Sunday, August 31, 2014

School

Well, well, well. I survived the week with nary a scratch only a giant bite mark on my arm and maybe an extra gray hair or two.  This was the week that all three gremlins started school. You read that right! All three. My baby is in Kindergarten. **moment of silence** They also started full day Kindergarten, so it has been quite the adjustment for everyone involved. The first day they did a lovely job. It was a staggered start, with Kindergarten and First grade starting on Wednesday. Katie and Tyler were both very excited and got right on the bus. Hallelujah! I didn't even take a first day picture because I didn't want anything to throw Tyler off. (Someday he can talk about that missing page in the scrapbook in therapy!) James and I spent a fun day together. When the bus came, Tyler got off the bus very serious and walked past us and hightailed it home without a word. He got a snack, went out and sat on the swing for 20 minutes. Once he had decompressed he said it was fun and seemed very excited about the whole thing. The next day....not so much. We reached the bus stop and he panicked. He saw the bus and took off running all the way home. Another mom asked 'He won't keep going will he?' Um, yes. He will, and he did. I hurriedly shooed the other two on the bus and ran after Tyler. He was screaming all the way home. I got him his blankie, cut a little scrap of super soft fleece for him to keep in his pocket to snuggle with, and told him we were going to school. He cried all the way there, and when we got in he held to my arm like his life depended on it. The aide was trying to talk him into coming, and the music teacher was telling him how fun it would be. I knew that wasn't going to work, and finally they realized they were going to have to pry him away from me. The aide looked at the two teachers standing there (one a big burly gym teacher) and said 'I'm gonna need help.' Uh, yes you are! Come to think of it, I should have worn some falconry gloves or the kind of suit the police use to practice with the K-9 dogs. Live and learn. When they tried to remove him, his panic level went through the roof and he grabbed my arm and bit me so hard I am now sporting a big bruise and a set of teethmarks to match. Oddly enough, if I remember correctly, James did the same thing when I left him for Kindergarten. Is this some weird fight or flight response? A totally unacceptable fight or flight response! Once I unclamped the jaws of my baby velociraptor, I took off. It is never, ever easy to leave your kid screaming in the hallway for you. I held my tears til I got to the sidewalk but it made for a pretty crappy way to start the day. Friday, they all got on the bus and it was James' turn to get agitated. But he got on and that is all that matters. Next week will hopefully be more smooth and I can enjoy some time to get things done around here!

And as a (funny!) side note, their bus driver looks like Dog the Bounty Hunter. I secretly wondered why they couldn't just hire only nice, grandmotherly types. When the bus pulled up to the corner on Friday afternoon, all us parents looked at each other, wondering what on earth was going on. The kids were stomping so loud, in unison, and yelling. When the bus doors opened, we were blasted with a bus load of kids singing 'We will, we will ROCK YOU!!!' and stomping their feet to the beat. It was hilarious. Apparently the bus drive sings on Fridays. He played the harmonica for them when they were waiting in the bus line for the other kids, then taught them the song on the bus ride home. This could make for some exciting Fridays!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bait

Today there was a wretched stench coming from the kitchen. Not the kind where you wonder if there might be a rotten tomato in the bunch, but the kind where you wonder if you might have to evacuate the house. I looked in the trash, and there on the top was a gray slimy mass of ????. As I pondered what it was, I saw something underneath it. A tiny little frog, quite dead and fairly desiccated. I realized then where the gray slime must have come from: Tyler's Bait Box. You see, he has this odd habit of collecting bait. He will find a cicada, or a little frog, or a grasshopper and declare that it would make good bait. Sometimes he pre-baits his hook for say...next week. Because we all know fish are suckers for dehydrated grasshoppers. Apparently he was keeping his little bait box in his room and when he opened it, he must have been overcome by the smell. After dumping it, he put it to soak in the sink. This I discovered when I was tucking them in to bed. At least he was cleaning up after himself? Guess what the new house rule is, folks? No bait in the house, thank you very much!!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Random Pics

 These are the spoils from the garden over a period of 3 or 4 days. Crazy, huh? This summer has been fairly cool and good for gardening, but the tomatoes are ripening sloooowly.
 Taters, beautiful taters!
James and his lego rainbow. Isn't it awesome?! This kid and his grin. I love him!!
 Today we had a picnic on the greenbelt. Tyler brought a 'table' for he and Katie. The stick in the middle is the light. Guess how much time they spent eating before they went hunting for cicada shells and flowers? Like 24 seconds.
 This purdy little thang, she ate about 1/3 of a cantaloupe I bought this morning, or cameloupe, as Tyler calls it.
 And check out these feet. Cute, dirty little painted toes.
 James has been dreaming of having a go-cart of some sort for a long time. We finally rigged something up with the wheels of our defunct wagon. He wants to add a lawn mower engine but that is way above my pay grade.
 A little trick photography for Auntie Rachel...look how big James is!
 Katie has been perfecting her cartwheels.
 I am so proud of her. She has worked and worked to be able to do it.
 Then we picked flowers and I made her a crown.
 She's a peach. That gap? She has NOT lost a tooth yet (she gets asked daily) but with her front teeth wiggling, the gap is getting wider. I asked her yesterday if she wanted me to explain it, or just not say anything when people said she lost a tooth. She wants me to explain it to them.
 Don't let the cuteness fool you! This girl has also got a crazy streak a mile wide.
I wonder where she gets it.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Skunk In The Trunk

So the time has come, trusty blog readers, to tell you what happened to me last week. You know how I recently wrote about my stand-off with the skunk? Well...I can't make this stuff up if I tried but what happened last night makes that look like a walk in the park. It also makes me realize that this year is the year of the skunk under ye olde Groundhog Love Shack, aka The Shed. Lovely.

The story begins when I went to lock up the chickens. I usually lock them up after I put the kids to bed and that is when I close the back door. When I went to lock up the chickens, I stepped from the kitchen to the garage and saw a skunk in the garage! Eek! Fortunately it was just as startled as me and meandered out. I can tell you from all my recent experience that skunks are not in a hurry to go anywhere! They just mosey along at their own pace. But I digress. I slammed the door and came back inside to collect myself and call my sister. I knew she would be amused with my latest rodent story. Once I told her about the skunk, I decided to go back and lock up the chickens. We were still on the phone. I opened the garage door and there before me was another skunk! IN my beach bag, no doubt seeking the remnants of whatever beach snacks were still there. I couldn't believe it and probably let out a shriek in Rachel's ear. The skunk scurried for cover, and I got myself together. Rachel and I vacillated between laughing and proclaiming 'How is this happening?' Rachel also kept asking me if I was sure it wasn't a cat. But no! I know what a skunk looks like and it was, indeed, a skunk. To set the stage, although I have been successful at keeping my garage pretty clean lately, I had just pulled out the kids' school clothes bins, there was a pile o' bikes, and our beach stuff all sitting there making perfect hidey holes for the skunk. I knew I couldn't leave the skunk in the garage overnight, and I certainly didn't want it to spray me or the school clothes, or anything in my garage for that matter. I knew that stinker wasn't coming out on its own, so I slowly poked around the garage looking for the furry little beast. If you are thinking this is a crazy strategy, yes! But leaving a skunk to its own devices in my garage would have bee equally crazy. I didn't have much choice. Once or twice as I was moving stuff, I would see the wretched thing dodge under a new spot. It was like playing Marco Polo with a skunk. At some point in this diabolical game of hide and seek, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. A skunk! Somehow the little terrorist had managed to sneak past me and walked only semi-urgently out the back door. What?! How in the world did the thing manage to get past me?!! Glad it was gone, however, I closed the door and went inside. It was hard to believe that there were not one, but two skunks in my garage. But guess what? There was more noise. You have got to be kidding me! At this point in the conversation, Rachel was postulating that our house was on an ancient Indian burial ground, or that a skunk was my spirit animal...haha. We were also discussing the legitimacy of selling ye olde homestead and moving west. By the way: not a legitimate plan at all. As it turns out, I wasn't crazy! (at least not in this regard) The noise I was chasing was indeed a THIRD skunk, and the one that sneaked out the back was not even the skunk I was pursuing. The third skunk turned out to be the shifty-est of them all. It dodged under the air compressor, but when I looked it was gone! I looked here, there, everywhere. Then I thought I saw it hiding near the garage door, and if I could open the door it would run out. Problem: the skunk was by the door I had to open. I moved slowly so as not to startle it, or get tangled up in the avalanche of bikes. The latch flew open with some intensity which made me even more jumpy. All the while, I am still on the phone with Rachel, alternately laughing and hyperventilating. I slowly slid the door up and no skunk. At this point, I have no idea where it is and no idea what to do. I began carrying everything I could into the driveway. After removing everything I could, I was still at a loss. There were only a few places it could be. Well lucky for me, my flashlight had just broken and the garage light only illuminates half the garage. I went back inside, got a lamp and an extension cord, and used it like a torch to peek in all the corners. Still no skunk! I figured the only place it could be was behind the spare doors that are leaning against the wall. I knew I had to check, but also knew that by getting back there I would be very, very near the skunk. In fact, I smelled it. I just wasn't sure if it was general skunk funk, or 'you are two inches from a skunk' smell. I reached back, pulled the doors up and shined my lamp back there. No skunk! I couldn't believe it. At this point I had pretty much moved everything that wasn't nailed down. We determined that the skunk must have slipped out into the night when I was busy looking for it. Exhausted, I hung up the phone, closed the garage up and tried to settle down. It was something ridiculous like 11:45. I finally fell asleep only to be awakened at 12:15 to the sound of crash! Bang! You have got to be kidding me!!! As it turns out, skunk numero tres was still in the garage and had gotten itself wedged behind the game shelf. In a sleep-deprived stupor I carefully removed the games, as I realized that this was the very spot I had stuck my head to look for it earlier. That smell was definitely telling me I was close. After removing the games, it was free to move but in a panic, it ran behind the paint cans. I hadn't moved these because I thought there was no space behind them. Wrong! I was afraid I would get sprayed if I tried to get the paint cans out, and I wasn't even sure it stayed back there. After the last few hours, I realized that skunks rival David Copperfield in their ability to defy logic and disappear into thin air. It could be anywhere and I didn't have the mental wherewithal to deal with it. I propped the garage door open with a brick, wedged a pole in the track so the door couldn't be opened and went to bed. Come morning, it was gone. Although I pulled everything out to be sure. On a positive note, my garage has never been cleaner! You can keep your eye out for my new show on A&E: Turtle Mom. Live action!!

P.S. The title is a misnomer, but humor me. I like puns.  Trunk = Garage

P.P.S. My mom asked me why on earth was I talking to Rachel the whole time when I had three skunks in my garage. Because it was funny, I told her. Dad chuckled, Mom looked at me like I might have fallen off the turnip truck. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Washed Up

If you are here to read all about my skunk adventures, you shall have to wait another day or two. I haven't yet mustered sufficient enough brain power to write that one down since I was up til 12:15am the other night wrangling striped kitties. Pretty sure the last time I saw 12:15am was when I had babies. Yep, its me, Grandma. So in the meantime, I will tell you about the nifty little treasure that Tyler found washed up on the beach: a prison toothbrush. Tyler found it when he was digging in the sand and I knew exactly what it was...which is weird, because its not like I've been to prison or anything. But I have peoples who have! And I ask lots of annoying questions, like 'how'd you get those prison tattoos?' and 'did you get to make license plates?!' If you are wondering what on earth a prison toothbrush is: here. You have to order them by the 50,000 though, so you better start drumming up arrest warrants now. The prison toothbrush is made with a short stubby handle so that inmates can't carve it into a shiv, or a shank if you will. Which is good, because 'death by toothbrush' doesn't sound like the best way to go out. James asked where it came from, and of course we'll never know. It would make for a great creative writing exercise...Prison Toothbrush on the Atlantic! Somehow I don't think that subject matter would be considered appropriate for an 8 year old...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Beach Day!

On Friday we loaded up Beyonce (our car), picked up my parents and headed for the beach! James declared that it would be the best day ever because we were going to the beach and that on the way home Chappy would stop and get McDonalds for us. How do you know? I asked. Because he always does was the reply. And he did.
I can't say that I got any stellar pictures. None of the kids were interested in getting their pictures taken. Seems they were too busy having FUN! Plus Tyler is some sort of mini-hermit who doesn't want his picture taken so all the ones of him are taken on the sly.
Oops! The little turkey just walked in and saw this...'Deweeeeet it, Mama! I didn't say you could take my picture.'
They had fun jumping the waves, chasing the waves, and picking up copious amounts of seashells.
Not sure what the James man is doing here, but isn't he HUGE!? I am pretty sure he is showing me one of the gazillion seashells he found. Following in the footsteps of my mother, I even collected some to make Christmas ornaments for everyone. I even caught two crabs, and Tyler learned the hard way that Mama wasn't joking around when she said it would pinch!
I even managed to sit down under the umbrella for a few minutes! Ain't it purdy?
Katie had fun burying herself in the sand.
James practiced his handstands, and asked me to take pictures so he could see what he looked like.
He's getting close...all the kids are learning knew skills that require more coordination and strength than before, telling me they aren't babies anymore. (moment of silence)
This kid...he loves a good selfie and so it wasn't hard to convince him to take a picture with me. This is his serious man face.

And we did stop at McDonalds on the way. And we ate cheeseburgers (Rachel!!!) and fries, and at the end, Chappy played the 'I'm the best Chappy EVER' card and bought everyone hot fudge sundaes. Twas a lovely day!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

First Aid Kit

Tyler got a first aid kit for his birthday, a nifty red one that is waterproof and hangs on a carabiner. He was very excited to get it, and almost immediately removed its contents and used it as....a bug habitat. Due to the whole air-tight, waterproof thing it has going on, the bugs had a one way ticket to ye olde Tyler's Bug Haus. He had fun walking around with a mini-caterpillar habitat hooked to his belt loop, but the caterpillar...not so much. In the meantime, he stashed the first aid gear on his shelf and has been playing doctor to various boo-boos ever since. Sometimes they are real, sometimes they require magnification to see. He likes to doctor me up, so I sit on the edge of his bed and search my appendages for anything that could pass as bandaid-worthy. Once I find something, he cleans it up gently with one of his handy-dandy alcohol pads and applies a bandaid, then asks where my next scratch is. I will continue to visit Dr. T's office, unless some smart aleck relative decides to give him a scalpel kit or something...ha! :)

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Fishing With Kids

I believe I have mentioned here before that the kids are a wee bit obsessed with fishing. If they hawd their way we would go every day. Here is a typical rundown of a fishing trip, and I will leave it to you to decide why I don't take them every day.

1. Gather fishing equipment. This includes but is not limited to: laments regarding the lack of sufficient tackle (but Mooooom, I only have 7 hooks!), fights over who gets to (or who has to) carry what, search for suitable footwear, and a last minute realization that one is missing a sinker/hook/whatever. There are also occasional spirited discussions that go along the lines of no, you don't need a treble hook the size of Texas, because you are more likely to catch your sisters scalp with it than an actual shark, which judging by the size of the hook is what its meant for. 

2.  Once all that is finally over, we walk to the creek. About half the time, someone's hook comes loose and catches on their shirt/shorts/hair. There are also sometimes opinionated discussions about which is the best fishing hole, and are they going to use clams, marshmallows or powerbait.

3. We arrive at the fishing hole. I am already done with fishing. Everyone needs bait, and usually someone needs their line untangled. There are squabbles about who gets to fish where. There is the ever-hilarious 'DON'T TALK, YOU'RE SCARING THE FISH!!!!' where the irony of yelling at someone to be quiet is lost.

4. As soon as all three get their poles in the water, someone gets their hook stuck and loses it after yanking with enough force to dislodge a hibernating bear. There is surprise that the line snapped, and a request for another hook. I tie one on, and in the meantime someone catches a fish.

5. Which is usually Tyler, because it makes James really mad when Tyler catches the first fish. Today Tyler's line hadn't even settled when he caught a big one (by our creek's standards). After that, James was hellbent on catching his own.

6. When a fish is caught, there is elation, chaos, and depending on who caught the fish, some sort of fight about holding it, taking the hook out and throwing it back. Also the occasional 'Can we bring it home? It can live in my aquarium!!' to which I reply 'A plastic storage bin is not exactly an aquarium.' For the record, Tyler will remove his own hooks and wrestle any fish. Katie may come in as the next least-squeamish, and James is hit or miss. Usually he lets the mighty T take it off the hook.

7. After removing the hook, I believe that the treatment the fish receives is somewhat akin to waterboarding or some other equally traumatizing event. The fish is passed around, fought over, examined and if its lucky, flops back in before it gets loved to death.

8. By this point, we have already lost approximately 4 more hooks, 3 sinkers, and a good length of fishing line. Katie has given up fishing, instead amusing herself by being the self-appointed 'bait girl' and baiting the boys' hooks, as well as wading in the water to retrieve various shiny bits.

9. At some point I decide that my good humor is running short and announce that we will be leaving in five minutes.

10. This sets off a fury of "I have to catch one more fish or the world will END!!' They have yet to realize that casting and recasting to get their bait in the perfect spot (you know, 2 inches from where they casted in last time...) does not exactly have much street cred with the fish. I mean, I'm not saying fish are the smartest creatures ever, but I am pretty sure seeing an orange blob jump in and out of the water over and over is not a big selling point.

11. We head home, less half a dozen hooks and a little bit of my sanity. I have yet to figure out how to work a nap in after a fishing trip. Somehow it does not seem to wear them out as it does me! :)





Saturday, August 02, 2014

Hello, My Name Is Megan, And I Attract Rodents

There, I said it. I am a rodent magnet. What?! For some strange reason, all manner of varmints congregate in my backyard. If there is any possible way to get into an altercation with one, it will happen to me. There was the time I accidentally trapped a skunk and had to call in Dog the Bounty Hunter's brother-from-another-mother to remove it. There has been the long-standing war between the groundhogs and I. They have left the property in various states of health. There was the time several times I have run into a possum in the dark chicken coop. The time I dropped my flashlight and the possum lunged at me. Are you getting the idea? It happens to ME. So last night should have been no surprise. I went out to lock up the chickens and made some noise to scare away the skunks. I saw none, so I wasn't too worried. I locked the chicken hatch and exited the shed, only to look down and see.....a baby skunk at my feet! What?! I quickly backed away, while it raised its tail and glared at me. If it were not for the fact that it was about to spray me, it might have been cute. But it wasn't. Now I am sure you are wondering why I didn't just run inside. You see, the skunk was about to retreat into the chicken coop which is a wee bit problematic. I knew if it got in there, it would be a heck of a lot harder to deal with, and it would probably spray and the chickens would freak...and....so we had a staring contest. The little skunk raised his tail and just stood there. When it started going into the shed, I made a noise to scare it off. It held its tail even higher. At that point, I considered leaving the chickens to their own devices. Finally in our little game of chicken (ha, ha) the skunk backed away, tail in the air. I lunged for the door, closed it and trucked into the house.

The End