Monday, May 28, 2012

Best retort of the holiday weekend

Winton, to Clara, at the culmination of a long argument:
"Well, I have a bigger butt than you."

Claraism du Jour

It's good you're not so angry this time about the dog throwing up on the couch.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

News briefs

So, here are today's events, paired with the things that make me panicky.

1) a) Robin's nest in tree a mere 4 feet from our window !
    b) Tree grows up through power lines and when the wind blows stretches them scarily from side to side and should be radically pruned but now can't be because of the robins.  And I'm afraid of the power lines snapping.  And I have remnants of Poltergeist-y fears about blowing tree branches in storms at night.

2) a) The cats seem to have recovered from the fleas.
    b)  The dog, despite pesticides, is still covered in fleas, scratching like a maniac and spreading fleas through the house, and likely back to the cats, and I'm running out of pesticides.

3) a)  There's new mold on the wall in the basement bathroom.
    b) It's there because the basement shower leaks, as it always has done, and we haven't been able to afford to fix it, or the upstairs bathroom, since we've moved in and OMG the amount of money time and work needed to right the bathrooms, walls and backyard of our house is gobsmacking: the whole thing is impossible and we shall go bankrupt and the end is nigh.

4) a)  The car is pulling more and more strongly to the right.
  b) Car problems, like house problems, tend towards the apocalyptic AND when I went for our last oil change I snottily declined having the tires rotated, and now they need to be rotated and god knows what else is wrong with the car and god knows what the mechanic will say to make me feel like an idiot for not having the tires rotated last time we went.

There isn't a pair for this last one:
On drop-off at preschool, I was taken aside by Winton's teacher and told that "One of the parents" had concerns that my son was "Touching" their child.  "Touching how?"  I asked.  Seems my son likes to stroke some other child's face, lovingly.  Teacher was careful not to reveal the identity of the complainant.

What the hell am I to say about that?  My son is demonstratively affectionate and someone complains?  He didn't hit, bite or spit.  He didn't touch anywhere inappropriate (which was a relief: when the teacher said "touching" I had thought "Oh god").  Winton likes to touch someone's face, gently.  And they have complained.   What the hell?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oh, the compulsively itchy days of spring

Sunday: four hours cleaning cockroach carcasses out of the high, hidden, and dark places in our kitchen (the places I have avoided for 6 years because I feared they were full of cockroaches, and carcasses).

Monday: the day the dog's flea meds failed and the dog scratched himself raw.

Tuesday: This email from the children's preschool:
"Several children have head lice.  Please check your child's head.  You may not see the lice but may find small, white eggs (nits) attached to hair shafts  on the back of the neck and behind the ears.  They may look like dandruff but are not easily removed.  You may want to check with your child's doctor for suggested treatments.  Bed linens should be washed.  Items that cannot be washed should be placed in a plastic bag for two weeks.  Good luck!  I hope that we can get rid of them quickly."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Yes, my children do watch TV

They are big fans of our Netflix subscription on Roku.  A current favorite in high rotation is a cartoon film about the children of the Avengers (Captain America's son, and The Panther's and the Wasp's, along with Thor's daughter).  The Avengers' children challenge Ultron.

Anyway, the kids get to watch this in the morning (while Husband is madly getting ready for work, and I am assembling breakfast and feeding it to them). I sit down and join them when I am done and when my own breakfast is ready. 

The result is that I see parts of this movie almost every day.  And almost every day I am shocked to see that there are parts of it I have never seen before.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Claraism du jour

Clara: "Mummy, do you know what I think of when I think of roly-polies?"
Me: "Nope.  What do you think of?"
Clara: "Love."

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's day poster

In Clara's classroom, a poster showing what each child said about her/his mother.

Children said things like:
"She tickles me"
"She's pretty"
"She makes us cake"
"She let's us watch TV after 5 o'clock"

Clara said: "She puts on my shoes just right"

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Curious Incident of the Calico Cat

Yeah, so, this is a post about Pepita.  If you're not here for strange cat tales, please tune in another day.

A year ago, this happened and then this.  To recap in brief:  A year ago, while out walking the kids and dog, we found a small calico cat, and she followed us home.  We didn't take her in.  And then she followed us home again a few days later and I felt bad, so in she came, disrupting the delicate feline equilibrium of our household and resulting in what has been a year long territorial dispute (urine fest) between her and our other female cat (now incarcerated in Husband's room on a permanent basis and bitter about it).  In the early days, I tried to find Pepita's owners.  Her microchip led us to a man who had recently died and whose wife (?) informed us grumpily before abruptly hanging up on me that her son was supposed to be looking after the cat.  And posters in the neighborhood advertising the loss of a cat who was the spitting image of Pepita led us to a very nice chef, who assured us Pepita was not in fact her cat. 

The chef's lost cat was named Sorrell.

This morning, while walking the dog and kids, we cut down the alley behind Juniper street to check on the progress of the fig tree we like to poach from (its branches overhang the alley, so I figure fruit there is "public access").  Today, about half way down the alley there was a man in his yard, in his PJs, with a bassett hound wearing a blue T shirt (yes, the dog is wearing the shirt):

"Hey look, a beagle!" he announced loudly to his dog.
"Actually, beagle-bassett mix" I clarified, pausing.

Dog-related chit-chat ensued, with interruptions from Winton ("Mummy, I want that man to ask what my name is").

A cat appeared behind the man: small, calico.

"Oh!"  I said "We have matching animals! We have a calico cat at home too."
"Her name is Sorrell," said the man.


Turns out that a year ago, after a month of looking for her, and then giving up, Chef and Man got a call from someone in Owings Mills saying that they had found their cat.  This seemed so unlikely, given that the cat (and today's conversation about her) happened near the intersection of York and 39th in the city (Baltimore city, btw), and Owings Mills is about a 25 minute drive away, if you take the highways.  Owings Mills finder said "Well, we got your number from Sorrell's collar, which she is currently wearing."

Sorrell, when retrieved, was clean and well-fed, as though someone had been looking after her for a month, not as if she had been living at the Owings Mills light rail station where she turned up.

What the hell?

1) It's an odd coincidence to have this conversation almost exactly a year after I had met Sorrell's other owner, Chef.

2) Do you think there's a chance that Sorrell (an indoor-outdoor cat) wandered off, was abducted by dead man's son (Pepita's heroin-addled  and reluctant caretaker, or so I imagine), and did he take a month to realize that the cat was wearing a collar indicating someone else as owner?  Did he drop her off in Owings Mills rather than call Chef and Man, after a month of feeding the animal, to admit he had mistaken their cat for his (father's) cat?

Pepita herself has been noteworthy in the last 24 hours.  I have always assumed that mother cats teach kittens where to pee, and that if adult cats transgress, it is by choice.  But there was always the possibility that Pepita's past involved being removed from her mother early, perhaps.  Who knows?
I recently acquired another new litter box (we have 7 now), and more fresh litter, and last night I dug around in the box, hopefully, with a scoop, while Pepita watched . . . and then she climbed into the box, peed, and looked at me quizzically, waiting for approval or approbation.  Much praise ensued.
Apparently this cat needs to be potty trained, and is somewhat willing.  It's taken me a year to figure that out.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Winton, naked butt

Mommy. Mommyy! MOMMY!
Watch my naked butt run!
and, and, and,
Watch my naked butt run backwards!

Friday, May 4, 2012

End of Semester

Last day of classes yesterday.  English department party (which I organize) this afternoon.  Husband home to help with kids b/c I have to deal with party.  But right now: no classes.  And it feels weird.  It should feel good, but I am riddled with the insecurities that come when I step out of routine.

Here's the email I recently sent to Husband:

Weird day . . . transition times are always a bit disorienting and I feel esp off kilter just now.
Tea and Hunger Games for a bit, I think.

Hope your day is going well.  Not bad out right now--supposed to be foul later (hot and wet).

Clara will be mad at me b/c she was talking to Gaia and so didn't see my car drive away.  She usually waves.  Oh the guilt!


From email, I went to reading Facebook and a post someone had shared about marriage.  Now I am concerned that I am terrible in bed and am consequently destroying my marriage.

Garh.  Time to drink that tea and go back to (re)reading The Hunger Games (which is actually work, when paired with the stack of inter-library loan books on my desk about the USAF, military psychology, military ethics, and Air Force base protocols).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"I have a surprise for you"

"I have a surprise for you!"  is Winton's typical announcement when he has peed or pooped in his potty, delivered in excited tones in anticipation of my delight at his achievement.

Yesterday afternoon I met him at preschool and he greeted me with "I have a surprise for you!" 

Uh-oh, I thought.  Where'd he poop?  Surely not in his cubby?  If in the class toilet, surely someone will have flushed by now so . . .?

Winton ran to his cubby and dragged out a small, wilted buttercup: "I picked for you, Mummy!  As a surprise!"

My (butter)cup of pleasure overfloweth.  My son is the sweetest little man in the world.