Monthly Archives: November 2012

I know, let’s break into the house….


We have an old lock on our front door.  So old in fact that finding a locksmith that carries our particular key has been difficult.  As such we have a limited number of keys to open the front door.  The kids share one of them, however, the doll is responsible for carrying the key as the boy tends to “forget” the key at home.  Two days a week, the kids let themselves into the house, unless they forget the key.  In the last month this has happened three times.

The first time, I received a call from the school secretary informing me the kids were wondering where they should go.  “Tell them to walk back home and see if their father has arrived yet; but if not, they can wait at their Grandfather’s”  who conveniently lives across the street from their school.  The second time my neighbor Kristen took pity on my children and invited the kids into her home to wait until one of their parents arrived home from work.  Kristen’s oldest and the doll attend school together and the boy has always been quite friendly with the family.

Then began the era of the boy.  The doll arrived home first and took the dog into the back yard.  In the meantime, the boy arrived home and knocked on the door.  When no one answered, he ventured to the back yard to see if the doll had perhaps let the dog out.  As he rounded the corner gate, the doll and dog re-entered the house.  Seeing no one in the yard, he came back out front; wondering what he should do.  He ventured over to the Kristen’s house and explained his sister had the key and she wasn’t home.  As Kristen tells me, “I think he followed his nose.  I never make snickerdoodle cookies ever…but on this day, I decided to make some.   The  boy came in, drank several glasses of milk and went to town on the cookies.”  Mommy embarrassment level 5.  “Do I owe you any money for the amount he drank and ate?” I offered.  “No, he was fine, plus we don’t drink a lot of milk in our house, so we didn’t have to worry about throwing any out that week.” Kristen assured.

“The funny part was when I asked him where his sister could be…’Does she have girl scouts?  Could she be at the library?’ among many other possibilities that would explain her absence.  He didn’t seem to care or worry” Kristen said.  “Why would he, he was eating cookies…” I  replied with a laugh.  The doll meanwhile began to worry where her brother had gotten to and decided to take the dog for a walk, to look for him.  That’s when Kristen spotted the doll and sent the boy home.

On Tuesday when I arrived home from work the boy, seated at the kitchen table doing his homework (surprise!) looked up at me and said “Guess what mom?”  “What?” I replied. “I broke into the house today…” I stopped and gave him a scrutinizing look and replied, “What?” The doll entered the kitchen and sat down.  Evidently she wanted to ensure the boy’s story was properly told.  “Well, when I came home I did the customary knocks on our front door but no one answered.  Looking over at the doll she smiled and said, “I had to go to the bathroom.” “So I walked to the back of the house and tried to figure out a way to get into the house.  I was able to maneuver the  old basketball pole over to my bedroom window so I could stand as tall as the window.” He explained.  Again I looked over at the doll who interjected, “When I got off the toilet, I went to the front door and again the boy wasn’t there. That’s when I heard him knocking on his bedroom window.”

“And?” I asked as both kids paused and smiled at one another.

“Well, I was able to lift the screen on the window, and began to knock.  With the doll’s help, I was able to open the window…”  “I lifted the window to ask him what he wanted…” the doll explained.  “That’s when I climbed through the window into my bedroom, thus breaking into the house.” the boy said with a triumphant smile spread across his face.  Looking back toward the doll I asked, what I thought was a reasonable question, “Why didn’t you just tell your brother to go to the backdoor and you would let him in?”  Shrugging her shoulders she said, “I don’t know…he was just insistent on entering the house through the window I never thought about it”. Looking back at the boy, who was still sporting his grin, I asked, “Did you at least close and lock the window back down to deter would be thieves from trying the same thing?”  His grin disappeared in a heartbeat as he removed himself from the table and ran back to his bedroom window.

Later I asked him again, “Why didn’t you just have your sister open the back door?”  “I wish I had Mom, climbing in the window was painful…”  “Painfully fun?” I retorted.  Lowering his head he stuttered to get the right explanation out of his mouth, before he looked back at me and smiled.  “Well now that you’ve successfully broken into our house, I don’t think you have to do so anytime soon right?”

Smiling back, he agreed “Right”.


mornings….ugh, need I say more?


As my morning alarm went off signaling the start of the day, I resisted the urge to get up and instead hit the snooze alarm.  Twenty minutes later, I hit the snooze alarm again, but yelled down the steps for the kids to get up for school.  Since Daylight Savings Time went into effect, all of us have had a difficult time extracting ourselves from the warm confines of our beds.  Ten minutes later the boy yelled up the steps, “Mama, I can’t find my school shirt”.  Lying in bed, wishing those snooze minutes would feel more like two extra hours of sleep, I yelled back, “Check the basket outside your room”.  A minute later he replied, “There is a shirt in there that’s too small…I think my shirt has shrunk”.  Damn! I have to get out of bed.  “Buddy, you have three shirts that fit.  All the clothes have been washed.  Are you sure you looked in your bedroom drawers?” I said as I walked toward the bathroom.  “I searched all my drawers…no shirts.” He yelled back up the steps.

Having yet to hear a morning complaint from his sister, I yelled down “Is your sister awake?”  “I’ll go wake her up…” the boy said before I could say “no” and within seconds I heard the doll use language usually referenced only by her brother. The boy meanwhile was laughing.  “What’s going on?” I asked.  “I did to her, what you used to do to me when I wouldn’t get out of bed…” the boy triumphantly announced.  “Dear God!” I thought, before asking him to elaborate.  “I pulled her covers off the bed and told her to get up” He said in a very proud of himself voice”.  “Doll, it’s 7:35 am…get a move on!” I said to her when I reached the the main floor.

Looking to my left, I found the boy was sitting on the love seat with a basket of clothing between his feet.  “Mama, there are no clothes in this basket that fit” he informed.  “Did you look in your room?” I asked.  “Yes, in my room, in the doll’s room, in the baskets.  They all must have shrunk.”  Shaking my head back and forth I warned him, “If I find a shirt in your room….it’s forty lashes with a wet noodle among other really terrible stuff”.  “You won’t find anything I looked.   What I found upon entering his room was all his recently washed clothing, sitting haphazardly atop his dressers…not within the drawers.  I chose to open a few drawers and look around–lo and behold…a neatly folded school shirt found under a pair of jeans that appeared to have been shoved into a drawer.  Looking over at the boy as I handed him the shirt I asked, “What do you have to say for yourself?”  “Thank you Mama!” he said before running away in fear.

Meanwhile the doll finally emerged from bedroom, still upset her brother was the person who woke her up.  “Mom, he made a big mess in my room!” she said.  “Doll, give it a rest…just get dressed, we’re running late as usual…”  “You never take my side ever!” she shot me.  “Doll, you’re right, I don’t.  I don’t take anyone’s side but my own…now go get dressed and quit arguing with me! We’re running late!!”

By the grace of God, they both left relatively on time and shouldn’t have been late getting to their respective classrooms.  But I wonder sometimes, when they see each other in the hallway if the doll tries to kick her brother or if he tries to tussle her hair if an all out war would break out.  Hmm…probably not–the embarrassment factor would be too great.  Wish that worked at home.


thick as a brick…or 8th grade boy-u pick…


This past Monday, the boy and I met with his home room teacher for a student led conference.  The conference was supposed to have taken place shortly after his first quarter report card was sent home, however the boy had been sick at the time.   So I sat there, listening to “Mr. Charming” try to explain why his self evaluation differed so much from the teacher’s evaluation.

The boy gave himself high marks across the board, in all subjects.  His only concession was in computer class where he noted his use of the keyboard needs improvement. “Well, as you see from this page, I gave myself mainly A’s because my test grades prove I am a good listener, however I do need to get more involved in the discussion” He said, pointing to his Social Studies evaluation form.  “Are you forgetting to add you need to turn in your homework?” I asked.  “Well Mom, as you might recall, we’re referring to last quarter’s grades, not my current state of affairs” He replied.

“His current state of affairs?” I said to myself, “Oh brother!”

“Now if you notice, here is an example of my work in Math” he said, pulling out a piece of graph paper with different diagrammed shapes illustrated on the page. Next to the diagrams was a row of different algorithms which made little or no sense to me.  “I’m still having a bit of problem understanding the best way to start the creation of the diagram, which is reflected in my grade here” He said, pointing out his area of concern.  “So you’re getting bogged down with the details?” I offered.  “Yes, that’s one way to describe my issues” he replied.  “Perhaps you should think on the terms of scale…and then begin the process”.  Smiling at me he said, “Yes, that’s a very good idea…”

I casually looked over at his teacher, who seemed quite amused by his explanations.  “Now boy, please explain what that top sheet is for…” His teacher instructed.  “Oh yes, this sheet adequately describes what my teacher’s feel are my areas in need of improvement.”  Taking the sheet I noticed, all six teachers wrote the same things:  “Pay attention; participate in class; organizational skills need to be improved and turn in homework/classwork on a daily basis.”  “Isn’t this interesting boy, all your teachers wrote the same thing?  Oh and think about this, given your recent scores on the midterms, one would think, you would have gotten it through your thick skull to follow their advice.” I pointed out to him.  “Yes, mama, you’re right except this is from the end of the last quarter and this is my first review of the data since the teachers filled those sheets out”.  “Uh huh” came my response.

When all was said and done, the boy waited outside the classroom while I talked for a moment with his teacher.  “Your son scores very high in my class (science) and seems to have a genuine interest in the subject.  But his organizational skills are suspect.  I know this has been an ongoing process (years) however, he’s on the cusp of High School and the sooner he learns this, the better off he’ll be next year.”

I felt like saying “Your preaching to the choir” but kept my mouth shut.

As we walked home I looked over at my charming, charismatic son and said, “Dude listen, the better organized you are, the better your grades will be; which will help determine where you go to High School next year.  If you slack on your grades, then you’re telling your father and I you really don’t care where you go to school.  You really need to step up and turn in your completed homework–get the credit for the work you put into learning.”  He gave me his usual pat answer “Okay Mama” which ended our discussion.

….at least for the time being.

Solace in LOUD Music….


I walked into our living room, “Do we have a goose living in our home?”  I shouted above the doll and boy, as they participated in their almost hourly “Yes you did” ,”No I didn’t” argument to one another.  For a moment they both stopped their incessant yells and looked in my direction.  The doll placed both hands on her hips, tilted her head to one side and sniped, “What’s that supposed to mean?”  Before I could explain to them that their changing voices-brought on by puberty, elicited such God awful noises; emanating from their throats, reminiscent of flocks of geese,  the boy broke out in laughter and began calling the doll “Lucy Goosey”.  Taking offense the doll, swift in her movements, brought her right hand up and began slapping his left arm while shouting, “Knock it off boy!!”  This only encouraged the boy further as he amp’d up his name calling   “LUUUUCCCYYYYY Oh LUUUUCCCCYYY GOOOOSSSSSEEEEEYYY”

I felt like I was watching a carnival routine.

As the boy continued to bait his sister “OH LUCY!   the doll continued to slap her brother, now bringing both hands in on the action; I did I what I do best…I screamed “THAT’S ENOUGH!!!”  “Boy, apologize for calling your sister “Lucy” and Doll stop hitting your brother.  BUT more importantly…” I felt my voice rising with each word, “STOP ARGUING AND YELLING AT EACH OTHER!!!  Both kids frozen in place by my degree looked at me for a few seconds before the doll replied, “Jeeze mom, you don’t have to shout at us we’re right here…we’re not deaf”.

Then all three of us laughed.

A minute or so later the doll informed me, “Mom you’re not one to talk, you’ve got the voice of a bear!”  The boy, wanting to be cute added “No doll, you’re wrong.  She’s the voice of the Honey Badger…” and before long they were arguing over which annoying animal my voice sounded the most like.  Taking a deep breath I removed myself from the room and went in search of solace.  Grabbing my iPod, turning the music up really loud I escaped their fighting ritual for a little while; yet the sounds of “geese” are never really that far away.

the demise of Mr. Rigid….


While on vacation to the Bahamas a year or so ago, we all stood outside one of the many casinos located on the island nation; which was attached to a larger resort and water park.  While we weren’t staying on sight, Daddy and I decided to take a look around.  The boy became very nervous.  “I don’t think you should go in there” he said to us.  “Mom, everyone is wearing a black wrist band and you’re not.  You’ll get arrested!” He warned.  “Bay, no worries, we’re not planning on staying.  We just want to look around. Besides, there’s a casino here which wants my money as much as the next guys.  We’re okay” I explained as we walked into the resort.

While Daddy, his brother and I walked around the main entrance, the boy walked in and found a security guard to presumably tell on us for trespassing.  “Are you his parents?” The security guard asked us on approach.  Honestly for a moment I didn’t want to claim him.  But, his good looks and sincerity, while a bit frustrating at that moment, gave me the impotence to say “yes”.  “Your son seems a bit worried you may be in the wrong here.  So I thought I’d fill the entire family in at once.  The Casino is open to the public, but the children cannot go near or touch any of the slot machines.  The rest of the grounds are off-limits, unless you have a wrist band and a key code for the elevators.”  Looking over at the boy his father asked him “Are you satisfied your mother and I aren’t breaking any laws?” to which came his reply, “Better to be safe than sorry”.

The boy over the years has been given many different monikers by us…”Mr. Minimal” which refers to the amount of effort/work he puts into any/every given assignment; to “Mr. Rigid” for his unwavering stance behind right and wrong answers.  He has always been a lousy liar, so more often times than not, he has simply gone with the truth.  His sister cannot stand this, (having been caught in many many lies in the past) because odds are we believe him over her during arguments.  But then something changed…whether brought on by puberty or 7th grade Language Arts class;  our sweet ‘Mr. Rigid’ began to bend.

“Mom, first let me say, most of the missing assignments are from my sick days…” he began.  “Let me see your midterms” I asked again.  “Well I only have two of them…” he said, fishing them out of this accordion file folder.  Staring me straight in the eye were two papers showing very low grades.  “What do you have to say for these?”  I asked.  “Well I told you, not all the homework has been loaded into the system because I was sick.” My initial reaction is to believe the boy, hook line and sinker.  But his past abilities to lie about his grades make we wary.

Armed with some interesting information, given to me by other 8th grade parents,  I decided to go hunting through his paperwork when he wasn’t looking.  Low and behold I found three more midterms along with a large amount of uncompleted homework assignments.  “What do you have to say for yourself?” I asked Sunday morning.  “I was afraid to tell you because…” he began before I cut him off.  “I think I remember asking you last Tuesday if you had assignments due…so you could complete them prior to Thanksgiving.  What did you tell me?”   He bowed his head, but did not answer.


Needless to say he spent all day Sunday working on the missing assignments and putting together a project due Monday morning.  Once again Mr. Minimal was present in the room, but I fear Mr. Rigid is no more, instead replaced by Mr. Grounded for some time to come.



Dance party…


Yesterday was mammoth.

 Trying to write about the day is gargantuan.

 Highlights only:

Hugs and Kisses. Talking.  Has it been that long since I’ve seen you? Appetizers. Introductions. Piano music. Beer. Lotsa Food. Pumpkin Martini’s. The doll delighted to play with her very much missed cousins. Happily sharing time with my full grown nieces and nephews who live out of town, out of state. Food. Baby talk. Christmas talk. Gift exchanges. Black Friday idiocy. There’s another turkey, what the…? Third helpings. More beer. Bruno Mars serenaded prayers. Laughter. Spirituality Talk.  Politics. Agreements made. Luck wished. Kisses and hugs to boy and Daddy goodbye. Unwanted Christmas decorations. Skype session with nephew living in Japan. Dueling Piano’s. Watching one nephew look on in awe of his cousin teasing new sounds out of His Baby Grand piano. Realizing what an impact I make on my siblings…they tend to call their children my name when yelling at them…hmm. How did it get to be past midnight? Dance Party for Wii renews party at 12:30 am. Nephew beats his girl cousins in a dance off. Girls not amused, sure he’s cheated somehow. Adult nieces and nephews in on the dance action. Uncle Donny yelling, “Turn the football back on!!” Then noting,”those kids are good dancers…”  Doll I’m ready to go… Please mommy please.  Doll spend the night with cousins…mom’s going home. Arrival at home. Empty leftover dressing from pan to container. soak pan. lights out. Goodnight.

Lying in bed, before my eyes closed for the night, my guy huddled up next to me, a deep sigh of Thanks  for the blessings I have every day in my life-whether it be family, friends, church, God, Facebook, Twitter or a little sometimes read blog.  Everyday I need to remember to be Thankful for everything that makes my life so worth living…

Every day.

PS. Go OSU but more importantly, GO NOTRE DAME!!! GO IRISH!!! oh and Go CCHS tonight in the state semifinal game–Go JB!


sharing bread memories…


Thanksgiving…need I say more?  The day alone conjures up memories that waft through my subconscious…whether it’s my brother Dan and I waking up early to watch the Macy Thanksgiving day parade on our 25″ RCA/Victor console Television or seeing my brothers Tom and Tim walk in the back door, covered in mud after playing football in the annual “Turkey Bowl” at the park with their friends.  Then there are the smells of the turkeys and roast chickens cooking on the right side of our double oven, while the dressing cooked on the other side.  Thanksgiving Day, as a kid was magical.

Today Thanksgiving is hectic and contrary to popular belief, does not last one day.   Instead Thanksgiving lasts about a week–though I’m sure there are many others out there who will tell you Thanksgiving in fact lasts the entire month of November; made real by all the “Thankful” posts people list on their Facebook pages.  But the actual ritual of the holiday begins for me on the Thursday before, when I try to beat the rush and purchase all my supplies for the upcoming days…only to realize on Wednesday afternoon,  I’ve left something off the list.

Before my mom passed away, I was tapped as the person responsible for making our famous family dressing; most likely because I had the time to learn the recipe.  An added bonus was the time I got to spend with mom (though at the time I probably didn’t realize) sitting at the kitchen table talking, drinking tea while my dad and I tore up the bread and my mother added the secret ingredients.  After she passed away, my dad continued to offer his assistance and home as the place to make the dressing, but last year decided his bread smashing days were through.  I did the only thing I could think of at the time…I enlisted my older sister Ann Marie into helping.  Now the famous family dressing falls on the shoulders of Ann Marie, Marsha and the doll.

Last night we met at my father’s house and began making the dressing.  The doll found the mixing of the ingredients fun for about ten minutes until her aunt offered her the chance to play on her new cell phone and text her older cousins.  As Ann Marie and I finished up the mixing, my dad wandered in to see what all the fuss was about.  I busied myself washing all the bowls and stopped to take in the scene; feeling very thankful I was born into such a good and loving family.  Together we keep the spirit of Thanksgiving alive…plus it doesn’t hurt Wednesday night we’ll join forces again and make all the yummy pies.

Yes, Thanksgiving may be represented by one Thursday in November…but in our hearts, the day lasts a lifetime…