Did I Say Something?

Did I Say Something?

by Gina Valley

“Wash your hands!” I just hollered at my 11 year old for the fifth time in 5 minutes.

Clearly, this was a torturous task.

I mean the washing for him.  Not the hollering by me.  I’m quite good at hollering.  I’ve been practicing for years. It’s no trouble at all.  Comes quite naturally.  Must be a parent thing.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Did I Say Something Teachers ListeningThen, I heard myself holler what I have hollered and said and whispered and nearly cursed uncountable times, “I’ll bet your teacher doesn’t have to tell you to wash your hands more than once.”

Without missing a beat, my mini minion shot back, “She doesn’t tell us.  We have to wash our hands before we line up after recess.  Everybody knows that.”

And, there it is.

If she says that they’re to wash their hands after recess, they wash their hands after recess.

If I say that, prior to sitting down for lunch, they’re to wash their hands after they have been playing in the pile of cow manure that’s waiting to be spread over our lawn, I’m asking too much.

I was reminded of that age old parenting adage:

Children will do anything for their teachers. 

We used to live across the street from the school two of my children attended at the time.  It was 30 feet from the end of our driveway to the back edge of the school.  Our kids just had to hop the fence, walk across the playing field, and they were at the blacktop.  It was quick; it was short; it was easy, and our kids didn’t do it.  Nope, our kids walked all the way around, about ½ mile, to go into the front of the school.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Did I Say Something Teachers ListeningLest you think the fence hoppin’ is a deterrent, know that my kids hopped fences before they walked.

I was raised Presbyterian, so we didn’t hop fences when I was a kid.  We were raised to respect that fences signified boundaries one needed permission to cross.  I never hopped them as a kid – except when we were camping – all bets are off when you’re in the woods.

In civilized society, I was taught, a fence was not crossed over by law abiding citizens.  If they wanted you in there there’d be a gate.  Find a gate or stay out.

But, I’ve always been a bit of a rebel, so I’ve never allowed fences to slow my pack down.  Besides, we’re usually running late.  Much to the chagrin of the proper parents & fence fearers around us, my kids have always breeched every fence in their way without a second thought.

No, my kids weren’t walking an extra ½ mile to school out of a misplaced sense of fence respect. Nope.  My kids were walking half a mile all the way around the school because they didn’t want to get grass on their shoes. Apparently, the grass at that school was very dewy, causing pieces of grass to adhere to their footwear and they wanted to avoid this condition.

“They must be tremendously tidy,” you might be thinking.  No!  Are you kidding me?  I think they’re hiding curly tails under their jeans.  In fact, the walk home across the field was no problem.  Sometimes they looked like they were wearing grass boots by the time they got home.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Did I Say Something Teachers ListeningThey didn’t walk across the field on the way to school because their teacher didn’t like grass tracked into the classroom.

I can’t get my kids to leave their shoes outside when they step in dog doo!

They won’t walk 5 extra steps to put trash in the trash can.

Yet, they’d walk 100 times farther than they had to in order to avoid tracking grass into their classroom because their teacher didn’t like it.

I wish I could have convinced their teacher to use her magical powers to get them to clean their rooms or to go to bed on time or to stop bickering.  But, she was only willing to apply them to school-centric issues.

That’s ok, though.

I saw their teacher at the grocery store yesterday.  I would have said “Hello,” but she was pretty busy saying to her 7 year old, “I can’t believe I’ve had to tell you to put your shoes back on 5 times in this store!”

I guess teacher magic only works on their students.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Ever feel like you are being ignored?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

I Don’t Have Lollipops Up The Wazoo

I Don’t Have Lollipops Up The Wazoo

Let me just say, as a disclaimer, this is a whiney post.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Irritants Whining Disclaimer Problems Trouble Bad Mood Loneliness Correct Spelling A Lot Feeding The  Dog Stinky Dog Food Lazy Teacher Saving Wrapping Paper Plates Teenager Neighbor

I’m generally an anti-whine-ite, so the fact, that I even hit “publish” is something of a near miracle, which only happened because my great buddy Joan told me that “People need to know that you’re real; that you don’t always have giggles, sunshine, and lollipops up the wazoo.”

Joan is probably correct, although I am hoping that you all know I don’t have lollipops up my wazoo.  That sounds terribly uncomfortable.  And sticky.

So today, instead of posting one of my back-up, ready-to-go-in-case-of-emergency-or-cruddy-weeks posts, I’m gonna go ahead and whine, because, as my dear Joan reminded me, “Sometimes, you gotta whine.”  Or, maybe it was ”wine.”  I forget.

Probably good advice either way.

As a second disclaimer, let me just say, I have no problems.  None.

Obviously, I mean that comparatively, not literally.  I know many of you, because you have honored me by sharing some of your struggles with me, face things every day that would overwhelm me to the point of despair.

So, I have no problems.  But, today, that won’t keep me from bit…I mean whining about some.

I try to remain a positive person.  I guess I’m naturally that way.  I tend to look over the turds in life and on toward the greatness tomorrow holds.  I try to spotlight the good in people, while trying to overlook the often glaring not-so-good-stuff.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Irritants Whining Disclaimer Problems Trouble Bad Mood Loneliness Correct Spelling A Lot Feeding The  Dog Stinky Dog Food Lazy Teacher Saving Wrapping Paper Plates Teenager NeighborBut, this week stank, and yesterday was particularly terrible.  So, every little thing is feeling like a giant burr under my saddle.

Many of my best friends are far away. I don’t mean emotionally or just distanced themselves.  No, no.  We are still thick as thieves (which reminds me – I’ve got some de-thickening to work on personally, thanks to a New Year’s resolution, which means no junk food, i.e. “medicinal gnoshing,” right now and that stinks).  No, they are actually in far away places to follow job promotions, career changes, return to school, or to follow their spouse who is doing one of these things.

It’s great for them.  It stinks for me.  I don’t like it and I want everybody back in “grab a coffee in an hour?” distance.

Every day, EVERY day, I am asked how to spell, “a lot.”  Is “a lot” a word?  How do you spell “a lot?” No matter where I am or who I’m with, someone always asks. This week one of my sons has asked me 4 different times, “Is ‘a lot’ a word?”

I’m happy to help anyone, especially my children, to learn.  But, the same short word 4 times this week from a highly gifted 12 year old?  Irritating!  I had a guy ask me if “a lot” is one word or two while we were waiting in line at the post office.  Come on people.  Get it together.  Is “adog” a word?  Is “asandwich” a word?  Is “acar” a word?  No, and neither is “alot.” Nor is “getwiththeprogram,”  or ”stopaskingmeif “a lot”isaword.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Irritants Whining Disclaimer Problems Trouble Bad Mood Loneliness Correct Spelling A Lot Feeding The  Dog Stinky Dog Food Lazy Teacher Saving Wrapping Paper Plates Teenager NeighborI hate feeding the dog.  HATE it.  I can’t stand the smell.  I would rather be dead than smell that smell.  That shouldn’t be a problem, though, because I don’t feed pets.  I feed children.  I feed adults.  I feed people of any age.  But, I do not feed pets (unless they are sick or old or particularly great at looking pathetic that day).

Part of the agreement in becoming a pet custodian in our home is understanding I will not be feeding your pet.  Nonetheless (don’t you just love how there are no spaces in that word?), nearly every morning for the past two weeks, I’ve had to feed the dog because whomever was next in the posted batting order didn’t bother to do it.

I’m not going to let an animal go hungry all day because the assigned human remembered to feed him or herself, but not the furry friend whose bowl was empty.  But, I’m not going to be happy about it.  Nope, pretty far away from happy about it.

One of my kid’s teachers is horrible.  I was an elementary teacher. It was hands down my favorite employment ever.  It is a ton of work to do a good job at it, but totally worth the effort.  And, totally optional, in that you don’t have to be a teacher.

If you don’t want to put in the effort to be at least competent and kind, quit.  Work at the Department of Motor Vehicles.  I noticed when I was there last month they seem to be filling many of their positions with people who are lacking both kindness and competency.

This teacher refuses to provide either me or my son with a list of work when he’s absent.  She says that the kids need to learn to be responsible, so they have to copy down the information from another student when they return.  Then, if they figure out they need any materials from her they need to ask her for them.  I think kids should be responsible, but I think teachers should be, also.

My son’s chronic illness causes him to miss school frequently. But, even if it didn’t, perhaps you also see the glaring problem with this system.  If the student he gets the information from is wrong, my son is out of luck.   Any child who is absent faces the same dilemma.

When I politely pointed out this problem, in light of the fact that my son had received 0’s for not doing work he did not know he was supposed to do, I was told by the teacher that “It was the other student’s responsibility to write it down correctly.”  This teacher is just being lazy.  We should not have to fight this battle and I am beyond irritated that we have to.

One of my kid’s saves tissue paper.  I don’t just mean “saves it.”  It’s more like she rescues and adopts it, keeping it in her custody until another suitable gift giving opportunity presents itself.   Now, I’m all for being thrifty.  But, a 200 sheet pack of tissue paper runs about a buck.  It’s worth the 3 cents per gift to me to go with fresh paper.

More importantly, we have too much stuff in our house already to add a collection of, what is in my opinion, garbage to our full clutter inventory.   I’m already busy finding and dumping the jars and plastic tubs other pack members insist they will reuse.  I don’t need to spend additional time stealthily removing potential kindling from my daughter’s room.  Why can’t my family throw anything away?

And, you should see what she does to her room if left to her own devices for a couple days.  I can’t imagine what would happen if I let her add used wrapping supplies to her belongings.  I have visions of starring in a season of Hoarders.  And not in a good way.  You just know they’ll ask me why I let her develop into that.  No one will believe that we have come to tears over her insistence that my throwing out tissue paper after a gift is opened is my greatest character flaw.  I’ve got lots of character flaws. That’s not even in the top 100.  How about we focus on one of those?

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Irritants Whining Disclaimer Problems Trouble Bad Mood Loneliness Correct Spelling A Lot Feeding The  Dog Stinky Dog Food Lazy Teacher Saving Wrapping Paper Plates Teenager NeighborI love dishes.  It’s not quite shoe addiction level yet, but I do have several different sets.  And, we use them all.  But, the pattern we most frequently use is paper plates.  When life is too busy to allow for a thorough cleanup, which is more often than not, we skip my many beloved porcelain wonders and go for the renewable food holders.  Which keeps me sane.  Or, it would keep me sane, if people would throw out their used plates.

My pack puts more dirty paper plates in the sink than they do real dishes.  How do you walk past the trash can and not throw that sucker out?  Why would you spend more energy to do the wrong thing?  Do they really think we’re going to wash and reuse those?  And, what is the deal with leaving used paper plates on the table?  And the counter?  And in the microwave? WTH?

Granted, there is a lid on our trashcan, but you don’t need an access code or superhuman strength to remove it.  Just touch the foot-pedal and it flies open (knocking the finish off of the cabinet next to it, which will be fodder for another Whine-fest), as if by magic.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Irritants Whining Disclaimer Problems Trouble Bad Mood Loneliness Correct Spelling A Lot Feeding The  Dog Stinky Dog Food Lazy Teacher Saving Wrapping Paper Plates Teenager Neighbor

But, do they throw them out without reminders?  Noooo.  Do they throw them out with reminders?  Noooo.  I guess they don’t have time because they are too busy driving me to insanity, short trip that it is.

I think I’m past my whine limit, so unfortunately I won’t be able to tell you about my teenager who, after complaining yesterday about having to spend 10 minutes loading the dishwasher, announced this morning that I should allow time each morning to prepare a hot breakfast for him, or about my neighbor who complains nearly weekly about my son’s well-cared for car being parked in front of our house because my neighbor would like to place his trashcans there.  Sometimes it makes my eyes roll so hard I can see my brain.

I gotta go see a man about a lollipop.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What’s bugging you?  Surely I’m not the only one who sometimes feels the weight of all the tiny stuff is nearly overwhelming.  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Do You Hear Scraping?

Do You Hear Scraping?

I should have realized something was amiss when I slowly woke up this morning.  I was at peace, relaxed and warm and snug in my bed.  None of my usual “Oh-my-gosh-it’s-morning-go-go-go!!!” kicked in.  That should have been a clue to panic and fly out of bed.  It’s unfortunate that neither Miss Marple nor Columbo was around, because I did not get that clue.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Running Late Post Vacation Work School Rushing Oversleeping Toenails Clippers ClippingUsually I’m racing halfway down the hall toward my littles’ room before both of my eyes are fully open, shouting, “Everybody up! Are you up?  Let’s go!”  But not today.

Today, I took advantage of my pack’s school holiday break, and decided to go back to sleep for an hour.  This would have been fine were it not for one minor detail that apparently slipped my clearly foggy mind.

My pack is not on holiday break this week.

Ooops.

So, obviously, letting everyone sleep in an hour late was something of a tactical error in the ever-raging battle to be on time to school.

Even The Professor, who had the gall to choose this morning as the rare morning not to keep me awake with constant buzz-saw snoring (which I am pretty sure means the whole “Everybody’s running late”  mess this morning was his fault), was late heading out the door, and muttering something about the bloody traffic and what wankers LA drivers are (and I know he was aiming for me, but, I’m assuming due to his sleepy state, he actually kissed our coat tree goodbye).

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Running Late Post Vacation Work School Rushing Oversleeping Toenails Clippers ClippingAs I lay in bed and forced myself into consciousness I became aware of the very clear sound of toenails being clipped in my bathroom, and, I noted that my toes were not in my bathroom.  My mood clouded as I realized that my private abode had been invaded by a clipper hijacker, who was undoubtedly leaving the sharper-than-glass, totally disgusting, hunks of hooves throughout my bathroom like a keratin-based sea of depth charges.

My family produces toenail shards that are stronger and sharper than any diamond cutting tool available to a gem master.  Perhaps that’s why they never pick them up. Maybe they think they’re valuable tools that must not be casually tossed out with the refuse. Yeah, that’s probably it.

It was halfway through my trek toward my bathroom to oust the invader that my brain suddenly kicked into gear, and I realized my pack had school today.  I think it was probably somewhere around the time when I heard Son#2 scream at the door to the kids’ bathroom, “Get out!  I need to get ready for school!”

School?  School! Oh Crud!

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Running Late Post Vacation Work School Rushing Oversleeping Toenails Clippers ClippingThen, my natural “Oh-my-gosh-it’s-morning-go-go-go!!!” panic kicked in.   Beds were shaken.  Clothes were flying.  Lunches were lined up on the breakfast table.  Feet were crammed into shoes.  Eggo waffles were shoved into zip bags to be inhaled during the dash to school (don’t judge me.  They were almost fully toasted and had very few ice crystals left on them).

There was panic.  There was rush.  There was screaming.  And, there was an ungodly scraping sound as our dog pushed our sofa around our family room trying to cram his giant self under it to escape the commotion.

As my last pack member was scooted quickly out the door toward his waiting carpool, waffle in one hand, shoes in the other, back pack dragging behind, the dust began to settle.

While I was lifting up the end of the sofa so the dog could unwedge himself, I noticed that 3 lunches were still lined up ever so carefully on the table.  Crud.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Running Late Post Vacation Work School Rushing Oversleeping Toenails Clippers ClippingNow I’d need to fit “Lunch Delivery” into my already overstuffed, accidentally shortened by oversleeping, day-after-vacation schedule.  That was OK, though, because I needed to go out to pick up some body armor anyway to put on before I entered the free range toenail clippings zone that my bathroom had become.  I’ll probably need a Shop-Vac, too.  I’m not touching those things!

Has anyone seen my car keys?

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

How’d your week start out?  Was it a relaxing canter into a new day?  Or, more like a catapult ride toward a castle wall?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Why Planning Ahead Is A Bad Idea

Why Planning Ahead is a Bad Idea

I’m telling you, planning ahead is like asking for trouble.  Begging for it really.

No good will come of it.  Trust me. I’m a planner aheader from way back.

Like an addict, I feel the constant draw back to my OCD, over-planning habits.  It’s not really my fault.  After all, it kind of makes sense for me to plan for every disaster possible, because, with my pack, in any given situation, we usually encounter every disaster possible.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Plans Organization Fieldtrip Arboretum Zoo Murphy’s Law Babysitter Chaperone

Sometimes we encounter disasters that weren’t previously even thought possible.  We’re creative like that.

Even so, I really know better than to plan ahead. I know doing so creates a lightning rod for trouble.

But, this week I succumbed to temptation and planned ahead anyway.

Son#3’s class had a field trip scheduled to the arboretum.  His teacher sent home a flier with each child, noting the pertinent information, including that, because of tour size limits, only 2 parents would be able to attend.  She also sent home a form to fill out to file in order to request to be one of those 2 parents.

I read the note.  I saw the form.  My addiction kicked into high gear, and I began planning ahead.  I just couldn’t help myself.  I ignored that tiny voice inside my head mumbling about “the best laid plans..” Okay, it was yelling about “the best laid plans!,” but my pack has trained me to ignore yelling.

How’d that work out?

You be the judge.

File this under: Why Planning Ahead Is A Bad Idea

Preparations for Son#3’s Field Trip to the arboretum:

  1. File form in advance to be 1 of 2 parent chaperones.Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Plans Organization Fieldtrip Arboretum Zoo Murphy’s Law Babysitter Chaperone
  2. Schedule default babysitter a week in advance.
  3. Remind default babysitter of “fire prevention bonus.”
  4. Receive phone call last night, the night before field trip.  Default babysitter has the trots. Won’t be strong enough to babysit my pack (Come on, who ever really is?).
  5. Make frantic phone calls.
  6. Last minute new babysitter scheduled.
  7. Back up babysitter scheduled, as well, because my planning addiction is in full bloom.
  8. Lunches prepared.
  9. Clothes readied.
  10. Car fueled and washed.
  11. 2:00AM Son#3 developed the “No Chance You’re Leaving The House Today, Kid” trifecta – fever, wheezing, and barfing.
  12. Make early morning phone calls to his school, his teacher, the parent volunteer coordinator, the babysitter, the back-up babysitter, and Joan (She wasn’t involved in anyway. I just wanted to share the joy.), and left the following message: Never mind.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Plans Organization Fieldtrip Arboretum Zoo Murphy’s Law Babysitter ChaperoneThis afternoon Son #4 came home with a flier from his teacher.

And a  form for me to fill out.

His class is planning a field trip to the zoo.

The voices in my head are laughing.

Or crying.

Hard to tell.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

How have your “best laid plans” worked out?  Shoot me a comment with all the details.  I’m looking forward to hearing about it.

 

Yes, He Was A Great Guy, But Why Am I Being Punished?

I guess if I was a better mom I would have known my kids had Monday off before Sunday afternoon.  And, I suppose on some level I did know. Unfortunately, it wasn’t on the “put it on the calendar and plan for it” kind of level.  Nor, was it on the “reschedule meetings and finish columns ahead of time” level.Humor Funny Parenting school holidays memory MLK Martin Luther King teacher prep day  day-off child Moms Dads Kids children Family Life love

Thinking back on the blur that was this past week, I do vaguely recall glancing at a neon orange flier that said something about the kids being off Monday for MLK day and Friday for a Teacher Prep day. 

But, as I recall, I had immediately launched into a monologue about, as a former teacher, understanding their need for prep time, but when the heck is my parent prep day?  How come I don’t get to send in a bright orange flier informing their teachers that Continue reading Yes, He Was A Great Guy, But Why Am I Being Punished?