Sunday, July 20, 2014

The cleanest clean room ever

I just had to take a few photos before Her Highness returns and trashes the joint. I found another vitamin earlier (this one was hidden behind her bed), so that brings the grand total to six. I also found her Hello Kitty sleep mask, which has been missing for at least a year. Since she's going to be a fourth grader this year (her school goes up to fifth grade so I think that makes her an upperclassman now?), I thought I would remove some of the Disney Princess paraphenalia and whatnot from her room.  She's too mature for such things, you know. I also removed this red castle mirror that I got at IKEA when she was a toddler. She ruined it long ago with a sharpie so it's not like I can even give it to someone.  Anyway, part of me is tempted to save it just in case she does 'merry' Jack someday.  If you see this, do not ask her about Jack because she will kill me if she finds out. She's known Jack since 4K, I think.  She's had an on-again, off-again crush on him. When they were in first grade, he wadded up a small hunk of brownie, rolled it into a ball, and stuck it in his nose. A brownie booger, apparently. My daughter and her friends were suitably horrified and that's when she decided she didn't like him anymore. I'm guessing that's when she called off the engagement and crossed out her wedding plans.  Now, though, she seems to dig him again. Who knows.

She made these fish at school. I was secretly hoping she'd give them to me, as I think they are uber cool.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

While the mouse is away . . .

. . . the cats will clean out her room. Seriously, I haven't written much because I haven't been doing much. Tonight, P and I could have gone anywhere (since we didn't have to get a sitter and all) and what kind of wild and crazy shenanigans did we get into?  We went to Red Robin (that's right, a place where we can take the kid any time).  On the way home, my other half made me stop at a candy store so that he could get some treats. He's been dying for some chocolate all day. I'm pretty sure he's getting his period. Anyway, we're going to top off the evening by staying home and watching an episode of Breaking Bad. We're steadily working our way through the seasons. After that, we'll probably argue over whether or not we should keep the air conditioning running overnight. So, as you can see, we've got a pretty full evening. 

The kid comes back on Monday. We miss our tiny boss. I'm so glad she's having such a fun summer. My sister has taken her to the pool (multiple times), rock climbing, and to King's Dominion (where my kid rode the hell out of those roller coasters, yo). They've also done some craft projects (I think my sister was glad to have a crafting buddy - yesterday they did tie-dying) and worked in my sister's garden. Today was the hotly anticipated trip to the American Girl store.  My sisters went in on the cost of a doll for their niece (for her birthday).  Apparently my kid exclaimed that today was the best day of her whole life. I'd like to remind her that her loving parents . . . took her to Disney World!  Kids. So fickle. Anyway, I can tell from the photos that she's thrilled with her new doll. 

I have spent a good portion of the week cleaning out her room. I need to tell you that I have found no fewer than five gummy vitamins stashed in various parts of her bedroom. I also sorted a massive bin of markers and crayons. I'm not exaggerating when I say they number in the hundreds. Everyone who knows us is hereby forbidden to purchase a writing implement of any kind for my child.  I made the mistake of letting the dogs in the bedroom while I was cleaning it and I'm almost positive that my foster dog ate Polly Pockets' shirt. He was chewing something and was pretty cagey about it when I asked him what it was.

I know the kid is worried that I'm going to throw a lot of stuff away, but I really didn't toss that much. She seems to think we should save every scrap of paper she has ever graced with some pencil lead, but it's just not happening. I saved some of everything. Some of her artwork, some of her knick-knacks, some of her macaroni jewelry, etc. I've put a fair amount of stuff in storage. Books and such. She might want them for her own kids someday. Anyway, I've made pretty good progress.  The little hoarder will have to start all over again, I guess. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Party's Over

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig. I'm busy unpacking and sorting through mail and whatnot. Some medical bills from my surgery arrived while we were gone. Yay!

On Friday morning, after leaving the beach, we met my sister in Annapolis and transferred our kid to her. While we endured the endless drive home, A was hanging out at a water park and whatnot. She'll be visiting family in Northern Virginia until the 21st. I hope she is having a wonderful time. Her dad and I have to work, but there's no reason why she can't go out and have a ball. Operation Room Clean starts tomorrow. There will be garbage bags involved. Shhhhh. 

The drive home was pretty uneventful. I scoped out  (and stopped at) a couple of vegetarian/vegan restaurants on the way home, so at least we had some culinary adventures to break up the tedium. (Confession: I purposely ate one thing on my vacation that I knew was not vegan: dark chocolate covered Oreos. I'm pretty sure that was my only slip-up.) We stopped overnight on Friday and visited my friend Khau and his family. I've known Khau since I was 14, which is a mighty long time in my book. He surprised us by getting us a fancy room at the Hilton where he works. When we checked in, the clerk told us that we would be in the Presidential Suite. I looked down and noticed some salsa on my shirt from lunch. I don't think I was cut out for the high-falutin' life. The suite was beautiful, though. It was at least twice the size of our first apartment. When we first opened the big double doors leading into the suite, we found a fruit basket and some champagne. Faaaaancy!  We went out to dinner with Khau and his family and then hit the road early the next morning.

Tomorrow we go back to work and back to the daily grind. We had a wonderful vacation. We spent lots of time at the beach, hit the boardwalk a few times, rode lots of rides, and did lots of other fun stuff. On our last day at the beach, we even saw a pod of dolphins and a shark, too. P had a minor stroke when the shark was spotted closer to shore than the area where I had just been swimming. I'm sure the shark was harmless, though.

Most importantly, I brought home some Utz BBQ chips (which I cannot get where I live). I also enjoyed two cola Slurpees while at the beach (we also don't have 7-11s in our neck of the woods).  I also brought home some sand in my ears.  Seriously, every time I think I've got it all out, I find more.

Yummy vegan dessert
She won!

Fancy pants suite at the Hilton

Monday, July 7, 2014

Somebody tell me what day it is (or better yet, don't)

Ahhhh, vacation. I didn't think about work once today.  Woo hoo!

We are currently hanging out at my dad's condo in Ocean City, Maryland. Don't bother robbing our house while we're gone because we have a fourth grade girl and her fifth grade sister watering our plants and watching our house. Just know that they will cut you just as soon as look at you.

We made half the trip on Thursday the 3rd and arrived at the beach on Friday the 4th. The drive was mostly uneventful. It's amazing how smoothly the drive goes when you don't have a nine-year-old in the back seat advising you of your driving faults and asking to stop for ice cream every five or ten minutes. She flew out a week ahead of us so it was just the two of us for the thousand-mile drive. The three of us were reunited on Friday and P and I immediately had to start reprogramming her so that we could stand to be in the same room with her. For the week prior to our arrival, all the kid had heard from my dad was, "Sure, you can do that." I think that if my daughter said, "Grandpa Ted, I'm going to rob the corner market at gunpoint," he would say, "Sure thing, sweetie. Just hand me that revolver so that I can file off the serial number for you."

On Saturday morning, I got up and walked on the beach by myself (my husband and child were still sleeping). I really enjoyed it. The beach is 7/10 of a mile from my dad's condo, so the walk is pretty reasonable. Oh, I almost forgot - I got called a dumb ass on my way there. There is a fairly large intersection that you have to cross to get to the beach. When I arrived at the intersection, I saw a sign that invited me to push the button for a walk signal. So, I pushed it. The robot voice said, "Wait." So, I waited.  I never saw a walk signal. This is a six-lane highway so I didn't want to fling myself into the intersection only to find that I had half a second to make it across all those lanes. So, I waited and watched the light. There was no one else crossing at that time. Well, little did I know, a car to my left wanted to turn right and apparently I, in my stupidity, was preventing her from doing that. I heard her yell, "WATCH THE LIGHTS, DUMB ASS! YOU HAVE THE RIGHT-OF-WAY."  Ah, and a fine good morning to you, too, madame. 

Anyway, I didn't let that twat get me down. I had a fabulous walk on the beach. Waves crashing on the shore is one of the best sounds I know. Later, the three of us returned to the beach to hang out for a while. My dad's girlfriend has been kind enough to drive us around quite a bit. She's taken us to the boardwalk, a go-kart track, Bethany Beach, and a few other places, too. I tried to build up some good will by fixing her computer during my stay. See, I'm good for something!

My uncle was in town over the 4th of July weekend so I was really happy that I got to spend some time with him. He was always one of my favorite people. So far we've been having a really nice time. P and I took a walk on the beach last night. He grew up in the Midwest so he's kind of a pussy when it comes to getting saltwater on him. The tide was coming in so every time a wave threatened his ankles, he leaped in the opposite direction like some kind of grey-haired gazelle.

Today we got up and hit the boardwalk for a while. I had to initiate my husband into the wonders of Thrasher's fries (he only let me add a little bit of vinegar, though). I think he's officially a fan. It was a hot one today, though. Holy cow. We gave some serious thought to paying admission to the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum solely based on its air conditioning.

We've got a few more days of picking sand out of our ears and then we'll hit the road again. Until then, I'll just try to remain blissfully unaware of the calendar.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

One vacation, comin' right up!

Good news - I can resume yelling at my kid tomorrow, when she'll be reunited with me and her dad. We're joining her (plus my dad and his girlfriend) for a week at the beach.  I've been packing for a couple of days. My other half packed in about five minutes flat yesterday. He did have the audacity to ask me if I plan to do any laundry while we are on vacation. I think he was planning to go with is tried and true "bring three pairs of underwear regardless of how many days we will actually be gone" method of packing.  I shot him a look to indicate that laundry isn't really on my agenda next week. Having my toes in the sand, however, is.

As for the kid, as far as I can tell she hasn't been too stressed out.  She's been going out to dinner, visiting water parks, hanging out at amusement parks, and so forth.  My dad sent me a text that said something like "she keeps us busy."  I think that is code for "we didn't think this through too carefully when we invited her to come and visit us."

You've gotta love technology because thanks to video chats (via Google Hangouts) and texting, I've been able to keep up with what the kid is up to this week.  Plus, she doesn't get as homesick when she can chat with me and also see me at the same time.

Anyway, it looks like she's been having a great time!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Who was on time for church this morning?

This girl! It's amazing how fast you can get out of the house when you don't have to yell at anybody about getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc. Of course, I felt a little lonely when I actually got there but it was a quiet morning for sure.

The kid caught a flight to Maryland yesterday. She's hanging out in Ocean City with my dad and his girlfriend. She'll be gone for 23 days total. We'll be there with her for a week in the middle so I'm hoping she won't get too homesick. When we leave the beach, we're handing her off to my sister, who has all sorts of plans for her niece - including a trip to the American Girl store.  Both of my sisters got the kid AG gift cards for her birthday and now she gets to use them to buy a doll. 

After she boarded the plane yesterday, her dad and I didn't know what to do with ourselves. We went to dinner at a funky place that has multiple vegan dishes (I'm in my third week of trying this thing on for size). Then we went to Trader Joe's and picked up some goodies.  Then we had a two-hour drive home, which we completed in relative silence.  When we got home, we watched an episode of Breaking Bad (we're currently up to the third season). 

We compared notes on what the kid would have done had she been with us. For example, we stopped at a gas station so that I could pick up some juice because I was thirsty. I was in and out in about 90 seconds. "If the kid had been with me," I said, "that would have taken half an hour. First she would have demanded that I buy her some ice cream. Then, just as we'd be headed for the door she would have said, 'Wait, I have to poop.'"

We're enjoying a little break from parenting, but we do miss our tiny boss. She and I chatted via video several times today. I can see that she is having a great time and that she is getting spoiled rotten. It will probably take weeks to reprogram her when she gets home.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Coaster Monster

My daughter is on a mission to ride the same roller coaster 100 times this summer. She's currently at 18, so just 82 to go! The coaster is located in a local amusement park. The ride requires you to fork over four tickets each time you climb aboard. The tickets are only a quarter each. So, just in case math is not your thing . . . it's a buck a ride.  When I told P about the kid's goal, he exclaimed, "THAT A HUNDRED DOLLARS!"  I shrugged.

A couple weeks ago, she and I went over there on a Tuesday night and the joint was almost deserted. She was able to ride again and again and again - eight times in all. I rode it with her the first two times and then I was done. I like the ride but it maketh my head hurt after.  It's an old-school wooden coaster so it's very bumpy.

I sat below the coaster and waited for her. One time I'd see the cars go by and she'd be in the middle, the next time she was in the front, and so forth. And then she discovered the back car. In the back car, you go airborne over the last big bump. For the next few times, I saw her only in the very last car (even if she had to wait longer to get that seat). She's so short that I could really only see her arms as she flew by.

See, her dad might think it's an outrageous waste of money but what if she comes to me when she's 30 and says, "Hey, remember that time you let me ride the roller coaster eight times in a row?  That was the best day ever."  I mean, probably not - but you never know!

Last Sunday we went back with a friend of mine, her kids, plus a couple extra youngsters that belong to another friend of hers. My kid added a few more to her tally that day.  I don't know if she's going to hit 100 or not. She's leaving Saturday and will be out east with my family for three weeks. Then we'll be on vacation for a week in August, too. So, she'll really have to push if she wants to get it all in by the end of summer. But, like they say, anything worth having . . .

I took a couple of shots of the kids on the roller coaster on Sunday.  If you peer at it verrrrry closely, you can see two little arms in the very first car. My little adrenaline junkie.