Sunday, January 26, 2014

Insignificant Details that lead to Significant Memories

This morning started off as usual or at least our "new usual" Sunday.  A.J. and I were the first ones up.  I rushed to get Jimmy who was still in a near comatose sleep state ready for his wrestling meet and sent the two of them out the door.  My idea to jump back in bed for just a bit more sleep was interrupted by bedhead Bart who toddled out and climbed on the living room couch as he ordered me to put "Mickey" on the t.v. and bring him his milk.  At two he is quite the dictator.  I grab a giant mug of coffee and my iphone and join him on the couch to scroll through facebook, wtop, and msn.  Despite his bossy little ways, I love my quiet morning snuggles with my Bartman before the rest of them(dog included) wake up.  Inevitably, I enjoy my coffee and couch time too long and freak out as I race to wake Josie and Sawyer to get them all ready so we make it on time to see Jimmy's first match.  Once in the car, backing out of our VERY long driveway, I paid too much attention to the deer tracks through the snow in our yard and just as I pointed them out to the kids, I realized I had nearly taken down the mailbox and had taken down the security system sign.  "Nearly" taken down equals scraped a few large gashes into the side of my car.  Once I saw that the mailbox was still standing, I broke quickly, kicked the car into drive, moved up a few feet, then reversed as I slyly made sure none of the neighbors were out witnessing my idiocy.  

Off to testosterone-ville aka the wrestling meet.  If you've never been to a wrestling meet in our area, imagine wall to wall wrestling matts covering the entire basketball court of a high school gym with a small pathway surrounding them in front of the bleachers.  There is not one, not two or even four matches going on at once- there are TWELVE matches.  Then there are the wrestling parents- some of the best people-watching I have ever done in my life.  During most of the meet people stay parked on the bleachers until it is getting close to their sons' matches.  Then they line up on the side of the matts, iphones, ipads, smartphones in the air recording their little men's moments of glory.  Each week, A.J. essentially acts as Jimmy's "Paulie"(think Rocky) while I park myself and the three kids in the midst of the overcrowded bleachers and watch as they manage to take over any amount of space around us with their superhero figurines and crumbs of snacks.  I've learned to take turns with Josie being down on the direct sidelines while Jimmy has his matches because dragging Sawyer and Bart over multiple people's belongings and coolers and waterbottles to get down for a minute and a half match always proves disastrous.  So today I made it down to watch Jimmy's third match.  I am positive that the parents of 'the mullet' as I dubbed Jimmy's opponent will not enjoy my screaming "Take him down, Jimmy!!" into their iphone as they recorded the match.  Oh well...No one is as passionate about your own kids as you are and if they are more passionate than you, you're not yelling loudly enough.

Our new usual also includes dividing and conquering mass.  Thus, after the meet, A.J. went to mass, and I decided to take all the boys with me to get Josie's ears pierced for her 8th birthday.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Yes, I was sober when I made that decision.  Off to Claire's we headed.  Except that the piercer doesn't get to Claire's until 2pm on Sundays so the kind woman there sent us up to the Icing which for all you people is like Claire's for grownups.  And my happiness that there was no line at Claire's quickly turned to frantic prayers as I realized that there were two people ahead of us- a baby and some guy with his very pregnant wife.  We survived and no one accidentally "borrowed" any jewelry from the store.  But I was definitely at that panic point of clucking out various commands one after another to each boy to please "sit criss-cross applesauce right here, Sawyer!  Don't sprawl out across the floor into the mall", "Jimmy, please get out of the stroller so I can lock Bart back in his seat before he knocks over this entire display!", "Bart- where is Bart?".  Another woman who was now waiting behind us with her two kids was super friendly and shared the mommy of three or more pleasantries of always feeling like she was a three ring circus when she took her kids out which was why she left one at home.  I smiled in agreement as I prayed we could just get on with things.  Hurry that purple marker along, ear piercing lady!  Sure they look as even as they're going to!  And then, in all this chaos, my little lady, my blue-eyed Monkey, sat up on the stool looking so proud of herself and self-assured.  All I could think was how is she turning 8 tomorrow???  The woman pierced her ears and Josie was so still I told her to take a deep breath because I was worried she was holding her breath.  She walked out of that store, head held like a little diva as the boys fought over who got to push the elevator button on the way to the candy store(bribery for being good or not while Josie had her ears pierced).

I gave up on bringing the stroller in with us to the candy store and pretty much forced the children to choose the first candy they picked up.  In line, I hear someone say "Hi Cami" and look in front of me to see a good friend from grade school with her hubby and kids.  It was so good to see her, but I always feel like such a bumbling fool as I try to have the quickest catch up conversation of my life, wanting to really catch up and hear about her, while trying to multi-task and make sure all four kids are accounted for and no one has left the store or run back over to the stacks of candy and tried to take anything else.  I try to come off as a "breezy Monica"(a la "Friends").  I'm sure I look like some loon with wild eyes and hair out of place and beads of sweat forming as I try to focus on way too many things at once.  We hug goodbye and I feel happy thinking of my past and watching as my present and future trot along through the department store eying the mannequins and sheepishly looking back at me.

All these insignificant details stick in my head and I hope I can hold on to at least half of them so I can look back and tell Bart how sweet he looked snuggling next to me on the couch and Jimmy how well he did in his wrestling matches.  Or to be able to tell Sawyer that just when I was ready to freak out while we waited with Josie to get her ears pierced, he made me laugh as he held up a bedazzled cell phone case and pretended he was talking on the phone.  And to tell my sweet Josie that as she sat there getting her ears pierced, my eyes welled up as I thought back to being surrounded by my and A.J.'s families as I held her on the hospital bed when she was less than an hour old.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chaos is the Constant

So I have not blogged in a really long time and I miss it because it is sort of like my way of venting or at least allowing myself to laugh at my life so I don't cry.  The last year has had many changes, a couple major ones(mother-in-law passed away and we moved to a new house), but the one thing that remains constant in my life is chaos.  I'm pretty sure it can be said by those around us that we tend to bring the chaos.  I always have this secret hope that for once, my little demons I mean darlings will prove me wrong and cooperate and whatever process we are going through will be seamless....but alas, tis never that way.
This afternoon found us heading to the pediatrician's office- Jimmy was complaining about an ear ache and he'd just been treated for one and then the timing was perfect to schedule all four of the kids for flu mists/flu shots.  The torture always begins once we enter the lobby of the medical building.  A fight over who gets to push the buttons for the elevator and in the elevator and ,yes, "we" have hit the emergency buttons on occasion, never thankfully has the fire department shown up.   I am certain that there is some award winning footage on the elevator security cameras of me freaking out to undo the panic buttons pushed into action by the kids.
I gave up long ago on the children walking with me down the long hallway to the office.  Now there is a marathon of boys sprinting one after the other to be the first one in.  Josie and I follow behind at a normal pace with Bart tied down in the stroller screaming to catch up with his older brothers.  I hurry to sign in praying I won't be asked to dig out my insurance card and that we can park ourselves in one of the waiting rooms.  Sawyer and Jimmy head on into the waiting area neglecting to hold the door for me and the stroller so I quickly grab the door with my hip before it slams on Bart's legs and the stroller.  Josie catches my drift and comes to push the stroller through.  I sit down and unhook Bart as the other two have started quite the show for the other families in the waiting area.  Carpeted benches along the walls only give my boys the green light they'd been looking for to literally climb the walls and leap from bench to chair to floor.  I silently say an amen as the nurse calls for us to come on back.  We are led around the hallways to one of the furthest exam rooms smack across from the one nurses' station.
The kids are excited to see that the decor of this exam room has been changed to a Washington Nationals theme complete with baseballs and bats cut in half and attached to the wall in a nice border right at waist level.  The nurse politely asks the kids not to touch them- whose genius design idea was this??
The nurse practitioner comes in and examines Jimmy's ear and gives us a prescription for numbing drops and it's not such a big in why the hell did I drag myself and all four kids here sort of not a big deal.  She leaves and says the nurse is preparing the stuff to give the kids their flu vaccines.
And I'm not sure why they can never have the shots and flu mists prepared BEFORE our appointment time.  Now comes the fun of entertaining four children in a six by eight foot cell.  I bring out the random menagerie of toys I found on the floor of our car(happy meal prizes and action figures and toy planes).  However, the boys decide they would rather lay on the shelf under the exam table and at one point Bart wedges his chubby toddler body between the shelf and wall.  I am convinced some sort of injury will follow, but he manages to pry himself out of the few inches of space.  I play a few rounds of "I Spy" with the oldest two while Sawyer hangs his body limply over the arm of the chair and tries to get his head stuck in between the arm rest and the vinyl seat.  All the while I am explaining to my kids that their "jobs" are to stay as still as they can for the nurse and follow directions(at least the older three).  Sawyer decides to touch every possible germy surface in the room.  I yell at him to get his hands off the trash can as Josie says "he's licking it!'.  Hopefully those flu vaccines take effect instantly ha ha!
Eventually the flu mists and shots are doled out.  Hurrah!  Save me from this dreaded ordeal, lady!!  Now we wait for her to get stickers- basically two inch by two inch squares that the children view as magical as trophies.  They usually get to choose their own but this time the nurse picks them from another room and brings them back.  3 out of 4 kids are fine with what they are given.  A certain five and a half year old acts as if his world has ended when none of the options appeals to him.  The nurse appeases him and takes him to choose one more to his liking as I herd the other three to the receptionist desk to pay our copays and expedite the chaos out of their office.  I breathe a sigh of relief as there is no line to check out and only us in that area of the office.  In the next minute, however, the line manages to become ten deep behind me and Sawyer has decided to lay spread eagle face down next to where I am standing "playing dead" as Jimmy jumps back and forth over his "dead body".  Finally the payment is complete and we head out.  I mentally hi five the receptionist and hear some applause from the crowd as we make our way for the elevator.
Jimmy practices his newly learned wrestling holds on Sawyer as we wait for the elevator and I fight with the kids to put on their coats so we can go out into the cold weather again.  Lose my patience as I'm practically hurling kids into the car.  Josie throws a few punches as she climbs over her brothers to get into the back seat.  I scream at all of them to not talk to me the entire ride home and turn the XM radio on to hear "She's Always A Woman" by Billy Joel playing.  I call A.J. at work and tell him I am ready to gouge my eyes out and chug a few beers...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Conversations & Nonsense

There are many times a day when I find myself saying things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Now some of these can be attributed to "mommy brain" or a major lack of caffeine at the time.  My sisters will remind me of a time we were talking in my parents' kitchen in the past year and I stopped and asked: "Wait- who said that? Me?"  And I was referring to something that had just been said...But really the nonsensical statements and conversations I am thinking about most today are the ones that actually make complete sense in the context and at the time they are being said.  Still I am positive that A.J. never has conversations with his coworkers like I do with my four little coworkers.  Today's prime examples all happened within the first hour and a half before we took Jimmy to school:
Me to Jimmy: "Stop bothering the baby with the spatula!!"
Me to Sawyer as I was getting him dressed: "What's that in your mouth? Baby Jesus?! Spit that out!" He had managed to cram the entire Baby Jesus from our Rubber Duck Nativity into his mouth.
Me to Jimmy as I was loading the boys in the car: "Stop standing by the exhaust pipe!" as he was standing there saying it smelled bad.

And there are so many other things that I say on a regular basis that remind me that my "job" has so much humor in it even if I don't find it at the time.
Me to Jimmy at least once a day: "Quit licking the baby's head!" This wouldn't be a problem if Jimmy's breath didn't smell like cat's breath.
Me to Josie: "Quit beating your brother with that (fill in random object here)!" The current object of choice is a hard plastic 2 foot tall candy cane, but really she can make use of anything within reach.  No need for self defense classes for that girl.
Me to Sawyer: "Please don't suffocate the baby under the pillows!"
Me to Bart: "Stop eating the (fill in the blank with some non-food item)!"  "Stop trying to electrocute yourself!  Get away from that cord!!" "Quit using your hair as a napkin!"

There are so many more mind numbing statements made everyday but not enough time to keep track and there's not a glimmer of hope that this mommy brain can remember them all.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Rocking the Vote- Somewhat Literally

So in my attempts to teach the boys about patriotism, I decided why not take all three goonies with me to vote yesterday.  Well really it was more a case of A.J. being back and forth between work and trying to go see his mom at the hospital and there really wasn't another option.  I strategically planned it so that we would get to our polling place right around 10:30 and true to my chaotic life, we rolled up about 11:30.  Bart had conveniently fallen asleep in the car so I plunked him in the stroller which is a Craigslist favorite find of mine- a green Phil and Ted's.  I didn't bother to attach the hitch seat for Sawyer since he usually springs out of it the moment I glance away.  The one good thing about schlepping all three boys with me was that most of the annoying campaigners out front took one look at me and left me alone except for the moronic "I'm out to save the world one vote at a time" twenty something male who got brushed off with a swipe of my hand.  In hindsight, I should have told him I would vote for his candidate if he would watch the boys while I voted...We make it in the door of the place and there are only a few people in front of me to check in and then a very minimal looking line to vote.  At the check in table, I am pleading with my eyes for the old Lady Liberty working the table to make this as quick as possible and instead the old bat informed me that my old address was on my voter I.D. card and they really should have sent me a new one.  I explained that I am sure they had when I moved FIVE YEARS AGO, but god knows where it is.  Next step, get in line to do the computer vote since I thought at first that this would be the easiest method with the goonies helping me.  Note- there was only ONE computer and then about six other booths where you could do the paper ballots.  In the first minute we were in line, Sawyer began leaping off the footrest of the stroller bumping into the woman in front of me and then he and Jimmy proceeded to try to escape out a window. The older woman using the lone computer was clearly not knowledgeable in any form of technology so we were stuck.  After Sawyer kicked the heel of the woman in front of us for about the twentieth time, I grabbed the boys and spun around to grab a paper ballot and vote at one of the open booths.  Now had I been up on the three or four additional measures to vote on for our state and county, it would have been a quick fill in the ovals and be on our way.  But trying to decipher legal jargon as Sawyer and Jimmy chased each other in circles around my booth almost knocking the booth next to me over with a gentleman voting at it was possibly more painful than taking the SATs.  Sawyer is a sly one and managed to leap out of my grasp a few times before I scooped him up and held him by the waist under my left arm and tried to complete my ballot.  This just caused him to release shrill screams and try to wriggle free.  Jimmy was in hysterics by this point trying to egg Sawyer on.  At last, I filled in the last oval and sprinted for the black box thingamajig to scan my ballot into.  Of course there was yet another technologically challenged old lady chatting up the older guy working this machine.  Hurrah!  She got out of there and my ballot was submitted, sticker on, we were out the door.  Sweet freedom!  Hope you exercised yours!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Goose May Be Heading South this Winter

So yesterday, the Gray Goose decided to start molting...literally on a pretty main highway which has a speed limit of fifty which means I usually go close to 65 or 70 depending on how late I am running.  The boys and I were heading to pick Josie up from school and had just merged onto Route 28 and the particular ramp we get on at is on the left hand side which meant that when I looked in my driver's side mirror and saw the long piece of metal flapping out from my car, I had to figure out crossing three lanes of traffic(safely) to pull over.  Miraculously made it over to the side and hopped out keeping my body planted smack next to my car as I went to rip the piece of metal off and continue on my way.  Then I realized quite quickly that this would not happen as the piece was being held on by large screws under the rear blinkers.  Despite the fact that I have a random mass of junk inside my car, no duct tape or item close to it to secure the metal flap.  Thus I threw on the hazards and continued on our merry way to the closest exit about a mile and a half down the road, praying that this metal "feather" would not come detached or come into contact with any of the much nicer cars on the road(which equals any other car). We wound around the exit ramp and began to merge onto one of the side roads as I watched in horror as other cars swerved further to the left lanes to avoid the Goose's stray feather.  I frantically called A.J. at work to go grab Josie and of course he didn't pick up.  Thankfully got in touch with friend who teaches there who may or may not have kept Josie in her classroom in the past for me;) I start to pull into the first gas station I see which is next to a place called Mr. Tire.  See a kind gentleman outside Mr. Tire as I pull in whose eyes bug out as he looks at my car and says:"Looks like you need some help." Isn't that the understatement of the year??  A huge thank you to John at Mr. Tire who immediately went and grabbed several tools and freed the Goose's feather for me.  Apparently this thin side panel had rusted out where it had been attached.  John carefully placed the metal piece in the back of my car amidst the bulky stroller, bags of give away clothes, and a baby bouncy seat on hold for a friend.  This whole process happened within a matter of minutes so I really could have grabbed Josie at second pickup, but she'd already headed to a classroom to wait for her crazy mother.  Thank you, Julie, for once again herding one of my monkeys!
A.J. informed me that hopefully we will be getting a new car for me around Christmas time.  Said car will most likely be a behemoth soccer mom Suburban to fit all the "stuff" that comes from having four goonies and an overweight coonhound.  In some ways, I know I will be sad to say goodbye to the Goose as she heads south.  In other ways, I am quite excited.  And in other ways, I fear I may need to attend some sort of truck drivers' ed.  I have never been a great driver or the most knowledgeable about cars(quiet down, family and friends, I hear you laughing already!).  Several examples to illustrate this statement:
- may have rear-ended a guy in highschool who I liked at the time because I was following a bit too closely
-may have also gotten my mother's '68 Camaro convertible wedged on a bank of snow while parallel parking on a side street by our high school.  It took about three strong guys to help push it off of the snow bank
-may have hit the bumper of another friend's car while parallel parking along same street another time
-may have "killed" our VW Scirocco my junior year of high school while making a left turn INTO a minivan...during morning rush hour....had to get out of car while in my Catholic school uniform as gawkers looked on and drove by.  One said gawker- my brother-in-law's brother who later told my b-i-l: "I think I saw Cami in an accident this morning".  Pete- thanks for NOT stopping!:)
-may have turned into another car in a metro parking lot while on the phone with A.J. when we were dating which caused me to scream and throw the phone which might have freaked A.J. out a bit at the time
-and A.J.' s favorite, the time the Durango may have caught fire on Gallows Road at rush hour(when I was heading from work to pick Josie up at my parents'), but was really just smoking, and I might have called 911 only to be talked down by the operator who I also may have apologized to afterwards for my freak out.  Happy now, A.J.?  It's out there:)

I didn't even include a few tickets here and there. I also think I may have forgotten some other "incidents", but there is not enough time in the day to mention them.
Bring on the next Goose if the gods feel it is time.  Til then, I will drive this car into the ground!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

You Know What That's a Sign Of?

Background information to this story: My children are often little hoarders like their crafty creative-brained mama.  A couple weeks ago we went to the playground near Josie's school where they collected an ungodly amount of small pinecones and acorns which we put into two shoeboxes(without lids) in the Gray Goose.  Main reason was to appease them and get them into the car and stop the whining about leaving the playground.  And of course based on how often I clean out the car, they have remained there.  Except that last night after Josie's first time cheering on the pom pom squad for the little league football team, as I attempted to get Sawyer out of the car, he knocked one of the shoeboxes out and pinecones and acorns spilled out onto the driveway next to his door.  In the dark I gathered mostly just pinecones back into the box and put it back in the car.
Which brings us to this morning.  Jimmy has been sick the past couple days with a cough/cold/fever thing which seems to now be spreading through the minions.  Thus we have a more relaxing Saturday morning than our usual hustle to make it to Jimmy's flag football games.  A.J. headed out to grab us some Dunkin Donuts.  About a minute after he shut the door, he came back in and in a serious tone asked me to come out front with him.  I hesitated as I was still in PJs and no bra and he says to just grab Bart and hold him in front of me which I do.  I step out on the porch and he goes over near my car and points down at some stuff on the ground that looks like little brown balls or something.  He says: "Look at this!  You know what that's a sign of?"  I am squinting to see since I have my glasses on which need updating.  I take a random guess since we do live in a very "country" neighborhood with a lot of wild life.  "I don't know- deer." Thinking in my head that it's deer poop.  Then A.J. starts getting a bit more riled up and says:"No, those are nuts!  It's a sign of squirrels!  You probably have a squirrel living in your car!!"  Then it dawns on me about the shoebox spilling last night and I start cracking up and yell back to him: "Actually, it's a sign that Sawyer spilled the shoebox full of acorns and pinecones that your oldest two collected at the park the other week!"
The best part is I am pretty sure that the chain smokers who always walk their two dogs past our house twice a day while smoking witnessed this whole thing...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Dropoff & the Rats' Nest

So due to the fact that A.J.'s mom is in the hospital and his schedule is pretty much wake up at some ungodly hour, head to work then to the hospital then back to work, sometimes back to the hospital and finally back home, I am on Josie dropoff duty.  And being that Moxie has not completed her babysitting/first aid/ child CPR courses yet, the three amigos must join us.  After the usual painful loading process we make the jaunt to Josie's school.  In attempting to "put on my happy face" though I am so NOT a morning person, I do a lot of obnoxious car dancing/singing/arms flapping- like-a-crazy-woman to whatever semi-kidfriendly music I can find on the radio.  This morning brought about the newest dance move in my cardancing repertoire- "the chicken wing".  The judges gave it a firm thumbs down, but I do think Bart was enjoying it from the view of his baby mirror in the back.
Amazingly, we have been getting Josie to school on time which probably explains my need for a third mongo mug of coffee in the morning to fully function.  The way that Josie's dropoff works is that the cars weave through the parking lot around the perimeter of the school in a single file line to the side where all the 6th grade patrols and a few teachers are standing.  At this point you pull up along the sidewalk, a patrol or a teacher opens the car door and your kid must be standing ready to leap out of the car to keep things running smoothly.  Kid out, patrol shuts door and you file out the other side of the parking lot.  On more days than not, the patrols have some sort of funny notion that my dinged up Odyssey has power sliding doors.  Again this morning the patrol barely touched the handle waiting for the door to open much to the kids and my amusement as I yell:"It's not automatic!!" Patrol laughs it off and opens the door, Josie springs out as we shout our "I love yous!".  However, along with Josie, a pile of God knows what and a box of empty capri suns went flying out of the Goose.  Patrol nicely threw said trash back into the car, I thanked him as he shut the door and I started to drive away only to hear a bad crunching noise.  I put on the brakes as the little patrols are making faces that seem to say "OMG!"  Rolled down the window and ask if everything is okay because by this point I have created a traffic jam.  With an uncertain look, the patrol says "it's okay" and I drive away trying to figure out what I hit.
Then in order to cover my tracks I text my friend who just happens to be the teacher who is in charge of the patrols and witnessed the whole debacle.  Here are our texts verbatim:

Me: Not sure WTH rolled out of my car & I ran over but little patrol said it was okay & I didn't want to hold up line- sorry for the litter(insert tight smiling emoticon here)
Friend: Ha ha ha oh my God that just made me crack was a plate...emphasis on "was"! Ha ha ha
Me: (Insert winking emoticon)
Friend: I just swept up the pieces about 20 minutes ago!
Me: Sorry- was it plastic??
Friend: No I think it was worries its kind of funny now

Later I called A.J. to see how my mother-in-law is doing and to cheer things up a bit, I reiterated the story.  His reply was "Why don't you clean that rats' nest up?!"