Friday, May 7, 2021

They Win

Fine. Whatever. I give up. They win.

I mean, we all knew they would, right? It was two against one so the odds were not in my favor.

I called the person in charge of the community building Tom wanted to rent for Alyssa’s graduation party.

The building was available the week after graduation. She said that it wasn’t nearly as busy as it’s been in past years. She wondered if there weren’t as many kids graduating.

I suggested that parents are waiting to see what happens in Ohio as far as large gatherings go before scheduling/renting space goes.

Anyway, I reserved the space. But I left Tom with a list of things he had to do in order to actually use the space.

See, he has to call our insurance agent and get her to email the township secretary with our policy number and proof that we have ‘event insurance’ for this. And it has to be up to $300,000 worth of insurance.

So that’s his first job.

Then, after we get the paperwork from said secretary, he has to write two checks, one for $130 (the cost of renting the building) and one for $100, which we’ll get back as long as we leave the space in the same condition we found it. That’s the price he has to pay to not have to clean our house and have the party there. I think he feels like he’s getting a bargain.

And finally, the day of the event, he has to help me schlep all the food/decorations/beverages/anything else I can think of the four-ish miles from our house to the community building. And he has to stay the entire time of the open house and then help clean up and take everything home.

It’s not asking too much. I mean, she’s his child too, he should be there whether or not I need help with anything or not.

Thursday, May 6, 2021



Once upon a Tuesday evening, there was a home track meet. Tom and Olivia joined me at the track to watch Alyssa do the high jump (she came in 4th) and bask in the lovely weather we were having that day.

It was a day in which the temperature rose to the low 80s. So it was lovely, if a little warm for the runners.

The high jump took a long time because girls kept having to go off and run races then come back and jump and round and round they went.

Finally it was over and Alyssa joined us outside the fence that circles the track. She informed me and Tom that there was some sort of ‘senior night’ going on. At that point, Olivia collapsed into a puddle of despair. She was hot and tired and bored and hungry.

My mother took pity on us all and offered to take Liv to her house while Tom and I waited with Lyss at the track for whatever senior thing was happening.

Tom and I found a seat in the shade while Alyssa stood at the fence and watched the races. It was fine.

But then she got bored too. She came over to where we were sitting and said she was ready to go. She hasn’t actually heard about anything for the seniors from anyone official, just from her best friend. So the three of us left, Tom and Lyss for home and I headed to my mom’s to get Olivia.

I offered to ‘let’ Tom go get her but he declared with a smirk that we all know that Olivia wants me. Ha. Sure, she does. He was just saying that to get out of having to go get her. I mean, okay, yes, if he were to show up to pick her up, her first question would be, “Where’s Mom?”

But should that stop him from being the one to pick her up? No, it should not. Of course, she was at MY mom’s house, so there’s that too but still…

So I got to my mom’s house and they were surprised to see me so early. Olivia had just started eating some broccoli. She’d just finished a bowl of pineapple with whipped cream. (It’s a Gram thing, that sort of thing never occurs to me.) She ate two bowls of broccoli while I was there.

We finally got home and Tom had pizza ready. It was about 7:15. It was thoughtful of him to make pizza.

He informed Olivia her pizza was ready. I told him she’d eaten broccoli and pineapple at Gram’s, hoping it would soften him toward her eating all the pizza he was putting in front of her.

It didn’t.

She didn’t complain, so she must have still been hungry.

I gathered O’s homework so that we could get through it after she ate.

Tom asked me why I wasn’t eating.

I told him I would eat after homework was done.

I must have replied with a snippy tone because he gave me a look and asked me what I was giving him attitude.

Excuse me? Attitude? Are you kidding me?

I sighed and tried not to cry and informed him that I simply wanted to get homework out of the way before I could eat.

But seriously, attitude? What am I, one of the kids?

He left the room and I felt the stress of the day press down on me. What the hell just happened?

He came back to the kitchen and heated up O’s pizza because she can’t stand to eat anything that is cooler than the temperature on the surface of the sun.

She ate and I organized her homework.

But it felt like the entire evening was off. We were all tired from being in the heat and the sun. We’re used to frigid temperatures and this sudden summer heat was too much for our delicate systems to take.

In the end it was fine. Homework was finished, pizza was eaten, and everyone finally went to bed and slept off the stress and attitude of the day.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

This or That

Graduation is coming up. It’s speeding upon us at lightning speed, actually. May 30th is the day. So…what do we do about celebrating?

We’re all (well, most of us) vaccinated so let’s PARTY! Right?

Okay, but where?

I want to have it at our house. It’ll be fun to have people in and out. We have a huge side yard and a decent back yard. We have a big back deck and a cement pad-thingy we can put tables on and a tent over and set up chairs at various locations in the yards.

Tom does NOT want to have it at home. He claims his main reason is because people will come and just stay for hours.

This will be an open-house, so come, leave a card with cash/check for Lyss, eat some food and be on your merry way, right?

No, he’s just sure they’ll pop a squat and stay for the duration.

Honestly, I think his biggest concern is having to clean. I’m telling you this, not as a complaint but simply to provide information. 40% of our house is taken up by ebay stuff. That’s not including the basement. If I include the basement, it’s more like 60% of the house is ebay storage. So…there’s that.

Alyssa wants to have it at my mom’s. She insists that Gram’s house has better parking and more shade. Whatever. We have plenty of parking and we can set up tents to provide shade…so yeah.

So what do we do? I informed Lyss that if she wants to have it at her Gram’s, SHE has to ask Gram and Pawp if they’re okay with it and if they show even the slightest hesitation, we’re NOT doing it there.

Before Alyssa could even ask my mom, I called a community center and asked about reservations. Alyssa insisted that it was WAY too late to do this.

Well, they have the building available the weekend after graduation, which is actually pretty good, right?

It will be $135 dollars for the rental but only because my mom lives in the township. If she didn’t, it would be $170. We will have to send them a separate check of $100 for a security deposit and provide proof of ‘event insurance.’

Those things are Tom’s job. I’ve done the work of making the phone call. He can call our insurance and send the checks. We’ll see which process feels more stressfull to him, calling about insurance and writing checks or cleaning.

More details to follow.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Too Much of a Good Thing

Tom is VERY good to me. I fully admit that and am ever so grateful. I’m mean, the dude drove 18 miles on way recently to put air in my tire after my car alerted me that one of my tires was low. So there that.

But if that man does not stop putting two cuties a day in my lunch bag, I’m going to start throwing said cuties at his head.



Remember way back when I was pregnant with Alyssa and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes? No? Well, it happened.

And once I got that diagnosis, I saw a dietitian who gave me a bunch of charts and colorful diagrams of things I should be eating.

Tom took those charts and ran with them. He packed my lunch every day for almost twelve weeks. It was very sweet of him.

But he sent me way too much food. Every single day, I would open my lunch and be overwhelmed by how much food was there. It was all very healthy food (the bananas were a nice touch since he KNEW I wouldn’t touch those things if they were the last food on earth) but there was too much of it.

So, after being gently scolded the first couple of days for not eating all my food, I simply started chucking food (all biodegradable, I’m not a litterer) out the car window as I drove home each evening.

Uneaten peach? Out the window. (For what it’s worth, I do not eat peaches as one might eat an apple. The fuzz is a no-go for me.) A huge hoagie bun? Chucked out that window so fast. Hey, it would be a nice treat for some wild animal. You’re welcome, Bambi.

I just couldn’t deal with the food and I also didn’t want to deal with the mild looks of disappointment thrown my way when my loving husband took in what I’d eaten, and more importantly, what I hadn’t eaten that day.

So…it’s a long-running issue for us. He wants to take care of me and ‘feeding’ me is one of his love languages. I get that. I am also a grown-ass adult who can figure out my own food, thank you very much. So these days, I’m taking those stupid cuties to work and offering them to anyone and everyone who walks past my desk. And when they start to get a little wrinkled, into the trash they go.

Is it a waste? Yes. But it’s also not worth the ‘discussion’ we would have to have it I went home and said, as gently as possible, “I love you. And I love that you take such good care of me but enough with the cuties!”

Okay, I could probably word it differently but you know what? I hate confrontation so, so much. I hate confrontation almost as much as I hate bananas and milk. Over those things, I will confront the hell out of you. But cuties aren’t worth the stress and so…I’m drowning in cuties over here.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Oh Hell

So Travis the turtle is a very bad influence on Olivia. We’ve established that and I’m trying to curb Travis’s naughtiness in an effort to model good behavior for Olivia.

I can’t say it’s working extremely well but we can’t break bad habits in a single day so…the work goes on.

At that orthodontist appointment that we thought I had wrong but that I’d actually had right, they decided it was time for Olivia to wear rubber bands.

Guess what that means?

Yes, it means I get to stick my fingers in her mouth every single day for the next six weeks. Yay!!

And poor Alyssa has to do it when I’m not there because Tom insists that his fingers are too fat and he can’t see well enough. Sigh.

I wore rubber bands back when I had braces. Alyssa wore them too. We know what we’re doing and it’s fine. But you know what? I wish Olivia had the confidence to at least TRY to put them in herself. Alas…she’s very sure that she’s simply not capable. And she would rather DIE than stick her own fingers in her mouth. Which is…weird and annoying but, well, it’s also life around here.

So whatever.

But the best part of that entire day (other than finding out I was right when I’d thought I was wrong) was when Olivia announced at the end of the evening that the first thing she thought when she heard the orthodontic tech say it was time for O to start wearing rubber bands was: “Oh, hell.”

She said it so mildly and it was so appropriate to the situation that I couldn’t help but laugh.

Alyssa rolled her eyes at my laughter because, well, when she was 14 she’d never had uttered such a word in my presence. So that’s another case of first born and last born behavior that fits all the stereotypes.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

That One Time I Thought I was Wrong but it Turned Out I was Right

Once upon a time on a Tuesday, Alyssa had a track meet and Olivia had an orthodontist appointment. A’s track meet was to start at 4:30 in a town about 40 minutes from work.

O’s orthodontist appointment was scheduled for 4pm, which, on a typical day, would give her and Tom plenty of time to get to the appointment where I would meet them and take her to the appointment. Tom would take himself…somewhere else.

It works.

Except for those days when I need to be somewhere else, like at a track meet.

So the weekend before this fateful Tuesday, I asked Tom very sweetly if he’d do me a favor. I asked if he’d stay with Olivia for her orthodontist appointment while I made my way to Montpelier for the track meet.

He agreed, though a bit reluctantly. Or rather, he was reluctant until I offered to let him go to the track meet instead. Then he decided an orthodontist appointment didn’t sound so bad. I didn’t mention that he’d need to go through the KFC drive-thru after the appointment because it’s just what we do. His fear of the drive-thru is well documented and may have altered his choice of parental assignment.

Alas, as luck and mother nature would have it, we were hit with a cold front and a ton of snow (it was April 20th for those keeping track.)

The track meet was canceled so I met Tom and Olivia at the orthodontist for her appointment and sent him on his merry way.

Thank you LORD that I was able to send him on his way. If he’d gone into that office and been told what I was told, that man would have been livid.

See, we walked in and I told the receptionist that Olivia was there for her 4:00. The receptionist did her thing and said, “Um, I don’t see her on the scheduled.’

Now, anyone who knows me KNOWS I mess things up. I do. I can’t seem to help it. I mean, hello, I showed up for a party in Indianapolis a week early. A WEEK!

So I said, “But I got the email.”

The ladies at the front desk asked if I had my phone with me.

Duh. Of course I did. I pulled it out and there it was, the email reminding us of Olivia’s appointment at 4pm on…Monday, April 19.

Damn it.

They were kind enough to fit her in (thank goodness there had been a cancellation and her appointment was only 20 minutes long) and after her appointment we got KFC chicken for Lyss and Liv (and I encountered nary an issue with the drive-thru) and made our way home. I was going to get Crazy Bread from Little Caesars (it’s in the same business complex as the orthodontist) but I decided since I’d screwed up the appointment I wasn’t allowed to be rewarded with the deliciousness that is Crazy Bread. Sigh. Adulting sucks.

When we got home, I confessed my mistake to Tom only because I know that Olivia, that sweet darling little shit, is unable to keep a secret to save her life, would have told him everything the first chance she got.

He gave me a look that said something along the lines of, “You’re an idiot.”

Or, maybe he didn’t. I could very well have read that on his face when it wasn’t there at all. It happens.

But then he asked, “But how could you have done that?”

I rolled my eyes and asked him, “Have you met me?”

Then we decided to check it out because I’ve gotten less flakey in my middle-aged years than I was even a few years ago.

And look at that, there on the corkboard affixed to the basement door was the slip that orthodontist’s office had given us at her last appointment: OLIVIA ORDINARY, NEXT APPOINTMENT, TUESDAY, APRIL 20 AT 4:00PM.

OMG I’d given up the special treat that is Crazy Bread for nothing.

I’d just meekly accepted that I’d been wrong but I hadn’t been wrong! I hadn’t written the date wrong on my calendar at work. I hadn’t remembered incorrectly.

Of course, if I’d bothered to read the reminder email I could have called them to find out why they were reminding me of an appointment that was a day later according the slip THEY’D GIVEN ME! So yes, in future days, I will read the reminder emails more carefully.

But the real moral of this story is to NOT deny yourself Crazy Bread for a mistake that is probably not even your mistake. Because hello, even though I thought I was wrong…it turns out I was not wrong. Or at least I was not as wrong as I’d first thought and even if I’d been all the way wrong, that’s not really a reason to deny myself Crazy Bread.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Just 30 Minutes

One day last week, between track meets and doctor appointments, I left work at 3:30 to meet Lyss at the doctor for her second meningococcal vaccination. The appointment took all of five minutes and we were on our way at 4:02. She had to be at work at 5 but figured what the heck, she’d just go in early. That girl…

I could have gone back to work and worked 15 more minutes until the ‘end of day’ but because my 18 year old has a better work ethic than I do I went home.

I got home a half hour earlier than I usually do.

But what do you know? Olivia didn’t have any homework that day. I know! Miracles abound.

I called my mom to check in, it was her and my stepdad’s 26th anniversary. I told her how cold it was supposed to be the next day and suggested that she skip the track meet and just stay home and warm.

Then I called my dad to check in with him since I hadn’t talked to him in a few days and he had been in the emergency room just the week before. He was doing well, but, in his words, just didn’t have much gumption. I told him he should just rest and continue to recuperate.

After that phone call I went down and transferred towels from the washer to the drier.

I put a few pieces together in our current puzzle.

I packed Alyssa’s and my lunches. (I know, she’s a senior, she usually does pack her own lunch but on days when she has to work until 9 or so, I pack it for her because I want to and I like being able to do small things to still take care of her.)

I made dinner for Olivia and by 6:30…the evening was spread out before me like a blank canvass. What WAS I going to do with myself?

It’s amazing how that extra half hour seemed to stretch itself out.

Yes, there were a few things that coincided with making those 30 minutes seem like a lot more. No homework is a HUGE gain in time. Dinner was just reheating leftovers rather than actually making something more involved. The towels were already clean in the washer, just needed to go into the drier. But oh how good it felt to have a whole evening of nothing ahead of me.

I think I’ll enjoy retirement when it finally rolls around in fifteen or so years…sigh.