Category Archives: Life

Welcome, Day of Sweet Repose

Yes, officially it may be Labor Day.  A day intended to celebrate work and also the symbolic end of summer.  However, for me today is a day to recover from the first week of school, and to mourn the end of summer.

The first week of school is really tough.  Adjusting to rising early, making a good impression on the new teachers, getting all the homework done.  No, not the kids.  ME!

The horrid beeping of the dreaded alarm aside, the first week is full of assignments for the parents.  This early in the year, I’m still trying to give the illusion that I have it all together.  By the end of the year, it is unquestionably apparent that I do not, but I start out each year using slight of hand tricks to cover the truth.

Monday started out well.  I got all 4 of the dreaded “first day packets” filled out.  It even seemed less time consuming this year.  Maybe after 12 years, I’m finally getting it.  I even filled out the “describe your child” sheet for Eric, which I find extremely difficult.  “Five adjectives that best describe your child.”  OK Miss Teacher, do you want me to describe my child or really describe my child?

Abrasive, Combative, Volatile, Obnoxious and Selfish.  No, that’s is how his brothers would describe him.

Argumentative, Whiny, Defiant, Forgetful, Lazy.  No, that’s only when asked to do chores.

Brilliant, Enchanting, Enthusiastic, Responsible, Dazzling.  No, too kiss up.

Kind, Bright, Funny, Happy, Stubborn.  Simple, with a negative thrown in for a reality check.  Bingo.

Truthfully, I don’t remember which adjectives I ended up using.  I know stubborn stayed.  The rest were probably barely legible because I changed my mind so much I almost erased right through the paper.  Immediately I put the paperwork in the kids’ backpacks to be returned the next day.  Put one in the win column.

Eric came home Tuesday with all the papers still in his folder, exactly where I had proudly placed them.  Are you kidding me??  “Teacher, teacher, I did my homework.  I did it all.  I did my best.  But…my dog ate it?  Well, my kid ate it.  Or forgot to turn it in.  Something like that.”  Come on Eric.  Let me look good past the SECOND day of school!

One of my other homework tasks for Eric’s class is to sign his agenda every day.         Simple enough.  Illegible initials in the signature box.  Check.  On Thursday I notice – in bid red letters – a note from the teacher.  A note that was written on TUESDAY.  In addition to not turning in my homework, he didn’t turn in his time capsule.  Apparently I’m not JUST supposed to sign the agenda.  I’m supposed to actually READ it first.  Maybe the teacher needs to add flashing lights and sirens next time.

In the backpack the time capsule went, to be turned in first thing Friday.

Sigh.  First homework assignment 3 days late.

Friday afternoon I notice an envelope on the couch.  That looks similar to that troublesome time capsule envelope.  No way.  Are you kidding me??  No, really.  Someone must be messing with me.

Sigh.  First homework assignment 4 days late.

If it actually gets there tomorrow.

Trying to keep the illusion going this year is going to require some smoke and mirrors. And maybe a rabbit. 

Karma’s only a b**** when you are

We refer to Karma a lot in our house.  Usually in a bad way.

“You called your brother stupid and then forgot to study for a test?  Karma.”

“You left your skateboard propped against the wall after I told you not to and it fell on your toe?  Karma.”

This past week, I had spent a lot of time being a really nice person.  Really nice.  Yes, I’m patting myself on the back.  I enjoy fostering kittens but it has been overwhelming recently and has required more effort than normal.  Adoption events, meeting a rescue transport last minute because a group of kittens was scheduled to be euthanized, and, more recently, many vet visits because the poor little baby kittens are ill.  The past few days I have had to hand feed kitten milk “formula” every few hours with a syringe.  Also last week I agreed to spend many hours doing a strenuous task at work that everyone else (who knew better) didn’t want to do.  Today, as I’m on hold with the rescue’s vet (which is about 45 minutes away) trying to schedule yet another appointment (because, despite all my effort, the kittens weren’t improving), all I could think was “when it rains, it pours!”  I was already having a little pity party for myself because I had to be late for a picnic in order to make a trip home just to pick up a kitten (not one of the sick ones).  I begrudgingly agreed to deliver him to his adopter during the time I should have been at the picnic because it was the only time she was available, even though it wasn’t convenient for me.

When loading up the kitten for his adoption meeting, Jimmy went down into the basement and informed us that there was a funny noise.  Jim went to investigate and realized a pipe had burst.  It had JUST burst.  The wall was wet but it hadn’t even made it to the carpeted floor yet.  Jim turned off the water and averted disaster.

“You kindly missed part of your picnic to help a rescued foster kitten find his forever home and then your basement didn’t flood?  Karma.”

Shortly after we arrived to the picnic, it started raining.  Yep, when it rains, it pours.  But better that the pouring was outside at a picnic instead of in our basement.  Thanks Karma.

I had to leave the picnic early to make it to the vet appointment, but that’s ok.  I’ll just expect another visit from Karma.


(The two itty-bitty-under-a-pound-in-weight kittens had to stay at the vet overnight because they are so ill.  Poor, sweet little guys.  I’m waiting to get an update on them any moment now.  Hey Karma, I will take that next visit now!!)

Lost control of the remote control

That awkward moment when you realize the kids have left the room and you are watching Spongebob alone.

And you still don’t change the channel.

  • “No Patrick, they are laughing next to us.” ~Spongebob
  • “It may be stupid, but it’s also dumb.” ~Patrick
  • Sandy: “Patrick, don’t you have to be stupid somewhere else?” Patrick: “Not until 4.”
  • “That’s it.  You just lost your brain priveleges.” ~Plankton
  • “As long as these pants are square and this sponge is Bob, I will not let you down.”~Spongebob
  • “I’m a goofy goober, yeah.  You’re a goofy goober, yeah.  We’re all goofy goobers, yeah.” ~Spongebob and Patrick

See???  It’s good stuff!

Once In Two Blue Moons

Bummer.  I just realized that tonight is the rare second full moon of the month.  The Blue Moon.  I missed out on doing all those things I always say I do once in a…well, you get it.  Now I have to wait 3 more years to do them!

Since I get manicures once in a blue moon, I guess the Caviar Mani isn’t in the cards for me.  I’m sure that trend will be gone by 2015.  On the bright side, I guess I’m also off the hook for cleaning my windows

.I tried explaining what a blue moon is to Greg, but as soon as he heard the words “Blue” and “Moon,” he yelled “So the SMURFS are coming tonight???”  Oh Greg, get your facts straight buddy.  The Smurfs didn’t COME to the Big Apple during a blue moon.  They get to go back to Smurfville tonight.  What Greg?  No, it’s not an actual big apple.  That’s what people call New Yor…oh, nevermind.  I feel like I should come up with a witty explanation.  But I am only clever once in a blue moon.

Since I missed my opportunity tonight, I guess for the next 3 years I need to change the saying to “once in two blue moons.”

Mother Flipping Day

Tonight, I was already on my last nerve when I got cut off not once, but twice within 5 minutes.  So when the lady in the lane next to me saw my turn signal and sped up to prevent me from merging into her lane, I did it.  I gave her the bird.  And I don’t mean the bluebird of happiness.  So there you have it.  I’m a Mother Flipper.

Today had been one of those days.  A nothing-has-gone-right, is-it-over-yet kind of day.  After my “kind gesture,” I was sitting at a stop light behind a pick-up truck that had a brown tarp covering something in the bed.  In my impatient state of mind, I was tailgating so had an up close and personal view of the tarp.  Apparently, one corner of the tarp wasn’t tied down.  When the light turned green, the wind got under the tarp and I swear that corner rose from the dead and turned into a hideous monster with its arms flailing wildly.  The edge of the tarp was even frayed like teeth.  I literally SOL’d (screamed out loud).  As I realized how ridiculous I must have looked, then I LOL’d.  I looked at the tarp again.  I think I may have seen a finger sticking up.  Probably in response to me following too closely.

When I got home, I tripped on a shoe at the front door and as I stumbled forward, I had a vision of me doing a somersault and landing on the floor.  Good thing I didn’t.  Then I would have been a Mother Flipping Flipper.

(Addendum:  Now that I give it some thought…with the mood I was in, perhaps what I thought was a monster was actually my reflection!)_____________________________

The tarp monster:

“We hit bullying hard”

At a school orientation meeting a couple of years ago, during the guidance counselor’s spiel to the parents about the wonderment of middle school, she proclaimed “we hit bullying hard in 6th grade.”  At the time, I was the only one who chuckled out loud at the irony of that statement.  Later in the year though, the erroneousness of the same statement wasn’t funny.

Unbeknownst to me, my own son spent the second half of his 6th grade school year being bullied by a group of classmates.  I like to think I’m pretty involved in my kids’ lives (too involved if you ask them), but had NO clue.  None.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  Looking back, maybe I should have given more thought to the fact that he stayed home a lot and didn’t do much with his friends during that time.  But as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.  I just thought he was being a typical tween that gets moody.  It never once crossed my mind that he was being bullied.  I bought into the false perception that kids who are big for their age don’t get bullied.  I was guilty of stereotyping the victim of a bully as a scrawny, small child.  Never considered it could be a 5’8″ eleven year old.

The bullying was mostly verbal, with occasional shoving.  The saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” is just wrong.  Very wrong.  Words hurt just as much as punches. It wasn’t until the school year was almost over that I received the “come pick me up NOW” text that started the conversation during which I discovered what was wrong.

He said he hadn’t told me sooner because he was afraid I’d go to the guidance counselor.  He didn’t want to be labeled a snitch which would make the situation worse.  I finally was able to drag out a bit of vague information, after promising not to go stomping into the school, demanding punishment for the bullies. It was one of those parenting moments where I truly did not know what to do.  I did not want to betray his trust, but was devastated that he had been silently suffering for months.

Since there were only a few days of school left, I bit my tongue.  I’m surprised I didn’t bite it right off, considering I was also clenching  my teeth in anger.  Fortunately, summer break seemed to heal all (most) wounds (some may never be healed) and the bullying stopped in 7th grade.  As far as I know.  I don’t have the illusion anymore that I know exactly what is happening in my kids’ lives.

On Monday, a horrific incident happened in Maryland.  A 15 year old took a gun to school and shot another student.  As is often the case in situations like this, the boy was bullied.  And as is almost always the case, the student that is fighting for his life was a random target – in this case a special needs student who greeted everyone with a smile – completely uninvolved in the situation.  A lot of people are very quick to judge when something terrible happens.  The parents should have raised the shooter better.  The school should have intervened.  Peers should have seen warning signs.  Bullying is to blame.

I feel a lot of things about this shooting but judgement isn’t one of them.  I feel incredible sadness, and intense fear.  Heartbreak for the victim, his family and everyone involved, including the family of the shooter.  Anxiety that I have two teenagers – plus 2 that will be teenagers before I turn around- and the realization that something like this could happen anywhere, at any time.  But not judgement.  I don’t personally know anyone involved.  Even if I did, I still couldn’t judge.  No one – let me repeat, NO ONE – knows everything about this situation.  So no one can really pass judgement.  You can argue about how the teen dressed or what he posted on Facebook or the parents’ past or how he got the gun or even that he was bullied.  And those may all be valid points .  But the fact remains that the reason this teen decided to take a gun to school and open fire may never be known.  There are many other teens that have a bad family life, that have guns in their home, that don’t dress “the norm,” that post gloomy thoughts.  And, yes, very many that are bullied.  Probably more than we know.  Because they are afraid to tell.  But those other bully victims don’t decide to turn to violence against others like this one did.  There is some part of the story that is missing.  Something beyond the headlines that made the teen make the devastating choice he did.  Something we may never know without getting inside his head.

Don’t point fingers.  But keep that sadness and fear.  Use those emotions for good.  Pray for the victim and his loved ones when you feel sad.  Come up with ideas of how to prevent this in the future when you feel afraid.  Instead of condemning and placing blame, praise those that were heroes in this situation.  The faculty and counselor that got the gun away most likely prevented this from being a worse tragedy than it was.  But it is still a tragedy.  An awful, horrible tragedy.  An unexplainable, unblamable tragedy.

Bullying is an inexcusable act.  It is unacceptable that we live in a world where tweens, teens and even adults live with the feelingof knots  in their stomach because of another person intimidating them.  Even if it isn’t the sole cause for what this teen did, bullying did probably contribute to his downward spiral that ultimately led to his desperate act.  We all need to continue to “hit bullying hard” until it ends.  Completely.  Forever.


God bless and heal you Daniel Borowy.  May you soon be back at school greeting your classmates with waves and high fives.

Daniel’s friends are making a plea to his favorite singer, Lady Gaga, to come visit him.  Send her a Twitter or Facebook message to help with their cause.  I truly hope that wish comes true.


Gone are the days of the terms “semi-colon,” “colon,” “left parentheses,” and “right parentheses.”
Greg was playing around in Microsoft Word and referred to them as “wink,” “shift eyes,” “shift frown,” and “shift smile.”
😉    🙁    🙂

(From 1/8/12)

How to Get a Teen to Respond to Your Text Messages

2:16pm Me:  You still need to change the litter pans and mow.

<no response>

2:28pm Me:  We are out of litter so Dad is bringing some on his way home from work.  Go ahead and start mowing to get that off your list.

<no response>

2:46pm Me:  Do you want Chipotle?

2:46pm Jimmy:  Yes.

2:47pm Me:  Oh, well we aren’t going to Chipotle.  I just wanted to make sure you were receiving the other texts from me.