Friday, April 9, 2010

Regarding Sara

I was looking back through some of my older posts. I have been blogging for quite a while, I guess. When I started, it was so much easier, because my kids were petite and cute. They had chubby cheeks and little bittie teeth. They said adorable things and loved everyone. Now.... they are older. They are not cute very often. More and more, I think, "Help! I'm in over my head!" I miss the days when the most pressing question was, "Baby food from a jar, or make my own?" Parenting is getting complicated, just when I thought it was supposed to get easier. Here are the questions that I must ponder this week regarding Sara, who recently turned 11.

Pressing questions for the mother of an 11 year-old girl.

1. Does this flat-as-the-Kansas-prairies child really need a bra? Actually, the answer is yes, I guess. The pediatrician said she would feel more secure about herself if I let her have one. Those two were in cahoots - I could tell. OK, we went to Target and found the training bra aisle. It took some searching to find ones that weren't padded (No WAY! How can you enhance something that DOES NOT EXIST?), but we managed to get some little vest thingies. By the next day, she was already complaining about straps showing. Welcome to the rest of your life, kid.

2. How much help with a project is too much help? Here's her Oregon "float" for the long-awaited Fifth Grade Parade of States.
I think it turned out pretty well. You've got the covered wagon theme going, and the flat bit up by the handle is the "ocean", complete with fishing boat. Then there's a map suspended from the wagon bows. True, her dad built the wagon bows and figured out how to make the mountain. He showed her how to paint it, but she did the painting and all the rest. Anyway, at our house, parental help is dicey anyway. Notice that the wagon bows are already going catywumpus. That's because we decided to pull it to school this morning using the overland route, which was a little bumpy.
Simon also suggested adding a few of the state's products, and found a bottle of Oregon wine in the rack. We drank it up, and he put the bottle on there. The only other product they bothered with was a piece of wood. C'mon! He just wanted the wine bottle on there to see if he could get a reaction from the school administration over some zero tolerance policy; or at least cause some clucking among the Latter Day Saint teachers and parents. Since he is out of town, I took the wine bottle off the float and threw it out. See Sara? Parents aren't really very helpful after all.
3. What am I supposed to do about the badly behaved girls in her Girl Scout troop? There are three brainless, blathering girls in there that I don't even think realize that they are at a Girl Scout meeting. They spend the whole time yelling and monkeying around. It drives the other girls crazy. The troop can barely get anything done. The leader says it drives her nuts, too, but that, "These are the girls who really need Girl Scouts the most". Hmmm... That's a very nice sentiment. The leader is a better person than I am. I find myself fantasizing about chaperoning a camping trip and scaring them so badly with bear stories that they run away and never come back. Maybe a little scratching at the tent wall in the middle of the night, with some growling and huffing sounds...
4. Am I supposed to be freaking out about middle school already? She has one more year left in elementary school, and then it is time for the dreaded middle school experience. Turns out that, just as she is supposed to start there, the building will be torn down and rebuilt. The kids from her school will be bused to another middle school several miles away, where they will share the building with the kids from that school. Granted, it is a really spacious school, but some parents are already pulling their kids out of our local elementary and putting them in elementary schools that will be served by middle schools unaffected by the disruption. Of course, that means that they can't use the school buses and will have to drop off and pick up their kids every day. I work full-time. And Sara doesn't want to be separated from her friends. If I let her be bused to the other school, am I the Antichrist?
5. Does she need braces? The dentist says so, and referred us his orthodontist buddy. But of course, it might all be a conspiracy. I had braces, but there was no doubt I needed them. My mouth looked like a glacier that was about to calve. How the hell am I supposed to know if she needs braces?
6. And the big one for today. Do I think this haircut looks cute? She loves it. Sure, Sara. I would never dream of telling you that you really...

...look just like your brother! See? Don't you think her teeth look fine? I mean, once those canines come in.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Home Alone

Simon left for Canada today on business, so I am on my own with the kids for a week. This is inconvenient, but also oddly soothing. I have to be good and go to bed soon, though. I CANNOT give in to the urge to sit up half the night reading, like I did when he was in Houston. The Namesake is pretty addictive, though.

I don't even feel afraid here at night any more. I did for quite a while, but I'm over it. I still lock the bathroom door when I shower and I don't go down in the basement, with all of its creepy noises, but otherwise, I'm good. Relatively.

Up at the old place, it was scarier. We lived for eleven years in a cabin up on Guardsman's Pass in Big Cottonwood Canyon, far away from the convenient, suburban purgatory in which I now reside. Up at the old place, there were no people, no lights, no noise, no road. I would get spooked when Simon was gone, but then I would think, "Who the hell do you think can find you out here? And why would anyone come all the way up here just to make you scream?" I got used to the coyotes and the way the snow would scour the windows and the sounds the wood would make when it was settling in the stove.

Occasionally, people would appear. The dude in the tuxedo standing in the light from my window late at night in a snowstorm. He was a liiiiittle off course in his search for the post-prom he was looking for... Another time, when I was standing at the kitchen sink late at night, my bottle-bottom glasses sliding down my nose and a towel turban around my head, a face suddenly appeared in the window, causing me to scream my ASS off. "Uh, sorry, ma'am. I was just looking for the party. Do you know where the party is?" Do I LOOK like I know where the fucking party is?!?

I am a little homesick for the old place. I know this is crazy. It snowed three feet up there in the last 24 hours. The canyon road has been closed for avalanche blasting. We would have been stranded without electricity; the kids would have been unable to get to school; I would have missed work; we would have been shoveling the house and the cars out for hours on end. I would have been hauling groceries to the house on my sled, in snow up to my crotch. I have a driveway now, and a garage door. With a garage door opener. But I miss the old place.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


By Dish Network. No kidding.

It's true that Simon has had ups and downs with Dish Network. Sometimes we have a TV; sometimes we don't. For the first 14 years of our marriage, we were a TV-free family, and I liked it. But Simon wanted to watch the World Cup in 2006, so we got, not just TV, but Dish Network. I guess he no longer feared me wrath at that point.

We cancelled it after a few months and went back to not having TV. No, not because he rediscovered my wrath; we just kept forgetting to watch it. Now, it is time for the 2010 World Cup, and Simon is ready to move back to TV-land. He even bought a monstrosity of a big-screen for the rec room downstairs. Fine, whatever. I stay out of it.

If you are a Dish Network subscriber, perhaps you know: it's like checking in to the Hotel California. You can't NEVER leave. Si got peeved when they started making unauthorized charges to our credit card for services we had not requested. It took him weeks to cancel the account, then they tried to bill us for supposedly stealing a part of the thing-gummy that we sent back to them. Because it's what everyone covets: a small part of a thing-gummy.

Time has passed and Simon's anger has abated. But today, when he tried to resubscribe, the sales person stopped in the middle of signing him up and said that she needed to call a supervisor. This guy gets on the phone and says, "Uh-oh! Wow, we are having some sort of huge software problem here! We are going to have to totally reboot the system! Could we call you back in a moment?" Si said he would hold. After a while, they came back on and said that they were still experiencing some sort of technical difficulty that was too profound for him to hold through; they would need to call him back later. They never called back.

Tomorrow, I'm going to call Dish Network and see if I have better luck. Si is coaching me. "Be sure to tell them that we are divorced. 'THAT ASSHOLE! I'LL BET HE SAID THIS WAS HIS ADDRESS!'"

Blacklisted! If that doesn't work, I guess we'll be subscribing to DirecTV. I hope the two companies don't share their blacklists, or we'll be living in a hotel for the month of June.