Monday, July 27, 2009

Bedtime with Bozos

So, we decided to take the kids to Cedar Point this weekend. Thomas wasn't up for it, so we took Seth's BFF Chris, who appears to have joined our household, with the blessing of his parents, most weekends. Chris is six weeks younger than Seth, and they've been friends since they used to sit on Zoe Martinez in the nursey of our church, when they were less than a year old. They are two mismatched peas in a pod -- Seth stands about 6-8 inches taller than Chris, at this point -- but they are definitely buddies.

A lot can be learned from teenagers, especially boys, and even more especially while on an extended ride in the car. Take, for example, movies. Chris cannot make it more than about ten minutes in the van before he wants a movie put in. I personally don't care, because I'm driving, but Jill likes movies too, and this time, she happened to bring a whole CD casefull. After much voting by raising of hands, they decided to put in Eagle Eye, with that Leboeuf boy that Jill is always remarking about. This, of course, meant that surely there would be peace in the van but no. Halfway through it, Jill woke up yelling that the movie was too loud. Big surprise, as this movie has a LOT of explosions in it, and the fact that the volume has to be up pretty far in the van for anyone to be able to hear it.

Later, after we were settled in the hotel, the kids had been for a swim and we'd had dinner, we sat watching some fabulous food channel show that involved people making cakes based on various Pixar films, Shrek 2 on Broadway, and the like. Yummy stuff! We finally had to turn it off not only so we could get up in the morning, but so that we didn't get a sugar buzz. Jill was sleeping with her head on the opposite end on the rollaway bed, Dan and I had one bed, and the boys were sideways on their bed. Pitch black. A round of "Night John Boy, 'Night Mary Ellens, and we were near sleep. Then it broke loose.

I think it started with Seth doing something to Chris. I'm not really sure what, but Chris jumped on top of Seth in retaliation, causing his head to crash against the nightstand, and he emitted a newly deep man-voice shriek of pain. Chris laughed, of course. I couldn't tell what had happened, because a) it was pitch black in the room and b) I didn't have my glasses on. Seth was half laughing, half wincing, when he said what happened. I asked if he needed the light on so I could look at it, but we were all rather in fear of waking up Jill again, so he said no.

Silence fell over the room.

From the other bed, Chris and Seth started again, a scuffle ensued, at which point I got up and whacked whomever I could reach, as hard as I could with a pillow. I think it was Chris, but truth be told, I have no idea. All I heard was a loud OOMPH, a "you're gonna wake up Jill," and then quiet, before Seth started laughing again, the cycle started anew, and it all broke open all over again. At this point, I realized Dan was no longer in our bed. Before I could figure out where he'd wandered off to in the dark, I heard Seth saying -- VERY quickly, and in a crescendo of pubescent male voice -- "coldcoldcoldcoldCOldCOLDCOLD" that sounded distinctly like there was probably ice involved. Ice going down the back, perhaps. "What in the world are you doing NOW?" I said.

Seth replied "I just got hit with a peach."

That was it. Any sense of composure was lost. It wasn't so much WHAT Dan did -- I'm still not sure, but I do know that a peach from the refrigerator ended up against someone's bare back -- it was Seth's delivery of the line that got me, and I got the giggles so badly that yes, I woke the sleeping giant. Jill blasted out of her bed, yelling about being SO tired, and why couldn't we KEEP IT DOWN. Our response was, of course involuntary fits of giggles, until she said forget it, she was leaving and going out on a walk, because we obviously were not going to let anyone sleep.

That walk lasted about two minutes till, we found out later, she wandered into the hall, only to hear two drunken guests explain in some rather graphic detail what they planned to do to one another when they got back to the room. I guess after that, her out of control laughing family seemed pretty good, because she came back in, silent, and climbed back into her bed in a now pin-drop-quiet room. Of course, she couldn't see how our bed was shaking, since Dan and I were still being wracked with uncontrollable giggles, but at least we had silenced the beast.

Next day, it was off to Cedar Point, where I got to enjoy such interactions between the boys as this one:

Seth: "Wow, Mom, that looks like the salt water taffy Jen brought us from Florida."
Chris: "Wow, maybe that's because it IS salt water taffy, dumbie."

Yeah, you gotta love 'em. Can't live with 'em. Can't assault 'em with a peach. 'Night John Boy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

How things roll.

Rocky went missing yesterday. Jill had changed the rules-of-feeding here, and wants the dogs fed in the morning. Fine for her, cause she goes to work very early in the morning, but Seth is a) still not complete familiar with the concept of morning, and b) a creature of habit. The habit has been feeding in the evening, so the morning feedings on the weekends (Seth's days) is a bit spotty.

I wasn't sure if he'd fed them yesterday or not, so I asked him about 6:30pm if he'd done it. I got the blank "omg, I'm not sure" stare that said "uh oh, the sister's gonna kill me." Which is generally what happens if he forgets, so yes, he had reason to be concerned. He thought about it for a while, then decided to go ahead and feed them, just to be sure. The dogs, of course, weren't saying, cause they will take food at any given moment that someone offers, and frequently when they don't.

Seth came back in the kitchen and asked where Rocky was. I had no idea, and told him to ask Jill. He already had, and she had said he was in the crate. "He's not in there," said the boy, so I told him to check in the corral outside, where I'd put him earlier. I looked out the kitchen window as I said this, and saw that the gate was wide open. Uh oh. No Rocky outside. How the heck did he get loose? I always check the gate when I close it, but Seth and I looked at each other, knowing that the specter of doom had just entered our kitchen, because if Jill found out, we were both gonna be dead.

We took off in the van, looking for him. No go. Came home, and Jill was now gone looking for him, according to Dan. We went back out. Came back, and Jill was crying on the front step. Dropped off Seth and took off again with Jill, who was sure that the wicked witch had made off with Toto, and we would never see him again. We must've driven the neighborhood ten times or more, to no avail. I still held out hope because he had both a collar and a microchip, but Jill was convinced that whoever had found him would keep her darling little baby (aka ball of fire that chews up bras and anything else he can get hold of). I told her it'd be ok, and we'd just go home and wait.

She was pretty upset, till about twenty minutes later, when Seth came down and said that that little idiot dog had been in the crate all along. Jill shot him the look of death, my jaw dropped, and Seth just looked straight at us and said "I know.........I'm stupid."

I still have no idea how the boy didn't know he was in the crate. Apparently, the crate had been put in the bathroom upstairs, and I'm not sure how or why that was either -- maybe Seth had put it there because he was moving mattresses downstairs from Thomas' old room -- but he wasn't talking about it, and still hasn't.

So that's how things roll in the land of Utter Chaos, where you can spend two hours searching for a missing dog that isn't, and where a crate can grow legs and walk, with the dog still in it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Great Mouse Hunt Part II

I talked the other day about the mouse in the house, and his sad flight into the neighbor's next yard. Well, that wasn't the end of it all.

Let me first say that Dan works with Freddy, who happens to be from Guatemala. Freddy's a great guy, an Apostolic who is devout in his faith. I'd actually love to go to his church, because I suspect that there's nothing quite like a bunch of Hispanic holy rollers. I think it would be inspiring. But I digress.

Freddy has pretty good command of the English language, though he does have a thick accent. Dan likes working with him, because he's really improved his Spanish, and of course, Freddy's improved his English. Every once in a while, he'll come out with "oh my Gah," when something happens, which Dan, of course, emulates when things need lightened up around here. The topic this week has been "Michael Yackson," and all of the sad events related to his demise, because Dan loved MJ, and is amused by the fact that Freddy knows about him, too, even if he can't say the name right.

Dan usually carpools with Freddy to worksites, driving Dan's old minivan. (Hey, we have teenagers. We can't afford one of those fancy-schmancy painter's vans, thought it is Dan's dream.) He drives an old minivan that he'll drive till its dead -- the mechanic actually told us last year that it would only last another six months. It's been almost a year. Well, the van started out white, and now has paint dabs all over the doors, and a gold hood, where a customer "forgot" that he was there, and backed right into his van. Goofy.

Anyway, his van is usually packed up with dropclothes, paint poles, and a big Rubbermaid container full of brushes, rollers, and the like. He will lug it out once in a while, dump it all out, and reorganize. He's a very organized person -- unlike me. So he lugs it out at the job site on this particular day, he said, and later wondered why the heck there were flies all around it. Didn't think too much about it till he dug around later for a brush, and found a dead mouse.

He pulls it out and says "hey Freddy, look," as he's holding it up by its tail. Freddy replied "en espanol, raton," with that trilling r that I can't do. Dan says "raton is dead," to which Freddy shrugged and responded "go with Yackson."

Dan just cracked up. Funny thing is, maybe Freddy's right -- Yackson did sing Ben, after all, and maybe it was mini-Ben got lugged over the fence the other night, then found his revenge in Rubbermaid.

Go with Yackson.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Movin' on Up

I think I've mentioned that Thomas is moving out. He's getting his first apartment, and he's pretty pumped up about it. He came down the other day and asked me if I'd help him pack. I shivered at the thought.

I told him he should start with his clothes first. Do the winter clothes now, and save what he needs to wear this week till later, but bring down the dirty clothes, cause I didn't want him packing away dirty clothes. "I don't have any dirty clothes," said the heir to the throne. Sure. Right. Those of you who have read about his laundry in the past know that it is a thing to be feared.

I went up to his room, and was met with the normal view -- floor covered with clothes. I pointed to one pile and asked, "what is that?" He said "oh, those are dirty." "So you DO have dirty clothes up here. What about these?" I pointed to the pile next to the other one and asked "what's up with these?" "Oh, those are clean." Just exactly how he could tell the difference is something that only a nineteen year old boy would know.

I folded a few things and got him started, then left him to his own devices, telling him to bring the dirty stuff down. A little bit later, he comes down with half a hamper of clothes. I told him that no way was that all of it. He said "well, you don't want it all. There's a LOT." OK, now we're getting to the bottom of it. I told him to go back upstairs and toss down the dirty stuff, cause I was doing laundry, and wanted to do it all at one time. The result was an avalanche of clothes that darn near could've knocked me out, and completely blocked anyone from the stairs.


At this point, I yelled up "throw your sheets down, too." "WHAT," he replied. "THROW YOUR SHEETS DOWN." I gave up all hope with the response:

"I have sheets?"

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Great Mouse Hunt

Seth told me the other day that he had heard something crunching in his room the night before. Those who have read this blog in the past know that Seth tends to travel in a little different orbit than the rest of us, so I just told him maybe there was a carpenter bee behind his dresser. Or maybe something had found some of the food that is bound to be in a 14yo boy's room. Who knows. He was serious, and just knew that something was in there, and for some reason, he thought it was a rat. Hmmm.........

Later that afternoon, he came out and said that Bandit, our big dumb lug fat cat, was stalking something, and he had, indeed, seen a mouse scuttle across the room. Crazy. Now, we do tend to see ONE mouse a year in this house -- it's an old house -- but it's always in the fall, right when the cold weather starts. Not in the summer, but hey, the kid saw it, so there must be one. I went in to check it out, and the Fat Cat was trying desperately to get behind the dresser, and Jill's dog was, for some reason, desperately trying to get under the bed. Well, I had Seth pull the dresser out, and found the dog brush that had been missing, several pens, a pair of flip flops, and enough dog hair to stuff a small pillow. Kinda like when I cleaned out the couch. The only thing we didn't find was a mouse, but we did get all the crap cleaned out before we put the dresser back, almost crunching Bandit in the process, because he was determined to get back there.

A couple hours later, Seth ran out and said that Bandit had indeed caught a mouse, followed by the inevitable "SEE, I told you I heard something in there." Turned out that Bandit, the big fat lug, had caught the mouse, tossed it around a couple of times before dropping it, giving it ample time to run for its life into a corner and disappear. Seth was, of course, freaked out, thinking that Bandit would drop it on his pillow in the middle of the night.

Next morning, I checked: no mouse on the bed. No cat stalking. Life moves on, at least for us, cause that mouse is probably dead.

Mid morning, Seth tells me that Bandit caught the mouse whilst I was in the shower, then ran downstairs with it. Not good! There is a lot of stuff in the basement. Stuff that I don't want a mouse eating, and stuff I don't want a mouse rotting in. We went down and tried to find it, to no avail, so I just prepared for the worst: opening a box one day and finding Mickey dead at the bottom. The day moves on, and then about 9 o'clock, Dan yells "come here, and bring the camera." Well, my camera is dead, and it's in the basement, so no go on that one, big guy. I run over, and he and Seth are standing on the stairs, staring at Bandit.

Apparently, the mouse either dragged itself out of its grave, or Bandit came back and got it, because now it was lying on the basement floor next to him. He was looking mighty smug, probably because we'd all said that he was too fat to grab it, but there it was. I asked Dan if it was dead, and he said yes. Seth said it wasn't, and I wasn't convinced either, so Dan tossed a wad of paper its way, and yep, it moved. Not much, but more than a dead thing would. I told him to get it the hell outta my house, and put it out far enough that the dogs wouldn't get it.

Few minutes later, I'm sitting on the couch, innocently IM'ing my niece, when in walks Dan, carrying a plastic drinking glass that he's covering with a gloved hand. He came over and started to lift the hand off the top, and was met with a blood curdling scream from his soul mate, followed quickly by me yelling "GET THAT THING THE HELL OUTTA MY HOUSE!" It was at that point that he stopped, stared, and turned the glass over, dumping the contents on my new rug. Only there were no contents. That damn glass was as empty as Sarah Palin's head, and Dan just doubled over laughing. I did too, and laughed literally till I cried, until Seth came skidding in the room, asking what the heck had happened. We couldn't even tell him.

A while later, I asked Dan to get me a glass of water, because he was in the kitchen. In he walks with the same stinkin' glass, now half full of water. I was horrified, even when he insisted that the mouse had never been in that glass, but I told him I didn't want hantavirus, so go wash his hands and get me a different glass. He did, but he was still laughing when we went to bed.

Dan said he'd taken it outside and tossed it over the fence in the backyard. Poor thing! First it survives one cat attack. Then it survives a second cat attack that involved just about everything but waterboarding, only to be followed by an Air France flight over our fence, and Dan laughing about the whole thing. Seth still has that "I told you so" look whenever it's brought up, and Bandit looks alternatively proud of himself, and pissy that we took his prize away. Me? I am gonna get my own drink the next time.

Click the image to shop.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

What goes around, comes around

Thomas is moving out soon. This, of course, may be of little significance, since a lot of times, I forget he even lives here. Thomas is the quiet one in the family: the only one who isn't a talker. Add this to the fact that he works evenings most of the time, then stays up most of the night, and we don't usually see him till dinnertime anyway.

On Sunday of Memorial weekend, we were sitting around, trying to figure out some plans for the next day. Whatever it was, Thomas mentioned that he couldn't do it, because he had to work the next day. Since he normally works day shift on weekends and holidays, I didn't think a thing about it. Noon the next day, who wanders into the living room but Thomas. "What are YOU doing here," I asked him. I was, of course, met with a look of "my mother is an idiot" from the heir to the throne, who merely responded, "uh, I live here." "Well, I thought you were working today." "I don't work till this evening," he said. Oh!

Mid-afternoon, Jill wanted to go to the movies, and as we were getting ready, Dan asked if Thomas was going. I said no, he was working 3-11. "Well," Dan said, "then why is his car here?" "Oh, dear Lord, he must've lost track of time," I said, and ran upstairs in a mild panic (see, I still kind of feel responsible, though I don't work there anymore). I said "What are you doing here?" The look of "I am the child of an idiot" came my way. "I told you, I work tonight." I slunk out of his room, feeling rather dumb that he must've been working at 4, not 3.

Off we went to the movies. We got home, and there he was, washing his car in the driveway. Well now I was SURE that he'd screwed up. Jumped out of the car and demanded "What are you doing here?" He just shook his head at me and looked away. "Seriously. What are you doing here?" He was till looking at me like I was an idiot when he told me that it was Monday, which means he didn't have to go in till 10. Yeah, all of these exchanges, and I never found out what time he actually was supposed to go in. Guess that would've been valuable information, since he goes in at different times on different days, but meantime, the boy is probably still shaking his head and wondering why the heck his mother keeps asking him what he is doing here. In his own home.

The answer? He lives here. But only till the 13th, after which time he'll probably answer the door at his apartment and ask me "what are you doing here?"