Carlessness (car-less-ness)

I am coming to terms with my newest diagnosis, carlessness.   It is not recognized by the medical community and the only known cures are time and/or purchasing a of third car.  We practiced and prepared for months….. I was clearly in denial… We discussed important issues that are not covered in the handbook.

*Conditions:  To further reduce the carlessness blight the ground work must be laid.  My stuff will always be more important than your stuff, so….. there.

*Protection from cross contamination:  Only push the unlock button once to open the driver door so no one can jump in behind you (all I can see in Farah Fawcett trapped in her fireplace in the movie Extremities.) Reminders of the actual law, will potentially reduce the threat of abundant people in the car.

*Avoiding non-essential hemorrhaging:   If the parking meter has a yellow pole you get a whole hour for a quarter and if it is green you get a measly 30 minutes. This is a huge deal when your carlessness flares up while helping the instigator pay a parking ticket.  Continuous reminders of the cost of maintenance, insurance and fuel can significantly reduce attempts at third car syndrome.

*Therapeutic remedies:  A rash may appear if I ever see or hear she was texting and driving, this is unlikely because I threatened to never let her drive again and flip phone for life.  Spend new acquired time doing something for self, try to avoid driving other child around every five minutes for at least 5 months and work on getting her involved in activities with more carpooling opportunities.

Sometimes I find myself staring out the window wondering what I am supposed to be doing.  When I realize that she took the car to dance or work, my symptoms are momentarily relieved, only to be overshadowed by the thought that my baby is growing up.  My carlessness is feeling quite hopeless today, but there is a bright side.  I complain a lot less and I may even have time to cook real meals again.  Maybe it is more of a virus.

Discipline “motivators”

It seems a pivotal, life changing moment when you figure out the “motivation” that will make your kids listen.  The Teenager is mostly well-formed by now, but when she does get snarky or forgets herself I pull out my perfectly formed threat and she tightens up quickly.

“If you don’t (insert offense here) I will call Shaker Dance Academy and sign up for the adult hip hop class.  I will insist on choreographing a dance that you and I will perform together at the end of year recital.”  The behavior is miraculously transformed, as she visualizes the fallout.  Of course there is always the I can take your phone away “motivation”, works like a charm every time.

The Associate is quite different.  She is competitive and a ferocious negotiator.  She plays soccer and does Karate and still finds time to kick me in the shin.  I know she can behave,  her teachers think she is delightful.

The Ah ha moment hit the other day as I observed Karate, and the class began to learn the basic rules of tournament scoring.  The teacher said something like this. “The only time you are allowed to make contact with your opponent during a tournament fight is if you are blocking a punch or kick.”  Wait, WHAT?  The teacher continued “If you cannot control yourself and you hit someone while sparring it is a point for your opponent.”

“Oh this is good!”  I thought to myself.  I pretty much checked out at this point planning my next move.  I practically skipped out of Karate.  The very next time she kicked me, I very calmly said,

“Point for me.”

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nobody is perfect :)

The Teenager wanted to work at the local Ben and Jerry’s and waited patiently until she was 15.  We went over the whole job applying process very thoroughly from start to finish, and when she started was teased because she had never mopped a floor.  She came home a little forlorn, and I said “It’s my fault, I never taught you how.”

It can be argued that I employ a “different” parenting style with The Teenager.  Much to the chagrin of my husband and increasingly myself this focus is not on house cleanliness.  In my mind I am arming her with different information.  Information on how to move about this crazy world with empathy, self-confidence, kindness and fun.  Some of these lessons are impossible for a person of the male persuasion to understand, and I understand his confusion.

Our conversation that mopey mop day continued and the topics ranged from global politics to the difference between baking flours.  Weeks went by as they tend to do and I began to see large gaps in my parenting agenda.  Most of the problem areas are related to cleaning, and we begin to imagine the messes we will make in her future home.  Tea bags in random places, smoothie cups drained dry but not rinsed, blender stuck to the counter. I will most definitely leave my underwear on her bathroom floor tangled up in the soaking wet towel that I took from her hook. I relax thinking about it, my eyes twinkling.

I am startled out of my reverie when I realize that I also making these same mistakes with The Associate.  I temporarily talk myself up and deny my faults.  “If she knew how to clean up after herself, than we wouldn’t know what the sneak is up to.  We can hear her eat sugar from the bowl because of the clink of the fiesta ware as she puts the spoon back in.  I cannot hear the brown sugar container open or close, but I can always read the telltale signs of a powdered sugar meltdown.  The sprinkle of dust goes all the way down the cabinet, under the burner on the stove and into a little heap on the floor.  There is no good way to justify this behavior in her or me, especially when a steady stream of ants invaded for a couple of days.

What to do now, how do I right this wrong? Now that I am finally seeing the light, The Husband can stop banging his head against the wall (which is good), but The Descendants aren’t thrilled with the change.  The Associate yelps out NO! like she is two and The Teenager smirks and lurks off to work or dance or something else of vague importance.  What to do…..?  I know!  Demerits!  (stay tuned.. he…… hee…..)

Why is this in the fridge?

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Evidence that The Associate has been trespassing in my studio.

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last days scramble

As the teachers of the world scramble to get the last days of school done, those parents that are at home with the children all summer scramble for a last bit of sanity.

My conversation in my head goes as follows.

Monday! Only four more days of school!  There are meetings I must schedule. done. now how to spend any possible free time I might have. One last alone trip to the grocery store, start meditating (too late), sit on the porch quietly? think clearly while not being hit with a water gun? organize my life? take a uninterrupted shower?

Monday starts off ok, as I get interviewed for our local paper.  I struggle through the parts about me that I have yet to nail down, and of course gush about my new project and my team.  Slightly proud of myself for stepping outside of my comfort zone and not having a panic attack, I go on with my day, and manage to organize the mini studio a bit while fielding phone calls.  I spent the evening fretting over The Teenagers study habits, because she didn’t call off work and had a math final in the morning. I have already mentally prepared myself for the bad news, and I am irritated with her when I pick her up from work.  I do manage to calm myself and tell her that my attitude stems from my desire for her to be able to become whatever she wants when she grows up. I don’t want her to be held back by grades.  Her chilly exterior defrosted and we move on.

Tuesday starts by waking up The Teenager and her dragging her butt to school, LATE for her exam.  I know this particular child only learns when she messes up, but I find it difficult to hold my tongue. The Husband and I head out to a doctors appt in the maze of The Cleveland Clinic. We attempted to have a nice brunch ALONE after only to have my eggs delivered with a hair draped across them.  (I could scrap it off,  NO, I could cut around it, NO, I could send them back, YES, but appetite is unfortunately gone for good :(.  For some stupid reason I decide to spend the rest of the beautiful afternoon cleaning out the garage!  sit down! be quiet! do a puzzle! I do manage to meet my friends for dinner and relax until I get a phone call from The Associate begging me to come home because her orthodontic paraphernalia has popped out of her mouth.  Asleep by 10:30 I awoke bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to call the orthodontist and beg for an immediate appointment. I only have two days of peace and quiet left!!!! The woman felt my pain and told me to come right in. As soon as we are back in the car The Associate begs for donuts, because we always get a donut as a reward for orthodontia! FINE!  We are not allowed to go through the drive thru anymore because The Associate learned it was bad for the environment. I somehow manage to get her to agree to a simple glazed donut opposed to the double chocolate one that she wants and all is right with the world, until she starts to negotiate for a second and third donut. deep breath. I drop her at the front door of the school and peel out of the parking lot.  (five hours and 15 minutes) I take care of some paperwork, take care of my mind and head to pick her back up from school.  The Teenager lets me help her study for a bit, of course it is the exam that she is really prepared for because she has a great teacher and she loves it.

Thursday I dragged them out of bed and to school and I took care of my important meetings.  On my way home we crammed a bunch of teenagers in the car and they proceeded to lay around on each other, eat and zone out.  We retrieved The Associate from school and I almost immediately went into shock.  My brain stopped working. After substantial amount of time, I snapped out of it, and I realized how lucky I am, and decided to stop complaining. HAPPY SUMMER.

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Goodbye lydia.

My Mother graciously adopted a cat 14 or so years ago.  I think the real story goes, If I remember correctly. I convinced my brother’s girlfriend at the time to adopt a cat, and she turned out to be terribly allergic, so I convinced my mom to adopt her.  So. This cat,  Lydia has been living with my mother ever since. Maybe living is not the appropriate word, more like cowering in the shadows. I can’t even find a single picture of her to add to her post. Over the last couple months she has emerged more often to chat, even when The Associate is around. Normally she would head for the hills as soon as The Associate darkened the door.

Lydia passed away the other day, and here is the retelling of my discussion with The Associate.

me-(trying to be casual on the walk home from school) “I have some very sad news.”

TA- “What?”

me- “Lydia passed away today “(TA is getting very upset)

me-“She had a long life, and was very old honey, it’s ok.”

TA- “NO SHE WASN’T, SHE WAS ONLY FOUR!!”

me- (confused)  “She was at least fourteen sweetie, you know gramma’s cat was sick”

TA- “OH! I thought you were talking about my friends little sister. Phew!”

me – “Oh! no honey that Lydia is just fine. ”

TA- (saddened again) “Just when Lydia was starting to like me.”

Can you imagine what went on in that little brain in those 20 seconds. It makes me shiver.

 

Treasure Hunt 2013

Every year we venture up to the Adirondack mountains to be with family.  Every year our pack gets larger, and there always seems to be fewer restrooms, but we always have fun.  One of the things that always makes it so special is Martha’s treasure hunt.  It started approximately 9 years ago we think when there was only three girls in the family.  It began as a magical adventure about cousins, family bonds, and love. Every year Martha diligently creates a story that expounds on these themes. The hunt itself has become such a tradition that the kids begin discussing it weeks before we depart.  In earlier years when there were no teenagers involved the kids donned pirate costumes generously loaned from the collection of Cookie, and stayed in character all day.  This year we are up to five girls and a boy (next year he is definitely going to wear a pirate costume)

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After much preparation the hunt begins. Despite every effort to make sure each year a different child finds the map, my little associate spotted it first.  After the screaming died down they sat down to read the first map. Do you believe Martha used to write this out by hand every year? Thank goodness for fonts and suspension of disbelief.  Rachel read the map this year and when it was dark the magic began in the fire.

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The next day they began to find the clues by reading the map and pacing it out with the compass.

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In typical Martha fashion she once again created beautiful clues with each child’s initial to lead the way. I was just informed by my associate that the stone that was marked J, he is the newest addition to our expanding clan was the most important clue because it led to the buried treasure.  There are always goodies wrapped up in the box. This year it was necklaces and bracelets.   After they check out their booty they preform a ritual with the potions to make sure the treasure comes back next year.

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I don’t know how she does it every year, she does have here own associate her awesome husband Steve, but it never fails to be the highlight of the trip.

Thanks Mart. xo