting old, plungers, Dear Sir, and you know the rest if you don't skim this thing.


I have a lot of Wilkie Collins on my list. To name a few: 1. Basil 2. The Haunted Hotel
I also have a date to actually read the Chronicles of Narnia. I am one of the very few people that has only read The Silver Chair and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I know, I am pathetic. I was too busy reading Judy Blume or something. Freckles, Superfudge, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. What was I thinking?

Keep in mind that I love classics but I am open. And I am mostly talking fiction unless you think something else would really benefit me. I know, I keep getting pickier. My comments are already slimming down before this thing is posted. Oh well.

Phillips or Dulcolax?

My daughter (who is almost five) has to take Milk of Magnesia (4tsp) every night. She hates it. It really does not matter what flavor it is, she hates them all. She is so used to taking it that she just chugs it down like a cowboy would chug a shot of whiskey. Dear Sir feels bad for her, but in a way, I don't. She is the one who retains her excrement so it is pretty much her fault. We wouldn't have to have her take the stuff to soften her up if she would just get used to the fact that sometimes it doesn't feel too great coming out. That's life. Besides, it's doctor's orders.

So we are at the store a little bit ago, trying to choose which milk of magnesia flavor to buy. I say, "Hey, E---, which flavor: cherry, or mint?"
She looks at them and says, "None."

So we chose mint.


Thoughts Float Up From the Steam

I am in the mood to write just now because I just finished a set of deep contemplation while ironing Dear Sir's few pieces of spring/summer attire. Maybe there is a good thing about ironing that I never realized.

I was thinking about my father in law. He has to be the coolest father in law alive. I thought about the times when I had house-breaking-down issues and I called him. He is retired so he was always available for me. I think he made himself available for me as well because he took a great liking to me. He still does. I have mentioned before that my daughter has poop problems. Her brother, L, had them too in his time. It was really awful. He would literally sit on the pot and scream at his poop, telling it that he hates it, wants it to die, etc. etc. It gets embarrassing, sad, and hilarious. He would retain, retain, retain until he had to deliver a big healthy baseball and then do it all over again. This took a toll on our toilet. Let's not forget to remember that I had an inferior plunger then too. I was not well-versed with plungers back then. I just remember those days as being full of fecal matter up to my---well, just all over my body. Whenever the kids are sick or some accident happens, I am the one that cleans that madness up because Dear Sir would just add to it. You know?

So, one day the toilet was so bad I just didn't think it was going to work anymore. I called Dear Sir's father and he came over in a jiffy. My own younger brother was around the house then with me and so they were both laboring over my toilet. Apparently the damage was so bad that my father in law had to remove the toilet from the floor. I immediately felt a rush of gratitude and obligation (perhaps that is why I am writing this now). He and my brother carted that crap-infested porcelain thing to the grass outside and my father in law proceeded to take a stick and work unclogging it.

Usually what happens with my father in law and me is a little lesson. He would take me along like we were on a home improvement show and show me "how it is done". He said I had a knack for mechanical things and he liked my being his "assistant." So when he got that toilet down on the grass, he had me kneel down there beside him and watch.

He said (and excuse my French), "You see, there, Rachel, it is a matter of scooping out the shit." I didn't think I had ever heard him cuss before. I imagined myself taking a stick and using it to gingerly scoop out human feces and I thought, yeah, I might say that too. It really stunk. It was bad. I mean, this was weeks of poop just clogging up the pipes. Maybe I won't get into it anymore. Let's just say that that patch of grass he left the poop on got really green.

So I come back from my reverie while ironing and think, "Man, my father in law must really think I'm something."

Packing, Chris Farley and David Spade

While the Master was at the Catholic Church yesterday with my oldest son on a sort of "field trip" (since it was a Latin Mass), I was home packing. I decided that I would make a real dent in it. When he got home, I decided that I needed a little break from packing to go and run for a bit. I ran six miles and then came home and packed some more. In between somewhere Dear Sir told me to shower because I smelled ripe. I packed until the kids bed time and boy, do I feel it today. I was lifting extremely heavy boxes to the downstairs over and over, praying that I would not fall. I am a little clumsy at times. We have tons of books. It is crazy. I was so tired when I layed down my head, I just mumbled something to Dear Sir. I remember still being awake when he started snoring. It never fails. I am never tired enough to fall asleep first.

The kids are at the moment hoping that I forgot about school so they can continue to play with their light sabers. The coolest thing this morning was when my oldest was waltzing around with the thing and thinking he was all fancy and cool and then he wacked his own head with it. "Ow!" he yelled.

I really think sometimes he is Chris Farley reincarnated. Usually when he hits himself or trips and falls he says (talking to himself), "You're so stupid! Quit! What a fool!" ---Then he shakes it off and acts like he is cool again. For some reason it reminds me of all those Farley/Spade movies.

I better check out and go teach my children. Thankfully I don't have to use my arms.


Oh My Word

I feel really bad. Dear Sir has to ask me to iron. I would gladly scrub a whole row of really rank dirty toilets than iron. It faithfully piles up every day and the poor guy (I call him my clothes horse) goes through the stuff. It makes me sweat. I have since made my peace with sweating since I run quite a bit, but ironing is different. I think it is because I have to stand there and have patience. I like to do things quickly. Like when I put dishes away. I don't think there is a time when Dear Sir does not say, "Oh My Word! Can you slow down?! Do you want to break something?!"

The thing is, I don't break things. I don't break dishes. I would be more likely to burn a shirt though, just leaving the iron on it to get a really stubborn wrinkle out. I have caught myself getting distracted and doodling with something else while there is the iron on the shirt steaming away. "Oh crud!" I think. I have this image in my mind of this 80's movie with John Ritter (I don't know what movie it is for the life of me) accidentially leaving an iron on a shirt and so the shirt completely burned. He was like, "Oh crud!" Yeah, that sounds like me.

You have to see that Dear Sir learned how to iron properly in the U.S. Air Force. He probably would have had to get down and do fifty if a superior saw his cami's had a wrinkle. I would much rather do fifty. A hundred. At least I would get something out of it. But the good thing about ironing is this: just like a girl who has no idea how to shoot a rifle or how to whack a golf ball would need her dear one to come along side her and teach her these things, I have my very own Dear to show me how to iron properly. And he does, believe me. It has taken him five years of bearing with a chronic wrinkle that I always leave on each and every shirt to even mention it to me. Finally one day as I was ironing in his presence he said, "Here, let me show you how to do that part." He is so very kind, you know.

And there are so many things I just never know about this Long-Suffering man. I just found out late last year that he actually dips his torilla chips in salsa. Since he is so picky I jumped at that and now it is a regular staple in our diet. I never really knew that a Whatchamakalit (whatchahoweveryouspellit) was his favorite candy bar until someone "tagged" him. I have always been told that he will eat scrambled eggs, but I have never seen him eat them. I have found that the most important thing with a man like this is to not TELL him what is in something. I have trouble with this. I know I should not tell him, but then I feel really dishonest. I feel like I am lying to him, so I always spill the beans (by the way, he would never eat beans). Real women shut their mouths. I have to season myself for a few more years. I feel it coming.

Hey, I just got word from my youngest son that the oldest (the snapper) has been "snapping all day and it is driving (him) nuts!" I can hear the echo of the snaps from where I sit. When will it end? I hear it from morning till night. I swear I wake to it. He snaps until he falls asleep, practically.


Code Yellow

I can just picture myself being in this show called "The Disheveled Housewife". It seems like everywhere I go I am looking for a kid or telling a kid to stop hanging off of a clothes rack or something. I planned on taking the kids to Target to get them out of the house so that these people could walk through. I suddenly could not find my keys and the doorbell was ringing and here I was running around in mass search. My two younger children were already outside waiting for me. I kept yelling through the window to my daughter, "Have you seen my keys?" She kept shaking her head---I thought, "forget it" and kept looking. After searching for a good fifteen minutes (by then the door bell rang) I finally, in desperation asked my daughter again. I grabbed her and put my hands on her shoulders. "Now, if you know where my keys are, please find them for me, ok?"

"Uh, just a minute. I know where they are," she says.

She proceeds to go outside and finally she comes upstairs with my keys in hand. By this time I had already called my husband at work, chewing him out for who knows what. I was so mad. I thought that he had something to do with it since he tends to delete, throw away, and misplace things of mine---I think he thinks I am messy.
Well, she had them outside the whole time, under a tree, for who knows what reason. She has been severely punished.

So I took them to Target. I lost my daughter there, temporarily. I lose a kid about 4 out of the 5 times I take them anywhere. They wander off who knows where and I am a wreck after five minutes of looking, hand on heart, breathing uneven, and looking like a frantic freak. I think of what Dear Sir would say to me when he finds out I lose a human being. The horror of it. I actually got to talking to the Security lady and she was about to call a "code yellow" when I found her looking at the Barbie movies in the movie section. A mother's mind goes in a million directions at this point. I kept telling the kids once I got them in one area that maybe I should put them up for adoption because I can't seem to keep them with me. My oldest wailed, "But Mom, you know Dad would never go for that!" Does it help to tell you that I lost my daughter yesterday too?

So all of you who think I am this great mom who is at the top of her game, yeah right. I am the Code Yellow Lady. I lose kids. Don't let me watch yours.



I have to get out of the house these days so that people can flock in to view the new "rental". It is really annoying. I pay a huge rent and I have to let people come in to see the house. It kind of makes no sense to me. Realtors and people come to the door daily without calling first. This happened today, of course. I was just finishing up school with the boys and they were having their break. The house was a mess because they were playing Lord of the Rings or something by the couch. I had hardly picked up from lunch. The door bell rings right in the middle of havoc time. I couldn't believe it. The realtor peeks her head in the door I open.
"We didn't call first," she says.

"No, you didn't," I say with a little wince on my face.

"Do you mind if we come inside and take a look?"

"No," (a child squeals), " I don't mind. Just know that there is a mess and I have kids everywhere."

"Oh, that's ok, don't worry about it. We don't mind!" she says.

Then it happened again tonight. Same thing. This time I was prepared because someone came (after they called ahead of time, thank you!) and the house was still in an ordered shape by then. I don't know if I will be able to do a whole month of this. This is already getting really old. It is a total disruption and I have PAID money to live here in peace. I already have to put the kids to bed after eight so that people can feel free to ring my doorbell and waltz right in and feel comfortable while doing it. It would be a little strange if I had them in bed already. "Oh, it's ok, she's asleep, just take a peek real quick!"

So, with all this in mind, I went to Trader Joe's again with the kids today to kill time. An employee that is there all the time looked at me in the face and shook his head. "Weren't you here yesterday?" he asks.
"Yeah, I forgot to buy something," I say to him. He shakes his head again and walks away. Usually the TJ people are really cool---I mean, I think that guy is ok, but I must have annoyed him by showing up two days in a row. I actually did not want to go to TJ's, but my youngest son wanted these cookies there and I thought that I would go and get them (he tried the demo yesterday and loved them) to kill time if I had to. Well, I had to kill time.

In the car, my little now recovering biffed-up daughter had the window rolled down. Dear Sir took the power window car, so I had the do-it-yourself-car. So, that means, when the window gets rolled down by a kid I have to beg them to roll it back up. I have no authority on that when I am driving. I often tell them when I am driving that if they do not stop screaming, kicking, touching each other and whining, etc, I will most likely crash and we will all be sorry because we will be dead. So, the little girl had the window rolled down. She was flinging her arm out, waving it around.
My oldest says, "Hey, maybe you shouldn't put your arm out like that, you might regret it."

So my daughter says, "What? I am just waving at Jesus!" She waves over and over, looking up toward the sun.

My oldest son says quite theologically, "Come on, you have to know that Jesus does not live in the sky or on the sun! We have talked about this already! We just can't see Him, okay?"

She shrugs him off and continues to wave.

We got the call again shortly after we arrived home to go kill more time. I decided that we would go to the lake down the street by the apartments and feed the ducks some old bread. The boys were very reluctant to go and my girl was totally willing since she loves to feed ducks. I dragged them out somehow. My oldest brought his huge stick to ward off the bugs (plus I sprayed his "Off!" on him too) and we were good to go. We found one duck and then went to the other side of the lake to find two more adult ducks and four baby ducklings. We feed this hissing birds by throwing the bread at them. The boys thought that they could catch fish. My oldest said that he should spear them with his stick and get this, "bring them home for sup," but I told him that it is impossible to do that. Everything was serene until we starting walking home. First, I stepped on my daughter's injured toe. While that was going on, my son saw the biggest bee of his life and screamed like a banshee. Of course that made me jump, and caused me to be very irritated and then he started crying because he was convinced that all the insects in the world were after him. He started screaming (and I mean screaming) and crying (real, wet terrified tears) and I had to somehow get him back to earth. He totally panics. He says crazy stuff like, "the bees all hate me!" and "I am never going outside again!" "this is hell to me!" " this is the worst day of my life!" It goes on and on. He goes from one extreme to the other until I can't even be mad anymore about it. It is almost pitiful.

Here is my favorite quote from him today: "I'm never going to live this through!"

When teaching my oldest his math he said to me (after studying my face), "You have wrinkles. Around your mouth. I heard that it's from laughing. You never laugh, Mom."

I find that I do hardly ever laugh around them. Boy, do I need to change.
To be honest, I have reasons why I don't laugh very much. I am afraid to. I am afraid that if I let down my guard they will not obey me. I am afraid that they will not take me seriously. I don't know why that would make any difference to them or me, but it is some inhibition I have. I think my mother was the same way. That is not a good thing. I know the solution of "just laughing" seems easy, but it is really not that easy for me. I am a very serious person usually. Introverted too. I prefer thinking over talking. I really, don't know why the heck I am writing this. I know for a fact that the times that the kids do see me carefree and laughing is when Dear Sir is home. I notice the change in myself immediately and I get so used to it that it does not even phase me anymore. It turns into life and then it turns into "that is just life." I hope to change this soon. Tomorrow. I have experienced a child that had a minimal amount of affection from a sanguine mother---when she grew up her mother tried to be different. The daughter could hardly stand it. It was different, weird, and feelings were truly mixed about the whole thing. Of course other factors are in this story, but I won't go into them. They are not wholly mine to tell. To make a long story short, the thought of affection with her mother almost made her sick. I don't want this to happen with me and my children.

I think the bottom line is that when we grow up, have children and help them grow up, we truly find how selfish we really are. We are not those innocent little creatures we always thought we were. We actually get worse and we find new ways to get worse. That little seed of sin is watered every day. Thankfully God prunes it down---leaves scars for us to remember so that maybe we will not do the same things again. I find that sometimes I am kicking and screaming while the pruning is happening. Where is the love in this? I think I need more, to be honest. And not more love for myself, but more for the crazys that live with me.

The most honest thing I heard from someone lately was something I heard from my very own daughter's lips: "I love my brothers, my mom, my dad, and of course, me!"

Fact is, I would most likely have "me" on the beginning of my list.---No joke.


The Kids These Days

So I went to Trader Joe's tonight to get some chips. I take all the kids with me as usual and of course, I am a little frazzled and barking orders---you know. I decide at the last minute to buy Dear Sir some beer and I get to the checkout. My oldest kid is sitting on the riding lawn mower cart reading right by the register. My two younger ones are twirling around, picking up packs of gum, you know the routine. The guy at the checkout(who is acne-faced and probably 18) takes the beer and scans it. I quickly pull out my ID (like I usually do because they always ask me) and what do you know, the guy shakes his head and says, "No, there's no need for that."

"Oh, really? That's a first!" I say.

"Hey! Quit that!" he says.

"What? Quit what?" I say.

"Not you---him---he keeps pushing that button on the cart...it gets really annoying."

I look at my kid. "Knock it off," I mouth to him.

"Yeah, sometimes they can be annoying," I say.

"Do you want this beer in a bag?"

"Uh, no. I don't care. Whatever."

"Looks like you've had a long day," he says.

Oh nice, I think. Thanks a million. First tell me "there is no need" for my ID because I look like a geezer, and then tell me that I am weathered too. Like I look like the last dog died and I just "happen" on a Trader Joe's with all my crew and think, "hey, I think I will buy some chips and beer!"

I look over at my kids. The youngest one is outside the store smashing her face in the window, hands splayed out, looking like a terror. He looks at her---he looks at me.

"Every day is a long day," I say.

To Marry

I love this. Last night my oldest was watching "Gods and Generals" with us. I think there was some point where Stonewall Jackson has a baby and of course, he thinks his wife is the only woman on earth.

My oldest says, "Dad, should I marry? I don't know if I want to. Does everyone do it?"

My husband says, "No, not everyone marries, but most people would like to."

"I don't mind getting married I guess," then he says wincingly," just as long as my husband---I mean, my wife, when she borns a child---I really don't want to be in there---cause you know...I could keep the medical manual, you know, and it will be sort of an heirloom---it may help, but I don't want to be in there."

My oldest son said one time that the only use for his marrying would be to have someone cook for him---then he came up with the grand idea that his sister could live with him and his brother and she would do all the dirty work. I don't think she was too excited about that.