Monday, January 18, 2010

Like Fuzzy Socks or Potato Chips

You know, life isn't fair. My kids told me. In fact, they tell me that one thing or another isn't fair, according to their calculations, on an average of twice a day. Today, for example, Fourth Grader concluded that it wasn't fair that she only got to snowboard for four hours. And then it wasn't fair that I expected her to read an entire chapter of her book before she could zone out watching television. It's just not fair, you know?

Sometimes the only thing a girl can hope for is a little comfort. Comfort food, comfort clothes, comfort vodka...obviously, these are forms of comfort for me, not for Fourth Grader. But forget Fourth Grader for a minute. This is about me, and I have been in dire need of some comfort recently. And after giving all three of the above options a go over the weekend, I still wasn't really feeling comforted. In fact, by eleven this morning I was feeling downright miserable. There wasn't any real reason for my misery - other than the fact that it's winter, and the view out the window is cold and gray and dreary. And the fact that the Tornadoes' father plans to grace them with his rare presence in a week's time, regardless of the fact that it is not convenient for anyone but him. And the fact that Sixth Grader and I had an insanely frustrating exchange last night that left us both in tears and me feeling like I possibly didn't matter to anyone at all for any reason.

...And also, I have to sell my house. I don't mind selling my house, but I do mind all the work that will be involved in doing so. Conveniently for my misery, I met with the stager this morning at ten. This was enough to seal the deal - on my misery, that is - and to nearly send me running for the nearest bag of Cape Cod Robust Russets. Window treatments on rooms where I didn't feel the need for them while I've lived here? Really? Renting furniture to fill a room that I have always hated and rarely enter? This is what the real estate market has come to?

Sometimes, in these situations, a few comforting words are enough to do the trick to start turning things around. And this afternoon I heard them. Standing in the snow at the base of a mountain, watching a disgruntled Sixth Grader and her disgruntled friends do my bidding by escorting Fourth Grader up a hill only slightly more difficult than the beginner's slope - and therefore not worthy of them and their mad snowboarding skills, this seemed to be the general nature of their disgruntledness - I found myself on the listening end of a fellow mother's expression of frustration.

"I don't think I'm going to survive this age," she sighed. The age in question being that of the sixth grade posse. What? You mean, I'm not alone? You mean, my Sixth Grader is not the only one who is occasionally possessed by demons? My parenting is not broken? LIFE ISN'T FAIR TO OTHER PEOPLE EITHER?

As pathetic as I'm sure it sounds, I felt a million times better after hearing that one simple sentence from my fellow mother. It was just so incredibly reassuring. I practically skipped. But I didn't skip, because it was really slippery out there in the snow. So I simply invited the nice, comforting woman to call me sometime if she wanted to compare notes on the "joys" of tweenhood. I'll bring the chips.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Splintering News

So it's official. We're moving. In seven months.

I've held back on telling the story of how Boyfriend found a house he loved, brought me to see it so I could also discover that I loved it, and how we then moved forward, in a glacial series of steps, to eventually reach yesterday, when we scheduled the closing. Believe me, it was better for you that way. I also refrained from telling just about any of my friends, and definitely my neighbors - for what real reason I don't know, other than I didn't feel like the time was right to say anything - but it appears that everyone within a thirty mile radius already knows due to the fact that a certain Fourth Grader does not understand the words "private matter until I say otherwise." Seriously, people have been texting and emailing me for weeks: "So, you're moving?" Always, always, the source is the same. Love that kid. But anyway, here we are, and in twenty-one days I will be the proud owner of one and a half mortgages.

So, yay! We are buying a house together. And, eventually, moving into it. In seven months, give or take. First, it needs a little updating...and when I say a little updating, I mean there has been one family living in it for the past forty odd years. So imagine a family that has lived in the same house for forty years and raised three children in it and who now find themselves on the second half of this little mountain we call "life" - maybe updating the wallpaper from the 80s wasn't such a priority. Nor were the bathrooms. Stuff like that. So, since Boyfriend is renting, and I still have a house to sell, we figured we'd get all those things done prior to the move-in.

Which means, fair readers, that I have just opened up a giant trunk of future post material. There's the little matter of selling my house - already proving to contain comical elements, judging by yesterday's initial walk-through with the realtor. There's the merging of things, people, habits, tastes, preferences in cleanliness...oh, you don't even know the bounty of material available in that last item alone. And of course, all of this needs to take place in the midst of our regularly scheduled programming.

But all of that is not for today. Today I have a few phone calls to make, to line up the handyman and the stager. And then I will gaze out the front window and begin my long goodbye to that monstrous garage being built across the street. Goodbye, monstrosity. Goodbye.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Play The Music As Loud As You Like. But No Streaking.

This is a quote from an actual conversation that took place this past weekend between myself...and Fourth Grader. And? It was absolutely necessary.

Fourth Grader has officially entered the land of double digits. She chose to mark the occasion of her first birthday to end in a zero by filling our house with similarly aged children and riddling them all about the furniture from sometime Saturday afternoon until after breakfast on Sunday. We invited 10, expected 6, and received 7. So with the birthday girl included, I had eight tweens to contend with.

Mercifully, Sixth Grader was invited to a sleepover across town that same night. This solved the problem of having to allow her to have a friend over, as I had allowed her little sister to do last year at her party. Because Sixth Grader can never choose just one friend, you see. They travel in a pack. So Sixth Grader was absent, and her pack was riddled across another parent's furniture, and all was good.

I can't remember what details I shared with you last year after Sixth Grader's sleepover party. Did I tell you about the never ending dance-off? Probably. About how she didn't want a birthday cake but instead wanted her candles stuck into a ring of monkey bread at breakfast? No? How about the streaking? Did I tell you about the streaking? Actually, there was only one streaker. Unfortunately, it was my child.

I recall that the party proceeded pretty normally up until around 1 a.m. I insisted on pajamas and movies around 11 and attempted to go to bed myself, fully expecting that I would have to get up and reiterate "time to calm down, girls" at least one or two times. It was more like forty times. No sooner would I doze off then the music would start blaring. Up and down the stairs I went, each time more agitated then the next, until finally I decided I didn't care anymore as long as they contained themselves to one room. I buried my head under a stack of pillows and somehow managed to get back to sleep - until about 2:30, by which time the girls had violated my Stay In One Room! rule and were spread across the first floor of the house, right around the staircase, and I distinctly heard several of them say the word "naked". At which point I had no choice but to get up and investigate, and made it as far as the top of the stairs where I was immediately "treated" to the sight of Fourth Grader (Third Grader at the time, mind you), entirely unclothed, running at full speed through the front hallway, AND then completely frozen in the spot where she had realized that her mother was watching the whole thing from above.

Fast forward to Fourth Grader's party a few days ago. First of all, she is a traditionalist, so there was cake. I took her to a bakery earlier in the week and she asked them to make her cake look like the Game of Life, which they didn't even bat an eye at (And it turned out so totally cool, I must say. Kudos, Frederick's Pastries.) Second of all, she really really really wanted to have a sleepover and she PROMISED me that they would not stay up until four in the morning and she would keep everything under control and nobody would even cry. Fine. On Saturday morning, we drove to the bakery to get her cake. This was my time to detail for her all of the many things from the last sleepover party that had frustrated, horrified or otherwise mentally scarred me - the icing on the cake (pardon the pun) being the streaking episode. She PROMISED me that nothing like that would ever happen again, (I PROMISE, MOM, REALLY)...and that, by the way, her choices that fateful night, under the wicked demands of her older sister and the pack, were to A) lick the litter box, B) drink a cup of toilet water, or C) streak.

What do you say to that? "Well chosen, love. Well chosen."

So there was no streaking. No truth or dare. No crying. Fourth Grader kept all of her promises to maintain control, and her friends strangely complied. Yes, the music was quite loud for a while. But they were all tucked in at 11 and asleep by 1. Which was lovely.