Catching up

I guess maybe it would be good if I wrote something once in awhile, since I get so cranky when other people don’t update?

We have just lived through the most horrendous week, I didn’t even want this hot old laptop on me. We broke an all time heat record on Wednesday, and the whole week has just been too damn hot. I don’t sleep well, and then I wake up at 6 and it’s already in the high 70s in the house. Of course we don’t have air conditioning. We don’t need it, we live in Seattle! It’s been miserable.

This morning, I rolled over and put my hand against my face and it was so cold it woke me up. I was a happy girl. We stayed in the high 70s today, and already the house is cooling off tonight. I shall sleep well tonight.

The house drama continues. I got the woman who will be my boss next year, who is also a realtor, to take us around to look at some houses we wanted to compare last night. Then we went back to the one I like best. I still like it best. It still has a ton of potential. But my contractor friend estimates it will cost $100,000 or so to fix up. Holy cow. Houses cost less than that in some parts of the country.

I talked to a mortgage broker, and as usual, the amount of mortgage we actually qualify for is enough to give us both a nervous breakdown. We could do this. But the payments we’d have to make are significantly higher than what we pay now. We have Michael in private college. Danny coming up. And I want Emily to go to private high school.

Not to mention I just signed on for two and a half years of orthodontia for her, and the resulting payments. The long term care insurance I’ve been meaning to get started for years.

Taking on more debt right now is just stupid. So I think we’re just going to stay here and I will get new kitchen cabinets and be happy for another ten years.

At least that’s how I feel tonight.

Tomorrow morning Emily and I leave for Priest Lake in Idaho. We’ll be there with my parents for a couple of days, and then my brother will come with his two little girls, and Emily’s BFF Teresa will come with her parents for a couple of days. Should be fun.

Everyone asks me how long I will be staying, and I never know. If my dad is happy and my mom can scale back on the fussing, two weeks. If dad is mad a lot, I’ll probably cut it back a couple of days. If mom is in high fussing mode, I may be back Wednesday night. It’s different every year, and you just never know.

Danny continues to love working at camp. He got stung by a bee this week and his hand swelled up like a grapefruit. I am not aware that he’s ever been stung before, and am alarmed that he had such a bad reaction. I am allergic to bee stings to the point that my skin splits with the swelling, and my brother carried an epipen for years for bees. I told Danny, if this ever happens again you go right to the medic and tell him you’re probably allergic and you want him to keep an eye on you. Yeah, mom, whatEVer.


Michael has figured out that with the money he has earned this summer, he probably won’t need to take out a student loan this year, and he is over the moon about it. I am very proud of him for 1. knowing this is a big deal, and 2. showing up for work every night, even though it’s deadly dull.

Last week, one of the security guards who worked for his company was walking home from work in the night and was hit and killed by a hit and run driver. The same night, another guard was manning his station and got caught in the middle of a gang gunfight. They weren’t shooting at the guard, and he wasn’t hurt, but they were on either side of him, firing their guns. A boring garage where he sees no one for his whole shift? Is sounding pretty good to his mother right now. Sheesh.

As if the horrible heat weren’t bad enough, it apparently had a bad effect on the dog’s digestive system. The last two mornings, I let him out of his crate and he ran down the hall to go outside, tracking horrible smelly things behind him. I made the SAH bathe him and wash out that crate. He was the one who couldn’t live without that stupid dog.

Maybe instead of a new house I should get another kitty.


1 comment August 1, 2009

Just saying…

I have another post at the other place. Needs to be passworded. Ah, the drama!

Add a comment July 12, 2009

Arguing over stuff, again

Every summer, I endure the horror that is cleaning Emily’s room. I wait until she goes to camp, and then I haul everything out and get rid of most of it. I hate it, I can’t even tell you how much I hate it. Usually the SAH and I get into a fight about how much stuff I’m getting rid of, and then Emily comes home, and she can’t even tell most of what’s gone, but she figures something out and then she wails about it for years. It’s awful.

And every year she loves having a clean room, and swears that this year she will keep it clean. And every summer, I’m doing it again.

So this year, I decided, the child is 12. She can clean her own damn room. It was worse than it’s ever been. She had decided when we got the dog that she wanted his crate in her room, which took up literally all the space that was left on the floor. Then she piled stuff on and around the crate. I seriously worried about her being able to get out in a fire.

She likes to rearrange her furniture, so she was enthusiastic, and hauled the majority of it out in the living room last night. And then she… lost interest. She would bring one thing out today, and then lie around whining about how hard it was.

Tonight, her room is sparkling clean, and she’s sorting through her clothes to see which ones she’s going to keep. I have made two trips to Value Village. I can see about a quarter of the living room carpet. Progress is being made.

SAH and I have had the predictable fight. Long story, which, lucky you, I’m going to tell you! You’ve heard me wail before about how he never wants to get rid of anything. In 21 plus years, we have rarely fought, and almost always it’s been about me wanting to get rid of useless junk that no one ever uses, and him having a cow about it. One of my proudest moments is of me standing in the street screaming at him that someday I was going to leave him, and the firemen would have to break in and fight through the crap to reach his body when he died. Hmm. No wonder the neighbors don’t talk to me much. Heh.

Anyhow, we bought a new mattress yesterday. The old one is quite old, and I haven’t been having problems, but apparently SAH is waking up all sore and achy. So we went and bought one of those fancy foam things, which I didn’t hate as much as I’d thought I would. And they’re delivering it tomorrow.

Our bedroom is a mess. Part of it is my fault, because whenever I have to clean up the house, I dump everything that doesn’t have a place in my room. But a huge part of it is the SAH. He doesn’t like to put away his laundry, he just dumps it on the floor. All his scout stuff is on the floor. It’s a horrible, horrible mess that rivals Emily’s. And he likes it that way, because he can find everything the minute he wants it.

Now we have to clean up the bedroom so we can get the mattress in there. Because there is a new mattress involved, SAH was enthusiastic. He went in there and started going through his stuff and putting it away. He even gave me three whole things to put in the Value Village bag, amazing!

Meanwhile, I was working on my side. The first thing I came across was a case of Kraft spaghetti. SAH will only eat Kraft spaghetti, and the stores here don’t carry it, so I have to order it in cases. There are 24 in a case, and I’ve probably used six, so here is a box of 18 spaghettis on my bedroom floor. I tried to think where in the kitchen I could fit it in and hit on the cupboard over the fridge. I know for sure there’s a kettle stored up there I can get rid of, and surely I don’t need all those cookbooks.

Before I could get to the cupboard, I had to move the basket that was sitting on top of the fridge, full of things I’d deemed too important to throw away a decade ago. Hmm. I don’t recall going in that basket recently. I started poking through it, and ended up getting rid of all of it, and the basket too. I found stuff from when I had Danny in preschool in 1995. Ahem.

Then I went through my cookbooks and got rid of the ones I never use. And the kettle. Opened up half a shelf, and put the spaghetti neatly on it. Was happy.

And SAH came into the kitchen and freaked out. The man who NEVER cooks and NEVER uses a cookbook started going through the cookbooks to see what I was getting rid of. I just do not understand him. I could understand it if he’d been an underprivileged foster child, but his life was very middle class. Loving parents, a nice house, all his needs taken care of.

WhatEVer. He thinks because he gave me three shirts for the Value Village bag, he’s done his job for the decade. Heh.

I made two trips to Value Village today. All my stuff, and Emily’s. He better watch his back, though, I’m telling you. If he messes up the bedroom again, I may take HIM to Value Village.

In other news, we are having one of the nicest springs I ever remember in Seattle. Lots of sunshine. Temps in the high 60s and low 70s. Often June is rainy and cold, but it was fabulous this year. I am almost over that horrible, dreary, icy winter we lived through. That’s really something.

1 comment June 30, 2009


Since I can’t figure out how to reliably password things here, there is another entry at the other place.

Add a comment June 28, 2009

Dreadful child

Sometimes I wonder what is up with my brain. Like today, I was standing in line at the store, and the woman behind me asked if those were my cigarettes on the floor behind me. The easy answer would have been, no. The second most easy answer would have been no, I don’t smoke.

Of course, without even thinking about it, I said, Ha! No! I haven’t smoked in 25 years! Thereby making myself sound like a former chain smoker who suffered! to give up the evil weed. And who still craves it from time to time, and was likely to take a good sniff of that Marlboro pack.

When the truth is, I smoked maybe eight cigarettes during my senior year in college, and I didn’t inhale any of them. Never any before or since.

Did I think it would make me sound cool to be a former smoker? Do I just talk too much?

These are the days when I understand where Emily got her all drama, all the time attitude. And it wasn’t from the SAH.

I am going to kill Danny. I know I say that all the time, but tonight I really mean it.

He took a digital photography class this semester. It was his best class, he really liked it and he and the SAH bonded over the assignments with SAH’s camera. I was dismayed to look at the website and see that he was getting a low C, due to a poor grade on the portrait assignment. Danny, I said, can you redo it? Oh, yes, he said. I just didn’t feel like it.

Can you imagine how well that went over?

He said that to me last week, and my head exploded. That night, I had my book club here at the house, and I imposed on my friends to let him take their pictures. They were gracious about it. He had everything he needed. And then his teacher had a sub and he didn’t bother to turn it in.

When I found out, I told him I wasn’t taking him to work at camp on Saturday, as we’d planned. He was going to go to school on Monday and turn it in. SAH backed me up. Danny was resigned.

And by the way, call the camp and tell them you’re not coming on Saturday, when they expect you. Yeah, MOM, I have it under control, THANKS.

If you’ve been reading here for more than a week, you already know the ending to this story.

The teacher emailed me back that the deadline for submitting corrections was two weeks ago, which the class had known about all semester. And the camp called today to ask whether he was coming, or if they should give his job to someone else.

The school never did anything on the accommodations I requested, which I am going to throw a fit about in September. But I think the accommodations I request are going to consist of asking the teachers to put all information for Danny in writing. Just give him a piece of paper with the stuff on it, and maybe email it to me for backup. That child just doesn’t hear what you tell him.

This was kind of a light bulb moment for me today, as I fussed. I’m not as bad as Danny. If you say something to me, and I’m paying attention, chances are I will remember. But if you put it on paper, I definitely will. For six years, the rule in my office has been, if you want Mary to remember something, put it on paper.

Could that be the key to his pointy little head?

Anyhow, I’m taking him to camp on Tuesday, and will see him only briefly all summer. This will be good for both of us, I think.

1 comment June 22, 2009
Tags: , ,

Birthday girl

Wow. I have an online journal here. Who knew?

Today is Emily’s birthday. That tiny little baby who was so small people were afraid to hold her? Is now 5 foot 4. Carefully chose her wardrobe for the day. Chose her menu and her friends. And is now bopping to the sound of the lime green ipod the SAH got for her with points from his employer. One of the positive things about working for the Evil Empire.

She wanted to take her friends swimming at the city pool, which only opened a week ago. This pool is one of the best things about living in my little town. It’s outdoors, so only open from June through August. It’s a beautiful setting, with green grass and trees all around. I just love it there. After they all jumped in, I told them, summer has officially started now, and they all cheered.

Tonight, she is so happy, even though the day has been just her and me. Michael worked all night, so was asleep in the morning and left in the afternoon to hang out with his friends. Danny is still in school and has a thespian dinner tonight. SAH is working crazy overtime to get that airplane up in the air. But Emily told me it was a perfect birthday, so I guess I done good.

We’ll have a family celebration and go out to dinner next week. Spread out the festivities. That’s my favorite way to celebrate my own birthday.

A highlight of the evening was the girls out playing in the backyard, and taking off their shoes. Which the dog then chewed. Thoroughly. All three pairs. I want to kill him.

Speaking of the dog, I want to mention a story about him. So when I kill him, you will be on my side.

Last week, I was lying with him on the floor. I am trying to give that dog a lot of affection, in hopes he will settle down. I was rubbing him and he was snuggled up against me all happy. Emily walked into the room and he jumped up and sauntered over to her. All nice and calm. And all of a sudden, he lost his mind again and RAN OVER MY FACE. Thank the gods I was lucky, because I seriously could have lost an eye. I had a huge scratch that extended from about an inch under my right eye all the way through my eyeball and my eyebrow. And that eye was black. The other eyelid was scratched and bleeding.

Now that I no longer look like a domestic violence victim, I see some amusement in it. Because I screamed and swore. It really hurt me and scared me. All the windows were open, and I am sure the neighbors heard what sounded like a big ol’ fight.

And the next morning, the shuttle came to pick me up with my suitcase and I disappeared for the weekend. Heh.

Gossip for months.

I spent the weekend with my friend Tricia in the Bay Area. We had been trying to schedule a time for months, and finally I was free and she was free so I bought a ticket and jumped on a plane. We had a blast, black eye and all. Everyone says San Francisco is cold and wet, but it’s always spectacular whenever I’m there. We had the best time. If a time ever came when I couldn’t live in Seattle anymore, I would so move to San Francisco.

Michael is working the graveyard shift five days a week. He hates it, but is sticking with it, and making decent money for a teenager. In this job market, I am so thankful that both he and Danny were able to find jobs. An awful lot of the kids weren’t able to find anything this year.

Danny. Ah, Danny. He will be lucky to survive the next week to go to camp.

His grades have improved dramatically (ie he is no longer failing anything) since tax season ended. When I asked him why, he told me it’s because he needs his free time, and when I don’t pick him up until 6, that’s not enough free time. Way to lay on the guilt, kid.

He still forgets half of what he’s supposed to do. Doesn’t listen or remember. Those accommodations his counselor promised? Never came to pass. I will be raising a stink about that in the fall.

Here is what life with Danny is like, right now. For a week, he has known he has to write an autobiographical letter for English class. He asked me for help. I said yes, let’s do that now. Several times. He blew me off. I have it under control, MOM.

Sigh. I do repeat myself in here, don’t I?

I KNEW it wasn’t even started, and I BUGGED him about it, and he was very angsty about it all. And then it was due Wednesday, and he came to me Tuesday night with a handwritten paragraph and needed help putting it together.

He needed a whole typed page, and had like two sentences that were terrible, and whatever is broken in his head involves writing. He just can’t. We tried and tried for hours, and finally I had him dictate to me, and I typed for him. When he dictates, I type it exactly as he speaks and it’s good. When he tries to type it himself, there is a disconnect.

Later, I decided to look at his grades online, and his Spanish grade has gone from a B+ to a D because he hasn’t bothered to turn in the last week’s worth of assignments. And when I started shrieking about that, he was astonished, because he had NO IDEA HE HAD ANY ASSIGNMENTS THIS WEEK.

We were up until 11:30 and I went to bed mad. Very very mad.

Then Thursday, he decided that the only way to get an A in digital photography (and he desperately needs an A to balance out the D in Math) was to visit a gallery with a photography exhibit. And write about it. Due Friday. More shrieking.

I googled a gallery with an exhibit at the UW, and SAH took him. He came home and wrote up the barest possible paragraph that basically showed that maybe he had possibly walked in the door. And left it on the kitchen floor, where I found it this morning when I was picking up.

I swear to god. He says he typed something else up, and his teacher asked him a lot of questions and gave him full credit.

He can’t get out of this house soon enough. A whole summer with someone else nagging at him to do things. Someone else feeding his enormous appetite. Someone else looking at the crap he drops everywhere as soon as he’s done with it. I can’t wait.

I will probably love him again by the time he comes home.

1 comment June 13, 2009

Another Eagle

This was a very emotional night for me.

Danny got his Eagle Scout award tonight. And I know it sounds like I’m being all braggy, and I don’t mean to be. He worked hard for it, and I’m very proud of him.

But for me, tonight was made up of so many things that are so much more than that.

I have been fussing a lot lately. My poor fingers are just in shreds. And I’m not sure why. I have unloaded the job I’ve been threatening to unload for years. The weather is gorgeous. Things are going well. And still, I’m a mess. I can’t get to sleep at night and I wake up early. My stomach is tied in knots. I dunno what’s going on.

So anyhow, tonight was this big thing for Danny. I should have been so worked up about it. And I wasn’t. I knew it wouldn’t be perfect, no Boy Scout thing ever is. The mom of the other Eagle is a good friend, and I like her, but her approach is so much different from mine. We did a reception after the ceremony, and she had everything needing to be done at that time. We had to cut cake and mix punch while people stood around and waited. Scouts waved their cups in my face and asked me to just give them pop, because the punch was taking so long to make. And I was mellow about it all and didn’t kill the little shits.

Because I got a good lesson in perspective tonight.

One of the neat things about an Eagle Court of Honor is that a lot of the former scouts who are Eagles come back. At one point, they all go stand up on the stage with the new Eagle. Tonight, there were 12 of them up there, including two of my brothers (yes, I do have four brothers who are Eagles. I will rant about the other two another day). Michael read the Eagle Charge, which talks about what the higher expectations are of Eagle Scouts.

One of the Eagles who was up there is named Nick. He’s 20, and has been fighting Hodgkins lymphoma for about six months. It’s going well, but he is bald and pale and not feeling so great. And halfway through the talk, he started to stagger.

I knew right away what was going on, and was concerned, but he righted himself. And then he did it again. They were up two steps from the floor, and the floor is hard stone, and I had visions of him cracking his skull on the floor if he fell. When he started to stagger a third time, his mom and I both yelled “Grab him!” and they did. They sat him down, and then he laid all the way down, and they finished the presentation. He was okay, and his dad went up and sat with him on the step, and we finished it all up. It was fine, and everybody was thankful he was okay. And he is almost certainly going to be fine eventually.

The second thing was seeing Toni, who is the sister of the other boy who got his Eagle tonight. Toni is a year older than Emily, and has spent the past year hospitalized for anorexia. Thankfully, she has recovered, and looks great. Things look good for her future too.

I see these people, and I see the very real things they’re dealing with. I think of all the people we’ve lost over the last seven or eight months, and the people who are still almost incapacitated from missing them so much. And my stupid little things seem even more stupid than usual.

I need to get a grip.

Danny was very opposed to us making a fuss over him, so his Court of Honor was a much smaller event than Michael’s was. And he was so tickled. He loved every minute of it, from start to finish, even when his dad put him up in front of everyone, with no prep time, and asked him to talk about his time in scouts. I cringed at some of his expression (“Ya, when I was in Cub Scouts, it really sucked”) but proud at how he pulled it together.

He really is a good kid at heart. I need to remember this the next time I look at his grades.

2 comments June 1, 2009


Tonight was an interesting lesson for me in the difference between the way adults perceive a situation, and the way kids do. Or teenagers. WhatEVer.

This has been a tough week for Emily. She keeps saying to me, Allie and Aurora only want me to be with them at recess. But Talia and Teresa are my friends too. I want to be with all of them, and Talia and Teresa are okay with that, but Allie says it can only be her and me and Aurora.

I have said the usual. They’re all nice girls (really, I like them all very much, and they’ve all been good friends in the past) but Emily gets to choose who she spends time with, and I think she’s wise to spread it out.

I gave her some ideas of things to say. Allie: You can’t go with them. You need to be with me. Emily: I’m sorry you feel that way. Walk away.


The funny thing is that I remember this exact same scenario. I had this good friend named Monica, we’d been BFFs since first grade. In fifth or sixth grade, another girl named Bridgett came to school. She joined our Camp Fire group, and I liked her, we had a lot in common. We all hung out in a big group, I thought, and the three of us did a lot together. At the end of sixth grade, Monica gave me a long letter saying that Bridgett and I would be happier without her, and she would fade into the sunset, and blah blah blah.

30 plus years later, Monica is still one of my best friends, and Em knows this. I am also still in touch with Bridgett and enjoy her very much. So whatever.

(Notice how much I’m saying whatever? I have estrogen poisoning. Hang on. I’m getting to the point.)

Tonight, we had planned to have the girls fix dinner for their families. It’s one of the requirements for the cooking thing they wanted to work on. We planned the menu last week, decided on a theme. Em and I bought the decorations last night, and I took the girls shopping today. Which gave new meaning to the term herding cats, and sent me to the bathroom twice with a nervous tummy, which almost never happens to me. Note to self: never, ever, take a bunch of almost teenagers to Fred Meyer on a crowded Saturday when the senior center bus is parked outside. But I digress.

Teresa’s mom, let’s call her St. Kathy because she is, had offered to have the party at her house. She has a big kitchen with lots of counter space, a big deck perfect for entertaining, and a far more relaxed personality than the other hostess candidate: me.

We showed up with all our groceries at about 2:30. The house was sparkling clean. We set up two work groups and got going.

The menu they had chosen was teriyaki chicken, rice, green beans, green salad, and strawberries, kiwi and bananas in whipped cream for dessert. We also pulled out my old recipe for punch (I call it graduation punch because we served it at my college graduation party).

We had originally thought we were going to have seven girls cooking for 24 people, but our numbers dwindled. Miss Must have Mango in everything’s mom got her weekends mixed up, so kid had to go to her dad’s, and dad didn’t want to come to the party. Another kid was running a fever so didn’t come. Several dads had to work. Several siblings found better things to do. So we ended up with five girls cooking for 14 people. Much better.

I complain, and will continue to complain, about hormones and drama, but those girls did great. They mixed up their own teriyaki sauce. They made a fabulous salad. They took the party store supplies Em and I had bought and decorated the heck out of the place. Served the punch with little umbrellas, and a straw with a hibiscus on it. Everyone got leis. We had tiki torches in the yard. It was really awesome. I was so proud of them.

Allie isn’t a Camp Fire girl anymore, but Aurora is and was there. From where I sat, it was charming. All the girls got along well. Two little sisters were there and were included and had fun. The food was great. The company was great. The weather was awesome. It was just a great evening.

And then it was time to pack up and go, and Emily was sullen and silent. One little sister, who is a drama queen, had apparently gone around and collected up all the used umbrellas and hibiscus straws to take home, and left them in a sticky pile on St. Kathy’s coffee table. St. Kathy had swept through and put them in the garbage. Little sister broke down and sobbed that she never gets anything fun, etc. SIGH. Emily had collected up the unused straws and umbrellas thinking she could use them for her birthday party. She doesn’t like little sister and was very cross that I made her hand over some of the straws and umbrellas.

Little sister was not properly grateful either. I can’t win with that one.

We were giving Eiryn a ride home. Her twin is quite sick, and mom had taken her to the ER during the evening. Twin has another kidney infection, and Mom was grateful that I would bring Eiryn home.

Up until the time we got in the car, I thought things were great. I thought Eiryn and Emily were friends. At no time in the great “friends pulling me in all directions” drama has Eiryn been mentioned. She’s always been a nice friend. Silly me.

Emily was shrouded in gloom, you could see it six cars away. She was hunched over a drawing she was making, showing all her friends pulling on her, and Teresa (labeled Switzerland, heh)off to the side. Eiryn was not even in the picture. And Emily wouldn’t talk to her. Eiryn was sniffling in the back seat. SIGH. I have no idea what that was about, except that Emily said Eiryn had been whispering with Aurora, and Emily was sure it must have been about her.

I was with those girls from 1 to 9 tonight. I took them shopping, and watched as they cooked, and ate and cleaned up. I saw nothing. No drama (except from little sister). They worked as a good team, they enjoyed their dinner, they cleaned up cheerfully and then went off to play cards. I could not have been happier with how the evening went.

And Emily cried herself to sleep tonight, because, and I quote, “Everyone hates me, and my friends all want me with them 24/7.” Needless to say, my attempt to point out the lack of logic in that statement was not well received.

Oh, how I miss my little toddler, who loved everyone in the world and was so happy and sunny every waking moment.

I wouldn’t go back to being a teenager again if you offered me all the money in the world.

Buckle your seatbelts, folks. It’s going to be a ride.

1 comment May 31, 2009

Cultural plunge

When last heard from, I was ready to kill two of my three children. Things are better now. I’m willing to consider letting all of them stay alive at the moment.

Emily turned in her report on time and got an A on it. Mr. K does not give many As, so this is a very big deal. She’s thrilled.

I was looking over Danny’s grades today and he is within a couple of points in one class from achieving a grade that would result in a 2.5 GPA for the semester. This is not exactly what a loving mother might hope for from a child who has repeatedly been called gifted, but it’s a hell of an improvement over the 1.8 he had at the end of the last quarter.

It’s good that he’s managing to get his act together, because those special accommodations I asked for from the school district do not appear to be forthcoming before the end of the year. Gotta love the public schools.

Michael found himself a job at a security company, making $12 an hour, and they’re running him pretty close to full time. The down side to this is all his shifts are in the middle of the night. He shows up at midnight and works until 6 or 9, depending on what day it is. Most nights, he’s all by himself, and has to do a walk-around every half hour.

He is his mother’s child, both of us are having a terrible time getting enough sleep with all the light in the mornings. At least I am staying on a somewhat regular schedule. He comes home and falls into bed, and sleeps for four hours and then the light wakes him up. He’s exhausted. His friend who worked these shifts last year told him to tape aluminum foil to his windows to block out the light, and we’re going to try that tomorrow.

This job is a far cry from his relaxed days at camp in the sun and mountains the last three years. I think he’s feeling a little wistful about that. But he’s sticking with it, and I’m proud of him for that.

We had the most magnificent Memorial Day here. That is a weekend that is mostly notable for Seattleites racing out to camp on the first summer weekend, and ending up huddled under blue tarps as the rain pours down. We are a special breed here, and we never seem to learn.

This year, it was brilliantly sunny and in the upper 60s all three days. Which sounds very funny to my friends who live in warmer climates, but truly, it was blissful.

I planted my window boxes and set them out, and then the deck looked pretty bad so I thought I’d wash it. Because of our lack of sun and plenty of rain, it gets pretty mossy and mildewy out there. I got a brush and started scrubbing, and SAH took pity on me and went and rented a power washer.

I wasn’t whining even slightly, I swear!

We spent four hours blasting off moss and mildew and dirt, and then we did the patio down below and the front porch. It is so wonderful out there now, the back yard is nicer than it’s been in years, and the porch is all clean and nice. Very pleasant place to sit now. Tonight I purchased something my friend calls Party in a Pail. You mix it with tequila and freeze it and have slushy margaritas in your freezer whenever you want one. I am thinking that all I need now is a comfy chair and a book and my life will be complete.

Danny’s school is big on something they call Cultural Plunges. Mostly in Spanish, but also in history. They have to eat or cook a certain kind of food, or go see an exhibit, or watch a Spanish soap opera, stuff like that. Usually, I like them. I like most food, and we’ve been to some interesting museums over the years. Tonight he has to do an African one.

There are not a ton of African restaurants in my little neighborhood. I did a google, and there’s quite a few in downtown Seattle, but I didn’t want to brave traffic to go there. We ended up going to a little storefront in South Everett, about a half hour away.

It turned out to have just a couple of tables. It was about 90 degrees in there and the TV was blaring, so I was already unhappy. Some of the food looked quite appetizing on the menu, but they only had about half the choices. SAH and the boys and I ordered. Emily didn’t see anything she wanted to try.

By the time the food arrived, I was ready to scream, so we brought it home to eat.

I had wanted a dish that had spinach and fish and something else in a peanut sauce over rice, that sounded like something I would like a lot. They didn’t have it, but recommended something similar. I ended up with okra and spinach and lamb over rice. I didn’t really care for it, especially with the lamb bones sprinkled through it liberally.

SAH and Danny chose a half chicken, and it was good. I tried the chicken and the noodles and salad that came with it, and liked all of it.

Michael ordered fried fish. The picture on the menu shows fillets, like you think of fish and chips. But no. It was a full fish, with the head on. It was hilarious. He was poking around, trying to determine how to eat it, joking that he felt like he was back in biology lab. At one point he thought he saw brains and screamed.

Emily and I had very little appetite by the time he was done, though he did say the fish wasn’t bad.

There is another cultural plunge due Monday for Spanish. I’m thinking a meal at a taco truck might be just the thing. That’s about how much adventure I’m up for right now.

Add a comment May 29, 2009


Tonight, Emily has had a major assignment due for three weeks. I have been begging her to get it finished. Please, please. Don’t want to be doing it the last night. Please.

MOM, she said, in that snotty teenage voice she’s acquired quite recently. I have it under control. The writing is DONE.

Anybody want to guess where this is going? Anybody see any similarities here to her brothers? WAIL.

To be fair, she’d done more on the research and writing than her brothers would have at this point. But it still needed a ton of editing, and a bibliography typed up, and pictures printed out, and crap we’re out of colored ink, and SAH is still at work at 9 but will stop off at WalMart on the way home to buy some and oh man I need a drink.

And oh, by the way, Danny is supposed to write a page for his honors class about AIDS in Africa. How exactly do I feel about that? And what do I know about it?

Moments like this, I understand the urge to kill them all and let god sort them out.

On the bright side, it is sunny and beautiful out, and is supposed to remain that way all weekend. We almost never have nice weather over Memorial Day. I bought potting soil and petunias for my window boxes, and am about ready to move my tomatoes outside.

I am demoted, and summer is underway. I guess it could be worse.


1 comment May 22, 2009






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