Monday, June 25, 2012

Because they are LOUD...

One of the drawbacks to living in an old house with wooden floors is the fact that it often sounds like I'm raising a herd of young elephants. Clumsy young elephants.

Our house is built on a pier and beam foundation, which means it is built on a series of concrete pillars allowing a crawl space under the house. This is the norm in Southern homes as it allows air circulation under the floor, an essential in keeping cool in a climate that is hot nine months out of the year. And while this is great for keeping the floor cool, as well as allowing access to plumbing and wiring, etc... it's not so great when you have heavy footed children thumping around the house.

By the sound of it, my kids both weigh approximately six tons a piece.

This is great when I want to know where they are, because I can tell just by listening which child is where. And I can tell precisely how close the teenager is to killing her brother just by how much heavier (and faster) those foot stomps get.

This isn't so great, though, when they're horsing around in the living room while waiting for me to get stuff together for our weekly trip to the library. Or do I mean "elephanting" around?

When the Husbandly One and I were first married, we lived in a house built by my father's uncle in 1925. It was small and had a lot of cool doors with cut glass door knobs and each door had a lock with a skeleton key. Well, except the bathroom door. That one had a little knob on the inside that turned like a deadbolt.

Anyhow, it, too, was built on pier and beam and had beautiful wood floors that we loved. We had no children then, just a very large, enthusiastic Labrador Retriever that we loved very dearly, and his herd of cats. And while Max could be loud when chasing his cats around the house, or when they chased him right back, for the most part, it was pretty quiet.

That entire neighborhood was full of old Craftsman houses on pier and beam foundations with similar wood floors. And the house two doors down from us had a family with two small children.

Let me tell you something. I always knew when the mom gave her kids something with a lot of sugar in it. How, you ask? Because I started hearing what sounded like a herd of small horses thundering through a canyon. Seriously. You could hear every single footstep from two houses away when they'd start running through the house. You'd hear resounding booms when they'd jump off the couch and hit the floor, towel capes flapping behind them, and then there would be the rapid fire clatter when they'd race down the hall, chasing imaginary bad guys, or the bangs when they knocked something heavy over in their enthusiasm. And I'd hear the thuds when they'd finally have their sugar crash and pass out for the rest of the afternoon.

I always thought it was funny. Annoying, but funny. And I'd think, "Wow, why doesn't she just shove them out in the backyard like my mom used to do us?"

That always goes through my mind now when I hear my young elephants thumping through the house on their various adventures. I wonder what my neighbors think my kids are doing, and if they can hear it from two or three houses away.

Once, I came back through the back gate after walking to hear, "Thump, thump, thump, THUD, thump, bang, CRASH!" and then my husband bellowing, "Will you two cut it out?? WAIT TILL YOUR MOTHER GETS HOME!!"

I was laughing before I even got in the house. Everyone froze when I came through the door and all I could say was, "Wow, y'all are LOUD."

I suppose I should resign myself to being an elephant herder for now. I'm sure there will come a time when there won't be feet stomping through my house, and I'll miss it. But for now, I find myself wishing for less elephants and more... ninjas.

Ninjas would be seriously cool. Huh. I think I just got a scathingly brilliant idea!!

I'll get back to you when I'm done!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Because random is the word of the day...

I was watching my kids the other day, walking out the back gate on their way to a pick-up game of soccer out by the high school and the Husbandly One said, "Wow, the Impossible Son is almost as tall as the Impertinent Daughter."

And wow, he was right. The Impossible Son is definitely catching up to his sister. It's a surprise, because he's always been so small, so tiny compared to the other kids in his class. Watching him play soccer all these years has had us alternately elated and terrified. Elated because he's really good, he's extremely fast, and his small size is a definite advantage when it comes to maneuvering on the field. Terrified because his small size means he gets knocked around, and especially lately, the other players seem like giants next to him. Especially when he's in the goal box.

He's growing like a weed. All of a sudden, his arms and legs are too long, and his hands and feet are too big. He's outgrowing clothes and shoes at the drop of a hat. He's eating everything in the house and groceries run out way too fast. And even though my husband and I are both small (he's 5'6" and I'm 5'3"), I'm wondering if the tall genes in my mom's family are activating, and Mr. Impossible is going to be taller than both of us?

I remember when my nephew suddenly started shooting up in height, and the day he realized that he was taller than me. It was Thanksgiving and we were in the kitchen. He was handing me a fork when he suddenly froze and grabbed my hand, staring at it. "Aunt Jo," he said, his eyes wide. "Your hands are so... tiny!!" Then he stared at me in shock and said, "You're tiny!!"

I laughed and said, "What brought all this on?"

And he said, "You've always seemed so... big to me! I mean... you're... Aunt Jo!!"

I have sudden visions of my son going through the same thing. I wonder if he'll have that same moment of staring at me and realizing he's taller than me and have his whole reality shift because of it. I'm waiting for my own shock when he's tall enough that we're able to stand eye to eye.

I"m still reeling from being able to do that with my daughter.

Part of me isn't ready for any of this. Somewhere in my mind, both of my kids are still small, still hanging on to the leg of my jeans with a determined little fist, still chirping away in their little voices and asking questions that I still have answers for. Then I look at them now and see... that they aren't so small any more.

They still chatter away, and they still ask me questions. Some of them I have answers for, and some of them, we have to go look it up. I'm just glad the dialog is still open, to tell you the truth.

As I watched them walking out the gate together, though, I found myself glad that they're growing together, and as they get older, they still find things they can do together. That through all the squabbling and fussing, they're still friends. I just hope that when he's taller than her, he doesn't forget she's still in range of his stomach!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Writing in Public...

Yes, I'm in the public library in San Marcos yet again for another summer. For the past three years, the Impertinent Daughter has been going to meetings for the Animanga Club. The Impossible Son and I would find a table with available plugs and hunker down for the duration. Sometimes, he would find a pile of manga to read, or books that interested him. Or I would check out a library computer for him to play games on while I did some writing. Because I've been finding it easier to write at the library than at home.

Writer's block sucks, by the way, just in case you were wondering.

This year, though, the Impossible Son is old enough to go to Animanga Club, too, so I am actually alone at my table... and finding it almost impossible to write. Part of it is missing my little companion... who isn't so little any more, by the way. And the other part is... paranoia. Because most of the tables near accessible and available plugs do not have sides that face convenient walls, so... anyone can walk up behind me and read over my shoulder, and regardless of what I'm writing, I have never liked having anyone read or look over my shoulder. Sucked when I was taking art in college, because that's all the teachers do is look over your shoulder to judge your progress.

Anyhow, whenever I'm working on something a little... er... adult, shall we say... I can always tell who read over my shoulder by the fact that their ears are turning red as they hurry away.


Add in my extreme dislike of sitting with my back to doors or wide open areas, and you can see my problem. Thank you, high school, for giving me that particular issue.

Still, my kids are enjoying themselves and probably were a big hit when they walked in the door. Come on, it's an Animanga club, and the kids both have wildly colored hair. The Impertinent Daughter, though she started the summer red, is now once again blue, and the Impossible Son opted for bright florescent green (it glows under black light, how cool is THAT??). This, of course, makes me the Coolest Mom Ever. Thank you, Manic Panic.

So far, all I've really accomplished today, writing-wise, is a long email to my mom, and this blog entry. Did I mention writer's block sucks? Because it does. Like a Hoover. Or a Dyson. No... a Hoover. Because it sucks like crap.

Anyhow, if this keeps up, I'm either going to have to beg my husband for either a new battery for this old laptop so I can sit in odd corners and type away to my heart's content (what a COOL idea, and I know just the corner I could use, too!!), or beg for a new laptop, which really, we can't. Because I want my next laptop to be a Mac (no, I am no longer a fan of Windows, how did you know?). And to be fair, the next person in the family who should get a laptop should be Miss Impertinence. After all, she'll be starting college in two years...

*has a moment of major Mom-Freak-Out*

OMG... she'll be graduating high school in two years. Excuse me, I have to find a paper bag, because I'm hyperventilating. Because, no way. I mean, she only took her first steps LAST YEAR... right? Where the hell did the time go?? Is it a rule of quantum physics or something that time goes from dragging so that it takes approximately three years to go from Christmas to Christmas to suddenly only a week passing before it's Christmas again?? Since when did we go from "slower than molasses in January" time to warp speed, warp factor 11?

Those commercials weren't kidding. Life comes at you fast. Somebody should have told me to wear a helmet!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Adventures in Grocery Shopping...

This is what I posted on Facebook a few minutes ago...

"Grocery shopping with my children is rather like being orbited by my own tiny planet and moon. A hyper, dancing, chattering, extremely frenetic tiny planet while a very grouchy, cranky moon continually snarks and fusses at the tiny planet. No wonder I forget stuff. Aleve, please?"

The Impossible Son orbits around me, literally sticking to my side and hopping, dancing, twirling, and jigging on both sides of me, and behind me, and in front of me, until I can't keep track of him and I end up almost falling over him or bumping him or... yeah. And yes, it drives me NUTS. It was one thing when he was small and I could easily move him either into the basket or up on my back or hip and thus out of the way.

Now, however, he's eleven, and he's in that all long arms/long legs stage of pre-explosive growth, and that's just entirely too much boy to be dancing around Mama and nearly tripping her up!

And while he's doing this, he's talking my ear off and with the grocery store being full of people and annoying music, I can't make out a word he's saying, and I can't focus or concentrate for anything. GAAAAAAHHHH!!!!

In the meantime, my daughter is pushing the basket, fussing almost nonstop at him to get off the shelf, get off the the display, move out of the way, don't touch that, put that down, don't pick that up, get that for Mum, please, no, don't put that in the basket, not that one, genius, the other one, wait, no, don't touch that or you'll knock it all over... MOOOOOM!!!

Yes, as you can see, the fun of grocery shopping with my kids lives on.

It's very... migraine inducing.

Good thing I love them. Of course, I can't walk away from them and pretend they aren't mine because (1) they look just like me and (2) it's a small town, everybody knows us, and no one is fooled any more, though they might take them off my hands for an hour or two out of sheer kindness. Maybe.

Have I mentioned that my kids are also going through the ravenous wolf phase? The Impossible Son is eating nearly everything in sight. Fruit doesn't last long in our house. Or frozen vegetables. Or crackers. Or ham. Or hot dogs. Or leftover grilled hamburger patties. Or cheese. Or chips. Or bananas... dammit, I forgot bananas!!


And the Impertinent Daughter, at 16, is still growing, and has moments of, "I'm not hungry," followed by three or four days of, "eat ALL the food in the house!!" And there are days when she sort of eyes her brother, but he's too skinny to eat. Not enough meat on those long bones of his. Perhaps I should be nervous!

And then the Husbandly One comes home and says, "Where's all the food?? Didn't you just go grocery shopping???"

And I say, "It was sheer self-preservation!! I had to, or they would eat ME!!!

I don't know why he never believes me...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Because her art grows by leaps and bounds...

She's done it again. The Impertinent Daughter has blown me away with her art again.

Yeah, I know, proud mom here. But it's not like I can drag you all HERE to look at the door of my fridge, is it?

It took me a moment to realize this was a DRAWING!!!

"If Only I Never Found Out"

It's just... wow. Just... wow.