Monday, August 17, 2009

Mom's Tip Jar

Cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping and laundry are often thankless jobs, but yesterday was my lucky day! It was catch up day for me-we'd spent Saturday, my usual cleaning/chore day, at the State Fair, so I had work to do. The cleaning and grocery shopping got done, with no excitement other than the fact that I got to go Krogering ALONE, which is always a bit thrilling. (It's the little things in life, you know....) Doing the laundry, however, proved to be quite a rewarding experience! It started when I found a damp dollar in the washer, which I added to my "Tip Jar" that I keep on the shelf next to the Tide. Next, I found a crisp dollar in the dryer. Then, I found a five spot while folding clothes. The most exciting part was when I found a twenty! Wow-that dryer...what a tipper! Normally, I'll find maybe a dollar bill or two, or some shiny quarters at the bottom of the washer, but all told, I found $32 yesterday! In separate loads, no less. My Maytags must really love me. Ok, I know it's money we already had, or at least money that hubby had in his pockets, but for some reason it's exciting to find it where I'm not expecting it. Plus, there's the whole "finder's keepers, losers, weepers" thing, too, as I love to brag to hubby and make a big production of how the dryer gave ME money. (Yes, he does think I'm crazy.)Maybe I ought to have the kids hide some cash in the sink, then I might be more motivated to wash those dishes....

(Darn, I didn't find a good place to use that "money laundering" joke...)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Summer's End

I've been mourning the end of summer for a couple of weeks now. I love summer, so I hate to see it end. Sure, according to the calendar, and the typical weather patterns, there's plenty of summer left, but for all practical purposes, we've reached it's end. School starts for my kids on Wednesday. I'm not looking forward to getting everyone up early and out the door to meet the bus everyday. I'm also not looking forward to the fact that our time together as a family will be dramatically shortened-my husband works an unusual schedule, so there will be entire days where he only sees the kids for a few minutes in the mornings. My work schedule fits around his, so there aren't many times where we will all be together as a family. So, I've not been looking forward to the start of school.

Today, I took my kids to the park in a neighboring town. The plan was to let them have fun running around and playing, while I read a good book on a park bench in the shade. The park was deserted-apparently school had already started there. The monkeys ran around for a few minutes playing together, until my daughter decided she didn't want to play with her brother and sat down under the fancy, barn-shaped playset, with a bored and tired look on her face. My son came over and sat next to me on the bench and stared off into space. Neither could be encouraged to move. Barely 10 minutes had gone by since we arrived. I wasn't ready to leave yet-I wanted to read my book, and honestly, I wasn't ready to return home to my sink full of dishes, and too-quiet house. The kids just sat, until my husband, who is out of town for a work meeting, called. Then, as they always seem to do when I'm on the phone, the kids got up and started pestering each other. Seriously, what is it about perfectly calm kids acting like maniacs when Mom is on the phone? There must be a subconscious message in a phone ring that tells kids "you must yell and scream and act as obnoxious as possible while Mom is talking". I actually remember my brother and I doing the same thing to our poor mother, but I can't remember why we did it. Anyhow, I have to say that I was actually a little pleased when they started throwing mulch and acorns at each other, because they were actually up moving and having fun again! (Hey, I warned you that I was an "imperfect" Mom, right?) But, as the saying goes, it's always fun until someone gets hit in the head with an acorn... (Don't worry, she was perfectly fine).

Anyhow, we reluctantly schlepped back to the van, swung by McD's for dinner, and went home, where everyone is staring at tv or computer screens, or both. The point of all this, (and surprise! I actually have one this time!) is that I suppose we are ready for summer's end after all. When the prospect of a beautiful, sunny, warm day, and free run of a park playground doesn't get you excited anymore, then it's time for a change.

Tomorrow, we get to go to the school, and find out where the monkey's classrooms are. My daughter is beside herself with excitement, and while my son says he isn't excited at all, I think he, too, will enjoy the change in routine. I'll get back into the routine of working more, and when I'm home, you'll find me sitting on the porch, reading a book, enjoying the rest of the summer.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday Randomness and Tiaras

I'm sitting here on a Saturday that finally feels like summer. Now that summer is almost over for all practical purposes-the kids start school in a few days. The two monkeys are playing in their wading pool on the back deck. It's so nice to hear them giggling and squealing instead of fighting and yelling, for a change.
I'm watching Toddlers and Tiaras on TLC. I'm such a TLC junkie-I love 18 Kids and Counting, and yes, even Jon & Kate Plus 8. One set of parents make me feel like a lousy mom, but the other set make me feel better, ha! I wish I could be as sweet and gentle and patient as Michelle Duggar is. The woman has 18 kids and never needs to raise her voice. I have 2, and some days, I feel like I never stop yelling. (sigh)
Anyhow, Toddlers and Tiaras is such a trainwreck-I just can't help but watch. I won't even get into how I feel about the fact that the girls wear more makeup than me, or the hideous hairdos, or the "flippers"they wear to cover the adorable gaps in their teeth. I won't get into how wrong I feel it is to objectify little girls, or the terrible lessons these children are learning and all the psychological damage that is being done. I don't feel like getting all "heavy" with that stuff right now. What strikes me most, is that all the Moms say that their daughters love pageants, love the makeup and hairdos and all that, but most of the little girls seem so unhappy with it all. This show is really all about the moms-you can clearly see that they have self esteem issues, and/or issues with their own looks, and this is apparently how they are trying (in a very misguided way) to address that with their daughters. Why are they all southern? Why do the girls have to parade and dance around in such a fake way with those horrific, tacky clothes? Why do the Moms say they don't care about winning prizes, yet you can see that fiercely competitive gleam in their eyes, and the massive disappointment and disapproval on their faces when their daughters don't win. Why, why, why? Scary.

I'm a "Cool" Mom (or I'm turning into my mother)

Wednesday was Back to School Shopping Day at the Mall. For us, anyhow. My daughter, who typically doesn't care about school clothing, was searching for a very particular style of backpack. Since she allows me to pick out her clothing for the most part, I was indulging her in her desire to find this elusive book bag which we had yet to find in any other store. As we walked by one of those trendy, teeny-bopper stores with it's loud music, teensy-weensy, expensive, but worn looking T-shirts, and pricey jeans which looked like they've been dragged behind a tractor, I noticed a large selection of backpacks on the wall. I thought to myself what a cool Mom I could be for purchasing my daughter a backpack from this shop that just oozed out the seams with trendiness. ( I could stop here and explain that my parents couldn't afford to buy me cool, trendy stuff when I was a kid, and now...well, I have issues, we'll leave it at that.) So, I confidently march into this mecca of teen spirit with my family, trying hard not to focus on the fact that I'm the oldest person in there, and walk to a wall filled with Roxy and Volcom backpacks. I point out a few to my totally unimpressed daughter, hoping that one of these will be a good substitute for that most likely non-existent backpack-on-a-pedestal she has in her mind. No such luck-all of the backpacks have two straps, and she must have a one strap shoulder sling style. So, still feeling like an accommodating, cool Mom, for being so understanding about this whole thing, I confidently turn to a nearby sales girl hanging up a back pack to ask for help. Only she's not a salesgirl, just some random teenage shopper, who turns to me with a look of surprise, and says loudly, "Oh! I don't work here!". Oh, geez. To her credit, she was very sweet about it, but I'm sure she and her friends had a good giggle about it as I walked away, feeling every inch the non-cool Mom I am.
Now that I type this story, it does sound sort of non-eventful, but this is something my mother would have done that would have embarrassed me to no end. My kids are too young and unaware at this point to be embarrassed at this event, but their time will come, and I'll be there, saying or doing something Mom-like and dorky, while they cringe in embarrassment and try to sink into the floor. For some reason, that thought puts a smile on my face....
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