It’s kind of like I’ve already won the lottery

strange_jackPeople are really patient around here sometimes.

Take our kid, Jack. No matter what you want to talk about, Jack will patiently wait for the opportunity to tell you how it relates how great Lamborghinis are, what his favorite Lamborghini is, and how many Lamborghinis he plans to buy the next time we win the lottery.

And he’s perfectly patient with the fact that we really mess up our odds of winning the lottery by not ever buying lottery tickets.

“Mom, there’s a story behind the Lamborghini, did you know?”

The fact that the Lamborghini has been the topic of conversation on every car ride we’ve taken in the last seven months or so, and I hadn’t heard this, is what’s kind of amazing. Continue reading

Whatever a ‘Yote is, I’m their newest fan

yote“This is the first home game for this football program in thirty-seven years,” Mike told us in the car yesterday.

“I don’t think I’ve seen that kind of car in thirty-seven years,” eleven year-old Colin said from the back.

“This is the first time I’ve been to Caldwell in thirty-seven years,” Jack said.

It was a day of firsts.

I do feel a little sorry for Mike at the outset of this latest football season. He loves the game, a sentiment none of the rest of us seem to have inherited.

But, in May when he had his latest mini mid-life crisis and quit his job to come work with me, we cut expenses across the board. Sayonara to stuff like cable television and Tivo, and televised football games.

We still get Netflix, though, and electricity, so it’s not like we’ve turned Amish or something. Continue reading

Life Lessons from Little House

braids copyThe news that Laura Ingalls Wilder’s annotated autobiography Pioneer Girl is scheduled for release in November has me all fired up. I can’t remember when I started reading the Little House on the Prairie series, but it was early. I loved them and reread them often. Laura was my Harry Potter, and she could probably have given the little pointy-headed, snake charmer a run for his money.

If she’d had a wand.

The scuttlebutt is that the actual tale to be told about the Ingalls is something more akin to a Real Housewives of Silver Lake or Survivor, Big Woods series than the wholesome recounting of life in a hardscrabble little town that we’re all more familiar with.

Whatever. Even if Pa was a philanderer, or Mary sniffed chalk dust, Half Pint and her crew can do no wrong in my eyes, and I can’t wait to catch up with them. Continue reading

The menace of ill-mannered motorists

road_rage_is_bad copy“Mom, is that guy a redneck?” Colin asks me while I’m driving and some jerkwad is following so close I could easily elbow him in the throat from where I’m sitting.

I swear to God, I have nothing against rednecks and I don’t believe I’ve ever called someone a redneck. I don’t know where Colin may have picked up the term.

Probably from some hillbilly at school.

Ever since the kids were little, I’ve worked really hard to control what comes out of my mouth when we’re in the car, lest I start a long, unproductive conversation about the driving habits of others. People might view kvetching about other drivers as therapeutic, but it serves only to raise my blood pressure and teach people around here how to swear.

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I don’t really know what anyone is talking about

Last year Jack kept using the phrase going ham, which took a few weeks for me to figure out meant throwing oneself into the task at hand.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs in: Lookit that dog, going ham with the Frisbee.

Or: I saw this guy in his car at the stoplight, going ham with the music on his radio like no one was watching.

But apparently less often: I’m going to go all ham and get my homework done before dinner.

I thought it was kind of a micro slang thing, a term he and his buddies starting using at school for no discernible reason other than it added another check on the teen cred score card. I wasn’t sure why they settled on cured pork for their idiom, but that was beside the point. Even if it made sense, it’s hard to get anything to really go viral if you’re only working with the teensy student body that makes up his school.

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Teenagers might one day be the death of me

stanley_valley copyOur wedding anniversary was Sunday, and Mike and I slept in separate rooms.

It wasn’t like that. He did spend the better part of an hour trying to make a fire for me in a teensy stove, but there wasn’t much for kindling and the wood may have been a little wet. The room would be warm enough anyway once all the girls returned to the cabin.

When I looked up this place online I read about a lodge that sleeps 50 on the shores of Alturas Lake with a view of the Sawtooth Mountains. There would be en-suite bathrooms, linens and towels and hand stitched quilts and a staff to serve meals in a common dining area.

It sounded rather swanky for a labor-day weekend orientation for twenty or so Rotary foreign exchange students, but maybe the intent was to start their year off with a bang.

In retrospect the fact that I thought we were staying in that lodge is a little funny. Continue reading

Stupid mice and their dumb cookies anyway

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAColin wouldn’t let me walk him into sixth-grade on Monday, robbing me of the very last time I would get to help anybody unpack a gargantuan backpack on his first day, and then take seven selfies with a scowling child at his new desk.

He wouldn’t even let me post the photo on Facebook that I took of him standing with his best friend on the playground before the bell.

My youngest child’s steadfast refusal to play along with things like first-day-of-school rituals, or to get emotional about anything at all rarely bothers me. Aside from appreciating the opportunity it gives me to tease him, I don’t go all in for that kind of thing either.

Usually, I mean. I usually don’t go all in for the mushy emotional thing. Lately, though, if I’m awake at 4 am, I’m dwelling on the fact that I will never again have a warm little person ask me plaintively if he can cuddle with his dad and me because he can’t sleep, or because he had a bad dream. Continue reading

Ode to Autumn: A crappy poem from a happy mom

The_bus copyIn mere weeks, we’ll be aghast at Halloween decor
Displayed in stores come mid September,
Roll our eyes at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter schwag.
Too early, we’ll say. Every year, out early.

But oh, Autumn, the newspaper inserts that heralded:
Discounts on scissors, white school glue, colored pencils,
3-holed binder paper, spiral notebooks, both college-ruled,
Dried my throat, made my fists clench. When, dear God, when? Continue reading

Speaking of pot …

pot_smoker copySo, as I mentioned, last week Jack asked his dad and I for our thoughts about pot.

Being the seat-of-our-pants kind of parents we are, it hadn’t occurred to either of us to coordinate what we were going to say when this subject inevitably arose. That was stupid. Both of us at Jack’s age were doing things that could have had consequences. We knew parenting teens could get bumpy.

We have had conversations about how little we looked forward to dealing with teenage shenanigans. These conversations weren’t as productive as they should have been. They tended to favor nostalgia over strategy, and end with prayers of gratitude that no one could post selfies on social media when we were teens.

Other than that we’ve been living in happy-sparkly-unicorn land where gumdrops grow on trees and don’t cause cavities, and we’ll use a magic wand to deal with teenagers when the time comes. Continue reading

Judgmental Jerkwads and conversations about pot

20140818-113753.jpgJack asked Mike and I our thoughts on marijuana this weekend, I had two initial responses:

(1) I need to tread carefully here, lest one of us ends up sounding as evasive as Bill Clinton, and
(2) Ooh, yay! Another blog topic.

Mike thinks a blog on talking to our teenager about pot has the potential to draw a little ire, and he’s understandably a little anxious about my broadcasting this kind of conversation to the whole, wide world.

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