For the first time in the history of, well, me, I have all of our Christmas decorations up AND IT’S STILL NOVEMBER. Generally the deed trails on long into December, and I’m tripping over decorations boxes for weeks.
Not so anymore. I spent one dedicated day to putting the tree up, with the help of two reluctant elves who were grounded and had nothing better to do. I also decided to simplify. I’m not putting the Christmas village up this year.
Jensen nearly had a heart attack at this intel, because he looks forward to the dinosaurs overtaking the village and dining on hapless villagers.
I did set him loose on the manger, but I drew the line at giving him the baby Jesus (who makes a surprise appearance on Christmas morning). The dinosaurs destroyed the manger, and wise men were scattered near and far. I pried two baby sheep out of a T-Rex’s jaws and declared the manger off limits. It now sits atop the kitchen counter where I can gaze upon it as I slave over dinner.
But something is amiss, I fear.
The biggest time saver this year is the application of the outdoor lighting. No more climbing up precarious ladders. We have discovered the joys of “laser lighting.” Recently one of our camping friends brought this to light up the forest. Spectacular. Hardly any of the camping boys lost the use of their eyes when staring into the laser beam.
Behold, the front of our house. Okay, this is not really our house. But it’s what it would look like. If the yard were well kept. And it belonged in a magazine.
And the Starshower Laser Light is portable. I can move it to the backyard during bonfires. Or to freak out the wildlife in the nature preserve. It’s available at Walmart for right around $40. WORTH IT.
Fiddledaddy was quizzed by a neighbor who was concerned by the number of electrical outlets needed. ONLY ONE, MR. GRISWOLD.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I wrote this today thinking it might be inappropriate for Thanksgiving. But I think I’ve reached the age wherein I’m totally okay with All The Inappropriate. And besides, it may be a slight step up from past Thanksgiving posts that I’ve re-posted. And with that, I will bid you a Happy Thanksgiving!)
My elderly father-in-law recently went through rehab after a fall. Fiddledaddy’s siblings all set about the task of doing what they can to make him as comfortable as possible while living at home. He is a stubborn New Yorker who transplanted to Florida in the 1960’s with his bride and 4 children. In that home, two more children were added and a lifetime of memories were made.
It is understandable that he wants to live out his days in that sweet house.
One of the more globe-trotting of the siblings purchased and installed a bidet in PopPop’s bathroom. To make that area of his life a little easier. Enough said. And if you are unsure of what a bidet is, just let Dr. Mercola explain what our European cousins already know.
At first there was a good deal of chatter among the siblings, but one by one they all filtered over to PopPop’s house for a close-up inspection of the bidet. Most scoffed, “It’s all well and good until one of the great grandchildren use it as a drinking fountain.” I just hope I’m there for that.
Fiddledaddy went nearly immediately to Amazon.com and purchased a bidet for our Master Bath.
At first I was dubious. Change is hard, after all. But I’m nothing if not adventurous. But let me just give you a word of warning: keep the dial set to “low” for beginners. I do not need to elaborate. I’ve heard stories of fancy bidets that warm the water and then offer a gentle blow dry. I say nay. To the basic bidet model, I give a hearty WOOHOO.
Sing with me, in the key of C, “Sweet mystery of life at last I’ve found you.”
Then he purchased a bidet for the kid’s bathroom. Hoping above all hopes to cut down on the amount of toilet paper my son blows through. I’m certain that many forests have been felled needlessly.
The girls pretend it doesn’t exist. Jensen thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Until a certain sister sets it to “girl mode” just to mess with him.
I don’t know, maybe it goes back to his toilet obsession of long ago. But the kids spends a lot of time in the bathroom. A LOT OF TIME. We know he’s still alive in there only because of the constant singing, and occasional roaring. We’re hoping the installation of the bidet lessens his time in the bathroom. Hope springs eternal. However, I fear it could have the opposite effect.
But Houston, we have a problem.
Fiddledaddy is so proud of his bidet installations, he has forbid anyone in the house from ever using the toilet as a receptacle for vomit.
Think about that for a moment.
It’s not like, once you feel the urge to let loose, you have a lot of time to think about, hmmmm, what shall I use instead?
The sink? The floor? My hands?
I DON’T THINK SO.
Since Jensen is still dealing with nausea from his ear infection, I had to tap into my inner-Pinterest and gave him a 6 gallon paint bucket lined with a large black trash bag. It has a wide open mouth to collect deposits and would be a snap to clean up by wrapping it closed and applying the lid when the deed is done. Thusly ensuring freshness. I think it will work, that is, if he actually HITS the opening.
It’s a conundrum that I will need to ponder prior to flu season. I’m guessing that if Fiddledaddy is the first to succumb to the flu, all bidet bets will be off.
In the meanwhile, I promise not to discuss vomit for a very very long time. Pinky swear.
Bidet stories, I’m sure, will be fair game. Any other bidet converts?
Jensen had been complaining of ear pain and nausea. The ear pain went away, but the nausea continued. It’s hard to know when to take him seriously, because of all 3 children, he is the most prone to DRAMA FOR THE SAKE OF DRAMA.
And if you knew the other two children, you’d be all WHOA WOMAN, and then you’d offer me an afternoon cocktail.
Anyhoo. One fateful evening, Jensen alerted his father that he needed to throw up. He goes to his father because everyone knows that mommy + vomit = mommy driving quickly away in the van. Alone.
Fiddledaddy had Jensen sitting on the side of the bathtub poised over the toilet. A fateful mistake. As I quickly passed the bathroom, I thought to myself, “he needs to have the kid’s head down in the toilet.” Of course I said nothing because I know better than to give unsolicited advice when it comes to matters of vomit.
And then I heard it. Followed by “JENSEN!….AIM.” Another round, and then another, “DUDE!…AIM.” There was fear in Fiddledaddy’s voice. As the girls procured Viva extra strength paper towels, vinyl gloves, and a large garbage bag, I busied myself in the garage concocting a strong solution of bleach and water with a few drops of Orange Essential Oil for those of us with heightened olfactory senses.
As I dared to enter the house with mop and bucket in hand, a pale Fiddledaddy caught me up to speed.
Evidently, as the boy was sitting on the edge of the tub, he reared his head BACK (in true dinosaur form) and let loose with a week’s worth of groceries, all while roaring and shaking his head back and forth. And then he repeated the performance.
Very little actually made it into the toilet.
We are going to have to re-paint. Or maybe move.
Even though this was an isolated episode, he still continued to complain of nausea. I suspected an inner ear infection. A trip to Urgent Care confirmed my suspicions. His complaints have lessened after a round of antibiotics.
On Friday we were treated to a fantastic Revolutionary War guest speaker at a small co-op we attend on Fridays. About mid-way through, Jensen came up to me in a small voice, “Mom, do you think it would be okay if I throw up in Mrs. Brandon’s house?” This after a snack of Patriotic Parfait (red jell-o, white cool whip, and blueberries).
I thought it best if we made a hasty retreat. Good co-ops and wonderful friends are hard to come by.
I’m happy to report that no vomit entered the fray.
When I lived in Los Angeles, I had a full set of cast iron cookware that I had procured from an estate sale. It’s not that I was all that adept at cooking, but I loved the vintage look and feel of all-iron skillet ware.
And since I was single and living alone in Los Angeles, I justified the purchase as double usage cookware/weaponry.
It was fortunate that I never broke a toe.
After I married, I lugged the set of iron cookware with me, wherein it began to get some real use as I attempted to keep another person fed and alive. I loved that set.
Alas, when we moved from California to Florida, every pound counted, so the cast iron cookware had to go.
I’ve dearly missed it, especially this time of year when I have cornbread on my mind.
Imagine my delight when Walmart began carrying The Pioneer Woman’s dishes and cookware. So this last weekend I happily threw this into my cart.
Her brightly colored display makes me smile every time I pass it in the store. I’ve been a fan since she first started blogging. I want to take whatever vitamins she takes to have THAT MUCH ENERGY.
Recently we traveled from Florida to the outskirts of San Antonio for a long overdue visit with my dad and step-mom. One of the perks of visiting the grandparents, are the grandbirds. My children adore them. In a bid to ease their empty nest, over the years my dad and step-mom have taken on the care of various types of small birds. They are extremely tame since they have been hand fed since bursting out of their respective eggs.
You might say that they rule the roost, as it were. They sit at the dinner table, and eat ice cream from spoons. Which can give them the scoots. And they are not house broken. Nay. This is why I always pack a canister of clorox wipes and make liberal use of them prior to setting the table for dinner.
Cooking duties happily fall squarely on my shoulders whenever I visit, and I know that a home cooked meal is appreciated by my dad and step-mom, who are both not in great health. A horrible by-product of getting older is that your parents get even older. These thoughts make me wish I lived closer so that I could help them more.
Right after we arrived, my first job was to peruse the pantry, refrigerator, and outside freezer to determine what I had on hand for dining options. My dad and step-mom are of the generation that pretty much saves every scrap of food. Poking around in their stuffed-to-the-gills freezer is often a flash back in time. Although nothing is dated (except for an occasional expired expiration date), there is packaging that I’m quite certain belongs to companies long since dissolved.
But because I have a deep and abiding passion for food, this process is like a trip to Disney World for me.
I began poking around in the top section of the freezer moving aside the frost bitten corndogs. There, perched atop the ice cream bars was a nondescript brown paper bag. I peered inside and saw something wrapped in a paper towel. I felt of it, but decided there was not enough to it to be deemed a protein source (or even a good snacking opportunity), so I crammed it back into the small open space at the top of the freezer shelf.
Just then I hear my father’s voice waft out into the garage, “DON’T BOTHER THE BROWN PAPER BAG!”
“There’s a dead bird in there.”
I recoiled from the freezer.
“THERE’S A DEAD BIRD IN THE FREEZER?”
“WHY IS THERE A DEAD BIRD IN THE FREEZER?”
My dad, who has never been ruffled by my hysteria calmly replied, “We can’t decide whether to have it stuffed or cremated.”
“CREMATED? WHERE? LIKE IN THE FIRE PLACE?” He chuckled (like I was the crazy one) and moved on.
Okay. So there was a dead bird interred in the garage freezer. Atop the Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. Allrightythen.
I decided to plan my menu from fresh ingredients procured from the local grocery store, so I headed over to my dad’s desk for a pad of paper and pen. I looked up to see my dad’s favorite bird, Jeffy, perched on a branch staring down at me. Not blinking. Ever.
Wait. “Dad? ISN’T JEFFY DEAD?”
“Yes, remember? We had him stuffed.”
As opposed to flash frozen.
I forgot. Jeffy met with an untimely death when he miscalculated the distance from the wall to the door a couple of years ago. And so he now sits, watching over all who enter the room.
Not at all creepy.
If you’ve ever wondered why I may be a candidate for psychological study, wonder no more. This is just a small glimpse into my upbringing.
And why I cannot ever watch Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds without running for cover screaming MY EYES, MY EYES.
I’m almost afraid to jinx it, but I’m proud to say that I’ve nearly gotten Emme successfully through her first year of high school. With little to no trauma. At least on my part.
I was able to outsource Science to our beloved weekly Co-op. I don’t do Junior or Senior High Science. Or really even elementary Science.
I am seriously blessed as a homeschool mom to be part of a Co-op that meets once weekly. My girls have been able to take those classes that I’ve felt I’m inadequate to teach well (Science, Literature, Foreign Language, Art, and History). (For the record, I did teach them all to read, so KUDOS TO ME. ) The tutors are outstanding and this group meets all of our academic, social, and dissecting needs.
Emme has been taking Apologia Biology from a very gifted and wonderful tutor. She has a heart for teaching and for her students. And speaking of heart, her classes are well known for the dissection component of Science labs. I really have no idea where she gets this stuff, but she comes in weekly with coolers loaded with all manner of fun dissecting options.
I only know that I’m going to do my best to remain on her good side.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of carting some of Emme’s teenaged girlfriends home from Co-op. I’m often privy to some lively conversations. This day did not disappoint. It seems that the Anatomy class had been dissecting pig’s hearts (plural) in the church kitchen. I will attest to this as I accidentally wandered through the kitchen earlier in the day and witnessed the aftermath of the gruesome crime scene. The stainless steel kitchen island was still covered in blood. I made a hasty retreat, and hoped that the pastor wasn’t in the mood to come in to make a sandwich.
Emme and her girlfriends had to enter the kitchen area to wash off their paint brushes after their art class. “I looked down and there was a bucket of BLOOD on the floor,” I overheard between squeals as they relived their afternoon discovery. I should note that all gag reflexes were fully operational.
If only their discussions of BOYS were littered with the same disdain.
And then it happened. Emme’s Biology tutor announced an upcoming frog dissection. The dissections had at this point been relocated to the great outdoors. I happened to be loitering on campus and was able to stroll by every so often. Emme was as green as her frog. Kind of a putty green.
That’s my daughter in the red bandana. Please take note of her expression as her tutor describes the frog’s entrails. The photograph is slightly blurred because the photographer may or may not have been stifling a giggle.
It’s those little parenting moments that make it all worth while.
I’m considering putting her into Anatomy class next year. I’m really hoping that her tutor can produce a cadaver. Just the thought of that will be enough to get me through the entire homeschooling year.