August 31, 2012
August 30, 2012
August 29, 2012
August 28, 2012
The other day, I blogged about the coming of fall and how excited I was for that season.
That was all absolutely true.
However, in this last week of summer vacation, I’ve fallen into a funk.
I’ve been doing school work and am really excited about some new things I’m going to try this year.
The kids have gone supply shopping and we’ve done a bit of Back-to-School shopping, which is always exciting.
From what I read on Facebook, parents everywhere are shuttling their kids to the bus stop and waving a hearty goodbye as they get on the bus and go to school.
Yet, I’m sad for the summer to end and for the kids to go back to school.
I’ve had a great time being with these four little people, and I’m not saying that these other parents didn’t…I just don’t want it to end.
We’ve fought and bickered, sure. Today, in fact, Monkey in the Middle and Baby Monkey are spending a nice portion of the day in their rooms for fighting.
But, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
I’m tired and don’t want to do anything this week.
I just want to go to sleep and avoid the reality of the end of summer and maybe when I wake up, it will be July 1st and we can do it all over again.
I’m fighting it. Definitely fighting the good fight.
Real Man and I got a lot of work done this weekend and I’ve got my week scheduled with other projects and things that need to be done, along with two days of workshops at school, so I’m not going to let myself check out.
But, it’s hard.
I know that once we all have our first days, I’ll be fine.
I’ll miss them like crazy, but I’ll be fine.
I’ve just got a week to get through before I get to that point, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a tough one.
‘Cuz I’m in a funk.
August 27, 2012
Have you ever had something happen to you and you are immediately transported back in time?
I had an appointment at the orthopedist the other day and my Mom came over to watch the monkeys.
As I was leaving, she handed me the keys to her car and said “Wanna take my car?”
I said “Yes!” and flew out the door.
Every now and then, I love to drive someone else’s car. It’s nice to drive something that isn’t the biggest car on the road.
My Mom has a new, bright red, Volkswagen Beetle.
However, it’s quite a change going from a monstrous Ford Expedition to a Volkswagen Beetle.
Trust me on this one.
I get to the doctor, have my appointment, and head back out to the car.
Not only is the Beetle lower to the ground than my Expedition, but the seat is lower in the car, as well, and as a result, it’s hard to see over the hood, which slants down rather quickly.
End result, my judgement was way off as I backed out of the space and tried to decide when I should start to turn the wheel to angle out of the space and not hit the pole next to which I was parked.
I heard the scraping, swore a bit, and pulled back into the spot.
I knew it wouldn’t be good, but I didn’t want to look, so I re-backed out (without hitting the pole this time) and headed to the pharmacy.
The whole way to the pharmacy my stomach was flipping around and I was instantly 18 again.
In my senior year, I borrowed my Mom’s Toyota Tercel (loved that car…it was a stick…someday, I’ll drive a stick again…I really miss it) all the time.
One Monday evening in February was particularly snowy and icy, but our Key Club advisor decided we had to have a meeting anyway.
Kim was the President and I was the Vice-President, so we had to be there.
I picked Kim up and we headed to school.
However, even though I was going slowly, I hit a patch of black ice and the car slid into the guardrail and dented and scratched up the front bumper.
The whole meeting, all I could think about was what my Mom was going to say, (my Dad was out of town), and I was terrified.
I can’t say I was terrified the other day, but my stomach was in knots and while I waited for my prescription in the pharmacy, I noticed my hands were shaking.
When I got home, I asked about the kids and got a good report and we chatted for a bit and then my Mom said “How was driving the car?”
“Heh-heh…” I stammered. “It was…um…well, I feel like a teenager right now, but…”
My Mom was just staring at me.
“I…uh…kinda scratched your car.”
As anticipated, there was a bit of a shriek-y “What?” and I explained what happened, but unlike when I was 18, I followed with, “…and of course, I’ll pay for the damage.”
In the end, she was fine, and completely got me back with a phone call, the next day, telling me that they had taken it in and the damage was $2,500, at which point I almost vomited and passed out simultaneously.
Then she told me she was joking.
She’s funny, that Mom of mine.
I wrote about this in my journal so that I can look back when one of the kids bangs up or scratches my car and remember how nervous I was, even as a 40 year old, to fess up to the damage and to be kind when it happens to them.
I have a feeling, though, that might not work.
August 26, 2012
I’m friends with a few former students on Facebook.
Very, very few.
However, of those I am currently friends with, the majority are heading off to college, either for the first time or to return after their summer break.
There are pictures being posted of dorm rooms, house rules, reunions with roommates, and just general excitement about being at college.
With every post, I think back to my first college days.
I went to The College of Wooster in Ohio, and my school was between a 7 and 9 hour drive, depending on who was driving.
When looking for schools, I remember that I wouldn’t even consider Wooster, because my Dad had gone there. I felt the same about Trenton State (now the College of New Jersey) because it was my mother’s alma mater.
I had my heart set on Salisbury State in Maryland, until I went there and realized it just did nothing for me.
I decided to give Wooster a try, and my Dad drove me out.
I fell instantly in love.
It’s a small, liberal arts school that was plunked down in a town that felt like it was in the middle of cornfields for miles.
The buildings were all old and made of stone, and my Dad was able to tell me stories about each and every one.
I applied, I got in, I was thrilled.
As August neared, I received the letter that had my roommates name and contact information.
I daydreamed about who she was and what she might be like, and then I got up the courage to call her.
Unlike me, going so far from home, DeeDee lived 30 minutes away from campus.
She was dating her high school sweetheart and had a job at home and planned on going home each weekend.
I was disappointed because I had images of she and I becoming the best of friends and spending all of our time together, but this was how it was and I would deal with it.
I remember going college shopping with Kim.
There was this big drug store place that we went to get all of our toiletries and random items, like shower caddies, comforters, etc.
It was SO exciting and I loved looking at all of my new things, imagining what my life would be at Wooster.
One by one, we all left for school.
I made Kim, Erin and Michaela cassette tapes with music and me talking and being a goofball to remind them of home, and then we all started to leave.
Kim was the first to go to school. The night before she left for Penn State, we all got together and cried and laughed and hung out.
Michaela left for Syracuse soon after, and a few days after that, Erin left for Grove City.
And then it was my turn.
My parents and I packed everything into the car and drove to my grandparents house, a few hours away from campus. We spent the night, ate Kentucky Fried Chicken, and they slept while I stayed up all night, so nervous and excited.
The next day, they took me to Wooster and helped me move in. Soon after they left, DeeDee showed up and moved in and then it was just the two of us.
We had our first floor meeting and I was pleasantly surprised to find a girl who had been in Kim, Erin, and my Brownie troop when we were in 2nd grade, but had moved to Connecticut after that. It was so random, but really cool. We liked the girls on our floor, and we liked each other.
There were growing pains, for DeeDee and I, along the way and we both learned a lot from each other.
I went home with her a few weekends and had a really good time.
She decided to stay on campus a few weekends and had a really good time.
My friend, Sandy, who lived in a neighboring town at home and had gone to church with me since I was in 2nd grade, also was at Wooster, living in a dorm across campus, and so she and her roommate, Cari, would come and hang with us sometimes as well.
I loved it.
I laughed more during my Freshman year than I think I did during any other year at college.
We had community showers in our dorm. No stalls, just a big room with showerheads sticking out of the wall.
One night, I decided to take a shower after coming home from water aerobics (DeeDee and I were the only people under the age of 60 in the pool).
The night before, DeeDee and I had watched the movie “It” on television, so if you’ve ever seen it, you can imagine that I was a little edgy in a dimly lit community shower at night.
Suddenly, the lights went out.
“Hello?” I called.
Then, things started to rain down on me…washcloths, loofas, shower puffs.
Scared the living daylights out of me.
Then, DeeDee’s hysterical laughter.
It was a time of finding myself, being independent.
Learning things like night-0wls shouldn’t schedule 8 am classes on Monday mornings.
DeeDee and I were at a Wooster basketball game when we went to war with Iraq and I remember the announcement being made and everyone taking a collective gasp in the stands. They took a break from the game to make the announcement that the siege had begun and then they played the national anthem. I’ve never heard it sung more strongly in a crowd, until the days directly following the September 11 attacks.
Then we all went back to our rooms and huddled together watching the footage of “Shock and Awe” and the beginnings of Operation Desert Storm.
Freshman year was a great, great year for me (despite Real Man and I dating for a bit then breaking up again).
DeeDee and I decided to be roommates for the rest of college.
By the spring of freshman year, she eventually broke up with the guy from home and met and started dating a guy from school, who she later married.
Sophomore year, I played intramural rugby with Sandy and had a blast, despite my utter lack of athletic ability.
Unfortunately, I wound up in an unhealthy relationship that lasted a little over two years and marred much of the rest of my college experience, but there were still lessons to be learned and there was fun to be had with my friends.
And that’s what I see when I see these former students of mine posting their college stories.
The potential and the amazing future for these kids, as well as my own poignant memories of how great it was.
August 25, 2012
Real Man made me very happy, a few weeks ago.
I mean, he makes me happy all the time, but you know what I mean.
There is a room off the dining room that was used as a guest room by the previous owners.
We are using it as an office.
We don’t have any office furniture, but we are using it as an office.
The closet was set up for a guest room, and is of no use to us in an office.
So, I took a little bookcase that was partially ruined in Irene, last fall, and stuck it in there to help make the closet a bit more useful.
Still, so much wasted space.
Imagine my insane pleasure upon arriving home from the beach to see what Real Man had done, one evening, when he was still home because he had to work, but the kids and I were on vacation with my parents.
My guy cut down some shelves that we had brought from the old house (the frugalista in me loves the re-purposing…and we had moved those shelves through 3 houses and never used them for anything, but knew we would some day!) and put up supports and made it a fully functional office closet (the professional organizer that lives inside me sings with joy)!
He knows exactly what kinds of gifts make me smile!
August 24, 2012
1. If you could have been (could be) any profession you wanted (brains and $$$ no problem) what would it be?
Where do I begin???
I love my career, so teaching is a no-brainer.
If I wasn’t a teacher, I’d (obviously) want to be a writer.
To write full-time?
If I couldn’t be a teacher or a writer, I’d want to be a professional singer. I wouldn’t have to be a rock star (although, seriously…I’d be okay with that) but just someone who got paid for singing and could sing all the time.
I love to sing alone and I love to sing in a group.
I stopped singing in the choir when Tiny was born, or actually, when I was pregnant with Tiny because I was just too darn tired and rehearsals ran late, but lately, I’ve been thinking about rejoining or finding another adult singing group.
I really, really love to sing.
2. How often do you clean out your car?
When stuff starts falling out when we open the doors?
Is that answer okay?
Because it’s kinda true.
I just don’t think about it, otherwise.
When I put Tiny in his seat, I freak a little at what I see, but then I get in my seat, up front where it’s clean, and I forget about it.
And in the way, way back?
I have no idea what might be back there.
It’s possible we actually have 5 kids, but just lost one of them in the third row.
The good news is, we don’t really eat in the car, so it’s not biological crap that’s in the car.
It’s thirty-thousand pens, five-hundred and seventeen Mad Libs pads, three-hundred and three workbooks, etc.
But seriously, it all adds up.
3. Do you wish there was such a thing as fashion police or are you deeply relieved?
Who cares what other people are wearing?
The do’s and dont’s of fashion drive me nuts.
As if there aren’t enough things we judge other people about, the clothes they wear have to be something, as well?
And, you may be thinking, “Yeah, whatever…she says this because she’s completely a fashion don’t,” and you may be right, but fashion has never been something I’ve been too concerned with.
I wear what I like and I wear what I can be comfortable with.
4. What’s your go to food/drink/activity when stressed?
Chocolate and peanut butter.
I can eat a Hershey bar smothered in peanut butter faster than it would take most people to even unwrap it.
I realize I need to substitute running or something for the chocolate and peanut butter, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.
5. If you had twins, what would you name them?
If it were completely up to me and Real Man would love any names I chose?
Boys: Jack and Sam
Girls: Emma and Olivia
However, in the real world, Real Man would definitely have a say and I’ve been loving those names my whole life and I have four kids, none of whom are named any of those names, so I don’t think it would happen.
Plus, there will be no more monkeys, so it’s all a moo point.
(A little Joey Tribbiani reference…anyone?)
August 23, 2012
1. I cried for a good 45 minutes the other day because I realized that Monkey Girl would be going to college (or off to do whatever she decides to do if college isn’t for her) in 7 years.
I sat at the table and sobbed and said things to Real Man like, “She won’t be here when we wake up in the morning or when we go to bed at night! She’ll be somewhere else where I am not!”
She hugged me and kissed me and told me it would be alright (because, apparently, she is 40 and I am 11) but I just couldn’t stop imagining a world without Monkey Girl by my side every minute of the day (except for school, but you know what I mean.)
Getting a little teary typing this right now.
2. When I posted that whole “I love fall” post the other day, I forgot about my fall allergies.
3. I need to find a globe for a lamp we have in the living room.
Tiny and I were hanging out in the living room, a few weeks ago, and he kept going behind the couch and calling me and then I’d pop up and say “Here I am” and we’d laugh and it was fun.
Until I was waiting for him to call me and I wasn’t hearing him and suddenly, I saw the tall lamp start wobbling back and forth, and I knew it was little boy hands that were causing the motion.
“No! No!'” I yelled, while doing my best Lolo Jones impression as I attempted to hurdle the couch, and you can imagine how well that went, so as I clambered over the couch, crash went the lamp, glass everywhere.
He was so startled, luckily, he didn’t move, and I scooped him up and deposited him in the basement with his siblings while I swept, re-swept and re-swept the living room, making sure I got every last particle of glass.
And now we need a new globe.
4. I’ve been working on my class website and I’m pretty excited about it.
I’ve got a little “This Day in History” section, all the directions for long-term assignments, and can upload all direction sheets for assessments and assignments right to the site.
There is the potential for a lot of other cool stuff and I’m hoping to play more with it during Tiny’s nap today.
Love doing new things with my classes.
You’d think after 18 years in education, it would get stale, but the good news is…it’s a career that is always new and fresh because you are always dealing with new students, and in middle school, even the same kid is a different kid every day.
It’s never, never boring!
5. Speaking of school, I’m starting to get a little tic, thinking about all of the papers I’m going to have to fill out on the first night of school. 3 kids, 3 packets. Good times.
August 22, 2012
Saturday night was a good night.
Real Man and I headed into NYC to meet Kim, Erin, Michaela, their significant others and some of Kim’s other friends (although why she would need other friends, I’ll never know) to celebrate Kim’s birthday.
We met up with Erin and Michaela and their husbands, then headed over to the restaurant.
After the restaurant, we headed to Koreatown for some karaoke.
It is my greatest hope that there is no video evidence of karaoke.
It was fun.
It’s about an hour and a half train ride home (because they hit every single station), so we headed out and made the 12:34 train.
We waited in Penn Station until they posted the track, then fought the mob to get to the train.
If you’ve ever caught the train out of Penn Station on the Morris/Essex line, you know of what I speak.
On the train, we took some seats on the upper level and waited.
Immediately, a woman came onto the train, sat diagonally across from us and began speaking into her cell phone in a ridiculously loud voice.
This is not a weird thing on a train.
The weird part was that I honestly believe she was speaking a made-up language.
I’m pretty good with the languages, but this one?
Totally made up.
As the ride went on, the engineer began getting a bit punchy and started singing the train stops.
“Suuuuuuuummit! Summit, Summit, Summit! Next stop!”
It had everyone on the train laughing, which was nice.
Until the guys in front of us started their conversation.
I’d say they were in their late 30’s, early 40’s.
They were engaged in one of those late night conversations. You know the ones.
So impossibly deep that they are blowing their own minds.
They were talking about old television shows and somehow Golden Girls came up, at which point they both began to sing the theme song in these sensitive guy, sitting around a campfire with the guitar even though I really don’t know how to play but I brought the guitar anyway to impress the ladies voices.
They sang the entire song and I didn’t think to pull out my phone to record them.
Deep Guy #1: You know, that song was, like, a top 10 song in the 70’s and then the show used it for their theme song.
Deep Guy #2: Genius. Freaking Genius.
(Genius? I don’t know about that, but it was a top 25 hit in 1978. Score 1/2 for Deep Guy #1.)
Then, they started to talk about books and the one guy was saying how he read “The Hunger Games” with his kids, but they hadn’t finished it when the movie came out, but they saw the movie anyway and decided to quit reading the book because the movie was so bad.
I almost stepped into the conversation at this point, but let it go.
So, then the conversation moved to Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit.
Deep Guy #2: You heard about The Hobbit, right? About all the extra footage?
Deep Guy #1: No, what?
Deep Guy #2: When they filmed it and finished the editing, it was just one movie. But, they decided to turn it into two movies. After they watched the two, they finally decided that it was so good, they should make it into three!
Deep Guy #1: That’s amazing. I heard that when they finished filming, they found out that they had, like, 82 hours of footage. That’s why they made 3 movies.
Deep Guy #2: Awesome. That’s just awesome. (Completely missing the fact that Deep Guy #1 just told him he was wrong about why there are 3 movies, despite the fact he said he hadn’t heard anything about The Hobbit.)
Then one of them had to go to the bathroom.
He went and when he returned, the other went, so we had about 7 minutes of peace.
Until they began talking about music.
Deep Guy #1: Man, you know who I really love? Bob Seger.
(Real Man and I nod to each other because we love Bob Seger, too.)
Deep Guy #2: Who?
Deep Guy #1: You know, Bob Seger. He’s had, like, 40 top 10 hits. He’s awesome.
(At this point Real Man pulls out his cell phone because we may love Bob Seger, but we also both know he did NOT have, like, 40 top 10 hits. Wikipedia confirmed our belief.)
Deep Guy #2: Oh, yeah, I think I’ve heard of him.
Deep Guy #1: Bruce Springsteen did an awesome album of Bob Seger songs. I can’t remember what it was called.
(Real Man and I are now exchanging looks like, “huh?” because we both know that Springsteen did NOT do an album of Bob Seger songs.)
Deep Guy #2: Are you sure you don’t mean Pete Seeger?
Deep Guy #1: Who’s Pete Seeger?
Deep Guy #2: You know, Pete Seeger, he sang that song…
At which point he begins to sing and Deep Guy #1 joins him.
(And I have the presence of mind to whip out my iPhone and record for your listening pleasure, but I only caught the last few notes.)
Total sensitive guy voice, right?
And total annoying girl with large group dying to be the center of attention a few seats ahead of them right after he finishes his song.
Deep Guy #1: Oh yeah…Pete Seeger. That’s who Springsteen did. But man, I love Bob Seger.
From there the conversation kind of dwindled until they got off the train and we were forced to spend the rest of the trip listening to annoying girl who got off the stop before we did.
Still, it was an entertaining ride home, as it always is when coming home from the city. We rolled in around 2 and Tiny was up around 5:45, so you can imagine how our Sunday went, but we were so glad we went.
Always great to see the girls, wonderful to celebrate Kim, and nice to get a night out with Real Man.
And of course, good times on the train.