Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Because my daughter's mind is just as warped as mine...

This is what happens when the Impertinent Daughter gets bored halfway through an assignment to write a journal entry as if she were a colonist who had managed to survive a year in one of the New World colonies in the 1600's...

"Friday, August 29, 1600-something -- Sunny. The recent arrivals to the colony were a great relief to all of us as they came with supplies. I mean, we have been trading with the Indians for food and some of their supplies, but... it isn't the same as using what we good English folk are used to using. Besides, if there is anything our new arrivals (and some poor, clueless souls here) should worry about, it's the werewolves. Those bloody pests have been getting too many a man as of lately! Tomorrow night is the full moon and some of the stronger men are going to go hunt them down and rid our colony of these beasts the illness. I think it may come from the water? Or whatever we have been eating. We basically live in a swamp. What the Indians don't give us and that the other colonial men pick up is probably not good for us. And then there's the natives themselves! I've seen some in the woods outside of the borders of our colony, but they don't venture too near. Probably because we're all obviously diseased here and they don't want it. Besides, they've got their own problems. I hear the werewolves are getting them, too. The infestation is worse than I thought diseases are spreading to them and from us no less! But, at the moment, that is of no matter, I have survived a year here in this new world colony, even if it is crawling with moonlight freaks a little dangerous... it is an occurrence worth writing about!"

Part of me wants her to turn it in just like that, but I'm fully aware that as it's only day three, and she doesn't know the teacher well, it's probably a little too early to be testing the bounds of the woman's good humor. Still, she's awesome, and incredible, and I love the skew in her humor!

Werewolves. Heh, heh... briliant!!!

Because they put the lime in the coconut and that song won't go away!!

Sometimes, sitting down to write a blog post is ridiculously easy, because my kids will do something, or my mom will say something, or I will do something that I feel compelled to write down. It's my way of programming it into my memory bank so I don't forget it.

Other times, though, writing is unbelievably difficult. It's difficult to pull the words out of my brain, or to flog my brain into thinking of something worth writing about.

It's not that my life is uneventful. Because, seriously, there is always something going on. Always. It's just deciding whether or not it's blog-worthy.

For instance, my son has started junior high, and with it, he has also signed up for band. Yes, I finally have a band-geek in the house. And I thought he was going to be a percussionist, because that's where his interest was for the longest time (and still is, I admit it), but... he tested well on trombone, and they are woefully thin on lower brass while being embarrassingly full on percussion. So... my son is going to play the trombone.

As you can see... at present, the trombone is bigger than he is! I have no doubts, though, that he will grow into it.

This is beside the adventure of what the Impossible Son being in junior high means for all of us, most especially my husband. I say that because he seems to be even more reluctant than me to relinquish the baby that once was for the teenager that is coming. I admit it, I look at our son, and I see the cheerful baby that used to reach up for me, that would take every step the Husbandly One did, one small fist firmly gripping the seam of THO's jeans, the other reaching out to explore whatever was in reach. I see that baby, and then I blink and I there he is, my son, lanky, overly long arms and legs and awkward angles, lengthening jaw and too big feet and I think, "Where did my baby go?"

I thought that with the Impertinent Daughter, too. I looked at her when she was at that awkward in-between stage, missing the baby, and getting to know the teenager, and now I'm watching her turning into a young woman... and it's both incredibly cool, and extremely freaky.

And they're both having a growth spurt at the same time. This means we literally cannot keep enough food in the house. As soon as we bring it in... it's gone. And remember, my kids are the kind who like to snack on frozen veggies as a "cool treat." So, not only are the fresh fruits and veggies we bring home from the grocery store disappearing almost as soon as they come home, but so are all the frozen veggies, too! Crackers, granola bars, raisins... ham, chicken, leftover spaghetti sauce, bread... it's all disappearing, and I'm not sure where the kids are putting it because it's not showing on them at all. Except for the increase in height factor.

This leads me to a weird little aside. We were leaving the junior high after sixth grade orientation last week, and the Impossible Son had asked me if I knew any trombone players when I was in high school band. I laughed heartily and said, "Kiddo, my first real boyfriend in high school was a trombone player, and he was taller than me!"

"Really?" Mr. Impossible peered up at me, and really, he doesn't have that far to peer up any more.


"Yep. He was six feet, three inches tall," I said with a grin.

"How tall were you?" he asked, and that's when I came to a complete halt and kind of stared blankly in front of me. Because it only just then dawned on me. I was only 4'10" when I was dating Mr. Tall Trombone Player. No, seriously, back when I was dating him, I had no clue. I never thought about it, except that I found it awkward to hold his hand or to kiss him, because he was so much taller than me.

I went to his senior prom with him, and he had to pick me up to dance with me, my feet dangling two feet above the floor, because otherwise, it hurt his back to bend over and hurt his knees to crouch down and dance!!!

Oblivious Jo was oblivious.

*shakes head*

Of course, seeing the look on my kids' faces when I told them that was hysterically funny, because I had to give them a comparison scale, so I said, "Imagine if the Tall Blonde's husband was standing next to... Grammy." Grammy is THO's mom, and she's shorter than I am. It was an apt example.

"You're not 4'10" now, are you?" asked Mr. Impossible.

"Nope. I'm about 5'3" now," I said. "Still short, but not as short as I was back then."

The Impertinent One spent a lot of time snickering about that, and I just laughed it off, because really, it is funny! And no, I wasn't blonde, I was a ginger back then, so... chalk my obliviousness up to inexperience and general nose-buried-in-a-bookishness.

In the meantime, the Impertinent Daughter has started her junior year of high school, and this year, we actually have textbooks in our science and math classes!!!!

And the people rejoiced.

Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere has so far been quiet, but the Impertinent One reports her prowling on the periphery of the school, eyeing students and saying nothing. Yet. It can't last, of course, but we shall see.

Still, the Impertinent One seems determined to worry about every single little thing that it's possible to worry about, and it's quite a challenge for THO and I to calm those worries with sensible advice. Or lots of hugs and chocolate. Or jokes. Jokes work. Sci-fi marathons, too. Or general nerdiness. That seems to help from time to time.

So, as you can see, there's been quite a lot going on, it's just... kind of hard to decide what to write about, to choose just... one, or two.

And now, to go bake some cookies to throw at the kids so there's something left for the rest of us to eat!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Clothesline Blues

You know, I have a totally new appreciation for now much work my mom did for twenty three years when it came to laundry. You see, my mom didn't have a clothes dryer until 1971. Up until that time, she hung our clothes to dry on a clothesline. All of them. This includes sheets, blankets, and bedspreads, too.

Let me tell you something, that's hard work.

The reason I have this new appreciation is because our clothes dryer is on the fritz. Well, actually, the dryer runs just fine, it just doesn't heat. So the clothes take forever to dry. I suspect an issue with the igniter or something (it's a gas dryer). Therefore, I've started hanging our clothes out on a clothesline in the backyard. And it takes all day.

It's hot and dry in Central Texas, which is a good thing for drying clothes, but not so good when it comes to having to be out in it. But I have remembered little things my mom used to do, like... turning all the pants and shorts inside out so the pockets get dry. Then I remembered that I should basically turn everything inside out to reduce fading from the sun.

I remember dancing through the sheets when I was a kid, loving the way the cool fabric felt against my hot skin, and Mom fussing at me about getting sweat, or dirt on her clean sheets.

I completely understand why she wasn't happy when I got dirt on the sheets. Because it meant she had to do it all again.

I also remember her snapping the clothes sharply as she removed them from the line, to get lint and pollen off, before folding them and putting them in the basket. My son said, "Why don't you just dump them in the basket and fold them inside?"

"Because I don't want to drag them inside, and then fold them and then put them away. I'd rather fold it now, so it doesn't have a chance to get more wrinkled before I put them away," I said.

"What's wrong with them being wrinkled?" he asked with a frown.

"If they're wrinkled," I said, turning to look at him, "then I have to iron them. And believe me, I do not want to iron the clothes. Not if I don't have to."

"What do you mean, iron them?" he asked. "Why don't you just throw them in the dryer to get the wrinkles out?"

*insert hysterical laughter HERE*

Mom would do laundry one day, washing, and hanging stuff out to dry, folding it and bringing it back in. Then the next day... she'd iron everything Shirts, dresses, Dad's boxer shorts and handkerchiefs, his undershirts, her dresses, shirts, and pants, my sisters' clothes, my clothes... AND... all the bed sheets and pillow cases, as well as any curtains she might have washed.

EVERYTHING got ironed.

And yes, she taught me to iron, too. And you know what? I hate it, every bit as much as she did. And I really, really, really don't want to do it now. My family can sleep on wrinkled sheets, I really don't care. I'm not embarrassed about wrinkled sheets, and I'm also not worried about germs in the bedclothes, so... I see no need to iron them.

My mom, though... she ironed. She folded and put away. She hung clothes. She baked from scratch. She sewed all my sisters' and my clothes. And you know, I had no clue. I had no clue how much work she was doing. I knew she worked and worked hard. But I had no appreciation for it, for what she did, and how much drudgery was involved.

Because it is. It's drudgery. It's never-ending, because no matter how much of it you do, it is never done. As soon as you finish up one load of clothing, there's more waiting to be done. People like to talk so nostalgically about how happy the fifties were, and how women knew their place and were so happy doing it and wouldn't it be great to go back to the fifties??


I do not find satisfaction in housework. I don't feel complete because I just did three loads of laundry and put it all away for people who don't seem to appreciate it and end up throwing most of it, still clean, mind you, on the floor. I don't find joy in washing dishes, nor do I hum with satisfaction as I dust the shelves, or sweep the floor. I don't enjoy endless, repetitive tasks. I don't know very many people who do, male or female. So no, I don't think the fifties were so great, and I bet if you ask a lot of the women who had spent the forties working as Rosie the Riveter if they enjoyed giving that up and spending their time doing grunt work at home, being good little homemakers and baby raisers, you'd probably hear a lukewarm, "I did the best I could with what I had."

I should know. I've asked. There's a reason feminism went big in the early sixties.

And I have to tell you, if that dryer doesn't get fixed soon, my "Feminine Mystique" will be a mystery to my family no longer, and I will be declaring my independence and maybe even burning my bra in the backyard. By the clothesline.

Because, seriously, this BITES!!!