Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Moving Experience

Right now, we're in the middle of another move. Why? Good question. I'm beginning to think we're just the kind of people who see the opportunity to experience prolonged and profound chaos and say, "SIGN. US. UP."

Now, for those keeping count, this is the second move in two years. And if you're wondering if two years is really long enough to forget the horror, let me assure you, it is not. And yet, it became quite clear this evening, that Hubs is under the impression that this whole moving thing? Completely new to me.

Tonight, Hubs informed me that he's been storing boxes in the garage. Not just any boxes, but the good copier paper boxes of which I am so very fond for moving purposes.

"Ok," he tells me, leading me into the garage, "Here are the boxes. These are all empty, so use these."

"The empty ones?"


"And this is something you feel you need to specify?"

"I just want you to know which boxes to use."

"That's very sweet. Ok..let me see if I have this straight. You'd like me to use the boxes that don't have anything in them as opposed to the ones I've already packed things in? Is that right?"

"Well, I just don't want you to haul a box all the way upstairs and then realize it's already full."

"I see. So, if I notice a box is really heavy, and I haul it upstairs anyway because I, for whatever reason, assume that in this case the heaviness means something OTHER THAN THE BOX ISN'T EMPTY, what should I do then? WHAT?!"

Wish us luck.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Doused and Drenched Dignity (Yes, I've posted this one before.)

With the brief appearance of Spring, Hubs and I have once again been discussing what to do with the yard. Or if we should even HAVE a yard, given his lack of time and my propensity for killing all living things under my care. (How Son has survived this long is a mystery to us all.) Whatever we do, we'll have fun, which reminded me of this particular event I wrote about a few years ago. (Hey, Summer's coming. Time for re-runs!)

Doused and Drenched Dignity

I’m well aware that one shouldn’t marry a man believing that one can “change” him. So, when I say that I’ve had my husband under my personal care for intensive humor rehabilitation, I don’t really see it as trying to change him. Instead, I am merely trying to help him achieve his full potential. Don’t get me wrong, one of Hubs' most attractive qualities is his sense of humor. He’s a great connoisseur of the ironic and the absurd. However, he’s also a dignified and rather reserved man. Although he is capable of silliness in the privacy of his own home he does his best
to maintain his dignity in the presence of others. Considering who his wife is, this has actually been quite an accomplishment. Our neighbors have known Hubs all his life and until recently believed Hubs to be a cool, collected young man; serious and sober; a paragon of propriety. For most of his life, that’s exactly what he was. Then one day, he met me and life for Hubs has never been the quite the same.

I am pathologically incapable of maintaining the facade of decorum for longer than a few hours at a time. It’s not always deliberate, but I generally manage to trip, fall or somehow create an embarrassing or awkward situation. Sometimes I simply think of something humorous and begin laughing for reasons that are apparent to absolutely no one else. Hubs just shrugs indulgently, and continues whatever he is doing in his usual perfectly proper comportment.

The recent public unveiling of Hubs' silly side began, as is so often the case in these matters, with the highly hilarious job of mowing the lawn. Hubs, Son and I have developed a routine when it comes to lawn care. Hubs does the edging and trimming, I perform the arduous chore of driving around on the riding lawn mower (no sacrifice is too great when it comes to maintaining our yard, you know) while our son uses the leaf blower to remove the clippings from the sidewalks and driveway.

As I was doing my part, I noticed that despite the fact that we have asked Son countless times to put his “Super Soaker” water-gun in the garage when he’s not using it, the toy had been left on the lawn. Dire consequences have been threatened if this violation occurred again. So, I did what any responsible mother would do; I picked it up and took it behind the house to fill it. This particular water gun is approximately the size of Mickey Rooney, so it was a little difficult to conceal as I drove the lawn mower to the front of the house. Fortunately Hubs was dutifully focusing on making sure our lawn was perfectly edged. He never saw me coming. As soon as I was within range, I aimed and opened fire, dousing my husband from head to toe. He scarcely reacted, unless you count the look of censure and disapproval he directed at me. Realizing that Hubs was not amused with my attempt at levity, I did the only thing I could. I turned around, and retreated to the back of the house to reload.

As I returned to the front yard to continue my attack on Hubs' dignity, it occurred to me that he might get angry. But I am nothing if not dedicated to the task of getting him to lighten up. I realized when I turned the corner, that the edger was lying on the sidewalk. As I contemplated the implications of this development, I realized Hubs was in the garage, the big coward. As if that would deter me from my mission. I was caught completely off guard when from the dark interior of the garage came a forceful stream of water from the garden hose. I was shocked and stunned. He actually turned the hose on me. I beat a hasty retreat to regroup.

I realized I was at a distinct disadvantage since the lawn mower is only slightly less noisy than a Grateful Dead concert. After considering my options, I chose to hire the services of a mercenary. Fortunately, ten-year old mercenaries are easily bought. For the price of three cookies and an extra half-hour of Nintendo privileges, Son filled his spare water gun and went around one side of the house, while I acted as a decoy by driving around the other side. As I
predicted, Hubs was waiting for me. He turned the hose on me again, but this time, rather than retreating, I pressed bravely onward driving directly at him. It was like a bizarre game of “chicken”. He kept waiting for me to swerve; I kept waiting for him to duck into the garage. Frankly I felt fairly certain that I had an advantage being on a small vehicle complete with sharp, whirling blades. I have to give Hubs credit, though. He stood his ground. At least he did until he was attacked from behind.

After that, it became a free-for-all. Hubs managed to completely drench both Son and me. Then Son, who will not receive full payment for his services, turned traitor and joined Hubs in driving me from the lawn mower. Once I was unseated and vulnerable, Hubs and Son both put all their efforts into making sure I was drenched and defeated.

I realized I had no choice but to surrender. As I opened my mouth to utter the words that had never before crossed my lips – “You win”– Hubs turned on the leaf blower, moved to a huge pile of grass clippings and successfully covered me from head to toe in freshly cut grass.

It was at about that point that I noticed we were being watched. The commotion in our sedate little neighborhood had evidently prompted the neighbors to investigate. I also noticed that we weren’t receiving the customary covert glances our neighbors generally employ. Even the neighbors across the street had come to a standstill and were watching with dropped jaws and wide eyed stupefaction. For a brief moment, I wondered how Hubs would react to the realization that his decorous cover had been so thoroughly blown. He simply laughed, and proceeded to cover me with more grass.

I have never been more proud.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Someday He'll Need Therapy

Years ago, Hubs and I came to the conclusion that we will never again be able to speak to each other with any degree of privacy unless we actually have evidence that Son is at least 20 miles away. Even then we're careful. Son has also become more careful over the years. He no longer sits and eavesdrops in locations where he's likely to fall asleep and tumble down the stairs. Now he stands in the shadows in the hall.

It's somewhat difficult for me to fathom why a child who acts like he's being put through physical and mental torture every time we speak to him still feels he has a right to be informed of our every thought and word, but I've found as long as we're not addressing HIM, we have his undivided attention.

And so this morning, on this most glorious of all holidays, we decided to make this work for us.

Hubs and I went downstairs and began a conversation about Son's school performance. This is not a topic Son particularly enjoys discussing. In fact, he tells us the very subject causes his ear drums to melt, which is a problem because his brain is then in danger of just rolling right out of his head.

It's a chance we're prepared to take.

Right on schedule we hear Son making his way to the kitchen.

"...and so his counselor says if we want to, we can put him in that program and maybe he can be caught up by the end of the year," I begin.

"Hmm. Well it sounds like a good idea. Kind of a pain having to get up that early on Saturdays though." The sound of Son's sharp intake of breath assures us our unseen audience is paying attention.

"Yeah, I know. 6 a.m. is even earlier than he normally gets up on school days. Still, if we do this we can avoid summer school."

"I guess we can alternate taking him. That way we can each sleep in every other Saturday." I grin and give Hubs a thumbs up. Sleeping in on Saturday is something very close to Son's heart.

I continue, "There may be a solution that will work for both of us. His counselor said if we're within the boundaries, he can take the bus."

"On Saturday?"

"Well...it's not the, uh, regular bus."

At this, Son can take no more. "WHAT?!? You're sending me to school on the short bus? On a Saturday??" I look at him reprovingly. "I'm sorry. But still, Mom! I'll get teased!"

"Oh, I don't think so. You're going to be going so early no one will be around."

"What do you mean 'early'? What are you talking about? They don't have school on Saturday!"

"Eavesdropping, were you?"

"I can't help it if I overhear you. You were talking about ME."

"Son, when we're talking TO you, you don't listen. Why do you care now?"

"I am NOT going to school on Saturday. I don't want to."

"Funny, I don't recall asking you if you want to."


"Son, you had a choice at the beginning of the year. You made the choice not to turn in your homework. And yes, you have a right to make that choice. Unfortunately, the consequence that is attached to that choice is your loss of freedom on Saturdays until school's out."


"It's out of my hands, Son. Your choice, your consequence."

"But...for how long? How long do I have to do this?"

"Until school's out."

"That's three months away!"

"No, actually, it's just two."

"March, April..." The light began to dawn. "MOM!!! It's April. April first." Relief and irritation warred. Relief won.

Then came the anticipated threats of retaliation.

"When I get home I am SO going to get you for this," he promised.

We're not worried. We're safe inside the house. Particularly after I have the locks changed today.

Time to update?

So where have I been this time? Good question. For the past year, most of my good stories have been work-related and thus off limits for public consumption. A pity, since my eyes have rolled so much in the last couple of years that I'm no longer certain they're actually attached to anything.

I've also been busy trying to retain my oh-so-fragile grip on sanity while trying to prevent Son from becoming an 8th grade drop-out. He tells me I'm "squashing (his) dreams" of becoming a software tycoon at the age of 13. Perhaps. On the other hand, he's squashing MY dream of not having him living in our basement when he's 40. So, you know, fair's fair.

A few weeks ago, Hubs and I decided Son needs me more than the company does, and thus I am free at last! Well, if staying home, doing laundry, cooking meals, cleaning house and spending hours arguing the finer points of homework completion constitutes freedom. And for me, it does.

So as promised, I have returned. Look out. I've got stories.