Thursday, August 31, 2017

Well Then

Last night I made my way to the girls’ school where I sat in the choir room with a bunch of other parents and listened to Mrs. F talk about a trip to Chicago that she’s planning for the high school choir.

It sounds like a lot of fun. I wrote a check for the first part of the payment for Alyssa to go on this trip. I filled out the forms and signed the permission slip. I even expressed interest in being a chaperone.

While there, I was able to talk to another mom, Mrs. Porch actually. Remember her? She has two daughters, one of whom is in Alyssa’s class, the other is in Olivia’s class.

We compared notes on how much we’re hating fourth grade. Not because the teachers aren’t awesome, they are amazing. No, it’s because fourth grade is hard and our daughters, Olivia and Delaney, simply don’t care.

They couldn’t possibly care less about whether one number is greater than the other. They don’t care about interrogative sentences versus exclamatory statements. They don’t care.

Which is why it’s so hard to get homework done each night. These girls don’t care and so we parents have to drag every single word, number, sentence, answer out of them.

And it’s hard work…for us.

But there is comfort in knowing that Olivia is actually just like one of her typical peers.

I guess the old staying is true…misery does love company.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Fourth Grade So Far

Fourth grade is kicking my butt. I don’t know if it’s kicking Liv’s butt or not, she’s a tough nut to crack sometimes but I’m about done with it and the girls have been back at school for eight days.

Last night we struggled through an hour of homework. That’s ONE HOUR of homework, in case I stuttered back there.

Now, to be fair to the teachers sending home the work, if dear sweet Olivia had let her teacher help her with two pages of math work, she might have only had forty minutes of work instead of an hour but alas, my stubborn love came home with a yellow letter stating she wouldn’t work with her teacher on her math work. So we had to do it at home.


I try so hard not to get frustrated with her and lose my patience. I mean, I don’t think she does this shit on purpose but sometimes it’s hard to not take it personally when I’m sitting at the kitchen table from 6 to 7 ‘helping’ her with her homework because she can’t be trusted to do the work herself. And honestly, I’m not sure she CAN do it without prompting and help and near constant cajoling and reminders of the math rules she’s working with and on and on and on.

I did tell her, quite sternly, that when her teacher offers help, she HAS to accept it. She HAS to do the work her teacher is putting in front of her. She HAS to interact with Mrs. K.

It’s only the second full week of school and I know that Liv takes time to bond with her teachers/aides/therapists but damn it, she’s ten years old and in fourth grade, it’s time to pull it together!

So easy for me to say, with my (fairly) typical brain and my 46 intact chromosomes.

And that’s why I try so hard to be patient and kind and remember that more often than not, she’s doing her best. Sure, she’s stubborn and yes, maybe a little lazy. And she might very well be manipulating me all the way around the block but who really knows?

So we’ll keep muddling through and figuring it out and hopefully, not doing homework for a freaking hour every night for the rest of this school year.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Cranky Pants

Guess what? I was not the one wearing the cranky pants this past weekend. I know! Big surprise, right?

In fact, one of my aunts (I have A LOT of aunts) told me I am one of the most positive people she’s ever know. Yeah, put that in your cranky pipe and smoke it.

No, the cranky pants this weekend were worn by one Miss Lyss. She was tired. She was overwhelmed by school and marching band and life in general. She missed our house and didn’t want to wait while her sister swam what was probably her last swim of the season. Oh, and she was hungry (Lyss, not her sister, who just wanted to swim.)

Let’s back up just a little. See, on Friday evening, Lyss’s school had its first football game. Alyssa plays the flute in the marching band so she had to be back at the school at 5:30 that afternoon. Thankfully, Tom made her eat something before I got home because I got home at 5:00, had time to pee (hello, it’s what one does when one gets home from work, just saying…) and then I hustled her back out the door at 5:15 to take her to the school. Oh wait, between walking in the door, peeing and then walking back out the door, Alyssa asked if her friend Tessa could come back to our house after the football game. I used the few minutes I had between suggesting the Lyss wear shorts instead of running pants under her band uniform to text Tessa’s mom and see if the overnight plans were okay with her.

The football game started at 7:00 and she didn’t call me to go back to the school to pick her and Tessa up until 10:30. So it was a LONG night for her. I get that.

Then they had to be up by 10:00 because T’s mom was picking her up at 10:30ish. So insert tired emoji here.

After Tessa left, Lyss had to pack some overnight supplies because she, Livie and I were heading to Battle Creek, Michigan with my mom to stay with my aunt (not the one who told me I’m a positive person) and all the other aunties, a few cousins and my grandma.

My aunt L was throwing a “Tea Party” for all of us, but the guest of honor was my cousin’s daughter, Sabella. She needs to visit with all of us more and it was great fun.

Though there were times when Alyssa was bored. I understand that. There was a lot of talk and visiting amongst the adults. The only kids were Alyssa, Olivia, my cousin E’s daughters, who are eight and not-quite-two. And of course, Sabella, who is eleven.

So boredom was to be expected. But it’s something one puts up with to hang with family. Sorry kiddo, family is important.

By Sunday afternoon, though, Lyss was done with tea parties and visiting and just wanted to go home. Though isn't she adorable in the hat she made for herself for the tea party?

And home we went…after Olivia gone one last swim in.

I mean, it’s late August. There very well may not be any more chances to swim this season. The local pool has been closed for a couple of weeks. The nights are getting cooler which means the lakes are cooling off. Fall is right around the corner. Bummer for all of us, right?

I do understand, too, that she’s probably stressed about my health too. I am trying to be understanding of her stress, her tiredness, her anxiety, her school work load. I want to be understanding while still holding her to the standards of being a member of our family.

You can put on the cranky pants but you can’t complain about them non-stop. At some point, you just have to come to the realization that they’re itchy and uncomfortable and you need to change into something more soothing.

I promised her that next weekend will be a stay-at-home weekend and that the best part is that it’s a three day weekend for all of us. That helped her a little.

She is a teenager after all.

And for the record, she wasn’t cranky ALL weekend. I have photographic proof. See?

Friday, August 25, 2017


I met with a surgeon on Wednesday. The appointment was originally scheduled for Thursday, but they called with an opening on Wednesday and I took it. I mean, who doesn’t want to move up something like that? Let’s get this party started!

The first thing the surgeon told me was that I am young and that I’ve caught this early. He didn’t want to commit to a treatment plan until we get a little more information so he sent me for a chest x-ray and some blood work.

I am scheduled for an MRI next Wednesday. I see the surgeon again next Thursday to see what these tests have shown.

He wants me to see a genetic counselor; so I will. This will tell us how radical the treatment needs to be.

I kind of hate this limbo right now. I want to get started, start doing something. But for now, we wait.

But even as I’m anxious to start I feel peaceful.

Especially at home with Tom and our girls, there is peace. There is such a sense of love and kindness. There is a gentleness that has settled over our home. I feel like we have a warm blanket wrapped around us, protecting us, sheltering up from the stress that is just outside the doors.

I have so many lovely friends who are praying and sending positive thoughts.

And I can feel that positivity. I feel the peace.

Thank you for that.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017



About six weeks ago, I noticed some pain. It wasn’t horrible. Just…weird. It was near my left armpit. I couldn’t tell if it was in the breast or the armpit, actually. It was vague.

A week after the pain started I mentioned it to my family doctor. I was there to talk about my stupid left foot but mentioned the armpit/breast pain too because, well, I was already there in the office. He did a little pushing in the general vicinity of the area I indicated the pain was and declared that since I’d had a clear mammogram just this past April, well, let’s just see if the pain resolves itself.

It didn’t.

Four weeks after that appointment, five weeks into experiencing the pain, I called my gynecologist. I mean, I just figured a doctor who’d chosen to specialize in women’s health might be the better bet on this second go around in discussing the pain.

This time, the doctor had me take off my shirt and bra and lie on the exam table. He pushed and PUSHED and yikes, I was able to say, “Yep, that’s where the pain is!”

He felt some ‘thickening’. He didn’t like the feeling of that thickening. He scheduled me for an ultrasound the very next day. This was last Wednesday.

Since I was there in the office, I decided to schedule an appointment for Olivia to get some vaccinations. She was due for them (maybe even overdue) and what the heck, the girls weren’t in school yet. Her appointment was for 9:15. My ultrasound was scheduled for 10:00 in the same building.

We arrived at the hospital for her appointment at 9:00 (because if you’re on time, you’re late!) and waited. She was finally called back at 9:35. I told the nurse, as nicely as possible, that I was supposed to check in for an ultrasound at 9:45 for a 10:00 appointment so if we could move Liv’s appointment along, that would be great. She made soothing sounds and said she’d be right with us.

We managed to get out of there in time for me to check in for the ultrasound at 9:50, only five minutes late. I was only a little stressed at this point.

I was called back for the ultrasound right away. They’re cool like that. The girls were allowed to come back with me and wait in the “Ladies” waiting room, just outside where the ultrasound was taking place.

The tech found a mass that was about 2cm. The ultrasound results were sent to the diagnostic center to be read. Twenty minutes later, a doctor was on the phone with me telling me that he’d like me to get a biopsy of the mass. The ultrasound tech and her co-worker, the mammographer told me to stick around, they were going to do their best to get a doctor down there in the next half hour to get the biopsy done.

We were walking out of the hospital by 11:30, biopsy samples collected and being sent off to the lab.

That was last Wednesday. The ladies at the imaging center told me it would take about three business days to get the results back to my doctor. I went about my life, got the girls off to their first day of school, went to work, bought groceries.

On Sunday at 5pm, I saw that I’d had a missed call from my gynecologist. He’d call about an hour before. On a Sunday.

That gave me time to get used to the idea that the results were back and they were not good news.

I called him back first thing Monday morning and he told me over the phone, “It’s cancer.”

Then he asked me if my husband and I could meet with him in his office at 2:45 that afternoon. He said he didn’t like to go into details over the phone.


Tom and I met at the doctor’s office (which is in a wing of the hospital) and we were told that I need to meet with a surgeon. The doctor said it might take two weeks for the surgeon to fit me in.

The nurse came in and told me she’d already called the surgeon and I was scheduled to meet with him on Thursday…of this week. Yeah, that was fast.

So…we’ll see what the surgeon says on Thursday.

I’m still processing everything. I’m trying to be positive and calm. I’m trying to remember that this isn’t the death sentence it was so many years ago.

I’m trying.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Olivia brought her first spelling list home last night. She was in a mood as we sat down to work on this list.

Her teacher had sent home a sheet of paper on which Liv was supposed to write her spelling words three times each. She’d also brought home a red pencil and a blue pencil with which she was supposed to write her words, using a regular pencil for the third copy of her words.

By the time we got home last night to sit down and write out these words, Olivia had already eaten two servings of mandarin oranges and an ice cream cone at my mom’s. Maybe the sugar was the reason for her nuttiness.

Or maybe…she was just being Olivia.

Whatever the case, she thought everything was hilarious. She laughed when I told her which word to write. She laughed when I told her to write it so her teacher could read it. She laughed when I’d erase a particularly messy or incorrectly spelled word.

I tried nagging her. I tried warning her that she was on the verge of a timeout and having her tablet taken away for the rest of the evening.

Nothing worked. She laughed at everything.

Tom came out and yelled at her. She laughed at him.

I finally just started saying each word in as monotone a voice as I could muster. When she’d act up, I’d repeat the word, still monotone. Once the word was written correctly and legibly, I’d say blandly, “Write it again.”

I started going this when we were on the third copy of the fifth word. I continued it through the rest of the 25 words on her list.

And what do you know? It worked. My non-reaction to her ‘hilarity’ made her stop with the hilarity. She wrote the words. I’d sometimes wordlessly take the pencil away from her, erase the word, repeat the word to her and tell her to write it again, reminding her every so often, still very monotone, to write it so her teacher could read it.

She was being a lunatic because she wanted a reaction out of me.

When the reaction went away, the lunacy went away.

Who knows if this method will work tomorrow? But the fact that it worked last night meant that we all survived and her spelling list made its way back to Mrs. K this morning.

I’m calling it a win in this battle called parenthood.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Fourth Grade - or - Why This School is the Best for Olivia

Open-house at the girls’ school was on Tuesday.

Thought Alyssa had picked up her schedule, locker assignment and combination a week before, we had to go Tuesday to drop off Oliva’s twenty folders (okay, three), her markers, the socks she’ll need to use as dry-erase erasers and the many, many, MANY other school supplies she’ll need for fourth grade (a protractor? Really….?)

We also paid the school fees for the year. Freshman fees are only $24. Fourth grade fees are $50. Damn, fourth grade must be a big learning year.

When we got to O’s new class room (at the end of the junior high hallway…that is one smelly hallway…just saying) we found her desk and the little card that told us which locker was her. It also had the combination to that lock.


Fourth grade is the year they start with combination locks at Liv’s school.

Lyss’s class was the last one to wait until fifth grade for combination locks. She stressed about that damned combination from May until the night before her first day of fifth grade. I bought her a combination lock at Walmart in June that year so she could practice. She was fine…obviously.

Olivia…did not stress over the combination lock. She truly could not possibly care less about that combination lock.

The day of open house, she started practicing with the lock we’d bought Lyss all those years ago. Tom went so far as to lock Liv’s tablet in a box and the only way she could get it out was to master the combination lock.

She found something else to do. I think she’d decided, “Screw you guys. I mastered tying my damned shoes, forget combination locks!”

So we got to the school and tried the lock. She’d spin the combination thingy so fast you could barely see the numbers. Stopping at 22 was nearly impossible for her. I’d tell her when she got to 30 to slow down and try to stop right at 22.

Nope, every single time, she’d stop at 20.

We kept at it until my knees started to ache from kneeling beside her.

Her special ed teacher came along and watched our ‘progress’. She told me that the aide would be there each morning to work with Liv until she mastered the lock herself. She also talked to Olivia’s regular classroom teacher and asked if it was okay for O to keep her backpack and lunch in the classroom for at least the first few weeks until she got the lock thing down.

Mrs. K, her classroom teacher was very accommodating.

I didn’t have access to email the day after open house. But when I opened my email this morning, I had this message from Liv’s special ed teacher:

Good morning,

Here is what the office decided for Olivia's locker. They took her lock off of the one she will be using.

However, I still want her to practice a combo lock for the fine motor practice. She will practice with locker 000 and the combination is XX-XX-XX. She will practice in the morning with Mrs. K.

Mrs. B

How kind is that? They’re giving her the chance to learn to use a combination lock while taking away the pressure of having to do it first thing in the morning just to put her backpack and lunchbox away. They’re letting her learn but letting it happen at her pace.

I love Mrs. B. She insists that’s more stubborn than Olivia and quite honestly, Olivia needs a teacher like her. She makes her work while understanding that sometimes, she needs a little more time, a little more help, a little more patience.

We couldn’t be in a better place for Olivia to continue her education.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Going to a Pentatonix Concert - Part 2 - On Our Way

Because we live in the middle of nowhere. Okay, wait. We live in the middle of a cornfield. The cornfield is in the middle of nowhere.

Anyway, because we live in the middle of nowhere, we had to DRIVE to a place where Pentatonix will deign to perform.

We’re pretty much equal distances from Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. But wait, this decision was actually pretty easy because the lovely Julie and her lovely daughter live in in Indianapolis and they wanted to see Pentatonix too (or, they were willing to go to the concert if it meant we’d drive down to see them…) So we got tickets back in May and made plans.

As the date neared, Julie and I figured out the logistics. She’d get home from work at 5. Her daughter would get home from school (school starts EARLY in Indy) at about 4:15. It takes about three hours to drive to Indy…in decently flowing traffic.

Alyssa and I left at noon because, duh, we know that traffic on I69 in Indiana does NOT flow decently.

Nope. It stops and it goes. It has lane shift after lane shift. Let me tell you, if I had to see one more orange barrel or orange sign warning of construction ahead I might have had to bring out the big bad words. Alyssa is fourteen. She could have handled it. And, as she reminds me, she rides the bus…dun dun dun.

At one point on the trip down to Indy on Thursday afternoon, the interstate highway became a parking lot. I literally turned my car off.

See, let me back up and remind everyone that I’ve had a bit of trouble with my stupid car. It’s a 2012 Chevy Equinox. I love most things about it. Except I don’t like that when it idles it can sometimes ding at me three times and then shows a warning light that there is reduced engine power. It basically means I can’t drive much over 40 MPH. It sucks. My husband assures me it doesn’t mean anything. He told me several times before this trip that the car was fine.


It actually did run fine the entire drive down.

The drive home…wasn’t so great. We were three miles from Julie’s house on Friday morning. We were waiting at a stoplight to turn left and got to McD’s. I was stupidly just sitting there letting the car idle while we waited for the light to turn green.

And yes, you guessed it, REDUCED ENGINE POWER.

Damn it.

We limped over to McD’s. We parked the car. We turned it off.

The first time my stupid car did this was in Bowling Green while we were waiting for Lyss to perform in a choir.

We went in and ordered food. My stomach was in knots knowing I had to drive 465 and 69 on a Friday morning during morning rush hour to get home. I bought two breakfast burritos anyway. I stashed them in my purse knowing I’d want them when we were out of Indy and imminent danger of being stranded on the side of the highway.

Damn it!

When we left McD’s I started the car. In the past, the engine thing resets after ten or so seconds. Supposedly. It didn’t do that the time before (but it did fix itself in Bowling Green) so I figured we’d see.

It worked! Yay. I called Tom, told him the car was being stupid but that it had reset and we were heading home.

The plan was for me to use my left foot to brake and rev the engine anytime we had to stop.

We started and managed to hit the lights with very little stopping. Go us!!

We got on 465 and…two exits from where we got on they were cleaning up a crash. The right lane was closed. OMG! For freaking real? Yes, of course for real. We drove approximately eleven miles per hour for about six miles. My left leg was starting to cramp. Lefty isn’t used to doing so much work. Righty would have been fine with all the braking but she was busy revving the damned engine to keep the engine power at optimum levels.

Finally, FINALLY we passed the crash site (I hope no one was hurt…seriously, I’m not a monster) and we got up to 60. Lefty could rest.

The nice thing about 465 is that there are signs that tell you how far to your exit in miles and minutes. The first such sign told us that the exit for 69 was 11 miles away. It was also 23 minutes away. Which meant traffic was slowing down. Oh for the love of God! I warned Lefty to get ready.

And for the next, oh, eleven miles, we were in stop and go traffic about four lanes wide.

But finally the exit for 69 showed up. We made our way onto 69 and, get this, it was smooth sailing (am I mixing my metaphors here?) the rest of the way home. Lefty was happy to be done braking. Except for the fact that I still don’t trust my stupid car (though I did thank her for getting us home safely, like I said, I’m not a monster) and so if I’m at a stoplight or stop sign here at home, I’m still revving the engine. I thought when we bought this car we were beyond driving junkers. I guess I thought wrong.

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Pentatonix Concert - Before the Show

So we went. We saw. There might (there were) have been tears. We waited around after the show and were told by security that the group would not be coming out to greet fans. They do that sometimes and I wanted Lyss to have the opportunity to meet them if they did it in Indy. Apparently, it’s a venue thing and the venue in Indy wouldn’t let them come out.

If Avi ever performs with Pentatonix again and they go to Columbus, we’ll go there and maybe she’ll get to hug him.

The waiting in line to even enter the concert venue was weird. First, there were all these lines. They were all going in different directions. As we chose a line, this weird girl (woman? Hell, I don’t know. She was probably in her early to mid-twenties so, yeah woman. Oh wait, she mentioned a husband (about fifteen times) definitely, woman.) came along and stood behind us as we waited in the line.

The woman start talking to, well, I guess to us. She lifted a card that was hanging from a lanyard around her neck.

She said, “So is this the right line to pick up tickets?”

We said we didn’t know. We said we had our tickets and were waiting to get in.

She told us (about a hundred and seven times), “Well, I’ve already been inside and met them. I got their signatures. You’d think this would let me back in.” Again, she was holding up the card hanging from the lanyard. It was a VIP card. Whatever.

She then went on, “I should have just stay inside but I’m honest and needed to come out and find my husband. The tickets are in his name.”

We all nodded and tried not to stare at the lipstick on her teeth. She told us about meeting the members of Pentatonix about seventy million more times. She reminded us that she thought the VIP pass should let her back in eleven billion times and told us she should have just stayed inside but she’s too honest for her own good only about ninety-two times.

We noticed another line that was not going in the direction of Lipstick Girl (I’ve decided that husband or not, twenty-something or not, she’s too immature and WEIRD to be called Lipstick Lady) and aborted our mission in the other line for the new line. Lipstick girl found another set of concert-goers to freak out and we were free of her.

And then we waited some more. But at least this waiting was done in blessed quiet, more talk amongst friends and less talk from a weird, lipsticky show-off.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Indy Bound

PTX here we come.

Ha! Don’t I sound so very hip? Today before noon Alyssa and I will take Olivia to my mom’s where she’s going to spend the afternoon and the night with her Gram and her Jaxon.

After we drop of the littlest sister, the bigger sister and I are heading south to Indianapolis. We hope to get there around 5, at which point, we’re going to meet Julie and her beautiful daughter R at their house and then head out to grab some fast food and then….drum roll please…

We’re going to see Pentatonix in concert!!!!

See that part where we’re going to get some food? I hope Alyssa’s excitement at being in the same general vicinity as Avi Kaplan will let her eat.

We bought these tickets back in May when they first went on sale. Alyssa said last week that it hadn’t really hit her that we were going to see them. But over the weekend she started getting excited.

There may be tears.

There will be pictures.

Memories will be made. That might be the best part of all.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Say What You Want to Say

When did I become so afraid to offend anyone?

When did my opinion become so worthless that I hold it back no matter what because, yikes, it might offend someone (anyone!) were my opinion to be voiced and NOT match the opinion of everyone else around me?

I hate this about myself.

I hate that I hold it all in, that I keep my words to myself, my thoughts, my opinions because I don’t want to offend anyone.

I feel like the Katy Perry song “Roar” where she says, “I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything.”

I don’t want to be that person.

I’m just…tired of choking it all down. I’m tired of backing down because I feel backed into a corner or even ambushed and the surprise always makes me shut down and then the words, the thoughts just don’t come out and I sit there, fuming and sputtering and wondering what the hell just happened.

And the longer I fume and hold it all in, the more likely at some point, I’m going to explode.

When that happens, it won’t be fair to the person upon whom I’m exploding because, as stated above, I’ve been biting my tongue, sitting back and swallowing my ire for so long and yet, no one else knows this. They don’t know they’re dealing with a ticking bomb.

So it’s going to seem as if my anger, my frustrating, my irritation is coming out of nowhere. Even though I know it’s been building for freaking ever, no one else knows this and so I need to figure out how to let off some steam in a way that isn’t a rude awakening to all around me.

Example: I’m trying to teach my girls that they were not put on this earth to be ‘pretty’ for anyone. If they want to be pretty for themselves, great, fine. But random people who say shit like, “You’d be so much prettier if you’d smile.” Those people can bite it.

Last night after marching band practice (The band invited all the parents to the football field to see a preview of their football half-time show. It was great.) I mentioned to Alyssa how happy her friend Nora is. Lyss said, “Yeah, she’s always smiling.”

Another member of the family said, “Everyone is better looking when they smile.”

I said, quite calmly, “Yes, everyone is. Especially when the smile is genuine, like Nora’s always are. But when you force a smile because some stupid creep tells you you’d be prettier if you just smiled, well, that’s not necessarily prettier than your resting face.”

And the response I got was a snippy, “I didn’t say anything about that, did I?”

And I was so taken aback by the snippiness of the tone that I shut down and fumed. I thought we were having a conversation. But when I got what felt like nasty push-back, I had no response.

What I wanted to say, now that I’ve thought about it is, “You’re right, you didn’t. But because YOU have probably never had some random person tell you how much prettier you’d be if you smiled, you don’t get to shut me down when I share my opinion on something that I HAVE heard, more times than I can count. I want to teach our daughters that it’s okay to shut those creeps down. They don’t have to give a cringy smile. They don’t have to take the misogyny our society pushes at girls until they can’t even voice their own damned opinions for fear of being shut down. They can either shrug and walk away, leaving the awkward in the hands of ‘smile’ creep or they can voice their opinion, as loudly, as rudely, or hell, sure, even as kindly as they want. They get to own their bodies. They get to decide if something is worth smiling about. THEY get to decide. Not the old, white dude at Arby’s.”

And I will probably say something like that soon and it will shock the hell out of the people around me.

And I’ll probably cry either during or after my ‘speech.’ I hate that I cry but my emotions are very close to the surface and I feel strongly about this shit these days.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017


I bought Olivia new shoes for school this weekend. The shoes I bought are an adult size 8. She’s ten and a half. Yikes!

I think it’s starting to hit Alyssa that we are heading to Indy for a Pentatonix concert on Thursday. We get to see Julie and Riley – YAY!! Alyssa said yesterday, “Only four more days…” Then her eyes got all dreamy. She’s just so flipping cute.

This summer has been…different. We didn’t go on our ‘big’ vacation to Cedar Point this year. With my mom heading off to Alabama with her sisters and her mother to see her mom’s long-lost, newly-found sisters, we just didn’t fit the Cedar Point trip in the schedule.

Instead, we’ve done a day here and there and honestly, it’s been kind of awesome. We did the water park, the lake, the pool. Last week we spent a day at my mom’s and the kids just played on the slip-n-slide and ate outside on her deck and roasted marshmallows over candles. And I got to just be with them. We weren’t on a schedule, we didn’t have anywhere to be. It was really nice.

We’ve seen a few movies, gone shopping at the mall even when we didn’t actually need anything. Those are days where the stress is low and the fun is high. I’m all about those kinds of days.

Alyssa has had band ‘camp’ (I put camp in quotes because it’s really been more like band class, in that she goes to the school, plays her flute, marches and learns music and choreography for about seven hours a day and then comes home. To me, camp should be an overnight thing. But whatever.) and she’s enjoyed it. I think she’s like seeing her friends daily this for a few weeks this summer.

Olivia has spent a lot of time in a giant box Tom brought in and cut a door and windows into. He even cut a small hole through which she could feed the plug of her tablet through. She sits in there (the walls are decorated with pictures she printed off) and reads/writes fan-fiction about the Despicable Me girls and the Inside Out emotions. I leave clean pajamas for her to change in to each morning when she wakes up. She doesn’t get dressed in actual clothes unless we’re going somewhere, which is usually just on Saturdays. I envy her Summer of Pajamas. She’s growing up and figuring out her own interests. I’m excited to see who she’s becoming.

Tom works in the yard and the garden. He lists things on Ebay, sells crap from the end of our driveway and basically just takes good care of us.

I do the laundry, bake all the berry things and sit back and marvel that this is my life.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Teenage Boys at the Park

This past Tuesday, my mom and I took the girls and J to the lake for a day of sun, sand, and swimming. It was lovely. The weather was perfect, the lake was not very crowded, since it was, you know, a Tuesday.

We swam for several hours, the kids played in the sand, we ate lunch out of coolers and then swam some more. There was also frolicking on the narwhal floaty. I’m pretty sure we had the coolest floatation device in the lake that day.

After we’d eaten again (swimming makes you hungry, don’t you know?) Alyssa asked if we could go to one of the local parks. We hadn’t been to that park yet this summer and so, why not?

This park has a pavilion in which there are quite a few picnic tables. The bathrooms are also part of the pavilion building. There is a play area with swings, a slide, a fireman’s pole, you know, all the fun stuff available at most fun parks.

When we got there, we noticed that there were probably about six or seven teenage boys hanging out on the picnic tables under the pavilion. I almost said they were loitering but that seemed unfair. I mean, it’s summertime. What are local kids supposed to do if they don’t have jobs? They go to the park. So what if they’re all around fifteen or sixteen years old?

Anyway, the kids were playing on the slides for about ten minutes when the teenage boys decided to join us.

Yeah. That was awkward. They climbed up the slide, up the outside of the playground equipment and basically looked like a bunch of chimpanzees taking over and staking their claim.

Alyssa, Olivia, Jaxon and I headed for another area of the park where a lone slide hangs out in the sun. They kids played on that a bit, Alyssa made her way to some bouncy things shaped like a motorcycle, a horse, a car and something else. She rocked back and forth. Olivia tried to climb up the lone slide (no one else was trying to go down. I always tell my kids if there are other kids trying to go down a slide, don’t ever try to go up it.) Jaxon found some dirt to play in.

When the teenage boys realized their antics were impressing exactly no one, they went back to the picnic tables.

We headed back to the shaded play area and Olivia found her way to the tall spiral slide. Jaxon went down the fireman’s pole twenty-two times. He counted.

And…the chimps came back. Well, sort of. They made their way to the giant turtle sculpture that has been at that park for over forty years. It’s one of the original pieces of the park. And once there, they egged each other on. I think they were trying to get Alyssa’s attention but she was so over their stupidity. At least two of the guys took of their shirts. She was NOT impressed.

We finally started walking toward the car, still ignoring the mating call of the pathetic teenage boy.

My mom is sure she heard one of them call, “But we didn’t get a number!”

I didn’t hear that and neither did Alyssa. But even if we had, we’d have ignored it because, please. As if!

For one, even if she doesn’t look it, she’s fourteen. For two, every single dude there was still waiting for his ‘glow up.’ They were just this side of hoodlums. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and not calling them actual hoodlums because, well, they were never actually harassing anyone but that first time they descended upon the playground was verging on feeling like harassment so…yeah, just this side of hoodlums.

Good thing they don’t live near me or I’d be yelling at them to get off my lawn and shaking a fly swatter at them.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Emoji Movie

Alyssa really wanted to see The Emoji Movie. I was a little meh about it but figured it was worth the price of popcorn just to get out of the house on a Sunday afternoon. The laundry would wait.

I went in with very low expectations of this movie and was pleasantly surprised. It was cute and clever and I laughed out loud a few times.

But that’s not actually what this is about. It’s about the cinema we chose to visit to see the movie. We live in the middle of nowhere. We have to drive a minimum of twenty minutes to see any movie in the theater. And the closest theater is tiny, and old and doesn’t have Icees.

So instead of going to the Bryan theatre (the closest) we usually toss a coin and choose between Auburn, Indiana and Coldwater, Michigan. Coldwater might be five minutes farther away than Auburn.

On this glorious day, I checked the website for the Auburn theater, saw that they had a 3:20 showing of The Emoji Movie and the girls and I headed out at 2:15. It is maybe a forty minute drive but I’m nothing if not early for everything (right, Julie?) and I hate, HATE feeling like we might be on time because on time to me is late.

We arrived at the Auburn NCG Cinema at about 2:52. Perfect. That gave us time to buy tickets, popcorn, Icees (two blue, one Coke) and use the restroom.

I glanced at the ticket stubs I’d received from the attendant and saw that we were in Auditorium 1. I babysat that popcorn and Icees while Lyss and Liv went to the bathroom.

When they came back, we gathered our snacks and headed for auditorium 1. The door was closed. Huh. We could hear the sounds of a movie in there so we headed back to the counter where I asked the young woman from whom I’d purchased our tickets if the tickets were correct.

She confirmed that they were and then I saw it. She’d sold me tickets for the 4:15 showing of The Emoji Movie. I told her we’d wanted the 3:20 showing. She glanced at her screen and informed me that there was no 3:20 showing at that cinema.

Huh. Weird. I told her it showed that time on the website.

She said, “Well, you have to go to our actual website. Sometimes, if you just google movie times, it will pull times from surrounding theaters.”

Oh. “I actually did go to your website,” I told her.

“Weird,” she said dismissively. “Well, the popcorn is free refills so you can sit at the tables and eat your popcorn while you wait.”

Okay. Except…I don’t wanna sit in the stupid lobby of the cinema for over an hour due to a mistake on their website.

I told Lyss and Liv what was going on and Lyss said, “Wait, so their sign is wrong too then?”

I glanced up at where she was looking and right there, on the sign above the popcorn maker was the times listed for each movie. And get this, there was a 3:20 listing for The Emoji Movie. I made my way back to the counter, this time avoid Miss Weird and asked the first dude I came across if there was a 3:20 showing of The Emoji Movie. He looked (rather than just glanced) at his screen and said, “Oh yeah, it’s in auditorium 5.”

I asked, “So, even though we bought tickets for the 4:15 showing, can we just go into theater 5 and see the 3:20 showing?”

“Sure,” he said.

And away we went.

It was 3:10. We were the first ones in auditorium 5. We were followed rather quickly, though, but another family. And then another.

Then, before we knew it, it was 3:25 and…nothing. The screen was blank. The lights were still bright in there in auditorium 5.

And I decided that enough was enough. I did something I NEVER do. I got up out of my seat, went BACK to the snack counter and asked, “Uh, is there supposed to be a showing of The Emoji Movie at 3:20 in auditorium 5?”

The lady behind the counter said, “There sure is.”

I declared, “Well, it’s 3:25 and the screen is blank.”

She told me she’d inform a manager.

I returned to auditorium 5 and less than a minute after I sat back down in my seat, the movie started. No previews, though. I guess they lost their time for that when they didn’t start the movie on time.

I considered standing up, bowing and blowing kisses to those behind me in the theater, telling them all, “You’re welcome.”

But I decided I’d made enough of a spectacle of myself at the stupid snack counter that day.

For the record, we’re going to be heading north to Coldwater for our future movie excursions. In all the times we’ve seen movies up there, we’ve never had to work quite as hard just to see a movie as we had to work yesterday in Auburn to see The Emoji Movie.