Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I Blame You, Alexander Bell

Brenda is tired.  Brenda is cranky.  Brenda has spend the day referring to herself in third person.  Brenda is in sore need of a vacation.  Technically, Brenda will soon take some days off for "vacation" but that "vacation" will require her to ride herd on her children and her father.  If you are a follower of this blog, you understand that this "vacation" is no "vacation" at all, no how, no way, no sir!

My children have recently transitioned to being able to stay at home and see to themselves periodically.  Today I got up for work, wrote out a list of chores, posted them on the fridge, woke up the boy-child to let him know I was leaving, and then eased myself out the door.

8:30 a.m.: Phone call 1 - "Mom, Emma won't wake up!"  "Why are you waking her up?  Haven't you learned it is best to let her sleep as long as possible so that she won't bother you?"  "Yeah, well, what about putting the dogs outside?"  "Well, can't you handle that task?  Then you could watch a little tv in peace."  "Yeah, that's true.   BUT IT ISN'T FAIR THAT SHEEEEEEEEEEEE'SSSSS   ASSSSSLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPP"  In the background, I hear:  "JJJJJAAAAAAAAAAKKKKKKKEEEEEEEE!!!!  LEAVE ME ALONE! GO AWAY!"   I tell him now he's done it, now he can deal with it.  "FINE!" he says.  "I love you" I tell him and hang up.

9:15 a.m.:  Phone call 2 - I ignore as I am in a meeting.
9:16 a.m.:  Phone call 3 - I ignore because I am still in a meeting.
9:17 a.m.:  Phone call 4 - I ignore because I am still in a meeting.
9:18 a.m.:  Phone call 5 - I step out of meeting:  "WHAT?"  "Oh, um, hi, mama.  Do you know where my purple sock with cupcakes on it is?"  "Huh?  I didn't know you had a purple sock with cupcakes on it, and you had to keep calling me for that????"  "Oh, well, ok, well, I love you, Mama, Bye!"  "I love you, too.  Bye."

9:24 a.m.:  Phone call 6 - "Yes."  "MAMA!  Jake won't let me have any cereal!"  In background:  "Not true! "  "NO!  JAKE!  DO NOT GET ON THE PHONE!  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"  "YOU LITTLE...."  "QUIT IT!  NOOOOOO  I'M TELLING!"  At this point, I realize they have forgotten I am on the phone and I just hope for the best and hang up.

12:35 p.m.:  Phone call 7:  "Hello."  "Um, hi, Mama?"  (I'm not sure why she always questions....I am pretty sure my number is the only one she has memorized - a decision I am now reconsidering the wisdom of - and I am the only one that answers it - so, why is she surprised every time I answer?)   "Yes, baby?"  " Mama, I need to tell you something.  Um, Jacob hit me in the face with his shorts, then he sprayed me in the face with bugspray, and then he crushed my foot in the door when I went to water the plants.  And I think next time you leave us alone you are just going to have to take one of us with you."  

Ok, shorts = disgusting.  Crushed foot =  probably not that bad as she was very calm in giving me this report.  Bugspray in face = should probably address that one.  "Put your brother on the phone."  "Oh, Jacob..... Mama wants to talk to you."

" Yes?"  "Did you really spray your sister in the face with bugspray?"  "Well, uh, yes.  I had to defend myself someway!"  "Like, the Raid, or the Mosquito Repellent?"  (See, doing my due diligence as a mother.)  "The Mosquito Repellent.  Obviously, it doesn't work because she's still bothering me!"  "JAKE!  Not the point, son!  DO NOT SPRAY YOUR SISTER WITH THE BUGSPRAY.  OF ANY KIND."  "BUT...."   

I have hit the raving lunatic stage at this point.  "DO NOT SPRAY YOUR SISTER WITH THE BUGSPRAY.  PUT HER ON THE OTHER PHONE."  "I'm here, mama"  (Obviously she was listening in to enjoy her brother's chewing out.  "AS YOU TWO SEEM TO HAVE SO MUCH ENERGY, THERE WILL BE WEED PULLING WHEN I GET HOME!"

In unison:  "NO! We haven't finished our chores for today, yet."

Not in unison:  "But it was HIS fault!"  "But she won't leave me alone!"


1:25 p.m. :  Phone call 8:  "Um, mama?"  "Yes? Are you bleeding?" "No."  "Is your brother bleeding?"  "No."  "What is the emergency?"  "Um, so, Jacob said he wished I wasn't born. ."  "Put your brother on the phone."  "Well, she gets me in trouble and I am so mad.  I tell her what we need to do and she says NO and then refuses to do the work and tells me no or ignores me and I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!  Put her in charge!  I don't care!"  "Really?  She doesn't listen when you ask her to do something and this bothers you?  I can't imagine what that is like?!?!?"  

 "Quit being sarcastic, mom, this is serious."  "Huh, I've heard that before, too."   "OK, but I'm not as bad as her!"  "Jake, quit telling your sister you wish she was never born."  "But..."  "QUIT IT!"  "Ok"  "Tell her you are sorry."  "I'm sorry, Emma"  Female voice pipes up:  "It's ok, Jakey - NOW COME HERE AND GIVE ME A HUG!"  "AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!"  

I think i heard the phones being dropped to the floor and the sound of running feet.  I just hung up.

3:30 p.m.:  Phone call 9:  I ignore as I am in a meeting.  And very, very tired of my children.
3:31 p.m.:  Phone call 10:  I ignore as I am still in a meeting.
3:32 p.m.:  Phone call 11:  I ignore as I am still in a meeting.  Still tired of offspring.
3:33 p.m.;  Phone call 12:  "WHAT!"  "Um, hi, mama?"  "What, Emma?"  "Um, yeah, Jake and I have headaches and we don't feel very good and we don't know what to do about it."  "Tell you what, Emma, how about y'all finish your chores, and drink some water.  And as soon as I get home, you can pull weeds, which I have heard does WONDERS for headaches."  "That won't help our headaches!  I think we are gonna lay down."  "I think those chores had better be done by the time I get home."  "Um, ok, and Mama? "  "Yes."  "I love you, mama."  "I love you, too.  But you are still doing chores."  

At this point, I have resolved that should the opportunity arise to have a conversation with Alexander Graham Bell, he is going to get an earful from me.

Oddly enough, when I arrived home, the chores had been done.  The children were helping each other and saying "please" and "thank you" and "do you need help with....?"  Obviously, they have been replaced by aliens.

Now, remind me again, why would Brenda need a vacation?

Monday, June 27, 2016

You Have The Right To Remain Silent

I cannot make this stuff up.  When I say my life is here to entertain others, I really mean it.

Tonight I was exhausted.  I have three stacks of projects on my desk that I literally broke out a ruler and measured today.  Each stack measured approximately 6 inches.  That is 18 inches of projects that everyone involved believes should be my first priority.  EIGHTEEN INCHES.  This does not even include emails, walk-in traffic/questions, etc.  I shouldn't complain as I have a good job, of which I generally enjoy the associated tasks, but GOODNESS, EIGHTEEN INCHES!

I finally called it quits and decided to pray that it wouldn't multiply overnight.  I'm convinced there is a secret project breeding program and my office has been designated as an ideal habitat for such activity.

I rushed home to meet someone who planned to try to convince me to buy Cosco knives.  I ran (ok, limped hurriedly) around the house trying to "fake clean" it to the point it would be not too unpresentable.  I mean I lit a candle, made the boy-child take out the trash, and hid the dirty dishes under the sink....a real effort was made here!  Five minutes before our appointment, she texts me and tells me we can just do the demo online and sends me a link.  I look at the link, and it isn't really a demo.....it is a catalog.  And then she texts to see if I would like to order anything.  Sorry, Sweetie, but I only order from those who at least fake an effort to really try to sell me something.  I have plenty of knives.

At this point, I look pitifully at El Hubbo and ask if we can go to town for dinner.  He looks like he'd rather stay home, but then considers the fact that I have sunk so low in my chair I am in danger of falling out and he would then have to help me up off the floor.....ok, he agrees to go get pizza.  Of course we have to go get it as we live one-half mile beyond the delivery boundary line, and they absolutely, positively will not go beyond the boundary line when making deliveries no matter how much you try to bribe them.

We round up the children and actually make them put on pants so we can go eat.  We're not even sure when they showered last.....

We arrived at Dominos and ordered.  We received our pizza and were munching away and I was visiting with my dad on the phone when we see a car pull up and come to a rapid stop right behind our vehicle.  And a "shadow" marked Sheriff's vehicle screeches to a stop, lights flashing, and a deputy gets out and advances rapidly to the driver's side of the first car.  Another LEO gets out (wearing an ATF vest) and positions herself at the back opposite corner with her hand on her holstered gun.  El Hubbo had his back to the windows that direction and I motioned for him to check it out.

Of course, Little Sunshine takes this opportunity to announce to the restaurant, "HEY!  LOOK AT THE COPS DAD!  ARE THEY GONNA ARREST HIM???"

I tell dad, hey, I gotta go, need to pay attention.

El Hubbo has put a restraining hand on Number One Son to keep him from running up and plastering his nose up against the window.

Ever helpful Little Sunshine starts asking her father and I if we have our "friends".  (Yes, it's code.  You'll just have to figure it out.)  We tell her to hush, we do not discuss our "friends" in public.

It was just like our own, personal episode of CSI.  The kids sat happily finishing their pizza, giving play-by-play commentary:  "Hey, are they reading him his rights?  What does that mean?  Isn't Miranda a girl's name?  It starts, You have the right to remain silent, anything you say CAN and WILL be used against you in a court of law."

I made a mental note to be quicker about erasing my cop dramas from the recorded shows on our t.v.

El Hubbo wasn't much better.  He's grinning and almost jumped out of his chair with excitement when he saw one of the officers pull a rather large revolver and holster out of the car.  "Look at that hogleg!"

I made a mental note to limit El Hubbo's John Wayne movie consumption.

The officers were in very cautionary stances, so El Hubbo and I kept an eye on the situation.  We were toward the back of the restaurant, with an exit door nearby.  We asked the kids, if they knew what they were to do if for some reason the guy tried to run in the restaurant.

"Get down, get low, get hidden!"  Yes, and be quiet, my babies.  Side lecture:  In all seriousness, El Hubbo and I have attempted to prepare our children to react in the best way possible to maximize survival should an active shooter situation arise.  We believe that evil exists in this world, and there is no way to legislate evil.  It is evil because it does not obey moral or statutory laws.  This has been the case since the dawn of time.  We believe in being prepared to combat evil appropriately and individually if necessary to save our or other's lives, especially that of our children.  Lecture over.

"Hey!  They are putting handcuffs on that dude!"  So much for quiet.

We continued to sit for awhile, at which point, Number One Son says, "Dessert, anyone?"  We found that a little too funny.

Finally, the situation was over, the suspect arrested and hauled away in a second Law Enforcement Vehicle, someone arrived to drive his car away.  We gathered up our left over pizza and headed for the car.  The kids waved at the officers still sitting in their vehicle with the lights flashing.  I'm pretty sure El Hubbo winked at the pretty ATF agent and gave her a thumbs up.  I back out and obey all, and I do mean ALL, traffic laws.

The kids chattered away, breaking into "Bad boys, bad boys, whacha gonna do?" in the backseat.

And, that, folks is how the Martinez's do "Dinner and a Show".

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Medical Sparring

My father.  The infamous Oso.  The Bear.

Just as when one is dealing with his spirit animal, one should always proceed with caution with my paternal parental unit.  Not everyone is ready for his wit and charm, but doctors in particular seem to struggle with quite how to deal with the man.

In Oso's not-so-humble opinion doctors are by-and-large "quacks".  The many years of medical training they have is bunk, and they have no idea what they are talking about.  He has stretched the patience of more than one member of the AMA, leading one to proclaim my father "the most non-compliant patient I have ever seen."  And, this particular doctor used to be a prison doctor!  That statement actually exists in a medical chart.  It also happen to provide my father with a peculiar point-of-pride.  In his mind, this meant he won.

With mom's passing, I have inherited the dubious honor of accompanying my father to the more important doctor visits.  We arrived and signed in with almost no incident.  When the nurse called my father's name out into the lobby, we were of course sitting opposite from the door.  Across all the other patients, my father bellows back, "Here I am!  Aren't you glad I cleared my schedule for you?"  This should have been the nurse's clue to suddenly feel sick and pass him off to someone else, but she decided to hang in there.

She tells him to step up on the scales.  Little did she know what this would involve.  He hands me a ziplock bag......yes, a ziplock bag.......and begins to pull things out of his pockets.  His keys.  His knife.  His glasses.  His cell phone.  His change.  His wallet.  His pen.  His glasses holder.  His mints.  and more stuff I cannot recall right now.  Just as he was about to step up, he then felt the pocket of his shirt and said, "Oh, you better hold this, no telling how much it weighs."  I am pretty sure the nurse rolled her eyes when she saw him hand me a business card.  (I know I did.)

She records the weight and he steps off.  He says to me, "I have to remember the other pair of shoes next time.  I bet they are a half pound lighter than these."  Now, if you knew my father, you would understand that half a pound was not going to make a huge difference.  The man is 6'4" and overweight.  There will be a lot of pounds recorded no matter what.

The nurse leads us to the exam room and begins to update the charts.  This is where my father starts really having fun.  This is his warmup for the doctor.  It's like a great big game of Balderdash where he tells a lengthy story in response to each question and the nurse must try to decipher the truths from the lies.

The best one today was when she asked if he had been hospitalized since they had seen him last.  His response, "Why of course not!"

And now, the whole reason I have to be present:  I respond, "Yes, he was hospitalized in Dallas at Baylor.  He fell - "

Dad interrupts, "that wasn't anything.  I was going along, you see there was a hotel at the hospital and of course it was no where near the hospital, but there were these hallways, and they claim I got off my medications, but I was walking to go see Dixie, and I went down this hall and may have slightly run into the wall, but I think I just missed my turn....

I interrupt, "Missed your turn!?!  Dad, you knocked yourself to the ground and didn't know what year it was."

"Well I rarely know what year it is!  And anyway I was trying to get up and no one would let and then they called security.  I wanted to examine that column, because you know 300+ pounds hitting it had to have cracked, but I couldn't find a crack nowhere and I told them I didn't want to go to the ER, so they hauled me to Dixie's room, and then she chewed me out, and HEY! Come to think of it she called you and you made them take me to the ER!  It was your fault, you little stinker.."

"Dad, again, you went off your meds, and you weren't acting right, and YES I made you go to the ER, and "

"I'm going to get even with you..."

"Right, like right now?"

He laughed (you, see this is our "normal" dynamic), however, the nurse was not quite sure what to make of all this.  I summarized for her, "Yes, he was hospitalized.."


"Dad, shut it."  He realized I had declared the game over, and he conceded.  I continued, "he missed his medications regularly enough to have some issues.  They got him straightened out, but there are some medication differences compared to what the doctor here prescribed, so we would like him to review that."

She looked at me with relief, as she was clearly out-matched with my father.  She made her notes and then began to take his blood pressure.  Now this man has suffered a heart-attack and has a medication list a mile long.  You can probably guess that high blood pressure is among his medical issues.  The nurse looks at the machine and looks at me with alarm.  "Is he feeling ok?"  (I'm guessing she had decided he was a mental case and would direct all of her questions to me.  Smart lady. )

"He's acting normally."  Again, "normally" being relative.....she showed me the result and it was low.  As in, low enough to barely register.  Zombies and vampires have higher blood pressures.  I said, "I don't think that is right.  He takes it regularly and runs higher than that."

Dad looked at me with some concern at this point.  "What?  High?"  (He can't hear, so he's guessing at the conversation.)

"No, low.  What do you regularly run?"

"I don't regularly run."

"No, Dad, your BLOOD PRESSURE, what does your BLOOD PRESSURE REGULARLY RUN?"  "Oh!  I don't know.  I take it with a portable wrist cuff.  I usually take it in the morning, but if I take it after I've been moving around, it's higher."


"Oh!  You want the numbers?"

The nurse at this point asks him if he feels ok, is he dizzy?

He grabbed his chest and popped his eyed wide and pretends to start to fall off the exam table.  She paled.

"Dad!  Quit it!"

He began to laugh and told her he felt fine.  She resumed breathing.  (Although at a heart doctor's office, one would think she would be better equipped to handle a sudden heart-attack situation?)  She shakily started to take his blood pressure on the other arm.  The numbers kept getting lower.  Dad kept assuring her he felt fine.

I suggested we try another machine.  She responded we'd have to see what the doctor said.  A technician came in to test the ICD unit implanted in my father's chest.  He saw the blood pressure machine and said, "Wow, are you feeling ok?"

Dad, excited that fresh meat had entered the room, tried the grab the chest and die routine again.  The technician was not as gullible as the nurse.  Everything checked out with the ICD and as he started to roll his cart out said, "Well, looks good, we'll see you next time!"

Dad pointed to the blood pressure machine and responded, "Well, don't get ahead of yourself, we better wait and see how this turns out!"  The tech laughed.  The nurse almost fainted.

Finally, the doctor arrived.  Now, this doctor has had the pleasure of ten year's worth of verbal sparring with my father.  He is unafraid, brash, and can go toe-to-toe with him anytime.  This is probably why this is the ONLY doctor my father has ever made ANY attempt to please.

The doctors launched right in:  "Well, what is happening with this blood pressure?"

My father, "I don't know!  You're the doctor!"

Unfazed, the doctor grabbed his arm.  He looked at me and raised his eyebrows.  I said, "He's not acting any weirder than usual."

Dad started to say something, and the doctor put his finger on dad's lips and said, "Shhhhhh.  You are weird, so no weirder than normal is ok.  This machine is wrong."  He asked the nurse to get him another machine.  She was all-too-willing to get out of that room - she was obviously over my father's charms.

The doctor asked dad how he had been.

"Well, I've been trying to behave myself," And, then, "but that is hard for me" and the doctor simultaneously said, "I know that is difficult for you."

See, perfect doctor match for my father.

A new machine was brought in and the blood pressure was determined not to be an issue.  Dad relatively behaved himself for the remainder of the doctor's examination.  The doctor said he seemed to be doing better than he had in a long time, he didn't want him to change anything, and he would see him in 6 months and do an echo at that time.

My father, said, "hey!  You didn't say anything about my weight!"  There is history here.  This doctor has threatened my father with surgery, told him he wouldn't see him anymore because there was no point, punched my father in the stomach (that was a particularly fun visit to observe) and bribed my father to lose weight.  Now you understand the ziplock bag and practical stripping prior to stepping on the scale.  My father has come to look forward to the challenge of proving to the doctor that he is wrong, and that my father can lose weight anytime he wants to.

The doctor pulled the charts back up and reviewed them....."What?  You lost 17 pounds!  That is good!  Keep it up!  Or, do we need to try a new machine there?"

Dad smiled like a little boy who had been praised by his father.  "You weren't going to check!  You used to bet me on my weight, you would have owed me big, this time."  The doctor laughed and dismissed us.

We scheduled his next appointment and as we were walking out dad leaned over and whispered, "Let's go eat.  I have some celebrating to do.  I haven't eaten all day, which probably accounted for most of that weight loss."

I rolled my eyes, and made sure I saved the next visit on my calendar.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Back in the Saddle

The time has come where I feel I must force myself to get back in the saddle.  Back to writing.  Back to giving you a window into mi vida loca.  I know I have been gone awhile, if you follow my facebook page, I promised I would come back as soon as my humor did.  The last several months have not been kind, and I feel I owe those of you who haven't known me well a bit of an explanation.
My mother became very sick unexpectedly.  None of us were fully prepared for the fact that we would lose her, and despite a brutally fought battle, lose her we did.  Our hearts have been broken while we've tried to figure out what to do, as she has always been the one with the master family plan.

I've spent so much time since her passing the first weekend of this year just trying to keep all the pieces of the puzzle of my life, which now includes helping my father adjust to taking care of himself, that I have failed to see any sunshine.  My laugh has been hollow and forced.  My smile present but waning.  Today I realized it is time to get on with the business of life, and more importantly, it is time to laugh again.  It is time to smile, and it is time to look at the sunshine.

So, where better to start that with Little Sunshine, herself?  I needed to bake a cake, and I decided to try a recipe I have never used before.  As I started to get out the ingredients, my darling girl begged to help.  I told her she could not help if she did not go shower that nasty body of hers, and that she had better hurry as I was not going to wait.

I saw a blur run past me on her way to the shower.  I heard the water start to run.  And, then this child, who fights us everyday to avoid a shower, but once in rarely completes the bathing process in under 45 minutes, jumped in and started to sing.  And sing.  And sing.

I pulled out all of the ingredients, knowing she wouldn't be out for another 30 minutes at least.  But as I listened to that sweet voice, I decided maybe I could wait.  The butter needed to come to room temperature anyway.

At last she was out and asking if I had waited.  Her smile when she saw that I had waited brought a real smile to my face.  She's "helped" me in the kitchen before, but this time we slowed down, and I let her do more.  I guided, she followed instructions.  I passed on tips, why I did things in the order I did, and we smiled and laughed.  She now knows that it is worthwhile to pay extra for Mexican vanilla, and a recipes are really only guides.  Her mama demonstrated for her how to measure using her hands, just as my mama taught me, but she'll have to wait until her hands are big enough and she's done it enough to do it on her own.  She learned that you learn the principles and then don't be afraid to get creative, and a box cake can never, ever, ever claim a place even close to that of a from-scratch cake.  It just doesn't have the love, and love is an essential ingredient for baking.  In the end, we created a cake batter worthy of my mama and grandmamas.

I asked her to test it, and she did, declaring it to have fantastic taste and texture.  (Perhaps she's watched too many baking shows on food network with me.)

We're taking it to a potluck after church tomorrow, and we couldn't be happier with how it turned out.  How it tastes is really not the point, the laughs and smiles were really all we needed.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Boy Debates

Tonight, Emma and I were subjected to a debate.....currently ongoing......on the highly important subject of the proper way to kill a zombie.

This debate included authoritative citations of The Walking Dead and the Internet.  Each method that could be analyzed have been thoroughly examined.  Hammers, shotguns, 18-wheelers, 16-wheelers (I haven't figured that one out yet).  The topic evolved (although the debaters may not have) to the subject of Zombie firemen.  (I couldn't follow the train of thought, but somehow we slid right into that station.)

One debater became very animated and attempted to act out the proper methodology.   A brief agreement was reached that mom's "look" could probably kill one outright.  (I may or may not have been giving that look to the two zombies debating this subject.)  Emma decided that in the case of the zombie apocalypse, we'd leave these two yahoos and she'd take shelter with mom.

Neither debater appreciated my observation that based on this conversation, if the zombies were in search of brains, they would starve with this group.

Well, that is how the male Martinez's spend an evening.  I'm not sure which one to slap some sense into first.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

School Shopping Breakdown

I have dreaded it all summer.  Not sending my kids back to school.....no, that I very much look forward to.  It's the school supply shopping that causes a panic attack.

I take vacation time from work so that I do not have to fight the weekend or after-hours crowds.  I usually try to take one kid at a time, but this year that did not pan out.  So, today, early, I made my children get up and leave the house early so we could hit the store before the crowds.

I had a plan.  We headed to Walmart as I was anxious to make this a one-stop shopping experience. Each kid was allowed to grab a basket.  I manned the list.   No one else was in the school supply aisles when we got there at 9:00 a.m.  (The children demanded to be fed breakfast, and I figured their having full bellies might make them more compliant.  Nah, it didn't work.)

I barked orders like a general storming the beach with her troops.  The kids ran, jumped, grabbed and were having a generally good time tossing items into their individual baskets.  There were some minor battles over colors, especially when there were not enough to go around.  We chopped away at the list, marking things off, searching and finding.  I was hopeful that this was going to be a smooth experience - one and done!

But not so.  There are some items that proved to be difficult to find.  You see, the list could not call for some generic supplies.  These teachers had to be picky.  "4 plastic folders with pockets and brads (2 green, 1 red, 1 purple)".   I am generally pro-teacher.  I most often side with them in the kid vs teacher struggle.  But when they start to get picky, I start to get cranky.  We found all but the elusive red plastic folder with pockets and brads.  Oh, and multiplication flash cards.

Not to worry, we would go to Target and knock out these two items.  We arrived at Target, and the red folder and the multiplication cards were no where to be found.

Not to worry, we would go to Office Depot and knock out these two items.  We arrived at Office Depot, where I may have suffered a mental break.  I wandered the aisles muttering to myself loudly, "WHY ARE THESE TEACHERS SO PICKY?  WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE RED?"  I know I saw several people in red polos ducking around the aisle edges as they heard me coming.  It became readily apparent to me that subtraction, addition and division are not being taught in our schools as flashcard sets for those math concepts are plentiful and fully stocked on shelves.  The red folder and the multiplication cards were no where to be found.

Not to worry, we would go to Staples and knock out these two items.  We arrived at Staples, I entered the store loudly proclaiming, "THERE HAD BETTER BE A STUPID RED PLASTIC FOLDER WITH BRADS HERE....."   People looked at me strangely as I stomped up and down the aisles grabbing anything that was red, ripping it open to check for brads.   And the red folder and the multiplication cards were no where to be found.

At this point, my patience was shot.  Little Sunshine found an orange plastic folder with pockets and brads.  CLOSE ENOUGH.  You have to have red to make orange, and if a teacher was foolish enough to challenge me on this, they had better be ready to go twelve rounds with one mad mama who would show no mercy.

I looked at Jake and said, "Don't you already know how to multiply?"  He said yes, mostly, but he struggled with some of the larger numbers.  "Well, close enough.  God made calculators for a reason."  He looked at me as though I had lost my mind.  "But, mom, I need flashcards."

I gave an exasperated sigh, "Fine.  We'll make you some.  Grab some notecards."

"Mom, one more store, please!"

I gave an even more exasperated sigh and we got back in the car.  We went to Dollar Tree, of all places.  I located flashcards - subtraction, addition, division.  I almost collapsed and started to cry.  I grabbed the box and for one moment thought about chunking it as hard as I could across the store.  BUT WAIT - in the back of the box, there it was!  The multiplication cards!  Granted they are from Dollar Tree, and granted there may or may not have been a card in there that said 3 x 4 = 11, but they are in a box that says "multiplication cards", and so we grabbed them and ran for the checkout.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this we managed to buy tennis shoes and a first day of school outfit for each kid.  And it was relatively uneventful.  Surprisingly.  I think the kids had started to see that their mother's eyes were a little too wild, and she was beginning to gnash her teeth.  Arguing was not in their best interest.  I raise no fools.

I may need therapy to recover from the experience, but the kids are in the kitchen happily dividing up and packing everything into their backpacks.  So, we are now ready for school.  And, with a mostly correct set of supplies.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Googling The Sermon

I have always been a staunch believer that forthright honesty is always the best policy.  Especially when it comes to church sermons.  More than once, I have outright vocally stated that I like for a preacher to "just say it like it is."  Keep it straightforward and simple.  No gussying it up or watering it down.  The truth is the truth, if we aren't uncomfortable sometimes, then we probably are not hearing what we need to hear.

I have been fortunate enough in my lifetime to have listened to many a sermon that met my preferential delivery style.  I appreciate the difficulty of the task laid before a preacher - studying and delivering a message from the Bible is a weighty responsibility.

An excellent example of such a sermon was recently delivered from the pulpit.  I sat there ready to soak it all up.  A few minutes in, the preacher mentions "sexual immorality".  I didn't even flinch, then my son in something akin to a stage whisper that could certainly be heard by everyone within the immediate four to five rows back and forward asks, "Mom, what's sexual immorality"?

I probably paled slightly.  I know I felt a little light-headed as snapped my head around to look at him and say, "SSSSHHHHHHH!!!"

I realize this didn't exactly answer his question.  So did he.  So he asked again.  Louder.

I looked at his father for backup, support, help of any kind, but he was too busy doing a horrible job of faking being asleep.  The smirk gave him away.


"But MOM, "

"SSSSHHHHHHHHHH!  We'll talk about it later!'

I'm pretty sure everyone around us was enjoying my discomfort at this point.  I turned in the direction of the pulpit, but all hope of my being able to focus had been lost.  My mind was spinning on just how I was going to get out of having to explain this concept to my nine year old.  I bowed my head to pray as this was a situation that called for prayer and guidance of the Lord if ever I saw one.  As I did so, I saw my child was trying to look up sexual immorality on the concordance of the Bible app on my phone.

I almost passed out.  Fortunately, he couldn't figure out how to spell "immorality".  I told him to stop - pay attention - or no, here, read the parable of the fishes.......ANY DISTRACTION would do.

Hoping my excellent parenting skills would not be called into question, I tried to return my attention to the sermon.  But then I began to lament the fact that my baby boy was growing up.  Someone was going to explain in probably much more graphic detail than I approved of, what all things related to sexual immorality was.  As I was working my way toward acceptance of the fact that a discussion would have to happen, I looked back at my son, wanting to see the two year old boy I adored, and instead saw my too-smart-for-his-own-good-self attempting to Google the words "sexual immorality".

I almost passed out in the pew.

I grabbed the phone, and told him DO NOT Google those words!  I can't begin, and have no desire, to imagine what might come up with such a search.

The sermon drew to a close.  And, as usual, it was good, old-fashioned, straight-forward truth from the Bible, but I found myself reconsidering my preferences.  I temporarily decided I preferred straight-forward truth when it doesn't make me have to have a talk with my baby, even if I need to.   One final prayer was said in which I know I expressed an earnest desire to have this situation pass from me.

We had barely gotten our seat-belts on in the car, when the question was asked again.  (Yes, I was hoping it would have been forgotten by then.)  El Hubbo was of no help, and I struggled with determining exactly how to say what I needed to say......but following a socratic questioning method I was able to ascertain that my son had no clue, and I was able to keep the explanation on a very, very, very surface level, much to my relief.  His innocence is in some ways still preserved.

 It was one of the most stressful Sunday mornings I have experienced in awhile, but now I realize that the eve of my child's innocence is coming.  El Hubbo and I must prep ourselves for the conversations to come that will be less surface-y in nature.

So, thanks for that, Preacher-man.