Friday, September 20, 2013

The ol' MOG doesn't travel as much, these days. Used to be he'd take off for 2 or 3 weeks and I'd hold down the fort, but now he leaves for weekends here and there. One thing is the same, though: if the house is going to break or crime is to be committed, it will be while he is not in the same state. Fugitives running through the backyard, helicopters over my skylight? He must be out of town. So yesterday, he went to the airport, and within a couple of hours, I discovered that we had no running water.

You know when you're going to figure out the water is turned off? Not before you change the world's most violently hateful diaper. Oh no, it will be after. In that moment, listening to the faucet hiss, a faint memory comes to my mind, a memory of a water bill, sealed and "filed" on Richy's desk, in a pile of sealed bills. Maybe even a couple of water bills, I don't know. Obviously we are very responsible people. Or we are just people who pay our bills online and then forget to open the envelopes... It's a good thing I can't see your judgy face right now, because I would definitely act like I didn't notice and then hold it against you for like, an hour. Anyway, yes. We, mature and responsible adults, were now victims of the system.

As I was scrubbing my skin off with baby wipes, I got a call from R2's school. He was very upset and needed a ride home. I gathered my young, which took approximately 1000 years, and called the water company on the way. "Ma'am," the agent said semi-patiently, "you are never going to have running water again, unless you can bring 150000 golden doubloons and place them in the veeery center of the dragon's mouth." In the background, Tristan set up an impressive show of vocal force in requesting that I play "ba ba ba ba ba ba ann" immediately, and Toby and Brynn did not disappoint with their loud queries about how exactly one's water is cut off, and why and why didn't we just pay the bill and why couldn't we stop for McDonald's right now. I, being a responsible and involved parent, made many, many SHUT IT hand motions and also throat-cutting gestures. "How long will it take to turn on?" I asked, like a noob. "Weeeeellll," she said, "they could possibly turn it on when your youngest child becomes of marriageable age, but you'd have to get here before noon."

It was almost 11. The thing was, I didn't have enough problems, so I had to get some more. There wasn't enough money in the bank to pay the full amount. I had a check from the MOG that would more than cover it, but it wouldn't clear until the next day, if deposited. So I thought, hey, I'll cash it and then take my bounty to the mouth of the beast. Except it was in his name. So I wrote my name. But they said it was "altered" and I think I narrowly escaped imprisonment. I hope that you hear a steady soundtrack of crying and extremely loud personal questions in the background as you read this, and also Barbara Ann on repeat, because that's how it sounded. Only louder. The teller took pity on me and told me that I could probably fake out the ATM and get the money, so I did. Now if I ever get a meth addiction, Imma take that route and skip the whole altering-checks-scam.

I took my handfuls of filthy lucre and headed to the 1 of 2 places in this entire city to pay. As we piled out of the car, I noticed that all of my children looked like they had been recently cast in the Broadway production of "Annie" with the dirt smudges and greasy hair and mismatched shoes and R2 with his bruised head and survival gear. Right. I took all the ragamuffins inside, where a very nice police officer sat with them and learned every secret I ever had. And then it was paid and we celebrated with cheeseburgers, because the water was coming back.

Except it didn't. I called back at 2:45. "Ohhh," the agent said, "You have to report your payment to the troll at the drawbridge." "But, um," I try to say nicely, "Didn't I pay the troll directly? Is the troll's computer not connected to yours? Is there a secret manual for this kind of thing? And can I please haz water?" "The thing is," she told me, "that they quit at 4, and it is preeeeety close to 4." I talked to a supervisor about how close exactly 4 is to 2:45, and they said they'd put me on an emergency list and someone might come sometime. In the meantime, we had a steady stream of dialogue, the children and I, about all the ways we use water, including the toilets. Lot of discussion about the toilet.

We made a grocery run for about 45 minutes and missed the guy. "The CUSS?" I might have said, and called the agent again. "Oh yeah, she said, "You have to be there."It was at this point that Toby warned me to watch my language, very, very concerned about my use of "freaking".

"Because the water on switch is inside my house?" I asked. "Because of why? Can he come back?" "No, he can never, ever come back. You have passed the point of no return." But then they said maybe he'd come before midnight, or maybe not, because life, who knows? Life is what happens when you're making other plans, and we have to dance like nobody's watching, footprints in the sand, something like that.

And then a great thunderstorm came. Because of course it did. And of course the roof leaked. I had a pioneer idea: I will capture this indoor rain and flush the toilets! So I did, and also I filled up the bathtub using all of my tupperwares and the gutter spouts. And the water never came back on. And then we ran out of bottled water, because nothing makes a child thirstier than knowing there is a finite supply of water. So Tristan woke up at midnight and screamed for 20 minutes while I climbed under furniture and found discarded partial bottles and gave them to him.

Toby woke up at 2 am and drank a Coke and played video games, and I let him. I was dancing like nobody was watching, or sleeping, anyway.

Took one more phone call and a goat sacrifice on the highest point of my roof, but at 10 am the water came back on. Looks like somebody's living right, y'all.  Lordy.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sometimes I try to think about my bucket list, but the accountability is so stressful. "Write a book" I put on my not-bucket-list, and all the sudden everybody is cornering me with switchblades in alleyways, asking where their book is, the one that I told them I would write. Listen, I should write one. I'll get it to you, I just need a little more time. Don't shank me.

I've got this internal meter in my head, without your help, anyway, that's always asking, "If you died tonight, would you see Jesus?" No wait, that's not the question, I know that one. It's more like "If you died tonight, would everybody be like, oh, man, she had so much potential but she never did jack squat," and it'd be a sermon illustration about carping the dang diem and my kids would have all this pressure to finish all my bucket list because I never did any of it, because I was busy with Facebook. That's so grim! you say. Tell me about it. That's why I only watch comedies, because inside my head it's like some kinda psychoanalytical hipster drama with sad whale music playing a lot of the time. Except the jokes, I do have a lot of jokes in there too. In another compartment. Also recipes.

There's lots of things I want to do, but they're all jumbled up together in the someday category. Get current plates on the car and lose 10 pounds and skydive and buy some more coffee creamer and travel Europe but not with hiking, with cars and trolleys and swanky hotels, not hostels and mountain biking because vacations should not involve sweating, things like this. Also get the cat fixed.

In the meantime, in the now when I have all these little kids and no money to speak of, I am trying to figure out how to be present and joyful and content, even content with myself. That internal dialogue is so unpleasant sometimes, I want to figure out how to improve without the mental self-flagellation.

So maybe I can make a daily bucket list, of sorts. Stuff like,

  • try to see my kids without a screen between us; 
  • be patient, even if I'm late to every single thing on my list; 
  • be nice to myself, there's enough grace for me for this day; 
  • quit thinking so much about my legacy and more about today

And then, if I can get the hang of that kind of thinking, maybe then I'll be ready to get a tattoo and pay the water bill. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

I documented pieces of Tristan's day today. I didn't get much of the morning because my brain doesn't think of ideas till lunchtime. Well, it thinks of some ideas, but mostly just ideas about eating things. Let me preface this by saying, Tristan is a rascal. 

No nap, no patience. Waiting in line for T&B is too.much. 

I neither authorized nor endorsed this activity, in fact, I hid the cat carrier after this incident. Also after I photographed it. 
Nap-a? Not for-a me, stereotypical Italian accent baby-guy

Haven't you ever said, "Let's just put a box on our head and climb out the window"?

Chicken nuggets and fries on a paper plate. #parenting
Dipping chicken nuggets in your water? #tristan

Bathtub serenade

Sleepy but holding strong
He didn't have a nap today, which is why he's already sound asleep. Hang on for a second while I laugh myself into a hysterical fit. There, done. He's still going strong. Don't misunderstand me, I LOVE TWO. It's just funny, that's all. Good night. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Recently I revolutionized the fitness industry with this groundbreaking post, which will no doubt be a bestselling book series within the month. My sister is some kind of fitness guru, and she was just speechless with awe after reading my take. I'd like to follow that up now with some more advice, because this thing might be a cash cow, and I am full of it ideas.

Let me talk to you about dieting. Maybe you've tried the all-watermelon-rind and grapefruit diet, or the Ramadan diet where you pray five times a day and only eat after sundown, or the Kate Moss diet where you do cocaine and don't eat, I mean, haven't we all? The shared element with all diets is hunger. "No, no," you say, "Cabbage totally fills me up!" and to that I say, "Thanks, but I do not wish to take the unbelievable opportunity to make thousands of dollars a day selling cabbage from my home," as you shake your head at me in disbelief.

1. The Rule of Buttoning
If your jeans fit, you're good. Even if it seems like there's kind of a lot of extra skin hanging out over the edge like some kind of rubbery Niagra Falls over a denim dam, if they zip and button or snap or if the elastic holds, they fit. Diet unnecessary. Well done.

2. Start Day
Diets can only begin on Mondays or on the 1st of a month. Maybe it's Wednesday when you think of it, but that week is already half over and frankly, you have already really blown it. Might as well wrap it up with a binge and then take the week by the horns. Later. If you forget about the diet and have 4 doughnuts and a chocolate milk for breakfast the next Monday, don't beat yourself up. You have plenty of time to pick it back up, the next  week, assuming your arteries can take a chill pill. Like nitroglycerin, for example. Monday. Or November. No judging, judging causes cellulite.

3. Cheat Day
Many diets have a built-in escape valve where, for one glorious day of 7, you're permitted to eat more of the things you have already been sneaking during the week. Some trainers say to go crazy on your cheat day and just overdo it, because then you'll be like, "Ohhhh, I hate guacamole now, I never want to eat it again," but we both know you would have to die from guacamole to shut it down, and even then you know you'd be like, "Hey, Jesus! Point me toward the avocados." I like to ascribe to a system my sisters call "Chronic Reward Syndrome" which means every good deed is rewardable. Ate lettuce? Go you! Have a cookie. You earned it. Like that. So it's more like cheat moments, which probably add up to less than a day when it's all tabulated, assuming you're a tabulator.

4. The Salad Rule
It's very simple. Salad is healthy. Everyone should eat more salad. The magic thing about salad is it remains healthy, no matter what you add to it. Velveeta? Bacon? Fried chicken? Fried Twinkies? Hall pass! Have your salad and then go pull on your stretchy pants and pat yourself on the back rolls.

5. Dessert
Eat dessert in bed very, very late at night. Your metabolism has all night to deal with it.

6. Analysis
If your diet starts to stress you out, might be time to pursue other options. Like cabbage, for example. Hit me up for information about the unbelievable health benefits of cabbage and how YOU can benefit!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

When the laundry is made clean, then the people are blinded. "Where are my socks?" they ask, even though their very socks are before them, in the basket or even in a designated sock drawer. "Where is my shirt?" the people ask, because they are unwilling to turn their faces, even to turn their faces to the left and see where their shirts have been placed. And when I say to you, "Right there" and I point, you do not incline your eyes to where I am pointing but look wildly at the ceiling.

When the laundry is made dirty, I, the mom, merciful unless I'm annoyed, wise and faithful, carry the ketchup-laden clothing down 2 flights of stairs and make great mounds of filthy garments, and then I wash those garments, because I am altogether wonderful, although I smell like pee-clothes, and then I dry those clothes and then I carry the clothes up 2 flights of stairs and fold them and put them in baskets, for your drawers are full of clothes you won't wear and I am too tired from answering questions to sort them. And when I have done this thing and I should find favor in your sight, then you decide that every sort of evil should be done. And you upend the baskets and use them for a cat cage or wear them as a robot head and you take the towels and wear them as capes and all your folded clothes are utterly downcast. And though I chide you, you hear me not, you are as the deaf. 

And though you have done much evil, I would forgive it all if you would not then wear the clean clothes outside for a challenge involving spraying an entire can of sunscreen on your brother and then after you have emptied the can, then his anger rages against you and he then pushes you into the dirt and then, indeed, you come inside and sit on the couch and mourn and use 4 towels to dry yourself. And when your father comes home and his weeping is heard in all the land because he cannot find a towel to use one time and then throw on the bathroom floor, then my own rage burns against your father.

I, the mom, hungry and only relatively sane, am going to throw away all of your clothes and make you go to school naked. Or maybe I'll just wash them again. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Well, well, well. That intro reminds me of an awesome graphic, brb.

Unattributed b/c I can't find a source
I know. You're welcome. But try to focus, what I was actually starting to do was announce 2 awesome things. 1: The Man of God and I are going to do a video show, on the youtube. We'll tell you more information when we have it planned out. Super excited about it, and this week we decided to test the audio and tell a little story, just to determine if we have any chemistry and also if our mics work. Good news for our 4 children and you: we do and they do. So here's our little pre-show show, and stay tuned for the real thing, starting once-a-week broadcasting in approximately October.

And 2, in bigger news, Richy's new album is out and we're really excited to share it with you guys, both because it pays our bills and also because I think it's really good and it will bless you. Or you'll enjoy it, to put it less churchy. This album has been almost a year in the making, recorded during R2's illness and then completed in pieces during his recovery. I think it's beautiful. Go listen to the clips and buy it, and review it if you enjoy it. If you hate it, just try to keep it on the down-low. 

 photo stacks_image_183.jpg

You can buy it on iTunes  or Amazon, or Google Play, or any of the other internet places music is sold. And maybe I'm biased, but I think you should.  (Not available in physical form yet, we'll order those a little later)
Whale, whale, whale. 
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