United States of Motherhood: October 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


My hard disk irretrievably failed again. Let's all have a moment of silence...

Okay, silence over...

Fuck! Fuck! Fuckity Fuck! This is the second hard drive that's failed in less than two years. My laptop is at the data recovery center yet again. Why? Someone didn't learn her lesson. Someone stopped backing up about a year ago. My pictures! My pictures!

At least, I had sync'd my PDA and told the server to keep copies of email, so I have somewhat of a clue when it comes to our over-scheduled lives.

I asked the computer geek guy if there was something I was doing wrong? Nope, just bad luck. I'm cursed.

Pray for my laptop because if those pictures are gone, that laptop might be meeting a sledgehammer. I'm sure there will be many obscenities shouted then as well. Let's hope my neighbors don't hear me like this women's did. (Thanks for pointing out our strikingly similar potty mouths, Deb :) )

On top of the failure, I hosted a birthday slumber party of THIRTEEN 8 & 9 year olds this week-end. Thirteen chocolate facials! Thirteen polka-dotted nail polishes. Karoke singing to that revolting pre-teen flick High School Musical. Shrieks! Silly Screams! Shrill voices. Up until 4 AM. So very tired.

Only 2 boys' birthday parties and one Halloween class party to go this month with no laptop. (moan).

Friday, October 12, 2007

Seeing Red...

Seeing red...

Leaves aflame on the Sammamish Plateau

Ah! Kinder pick up time

And orange...

Actual sunshine at our neighborhood school today

3rd Grade Field Trip to Salmon Spawning on Cavanaugh Pond
Ah! Fall is here. Definitely, my favorite time of year and a gorgeous show in the Pacific Northwest. The salmon are running in local ponds, creeks, and rivers. Leaves are changing, reminding me how fast my little ones are changing as well. Halloween is nigh. Just a month or so from delicious tables full of turkeys. Take some time to enjoy it if you can.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bully For You

Hey you!

Yeah you! If you have an over-grown twelve year old with thick, short-shorn brown hair who was wearing a bright orange t-shirt on this last Tuesday, October 9th around 4:30 PM, and was hanging out in the Mercer Island public library—unsupervised--I’m calling you out. Obviously, your twelve year old has the social boundaries of a gnat. Contain that juvenile delinquent or next time, I’ll be calling the police. Seriously. Librarian squad simply doesn’t seem to do the trick.

So there I was hiding out and looking skanky in the Mercer Island Public Library. The skanky part is discussed in detail in this post, so we won’t go today. Suffice it to say, I was there killing time between the never-ending swim practices that come with year-round swimming.

As usual, I let my five year old, Li’l Man, play in the children’s room while I took up residence at the closest computer to the entrance to the children’s room to blog. All I had to do was twist around to see him through the window. Usually, he has an older sibling with him, but not today.

Nevertheless, he seemed fine when I checked up on him. He is always well-behaved. He was happy to have his special lunch box with him with in which he had tenderly packed his own snack all by himself. He sat down to watch an older kid play a video game on the table of computers. About eight kids sat around the bank of computers and he seemed content just to watch. Can you tell he’s the youngest of three? Amazing patience and observation comes naturally.

I continued tapping away on keys until I hear this kid start sobbing. It was loud and I felt kind of bad for the little guy. His cries echoed off the walls, over-powering the usual quiet murmuring of the public library. It took a few seconds for me to realize that was MY son crying. I haven’t heard that cry since he was two. It had been so long since I had heard such distraught cry that I couldn’t even associate that sheer need to my capable, quiet, but confident son.

I rushed to the room and scooped Li’l Man up. He was inconsolable and I was not able to distinguish anything he said. Meanwhile, all the older kids’ eyes kept sliding to the side.

I asked what happened and the oldest kid, closest to my son, murmured very insincerely that he was sorry. My son's little chin trembled. Trails tears dripped down his nose and over his lips. His little chest shuddered. I took him back to the main room and tried to calm him down. When he did and told me what happened with little gasps and hiccups punctuating his sentences, it was difficult to keep me calm.

According to my son, the older kid had connected to the Internet and was playing bloody games in the children’s room. He didn’t like my son watching him. Then he took my son’s lunchbox and moved it above his head out of reach, until frustrated, Li’l Man smacked him on the arm trying to get to it. So this 12 year old had punched him in the FACE.

Who could punch a li'l face like this?

I took Li’l Man’s hand and rushed him back into the children’s room. With raised voice, I asked the older kid if this was the truth? Surely, this middle-schooler hadn’t punched a kindergartner in the face?

Apparently, yes. “Yes,” he said, he had hit my son in the face because Li’l Man, “was annoying him.” Yet, he said with an insouciant smile, he was, “Sorry.” Yep, that makes it all better?

Almost shrieking at this point, I ask him how old he was? “TWELVE!”

Then, I angrily ask him where his mother was? “Not here.”

So, as a mother with nothing to discipline, I chose the only tool at my disposable. Yep, humiliation!

I told him how pathetic and ridiculous he was to have stolen a lunch box and punched a kid less than half his size. He seemed astounded in a very entitled, spoiled way that saying a lame, insincere apology was not sufficient. Did I mention we were in the land of spoiled, rich kids Mercer Island?

Realizing, my point was not getting through, I march over to the librarian’s desk to get some back up. Waiting in line, I tap my foot furiously. Finally, I get a young, inexperienced librarian. She seemed shocked that this type of bullying was going on, but also seemed a bit useless. I ask her if there’s at least an age limit? Errr, no, ma’am we can’t limit kids in the room by age. Well, then, I ask, what can be done so the Mercer Island library is not a place for bullying?

She said she wasn’t sure; she would have to ask the other librarians what is the protocol when this has happened before. Before? Before! Arrggh. In all my days, living in a dozen different cities, locales, and states, some good areas and some tough areas, I’ve never seen this happen, nor such an inept response.

She consoled my son and said she would talk to the boy. A minute later, she left the children’s room with the bully still firmly ensconced in his bully throne. What?! At the very least, he should have had a parent called or been asked to leave, yes? Again, librarian squad simply didn’t do the trick.

We left soon after. I made sure to give him one last evil eye. The little shit grinned back. I struggled now not to scream four-lettered obscenities.

So, fellow Northwesterners, what should I have done? A friend suggested that I should have discovered his name from a notebook or backpack and found out where he lived. I fear I would have been turned into the bad guy, stalking a middle school child. This dear friend also gave me a laugh, suggesting those Mercer Islanders were a bit elitist, but in her sage words, “Everyone’s shit stinks, even in Mercer Island.” Sage words. This kid’s behavior smelled to high heaven.

Yet, I’m still outraged that nothing was done. A couple of generations ago, my grandparents could have grabbed him by the ear. A couple generations ago, a teacher might have rapped him on the knuckles. Even my parents would have felt comfortable finding out who his parents were and calling them up for a chat. This generation seems wholly lacking the tools to contain these little monsters. We feel like we shouldn’t say anything to other people’s kids. At the same time, I want my kids to know that I stand up for them.

So, when we went to pick up my daughter from practice, we told her we could have used her. I don’t think for a minute this cowardly bully would have done something if Li’l Man’s older brother and sister were there. My princess with her gang of princess swim teammates threatened all sorts of dastardly punishments meted out, had they been there. Kung Fu kicks and jumping on backs were mentioned. I could see Li’l Man was starting to feel better that he had people who would always defend him.

When we arrived home, the story was relayed once again to my eleven year old. I guess this is why I am so outraged. I know my large eleven year old son would never, no matter the provocation, hurt someone smaller. (Hells, he let his girlfriend kick him all the time. She was still in the age of showing her affections through violence. Those with fifth grade girls know the deal.) Anyhoo, he also was outraged that someone his size punched his baby brother.

After dinner, while washing dishes, I could hear the kids chatting upstairs. My ears pricked up at phrases like, “Hit him in the Jimmy.” Apparently, Li’l Man was being given some brotherly and sisterly advice.

Just so you know, hitting the ‘nads in our family has always been verboten. Forbidden. Absolutely wrong. Today, the gates are unflooding, my people. I chose not to intercept the advice. I hope my five year old does some significant damage to that bully’s jewels if ever the two should meet again.

As for me, my security is rattled. I will never leave Li’l Man in that room alone again. My Mama Bear is Out.

Touch these dimples again and I might just come after those 'nads myself.

So mother of said bully, yeah you: Control your freaking kid or don't let him out in public. I'm going old school next time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Dreaming of Pebble Beach

I started painting our house last summer. I primed it in splotches here and there and then the rain came. My next door neighbors got a fabulous view of white sprayed-on splotches from their formal dining room all fall, winter, summer, and now.

I am sure they love me.

This summer, I made all sorts of promises to myself to finish it up, but the weather did not cooperate.

This has been a record rainy year in the Northwest. All summer it rained and when it didn't, invariably I was committed to this swim meet or that. So, our house remained a white elephant in our curb appeal-conscious little suburb. It remained painted white a la graffiti, in splotches. Half-painted walls. Spackled holes. It was a very ADHD paint job of 20 minutes here and there with never one side being finished. Polka-dotted is an understatement.

On top of it all, I am hand painting since the high quality paint I purchased (over @#$% $1000 for paint!!) plugged up the not-so-quality sprayer I purchased.

Fast forward to this fall: It's been raining for the last three weeks straight and it has been forecast to rain for another 3 weeks. BUT! Yesterday, there was a window. Not sun really, but a respite of dryness. So I painted and painted. We missed swim team because, By God, I was painting. My kids walked home from school after I didn't pick them up. Poor Eldest walked 2 miles home after cross-country practice. I painted until there was no more light. Seriously, the moon was out. Every once in a while, I felt a sprinkle and I painted even more furiously. I said a little prayer every few minutes.

Guess what? I bet your are thinking something negative, eh? It is my blog after all and I seem to always note the crap. Well, today people, something good happened.

I woke up to high winds and had a oh, shit moment. Oh, please, I thought, let the paint be dry. I had a vision of rivulets of Behr semi-gloss in "Pebble Beach" making trails in my bark.

Nope, the winds came without rain. In fact, it was a warm wind. It was 70 degrees today. My paint dried and I got another 4 hours of painting in today. I was painting at 7 AM until I worked in the classroom; then immediately following that, I painted some more.

While it's only 25-30 percent done, at least I improved my neighbor's view and got rid most of the primer. It's entirely gone from that side of the house and the color we chose is pretty similar to what's already up there, so it's blending a bit better. Whew! The guilt is easing. It's not such an eyesore.

Back to today, I painted until 2 minutes before I picked up PB from school. So I'm still wearing two day old paint splattered clothes. Yeah! Here comes the down side.

PB's practice is on Mercer Island. For those of you not familiar with the Seattle area, this is a very chi-chi, affluent, fashion-conscious enclave. And I look like a skanky homeless person.

There's paint in my hair. And on my hands. In my wedding ring. On my big butt that brushed against a wall in the dark last night. Yep, I'm embarrassed and so I did a drop and run with PB. Unfortunately, with only 1 hour to kill, I couldn't leave the island.

So here I sit at the island's public library with cramped up fingers from hours of painting. There is paint in my hair and I look like I should be a contractor at Home Depot. Meanwhile the local teenagers in their Hollister, Abercrombie, and Juicy give me once overs. The guy at the computer next to me, wearing a crisp blazer, noticed the splotches which look suspiciously like dirt and finished his 'puting quickly.

Whatever. I am happy. I painted well today my friends and that's what's important.

I have to admit I felt like brushing up next to crisp blazer guy just to see his reaction. I'm sure with my no make up, dirty clothes, and paint everywhere, he might have offered me a dollar. Why not? That's like half of a Starfucks, thank you very much!

Besides, a latte would match nicely with my Pebble Beach-ed fingers.

Marital Sanctity

Is nothing sacred!!?

CG has displayed a very private interpersonal communication on his blog?

Men! They just can't keep secrets!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Mooooorrrree Mashups

I am not even minding all this music at home (I usually prefer silence) because the sun is finally shining in Seattle.

Time to celebrate another favorite CG mashup:

MaSh Up AfTerNoonz

CG won't stop playing this mashup of Dr. Dree & Snoop and Grease. It's starting to grow on me, especially when my five year old shakes his tush to it:

The Reveal Show: Self-Hair Shearing

Well, what do you think?

I deliberately made it layered, so it's hard for your average Mommy to be able tell if it's straight.

It's growing on me. It still fits in a pony tail.

It was free and painless without the ridiculous chatter at the salon.

Risky? Yes. Suit me? I dunno.

No split ends. Perfect!

Please do note I didn't show you the back. I'm sure it's cool, but I'm still a bit afraid to look.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Hairy Carnage

This is the pile that's left after cutting 3 inches and then another inch, then another, then another:

I am thinking this might make a great hummingbird nest, eh? Recycled Republican hair has got to be as good as Labrador, right?

Yeah! Yeah! Keep your comments to yourself if you don't have anything nice to say about Republicans. I'm feeling a bit vulnerable right now.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

FED UP! On a Wild Hair..

Late breaking news, people.
This Mommy finally lost it.
I just cut my own hair.
We aren't talking a trim.
I cut a full SIX inches off. Oh. My. God.

Does this ever seem a good idea? I can't even blame drunken cutting. Nope. I woke this morning, having no ideas of where or how I want my hair cut.

It's literally been two years since I've had a professional cut. Yep, baseball hats, ponytails, and braids became my uniform. Yesterday, I realized that my braid to the side was a good 15-17 inched long. I'd like to think it was kinda Anna Kournikova, but it was more unfortunate Crystal Gail-esque. Blek.

Keep tuned.
Not crying yet...

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