Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I'm On My Way.....Well, Almost

A couple of weeks ago I got a sudden urge to go home and visit my family.

Usually when I get the bug to go home, I either (1) Check the price of tickets home, then change my mind once I realize I can probably buy three rooms of furniture for what it would cost to go home; or (2) Remember how much I hate to travel and recall every bad layover I've ever had, then ask the Hubster to make me a Margarita.

This time was different. I found an incredible deal on tickets (plural, because Destructo would be my travelling partner), so price wasn't really an issue. The Hubster promptly brought me my What-The-Hell Am-I-Thinking Margarita. It must have been super-strong, because instead of changing my mind, I entered my credit card info and bought my tickets.

This is where it gets pathetic.

My head began to spin with irrational thoughts.

We have to take halftime snacks to the Wildcard's game - what if the Hubster forgets?

Destructo doesn't have (real) shoes....or socks. It's c-o-l-d in Michigan and he's a rubbah slippah kid.

What if they don't close the kitchen door when they leave in the morning and StupidDog gets on my furniture?

I'm going to miss Oktoberfest!!

Of course, the Hubster had irrational thoughts of his own.


Who will help the Diva with her Trig homework?

Will you bring fudge back for me?

I decided that the little stuff will all work itself out.

The plan was to do a ten-day whirlwind trip - four days with the Hubster's family in Florida, five days with my family in Michigan, and a little more than a day of travel time. It would be quick, it would be manageable, and I would be home in time for Parent-Teacher Conferences and the Marine Corps Ball.

Wilma put a little kink in our plans. We were supposed to head to south Florida on Friday, but the airport is still closed, and (from what we've read in the news) the Hubster's family is most likely without electricity, telephone service, and water. Since that's not my idea of a vacation, we reversed our itinerary and will be going to Michigan first....I will be home in a couple of days!!

The trip itself will be no fun - it's about seventeen hours from our door to my Mom and Dad's door. Combine that with a six-hour time difference, and I expect to have an ornery toddler on my hands. I'm not too concerned about that. I used to travel home from Japan (without the Hubster) with three small children, and that was a thirty-six hour trip and a twelve hour time difference. If I can do that, I can do anything.

While I am home I plan to make up for missing Oktoberfest in Hawaii. We will be making a trip up
here, and more specifically here (of course) and here. Depending on which family members are along, we may go here or here. This is nearby, and we may detour that way too. Other than that, it'll be all about hangin' out and chillin' with family, and if time allows, meeting up with a few old friends.

Now I just have to figure out what the Hell I'm going to pack.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Soccer Wrapup (Sigh....)

This week is the last of the soccer season for the Blonde One and the Wildcard.

Both have played back-to-back seasons, so a big part of our lives has revolved around soccer for the past six months. Between the two of them, we've been shuttling back and forth to 4-5 practices per week, plus two games on Saturday. Usually they schedule the younger kids' games early, before it gets hot, and the older kids in the afternoon. For us, that meant one game in the morning and the other in the afternoon, pretty much eating up our entire day.

For the past six months I have been tripping over cleats and shin guards, and washing water bottles every night. On laundry day I have a dozen soccer socks to match and figure out which child they belong to. The MomVan has multiple soccer balls rolling randomly across the floor every time I turn a corner.

As hectic as it gets, I am really, really going to miss soccer season.

The Hubster hasn't figured it out yet - he just thinks I'm being nice - but I offer to take the boys to every game, every week.

Why?

I've discovered my Happy Place, and it is the soccer field.

I get to sit for two solid hours and do nothing. I don't have anyone asking me for anything, I don't have to chase after a busy toddler, and there are no petty arguments to settle. It's just me, my soda, and the gorgeous Hawaiian landscape.

Don't get me wrong. I love watching the boys play, and I love having one-on-one conversations with them as we drive to/from the games. But the bottom line is that it's all about ME.

And if you were at the Mililani soccer field this weekend and saw a lunatic mom sitting under an umbrella in the cold, pouring rain with 35+ m.p.h. gusts blowing all around, sipping her Coke and smiling.....well, that was me.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Question of the Day

Hypothetical question:

Imagine that you are at the gym, in the middle of your workout on an elliptical machine. A guy hops onto the treadmill directly in front of you. The wire from his i-Pod headphones is somehow tangled in the back of his shorts and three-quarters of his left butt cheek is hanging out for all to see.

Do you say anything?

What if you assume that once he starts running, the wire will work itself loose and things will fix themselves. But it doesn't happen that way. Instead, you're treated to a pasty-white butt cheek flopping up and down, up and down, up and down.....

Do you say anything at that point?




Would your answer be different if it's someone you know casually?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Conspicuous Friday

Just a goofy one this week.

My intent was to get a picture of the camera-shy Blonde One, but the Wildcard had to send himself flying across the room and into the picture. The Blonde One still managed to hide behind a pillow.

Here's my
conspicuous Wildcard.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It's a Fine Line, Really

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Benjamin Franklin


If I pick the salad spinner up from the floor and put it back into the cupboard seventeen times in one day, thinking maybe it will stay in the cupboard this time, does that make me insane?

Or am I insane because I have to spend my day picking salad spinners off the floor?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Holy Language Barrier, Batman!!!

This morning was my morning to be the parent helper in the Wildcard's CCD class. (CCD is the Catholic version of Sunday School.) I wasn't sure exactly why they needed a helper, as there are only 9 students, and the teacher already has an assistant. On the first day of class, the teacher said that each parent is required to spend one day in the classroom, but she usually wouldn't have anything for the parent to do.

Anyway, I headed off with the Wildcard to do my duty.

The teacher decided that I would sit in the hallway and the children would come out one by one and recite any of the prayers they had memorized during the week. I was to sign their prayer book next to the prayers they had memorized. Simple enough.

The children took turns sitting down with me and reciting a prayer or two, often stumbling and needing a little prompt, but I signed off on any attempts. They are 10 y/o kids, after all.

Then Child #6 came out, a little girl with blonde pigtails who had wowed the class with a Photoshopped homework assignment earlier in the day.

She sat down, straightened her dress, and informed me that she would be reciting three of the more difficult prayers. She handed me her book so I could follow along.

She recited them flawlessly. She didn't stammer, she didn't need prompts, and she pronounced all the words correctly.

What happened next made my head spin.

She looked at me with her big, blue eyes and said, "Now I would like to recite them in Latin, if you don't mind."

And she did.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Shhhhhhh.......

I was reading Da Momma's blog detailing the birth of their new baby girl, and suddenly had a flashback to the day Destructo was born.

More specifically, the pre-op procedures.

Destructo was born via a scheduled c-section, so the Hubster and I were at the hospital before dawn, going on very little sleep. The nurse filled out all the appropriate paperwork, IV's were inserted, blood was drawn, and all of the necessary personnel notified.

This is when the nurse prepped the Hubster for the O.R.

He had to scrub with the funky soap. He was given a hospital gown, and a paper cap to cover the little bit of hair that a Marine is allowed to have.

Then the nurse looked at his feet...because he also needed the paper shoe coverings before he could be allowed into the O.R.

She had the shoe coverings in her hand, then put them back and pulled out two more paper caps and handed them to him with instructions to use them as coverings for his size 13 shoes.

In our sleepless, giddy state, we laughed hysterically that he had to wear hats on his feet because they didn't make shoe covers large enough to cover them. If I hadn't had a catheter, I probably would have pee'd my pants.

And then we swore we would never tell anyone.

Shhhhhhh.....



Thursday, October 13, 2005

Happy Birthday?

Today was the Blonde One's fifteenth birthday.

It really wasn't much of a birthday for him. He had his braces tightened yesterday, and then there were the PSAT's , after school band practice, and soccer practice. He (wisely) decided to wait until the weekend to celebrate.

It didn't surprise me that he wanted to wait - he's our low-key, low-drama child. (It may have something to do with the fact that he was the middle child for nine years.) The Diva and the Wildcard would have insisted on having their birthday ON their birthday, no matter what.

I asked him what his ideal birthday would be, and he said, "You would let me skip school to surf all day, then we would throw some burgers on the grill. I'd have to stay home and play video games for a while, but then I would go play soccer until dark. Then I would go home, have a huge milkshake, and go to bed."

I asked him about birthday presents and he said, "Oh, yeah, whatever. I haven't even thought about that yet."

He is the quiet one, and has inherited my dislike of being in front of the camera. This is probably one of the last pictures I have of him where he wasn't covering his face or ducking behind something.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Now the only pictures I can get of him are on the soccer field or at the beach. Even then he has an uncanny way of removing himself from the picture.

He's # 10.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

A post-surfing picture.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

That's pretty much as good as it gets with him.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Friday Five

One of the places I've always wanted to visit on this island is
Punchbowl, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Last time we lived here I was in grad school and passed Punchbowl nearly every day as I took my shortcut to campus. I always wished I had the time to stop, but it never happened.

On Saturday, the Diva took her SAT's at a test center very near there. After dropping her and her Diva Friends at the test center, I took care of my errands and discovered I still had two hours until it was time to pick them up again. My camera was in the MomVan as I finally headed off to Punchbowl.


The cemetery is located in a crater above downtown Honolulu, but you would never know it. As you drive up around the crater to the entrance, there are amazing views of town, Diamond Head, and the ocean beyond. Once you enter the cemetery, it is completely peaceful and serene with the only sound being the wind blowing through the trees.

I wandered through the cemetery, taking time to look at the memorials and markers, snapping a few pictures along the way. The grounds were meticulously maintained, and many grave sites were covered in flowers, notes, and other personal mementos. I came across this one, and remembered my Japanese friends explaining to me how it is important to leave offerings, often food, to their ancestors.

So, with a little editing, I decided to use it as my PhotoFriday pic of the week. The five-fruit offering is common in certain Asian cultures. I don't know the significance of the pound cake or bottled water, I would assume it is just something the family enjoyed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Leftovers For Two, Please?

What's more annoying than finally finding time for a lunch date with the Hubster, and then arriving at the restaurant of choice only to discover that it doesn't open for another hour?

I'll tell you.

1. Returning to the restaurant more than an hour later and discovering that it STILL isn't open.

2. When it finally does open, nearly 30 minutes past the posted time, the bathrooms are out of toilet paper.

3. Being served a meal that had obviously been cooked long ago and reheated.

4. And to top it all off, nearly being hit by a skateboarder's snot-rocket as you walk back to the car.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Eavesdropping

Today, in Lowes. Completely overdressed Lady with the up-turned nose and down-turned mouth talking with her dutiful husband and the Lowes clerk:

Lady: (Sweetly...) You don't have it in the metallic grey? I really think the grey would be best.

Clerk: No, but we do have a shipment coming in this week.

Lady: Could you hold one for me, please?

Clerk: We're not allowed to do that. However, you can go online and order one and click the box to have it delivered to the store. It will be here in a couple of days and then we can hold it for you.

Husband: But then we won't be able to look at it and examine it before we buy it....

Lady: (Totally ignoring Husband...) Do they have more colors online? Would we perhaps have a better selection?

Clerk: I'm not sure about this item, but I can check for you.

Lady: Could you do that, please?

Husband: (As Clerk walks away...) It might be better to just buy this one....

Lady: (Turning off the sweetneses...) Would you just shut the Hell up? I can handle this.

Husband: I don't want to buy something without first looking at it....

Lady: I told you...I'll take care of this. Do you think I'm stupid or something?

Clerk: I checked the catalog and these are the colors we have...(lists colors)

Lady: (Back in sweet mode....) Maybe metallic grey or sterling silver....

Husband: Do you have the silver....

Lady: Definitely the metallic grey. We'll special order it and wait for it to come in.

Clerk: There's a fee for special orders. If you order it online there is no extra charge.

Husband: Maybe we could get the silver? Or order it online?

Lady: I'd like the metallic grey, special ordered, please.

(Clerk walks away to get paperwork...)

Lady: (Sweetness off....) I TOLD you I could handle this. Just stand there and look pretty, okay?

Husband: I'm just not sure about the metallic. And I don't think the special order is necessary....

Lady: Now I know why I don't take you places. I've decided on the metallic. Deal with it.




The item in question?

A SHOWER CURTAIN ROD.

Some people really need to get a life.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

A Poem

By the Wildcard

The Flu

When I was sick,
I had the flu.
I went to the bathroom
from one until two.

I watched TV
when I was free.
But I went again
from two until three.

I am happy,
now I am done.
Not sick any more,
now I have fun.

Oh no! Wait!!
I am NOT done!!
I just went
from twelve until one.


A vote of the Wildcard's AGT classmates unanimously chose this as the best poem from their poetry unit.

And why not? It has all the elements important for fifth grade poetry.

It rhymes.

And it is about poop.

For his efforts, the Wildcard was awarded......(drumroll, please)....





A pencil.
Dark Friday

Four days a week "we" have soccer practice from 4-6 p.m. and by the time practice ends, the sun is starting to set.

Yesterday, while driving the Blonde One home from practice, we watched the sky changing from different shades of blue and grey to the most amazing purples and reds. We watch the sun set most nights, but this was above and beyond the usual evening sky.

And this, of course, was the day I didn't have my camera with me.

As the colors changed, I drove faster and faster hoping I could make it home before total darkness set in. I timed it pretty well because in the end,
this is the photo I got for this week's PhotoFriday challenge, "Darkness".

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Did You Hear Him?

Today was THE day for Destructo.

The Wildcard and I had dental appointments this morning, the Blonde One and the Diva had to go to school, and the Hubster had an early morning meeting.

Destructo couldn't tag along with any of us, so I had to pack his bag and take him to the drop-in child care center.

He is almost 21 months old and has never been left with anyone outside the immediate family, so we really didn't know what to expect. When I filled out the registration paperwork and did the walk-through last week, he loved it. There were toys, there were kids his age, and there were goldfish cracker snacks. It was Toddler Utopia.

This morning when we dropped him off, he immediately left us and started playing with toys. His teacher waved us off, so the Wildcard and I headed to the dentist's office.

Now, I knew at some point he would realize we were gone and there would be tears, but he's the most laid-back of the kids and I never thought it would get ugly.

But it did, and fast.

It took all of five minutes, to be exact. As soon as he realized we weren't with him, he began to cry. He cried while he played with toys, he cried while he ate snacks, he cried when they went out to the playground.

The only time he stopped crying was when they went for a walk, but he got hysterical halfway through. His teacher didn't understand why he was okay at the beginning of the walk, but suddenly for no apparent reason went into hysterics. She said he screamed and cried and kicked and tried to get out of the stroller, and didn't let up, even after they returned to the classroom.

When I heard this, I started to feel really bad for Destructo. I knew why he had the sudden hysterical fit - he thought he was going home. They walked down the street, past the playground where we always take him, past the beach where we always go, right past our house, and back to the strange 'school'. I'm sure the crying began when he passed our house without stopping.

Poor baby.

The Mommy Guilt is working overtime today.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Whew.

The race is over with mixed results.

The Blonde One did great - his best time ever, and a finish in the top 5%!! He was pretty proud of himself, and is asking if I can find another 5K for him to run.

I somehow finished in the top 25% - not so bad, considering how the past month has been. I'm okay with that, but disappointed that the race seemed so difficult. Deep down, I was hoping it would be super simple and I would be able to jump back into my marathon training schedule and be ready to go by December. That won't be happening.

My first mile this morning was great. I made it most of the way through the second mile before the gasping and wheezing began. I had to stop and walk until I could catch my breath, and when I began running again I had horrible stomach pain. I've never had problems with my stomach before, so this threw me a bit....until somewhere near the end of the race when I let out a HUGE burp and everythign was fine again. Apparently in my gasping and wheezing, I swallowed more air than I inhaled. (Stupid me.)

Overheard at the Start Line:

A group of four boys, about 10 y/o, were discussing the staging process. Runners were supposed to line up in groups based on their estimated time per mile. We were in the 7-9 minute mile group. One little boy looked around and said, "Don't they have a section for 3-4 minute miles? Because I know that's what I'm going to do."

New Pet Peeve:

Spectators who line the race route, smoking cigarettes and cheering on the runners.

Overall, it wasn't a bad morning. A bit disappointing, but I probably needed a reality check anyway!!


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Today I Saw...

An old couple, probably in their seventies, obviously tourists in their matching, bright Aloha pattern outfits....

driving through Waikiki in a convertible Mustang......

with the top down......

in the rain.....

laughing and having the time of their lives.



And they burned rubber and left the MomVan in the dust at the light.



I hope to be them some day.


I Am Totally Screwed.

On Sunday the Blonde One and I are running the Niketown 5-K again. We ran it
last year and I swore I would never do it again.

The problem with the race isn't the distance or the course, it's the number of kids who participate. It is a fundraiser done by Nike, and 100% of your registration fee goes to the school of your choice for athletic equipment. So, needless to say, it is heavily promoted in the schools, and every kid who can tie his own sneakers signs up for it.

Kids will be kids, right? But when you get them up at 5 a.m. so they can run the downtown streets with their friends.....well, I don't like them so much.

Last year I nearly tripped over a couple of boys who decided to wrestle on the race course instead of run on it, and I don't know how many times I was bumped by kids running around and playing tag instead of running the race. But probably the most annoying were the Cell Phone Girls. We're talking about girls in the 10-14 age range who were on their cell phones the entire time, trying to locate friends who were somewhere in the crowd of 6,000 runners. It wasn't enough to simply locate the fellow Cell Phone Girl - each 'found' girl received the mandatory jumping-up-and-down-screaming greeting.

But the Blonde One asked if I would run the race with him, and I agreed.

Now, before I got sick I had started my marathon training, and it was going well. Unfortunately, four weeks of flu/bronchitis/dehydration crud set me back.....way back. Last Saturday I went for my first post-crud run, and although it went better than expected, I was out of breath at the end. Not "gasping for air" out of breath, this was more "I can't breathe/asthma attack" out of breath. And it was only a 2.5 mile run.

So I haven't run since.

And I'm getting up at 5 a.m. on a Sunday.

It's supposed to rain most of the weekend.

The course includes a loop around the zoo, which is always pleasant....


Think of me if you hear about some crazy lady having an asthma attack, collapsing into a heap in a mud puddle at the zoo, and being trampled by a bunch of unruly kids.

Or perhaps if you hear about a crazy lady tossing little children into the primate exhibits.