Thursday, May 30, 2013

Adoption Day!

Well, so last week the small boys had a big, big day!

We celebrated Adoption Day, which was great in every way you can imagine.

  The judge who signed the documents was happy to be part of such a joyous occasion.

We were a big and boisterous group, all gathered to watch this family grow -- it was fabulous!

Afterwards we celebrated!  The small boys were a little confused:  whose birthday was it?  And the question was valid.  There was a cake, decorated with Lightning McQueen and 'Mater -- quite satisfactory, but why no candles?  There were gifts, but they were "family" gifts.  What's up with that?!  Tons of family and friends filled the happy house, and everyone wanted pictures of the small boys.  But where was the singing?  And again -- why no candles??  It was a puzzle.

So -- here they are:  all nine of 'em!  The perfect family!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cicada song

When you listen to the sound in this short little video that I recorded in my front yard, I want you to realize that the steady thrum in the background is the sound of millions of cicadas.  We live smack in the middle of the seventeen-year cicada Brood II emergence.  It's quite an event!  The eerie, echoing song is enough to drive some people nuts (one of my friends noted that he feels like his morning coffee is enjoyed to the soundtrack to a 1960's sci-fi movie).

Others are creeped out by how many, many cicadas have emerged.  It is impossible to overstate their everywhere-ness.  We sweep them off the porch every morning; we brush them out of our hair before we get into the car; the dogs either chase them or bark at them or stop with a jolt every time one buzzes by an inquisitive nose.  In this part of the country one can find on-line guides to planning a wedding around the cicada emergence.  Tip for the cicada-savvy:  skip the gazebo wedding if you plan to marry this summer.

I am fascinated more than grossed out.  I find their life cycle oddly compelling and even (am I weird?) endearing.  The males will serenade their lady friends throughout May and June, and then we will say good-bye to them for another seventeen years.  So -- don't be hating on the homely cicadas!  Their visits are so infrequent and so brief, and all they're looking for is a little romance!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rules for the car


So the girl in charge has instituted a list of rules for behavior in the little red get-around-town car.  Sometimes the sunny girl has a hard time obeying.
  1. No punch buggy at the driver.
  2. No poking the driver.
  3. No shooting the driver with Nerf darts.
  4. The driver gets final approval of the radio station.
  5. No licking the driver.
The last rule is a new one.  I don't even want to know.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nostalgia in advance


So we're getting ready to do some painting around here. 

It should come as no surprise that "getting ready" has a very sketchy meaning for the husband and me.  We "get ready" for household projects by daydreaming about what we want, and then going out for a cup of coffee, and then maybe a month or two later wondering how much it will cost, and then cracking open another bottle of wine, and then stumbling across a paint sample or two, and then going away on a business trip . . . .


The girl in charge figured us out a long time ago, and thus is the only member of the family whose room has been painted to her specifications.  And it was a lot of work for both her and me -- work that involved geometry, y'all.

This summer I plan to paint my bedroom, the sunny girl's new(ish) bedroom, and the little roomlet she used to sleep in when she was not yet a 5'10 ballerina.  The roomlet will become an place for me to stash my work-related stuff (part-time faculty have no office privileges where I work).  Right now I keep all my crap in the back of my car.   I'm excited to make a little office for myself, and as usual I have all kinds of unrealistic expectations about how fabulously perfect it will be.  But at the same time, I will be sad to see the sunny girl's little roomlet go.  It means saying good-bye to some of her "little girl"-ness -- and: the room is so stinkin' cute!

The four-year-old sunny girl's roomlet was decorated for her by Grandma Carol, right after we moved into our house in 2001.  Grandma Carol has a great eye for what a little girl will like, and she and Grandpa have the motivational oomph to actually get a project done instead of just dreaming about it.  So the sunny girl's little room was a tiny ballerina's dream come true!

Check it out:  the flowers all over the walls were created by first using a big rubber stamp and some craft paint (that's the lavender colored basic flower).  Then Grandma went back over each flower several times freestyle, adding the pink detail, the white outline, and the swirly yellow center.  The random blue swirlies were "to give it a little color pop."  Just as I was oohing and ahhing about how cute the room was, Grandma got out her glue gun and attached flat pink glass marbles to the centers of all the flowers.  I mean . . . .  And you see how she instructed Grandpa to paint the walls flat pink, and then add a stripe of glossy pink of the same shade, right?  Grandma Carol created a lovely little room for my sunny girl that could be out of a magazine.

The kicker for the four-year-old, though, was the chandelier.

Friday, May 17, 2013

All character, no plot: garden

These are leftover herbs from last year's garden pots.  Theme = resilient.

The sage is out of control.

The lemony-smelling something that I can't name but love to smell has taken over its pot, but the rosemary has found a way to lean way over to the side so it can get some sunshine.

We have wild strawberries everywhere.

It looks like I planted a pot of little pansies that are now thriving, but really I bought a pot and plunked it in this larger ceramic pot, thinking I would transplant it later.  That never happened, so the pansies just soldiered on without me.

This pot also came from the grocery store (just like the pansies).  I plunked it down beside my mailbox three years ago, because I thought it was festive:  it had daisies, and something red that died almost immediately, and a cabbage-looking something that was green and purple and that lasted through the first season.  The daisies do this every spring, and then burst into bloom at the end of the summer.

And I don't do a thing. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Heavyhanded metaphor

So I've been neglecting my garden, which isn't surprising to anyone who knows me.  My poor hydrangeas were left to fend for themselves over the winter, and here the hydrangea metaphor or symbol or meaningful image or whatever you want to call it can be understood to stand in for any old thing you can think of:  my blog; my marriage; my laundry; my health; my friendships; my stack of books to be read; my kids -- and that's just what I can think of off the top of my head.

Some heavy-duty shit has gone down around these parts in the past months, but I won't babble on about it again because there's a long list, and I've talked about some of it before and I don't want to bore you, and some of it is not just my own shit and would be an invasion of another person's privacy, and some of it is just that I am a pain in my own ass sometimes and need to shake off my winter blahs so I can blossom again -- just like my hydrangeas.

And see how I did that?  Brought it right back around again like a boss!  Who said my English major was useless?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Snapshot: then and now

So some of you may remember that I mentioned once a long time ago that we had a hole in our carport ceiling from when the tall boy fell through it.  Here's how it happened:

The young tall boy (he was twelve) was fetching camping gear from the carport attic, in preparation for a Boy Scout adventure, when he stepped in the wrong place.  He crashed through the drywall ceiling of the carport, bounced off the top of the minivan, and landed flat on his back on the cement floor, right next to the trash dumpster.  Inside the house, the husband and I heard the crash, and seriously -- one of us said to the other, "Huh.  I wonder what that noise was."  Then we both picked up our coffee mugs and went back to whatever we were reading. 

And people, I swear that's exactly what happened.  When you think I'm exaggerating, or making something up for comic effect -- that is when I am telling the precise truth.  The stuff I make up cannot hold a candle to the shit that really happens to me.

Well -- after a spit take as we both realized that our beloved child was in the carport attic -- and the noise had come from the carport attic! -- we put down our coffee and strolled outside to see what all the racket was about.

Actually, I did make that part up.  Once we realized that the noise and our boy were probably connected, we did bolt out the door pretty quickly.  We're morons, but caring morons.

There was the tall boy, splayed like Wile E. Coyote after he chased the Roadrunner off a cliff.  The husband said, "Can you move, buddy?"  And the tall boy said, "Uh, no . . . ."

Insert all your own worst nightmares here.  They will be an accurate representation of the thoughts that ran through my head in slow motion.

While I was imagining my new life as the parent of a paralyzed child, and looking around for a discreet place to throw up, the husband responded to the horizontal tall boy:  "Listen.  Is it that you can't move, or that you're afraid to move?"  And the tall boy shot his father a pitying look.  "Dad.  I just got the First Aid merit badge.  You're not supposed to move a back injury."  And the world bounced back into place.

After determining that our boy could in fact move his fingers and toes, his arms and his legs, the husband got him up off the ground and dusted him off.  "What do you say we head on over to the hospital and see if you're brain-damaged?"

The tall boy laughed dismissively.  "No way, Dad!  We're going camping!"

And that was the end of that.

* * *

Well, so the hole in the carport ceiling was huge, and needed repairing in the worst way.  But somehow we never quite got around to it.  I have joked that we are lazy, and it is true -- but we're not that lazy.  In the ten years since the hole appeared, we have painted almost every room in our home, replaced flooring, renovated our kitchen, built a lovely fireplace mantel, gutted, designed, and restored one whole floor of our house, replaced a deck, and put up a split rail fence.  Some of these chores were accomplished by hiring professionals, but many of them were done by us, our own lazy selves.

And yet the hole in the carport ceiling lingered.  Why?  What was the weird dysfunctional thing going on that would not allow us to get rid of this unsightly and dangerous and embarrassing open wound?

I have no answer.

But it's gone now!  Our long national regional local pathetic nightmare is over!

And somebody needs to slap me, because I did actually say out loud to the husband, "You know, if we wait just a little longer, we can have a tenth anniversary party for the hole . . . "