"broiled owl shit", as my grandmother used to say

Today was more like a work day than I’ve had in recent memory. I got a reminder call this morning regarding my duties this afternoon as Helper Parent / Snack Parent at my children’s preschool co-op. My husband and my experiences differ, but I am so far very impressed by our choice of school which features low tuition, professional staffing and scheduling follow-through, a great ratio (seven kids to at least two teaching adults), kid crafts that are somehow elaborate, beautiful, but kid-friendly, a plethora of books and songs, and a rather academically-oriented program. I looked forward to today’s school day.

But after last shift’s debacle I was left wondering a bit if my attitude and my menu needed an adjustment. I thought it through and came up with non-health-nut fare: carrot sticks with dipping sauce, pink lady apples, and homemade chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.

As it turned out, the actual class time was great. Because there are so few children, I am already getting to know them and their individual natures. The shy reed-thin artist who meticulously colors inside lines, cuts exacting shapes, is quiet and polite but rages like a maniac during Open Gym time. The Observer with sleepy blue eyes and tangled fawn hair, very thoughtful and deliberate in contributions to the conversation. The tall red-head who watches shyly and levelly with an almost adult gaze and when you return the look smiles in a big, toothy gap. Then there is it – a creature I have mentally coined “The Monsturd” because of its bossiness, rudeness, lack of any native please or thank you and, for two sessions in a row, very obtuse comments about the food served. This particular child took a break from free time where everyone else was playing to come over and point to the first thing I was putting on the plates – ceasar dressing for dipping carrot sticks – and said, “I don’t like that.” “OK,” I reply, moving around the table and trying not to feel irritation. “I DON’T LIKE THAT” the little reptile said again, more loudly. “I don’t care. Go back and play.” Readers, I am not prone to speaking that way to any children but my own, whom I would likely hug and apologize to after. My lack of empathetic response during what was mostly a lovely day should indicate just how appalling I find the child’s behavior.

Note to self: practice tolerance and love. Praise children I find difficult to like.

Despite one or two annoyances, I loved my time with the children today. I observe my Sophie is very adroit in reading, spelling, “math” (memorizing phone numbers and counting days of the month), and even the artistic projects, which she finishes quickly and efficiently. I find myself wondering if she, like me, will find school easy and if she will enjoy it as much as I did. As much as I liked school I did not, as some might worry, grow up “performance-oriented” or what I like to think of as Lisa Simpson syndrome. I find myself – I’m horrified to admit – taking her natural prowess for granted and focusing on anything she isn’t doing perfectly – “Sophie, you need to sit still during story time,” “Sophie, don’t lose your ponytail holder today.” Etc. Etc.

Note to self: let own children relax during their preschool hours. Surrender their behavior to their teachers’ and peers’ moderation.

Nels loved time with the big kids, too. His modus operandi: find whichever kid was doing the wiggliest storytime sitting, the loudest singing, and copy. Pure bliss.

np – Muse’s Origin Of Symmetry. No one else in my personal sphere seems to realize how great this album is.

OFGS

I get a call early this morning as I’m getting the kids ready for errands and preschool.

A woman, sounding hurried: “Hi, I’m sorry – we talked on Friday. What’s your name again, dear?”

People who call my house and don’t know my name. OK. “This is Kelly Hogaboom,” I say.

“Oh, well, this is Barb. [ brief pause – because, you know, I have nothing going on in my life so I know who this person is. ] – “You know, Barb from Ass-hat Air*. We spoke on Friday.”

“Oh, OK. Hello.”

“Well…” small, this-is-so-unbelievable chuckle, “The owner of Ass-Hat Air went over to your house himself Friday, and…” the breathless voice drops to a conspiratorial whisper, “no one was home.”

I am one-thousand percent irritated. “I was told by the office he would be over within the hour. I waited an hour and fifteen minutes, then I left. I left a note on the door.”

“Oh you must have just missed him… Well…” pauses, presumably waiting for my apology or further explanation… “Well, someone from the office should be calling you shortly to reschedule.”

“Actually, I just spoke with a technician from your office a few minutes ago and we set a time up for today at 1 PM.”

[ snip – sorting out which Ass-Hat Air boy would be stopping by. ]

Barb: “Oh well would you mind if I came over and peeked at the insert, just peeked at it? I’m thinking of putting one in my rentals and I’d just like to look at it.”

Me: “O-kay. Would you like me to call you when I get home this afternoon or … ?”

Barb: “Wow, you must be gone a lot…” (the SAHM judgment crunch: either I’m home too much and doing nothing for my own personal enrichment / feminism / household, or I’m not home enough and conveniently so for repair personnel).

And so on.

Goofball. Or is it me?

* Not her real name nor the company’s – on Friday our gas insert started making a horrible, burnt smell and I put a call in to the property manager who then quickly fielded it to the installation contractor. This receptionist or whoever she is told me someone would come to my house to sort it out; I waited as long as I felt comfortable, having postponed an engagment. Since he didn’t show, I just decided to avoid running the gas until they’d come over and sorted it out. I was a little irritated they didn’t show on time – but no biggie.

"we’re doin’ it, man. this is it. we’re right in the thick of the action."

Friday the 13th, indeed.

I had modest plans today. Go to a recommended antique furniture entity – creatively named The Furniture Barn – and look for a shelf for my children’s toys. As I formulated this plan my little heart started racing because as it occurred to me that my children needed a better play area, it also occurred to me it was time to give Sophie her own room. I’d been feeling guilty seeing them sharing dresser space and closet space and having no toys of their own. On the one hand I know it’s healthy to share space and toys. However, we do have three bedrooms and it’s entirely possible to accommodate one of our children per bedroom. My sewing space will have to evolve or die.

After breakfast and cleanup we pile into the car and drive to Aberdeen. The kids and I park in the rain and my children hop out of the van and accompany me into the store, where: it’s happened so many times I recognize it right away. I can sense it immediately like a lion can smell a rotting kill downwind: hatred because I have small children with me. As long as I live I will never forget what this feels like. The clerk in the antique store is not happy I’m bringing in children even though they are well-behaved and I am keeping my eye on them. And bear in mind these aren’t “antiques” along the lines of Fabergé eggs, depression glass, and tiny breakables. This is mostly furniture.

I ignore the shopkeep’s vibe and start looking around. Sophie is not the problem of course; Nels is. Still, he is mostly behaving himself except for his desire to go to areas of the store where I can’t see him – sorry, buddy. After a few minutes of a well-managed shopping stroll the clerk once again looks up from her book and asks in a chilly tone, “Anything I can help you with?” I tell her I am looking for shelves. She noises in the negatory and sort of fake-looks about – pointing out a large 3-part set for $200 a pop. “I’m sorry, we really don’t have much in the way of shelves.” I thank her and keep looking. I find about a half-dozen other items easily classifying under my category, including a nicely sturdy pine set for $45. My children are still relatively good so I look around a little more – there really are some beautiful pieces. For a moment I fantasize about having my beloved Mac resting on a $450 mission-style desk. Finally I am ready to go.

I’ll spare you the further conversation with the clerk – who makes a sharp noise as my son handles the fake fruit in a bowl, then apologetically and nasally drones, “Those are busy years, aren’t they…” Let’s just say by the time the money had changed hands I really wish I hadn’t bought anything from yet another snotty-assed shopkeep in my life. Of course the woman doesn’t help me carry the bookcase to the car, but as it turns out, that’s a blessing – it ends up that this seemingly slender, modest piece of furniture does not easily fit into my large-ish van and I fuck around and adjust and take it out and put it back in and finally do some kicking – breaking a small piece of the just-purchased item! – finally getting the goddamn thing in with only the threat of tears, no actual ones manifested. Throughout this my children have buckled themselves in their seat and are watching me and I behave nicely enough.

Finally, finally the shelves are secured. “See mom, that did go well!” Sophie enthuses (responding to some grumblings I’d made as I struggled), and she and Nels repeat the mantra as we drive on to our next destination. We get to her preschool early and as we wait in the van she comes and puts her arms around me and strokes my hair. Thank you, little girl.

After our Aberdeen errands The Boy and I pick my father up to help me with some furniture moving at home. I pick him up and get to vent about the shopowner (he is sympathetic and asks about my experiences in Port Townsend – I tell him it was worse – we commiserate) and my stupid assy attempts to get the shelves in the van. I make coffee and dad and I chat about family, children, jobs, and mess about moving a large rug into Nels’ room.

This afternoon suddenly I am aware of a horrible smell in my house – very much a burnt paint / rubber smell. We recently had a new gas insert installed (which is a lovely addition, by the way) and the fumes upon installment had disappeared but are back now. This sucks as it surfaced this afternoon and putting a call into the furnace people doesn’t go over well on Friday night. But when I mentioned “headache” to the receptionist she got off the phone pronto, to get me a technician.

So right now I am currently late to a friends’ for dinner, as I sit waiting for a man to come over and tell me what I’ve been breathing today. At least Nels and Ralph are off to dinner – provided they find the place.

Here’s hoping my weekend goes a teensy bit better.

why do i even try

Maybe I should have stuck with what works – staying home with my family, my new house, my projects, my peeps. But no – today I “ventured out” and have been rejected in minor yet thoroughly annoying ways. I’m considering going into hermitage.

First off, today was my first time helping at my daughter’s preschool as the assigned snack / helper parent. First let me say this group of parents seems to provide far less healthy food options than the co-op we were involved in for years in PT. That’s fine – I am no control freak and I know it’s hard to constantly think of healthy options to feed your family. In light of how acclimated to quick snack food the kids are at this school, today I wanted to make something that wasn’t plain bulgar or whatever – something homemade that the kids would actually eat. So I made an apple tart (puff pastry, apples topped with a crumble of brown sugar, oats, butter, almonds, and cinnamon) and whole-milk plain yogurt topped with craisins.

OK, so as the kids come to the table at 2:05 three children see the “raisins” on their yogurt and *IMMEDIATELY* start bitching about them. Two of these children *hounded* me about how nasty it was I’d put these on their yogurt (whoops – I only did it b/c I thought it looked pretty). Then one child takes a bite of the yogurt and lectures me loudly on how bad it tastes – I can only assume he’d been used to high-corn-syrup / sugar versions. At that point I was very appalled by their manners and thanked my lucky stars that I’d taught my kids no matter how much they *don’t* like what someone puts in front of them to eat (and sometimes they really don’t), it is not OK to YELL at the person who made it (these three children literally were yelling). I know this is dumb but for some reason it hurt my feelings or irritated me or something. Maybe because of the complete lack of gratitude? Thinking of the households these children must be raised in? (I’m careful on the judgement thing though – God Only Knows in what ways my children reveal my own lacking parenting). All the other children ate up – or picked off craisins, or whatever – without comment.

So after a big day at school with my two kids and these five others I get home and check my gmail – usually a positive, relaxing experience. I immediately see the admin of a recent Flickr sewing group I’d joined had sent me a poisonous email regarding an image I posed with “offensive” language (whoops – I did have “fuck” in the title – I’d named it so before I’d joined the group). Now, I had read the FAQ / guidelines before joining and there had been no mention of “offensive” language so I didn’t think about it. The email was one of those prim, uptight messages about how if I “keep using offensive language” I will be BANNED from the group. Ooo, so powerful! So mighty, admin! Who gives a shit!

Of course I edited my tag and re-uploaded the photo. I am not wanting to offend anyone and had I been alerted to this upon joining I would have happily edited away first. Just wanting to share my love of sewing with others who sew. GODDAMNIT!

the apex of moving drama, pretty much, as it turned out

My ability to ask for support, for reliable help when I need it, actually keeps me *genuinely strong* (not “stiff upper-lipping it”) when I am called on to be strong for others. Mostly emotionally. Example: with this moving thing we’re doing? My husband called having a shit-fit on Friday, because U-Haul had fucked up and sent our van 40 minutes away and not ready until the NEXT day (and he without a car of course, because he was planning on driving the U-Haul). On the phone today I talked him down from anger / depression and gave him a plan while he waited for the truck. P.S. this is when on my end of things, down in our new town, the HOUSE WE WERE MOVING INTO was falling through.

I kept this latest information from him because it wouldn’t have helped. I wasn’t feeling the weight of the world or nuthin’ because I’d been asking my parents for help with my kids, I’d been telling my friends what I was up to (and thereby receiving their emotional support, which really matters to me), and taking advantage of favors offered (like letting friends cook for me etc). I was able to be there for Ralph when he really needed it because despite a lot of stress I’d made sure not to stretch myself too thin.

I usually don’t look back on difficult episodes of my life and know I suffered needlessly and alone. I usually suffer the right amount, and with my loved ones fully present in my life. Here are some aspects of this trait that are a bit challenging:

1. Asking for what you want means people will sometimes say “no”. Far, far worse than this is the ones who say “yes” but really mean “no” (my latest blog entry contains a good example). This is painful, hurtful, assy and lame. You are vulnerable when you ask, and that’s all there is to it.

2. Leaning on others means you have to sometimes make a judgment call, and later realize you were being lazy or spoiled. Oh fucking well. All you can do in this case is apologize to the one you asked a favor of, or whatever, and try to learn from your lapse.

I am really trying to think of other “cons” to this character trait, but honestly? It’s a good thing.

welcome to HQX. here’s a shit sandwich.

I am a nester by instinct, ability, and natural inclination. So when yesterday in late afternoon my children and I arrived in Aberdeen, met with property manager E. to our new place, I gave her my money, got the key, parked at my ‘rents house and checked out our new digs since it was – according to E. – “ready by tomorrow”, and found that upon opening the door it smelled like 12 KINDS OF ANIMAL EXCREMENT, well, I was a bit sad. And a few other feelings.

Which is how it smelled before it was cleaned and when we checked it out three weeks ago – because some trash were living there and letting an animal menagerie (which included birds, rodents, and a snake, the latter two categories presumably kept separate) shit or piss wherever, including a poor dog who my parents tell me howled and whined nonstop, poor thing. According to E. yesterday it had been “professionally cleaned, the carpet is clean and it smells good” but it was JUST AS BAD AS YOU CAN IMAGINE and my father who has lost half the senses in his body completely agreed as did anyone else I let in there (the children, telling them not to TOUCH anything). As in, I couldn’t even move my possessions in or those possessions would quickly end up smelling like a particularly vile cocktail of animal ass.

OK, breathe. It will be fine. Maybe. Today I went to see E. as soon as her office was open. The conversation did not go well and in fact got worse and worse as she was unwilling to take responsibility – “unforeseen circumstances” – WTF? – let alone apologize that a family of four counting on a move-in date of the 16th will now not have a place to move into. At this point, as much as I loved the house (sans the ass-smell), I was glad I had not signed a piece of paper with this woman. I got my money back and gave her my key. As it sits now – after a heated conversation where she told me I “need to calm down” because as you who know me know, I am just the type to be loud and crazy – she’s supposed to check the place out and sort out if and how they are going to make it liveable and if they are, when it will be ready. At this point I honestly don’t even know HOW they can get that odeur out without some major carpet tear-out, treatment, etc. perhaps including a match and kerosene. Mostly, also, E. was such a shit that I won’t cry tears if I have zero future dealings with her. Which is a shame because it’s a neat place, across the street from my parents’, I knew the guy who lived in it for years and years back in the day, and I would have loved living there. Again: minus the ass. The worst part for me in some way is that E. will probably rent to some other tenants who will take similar non-care of what will increasingly be a less beautiful old house. P.S. this happens in Grays Harbor, a fair amount.

So Ralph will be here tomorrow with a 24′ long u-haul (that’s feet, not inches) and I’ll probably have to put our shit in storage and be back to square one looking for a place. Balls.

Luckily we are not set up too shabby; camped rent-free (so far) in my parents’ large house, Ralph and I are getting along fine, and the kids are doing well. I am very stressed but I hear moving is one of the most stressful experiences to go through, so at least it’s par. Which somehow makes me feel better although I don’t feel that good.

This afternoon after my children had napped a bit (they are STILL at it) I crept up to the upstairs bedroom, set up my Mac and connected via wireless (P.S. this took three minutes) and took a deep, deep sigh of relief. With my Mac by my side, and family too I guess, things are a bit better already.

where love and hate collide, or at least kind of co-exist in a gooey way

No school today. Mid-morning I ventured out into the world with the kids for errands. First it was steamed milk for the kids and placing an order for some TV I’ve decided I can’t live without – both down at the downtown record store Quimper Sound. Then – since we need shampoo, and I’m interested in a natural-bristle hairbrush for my daughter’s soft, beautifully fine hair – we hit a health store uptown in hopes of getting both.

In case it isn’t abundantly clear from, you know, reading about my life: it isn’t easy to shop with two little kids. Sometimes both of them are angels and they carry my parcels and people smile at them and there is soft tender music playing presenting a facade of control and ease in my life. But usually at least one of them (guess which one) is slightly less “well-behaved” and more like, “let me fuck with everything with my many arms like Vishnu.” * Sometimes they both give me the bollucks and in those cases a essential part of my non-reptilian brain is glad the public frowns on corporeal punishment. Yet – it isn’t legal (or smart) to leave them in the car while I hit these shops full of knicknacks and snooty fellow shoppers. So my solution, Port Townsend historical-district shopkeeps, is to attempt to actually support your fat, saucy asses with my money and WITH my kids in tow and talk to them before the shop, begging for them to behave, and do the best I can.

Today’s shopkeep is an odd person anyhow who I have not enjoyed patronizing in the past. But I’m going to chalk it up to personality differences, what the hell. From the second I walk in she seems instantly pissed I have kids in the shop at all. I ask for help; she answers my question curtly and then darts around the aisle end-cap where my son Nels is running around with some sort of “woman’s product” (tea, vitamins, Menstru-Lert, I can’t tell – all I know is it’s non-breakable and he’s happy to carry it in lieu of touching other things). I hear her querying him with that “anxious shopkeep” tone (i.e. “hinty”): “Do you know where you got that box from?” she asks my 2 1/2 year old. And I’m thinking, It’s your fucking store, isn’t it? Apparently she’s hoping he will literally stand in the middle of the aisle doing nothing with folded hands. I give in to her (unspoken) preferences and pick The Boy up to continue shopping thus hampered.

I find one item I’m looking for and put it on the counter by the register since I can’t easily carry items and hold my youngest (who is has now morphed into a less benevolent supernatural entity). He wiggles and asks to be let down but I grimly hang on and go back to the shelves. The shopkeep bags the item and rings it up on the cash register, even though I am not finished browsing the shelves. She stands and watches me, clearly vibing, “Pay up and get the fuck out.” (please note – there is not one other customer in the store). In hindsight, what I wish I would have done, was to leave without buying anything – to give up the ghost on the shopping trip and the unfriendly shopkeep. But no – I doggedly search for shampoo (mmm), find it, and return to the counter to ask about hairbrushes. They only have two, she shows me. She doesn’t know if they’d work for my daughter. She doesn’t know where else to find one in town. She isn’t going to order any more. I give up and ask her to ring me up, setting Nels on the counter. She gasps and dives for his hand when he attempts to touch – a pen. That’s it. I’ve decided: Fucking bitch. I start writing the check (about thirty-some bucks) and with every movement of my pen I feel more and more sluggish about paying and I do not want to give this business my money.

Normally – normally! – I would either take up the issue with her right that minute, or write a tactful but direct letter requesting their policy on treatment for caregivers with young children. But I am just too damn tired of this vibe from her and others like her. I am just not going to shop there any more. And that’s fine.

Oh – and for what it’s worth? Many, many places in town have excellent customer service and will attempt to help both you and your child(ren) in your shopping experience. Abovementioned Quimper Sound being one – which is why I buy as many things there as fit my needs.

I made a “love song” mix CD for a friend expecting a baby. Here it is:

1 Neverending / Damien Jurado and Gathered In Song
2 Fell In Love At 22 / Star Flyer 59
3 Hello Love / The Be Good Tanyas
4 Sea And The Rhythm / Iron & Wine
5 La Petite Fille de la Mer / Vangelis
6 Baby, I Love You / The Ronettes
7 You Love Me / Devotchka
8 Between The Bars / Madeleine Peyroux
9 History Of Lovers / Iron & Wine / Calexico
10 Always See Your Face / Love
11 My Beloved Monster / Eels
12 From My Own True Love (Lost At Sea) / The Decemberists
13 All Is Full Of Love / Björk
14 Love Story / Harry Nilsson
15 A Love That Will Never Grow Old / Emmylou Harris
16 Love You / Sondre Lerche
17 Love Me Tonight / Tom Jones
18 Stable Song / Death Cab For Cutie
19 Take Off Your Cool (Featuring Norah Jones) / Outkast

* Actual photograph of Nels in the shop today.

"6:57 PM: God, Kelly. Update your damn blog."

I have decided we either need to, Plan A, have one more blond and perfect baby – then sell it. Or, Plan B (because I think Plan A is illegal and I know it’s problematic due to my husband’s lack of fertility), find a way to downsize our life. And by “downsize our life” I mean get rid of a vehicle (my husband’s job requires him to travel so we probably will keep one for now), move into something smaller and out of town (perhaps the family vehicle!), this more modest abode maybe even requiring us to crap in a bucket and collect rainwater (Thanks K and T for your great ideas the other night!), and live like hippie scum.

My reasons are too myriad and tiresome (to me at least) to list here, and are not entirely financial. Although I wonder what it is about us Hogabooms that we can neither spend and live “within our means” like so many virtuous folk seem to do (or at least, like I’m led to believe they do), nor accept a high level of credit card debt like so many less virtuous (but arguably more typical) folk seem to do.

I can do it, though. I can do anything. If I can squat on the floor of my home and push out a baby, if I can convert my toddler and new baby to cloth diapers and be soaked in piss for two weeks as I figure it all out, if I can stop feeling sad I have crappy secondhand clothes and stinky four-year-old dyke martens, if I can accept the transition of working professional engineer to Houswife Nobody, if I can live with going from two incomes and no kids to two kids and one income, than I can surely go through all my stuff, cry real tears to let it go, and move into some goddamn shack. Can I live without a daily shower, without clean laundry, and without, dear God, without my Mac? I don’t really see how. But perhaps it is my fate.

I don’t know how to do it. I only know I (we) can. Except for thinking of living without my Mac. Anyway, I am this close to outfitting our van as a half-assed camper and parking somewhere.

Tonight my husband and I were gifted with tickets (ala his workplace) for “Dinner and A Murder” – the first annual – a $50 per plate benefit that, yes, involved a murder play “whodunit”. Which I’m proud to say I cracked the code for and came up with half the theory, and was only led astray because a member of the cast fucked up and LIED to our sleuthing group, but that’s another story. Unfortunately – in front of respected members of my husband’s employer, I said something about Ralph’s butt looking good in his pants – please understand I had not a drop of alcohol – and although I got some shocked looks, then uproarious laughter, and although I apologized for my random sexual harassment, I couldn’t help feeling like the girl I was several years ago had channelled herself through me but at least my tablemates seemed to like her.

"plant feet, face oncoming driver, put out arm at right angle, wave in a half-moon motion"

If you don’t try something new every now and then, you will never know what you could be good at. For instance, I did not know that on the slickest ice possible my daughter could navigate her relatively low-traction rainboots while carrying a backpack and purse. And it was my son, usually the adventurous one, who worried and reached for my hand (and eventually asked me to carry him, putting me at a significant risk as I carry 32 pounds of deadweight on the slickest ice possible).

On that subject, I also did not know I would have the fortitude to not only traverse several blocks with these two children – both bundled, slipping, and one very frightened – to walk to the perfect place to catch the bus (not right outside my door as I normally do; being on a hill and being asked the other day by another driver to wait elsewhere) in the sub-freezing shatteringly cold ass weather, only to have the bus driver drive right past us, despite my wave, then my yelling, then my children’s bursting into tears. Not only that, but to then hightail it back several blocks with the kids – one crying from cold and sadness at missing the bus, the other stomping through snowdrifts half her height while valiantly carrying everything except the other child – into my home, to stamp out of clothes, strip the kids, and call the transit dispatch in a cold fury – all of this without even once crying or slapping someone (I would have, had that driver been within my range). Did I mention every step of this walk was entirely the most treacherous slippage I have ever set foot on?


My parents’ house, currently snow-bound and lovely. My homedwelling almost looks classy, doesn’t it?

Port Townsend really takes the #1 spot in pussing out due to snow-related reasons. Yes, the roads are icy but the last real snow was on Monday but we are on Day Four of school closures. I don’t mind too much and of course my children’s schedule adjusted immediately; Nels slept in until 10 AM yesterday.

In other adventurous endeavors I am also learning to knit left-handed. I am not sure which is worse; the first agonies of learning to knit (three years ago, for me) or re-learning a skill one is very good at – on the wrong hand. If I were going through physical therapy after an injury I would probably give up rather quickly and ask for the motorized wheelchair and Lay’s Potato Chip IV.

In other news I am currently wishing for warm feet and more to the point absolutely lusting over Zappos many, many lovely casual waterproof ladies’ boots. Mama needs something with a genuine sheepskin lining, methinks. My fucking kids have new shoes and warm feet, the little bastards!

OK, on to gird my loins for today’s bus adventure. And I know which hand gesture I’ll be making as I flag that bus down.

soccer moms, single moms. nascar moms. any type of mom.

Today I went out to the Farm, which I hadn’t been to in about five weeks. It felt strange, like a visit to one’s own dorm room from back in the day. Good times, but kind of a shudder / gag reflex at the same time. I returned because we (the workshare program) are building a new kitchen for next year’s season and we need to get a group effort going to do make this happen.

I almost loathe voluntary group projects for the exact breakdown that happened today. There is me, edgy and certain we can proceed at a reasonably quick clip (we can’t; groups can’t, and there is a valid set of reasons for this). There are the dreamers who sketch drawings or talk bout “what ifs…” or offer pie-in-the-sky brainstorming points (OK, these have their value but are useless without a plan to follow through). There are the naysayers that have little to offer except criticisms of other’s thoughts and comments (while often their “counterpoints” have little factual or relevant evidence to back them up). Did I mention that often these projects don’t have a leader? My theory is any project, no matter how small, needs one.

In my special case, I brought not only my intellect, my group leadership abilities, my experience (as a frequent cook for the group), and computer-savvy willingness to help – I also brought my two children who, for lack of any other constructive activity or willing adult compatriot, ran about, climbed on kitchen pots and pans, answered the phone, and as it turned out actually ate pieces of a large dessicated dragonfly carcass. I stayed as long as I could then bid the group farewell, impressed that I’d put in a showing despite the fact I knew I couldn’t stay for the whole meeting. Which was probably just as well.

The other day Sophie wrote this on the computer:

“Sophie Daddy Mama Nels loves Blackie so much.”

She asked for help spelling “much”, that was it. Smart cookie. She’ll be at her Mama’s 110 WPM in no time.

In Nels news, he crapped his pants today.

Me? I’m proud that I figured out how to type a tilde. Which comes in surprisingly handy. I’m a huge jalapeño fan.