Wild blue yonder

Anyone else remember the olden days of air travel? When it was fun and exciting? I do, vaguely. I remember taking flights from Chicago to Orlando for vacation, early morning flights. And since they were early flights, breakfast would be served. Your choice of pancakes with syrup or eggs and sausage. Nevermind that they were reconstituted powdered delights, you got to eat on the plane, on a little tray!

Air travel has long since lost that lustre. Instead of a fun and exciting experience, it’s now a case of “how many sardines can we stash in this airborne can?” Security is intense yet lax (our key fobs designed to punch through a windshield and cut a seatbelt got through…but we had to remove our shoes). Food is non-existent unless you’re willing to shell out big bucks for little portions. Comfort is minimal at best. Yet still we fly, because it is the fastest way to and fro.

We made it to Chicago late last night. Late was not intentional. The plan was to leave right after school for the 6:10 flight, get in at 9:30, boys in bed soon after, happyhappyjoyjoy.


The weather in Chicago last night was pretty bad. Thunderstorms, heavy rain, flights stacking up over O’Hare. Our flight was delayed twice and we were early to start with. Finally got on…and were hit with a ground delay because there were too many flights heading for O’Hare and they didn’t want to circle the airport. Instead of a 6:10 departure, it was more like 8:30. Instead of a 9:30 arrival, it was closer to 11:45.

Yet the boys were fantastic. We’ve traveled with them for so many years (usually by car) that they are wonderful travelers. Even in an airplane without screens at every seat they did great (digression: we almost always fly Frontier because they are based in Denver, we get great fares, and we love the airline. New planes, DirecTv available at every seat, comfortable. We didn’t use them yesterday because they don’t fly into O’Hare, which is a much closer airport to my parents’ house. I realized last night that I am spoiled by Frontier; I was claustrophobic on the plane because the ceiling was so low). In fact, they were so wonderful that the flight attendants couldn’t get over it, and gave them a giant cookie to share. We lucked out with them last night. And that great behavior has continued through today…I don’t get it, but I’ll take it!

I miss the old air travel; this new air travel isn’t exciting, it’s just annoying.


While I’m out playing this weekend, go enjoy my posts on Hopeful Parents and Rocky Mountain Moms Blog. No, really, go over and read ’em. Because I was so busy yesterday getting those ready (and volunteering in the classroom, and packing for four people, and getting Rosie to my friend’s house, and going to J’s speech meeting, and doing laundry, and paying bills, and everything else I needed to do before leaving), I didn’t pack any pants for the trip. I have exactly one pair of pants and I am wearing them. Thankfully everything goes with blue jeans. I have enough reading material for a six week cruise and one pair of pants. Leave me a pity comment. 😉

Have a great weekend.

What price sanity?

So it’s that time of year again. I’m looking down the road called “calendar” and seeing a Big.Red.Brick.Wall. ahead. On that wall is a sign, written in the tears of angels, that reads:

Summer Vacation

And I start to hyperventilate.

Last summer I made a solemn vow. I may or may not have taken the vow sober, I do not recall. I may or may not have taken the vow stark naked, inside a circle of lit candles, to the manic drumbeat of wild men in loincloths. I may or may not have taken the vow with an animal sacrifice as an exclamation point on the evening. I vowed that I would send my sons to many camps this summer, come hell or high water, because summer 2008 almost put me in the nuthouse.  Summer 2008 was the year I thought “oh…they don’t need that much camp! We’ll be fine! We’ll do fun stuff! We’ll have a great time! We’ll save some coin in the process!”

My hands shook all summer from restraining from wringing little boy necks.

I vowed that Summer 2009 would be The Year of Summer Camp Without Guilt.

Then yesterday I watched the economy reach up, rip off its own head, and shove it so far up its own ass that it popped back out the top exclaiming, “Thank you, sir! May I have another!?”

Yes, there is money set aside for camps this summer. Not enough. A wants to go to Lego Robotics camp, which last I checked, doesn’t come with a year of college for the price. He’s already signed up for Camp Invention (the greatest thing on the planet for him; if I could send him every single week for the summer he’d be in heaven) and church camp (it’s cheap and all day). I have nothing for J, save the aforementioned church camp.

My dilemma is that there are few camps available for a 4/almost 5 year old at the same time as the older kid. And I will go crazier quicker if I have just J home while A is off having fun. So I must get both of them out of the house at the same time this summer. The only one I’ve been able to find so far is at the YMCA, which also does not offer college tuition for the price.

The secondary dilemma is holy crap the sky is freaking falling and we’re all going to relive the Great Depression and is that a dust storm coming and I don’t know how to sew clothes from flour sacks and my jalopy is in the shop so we can’t head west and hope for the best aaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!


I digress.

What price sanity? Both boys are at school today, so I’m centered and focused and getting stuff done and will have a good day. Tomorrow J will be home with me. There will none of that tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll be out of sorts and distracted and will be popping open a bottle of wine at 5:01. So what price sanity?

We have some things already planned for the summer. A long-planned and paid-for Disney World trip. Inexpensive home improvements (put off the big ones for another year). Little things. But not nearly enough.

Oh, and did I mention that A will be getting out of school a full week early this year? No? Must have slipped my mind after I learned this, blacked out, and gave myself a concussion on the drums from last summer’s vow ceremony. The school is adding on four new classrooms, and if they’re to be done by the start of school next fall, they have to start early. Whimper…

So I have three months and five days to fill. Yes, counting. You would too.

What price sanity?


I’m not actually here

I’m over at Rocky Mountain Moms Blog today. Come visit. I get lonely.

Next up on the House of Chaos channel!

Welcome to the newest audience-participation gameshow, Why is Jen Face-First in a Bottle of Shiraz? It’s the newest game, where the audience gets to guess just why Jen is cradling her favorite wine glass (you don’t have a fave? shut up) and adding more head-shaped dents to the ones already in her desk. Is everyone ready? Here we go!

You, over there in the corner. What’s your guess?

“Is Jen still recovering from A’s “lose-his-shit-apalooza” of yesterday?

Good guess, but the wine from last night pretty much handled that little episode. Especially when combined with Green and Black’s Hazelnut and Current Chocolate. You, a few rows back, what do you suppose?

“I think it was J’s first experience with a ginormous splinter and resulting freak-out this morning.”

Nice try, but remember that Jen is an experienced mom. If it’s not blood, bones, or fire, it’s handled with nary an eyebrow raise. Over there, have a guess?

“Ooh, I know! It was Rosie’s “kling-on” that Jen noticed had been wiped onto her couch!”

Thank you so much for making all of us throw up a little in our mouths. Now we all need wine. No, Jen just went and got the Bac-Out and got it cleaned up. Really, audience, this is the best you can do? This is Jen’s day, every day. You, there, laughing with not a care in the world.

“Jen sat on her ass all day working on her computer answering every.single.email. in her inbox, turned around, and there were a bunch new ones! And she ordered 377 photos from Shutterfly after ensuring that they all had the correct descriptor on the back! And met with an insurance agent! Now she just wants to kick back and take it easy tonight.”

Ooh, good try. Going for the “life was so easy today that kicking back to celebrate sounds fiiine.” No. One more…you, the one in the corner, rocking and clutching a wine bottle and muttering to yourself. You look like you might have a reasonable guess!

“The boy…the boy…he’s going to be the death of me. Little shit left school and went to a friend’s house without telling us. I called the school, they couldn’t find him. Husband ran around the neighborhood, he couldn’t find him. I was minutes from calling the police when he called. (incomprehensible mumbling) (big gulp from bottle) At my wits’ end. Can’t take much more. Everyone lied. Everyone lied. (more mumbling) They said it would get easier as he got older. They lied. Where’s the fucking chocolate?”

DingDingDingDing!!!!! We have a winner! Granted, it’s Jen herself, but given that the Grand Prize was a case of wine, we’re not going to argue. We…we don’t want to get between Jen and wine on a day such as this. Thanks to everyone for playing today, on the new gameshow Why is Jen Face-First in a Bottle of Shiraz? See you all next time!!!

2e Tuesday: Still waters run deep

When you have one child who is an in-your-face personality and one who is laid back, you tend to…well….the squeaky wheel gets the grease. We’ve known for some time that A is very likely twice-exceptional, and his “challenge” is an alphabet soup mishmash of dignoses. The jury has been out on J.

Until tonight.

He and A and I were enjoying a nice dinner, and J had just finished his yogurt (Yoplait). And he got this “this means something” gleam in his eye.

J: Mom, do you know what shape this is?

Me (and A): It’s an oval.

J: No…it’s…

Me (and A): Um, pretty sure that’s an oval.

J: NO! It’s…it’s an ellipsoid!

Time stopped. Um…okay. My four year old with a speech delay just said “ellipsoid.” My four year old knows what an ellipsoid is. I had to go look it up in the dictionary and my God, he was closer to right than wrong. They’re studying shapes in preschool right now and apparently this is another WOWZA class, like A’s was, ’cause uh, ellipsoid? J is now calling that particular brand of yogurt “ellipsoid yogurt,” which will garner even more odd looks at the grocery store than we get now.

My doubts about him are over. Still waters run deep in that one, young grasshopper. He may be less 2e than his brother (thankyousweetbabyJesus), but I’m pretty damned sure the gifted part is there.

And then the squeaky wheel went on a “lose-his-shit-apalooza” for 30 minutes because J got the last green popsicle and life was back to (bwahahahahaha) normal.


More 2e Tuesday over at Child’s Play.

Oh, it’s so good to be home

I didn’t realize how badly I needed this weekend away until I got away and felt the tension melt off my shoulders. My back, neck, and shoulders didn’t ache for the first time in weeks. Amazing.

So I’m home and I had a wonderful time away, returning refreshed and happy. I never did read my two books; the one on the Great Depression was terrible and I was in no mood to read about exploding children, so I just stuck them in my suitcase and left them there. I’m sure they were a great topic of conversation when TSA opened the bag and pawed through my belongings. There ain’t nothing more oogie than knowing some stranger dug through your suitcase without your knowledge or permission and had the law fully on his side. I’m going to start sticking large denomination bills and sex toys in there just for kicks and giggles and see if they survive the flight.

It’s good to be home, where they are all as batshit crazy as you are yourself. Last night I was upstairs getting the boys ready for bed when Tom joined us, quoting full lines from one of our favorite movies, Blazing Saddles. You may love it or hate it, but that is the funniest damned movie and I love it (and I also let out an embarrassing guffaw on the plane when the male flight attendant, over the PA, said something and followed it with “giggity,” a reference to Family Guy. I was the only woman laughing hysterically with the men. I’m apparently an embarrassment to the fairer sex).

The following is true.

A: Daddy, what are doing?

Tom: Quoting lines from the funniest movie ever. You’re waaaayyyy too young for it, but when you get older, you’ll find it every bit as funny as we do.

A: Oh, does it have grownup words in it?

Tom: Ye…

A: (interrupting) Words like idiot, crap, fuck, piss?

Tom: uh…

Me in the other room reading to J: snort, snurggle, hide face in beanbag chair and quake, gasp for air.

Yeah, it’s good to be home.

Leaving…on a jet plane…

Tomorrow at o’dark thirty I’m leaving my house for three days. I get to get on a plane. Alone. I get to hang with girlfriends. Sans children. I get to laugh and drink and learn and be silly and have a great time. By myself.

After today, I deserve it.

And, because I really know how to have a great time, my reading material for the flight is: The Explosive Child by Ross Greene and Daily Life in the United States 1920-1940 (how people lived through the Great Depression). I really need to get some airplane trash reading.

2e Tuesday

Hey, I’m over at Hopeful Parents today, writing on Twice Exceptional kids. C’mon over!

It’s time to break up with Perfection

Oh, Perfection, you jealous lover. You demand so much of me and give so little in return. It’s hard enough being a first-born, naturally Type-A personality with a touch of control freak. But then we met in college, when being a music major meant perfection or fail. At first, we were a loving couple. I knew that, as a musician, you were only as good as your last performance, that practice makes perfect, and that perfection was expected at every turn. I had to be at 100% accuracy 100% of the time or the performance was a failure. I loved you then. You made me great and through you I got applause and kudos and have fantastic flute recital memories and the recordings to prove it. We were happy.

Since I’ve moved away from my music career, you’ve become jealous and demanding and our relationship has become a dysfunctional one. You are hostile towards me, try to lash out at my children, and it’s getting harder and harder to reign you in. You cannot accept that while you are welcomed and loved in a music career, you are a detriment in a family setting.

It’s time for you to go, but I don’t know how to get you out the door. I’m afraid my life would fall apart without you there to keep me in line.

I am so accustomed to your presence that I don’t know how to live without you. You were such an important part of my life for so long that I scarcely know a day without you. I’ve separated from you in the past, but only for very brief moments, such as letting the dishes pile in the sink so I could read or letting the boys watch too much tv instead of read or play. But you always came rushing back, angry that I made you go, even briefly.

It’s because of the boys that you must go. See, A has his own Perfection causing trouble, and you don’t get along with A’s Perfection. In fact, the relationship between you two is becoming so problematic that he and I aren’t getting along well. And I won’t allow you to interfere with the relationship I have with my son. He and I need to feel peace with ourselves just because, not because we have done something perfectly, or been perfect all day.

I don’t mind a phone call now and then, but you must move out and get your own place. Come and visit when I have the flute out, or am using sharp tools, or am attempting to bake a new gluten-free bread. You’re welcome then. But when it comes to my family, or my sanity, or daily life, get the hell out. You’re mean and jealous and never satisfied.

I will learn to live without your daily interference. That will be just complete Prefection.

I’m raising Goofus and Gallant

I’m at a loss. The boys are trying to drive me batshit crazy, I’m sure of it.

We took Rosie the Bagel Dog for a walk this afternoon. It’s chilly out, and windy, and I was less than thrilled to go, but they begged. And I caved, because she and I could use the exercise and it would break up the day. It was a short walk, only to the inline hockey rink in the park behind our house and back. At least, that was the plan.

We headed back home. A sped ahead on his scooter, J fell behind and I waited for him to catch up. We got back home and…no A. No A in the backyard. No A on the school blacktop. No A hiding in the neighbor’s yard. No A anywhere.

I got Rosie and J back into the house and figured if A didn’t show up soon (I figured he was hiding) I’d search. That lasted about a minute before I locked them into the house…oh, and did I mention that Tom is in Utah? Yeah…sigh… I locked them in the house and headed off down the block.

And heard, “Mom! Hey MOOOOMMMM!!!! I’m down here!!!!”

Little shit was three blocks away at the tot park.

I high-tailed it up there and he scampered to the top of the rock climbing arch.

“Dude, you have no idea how much trouble you are in.”

The kid he was playing with looked more frightened than A did.

I grabbed his scooter and helmet and his wrist and dragged him home. He’s grounded til schooltime Monday morning, not to leave his room. His scooter is in hock for a week. And if he rolls his eyes at me again (like he did at the park and is damned lucky that there were other kids there) he’s going to lose a lot more.

And what did I find when I unlocked the front door? J playing with matches? A dog ripping up couch cushions? A wild popsicle-snarfing party?

A four year old practicing the violin he proclaimed to hate three days ago.

They’re messing with me. I’m raising Goofus and Gallant.

Amended: Heh. Just looked outside. Full moon. Shit.