May 31, 2013

the time our house exploded

Once upon a time, last friday at 3:00 in the afternoon, my house exploded.  Kind of.  It all happened like this (imagine that your vision is suddenly going into wavy lines and you hear a harp as I take you into my flashback):

I was letting Two Bits have a sleepover.  Which is huge.  Because I am anti-all-things-sleepover.  But one of her best friends is moving, and she's never had best friends before, plus her birthday is coming up in a little over a month, and her other party idea was buying everyone a build-a-bear with all the clothes and accessories which made my bank account curl up into the fetal position and whimper a little.

Two Bits and her two best friends walked to our house after school that day.  Fridays are short days here, so they all showed up by 1:00 PM.  By 2:55 PM they were devastatingly bored.  Because that's what my kids do best when they have friends over.  So I decided to set up our badminton net for them in the backyard.

One thing you need to know about our backyard - it has tree problems.  There are big trees back there, and during the winter lots of branches broke from the weight of the snow.  I've asked our landlord to get them taken care of so that they don't randomly fall from the precarious position in which they are dangling from on high to crush one of my offspring, but it just hasn't happened yet.

The next door neighbors also have a few tree problems.  They've also been doing major work on their backyard.  So, last friday, as I was setting up a badminton net, while a bunch of kids that weren't all mine watched, the next door neighbor's contractor took down a branch that took down another branch that fell on our power line that ripped the weather head off the back of our house that fell to the ground in a shower of sparks that lit the grass on fire that shot an electrical current into our breaker box that exploded and filled our basement with thick smoke and fried our living room outlets and took out multiple electronic devices around the rest of the house including our furnace and a tv.

It all happened fairly quickly.

Right after everything came down, and the sparks started flying, the contractor ran into our backyard to find me standing there slack jawed and surrounded by kids.  He stamped out our grass and yelled for the kids to stand back. 

It took me a second, but I recovered from my shock and ran inside to make sure everything was ok in there.  I heard the smoke detector going off in the basement so I ran down there to make sure nothing was on fire.  It was pretty hard to tell though because the smoke was so thick that I couldn't see or breath.  But I was pretty sure there were no flames so I ran to the window and killed half of my lungs getting it open.

At this point in the story, as I was telling it to my mother, she said, "You ran into the basement TOWARDS a potential fire?"  But isn't that what people do?  The really dumb people.....

The next part of the story gets kind of boring because there were lots of phone calls made and lots of watching the contractor run around frantically.  But we got the power company to come sever the fallen line since there was still partial electricity going into our house, which may or may not have caused real fires, or something.  Then the contractor got us a hotel reservation (I requested the one with a water slide) and by around 6:30 we packed up our four kids, and the two extra kids, and headed off to the hotel.

Of course it wasn't all smooth sailing after that.  There were a bunch of small, yet super annoying, instances that occurred.

We stopped off at Little Caesars pizza because they have the "hot and ready $5 pizza" thing, but they weren't "hot and ready" like they claimed so I got to sit in the car with all the kids squished and cranky for 20 minutes while we waited.

There was a problem with our hotel reservations so when we showed up we didn't have a room.  So we made the kids stand around in the parking lot and eat pizza while it got figured out.  But it took a little longer than pizza eating, and it somehow that extra 20 minutes in the car made the kids super energetic so I had to reel in their crazy with a game of Simon Says where I was Simon and I said for them to pretend to be statues, and dirty socks, and road kill, just so they'd stop screaming and running in circles.

The hotel didn't have adjoining rooms, so I got to spend the night with 3 fourth graders, after my patience had already been tested beyond my personal best limit.  By about 11:30 I told them that they had to sleep, and I turned out the light, and said, "SHHHHHHH" a lot.

The next day we went swimming, but that got boring after about an hour.  So then we went to the aquarium, because it's not like you can contain six kids in a hotel all day (and we had aquarium passes for our family, so it was the cheapest thing we could think to do).  After that we went to McDonalds and got 40 chicken nuggets and 3 drinks (we're so cheap that it's embarrassing) and we let the kids play for another 40 minutes. 

Then we tried to drop off the extra kids.

But their parents weren't home.

So then we got to hang out at our house, that had no power, until their parents got home.  But, by that point, I was just.....YOU KNOW.....   So I said that I "had to check on the neighbor" because I just wanted to go somewhere away from all the kids for a few minutes and talk to an adult.

It was about 4:30 when we finally took Two Bits friends home, and things started getting a little better.  Very slowly.

The stay at the hotel was long because they needed permits and inspections that weren't happening on Memorial Day weekend, but by sunday night we were in adjoining rooms so we were able to have a kid side and an adult side and that helped.  On monday and tuesday evenings we had people from church feed us, which was nice (fast food burgers and the bagels we smuggled from the free breakfasts were getting old).  And we were back in our house, with some power, by wednesday morning. 

Of course, it was when we got home that we realized how many things had been fried.  Like every outlet in the living room.  And the light on the ceiling in the girls' bedroom.  Plus a tv, 2 small stereos, and our furnace.  But the contractor has been very helpful and quick through the whole process (if it weren't for that pesky 3 day holiday weekend, we would have been home sooner) and everything is fixed or will be replaced by monday.

So, basically, our house (sort of) exploded, we were all safe, nothing was permanently damaged, and we got to spend 5 nights in a hotel with a water slide.  GOOD TIMES.

May 20, 2013

I'm Awkward and Have No Friends

I find that I'm not really fitting in lately.  Ok, rewind, I have never really felt like I exactly fit in, ever.  I've always been a little awkward.  But lately, it's been much more apparent.

We moved to our current abode last October.  And I know that's not an incredibly long time to live somewhere, but long enough to make a few church friends, right?

Today we were at the public library catching a puppet show and checking out some books.  As we were looking at Star Wars graphic novels a kid came up to Monkey and goes, "Hey, I know you!"  And then he proceeded to tell us all about how they're in the same class at church.  Monkey was super shy, but this kid went on and on and on.

Then the kid goes, "MOM - come over here, I know them!"

So then his mom comes over.  Obviously she goes to the same church as us.  Since October.  And she's like, "How do you know them?"  And then I tell her that they're in the same church class.  And honestly I didn't know her kid, so it was totally ok with her not knowing Monkey.  But then she said, "Oh, how nice....."  and had one of those obvious fake smiles plastered to her face where you could tell she was trying to think of an excuse to leave as quickly as possible.

I'm not good at the obvious fake smile.  Or perhaps mine is just much MUCH too obvious, which would make me an expert?  I dunno.  Either way, I decided that it would be best to just go back to looking at Star Wars books and make it easy for the church lady to go away.  Which she did.

And that pretty much sums up all the local interaction I've had here.

The only person I can exclude from this is my next door neighbors.  Not the drunk guys who live on the other side of our duplex (who just moved anyway) but the one in the house next to that.  Those people are pretty cool.  And our kids play together outside pretty much every day.

But I think I scare them.

I have to work a lot.  Which means that I sit at my computer lots and lots and lots.  So I don't talk to them too much, even though they see my kids daily.  But then when I do actually have a conversation with them, it's been so long since I've had adult social interaction that I turn into a 3 year old and questions start spewing out of my mouth like this: "What are you doing?  How long does that take?  Is it hard?  Your living room is fabulous, what did it look like before you remodeled?  What about this light, was it there before?  Oooh, look at your kitchen - did you do the subway tiles yourself?  That's awesome.  Where did you live before this?  When is your daughter's birthday?  Do you have a dog?  How long have you been married?  What color is your toothbrush?"

Also, sometimes I forget that some people aren't ok when I forget to use filters.

I think I need to take a class where everyone just has to sit around and practice "polite conversation".  Or if there was a class called "People Skills for Beginners" I might be able to learn something.  Maybe then I could perfect my fake smile. 

And then, just maybe, I'll be able to fit in better here......

May 17, 2013

The Magic Assembly

A couple days ago the kids were talking about an assembly they had at school.  We were all sitting around the dinner table, and the story came out in pieces as they ate.  So, originally, I thought things occurred like this:

All the classes were sitting in the gymnacafetorium, ready to watch The Amazing Whatever-His-Name-Was Magician.  Which was probably a big relief from all the school work that never occurs in May anyway (is it just me, or does the last month of school seem like a complete waste of time?). 

At some point during the show, the magician's dove escaped from some unknown hiding place and starting frantically flying around the room.

I imagined lots of flying, and a totally flustered set of adults trying to catch said bird.  All the while, in my mind, the magician was standing on stage feeling like a total hack.  I mean, what kind of crap magician can't contain his hidden dove before his "watch how I make this dove appear out of thin air" trick?

So the bird swoops around the gymnacafetorium while teachers and the principal chase him, and finally, after all that drama, the dove swoops down and lands on the little blond head of a kid in Opie's class. 

Everyone is shocked that the bird has landed on a student's head until another kid in that class holds out his hand and, with the magic touch of Radagast the brown, gets the bird to slide onto his fingers.  Then he calmly walks the bird up to the magician, who is now so horrifically embarrassed that he has to immediately pack up and move to a foreign country.

And that's how the story went in my head, after hearing the tidbits of information from Opie and Two Bits, in between their bites of tuna casserole.

However, it turns out it wasn't that exciting.  I asked questions and we got the actual story out of it.

Apparently the dove didn't escape while it was supposed to be hidden.  The magician had just done his "dove appearing from nothing" trick, and when the kids applauded the dove got skittish and took flight.

Apparently the dove did NOT fly around the room with a group of frantic adults chasing after it.  In fact, I guess there was very little drama.  The dove fly straight from the magician's hand to the unsuspecting head of a 2nd grader.

The kid who got the bird off his classmate's head must have had his own birds, because he apparently knew what he was doing.

And, apparently, the magician finished his show and was hardly embarrassed at all.

So, basically, the point of all this is: things always play out much better in my imagination than they do in real life.

The end.

May 9, 2013

a letter to my nemesis

Dear Evil Shower Curtain,

You think you are sooooo clever, don't you?  That you have it all worked out.  That you can defeat me.  But let's think about this logically - do you really think you can beat someone with my abilities and mental prowess?  ha ha ha. Your confidence is humorous.

I am on to your plan, evil curtain of fear.  I know how you mock me with your attractive fabric - the fabric you use to shield my vision from the rest of the bathroom.  Do not think you can fool me - I KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON.

I know that you're hiding serial killers in the tub when I have to pee at night.  I know these killers have knives or deadly ninja throwing stars.  And I know that you think you're tricky when I pull back the curtain at lightening speed to find the tub empty.

I don't know where you're putting the assassins, but I will figure it out - that you can be sure of.

I know that when I'm showering you like to invite the satanic girl from The Ring to spy on me.  I know that you wait for me to turn around to shave my legs or rinse the shampoo out of my hair, and then have her creepily pull the curtain back in the bottom corner of the tub so that when I turn around again I'll see her evil little face looking at me.

Don't think you can surprise me.

I also know that you are in league with the spider king - I know that he sends his legions to infiltrate the shower just to catch me unaware and vulnerable.  But don't think that I can't reach for that can of aerosol hairspray that I keep handy just for the gluing of the crawling demons to wall.

One of these days I will vanquish you shower curtain, and you will no longer be able to to torture me with your campaign of paranoia.  Possibly I will just enlist the help of your benign cousin, the clear plastic shower liner.  He may be your ghetto relative with no sense of style, but with his help I would be able to see all parts of the bathroom at all times.  And then I could forever banish you to the nether regions of the hall closet.  And what good is your power there, hmmm?

Mwaha haha ha ha ha ha ha h aha HA.  You better start watching your back.

Sincerely,
Your Greatest Foe

May 6, 2013

garbage from my sleeping brain

I think dreams are rubbish.  Well, ok, I don't know about YOUR dreams.  They could be absolutely amazing and insightful.

You could be one of those people that have other worldly knowledge planted into your brain during your unconscious hours.  Or the kind of who seems to work out all their waking struggles through a good dream sequence.  Who knows, maybe you just dream about math - not exactly earth shattering, but still falling in the spectrum of "intelligence".

My dreams, however, are more like this:


Figuratively speaking, of course. (Spongebob rarely graces my sleeping brain, which is starting to make me wonder - why don't I dream in cartoon?)

The other night I was having one of those dreams where you just bounce around the whole time, and nothing really links together.  Like there I was eating french fries and I couldn't for the life of me get my fry to land in the fry sauce without splattering all over my boobs.  And then, the next thing I know, I'm sitting in a public library where a huge shipment of second-hand shoes shows up.  And then I spent the next fifteen minutes of my dream locating matching pairs of shoes for a homeless boy who likes Converse.

Plus remember that one time that I dreamed that I was dating a Kid Rock look alike straight out of prison?  Or the time that I had to save my kids from a basiliskamander over and over?

So you just go right ahead and keep dreaming about important things, or messages from beyond the veil or whatever.  And I'll keep having the kind of dreams that belong in a trash receptacle, or the mind of a mental patient.