Falling Down

I realize that I always talk about being old. I know that I am not that old, but yes, I suppose I am getting up there. Yesterday was no exception for me; I realize that no matter how in shape I am, I will feel youth slipping through my fingers for the rest of my life. We went to an amusement park for the Oldest's belated birthday celebration. We had a great time except for the fact that my daughter who is sick cut her teeth on a hugely savage roller coaster and we had to calm her down for a good spell afterward. She did not literally cut her teeth, but if I were using the idiom correctly I mean that she started out with the hard stuff. Not good. She was petrified.

Eraser Eater and the Oldest had gone on the cart before us and the Girl and I were next. When the boys got off the cart, Eraser Eater looked white as a sheet and the Oldest looked splotchy, much like he was crying or even say, weeping. He stumbled around trying to find the exit while Eraser Eater pleaded with me not to allow the Girl to go on it, the ride was too fierce. He almost broke down on the spot when I insisted that we remain where we were and he turned to let us face our doom. I saw his little form in the distance, downcast and horribly worried, slowly going to meet the Professor at the bottom of the hill.

At the first jerk of the coaster the Girl moaned. It all happened so fast. Instead of a pleasant ride (which it would have been for me because I love ridiculously thrilling rides), I felt like it was me, the mother bear, against this horrifying roller coaster, trying to eat my child. She slid down a little and I held her tight with one arm while holding on with my other arm. I used one strong runner leg to hold her legs in place while at the same time using the other to hold me still by pushing on the bottom of the cart. I spoke to her the whole time to get her through it. She was terrified. She cried a little when we went through a short tunnel, but soon enough the ride was over and she was carried out of the cart by her mother and safely put to land once at the bottom of the hill where the Professor stood, backpack over one shoulder.

Eraser Eater almost wept and lamented at the sight of us. He thought surely the Girl would not have made it. "I almost barfed!" he yelled in despair.

And why was the Professor at the bottom of the hill? That's a good question. He hates rides. He hates heights. He hates thrill anything. He can't even watch The Turn of the Screw (by Henry James) on PBS. I scare him continually when I come out in the lawn when he is mowing it. He always clutches his heart and shakes his head. This happens so regularly I would have thought by now, after ten years, he would come to get used to it. I have to think of creative ways to make my presence known without scaring the daylights out of the man. This is hard to do. Really, really hard. Actually, I am running out of ideas.

So---the man patiently waited while we went on rides all day long. Well, he went on the bumper cars, these old fashioned cars that drove very slow, and the carousel. And he ate cotton candy and popcorn. He did become obsessed with watching people, their feet dangling from some "torture device" (as he called it). Well, he could barely watch it. Finally I could stand it no more because he was obsessed with this drop tower ride that you can see from all areas of the park. He kept talking about it, kept watching the helpless people in lapbars and seats getting elevated up this huge pole to the very top to then be dropped and then caught again right before the ground met them head on. "That is CRAZY!" He kept yelling. "Why would anyone do that?! It gives me sweaty palms just thinking about it! That's it----I am sitting down on this bench to watch these sad people get dropped this time. I'm going to sit here and watch for a minute. Wait--come over here and sit down and watch this madness close up...."

I handed him the backpack. "I'm going on it," I said.

"What?! You are crazy!"

There was no line. I got right on. I sat there and stared at him, sitting on the bench. The kids got close to the gate and yelled at me things like, "Mom, if we never see you again, know that we love you!"

"I hope you don't die!"

"Are you sure this thing is safe?!"

The guy next to me who was to meet his doom said, "Are those your kids?"

"Yep. They think I'm going to die."

"Are you scared?" he said.

"No," I said, "just cold. It's really cold today."

"Yeah. I was really scared when I went on the ride before last. I had to prove to myself that I could do it. I dared myself. I just want you to know that when you drop, you can't breathe."


The coolest thing about the ride was that I saw trees as far as I could see. Then when I dropped it was the most elating experience. Instead of not breathing, I breathed a huge breath and laughed. This is what Alice must feel like when she is falling down the rabbit hole.


The Little Kids These Days

Last night I came home from work entirely disturbed.

While I was going in and out of the stock room grabbing various shoes for people a little boy, about nine, was standing outside the stock room doors peering in. When I looked at him from time to time he had his mouth hanging open. Now, I could tell there was nothing mentally wrong with him, I just thought that he was incredibly curious to know what was going on back there. I used to wonder that myself as a kid. At one point he was standing in my way as I was going out. I pointed my finger at him in a scolding way (lightly joking) and said, "You can't come back here, I'll have to call the police."

He stared at me and said nothing, just let me walk by.

After a few more minutes I was walking out of the stockroom yet again and he said something lightly to me. I walked closer. "What?" I said.

"Can I have your phone number?"

"What?! Why?" I asked, not understanding.

"Because you are hot," he said.

I immediately imagined my nine year old son, Eraser Eater, saying this to a thirty year old woman. I didn't think it was funny or cute.
"I am an OLD LADY!" I said to the boy, pointing my finger once again, eyes wide. I walked off.

"...no you're not..." he tried arguing with me as I walked away.

Now, I am not saying this to generate comments on what the boy was talking about. I am not interested in that. I just think it terrible that a nine year old boy would even know what "hot" means, or be interested in something like that! I am SO glad I homeschool! I would understand, with some disgust, a grown man doing that (well, not peering into the stock room----I'd call security if that were the case), but not a little boy. Nope. How sad this world is.


I Feel Numb

Yesterday my left finger just went numb. It was not cold, it just has lost a lot of feeling. A little tingly. I think I have been playing my new Martin so much my nerve got damaged. Is that not insane? It is still numb today.

And I wrote a song the other day----I woke up to it playing in my head, from a dream, and I got up, half asleep, to plunk it out on the piano. I don't play piano, I just know the notes. I don't know theory either. My son caught me (my Oldest) and said, "Mom, it would be a lot easier to score it."

"Yeah," I said, "That would be useful if I could read music and I knew theory."

"Oh yeah, I forgot."

I had a friend ask me once if I wrote anything other than Christian music. "Sure," I said. But I could hardly think of anything that I had written. I started to play a song for her called "In the Aftermath" that I wrote, and when I sang "Jesus" she laughed out loud and said, "You really don't sing about anything else!" Sadly enough, I had forgotten that Jesus was in the lyric.

I get to the point in songwriting where I hit a brick wall. It is when I want to write a love song, or when I want to write about something other than God. I can flip open a Psalm and write a decent adaptation of it in two minutes, but when I want to write about how much, say, I love the Professor, I slam right up against the bricks. I am much too serious, I guess, to sing "silly love songs" (BTW I HATE that song by McCartney).

And the thing is, I wanted to say to my friend, "You know, it is not like I am a great Christian anyway, it is just the only thing good that I can do." My best "secular" song yet I think, is "Enough is Enough". And I don't even know if I could qualify it as secular. In a way, that is silly.

It is a joy to write music. But to me, it is also a sort of thorn in my side. Where will it go?

At any rate, the song got semi-finished yesterday, and perhaps I will put it on YouTube for you all to listen to. It is not amazing, just a worship song---the words could be more unique, but hey, I wrote it in a matter of minutes, so consider it a work in progress.

Gotta literally run.



Today I got woken up by the Professor because the Girl has been ill and needed medicine. He could not find it. It was just as well because I was sniffling myself, barely able to fall back asleep. When doling out meds the man found a tick on the Girl's neck, completely latched on. Great.

I got my "ticked off" device and removed the nasty thing. The man hopped around a bit, watching, because he had to pull the Girl's hair taut. Ticks make him very jumpy and nervous. Yesterday I caught a bumble bee that made its way into the house by scooping it up in a glass and covering the top with my ten year anniversary card. Nice and stiff. Then I took the buzzing glass and released the bee by lifting the card once outside.

Remember my Oldest is afraid of flying things. He shrieked the whole time. It was a big bee though. For one of the first times in his life, he hid in the sunroom (where the bees tend to fly into) to seek shelter. He crouched down into a corner and yelped for a good spell until I got the flying insect out of the house.

So, since I am all pumped full of Sudafed, I am feeling a bit out of it. I ran six miles and then the delivery truck came from Ikea. I ordered myself a bed and the boys a new dresser. I put them all together in a few hours and cut myself multiple times on nails, sharp metal pieces, wooden corners, and anything else potentially hazardous. I also knocked my knees against many things in addition to a few things falling on my toes and bed slats smacking against my ankles. I have been continually saying loudly, "That felt great!"

Well, my hair was in literal knots by the time I got to the shower.

Now I am here and I have to pick up a pizza.



I do have some good news, even though I have been very busy. Seriously. April is about the worst month to try to contact me....ever. Every year it is this way. For one thing, it is the Oldest's birthday. The other thing is that it is the anniversary of the Prof. and I. Since I started homeschooling, I have purposefully had us take "vacation" in the month of April to avoid more chaos. Seriously, we do have chaos going on around here.

My house, which was clean last week, is now grimy and dirty. Laundry had to be folded at ten o'clock last night because I was busy buying the Oldest birthday presents earlier. And I have no clue what to get him. I mean, I got him some stuff, but I am going to give him some money to cut the stress. He is getting old.

I did get a new Martin guitar to replace my cracked one. I had a pick-up put into it and had it all adjusted to my taste, so it is completely stellar. I am pleased as punch, as my friend Jade would say. I just keep looking for an imaginary crack, I have been so....what's the word...traumatized.

I have discovered that I never go to the same hair stylist. Yesterday I went to get a trim and wanted to try the new place down the road. I think I view hair stylists like I view a new item on a menu, so I need to quit that. I don't know how to stop it either, I do it without even thinking.

I have such an enormous amount of things to do on my plate today and tomorrow that my white board is completely full and I can not fit another thing on it. I find it sad that I have to put a sign in my house stating all the things I have to get done because I am so forgetful. I find that I make room for spontaneity because I typically find that if I do not seize the moment when the notion strikes me (like getting a trim) I will forget for a few months. And I WILL.


Eraser Lloyd Wright

Eraser Eater is driving me nuts. Who else would, really? He is a very lovely boy, but at times he can truly get under my skin only because he knows exactly what to do to make my blood boil. Maybe we are similar or something.

He has been on Architectural Digest kicks lately. Yes, you heard that right. The boy is NINE (mind you) and he is obsessed with Architectural Record, Architectural Digest, anything that has plans and buildings and "modern designs".

The other day he was looking through his one and only copy of Architectural Record that I picked up at a newsstand at the Ronald Reagan Airport a couple years ago and he stopped turning pages when he reached his favorite house, some modern, wall-less structure that looks semi-uninhabitable. He threw the issue across the room along with his pencil, sketches of plans, and sketchbook full of various houses he designed (including the Silo House).

He yelped into the air, "Forget this! I can't be an architect! This architect (I think he stated his name but I don't give a rip what his name is so I don't remember it) already thought of the coolest house design and I can't beat it! Forget this! Throw my sketch book away! I give up!!!!"

"Wait a minute," I said, "Are you telling me you are giving up because some grown man has already come up with a design you covet and you are mad because you didn't think it up?"

"Yes," he moaned. He slunk himself against the hall wall where I was standing. He looked to the floor in defeat.

I went into the bathroom to wipe the toilet down (those are always my most bright and shiny moments, by the way) and said, "Do you think this architect, who apparently designed this house when he was an adult, designed houses when he was NINE?"I was about ready to blow, actually, because he had been moaning about this for a few hours already.


"Don't you think that this architect as well was inspired by other designs he saw and created his own?" I looked up from the toilet. His face was still a bit downcast.


"I bet you," I said fiercely, "that this architect had no idea what he wanted to be when he was nine years old. I bet you that he barely knew what an architect was. All you need to worry about now is math, geometry, and practice. You get those down, you will be better than that guy. You have an eye for it."

His eyes brightened slightly in a morbid, mad professor sort of way. (Gee, I wonder where he gets that from)
"You will see, Mom. I will be in Architectural Record. I will be the greatest architect. I don't really care if I am in Architectural Digest, I just really want to be in Record. That is the magazine that has the best designs. More modern. I like modern. So, what do you think? When I make your house on Chesapeake Bay, would you like it to be made mainly of steel or glass? Dad says that he likes the glass, but he also likes steel. That material suits him. I thought that I would put the house a little under ground and then from the top there will be a sort of loft where you can see the ocean from and let me go get the plans...." he ran to get his plans.

Here we go again...

Just on Sunday we passed a sign from the freeway that boasted of a Frank Lloyd Wright building just off the next exit. The boy practically screamed with delight. "We must go there!"

Just yesterday as the boys were all doing math, Eraser Eater yelled from the sun-room, "Mom? Can I just skip this math and start Algebra? I mean, I just want to get to it faster. I'll do fine."

I had to explain to him that he needs to take it slowly, he is already books ahead in math and soon enough he will be taking algebra. Gee whiz. I told him that the math he is learning now will help him to understand algebra, so he is on the road to being an architect already.

"I know," he said.


They All Like to Torture Me

Yesterday I took my Oldest to his piano lesson. Since the previous day was his teacher's birthday, we went and bought a little cake and the numbers 3 and 0 to put on top. Yes, she is the dreaded age, the one to nail the coffin shut. 

I laughed as I bought the numbers. As you know, I am already thirty and I didn't even get a cake with the number thirty on it, so it was sort of fun to do. It felt good, in a bad way. She didn't want to be reminded that she is now thirty. 

"Wow! She is turning thirty?!" yelped Eraser Eater, "You look younger than thirty and you are thirty-four!"

My head almost spun off. 


"Oh yeah, that's right. Dad is thirty-four. Sorry, Mom."

Heaven help me when I turn thirty-four.

No, heaven help you when I turn thirty-four. That's more like it.

Or heaven help the Professor. Gee whiz.

Last night upon getting under the covers he felt my arm. "Goose flesh," he said.
"Don't say that."
"What? Why?" he chuckled.
"It is one of my words I can't stand."
"It's British, it's cool, so be prepared to hear that the rest of your life."
I shoved him.
"Goose flesh!"
"Be quiet."



It is now my job to always go in the crawl space every spring and turn on the water. Then, in the fall, I get the lovely privilege of turning it off. It is not a terrible crawl space, just a little cramped and uh, spidery. This time I just saw a bunch of spider eggs. Gross. I guess I will have to go back down there this week with some spray. Yack.

I got a new dish washing machine, like I said. I can't believe it washes dishes. I mean, you can leave food on dishes and it will leave them sparkling when finished. It really is incredible. The Professor still refuses to "not rinse" despite my argument that this is a brand new washer that says on the instruction manual, "it is not necessary to rinse the dishes."

Last night when at work (I work in shoes at a famous dept. store) a lady asked me if we had a certain style of shoe in different colors.
"No," I said, "we only have what is out."
She looked at me like she was going to hurl the shoe at me. "Now I don't believe that!" She snarled.

To appease her I looked in the system to see if we had other colors besides the few we had. We didn't, like I knew. I told her. She went to the other guy I was working with and to appease her he looked in the back. He came back empty handed.
"Thanks for bothering to look in the BACK," she said to him, meaning I was too lazy to do that great service for her.

The guy I was working with glanced at me like, "what the heck is her problem?"

I would have helped her find something else but apparently she didn't like the look of me before I spoke, so I just avoided the whole mess and let the other guy deal with her. It was slow.

I don't get people that just think being a raunch to other people is acceptable. I don't care if I am an employee somewhere having to cater to someone's needs. She didn't have to pretty much say to my face that I am a liar.

You can never make everyone happy though. That's just life.