How to Impress Your Father With Your Little House On the Prairie Skills

THE COLDEST WINTER IN VERMONT SINCE 1906

My father said that.  He also said he should have had us fill the oil tank at our house before winter made it IMPOSSIBLE to get a truck close enough.  He said back in September that there was plenty of oil for one winter.

And then my husband built huge fires just because he could and burned a good cord and a half too early.

All of this led to being out of oil more than two months ago and then out of firewood a month ago.  The only available wood was up beside the field, buried in a snow bank and too big to fit in the stove.  My father splits it one sled load at a time and I pile it all in a deep sled and drag it by a rope to the house.  This is how I try to keep the house at 68 degrees if I can.

On this particular day he was laying the electric line to the sugarhouse through the snow and wanted me to take three trips down with wood so that I wouldn’t have to snowshoe over the line and risk cutting it with my snowshoes.

Trip ONE went well.  The sled would start sliding quickly at times and I would jump aside and let it get ahead for a ways.  Got to the house without losing a piece!

Trip TWO was a little more difficult.  It kept sliding onto the backs of my snowshoes but I was able to push it off and keep moving.

Trip THREE was embarrassing.  Dad was done so he was following me.  There was an extra sled up there that needed to be taken back to the house so I grabbed that with one hand.    The sled overtook me again and I did a very ungraceful fall sideways into the snow, landing on top of the other sled and bending it in half.  I didn’t need to turn around to hear him laughing.  Then there is a hard right just before the house into the dog run I had Nick shovel out (another blog post for another time).  I tipped the sled over, lost most of the wood, got my snowshoes stuck turning around, and fell over again.

It’ll be a while before he lets me borrow so much as a shovel.

What a MOM really does when she’s home

My constantly feeling guilty mind likes to tell me over and over that I haven’t done anything useful with my day.  Probably all those conflicting expectations.  Work.  Stay home.  Make money.  Take care of kids.  I have to remind myself every day what I’ve done in order to tell myself that I have not just sat around watching Big Hero 6.

Today I:

  • Dressed and fed children.
  • Walked dog.
  • Shoveled cat shit down a hill so that dog couldn’t get to it.
  • Emptied dishwasher.
  • Cleaned all bedding, mattresses, and stuffed animals in 2 cribs due to cat pee smell.
  • Continued to potty train 3 year old.
  • Fed cats and dog.
  • Mocked teenagers.
  • Spent 3 hours shopping for booster seats and food so I can work tomorrow.
  • Lugged $400 in groceries 150 feet up a snow covered path to the basement from the garage.
  • Put groceries away.
  • Put crib bedding back together.
  • Baked cookies to heat up house.
  • Loaded wood stove 5 times already today.
  • Put dirty dishes in dishwasher, dirty towels, etc. in hamper.
  • Watched a couple of minutes of Big Hero Six from the dining room table where I am typing this.
  • It is not quite 2 p.m.

How to Avoid Getting Gray Hair

Gina has appointed herself the finder of my gray hair.  I do not know the life expectancy of someone who picks through my hair as I sit looking at Facebook and then says WOW MOM.

I had no idea I had gray hair.  I pulled out one on my 40th birthday and thought that was the end of it.  Haven’t seen any more.  Then I realized today that the reason I haven’t seen anymore is that I also NEED BIFOCALS.  I’ve known that for a couple of years now as I take my glasses off to see anything closer than 5 feet away.

Moral of the story is:  No bifocals, no gray hair.  Ignorance truly is BLISS.

Because when I took off my glasses to look at my hair I found a few hundred of the dreaded nasties hiding underneath.  Sneaky little bastards.  I just won’t look again with my glasses off.

How Not to Do a Sunday Family Dinner

I thought having a dinner together every Sunday would be a time to see all my children at the same time and get some last minute bonding done before they all move out and scatter.  It worked well for exactly two weeks.

And then the 18 year old who is superglued to her boyfriend of a couple of months started texting last minute that she would be late.  She missed decorating the Christmas Cookies.  She missed the meal she had asked for, BBQed chicken tenders.  It would seem that her boyfriend’s plans are more important than such things.

So this Sunday when we had already moved the time an hour later for her and then she texted AS I WAS COOKING, I decided to resort to the most passive-aggressive game play I had left.

I texted her “Then I guess you’ll have to miss the ice cream sundaes.”

What?  No!  You have to wait for me.

I felt such joy over her horror that I shared my brilliance with her younger sister who said “We have ice cream?”

Of course not, silly child.  I’m trying to make Emily suffer for being late AGAIN.

As I was describing levels of psychological functioning while eating with the rest of the family they came up with the brilliant plan to make it LOOK like we had already finished the ice cream before she would arrive.  So one decided to microwave strawberry yogurt to look like melted ice cream and the other made a chocolate sauce out of unsweetened cocoa.  Both were laughing maniacally while making a mess of my kitchen and spreading sprinkles on the counters.  Which shows the psychological functioning level of my OTHER children.

SHE ARRIVED with a frown on her face and accusations of us mistreating her on purpose, and demanded money to go buy ice cream to make up for our mistreatment.  After she had refused the dinner I did save for her she continued to frown at me and I just couldn’t help but suggest that she check the downstairs freezer for the ice cream.  Poor gullible child.

For Abrah: To make her feel better

MY DAY SO FAR

  • Teenagers comes in bedroom at 5:45 to tell me school is delayed 2 hours due to ice.  Doesn’t change my schedule but thanks for waking me up.
  • 6:10 Out of bed to shower
  • Make bottle, warm bottle, feed cats, get diapers, find babywipes, make sippy cup and cereal for Jude.
  • 6:45 Eat yogurt with extra fiber.  Gulp down coffee.
  • 7:00 Get babies.  Change, feed.
  • Set up plan for the day with Nick.
  • Ask about weird Christmas card.
  • Check fire because there’s no heat coming out of the vent.  Fire is dead.  Snicker.
  • 8:00 Wake up Gina who argues about the time.
  • 8:05  Wake up Emily who yells that she does indeed have an alarm clock.
  • 8:10 Do dishes, pick up toys.
  • 8:15 Help Gina drag ex boyfriend’s things down the stairs, outside to the car.  3 trips to car.
  • Change 3 poopy diapers, 3 wet diapers, and change one pair of wet pants before 12.
  • Say “Time to potty” and chase child around the house 3 times.
  • Take trash out to can.
  • Do dishes again.
  • Feed baby 2 bottles, and cereal, and a banana and a bagel.  Clean children’s faces 4 times, high chair twice.  Take unknown items from floor 5 times to put in trash before baby eats them.
  • Clean kitty litter.
  • Answer 6 texts from Gina, two from Ellen, 5 from Emily.
  • Cut pepperoni into pieces and place in 4 labelled individual sandwich bags to end constant “She ate it all” whining.
  • Pee once.
  • Answer pretend phone 14 times.
  • Get Jude to say a word 50 times.  He growls in response.
  • Pants fall down twice from baby pulling on them.
  • Sing one holiday song and forget to keep singing halfway through.  Tired.
  • Clean 3 foot long hairs out of bathroom sink while fighting off Jude who wants the spray bottle of cleaner.
  • Brush Jude’s teeth once and wash his hands 3 times.
  • Keep Jude from running over baby with walker toy.
  • Try to convince baby to take a nap and FAIL.
  • Replace tape on entertainment center to keep baby out of drawers after baby pulls tape off to play with it.
  • desitin two butts.
  • Wipe baby boogers twice.
  • Clean banana off baby pants and fail.
  • Talk to Jude using words and sign language with on/off, phone, play, kitty, baby, and rain.
  • Clean kitchen counters and wonder when there will be time to make soup.
  • In free moments IM Abrah.

Not Everyone Has A Haley

I was thinking this morning about all the MOM blogs out there and how we’re all so bored and starved for attention, more attention than the 30 seconds of excitement when the WIC guy comes to the door and how just like every other blog mine is.  AND THEN I REALIZED THAT NOT EVERYONE HAS A HALEY.

Haley is 19 now and lives in Newport, half an hour from my house.  I thought this might not be far enough away but her car is constantly broken so she never comes here.

However, I enjoy calling her at various times throughout the day so she can say things like this:

I only have two bras and I can’t find either one! I can’t go work at the daycare with my boobs hanging out.

Someone hit my car and the tire fell off.

It’s 5 degrees and we still have no heat or hot water.

There’s Jesus wallpaper in my closet and I’m leaving it there because I HAVE A JESUS CLOSET!

I have to get my car fixed so you drive here, drive my car to the shop down there, come back to drive me to work, come back to pick me up and then go get my car and bring it here.

There’s a man named JRO living under my bed.

If I can’t pay my fine and they suspend my license and then fine me double, that’s okay.

I have one shoe.

I have one pair of pants (I’ve bought her at least 5 this year).

My hair is BLUE, PINK, BLACK, BLONDE, back to it’s natural color.

I called every oral surgeon and no one answered,

There are feral cats in the basement.

There’s a ghost in my room named Sister who sits in the corner and cries.

She was shaking the bed.

I have a DOG, HEDGEHOG, KITTEN, CHINCHILLAS, GUINEA PIGS, PIG, COW, MOOSE, BEDBUGS.

The cat peed on MY DIRTY LAUNDRY, CLEAN LAUNDRY, MIDDLE OF MY BED.

I am losing my hair, my feet go numb, my jaw in infected, I have panic attacks, I can’t breathe.

I want to go to this college, that college, this one over here, I’m going to live on the street now.

And the most frequent text:  I’m done.

Done what?  I’m not sure because she doesn’t seem to be done doing anything.  I do hope one day she uses this brilliance to make something of herself.  Maybe she should be the one blogging because her life is so much more interesting than mine.  If only she hadn’t broken her laptop, phone, Ipod, laptop, phone, phone, Ipod.

What to do when your TEENAGER sneaks out at night

Emily is 18.  I kept her back a grade way back in grade school when her dyslexia and the school’s inability to help her made it necessary.  I freely admit she could pack a bag and move out, but I asked her to stay at home her senior year to have some stability, get some sleep, and keep up her grades.  She agreed.  She has a new boyfriend and she spends most of every weekend at his house.  I don’t ask.

Then he got an after school job until 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday.  I started finding a note in the kitchen every morning “I went out to breakfast before school with Jake.”  The first day it seemed normal enough, but on the third day I began to question this.  It was her younger sister who pointed out that she might be sneaking out when he gets off work and staying at his house.

Information is gold.  How could I use this to my advantage. I didn’t want her to stop working so hard to sneak out.  It took some effort to get out of the creaky house, down the driveway, past the Grandparents’ house.

On the third morning I called her before school and she somehow answered the phone without knowing she had so I listened, as any mom would, for half an hour before she discovered it was on and turned it off.  I heard “Oh, it’s really nice outside” as she opened the door of his house and looked out for the first time.  Confirmation that we were right.

So I came up with a plan:

Part A:  Sabotage.  Hide shows.  Vaseline doorknobs.  Marker doorknobs.  Hide backpack.  Stay up late watching movies.

Part B:  Pile on affirmations of being such a good daughter, being so honest and respectful.  Lay it on thick.  Make her lie more.  Make her feel guilty.

It’s really too bad she figured it out in 2 days.  I was having such a good time.

Even if she was jumping off the deck instead of using the doors.