Saturday, May 29, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Scott and I got married May 29, 1999. Eleven years! It doesn’t seem that long when you look at it compared to the eons of time, but we’re been busy. Jobs, different jobs, houses, births, deaths, more weddings, vacations, sickness, and health have all been packed into our married life. I couldn’t have picked a better person to hold my hand through all of it than Scott. I had just planned on holding his hand this weekend on a boat, covered in SPF 200, watching my kids swim in Pickwick Lake.

So if the eleventh anniversary is the traditional “kid with strep throat cancels your lake plans”, we’re there. We were looking forward to spending the long weekend at the lake house. The bags were packed. The car was ready to go. The grandparents were going to babysit while Scott and I had an anniversary date. And Davis woke up with a high fever after a fitful night of sleep. I took him to the pediatrician, because I always feel the fifteen dollar co-pay is worth it just to know what is going on, even if it is a little fever. Turns out that yes, he did have strep throat and that he would need to be away from other kids for a couple of days. Since the Taylor cousins were also going to the lake, I did not want the mass infection of a family with three kids under the age of six on my conscience. Also: I wasn’t looking forward to a four-plus hour car ride with him. Davis is already a card-carrying member of the “men who cannot be sick” club. He has been a beast. I know he doesn’t feel good, but telling me my workout pants are ugly does NOT help his cause. See how quickly you get your Advil and Gatorade now, Tim Gunn.

Last year, Scott and I celebrated our tenth anniversary with style: Caribbean vacation, watches. This year we knew we would scale down about 90%, but neither one of us was looking forward to Burger King and Putt-Putt golf as Plan B. So we scrambled. Bed-and-Breakfasts in a sixty-mile radius: all booked. Nice hotels in Knoxville: Booked. Roach Motels in Knoxville: Booked. Sewanee! We’ll return to the scene of the crime, so to speak. Booked. We stayed up half the night trying to find somewhere to spend our special day to no avail. Burger King, here we come, but wait!! A reservation opened up at a nice downtown hotel. Inexplicably, The Melting Pot had an available spot on Saturday night. We found someone who was actually willing to come spend the night with the kids since Davis is no longer contagious. Anniversary salvaged.

The moral of this story is (if you were looking for one!) that this anniversary has been much like our marriage. You make plans, plans change, and you roll with the punches. It all turns out fine in the end, and the journey is a lot more fun if the person riding shotgun is your best friend. I'll tell the cheese fondue at dinner tonight you all said hi.

Friday, May 21, 2010

No More Pencils, No More Books

I dropped Katie off for her last day of first grade today. For someone who is not sentimental about much, today has hit me hard. It's amazing to look back and see what a difference a school year has made. She reads chapter books independently, has lost and re-grown teeth, shot up like a Lady Vol basketball player, and, well, grown up. It's becoming more and more difficult to tell her tennis shoes and mine apart these days. We compare playlists on our iPods. We talk about God and fairies and she asks some heavy questions and I don't always know how to answer them. It's scary. I know moms with older kids probably are thinking, "Just wait!" I know, I know, but this year has given me whiplash with all the new things that she has done and thought and experienced. I remember that little person who would pause at the BlueGrass school door and look like she wished for all the world that she could jump back into the car. Now, she walks in greeting friends, waving at other girls, and blushing when a cute boy says "hi" to her. Now all of a sudden, it's me who is fighting back tears and wishing that she would just jump back into the car and be a little bitty girl all over again.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I'm Being Served Pizza by a Rat, and Everyone's OK with This?

Sorry for the long delay in posting, but Comcast and I have had a difference of opinion concerning my internet and cable. Long story short, after two weeks and a LOT of phone calls, we have internet access again. TV will be Saturday. The 21st century has returned to my house! One day we might look into that new-fangled indoor plumbing and possibly shoes.

You all know Davis. I actually have another child, a newly-minted seven year old named Katie. She is very smart and a bookworm (just like her mom!) She is also tall and skinny and blond and athletic (WHOSE kid is this?) Wednesday was her birthday and according to family custom, she got to decide where she wanted to have dinner that night. Katie can have a sophisticated palette for an elementary-schooler, so I had high hopes.

I have a confession to make. I cannot stand Chuck E. Cheese. I mean, really, really, really cannot stand Chuck E. Cheese. It smells, the food is gross, and do not EVEN get me started on that giant hepatitis-pit that the kids climb into. You couldn’t get that thing clean with a gallon of Lysol® and a flame-thrower. If anyone needs a cool science project guaranteed to bring about a lifetime of agoraphobia, bring a Petri dish into that bad boy. Also, I resent spending $20 for a ten-cent notepad with Zac Efron® on it, despite the fact that I have the soundtrack of High School Musical 3 on my iPod. Don’t hate.

Back to Chuck E. Cheese: my daughter could have chosen anywhere in Knoxville for her birthday dinner. Of course, nothing would do. Hepatitis-pit, here we come! Here is a well-kept secret among mothers: we ALL hate Chuck E. Cheese. Now lest you think I am absolutely horrible, intent on ruining my precious daughter’s birthday, I put on a brave face and tried to appear excited. Part of the fun of going there, for my children, is to watch me try to endure it. They torment me for days before we go: “Are you going to hug Chuck E.? He’s going to kiss you!”, etc. So Katie was completely in on the act. Part of the present was watching Mom squirm.

My husband kept offering me helpful little tidbits like, “Most of these people look clean.” “That kid seemed sorry that he sat on Davis.” “Oh, look, honey, they have Coke Zero!” Being out of Katie’s earshot, I snapped, “Well, when they have it with Antiguan Rum, then please let me know.” The mother next to me leaned over and whispered, “Darlin’, you have to pack it in your purse.” Excellent. I just cannot bring myself to be the flask-toting mom to children’s birthday dinners. Not just yet. Ask me again when Davis is seven!

We rode the rides, shot basketballs, shot ducks, got the gratuitous hug and high-five from The Rat, doused ourselves in hand sanitizer, and settled into a peaceful birthday-cake-induced sleep. Happy Birthday to Katie! Next year, might I suggest Ruth’s Chris? Please?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cleanup on Aisle 9

Being a parent is amazing. You experience a love you’ve never known before, you laugh and cry with new depths, and you wonder at creation and your place in it. Children are great teachers for their parents. Katie has taught me to look at the world with a child’s eye, to see the beauty in everything and everyone. Davis also taught me a new concept this weekend: revenge urination.

For all five of you who read my blog (Hi, Mom, yes, I’ll call), you know we’ve done some renovation in the house. Scott and I also tend to think “hey, while the house is destroyed, let’s take care of all the other little things we’ve wanted to do.” So we tackled the pantry, which had hideous wire shelving and was an awful shade of brown. It also smelled like dog food, despite the fact that the house was vacant a year prior to our buying it and we do not own a dog. No offense to dog lovers, but think of this: if you don’t own a baby, chances are that the smell of baby food doesn’t get you that fired up. But I digress.

We painted the pantry to match the rest of the kitchen. We went to Lowe’s for the shelves. What follows is roughly the conversation I had with the kids prior to getting out of the car at Lowe’s:

Me: Kids, we have to make some very important shelving decisions in here.

Katie: Can shelving decisions be important?

Me: Yes, very.

Katie: We’re talking about a room nobody sees and it still smells like dog food.

Me: Very important!! Look, kids, I need you both to sit quietly in the cart and let Mom and Dad pick out shelving.

Davis: I want to watch Toy Story.

Me: Focus, people. I need you to be good.

Davis and Katie: OK, we’ll be good.

Me: No causing scenes, just being quiet.

Davis: But I have to go potty.

No problem. We went into the store, I steered Scott toward the shelving aisle, and I took Davis to the potty. Remember this plot point – it will be important soon.

When we got back to the shelves, Scott and I began the long, drawn-out, terribly earth-shattering decision of what type of material and what color the pantry shelves should be. After all, this is where the instant grits and the Prego will go, so we can’t make this decision lightly. Davis began to get restless. He began to pout. He began to make threats. Scott and I were so busy, we weren’t really listening. We just did the “yes, dear” thing that parents do when they aren’t paying attention. Davis announced that he was bored and wanted to leave. We told him we were close to picking something out and he could wait. Then he stood up in the cart. “Daddy, we’re going to have to wash my shorts when we get home,” he said. As Scott and I turned to see what he was talking about, he stood up and URINATED. IN AISLE 9. In front of a dad with some small kids and a couple who went home and bought a lifetime supply of birth control.

Scott immediately whirled the cart around and left the store with Davis, leaving a trail of what was certainly not bread crumbs. While I was relieved (oops, sorry) that I wasn’t going to be the one to deal with him, I was left with another matter: the large lake of Davis’s anger. Should I run? The security cameras surely had all of this on tape. So I did what any mother who is past any capability of embarrassment would do. I stood there, straddling the puddle, helpfully guiding other home improvement shoppers:

“Hi there! My son just revenge-peed and my husband has taken him to the car to explain appropriate behavior to him. Or beat him, I’m not sure which one. Anyway, I’m standing watch until someone with a mop rescues me. Would you like me to reach the shelving bins for you? Do you like green or yellow? A wicker look is also nice. Yes, I also think the pink is inappropriate in a kitchen. Good to chat with you. ‘Bye, now!”

At which point the 5% of people in Knoxville who do not think I am certifiably insane crossed over to the other side. Canada is looking better all of the time. Moose don’t judge, right?