Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nice to See You Again

Did you think I fell off the edge of the world?  I suppose, cyber speaking, I really did.  After days of encouraging my children to forsake their 2 dimensional existence on electronic screens, I realized they might take the message to heart better if I got out of the computer chair to tell them.  Stupid good example.

Of course, with computer time limited to after the children's bedtime, I had to prioritize.  Somehow winning fast money on Family Feud, planting violent plants to protect my backyard from zombies, and practicing my airline controller skills seemed most important.  This is partly due to over competitiveness and partly from being too exhausted after the kids went to bed to approach the coherency levels needed to read and comment on posts, much less write my own.

In a day and a half, I will have 5 of the 6 kids away at school and I will have more time to read and write in cyber world.  I've missed everyone!  Plus, I can finally announce my big news about trading the east coast for the west.  (Big enough teaser for you?)


P.S. I feel compelled to mention that I don't plan on ignoring the one child left at home during the day. He just gets a quiet time every afternoon. Of course, Word World a necessary daily activity for it's educational purposes and NOT for my online time ones...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The only thing to fear is fear itself ... and escalators

I've managed to keep it a secret for many years, but a couple weeks ago I was forced to reveal a phobia I've held onto since childhood. After 15 years together, I finally admitted to my husband my deep and abounding fear . . . of escalators.

Don't judge me. Can't you see the evil emanating from escalators with their mechanized movement and unnaturally quick and effort free ability to move from floor to floor? I'll show you pictorial proof.

Can't you see it now?

I'm pretty sure the whole thing started from the horror stories my parents told me a child. "If you wait 1/4 second too long to step off, the escalator will suck you down and eat your leg, then you will be sent directly to hell where you will be forced to balance on erratically height shifting surfaces for the rest of eternity" *  At least I think that is what they taught me; I'm sure my mind didn't escalate the warning over time.

But really, someone coordinationally challenged like myself has a lot to fear from that moving staircase of terror. Step on the line and suddenly you're stuck with only half a footing. Let's be honest, I struggle to keep balance with all of a footing on a stationary stairway. I mean I have never on my life been able to catch the timing of double dutch ropes and I'm expected to step with both feet between two evenly spaced lines?

As a grown up I've learned to live with my eccentric fears, I ride escalators all the time with only a momentary pause to gather my strength, double check the speed of the escalator, take a deep breath, and take the leap of faith. My stomach only slightly lurches every time that flat pathway pops up into stairs beneath my feat. After years of practice, I can now step off at the end with only a slight exaggeration.

Watching my kids ride sans my help, however, has intensified my deepest escalator related fears. Lately, for some odd reason, my 13 and 12-year-olds have decided they don't want to hold my hand on the mall escalator. Who am I kidding? Even my 3-year-old insists he doesn't need my help.  As I call out to remember to step off before the belt attempts to eat their toes, they often pretend I'm some crazy stranger. 

They are going to give me a heart attack, stepping on those things without so much as "one, two, three, STEP."

By the way, my husband found this heartfelt confession hilarious. Complete with chuckle and eye roll.  He found it nearly as funny as when I told him I'm afraid of getting prostate cancer or looking like a tourist (while touring someplace on vacation) or that I fear a serial killer might one day sneak in, wait in our closet, then kill us while we're sleeping.

Strangely enough he's scared of having cold water dumped on him in the middle of a shower. Of course, his fears are grounded in reality...

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*Technically as a child I remember hearing about a man at the store where my father worked did have his legs amputated (or were they crushed?) while fixing an escalator.  Or something like that.  So my parents did tell me some form of terror story about escalators.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

It turns out I am still alive and the house is now spider free.  Well, mostly spider free.

We are nearly finished with our recovery from vacation.  The suitcases are back in the closet and the laundry is done, although it still needs folded and put away.  I have resorted to Melatonin to switch the kids back to East Coast time.  Apparently letting them stay up past midnight in Utah every single night was a bad idea.

Anyway,while I was gone, I had a guest post go up at Or So She Says about beginning tips for making birthday cakes.  Today I have another post there on making mini tote bags.  I even have a nifty new button for my side bar! Head on over and enjoy!

Also, as of yesterday afternoon, Ryan is home from the Boy Scout National Jamboree (which really deserves a post on its own).  I am trying to convince him, with limited success, he is old enough to put his stuff away.  In case you were calculating the math in your head, yes, Ryan was gone at the jamboree while we were on vacation.  Like I said, another post all it's own.

The great news is that we still have three whole weeks of summer left to enjoy before school starts.  The sad news is that when you add in the doctor appointments, school shopping, dentist appointments, and fixing mixed up internal clocks, I'm left with about 2 hours of summer left to enjoy before school starts.

I thought I'd take a minute to let everyone know how my parents are doing after their motorcycle accident a few months ago.  I've appreciated all the emails and inquiries about their recovery, but wanted to wait till I saw them with my very own eyeballs before I said anything.  They are doing well.  Their road rash is almost entirely gone (SEE MY MOM'S ARM IN RIGHT OF PICTURE) and the bones are healing nicely.  My dad lost a bit of weight through it all and has to check his oxygen levels often, but he is still telling silly puns and has the same teasing smile.  His wrist will never be the same (CAN YOU SEE THE CAST HE HAS ON NOW?), especially since they x-rayed it wrong and let him leave the hospital without a much needed cast.

They do, however, tire much more easily than I've ever seen.  Some things broken in an accident like that don't ever heal perfectly.  I'm just glad they're here to tire!

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Misadventures of flying home

In case anyone didn't notice, we were on an extended vacation the last few weeks.  Because nothing says Rest and Relaxation like cross country flights, 9 hour drives (twice), baptisms, weddings, limited internet, and 2.5 weeks without your own bed and pillow. 

Tempting the travel gods' wrath

Obviously we were filled with patience and brimming with excitement as we prepared to fly home.  The night before was spent packing our suitcases and heading to bed early.  Or it would have been, if my husband and I had two brain cells left to rub together.  The night before was spent staying up all night trying to beat each other's high scores on various iPhone games. I think we angered the travel gods.

The morning was spent frantically packing bags, cursing iPhone apps, and putting bets on how many things we would accidentally leave behind.  Then we met Peter's sisters at a Mexican restaurant as a final goodbye lunch.  Yes, we chose Mexican before a FIVE HOUR flight home.  To ensure maximum stomach illness, my husband requested his food come "a little bit spicier" than the menu listed.  Did you hear me?  A LITTLE BIT SPICIER at an authentic MEXICAN RESTAURANT.  He ate two bites and spent the rest of the time trying to put out the fire burning a hole in his tongue and stomach.

Now we have gaseous children, semi-ill husband and a slight case of running behind.  Perfect preparation for flight.

How to get on a Terrorist Watch List

Luckily, the rental car handoff went well, as did checking the bag of 30+ golf clubs.

**What?  You don't travel with 5 sets of clubs stuffed into one travel golf bag?  Afraid of the adventure?  Especially if you brought the clubs to take the kids golfing and ran out of time?**

Anyway, we made it through security like pros.  Well, more like incompetent professional terrorists.  You see someone left a water bottle in his backpack.  (I won't name names, Joseph, so you're safe.) We thought we were getting off easy until the security worker dragged over one of our 6 roller carry on suitcases.

"Did you know there were two golf clubs in this bag?"

"Is that a problem?" You see we couldn't fit all the clubs in the bag, so we packed two of the younger kids' clubs in their roller suitcase.  Boston didn't care flying out, but Utah cared flying back.

And yes, it was a problem.  Golf clubs are a weapon, people.  Okay, fine, it made sense, but it's not like that is listed on the prohibited items list or anything. (Just checked, it is.  Don't try pool cues or ski poles either.)

The situation was made worse when yet another worker brought over yet another bag and told us it was riddled with evil liquids.  You see, in our attempt at savvy, we had bought most of our liquid type toiletries while out in Utah.  Our attempt to be frugal led us to try to bring them back with us.

"I'll just put it in the garment bag, since we're checking it," my husband offered as we frantically packed that morning.

"Good idea!"  I agreed.

How did neither of us realize we were checking the clubs not the garment bag?  Remember the lack of brain cells I mentioned?  Or maybe the travel gods were playing with our heads.

Now the {relievingly nice and understanding} worker is unpacking the bags to remove all the weapons we tried to sneak through, putting them into one bag we can check.  She even reminded Peter to grab a credit card to pay for said bag.  As Peter backtracked to luggage check in, I dragged his carry-on, my carry-on, and five kids to the gate.  Ethan's handle wouldn't extend so he was dragging his overly heavy bag a few feet behind me with his 3 year old brother behind him, valiantly trying to carry his booster seat without falling over from his overly heavy backpack.

It was a picture of tenderness ... especially the part where I told them all to get over it and hurry up, I wasn't waiting.

Sanitation Smanitation, That's What I Say

Finally at the gate, there were no chairs available so we, um, gently placed our suitcases and backpacks down.  Peter caught up and we began our preboarding drugging.  If you have ever had several children puke on you during a patch of rough air, you would understand the importance of this ritual.   What?!? Dramamine makes kids sleep?  I had no idea.

My five year old took one look at the Dramamine pill and declared it would make him barf.

"No, it will make you NOT barf."

Let me explain that he has taken this pill 3 times in the last year (this being our 4th flight) without any trouble.  Mind over reason; he puked ALL OVER THE FLOOR.  At least we know he only ate chips and salsa at the restaurant (and chewed well).

Despite the queasiness of the Peter's over-spiced stomach, he drew the chore of cleaning up the floor while I ran to the bathroom to clean up the boy.  You see I had my hand under his mouth to catch the said pill and not waste it, so I needed some major hand washing.

Good thing I packed wipes in one of the backpacks.  Bad thing I could not for the life of me find said wipes.  Three hours into the flight they magically appeared in the first bag I checked.  I suspect the travel gods were just poking fun at me by then.

The flight home was uneventful.  No one seemed to notice the odd smells left off by the, um, kids' gaseous digestive system.  Actually, they were extremely well behaved and the plane landed early.  The only sad part was when I dropped my brand new bag of Reese's Pieces on the floor, they all spilled out (ALL!), and I couldn't bring myself to eat them as I had just seen the quality work done cleaning up barf in the airport.

 A Parting Gift?

Two hour drive home was equally non-eventful.  Despite my trepidation, the car battery was still working.  We even found out there was a shuttle to the parking lot.  Something that would have been nice to know when we flew out and made the mile trek to the right terminal.

We pulled up to the house.  It was still standing, although an apparent growth spurt of the lawn and bushes made it look abandoned.

At three in the morning, with weary children, we walked into the house...

It was covered in spider webs.  Like all over the doorways and hallways and floor to couch to light fixture.  It was like wading through a haunted house to get to the beds.  We quickly brushed most of them aside and I spent the next day disinfecting and killing spiders.  And now I know: hell hath no fury like Charlotte's Web.  

Still better than driving.  I hope those travel gods are happy.

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