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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Gentleman's Agreement

Last weekend we visited the RC Airfield. You don't know what I'm talking about? You are seriously missing out . . . or not. My husband and kids have been several times, but this was my first time. I guess I was an RC Airfield virgin, if you will. This airfield is where grown men gather to fly their remote control airplanes and helicopters.

Rhett, who has a love pretty much for anything that I think is lame, loves the RC Airfield. So we packed the kids up, called an equally lame couple (the husband is equally lame, I should clarify, the wife is lovely. So much like me!) and went to take in the sights and sounds of RC heaven.

I was, of course, surprised there was even an airfield for this kind of stuff, but it was pretty clear when we pulled up that there was some pretty heavy demand. There were at least fifteen people in the "staging pavilion" waiting for their turn on the field. Also, don't try to go yourself and fly some knock-off, cheap AirHog just to hang with the crowd. You have to be a card-carrying member of the RC Airdorks to get on the field. Oh, I mean RC Pilots of America (or something like that).

Because I'm friendly (obnoxious), I started asking one of the "pilots" some questions.

"Is it expensive?" Oh, no. See these rotors? They are only $12 apiece. And you usually only break these when you crash. Unless of course, you bend the axle. That's going to be a little more costly.

"Is it 'dangerous' (smirk to self) to fly in high wind conditions?" Not so much with the helicopters. I mean, of course, they'll drift in the wind, but because the rotors are going blah, blah, blah, the air pressure is blah, blah, blah, and so blah, blah, blah. (Whenever I say blah, blah, blah, just insert a bunch of numbers and physics-type talk. And just tune out. Then you'll get my real experience.) Now with a plane, that's totally different. In fact, that's why there're not that many planes out today, because when they go up the wind presses blah, blah, blah, and then it makes the plane blah, blah, blah.

"Did you crash a lot at first?" Oh, yes. Everyone crashes. But now they have simulators so that you can learn to hover first and then take off and land and do all that stuff without actually crashing your 'copter. (I don't think he actually said 'copter, but goodness, I've got to spice this up somehow!) Also, you can put ping pong balls that have blah, blah, blah in them to help you steady yourself out when you're first learning.

Needless to say, I learned a lot.

My favorite moment of the whole trip, though, was when our RC-enthusiast friend (who actually knew enough to say, "So you're all electric, huh? I'm diesel myself.") asked if there was a specific time for helicopters and planes.

Oh, yes, the man nodded sagely, there's a little bit of a gentleman's agreement that Saturday from 9-2 is helicopter time.

I couldn't help shooting some dirty looks at the guys with airplanes. It was helicopter time. They were no gentlemen. They were cads.

I guess even the RC Airfield has its black sheep.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Am I Secretly A Man?

Rhett and I were sitting around last week, when he turned to me and said, "Hey, happy anniversary tomorrow."

I wish I could say that I said, "Oh, do I have some anniversary surprises planned for you!" even if I had to lie through my teeth to do it. But, I had forgotten. Completely.

Rhett laughed at my horrified face. I also wish I could tell you this was the first time I had forgotten our anniversary, but there was the year before last and the year before that one, when I actually remembered it FIVE days after the fact. There were also the two years that I went to my parent's house to visit over our anniversary, while Rhett stayed home and worked. Those were the halcyon anniversaries, I say.

Rhett said, "I shouldn't have said anything. You probably wouldn't have remembered until August." Which, quite frankly, may be true.

So I called a babysitter posthaste and Rhett and I went out to eat. We had a lovely time and discussed how the first eight years of our marriage have been very productive: we have three children, a beautiful home, and Rhett has lots of degrees. Oh, lots of degrees. I pointed out that the next eight will hopefully be nothing like the first: I better not have three more children (or else Rhett should start looking for a berth in an insane asylum for me), I hope we don't have to move again (wishful, wishful thinking), and seriously? Rhett better stop going to school at some point. I'm just saying.

But this all leaves me with the burning question: Am I secretly a man? Are there any other women who forget their anniversaries, or is it just me?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Great Expectations

I went to Vegas for the aforementioned girls' retreat with only one goal. Well, maybe two goals. My first goal, of course, was to abandon my children completely to their father's care, and my second goal was to not be the source of any arguing, drama, or nastiness.

Well. I did awesome the first night. The night where no one was really there yet. I was totally on top of my game that night. I sat and visited with my parents, admired the new frames that they got to hold the family pictures, and walked through the recently flooded basement.

The next day. Oh, the next day. We were sitting around, getting ready to to hit the pedicures when I said something to my sister. It seemed relatively innocuous at the time, but holy! did it start something. Pretty soon all five of us sisters were in my mother's bathroom, (who was doing her hair) discussing all the issues of sisterhood--like "You never listen to me!" and "When we were in junior high, you never let me borrow your clothes!" and "Mom always liked you better!" and so on and so forth.

Oh, I love drama like that, normally. But I had made a goal, people. And it was pretty much my fault that all that drama got unleashed.

When Rhett called me that night he asked, "So how's it going?"

It all spilled out--how I picked a fight, incited a sister revolt, and hurt sister feelings.

"I'm so mad at myself!" I explained. "I had that goal, you know."

Rhett paused for a minute. "Yeah, but Heids," he said finally, "you kind of had some unrealistic expectations."

Next retreat I'm making a goal to start a fight EVERY DAY! Then I'll be successful, no problem!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Retreating

A few weeks ago, I joined my sisters and sister-in-law in Las Vegas for a girls' retreat. We had a fabulous time: clothes were bought, toenails were painted, sunburns were acquired, gluttony was committed, and a Las Vegas show was seen.

Although the intent is always to desert our children and laugh at our husbands' helplessness without us, somehow there always manage to be a few babies who really can't do without their mother, if you know what I mean.


Somehow, of the thirty pictures my dad sent to me (because I am always lame and always forget my camera), a good fifteen were of these guys. None of these are mine. I did succeed in abandoning my children to their father and in abandoning myself to selfish pleasures.

Despite my best intentions to sleep in every day, I ended up waking up at 6:30 or 7:00 every morning. Spe (my early riser) would have been so proud of me.

Here is my sister Ginnie, my sister Lindsey, me, and my dad at The Cheesecake Factory. And no, it is no coincidence that I, the one with the chubbiest cheeks, am also holding a butter knife. I used it repeatedly, too.


Here's the other half of the table, minus my mom, who was . . . maybe in the bathroom? I don't know, it's hard to keep track of her! This is my sister-in-law Elice, my sister Courtney and my sister Heather. You will notice that none of them have butter knives in their hands either. Sigh.


The accommodations were pretty glam at our parents' house, thanks to an ill-timed basement flood. There was absolutely no drawback to being able to see everyone's feet in the whole basement at the same time--even those in the bathroom! It made pedicures even that much more imperative (and yes, the miracle toe is looking super sexy, thank you for asking).


My dad got to join in all the festivities (although he ducked out on pedicures) because we love him, of course, but most importantly because he has a patented baby hold that just calms a fussy baby down immediately. He's awesome like that.


And that brings us back to these guys. They were adorable and so good. It was almost like they knew that if they didn't behave, they wouldn't have a milk supply. . .

More on Girls' Retreat next time . . . including why I really am a crappy person! Hooray!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pizza, Pizza!

I laughed the other day when I saw this car on the road:


Not because of the car, per se. It's sleek, gorgeous, and undoubtedly expensive.

I laughed because hooked to the top of it was a Pizza Hut Delivery sign.

I guess you really have to pay for all that sexiness.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Poetic Justice

When I was teaching, it always bugged me when kids would transfer out of my class. Not so much if they had a scheduling conflict, but this excuse infuriated me:

"I'm going to transfer in to Mr. O's class because he's a lot easier."

This was from HONORS students who should have known that an HONORS class was going to require some serious work. But whatever.

So imagine, if you will, my absolute, complete, over-the-moon joy when I discovered that there was a student who wanted to transfer out of Mr. O's class into mine. Someone had finally seen the light! We would be kindred spirits! This student would love my class with all its rigor and challenge and intellectual engagement! I would love this student! We would be best friends!

My first clue should have been when the principal called to tell me the news. That's just not the norm.

My second clue should have been how he laughed hysterically about how excited I was.

My third clue should have been when he told me that she had to transfer out of Mr. O's class because they were reading mythology and the characters came alive in her head and spoke to her in violent voices that made her feel crazy.

Maybe because she was crazy.

Unfortunately for my student teacher, Melissa, I wasn't teaching that class. Melissa was. And so she got full-on doses of crazy every day. I usually went and lounged in the library, reading YA novels and professional books with relish, while Melissa got to deal with the nastiness.

That's why I loved having student teachers.

Eventually there came a day where I had to take the class back. This girl was so nasty, disrespectful, unkind, and just plain unbalanced that I ended up sending her to the counselor's office within the first ten minutes. I think Melissa was like, "I had to endure that for weeks and now you're just going to retransfer her out?" Oh, yes, I am.

The best part was what the counselor had to say. "I think," he said, "that Kayla might be schizophrenic."

"So have you talked to her parents about it?"

"Oh, she knows she has problems. But her parents are really into natural living, so they won't get any help for her."

"Natural living?" I'm totally behind organic farmers all the way, so I feel like I'm into natural living, too. But, whoa. I'm so not, comparatively.

"Yes. They don't eat anything that's been cooked."

"WHAAA?"

He went on to explain that in their house, they only ate foods that had not been cooked or processed in any way. They had a big board over their stove so that they could use the space as a countertop. Think about it: no bread, no meat, no pasta, no soup. Pretty much they ate fruit and vegetables. Her favorite dessert? Honeycomb.

I was starting to understand the crazy. And I felt bad for her. Really. (Not bad enough to wholly forgive her for disturbing my class in majorly negative ways, but bad enough that I hoped she could find a new teacher who would love her and all her craziness.)

So I still didn't take her back in to my class. She clearly hated me (and my student teacher) and so I sent her back to Mr. O.

He wouldn't take her.

Kayla and I weren't soul mates. But maybe me and Mr. O were.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nap Wars

Spe has outgrown naps. It was sad and I thought I might kill him for a while, but we pulled through and I'm used to having this little ball of energy that runs through my house all day long. But some days he's clearly exhausted and I insist on a nap.

This quickly escalates into a nap war.

A nap war, for those of you who don't know, is no holds barred. My arsenal consists of mainly time passing, and sharp reminders to "Close your eyes! Go to sleep! Don't jump off the bed!" Spe's arsenal is much more complicated and seems to revolve around lots of movement (jumping, rolling, bouncing, etc.), lots of talking (screaming, whispering, laughing, crying, whimpering, etc.), and lots of "needs" (bathroom breaks, water breaks, secrets that must be shared, jokes that must be told, etc.)

Today was no exception. We played Cariboo first, because I usually warn him about the impending nap by cushioning it after something that he really loves ("After we have this big bar of chocolate, then we're going to take a nap. What are we going to do after this BIG BAR OF CHOCOLATE?").

Spe hopped into bed (mine, because he prefers to nap in my bed, although he could fall out at any moment) and within seconds was rolling, bouncing and flailing as expected.

"Spe! Lay still and go to sleep, please."

Spe looks at me sadly, "But Mama, I bein' a croc'dile."

He has not yet learned how futile that excuse is. However, he calms down a little bit, but then reaches over and starts petting my face.

"'Dese are your eyes. And your eyebrows. 'Dese are your ears. Here's your hair." (With the hair his hands do a movement a little bit like a nuclear mushroom cloud explosion. I'm thinking maybe I should have done my hair today?)

"Spe," I say more gently, touched by his sweetness, "Please lay down and go to sleep. I love you."

He lays there for a moment. Then he puts a proprietary arm over my chest, to make sure that I don't leave while he's sleeping. I know that's the reason because that's what I used to do when my mom would lay down with me. There's nothing worse than waking up and realizing that you're on your own in this nap business.

I start inhaling and exhaling deeply, hoping that he will be lulled to sleep by my rhythmic breathing. He imitates me, sounding remarkably like Darth Vader. I'm thinking maybe I need an inhaler or something? The only effect that the breathing has is that it makes me sleepy.

Then Spe starts whispering. Today it sounded something like this, "I be Superman and then I fly and then I save Super Violet and then I be a crocodile and then I eat Super Violet." This isn't so bad during nap time, but when he crawls into bed at 6:00 in the morning and starts up with the whispering, his dad is none too impressed.

I wait. I start counting how long between each movement. If I can get to twenty without him moving, it's a pretty good bet that he's asleep.

1, 2, 3, (oh, he just kicked me, start over) 1, (roll over) 1, 2 (growls like a bear), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, (sits up and looks at me and says, "I not tired, Mama!") 1, (turns head), 1, 2, 3, (scratches head), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, (almost there! ish) 8, (turns head, drat!), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 . . .

At about this point I fall asleep. Eventually he does too. I always have a goal to get him to sleep and then go and clean ferociously, but I usually end up falling asleep right along with him.

Someone has to keep him from rolling off the bed.


***Right. I've just reread this post and it's crap. But I feel so happy to have blogged two times in the same week that I'm going to let it slide. Bear with me, please. I'll be bringing some crazy back to you soon.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The O-cult

My old college roommate, Amy, tagged me for an Oprah-esque "Favorite Things" post. While I have never joined the cult of "O", I still find joy in counting how many times she is referenced in casual conversation ("Oh, I saw something about that on Oprah the other day . . ."). At my weekend retreat with my sisters, my sister Ginnie mentioned Oprah about twelve times (hoarding shows, in particular, are Ginnie's favorite). To her credit, she is nursing and claims she only watches it late at night when she's nursing the baby. I have noticed, however, that she's very hard to get hold of between 3:00 and 4:00 daily. I'm sure it's just coincidental.

I have to confess that emergency preparedness has really been on my mind lately. You might notice a theme. The theme might also be due to the fact that I claim no superiority whatsoever in the line of beauty products or fashionable shoes or anything else that would usually make Oprah's list. I mean, I'm still working the same beauty routine that I've worked for like ten years. Not much earth-shattering on that front.

So, if money were no issue, here's what I'd give to all my blog readers:

I would give you all 200 acres of prime agricultural land. Just in case there's a need. And just in case things like ownership matter in a worst case scenario and we haven't all reverted to anarchism.

If we have reverted to anarchism, I want you all to have one of these:

I'm just saying. It used to make me feel a little bit weird when I first got married and Rhett had a gun in our house, since I'd grown up without guns. However, then he shared with me that the gun that he was protecting our home with was so weak that it wouldn't stop any intruder and also shoots wonky so that you would have to aim two feet left of the intruder to actually hit them. This made me feel even more vulnerable, for some reason.

Next up:
Everyone needs a wheat grinder--especially a non-electric wheat grinder. Even if you don't know how to bake bread and don't have wheat, you should still have this. I'm not sure why, but you should. Trust me.

Also, everyone should have these:

The Poor Man's Cow. The goat is a versatile and beautiful animal, prized for it's high milk return with low (ish) hay consumption. Many cultures consider goat meat a delicacy, and there's just nothing better than a little goat cheese. Don't underestimate the importance of livestock to post-apocryphal survival. I mean, sure the males pee into their mouths and lick it all over themselves, but really? The stench is a small price to pay for such intelligent, delightful creatures.


Last but not least:


If there's no electricity, how will the microphones of this world work? THEY WON'T! Can you imagine the tragedy? Who will sing Kenny Rogers (off-key, of course)? Who will sing like a Vegas lounge singer while doing dishes?

Me, folks. I'm tucking this megaphone away for the future. Because some modern comforts I'm just not willing to forgo.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

My mom used to tickle my face when I was little, and every once in a while I try to bust it out on my kids.

The other night Spe and I were laying down together and I was trying to help him wind down and go to sleep. So I started tickling his face, gently stroking his cheeks, his nose, his chin, his forehead, and his eyes.

"Spe," I say quietly, "I love you."

"Mom." Spencer keeps his eyes closed and I just melt at how cute he looks before he goes to sleep. There's something about kids in pajamas.

"What, honey?"

Spencer whispers, "Leave me alone."

Oh. Well then. I'll just leave now, shall I?