The Muenchies Five

The Muenchies Five

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Not My Usual Post

I don’t like the word “meme.”  It’s kind of annoying, really.  You take a picture, use Photoshop to put a clever passive-aggressive phrase over the top of picture, and then throw it up on your Facebook wall and sit back to see how many people think you are super clever by sharing it and reposting it a billion times.  I have seen a lot of memes flying around social media lately, and I am finally to the point where I can no longer just scroll past them and shake my head.  Most of them involve mass generalizations about large groups of people.  For instance, a number of my friends on social media seem to be claiming that anyone who opposes unfettered acceptance of ‘refugees’ into the United States must be illiterate anti-Muslim bigots who don’t know what it means to be Christian.  These same people post meme after meme accusing anyone who has the nerve to state that radical Islam (such as the brand espoused by Al Qaeda and ISIS) is a problem is somehow indicting the entire Islamic faith.   One such meme is a composite picture of a group of KKK members complete with white robes and hoods on the top half, and a group of radical Muslim terrorists on the bottom half with words to the effect of “The KKK does not represent Christianity any more than ISIS represents Islam.”  Well, no shit.  I have not heard any reasonable person state that all Islam is the problem.  I think we all can agree that at this point in history, radical Islam is definitely a problem.  Just ask the families of the hundreds of people who lost their lives in the last two weeks in terrorist attacks in Beirut and Paris and the skies over Egypt.  Shaming people who choose to state the obvious and mischaracterizing their statements isn’t doing anyone any favors. 

One of the most clever memes I have seen posted about a bazillion times on my Facebook feed alone has to do with refugees.    “Christians in the South put on a nativity play every year which about a Middle Eastern couple desperate for shelter.”  Oh yeah…that’s a good one.  IN YOUR FACE, CHRISTIANS!!!  This particular gem is an apparent response to the large group of governors who have stated that they do not wish to have unvetted Syrian refugees deposited in their cities, and are trying to make a point to our President by being vocal about their concerns.  The FBI director James Comey, whom President Obama appointed, has stated that there is no system in place right now to adequately screen the Syrians who wish to come to our country to determine whether they are in fact refugees.  “We can only query against that which we have collected. And so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them,” Comey explained.  Because of these comments, some members of Congress (who have an R by their name, thus rendering them incompetent boobs in the eyes of the meme-crafters), have suggested that we pause admitting them long enough to put a process in place that will help ensure that refugees can get in, and terrorists cannot. Of course, since these members of congress and governors have the audacity to question whether the refugees which are being brought to the United States are actually refugees or perhaps a mixture of mostly refugees and also a few bad guys, they are being raked over the coals for their insensitivity by a lot of people who have no idea what the word refugee means. 

Article 1(A)(2) of the 1951 Geneva Convention defines a refugee as an individual who is outside his or her country of nationality or habitual residence who is unable or unwilling to return due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on his or her race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Applying this definition, internally displaced persons (IDPs) – including individuals fleeing natural disasters and generalized violence, stateless individuals not outside their country of habitual residence or not facing persecution, and individuals who have crossed an international border fleeing generalized violence are not considered refugees under either the 1951 Convention or the 1967 Optional Protocol.

President Obama recently spoke in Turkey about the refugee issue.  He focused in on the statements of the Pillsbury Dough Boy, aka Ted Cruz, who stated that he believed that we should focus on accepting Christian refugees from Syria.  President Obama derided what he called a “religious test” and then mocked anyone in the United States who believes that we should proceed carefully as being “afraid of widows and children.”  Well, that was certainly productive, Mr. President.  You keep on using the word “refugee.”  In the famous words of Indigo Montoya, “I do not think it means what you think it means.”  The problem is that a person who is fleeing generalized violence (such as the kind of indiscriminate violence that ISIS perpetrates against whomever happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time) is not a refugee under that convention.  So, whether you like Mr. Cruz or not, what he said was an accurate statement of the law.  Paul Ryan, the new Speaker of the House, reiterated the words of President Obama stating “there will not be a religious test.”  Read the Geneva Convention, Mr. Ryan.  I would rather call it a “persecution test” but nobody has asked me.  Christians, thousands of them, have been rounded up and slaughtered by ISIS.  If you are a Christian in Syria, you are being persecuted by ISIS.  If you are a Shiite Muslim in Iraq, you are persecuted by ISIS.  There are many more ethnic and religious groups that have fallen under the Sauron-like eye of ISIS.  This we know.  What we don’t know is which of the people who are leaving Syria are simply fleeing the generalized violence there (not refugees), fleeing religious or political persecution (refugees), or if there are some of them that have other nefarious purposes (terrorist assholes).  The idea that we would accept people fleeing from any country where they are persecuted for their religious or political beliefs is unquestioned.  But how do we determine whether they are being persecuted for their religious or political beliefs?  Hmmm.  Let me think.  I suppose WE WOULD HAVE TO ASK THEM.  Uh oh.  Bring on the clever memes. 

Mocking people who have genuine concern for the safety and well-being of our citizens is not accomplishing anything.  I think the United States should actively work on a system which will allow refugees to come to our country.  I believe that we can all agree that our safety should be a consideration in this process.  I don’t believe that belittling people for their concerns is doing any good whatsoever, and in fact divides us even more.  There is a common middle ground here.  But I guess there isn’t a meme for that.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Can I Get a Do-Over, Please?

My friends know that I occasionally suffer from migraine headaches.  When one of those suckers is coming on, I see flashing lights, auras and the soft sounds of my children breathing or pressing the buttons on the x-box controllers are enough to send me right over the edge.  The only thing that helps is to lay in a dark room, put ice on my head, take powerful drugs, and hide all of the x-box controllers.

I started feeling the tell-tale signs Sunday afternoon, after a rousing family trip to Costco where we spent almost $400 on food and a two-pack of ink for my HP printer, which is now WAY more expensive than gold per ounce.  I ignored the signs, however, because if I take my migraine medication it puts me to sleep, making it difficult to harass my children into cleaning their rooms and walking the dog.   Also, we had invited my in-laws over for dinner.

After we arrived back in North Bend, I had my husband stop at the grocery store because, shocker, even with $400 worth of food and printer ink in the back of the car I still didn't have everything I needed to cook dinner.  I purchased basil and a couple of green chili peppers at Safeway and then we headed home to unload the mountain of Costco purchases and cook dinner.  I knew my headache was coming, but I figured I could make it past dinner and then head straight to bed.  I should have listened to my head, however.

I was making a new recipe, roasted chicken with grape tomatoes and basil.  The chili peppers were to add a little heat to the sauce.  I de-seeded a pepper and sliced it according to the recipe instructions. Because I watch the Food Network, I remembered to wash my hands several times to remove all of the capsaicin, which as every budding home cook knows, can linger on your hands and cause you to burn your eyes and mouth and other soft tissues of unmentionable nature.   After dinner, I told everyone that I was just going to have to go to bed because my headache was getting worse and I excused myself to wallow in my own misery.

I went in to my room and started preparing to head to bed.  First, I took out my contacts.  Actually, I say 'first' but in reality it was the first and last thing I did.  Why, you ask?  Because as soon as I put my finger in my eye to pull out my right contact, I felt a burning which I would equate to placing my eyeball directly onto a stove burner.  Blinking back tears, I muttered how stupid I was and I washed my hands several times and then moved on to my left eye.  Amazingly, it hurt even MORE than the right eye, similar to dousing it with alcohol and then placing it directly onto the surface of the sun.  I dug around for my contact blindly, but couldn't get a grip on it.  More burning.  I flushed my eye with contact solution, washed my hands AGAIN and went back for another go.  MORE BURNING.  Three more tries and I was now wiping the apparently irremovable pepper toxins and remnants of soap all over the entire surface of my eyeball, and I had yet to extract my contact.  At that point, I was willing to just go to sleep and let my eye fuse shut permanently, contact and all.  So, I took my migraine medication and staggered, weeping, over to the bed and crawled under the covers,

When I awoke the next morning, my headache was still there, but thankfully my eye was blessedly not fused permanently shut, and it didn't burn anymore.  I went over to the sink to throw away my other contact because I figured that if I wasn't able to wash my hands enough to get rid of the evil pepper juice, no amount of soaking over night was going to take it off either.  Then, I attempted to locate my left contact.  I fished around in my eye, but I couldn't find it.   I searched again, but no luck.  It was when I looked down into the sink that, lo and behold, I saw it, shriveled up near the drain.  I wonder now how many times I unnecessarily probed and prodded my eyeball after the damn thing had fallen out.  At least three.  And there was the time that I thought I had the contact but instead was actually pinching the surface of my eyeball in a last desperate attempt to remove it. I'm sure it just fell out on its own in a tide of tears sometime after the second attempt.

Is there a moral to this story?  Yeah.  I just don't know what it is right now.  Something to do with peppers and migraines and refusing to cook dinner for my in-laws ever again.  I'll figure it out eventually.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Film

As parents of boys can attest, there is that point in a boy’s life where he will suddenly desire to smell like sandalwood and will begin spending more time styling his hair using expensive hair ‘product’ so that when he is done it inexplicably looks messier than when he started.  Further, you will generally smell him coming long before you actually see him and the cloud of scented products surrounding him like an aura. Something similar happens with girls, with the exception that instead of Old Spice or AXE it’s various noxious perfumes produced by Bath and Body Works with names like Be Enchanted and which smell enchantingly like a combination of Mr. Clean and multiple unidentified species of flowers.  

At this point, most girls also begin to frown upon the perfectly acceptable jeans from J.C. Penney that they once wore with no complaints and instead want jeans which come from those stores in the mall that parents usually avoid because they are staffed by annoying 20 year-olds and are extremely dim inside which makes it hard to read the price tags.  I don't know if this happens with boys.  The Boy hasn't begun asking for fancy non-J.C. Penney jeans yet, but I assume it’s only a matter of time.  It seems like just yesterday that I watched him ‘playing’ baseball, wearing his cup over the top of his baseball pants because he forgot to put it on while dressing for the game.  Now he’s styling his hair and cryptically telling me that there is a girl that he kind of likes, but he won’t say who it is and vehemently denies it being each and every guess that his sisters make as to the mystery girl’s name.    

When I picked The Boy up from the bus Friday, I noticed that he seemed awfully subdued for a kid who was about to embark on a sunny weekend full of opportunities to annoy his sisters.  “What’s up, buddy?” I inquired. He responded that he didn't want to talk about it, and then mere moments later he volunteered that he had watched ‘The Film’ in class that day.  I'll admit, I was stumped.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  Then it finally hit me.   The permission slip I signed a few weeks back.  THE film.  The puberty film. 

Back in my day, it was The Filmstrip.  It was the most horrifyingly embarrassing moment in my young life, or so I remember.  I mean, there we were, frolicking on the playground with not a care in the world, and then all of a sudden the boys got separated from the girls and then the teacher dimmed the lights and we watched a filmstrip wherein a little girl suddenly grows boobs and gets hair in new places and gets pimples and starts to stink a lot, and then you start to worry that you might stink too which is added to the already growing list of reasons you think no boy will like you, ever, and then they moved on to topics even more disturbing so that you finally felt as if you would not be able to look any of your fellow classmates in the eye ever again.  Then the teacher handed out boxes filled with various products for when you changed into that poor stinky girl in the filmstrip and sent you home, leaving your blissful innocence behind in a heap in the corner of the classroom. 

The Boy reiterated that he simply did not want to talk about it as it was the absolute worst day of his life.  He remained quiet for approximately four seconds, and then he opened up his backpack and out wafted a smell with which I have grown quite familiar over the last year.  “The only good part of the whole thing is that I got some Old Spice deodorant afterwards.  Most of the guys got Axe but I got the Old Spice.”  He then said that he and all the boys got a package from the school nurse.  I rolled down my window so I could breathe without asphyxiating and asked what was in the package.  He said that there was a “disturbing booklet” and some facial cleanser and thank God he didn't say there was a ‘balloon’ in there because I think I would have died on the spot.  I remained calm, however, and offered up that if he had any questions about anything that he could talk to me or please for the love of God his father, and then I proceeded to drive home.  

So now I only have one more child who hasn't seen The Film yet.  One more child who hasn't started requesting items from Bath and Body Works and still thinks that the store brand jeans I got her at Target are perfectly acceptable.  I find myself snuggling with that child maybe a little more than I did the other two, because I just don’t know if I’m ready for this yet.  I think I want her to stay just as she is, at least for a little while more.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Housework 101

To my children:

As you stood at the sink last night, I am sure a question was in your mind.  "I wonder," you were thinking, "whether this mango pit which mom's new extremely sharp knives cannot cut through can go down the disposal?"

The answer to your question, dear children, is no.  No, the extremely fibrous and inedible wad of mango CANNOT go down the disposal, nor can the tough-as-leather peel.  Thank you so much, my children, for giving me the opportunity to be sprayed by disposal water at 8:30 in the morning.  Thank goodness I hadn't showered yet.  

I think it is high time that I take a minute to address your other burning but as-yet-unasked housekeeping questions, such as "What does bleach do?"  (it removes color and disinfects things) "What is the difference between that spray bleach you gave me to clean out my shower and the bleach we put in the washer?" (there is no difference) and "Do you think it would be a good idea to use this blue towel right here to scrub out my shower with that spray bleach?"  (NO)

So, here we go.  Let's get down to business so I can safely leave you to do the housework so I can do more important things like binge-watching House of Cards on Netflix.  

Housekeeping area #1:  Laundry.

So, kids, the goal here is to have everything come out of the washer the same color as when it went in the washer, minus the stains.  That means you have to separate the colors.  I know this is difficult to understand, but when you put your brand new but clearly cheap hot pink sports bra in the wash along with all of your light clothes, there is a high likelihood that all of the rest of the clothes in that load will come out looking like Rainbow Brite threw up all over them.  That is why Mom has placed handy containers in the laundry room that say "WHITE CLOTHES" and "COLORED CLOTHES" on them.  You know, those containers you dump your laundry in front of but never actually use.  

We'll come back to the use of handy containers in a minute, but first we will move on to Housekeeping Area #2:  Cleaning your bathroom.

You know when you go into your shower and it looks like a sasquatch has been living in there for several months because the tub is covered in hair and there is a funny looking ring around the sides of the tub?  That's when you know you need to clean your shower.  Preferably it wouldn't get quite that bad, but I know that things can catch up to you.  That ring is caused by all of the hair and body products you use while in the shower.  The mega-corporations which produce all of the hair and home cleaning products which we use create specific formulas which are designed to cling to the side of the tub in such a way so as to make it impossible to remove without dynamite or "Scrubbing Bubbles" which is a much cheaper and less damaging solution.  Oh, sure, there are all sorts of home bloggers who have claimed to come up with much better cleaning solutions using materials which are found in the average kitchen, but they have never encountered that shower ring there in your bathroom.  That shower ring would laugh at any sort of baking powder/salt/vinegar mixture I could come up with.  That shower ring would probably use the mixture to bake bread once it killed us all and took over the house.  

What you need to do is to grab a RAG (not your nice bath towels, even though the rags are not located in your bathroom and therefore are not quite as handy) and spray some bath cleaner (with bleach!) in the general direction of the shower.  Don't get too close, the ring might get you.  Let it soak there for a while.  Trust me, it's not coming off easy.  You might even want to use one of those kitchen scrub pads.  Oh, and while you are at it, it might not be a bad idea to clean your toilet.  Have you looked in there lately?  

You will know when your bathroom is clean by the fresh bleachy smell and when it has a lack of resemblance to that part of The Cat in the Hat Comes Back when the entire world is covered in red Cat Tub Ring and the Cat has to summon his hat minions to clean it up.  

We will now move on to Housekeeping Area #3:  Doing the dishes.

If you have ever asked yourself the question, "I wonder if I have to put the dishes in the dishwasher facing DOWN so they don't collect water when the washer runs," the answer to that question is YES.  There is nothing I like more than to have to hand-wash all of the dishes that I remove from the dishwasher, but in the interest of preserving water and my sanity, I would appreciate it if you would make sure that all of the glasses and bowls are in the downward position.  I am sure you have also asked yourself, "I wonder if mom would like us to do all of the dishes, including the pots and pans, or if I should just do these plates which are within arms reach and leave everything else for later?"  The answer, my dear children, to that question is YES. Mom would LOVE for you to do ALL of the dishes, including the pots.  Mom would also weep tears of joy if you actually put all of the clean dishes where they are supposed to go, instead of finding new and creative storage areas for them, such as the floor of the pantry.  If one of you WIPED THE COUNTERS AND PUT THE FOOD AWAY  Mom would probably buy you a vehicle.  

The final area of housekeeping is Housekeeping Area #4:  Recycling.

We are now going to revisit the subject of using handy containers.  When we moved into our house, I went out and purchased three recycling bins.  You walk by them every day.  They are black, they are in the laundry room, and they are empty, buried behind all of the various cans, bottles, jars, cardboard and plastic containers which are to be recycled every Monday morning promptly at nine.  Let's talk about those bins, shall we?  You know when I say every Sunday night, "Hey, Luke, it's time for you to do the recycling."  and you moan and groan and say "but mom, it's going to take forever!" and I say, "Well, if you would just sort everything out into the correct bin during the week it would take no time at all!" and you look at me like I am speaking Greek?  Well, next time I say, "here's a can for the recycling" you should perhaps place it in the bin, instead of placing it carefully on the floor in FRONT of the bin.  It's literally one inch further.  Likewise, when I ask you to take the returnable bottles into the laundry room and put them in the bottle receptacle, it would save you loads of time if you simply PUT THEM IN THE RECEPTACLE instead of placing them elsewhere, including on top of the dryer, which is across the room from the receptacle and which will cause you to moan and groan some more when I tell you to go in and move them.  

So, there you go.  This is by no means an exhaustive list.  We have not, for example, touched on the fine art of knowing when to empty the vacuum (preferably before it is totally full with dog hair or once a day, whichever comes first) because we would first have to establish where the vacuum is located and how to operate it, which will most likely take several hours.  But, if you are interested in not scaring away a potential mate someday, it wouldn't hurt to develop skills in the other areas above. 



Friday, February 28, 2014

The Dentist

Ella was extremely disappointed on Wednesday that I was unable to accompany her to a field trip called "The Body Walk."   I have never been on this particular field trip, which is rumored by many children to contain actual body parts, and where you learn about the human body by walking through a giant maze that is supposed to be a digestive system.  Apparently, the rumors are true.  I found out by questioning Ella and her two best friends when they got back from the field trip.  They were very excited.  "There were lungs!  And a heart!  Did you know you have 23 feet of intestines???"  Eventually, you go down a slide to exit through what Ella described as "giant butt cheeks."  Now, I am not opposed to being pooped out of a giant slide, but I had a dentist appointment to attend.

I recently returned to the dentist after several years of having better things to do.  About six months ago my husband procured dental insurance, so I went in with my entire family and we proceeded to get x-rays and cleanings and examinations.  Fortunately, many years of avoiding the dentist didn't have any negative effects on my teeth, with the exception of having to endure thirty minutes of scraping with extremely sharp metal objects.

I was scheduled for a follow-up cleaning on Wednesday and so I showed up to my appointment fully prepared to endure 30 more minutes of scraping.  But first, it was "let's poke your gums until they bleed" time.  I learned quickly that you should not flinch, jump or make any movements whatsoever, because if you at any time indicate that the poking causes you discomfort, it brings on yet more poking to determine whether you have gum disease.  Apparently, if you have "sensitivity" you may have gum disease.  I challenge anyone to be poked in the gums with sharp objects and not have "sensitivity" but I am not a trained dental professional so what do I know.

My dental hygienist was a very nice woman who was very concerned about my gum health.  While poking my gums she inquired about my flossing habits:

"How many times a week do you floss?"
I immediately lied to her.  "Three times a week,"  I said, because it was a better answer than the truth, which is "at least once a year or when I get beef jerky stuck in my teeth."  I knew the truth would bring on continued poking and I was finding it difficult not to jerk around because I was already experiencing "sensitivity".
" know, you really should floss every day."  She continued poking, and when satisfied that she had at that point poked the requisite number of holes in my gums, she said, "Well, looks like you are good at three times a week!  Just keep doing what you are doing."

Take that, American Dental Association!!

We then reached the portion of the appointment wherein the hygienist asks you a question just as she places a cleaning tool, a suction hose and both of her hands in your mouth.

"Do you  have any kids?"


"What ages?"

"Ihteen, el le-ehn an nin"

She clearly could understand me because she kept asking questions, and when the cleaning was over I felt as if we had a lovely conversation and would be lifelong friends.  At least until my next appointment, when she starts poking my gums again.  I never encountered the actual dentist during this appointment.  That's next time, when I am due for another examination and more x-rays because they need photographic evidence that all of my teeth are still in there.  And I am going to try really hard to floss more, at least three times a week, so that I will no longer be lying to the nice lady who cares about my gum health.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Sporting Life

Back in those quiet days before I had children and when I thought I knew everything, my husband and I would often discuss "those parents" who entered their kids into every sport and activity imaginable.  You know the ones. They drop off Jane at Tae Kwon Do while simultaneously picking up Jack from soccer and then dropping him off at his scout meeting.  They return to pick up Jane and deliver her to her soccer practice, and then realize that Jane forgot her soccer clothes that morning because she didn't get out of bed until five minutes before leaving for school.  Naturally they begin to fashion shin guards out of random materials found in the car, which by the way smells like expired snack food because not one of the children can be trusted to jam a pre-practice snack into their mouths without creating a four-foot blast radius of goldfish crumbs.  Once Jane has been delivered to soccer practice, they quickly run to the grocery store for more snacks that will soon be permanently adhered to the back seat .  It is at that point that they receive an accusatory phone call from the school because Jill has been waiting outside on the curb for two hours and OH MY GOD THEY FORGOT ABOUT JILL!

We weren't going to be those parents.  Absolutely not.

It all began so innocently.  Several of Maggie's friends played soccer on a club soccer team.  Mind you, this soccer team was in an entirely different town than we lived in, almost forty minutes away, but we were willing to make that sacrifice for our daughter, who had at that point never shown any interest in soccer, who had never even kicked a soccer ball as far as I know.  After that first season of soccer, Maggie has developed into quite the athlete, alternating between soccer, basketball, track, cross country, that ice sport with the brooms and competitive mood swinging, for which she should probably get an Olympic medal.

Then, there's The Boy.  The Boy has never been very interested in organized sports.  He claims to like baseball, but I know that the only reason he likes baseball is because the coach gives him sunflower seeds and bubblegum and spitting is acceptable.  So, we decided that swimming would be a good sport for him. There's no downtime where you are waiting for a baseball to be hit out to you in left field and so to pass the time you dig a little hole in the grass with your cleat and then when the ball, by some cruel act of fate, flies in your direction, you promptly trip in the hole and fall down while the ball sails over your head.  In swimming, you are either swimming or you are sinking, and there's a lifeguard to save you in the case of the latter.  So, I went online and purchased a "jammer", which is a variety of swimsuit which is not quite as obscene as most Speedos, thus guaranteeing that no self-respecting overweight white European would be caught dead wearing it, and signed him up for the swim team.  He also participates in archery, which despite the fact that we have voluntarily given him sharp projectiles against our better judgment, has turned out to be an enriching experience.  We just got the sign-up sheets for baseball, so I will soon be doomed  for the foreseeable future to sit in the pouring down rain in subzero temperatures so I can watch my son dig holes with his cleat and spit a lot.

Ella swims and plays soccer and basketball.  When I say "plays" I mean that she runs in the general direction that the ball is travelling and then looks around for an adult to give her some direction as to what to do once she reaches the ball.  She has absolutely no independent ideas about what should happen, which generally results in a situation where she is holding the ball with a totally blank look on her face, just waiting for an adult to activate her via voice command.  A typical soccer game or basketball game sounds something like this:

Coaches and various parents:  That's your ball!!  Get that ball!  GET IT!!!  PASS THE BALL!    NO, NOT TO THAT GIRL, SHE'S ON THE OTHER TEAM!   WAIT, COME BACK, YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!  THAT'S NOT YOUR BASKET/GOAL!!!  UH OH...GO GET THAT BALL!  GET IT!!!

And so on.  Many children are frequently voice activated by the wrong parents, which would explain why none of the players seem to really understand the game at all.  They're clearly just there because someone told them there would be snacks.

So, as you can see, over-participation in sports is a real societal problem.  But, I will have to address that later, because right now I have to go get the kids from the bus and deliver them to swim practice. After that, Matt has to pick up The Boy from swimming and take him to archery, while I pick  up Ella from swimming and Maggie from preseason track, and deliver Ella to her final basketball practice of the season where they will be going over the fine art of not passing the ball to the other team.  Hopefully I don't forget anyone, but I probably will.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

True Lies

Well, the Oscar nominations were announced last night and I am disappointed to say that The Boy's performance last year in "I think I have the Flu, or at Least a Cold" did not get a nod.

You know the one I'm talking about.  It's the one where The Boy woke up in mid-April, appeared to have rubbed some of my very expensive blush around his eyes and adopted a manner of speaking that sounded  much like Clint Eastwood the time he told that punk to make his day, only this time Clint had clearly been smoking about ten packs a day.  He punctuated his performance by coughing dramatically for emphasis, like this:

Boy:  "Mom.  *cough*  I'm not *cough* feeling *cough, cough* too good.
Me:  "Well, you don't have a fever, you don't sound congested, and you were up until midnight last night playing video games in  your room without permission."
Boy:  "But *cough* I couldn't *cough* sleep because *cough* I was *cough* COUGHING."
Me:  "By the way, you lose your DS for a week."
Boy:  *cough*  

So, imagine my surprise when I found out this morning that he was not nominated along side of whoever was nominated for their performance in those movies that I have yet to find time to go see and probably never will.

Our life with The Boy has included many such performances, not all of which are related to fictional illness.  Many of them had to do with "forgetting" to do his homework and our magical cats who apparently had the ability to express themselves in the form of primitive wall-drawings.  For a while there, I began using the "one out of every six words" method to decipher exactly what The Boy was trying to tell me.  This method was based on the assumption that only one out of every six words that came out of The Boy's mouth were true.  It's kind of like one of those codes where you look at a paragraph and then you write down every sixth letter on a piece of paper and it forms a secret message except that there's no telling which of the six words is the true one.  For example, at around the age of six, The Boy said to me, "Mom, the cat took my colors and drew a picture of some dinosaurs on my wall."  After visiting the scene of the feline crime spree and applying the 'one out of every six words" rule, I was able to decode the sentence into the following (true words will be in all caps).  "MOM, I stole your sharpie and DREW some random scribbles on my WALL and also I really love DINOSAURS."

Needless to say, it got to the point where I generally disregarded everything The Boy said as being a blatant lie.  "I don't have any homework today." could be translated into "I haven't turned in my HOMEWORK for at least five weeks."  I tried many times to tell him the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf but after each recitation of the story wildlife sightings in our backyard increased ten-fold and according to The Boy the animals were responsible for his missing homework.

In the past two years, The Boy has finally turned a corner where I can believe most of what he says, except when it comes to "not feeling well" which is generally still code for "I stayed up in my room with a flashlight and a pile of Lego pieces in my bed and didn't fall asleep until two in the morning."  So, on Monday morning, when it appeared that The Boy had rubbed some of my very expensive dark eye shadow around his eyes (maybe one day he'll win the Oscar for makeup) and was speaking with an extremely raspy, Rod Stewart-esqe voice, I prepared myself for the inevitable.  Knowing that if I took him to school I was likely to receive a phone call from the school nurse within twenty minutes of arriving at home, I decided to let him stay home and rest.  He of course experienced a miraculous recovery at around 3:15 p.m. on Monday, right about the time that his sister came home.  When Tuesday morning rolled around and the pathetic coughing began anew, I told him that he would be going to school because he didn't have a fever and he seemed fine the night before, despite the fact that his speaking voice indicated that his sinuses were mere moments from exploding.  I knew better, you see.

Or, I thought I did.  I arrived at work (a forty-five minute drive away from school) and settled in to plow through my day.  About a half an hour later, I received an extremely accusatory phone call from the school nurse, stating that The Boy said he had strep throat and that I forgot to give him his medicine and he was in the office and he really didn't look well and he had a slight fever and that I should come get him. No, I said, he doesn't have strep throat.  Yes, I said, I did forget to give him Advil this morning for his sinus headache.  NO, I said, HE DOES NOT HAVE STREP THROAT.  Having thus received my nomination for Mom of the Year, I sheepishly retrieved The Boy from school and planted him on the couch with an assortment of broth-intensive foods and the remote control.  Despite the nurse's insistence that he really was sick, I still had my doubts, but those were dashed when I found him fast asleep on the couch during an episode of a dinosaur show on National Geographic with nary an electronic device or Lego within reach.

So, I guess I've learned my lesson.  Perhaps The Boy can be trusted again.  He's still at home, recovering from what I think is a head cold but what he insists is either the flu or Ebola.  Every time I ask him how he is doing he coughs for emphasis.  I think I'll let him stay home tomorrow, too.