Saturday, June 17, 2006

Not a Parenting Post

This blog has already, despite my intentions, become a parenting blog.

So lest anyone think that this is all I think about (I'll admit to my kids taking up a sizeable chunk, nay, a MAJORITY of my brainpower, but there's a thin sliver of myself in residence....somewhere), this is NOT a parenting post.

This is a I-suck-at-wilderness-living post.

I live in the Pacific Northwest forest. I mean, the frigging postcard, that's what I live in. OK so my house is tiny. I walk out of it and I'm in a fucking postcard. It's worth it.

Now, the beauty I can handle. The woodchopping, I can kinda handle (although being SCHOOLED by Bernie yesterday when he decided to help out was a bit rough on the I-am-woman-hear-me-roar mood). The firemaking, hell, I can even handle that. The mosquitos, well, as long as Fran continues to be more attractive to them than I am, I can handle them too.

But whodathunk that geometry would figure so prominently in foresty-like life?

Today we made a framework for our chopped wood to season in. You'd think this would be fairly straightforward, but nah, we're kinda dull that way. And to top it all off, we're on a spend-nothing-in-this-house-cause-we-don't-own-it kind of kick (totally justified IMO), so we decided to construct it out of semistraight tree limbs and kinda-stripped-already metal screws that Fran grabbed from work the last time they abandoned a large shelving system.

So, two people who have no idea what they're doing and have never constructed so much as a smooth stick in their lives + nonconventional building materials + a chordless saw that works for about 10 minutes and then requires 1.5hr charging period = 8 hours of labor, approximately 700 mosquito bites, 12 stripped screws, and one wonky-looking drying frame. Oh hell, it might have a little bit of rustic charm, since none (yeah, not ONE) of the angles came out right so instead of 'wow that looks a little weird' you MIGHT get 'whimsical' in there somewhere, but nah. It just sucks. If it weren't functional Fran would be feeding it to flame as I type, but it looks like it will actually work the way it was intended to (even if it doesn't LOOK the way it is intended to) so there it will stay, offending our eyes, for at least a year.

We are so totally buying a level the next time we're out.

Don't Hit Me!

Yes, this entry is in honor of my middle child and his new, most-unadorable-yet, mommy-embarrassing habit. I am not sure why he feels the need to shout this phrase pathetically (and yes, at top volume) any time he is corrected in public, especially considering the great lengths I've taken to keep my not-so-hard-to-trigger self from hitting him any more than I have to, but there it is. He does it. And oh, the embarrassment that this causes me.

Oh yes, this is worse than the week we spent with me constantly whispering "hands out of your pants" while we were out and about.

And it trumps by far the most embarrassing oldest-child behavior, which has been nosepicking. Ew, yes, dissolving mommy's will to live right on the spot, no.

It is not just that he says it in public. Oh no, that is not enough to embarrass me. I've been a mom for over 6 years, if my skin was any thicker I could sell skin grafts to tire companies. It is that apparently, anybody but our immediate family is eligible for this particular performance. My MIL, aunts and uncles, you know, all those people you see just often enough to have to deal with all the time, but not often enough that they'd know you don't ACTUALLY hit your son. And hey, while he's cowering and shouting "don't hit me!" in his most pathetic almost-wavering voice, am I really supposed to turn around and say "oh, he's just trying to get back at me, I don't *really* hit him"?

So I did something new to me yesterday; I didn't even bother TRYING to explain myself. I called him up to the patio at a family party (he'd hit his sister with a stick...repeatedly...because apparently she had the better stick and he wanted it...) and as he approached and saw my anger, the performance began. "Don't hit me....don't HIT meeeeeeee....mommy, mommy, mommy, don't HIT me!!!!!"

I picked him up, stuck him on the other side of the screen door, told him I'd talk to him when he quieted down, and resumed my conversation with a rather stunned bunch of my elders. After all, what could I have said that didn't sound, well, worlds beyond lame? And maybe, just maybe, the fact that it didn't seem to work this time (we didn't revert instantly to soothing) means that he'll abandon this particular behavior.

I do not have high hopes. I think they have a mommy embarrassment meter somewhere in their little systems and that yes, this was once again a win. I have this weird feeling that on some internal barometer, he's registered a get-back-at-mommy victory and I'm totally, completely out of luck.

What I wouldn't give for a mind control laser some days...

Friday, June 16, 2006

They Won

I fought with the kids this morning and they won. I'm thoroughly embarrassed. As I am certain that this is their purpose in life, this constitutes a win.

I am, to put it mildly, poor. We have for years managed to live as poor people in a pretty normal non-poorness-evident fashion. But this fall I start at a very expensive school, and this has me scrambling like mad for financial help, culminating in a frenzied 8am redial-button-pushing episode a la the radio station contests...with Washington Women in Need. Application submitted and my poorness duly presented, I thought my duty was over for now. But no, they called this morning, without warning, for a phone interview.

"Ring" (ok, ba-ba-lalalalalala-ba-ba...they called my cell...) and commence child madness. The 4yo picks up the toddler. She screams BLOODY MURDER. Yes, as I am saying "this is she." This sets the tone for a 30 minute struggle for quiet. Or fuck, I'm realistic, I'd settle for low bustle and hum and movie noise. Run to one room. Followed. Run to the other. Oh GOD someone is screaming bloody fucking murder again, what ARE they back to kids. Throw chips at kids...please, for the love of god, stuff your mouths and SHUT UP. Go to the other room to get financial documents. Start quoting numbers. Cue child fight over who holds the chip bag.

Yes, 30 minutes of this later, I am wrapping up the phone interview, planning an in-person interview, and I apologize "sorry for all the kid noise". I fully expected, if not absolution, at least an uncomfortable chuckle, especially considering that I'm on the phone with an organization that purports to be about improving the lives of poor women. But no. Silence.

If anything could make me cry after a solid half-hour of trying my hardest to get quiet, stressed out like mad, it was that.

They won.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The first post

I'm totally new to this blog thing. Never kept a journal or diary or...anything. I'm just boring like that I guess. I have no idea what to say. Do I mention the trip to Trader Joes wherein my children danced tantalizingly upong my last nerve, nearly getting themselves left behind?

Perhaps we should stick to the new axe and the wood-splitting 'fun' yesterday. I'm wondering if it was a mistake to purposefully buy an axe that was light enough for me (Fiskars brand), so that now I can split wood all by my little girlie lonesome. Fran did his fair share yesterday, but so did I, which is new...usually this is firmly 'man' territory. I hate not being able to do something that someone else CAN do so much that the expectation that I actually help out with this task from now on isn't bothering me that much. Is that pathetic? Ooooh, ooooh, wait...something more pathetic...I actually don't CARE as long as I have an excuse to make someone else hold the baby. I hold her all damn day and Fran can fucking take a turn, even if it means I have to do hard labor.

The kids' only task was to take the wood and put it in a big 'ole pile next to the shed...but no. It is all over the garden still, because mudpies were way more fun than any ACTUAL work.

Trying to feed the toddler the aforementioned mudpies was even more fun than MAKING the mudpies. Luckily the toddler wasn't interested. She prefers the texture of gravel and swished hearty handfuls off the stuff around in her mouth at every opportunity.

And perhaps the most pathetic thing of all...this was more or less a normal day in our lives, gravel, mud, and all.