After a fun Friday the Thirteenth at Duke, we loaded up the van and headed to Matt's mom's house. We stopped at Taco Bell for our victory tacos and our van smelled of taco meat for the rest of the weekend. I'm sure it didn't help that we ate twelve of them inside a closed vehicle with the heat on. There is nothing to speed away the smell of taco cling other than time, and maybe a box of baking soda.
It was dark. Our bellies were full. The heat was on. Someone was going to pass out on this drive.
Natalie: Mom! Daniel keeps lying to me!
Me: What is he lying about?
Natalie: Everything! He keeps trying to trick me, and that's lying.
Me: How could he be tricking you? He's asleep.
Natalie: That's the trick! He's awake! [Natalie slaps him across the face] Oh, okay, he's asleep.
Another highlight was when Natalie's eyeballs starting turning yellow. You know you have to pee bad when you start tearing up. We rode about forty miles before stopping on the side of the road, in the middle of the night, at a balmy thirty-eight degrees and had her drop her drawers behind an old pile of bricks. I don't know if I can do this, Mom! Oh wait, I can. And obviously you know the ending to that story: two miles later, we hit a town with three gas stations and four fast-food joints. But the old pile of bricks was probably cleaner. And that's how we roll, because we have extra napkins from Taco Bell and tons of hand sanitizer in the car. Always. Thank God for cancer.
We got to Mimaw's house. The sleep you can get when you're exhausted from peeing in the cold and arguing with sleeping persons negates any deep lingering taco breath that most certainly is coming up from your sister's throat into your face that would otherwise keep you up.
The next day was Mimaw's birthday, so that night she took us to see Delta Rae. And she drove. And if any of you think I'm going to be that nice to you on my birthday, you've got another thing coming. But having a designated driver get you safely back home after treating you to a concert and then letting you eat up all the salt and vinegar potato chips in her pantry means you either have a really awesome host or maybe you're just really that awesome. People want to do these things for you if you're that awesome. But it was probably the former.
And she doesn't at all look like she's not extremely excited to be potentially embarrassed by her in-laws. Not that that would ever happen, even if I were holding an invisible beer. And it didn't. Except maybe that one time Matt and I thought someone on stage had turned the sponge into a castanet-like instrument and he very loudly asked if that meant the song was about safe-sex, and he did so very loudly because they were playing very loud music, except for that one moment where they got all pianissimo on us and he thrust forth his query.
We had fun times at Mimaw's. So much fun, that we forgot to bring Daniel home, so he got to stay with her a few more days before track-out ended. Daniel returned with a homemade book he penned called "Mi Lucke Days," an apparent reference to the fact that he was much happier at Mimaw's where he could eat Lucky Charms for breakfast each morning. Mommy's homemade yogurt is lacking in the freeze-dried marshmallow department and for this I am not sorry, only because the closest I can come to making homemade freeze-dried marshmallows is just leaving a bag of mini-marshmallows open on the counter for a few days before I find them under a pile of forms I was supposed to sign and return to school.
Natalie and Daniel were tracked out of school for an entire month. On their first day back, Eve had the day off because preschool is on a traditional calendar. This seemed unfair to me. Not that I didn't want to spend the day without kids, except I did. Just for a little bit. Just long enough to pin home renovations that I will never, ever do, on Pinterest.
The next day, Eve was still off from school so we had a playdate with friends. Eve and her friend, Sadie, went upstairs to put on costumes and play with cosmetics. Sadie, only four months older than my sweet Eve, comes down with very tastefully done makeup. Eve comes down like she's about to run off to the circus as a sideshow act. I am amazed that they have both used the same products yet achieved such different results, although I guess you could give two people each an egg and one would give you an omelette while the other would give you salmonella.
(Sadie was the omelette in that example.)
When my cell phone rings at 2:30 p.m. and I don't catch it in time, I always wonder if the school is calling because Daniel has thrown up on someone. And when my house phone rings next, I just about know it's them. None of my friends are calling at 2:30 p.m. They are all too busy pinning Weight Watchers recipes.
Sure enough, the caller ID reads Wake County Public Schools. Dammit. What did one of my kids do now?
There was an incident with Daniel today and I just wanted to call and let you know. He may have fallen down in P.E. and...busted his face.
Busted his face? What does that mean exactly? Oh, he's got a fat lip? That's cool. Is he okay? He's okay. He's not in pain, not crying. He's not bleeding and his teeth are all still there. Well, thank you for calling. Are you going to come pick him up? Umm, do I need to? You know, it's not considered a real day in our house unless one of our kids is bleeding from the mouth. Is that a joke? Sure it is, since you're not laughing. If he's not bleeding and not hurt and not crying, then...can't you just send him back to class? Well, I guess we could. [Pause for the asking of the Daniel if he wants his mommy to come pick him] Actually, he's getting emotional so you should probably come get him.
So there was no way I was bringing my floosie daughter into school while she was wearing a torn Barbie dress with enough make up to be in a Lady Gaga video. I didn't have the time nor inclination to start wiping the cheap red lipstick that Santa brought off of her cheeks which can really only be removed with pure acetone and sandpaper. I sent her on her way with the omelette and headed out to school on a very warm day in a very warm sweatshirt; pushing a muddy floosie on the backyard swing after a rainstorm meant I was muddy floosie's muddy mommy, but there was no time to shower, only to cover up with what was closest to the door. I had to get to the emotional one with the busted face.
And when I picked him up, I really did ask in an unnaturally loud and surprised voice what happened to Daniel's missing tooth, except no one was listening to the sweaty mom with the muddy pants. They would have paid attention if I had brought Eve, that's for sure. Although they may have also called a guidance counselor.
I didn't get Wednesday off, either, because Natalie had pink eye. So there went another day to pin creative DIY haircuts.
(Although the next day I did end up doing a do-it-yourself haircut on Natalie and Eve was so enthralled that I've had to remove scissors from her tiny hands on no less than four occasions.)
There are always fundraisers going on at school, and while I love-love-love our school, I could do with a little less monthly-eat-out-and-our-school-gets-15%-of-the-profits. Because I'd just rather give the school $3 than go out to one of these things. First, the kids were given plain pizza boxes at school to decorate. Then they were told that their parents needed to come to a pizza place and buy a pie so they could get their decorated pizza box with a pizza inside! Then they were told this again everyday for a week. Then I got the first automated phone call about it. Then the letters home from the PTA about it. Then the kids home with the stickers on their shirts about it. Then the second automated call from the PTA about it. Then I told them each pizza was $10 and I didn't have the cash on me. Then Natalie went upstairs to her piggy bank and counted out $10 in quarters. Then we ordered the damn pizza because I couldn't stand to hear about it anymore. And then a third automated call to thank those of us who were bullied into buying mediocre pizza and apologize for the parents whose children did not receive mediocre pizza in personalized boxes. So there would be more coupons for pizza going home.
Don't think you can get me to buy pizza because you had my kid color a pizza box; I throw their artwork away like used napkins, which a great deal happen to be. There are only so many toilet paper tubes made to look like penguins that I can keep around here. I ordered the pizza because I was so exhausted from your shock-and-awe pizza campaign that I was too exhausted to cook dinner.
And don't think for one second that I'm not an awesome homemaker just because I couldn't handle the ruthless tactics of the PTA to raise enough money to cover the letters and stickers and phone calls. I was just tired. From unpacking.
Let me put it this way: our bathroom is way too big for the two of us. It would be better suited for a small tap dance studio. There is no reason why we need so much open space between the sinks and the shower; the square footage could have been used better if the builder had just made a room with nothing but shelves for me to put stuff on. Like a closet, but bigger.
Yes, what I mean is we just needed a bigger closet.
Instead, we have this strangely odd giant bathroom, that is no albatross by any means, but still really unreasonable for two people who only go into the master bath twice a day for only as long as it takes to get showered and brush teeth. It's not like we're rich and have a wine fridge installed next to the bathtub so we can soak and read our gossip mags.
Although that is a very good idea.
So, the floor is big enough to make room for a little old suitcase that I would leave unopened for twelve months and use to pile dirty clothes on, because it was next to my hamper and my hamper had a lid. I liked the lid-less feature of the packed suitcase on the floor better. And I stepped over this suitcase for an entire year. Because I could. And it was there so long that I forgot it had stuff inside and that it shouldn't even be in the middle of the floor.
I finally opened it, only because I decided to catch up on my laundry and was reminded of its presence (it does look pitifully lonely without the shroud of pit-stained t-shirts, stretched-out bras, and holey socks). Inside was a treasure trove of Give Kids the World souvenirs. There were stuffed animals, My First Visit to Disney World! buttons, pictures, postcards, 18 candy canes (from the Christmas tree in our villa), puzzles, DVDs, photo albums, and Monopoly.
Let it be recorded that I have never finished the board game of Monopoly in my entire life. I could plow through an entire game on our Macintosh Performa in the eighth grade but that doesn't count. When real people and real dice are involved, its unnaturally long for a board game. I think the people who invented it never had kids because surely they would invent a game that could be done in the span of time between being summoned to wipe a bottom.
Natalie saw the game in its shrink-wrapped glory. Can I play this? I dunno, it says ages 8 and up. You could probably play it but it's reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally long. Mommy has never finished a game. Well I'll finish it when I beat you! You probably will.
And that Sunday, we spent four-and-a-half hours playing Monopoly. And I remembered that I don't really like that game all that much. And Natalie had hotels on all of her properties, which included Park Place and Boardwalk.
I had to call it quits for the day. We took a picture of the game board and declared it to be continued. Natalie had $3092. I had $53. She would have bankrupted me a lot earlier if only she had charged me rent. I got tired of reminding her to look at her properties as we played, which would have been easy on her part because she owned everything but Baltic.
The game resumed two days later. I cursed the Pass Go, Collect $200 spot each time I landed on it, because that meant I was $200 farther away from being bankrupt. If Dr. Kevorkian were playing with me, he would have euthanized me long before I landed on a Boardwalk hotel ninety minutes later. No Baltic mortgage will come close to save you from that. Not even the rent on an unimproved Boardwalk property.
And there you have it. My first ever completed game of Monopoly. Now I need to go hide that in the back of a closet that the builder didn't build.
So I guess I'll go put it back in the middle of my bathroom floor.
But all winners must get their trophies, and for Natalie, I bought her a new mop. It's a very nice mop with a mircrofiber cloth cover and a built-in squirter so she doesn't have to haul around that heavy bucket anymore. It should make it easier for her to mop every evening after dinner, and just having the downstairs smell like Fabuloso is reason enough for me to have someone haphazardly mop my kitchen floor each night. And this is why I'm still Mom of the Year.