Elementary school open house (this is where you go find out your teacher, get set up for before and after school care, all that happy jazz) was apparently not chaotic enough–they decided to add a scavenger hunt this year. Scott took care of most of that while I did volunteer orientation. Because I will chaperone the Disney trip again this year, by god (they’re thinking Animal Kingdom this year, which I am all for)! But we have no dates because half the gifted team teachers had their rooms renovated and that just got finished, like, this week, so everything is chaos.
In fact, Z’s teacher has decided to make the first week of classes into a real-world problem solving project for the class: how should we set up the classroom to make it a good learning environment? Which I think is a really cool thing to do, and I dig her flexibility in dealing with something she couldn’t control that’s going to affect her classroom. (Plus she gave us a packet explaining all the different kinds of assignments the kids get, so she’s my hero. I am a very supportive, involved parent if you tell me what you’re trying to do!)The school itself has a lot of new stuff going on this year–free lunch for all the kids, ID tags, school-provided and required planners–that looks intriguing. I am resigned to paying for replacements on the planner and ID card at least once this year, though.
Number of Plans I Helped With: 2 (giant pile of blankets on the floor for video gaming comfort; trip to the splash park with Scott)
Daredevil Stunts I Held My Breath and Watched: 1 (He ran through the water feature at the park in order to gain maximum speed down and air off the end of the twisty slide. The fake grass burn on his back and arm is fairly epic; he’s pretty proud.)
I haven’t ever thought of myself as a Harry Potter geek, and yet I was all goofy as we walked into Hogsmeade, and did a little geeky dance of joy when we saw Hagrid’s cottage. (FANG WAS BARKING, OKAY? DO NOT JUDGE ME!)
My parents took the boyo to Magic Kingdom for the day, so I didn’t have to have Mom-guilt. I did miss him a lot, though—like, even more than I usually do when he’s not around. It hit the Lovely Husband, too; we spent a lot of time saying, "Oh, Z would love this," or "Z would hate that."
Said Z and I spent Sunday afternoon comparing stories and plotting out what sort of wands we want (even though the wand chooses the wizard and all that; I figure if the Sorting Hat takes requests, so can the good people at Ollivander’s) when we eventually go as a family to Universal.
My other trip highlights include the Spider-Man ride, which was awesome; the Jurassic Park ride (always go on rides with people who are willing to play along); and riding the Dudley Do-Right flume ride in the rain while swearing a lot and making bad 50 Shades of Grey jokes. Because we are very immature.
It was also lovely to stay up late talking about musicals and revenge tragedy and general gossip with Jason. That was probably my favorite thing. Dinner at Tu Tu Tango (art on the walls, dancers, artists painting, and so. much. food.) with three of my favorite people was a pretty close second.
Oh, and …
Z told me today that when he got off the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride, he said a bad word. The ‘h’ word.
Then he paused, and said, “Well, actually it was the ‘b-h’ word.” Longer pause as he waited for the adults to figure it out. ”You know,” he said, “Ron says it.”
Wait. “‘Bloody hell’? You said ‘bloody hell’?”
"That’s the one, yeah!"
So there we were, watching the Minions, who speak their own little Minion-language and occasionally repeat words/sounds … and whenever they did, the kids in the audience started chanting along.
"Oooo-weee, oooo-weee, oooo-weee ..." All. Around. Me.
Then the “Happy” scene started, and all the kids sang along with the chorus.
I can’t decide if it was like a cult meeting or an elementary school version of Rocky Horror.
1I have not, as yet, seen Despicable Me. Also, my overall review was Okay, not as good as How To Train Your Dragon 2.[back]
I have a bunch of projects I'm working on; I have no idea which of them, if any, will see the light of day, but I like being busy. However, this massive allergy attack has left me sort of reeling in place (and drugged). I've hit a goal on one thing, and am ahead on another, so I figured to hell with it, let's just take today off from writing.
Then I got bored.
So now I'm on the blog, and I have no actual idea what I want to write about. How long has it been since I've posted? (goes to look) Oh, not quite a week--it seems so much longer!
All right, then, what's going on around here ...
Well, the boyo is out of school for the summer, and I think we're settling into a groove. Sort of. He's reading his way through Dr Seuss's entire ouevre, never mind that he's read them all already. I had forgotten how complex Dr Seuss got, once you move past Hop On Pop (though that book has its moments).
I was really trying to push him toward actual chapter books, because he spent a lot of time with those during the school year (oh my god, the Magic Treehouse books ...), but I've backed off a lot because, you know, it's the summer and he should be able to read what he wants. And if I can go back and read all my old Betsy Byars books, or all the Little House books, or every Neil Gaiman picture book in the library (which I did, before I had a kid), then he should get to read No, David! again if he wants.
(He does not, in point of fact, want to read No, David! This actually makes me kind of sad.)
So, yeah--lots of Dr Seuss and Adventure Time comics at The Little Pink House right now. Tomorrow we may go see How to Train Your Dragon 2, assuming I'm not dead of allergies.
I am s l o w l y working my way through a re-read of Milan Kundera's The Art of the Novel, which I remember really loving when I was 19 and read it the first time. I'm kind of wondering how much of that love was due to the fact that I was reading it during my semester abroad, quite frankly, because the second time through, at 41, is ... not the same experience. In some ways it's good. In some ways it's not. But there are some interesting ideas/quotes, and half the reason I want to keep going is I might end up blogging about it.
Still watching Orphan Black. In fact, there's a whole blog entry in me about why I love Sarah and Allison the best ...
(I just got a free copy of Allure, and it tells you something about my age and overall sensibilities that the headline "Her Gutsy Haircut & Supermodel Stories" is perhaps the funniest thing I've seen since I learned the phrase "high as balls.")
The allergies have made my voice go all squeaky (I rarely get the Phoebe-style sexy phlegm; I sound like the little rabbit kid from the Disney Robin Hood), so when patrons approach the desk to ask me for help, I end up replying with this startling sort of bark/squeak noise that then resolves itself into actual words. It's both embarrassing and amusing. Another observation of my current allergy hell is how much my mood and general outlook depend on whether or not I can breathe through my nose.
Okay, I honestly thought I had more stuff to write about--like, I had an actual idea for the next paragraph, and now--poof!--gone.
... all right, yeah, it's not coming back. And so I will wrap up this goofy, pointless blog post and go blow my nose. Again.
But every year has good things, and this is a list of mine:
1. My lovely husband just kept happily surprising me at every turn this year.
2. Got to go to Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer's ninja gig in Sarasota with jkason!
3. Had a lovely 40th birthday slumber party with doggiesushi, jkason, and my boys. John surprised the hell out of me and prompted the sort of swearing I usually reserve for ... well, actually, I don't know what I reserve that level of swearing for, other than my oldest BFF on my front porch after chatting with me like he was going to the damn store in Michigan. (Special thanks to sugarcoatedlie for keeping the secret on Facebook.)
4. Team Zweeble trip to Legoland! Got the kid on two rollercoasters, one of them four times!
5. Team Zweeble trip to North Carolina, which was, for me, a lovely respite from a really hard time. My in-laws are good people that I like being around. (Next time, though, secret grandkids-generation illuminati dinner out at the pizza place in Murphy!)
6. The boyo loved Peter Pan--he sat through the entire thing, solemn and enthralled, and at the end of the evening he declared it the best night of his life.
7. "The Drowned Man" in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, y'all!
8. So David proposed to Jason, and Scott and I got to be a part of it. I got in so much trouble, but it was totally worth it.
9. NOBODY WAS SICK FOR THANKSGIVING. And we all went to Mote Marine!
10. I love all of my friends, but Jason (and David) gets some extra love this year for being amazing. JC gets an honorable mention, because we both ended up needing some phone calls this year that, really, neither of us wanted. Thank you all, though, for being here for me and generally being lovely.
There were also a lot of stories, and new friends, good music, and a growing boy who also spent the year surprising me at every turn.
Hope you all have a wonderful New Year, and a 2014 that includes stories and art and love and good friends. And pizza, because I'm about to have some.
Last month, Z saw the prep for Parents' Night Out, noticed how much sugar it apparently involved, and asked if he could please go to the next one. So tomorrow, he's set to go and play laser tag, eat flavor ice, and watch The Croods from 3:30 - 8pm.
This is the first social/party type thing he's done without me, his father, or one of his grandparents with him.
I may be slightly freaking out.
I've been waiting for what feels like everfor this album. I've been listening to it as often as possible, much to the husband's chagrin (he's not a Bastille fan).
Waiting for the family to arrive, then Jason and David. Z is currently distracted by Plants vs. Zombies on Scott's phone.
Last night was the monthly Chuck E. Cheese night for the elementary school, where they give a portion of whatever you spend back to the school. Z loves Chuck E. Cheese night. One of his little friends was there, and they ran around playing games, sharing whatever extra tickets they found, paying for each other. His friend wasn't allowed to play shooting games, and I thought this would be an issue for Z., but he just ... didn't play any shooting games.
(We don't own very many shooting games, and he doesn't play the ones we do have for a variety of reasons, so I don't get too uptight when we go to Chuck E. Cheese and he tries out the Terminator game. But I respect other parents' decisions on these things--you raise your kid how you raise your kid.)
Anyway, it was nice. We had another round of "How old is your son?" because, as usual, Z towered over his friend. There is only one boy we know who is Z's age and is taller than he is. The girls seem to be as tall as he is, but I think girls actually do grow faster than boys for a while? I remember being the tallest kid in class until about 7th grade, and being as tall or taller than a lot of boys until 9th grade. We hit high school and every guy I knew had a growth spurt. It's weird going from being called "Too-Tall" to being short.
Scott baked a Dr. Pepper cake for his birthday, and that was an adventure. It's been a while since I've baked a cake, and I don't think I've ever done one totally on my own, so I wasn't much help. One layer stayed half-in the pan. I got the other half out without totally destroying the infrastructure, so we pieced it together and Scott frosted it (I think this was supposed to be more a drizzle than a frosting, but whatever), and it's pretty good! And looks-wise, whenever Scott brings up my coco puff lump o' doom, I now have something to come back at him with.
But now I want to bake a cake myself. And we don't need another cake. And I promised Scott some hot sauce bread tomorrow as a birthday gift, so ... no cake baking for a while.
I am attempting to clean the house before I inevitably succumb to whatever damn bug this is. So far the kitchen, living room, and dining room are clean. Next up: the office, the bathrooms, and our room! God only knows when Z's room will get cleaned.
Today was actually nice. Also kind of not--I kept getting overwhelmed now and then by this feeling of total isolation. Which makes sense--in a country of 300 million people, I'm sure we weren't the only ones not doing the giant feast thing, but you wouldn't know it. Z. didn't seem to notice or care, so that's good. I just, every so often, thought damn, it would suck to be a single parent without family.
Anyway. The day was really, really quiet. Which was wonderful--look, I don't want my husband to be sick, and it sucks, but one thing I've learned this year is that when you're not happy with a situation there is still nothing wrong with finding and enjoying whatever you can out of it. (I'm not super-keen on my work schedule, but I am allowed to enjoy the writing time it gives me.) Usually on days when we're all in the house, there's stuff from Scott's computer, or he and Mom discussing his homework, or lots of chaos in the kitchen, along with the TV or the computer games Z's playing, and it's noisy.
Today was not noisy.
My son also listened to reason. A lot. I explained that I was going to take him to the park today, but that we should wait until the afternoon so there would actually be kids there since it was Thanksgiving. He was cool with it. He was great about going to CVS for cleaning supplies. He was great about helping me Lysol everything in sight (though I figured that would happen). He played in his room while I cleaned it and did not hinder my progress. We painted pictures, made Scott a get well card, watched TV.
When we went to the park, he was bummed because there weren't any kids there his age who wanted to play, but after some moping about it, he took me up on my offer to play. He pretended to be an alien from Jupiter and crashed his spaceship, and then we went around the playground looking for the parts he needed to fix it. Then he was a baby velociraptor who had traveled through time to hatch at the park, and his egg was a time machine. So we traveled through time to find his siblings. (Let me tell you, I am extremely happy we have reached this stage of play. I can play pretend like a mofo.)
After the park we got meat and juice and came home. We had dinner, played "Who? What? Where?"--which is basically charades for kindergarteners. My favorite of his was he had to be a dog, bowling, in an igloo. He walked around pretending to shiver and sort of half-assed bowling a ball, and when I said, "How do I know you're a dog?" he threw out this tiny, frozen, "Arf?" His favorite of mine was the Queen doing karate in a swamp. So I hiked up my "skirts," kicked stuff, did the Queen wave, and smacked my neck like a mosquito had bitten me.
When I went to clean the kitchen up after we ate, he drew me pictures--also in the kitchen. One of them was a fairly respectable crab.*
We watched some TV for couch time, and he was falling asleep on me as we read books for bedtime. He was out like a light ten minutes after he was in bed.
I had forgotten the shape of our days, back before he was in school and I was working every weekday. And this wasn't exactly the same (I would have killed for naptime around 3:30 or so), but it was nice.
*Dudes, his handwriting and drawing skills have gone through the roof since he started kindergarten. Apparently he's still not quite up to snuff with the literal writing yet--his teacher told us that it's fine and not hurting him academically, but he just needs some more practice--but as I told her, I'm really pleased at how much he's improved in a few months. I'm cool with her sending him the extra work home and practicing with him, absolutely, but damn. In addition to this, he came home with an "abstract" crayon drawing of a himself that he did in art class--the teacher was teaching them about abstract art generally, and Paul Klee specifically. Paul freaking Klee. Whose name, the Zweeble informed me, is pronounced "Clay." So I of course went and checked ... and it is. I've never been so tickled to have my pronunciation corrected in my life.
Seriously, I'm super-mad at the world this year. Z. and I are just barely getting over our crud--Z has the eye and ear infection along with a cold--and we've already pushed Thanksgiving dinner back a day because my mom has a massive sinus infection ... now Scott has come down with a fever and was vomiting last night.
I don't want Scott to be sick. He loves Thanksgiving. He loves to cook, and frankly, I don't think we want him cooking if he's been puking.
I also don't want myself or the boy to get sick again.
My last, wistful thought ... I really could have used an actual break.
So I slept on the couch last night, and this morning I was joined by the Zweeble, who got snuggled up with me and chattered for a little while about how we've done this before when Dad's been sick, and how we tried to do naptime like this once, but it didn't work very well (I can't believe he remembers that). Then we put Sophia the First on the TV and he watched that while I dozed. It was a nice, quiet way to start what will likely be a rough day.
The differences are, this year I'll be at work until 9, so the obsessive refreshing won't be for as long, and this year the Zweeble not only knows there's an election, he has a preference in it.
Vote, vote, vote, y'all! The Zweeble compels you!
So, what's going on? I still feel like I'm playing catch-up from earlier in October, but I also feel like I'm getting there. Cleaning the house today definitely helped. I have a bunch of forms to send back to the other guy's insurance company, and some phone calls to make, and there will likely be more forms later, but I'm hoping they're tapering off.
The new car is finally starting to feel like it's mine--it's a 2010 Chevy Cobalt, and for a while there I couldn't really answer when people asked me how I liked it. Out of the roughly 8.2 million cars we test-drove, it was the best, but otherwise I was still mourning my Camry. I really liked my car. Yeah, it wasn't flashy, and it had 100,000 miles on it, and there were things starting to fall apart on it, but I wasn't at a point where I was planning to get rid of it. Anyway, now that the faux-new car smell is gone and I've gotten the seat belt scrubbed down, the Cobalt is cool. The iPod input jack makes me incredibly happy; being able to listen to David Tennant as Benedick without static is ... sigh. Actually, the whole stereo is really sweet.
It doesn't have as many hidey-holes as the Camry (seriously, Toyotas are all about the storage), and I miss the overhead lights in the front seat--oh, and there's no indicator on the dash for the headlights being on, and this irritates me out of all proportion.
I'm glad my long national nightmare of car shopping is over.
Tomorrow I start volunteering at Z's school, in the library. I figured at least this way, I sort of know what I'm doing.
My mother's been getting together with Scott every weekend to do Accounting homework; that means I've been taking Z all over the place to get him out of the house so they can work. This is exhausting, especially since Grandma has joined us in our weekly excursions. But it's also fun, and I know GeeGee loves spending time with the boy.
Got to see doggiesushi a couple of weeks ago when he was in town, and Z kept himself occupied for a lot of the visit, which was ... really cool. He's been a lot more self-sufficient recently, which is nice. Right now, I'm not the mom who freaks out when my baby gets more independent (I reserve the right to break down later, if need be)--I'm just thrilled I get some time to myself again.
It was good to see JC. I miss him. I'm super-happy I've gotten an annual sighting the past two years!
Jason's doing a kids' show! So we're going to introduce the Zweeble to live theater! This is a very exciting prospect.
I'm sitting up listening to a sneezy boy, waiting to see if he settles back down to sleep before I turn in, sort of keeping an eye on the hurricane because I have family in New Jersey.
I think Z's asleep. I think I'm going to head to bed, too.
Keep warm and dry, out there in the world tonight.
Then we go get the rental. Not nervous about that.
And somewhere in there, there are phone calls from various parties. I just want that bit over with. I'm going to have to tell what happened about four times today.
I'm still sore, but have moved into it feeling like I slept in an extremely weird position for a really long time, rather than needing to support my neck with my hands whenever I want to sit up. The bruises are blooming, too.
The boy is singing "U Can't Touch This," except he's doing the "U Can't Squash This" version. We're almost caught up on his makeup homework from last week.
All right, have to go get all the paperwork and stuff together for today.