Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why I grew 20 more gray hairs today

Well, we're all sick. Again. Now it's some nameless virus that isn't the flu but feels only one degree less horrible than the flu. It's Owen and me this time. Sore, sore throat, stuffiness, fever of the body and fever of the...cabin.

We have not done one fun thing all winter, I swear. Not one. The closest we've come to fun was driving by the mall one day. We waved at the play area in the mall, waved at the train table in the bookstore, waved at storytime. "Hello, fun things!" we called. "See you in April." (Maybe I'm exaggerating a wee bit but it surely does not FEEL like it.)

The illness gave me 10 gray hairs. The other 10 came from the IT department at the venerable institution where I work. Remember when I mentioned the inventory program that they wanted to run on my laptop? Well that must have been some powerful program, cause it crashed my hard drive. And oh, by the way, we lost all your data oops.

Let's do a run down of the data I lost:

2 semesters worth of handouts, lectures, essay assignments, and exams? Check.
All family pictures taken since last summer? Check.
Every single one of my bookmarks? Check.
Current emails and e-address book? Check.
All the patterns, tutorials, and craft ideas I've collected for 6 months? Check.
The nearly finished, put hours of time into it digital scrapbook I'd been working on for Paige? Check.

I'm usually pretty good about backing up data, and I do have a backup for my less recent teaching materials, but I haven't backed up in awhile (obviously), and I've been really lazy about backing up my personal stuff.

At least I still have my health.

Oh....wait. No I don't.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hoot, hoot

Staying up late is my grandest indulgence, an indulgence paid for by purple undereyes, lethargic mornings, and, occasionally, a shorter fuse. Sometimes I feel guilty about the short fuse. My children deserve a chipper, well-rested mother. But quiet, uninterrupted time is in short supply in my life, and I crave it more than I crave sleep. In fact, I think I'd be less chipper with more sleep and no time to myself (if I could ever really describe myself as "chipper" at all.)

Secretly, I like it best I'm the only one awake, when every other soul is asleep, and I can turn off the always chattering television, putter around on the computer or the sewing machine, and eat more ice cream (or cookies or potato chips) than I should.

I longingly remember a time before Paige, when Owen was 3 and Mitch was 1, and they napped at the same time. We'd go out in the morning to shop or play, come home for lunch, read a few books, and then they'd sleep for 2 hours. Back then, I went to bed at a more reasonable hour, but I had those 2 hours after lunch to indulge myself. I never get time like that during the day now. Mitch doesn't nap anymore, and when he's in school, Paige is awake and at my heels. Everlastingly.

So I have to wait until after they're all in bed, which usually means, at the earliest, 9:30, since our bedtime routine starts at 8:30 and can take longer than an hour to complete, depending on the children's level of cooperation. That means if I stay up later than midnight, I have 2 or 3 blissful hours to do whatever I want, more enriching to my psyche than extra sleep, I promise.

Sometimes, I'm oddly happy when I can't fall asleep. Legitimate insomnia absolves me of any responsibility for and guilt about night owling. The quiet between 2 and 4 am is a deep quiet, very restful to my spirit. Being awake in that quiet gives me the purest feeling of aloneness I can hope to attain now that I'm married and breeding.

Maybe it's irresponsible. Maybe sleep deprivation is the source of all my flaws: my scatterbrain, my impatience, my clumsiness. But sleep is a cheap substitute for mental rest, the kind I need to keep my core intact.

Plus, I'm here to tell you, ice cream after midnight tastes twice as good.

{image from Night Owl Paper Goods}

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My funny valentines

I made these for the young 'uns. They'll appreciate them for a much shorter time than it took me to make them, but I'm used to their rejection. I undertake these projects anyway, imagining a time shortly after my death, when they're all together, packing up the house. At the bottom of a box, they'll unearth these lovingly embroidered hearts and sob with adoration and gratitude...so...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Family headlines: Weekend edition

Tonight's top story: John (aka Mean Daddy) Suffers with Coxsackie

Nearly 2 months after Mean Mommy's bout with the same illness, John has contracted the debilitating virus that once caused him to ask his wife, "So how long do you plan on being sick?"

After 3 days of listening to his groans and whimpering, Mean Mommy has had to place duct tape over her mouth to keep herself from asking John the same question, only in a bitchier tone.

Paige Breaks Owen's Glasses

On Friday afternoon, Paige marched forward in her never ending quest to pull Owen's glasses off of his face. However, in an attempt to thwart the attack, Owen jerked his head sideways. Because Paige--stalwart, persistent Paige--refused to break her grip, the bridge of the glasses snapped in two.

After trying to super glue the bridge back in place, the Mean Family was told by their eye doctor that "the glasses are under warranty" (yay!) but that they should "NOT attempt to glue the glasses" because such attempts will "void the warranty" (boo!)

Right, because if you come into the shop with a pair of broken glasses that have been glued, how will the manufacturer know that it wasn't your trying to glue the bridge of an intact pair of glasses that caused them to break...maybe cause there are hoodlums out there who just slap glue on their glasses for no good reason, breaking them willy nilly and then trying to cheat eye wear manufacturers into replacing them? That's probably it.

Monday will be spent 1. Trying to persuade Owen that he can go to school without his glasses and 2. Trying to scrape all traces of super glue off of the glasses.

In other news:

Owen Wins Zingo Three Times in a Row; Three year old brother left in quivering heap of disappointment.

Mean Mommy Finds 32 NEW Excuses not to do Taxes

Paige Breaks Record of "Poops in one Day" (former record set at 3 months old)

Mitch Breaks Record for Number of Times One Child Can Watch The Incredibles.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Year of the Rat

The rat is the first sign in the Chinese zodiac, so this Chinese New Year will ring in a time of renewal, a restarting of old cycles.

There are a few cycles that could use restarting, here, for sure. Like the one where I say "no" to something Owen wants to do, and he melts down like a 3 year old, whining at a siren pitch. In the next part of this cycle, I ignore his whining, and because I'm not responding to his nasally pleas, "Mommy? Please? Pleeeease mommy," he starts going, "Mommeeeeee....Mooommeeee? Mommmeee!!!!! Mooooooommmmmeeeeee?!?!?" until I want to drive off the overpass (because this cycle often takes place in the car on the way home from school when Owen is burnt out, tired, and ready to unleash his demons upon his home sweet home where we will love him despite his obnoxious behavior).

Or the cycle when I tell Mitch to stop doing something like, oh, lying on his back and kicking the wall with all his might while the baby is sleeping and I'm trying to read him a bedtime story. Part 2 of that cycle is Mitch lightly kicking the wall, keeping one eye on me to gauge my reaction. Next I lower the book and glare. Then he barely kicks the wall, softly oh so softly. Then I say, "Next time you kick the wall, I'm closing the book." And he turns over and in the turning over "accidentally" kicks the wall. I close the book and Owen, who is also listening to the story, says, "Noooooooo! Mommmeeee! Nooooo! Momeeeee?! Pleeeeease!"

Or the cycle of Paige at the end of lunch time, holding her hand out and asking, "Mo?" and, when I give her more, tossing it down and declaring, "Ah doh." But she's not really all done, so when I try to take the food away, she bangs on the high chair and squawks, "Mo! Mo!" So I give her more and...I bet you can guess the rest.

Or the cycle when John and I stay up too late every night and then fall asleep the next night while putting the kids to be only to wake up at 10:30 pm and then stay up too late again because we had a cat nap. Or the one where we spend money on frivolous things like take out and movies over the weekend after payday and then have to ration the rest of the money for 2 weeks or else we won't have food or gas or preschool tuition.

Sigh. Happy year of the rat. Here's to moving forward. I can't imagine the joys our new cycles will bring.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Two reasons other mothers should disdain me

This morning I realized something about the kind of mother I am.

1. I am the only mother left on the planet who has no qualms about starting her kids' day off with a big 'ol bowl of Lucky Charms (a magically delicious part of this nutritious breakfast).

2. I am a mother who, after pouring a bowl of Lucky Charms for her child and one for herself, will select for herself the bowl that has the higher cereal/marshmallow ratio. And perhaps even swipe a couple of the marshmallows from her kid's bowl to up that ratio.

And that's why mommy is so mean. For reals.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

I need something...

...to do while I pretend to watch the Super Bowl. But my brain is very soft this evening, and I have no cleverness. Instead, here are some links. Some of them will be joining my sidebar when I get around to it, but I didn't think you should have to wait for my lazy ass to get around to updating the blog before you got to enjoy them.

How About Orange = Great links, freebie desktop wallpapers and PDFs, neato DIYs, talented design, very little pretension.

Daily Monster = A guy who draw monsters from ink blots...daily. Watch him go. It's way cool.

Want Not = Lovable Mir hunts down all the good deals and shares them with you. Save money the Mean Mommy way: buy things you don't need, but get 'em cheap.

Sarah Jane Studios = Best illustrations of children ever. Warm up your, "Awwwww."

Happy Super Bowl!