Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tick...I mean..."Tis the Season.

In my mind, Memorial weekend always seems to kick off summer. We are pretty safe planting flowers and hooking up the hoses. The Grouchy Dog has been opened and the boat uncovered...and now we can really start to use them. Each year we make the trek up the "The Cabin" to start the summer festivities. It was a beautiful weekend filled with laughter, sunshine, fun and ticks (and yes for you die hards, the vodka was flowing...we-my two sidekicks and myself-even initiated the End Zone). But back to the ticks...the first one is gross and makes everyone a little more alert, but by numbers 12, 13...22 it's just not so bad any more. We picked them off in the weeds, the tall grass, the woods and even just sitting in the grass (ok I was actually laying in the grass...after getting beaned in the head with a soccer ball...I don't believe the big guy when he said he was aiming for the Wild One...his hands, not his head).  I found two crawling on me just before we left and a couple on the Wild Ones...and Miss Z. We did one last "once over" before we headed out...we were a little crammed in and didn't have room for any hitch hikers...and came up clean. We decided to catch a movie on the way home (leave it to the Fun Family to wedge one more thing in before the sun goes down) and right as the lights began to dim, I felt something on my hip. I was pretty sure it was nothing (after all I had triple checked) and I really didn't feel like pulling my pants down in the theater...so I tried to sit still and enjoy the movie. Fast forward about 3 seconds...I whippped my pants down over my right hip and there he was...a huge bugger making his way upward. I had to wait until there was enough light coming from the screen so that I could pick it off...and then sat there squishing it between my fingers thinking, "Now WTF am I going to do with it?" I ran to the end of the isle and flicked it onto the metal part of the step and then poked it...I figured if it was still moving it would never get past all the other people and make it back to me...I felt pretty safe...but, I sat through the rest of the movie squirming, flinching, gawking and scratching at every little flicker of dust that came near my body. We all arrived home safely and with no more tick attacks. We all lingered in hot showers and baths and  climbed in for a "OMG I am so happy to be sleeping in my own bed" good nights sleep. And we all slept like babies...including the little brown friend we found this morning burrowed in the side of the tallest Wild One.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sometimes I feel like research on the internet is like reading National Enquirer. Someone sends something to your in-box about some cool new thing or most likely some warning of what not to do, have, eat, say...fill in the blank. At first you think, "Wow, I didn't know that...hmmm...will have to be more careful about ______." 

It's kind of like walking past the "newspaper" (that is what one of my grandmothers used to call the N.E. If you questioned something wacky that she said, she would look at you like you didn't know a whole lot and say, "Of course it's true, I read it in the newspaper."). You know that the stories in the "newspaper" are not true or real (perhaps based on a real word that may have been uttered with in a mile of said information that is being touted), but something makes you look and even quickly wonder if it could be possible. The next thing you know you are at a party (never an empty cup in hand) and you proclaim some far out truth...that you know to be true...cuz you saw it in the "newspaper".

Same thing happens with the e-mails claiming your left arm will fall off if you eat green veggies grown in soil made from the organic compost that came from the pharmaceutical plant in Alaska. After you read it you are a little freaked out and you want all your friends to be freaked out too...OK maybe you just want to make sure they don't lose their left arm...so you hit forward before your brain has had the chance to send out the "this is absurd...snicker and hit delete" message. In the case that you get the message and don't hit forward cuz you think maybe you need to check it out a bit first, beware of the internet. I guarantee that if you search for "green veggies cause missing arms in Alaska" you will find just as many sites that confirm the email as sites that don't say anything, but just make a laughing sound when you enter them.

So while the internet can offer a wealth of information, I caution you not to believe everything you read. Did you know that the name wikipedia came from the two words wicked and encyclopedia? Anyone can create (or change existing) entires with little or no knowledge of the subject at hand and often do so to create mayhem in the world. Believe me, it's true...I read it online.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mothers...Happy Day to y'all.

Do we really need a day to celebrate mothers? I mean I AM a mother, I love my mother, most of my friends are mothers...but there would be nothing without us mothers (check 6th grade sex ed if you really doubt that). So really a day? It should be a celebration of life everyday...come on at least a weekend! And shouldn't it be about being pampered...and maybe, just maybe getting a break from being a mother? I don't like the pressure of finding the right gift or doing the right thing and I don't like wondering what my family will plan...or if they will plan. I think all mothers should unite and treat each day as if it were Mother's Day...cuz after all it pretty much is. If you insist, we could also plan quarterly weekends away...to reflect and refresh and come back as better mothers (I have heard that works!). So cheers to all the women I know that are mothers...not just on that one Sunday in May, but everyday that you give out hugs, kisses, wipe noses and faces (and for some...bottoms), brush away tears, stay up late wondering whether you are going to ground your child for 3 years or pull them into your arms when they show up two hours late, reluctantly let them ride their bike...or hand them your car keys...to a friends house for the first time, celebrate good grades, cheer at sporting events (especially those held in pouring rain, flurries of mosquitoes or blistering sun), make meal after mean, wash the same clothes over and over, bite your tongue when you know you are right, stand back with tears in your eyes while they stand up for themselves and all the other activities you do on a daily basis...all for the best gift of all...the love they hold in their hearts (whether they show it at all times or not).

Friday, May 8, 2009

Be careful what you start.

You're a new mom...innocent in the ways of raising kids...eager to do your best...you want to get involved and make sure you contribute to their education. First comes ECFE (that's early childhood family education for you newbies) and it's great, you meet a bunch of great families, expand your community...then just when you are living the life they ask for a little favor. Could you spend an hour working at a club activity or donate some mashed potatoes for the Thanksgiving preschool celebration? Run!!! OK, you don't have to run...but don't give them your real name, phone number or email. I'm not kidding. Pretty soon you will be chairing your own committees or the whole damn program and before you know it...you will be working part-time (did I mention "unpaid"?) between all the community schools...volunteering with teachers in the class room, phy-ed class, art classes and mentoring students after school. You will be making cards, buying treats and hauling cakes to school. Once they have your name, they know how to use it. My suggestion to you...other than the obvious, "No thank you"...go ahead, help out a little (it can actually be quite fun) but give them an alias. We all have some kookie, mysterious or perhaps elegant name we secretly wish our friends would call us (don't we??). I suggest when someone solicits your help you smile, say "Sure, I'd love to. Have we met? Let me introduce myself, my name is Cleopatra Wowasake."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Every man (or student) for himself.

You really get the flavor of people when a "pandemic" comes to town. Yes our quaint little village has been struck again...this time with the swine flu (now known as H1N1 Novel Influenza for fear of offending any pig farmers out there). The schools were closed yesterday "as a caution" and we were all advised to stay home and not congregate. The "probable case" came from the high school and we were exposed to families (and some kids themselves) with kids in high school not just Friday night and Saturday night, but at a Sunday brunch as well so...we laid low yesterday...didn't even run to the store for milk (which had a lot more to do with how much work I had to do than not spreading/catching any germs). Today the High School remains closed, but the middle, intermediate and elementary schools are all back in business (disinfected by the custodians...who are immune? I hope the bus company followed suit). So let's see...should we assume that those high schoolers who have been exposed have no siblings who are in the other three schools and that their parents are not off at Honeywell or walking the skyways of Minneapolis...or how 'bout the Big Guy who hopped on a plane to New Orleans yesterday? He was not sure whether to be worried about passing along germs on the plane or catching something worse down in the bayou. I know people who took the day off from school as a vacation day and got together with groups of friends...which pretty much makes this unstoppable. What I am saying here is that if it's going around, you're going to be exposed no matter what you do (short of building a bubble around yourself...and maybe even by then you would have been exposed anyway and then you would be trapped inside your padded cell with all those nasty germs). Between leaving school on Friday (and I volunteered at three of the four schools that day) and prior to knowing the germs were multiplying in our area, our family was in contact with families from two other school districts and three different colleges not to mention all the offices and cities associated with the various adults in the rooms. So...the Big Guys solution on Sunday afternoon after receiving the news, "I'm going to take this matter into my own hands and drown it with vodka...lots of vodka." Seems to be working.