Outlander #8 no spoilers & Mother of the Year Update

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Words I learned while reading “Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.”
Absquatulate-to abscond with
Leporello-cannot find in dictionary, or online
Subfusc-dusk or a brown
Quoits-something to do with a circle of rope thrown in a game
A word that started with a W I lost track of in the 400s or 500s.
(If you happen across it, please let me know-I think it was on the left side of the page)

I am still in mourning that I have finished the book. I am sure the person who has been waiting for it will be happy to get it, but sadly it is coming apart after two readings and will have to be mended first. I was careful with it, and I suspect the other person was too, but people, you have to sew big books together. Glue will not hold an 800 page book together. Look at your Bible. It is sewn, see? Big book-sewn.

I have not been watching the series. I really should watch more TV.

My daughter is on her fifth non-consecutive day of grounding since Sept 22. This means right to her room after school, until morning. I don’t check her homework or feed her supper these days. Her math homework has suffered as a consequence. She probably has some sort of food stash which will probably attract mice. It might be the reason we are out of cereal.

I asked her father to talk to her as well. Apparently he told her he never lies, but they know he cheated on his girlfriend last summer, the kids saw him kissing another woman-definitely cheating to them-so that was a mixed message at best. Lydia said she put that in her BS filter. (Atta girl, at least she can spot one) Looking back on it, it was poor judgement on my part, but I thought he should be aware of the problem.

Everybody lies sometimes, but when I am asked a direct question, I am a crappy liar. I just need to know if she has homework, if it is completed and if it has been checked.

Nobody else is doing chores half the time so I am not cooking supper half the time or buying groceries. If they don’t help, why should they expect me to do their chores and mine? Remember when that mom camped out in her front yard I the early 1980s? If it wasn’t October…

Clearly this is not working. What I need here is a four-part plan. 🙂

PIYO

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My Zumba instructor encouraged me to attend her Pilates/Yoga class today at 5:30. In the morning. I was only a couple of minutes late. I felt pretty good all day, had caprase or however you spell that for lunch. Supper was late for me at 8:30, due to having a bunch of kids with practices, homework and what-not. I had buttered noodles and two jerky sticks. As I type this, I am daydreaming about my favorite two guys, Ben & Jerry who are cooling their heels in my freezer.

I have lost around 8 pounds since my Dr mentioned I was at least 20 pounds over what I probably should weigh.

The class? I will try to go back, it is Tues & Thurs. My stomach muscles are killing me, which I can only take as a sign, since that is where the other 12 pounds need to come off. With my luck my boobs will go back to pre-four-baby size, and my stomach will stick out further than them. If only my feet would go back to pre-baby size.

I love the instructor, and she is moving next month.

The Secret to Contentment

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I have determined the wine my neighbor gave me as a housewarming gift, a pedestrian white zin, goes quite well with sixth grade math. You see, it has been quiet today. Lydia lied. She came home from band to a note on her door to the effect of “see you tomorrow.”

Yesterday I asked her to help my first grader, Zach, with his homework. He had a math page and a worksheet to prepare for his first test ever, in science. He had been stressing about it on Thursday and wanted me to study with him then, although he did not know what it would be over. He had a sheet yesterday and I asked his sister to go over it with him to give me time to take my other son to the bike shop to get pegs on his bike and to tumbling class and make banana bread and tuna noodle casserole, then I could help her with her math homework and study the lymphatic and cardiovascular systems for her test, and check her sister’s math.

This morning I reminded Zach to take his homework to school. He started crying because Lydia had made him put the wrong answers on his worksheet about the five senses. He knew what was right but she convinced him he was wrong. By chance his teacher came by the library today so I asked about it. He had caught her before class in a panic and told her he was sure he had gotten one wrong because his sister made him answer it wrong. The teacher made it okay for him.

So Lydia is almost 12 and Zach is almost 7. We aren’t a family of pranksters-we have fun and tease and laugh, but we don’t do pranks. Everyone understands that we have to work as a team if we want to participate in extra-curricular activities, or else they can stay home and play all the time and I can do all the housework. I wish I had a husband. A husband, not my old one. I am planning to meet with the seemingly ineffectual school counselor tomorrow to see if he thinks this is sociopathic behavior or just naughty 6th grader behavior.

I drank a couple of glasses of wine and listened to hip-hop music with lots of cussing as I made supper. That helped. Then I called my boyfriend (if you can call a man of 63 a boyfriend). We talked. He asked if I prayed about it. I had, but mostly the “Help!” kind of prayer. He is a good pray-er. He prayed and made me cry. I feel somewhat better. Now I am eating chocolate chips and walnuts. That seems to help too. So, a little recap: booze, cussing, God and chocolate. Not necessarily in that order.

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood -too long of a book title if you ask me.

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You know you are reading a big book when you can’t remember if you were on page 385 or 485, just that it was somewhere in the middle of the book. I just checked-814 pages, and it was 385. Better get going.

The ABCs of lying

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After years of living with my ex I developed a bullshit filter. Now that he is gone I still use it regularly. I listen politely to the story but I stick it in the filter until I get information that confirms it or discredits it. People lie about their age so they can get on the teen computers, they lie about what they had checked out, they lie about what they brought back…I don’t take it personally.

I am by nature a pretty straightforward person. My boss calls me blunt. I don’t lie worth a crap and I used to expect people to treat me the same way. Times have changed. (see above paragraph) I don’t do allegory very well although I usually understand it. Here is my non-allegory story.

Tonight my 11-year-old daughter lied to me about her homework. Then she lied to me several times while I was helping her check her homework. She had no reason to lie, she just told a whopper and sat back to see what I would do. It was like she opened her mouth and her father came out. She used the same obfuscating methods: changing the story then acting like I hadn’t understood the first time, acting offended when I asked for clarification, denial…she even had his facial expressions down.

After watching him lie to me, his mother, his brothers, his customers, his friends, his lawyer, himself, I am pretty good at spotting his lies. And it is really frustrating watching my daughter do the same darn thing!

I don’t want to go visit her at the women’s correctional facility, but I have no idea how to help her not turn into a sociopath. She has a counselor, and last time she went I asked the counselor to address the lying. My daughter came home with, “You need to spend more time with me.” Tonight I spent and hour and a half with her- dealing with her lies and checking her homework and dealing with more lies and trying to think out the best way to deal with her lies. I barely saw one of my sons. Even when she is not in trouble she finds ways to usurp my attention. What she needs is another parent to take some of the heat.

I finally settled on if she lies she goes to her room for the rest of the night. No matter what time it is. If I find out she lied earlier, she can go to bed right after school the next day. I can think of nothing else. She thrives on interactions with her siblings, and I am hoping that removing that activity will provide some time for me to parent them as well instead of letting them drift along in her wake.

Transvestite Rabbit’s post made me think about this. Obviously the behavior is the lie. The antecedent? I wasn’t upset, I was just checking over her homework. She apparently decided to see what my reaction would be to her dishonesty, and I fell for it. The consequence? My attention, I guess, and the understanding that she would be missing meals and human interaction if she keeps it up.

Taking a step back: my behavior? Falling into her trap of provoking me. The antecedent? Her provoking me? The consequence? My blowing my entire evening dealing with her? I guess I need to take my own advice and remember what I tell others… say, “I don’t have a dog in that fight,” and refuse to engage emotionally.

Was that allegorical? I didn’t plan to come to any enlightening conclusion until I finished the next to last paragraph. Thinking out loud I guess. Any ideas on better ways to not raise criminals? My ex’s sister who had a degree in counseling said he had traits of sociopathy and narcissism. He was a jewel. And now I am dealing with his protégée.

 

A Book Show!

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A couple of Fridays ago my dad casually asked me what I was doing on Saturday. “I need to clean house, do laundry, mow the lawn, visit my grandmas… Why?”

“We are going to a book show in Denver.”

A book show? The house will still be around next week, hopefully the grandmas will too. I went looking for Glen Rounds a children’s author/illustrator (which nobody had by the way) but got to see first editions of all kinds of stuff like Salinger and Will James. I saw “The Please and Thank You Book” paperback by Richard Scarry autographed for $350. There was lots of Oz stuff and Willa Cather and Nancy Drew of all ages. What did I get? I got a book I am only slightly fond of, but I loved the illustrations. For some reason I am an illustration junkie. I got Animal Farm illustrated but not autographed by Ralph Steadman. It is how the book was meant to be read.

Then we went to Shepler’s and I got a shirt and we ate at some Italian buffet which was the size of a Best Buy building and I got curtains for my living room at Pier One and a huge dragonfly mosaic for my dining room. It was a great day.

I visited my grandmas on Sunday and took a photo album from the early 70s for my dementia-ed grandma who actually recognized her brother, but not her husband. Grandpa has been gone a few years, and her brother 25 years. I told Dad to take in some older ones. It is hard to talk to someone who can’t think anymore.

I am not sure what made me think of that tonight…

High School “friends”

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So I find myself living in my hometown of maybe 7,000 people. I put my kids’ first day of school photo up with the comment that this is the last year they will be in the same school. (Lydia will be in Junior high next year) a Facebook “friend” from high school pointed out that she, another “friend” and I will all have daughters in the same grade. I did not mention that I hope their daughters are nicer to mine than they were to me.

I was not anywhere near their social circle in high school. I didn’t want to be, but they didn’t have to be mean.

We have all grown up, mostly. I don’t hang with these women, but I think we would be polite if we were to meet on the street. I have a hard time recognizing people so I would probably walk right past on accident and be the rude one. If I ever did anything social, that is, like walk down the street.

Mostly I just needed to say that, and Facebook was not the place.

Thank you blog friends for not being mean to me in high school, and then pretending your kids will be nice to mine in jr high.

Where the kid went.

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We had a long planning session on being prepared to deal with the school kids and it went well today. I volunteered to organize the shelves in the teen section after school which was fine with the good kids and made the ones who were planning to be up to no good leave on their own. The guy who was supposed to do it was also happy. We don’t always have the staff for it though. I got through the Ds.

I pulled up the bottom shelves on the parts I got straightened (it is actually called reading, but is not as fun as real reading as it mostly involves singing the alphabet song under your breath over and over) and found four magazines and three books, two movies and 12 cents as well as assorted gum and hair ponytail bands. It was a good day.

The missing kid had indeed been kicked out earlier and has been banned with his friend for two weeks. Hopefully he made it home.

Last night two young ladies were in a car wreck. One of those school permit (14 year old farm kid license)-no seatbelt-driving too fast on a gravel road-while drinking alcohol-flight for life kind of wrecks.

Underage drinking is huge here. I almost never drank in high school (and certainly not when I was 14) due to my living 30 miles from my friends and my general unpopularity.

Do you know where my kid is?

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Today at 6:40 a concerned mother asked if we knew where her son was. I asked when he had come and she said she didn’t know when, her grandmother had been dropping him off all summer. He was nine. I didn’t know him by name, which means he was a good kid, or had been flying barely under the radar. I told the woman we had kicked some kids out around 4 and did she know Daniel. She did not. Someone who knew Daniel had taken the kids somewhere to someone because we were on the verge of calling the cops to take them home. (We did this once before for another kid who was throwing rocks at cars.)

Finding child care stinks. Paying for child care is probably impossible on minimum wage, but letting your fourth grader roam the town? She is not the only one either.

Our policy on unattended children focuses on behavior rather than age, and our director was a teacher and gives them too many chances. And she usually goes home about 3:30-4:00.

These kids belong to the FTA. Future Thugs of America.

School starts tomorrow. We are one block from a grade school and five from the middle school. Fortunately, the library provides free after school daycare.

I need to figure out how to tell my boss that sometimes we have to choose between helping well-behaved adult and children patrons check out books and print things on the computer and… recess duty.

It will be chaos from 3:30 on.

Me Thinking Out Loud

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My upcoming week

Monday I have to leave work early to get the kids. We will get home around 9.

Tuesday…I don’t know. Surely something will come up.

Wednesday I work until 8

Thursday I have a sorority thing at 7

Friday I get off early and the dudes are coming to replace the carpet in my living room, so I need to dig out the air compressor and see if I can’t get my vacuum to suck again. I swear my next husband will be a plumber or a vacuum repair guy. All others need not apply.

Saturday I have a MS Walk at 7:30 then my 7 year-old’s birthday party in the afternoon (he will be 8 on June 27) and a political dinner that evening.

Sunday I work three-and-a-half hours

Oh, yeah. I have to go to the Y five more times this month so work will keep paying part of my membership.

Said birthday boy did not bring home the addresses of his intended guests so I could not mail invitations last week, or tomorrow for that matter. This means I have to surreptitiously send them with Thos to school so he can sneak them to his friends, since we are not inviting the whole class.

Fortunately I have a huge park in my front yard and the theme will be the Olympics, so it will be pretty much an outdoor activity, which is good because my house is a wreck. Sadly the babysitter has prom so he can’t help run the activities for me.

Why are we having this kid’s birthday a full two months early? Well, I only get him every other weekend, and we will be in Disney World on Mother’s Day and the next time is Memorial Day which isn’t a great time to have a birthday party. Then their dad has them most of the summer, except I hope the week of his birthday which is also the week of the Chautauqua in our humble community and I am on the committee so I can’t get a birthday party arranged, plus he could not invite people at school since we don’t have any addresses!

Crap. I just looked at the weather. Saturday is 66 with an 80% chance of rain. That is some serious precip for here. At least it is rain not snow. What do I do? The kid does not remember his last birthday party that was not just family, he was 3. He deserves a party. 

We could do it after school gets out on a weekday too. Looking at my calendar that would be May 23rd since they get out the 22nd. Hmm. Maybe the babysitter could help then too…

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