Thursday, December 31, 2009

Heavy Equipment. How Lovely.

I wasn't going to post anything today, as I run the risk of overcompensating, by posting three times in one week, for the month that I completely ignored the blogosphere altogether. But my windows are vibrating. And I am incredibly annoyed by the vibrating windows. So I share my annoyance.

There is a crane in my neighbor's driveway across the street. Some monstrosity has been under construction over there for a few weeks now, and a few days ago I realized that it was a garage. Never mind that this neighbor already has a three stall garage attached to his house. Apparently, he felt the need to build an annex - an annex that will hold an additional 2-3 cars. And will have a roof that challenges that of the actual house for total height. Hence, the crane.

This is the third such monstrous additional garage to be built on my street in the past few years, and I must tell you that the sight of it makes me throw up in my mouth a little. It isn't enough that, for almost six years, I have been the only person on the street that doesn't drive an SUV or a van of some sort; and even when my car was on its last, sad legs and I had the opportunity to join the exclusive "keep up with the Jones" club that is my neighborhood, I chose an all-wheel-drive sedan. Or that I have watched incredulously from my living room window as each of my neighbors has, in turn, taken their newly acquired "toy cars" out for a drive on a warm, dry day. It wouldn't even matter now if I traded in my trusty car for a beastly SUV - which I will never do, do you hear me? Never! - because in order to keep up now, I would need to actually breed cars. And then I would need to waste tens of thousands of dollars building a second house, that I would pass off as a garage, next to my original house. But then, I guess I would be cool.

Sixth Grader is keenly aware of my disgust, but she totally doesn't get it. To her, this super sizing has become normal. Not that we have participated in it in any way ourselves, but it is all around us and so - to her - it is totally normal. I have plenty to say about how much that disturbs me, and I may even have some solutions up my sleeve...but that will all have to wait until the new year. The crane has folded up and gone now. My windows are no longer vibrating. I'm looking forward to an afternoon of snowtubing with Fourth Grader while simultaneously freezing my keester off, maybe taking some pictures of Sixth Grader and Boyfriend snowboarding, and then a peaceful and warm New Year's Eve celebration at home.

On to your own festivities, blogosphere. Stay safe.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

And Now, I Mess With Your Heads

I decided to screw around with my blog template this morning. This is what I came up with. It's fetching, don't you think?

I picked a new blogger template called "jellyfish", mostly because it wasn't called something more boring like "minima" or "rounders". "Jellyfish" is at least interesting-ish. But, okay, I don't love it. It seems very wide to me. And I can't figure out how to make the font on my sidebar titles smaller. Currently, I find them frightening.

I'm certainly open to feedback...but unless you are going to include an offer to customize my blog for me, in a manner that is totally unique to me, at little or no cost, for the most part I'm basically going to keep things looking just like this for a while. Maybe it will grow on me.

That's all I have for today. I thought about bringing up some other stuff, but I don't want to spoil you.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Pardon Me While I Scream Inside My Head

Well, it's Monday now, and the beginning of the Tornadoes' week long break from school. They have multiplied, of course: presently, there are also two guest tornadoes on the premises. I hear them upstairs, beginning to stir. Any minute now they will be down here rooting through my kitchen in search of things to pour syrup on, sugar loading for the inevitable Dance Off that will surely consume them for most of the day.

So I thought I would just get the screaming done early today, perhaps a little ahead of schedule. That way I can enjoy my second cup of coffee.

I'm "working from home" today. Although I know I professed that it is cooler than it used to be, it's really...just so...painful. Within the next two hours, my eardrums are bound to be split in two. Both of their closets will be completely emptied out, and four tweens will have assembled a series of outfits so garish and crazy and loud that my corneas might actually split in two as well.

I will try to stay dutifully glued to my computer while this is all going on. I will pick at work projects that normally get neglected - things that I can't justify spending time on in my actual office, because I have to actually use that time running my business. I will close the door to this room and I will offer false threats of annihilation to those who dare enter and disturb me from my duties.

But it won't matter. Someone will spill something. There will be fights. I will be begged to judge multiple rounds of the Dance Off. And of course, they will get hungry again, and I will have to forcefully direct them toward the chinese food leftovers and away from opening twenty million new bags or boxes of things in the pantry.

And then there's the cat. Problem Child is unnaturally attached to me, so much so that she insists on always being able to physically touch me when I'm home. Right now she is standing on my leg, but she's spent the better part of the last hour sitting on the desk with one paw heavily on my arm and the other paw lightly on the cap lock button. She makes the task of replying to business emails that much more of an adventure: better check it again before hitting that "send" key, just to be sure she hasn't added some evil feline subtext to the matter.

Some version of this scenario is likely to play itself out every day this week, except for during those precious blocks of time that I get to drop the girls off at the gym for practice and try to think clearly again for a few hours. They really don't want to go to practice this week...but too bad! They could use the change of scenery. Plus, anyway, we're running out of syrup.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Day After

Christmas is over.

That pretty much sums it up. Depending on your inflection, that brief sentence can be a sentiment of relief or one of melancholy. Either way, the fact remains the same. It's the day after Christmas.

In all honesty, it was a challenging holiday season for me. Not in any kind of catastrophic way...and really, nothing of any special significance happened that would make this Christmas visibly difficult. But still, I struggled. I struggled to make it special, and at the same time I struggled to not make too big of a deal of it. It's a fine line.

I guess, more than anything, the past month has felt very much like an ending. An ending of what, you ask? I don't really know. But the feeling was unmistakable. It could have been the knowledge that this was, most likely, the last year that either of the Tornadoes will believe in Santa Claus - and considering that cynicism measures into the stratosphere in this day and age, I guess I'm lucky that Fourth Grader held on as long as she did. It could also be that Sixth Grader is acting so very much like a teenager already that I am practically a non-entity in her daily thoughts. This is more accurately what it is, actually. The idea of snuggling up in front of a fire together, playing games or reading or just talking, is so boring to her, as is the thought of baking cookies while listening to music, or curling up to watch a movie. I mean, why do any of that when there is so much texting to be done? And iCarly episodes to watch? And do we HAVE to listen to Christmas music? And can I go to my friend's house? WHY NOT?

The three of us have been a unit for a few years now, and it's been bittersweet. Somewhere between the pressure of needing to provide for them by myself and the desire to shelter them from feeling like they were different from their friends - let's face it, we live in a pretty homogeneous little town - I think we created a fair share of special memories of our own, moments that have been unique to our experience. Somewhere in my silly little brain, I got the idea that these would be the defining moments of their lives, and that they would continue to cling to me forever. Somewhere, I forgot to remember that no matter how hard I try, they are going to grow up anyway. And I hate that.

So I tried to be incredibly present with them this season. I was so incredibly present that at times, I think, I went a little Clark Griswold. And much like poor Clark, I'm afraid I didn't always keep much of a sense of humor about the whole thing as I should have. I tried so hard to be present that I forgot to capture the irony by writing about it.

And yeah, I'll say it: I was borderline ready to shut the blog down for good. I was thisclose. Fortunately, for my sanity, I was too busy being "present" to get around to turning on my laptop and following through. Good thing, because how else could I ever tell you about the three hour, $300+ grocery shopping trip I took last week in preparation of a Christmas dinner, only to find that when Christmas rolled around, nobody wanted to bother eating anything? Because you can't eat and text, or play Wii, at the same time, mom. And I wouldn't be able to tell you about the Christmas concert that the Tornadoes spent weeks preparing to perform for the family on Christmas Eve, and about the devastating, gasping, heaving sobs coming from Sixth Grader that morning when she realized she had left her sheet music at school and wouldn't be able to play without it. And how, while she was in the shower bawling her eyes out, I called Band Instructor to ask if we could borrow another copy of her music, and then cut short a planned visit with some friends by about a half hour so we could drive out to Band Instructor's house to get the music, and all Sixth Grader could say to me when I told her I called him was, "Oh. Okay." Not "thank you." Not "You rock so much harder than all the other moms in the world." Oh. Okay.

So today, this day after Christmas, I find myself wanting. Wanting my sense of humor back. I haven't lost it. I just tucked it away for a few weeks. It's probably downstairs in a box, waiting, with the rest of the stuff that I hid away down there to make room for the wreaths and the reindeer bath rugs. I'll probably leave the bath rugs out for a few more days. But I might as well go down there and get my sense of humor. What else am I going to do? Sixth Grader went snowboarding with her friends, and Fourth Grader has a friend over for the day.

Might as well laugh about it...